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Jan 10, 2012 – What’s Wrong With this Picture?

At first glance, this film of Kasia Pietras and Jimmy Webb climbing V11 and V13 respectively, seems just like many other videos featuring young climbers sending difficult boulder problems.

At first glance, this film of Kasia Pietras and Jimmy Webb climbing V11 and V13 respectively, seems just like many other videos featuring young climbers sending difficult boulder problems. For some climbers however, what makes this film stand out is that Webb’s segment shows him climbing the same V11 problem Pietras had just completed. In their opinion the only difference seems to be that Webb added about four more moves at the start before he hit the V11’s obvious larger starting holds – a common tactic known as the sit-down-start (SDS). While there’s no denying Pietras and Webb’s climbing mastery, some say the popularity of the SDS (and link-up) phenomenon seems to devalue the aesthetic beauty and inspirational qualities inherent in climbing. These critics suggests that rather than climbing higher (and perhaps closer to God), climbers now seem content to dig out lower starts – all in the name of technical difficulty. These critics feel that if the notion of difficulty-at-any-price becomes the only measure by which we value problems and routes, then how long before climbers start attempting climbs with weight vests and one hand tied behind their back. So, are the critics right and does the future of bouldering lie in some crazy hybridization of caving and bouldering where excavation equipment (for digging out even lower SDS) supplants brushes and chalk buckets?

Check out the video below.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/34486232[/vimeo]