The only constant!

Today is warm and sunny in beautiful Squamish, the rock will dry in about one hour and there is no doubt the locals will be out crawling around on the boulders soon afterwards. I’m still waiting for all the swelling to go down in my finger, so I’ out of comish. But I will go for a hike and find some new projects. Always more to discover around here.

So, I found this recently on the 8a webpage, and I found it very interesting, our good friend Knut Rokne from Calgary has gone forward and submitted a rough but fairly accurate list of all the hardest trad climbs in the world that we know of. The two headlines combined have over 45 comments. It all started with Jens the owner of 8a.nu and his proposition of adding trad climbs to the scorecard. Here is what it says…

“Why are there so few hard core trad routes?

If we should list the Top-60 most difficult trad routes in the world we would have to start from 8b+ or maybe even 8b. The same sport climbing list would start from 9a. Is there any difference in the grading systems and how many grades? Normally, we make news of 8c+ sport climbing, should we start producing the same head lines for 8b trad? It seems like they deserve it?” Jens.

Some comments were very productive while others proceed in an attempt to bash Jens’ suggestion. Personally I say go for it, I thought the list looked good and I didn’t even know about half of those climbs. Besides – it’s all for fun anyway and if we’re not having fun, and we can’t enjoy the madness – then perhaps it’s time to reconsider our lives. I think people can have a blast with this, it’s all climbing and if they can find a way to measure these routes that is accepted by the general community, then why not? At least hard trad is starting to get some serious attention and it’s not just for old, fat guys anymore. Ha ha.  Just wait t’il 5 year old little hardman Bobby from some random place like Des Moines, Iowa grows up and starts pulling down outside with a rack of copperheads and tri-cams, dude’s gonna use bashies with his thumb and free climb A5+/E13 on Great Trango Tower, onsight, ground-up, no liquid chalk,  then, from the summit he’ll slam a red-bull and base jump off for the video finale. (and all the while Steve McClure’s sport climbs at Kilney will still be unrepeated)


To answer Jens question regarding why there are so few hard trad climbs. This may be obvious but it’s very very hard to find such difficult lines. That’s why most climbers who love trad are required to travel a ton. The gems are few and far between. It’s not like we can just go to a huge limestone cave and bolt 15 9a’s. Hard trad lines are very unique, very special and a gift to all climbers. We should cherish them, because they are so pure, they are timeless and forever classic. Perhaps this younger generation of strong rock stars could take things higher, faster and farther and establish more and more climbs on the edge of possibility. I look forward to this.

Further down the 8a.nu site, I also found some posts about climbers going ape shit and smashing routes with hammers, and bashing in bolt hangers. I can’t comment on their actions, because I don’t know these people and I don’t know their motives. All I know is that it appears very weak to me, like a sucker punch, or scraping a key on someones new car, the lowest of lows reserved for those with short tempers, tight tension, stress, and meat for brains. All I really know is that these are changing times, trad is rad, chad is chad and we can never, ever predict the future of events, change is the only constant, we can never, ever predict what someone else is going to do that may change the course of our life and we can never underestimate the power of good vibrations.  Keep on rasta-mon.

  • Greg Hart

    Irie! Good vibes indeed! If you get bored of Squamish you should come check out South Africa some time, more untouched rock here than you could ever shake a rack at. If you ever come across a doctor named Guy Morum (super nice guy) in Squamish please send my salutations!

  • Funny you should mention Des Moines… there is a new gym that just opened up there that is supposed to be pretty nice. Plus it’s a “Green” gym. I am checkin’ it out this weekend.
    Oh, we have a bouldering comp here in Omaha next weekend: tape up that finger, ice your arm pit (does that have something to do with the infection and your lymph nodes?), and head on down. We’ll even put you up somewhere nice.

  • Lucas

    That photo… is that one of yours? Where is it? Beautiful rock. Is that a flower sticking out of that guy’s ass? You really do have some nice work, man.

  • Jens’ argument is pretty weak at best. Reading through his contributions it becomes clear that he doesn’t know all that much about trad, and even less about our funny little E grade 🙂 Anyway, I think you’ve got the right idea. If its fun then go for it, if its not then find some other way to waste your time!

    That picture is killin me man! is it you? my first thought was John Dunne on The Big Issue or something. I’m probably miles off….

    Anyway, keep on smilin.

  • Sonnie

    Hey Gang,

    Glad you like the pictures so far. This one is NOT JD on the Big Issue, it’s a pic I took of my good friend Jesse from Seattle. This guy is an animal when it comes to the rocks. This is a very beautiful 5.12a called ‘Scared Peaches’ at Lake Louise in Alberta. A total classic, but no ones ever heard of it, because no one comes to Canada.

    Oh and Greg, I am coming to SA, all in good time. I’ll look you up?

  • Dude, I came to Canada!?! Lake Louise is awesome and I have to go back to send some of the “easier” climbs, although it probably isn’t so easy to hang on that hold while trying to try with nut fits the best in that fissure!

    Great blog post, always entertaining and insightful. And funny comment about Steve’s long lost testpeices… someday they will get some attention, maybe. Have you checked out that finger sized splitter next to the 5.13 corner up on top of the zodiac summit? Looks like it would be the hardest (and most painful) crack pitch around.