First Female Ascent. Should this be an actual thing?


Original Post
20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348

I am curious as to the history of the term FFA. There isint really such thing as a first male ascent, at least not as I've ever seen the term used. Does the term FFA bring to light the achievements of females in an otherwise male dominated sport or does it create a divide along the road to equal treatment by creating a special class for women? Maybe something else altogether?

I found this article insightful: http://eveningsends.com/the-curse-of-the-first-female-ascent/

Gabe B. · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 88

I think this already made the rounds on MP. Is it hurting anyone or the sport? no? then it doesn't matter to me. Many of my heroes are already women, FFA's or not. 

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

In every sport I can think of, they have a female record and men's record. What's the problem with that?

This wouldn't even come up except that in climbing, women are as good or better than a lot of men. This lack of a gap makes some men uncomfortable and they try to downplay or dismiss a strong woman's accomplishments.

Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938

It's just a piece of historical information. Do with it what you like.

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 740

Someone should just close this thread now. 

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 85

Yeah, there are tons of routes for which a FFA is a big fricking deal.  There are also slightly fewer routes (The Nose, Meltdown) for which a male sent is or would be a big deal.

It'd be cool if climbing was egalitarian enough that all ascents were equal, so we didn't need to clarify FFA's, but that seems to be a long way off.  It won't be until women are climbing, training, exploring, and developing at the exact same rates as men.

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85

Does this really need to be brought up again?

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,748

FFA = First Free Ascent. This is in plenty of guidebooks and climbing literature. So Lynn Hill got the FFA of The Nose, Ron Kauk & John Bachar & John Long got the FFA of East Face of Washington Column (aka Astroman), etc.

A different acronym is needed for first female ascent.

dangoesclimbing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

I think it should because of how men and women have different climbing styles due to physique, I don't think it has anything to do with sexism

Seth Monteleone · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 23
Greg Barnes wrote:

FFA = First Free Ascent. This is in plenty of guidebooks and climbing literature. So Lynn Hill got the FFA of The Nose, Ron Kauk & John Bachar & John Long got the FFA of East Face of Washington Column (aka Astroman), etc.

A different acronym is needed for first female ascent.

Thank you, I had to specify this the other day in fact.

faye marshall · · denver, co · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 5

wow....love the bro fest bubble y'all have going on here!  great look~

Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

we prefer the term 'sausage fest'

and yes, since 11/9/2016 decisions about women shall be made by men, preferably white men

Hannah Spendlove · · Reno, NV · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 10
dangoesclimbing wrote:

I think it should because of how men and women have different climbing styles due to physique, I don't think it has anything to do with sexism

ditto boobs get in the way of climbing hard core... 

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Really 20kn? I expected better from you.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240

It was only in 1990 that Jean-Batiste Tribout pronounced that that “no woman would ever climb a 5.14a. Lynn Hill proved him wrong shortly thereafter, but for a good while this attitude persisted, just shifting up the grade scales. I think that's what made the FFAs important, initially.

I think we have come a long way from the 1990s, and no famous top-level climbers are making such pronouncements anymore.

And in the meantime, the FFA got overused into almost-meaninglessness.

A climb that is a new grade that no woman has ever climbed before deserves to be noted.
A climb that may be particularly female-unfriendly, due to that "female anatomy/physique" somehow, and has a history of a lot of female climbers trying and failing on it over the years MIGHT deserve the FFA mention. Though I can't really think of many climbs like that.
But some random 5.14a somewhere? Not worthy of FFA news anymore. Back when Lynn Hill was the first woman EVER to climb it, it was. These days, not anymore.

Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 20
Tim Lutz wrote:

we prefer the term 'sausage fest'

and yes, since 11/9/2016 decisions about women shall be made by men, preferably white men

When do we start the sword fight?  :D

Luke Bertelsen · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Feb 2005 · Points: 2,761
that guy named seb wrote:

Really 20kn? I expected better from you.

so good....this made me smile.  Thank you.

Downtownt Kay · · Everett, WA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 110

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Tim Lutz wrote:

we prefer the term 'sausage fest'

All beef, no pork, please. 

I'm Jewish.

Best, OLH

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265
Lena chita wrote:

It was only in 1990 that Jean-Batiste Tribout pronounced that that “no woman would ever climb a 5.14a. Lynn Hill proved him wrong shortly thereafter, but for a good while this attitude persisted, just shifting up the grade scales. I think that's what made the FFAs important, initially.

I think we have come a long way from the 1990s, and no famous top-level climbers are making such pronouncements anymore.

And in the meantime, the FFA got overused into almost-meaninglessness.

A climb that is a new grade that no woman has ever climbed before deserves to be noted.
A climb that may be particularly female-unfriendly, due to that "female anatomy/physique" somehow, and has a history of a lot of female climbers trying and failing on it over the years MIGHT deserve the FFA mention. Though I can't really think of many climbs like that.
But some random 5.14a somewhere? Not worthy of FFA news anymore. Back when Lynn Hill was the first woman EVER to climb it, it was. These days, not anymore.

Nailed it.

For most everything out there, who cares about the second ascent, male or female?

What matters to me is the route itself, but it's fun to know the FA, especially when you've met them. If that's different than the person who put the route up, I'd like to know who developed the route, also. That's the work end that deserves some credit.

Best, OLH

dangoesclimbing · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0
Hannah Spendlove wrote:

ditto boobs get in the way of climbing hard core... 

i might be a dude but it would suck to have 30 lbs on ur chest while climbing

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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