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bolted trad face climbingEdit

Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart then sport climbs. For example a trad bolted routes may have bolts from 15-75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3-10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym.

old commentsEdit

. #REDIRECT real climbing (all the other sorts are pale, watered-down imitations).

... err ... is my bias showing? Tannin

Should we mention that there is a significant safety difference between some of these belay devices? I know that there are limits to what we can cover, but I wouldn't like to see us just say things like "an italian hitch can be used" without mentioning that it ain't particularly safe, as compared with a stitcht plate. For that matter, figure-8s are fine for abseiling but not ideal as a belay device .... Hmmm. Where does it stop? Tannin

Instructional material like that is really something for Wikibooks. Gdr 16:51, 2005 Mar 28 (UTC)

Cut materialEdit

I cut a big chunk of material from the article. It is good material, but it doesn't belong in this article because it applies to many styles of climbing (sport, aid, ice, toprope etc). I moved it to climbing system Gdr 22:00, 2004 Jul 3 (UTC)



need to find a way to show both uk and us perspectives on an equal footing

Thinredline 19:52, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


In the U.S., a bolted climb would be considered sport climbing, to the best of my knowledge. -Will Beback 19:13, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Joshua tree, suicide rock,Taquitz, yosemite, tuolumne meadows, Black hills of south dakota,: all have completely bolted routes that no one in their right mind would consider "sport climbs." Thinredline 02:20, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

This text:
  • In some other parts of the world, notably North America, a route may be described as "traditional" even if there are bolts already in place on the route, as long as these bolts were placed while on lead, rather than rappel, and only where absolutely necessary for safe passage.
Gives an explanation that I've never heard of. I suppose that if a lead climber placed bolts, pitons, or other essentially fixed anchors his climb would be traditional, but the climbs of subsequent climbers would be "sport climbs". Unless someone has a source, or has heard of this usage, I think it should be deleted. -Will Beback 01:04, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I didn't write that, but I could have. It is correct from a US perspective. Thinredline 02:20, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Let's cite some references for all this, rather than work from memory. My own climbing books are too old, they mostly predate the distinction between rad and trad. Stan 12:31, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Documented, Historical Use of "Tradtional" Much NeededEdit

Above discussion back and forth on bolts or not bolts on "traditional" climbs shows disconnect from well documented style debate when and where the term "traditional" first arose in U.S. As Stan rightly points out, “let's cite some references for all this ..." Indeed.

Trad as now used is a constantly moving target, meaning whatever a community wants it to mean and requiring forever fiddling with this page. It would be of help to note when the term was first coined in "Tricksters and Traditionalists," Ascent, 1984, it had a very specific meaning not recognized here. Furthermore, that meaning was in sharp contrast to emerging sport styles of the day, and they too were specific styles well documented in climbing literature. The roots and history of the term and its contrast with sport is essential to understanding the evolution of both terms up to today.

As an example of how the discussion here can go every which way if there is no anchor in documented history of the trad-sport issue, look at how a perfectly accurate, supportable statement about original trad styles documented the above article was removed simply because some segment of today's climbers use "trad" in a new way. Here's the removed statement:

"Traditional climbing usually involves placing cams or nuts into cracks for protection, as well as using bolts placed into the rock by standing on holds and drilling required holes, unlike sport climbing where drilling is done while hanging on the rope for support."

And now here comes the rationale for removing it:

"...I think this may be misleading in the sense that it gives the idea that many trad climbers use bolts, but a large segment of trad climbers are wholly opposed to the notion. I also think this addition is out of place. Maybe this belongs in a separate ethics section or something, but it seems misplaced in a paragraph outlining the major distinctions between sport and trad climbing."

The point is whatever "trad" climbers of today feel about bolts does not speak to the issue of what defined "traditional climbing" when and where the term first arose. The use and connotations surrounding any terms in and outside climbing change over time, of course, but Wikipedia should acknowledge more than latest, ever changing use and opinion. It should reference the documented, original traditional-sport divide, as it arose and as it was recorded.

For another example of forever moving target discussion, first note the description of traditional climbing when and where it was first documented and discussed, again harking to the 1984 Ascent article:

"No rests on the rope are allowed in traditional climbing for previewing or rehearsing; after a fall, the climber lowers to the last stance or beginning of the pitch to begin again. Finally, the number of attempts after falls in traditional climbing is limited by custom to none or a few."

Now the reason for cutting it, because the term has apparently evolved in some or another community:

"...This is definitely inaccurate. Perhaps in certain climbing communities this is some established rule, but I've never seen any such rules like this in my ten plus years of climbing. This should be removed entirely, IMO. At the very least, relocated."

Here's my suggestion: explain and reference relevant sources to see the precise climbing style issues of the day when "traditional" first arose in written usage. What will become evident is the term had much less to do with type of protection than style of placing it; what was acceptable after a fall; and how previewing, rehearsing and sieging were treated. It will then become evident that the discussion here about the mechanics of trad climbing (going up, placing pro, getting to a belay etc.), all misses the vital, defining points of traditional climbing. For example:

- traditional as first coined very much included bolts placed on the lead. Of course natural protection (then mostly nuts and some cams) were the mainstay, but the essential issue was not bolts or not. The issue dividing trads and emerging sports was HOW protection is placed, not the protection technology itself. Traditional climbing placed bolts on the lead without any previewing of the route from above, and without hooks or overhead ropes for tension while placing. In a pivotal war of the day in the center of the first significant debate, Tuolumne Meadows, traditionalists removed bolts from a new route just because they were placed on tension from above, not because they were bolts - and the war was off and running between competing styles.

- while protection technology was not the heart of the first traditional and sport conflict, climbing STYLE was at the nub of the debate. Not only did traditionalists protest previewing from above as much as protecting from above, they also were angered by rehearsing moves while hanging on tension, and by resting on the rope after a fall. The accepted traditional approach of the day was to lower to a hands free stance after a fall and begin again; or, to lower to the beginning of the pitch or the ground to start over. The growing sport approach was (and still is in some sport styles) to hang and rest. Finally, the traditional approach of the day was generally to quit after a few falls. Repeated falling and working of the route, multiple attempts over many days (so called "sieging"), especially using fixed ropes to regain high points for working, all were anathema to traditionalists.

Here are some starting sources. First, see "Tricksters and Traditionalists," by Tom Higgins, Ascent, Sierra Club, 1984. A link to a verbatim web version (I have Sierra Club written permission for posting to the source site) is:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=19&limit=1&limitstart=8

Here is a link to a one page table which summarizes the several STYLE issues from the watershed time period when traditional and sport first arose in stark contention and when "traditional" first came into parlance:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=19

And finally, for those seeking perspective and specific documentation on how the traditional-sport divide has carried through to today, with 21 references to recent climbing literature on the subjects, here is a relevant link:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33&Itemid=19&limit=1&limitstart=0

Tom Higgins (talk) 21:18, 21 February 2008 (UTC)Tom Higgins

Dangers?Edit

Have there been any/many deaths during traditional climbing? What are the dangers of this sport? The Jade Knight 21:44, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

There are dozens of serious falls every year in North America alone, carefully tracked by the American Alpine Club. We should report some of their findings. -Will Beback · · 08:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

CroftEdit

I have dropped the link off of Peter Croft as it was linking to a differnt Peter Croft, if someone feels like writing an article about the climber Peter Croft feel free to replace it, I do not know how to make it link to a non-existant article. 24.69.65.202 03:48, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for noticing that problem. I bet we'd have an article on him if folks had known that there wasn't one already. As a prompt I've relinked his name, this time as Peter Croft (climber. -Will Beback · · 08:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Dump from mainpageEdit

I'm not really sure this is appropriate for an encyclopedia but some should prolly remain.

Trad climbing in the United KingdomEdit

Britain has a long tradition of "clean" climbing, (no hammer or pitons) and is thus home to some very bold climbs. The trad ethic is the dominant one in the UK, although sport climbing has become popular in recent years.

In the United Kingdom, "traditional" means that all protection is placed by the leader and removed by the following climber.
In early 2006 Dave MacLeod, a renowned climber out of Glasgow, Scotland, climbed Rhapsody at Dumbarton Rock (Scotland) for the world's then hardest trad climb, the first at the grade of E11. The route's grade, E11 7a, is equivalent to French 8c/8c+ or US 5.14c/d R.

Trad Climbing in AustraliaEdit

Major Trad areas:

Arapiles: Solid sandstone trad climbing with the occasional bolt on the harder lines. ~ 2000 routes in a small area.
The Grampians: Sandstone and quartzite, huge area.
Blue Mountains: sandstone
Point Perpendicular: Sandstone, top down, sea cliff climbing.
Frog Buttress: Rhyolite columns, predominately crack climbing.

Trad climbing in the United StatesEdit

"Traditional" climbing in the United States generally means a climbing style developed in the late 1950s through the 1960s, especially for making first ascents, when the emphasis turned from getting to the top by any means of rope aid to doing routes without any rope reliance (then termed free climbing). The expression traditional climbing seems not to appear in climbing literature referring to climbing styles prior to that era. See[1] for its probable first appearance.

The separation of rock climbing into traditional or "trad" and sport forms, beginning in the 1980s, created some tension between adherents of the different styles. Advocates of sport climbing held traditional rules limited the ability of a new generation to do new routes on increasingly difficult faces and cliffs. Trad advocates contended not everything should be climbed by any means. It is a debate which continues to this day.

In North America, a route may be described as "traditional" even if there are bolts already in place on the route, as long as these bolts were placed while on lead, rather than rappel. Such lead placements sometimes results in routes with less protection than sport routes, making the consequence of falling possibly more risky. Traditional routes that have bolts on the route may also be called "Mixed" routes, or part traditional and part sport, not to be confused with mixed climbing.

Major trad climbing areas of the US:

Notable trad climbers

Trad in the rest of the worldEdit

Compared to the U.S., Australia, and U.K., there are few trad climbing areas in mainland Europe:

Other parts of the world:

References

  1. ^

Merger proposalEdit

All of the yellow-boxed contribs in this section may lie within the scope of final disclaimer voiced in the final (red) box.
--Jerzyt 01:58, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Propose merging "clean climbing" with this page. The "clean climbing" page says that it is known as traditional climbing in the UK so it makes no sense to have two pages on the same subject. Would appreciate some guidance on which way to merge. Personally I'd propose keeping "traditional climbing" but I'm British so others may disagree. Dpmuk (talk) 00:59, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I still propose to do this merge but unfortunately other commitments mean I won't be able to do it for a while (at least a week probably). I propose that tags are therefore left on if anyone was thinking of removing them for being on too long. Dpmuk (talk) 21:21, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
I endorse the merger, and suggest that this article be the destination. "Traditional climbing" is the most frequnetly used term in the U.S. "Clean climbing" is more of an out-dated term, at least in the U.S., which contrasts modern trad climbing with the previous use of pitons. We can cover them both in this one article. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:57, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Oppose merging to here. If any merge at all were warranted, it would be into Aid climbing. But I argue that a merge is NOT warranted, not even into the article that I myself indicated. Clean climbing is a subject which does indeed deserve its own article, because it actually is not unique to a single subject which you're talking about shoehorning it into. But what I am really here to say is that this article absolutely is not an appropriate one for absorbing the subject of clean climbing. Traditional climbing is antithetical to aid climbing, and the subject of clean climbing clearly has to do with both aid and trad. I oppose a merger in general, and I oppose a merger into Traditional climbing in particular most vehemently. The solution to the issue that Dpmuk pointed out is to expand the relevant article(s). The problem is that information is missing, not that it's in the wrong place. --Beanluc (talk) 00:36, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Good points. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:40, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Trad climbing is, at least in the UK and according to the trad climbing article, something very, very different from aid climbing and so there is no way tht parts of free climbing can be merged into aid climbing. Trad climbing in the UK is never aid climbing. With this in mind either the stattement in clean climbing that 'Clean climbing is the preferred style of climbing in most parts of the United Kingdom where it is more commonly known as traditional climbing (trad)' or your statement that it is more closely related to aid climbing must be wrong. Although 'free climbing' is used in the UK a little bit, IMO it's not a well-understood term so I was basing my proposal on what the article says 'free climbing' is.

Assuming that you're saying that free climbing is effectively not leaving gear in whether aided or not then the following statements from free climbing need work or should be merged with trad - my comments follow each statement in italics.

  • Clean climbing is the preferred style of climbing in most parts of the United Kingdom where it is more commonly known as traditional climbing (trad). Not therefore true as trad climbing is never aid climbing. Therefore needs re-wording
  • The debate between Traditional, or Trad Climbers, and Sport Climbers continues to this day over what the acceptable usage of bolts for protection is. Most Traditional climbers believe that bolts should not be used on any route where clean protection is possible, in order to preserve the rock. Some sport climbers believe that all routes should be bolted completely so that gear placement skills are not necessary to attempt the climb. Having established that trad is not equal to free climbing this does not belong here
  • The general ethic is very dependent upon the area in question and varies widely by region. Generally speaking, the traditional ethic holds in most areas, and bolts are not used for protection unless there is no other option. Needs trad changing to free
  • Left to traditional clean climbers, major UK climbing areas - for example Malham Cove - could have been climbed and still remain clear of expansion bolts. Despite this, bolting was permitted by the BMC on this Site of Special Scientific Interest Reference: Peter Livesey Climber and Hillwalker magazine Article: http://groups.msn.com/SafetyInformationforMountainClients/retrobolts.msnw Again would belong in trad as Malham is definitely not an aid venue (can't be sure there's none as I don't have the guidebook handy but the majority is definitely not aided).

If someone provides a different definiton of free climbing to trad to that of free climbing I'm happy keeping both articles with changes to reflect the above. Without someone providing a defintion of free climbing it's hard to say whether it means the same as trad although I'm now suspecting it doesn't - especially as this is hinted at in the trad article.

I'm happy to merge the bits I mention above with trad next week when I'm back home and then someone is going to have to work on free climbing to make it longer (as I obviously don't know enough about free climbing). If anyone else wants to make these changes please fell free. Dpmuk (talk) 00:50, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Hi, Dpmuk, thanks for explaining, I think it helps clarify what needs expansion.
"Although 'free climbing' is used in the UK a little bit, IMO it's not a well-understood term so I was basing my proposal on what the article says 'free climbing' is."
I don't know which article you mean. Clean climbing doesn't discuss "free climbing" at all. Free climbing defines it very clearly - read on because I'll point this out below. Trad climbing also has a clear explanation of what "free climbing" means. At any rate, this appears to be where the main confusion/deficiency lies, and it's not something which can be fixed by eliminating the "clean climbing" article and merging it into some other one.
"Trad climbing is... something very, very different from aid climbing " Quite right. Trad climbing is one style of free climbing.
"there is no way that parts of free climbing can be merged into aid climbing" Nobody is talking about doing this. The concept of "clean" applies in both aid climbing and free climbing, and arguably is even more relevant to aid (it's certainly more frequently discussed among aid climbers), for a few reasons: There's already a term in free-climbing which implies clean hardware and ethic: "Trad". And, in aid, it's routine for different parties of climbers to choose whether to go clean or not, even on established routes in at least some areas that have a certain prevailing ethic. That routine choice is not a factor on established free routes. Those are the reasons why I rhetorically said "if merging "clean" to anywhere, 'aid' is more suitable than 'trad'" - I suppose that when I said that, I was thinking "trad" = "free as opposed to aid", not "clean" = "aid as opposed to trad". An oversimplification, in any case. Though you will notice that I actually did not propose any such merge at all - I argued to keep "clean climbing" right where it is.
"I was basing my proposal on what the article says 'free climbing' is." Well, your proposal didn't distinguish types of climbing (how vertical progress is technically achieved), it had to do with eliminating an article which is about the style of climbing (the ethics of the environmental effects of certain kinds of hardware, and the aesthetic appeal of how a particular party's ascent was achieved). Please understand what I mean by "style": A given route of any type can be climbed in various styles. A given route also could be done via one type of technique or another type of technique. That's the difference between type (aid, free) and style (clean, hammered, on-sight, working, top-roping, hang-dogging, yo-yoing, soloing, free-soloing, rap-bolting, gardening, flash, siege, etc.) Because may people often interchange them, they are far from universal definitions which could be used un-ambiguously in encyclopedic article text, although, for the purposes of this discussion here, I define type and style this way and will use them this way below.
"saying that free climbing is effectively not leaving gear in whether aided or not " Nobody is saying this. The leaving (fixing) of gear has nothing to do with whether a route is aided or free. Furthermore, "hammerless" climbing does not rule out the "fixing" of clean gear. If a fixed nut is left behind, this is contrary to "leave no trace" and therefore not absolutely "clean", but it's still "hammerless", which is the greatest part of the clean ethic, by far, since the environmental effect of hammering is forever irreversible. On the other hand, such fixed clean gear could be removed later, and probably will be, by some opportunist, happy to add to one's rack.
  • "Clean climbing is the preferred style of climbing in most parts of the United Kingdom where it is more commonly known as traditional climbing (trad). Not therefore true as trad climbing is never aid climbing. Therefore needs re-wording"
    • "Trad climbing" is one sub-set of free climbing, usually contrasted against "sport climbing". The re-wording shouldn't say that "clean climbing" is called "trad climbing", in any part of the world, because, as you say, "trad is never aid" - well, "clean" doesn't have to be aid either, and "trad" is actually not always completely clean, even though it's climbed free. Many free, traditional routes actually have fixed gear from long ago. The very tradition itself originated before either clean gear or sport climbing even existed. Traditional free-climb leaders (back when they were the only free climbers) routinely carried pitons until the late 1960's, and into the late 1970's in some areas. The way it's worded now, and the way your discussion is proceeding, it makes it sound like "not-clean" automatically means aided climbing. I doubt the sport climbers, the aid climbers, or even the free climbers of routes with fixed gear, or the old-timers who pinned their way up free routes 50 years ago, would agree with that, whether they're in the UK or elsewhere.
  • "The debate between Traditional, or Trad Climbers, and Sport Climbers continues to this day over what the acceptable usage of bolts for protection is. Most Traditional climbers believe that bolts should not be used on any route where clean protection is possible, in order to preserve the rock. Some sport climbers believe that all routes should be bolted completely so that gear placement skills are not necessary to attempt the climb. Having established that trad is not equal to free climbing this does not belong here"
    • Well, it isn't here, it's there, and that absolutely is the right place for this paragraph. It's completely accurate, it's free from regional anachronisms, and it's not got any conflict between "free" and "not-free" climbing.
  • "The general ethic is very dependent upon the area in question and varies widely by region. Generally speaking, the traditional ethic holds in most areas, and bolts are not used for protection unless there is no other option. Needs trad changing to free"
    • I don't think "trad" needs to change to "free", I think it needs to be made clear that "free" is the context of this whole sentence. In truth, the statement about which "ethic holds in most areas" is uncited, and should be removed as original research. At any rate, what it says here actually happens to be just as true in aid areas as in free areas - the local ethic varies. I might also include "bolts are not used for protection or belay anchors unless there is no other option"
  • "Left to traditional clean climbers, major UK climbing areas - for example Malham Cove - could have been climbed and still remain clear of expansion bolts. Despite this, bolting was permitted by the BMC on this Site of Special Scientific Interest Again would belong in trad as Malham is definitely not an aid venue"
    • I don't see any conflict, as it's written, nor any problem with where it's located. Just because bolting was permitted, that doesn't say anything one way or the other about whether aid climbs are found in Malham. The statement does not belong in "trad", which is a sub-set of the technically "free" type, it belongs in the article about the ethically (and to a lesser extent, aesthetically) "clean" style. And, again, the UK is not the only place (far from it) where "trad" implies "clean" when contrasted against "sport". But if you think the "trad" article needs to explain it, a brief statement which links to the "clean" article should suffice, in my opinion.
"Without someone providing a defintion of free climbing it's hard to say whether it means the same as trad"
The definitions exist already. From free climbing: "the climber uses no artificial aids to make upwards progress". From Traditional climbing: " a form of free climbing, only the limbs and body of the climber are used to effect upward progress". The definition of "trad climbing" already illustrates very well the contrast with "sport climbing", which is (yes, it is) another style of "free climbing".
"free climbing[...] it's hard to say whether it means the same as trad although I'm now suspecting it doesn't"'
Quite right, and not that hard to say. Do you or anyone else honestly regard sport climbing, top-roping, bouldering or free-soloing as "aided" or otherwise "not free"?
Hopefully this re-inforces the need for a Clean climbing page and illustrates that there aren't as many conflicts present as seemed. Nothing needs to be merged into "trad". That article may need a little explanation about how the trad ethic differs from the sport ethic (clean-ness is part of that), within the context of free climbing. This explanation could (I think) be fairly brief and could link to "clean climbing" for more info without repeating material. --Beanluc (talk) 19:38, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for some reason I managed to get free climbing and clean climbing mixed up when I wrote that. I meant to say 'clean' climbing just about everywhere I said 'free'. I put it down to tiredness and as I'm really quite tired now I'll leave a longer reply to sometime over the weekend. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dpmuk (talkcontribs) 22:16, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Nix the mergeEdit

Don't be confused by the formatting: the followinging material which i have enboxed is a single contrib.
--Jerzyt 23:45, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

I note it's been six months and nothing has happened.
This is good. "Clean climbing" is an historical term, which emerged in about 1970. At the time, the term "trad climbing" was unknown. An article on "cleam climbing" will probably evolve to reflect this understanding. Merging will make this unlikely or impossible.
Calamitybrook (talk) 06:02, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

ledeEdit

I changed lede slightly. Trad doesn't necessarily emphasize "exploratory" climbing. In fact it's often or maybe mostly done at heavily used areas where you might find a line of parties waiting to do a route.Calamitybrook (talk) 16:29, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

first line of the articleEdit

The first line of the article is ridiculous. It's ungrammatical and ambiguous. (08-07-09) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.207.156.13 (talk) 14:42, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I may not have studied in sufficient detail, but IMO this may be entirely about the ambiguity created by popular use of "party" to mean "single person" rather than as attorneys use it "person or group of people sharing a common interest".
   I think the editor was talking about situations where a solo climber "cleans" the site of all their gear, and those where several climbers progress cooperatively, and some of them clean gear placed by other members of their own party. Ungrammatical? Perhaps the colleague does not understand use of a singular verb for collective action by a group?
--Jerzyt 02:24, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

DubiousEdit

"Traditionalist"Edit

   "A trad climber is called a traditionalist." Never have heard, and G-search for

traditionalist rock climbing

yielded 11 hits using at most "traditional" until 12th hit which put quotes around the word "traditionalist" as if the poster had just derived a new word from "traditional". Grammatically, anyone adhering to what is traditional is a traditionalist, and the sentence has no legitimate place in a WP climbing article.
--Jerzyt 23:33, 27 & 01:58, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Real ClimbingEdit

I've always heard the two styles of climbing described as either Trad Climbing or Real Climbing with Trad being the slow, labourious, tiresome, boring method with cams and nuts etc whereas Real Climbing (for real climbers) as the pegged bolted routes which Real Climbers can climb skillfully and quickly. This article describes these routes for heroes and legends as Sport Routes as opposed to Real routes. I think that the word sport should be substituded for Real on all the various Climbing pages to differentiate proper climbing from boing pointless trad methods. --JohnnyB1234 (talk) 10:49, 26 June 2015 (UTC)


This would be adding a large and undue amount of bias to the subject. It would probably be better for "real" to not be used for either kind of climbing. Especially since this isn't a dichotomy with the spectrum of climbing styles that exist. TimidBerserker (talk) 20:50, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

Return to "Traditional climbing" page.