Defining a flash

Defining a flash

Posted on 16. Feb, 2015 by in News

Recently, an ethical issue in regards to bouldering has arisen and I’m compelled to share some thoughts, and hopefully start a discussion.

Climbing is often touted as a lifestyle sport, with vaguely defined rules and regulations as to how to participate. People climb for many reasons, one of which being that they don’t want to be told what to do or how to do it. Yet our sport is grounded firmly in the achievements of our athletes. Lynn Hill climbing the first free ascent of The Nose, Lisa Rands climbing the FFA of The Mandala, or Daniel Woods flashing the first V14, Entlinge. What do these ascents actually mean, not only in and of themselves, but in the greater context of our sport? Sometimes it’s hard to understand, because while many of the ethics which define climbing are well understood by the community at large, these ethics have also not been clearly written down.

There are many ways in which this lack of structure has played out, and over the years I have argued hundreds of times, on this site and in person, for more standardization, more definition, and more structure to what we are doing (by defining starting holds, stand/sitstart ethics, uncut footage, etc), in an effort to give more meaning to the achievements of our sport and in turn the sport itself. We’ve decided in a public and communal sense on how to define (with our language, actions and ethics) climbing, bouldering, first ascents, repeats and flashes, and that these things hold meaning. Without this meaning, achievements in bouldering are little more than playing in the woods. The ascents and the ethics by which those ascents are achieved and the terminology used to talk about those ascents quite literally define our modern sport. Unfortunately, climbers try all the time to take advantage of the lack of complete structure that pervades the system, in an effort to gain some kind of perceived advantage.

The reason for all of this is a recent ascent by Francesca Metcalf of The Chattanoogan V12, in Little Rock City. Francesca claimed to have flashed the problem, which would be the first flash of a V12 by a female. Interestingly enough, she had climbed the second half of the problem, a V7 called Midway, weeks prior. Because she climbed the harder part of The Chattanoogan on her “first attempt” of trying, she credited herself with a flash ascent. She was honest about the fact that she had tried the problem previously, and even so, her ascent of a V12 is up to par with other talented females across the country.

Her use of the word flash is specifically what I’d like to challenge, as it is far different from the one myself and many, many other climbers have come to understand over the years, which is this:

Flash: to climb a boulder problem from the start on the first attempt, having never pulled off the ground on any part of the climb whatsoever. Forbidden: hanging from the holds, climbing other sections as a warmup or otherwise (difficulty being irrelevant), climbing a shared start or finish with another problem. Allowed: Feeling holds, receiving beta before and during the climb, brushing holds, watching videos of other previous ascents. This definition is admittedly incomplete, but for the sake of this discussion it will suffice.

It is imperative we clearly define the standards by which achievements like this are measured, and that those standards are exactly the same for everyone. By making her ascent public, and disregarding the standards that have been laid out by climbers over the years, the climber implies somehow that she wants to compete on the same public playing field as everyone else, yet not by the same rules. It’s not clear to me what has entitled her to think so. While her ascent of the climb is legitimate and impressive, claiming the ascent as a flash does nothing but attenuate the rules and definitions by which we all play.

Some will argue that they don’t want to be hindered by rules or told what do, and that they climb to get away from all that. Or that all they really want to do is play on stones in the woods. That’s fine, we should live in a free society. But you can’t have it both ways, making real and public claims about achievements intended to mean something (I made the first female flash of a V12…) but not using the proper structure or definitions to back those claims up (…but I had already done part of the problem). I think most people would agree that while people can and do have the freedom to bend the truth, outright lie about ascents, or chip boulder problems, this is not the best expression of our sport or ourselves. Bouldering is built on the achievements of boulderers, and those achievements are defined by the language and ethical structures we use. With clear and meaningful definitions, ascents can represent real tangible progression.

I would love to hear thoughts on what you think constitutes a flash, and whether or not Francesca’s ascent should be considered the first female flash of a V12.

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84 Responses to “Defining a flash”

  1. Rising

    16. Feb, 2015

    My only concern here is how it was reported, and Francesca’s part in that. Did someone she was climbing with report it without knowing her previous Midway history? Did she actually report it herself as a bonafide flash, and then rescind it later after blowback? Don’t want to put undue blame where blame may not be due and in our current instagram/8a world where ascents are reported literally seconds after they happen, something may have been jumbled in translation. Still a sick ascent obviously, would like to know a bit more of the details. Great writeup as always Jamie.

  2. bmj

    16. Feb, 2015

    I’d perhaps add one other item to the “allowed” practices–down-climbing to the start without falling. Wasn’t this an accepted practice in the days of yore, particularly when trying to onsight a route? A flash means, essentially, “I didn’t fall off.”

  3. B3

    16. Feb, 2015

    From her personal Facebook page, and I quote “So I flashed the Chattanoogan yesterday.”

  4. Jens

    16. Feb, 2015

    We at 8a like to call it “yellow flag”.

  5. Dave Flanagan

    16. Feb, 2015

    I think there should be room for some flexibility. Lets say there was a V14 that shared a finish with a V1 problem. If someone did the V14 first go but had previously done the V1 would it be reasonable to claim the flash, I think so.

    Not knowing the problems in this case it’s hard to say what is reasonable. If the V7 was very droppable or hard to read or pumpy then maybe it shouldn’t be considered a flash. But gradewise the differential is pretty large ie. if you can flash V12 then V7 shouldn’t be an issue. Which raises the question is the V7 finish factor in the V7 grade?

  6. B3

    16. Feb, 2015

    Dave Flanagan, you say yourself that it’s hard to know what’s reasonable, yet you want flexibility, and go on to argue that if the problem is V7 or droppable then it should be considered? What’s not reasonable about the argument I presented? It gives a clear a definitive answer every time.
    And again, if the rules aren’t clearly defined then what point is it in having rules? You use extreme examples but what if it’s V4? What if the last move is low percentage? How do we determine whether or not V7 “shouldn’t be an issue” I’ve climbed hundreds of days with Dave Graham who has established V15s and I’ve seen him fail on V7. I guess Francesca is better somehow?

  7. Slabdyno

    17. Feb, 2015

    Yup. I agree with Jamie. Gdamn it

  8. Chris

    17. Feb, 2015

    @BMJ I’d argue that you get one attempt, and that returning to the ground for any amount of time negates that one attempt.

  9. Beau

    17. Feb, 2015

    So my definition of a flash is as exactly as Jamie has defined it. Where do you draw the line? Exactly there, no bending the rules, no special consideration. If you do that V1 finish, and then you do a V(WHATEVER) first go, it is not a flash. I recently heard about a person who rapped down a route in Europe somewhere and felt, brushed, and ticked every hold, then claimed an onsight? The word onsight to me seems pretty self explanatory. If there are sit starts to a boulder problem and I do the original start, then do the sit start first try it’s not a flash, so why would this be any different?

    You can not hang from any of the holds on the problem before an ascent on your first try.

    From start to finish, first try.

    it’s simple. don’t try to make it difficult.

  10. Dave Flanagan

    17. Feb, 2015

    Ok if you insist on a definite rule then the definition you suggest is the only option. But the rule isn’t reasonable, the example of the V14 with a V1 finish illustrates this.

    I think it comes down to the climber to make a call, others who know the problems could also form an opinion.

    BTW I’ve seen a V15 climber fail on a V4.

  11. Gaby

    17. Feb, 2015

    From my point of view, with all the pics and videos on the internet now, “onsight” does NOT exist anymore. Only “flash”attempts can be considered. And I agree with the rules you gave for defining what a “flash” is…

  12. Mike Rathke

    17. Feb, 2015

    Watch your mouth

  13. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Dave, I guess what I don’t understand is that if the climber gets to “make the call” as you suggest, when are they ever going to call themselves out? It seems like the system you’re suggesting disincentivizes them to do so. I just can’t see it happening when you are dealing with super competitive people trying to earn money by being the best. For example, in the NBA the players can’t be relied on to call themselves out, so they have officials. In some sense the same thing is happening here.

  14. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Let me understand this. So if it’s V14 and V1 then it’s ok? What about V14 and V2? How about V4? (not ok because you saw a pro fall on a V4?) What is the rule you’re suggesting? That the climber picks the rule? Isn’t that then highly subjective? How can you say then, given a subjective rule (that climbers are allowed, by the rule) to bend and break at their own whims, that anything has been climbed? It’s clearly a slippery slope. Francesca was looking for an advantage, but if climbers call themselves out what happens when someone is looking for an advantage on Francesca which is guaranteed to happen. And then when the next person looks for an advantage on the person who was looking for an advantage? How then will we differentiate between what we understand to be a flash, and what someone calls a flash after bending the rules 10 times?

  15. baab

    18. Feb, 2015

    @Dave Flanagan we’re not talking about semantics here. This is that somebody already climbed HALF THE BOULDER and then claimed to have flashed it. This isn’t even arguable!!!!!

  16. Grizzly

    18. Feb, 2015

    Its not a flash. Plain and simple. Having done any part of the problem before negates the flash. If the V7 didn’t exist there’d be no argument as to it being a flash or not. What if it took her twenty tries to nail the V7 finish? Now that beta is burnt into the muscles and memory making the added difficulty of a flash non-existent.

  17. mac

    18. Feb, 2015

    We as a community need to add in one more term that we use often.

    FIRST GO

    In the world of link ups, sit and stand starts and variations. This is usefull. Yes some use this already, but more should.

  18. dm

    18. Feb, 2015

    What about Paul Robinson’s recent flash of The Shield… then reported that he had forgot he had been on the problem years before? Are false reports like this more often then we think? P.s how do you forgot you climbed a boulder once rated best boulder in the u.s. (no offense p rob)

  19. Jeremy

    18. Feb, 2015

    So I do agree with Jamie in that because she did Midway first that her ascent of The Chattanoogan is not technically a flash. However, I would like to point out that she did in fact do the moves that the Chattanoogan does not share with Midway(the moves before the large sidepull that Midway starts on) on her first try, which to me is an exceptional accomplishment to say the least. While technically her accomplishment is not a V12 flash, it is still very impressive, and even more so considering that she did it twice. The footage that is posted online is of her second attempt, in which she again did all the moves of the Chattanoogan going into Midway on her first try. So to me, it doesn’t really matter that she didn’t meet the criteria for a “flash” but the fact that she did those moves in the beginning of the boulder problem which are really really hard on her first try. That’s cool. And when it really comes down to it, isn’t everyone bouldering because they think that it’s cool/fun/rewarding?

  20. AaronK

    18. Feb, 2015

    Sick send. Not a flash.

    A flash has a definition, and her ascent doesn’t meet the minimum parameters.

    But truly an astonishing and amazing accomplishment nonetheless, one to be very proud of, by anyone.

  21. Greer

    18. Feb, 2015

    You know, climbing was never intended to see who could flash a problem or onsight it. Climbing was born out of a desire for adventure and all the arguments that have spurred from this defeat that purpose. In competition climbing, of course rules should be inforced and i believe that a climber has the responsibility to respect the sport and act with integrity when they share their accomplishments. But let’s not stray from the fact that climbing is supposed to be simple and natural, not embellished.

  22. Oliver

    18. Feb, 2015

    Appropriate reporting of her ascent might have been
    “I almost flashed The Chatanoogan! Sick! Unfortunately I did the (V7) top out before trying the flash. That would have been the 1st female V12 flash. Oh well. Next time I’ll try from the bottom first!”
    I’ve always thought there are pretty clear rules when it comes to flash or onsight, otherwise- if it has to be reported- just be honest! It’s still awesome, and ultimately more inspiring to hear someones process on the road to real achievement.

  23. m

    18. Feb, 2015

    she certainly climbed the crux of a hard climb first go, even flashed the hard first part of a problem if you will, but she definitely didn’t flash said problem. it’s as simple as that.

  24. Jens

    18. Feb, 2015

    It is very hard for me to understand why you can not see that it is absolutely impossible to draw a black and white line here.

    What if two boulders just shared the same finishing hold and the first tried was a 6A and the traverse going into the 6A was an 8B+.

    I am sure that 99.99999 % would consider the 8B+ Flash vaild.

    I have explained it further on 8a :)

  25. Ryan

    18. Feb, 2015

    No flash. Grizzly said it best. You cant possibly underestimate the muscle memory. When you are pumped out from that V12 section and hit a section of “easier” climbing that your muscles already know – not the same thing at all. We can all agree to that. There is no argument here in my opinion. Simple – no flash.

  26. Dave Flanagan

    18. Feb, 2015

    I’m not pushing for a rule. Climbing isn’t the NBA, there is no rulebook. You have a definition, one that makes perfect sense

    There are no judges in climbing, standing there watching every climb, if a climber claims an onsight, flash or ascents it should be taken on trust, unless there is a good reason to doubt. So I would trust a climber who claims a flash of a problem unless there was a good reason not to. In this specific case people who know the problem concerned seem to think that it wasn’t a legitimate flash, fair enough.

    If climbers are taking advantage of the trust system they should be called out on it.

    In Ultimate Disc they self-referee using a system called spirit of the game, I would think in financial terms Ultimate has more in common with climbing than NBA.

  27. Riemer

    18. Feb, 2015

    Thanks for bringing the discussion up! I actually don’t feel good either way. Mentioning the NBA judges underlines very well the whole subjectivity (and beauty) of climbing.

    If you want to take the issue to supreme climbing court and let the judges do their thing, it is not a flash. But for the jury it might be another matter. Put her on the stand, explain why she thinks it is a flash and I am willing to listen.

    What she says on Facebook is up to her, she felt she flashed it, good for her! Whatever we think it is does not really matter to me. However. like you pointed out. how about the ruling counsels of climbing media and the history protectors? Looking back on our ethics I think we have come a long way and on closer inspection our respected heroes might not always have been clean given the standards you described, but we don’t know. If anything it is only because Franscesca chose to come clean that we can now have this discussion about her reputation.

  28. Ryan

    18. Feb, 2015

    I have to say that this does bring up a great point about standardization of terminology.

    One thing that has always got me is the sit starts. I have seen taller people “sit start” while missing the first two to three moves. I also see ALLOT of using momentum off the sit start. I always thought that one should pull on and become established on the start holds prior to pulling the first move. I honestly dont know which is “correct” form here.

  29. Svilen

    18. Feb, 2015

    “Desperanza (V15) is a lower start (approximately V7) that leads into Esperanza (V14).”

  30. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Jens, your argument doesn’t make sense because you draw an arbitrary line at one hold. Why not two holds? What if 98% of the climbers say it would be okay instead of 99.9? Also after posting this on Facebook it’s clear that the vast majority of people following along here in America agree with my stance. So your 99% figure which you pulled out of thin air means nothing. What about 96%? How about 94% Where do you draw the line and how do you justify where that line has been drawn? What you think is acceptable?

    My argument presents a simple and clean rule which can easily be followed in every instance, and has been the standard here in America for years. The only reason people are trying to do less than what the rule states and claim that they’ve done the same is they are trying to play be a different standard to make themselves look better.

  31. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    DM it seems very hard to me to imagine forgetting I had tried the Shield.

  32. AB

    18. Feb, 2015

    Paul worked the climb 8 years ago so that he could come back and day flash !!

  33. BB

    18. Feb, 2015

    If you do half the climb beforehand, it’s not a flash. Pretty simple actually

  34. Hunter

    18. Feb, 2015

    I’ve been climbing for almost my entire life…I started in the late 90’s as a young teenager. My entire career the defnition of flash has remained the same:

    “Flash: to climb a boulder problem from the start on the first attempt, having never pulled off the ground on any part of the climb whatsoever. Forbidden: hanging from the holds, climbing other sections as a warmup or otherwise (difficulty being irrelevant), climbing a shared start or finish with another problem. Allowed: Feeling holds, receiving beta before and during the climb, brushing holds, watching videos of other previous ascents. This definition is admittedly incomplete, but for the sake of this discussion it will suffice.”

    This is a definition and it is not meant to be interperted or considered in any different way. There have always been standards and they need to remain the same.

    Although very impressive she sent V12 it was NOT a flash period. She had already climbed a section of the boulder inorder to be a flash you must have never pulled off the ground on any part of the boulder problem and an “Onsight” is a flash without any form of given beta including videos, spray anything…

  35. Dobbe

    18. Feb, 2015

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  36. Tom Rangitsch

    18. Feb, 2015

    Interesting discussion. I think it comes down to honestly reporting what someone did. Like “I flashed the v12 first part of the problem, but had been on the v7 finish before.” Still an impressive ascent no doubt and I would say it is a v12 flash, just with the above mentioned caveat.

    The other issue that I would like to comment on is that of sit starts. What does define a starting hold? There are grey areas here I think. Many times there is an obvious start with a good hold/holds that are easy to agree upon. But it seems more and more there are contrivances that show up. These would include laying down to start a problem, using a less good hold from a sitting position when one can easily reach a better or more obvious hold, or traversing in from a previously defined sit. I don’t really know what the answer is here, except for again honestly reporting what you have done, because it probably is harder to do a boulder problem from some contrived starting position even though it may ultimately detract from the quality of the line.

    I guess my overarching point is that it really only comes down to personal ethics for the vast majority of us and honesty is the best policy. Sponsored climbers who make their living from the sport should be held to a higher level of scrutiny as they may be misrepresenting their accomplishments for monetary gain. But for me at least, if I can’t scrunch up to start on the lowest possible hold of some problem that I have done the finish of already and I get to the top without falling, I am going to be pretty stoked for myself for my own personal achievement.

  37. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Tom thanks for the comment, and nice to hear from you! I’d never guess you’d ever visit B3! I really would like to get away from caveats and asterisks, as again it’s hard to understand what was actually achieved. Let’s come up with a new word if need be, but flash is already defined. In my opinion, Francesca did less than what’s required but claimed to have done the same. I’d rather have stringent standards that don’t move, and easier to understand achievements than the opposite. I’m not sure what the motivation for having less rigid standards is? It’s clear to me that people will try to take advantage of flimsy standards (as evidenced by the fact that they do all the time)

    In regards to your other point, I have written many times previously on this blog and argued in person that the sit start stand issue is resolved by defining a boulder problem by where the First Ascentionist starts. This again eliminates subjective ambiguity on the issue. In other words, the Faist defines the boulder problem by starting where they start, and if subsequent climbers are interested in repeating what the FAist has done, then they should start where he/she started. Again, it gives a clear, easy to understand and definitive answer every time.

  38. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Hunter thanks for the comment! Glad to see we are in agreement. You’ve been bouldering for a long time, and your conclusion is one many lifelong boulderers have come to.

  39. Jens

    18. Feb, 2015

    B3: So if someone says he flashed an 8B which shares only the same finishing jug as an 6A he did five years ago, would you not say he flashed the 8B?

    My point is, as you say, that we can not draw an exact line what is OK and what is NOT OK? Therefore, I think it is best to talk “yellow flag”.

    If you try to set up exact rules for onsight etc, this will just start an endless debate as we can never come to an agreement…but we can agree that it is a “gray” area.

  40. MoMoneyMoProblems

    18. Feb, 2015

    I would like to validate your need to define the rules in climbing with a story and also add that we not only need rules, but people who are genuinely interested in enforcing those rules.
    This story has to do with sport climbing, so bear with me.
    At my local crag there is a really classic .13b that kind of resembles a test for graduating to the harder climbing at the cliff. It’s a relatively small cliff so a lot of the climbs have extensions or link ups. This particular climb has a few extensions or derivations but the most obvious extension keeps the plum line of the route and goes another thirty feet or so past the anchors that signify the end of the line. The extension is given the same grade as the original line (and funny enough the extension was historically the ‘original’ line until someone put anchors slightly lower at a more logical stopping point). My story begins with a very strong up and coming local climber who at the time was young, maybe 17 or 18? He redpointed the .13b after several attempt’s and one day decided to do the extension. He managed to do the extension on his first try (it’s roughly 30 to 35 feet of more climbing with the hardest moves clocking in around .11d, hence the reason why the grade doesn’t really change). He logged the climb on his scorecard which is fine, except for the fact that he logged it as an 8a ‘flash’. This raised some eyebrows. Now, in my opinion this is obviously NOT a flash, and my opinion was backed up by many of the local climbers at the crag. Eventually one of the locals reached out to this young gun and set him straight; at the end of the day he was convinced to change it from a flash to a redpoint.
    Now I realize this has little to no effect on the climbing community at large but it does illustrate some of your points. And further more goes to show the importance that local climbers can play in enforcing the rules of the game.
    Now as for what constitutes a flash? Whatever the line you end up choosing, whether it has five derivations or none, you only get one chance. ONE chance. Not ten to do the V.7 part and one for the V.12 part; it’s one for the entire line. That should really form the foundation of the rule. If you are faced with a personal dilemma about your ascent ask yourself this, how many times did I try the line? If it’s one, then congrats! You flashed it!! If you warmed up by doing the V.1 ending ten times and then hopped on the V.10 low start and flashed it, then I would definitely give you credit for flashing V.10 moves, but not for flashing the entire V.10 line (hence, on your 8a.nu scorecard you better log it as a redpoint or the local climbers will come after you like a horde of flesh eating zombies).
    I do agree that these rules should only strictly adhere to the climbing scene in terms of gaining some kind of financial fortitude amongst sponsors or social media outlets, or building a rep based on your achievements. If those achievements aren’t based on any kind of standardized system of measurement than how are we to decide the kind of depth, weight, and impact those achievements have on the climbing community and the activity of climbing itself. This is where the split occurs. You are either in the camp of ‘it doesn’t matter bro let’s just have a good time’, or the camp that says ‘Holy shit did you just flash V.14??!!! Here’s a $250,000 contract to be a representative for our products. We want to see more of these ground breaking feats of strength!’.
    In other words professional athletes in other disciplines are HIGHLY scrutinized, and for a good reason, there is a shit ton of money on the line. No one has cared about the rules of climbing in years past because there has been relatively very small amounts of money that depend on proving whether or not someone actually did what they said they did (Rich Simpson comes to mind). And there are still very small amounts of money being put into climbing but the tide is slowly changing. The absolute best are starting to get paid pretty well if you ask me (Didn’t DW just buy a house in Boulder??, Sharma looks like he’s doing okay, along with others like Graham, Kinder, Webb, Robinson, Puccio, Johnson, even the kids are getting in on it I know Drew Ruana has contracts with Scarpa and Trango, Mad Rock seems content to throw money and product at gym rats to convince other gym rats that Mad Rock shoes are actually cool and useful, my point is that the industry is growing and while we have a LONG way to go before it gets to the point of multi-million dollar contracts, drug possession charges, sex scandals, dog fighting, and spousal abuse; climbing is not immune from the jaws of commercial intent that profit from it being commoditized, codified, and quantified. The other part of this is floating amidst the sentiment that climbing is truly a lifestyle activity and not a sport. Here’s a question, If a climber sends V.15 in the woods and no one’s around to see or hear it, does Five Ten still make money? John Gaskin’s was arguably one of the strongest boulderers in the world and yet he reaped none of the financial benefits from any of his feats, although he also didn’t drool over the prospects of exploiting himself either. It goes without saying that standards and criteria define a sport or activity but applying meaning is a subjective and personal matter. I’m not sure the two are synonymous here. Where it does matter is in the realm of money. We all shuddered when Lance Armstrong was called out for blood doping, Rich Simpson was stripped of his sponsors when he couldn’t provide proof of his ascents, Sharma kicked out of the X-games when he tested positive for marijuana use, countless baseball players catch heat for steroid use, would anyone give two shits about this kind of activity if sponsorship (MONEY) wasn’t on the line? My point is that defining the rules of climbing is only important if it affects someone’s bank roll. How would Francesca claiming she is the first female to flash a V.12 affect her life as a climber? Would it earn her or her sponsors more money? Or is it more important than that. Is it a matter of integrity, the holey glue that binds the activity to us and provides us a moral compass to determine whether or not this is actually worth our time? What if I was able decide whether or not my jump shot in a game of basketball counted as three points?
    Back to the money argument. In the case of a climber flashing a V.14 but having already done the V.1 top out, this is a very interesting scenario in my opinion. And brings up a case of economic accountability. How do you report the send? If it was just between you and your buddies I’m sure no one would give two shits about saying yeah he flashed it. But what about the accountability of adhering to the rules of the game in order to preserve a sense of integrity within the climbing community? And how much would reporting it as a flash instead of redpoint boost the sales for your sponsors? Provide you with climbing clout and make you more money? These are the pitfalls a climber faces or may face when choosing how to decide to report an ascent. Because in the end, who is there to referee the climber if not the community or him/herself? If it’s in the best interest of a company for the climber to fudge on reporting the style of an ascent than my fear is that criteria and standards for how to play the game become futile and can actually start to be used as a tool to bolster someone’s career.

  41. Björn

    18. Feb, 2015

    Actually… there’s nothing to discuss. The rules are crystal clear. Jamie is right, simple as that.

  42. B3

    18. Feb, 2015

    Jens there only endless debate with the muddled system you’re advocating. As many on here have suggested there’s actually nothing to debate when you have a clear and well defined rule. Thank you Bjorn!

  43. Jens

    18. Feb, 2015

    The big problem is that it is impossible to have a crystal clear and well defined rule that the whole climbing community could agree upon and that nobody would brake.

    I think it is better to use the “yellow” card system as it means we accept almost all opinions at the same time as we try to stop the devaluation of the ethics.

    As you can see in Francesca’s Facebook thread, many are upset for just making this into a black or white thing.

  44. Anson

    19. Feb, 2015

    Let’s add the word ‘psuedo-flash’ to our vocab. Then we can bin all these unclear cases into that category and relax.

  45. Nate

    19. Feb, 2015

    I agree with you Jamie. I’m glad to know now that I can touch the holds before I make my first attempt (Flash) outside. In plastic competition you cannot touch any holds or feet with your hands besides touching the start hold(s). You can touch the feet with your feet too.

    The only question I would bring up to Jens about what if there are two separate problems that share the same finish hold is.. What if the finish hold is hard to hold, or the top out is tricky? Let’s say the top out hold is the hardest to hold or the top out is pretty tricky (even if its not tricky, knowing how hold the hold, or to top out regardless if its hard or not can help if your pumped or not. Gives you extra confidence). I’d say you better try to flash the harder problem first if that is what you are going for.

    I mean coming from comp rules, now knowing that I can touch holds outside throughout the problem (with said rules/ethics) gives me extra confidence! Not like I’m going to be doing that much anytime soon and be bummed about it.

  46. Juan

    19. Feb, 2015

    You might wanna talk about PRob’s recent flash of Aggravated Assault who he later corrected because he “forgot” he had been on it before. Just saying…

  47. Nathan Gray

    19. Feb, 2015

    If I climb the V1 to warm up but I don’t touch the shared finish hold, then I down climb, start the V10, “flash” it, and use my feet on the shared finish hold (or even the ones below it that I previously touched with my hands) as I top-out… does it count?

    Great discussion. I feel like the term “flash” is pretty well understood and agreed upon in 99.9% of the climbing community.

    Follow the rules.

  48. Jens

    19. Feb, 2015

    Of course if the finish is the only shared hold but the crux, you can not claim two flashes.

    Further more, I do not think you can go and feel every hold on a traverse and call it a flash.

    It is the climbing community who sets the “rules” and in this case, it is obvious as it is not crystal clear as we have a controversy with different opinions.

  49. B3

    19. Feb, 2015

    Jens, first of all it’s irrelevant how much sympathy the climber gets from posting about it on her Facebook. We shouldn’t base rules on such a thing. Secondly, you keep complaining about how hard it is to understand the rules, how not clear they are, then you suggest the most murky, subjective rules possible: “yellow card”, etc. I’ve presented a clear and logical argument that has worked in my own climbing and everyone I know. It’s clear, simple and definitive.

  50. Cristian

    19. Feb, 2015

    “Flash”: Jamie’s perfect definition
    “Flesh”: Anson’s quasi-flash
    “Flish”: Jens’ yellow card
    “Flosh”: Tried long before but forgotten
    “Flush”: Tried just before but forgotten

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