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Of mice and men

Posted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:59 pm
by The Jimmy
Just reading an article on Dani Andrada's zillionth 9A route as well as Manolo's 150m (?!?!) 8c+/9A, amongst others. So it got me wondering....what're the SA climbers doing different? Is it possible to regularly tick those grades when you're not doing it for a living, like most of us here? Or is it to do with statistics, eg. a smaller pool of climbers will simply deliver a smaller number (or are least likely of delivering) of extraordenarily uber climbers? There seem to be more and more of these super hard routes being opened around the world, so you gotta wonder....
Or is it the African genetically mutated veggies catching up with us? :wink:

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:40 pm
by FastestHamster
It is an interesting question. I believe that a lot has to do with the amount of time that we can devote to climbing. When I go on a varsity climbing trip I may suck a bit in the beginning, but by the end I'm finding my groove and am able to push grades a bit. Also surrounding yourself with good climbers and dissecting their technique helps, something else we may not have time for.

If you're getting paid to climb you have a huge advantage, and America has the money to do that so they can produce more 'hardcore' climbers. It's not to say that South Africa has less talented climbers, we may have the same, or more. It's more that South Africa doesn't spend as much money on them (true for a lot of sport I think).

As to the super hard routes being opened up maybe it is similar to the Flynn effect in IQ tests, which is the year on year rise of IQ scores. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from that ;)

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:48 pm
by Justin
ClimbZA: In South Africa at the moment, everyone is talking about why SA climbers are not climbing at a high level like many European climbers.

Fred: Really, I don't know, I think there are many strong South African climbers. It's more like you need to find the line, it's more that. And when you find the line, people will try harder and more difficult routes… people like Justin Hawkins and Clinton Martinengo that I have seen climbing, I am certain they have the potential to climb 8c or more if they find the right routes.

From a 2005 interview with Fred Nicole: