Another 5.14 For Young Drew Ruana

13-year-old Drew Ruana has redpointed another 5.14a at Smith Rock, OR, this time repeating Scarface after about 15 tries.  This is already Drew’s 4th 5.14!  Video of the ascent can be seen here.

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33 Responses to Another 5.14 For Young Drew Ruana

  1. Douglas Hunter February 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Posting this video so soon after the chipping video and discussion creates an interesting juxtaposition. The text at the start of this video is noteworthy:

    “Scarface 5.14a is an ultra-classic, one of Smith Rock’s crown jewels. It was the very first 5.14 rock climb established by an American.”

    A lot of rock was removed to create that ultra-classic crown Jewel, I don’t think there is any doubt that Scarface is a created route. At the same time video of Ivan sculpting a few holds gets universal condemnation. I do think that Scotty got some heat for Scarface initially, but it seems history has judged his efforts favorably. So, maybe the video tells us all we really need to know: Our outrage is temporary. That if a manufactured route yields aesthetic climbing, that is what climbers will remember and with the passage of time we will not care so much about the means. I wonder what climbers will be saying about Ivan’s chipped boulder problems in 20 years?

    (in case it’s not clear I am not judging Scotty or Ivan -i’m in no position to do so!- I am just interested in the historical perspective that can be drawn out from these videos.)

    Also, nice job Drew Ruana.

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    • Aaron Schneider February 27, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      Valuable perspective. To continue the already well noted contrast of routes and boulders, it seems famous boulders (especially really hard ones) carry their chipping history in a more negative light. Instead of “oh well, it climbs really well” there is a sense of “it’s nice, but it could be so much better and pure.” From my understanding, Echale and Dreamtime are good examples.

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      • Andy Mac February 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

        Dreamtime was climbed 4x before it was chipped according to Mr Graham

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        • Aaron Schneider March 1, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

          Ya, guess that does put it in a different category of post-send chippage.

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    • Dan February 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      I know plenty of people who would absolutely not consider it a classic route in the objective sense. It may be famous, popular, and well-known, but it would not be considered a high quality rock climb, because of its manufactured nature.

      I really do not agree with the idea that just because peoples’ outrage fades, and people still choose to climb on the route because it presents a compelling physical challenge, it would not have been better if the route were never chipped in the first place.

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  2. Douglas Hunter February 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Aaron, that’s interesting, I checked out some descriptions of Echale one said “chipped, glued, and dug out, one of the worst problems out there.”

    What other domestic boulder problems carry such a stigma?

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    • Aaron Schneider February 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      I know there is a love/hate relationship with Show of Hands in Moes and Black Mamba in Hueco. I don’t think either has gotten reviews with such scorn.

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  3. Douglas Hunter February 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    “I really do not agree with the idea that just because peoples’ outrage fades, and people still choose to climb on the route because it presents a compelling physical challenge, it would not have been better if the route were never chipped in the first place.”

    Dan, who are you disagreeing with? Certainly you don’t think I was making such an argument? I was just offering a historical description. Far from arguing that Scarface should have been chipped.

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    • Dan February 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      I know that you were not presenting that opinion as your own. You said that “it seems history has judged his efforts favorably.” This indicates that you believe the general opinion to be that the chipping was a good thing. I really hope that this is not the opinion of most climbers, and it definitely is not mine.

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  4. RMR February 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Would it matter if the route/boulder was chipped to make it HARDER rather than easier? Ie, if the hold was busted off?

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    • owen February 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

      Yeah the temple near albuquerque is a good example. Jugs filled with glue to create V double digit testpieces. People have a mixed feeling for this area, most peeps who just turn up and climb are happy, the community in general however sees this as an abomination.

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      • cgh February 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

        What the hell is up in NM? I never seem to hear about good climbing there, just reports of massive construction projects masquerading as outdoor climbing.

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        • Owen February 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

          Yeah its weird. There’s a lot of crags that are currently being discovered, and transitioning to being “public domain”, however sometimes the developers act as if they own it. I think maybe because the landscape is very rugged and remote with a low pop. density they tend to think they can do what they want? I dont know.

          There are some crags that are being developed in a very responsible manner however. Roy canyon for bouldering and capulin canyon for splitter crack climbing the jemez are two areas that are almost ready for general consumption, and they have been developed with the best possible ethics for sure.

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          • yomama March 2, 2013 at 8:34 am #

            yeah, if you consider the ‘best possible style’ to be jumping rancher fences, driving all over protected grasslands, cutting down hundred year old trees, and moving boulders for landings… but yeah, they don’t chip so its cool man, cool.

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    • Dan February 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      Of course it doesn’t matter. You are still permanently altering the climb, and forever preventing another climber from interacting with that natural piece of stone.

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    • Douglas Hunter February 28, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      RMR It should not make a difference at all, and just as some argue that by chipping to increase the size of holds we are robbing future generations of their hard classics. I think we can also argue that by filling in, or breaking off holds there is a degree to which classic but more moderate lines are being sacrificed for the sake of harder but lower quality lines.

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  5. Jon February 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    That’s the case with Scarface “In the middle of the route was a big flake attached to the wall, with a circus move spanning a 4-foot blank section to a huge jug. To me, this seemed like the saving grace – a heel hook on the jug allowed a good recovery before the hard finish. To Scott, this was a disaster. Nothing but 5.14 would do, so this jug had to go – and the whole flake with it. I thought he was kidding, but the next day he tried to blow it off with an M-80 that he carried in his pack for just such an occasion. The explosion reverberated through the park, but the flake didn’t budge.” (Watts)

    Without the flake, Scarface became a classic, it would be just another 5.13 in the country without having the impact and clout it has today. The double standard is that chipping boulders seems pointless and conjures a visceral disgust in climbers, where many sport climbs are classic BECAUSE they are chipped.

    Watching Drew trying this (he’s 4’8 now) was incredible, I can’t speak for the other 14’s he has done but his beta for the low cruxes, where tall climbers reach super high for the mono and then lock it off to the crotch, is heinous and highly technical.

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    • Dan February 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

      Scarface is not classic because it was chipped. It’s historically significant because of the difficulty that it ended up being after it was chipped.

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  6. Will February 27, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Scarface was established in a different time. What was more or less acceptable back then, is no longer acceptable. It’s called progression.

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  7. Justin February 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I can’t help but point out that from my arm-chair perspective, Scarface is only classic because it is the first 5.14 established by an American, not because it is a great and kinesthetic masterpice of human ingenuity, a sequence so compelling that folks travel from all around just to climb it (If I am wrong about this please tell me). Had it been the fiftieth 5.14 established by an American, would we attribute such esteem to it’s chipped nature? Also, Douglas Hunter, it seems to me that you really are taking a stance on this.

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    • Douglas Hunter February 28, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Justin, I hope that routes don’t get classic status just for being some kind of first. A route has to have some form of aesthetic appeal to be considered classic doesn’t it? As for my stance, I am really in no position to take a some kind of moral stance on the issue. If it looks like I am taking a strong stance one way or the other, please assume that it’s because I didn’t express myself very well.

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      • Dan February 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

        This a hard thing to talk about if we don’t ever define what “classic” means. But I don’t think there is any doubt that some climbs are popular and well-known just because they were some kind of first, or have some historical significance, when they are really not very good rock climbs by any objective measure.

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    • guidoprincess February 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      Actually, I think Scarface is one of America’s best routes at the grade regardless of chipping or not. Its got a unique crux, comfortable holds, a fun sequence and a super cool, airy slab finish. Cant say the same about Lucky Pidgin though… Good work drew!

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  8. Justin February 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Oh, and more importantly, CONGRATS DREW! That’s awesome! I wish I had half your talent at your age!

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  9. J February 28, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    Poor Narc can’t report on anything these days without all roads leading to yet another chipping debate!

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    • Narc February 28, 2013 at 6:59 am #

      This conversation has actually been quite interesting

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  10. yomama February 28, 2013 at 4:39 am #

    That is because chipping is scourge that must be eradicated. I think we should not only ostracize those who chip, but those who knowingly climb chipped routes. This kid is a kid, so we’ll let it go this time, but the ethic police are watching…. you have been warned.

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  11. Joseph Clayton February 28, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    3 years ago, I went to New Mexico with some friends to climb. One day we were at Las Conchas (unbelievably beautiful country, btw) which is near Los Alamos. I believe the rock is rhyolite. Anyway, we were at one of the walls along the main road, when all of a sudden, a van filled with geology students from the University of Florida, pulled up and parked. The students spill out of the van, armed with nothing but rock hammers, and proceeded to go to town on the bottom of the rock wall for rock samples.

    So I guess my point to this story is that it’s not only the climbers you should worry about.

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    • joeyjoejoe February 28, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      God, that’s hilarious.

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  12. Justin March 1, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Douglas, fair enough. I personally think the Scarface story is flippin hilarious, and a great way to talk about such a touchy subject. Personally I think the whole notion of chipping the rock is very antithetical to the experience of rock climbing. It’s not just because being in nature and being in peace with your surroundings is traditionally a big part of climbing, though that is part of it. To me a big part of what climbing is, is it is to learn to relinquish control, and find order and clarity in that, and learn about myself in the process. To manipulate the rock is near, if not at, the extreme end on the scale of not relinquishing vs. relinquishing control, and I think that is why folks get so worked up about it. I wasn’t around back when everyone had to go ground up everywhere, but I speculate it’s the same reason they got worked up over hangdogging and rap-bolting. As others have pointed out in the chipping argument, the likely reason chipping has not been widely accepted is because it clearly impacts more people than just the chipper. Douglas presented an argument saying that this impact is overall a positive one. It’s all about which direction we want to encourage the sport to grow…

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    • Douglas Hunter March 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

      “To me a big part of what climbing is, is it is to learn to relinquish control, and find order and clarity in that, and learn about myself in the process. To manipulate the rock is near, if not at, the extreme end on the scale of not relinquishing vs. relinquishing control.”

      Well said.

      “Douglas presented an argument saying that this impact is overall a positive one.”

      Its difficult for me to see how you get that from what I wrote, I was not not making an argument all at but rather speculating based on observations. For the record I do not think that the overall impact of chipping is positive.

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  13. Justin March 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    I think thats because I was not clear enough in presenting my perception of your argument. I seem to be getting that you are saying that there is a context for which chipping maybe is not the boogieman. In any case I am not trying to put words in your mouth.

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