/ Top 10 Greatest moments in rock climbing

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JLS 23 Jan 2020

Top 10 Greatest moments in rock climbing... So far.

1. Freerider (solo) - Alex Honnold
2. Silence - Adam Ondra
3. Burden of Dreams - Nalle Hukkataival
4. La Planta de Shiva - Angy Eiter
5. Dawn Wall - Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson
6. Meltdown - Beth Rodden
7. Tribe - Jacopo Larcher
8. Super Crackinette (flash) - Adam Ondra
9. The Nose (free) - Lynn Hill
10. Dawn Wall (repeat) - Adam Ondra

Corrections, deletions & additions?

Post edited at 10:09
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Wiley Coyote2 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

My first thought is that it seems the first century or more of rock climbing was a bit of a waste of time with not much happening at all

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Paul Sagar 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

As Mad Max once so widely put it:

”that’s bait.”

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

So what for you knocks Ondra's quick Dawn Wall out the top ten?

My premise was that 9c would be greater than 9b and any relatively old ascents like Meltdown and The Nose would need to be still rarely repeated feats. I'm sure W.P. Haskett Smith did remarkable things in his day but surely they have all been eclipsed?

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profitofdoom 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> Top 10 Greatest moments in rock climbing... So far. > Corrections, deletions & additions?

Personally I'd put Joe Brown in there somewhere e.g. for climbs on grit, and Cloggy

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JLS 23 Jan 2020

In reply to scott titt:

In the same way Sudriss has been eclipsed by Action Directe, so too has Action Directe been eclipsed.

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TobyA 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> Corrections, deletions & additions?

It's all a bit how long is a piece of string isn't it?

Yours are all things done quite recently that are very hard, but presumably someone - Ondra probably - will do something harder than Silence. Someone - Hukkataival maybe - will do something harder than the Lappnor Project (maybe if he finishes the Sisu Project!). Then will they knock those previous high points out of the 10 ten?

What about the various claims of the first people to climb something just for pleasure or adventure - Haskett Smith on the Napes Needle for instance?  

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Wiley Coyote2 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> So what for you knocks Ondra's quick Dawn Wall out the top ten?

> My premise was that 9c would be greater than 9b and any relatively old ascents like Meltdown and The Nose would need to be still rarely repeated feats. I'm sure W.P. Haskett Smith did remarkable things in his day but surely they have all been eclipsed?


How about the first ascent of El Cap for a start? OK it used loads of aid and took forever but it was genuine exploration and a massive step forward in showing what was possible. That is way more significant than any repeat. Those first forays showed what was possible and fired the starting gun  for the decades of development of El Cap and other big walls. Dawn Wall is just one more step on the journey and will one day itself be eclipsed.

Using your argument that such feats have since been overtaken, the first four minute mile is not a great moment in athletics because lots of people have since  run faster, the first ascent of Everest is no big deal because others have eclipsed it by doing it faster and without oxygen.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

>"It's all a bit how long is a piece of string isn't it?"

Kinda but kinda not.

Is Honnold's Freerider less impressive than Haskett Smith's Napes Needle? Well I know which one I'd least likely try and repeat...

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althesin 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Can I vote for Century Crack? I think offwidths are a bit under represented in your list.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Wiley Coyote2:

>"Using your argument that such feats have since been overtaken, the first four minute mile is not a great moment in athletics because lots of people have since  run faster"

Perhaps my phrasing is poor and "greatest moments" does not convey what I'm getting at.

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graeme jackson 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

I'd say none of your list are really Great moments in climbing, merely natural progression from the achievements of the real pioneers.  One Great moment you've missed would be Ray Jardine's development and first use of friends without which we could argue that grades wouldn't have progressed anywhere near as far.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to althesin:

Do to genuinely feel the FA of Century Crack is more impressive than Ondra's quick Dawn Wall repeat?

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Dan Arkle 23 Jan 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

> Personally I'd put Joe Brown in there somewhere e.g. for climbs on grit, and Cloggy

This is muddy thinking - we are looking for greatest moments, not general ability and long service.

Pick your greatest moment from him. Personally, I can’t. Not necessarily because its not there, but I wasn't around to remember what was impressive. One obvious one is Right Eliminate, but that wasn't so hard for him, and is remembered mainly for the photo. Similar with the old man of Hoy- remembered as it was televised, although it was first climbed the year before. 

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to graeme jackson:

> I'd say none of your list are really Great moments in climbing, merely natural progression from the achievements of the real pioneers.  

But isn't the point that they are particularly large step changes in that progression which have stood the test of time in that it has taken a long time for the progression to move further afterwards.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to graeme jackson:

>"I'd say none of your list are really Great moments in climbing, merely natural progression"

Ok, not greatest moments of "all time" which I assume you would say encompass the biggest leaps in standards.

Is it not possible argue Honnold's Freerider is more impressive than Nalle's Burden of Dreams and come up with a list of where we're at in terms of current absolute impressiveness?

Post edited at 12:05
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graeme jackson 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> Is it not possible argue Honnold's Freerider is more impressive than Nalle's Burden of Dreams and come up with a list of where we're at in terms of current absolute impressiveness?

yes it is possible but that's not how I read your OP. My apologies for misunderstanding.  

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ring ouzel 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

John Gill's The Thimble climbed in 1961 would be in my top ten.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to graeme jackson:

As said above, I've poorly worded the OP. No apologie required.

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JMarkW 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Agincourt?

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Al Randall 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

You seem to be totally ignoring the fact that things like Napes Needle, Cenotaph Corner, Great Wall, etc. etc. were the Dawn Walls of their time and as such surely should qualify as "Greatest moments in rock climbing"  Are you unaware of climbing history or are you being intentionally provocative and dare I say disrespectful to what has gone before?

Al

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Wyn 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Madman70's solo of The Sloth (If he pulls it off)

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

No, I just worded my post badly.

I'm aware that ground broken back in the day was truely impressive of its time. However in absolute terms some old E3 isn't going to compare well against what the likes of Jacapo is doing today.

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> I'm aware that ground broken back in the day was truely impressive of its time. However in absolute terms some old E3 isn't going to compare well against what the likes of Jacapo is doing today.

So what you really meant was the current highest level achievemens in all the various disciplines of rock climbing?

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joe.91 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Echo Wall?

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

>"So what you really meant was the current highest level achievemens in all the various disciplines of rock climbing?"

Well a little more than that.  Perhaps a weighting from questions similar to these.

Is it the highest level at that discipline?

How far has it move that game from the previous best?

Is the particular game intrinsically more impressive?

How long ago was it achieved?

I thought I might be challenged on the inclusion of women, which in absolute terms, could be argued have not eclipsed the achievements of men. 😊

Post edited at 12:48
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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to joe.91:

> Echo Wall?


Possible. How high up would you put it on the list?

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TobyA 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> I thought I might be challenged on the inclusion of women, which in absolute terms, could be argued have not eclipsed the achievements of men. 😊

Well, Hill freeing the Nose did - although of course you did include that.

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> Well, Hill freeing the Nose did - although of course you did include that.

But it was easy for her with her little fingers ;-)

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Indeed. Hence her inclusion, but perhaps there is an arguement that ten EVEN MORE impressive things have since been done.

Post edited at 13:00
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Wanderer100 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

I climbed the Alphabet slabs on the Glyders once after an impressive struggle up Bochlywd Buttress. Does that count? 

Wheres Whympers ascent of the Matterhorn? Or Boardman and Taskers climb up Changabang?

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Baron Weasel 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Jesse Dufton leading the Old Man of Hoy is one of the most impressive climbing feats ever imo. 

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profitofdoom 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> This is muddy thinking - we are looking for greatest moments, not general ability and long service. > Pick your greatest moment from him....

Sorry - what I meant but didn't say was, we can name specific Brown climbs on grit, and Cloggy. I suggest Right Unconquerable, The Mostest, Right Eliminate, Vember, The Black Cleft, and Great Slab – not to mention Vector, The Grooves, Winking Crack, and Mousetrap

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tom_in_edinburgh 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Obviously the greatest moments in rock climbing should be selected based on YouTube views.  I give you:

1. Rigor Mortis. Bear Grylls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t0mJ63Y8WM

2. Lover's Leap. Dan Osman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy3SuhEQHVg

3. Vertical Limit. Chris O'Donnell. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0gx_D--iDw

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Wanderer100:

>"I climbed the Alphabet slabs on the Glyders once after an impressive struggle up Bochlywd Buttress. Does that count?"

Get me 100 people that say you were a more impressive sight than Ondra on the Dawn Wall and you are on there.

Post edited at 13:42
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laurie 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Indian face  that's got to be up there

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planetmarshall 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Aren't four of those on the same bit of rock?

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

>" I suggest Right Unconquerable, The Mostest, Right Eliminate, Vember, The Black Cleft, and Great Slab – not to mention Vector, The Grooves, Winking Crack, and Mousetrap

It remains suprising Ondra hasn't bothered to repeat any of these... I wonder why?

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

>"Aren't four of those on the same bit of rock?"

It's an impressive bit of rock. Kinda lends itself to impressive ascents. What's your point caller?

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to laurie:

> Indian face  that's got to be up there


It was in on my list in the 1980's but I've been more impressed by harder things done more recently.

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Fruit 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Personally? The first time I ever went climbing. As they say “I went climbing, I was never the same”

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Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Not what you asked but the things that have made me really go OMG down the years have been few and far between, Right Wall by Livesey, that Fitzroy circuit and Freeride solo are probably the top three,

Chris

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mrphilipoldham 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Absolutely none of those would be in my top 10 greatest moments in rock climbing. But then, it's all relative Well ok, maybe Freerider solo. 

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Well, at least there seems to be a little consensus now that Freerider solo MIGHT make the list! Just need to find ten more things and agree the order!

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L Gaia 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> It was in on my list in the 1980's but I've been more impressed by harder things done more recently.

Harder things may have been done, but how many require the same level of commitment and skill given that you only get one chance on the “redpoint” go..? 

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

>"that Fitzroy circuit"

That's a possible contender. Too "alpine"? Enough "rock climbing"?

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Michael Gordon 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> Do to genuinely feel the FA of Century Crack is more impressive than Ondra's quick Dawn Wall repeat?

More impressive? No. More significant? Yes. But that's just my opinion.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Gaia:

Echo Wall I'd guess and certainly the Free rider solo. I'd also say, at some point shear techincal difficulty out trumps danger.

Post edited at 16:57
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Michael Gordon 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> But isn't the point that they are particularly large step changes in that progression which have stood the test of time in that it has taken a long time for the progression to move further afterwards.

What test of time? Many of those were only in the last 10 years.

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> What test of time? Many of those were only in the last 10 years.

I didn't say I agreed with them. Just trying to come up with durable criteria.

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Martin Haworth 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Ones that I think should be on the list:

Freerider solo

Fitzroy Traverse

Indian Face

Lynn Hill freeing the Nose

First ascent of Gogarth (because it was the start of something great)

Ben Moon climbing Rainshadow 9a, 25 years after his first 9a

Le Menestrel soloing Revelations

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jon 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Has to be Yosemite:

1. Dawn Wall - Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson

2. Dawn Wall (repeat) - Adam Ondra

3. The Nose (free) - Lynn Hill

4. The Nose sub 2 hours Honnold and Caldwell

5. Freerider (solo) - Alex Honnold

The rest are mere details...

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plyometrics 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Le Menestrel very quickly showing the way on Brad Pitt, after Myers’ epic dyno battle, back in the day has always struck me as being quite seminal. 

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DerwentDiluted 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

For Some balance, My Top ten moments

"Me 'at! Me fags were in there" Whillans, Central pillar of Freney

"Ma sack! ma sardines was a in there" Bonnatti, Dru solo

"Yknow, there might be a hobby in this.." Puttrell to Watson, top of Bass Rock c1880

"I'm Jerry Moffatt on a top rope!" Seigfreid Herford, great flake, CB Scafell 1914

"Those hotpants I think" Catherine Desteville, Mali c1985

"What to do with a half used pot of red paint?" Kurt Albert c1982

"Can Jeremy ring that bell? You Bet!" Matthew Kelly, 1984?

"Those hotpants I think" Pete Livesey c1980

"There's belaying..and there's f*****g belaying" J Dawes

"Samuel, whilst you have descended most dexterously,  and with great skill the treacherous rock, may I enquire as to what ever your accomplishments are on grit?" Dorothy Wordsworth to Coleridge, Broad stand, 1802

Post edited at 17:39
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HansStuttgart 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Auer on the Fish. (above 1000m free solo up to 7b+ or so, with little pre-practice)

Huber on Kommunist (hardest free solo ever? )

All the old stuff in Elbsandsteingebirge before the war: http://stara.emontana.cz/climbing-milestones-from-6a-to-9c/

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Andy Farnell 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Tony Yaniro: Grand Illusion, first 8th grade route in the world.

The Dawes: Indian Face, first E9

Moony: Hubble, first 9th grade route

Andy F

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profitofdoom 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> >" I suggest Right Unconquerable, The Mostest, Right Eliminate, Vember, The Black Cleft, and Great Slab – not to mention Vector, The Grooves, Winking Crack, and Mousetrap

> It remains suprising Ondra hasn't bothered to repeat any of these... I wonder why?

I don't know. Anyway can I please kindly suggest that we're not talking about 'best climbs in the world', or 'routes Ondra wants to do', but the history of rock climbing

Post edited at 18:30
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GrahamD 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> Echo Wall I'd guess and certainly the Free rider solo.

Why certainly ? It gets a great video and plenty of good ol' US hype but is it really that much more significant than Auer's solo of the Fish several years beforehand ?

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TobyA 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> >"that Fitzroy circuit"

> That's a possible contender. Too "alpine"? Enough "rock climbing"?


I think they did it in approach shoes. Yes, you can strap a crampon to an approach shoe although if I remember right Honnold had brought step ins not understanding how they work, and they were only saved by meeting Garibotti on the first peak who lent him his strap ons. But anyway - I makes me think the vast majority must have been rock climbing otherwise they would have brought boots surely?

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althesin 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Yes,  a first ascent will always beat a repeat. I think the work that went into climbing it was on the edge of human ability at the time, much like freeing Dawn Wall, the Nose and soloing Freerider.

Actually, soloing Freerider was way beyond human ability.

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gravy 23 Jan 2020

Hansjörg Auer the fish?

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peppermill 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Not necessarily a moment but one of my favourites. 2007ish when Honnold, Jorgeson et al came to the peak and basically tore apart the hard grit classics. Honnold's hands off rest on 'End of the Affair' topped the lot.

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McHeath 23 Jan 2020
In reply to HansStuttgart:

> All the old stuff in Elbsandsteingebirge before the war: http://stara.emontana.cz/climbing-milestones-from-6a-to-9c/

+1. And you mean before both wars ;) ...

Oliver Perry Smith is a major hero of mine. A chaotic American gambler and Bohemian, he used to turn up unannounced and desperately in need of a loan in the Elbsandstein area, then proceed to go out and put up outrageously difficult and dangerous climbs in a strict free climbing ethic (the occasional human pyramid, sometimes on a belay ring in the middle of the wall, notwithstanding). This all took place in the first decade of the 20th century; his first ascent of the Teufelsturm (40m with just knotted slings and not a single cemented ring for protection) was probably the world's first 6a. Hemp rope and rope soled shoes of course. 

He gave up climbing quite early and turned his attention to skiing, where he won the national championship of (I think) Norway. 

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Brown 23 Jan 2020
In reply to jon:

Give it a few years and the only two of your list that will still stand out will be:

The Nose (free) - first free ascent of the biggest prize of them all. Took years for the pack to catch up.

Freerider solo - as above but I imagine it will take years for a solo repeat.

The Dawn Wall will just end up as a middling hard route with a contrived line eclipsed by harder more direct routes. A direct start to it has already been climbed.

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JLS 23 Jan 2020
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

Nice list.  

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

> The Dawn Wall will just end up as a middling hard route.........

But you could then say the same about any route and disallow any FA from the list however groundbreaking.

> ..........with a contrived line eclipsed by harder more direct routes. A direct start to it has already been climbed.

The Dawn Wall is about as uncontrived a line as is possible - it takes an incredible line of least resistance up one of the most impressive sweeps of rock in the world; one of the extraordinary things about it is how long it took Caldwell to piece the line together and then that it was right at the cutting edge of technical standards. If anything is contrived it will be harder eliminates and more direct lines.

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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> I think they did it in approach shoes. Yes, you can strap a crampon to an approach shoe although if I remember right Honnold had brought step ins not understanding how they work, and they were only saved by meeting Garibotti on the first peak who lent him his strap ons. But anyway - I makes me think the vast majority must have been rock climbing otherwise they would have brought boots surely?

They took rock shoes as well as approach shoes.

Post edited at 23:29
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Robert Durran 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> >"that Fitzroy circuit"

> That's a possible contender. Too "alpine"? Enough "rock climbing"?

I would classify the Fitzroy Traverse as alpine rather than rock climbing, but, in that genre I would rate it as massively significant because it put to use the speed climbing techniques developed in Yosemite to achieve something which would probably have been impossible without them (rather than just doing a trade route very fast).

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C Witter 23 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

It's a really difficult question, and it's easy to to take very provincial approach to it. Your list is very US-centric (plus Adam Ondra), which just shows how important US climbing media has been in shaping our understanding of what climbing is today. What of the UK, Europe, Japan; or even non-colonial nations?

It's also lacking in women and contains no people of colour - which is certainly an indictment of something: whether that's our understanding of climbing history or of the lack of diversity in climbing, I'm not sure.

Finally, it's just really hard to define a "great moment", but I suspect doing a particularly hard ascent is not enough. We need to think of limits being transgressed; of accepted styles being subverted; of impossibilities suddenly becoming possible; and of how this reconstitutes what climbing is and who climbers are.

To illustrate the latter point, Joe Brown is important not simply because he did some hard ascents, but because he was a working-class climber who completely trashed the accepted standards of the climbing establishment of the day and was part of a generation that pioneered new equipment, methods, crags and grades in the process. Nonetheless, tales of Joe Brown are a little well-worn, to the point that they have entered into myth, and perhaps new stories from the same period can be recovered.

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Ian Parsons 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

< A direct start to it has already been climbed. >

I'm intrigued; where does this go? I thought I was fairly clued-up, in a strictly armchair sense, about recent activity in this area - but have to confess that I've never heard of a direct start to Free Dawn/Dawn Wall.

Edited to remove a surplus 'this'; how did that creep in?

Post edited at 01:07
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Ian Parsons 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Just to add: bearing in mind the generally right-leaning nature of the lower pitches of Mescalito/Dawn Wall it's logical to assume that any direct start must be somewhere further right - ie in the area of Hockey Night, Wall of Early Morning Light or Space. I assume we're talking about free climbing here - otherwise the question would be meaningless. Have the lower portions of any of these three routes been free-climbed to link into Mescalito just before the Molar Traverse? [Obviously anything joining above this wouldn't link into the free route, unless it joined up by The Bismark Tower.] Or anything else in that area? I certainly haven't heard of anything.

Post edited at 03:05
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Andy Moles 24 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

> it's easy to to take very provincial approach

Nah, none of that around here.

My favourite suggestions so far for the greatest moment in the history of rock climbing anywhere ever are Brad Pit, Gogarth and <drumroll> The Black Cleft.

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gooberman-hill 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Chris,

agreed on all three. Not that I was around at the time, but I'd add the Bonatti Pillar to your list and Lynn Hill's ascent of the Nose (OK I was around for that one). 

As we go back further in time the distance makes it harder to comprehend what was truly a leap (either physically or conceptually). Probably something of Paul Preuss's should be in there, but I am not familar enough with his routes to pick one out.

I know it is not rock, but maybe another standout moment would be Ian Nicholson's solo of Point 5 and Zero in a morning, armed with the very latest Terrordactyls. 

Steve

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JLS 24 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

To begin with, the thread was never intended to be a homage to all the great things that have gone before. It was intended to be a celebration of where we are at now. The pinnacle ascents. In that context any mention of Joe Brown and the like is frankly laughable.

Yes, my list is has a strong Yosemite flavour but frankly that's where in recent times the jaw dropping ascents have been happening. What big wall ascents HARDER than Dawn Wall have I missed? What solos have been MORE astonishing than Freerider?

Yes, the list is very white. Had the list been about climbing plastic it might be very east asian. Had the list been about 100m sprinting it would be very black-centric. See the Malcolm Gladwell's book for an explanation of this.

Women - I struggled with including Angy Eiter on the list.  While 9b is a very notable ascent it is now two grades off the pace unless we don't judge women be the same standards we judge men. My natural inclination is to judge women equally so it grates a little to include Angy "just because she's a woman". Rodden and Hill's ascents stood above gender in their time but if I had been faithful to my "where we're at now" premise then they by rights should have fallen out of the list by now. Sadly, a little positive gender bias is keeping them there. I would be happier if more women were at the bleeding edge of current highest standards.

Top 10 ascents by climbers from difficult/deprived back grounds is another list entirely.

Post edited at 09:08
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GrahamD 24 Jan 2020
In reply to peppermill:

> Not necessarily a moment but one of my favourites. 2007ish when Honnold, Jorgeson et al came to the peak and basically tore apart the hard grit classics.

Again showing the power of the US publicity juggernaut. Do you remember Toro, the 15 year old Japanese lad who was here at the same time putting up E9s ?

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JLS 24 Jan 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

Yes.

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peppermill 24 Jan 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

Yes I do, very well. I was living in Sheffield at the time and he was all over the climbing media. Probably a lot more than Honnold's trip was ever publicised. Then again its over 10 years now so I may be mistaken.

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Mike505 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

But surely to understand where we are at now we must have and appreciation of where we came from and celebrate the progression.

I'm sure any number of climbers would happily onsight solo any of Brown's routes on grit but that doesn't detract from the achievement of the first ascent done solo (in plimsols). Most modern achievements are just Harder and Faster, they don't pave the way for future generations in the same way, and therefore mean less to me. 

I can aspire to Brown's, Livsey's and maybe one day Pollits's routes, a new speed record in Yosemite will be forgotten by tomorrow but something like the Centotaph or will always mean something.

Post edited at 12:06
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GrahamD 24 Jan 2020
In reply to peppermill:

That's a Sheffield thing, I imagine. From where I am relying on normal media outputs, all I got was "Team America blah blah"

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jon 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Mike505:

> a new speed record in Yosemite will be forgotten by tomorrow 

Maybe, but the sub 2 hour Nose is as significant, and therefore unforgettable, as the 4 minute mile.

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JLS 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Mike505:

>"But surely to understand where we are at now we must have and appreciation of where we came from and celebrate the progression."

Isn't that what I'm attempting to do? (celebrate the progression).

Do we really have to acknowledge our ancestors that walked out of Africa every time science makes an advance? The acceptance speech at the Nobel awards would become tediously long. I think it’s well understood our achievements are routed in the past.

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Andy Moles 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Mike505:

> Most modern achievements are just Harder and Faster, they don't pave the way for future generations in the same way

Not sure this observation holds up to much scrutiny. Every progression since the inception of climbing as a leisure activity has built on what went before and 'paved the way' for the future. Who knows yet how the achievements of the past decade will be regarded in 50 years' time?

Joe Brown's routes were also 'just Harder' than what had gone before. 

They might be more meaningful to the average climber now, because they are at a level anyone can aspire to, but whether that makes any of them 'greatest moments' depends how you interpret the question.

If I had to pick one route from that era in Britain it wouldn't be one of Joe Brown's, strong contenders though some of them are. It would be Shibboleth.

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Brown 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I think you are correct in many ways regarding the quality of the line.

However in the scale of El Cap though it is a hard eliminate. If you want to free climb El Cap in the easiest way you end up on Free Rider. If you want to climb El Cap in the most stunning line you would climb the Nose.

If you want to climb the hardest route you will currently climb The Dawn Wall. In time this will change as harder routes eclipse it. The traverse out right and back left will be incorporated into other lines and there will be a footnote in the guide saying that there was an early attempt at a free route that incorporated some of neighbouring routes.

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Mike505 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

In a word yes, the first E7 is no less of an achievement that the first E11, what is done now is with the collective knowledge of everything that came before, and is rarely onsight launching into the void type stuff.

Greatest moments (the foundations) vs natural progression (the walls)

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Brown 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Ian Parsons:

I might have miss-remembered this slightly as I now cannot find the exact news snippet I read.

I was referring to 

https://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/alpinism/tommy-caldwell-alex-honnold-free-new-big-wall-climb-up-el-capitan-yosemite.html

https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/honnold-and-caldwell-team-up-for-new-free-line-on-el-cap/

which describes a new free route between The Nose and The Dawn Wall. This is the completion of Leo Holdings Passage to Freedom which lowered off at half height.

I think I might have seen it described as a "more direct route than the Dawn Wall" up that area of El Cap.

There is weirdly little information about it. Probably to avoid the indignity of having Adam Ondra turn up and flash it.

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Mike505 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Moles:

I'd still say Brown's stuff will stand the testament of time better than a lot done in the past 20 years, he and his generation advanced the level of our sport by a country mile (with gear that was little or no better than what the previous generation used) compared to the slower progression of today.

Yes your right progression is generally just harder and faster, but some achievements mark a quantum leap while other are just expected I guess.

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C Witter 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

> To begin with, the thread was never intended to be a homage to all the great things that have gone before. It was intended to be a celebration of where we are at now. The pinnacle ascents. In that context any mention of Joe Brown and the like is frankly laughable.

I'm not criticising you, JLS, just joining the debate you started in a comradely fashion - which was titled 'Top 10 Greatest Moments in Rock Climbing', not "hardest ascents to date".

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Mike505 24 Jan 2020
In reply to C Witter:

Ah, thanks. That's what I was trying to get at with my ramblings, but you managed it in a singular, coherent sentence. 😊

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Andy Moles 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Mike505:

I won't argue there wasn't a sharp rise in the difficulty of what was being done in the post-WW2 years, probably the second steepest rise in standards for rock climbing in Britain after the 80s. I don't know enough about the history of climbing in other countries to say how the routes being climbed here in the 50s compare to the cutting edge elsewhere. If we're talking influence on a global scale, do climbers elsewhere in the world who know their history acknowledge the Brown era in Britain as seminal? Not a rhetorical question, I genuinely don't know.

I would imagine some of the Fontainebleau pioneers have at least as strong a claim to influence, if not more?

Interesting that you mention Livesey in a previous post, and a couple of people have pointed to Right Wall as an 'OMG' moment. Serves to show that impact at the time isn't always durable (sure, it's still a popular classic, but nowadays Right Wall feels only slightly harder than the hardest stuff from the Brown/Whillans era - I bet it sees more successful on-sights than Goliath).

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HardenClimber 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Coleridge - Broad Stand, FD, 5/8/1802

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Robert Durran 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

> However in the scale of El Cap though it is a hard eliminate. If you want to free climb El Cap in the easiest way you end up on Free Rider. 

No, you walk up the back.

> If you want to climb the hardest route you will currently climb The Dawn Wall. In time this will change as harder routes eclipse it. The traverse out right and back left will be incorporated into other lines and there will be a footnote in the guide saying that there was an early attempt at a free route that incorporated some of neighbouring routes.

I disagree. By that argument routes like Right Wall and Positron should be footnotes in the guide by now rather than two of the most sought after climbs in the country.

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Robert Durran 24 Jan 2020
In reply to jon:

> > a new speed record in Yosemite will be forgotten by tomorrow 

> Maybe, but the sub 2 hour Nose is as significant, and therefore unforgettable, as the 4 minute mile.

Not sure about that. This speed climbing thing may well turn out to be a fad and records footnotes in history; difficulty will always be the measure of progress in climbing. On the other hand, running is entirely about speed.

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PaulJepson 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Boogie til you poop.

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jon 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Which is why I put it at no. 4 in my list of 5.

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Doug 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Andy Moles:

>If we're talking influence on a global scale, do climbers elsewhere in the world who know their history acknowledge the Brown era in Britain as seminal? Not a rhetorical question, I genuinely don't know.

Brown & Whillans early & fast repeat of the Dru's West Face was viewed as a big event in France & the Fissure Brown (Blatière) was often quoted as the hardest pitch in Chamonix for several years - so yes, Brown was recognised beyound the UK

Post edited at 15:22
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Andy Moles 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Doug:

> Brown was recognised beyond the UK

I know that much, there are obviously things like the first ascent of Kanchenjunga as well. But the impact of his rock climbs in the UK (which is what people have been pointing to here)?

Post edited at 15:37
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Ian Parsons 24 Jan 2020
In reply to Brown:

> I was referring to 

> which describes a new free route between The Nose and The Dawn Wall. This is the completion of Leo Holdings Passage to Freedom which lowered off at half height.

> I think I might have seen it described as a "more direct route than the Dawn Wall" up that area of El Cap.

Ah. It had occurred to me to wonder whether that was what you meant; it just seemed way too much of a stretch to describe it as a direct start to Dawn Wall. Having begun by traversing left out of the first pitch of Dawn Wall [and Mescalito] it rejoins it about 18 - 20 pitches later, one pitch below Wino Tower on New Dawn/Wall of Early Morning Light, via a line that doesn't actually look any more direct than following Dawn Wall itself to the same point. Above Wino it follows New Dawn/WoEML to the top, including what sounds like some of the best climbing on an already very good route - which of course would be missed if it was actually used as an 'alternative' start to Dawn Wall. Plus, of course, one wouldn't have done Dawn Wall! I can certainly believe that it might well become the more popular route, though.

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In reply to JLS: no particular order

1. The biggest moment in rock climbing was spread over 10 years or so in the 1950s and 60s when John Gill climbed The Thimble solo, establishing the first 5.12a, and climbing eliminates in the V9/10 range. Decades ahead of the parochial puntering going on elsewhere at the time 😁 

2. Wolfgang’s Action Direct and Ben’s Hubble open the 9a grade. Again, world class

3. Lynne Hill ‘it goes boys’

4. Free rider solo

5. Dawn Wall

6. Ray Jardine demos Friends

7. Jerry gets the first pair of Fires and puts up Sole Power

8. The Foundry opens

9. The Works opens

10. Cafe Kraft opens

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Jus 24 Jan 2020
In reply to JLS:

Charlie Woodburn topping out on Harder Faster.

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Ian Parsons 02 Feb 2020
In reply to Brown:

Just a reminder that this is a very handy facility for working out the detail of where some of these routes go: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/01/14/sports/the-dawn-wall-up-close.html

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AlanLittle 02 Feb 2020
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Decades ahead of the parochial puntering going on elsewhere at the time

Except in the Dolomites, where Reinhold Messner hadn't yet left his toes on Nanga Parbat and instead was using them to climb 7a.

Post edited at 12:12
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Mick Ward 02 Feb 2020
In reply to AlanLittle:

With shit/no gear.

Mick

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DubyaJamesDubya 03 Feb 2020
In reply to JLS:

Given that you put Freerider at no.1 and many agree that Aur on the Fish was as good or better but didn't get the publicity...

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DubyaJamesDubya 03 Feb 2020
In reply to JLS:

> >"But surely to understand where we are at now we must have and appreciation of where we came from and celebrate the progression."

> Isn't that what I'm attempting to do? (celebrate the progression).

> Do we really have to acknowledge our ancestors that walked out of Africa every time science makes an advance? The acceptance speech at the Nobel awards would become tediously long. I think it’s well understood our achievements are routed in the past.

It's the title of thread that's the problem. Cutting edge/state of the art ascents in climbing, or something, would be better (although disagreement always provokes more responses ...)

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AlanLittle 03 Feb 2020
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Agree. Given that the OP is intent on ignoring everything prior to his/her own recollections, I'd list the most memorable peices of news fo my climbing lifetime as probably:

  1. Johnny FA of Indian Face (but entirely willing to accept that that's a parochial UK thing of little global significance)
  2. Güllich FA of Action Directe (sorry Ben & Hubble)
  3. Lynn FFA Nose
  4. Hans-Jörg Fish solo. Gobsmacking
  5. Silence?
  6. (Sharma FA of Realization probably a big landmark too, but happened during my multi-year climbing hiatus so doesn't count. Tough luck Chris)
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duncan 03 Feb 2020
In reply to JLS:

10 great moments in climbing with a bonus:

1. After a winter of training, pro-climber Owen Glynne Jones head-points Kern Knotts Crack, grades it (having invented climbing grades), monetising his ascent with a media blitz (lecture tours and books) featuring staged photographs from his posse (The Abrahams brothers).

2. Anonymous climber, probably a US ranger, falls off unknown route and survives due to his recently invented Nylon rope offering some energy absorption and not breaking (c.1944). 

3. Royal Robbins climbs Nutcracker Sweet (1967) not using any pitons, drawing the attention of Tom Frost who invents and brings to market Chouinard Stoppers, the first full range of passive protection. 

4. Don Whillans and Tony Howard (Troll), Brian Robertson, and Bill Forest all hang and fall comfortably in their independently invented sit harnesses (1968-1970).

5. Kurt Albert practices Adolf-Rott-Ged. Weg (VI+) in the Frankenjura until able to climb it free in one go, then paints a red dot at it’s base (1975).

6. Jacques Perrier and colleagues bolt and practice Pichenibule from abseil, making it a strong candidate for the first sport route (1976/77). 

7. Ray Jardine climbs Phoenix with his Friends and shortly after brings the spring-loaded camming devices to market after inadvertent input from Greg Lowe (1977).

8. The Gallegos brothers climb Mediterraneo on El Capitan wearing Fire rock boots (1980). It takes 3 years for the rest of the climbing world to catch on but modern climbing shoes started here.

9. Andy Pollit installs a 45 degree training board in his cellar shortly followed by the rest of Sheffield and thence the world (c.1986).

10. John Sherman and friends develop and fall onto the Sketch-Pad, at Hueco Tanks (early 1990s). Probably the first purposed designed and widely available bouldering mat.

11: Sasha DiGiulian models for the climber emoji (2017)

Alternative to 3&7: Hilti bring to market the first cordless drill capable of drilling multiple holes in rock (1983).

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AlanLittle 03 Feb 2020
In reply to duncan:

We have a winner!

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Brown 03 Feb 2020
In reply to Ian Parsons:

Cheers for that link. As the hard free climbing explosion on those walls develops I think it will result in totally different link ups becoming the popular accepted lines.

A bit like the way that Salathe free and Freerider coexist.

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neilh 03 Feb 2020
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Me and some mates of ours climbed the Thimble back in the late 80's ( couple of them soloed it on sight with no mats). Thought is was E3 6a ish ( 6a for a couple of moves only)and eases off considerably as you get higher..The big change since Gill put it up is that it is  a nice carpark and there is no fence to fall on.If I could do it, then it is not that hard nor a great step forward in technical difficulty. In the 50's and 60s there were similar routes /grades being climbed elsewhere.

Granted some of his other stuff might be in a different league( his elimiantes).

As a result never bought into this view of Gill.

Only an opinion.

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