The Future Of Aid Climbing

Free-climbers may feel that aid climbing isolates the climber from the rock. But anyone who has struggled to place a piece of aid while standing above a series of marginal placements understands that aid is not only climbing but a test of technical abilities and nerves.

To ensure that these routes will continue to be a test of skill and nerves, aid climbers are asked to respect certain ethics. If you are climbing an established route, adhere to the ethics of the first-ascent climbers. If they did not need a piton or bolt, don't place one. Use creativity and boldness to overcome the difficulty. A party following you on a route should find it in the condition you found it.

If you're putting up a new route, you are establishing the style for those who follow. Remember that routes once considered difficult using pitons are now free-climbed and that old bolt ladders are often viewed with disdain. Make it your goal to climb cleanly and in a style that climbers can respect. As time goes on, more of today's aid routes will be free-climbed, while aid climbers will push their limits on ever thinner and more remote climbs.

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