Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

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SMEG
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by SMEG » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:27 pm

haha, shot Not, been quite awhile since i read the thing :)

odie
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by odie » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:33 pm

haha!!!
i found that quite entertaining.i found it amazing how easy it was to read eventhought the words were jumbked.
back to the other topic.
ive been wanting to do some trad for ages!staying i cape town and seeing the mountain every day and not climbing it is driving me crazy!but the reason i havent gone trad climbing a lot is i dont know all the tricks of the trade, plus i dont have gear.you need to know people who are in the scene to reach out aswell...i think that those are the main obstacles in peoples way...so if there is someone going i think they sould let people know(if they are keen for taking on stangers of course).i will be keen!
or am i just being unrealistic?
safe

Wayne73
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Wayne73 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:39 pm

I enjoy the 2hr walk ins so much that I now just leave my climbing gear at home, more place for the food. This proberbly makes me a bad person or a hiker.

Forket try MMO its the Seven Summits link on the right of the home page. Unfortunatly gear costs mountains but hey its your life on the line.
Fat men are harder to kidnap

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:12 pm

I'll try my best to keep this in the Queen's English, as I must say that I do find rather irritating to read misspelt, grammatically incorrect posts. It does not help you to get your point across as many people will either skip your post or dismiss you as uneducated.

To get back on topic:

I am a trad climber, I don't climb very difficult trad, it is not that I don't aspire to, but rather that I am too mediocre a climber and far too scared to. There is something special going out, finding a piece of rock, seeing a line and then sending it, the feeling is indescribable. (And then you come home and find that Mike Scott has climbed it :( )

Sport climbing is fun, but it will never hold a candle to the attraction of trad. In my life sport climbing serves to make me fit for trad.

For the love of it, that is why.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Forket
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Forket » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:24 pm

Wel gear at the m0ment is fine with us for trad, wes is organising a rack but sofar we have been using his dads rack, its awesome because we didnt realy get shown how to do it, the first one i did, very short climb, placed two pieces of gear in the first half and solo'd the next half, easy 18 but just that thril of having a fear of heights and then tradding and then not placing much gear, was awesome!

shorti
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by shorti » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:12 pm

Take a look
to the sky
just before you die
it's the last time he will

another verse that is probably more appropriate in "the other" thread:

For a hill,
men would kill.
Why?
They do not know

Where's Emile these days? I'll bet he knows the song \m/

Anyway, thanks for getting a good ol' Cliff song in my head, now I can work again

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fridge
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by fridge » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:24 pm

Where's Emile these days? I'll bet he knows the song \m/
Spoke to him a couple of minutes ago about the awsome weather and having a braai after work.

He said sum stuffs i asked some stuffs and then he said.
sit en struggle met ''n moerse query
So in other words he is busy with some or other thingy at work that is keeping him busy.

I agree although we love our trad and the level that we climb on, we should start pushing ourselves just to confirm that
we have placed our pro properly.

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emile
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by emile » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:43 pm

Suffered wounds test their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
Saw them do it at Centurion - awesome. :afro: :alien:

Whatsuuuup shorti ?

All this talk about trad is getting me very interested, I'm going to have to tag along one of these days.

B.t.w. I'm selling a super cool DraganFlyer for aerial photography, with goggles to give you point of view form the onboard cam allowing you to scope out your placements from the ground. :lol:

I'm off, somewhere there's a Long Island with my name on it - I can hear it calling......I'll practice placements (read: orderering more Long Island's) while enjoying the pristine scenery (read: hot chicks)

Live long & prosper, may the source be with you :mrgreen:

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MargheritaIntrona
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by MargheritaIntrona » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:52 pm

Ditto - more or less - what Nic Le Maitre said!

:wink:

Old Smelly
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Old Smelly » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:31 pm

[quote][/quote]s0 scru da m0da tung n lets wr8 lik3 retards.[quote]

I must say that was brilliant! :lol:

Though occasionally one does submit an email without realising there is an error in it...& possibly that is the young man's problem....

Though in actual fact he did give a very nice civil response so let's stop picking on him & get back to the point.

Which is that Nic is right!

If you have the ability & competence to climb higher grades on Trad then you ought to do it. However many of the trad climbers are happy to climb something well within their ability & enjoy the outing. Besides which many of these climbers are in fact true old school sandbaggers ---hence you find them underplaying their abilities whilst you tackle what would be regarded as a grade 22 move in the middle of a "grade 17" trad climb. It is in fact this sandbagging tactic which may lead one to believe that the trad routes being climbed are of a low grade, when in fact few would venture to do them...

My point is not about grading though, it is more that one will only find a few select people who want to climb trad on higher grades & are capable of pulling it off.

Ok I'll be off then before I make any grammar mistakes (there are probably a few prepositions out of place already!)
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

CandiceB
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by CandiceB » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:37 am

I believe that depsite the poor grammar there are youngsters out there expressing a desire to expand their horizons beyond the land of Sport climbing. Thought this article I read might inspire you to see just how many hard and scary lines are out there waiting to be repeated.

Weighting The Dice

goo
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by goo » Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:16 pm

I started climbing in Cape Town a few years after the AdK period, and found that we (me and the climbers I was with) did not relate to the MCSA club that had the more traditional trad climber types so did not really learn trad climbing first but learnt to sport climb first. This lead us to become focused on this style of climbing.

When we did do some trad climbing it was WELL below our limits, but it was very scary as we did not know how to use the equipment properly, and we were used to having nice bolts to clip. So often it was either a boring experiance (the climbing was too easy) or too scary and unpleasent.

I think it would also help if there were more convenient single pitch trad routes. For example a lot of the routes at The Hole could be climbed on trad. Yes it would be scary and the falls would be long but it would be acceptable by the expectations in other places of the world. Maybe this would be a good idea for people how want to try push there trad grad would be to do these routes as trad or as mixed routes?

apologies for spelling and grammer errors

MarkM
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by MarkM » Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:13 pm

The bit in Tristan's article with the bolts on INXS being placed by hand is incorrect as far as I'm aware. They were placed on lead, but with an electric drill (i.e. generator at the stance with extension cord to lead climber :cry: ). It is also a 'sport' route for the brave :wink:

What's with all the fuss regarding sport climbing and trad climbing all of a sudden?
Climb whatever makes you happy.

Personally I think there was a big gap left up north with regards to the torch being passed onto future (trad) climbers, in that pretty much all the 'good climbers' of the golden days left (either JHB or RSA). From all the old WUMC journals that I read while at varsity there are very few of those guys are still climbing around JHB, most have left. When I started climbing through WUMC there was a NO FALLS attitude on gear and if you were doing 20's on gear you were doing good! Having people lead the way makes it easier for others to follow (look at how Roc n Road has caused sport climbing grades to soar). I remember Natrass telling me that one of the first routes he set his mind on doing was Crystal Fire (correct me if I'm wrong Rodger), but it probably wasn't seen as such a HUGE deal as his peers around him were doing routes of a similar style grade ect and lobbing onto gear. Our SA community is relatively small so when a core group disappear things can and do re-set.
That's just something I have thought about, could be bollocks, could be gospel :jocolor:

<Flame-on!>
Open hand, open mind...

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Tristan
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Tristan » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:39 pm

Hey Mark
such was the beta I was given, I'll dig a little deeper and amend if needed - the joy of the electronic word is that it is easily changed
8)

MarkM
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by MarkM » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:45 pm

Absolutely.

Kevin Smith told me about the route so I doubt I'm wrong :wink:
I'm sure he posted it on the forum WAY BACK when this whole bolting debacle flared up a year or two back.

Alternatively mail him and get the answer straight from the horses mouth.
Open hand, open mind...

SNORT
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by SNORT » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:37 pm

The answer to your question is the same as "Why is sport climbing not as big as Playstation". People default to the lowest common denominator of ease and comfort. That's why obesity is still increasing in the most intelligent and educated of humans. It's also known as the "comfort zone".

There are also accolades and rewards for sport climbing. The World Cup in Arco etc. There are no accolades for trad climbing - it is a fringe lunatic activity that one cannot even call a sport.

Trad climbing is not as dangerous as people make out. It's the environment in which it takes place that it is dangerous. Steep trad climbing on good rock is safer than just about any other activity including cycling. Why, because it is very scary. I do not know anyone that can or will climb on-sight more than 3m or maybe 4m above their last placement knowing with certainty that they will fall off. And yet it is safe if you are high up on steep rock with 2 ropes and good gear. Bolts avoid this problem. I have never climbed a sport route where the point that you are likely to fall off is with a bolt 3m below your feet. And even if such a route exists, the next bolt is visible just above you. And that is where we get out of our comfort zone.

Accidents on the approach and descent of trad climbs are far more common than accidents actually climbing.

Warren G
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Warren G » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:43 am

SNORT, when next you are in Durban (make it a winter) and head out to Kloof Gorge: there is an excellent 5 start route at Canyon that follows an erret over hanging on both axis with a 3m leadout going through the crux, just beware that you will be 200m off the ground and will need to swing in to avoid running out of rope. on day two head over to Boneyard for - what i am told is- a great 24 whose FA chose to place 3 bolts in the route while those around it have around 12, but beware the length of draw you use in the crux as missing the lunge/dyno at the top would explain to you the crags' name.

On a serious note i agree with you that it would be great if routes were bolted by men trying to teach each other how to hold on, not by those that wanted their routes to be popular. for the 2 routes above they rearly recieve a send due to the fear of the crowd of the route. i don't know if you ever climbed at Atom Smasher but it was an early bolted crag, the theory was you could double the distance between bolts as you went up as height was your friend. belaying is very important and there are many a tale of Hiltonian boys not concentrating enough and damage was the result. being scared though errational fear on sport is good as it encourages bouldness. Pity the crag is closed now
Sandbagging is a dirty game

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ScottS
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by ScottS » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:57 am

Warren G wrote:Kloof Gorge: there is an excellent 5 start route at Canyon
"The Beta Master" - 27
Warren G wrote:Boneyard for - what i am told is- a great 24
"Stonebiter" - 24. You can place gear lower down, but not after the bolt below the crux (certainly not the elusive 3 metre lead out though).
Warren G wrote:Atom Smasher <snip> Pity the crag is closed now
"Atom Smasher" is still open, it's on the Hilton College property. The other crags at Hilton "Beacon Buttress" and "Serengeti" are now closed.

Why is trad climbing not as "big" as sport? In general, more effort, gear, missioning, sweating, cursing, fiddling, retreating, and commitment required to climb most routes. SNORT seems to have hit the consumerism nail on the head, but could have been just a little less insulting about it. I really hate to think of myself as the "lowest common denominator"...
At the chaaaaains boet!!

MarkM
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by MarkM » Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:04 pm

Well if you just use the acronym LCD, you can think of yourself as a liquid crystal display rather- you are thin enough :lol:
Open hand, open mind...

Hector
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Hector » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:03 pm

So here's my essay:

Goo, I will gladly take any aspirant trad climber who is trapped in the sport climbing rut out to the kloofs and teach them to safely climb hard trad routes. I could easily list 30 routes grade 23 and up which are super safe and super accessible within an hour and a half of jhb.

To be fair, most of the serious sport climbers up north have done a significant amount of trad. Andrew Pedley has probably climbed more trad than me, and way harder, MarkM has done most of the kloof classics, a number of big walls and even some big snowy stuff, SteveB has climbed the Nose and been on some big stuff in the Cape as well as climbing a fair bit in the kloofs. GregB has also tackled the kloofs, and even Flex once pulled a handjam, but only after refusing to carry all the gear into the crag (ok scratch that, Flex has never placed a solid piece in his life). The point is these guys enjoy sport more than trad and fair enough. At least they have a basis to make a decision, having tried both. Despite what SNORT says they are none of them wusses, and I would probably cry like a little girl on taking those big wingers off GodNo.

The problem, if there is one, does not lie at the upper end of the scale. The first sport climbs in SA were not Hallucenogen-style easy clip-up’s, but rather Stormwatch-style desperate test-pieces, put up by hugely experienced climbers looking to push their limits beyond what they could find on trad routes. So for a while the same guys were pushing both sport and trad limits. The thin end of the wedge became insidiously bigger, however, as easier routes got bolted, and it no longer became a prerequisite to have common sense, mountain skills, independence and the ability to keep yourself alive even if you just wanted to climb easy stuff. Now most people learn to climb in the gym or at Bronkies, so of course trad gets this big, bad rep. Hence the rut I referred to above.

The irony is, if you live in jhb, then the best, most accessible and voluminous climbing is tradding in the kloofs. The only alternative if you want to climb lots is to make the weekly trip to Boven, which most of the serious sport climbers do. So, here’s my offer again: if you want to push grades on trad but don’t know how, then give me a ring 082 815 4617. Ian and I tried to prick some ego’s with our onsite challenge for Soulcrusher (Greg did take up the challenge but its difficult to get our diaries to coincide).
We've got a couple of other routes in mind that are equally suitable for sport hardmen/women to test themselves. Just to be clear, I'm talking about routes with bomber gear here. Like Stu I also don't want to break my ankles...

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Gustav
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Gustav » Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:41 pm

... or your heels :puker:

-------------------------
Some people learn to swim in dams, rivers or the sea.

Others learn to swim in the neighbors' pool. On a holiday, you may even taste an indoor heated pool (read Hallucinogen Wall!). After these comforting experiences, no matter how well you can swim, the lack of exposure to it makes the idea of getting into a flowing river or the wide open ocean really scary.

However social or satisfying the swim in the splash pool can be, it is hardly adventurous. And most people stick to it, knowing they could perhaps enjoy swimming in the sea.
Gustav
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Flex
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Flex » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:47 pm

Very well put, Hector!

As Hector said, the main reason I (and I'm sure many other accomplished sport climbers) don't climb trad is simply that I have found I prefer sport routes. The fact that I have placed gear before but "have never placed a solid piece in my life" is also a contributing factor.

As far as safety goes, I maintain that trad is more dangerous and Hector may have to agree after considering how many serious accidents he has personally witnessed at Blouberg.

One last thing on the safety issue... some of the things I have seen at climbing gyms scare me way more than the prospect of a trip to Blouberg with Hector!

Whatever your flavour, just be safe people!

Heinrich
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Heinrich » Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:19 pm

I have a friend who now walks around with a titanium plate in her head after she fell from a sport route - a 19, stoned belayer, and some seriously pumping adrenaline brought it all about...

I also know of many accounts of people breaking their backs, ankles, ribs, necks, etc. on sport routes.

I know of people who decked from sport routes. I also decked, twice so far - once because I was incredibly dumb, bold and stupid 6 meters up; the second time a flake snapped while I was clipping the second bolt and so I ended up hitting the deck.

I know of bolts that snap all the time, when people least expect it to happen.

These stories are all sport climbing-related.

I guess the point is that every time we get onto a route, it is a calculated risk. For a newbe, a 14 sport bolt-ladder can be as dangerous as taking a 20 meter run-out above a 0.5 friend. We know, or don't know what we get ourselves into, but always try to keep ourselves alive. It is not in the human nature to go out and try to die. Traddies have as little a death wish as sport climbers. It comes down to personal preference, and the biggest drive currently in SA is sport.

peanut
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by peanut » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:06 pm

Flex wrote:It comes down to personal preference, and the biggest drive currently in SA is sport.
Not for Long... Judging by the number of post in the last couple of threads, it seems everyone is going to be getting trad racks and will be storming the kloofs... including the young as well as those new to climbing.
All of which I find extremely healthy for the future of all climbing in the country.
It teaches us respect in too many ways..
And can you imagine these young, trad keen laaities in a few years time.. they will be the ones pushing the boundaries of trad and sport.. These guys will be the ones putting up the first SA 9c's

Its all good!

SNORT
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by SNORT » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:00 am

Warren you prove my point. No ways am I gonna climb 3m above a bolt with only that bolt between me and a monster fall (even if it is not a deck fall) I won't even climb 3m above a single trad piece and one rope and risk a monster fall or deck fall. I don't know anyone personally who can and will do so fearlessly and regularly. knowing they will fall. I have done it though - but only once in a while and I am always terrified.

Bolts fail too and I trust them a lot less than my gear placements which are usually if not always backed up - and 2 ropes....

Hector
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by Hector » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:12 pm

Flex, the danger depends on who's doing the climbing, and how self-aware they are (obviously not talking about objective mountain dangers here). Most of the really stupid things I've seen done are at sport crags or in gyms like you say. How many of the people we know have been seriously injured at Boven? 2 broken backs, broken ankle, broken arm etc etc. I know of 4 accidents at Blouberg. Two were abseiling/lowering accidents (i.e. careless), the other two lead falls. Of the lead falls, the one didn't place gear when he should have, the other was off route and not ready for a big wall. I.e. bad decisions. Its true though that the consequences of a trad cock-up can be worse. Remoter venues mean more difficult rescues.

If I want to push grade on trad though, which is what this thread is about, then I find super safe routes with buckets of kit. I try leave the sketchy run out marginal stuff for the big walls where it somehow seems more justified to take a bigger risk, comensurate with the payoff. But then my airbag is being able to back off, which I've done many, many times.

RichS
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by RichS » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:41 am

Trad climbing takes much longer to get into than sport climbing. You have to go through an apprenticeship before you can start pushing your limits. And with so few mentors around it’s quite inaccessible these days (well up north anyway). Conversely sport climbing is much quicker and easier to get into. I think this is largely why trad is dying out, well up north anyway.

I highly recommend that you take Hector up on his offer, he’s got the passion and will help get you off the ground – pardon the pun. It’s quite sad how quiet the kloofs are these days. We need more people to find the passion and put in the extra effort. Trad climbing can also lead you into bigger and better adventures - you can’t climb many big walls or alpine routes by clipping your way up bolt ladders. I highly recommend putting the effort in to learn the trad skills, you’ll get so much more out of it than simply spending your weekends trying to climb harder and harder little routes with shiny bolts all over them. Although if that's what you prefer then fair enough.

Cheers
Rich

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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by edmclen » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:36 pm

Another big consideration for why there aren't Tommy Caldwells, Didier Bertholds, Sonny Trotters, Beth Roddens (let's not leave out the ladies that climb hard trad), etc. coming out of South Africa is that the South African climbing community is miniscule compared to those of the US, Spain, and France (and even Japan, Australia, and the Czech Republic). The number of people with the means, opportunity, and inclination to get into trad climbing in SA is not only smaller than that of the US, it's probably smaller than that of either Colorado or North Carolina (the latter being my home state of 9 million people). This is surely exacerbated by the exorbitant(!) cost of gear here in South Africa.

Given how (relatively) few climbers there are in South Africa, I think you all should have more pride in your accomplishments in trad, sport, and bouldering. Not that one should not keep pushing the boundaries, but I think it's unfair to compare the accomplishments of the collective South African climbing community to those of other countries with hundreds of thousands to millions of climbers. Compared to, say, the climbing communities in Venezuela, Romania, Mexico, I'd say that South Africa is doing just fine.

- Ed

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XMod
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by XMod » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:21 am

Trad climbing isnt as popular because it SUX! plain and simple.

Sport climbing is so much more fluid and quick, you can really focus on the movements on sport, rather than hanging awkwardly in one place for hours fiddling with all that shit. NAH! Trad is just slow and boring - oh and dangerous!

Methinks the traddies are just jumpy coz so many of their numbers have smashed themselves to pieces in the last short while! But hey what the hell would I know? Im just an LCD* sportif who litters everywhere and shits at the base of every route I climb!

(*lowest common denominator)

RichS
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Re: Why is trad climbing in SA not as big as sport climbing

Post by RichS » Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:44 am

Thanks Xmod, I never new that trad climbing SUX. I better switch to sport quick before I smash myself. All these years, who new? Well I’m off to dump my uneeded hugely expensive trad gear in the bin.

Thanks again
Rich

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