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Why trad climbing?


Sky Cripp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 20 days ago · Points: 0

I love trad for a few reasons:
1. It seems to be the standard for "purity." No defacing the rock or bolting or leaving permanent gear behind (unless you like to overcam a lot).
2. It's so much more thoughtful. Sport climbing is clip draw > clip rope > climb above. Trad is asking yourself a series of questions: Rock quality > placement size > flared/not flared > walking? > extend or don't extend > does it need to be backed up > will this rock quality sustain a fall from what I think I see as my next opportunity for placement > etc.
3. Trad routes are just a shit ton of fun and IMO the best routes aren't bolted. If you limit yourself to sport, you'll never get the lead on Castleton Tower, Zeus Tower, The Nose, etc. 

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 30
Sky Cripp wrote:2. It's so much more thoughtful. Sport climbing is clip draw > clip rope > climb above. Trad is asking yourself a series of questions: Rock quality > placement size > flared/not flared > walking? > extend or don't extend > does it need to be backed up > will this rock quality sustain a fall from what I think I see as my next opportunity for placement > etc.

I hear ya, as someone who do both but started out sport climbing. I think you're minimizing the amount of reflection one has to put into climbing sport route at your limit though - a lot of the thinking that doesn't go into placing gear goes instead to precise awareness of body positioning and finding clever beta to overcome whatever prevents you from sending your project.

That being said, I do agree with your assessment on climbs that are below on-sight level in sport, whereas trad climbing always keeps you thinking, pretty much regardless of difficulty level.....
Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

the climbing "trad" it allows you to be fat, old, physically inferior, and still "have fun" and impress the others

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 143
Sky Cripp wrote: I love trad for a few reasons:
1. It seems to be the standard for "purity." No defacing the rock or bolting or leaving permanent gear behind (unless you like to overcam a lot).
2. It's so much more thoughtful. Sport climbing is clip draw > clip rope > climb above. Trad is asking yourself a series of questions: Rock quality > placement size > flared/not flared > walking? > extend or don't extend > does it need to be backed up > will this rock quality sustain a fall from what I think I see as my next opportunity for placement > etc.
3. Trad routes are just a shit ton of fun and IMO the best routes aren't bolted. If you limit yourself to sport, you'll never get the lead on Castleton Tower, Zeus Tower, The Nose, etc. 

 To address your specific points:

1. Our sport is not particularly "pure". Establishing a new crack, or just one new route, usually involves some degree of destruction to the local habitat. The amount of damage is usually depend on things like rock quality and environment - bolts vs gear is just a minor influence. Removing lichen that's been on the rock for thousands of years or crowbarring off loose rock is a greater "defacement" than a bolt, IMO.

2. You're conflating 'recreational climbing' and 'sport climbing'. The latter is methodically redpointing climbs at your limit, and definitely requires a level of thoughtfulness on par with trad climbing. Hard trad and difficult sport probably require similar levels of "thoughtfulness". Moderate trad is fun and intellectually engaging, but doesn't engage my brain to anywhere near the degree that a sport project does.

3. If you limit yourself to trad, you will never experience the kind of AWESOME, athletic movement that appears around the 12c/d grade (unless you are a 12+ trad climber who has never ever sport climbed - a very rare breed).

They're both so different that trying to say one is better than the other is just silly.  I'll never understand why climbers feel the need to stake out these little sport, trad, boulder fiefdoms. It's ALL SO FUN, just go climb. Boulder when it's cold out, climb trad as much as you can, and sport climb when the weather is perfect and you're tired of being scared all the time.
doligo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 277
Tim Stich wrote: I mainly clip bolts these days, and not at a very impressive level. But I like cragging, as I can get as many pitches in as I can handle in the limited time I have. Having a kid makes that a pretty OK trade-off. Plus, I just can't handle places like Eldo anymore on a daily basis. You have to be on your game there all of the time.

But as the years go by, I don't much remember those sport routes. I remember which ones were worth doing, but not how I felt about them in a deep sense. You remember your alpine rock ascents, though. You remember every one of them. You remember the soul sucking hikes in, and the hail pelting you in the middle of a pitch. You remember the stuck ropes, the cursing, the wishing you had not decided to go climbing that day. You remember pulling off the leads despite your lack of confidence. You remember smiling at your partner in the sun and taking a quick nap on the summit because you got up too damned early to do the route.

So, every summer I still get like to attempt some sort of alpine rock route. 

If I had such a good memory, I would never go back to climbing long routes.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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