Okay, normally I am not into commenting about ascents of boulders I will never climb, but I just had a conversation that raised my eyebrows. Three days ago I posted about the really nice free downloadable movie ‘The Swiss Account’ which features a lot of hard problems in the 8th grade. In the video some boulders are climbed that were opened, and mentioned in the guidebooks, with a sitstart. For some reason the guys in The Swiss Account start some of these problems without sitting on their bums. Now I haven’t seen any comments on the web yet, but because you don’t have to be an 8th grade climber to see the difference between a sitstart and a standing start, I want to discuss this matter here.
Everyone who posts videos showing ascents should be aware that he or she becomes a role model. If you show ascents, make sure you are showing them how they should be done, because you can be pretty sure other climbers will take your ascent as an example and follow your ‘beta’.
What happens in ‘The Swiss Account’ is that a boulder like Steppenwolf 8b in Magic Wood is started standing, while the guidebooks say it should be started with a sitstart. I am not able to judge if a standing start makes the problem easier, but from what I’ve heard from climbers who can, the sitstart is a pretty big challenge.
If The American Sitstart becomes a new standard for Steppenwolf, there will be downgrading. And once Steppenwolf (american sitstart) becomes, for example, 8a. The problem will never become 8b again. Same goes for Voigas 8a+ and some other problems which are also mentioned with a sitstart in the guidebooks. I think loosing these classic high grade boulders with sitstarts would be a pity. So if you climb a boulder without the sitstart, and launch a video about it, it would be nice to mention you did the problem without the original start and give it, there you go Jens :-), a personal grade.
Be aware that you have the power to change they way problems are being climbed by posting videos showing ascents.
Of course the climbers in this video can climb these problems using the original sitstarts, they are damn strong and do even harder problems in the video in the way they were opened. That is why I am wondering why the sitstarts are ignored in some cases. Didn’t they have a guidebook? Did they find the sitstarts hideously ugly?
This is my opinion and I hope it’s yours too: Whether you’re climbing 8b or 5b… if a guidebook says a boulder starts with a sitstart you’ll start with your bum on the crashpad. If you don’t, then you didn’t climb the original problem.