Asking for Input, Not Grief


Original Post
Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,435

Just to get it started, again, I would like your opinion on a seemingly touchy subject.  I am not much of a boulder and prefer to climb "taller" things.  That being said, I respect the simplicity, social connections, and technical prowess needed for the bouldering community.  I believe there is a great deal of crossover between "climbers" and boulders.  My problem is with mixing up the two categories it gives each group less distinction.  I wonder if REI, with their resources could/should not create a separate domain for bouldering like has been done for Mt. Biking (MTB Project), Skiers (Powder Project), Hikers (Hiking Project), Runners (Trail Run Project)?  For now, let's call it "Boulder Project (BP).  BP would show case the strictly boulder lines and not involve the lines typicly using bolts or gear.  Even though a boulder FA is significant, it IS different from a...say, a two pitch new route FA.  Many of the same skills required, but still way different on many levels.  I believe both communities would benift from this seperate distnction.  What do you think?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

I would think it depends on how much demand/market there is for such a site.  Nothing wrong with the idea, but I don't know that a lot of people are craving it, either. Considering you're the first person I've heard ask about it...

Edit: On MP, you can search for boulder problems in a given area under "Best Routes for You."

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
FrankPS wrote:

Edit: On MP, you can search for boulder problems in a given area under "Best Routes for You."

A separate category "Worst routes for you" is what we need :)

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,435

Yeah, there is a forum spot called "Land of the uber-strong pad people" too.  But somebody can work days putting up 15+ boulder FAs and somebody else can put in the same time to get half way through a new mulipitch.  The two things don't seem to juxtopose well to me.

Bill Czajkowski · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 30

I think you don't get to choose what others give you and your idea seems pointless to me.

And the word is "boulderER". Usually without the capitalization.

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,352

It already exists right here:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/103989409/bouldering

I am not sure why we would need a completely separate website, we already have a separate section for it. Websites are not free. They are rather expensive actually in that creating a website that doesent look and function like total crap requires a ton of programing which takes time and money to pay someone to do it. Then you have to buy the domain, lease the server space, ect. all for what? Seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,435

The capital "B", Bill, was out of respect.  The lack of proper "ER-ing" out of...I guess igrorence.  My point is/was by seperating the two catigories each group would gain more significant notority, input and distinction.

Buddy Smith · · GA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 40

I don't think a whole new app is necessary. Climbing and bouldering belong in the same app. Lost Wall and Rock Town are a half mile apart geographically but miles apart in what a climber expects and wants. I get it though, I think. I don't boulder. I wanna go up. Up is cool to me. I love up. If I would boulder, however, I'd be MUCH better at up. I KNOW this. It's always been a thing with me. I hate to practice. If I could hit the driving range twice a week I'd be a better golfer. Hate it. I wanna play. If I could practice drum rudiments and drills for an hour twice a week I'd have been a better drummer. Hate it. I wanna play! If I bouldered and pulled hard moves and crashed and hurt a shoulder and got some scrapes and pain down low while making hard moves I KNOW would be less of a wuss about making a hard move two feet over a great placement or bolt. Still hate it. Still, the noob I took to the crag yesterday had been bouldering a lot recently because it's what he had gear for. He killed  on his first time. Led an 8sport, cleaned and rapped and did all kinds of great stuff because he had built up the mental and physical prowess. I still hate to practice. And to ME it's practice because I love up. One guy talking here...

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laramie, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 115

Bouldering is a subset of Climbing, they aren't independent. Historically bouldering is what climbers did in the Mountains when they got rained out of proper climbs, or how they trained for mountaineering objectives.

I notice you have contributed a bunch routes and first ascents spread among sport, trad, aid and bouldering routes. Great work writing clear route descriptions, we appreciate your contributions. Do you feel like a distinction should be made between sport, trad and aid as well? Or is bouldering truly unique from the rest? The only difference I see is development time/cost, commitment and height, but am interested in what other differences you see. The line between high ball bouldering can get pretty blurry, and varies by region.

MacksWhineturd · · Squaw · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Perhaps we need a TopRopeProject.com as well?  We could discuss different techniques of downclimbing and tension traversing to chains?

Buddy Smith · · GA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 40

Dude, he specifically asked for no grief. 

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,435

Buddy and Skye, both with thoughtful and insightful input.  Thanks.  High ball bouldering and free soloing... both require practice, similar skills, and a good head.  Both have a very small minority sub set within our combined communities.  So, setting them aside.  Aid climbers, ice climbers, trad and sport climbers, all other subsets, have more crossover with each other than they have commonalities with boulders, or so I think.   The more "traditional" categories of climbers, ie. aid, ice. sport, and trad. tend to be a two person team, taking significant time way above deck, and have to cope with an adrenaline pump 1/2 way through the event (they need to do the long descent).  This is different from the hard, repetitious, often more social event known as bouldering.  By separating them they both gain more dignity, or so I am thinking now.  School me otherwise.  

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laramie, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 115

Alright, I maybe I see where you are going with this? The cultural space and character of movement are certainly different between climbing and bouldering. My main argument for not separating the route guide(s) would be a pragmatic one, they often share the same geographic space! I have often found it helpful to describe the location of a boulder problem relative to a particular climb and vice versa. People would inevitably include some very popular boulder problems on the route site, and some routes would inhabit an ambiguous space between the two. This could include highballs that are top roped or retrobolted and easy trad lines that are often soloed. We can preserve the cultural identity and dignity through specific forums and through the routes representation in the media. But maybe I missed the point. You have contributed more to this site then everyone else on this thread combined, so your opinion certainly matters.

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
Roy Suggett wrote:

Buddy and Skye, both with thoughtful and insightful input.  Thanks.  High ball bouldering and free soloing... both require practice, similar skills, and a good head.  Both have a very small minority sub set within our combined communities.  So, setting them aside.  Aid climbers, ice climbers, trad and sport climbers, all other subsets, have more crossover with each other than they have commonalities with boulders, or so I think.   The more "traditional" categories of climbers, ie. aid, ice. sport, and trad. tend to be a two person team, taking significant time way above deck, and have to cope with an adrenaline pump 1/2 way through the event (they need to do the long descent).  This is different from the hard, repetitious, often more social event known as bouldering.  By separating them they both gain more dignity, or so I am thinking now.  School me otherwise.  

Climbing disciplines are very hard to define, don't you think? If someone links a bona-fide boulder problem into an easier route that requires placing gear, is it still bouldering or is it now trad? If someone frees a big wall and gives it a slash bouldering grade because of the crux, which site does it go to? Where does this go to? 

Social aspect is just as vague. Plenty of people go bouldering alone. Plenty of people go gang-working a sport route. 

Hardness is in the eyes of the beholder. Nalle Hukkataival spent fewer years on his Lapnor project than Tommy Caldwell spent projecting Dawn Wall. Both took multiple burns on it. 

PS. Every hard trad or sport climber I know is also a boulderer. 

Roy Suggett · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 6,435

Yeah, there is that.  I see it like a venn diagram.  The intersection would be in the descriptions and locations.  Just for giggles, look at MP Utah right now, this date and time, under "whats new" (https://www.mountainproject.com/scripts/WhatsNew.php?what=ALL&mode=&daysold=90&locationId=105708957&filter=).  Look at the line up of new stuff and help me understand why separating the two would not benefit both entities?  Maybe not, just seems easier in my head to break things into more definable boxes in order to better categorize said boxes so as to help folks find stuff faster.  

Buddy Smith · · GA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 40

Ouch on the P.S. there, Nivel! I kid. Love it. This may be the smartest thread on MP to date! 

Skye Swoboda-Colberg · · Laramie, Wyoming · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 115

That's easy, when you select Routes from the Showing menu, you get a choice of highlighting First Ascents. All we need to do is add additional categories to highlight Bouldering, Sport, Trad and so on. That way you would only see the type of climbing you are looking for. It would certainly be easier than coding a new site.

Anfarwal Vr · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 225

I think it's a valid question, especially if you think about it from a user-interface perspective.  The current design of the site isn't really amenable for mapping out locations of several boulders in the same area and the problems on them, and using google maps to pin the location isn't accurate enough. Right now, people can only submit pictures of the problem, or upload a topo showing all of the routes.  That being said, I think that bouldering should stay under the same umbrella since there's so much overlap and the same population is generally accessing the same information. 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266

It would be amazing if routes could be classified as Boulder/Trad/Sport/Alpine/Glacier/Ice.  Right now we only have Trad/Sport/TR. 

Tom Rangitsch · · Lander, WY · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 1,504

I think a more realistic separation of the climbing world would be to differentiate between single pitch sport/bouldering and more tradition forms of climbing, i.e. multipitch, alpine, ice.  If there are two "camps" in the vertical world (and I don't think a nice split like that actually exists) then these seem to be the two. At least in my experience, the majority of people either focus more on one or the other.  

Personally I mostly sport climb, but I identify more with boulderers than I do with trad or alpine climbers.  Some folks like the minutia of figuring out beta, trying routes at their limit and pushing the grades.  Others seem to be more interested in the overall package of climbing a long route, dealing with the objective hazards of weather and route finding, and having an experience that encompasses more than just the movement over stone.  Of course this is totally debunked by many examples of all-arounders, but sometimes stereotypes actually do an okay job of defining people.  

Messy as it is, I think that the MP database should stay essential as it is.  The above mentioned categories seem like a good way to better organize the site and I think it would be an interesting thing to do, although it seems like resorting all of the data would be a difficult or impossible

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 290

Maybe what's needed with first is a distinction between indoor-only and outdoor climbers.

I know a boulderer who climbs V7-8 and has been climbing for eight years. Thing is, he's only been outside once (we have three bouldering-only gyms here in PDX), definitely didn't like it, and has never been outside again. And he's not alone - we now have a whole class of people who love climbing, but just don't like climbing on rocks.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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