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pope

Pope's Confessional Is Now Open!

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Forgive me Pope, but when I climb I do not care if I sin. I do whatever necessary to get to the top. Etiquette is for those who care.

Slap me silly, or have Donna do it.

 

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Then your only sin is believing that ANYBODY cares how you climb. Guess what....I don't care. Furthermore, I DON'T CARE WHETHER YOU CARE HOW YOU CLIMB. If you're capable of pulling on gear and clipping chicken bolts, then getting a good night's sleep after the fact, if you feel no guilt for climbing like a Frenchy, then I'd say you've lost your pride and Pope probably can't help. This confessional is for people who are AWARE of the hypocrisy of their sport-doggin' ways, for those who KNOW it's wrong to beat up on the rock and lust after Katie Brown....but who also have a little pride left, enough to know they can't handle the shame of being a bolt-clippin' sport monkey.

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Hey Pope!

I´ve got a confession to make! Guess where I am right now?...that´s right, I´m in Europe! And guess who´s with me? That´s right, Donna! and if even a tiny fraction of the crap she´s told me about you be true, you are one big RASCAL, you are! I won´t go into detail, "Panties Thief", but that Cirque Expedition sounds really messed up, and she told me about the "stealth photos" you took of her best pal Erika. (Hey! What did you do with those things? I suggest you return them via me. I´ll "make sure" Donna gets them.) Donna´s up at Tremadog for a couple of days with some mangy English gritstone dude she met at Squamish a couple of years ago. I decided to stay in London and do a little pub research for a while. Just a moment...barkeep? another pint of this Irish nectar, guvna, and pour one for yourself while you're at it. Now where were we.... oh ya... Anyway, starfish-boy, who needs YOUR Miss Katie Brown fantasies when Donna´s around. You're right...she IS HOT!!!! And I confess, I don´t understand why she had anything to do with you....but keep in mind I'm just getting the girlie´s side of the story.

your pal, Dwayner

P.S. I did I mention she´s HOT!!!

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when i'm climbing, i think about drinking. when i'm drinking, i think about climbing. are these sins?

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DWAYNER: I'm sorry to hear you're beatnikin' it on the Continent with that little tramp Donna. Of course she's hot when you see the world each day through the bottom of a shot glass. Hell, she's hot to the average sober guy. I suppose you couldn't wait to tell me that Donna had been blowing your whistle. But I don't feel any jealousy or envy upon hearing this news...trust me, you won't need me to suggest penance by the time you've spent a couple of weeks with her. And when you're ready to be rid of her, that's when the fun starts, pal. I'm still finding little surprises around my place that Donna had left for my wife to find....a book of Motel 6 matches, a gallon of cherry-flavored body paint, a receipt for a "friendly weapon" from that Costco-sized adult toy store. I'm telling you man, get out while you can, 'cause when you kick her to the curb (the way I did on that Cirque Exp.), she'll keep bouncing back up in your face. Oh well, maybe this will take some heat off me for a while.

BTW, while you're over there, are you by chance planning to add sit-starts to any of the Alps' classics?

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Mr. Pope: You might be on to something (or on something!). Uhhhhhhh....how should I say this.....I'm here in Spain, and Donna, well she still be in the U.K....The idea was that we would be doin a bit of traveling together, doing a healthy collection of climbs in the process. We get to England, I'm not feeling so well (jet-lagged, a cold, etc.), so being the reasonable fellow I am, I actually encouraged her to spend a couple of days up north with some mangy rat-faced, crooked-toothed, greasy dred-locked, beta-spoutin', unemployed dole-collector she met in a London climbing store. His name is Iain. Iain the rat-faced boy, who endeared himself to me when he asked Donna if I was her dad. Donna, who is apparently an easy mark for a foreign accent (I recall reading on this list that she had something going on with a stray Italian on the "Cirque Expedition"), referred to me (when she thought I was out of earshot) as "this guy who came over on the plane with me". Anyway, a couple of days later, I get this enthusiastic phone call from the little vixen spouting off the names of all of these great British rock climbs that Iain had promised to take her to (in her rented car, of course, cuz Iain ain't got no car nor money) and that she wanted to spend a week doing so. I didn't even put up a fight. I just said, "you go, girl" or some other spontaneous smart-alecky quip and hung up. I´m in Spain, now, and we'll see if she ever shows up again but I ain't waitin around. It's warm and beautiful here, the food is great, the women are pretty (and friendly!) and the beer, although as yet unimpressive, is cold and plentiful, and the nightlife goes on until 8 in the morning. And there are a few climbs too. Two things, Pope, I usually don't drink from shot glasses; they are much too small for my beverage of choice which is....beer and its various relatives. Secondly, I think a sit-start on the north face of Les Courtes would be just the thing to add my name to the annals (spelled with two "n´s", you bugger!) of alpine history. Hey, Donna! If you're checking your E-mail and reading this post, I hope it's raining all over the gritstone and if it is, pry Iain off of you and send him out from the back seat of your car for a well-needed shower!

- Dwayner

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The shame I live with every day. The horror, complete horror...

Everybody's a real tough guy over via keystrokes, huh? Hump x amount of miles to get to a TRAD (look it up sometime) route and you'll find that anything goes when push comes to shove.

I feel so ashamed.

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What we're dealing with here is integrity and respect, with people who are saying, "'Bout time I got some in my life." Of course, if you go up to Midnight Rock or a similar tradsters' hang, you'll see some goofy yo-yo stuff going on, people hanging on gear and such. That's not the point. The question is, can you climb like that weekend after weekend and convince yourself that you really climb at that grade, or do you at some point finally admit to yourself that all of that clip-hang-mime-comb hair-struggle-repeat horsecrap is a sign that you're over your head? In the pursuit of bigger numbers, we're willing to compromise style in every conceivable way, then head to the bar and talk about how we spent the day "free" climbing when, more acurately, we were just bouldering between aid moves.

Again, you enter the confessional with a guilty conscience, expecting to get help, and Pope advises you to climb in better style and be kind to the rock. You'll be happier, and the rock will be prettier for generations, and our cliffs will continue to offer challenges to bold climbers, and fun to top-ropers (when it comes to difficult face, that's how I spend my time these days). If you don't feel guilty for beating up the rock, if you don't feel guilty about aid climbing and calling it "free" climbing, then I won't be able to help.

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Pencil Neck,

We agree...when you climb a mountain or a wall, you've got two goals: get home alive, and summit without beating up the rock. My preference for cragging (and this is the genre the Confessional tends to address) is to climb at a grade I can handle, rarely falling, rarely hanging to comb hair/mime, and never rehearsing. If somebody else finds these activities enjoyable, or if they prefer to define "free" climbing to include these tactics, then they probably don't feel any guilt or confusion, and we won't hear from them in Confessional. Right? And if Pope doesn't hear from them, then he doesn't even know they exist, and so how can he possibly care how they live their lives? He can't. Again, this is a service for those who understand that free climbing is one thing, and everything else is aid, but who have behaved shamefully and who live dishonestly in the pursuit of "redpoints" at a grade they can't really handle. If Confessional isn't for you, if you're pretty sure you're living your life with dignity and pride, then nobody is beating your door down to come to church.

Confessional is a service for those who are ready. I'm not recruiting or evangelizing. I couldn't care less how people climb or how they report their conquests. Bolting and chipping? You're right, that's where I feel obligated to say and do something in protest. That sort of "climbing" is everybody's business.

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I really don't see anything wrong with taking a few falls or even "taking" on a route thats at your max level or even a bit over your head. That's how climbers improve. You could just go out and climb 5.9 every time at the crags, and be comfortable and have no problems. But many people prefer to get on routes that are challenging and at the extend of their climbing ability, even if that means falling or hanging.

I agree, if you're a 5.9 climber and you get on hard 10's or 11's then you might as well bring along the etriers and wall rack becasue you're gunna be aiding most of the climb anyway. That's pointless and you shouldn't try to fool yourself about it.

There's also a difference between hanging before an extremely difficult section when your pumped to rest and figure out a sequence, and pulling on gear to bypass a section. The former might nor be "pretty" but your still doing the moves, the latter should usually be reserved for alpine situations only.

[This message has been edited by specialed (edited 06-18-2001).]

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It ain't free 'til it's free. Call it what it is: resting, taking, tension, getting spanked, whatever....it's all aid. I personally don't see anything WRONG with aid, until you call it "free". But that's just the way I choose to play.

I don't agree that aid climbing makes you a better free climber. All of the aids mentioned above make you more relaxed perhaps, more willing to rely on your gear, but I don't think they make you or anybody else a better free climber. And don't quote me some French athlete who swares cheating made him better. Those guys are good because they're superior athletes playing this game full time. They're good at climbing at their limit without worrying about falls...but that's because they've littered their rock with so much engineering, big falls aren't risky. If you were to climb in this style on thin pro, or in the hills, you'd be killed.

The occasional fall, or resting when you just know you've had it, isn't WRONG...it's a sign that you're at your control limit, and so a couple of falls a year is within reason for me. After that I'd prefer to have aiders....they make aid climbing so much easier.

p.s. This is a tedious conversation. Let's talk about Katie Brown for a change. Any of you guys letting your imagination get you in trouble?

[This message has been edited by pope (edited 06-18-2001).]

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Pope, if I had come up in your day I would probably be scared to fall too, and would probably limit myself to a couple falls a year. I wouldn't really be looking forward to taking whippers on a hemp rope tied around my waste, or if you were lucky a testicle-popping Whillans harness. And I've seen some of that stuff you guys used to call "pro", the manchine nuts and akward-shaped stoppers.

What was that saying you old timers had, oh yeah, "the leader shall not fall."

That's cool man, there's nothing wrong with being old Pope. I can respect your old school attitude. Even though at your age, even thinking those dirty thoughts about Katie Brown would be considered pedophilia.

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Whoa...Now slow down there, sonny. I didn't SAY that Pope was thinking thoughts about Katie....She seems like a perfectly nice girl, and I think she's got some of these boys beat at their own game. By the way, hemp rope ain't for smoking or making chic little wallets, you know. When I let it slide over the leather patch on the bum of my woolies, it makes for a soft belay. You whipper snappers with your Kernmantle ropes could learn a few things from the old Popester.

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So basically the pope's beef is with folks that say they can climb at a grade higher than he thinks they should. You don't get to be a good climber unless you push your limits and mime, comb the hair, rehearse, fall, etc. Add "onsight" to your vocab, dude. That brings out the experienced, the gifted, and the poodles that are all yap and no go.

The confessional here is a joke in itself. people don't have a conscience that they've cheated, it's all show here on the internet.

On top of that, the very things you purport to claim hold no place in "real" climbing are the EXACT same things you yourself did!!

Your screen name should be hang-dogger, eh?

Or maybe Fluffy. shocked.gif

Okay boys and girls, listen up. Cheating DOES make you a better climber. Cheat, but don't lie about it. Push your limits and have a fun time doing it. Then when the pope gets done sucking on his cigar, you can hear him say "Mack, mack mack mack mack mack. Mack mack mack. Mack mack mack, mack mack MAAACK!"

Smile to yourself and think: wow, this was a great day climbing. grin.gif

Wait... I've got it all wrong... you belong to the Mountaineers, don't you, pope? That explains it.

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Pencil Inthebutt,

You mean the Confessional is a joke? You're a bright one, aren't you? Cheating makes you a better cheater. Aiding (in all of its shades) makes you a better aider. I can't tell you how many times I've been leading out above gear, looking a certain doom if I blow it, and suddenly come to the realization that if I had to stop and hang for a quick hair comb, I'd be screwed.

Pencil boy, for a guy who's certain that his climbing style is valid, for a guy who thinks that anybody committed to climbing in good style at lower grades is a cigar smoking snob, you sure check into Confessional on a regular basis. You might be closer to a Conversion than you realize.

Go and bolt no more.

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Dang! Didn´t think I'd be defending Pope so soon, especially after having so recently had an experience with his "sloppy seconds". I happen to agree with much of what Pope says. Maybe this argument could be put another way....Let´s say you don´t know how to play the piano. Give yourself unlimited practice and rehearsal time and you´ll eventually be able to crank out a lovely Beethoven sonata. Let´s say your grandmother can't climb 5.14. Permit her to rehearse indefinitely by resting on pro, taking repeated falls off of cruxes, etc. and eventually she just might make it. It might take her months or years, as oppossed to days or weeks ala some skinny French hone-master, but she just might make it. So what I believe Pope is saying is, that given those sort of tactics, which have become "legitimized" when sport climbing was imported, a self-delusion has become commonplace that one is not using aid while resting, shaking-out, or falling repeatedly.

I would also argue that there are very few, if any real 5.14 climbers in this world. Take away the legitimacy of hanging, repeated rehearsals and preplaced gear and I would say that few people can walk up to a climb harder than, say, 5.12 and climb it on-sight without falling, which is about where things were 20 years ago before these kind of tactics became "acceptable". I would say that most of us on this list are 5.14 climbers given an unlimited amount of sporty-time but fortunately most of us probably have better things to do with our lives than to hang out for a week or two at the base of an overhanging pre-bolted (complete with quick draws in place), 50 ft. stretch of rock. And then, after working it out on a form of aid, we can climb it from bottom to top and yell 5.14!!!!eeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh! Think about it.

It´s a different perspective. If you started climbing when I did (1973), all of that sporty stuff was considered UTTERLY POOR FORM and aid. If people wanted to get stronger, they worked out and top-roped stuff. If you hung around on pro doing your hair-combing chalk-dip, you were branded a hangdog and it was considered that the climb was over your abilities in that you fell or resorted to aid. The remedy: work your way up on easier climbs rather than bring the climb down to your own miserable level, which is what the standards of sport climbing can do.

The traditional perspective, as you can see, views many of these sport trends as weak. It´s not that we´re opposed to aid climbing, it´s only that it´s regular use in sport climbing is not recognized for what it really is. (Plus the grid-bolting, etc. is considered pretty damn pathetic as well.)

So, take it or leave it...No one is going to stop you from sport-climbing unless you place so many bolts that The Man steps in to take away your drill as is happening more and more (and I ain´t complaining!)

A couple of more points: Pencil Pusher...come over here for a second...relax...try a little civility. You say this funny "confessional" topic is a joke (and we all know it´s supposed to be in good humor), but you´re quite the participant! A cold beer might be in order! Have a few at your favorite local watering hole and send the bill to Pope...(and don´t try starting a pissing match with me cuz I ain´t interested, my friend!) Specialed, my young pal, I don´t think Pope is old enough to have experienced the sheer joy of the Whillan´s harness...it served as quite an additional incentive not to fall (apart from some of the new, experimental gear).

Carry on, Pencil-guy, Special-K and other friendly web-denizens. If you don´t understand us trad-dudes now, you will in the future when the mighty pendulum swings back our way.

aloha, Dwayner

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I call it alpine climbing. I don't carry a drill although I have considered doing such to save the trees and bushes getting mauled as rap anchors.

If I use aid to get past something I cannot climb, I have no qualms about it. Wouldn't it suck to get that far and retreat because I couldn't free it?

As with everything, liars only fool themselves. The experience is what makes each trip unique. But to say, "Oh you cheated using your knees or going for that move," is ludicrous.

Hang-dogging is a big grey area. Isn't there a redpoint definition out there? I think (?) that's for a free ascent less the hair combing.

I'd still tend to associate climbing etiquette folks (less the bolt/chipping debate) with those same snobbish, cigar in one hand, martini in the other folks.

We each climb for our own reasons. You could be some goofball with a good knowledge but no climbing. Or someone with climbing who twists the story to fit your needs. Even a guy who once did all the things you claim to detest.

Either way, I'll still be hungry, tired, sore, cold, and forgetting yet another thing on one of my trips. I'll try to keep mum about the ashamed part. See you around.

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Pope,

Help me! I feel so dirty, so cheap...I had lust in my heart. I lusted for the numbers, the big .13 that would let the world know that I am a REAL climber. I started climbing at that Utah choss pile better known as American Fork. Surrounded by the beauty of countless desert tower routes and all time classics like Primrose Dihedrals on Moses, Fine Jade on the Rectory, Lightning Bolt Cracks on North Sixshooter and I was driving 3 hours each way to "climb" a five bolt .13a

Eight days over two months produced "success" via the redpoint. "WHooo wee, I'm a big number climber now" I thought. Two weeks later a trip to Castleton Tower and the 5.9 offwidth no pro section of pitch 3 of the Kor-Ingalls had me seeing the error of my ways...I feel so, so...confused.

Pope, I even sprayed about my "accomplishment" complete with mimed sequences for the route to anyone who would listen. I've since realized that hard climbing ain't nothing new and the hardest grade in the world is probably old school 5.9, or in the alpine world 5.8 A2. I need some cleansing...

At my last confessional Father Bridwell made me say five "Layton Kor"s and lead the hollow flake of the Salathe, but after a flash of some hard rap-bolted thing in Red Rocks, my spraying continued...and then I burned off some traveling climbers on a boulder problem in Joe's Valley (of course on a tricky sequential problem that I had fully wired). Help me pope, I've been bad!

While Katie is a little on the young side (is she legal yet?) I've been having some unclean fantasies about Brittany Griffith...wow, a hotty who climbs 5.12 trad routes, she's so...ahhhhhhhh what was I saying?

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NO dude that's Christian Griffith you've been lusting over. He shaves his legs and wears bakinis too, just to fool dudes like you.

Anyway, for the most part I have to agree with the basic tenents of Pope and Dwayner's arguments. You shouldn't say you climbed or freed something when you dogged up it. And I'm not trying to legitimize some super-lame euro hangdog technique and say that its cool to spend months working a 6 bolt slab of rock just to say you can climb 5.13 or whatever. But in real life, even the best climbers end up falling or hanging sometimes to work out parts of a route. If you see that video of Lynn Hill freeing the Nose, she falls, dogs, and rehearses quite a bit before she redpoints the difficult pitches like changing corners.

If your personal ethics say to lower and pull the rope after every fall, well good for you. I totally respect that. That's hard-core, old school bad-assness. And, like you said, the predominant ethic before sporto climbing in the 80's. But I also think that for all the questionable ethics that new wave

climbing emplores, it has contributed to pushing the standards of climbing in all realms (even alpine) and breathed some new life into an old sport (or religion or way of life or whatever). I guess if you think of cragging as practice for the big mountains it doesn't matter what you do one way or the other (exc. chipping, gluing, etc.)

Well my 2 cents worth anyway. And Pope, thanks for not taking my cracks about being old too seriously.

 

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quote:

Originally posted by mikeadam:

Brittany Griffith is NADA compared to Rachel Babkirk (RI#107) and Patience Donahue (RI#108)

Ahh, but you see Miss Donahue is actually Mrs. Donahue and Topher probably wouldn't be ready to loan her out anytime soon...

Pretty quick with the issue references there mikeadam, sounds like maybe you need to confess to the pope lest your palms become too hairy to grip an ice tool. :P

 

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Hey Pope! I guess you're off the hook now (finally)! Your dream girl Katie Brown is indeed 18. Good thing because I was ready to call her dad and have him come over and thump ya. Anyway, she seems to be a very lovely and sweet young lady. Check out her interview at: http://classic.mountainzone.com/climbing/99/interviews/brown/

- ahoy, mate!

- Dwayner

P.S. I don't think she'd be interested in ya, Pope. She seems to be totally focused on excellence and a bit of a sport-monkey to boot. Besides, it will be your wife who thumps you (again) with the 'ol fryin pan!

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Although I get upset about bolting, although I get frustrated that the damage happens without restraint (and seems impossible to reverse in some cases).....the style issues addressed in Confessional are completely a matter of preference, and choices you make about style only affect your integrity and self-respect. How you climb doesn't affect me (whether you rehearse or pre-place on rappel all of the stoppers in that crack you're trying to redpoint), so I don't care. Recent posts seem to ignore the idea that Pope is just trying to have fun with this website, not tell everybody what to do.

Now for the real discussion: When Christian G. shaves his back, when he cuts off his Rasta hair and auctions it to teen idols, I think he becomes one of these people who transcend gender boundaries, and who appeal to both women and no small number of men, in the way that David Bowie and the "gal" in the CRYING GAME had all of us confused. Admit it now gentlemen, (and how appropriate is this question for Confessional?), how many of you questioned everything you thought you knew about boy/girl relationships and gender roles after viewing the CRYING GAME? How many of you began tinkering around with lycra, colour-coordinated quick draws and trendy haircuts when you first saw Christian G. in the tub shaving?

P.S. Will, of all the "iniquities" mentioned, sand bagging somebody on a boulder problem, although completely dishonest behavior, isn't so terrible. The guys I used to see climbing stuff at the U.W. wall, things I'm sure they had totally wired, inspired me to try to improve my technique and remain calm and smooth even when I was on the verge of getting my ass kicked.

[This message has been edited by pope (edited 06-19-2001).]

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