Trad versus sport climbing: UIAA looks to find a balance

Posted by Doug Scott on 11/09/2012
Matt Segal trying, and falling off, Gaia (E8 6c), Black Rocks. Photo: Alex Messenger.

As sport climbing gains in popularity there is a feeling, by some people, that places to go Trad, or traditional, climbing are being lost. As a member of the UIAA's Traditional Values Working Group, Doug Scott has coordinated the writing of a paper on the issue.

The paper, entitled The Preservation of Natural Rock for Adventure Climbing, has been approved by the UIAA's Management Committee and is now therefore UIAA policy.

The following is the executive summary of the paper:

Despite earlier attempts by the UIAA to offer guidance on fixed equipment and the conservation of natural rock, bolts continue to be placed in areas where many climbers wish they were not.

This document evaluates the history and appeal of different forms of rock climbing, and considers earlier attitudes to fixed gear. 

It also considers how the case for adventure climbing can be re-stated more effectively and asks for guidance from the UIAA for Federations in developing countries on how to sustain the balance between sport and adventure climbing.

Finally, in the appendix, it offers the views of leading climbers and climbing thinkers on how progress can be made in reaching a more balanced approach to meeting the needs of adventure and sport climbers – and the environment

Read the complete document here


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