In a detailed article, the Czech commented on the subject of chipping. He also deals with the use of glue, sanded holes and pinscars on El Cap. His conclusion: he used to be a purist, today he is more of a pragmatist. The text raises many questions, but does not always provide answers. This shows: condemning chipping across the board as manipulation does not do justice to the matter.

Ondra's positions are initially as expected: Drill holes in the bare rock? Doesn't work at all. Reinforce a scale with glue or remove loose rock areas? He used to take the position that the rock should not be changed at all. In the meantime he has changed: "Over the years I have changed from a purist to a pragmatist."

He has traveled a lot and opened a few routes himself. For their beauty and safety, he often did more aggressive cleaning work on the rock. "Without this practice, some areas wouldn't exist or they just wouldn't be nice to climb."

“Over the years I have dated

Purists transformed into pragmatists. "

Adam Ondra

Ondra feels in his text with the title "Climbing Ethics - Is Route Chipping Right Or Wrong?“The fine line between clumsy fingering and acceptable rework. Ondra also shows understanding for the fact that in the early days of climbing you had a different awareness.

“I have nothing against chipped routes from the past. They are part of climbing history and should not be changed. Unfortunately, routes with obvious manipulations are still being built today. Even with drilled holes that make for ladder-like climbs. I think this is something that has to stop. I have a pretty strong opinion on that. "

Video: Adam Ondra testing the on-road Just Do it on Smith Rock
Adam Ondra attempting the onsight route Just do it at Smith Rock - a route with partly chipped grips. (Image: AO Content Pool)

On the other hand, it is often the case that bad rock has to be reinforced with glue so that loose scales do not break off. Ondra is the name of the Spanish climbing area Santa Linya as an example: “Instead of just drilling holes, we use glue to make the chossed (English for bad rock) to reinforce. The question is: is it worth exploring routes in the chossed to create with a lot of glue? Is it perhaps better to just let it go? "

"The question is: is it worth it

Creating routes with a lot of glue?

Is it maybe better

just let it stay? "

Adam Ondra

A plea for residual recycling

From his experience it is worth it. Not least because he sees it as a global aspect: "It may even be worthwhile for environmental reasons - you don't have to travel around the world for a good day of climbing."

The plea for residual recycling on the doorstep is understandable, only: Santa Linya is in Spain and not in the Czech Republic ... Ondra so apparently travels halfway around the world to climb in the “choss”. His personal rule is to use as little glue as possible, he writes.

Adam Ondra joins the 9b route Neanderthal in Santa Linya
Adam Ondra joins the 9b route Neanderthal in Santa Linya. (Image: Art of Route)

“Securing a scale that can barely hold its own weight creates an artificial grip for me. Even so, creating new routes is a lot of work and we should say hello to all the boys and girls who are working hard on the rocks and creating routes that we can all have fun with. On the other hand, it is a very difficult ethical question to set clear guidelines as to what is okay and what is not. "

“Should all El Cap routes as

chipped? "

Adam Ondra

Finally, Ondra dares the thought experiment El Cap: "Should all El Cap routes be viewed as chipped?", He asks in view of the fact that almost every crack in Yosemite shows traces of technical climbing - strictly speaking, so-called "pinscars" could be called "pinscars" consider man-made and thus chipped handles.

Decide on a case-by-case basis

Ondra speaks out for or against certain practices several times, which at first glance gives the text the appearance of a clear positioning. On closer inspection, however, it is more of a combination of well-known positions suspended from examples X, Y, Z, sometimes somewhat erratic or even contradictory.

For example, when the Czech sounds sympathetic in the first part of the text when he explains that many holes in Margalef are so sharp that climbing would be impossible without sanding them down. In the last section, however, there is the sentence: “The worst thing is to change existing handles. That is irreversible. "

This shows that the subject of chipping is far more complex. With a blanket condemnation of handle manipulation one does not do justice to the matter. The individual case must always be considered.

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Credits: Cover picture Bernardo Gimenez

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