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Explain "multi-pitch sport" to me?

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 526
phylp wrote:One of the best things about most sport climbing is how comfortable it is.  No hanging belays, just lower to the ground and belay your partner from the comfort of the ground.

Here's one of the problems with your approach to the question. At least amongst my group of climbing friends, the best part of sport climbing is the ability to focus upon gymnastic movement (what most trad routes would list on the topo as "boulder problem crux") without needing to worry about both placing and trusting said placed gear. This type of movement tends to apply more to face climbing than crack climbing. 

So the question becomes, "If the best part of sport climbing is the ability to push your technical face climbing ability and it's awesome when you do it over a single pitch, why would people want to do multi-pitch sport climbing?" 

Now the answer is obvious, "Because more of something I like is better than less."

Stu Ritchie · · Denver · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 1,735

Look up Sisyphis Summits (sp) in Rock Canyon. Kind of the definition of 'multi-pitch sport.'

Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 71

Its also a great way to learn some of the skills you need for multi-pitch trad without the stress of taking it all on at once.  You get to practice rope management etc. and get more efficient at multi-pitch before you get on popular trad routes.  I really think routes like Royal Flush are a perfect example of how to do this.  That route would get almost no traffic if it weren't for the bolts and now you've taken the newest, likely slowest moving climbers, allowed them to practice in an environment with less risk, and you don't have them fumbling around on crowded routes.

Will Maness · · Jackson, WY · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 35

Agreed.  I did my first real multi-pitch in El Chorro, Spain and it helped my dial in my top-down belaying, etc.  Also, as everyone else has been was just plain freakin' awesome!  (My Avatar pic is from the top of the climb - Lluvia de Asteroides)

Noah Yetter · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 105

I generally assume that people like to do stuff because doing it is fun. I also feel like it should be ok, by default, to like doing different things, rather than having to justify it.

Also on some level it feels obvious. If you've got a 1000ft face with climbable features the whole way but nowhere to put gear, would you really only bolt the first 35 meters? More is better!

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 612

Thanks again to everyone for their informative responses.  Living in California, and not being all that au courant with the national and global climbing activities, I had no idea that there was so much multipitch sport climbing in the US!  So I learned a lot about that - I thought there was just a tiny amount of it here in the States and was puzzled about people looking for it.

I also appreciated hearing from Marcus and others about how the availability of multipitch sport was so useful to them in their exploration of new climbing skills.  That had not occurred to me (because of my background of how I learned to climb).

To all those who emphasized just how much fun it is, well, you've got me curious.  Obviously the fun of going up and up and up and up with just draws outweighs the pain in the ass of hanging belays and rope management at stances.  I'll try it!  

Heading out for a week, so I won't be seeing any more responses for a while.  Be safe, have fun, Phyl

Alex CV · · Greater NYC area · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 220

One word: Verdon

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2
Alex CV wrote:

One word: Verdon

You mean EPC. :)

Ken Noyce · · Layton, UT · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2,415
David Gibbs wrote:

You mean EPC. :)

Nope, I think he meant Verdon;)

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450
David Gibbs wrote:

You mean EPC. :)

Many of the popular EPC multi pitches are not great rock climbing, maybe 1/3 of the pitches are good, the other 2/3 are 5.9 slab edging. Its a good taste of moving fast on big, easy terrain, but the climbing itself was uninspiring.  The cragging there is much better, but people go for the long routes.  The Verdon on the  other hand, looks amazing. 

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
caughtinside wrote:

People want to do big routes without having to buy a rack or learn climbing skills.

More like, "the route is unprotected traditionally." SO we had to bolt it so people dont die when they fall.

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450
Tylerpratt wrote:

More like, "the route is unprotected traditionally." SO we had to bolt it so people dont die when they fall.

I get it. But there is not that much of that kind of climbing in the US. There is some. I’ve bolted a 4 pitch route. But we generally don’t have the big limestone that really lends itself to it. Granite and sandstone generally can be climbed with some gear. But there’s exceptions to every rule. 

bmdhacks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 416

If you like long pitches, linking multipitch sport with long slings is super chill.  Every time I do a full-70 rope stretcher on gear I end up trying to ration my pro at the end.  If every protection point is a bolt, you don't have to worry about spending your yellow alien too early in the pitch.

David Gibbs · · Ottawa, ON · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 2
Ken Noyce wrote:

Nope, I think he meant Verdon;)

Yeah.  Verdon is on my list of places I want to climb.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,932

Verdon . . .
Interesting that in recent years the community there decided to _remove_ the bolts (or most of them) from a famous crack route called "ULA".

Nowadays in Europe there are very few multi-pitch routes of even slight popularity that remain "pure Trad".

Because at least the anchors (for some pitches) will have fixed hardware. Hardly anybody wants to take the time to build Trad anchors any more. More important, nobody wants to be stuck _behind_ a party that is slow at building Trad anchors and making the transition to the next pitch.

Perhaps this has something to do with Europe being surrouded by major water on three sides, so does not get as much reliable stable dry weather as western USA -- so the idea of not dying of electrocution in an afternoon thunderstorm gives support to the construction and maintenance of fixed anchors.

Then some Euro climbers bring that attitude along with them on visits to western USA, to the surprise of well-experienced American climbers who are overtaken by Europeans on routes in Yosemite valley.


P.S. Myself I'm so accustomed to the speed of indoor climbing and high-mountain and seaside soloing, that even Sport multi-pitch now feels barely tolerable with all the waiting around with my actual climbing under half the time out there. "pure trad" multi-pitch is beyond my tolerance, unless I'm doing all the Leading, and it's to get Sharon with me on a truly great easy/mod route.

P.S. Equipment for multi-pitch Trad climbing costs lots more _money_ than for Sport.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Sport Climbing
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