Fixed Lines are Taking Over

May 2021

From El Cap to trad crags, fixed lines are taking over our trade routes. They have their place in new routing and remote climbs, but a new model of thinking is needed around this ethic. The current "point system" for big wall style only accounts for personal send asterisks (breaking pitches into stances, stashing, having a dedicated belayer, etc), as if the climber were heroicly alone through the ascent. As of 2021, 5.13 is pedestrian, and we simply have way too many people out climbing rocks to pretend this is still the case. I propose a new LNT metaphor for big wall style:

AMP - Affect Minimal Parties

How many parties did you overlap with, or generally get in the way of? A ground up ascent with no stashing can be unnoticed by all other experiences on the same wall. Big wall free climbs are a finite resource. One climber's fixed lines left in situ for preparation towards an individualistic "in a day" send could literally effect dozens of parties.

It is a twisted reality that those who come in top down by nature get the hero shots and media to share. But please know, people are out there starting at the bottom with food and water, and climbing to the top! Let's all cooperate and protect future experiences up on the big stone