Thursday, May 13, 2010

That Hold Is Off

A picture of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.  The red arrows point to "off" holds.  One points to a detached block and the other to a giant ledge.  This was originally posted as a four star boulder problem.

I hate that phrase so badly. It makes me sad that it's even a talking point for people.

Elimintates are a tricky business. Here in the midwest we're sort of stuck with a certain amount of rock and a very old ethic of squeezing all the possible lines out of that rock.

Chris and I had a nice conversation the other week about this topic and it's been something that I've wanted to write about for a while now. In my career at DL I've gone through a wide range of emotions about the subject. While I see that the occasional eliminate can be fun in a stupid sort of way, I'm much less inclined to "follow the rules" than I used to be.

Chris said a couple things that caught me. The first was this:

"Yeah, the whole time I was working that thing, and ultimately made it go my way, which sounds similiar to your way, I was thinking I wish I knew what "it was supposed to be". Kind of a shame really. It isn't supposed to be anything. It's a piece of rock. And I was psyched to snag that jug flying across the face. "

The second was something that many people have mentioned before, but he put it well:

"To find a pure line, that clearly has a start hold, nothing is off, and tops out, is the pinnacle. None of this other stuff." 

Really couldn't put it any better. It's refreshing to hear more and more people saying similar things recently. With the amount of problems going up in the past 2-3 years there has been a remarkable absence of eliminates going around. It's been somewhat of a changing of the guard I guess.

Eliminates are quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard of and it's rather nice to see them go more and more by the wayside as time goes on. I encourage anyone who climbs at the lake to "just say no" to eliminates. If you think the hold might be off you should grab it out of spite, just to stick it to the man.

I could talk about this for hours, really. Instead I'll just post a picture of myself looking totally ridiculous. Ryan, this one's for you. This was minutes after falling off of the topout of Pinball at Burma sans pads on my birthday. And yes, the fritter was delicious.


  1. YESSSSS, I hope there was some spandex under all that purple.

    On topic, the one eliminate I will always remember and still hold as a classic is block head at rib. Otherwise I agree with all the above statements/sentiments above.

    Now everyone else name your favorite eliminate, we all have one...


  2. Not spandex but far too short teal umbro shorts.

    Funny you mention Block Head. I actually thought that was possibly the worst boulder problem I'd ever gotten on. Like ever ever. Just could not get over how stupid it was. Thought it was the epitomy of pointless.

    Oh well. Differing opinions.

    Not sure I have a favorite eliminate. Gonna have to think hard about that one.

  3. Scratch that Ryan. Looking back at the problems I did not get on headstone but rather Aaron got me on Path of Least Resistance. That, Sir, was a damn stupid problem.

  4. I agree Steve, the Path of Least Resistance is bad, real bad. Block Head is my favorite eliminate ever, take that. Rib is full of eliminates. No additives is another great example, don't use those big ledges, they are off!!
    Another good Lake eliminate is Bark Bitter, I love to grab the arete. It should be on damn it!
    Good point to bring up. What did you figure out with Axiom. Is it an eliminate? Chris, any input? Oh yeah a classic that we all love-Venus Rising! Best eliminate at the Lake?
    For historical reasons, I always post the eliminate beta on MP, just so people know.

    Keep the hot topics coming,

  5. Nice post Steve. WI climbers, we love eliminates! No wait, we hate them! Remo, I am just glad you post stuff up, that is huge for all the community here. No matter what it says. Steve I totally agree. On the one hand, rock is limited, and sometimes it seems like something would be a way better line if a certain ledge, or a crack, or whatever, was "off". And it's cool to do it that way, in fact we used to do that a lot at Westby and other places, just to make something more interesting or harder. But it is what it is then, an eliminate, IMO not a 4 star problem. And it's even more frustrating to me, when I set out to do something, then hear "oh you did that wrong". Well, ok then, really I'm not out there to be able to post it up on 8a and email my sponsors. So who cares. However, on the other hand, it's nice to be consistant, and if you do something that has unclear beta, and it seems too easy, then probably you did it "wrong". I can see how this goes: if someone does something a hard way (maybe as an eliminate) then someone else comes along and "sends" it using easier beta (an OFF hold or whatever) it's human nature to call that out. Where the line is, it's hard to know. Like I said, a perfect line has an obvious start, goes up, and tops out. Then there is no question. A multitude of great examples exist: Sandstone Violence, Alpine Club, Flatiron, Jenga, Massive Vertigo (even though the knee bar was found), Direct Line at Quincy (now off limits), and many many more.

    As for Axiom, all I can say is, that going for that jug does not seem consistant with a climb that has the work "Arete" in it, since the jug is on the face. Also, it was given V7, and I am not sure (if I had a 8a account) that I could claim V7 for what I did, based on other 6's and 7's that have less obscure beta that I've done. So I assume the original line goes straight up the arete, at least to the base of the top block. But really I have no idea, and starting up the arete and moving to face jug was a helluva fun problem. ce