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Rock Climbing Photo: Lots of confusion surrounding various starts on th...
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By madisonchoss
Jan 8, 2015
Everyone agrees for a sit start the butt is the last thing to leave one pad (a quality both "Basilisk" and "Cannons Sit" share). Past that, there seems to be confusion:

Where do your hands go? How far until you just climbed "Basilisk?"

If: "as far as you can reach while still seated" -> it's the same as "Basilisk."

If: "____ inches" -> why that many and not more? Or less?

If: "both hands go on bottom lip" -> You're actually on a different line than cannons stand (like, literally, a different line). If you're going to do that, why not start all the way to the left?

Which brings me to my next [series of] question[s]:

According to some of the recent videos / pictures I've seen on the internet, that whole lip is cleaned and chalked. So:

Now there's a crouch start into a down-climbing campus traverse to the undefined sit start?
Is "Cannons Sit" just the second half of another boulder problem and should be deleted as soon as that gets sent?

Anyway, food for thought. Nice video.

Side note: what Ian did you talk to who agreed a problem should come down? Doesn't sound like any Ian I know...
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 8, 2015
Alright, now I'm confused. Ian is not listed as the FA of basilisk. Peter is. I could reassign the problem to Peter and take Ian out of it. Ian is actually out climbing right now, rather than posting about climbing. Lucky bastard.

Regarding "matched" -- it's easy to know what that means on a problem with a jug start, like fat pants or sandstone violence. On a long rail, what does matched mean? Hands have to be touching? Hands have to be within 2" of each other? 4"? 6"? Bouldering is fairly arbitrary sometimes, isn't this one of those situations?

I don't really have a dog here, and don't ever plan to go back to this Boulder. Regarding the photo above, I'd ask "does anything in this Boulder really qualify as awesome?"
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 9, 2015
This is exactly the kind of controversy we need! I am so bored, and I just love the drama about an eight-foot tall boulder hiding in the backwoods of southwest Wisconsin. It's almost as if you guys actually believe that it matters who did/does what on this thing that appears to be somewhere around 5-8 grades below the current cutting edge in bouldering.

It looks sweet, it looks hard, it looks fun. I might give it a try from the weenie start someday. But it definitely isn't worth all this drama. It'd be one thing if it was V17, or a virgin himalayan peak, etc. and some new standard (or even close to an existing standard) was being claimed, but it's not. It's a tiny chunk of sandstone that there are grade-schoolers capable of climbing the hardest route on - lighten up guys, it's supposed to be fun.
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 9, 2015
Cabin fever has officially set in. James shouldn't you be out ice climbing?
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 9, 2015
Ha! Yes, I should be, but that will have to wait until Sunday.
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 9, 2015
I'm not saying the record shouldn't get set straight, I'm just saying all this internet wanking about it seems a little trite. The problem(s) looks cool, I just think we're trying to split the hair really thin here, and marring what looks like an amazing route with the discussion.

Brinton's Crack can be done as a 5.12 if someone wanted to skip holds and/or add moves, anything can be made harder in this way, but that doesn't necessarily qualify it as a new route. If someone finds that to be an entertaining diversion, that's cool, but Brinton's Crack is still the original route and the 5.12 variation is at best a footnote.

Here it seems like we're not even discussing that, but taking it to another level and discussing whether one person's 5.12a variation should be listed or the other guy's 5.12b variation. Both hard, both look cool, both deserve some props, but both are variations of the original (or at best one is a variation of the other).
By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Jan 9, 2015
we need more photos like this. the map of alpine club is legend. this stuff is hilarious: the photos, the comments, all of it. keep it coming, guys!
By madisonchoss
Jan 9, 2015
I agree with Nezbit – discussions like this are important to have. The way people approach establishing new problems shapes the future experience of climbers in that area far more than some v17 that none of us will touch. If you don’t like the discussions or find them dramatic, feel free to skip participating and climb whatever you want and not talk about it on the internet.

Not to speak too much for him, but I think Nezbit and I also agree that Basilisk and Cannons Sit are variations of each other. That's why we're "dramatically" debating which one is better (i.e. which one should remain a problem and which one should be forgotten about altogether - see my comment re Waffle House & Purple Gold at the Lake).

Moving on, yes, I did the first ascent of the Basilisk back in 2011 (Ian was there). The background story is that Ian called me at work saying I should come out and night sesh on this sick project. I did, and managed to snake him (barely). Hence “The Basilisk,” a cannon and a snake, became the sit start on the Cannons boulder.

So, anyway, the question of the start was the crux then as it is now (think we spent more time figuring that out than it took to send the boulder!). We decided seated on one simple pad was the only obvious part, since the rail is one big hold (apart from higher up where the stand starts - there it obviously levels out, temporarily).

To me (and at least Eggert), “matching” the bottom of the rail is difficult to define. How far apart can your hands be & still be matched? 1 inch? 2 inches? 5 inches? Why that many inches and not more?

In my view, to explain how Cannons Sit has a more obvious start than Basilisk, you would need to be able to offer a reason why your hands can only be ____ inches apart in order to be matched. You’d also need to be able to apply that same standard to any other problems with large (defined as greater than the width of the average adult hand x 2 + the acceptable distance apart to still be considered matching) start hold.

Do your hands need to be, for example, 2 inches apart on Sandstone Violence in order to have started the problem correctly? What about Alpine Club?

To me, it’s pretty obvious in these cases how a standard definition for “matching” breaks down. So why is this start different? You could say “because it makes more of a difference in terms of difficulty!” But that’s subjective and doesn’t scale equally. Clearly your 2 inches apart made this harder than my 10 or 12. But what if my hands had been 8 inches apart? Or 6?

Personally, I would like to see Basilisk come down – we don’t need more v8s in the upper Midwest, we need more hard problems! I’ve done a bunch of FAs and am not particularly attached to this one. That being said, I also want to see the most obvious and intelligent problems get put up because that shapes the development of the areas more than one extra v10. Unless we can answer the questions above, I don’t think “Cannons Sit” is the most intelligent problem on the boulder. Sure, it’s harder. But that doesn’t mean it makes more sense than Basilisk.

A worthwhile & more difficult variation would be to start seated with both hands on the lower lip. There’s no question that that’s different than Basilisk, there’s also no question as to where it starts (apart from how far left you should go...).

As for climbing the problems and not talking about them, well I like to do that too! Even if plenty of teenagers could do them more quickly.
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 9, 2015
As I've discussed with a number of you on seperate occasions in person or by email, my interest in this is mostly to keep MP a clean and user-friendly resource. IMO there is too much clutter that is confusing and unproductive in the bouldering sections for WI. Randy's mentioning of the Alpine Club boulder is a prime example of difficult-to-navigate clutter. IMO sit starts or variations should *usually* be listed as a comment under the original problem. Shades of grey though, sometimes adding a few awesome moves into an existing problem deserves it's own entry.
By Ian CB
Jan 10, 2015
Sounds like you added a hard move or two to the basilisk to me. Lower starts happen all the time in bouldering.. I don't see why anyone should be bothered. Sometimes they get renamed, sometimes not... It doesn't really matter either way. It is different though. Now we have another hard problem to go play around on:). And James it does matter damnit! This is Wisconsin bouldering were talking about here, and for governor dodge this is cutting edge stuff!:) And it probably would be V17 if it was hot out anyways. Maybe this is the hardest sandstone sloper problem in the state.. or the upper midwest even? Also thanks for clarifying the start Mike, it will be nice to know when I go try it.
By Tradiban
Jan 10, 2015
(FACEPALM)
By Doug Hemken
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 11, 2015
Isn't the real controversy whether or not it's a send if you don't get back down safely? Confused mountaineer, here.
By madisonchoss
Jan 11, 2015
Re start position 2: how far from the base is "low" on the cannons rail before it becomes "high" on the cannons rail?

(For the record, I definitely think you did another move that was probably hard. And may even be the most natural! It's been 3 years so I'm playing Devils advocate with an very vague memory and a couple phone pictures).

As for Ian's point, lots of things happen all the time that shouldn't (in climbing and in life). They also seem to happen mostly in climbing areas where no one says anything or those doing them are too stubborn to listen.

As for those who walk by this to keep doing "real climbing" and / or walking up snow, feel fee to keep walking by.
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 12, 2015
One of my most cherished (for a number of reasons) pieces of climbing memorabilia is an autographed Mark Twight poster, the salutation is this:

Climbing is Anarchy!

I tend to agree with him on that.

No one is trying to diminish what you guys have added in terms of difficulty.

Why not just have an administrator make one route description akin to this:

Cannons Sit/Basilisk V8+

For X you sit-start with hands comfortably apart. X goes at V8+. FA - ABC

An interesting, and more difficult, variation Y starts with an SDS and hands touching with either the left hand around the corner or just on the edge of the corner. Y goes at V10+/11. FA - XYZ

You guys get your hyper-precise rules out there for everyone to see and properly update there 8a scorecard, and the rest of us can be done seeing this discussion on our "What's New" page.

If that doesn't work, I think we need a three-way cage match, winner take all.
By Doug Hemken
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 12, 2015
Love the video - self-deprecating humor is the best.

This conversation is all about what makes the most elegant line, i.e. aesthetics. And tastes change. As a simple example, there was a time when it would have been considered inelegant to rap off something you could walk off of. Nowadays I meet climbers who consider a line inelegant if you cannot just rap off.

I think it is interesting and worthwhile that you try to define and articulate what makes a line elegant for you.

Now the slapstick video, *that* is truly universal and timeless!
By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Jan 12, 2015
James, that has been suggested -- I would be pleased to make that change/merge. However, I don't usually do these changes (delete lines, merge lines that are posted separately, etc) without the permission of the user who posted the "variation" (yes Michael I know you don't want to use that word for your line), since this website is user-generated and the quickest way to piss users off is to alter their content without asking. I also don't want to be policing these events, but will do whatever the users in this case would like me to do.
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 12, 2015
Eggs,

I think we should push for the three-way Mike-Peter-Ian cage match to determine the hardest hard-man in the south-central Wisco/northeast Iowa bouldering corridor. You and I could produce the thing, think of the revenue possibilities! Ticket sales, pay-per view, YouTube ads on reruns, t-shirts, action figures, etc. - my gawd we'd be rich!
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 12, 2015
In all seriousness...how does that set a bad precedent? There are two established starts to the "full" problem, and they are of significantly different difficulty. There's no need to censor that information, let the community know that they've both been done and by whom, and then let the individual decide which version (is that more palatable than "variation"?) to do for his or her self. We don't need the competing first ascensionists or the community to set rules on which version people can and can't do (or claim credit for having done) in the future. Which takes me back to my original point...why is this such a big deal?
By madisonchoss
Jan 12, 2015
Eventually they should be merged, I don't think there's any doubt about that. Doesn't matter to me if that happens and then the start is further defined or if you wait to do so until this is resolved (if it ever can be!).

My point from the beginning has been that the same standard you use for defining "matched" here should be able to be equally well applied to any other matched starts, regardless of whether it changes the difficulty by 2, 1, .01, .0000000001 v grades. If that can't be done then it's not a very good standard.

To me, that standard is "to have both hands on the hold" (though I understand how that is semi-ambiguous and is the root of this "drama"). Anything more is unsupportable, though, because it would lead to the following crazy conclusions -

1. It's not okay for my hands to be crossed on a single start jug
2. It's not okay for my hands to be more than ___ inches apart on a single start jug

Even so, I think we established that this actually started on two holds: left hand near the right side of one and right hand near the bottom of the other. Which makes it an even harder sell - now if there are two start holds I need to pull on using only a specified part of each one? In my view, this is an unsustainable argument.

While becoming repetitive, this discussion has done a nice job of illustrating why having an obvious start hold (e.g. Sandstone Violence, Alpine Club, etc) really increases the overall quality of the problem. That being said, if this problem had a more singular start I wouldn't have gotten to think as critically about what a good standard would be, which would be unfortunate! (at least to me, maybe not to others but that's fine too). Maybe over time more boulders will help change my perspective of what a good standard is, only time will tell.

In the end, I don't actually care about the FA at all (mine or otherwise). I do think that there should probably be two problems on this boulder - Cannons starts where the rail fairly obviously levels out and then one of these two starts from an obvious sit. A third possibility would be to start matched on the bottom rail, or with your hands left of an obvious marking if there is one. Or maybe someone will throw a wrench in this by manteling direct...
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 12, 2015
I know there is no genuine animosity among you guys, I'm just trying to keep the conversation humorous.

I don't think it is up to the three of you anymore - the decision about which line is better, or more aesthetic, or should be publicly displayed isn't for the three of you to make at this point. The versions have been done, and the information has been put to the public at large, it's out there now, and you can't (not even the three of you can) put the genie back in the bottle.

You guys are strong, it's cool. At this point the info should be out there in the least confusing way possible, which is in two routes, "Cannons" and "Cannons for Hardmen with associated start intricacy beta" (or whatever you guys wanna call it - just call it something logical).

The worst thing that will happen is some kid 15 years from now will read the forthcoming history of "Governor Dodge Bouldering" or some forthcoming biography about one of you three guys, drive to the Gov, start the problem from a slightly easier start, think he did the hard variation and get even more psyched because in his mind he just followed in the footsteps of his idol. I, for one, can live with that.
By Ian CB
Jan 12, 2015
One way or another I think the information for all the starts should be included. The picture is pretty darn good.. I'd leave that up. They will all get climbed because it's a cool boulder. You can't change history, and I think it adds some flare to the boulder.
By madisonchoss
Jan 13, 2015
Interesting point about community not FA defined starts. Can't say I agree, but it's a stance advocated a couple times in the lengthy discussion on this tangentially related blog post:

b3bouldering.com/2011/02/22/mi...
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 13, 2015
To be clear, I am not saying it should be up to the community to decide. I am saying that it should be up to the individual. If someone wants to climb a V8+, he or she can start with "wide hands" and if that person wants to climb a V11 he or she can start with matched hands. The information about the alternate starts exists already, and, as such people are (and should be) free to start wherever they please.
By madisonchoss
Jan 19, 2015
Looks like my illustration is now out of date and climbing on top of this boulder from the low rail is v2 / 3:

mountainproject.com/v/funky-tu...
By James Schroeder
Administrator
From: Sauk County, WI
Jan 20, 2015
I guess we're going to need to break down and spray paint some starting zones on the boulder! Should we go with a variety of colors, or different shades of the same? You know, sort of a spectrum of awesomeness...

(I feel obligated to note that I am being massively sarcastic, and would be appalled if this actually happened - god forbid if someone read this comment, thought is was a good idea and actually executed it.)
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Lots of confusion surrounding various starts on this boulder so I made this image to help you connect where you started to how awesome you are. Sorry if you're "not awesome;" keep inching your way down the lip and one day you'll be "mindblowingly incredibly awesome."

Submitted By: madisonchoss on Dec 16, 2014
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