Fabric softener for climbing: The Clipstick

It happened a few years ago in a well-known Spanish climbing area: a German (Franconian) climber comes to the rock, takes out his long magic stick and clips his way up the routes in order to then top rope. The numerous Spaniards and other international guests present watch the goings-on suspiciously and critically, and some mockery is also noticeable.

Markus-Hutter_Kletterer_Boulderer_Erschlusser_Guest author-Lacrux

An opinion article by

Mark Hutter

Climbed many large, extreme classics in the Alps at a young age, such as the Matterhorn North Face in very wintry conditions. However, his great passion became pure rock climbing and, since the beginning of the free climbing movement, alpine and sport climbing up to level 8b. 

What still seems unusual and frowned upon in some areas has become a fashionable tool, if not an epidemic, in some places.

Originally, courage was an essential part of climbing: this made the sport fascinating, because before you wanted to start a route at the limit of your performance, you had to carefully consider and assess the nature of the climbing.

Rectangle_Knatsch in Magic Wood

A lack of bolts or an intimidating entry significantly reduces ambitious candidates: routes such as “Locker vom Stool” (K. Albert and W. Güllich) in the Wetterstein Mountains belong to this category. Many top trails in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains also require determination to climb the first ring - there are plenty of other examples.

…climbing requires more and more “versatility”

Dilution of ethics in climbing

Undesirable developments such as “clip embroidery” usually occur gradually. The climbing halls have made top rope climbing socially acceptable, so this easy method is also used on rocks for fear-free practice. However, route tops are not easy to reach everywhere and entry is prohibited for many rocky heads for nature conservation reasons. So resourceful minds looked for an alternative - and found it with the Clipstick - often also called Stickclip.

Climbing has become a mass movement, a cool and, above all, easy-to-consume leisure activity, and undesirable developments such as the clip stick contribute to this.

Mark Hutter

This development can be viewed critically. The “cheating stick” has contributed massively to a dilution of ethics in climbing. Anyone who works their way up a route with a stick avoids the effort and imponderables that bouldering out in the lead entails.

The factors of courage and boldness that once characterized climbing are in danger of being lost. Our sport is being degraded to a mere gymnastics exercise.

The fact that more and more routes are pre-clipped and sometimes even drilled in such a way that the cheating stick becomes a mandatory requirement is, in my opinion, absolutely reprehensible and a further step in the softening process.

Mark Hutter
Clipstick large offer
A savior in an emergency for some, an ethical aberration for others: the clipstick.

Artificial aids and false security

Over a hundred (!) years ago, well-known climbers who played a key role in promoting the sport thought about ethics. The development of climbing was moving towards the sixth level of difficulty and the safety aspect raised questions about protection on the most difficult routes at the time.

As early as 1910, Rudolf Fehrmann (an Elbe sandstone pioneer) laid down some framework conditions, which mainly referred to the term “artificial aids”. He thereby defined what sportiness should be in rock climbing: “Anyone who knows the conditions in our sports business must come to a fundamental condemnation of all artificial aids.”

Paul Preuß also expressed very similar thoughts in the “Deutsche Alpenzeitung” in 1911, triggering a controversial discussion. Point 6 of his list of principles states: “One of the highest principles is the principle of security. But not the convulsive correction of one's own insecurity achieved through artificial aids, but rather that primary security that should be based on the correct assessment of each climber's ability in relation to his desire." Paul Preuß's point of view can also be applied to today's conditions and tendencies.

Of the tools that have become widespread in the development of free climbing over the last 40 years, many have contributed to the negative domestication of the formerly hippie-esque, marginal sport.

Mark Hutter

…some people exert themselves at the wrong time…

Long before the indoor boom, routes drilled for Plaisir climbing broke the nimbus that free climbing was only a sport for adventurous, suicidal freaks and weirdos...

Now that there are several climbing halls in almost every city vying for the public's attention, climbing has landed in the mainstream. This is not intended to be fundamentally criticized here, but the safety standards in halls give a wrong impression to those who aim to be active outside on the rock.

Luckily, the sport on rocks and mountains knows no standards, but those who come out of the hall have learned that our sport is easy to consume and easy to digest. This fits into a world of faster, higher, further.

...it's better to go fishing or grilling...

In many things, people want to take the easy path of least resistance.
In my opinion, however, this does not fit with the basic idea of ​​mountaineering and climbing.

Mark Hutter

The clip stick is another negative component in this situation. Anyone who has the cheating stick no longer needs to be afraid of anything and does not have to do without anything - not even pity...

The final question: Was everything better back then? Not at all!

But undesirable developments such as the Clipstick epidemic must be combated decisively.

What is your opinion on the topic? I look forward to a lively discussion in the comments!

That might interest you

Do you like our climbing magazine? When launching the climbing magazine Lacrux, we decided not to introduce a paywall because we want to provide as many like-minded people as possible with news from the climbing scene.

In order to be more independent of advertising revenue in the future and to provide you with even more and better content, we need your support.

Therefore: Help and support our magazine with a small contribution. Naturally you benefit multiple times. How? You will find out here.

+ + +

Credits: Cover picture Trango Climbing


Black Diamond recalls Neve Strap crampons

Black Diamond Equipment is recalling the Neve Strap crampons (green version 2024) and the corresponding accessories/spare parts. 

Melissa Le Nevé is the first woman to climb The Dagger (8B+)

One and a half years after the ascent, Melissa Le Nevé announced the first women's ascent of the 8B+ boulder The Dagger.

Crème de la crème is fighting for the Swiss championship title in bouldering

This Saturday the best climbers in Switzerland will fight for the bouldering championship title in the Quadrel Boulder.

Female power in Annot: Soline Kentzel climbs trad test piece Le Voyage (E10, 7a)

The young Frenchwoman Soline Kentzel secured the fourth women's ascent of the tough trad route Le Voyage (E10, 7a).


Subscribe to our newsletter now and stay up to date.

Black Diamond recalls Neve Strap crampons

Black Diamond Equipment is recalling the Neve Strap crampons (green version 2024) and the corresponding accessories/spare parts. 

Melissa Le Nevé is the first woman to climb The Dagger (8B+)

One and a half years after the ascent, Melissa Le Nevé announced the first women's ascent of the 8B+ boulder The Dagger.

Crème de la crème is fighting for the Swiss championship title in bouldering

This Saturday the best climbers in Switzerland will fight for the bouldering championship title in the Quadrel Boulder.


  1. Oh, someone seems to be very frustrated... The problem lies more with the old white men who haven't been given anything else to do all their lives and who have to exaggerate their own existence and their activities (keyword "ethics"). You can come to the Franconian Jura, heroic lines are poorly protected up to the 6th degree, at the latest from 8th (UIAA) it is also well protected by the good Kurt Albert and in the 9th there is almost continuous hall level protection. Weird, is not it ?
    Is it then unethical to clip the first exe at a height of 6 meters? Safety comes first and everyone can certainly decide that for themselves, because for most people climbing is a hobby and not a job (or philosophy or whatever…).
    I find it extremely embarrassing to call something like this an “epidemic”, who do you think you are to judge that?
    Then just go on your alpine tours, then you can decide for YOURSELF (!) what you want to do and how. Just let everyone else have fun - even on the rock - you won't be able to stop the development anyway (no matter how much you talk about ethics and sorry - 8b is not the outstanding achievement these days to become an elite climber understand).

    I like to clip ahead - and I also like to top-rope something heavy. And now ? the ethics police are coming – tatütata?

    Go on your own and please leave everyone else alone.

    • Ugh, someone feels like they've been taken for a ride. Yes, I think it is unethical to clip the first exe to 6 meters in a 6th and then claim that it has been climbed. You just toproped the first 6m. I get a crisis when I meet climbers who tell me they are 7a climbers. Then, when you follow up, it turns out that you climbed a few 7a routes on plastic in the top rope and that you weren't even doing it cleanly, but were still sitting in the rope. These are the same people who pre-clip outside in a 6 (preferably with Solutions 3 sizes too small, embarrassing). Oh, and I belong to the younger generation of climbers and I find the mental aspect of climbing particularly fascinating.

      • Did you really check it a few times? That this isn't too stupid for you. Just leave the people alone. If you see them as show-offs or feel like they're just bragging, why not avoid them? It’s also available to colleagues at work!
        But Markus just uses words like “fight”, which may be going a long way.

    • ...and unfortunately I expected a lot of comments like those from MattK. Taking it personally and becoming personal (insulting). In keeping with the spirit of the times…
      I would like a factual, differentiated discussion!!

      • Factual comments require a factual article.
        Anyone who writes in such an emotional and sensational way must expect similar comments.

        • Heiko, I can only agree with that.
          @Markus Hutter: I honestly had to make an effort to read everything objectively and to comment objectively.
          Your choice of words is very... harsh, out of place and, in my opinion, sometimes insulting. Exactly what you criticize yourself in the answers to.

          I'm curious to see whether you'll be able to cope with the shitstorm that's breaking out. I'm not a fan of shitstorms like this and I don't take part in them. Everyone should be able to make a mistake sometimes.
          But I think an “update” of the article would be appropriate for the choice of words and your condescending manner in which you apologize for it. Not for your opinion, you can have it! But for the choice of words! I think that would be appropriate and would certainly give you plus points (not that I think you need them, but I think it would be respectful to the “clip stickers” who feel compelled to be addressed!

      • Dear Markus, you use a choice of words like “fight” and specifically link to photos of private individuals on Instagram… Maybe reflect for yourself

      • Hi Markus, Jindrich here! still know me? Leave the ethics and go climbing…where are the times…Kassel police headquarters….training ala buildering

      • hey my dear

        You misunderstood a few things. I don't take anything personally and in principle I don't really care because I just go climbing for fun... but I vow to improve: on my next ascent I will write to you personally "today 5-, first exe clipped, had anyway fun” and would then like to receive a specific climbing ethics report from you for my climbing style, maybe we can agree on that?

        What I actually find sad:

        why don't you reply to the others commenting?
        The topic does not need an objective discussion because there are no facts that can be discussed objectively. You have your opinion, there are other opinions, none are better or worse, just that, as other commenters have noted, you have a rather lurid tone and then complain about my ironic tone and make it a generational thing “the zeitgeist … the spirit of the times.”

        My dear, you can't stop the zeitgeist... and again... climbing... is... for… most… only…. Fun 🙂

        So maybe you should have a little more fun in your remaining months or years of climbing. Don't worry so much.

        All Good.

    • MattK nobody comes, nobody bothers. But then the tour is simply not completed, regardless of whether you reach the top or not

  2. Criticizing artificial aids and then climbing with ropes, carabiners and climbing fins is, in my opinion, quite hypocritical. Apparently one should be consistent with the use of these tools and conform to an ethic; Of course, only the ethics of these gentlemen apply.

  3. Mr. Hutter's comment about the clip stick in particular, but also about the current state of sport climbing in general, can hardly be surpassed in terms of arrogance. Only the tough ones are allowed to climb!
    It is crystal clear to every climber I know that “top roping” (whether with or without a clip stick) is a different style of climbing than lead climbing. Nobody rates their ascent of a route as difficult on the second climb (regardless of whether with a clipstick or with a lead climber) as on the lead climb.
    It almost seems to me as if Mr. Hutter is angry because “his” climbing was taken away from him. But the techno climbers of yesteryear could also be angry with HIM because he advocates a different style of climbing. This seems to be: if you only dare to attempt a route on the top rope without any aids (such as a clip stick), then you are not allowed to do it. I assume this also applies to him on a 20 meter route with only 2 bolts. But what about tools like wedges and friends? And if you follow Mr. Hutter's argument consistently, then diluting aids such as quickdraws or bolts would have to be left out. Freesolo is the only true climbing style anyway!
    I am also against mass tourism on the rock with a lack of respect for nature. But for me, climbing ethics means not changing natural routes (such as chipping) and being honest with yourself if you only managed the climb with aids.

  4. Basically I agree with you. However, I find the following statement from you difficult: [...] sometimes even being drilled in in such a way that the cheating stick becomes a mandatory requirement for this is, in my opinion, absolutely reprehensible and a further step in the fabric softening process.

    Why should a clipstick be absolutely necessary? Don't you (or the climbers) simply shy away from the effort and imponderables that bouldering out in the lead entails?

    • In Australia I am one of the few climbers without a stick. Some of the routes are drilled really high at the start because it is assumed that you have such a stick. The developer also saves himself from having to attach an additional bolt.
      I generally have no problem when someone clips. But it annoys me that I now have to buy a clip and carry it with me.

      • In Germany I often see the first hook at a height of 5 meters, which could mean a fatal fall at any time. What are you actually asking for now? More hooks near the ground so you don't need a clip stick? I thought the danger to your life was part of it for you and everything else was soft.

  5. After I broke my foot while bouldering, I bought a clip stick and used it for rope climbing while I was healing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. In 95% of cases, the stick remains unused in my backpack. But it can be a useful tactical tool if you want to score points on a route at the limit, I don't see anything wrong with that. Is climbing really just about being brave? For some, the focus is simply on fun, sport or perhaps experiencing nature? Personally, music boxes on the crag bother me much more than clipsticks.

  6. Hallo,

    I think that demonizing the clip stick as a “plague” is too one-sided. As with many things, there is light and shadow. For example, climbing to your own limit also means failure. But what do you do if you can't go any further 2 or 3 augers below the diverter? Sacrifice the express sling and perhaps leave the heel behind in a certain way to block the next rope team, or use a clip stick to reach the diverter and leave the route again free of material? Wouldn't the clipstick be a tried-and-tested tool here rather than a "devil's work" of ethical decay? When I look at my grandfather's surviving climbing photos from the 1920s and 30s in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, I also think that attitudes towards taking risks have changed significantly since then. What was considered heroic back then would no longer be done today (e.g. tying your chest with a 30m hemp rope). Since I am faced with the question every now and then, would it be better to clip the first express sling (with a rope) or risk a fall to the ground with very likely injuries because the ground is unfortunately not a flat, soft, well-maintained meadow? Of course, you can easily accuse me of the general wisdom: “If you can’t climb it freely, then you shouldn’t climb it.” But do you really have to forego what might still be a very beautiful route just because it contradicts ethics from days long past? Sometimes, due to the weather, only the first 2-3m at the base of the wall is a little damp, but the rest of the route is absolutely dry and great. Perhaps today's ethics should simply consist of not banning anything in principle, but simply specifying the extent of use, the use of aids and techniques. I also think that other more unpleasant peculiarities have crept into the climbing scene here and there (blocking routes by leaving hanging ropes because at some point the other person in the group wants to climb there), which I personally find worse than using the clip stick .


  7. Phew, that was the worst post I've ever read here. 'Courage and boldness'... what a laugh track. It is also brave and daring to drive without a seatbelt.

  8. Personally, I often find it a shame that many new climbs no longer require courage.
    I also belong to the younger generation of climbers and am totally fascinated by climbing ethics.
    Pre-clipping is not an issue for me. In this sense, nothing beats the Palatinate and Saxon Switzerland as inner-German climbing areas.

    • Then clip from the second express for your urge for courage and boldness.
      For most people, the focus is more on sporting performance. And for most people it is an ideology-free hobby and a wonderful experience of nature.

      And a mostly great community.

      • Good idea but please don't encourage it. Afterwards, the clip stickers on the same rock get into trouble because they don't provide first aid when things go wrong 🙂

        • As a clip sticker and trained first aider, I will bravely and boldly provide help to everyone at the Crag without exception 😉

  9. Bad comparison. In road traffic there are many other participants through whom you can have an accident through no fault of your own. Belt is absolutely necessary.
    When climbing, it's entirely up to you (and under your feet lol) whether you get into a route and are up to it or whether you have to cheat (and then claim to be up to it in the end despite clipstick)

  10. One of the most undifferentiated and antiquated comments I have read on climbing in a long time.
    As with many other topics, it is the same here: the activities of my fellow human beings do not make me richer or poorer. Do you love the adrenaline rush of a high first heel? Class! Let's go! Why does it bother you so much that another climber doesn't want to take the risk?
    I want to go rock climbing with my son and don't want to put him or myself at risk from a nasty grounder. I'm happy that I can defuse the 80s routes with a clipstick. If you don't do that because it seems ethically wrong to you, you can climb next to me and we'll watch you without even a thought about whether I think it's right or wrong.
    We are all people who enjoy rocks, mountains and nature. Why can there always only be one right way?

    • I think he's concerned about the fact that climbing tourism is increasing and he no longer has the "more difficult" routes to himself.
      At least that's the only point I can somewhat understand.
      Although that is also a one-sided view that I fundamentally cannot approve of. I also mentioned that in my comment. Let's see if it gets released 😀

      Thank you for your comment. I would sign like that!

      • In the last 30 years I have drilled around 1000 rope lengths into the rock. Our routes are set up in such a way that a climber who has a chance of an onsight ascent will normally dare to climb it. I used to get calls saying “too many hooks”, but now “there’s still one missing”. Personally, I like it better when people look for projects in which they can climb to the diverter quickly and without getting stuck. I think it's wrong to drill routes in such a way that a clip stick is mandatory. I don't have one and don't want to get one. Have fun climbing hopefully without any accidents.

        • Very good comment. Even though “red point” and “onsight” seem to be losing importance, I still believe that if I want to climb a route fairly and cleanly, I have to be able to handle the first snag. Assessing the risk and comparing it with your own options is also part of climbing.
          Perhaps sport climbing will become a little more technical in the future as it continues to develop. With kneepads, pinkpoint instead of redpoint and other aids, we will probably have to face this development. Personally, I prefer a fluid, elegant climbing style ten times over to climbing a route that is too difficult with technical aids, sitting in my chair and cursing loudly (*Tourette climber).

  11. I'm sorry, but that's incredibly rude and elitist. Forcing people to badmouth their performance or deprive them of fun because it involves risk is incomprehensible.

    According to logic, I can generally do without modern equipment.
    Even better than credo:

    True climbing is free solo, everything else is for cowardly safety fanatics!

    • Shit. It's a shame I didn't come up with the "free solo" objection when I just posted my long comment 😀
      That's better than my climbing shoes and training wheels metaphor.

      On point!

      THANK YOU!

  12. What a bad clickbait article that reads like AFD propaganda, terrible! It's a shame to publish something like that, Lacrux team. Quote: “The Clipstick epidemic must be combated decisively.”... anyone who says something like that should not be given a platform. Live and let live, everyone can have their own opinion, so there is no need to call for “fighting”. I don't want to go into the advantages and disadvantages of the sticks anymore, it's a shame. In a fast-paced world in which 12-year-olds (T.Blass) climb 9a and things change rapidly, an old Mr. Hutter with such radical and short-sighted, blunt statements should retreat to the mountains, where he hopefully won't meet a soul and rethink his statements!

      • Okay, since the author is kindly commenting here, I would like to give arguments in the hope that someone more open-minded will go through world history and that this discussion will not be a complete waste of time and people will continue to talk about “plague and fight it”. In areas with a very high first hook, simple routes are already so slippery that even a warm-up can end in a grounder. In addition, these routes (e.g. Frankenjura) are often excluded for climbers of lower levels. In addition, areas (worldwide) in the lower grades are often not rated homogeneously, so having a stick in your luggage can avoid a carabiner or screw link in the wall if you want to climb closer to the limit. In general, a clip stick allows you to project the crux on the rock if there is no person in the group/nearby who is stronger than you. By the way, almost all professional climbers attach the first exe beforehand! Why shouldn't someone in a 6 (uiaa) do that if their limit is a 6 and they want to avoid breaking a bone in inaccessible terrain? How many times I've been able to provide first aid and wished people had at least worn a helmet... another story. At the beginning I saw clip sticks as borderline, but during Corona times I bought one and rarely but constantly had the need for it. I also found it inappropriate to clip up an entire route with it, until I saw two 80-year-olds who wanted to climb outside without the risk of falling. As is often the case, it's all in the dose, the fault lies with the users rather than with the technology itself. Anyone who brags about cheating has just as much of an ego problem as other boastful people who get upset about it, who cares?

    • It also reminded me of right-wing propaganda. The expression “fighting an epidemic” evokes unpleasant associations…

    • Thank you for your subtle words Seb!
      I deliberately chose harsh words because climbing is approaching a neoliberal quagmire. Everyone can do what they want and be happy in their own way - this has been one of the big plus points in mountain sports so far!! But these freedoms always become questionable when negative developments become apparent:
      In the techno age, climbers screwed themselves because no wall was impossible anymore...and anyone who has any idea of ​​the scale on which chipping and gluing has been going on since the 80s until today unfortunately has to realize again and again how much people love themselves sh………t!
      What was it like before the M-Stick came onto the market??? In any case, there were no more accidents. The stick has clearly led to the softening and dilution of our sport. I think that's a real shame and it's to be feared that this spiral will continue.
      What did Matti Hong recently say with a mischievous smile in an interview: Maybe in the future there will be exes who will hook themselves onto the rope so that the climber can fully concentrate on his cool moves... Cheers meal!!!

  13. The mistake here lies in the assumption that the ethics “in climbing” are becoming watered down – although the sport of climbing has changed far more than the ethics. Ethics has never been a description of climbing, but rather one of many perspectives on the how and why of climbing. There has been cheating in the Elbe sandstone and the Alps for as long as there has been climbing; the suspension safety device, for example, is the clipstick from the day before yesterday. The author confuses Fehrmann's wishful thinking with the description of climbing at the time and does not provide a single real argument that the increased use of clip sticks is an undesirable development (although there would certainly be such arguments). He just puts it out there and says that there are routes that are rarely climbed because it is far to the first BH. But Loose from the Stool is again a bad example because the first length can be secured perfectly and the protection is also very good afterwards.

    Climbing has been changing for 120 years. And the old have been upset with the young for 120 years...
    Clipsticks protect ropes and bones, and remove some of the experience that climbing can offer. In return, they make other experiences easier. I hardly ever use a clipstick myself because my climbing doesn't benefit from it, but that's purely a personal thing. Clipsticks also make it more likely that adventurous routes will not be drilled later, and in terms of securing, heterogeneous areas such as the Palatinate or the Franconian Jura will remain as they are for longer, even though 90% of climbers don't want to be afraid... I'm happy about that. The tours aren't overgrown and people enjoy the climbing, but the adventure playground is still there.

  14. Ouch, reading that hurts. Anyone who values ​​courage and boldness when climbing should not go to modern sport climbing areas. There are enough areas and routes where even a 5m clip stick won't help you. If the route to the first hook on a route seems too tricky, I use a clip stick. I don't care what others think of it. I need my ankles for my job and sport climbing is a hobby for me and not an ideology.

    Btw: the mass influx that climbing and its rocks are currently experiencing probably has other problems than using a clip stick...

  15. What's wrong with going climbing with children and putting the safety and fun aspect first?

    Why is a clipstick per se a bad thing?
    Isn't it great when you can use a clip stick to take routes that would otherwise cause your head to close?
    yes, I too have already mounted the first executable with a clipstick. And? When it's at a height of 6m and I'm just having a bad day or want to try a route that's normally above my level.
    I don't want my climbing partner to have to tell my family that I fell 6 feet and am no longer on the ground or paralyzed or something else. As a new father, my priorities are not “success” but rather safety.
    And to anticipate this: No, I won't claim that I got through a number X. I'll just say I was on top. And at least in my climbing area that is sufficient. We still have the good old Olympic idea: “It’s all about taking part”.
    I'm a tour leader myself and prefer to take a clip stick with me when I go with people. If I notice that a participant is not confident about something but would like to test it, I can consider whether I should hook up the first exe briefly myself or whether it is a route in which I also recognize a danger.

    It often happens that my climbing partner climbs higher levels than me. But if they are looking for another challenge and want to “test” something, why not prefer security?

    It also happens again and again that after the route I say: “Now again, but without. “It’s easy”
    But it also happened that I was happy that the first exe had already been clipped.

    My conclusion: you shouldn't condemn something like this across the board. Why “judge” others so condescendingly? Does it have to be that way? Can the climbing community not stick together or at least show empathy and think: “Why does he use this stick? Does he have family? Is he having a bad day? Does he have an injury but is extremely ambitious to climb?”

    Oh yeah: To the writer/author:
    You comment here under another comment: "...taking it personally and becoming personal (insulting)..."
    Yes, insulting is NEVER right!
    But take it personally… Well, you comment on the clipstick and the “users” in a very condescending way.

    Examples Would you like?
    1.: Undesirable developments like the Clipstick epidemic (already very derogatory and unemphasized)
    2.: Cheating (Degrading and insinuating! Why is it cheating if you have a different idea when climbing than yours?)
    3.: negative component in this situation (the first word says it all. Again, derogatory)
    4.: In many things people want to take the easy path of least resistance. In my opinion, however, this does not fit with the basic idea of ​​mountaineering and climbing. (Wrong, because if I want the least resistance, I take the train 😉 )
    5th: another step in the fabric softening process. (Sorry, but that's almost insulting, because clipstick users are what you're talking about)
    6.: Undesirable developments such as “clip embroidery” (Yes, that is YOUR opinion, but that is again very derogatory for “users”)

    Something else:
    “Climbing has become a mass movement, a cool and, above all, easy-to-consume leisure activity, and undesirable developments like the clip stick contribute to this.”
    And why is that reprehensible? Why shouldn't climbing get more attention? Because there is always too much going on in the mountains? Yes, that always bothers me too, but on the other hand, that's why we have an Olympic team, TV broadcasts, live events, etc.! So you can also get something positive out of everything and don't just see it negatively.
    If you start outside, you better be safe. If he doesn't feel like it anymore, he'll leave anyway. But once you've tasted blood, you'll develop ambition and at some point you won't need the clip stick anymore. Think of it more as training wheels. Start safely and eventually they will go away! THINK POSSITIVE!

    “The factors of courage and boldness that once characterized climbing are in danger of being lost. Our sport is being degraded to a mere gymnastics exercise.”
    You can see it that way, and it may also be true. But everything evolves. If grade 6 used to be the most difficult, developments (for example in climbing shoes) have also shown that safety can take you further. Do you think an Adam Ondra would climb the same routes with the “mountain boots” from 100 years ago? I do not think so. And the climbing shoe also provides a level of security that was not available before!

    “However, the safety standards in halls give a false impression to those who aim to be active outside on the rock.”
    I agree with you somewhat. We offer courses especially for this target group that are intended to make it clear what the difference is between hall and rock. no, not just theory, but practice on the rock!

    All in all, that's your opinion and that's okay. “Hats off” to you for mentioning and writing this down! You were probably aware of the feedback beforehand 🙂
    But you can certainly expect harsh counter-comments here, because your writing can also be perceived as very condescending and sometimes insulting. I would like to mention Mr. Schulz von Thun with his 4 mouths/4 ears principle. (Just google it if you don't know)

    As a rare “cheating” clipsticker, I tried to record and evaluate your opinion as objectively as possible. I understand a lot of what you write when I try to put myself in your thoughts. But you have to admit that a lot of things are exaggerated and perhaps out of place on your part. Also the choice of words!


    • Nice factual criticism of Mr. Hutter's opinion.

      More foresight and empathy are exactly right here. For health reasons, I have to keep the risk as low as possible and the stick is an adequate tool.

      It's a shame that in Mr. Hutter's world I either have to risk my health in the long term or don't deserve to climb.

      Sissy greetings

      • Before, nothing was better or worse. It was just a matter of lying in a different context, exaggerating (one's own performance) or demonstrating supposed coolness through a cultivated understatement. Many of us “older people” are just happy to have survived the (Alpine) Sturm und Drang period because the awareness of the dangers, the knowledge and the equipment were simply not available. Still, it was a great time. It's a shame that many freedoms (e.g. wild bivouacing, etc.) are no longer possible today. However, there is still no shortage of wild runouts, long approaches or dubious material 😉

        In my opinion, there are only two no-gos when it comes to “ethics and morals”:
        1. Lying about one's own performance, especially about one's approach style
        2. Disrespectful or harmful behavior towards others or nature

        It's a shame, there could have been a few good thoughts on the subject of "Consumption in climbing sports" or "Capitalism is killing subculture", but instead (possibly thanks to an unreflective choice of words) the regular table level and the dogmatic, seemingly bitter devaluation of others predominate. Here I would also like a little more editorial commitment from a website, despite all the necessary exaggeration. Or was it just for the excitement?

        Many greetings from a long-time 7a normal climber (sometimes also happy about Clipstick).

        Let’s be peaceful with each other during this time 🙂

    • Hi Markus, Jindrich here! still know me? Leave the ethics and go climbing…where are the times…Kassel police headquarters….training ala buildering ex

  16. There is only one true, clean ethic, namely that of Paul Preuss.
    Everything is free solo in the ascent and descent.
    Other forms of ascent are always lazy compromises!
    But not everyone wants to fall fatally, like dear Paul did at the end, or “just” risk breaking bones.

    Therefore, everyone as he wants!

    Says an old white man who has been practicing this sport for 50 years.

  17. And as far as I remember, Paul Preuss (who died from a fall at the age of 27) was of the opinion that the rope should only be used in an emergency and that what you can climb down should be the limit for the lead climb. 😉🙄

    Otherwise, respect for the many very well-worded comments. Usually you don't read to the end, but these were worlds better and more enlightening than the article.

  18. Hui, so where is the free spirit that once shaped climbing (at least for me for 30 years now). If there are a few techno climbers at work on an alpine route next door, I don't think to myself "what wimps". It is a different style, a different motivation or driving force behind the type of ascent. If someone uses a clip stick, whether for an entry hook or simply wants to clip the entire route onto the top rope, then they should do so, who am I to allow myself to make a blanket condemnation of the way other climbers do? I understand the objection about the suitability of climbing for the masses, but I had heard exactly the same arguments from older climbers in the 90s regarding indoor climbing. Today everyone likes to use the training facility in a hall to improve their performance on the rock - is that cheating or is it just OK because the majority do it?

    Of course, the clipped route is not a clean ascent in the traditional sense, but I think the spirit of our “performance society” can also be seen here. I'm freely adapting a writer (a climber who is also not a clipstick fan):

    “The reasons why we climb summits are as varied as the number of mountaineers. The only thing they all have in common is what we find: we find ourselves.”

    Guys, let's accept that there are different styles, different needs, different reasons why we go climbing and let everyone do their thing. Let's still look forward to having good company on the rock, no matter what means we use to climb...

    Who goes on a ski tour or freeriding with a helmet or on a bike etc...?! It wasn't like that before either 😉

  19. What is ethics and why do we have them? What does it serve us for?
    I don't just do sport climbing, but also trad, alpine and mountaineering. I like to climb in snowy and fragile places. But on a low level of difficulty. But I have no desire to get injured in sport climbing, which is objectively the safest form of climbing, because someone thought you had to show courage. Sport climbing in its style is a violation of strict ethics, because falls were not really foreseen in the original climbing.

  20. ... point a: which routes from uiaa 9 sport climbing are climbed by how many percent of aspirants purely red point, so to speak without first putting in exes for pink... clippi
    ... point b: in order to advance in grades like 10-, the device is indispensable in order to work out the route... of course, if you have the time and strength, you can climb the key points 100 times instead of just breaking them out with clippi
    ...I've been climbing for a long time and hard, and I certainly don't have a top prop outdoors and I love my Clippi and every little animal's little pet

  21. A pity. I am very disappointed after reading the article.
    I climb, hmm, no, that would be presumptuous, new again.
    I've only been going to the climbing gym for less than a year to do gymnastics exercises on plastic holds.
    After reading the article, my hope of ever calling myself a climber is zero.
    I'm also wondering how I'm supposed to get this designation in practical terms?
    Even with a lot of courage, you probably have to bake smaller rolls at the beginning and don't go into a 6 first.
    Luckily, my gymnastics exercises are really fun. So I'll probably continue, even if I'm never recognized as a "climber". Just wondering what gymnasts say when I proudly tell them that I do gymnastics in the climbing gym.
    But whatever, I think I can handle it.

    Greetings, your vertical gymnast


  22. Interesting article.

    What is definitely more interesting is how many people feel directly attacked. The article addressed very honestly and directly what actually becomes more common on the rock the longer it takes. Climbers take the clip stick with them on the route, climbers pull themselves up using the expresses, etc.

    People simply can't fall anymore and have no interest in facing their fear. And when they cling to quickdraws, they hook the rope higher and higher with the clip stick and and and and.

    The article is not primarily aimed at the first quickdraw, which is high up and clipped in with the clip stick. Safety comes first! I have also never experienced a key part of a climbing route in the first 4m.

    Climbing in the lead means being able to correctly assess what your own limit is. If you exceed it, you will be left behind. Admission to the climbing hall also costs 25.- for this price you buy two exes, which are definitely consumable items and should be replaced after a certain amount of time anyway to ensure safety.

    It doesn't matter whether you boulder out a difficult route in the top rope or in the lead if you can really fall, it is usually more pleasant in the lead. If only there wasn't the fear that has to be conquered first.

    There is no shame in not being able to climb a route.

    • “What’s more interesting is how many feel directly attacked. The article was addressed very honestly and directly…” The article is extremely offensive, the comments are just as honest and direct. “People simply can’t fall anymore” that’s a very generalization, even though there may be a touch of truth to it due to the mass movement, you shouldn’t lump everyone together! Maybe it's more due to more people with less experience (newbies) than to fear. “The article is not primarily aimed at the first Expresse” nope, it is aimed at the “cheating stick”. But I and certainly others have already experienced key points in the first 4m. “Lead climbing means…” to you perhaps. Entrance fees cost around €15… but that brings us to a much more important point of ethics! Namely, leave the rock and surrounding area clean; you should only leave something in the wall if you have to. And anyone who talks about ethics in climbing should talk a lot more about leaving nature waste-free, a much more sensible ethic and a bigger problem than getting upset about the way others climb. I also like to climb trad occasionally and don't advocate flexing bolts. Broaden your horizons

      • Hello Seb,
        You're running really hot here and doing exactly what you criticize yourself: instant karma!
        What F. Wenger addresses partially hits the nail on the head: “People simply can’t fall anymore and have no interest in facing their fear.” A contemporary phenomenon!?
        Added to this: impatience in a fast-paced world. Why spend a lot of time trying when there is a miracle stick...easy...

        • Oh, that's such nonsense. People are now climbing free solo routes that were previously only dreamed of. People fly wingsuits through 1m wide holes and do a triple somersault on the BMX.
          You confuse your type of (extreme) sport with today's climbing sport, which is fun for everyone, and because you don't notice the mix-up, you tell everyone about it. What a humble attitude...

          The “only free solo is real climbing” comparison from some here hits the “actual” nail on the head.

          Reinhold Messner doesn't say every mountaineer with an oxygen mask on an 8000 meter peak is a loser? All that's missing is for Armstrong to come and say that anyone can fly with today's rockets. Sissies!

          I have never thought about a CS in my life and the article already appeals to me when I buy modern climbing shoes...
          It's better to go climbing where no one bothers you. Because everywhere else you disturb everyone else.

    • Hello, what's wrong with pulling yourself up on exes? That's exactly why the slings on sport climbing exes are so wide - so that you can grip them more comfortably to boulder out individual sequences... And have you ever been climbing in the Franconian Jura? Every second route has the crux in the first 4m. I think in the end everyone should climb/plan their routes as they like, as long as no rock or fixed material is damaged and the lead climb is recognized as the official climbing method.

    • Key points in the first 5 to 8 meters are absolutely common in the Franconian region.
      Of course only in the lower grades!
      When things got harder, the “heroes” from dunnimals also set the hook further down 😉.

  23. Hallo,

    The biggest mistake in this article is the assumption that there is ONE climbing ethic. I strongly assume that the 8B's climbed by the author, be it sport or alpine, do not (or at least largely do not) correspond to the ethics of the Saxon Elbe sandstone. I still wouldn't presume to attack the author for this or to accuse him of a consumer mentality. In my opinion, everyone can climb however they want as long as it doesn't affect others. Hitting handles, shouting loudly (whether from a top prop or free soloist), shitting at the entrance, etc. is not possible. If I attach my first hook with the clip stick, it shouldn't affect the others (just saying "I don't like it" doesn't apply, otherwise we would have a problem, it could be that I don't like the author's hat ;-)). Climbing is now so versatile that everyone can be happy in their own way. Finally, I would like to say that I dislike the author's tone and choice of words. Maybe it's due to the general excitement these days.


  24. Basically an interesting topic. But I also think it's bad that the article is worded in a one-sided and provocative way. I'm actually used to Lacrux always weighing up the pros and cons and taking up several opinions on a topic.

  25. Finally a sensible post.
    If you don't dare go on a tour without a Klipstick, you can either look for an easier tour or grow your balls!

    The clip stickers are also the people who want to turn every classic ladder into a bolt ladder so that they can climb it themselves. If it's too scary for you, just look for another climbing area!!
    Or open your own then you can drill as many hooks as you want!

    As a famous man said:
    Eggs we need eggs!

  26. Wow, someone is bitter. I find the article embarrassing. The icing on the cake is listing your achievements. Did you write that yourself? Seems quite arrogant.

    If you replaced “clipstick” with “drill hook,” you would sound like someone from the time when redpointing and bouldering were frowned upon. Just move with the times and let others do what they want. If you feel like falling on the floor, do it, no one will stop you.

  27. Oh yes. What I find so beautiful about climbing is that everyone can do it the way they like 😉
    If someone wants to climb without a stick, no one is stopping them. And is it so bad if someone tells you around the campfire that they completed route XY but had a stick with them?
    For many, climbing is a hobby and not a competition.
    But I also can't understand the discussions about too many bolts. You don't have to clip everyone. And if I’m not a “real” climber with this opinion, then so be it.

  28. A number of commentators have already commented on the tone of the article. Personally, I always think it is questionable when people come up with the little brother of the ban (“epidemic”, “fight decisively”) in order to stop what they see as unpleasant developments.

    And as a climber who has been climbing rocks for almost 50 years, these attempts are not entirely new to me - there was the magnesia discussion, routes should under no circumstances be set up from above, bolts - if at all - only in (sometimes dangerous) very large ones Distances should be set, loops should not be attached and should not be extended under any circumstances, etc.

    It was always primarily about being in possession of supposedly better ethics or absolute wisdom. But if you're honest, something completely different often played an important role: the sadness of being overtaken at every turn by subsequent generations. And so it was a matter of defending the last claims on which they thought they could still hold out.

    As a rule, the risk card or a supposedly higher ethic was the final call - for some developers it culminated in the kindness of first checking out routes from above and then setting the hooks in such a way that the repeater retained the alpine experience, including the risk of impact .

    What ultimately prevailed was what seemed to the majority of climbers to be the more attractive solution - and not the dogmas of the self-appointed guardians of a supposedly pure teaching that is more tailored to their own ego.

    In contrast to many of today's common aids and securing devices, the clip stick leaves no marks on the rock. In many areas of application it creates increased security, e.g. For example, dangerous passages can be checked out beforehand - or the first hook can be hung, which is now common practice even among professionals. Of course, a red point at your personal performance limit can be achieved much more quickly because you can examine all passages in detail beforehand. In this respect it is also an aspect of convenience, which I don't want to downplay.

    Of course, an inspection without prior inspection remains more valuable and I have great respect for people who can do this in their own border area with long safety distances. Ultimately, climbing is also an act of personal responsibility, so everyone should decide for themselves which approach they choose and when.

    What is crucial is honesty about your behavior style – towards yourself and others.

  29. To be honest, I have the clip stick on my backpack as an emergency solution, sometimes me and my daughter also use it for pre-clipping.
    When I fall in a place for the third time, it is sometimes helpful to bridge the gap first; the overview often clears up the climbable grip sequence. I don't think all climbers have nerves of steel (me for example) but I (3) enjoy climbing outside with my ambitious 47 year old daughter. And you don't really need to rave about Saxon heroism (that's where I come from and don't climb here)... If you like, you can do it, but I'm glad that my climbing partner is still alive after a 16m fall with grounding because there's only 12 ring at 1m and carefully climbs again. This is simply unnecessary...

  30. I have to say, I find the article very borderline and I very much hope that the author is aware of the polarizing factor of this text.

    Basically, the clipstick is an aid to increase safety near the ground. It's up to each person whether they want to increase safety near the ground or shatter their ankle if an attempt fails.
    Particularly when a sport becomes suitable for the masses, aspects such as safety must be given greater consideration.

    Imagine if we had to call a lockdown because the hospitals are overcrowded with broken climbing ankles 😉

    The sport is not characterized by daring and courage but by the variety of movement and harmony with nature.
    Let some people enjoy the kick, others enjoy climbing and enjoy their time on the rock.

  31. I understand the author's displeasure. As a rule, “thanks” to Clipstick, people climb too hard and hang around on routes that are beyond their own climbing abilities. In Céüse, 7a climbers have already embroidered their biographies... Others have the stick on their harness so that they can climb difficult alpine routes... Where is the respect for such routes here?

  32. The funny thing is that here in the north you can also see the author checking out top rope routes. Part of his old ways are also tainted with grounder danger. Having rehearsed it well in the top rope beforehand, it was definitely easy.

  33. I find this article very exciting because it is the beginning of discrimination against other people. Do you really want that, are you aware of what you are doing? I believe that people have two basic needs: autonomy and belonging. Maybe it would be more exciting to take a closer look at what connects us together instead of what drives us apart. And in what way everyone can develop further without being criticized. What I believe our human needs are.

  34. It's a shame: to trample on and devalue a growing interest in climbing in this way...
    I also think you didn't make your first attempts at climbing in the 6th Grand and then straight away in the lead...

    I think given the injury statistics that our health insurance companies have to pay for ground support within the first 3 hooks, it should be mandatory to use this clip stick.

    And to underline the strong guy with quotes from 1910, then I would like to know whether you would otherwise have stopped there and had no fuel in the car, no airbag or no ABS/ESP side impact protection. These are all safety systems that no one discusses anymore because the statistics prove that they reduce injuries and save lives... and the Klipstick, which has been proven to prevent more than 80% of non-life-threatening injuries, is now said to be bad. (PS: this is statistically better than any car belt)

    But I hope that a new generation of climbers will soon design the basement areas better, who will hopefully do it better and not orientate themselves on old times... everything used to be better...

  35. 99% of the routes in the climbing gardens have been cleaned and drilled from the abseiling seat, i.e. the first ascent has checked out all the holds/steps in the top rope.
    If he then drills wide bolt distances, it's not a heroic act and it's also unfair to the repeaters who come from below without information and have to do long runouts onsight.
    Or risk a grounder before the first hook (example “Wilde 13” on Weißenstein in the Franconian Jura).

    Using a clip stick on routes like this is totally fine for me!

    This is different for all routes that were drilled from below (Elbe sandstone, alpine routes, ...).
    For example, I once failed on the 3rd pitch of the “No water, no moon” climb. With a clip stick we would probably have been able to get out easily...

    In my opinion, ethics are only diluted if you have more hooks on the red point ascent than the first ascent.
    Here an inspection is often “surreptitious”.
    But that has nothing to do with using a clip stick, curtains also work.

  36. Dear Lacrux team. Whatever prompted you to publish such an article in this form. As a climber, I am ashamed of this. Addressing the clipstick and questioning its development is one thing, but the choice of words and presentation of the article is of BILD quality. Such articles do more harm to our beautiful sport than any clip stick or similar.

    • Markus' post is marked as an opinion article. That's how I perceived him. Even if I don't follow Markus' argument, I think it's wrong to take away part of the message or the sharpness of the article by specifying a linguistic corridor.

      The use of an editorial classification, a filter or whatever you want to call it does not speak for an open discourse with an enlightened, emancipated readership. The contradiction in content that Markus caused with his article shows that it was very well understood and that there are a lot of people here who can classify it themselves and counter it accordingly.

      It would have been different if individual people had been personally attacked (possibly even by name) by the author. That didn't happen here.

      For my part, I see myself as a free person who loves climbing and who happens to share this passion with a large number of other people. However, this does not result in a group-related identity that goes so far as to feel responsible or even ashamed for the statements made by others.

      • Dear Bernd, I understand your point of view. For my part, I definitely see a certain responsibility for content when I, as a media portal, give people a platform. I don't mean to invalidate your arguments. I think everyone has their own point of view. And your argument is totally understandable to me. Thanks for the food for thought.

        However, I cannot understand your last point. For example, if you or I spend the night illegally in the parking lot of the climbing area or litter the base of the wall, then the rest of the people won't complain about Ben or Bernd. But about the climbers. Regardless of how you or I understand ourselves, we still have responsibility.

        • Dear Ben, when people behave the way you described, I speak to them directly - regardless of whether they are climbers or not. Otherwise, I think we get along.

  37. Whether you take the clip stick or not is open to debate.
    But when a discussion with such verbal derailments is carried out by an author, for me it is part of a radicalization that we are currently experiencing, at least in Germany. “Words create reality” is a wise saying. And I don't want to be part of the reality that the wording of this article promises.
    What makes me hopeful is that a lot of people are taking a stand for a more open and collaborative culture!

  38. It's a pity that the author, despite reading the comments, is not interested in real dialogue. All good arguments with differentiated content are deliberately ignored and only respond to criticism that makes him feel personally attacked or that repeats a few confirmations of his pre-established opinion. And this despite the fact that most of the critics of his article argue more objectively than the article itself.

    In the article, the author asks for the readers' opinions and "looks forward to a lively discussion", but there is no dialogue, just two parallel monologues.

    • That was my first thought too.
      There is no interest in dialogue or even constructive discussion.
      I am still disturbed by the level of arrogance, hubris and polemics.
      The world could be a better place, opinion articles like this don't help. Quite the opposite.

  39. I'm still not sure if the article is ironic or not.
    If not: This is by far the most macho, arrogant and ridiculous thing I've read in a long time (apart from comment columns).

    Thank you for that and now I’m taking “your” sport away from you without any ethics or morals, but with my safety in mind and respecting my fellow human beings 🙂

  40. Mr. Hutter, now that you have read the reactions to your opinion article, don't you think that your narrative has gone a bit over the mark in terms of initiating a factual discussion about the pros and cons of the clip stick?
    But let's try it. First, I have another question for you: Are you generally against the use of aids when climbing, or do you just get offended when climbers talk about successfully climbing a route even though aids were used?

  41. I first saw attaching entire routes from below with the clip stick in the Franconian Jura. I was also surprised, but let it go. For me personally, attaching the first bolt or getting over a key point in the climbing garden using a clip stick is okay. But everyone has to decide for themselves. The author is clearly losing his ideological stance...

  42. Thanks for this stimulating article 🙂
    Finally this unfortunate “clip embroidery” is brought up for discussion.
    It's just a shame that so many commenters here can't behave properly!

  43. To all those who accuse me of being undifferentiated, I would like to reply with the following:
    I chose the harsh words very consciously, because this discussion would not have come about with a run-of-the-mill choice of words! Everyone who feels personally affected and devalued in their sporting activity now seems to be foaming so much at the mouth that they are making a factual discussion impossible through retaliation.
    That's a real shame and I actually underestimated how many readers could be upset by my chosen words.
    In this case, I recommend: wipe off the foam, slow down your pulse and read the text again, thank you.

    • Your words are not harsh, Markus, but rather indecent and humiliating to the reader. With the way you write, you elevate yourself to a moral authority that has the right to condemn those who don't do what you want them to do. If you actually wanted to get a clipstick user to think and possibly change their behavior, kinder words would be appropriate. In this respect, the readers are just the trash cans for your unbridled vomiting. And it is precisely this fact - the way you write - that most comments talk about and not about the matter itself.
      If you really cared, you would apologize for your choice of words.
      And one more thing: Your words and ultimately your attitude remind me of times that I don't want to experience. Yes, this is tough stuff! But the harshness, the outright condemnation of those who think differently, but who do not harm you, is what leads me to this description.

    • Dear Mr. Hutter,
      Thank you for your article..
      The biting reflexes of those hit are a reflection of the development in climbing that you mentioned.
      Of course the choice of words is harsh and a little polemic, but it has to be so in order to initiate a discussion.
      Unfortunately, in most cases the reactions are characterized by personal attack.
      The content-related debate mainly takes place on the level of everyone being able to do whatever they want, or on the aspect of greater security.
      Unfortunately, many people confuse the terms security and security.
      Appreciate exciting commentators, safety comes from skill!
      Posts like “…Frankenjura…Every second route has the crux in the first 4m.” describe a completely distorted perception of reality.

      I think, Mr. Hutter, the majority of the clientele who read your article does not understand your request.
      The sport of climbing has already moved so far away from its roots that all new crutches are defended with reference to earlier developments.
      The further development and improvement of shoes, rope, carabiners, etc. is logical, also in terms of safety.
      A clipstick is and remains what the author wrote,
      that cheating a performance for which either body or mind is too weak.

    • @Markus Hutter I think it's a shame that you've hardly addressed all of the - in my opinion good - arguments that were mentioned here in the comments section, even though you're supposedly aiming for an objective discussion. I don't see your argument that "a factual discussion is made impossible by retaliation" in that way. Most commentators argue objectively. Sure, sometimes the choice of words is a bit harsher, which is to be expected with an article like this, but not to such an extent that a discussion is impossible.

  44. Very amusing when an author constantly quotes himself in font size 36 😀

    I heard about a corner from an enthusiastic (and very experienced) climber who, after a trip to the Franconian Jura (fell on the way to the first hook), was no longer able to climb - over and over - forever - broken ankle.

    Maybe the author should look at the other side of the coin instead of trumpeting his one-sided opinion like that.

    Typical “everything that is new and I don't know is the downfall of civilization” opinion...anyone who doesn't use a clip stick to defuse a poorly placed hook on a dangerous SPORT climbing entry is stubborn in two senses.

    Tip: Alex Honnold, gossips about you because you use a rope 😉

  45. Hello, Ralph here. Markus Hutter is known for difficult tours in the Alpstein. He can climb and has a good eye for great new lines; This is how he opened up great alpine sport climbing.

    Markus was hardcore, and remains so to this day - as one of the very few. The vast majority of hardcore rock athletes soften over time. Even Urs Odermatt felt the same way. Markus Hutter remained hardcore.

    Now it happened that a few years ago there was a discussion in the forum on sloper.ch. It was about route renovation. Markus was against renovating his “Pacemaker” climbing tour on the Schafbergwand. A little later he renovated it himself, so he is not fundamentally against improving the security.

    I think Markus' hardcore attitude suits him quite well because it enables him to climb hard. He is probably a little over 60 years old now, still climbs hard, and is really brave.

    Many climbers flirt with (their) courage, but are actually unwilling to incur even the slightest laceration. Markus has a courageous, hardcore attitude and certainly took the risk of seriously injuring himself on the first ascent of “Pacemaker”. He was and is really brave and bold.

    Now it has to be said that rock climbing is still a risky sport. Even with a lot of experience, great skills, great equipment and very good security, it always takes luck to get through in one piece. Precisely because the issue is so inherently dangerous, one should not hesitate to make the sport safer wherever possible.

    People have had bad accidents in the Alps during alpine sport climbing in the last few decades. Shattered bodies with dozens of broken bones. Meters of rock smeared with blood and brain tissue. People in wheelchairs, in vegetative states, in coffins. All these things.

    After decades, I find it increasingly difficult to rail against things like two-meter bolt spacing, fixed ropes for approaches, or clip sticks.

    Why? Simply because it is no longer in proportion. Clipsticks are “peanuts”. They make life a little easier, and that's about it. How can I rail against clipsticks when people continue to have such serious accidents during (alpine) sport climbing that you cannot expect any relative to have to identify the “carcass”?

    We old guards, we old warriors, should give up resistance to clip sticks and the like. Why? Because it's pointless. Climbing should be fun and enjoyable. Climbing should be as safe as possible. So that we can continue to climb with fun and joy. And don't become a need for care.

    At the same time, I ask for your understanding for Markus (Hutter). He was and is a very strong climber, both physically and mentally, who is still respected by a well-known community even today. He has retained the hardcore attitude and is a fighter in the positive sense. He is perhaps the last “lifetime hardcore” rock athlete in northeastern Switzerland. The others had accidents or turned onto the Pleisir rail.

    In this respect, I always welcome when Markus speaks out.

    To everyone else: continue to use the clipstick wherever you think it makes sense. He certainly hasn't harmed anyone yet.

    • Hello Ralph,
      Thanks for the congratulations...but this has little or nothing to do with the discussion at this point. And I don't see myself as a hardcore climber!!!

      Friends and professional alpinists (climbers) also contacted me on other channels about the topic and put forward an interesting thesis:
      In their eyes, two camps have formed: on the one hand, there are the climbers who are mainly on the rocks - and on the other hand, there are the large numbers who have been socialized to climb in the hall. Even if generalizations are usually problematic, another conclusion can be drawn from them. Anyone who comes out of the hall has seen the sport as cool and primarily associates it with hobby and fun. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors see their activity more as a nature-loving lifestyle including a willingness to take risks!!

      • Hello Markus, with pleasure – praise where praise is due.

        To perhaps understand you better, an example, a request for explanation. You wrote on sloper.ch that the renovated 1st SL of Thurgauerweg/Langstrasse would be consumable “fast food” after renovation. Since the renovation, there have been bolts every 4-5 meters. No bolt before, just a normal hook at 40m. Friends barely fit in, crack too wide. So it was basically a 40m free solo before. Have you ever climbed it in its original state?

        I mean, on this tour, falling before the first and second bolt is still forbidden. Clipstick can hardly be used because it is too short (?).

        But now my question: why did you think that the tour was now consumable fast food? I just want to understand it a little better.

        I just think that if someone had fallen on the first pitch in the past, it would always have been a ground fall/grounder. The ground is grassy and slightly sloping, but a grounder there, from a height of more than five or a maximum of ten meters, would have resulted in the person who fell either needing care or being dead immediately before the renovation.

        I think even insurance after renovation is demanding. It didn't become an A0 bolt ladder. Still compellingly heavy between the hooks.

        It would be nice if you would write a few lines about it. I admire your climbing ethic and would like to understand you as well as possible. Thank you; Ralph...

  46. So, I love my clipstick! Whenever I don't dare go any further between two very wide hook distances and can't put a mobile belay between them, I unpack my clip stick and then move on to the next hook without “getting my head”. When I attach the rope to the belay, I top rope the entire route again. If I manage to climb through it, I will have conquered the rock for myself. And everyone around is happy that there is finally a rope hanging on the difficult route. However, I would never boast about redpointing them. I have huge respect for strong climbers who have their fears under control. However, I think I have just a tiny bit less fun on the rock than the hardcore climbers. And I will definitely have fun on the rock for longer!
    I don't break anything on the rock face, I take other climbers' rubbish with me and I don't have to be blamed for anything. Clip embroidery is awesome!

  47. Dear Markus Hutter, you really turn the use of clipsticks into an elephant.

    1) In the climbing garden, all routes have been drilled, cleaned and checked out by the first climber from the abseil seat (as in the top rope!).

    If someone works their way up to the diverter from below with a clip stick and then later does a red point maneuver, or if they get it from a friend
    Having a top rope hooked in or from a neighboring route has been done that way for ages, and no climbing ethic breaks down.
    Today the only thing that counts is the (hopefully correct) red point ascent, the best sport climbers set an example, they boulder for years and even recreate trains at home (Will Bosi,
    Stefano Ghisolfi).
    The only thing that counts is the climb, whether someone used a clip stick while bouldering out is completely irrelevant.

    For all other “climbing disciplines” a clip stick is useless anyway:
    – Bouldering
    – Trad routes (no hooks, in the Gritstone in England: you come from behind for months to toprope before you get in from below)
    – Alpine hardcore routes such as the 1st pitch of “Locker vom Hocker” (no bolts), or “Mythomania”, “Weg durch den Fisch”, central pillar Messnerplatte,…

    So that the Clipstick is supposed to be an “epidemic” and that climbing ethics are going down the drain is completely far-fetched!

  48. When I read Markus Hutter's text I can only shake my head. Someone goes up the rock walls and, again with better knowledge, doesn't use all the safety measures that are available with modern equipment. Speaks of courage and boldness – the pure ethics of climbing.
    But the worst thing about it is that he propagates this risky climbing style in a large forum like a climbing magazine. Markus, as an experienced alpinist you should be aware of your role model function. Can't you imagine that with a speech like that you're encouraging young, inexperienced climbers to be careless? You mourn the days when climbing wasn't mainstream. Motorsport was once only for hardcore drivers. But those times are over! No racing driver today would publicly promote a bolder driving style. And no responsible mountain guide would forego safety-relevant material for his group just to encourage a bolder ascent. With your public speech, you run the risk that people will take completely unnecessary risks (for today's safety technology) when climbing because they want to emulate your seductive image of the hardcore climber. Just like you and many climbers who have already had accidents were influenced by alpinists like Paul Preuß at a young age.
    Climbing is mainstream today. Otherwise climbing magazines like LACRUX would probably have very little to report. And LACRUX should also be even more aware of their responsibility and not publish such texts without comment.

  49. I'm clipping forward because I don't want to die in the first few meters, I only want to die ethically when I'm higher. Seriously, anyone who attaches so much emotional importance to an issue like this these days has a different problem. The “if-you-don’t-risk-your-life-at least-three-times-on-the-tour, then you’re not climbing” attitude is for the old-timers who have forgotten that alone Having fun with something should be the main thing. Pre-clipping, not clipping at all, clean, barefoot in the moonlight - it doesn't matter. Live and let live... and take a deep breath and then you will be able to accept new things

  50. Another quote from letters on another channel:
    “I could explain psychologically why the clipstick is a tragedy and how it represents the softening of society…”

    • Dear Markus,
      It's a shame that you're having this discussion on other channels and that all the contributions aren't brought together here in LaCrux.

      I would be very interested in the reasons given by your “psychologist from the other channel” as to why the clip stick is a “tragedy”.
      Maybe you can post them here.
      That's because I have exactly the opposite opinion (see my post above from January 15, 2024 00:02).

  51. Dear Markus,

    thank you very much for your articles. Of course it's worded a bit harshly, but that's what you intended. A clip stick isn't the end of the world and if you think you have to use one, you've at least found a way to make your life easier. For me it's more of a symptom of the times. Everything must be accessible, but please without too much effort or danger. Risk is probably no longer appropriate. Psychology has long reported that “young people” are less and less used to criticism and demand consumption without effort. The reactions here show this impressively. Although I still consider myself to be “the youth”, I was socialized by mountaineers who made it an art to work on themselves until they embarked on a route with an acceptable level of risk and did not make the rock suitable for their abilities. I think that many clip stickers already know about the reduced sporting value, but they don't care. Likewise, it doesn't matter on TikTok and Insta.
    Maybe the form of climbing is out of fashion, but there are mountaineers who value ethics and style. Therefore: keep it up. You have your finger in the right place.

    • Hey, thanks for your contribution!
      You pretty much hit the nail on the head with your findings. However, I don't see the undesirable developments in climbing as a generational thing!!! But as a time phenomenon!
      Consume something as quickly as possible, as easily as possible and without risk... The cheating stick is not the end of the world, but it is clearly a softener. Anyone who urgently needs it should use it...
      Tragically, another problem is closely related to this: the same clientele is demanding more and more safety (fallacy), i.e. more bolts... All over the world you can see how the rock/nature is being recklessly pumped full of more and more steel, especially in holiday areas. The main thing is FUN…

  52. Softening…
    So I found that just because some people in the 80s simply didn't have enough money and therefore didn't tick more boxes, that's no reason to derive an "ethics" from it.
    I ventured into such a route WITHOUT a stick WITHOUT testing anything first = slipped before the first hook at 5m and ONLY broke my foot...
    Great ethics: how many times can I try the route again in my life according to the ethics quoted until my feet are mud?

      • So Markus, thanks for the suggestion
        I talked to people who opened routes in the 1980s and told me that at the moment, they didn't have enough money and therefore couldn't set more bolts
        Of course, this doesn't apply to all routes in the world

        I'm really missing a relaxed discussion here and you're calling my comment laughable, it's below the belt and it's annoying
        But you want to provoke, that's what you showed with your article

      • Maybe it was laziness?
        Back then, not everyone had a cordless drill. By hand it sometimes took half an hour (at least for me) per drill hole.

    • No, it wasn't usually about coal.
      1. Drilling hooks by hand was strenuous.
      2. Since we were used to (poor) normal bolts, it was no problem to climb 4m away from a bolt.

      Indoor climbing certainly didn't improve morale.

  53. Daa was hard to read and it's a shame that Lacrux stoops to this level.
    The article stimulated a discussion and therefore achieved its goal. Let's hope that this was the author's primary intention and that he actually looks at the (climbing) world in a more open-minded and differentiated way. Live and let live.
    If there is a problem in climbing, it is the elitist behavior of individuals who claim to be able to decide what is climbing and what is not. Reminiscent of the beginnings of sport climbing...back then there was a lot of talk about ethics from the old guard. Maybe the author is simply frustrated that 12-year-old kids are climbing his projects these days (probably with clipsticks).
    Finally, many thanks to the many commenters who took the time to write beautifully differentiated answers. You made this post worth reading.

    • Unfortunately, you are not the first to rant, the author could possibly be frustrated. Actually, it's too cheap for me to get involved in this level, but now I'll do it anyway:
      That's definitely not me. And everyone who knows me knows this. As mentioned above, I absolutely do not see this discussion as a generational problem!!! Because of “elitist behavior from old farts… Maybe you too should read my text a second time and remember the second last sentence… …
      It seems to me that most of those who feel pissed off here have mainly saved my snappy words like cheating...and fighting and are overlooking the important thing...

      • Very flimsy argument Mr. Hutter. A single sentence does not put into perspective what was written in the rest of the text. Anyone who writes such a provocative text should not and should not be surprised if others react accordingly.

        The topic would actually be quite exciting and there would be enough points to actually criticize with the current development of climbing, the use of a clip stick is certainly not the top priority. I hope that Lacrux will take up the topic again... but then with someone who is able to think in a more differentiated way.

      • ...I would love to experience it in the Franconian Jura...route about 8m high, running diagonally, 40 degrees steep with rocky, really nasty ground, holds not visible and difficulties from 8a+ every mistake means grounder...I don't know anyone who hasn't looked at it before and would like to admire them in their attempts...!

        • Hello “Bade”,
          You are not the first person to refer to the Franconian Jura (promised land…). I probably climbed more challenging routes with a very high first hook there than you can imagine. Unfortunately, clip embroidery in this country mainly originates from this climbing area. The “Franke” has always been the trendsetter, including route manipulation (chipping and gluing), pinkpointing, residual development, etc…
          The 8m would perhaps be more of a highball boulder somewhere else and the route is probably as drilled as described in my text: The boulder-heavy moves make normal hooking in almost impossible or an additional challenge... and the stick inevitably becomes a cheating tool...

  54. I have now read the article twice and have had various thoughts about the article and the comments.
    I don't feel attacked by the article, but I'm also at peace with myself and my (very personal) climbing ethics.
    I also see problems with clip sticks in connection with climbing ethics, but differently than what is suggested in the article and the comments.
    I think using a clipstick to check out a sport climbing tour in a non-alpine environment at the limit is absolutely justified. Alternatively, depending on the situation, you can clip a top rope over an easier neighboring tour or something similar. The clip stick is just another way to do something that has been practiced for a long time, namely rehearsing a route down to the last detail and then using it in free climbing at some point (e.g. Red point) to climb.
    The problem of effeminacy does not come from the clipstick itself, but rather from its natural use. All actions are justified with the pretext of safety and the fact that one should not injure oneself while doing a hobby, but these are in their nature atypical for the nature of mountaineering and therefore also of rock climbing (and in my opinion also of sport climbing). are. For me, the mental component and the fact that I have to think about whether I can take responsibility for my actions when I start a tour with, for example, a very high first hook, is an essential aspect of climbing. Without this component I certainly wouldn't have as much fun. Of course everyone can see it however they want.
    Now of course everyone can climb as he or she wants. For me, this is also an essential aspect of climbing. From my point of view, a successful ascent of a route happens when the climber has done what he or she wanted. But we live in a time of social media and the associated self-expression. This doesn't stop at climbing and many climbers record their ascents on 8a.nu, for example. Only four ascent styles are distinguished there (onsight, flash, red point, top rope). Of course, everyone wants to log their routes in one of the first three ascent styles, as top rope is unfortunately a bit dirty there.
    But the fact is that a climbing tour in which the climber has attached two of five intermediate belays with a clip stick was not completely climbed in the lead. Nevertheless, these ascents are logged as red points. You can justify this by saying that you're only logging it for yourself and don't want to represent yourself, or by saying that other people do the same thing.
    I even have a concrete example of how my view of other climbers can differ significantly from the 8a.nu representation.
    Last year I was in the Franconian Jura at a very popular 7m high overhanging rock. A Dutch climbing couple (nationality is irrelevant here) wanted to climb a UIAA8 route that has two intermediate belays and a diverter. If you're stupid, you can fall to the ground just before the second hook.
    The man checked out the tour and installed an extended (double) quickdraw in the diverter. The woman then started her experiment with two pre-clipped exes (i.e. all intermediate backups). She climbed until her tie-in knot was about 40cm above the second hook and was then able to clip the diverter. Her climbing partner “closed” and she pulled herself up half a meter on the rope so that she could convert (pulling herself up on the rope is undoubtedly not free climbing, but rather technical climbing). Of course, the climber can be happy about her ascent if that's what she wanted to do.
    On 8a.nu that day I saw a flash ascent of this route by a woman with a Dutch-sounding name. If I now compare this information with what I saw on the rock, it doesn't fit in my world.

    In summary, I would like to say that it is okay for me to check out a route when sport climbing in a non-alpine environment using a clip stick in order to then climb it “cleanly” (red point) without any pre-clipped hooks. For me, the moral component is what makes climbing so attractive. And of the 110 routes UIAA 8 or harder that I climbed in 2023, there were also tours where a fall from a height of 6m was absolutely realistic if you didn't know what you were doing.

    This is all my own personal climbing ethic and I can respect all other climbers who have a different approach to climbing. I just think that in the context of all the self-expression, a little more honesty with yourself and others would be appropriate.

    • I can only underline your last sentence, it's the honesty that counts, not the clipstick!

      There have always been lies and there always will be lies. The clip stick is a tool for hanging up the rope or quickdraws. No more and no less. Otherwise it's the better climbing partner, the neighboring tour, a wild abseiling or traversing action from above, etc. In the worst case scenario, you couldn't check out the route and you might have had a less enjoyable experience. I think that would be a shame.

      But I also know “first-time climbers” who enjoy placing hooks in unfavorable places. When cleaning and drilling, from above of course, you can hang up long quickdraws and have no problem with clipping. Afterwards, you'll probably laugh aloud in private when the routes are described as hara-kiri, because the grounder is regularly threatened when attaching the quickdraws.
      However, it is also very popular to describe your own climbing level as the measure of all things, i.e. below your own level there are no to few hooks and you hardly reach your personal performance limit and you can move from hook to hook on the A0 tour or see a very suspicious little hole . The author is probably not one of them, but the discussion has generalized anyway.

      I still remember climbing with handboots and rusty cucumbers. Thank God I survived that. And before I put myself in danger while sport climbing today, I'll take the clip stick to check out the route. After that I can still decide whether to climb the red point tour, extend the hook, or leave it alone. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I can look myself in the mirror and be honest about how I approach myself. Since I avoid social media and 8a.nu, I don't really care what others report there.

      And another thing about respect for the first ascents or routes to be left in their original state: I can't actually listen to this nonsense anymore. Then you would still have to climb with a felt hat, hemp rope, wooden wedges, etc. And if I then do the Lafatscher intersection, for example, does it have to be done barefoot because Hias has always climbed that way? I can also pay respect to the ancestors when I clip the bolt at the stand. My imagination is wide enough to imagine this with hemp rope and no hooks, even if I use Magnesia, Friends and climbing shoes.

      If you fall down, you're not the hero, you're the idiot!

      With this in mind, I wish us all a little more calmness and honesty. For the people who are important to me, I know who climbed what and how; I don't really care about the rest.

  55. Somehow the discussion reminds me of the argument about “lying powder” (for younger people -> magnesia) in the 1980s.

    or in the 1930s the “hook dispute”…

    or in the 1970s (if I'm not mistaken) the “bolt dispute”

    ….and then there was a writer among the ancient Romans who was upset about “the youth of today”. By the way, the text still fits today 🤣

  56. So everything has to be looked at in a differentiated way... It's actually clear that the fewer tools the better, less is more. Everyone can climb however they want. In my opinion, knee bars and climbing shoes are also helpful. And magnesia too.

    The best time is “7. “Grad” by Messner, or Paul Preuss. In my opinion, the mechanization of climbing brings safety, but it in no way increases the experience.

    Greetings man

    • For someone who has previously clipped a hook every 1,5 meters in the hall, a Franconian six, even with a clip stick, is experience enough 😄.

      In addition, the “experience climber” can pack the wedges at any time and climb the tour cleanly.

      My wife is happy when she sees me on the mountain with the e-bike and I am happy that she rides with me.

      But joy and fun are probably a thorn in the side of some people, at least when “unworthy” people have it 😉.

  57. Hello Markus (Hutter), with pleasure – praise where praise is due.

    I'm posting here in the hope that you read it.

    To perhaps understand you better, an example, a request for explanation. You wrote on sloper.ch that the renovated 1st SL of Thurgauerweg/Langstrasse would be consumable “fast food” after renovation. Since the renovation, there have been bolts every 4-5 meters. No bolt before, just a normal hook at 40m. Friends barely fit in, crack too wide. So it was basically a 40m free solo before. Have you ever climbed it in its original state?

    I mean, on this tour, falling before the first and second bolt is still forbidden. Clipstick can hardly be used because it is too short (?).

    But now my question: why did you think that the tour was now consumable fast food? I just want to understand it a little better.

    I just think that if someone had fallen on the first pitch in the past, it would always have been a ground fall/grounder. The ground is grassy and slightly sloping, but a grounder there, from a height of more than five or a maximum of ten meters, would have resulted in the person who fell either needing care or being dead immediately before the renovation.

    I think even insurance after renovation is demanding. It didn't become an A0 bolt ladder. Still compellingly heavy between the hooks.

    It would be nice if you would write a few lines about it. I admire your climbing ethic and would like to understand you as well as possible. Thank you; Ralph...

    • Hello Ralph,
      Even if what was mentioned has very little or nothing to do with the discussion taking place here, here is my opinion:
      The route on the Wildhauser Schafberg in combination with the “Langstrasse” is a very beautiful and popular route. Initially there was not a single bolt in the first pitch! I actually climbed it once in its original state and it was very mentally demanding. During the first large wave of first ascents on this wall, runouts were normal...

      Then at some point the first bolts were added to the starting pitch to minimize the risk of falling to the ground. From my point of view, completely ok! A few years later, the number of hooks on this pitch doubled, making the route combination a great climb. For those who are socialized indoors, the number of hooks would have to be at least doubled again (perhaps already done???) - and here we are once again approaching the problem that mainstream climbing brings with it... (including M-stick)

      I am very happy when such excesses are reduced again, as happened, for example, in SUPERTRAMP on Bockmattli.

      • Hello Markus, thank you very much for your answer.

        To get back to the clipstick: I don't own one and haven't yet taken a closer look at what's available on the market. To what length can these longest clip sticks actually be extended? Is that three meters, five, or even ten or more meters?

        The question may also apply to everyone. There are obviously people here who already own such a clipstick.

        Thanks in advance – Ralph

        • I just looked at it once: the longest sticks currently on offer are almost seven meters long.

          There are probably also instructions for building a clip stick yourself.

          Thought model: if you were on an alpine multi-pitch tour with an 80m single rope (e.g. on the Wildhuser Schafberg), and you had a 40m clipstick, you could top rope climb every 40m rope length. As far as I understand it, you can use the stick to hook the express sling into the top of the bolt tab, and then use the stick to hook the rope into the quickdraw sling (if you haven't already hooked it down to the ground/stand).

          So then: use the clip stick, then the first person climbs the SL top rope. Then he waits at the top, fixes the rope, smokes, for example. B. a cigarette, and the second person jumps the length of the rope with ascender(s). Until he gets to the first one. Then the clip stick is used again, and so on. Until you reach the top stand (end of the route). Then the abseiling begins on the Schafberg route.

          Disadvantage: with a 40m clipstick you could only pre-clip rope lengths of up to a maximum of 40m. For 50m rope lengths, the (self-made?) stick should be extendable up to 50m. And you would then need a 100m rope to top rope it. Are there currently 100m single ropes on the market?

          Greetings Ralph

          • Ralph, have fun carrying the 40 or 50 meter clipstick up to Schafberg... current clipsticks don't go beyond 10 meters. When will there be 50-meter clipsticks to attach a top rope for entire lengths of rope? It's written in the stars. And as I said, for 50 meter rope lengths you would need 50 meter sticks and a 100m rope!!... both weigh a lot. Once you get to the base of the wall, you might be so exhausted that you can only climb top rope or jümare. Dear greetings

      • We are back in the 60s, although there are no 460 hooks like in the Rotwand Direttissima,
        but you want absolute security.
        In 1968, R.Messner brought the Paul Preuss theory into play, or aidless free climbing.
        A rethink took place, at the latest in 1977 with the 7th degree.

        But that's no longer “modern”, you just want risk-free climbing.
        But it's good to think about it!

        And it's also good that Adam Ondra is also thinking.

  58. Very interesting discussion! Probably no one is interested, but here is my opinion: most (sport) climbing routes are probably developed and drilled by climbers who are somewhere in the UIAA 8,9,10 range or more. The same people also open up the easy routes. Probably free solo with the drill between your teeth... Then quickly put a hook in at 6 or 7 meters, you can't fall out anyway... What about the climbers who can't climb 10? Or not yet. Do they have to break their necks on the way there? And what happens if I stick a wedge into the wall on the way to the first hook at a height of 8m? Is this also a plague? By the way, I'm a little older 😁. And I can vaguely remember using clipsticks 30 years ago. There were lots of them lying around in the forest back then. When approaching, you quickly carved one out with your pocket knife. If I hadn't done that back then, I probably wouldn't (couldn't) climb today. Just think about it!

  59. Dear Markus,

    I am 35 and learned to climb more than 10 years ago in the hall (hall socialized) in Hamburg. Rock climbing has become my passion and I have been living in Franconia for 5 years now. I probably don’t need to explain in more detail why I moved here. I practice many types of our beautiful sport. Sport climbing, multi-pitch, trad, bouldering and occasionally mountaineering. My now very good friend, who taught me rock climbing, is now 75. He has been climbing himself for over 40 years, maybe even 50 now. From climbing together to drilling routes, we have shared many wonderful experiences. I know countless stories from a time that many, including you, long for. I like hearing all of this. Some of these things I wouldn't do for myself, luckily I don't have to.

    A lot has happened over the course of our friendship; today I climb stronger than my friend. Back then he clipped routes for me, today I am his “human clipstick”. So he can still have the courage to go on difficult tours today and we continue to have great experiences together. To this day he doesn't clip the first hook from below when he climbs up, but he doesn't mind if I see things differently and, for example, hook the first hook. We are connected by our passion, even though we have experienced very different climbing ethics due to our generations.

    My friend is an incredible role model for me. When I'm his age, I want to be fit enough to be able to climb at 7-8 degrees. Today he still brings beginner climbers to the rock and gives them the necessary knowledge so that they can climb the rock responsibly and independently. We have also taught courses together. He is an incredibly open person. He inspires people to develop further.

    Why am I telling this story? Because she is an example of how shared passions connect even more when you focus on the similarities and not on the differences.

    While reading your article, a passage from “Bob Dylans – The Times They Are a-Changin’” kept coming to mind:

    … Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the country
    And don't criticize
    What you can't understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is rapidly aging
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can't lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changing

    I wish everyone here a lot of friends in climbing, regardless of whether they are Hadcore, indoor socialized or gymnasts.

    • Hello Ben,
      Thank you for your objective, non-judgmental approach!
      As I said, I don't see the discussion as a generational conflict at all. I also really enjoy climbing with very different age groups...(20-60). Passion connects! It even happens regularly that friends have a stick with them!!! Most people know my clear stance on this.
      Ever since I saw the first red dot at the start of a route in the Danube Valley (probably original by K. Albert) at the very beginning of the free climbing movement, I have been enthusiastic about this idea. The fact that after the so-called “Iron Age” the wheel was turned back and free climbing introduced an almost unbelievable increase in performance using fair means is rather an exceptional phenomenon in our society.
      However, I am very critical of the current development in climbing because it is going in the other direction. The presence in the (new...) media alone, including daily top news from the stars, shows how co-opted the formerly marginal sport has become... business as usual...

      • Hi Markus,
        It seems to me that you basically have a problem with the current zeitgeist. For you, the clip stick is simply the bone of contention or the hook in relation to your environment, can that be?

      • Markus, I agree with you on many points... It may be that at some point two meter distances will be found everywhere. Maybe they'll build a via ferrata through the north face of the Eiger in Grindelwald.

        The pioneering spirit of the 1980s at Wildhuser Schafberg was replaced in the 2000s, until now, by the spirit of renovation. The hooks are now located there in such a way that you can usually pre-clip them with a clip stick.

        I also long to go back to that time. You were also on the rock for the fun of it, but it was different. There were more doubts, more fear, more fear at play.

        And yet (perhaps because of that) it was simply more intense. Of course, no one believed they would die there back then either. But you had to be focused, there were often no mistakes - long runouts, and the Kronenbolts were not what you can buy today, but were less reliable, especially after a few years.

        The following example shows that there was still room for joie de vivre, enjoyment, even sensuality: years later, a couple of climbers told me that one of their children was probably conceived (arithmetically) at a stand in the middle of the Schafberg face... :)... They were good ones Times, I experienced them as a youngster. Very, very good times.

  60. Hi guys, I would also like to take a stand as a stranger with a need for recognition. I love the clip stick. What an invention! Thanks to him, I have the choice whether I want to indulge in the heroism of the pioneers of climbing or simply do sports in nature. In fact, I also think that there needs to be clear rules for classifying the performance area. In my opinion, however, the danger of sport climbing is not part of the difficulty level. This is more for campfire stories. And they have their place too! Adventures are objectively not necessary, but they are part of being human and are a great thing! However, in my opinion, the risk is up to each individual. Personally, it seems to me that the clip stick critics feel cheated of their performance when they fight hard for their 6+ and then a sloppy 10er climber hooks his route with the clip stick, boulders out and then redpoints ahead, without breaking your spine on the second hook on your first failed attempt.

    Have fun everyone. Love climbing!

  61. Back to the clipstick: I think it will never be completely uncontroversial.

    I think Markus Hutter presents good arguments.

    By the way, because this was mentioned, Markus climbed 1990b routes in the 8s. These weren't 8b tours like so many of today, which are actually more like UIAA eights or nines. But, these were still 8b (UIAA10) routes that were really “tens”: just below what was the best in the world.

    During this time, Markus was the first to climb numerous alpine multi-pitch routes. From below, with drill bit and skyhook, everything drilled in onsight lead, by hand. Mostly record tours, sometimes not much easier than a “silver vulture” in the Rätikon. Tours where you have to be able to climb, where you can fly out at any time.

    His “pacemaker” on Schafberg originally contained minimal protection, long runouts (>10m), plus a 60m SL with several runouts.

    At Hundstein he made his first ascent of a rock-hard UIAA9. His masterpiece was probably “Parzival”, which he barely climbed RP and was rated 1b after the 8st RP.

    Markus has worked hard for everything in climbing, as well as in his job as an artist. He enjoys an excellent reputation in German-speaking countries, both as a climber and as an artist. Because art budgets have been cut everywhere for a long time, this profession has always had a difficult time. Markus belongs to the small circle of those who were able to make a living from art for decades: that shows how good he is as an artist.

    Markus sat with Michael Wohlleben at the Rheintaler Sämtis, drank Alpine milk and looked up at the Trinity. Michael Wohlleben would never have spent time with Markus if he hadn't assumed that Markus was “the real deal”. Michael Wohlleben only works with great people on his projects.

    I am glad that Markus Hutter is speaking out, because his words have weight in the climbing scene, in eastern Switzerland as well as in Lower Saxony. He remains a beautiful man and lives at the height of the times. So he is not a “forever old man”, as is sometimes assumed.

    So much more about the clipstick: it is often the case that the end justifies the means. You could do it this way by quickly inserting the clip stick on the rock and then hiding it again in your backpack or in a plastic bag. This means that no one has to look at the clipstick and there are no discussions on the rock. That would be a solution.

    I hope that Markus will continue to publish opinion articles here on LACRUX from time to time, because his opinion is valuable and it is fun to discuss controversial topics.

    Markus, hello, and stay the way you are. It's nice that we can discuss things, especially on a great, great platform like Lacrux, which is rightly very, very popular. Remo and the team are doing a great job, and I think it's great that - like here - you give Markus, for example, the opportunity to publish opinion articles that at first glance seem to go against the mainstream.

    It remains exciting. Opinions stay the same or change. Everyone sees it a little differently than the other. That's what makes the diversity. Climbing is as individual and as diverse as the climbers are.

    Clipstick supporters see the added value in more security. This also gives you the opportunity to climb harder routes more safely.
    Opponents of the clip stick see the added value in more thrills and more adrenaline. This is also completely legitimate. It's not for nothing that trad and clean climbing, for example, is back in fashion. From bolts to normal hooks, clamping wedges, friends, hexcentrics, and sw.

    Both settings are sporty and in no way contradict the basic principles of climbing.

    I had to smile about Ralph's story about eroticism at the MSL stand...

  62. In the very first comment, MattK wrote:..."The problem lies more with the old white men who haven't been able to do anything else their entire lives..."
    What an unqualified, stupid statement!!! As luck would have it, two very well-known climbers are now criticizing the current development. Beat Kammerlander in the Neue Züricher Zeitung (NZZ) and Stefan Glowacz in an interview here on Lacrux. Didn't get caught up in anything...!!
    S. Glowacz's statements are clear, even though he is the brand ambassador for a hip sugar juice manufacturer. The media pressure to announce “particularly” great achievements every day makes trickery more attractive and possibly lucrative…B. Kammerlander speaks of massive trickery on the rock.
    It is by no means surprising that the masses allow their own behavior to be influenced by “caught” news! Unfortunately, the “simplifying” of inspections discussed here is also part of it!!!

    • Hello Markus, you just have to say that even in the generation of Beat Kammerlander and Glowacz there was tricking and cheating so that the beams bend. The people back then would have rated your Hundstein Tour (Liberte) not with 7c, but with 8a+, to stay with the example.

      You, Markus, were at least honest enough to release Parzival after admitting that you didn't climb it rp. Other climbers would have easily claimed they had scored them.

      During Kammerlander's time, routes in the Rätikon were rated 8a/b, but twenty years later they turned out to be 7c.

      If Ondra and Megos are 100%, then Beat and Glowacz are maybe 70-75%. In some of today's boys' alpine projects, Beat and Glowacz would no longer be able to lift two meters from the base of the wall. Times have changed, and today there are a lot of climbers who can, for example, climb a silver vulture in the Rätikon. The boys climb the silver vulture and think: “What, and this tour has been hyped for decades?!”

      • Hey Ralph, I can't agree with your point of view! Of course there were and always will be black sheep...
        In your statement it sounds as if Beat K.'s routes in the Rätikon are vastly overrated, but this is definitely not the case!!! If routes like Silbergeier are now often repeated, it certainly has to do with the increasing fitness of many climbers, but also with the circumstances that Beat K. describes in his interview in the NZZ (Neue Züricher Zeitung): unknown(??) have additional bolts were set and bouldering from above became fashionable. Then we come back to the dilution...
        In this context, I will now elaborate a little further:
        In the book “PUSH” by Tommy Caldwell, which is worth reading, you can easily understand how the “Dawn Wall” came about. Years of siege and months of top rope attempts including a base camp on the summit ultimately led to success. Such an approach has become a model through widespread publication. I don't want to diminish Caldwell's achievement in any way! But the attitude towards the task has changed fundamentally (negatively). This contributes to the current development as much as the higher climbing level.
        If the younger generation seems so superior to the older milestones in climbing history, you have to ask yourself why routes like “No Water – No Moon” from 1985 still haven’t been onsighted!! (...although there were known to be 9a movers on the route...)

        • Dear Markus, first of all, thank you for your answer…

          I have the feeling that climbing is developing in this direction, that perhaps soon there will be no distinction at all between onsight, flash, red point and top rope. One will then probably argue: “Top rope is just as valuable as red point, as long as the climber has not benefited from the rope pull”.

          It could really be the case that this will be the common view in perhaps fifteen or twenty years. Also for first ascents of the hardest routes, the best climbers.

          On the Schafbergwand tour “No water, no moon”: neither Papert, Stephan Siegrist, Dani Arnold, Beat Kammerlander, nor other very strong climbers were able to climb onsight. Since 1985, you're right, no one has been able to onsight climb it. Now it is the case that Martin Scheel (one of the four first ascents of KWKM) did not climb the upper key point of his “Supertramp” (7b+) freely at all, and perhaps could not climb freely. He, Kim Carrigan, climbed the Schafberg-KWKM key point in SL3 (7c+) on the first ascent.

          Allegedly, Carrigan-Scheel-Huber-Salomon entered the first ascent from below, without exploring from above. Then everything was drilled in with cliffs, in the lead, with a drill bit, by hand, from the climbing position. Can that be so? Who knows. Normally the people who fall would have to fall out on the overhanging vertical plaza scale in SL3. All other parts of the tour are a little easier. Some still fall into SL4, but only if stamina is lacking.

          The Piazschuppe has so far been too difficult onsight for all these strong climbers, including 9a climbers. That speaks volumes.

          The fact is that (even and especially) top climbers have always cheated and lied as much as they can. I didn't want to believe that for a long time, because people say that mountain people, climbers, etc. are more honest, decent, etc. But it's obviously really the case.

          You hear of people who don't feel like flying to the Himalayas a fourth time and then claim they have onsighted a near-vertical combined 3000m wall in one night in the dark. Others claim to have climbed routes that they did not climb at all. Others mix up the levels of difficulty. Or were traveling with a top rope instead of a rotpunkt and sell it as a rotpunkt.

          Markus, your first ascents show that you were and are practically in the same league as Scheel, Beat Kamnerlander, etc. There are no longer any big differences between people. You have just set up Parzival, Kammerlander the Silver Vulture.

          You are one of the few top climbers who take ethics seriously and communicate it that way. I see a lot of honesty in you. Others don't take it so seriously.

          The thing is, there's a lot of rivalry too. Glowacz never particularly liked Alex and Thomas Huber. People generally liked to devalue other people's tours. Of course, many people don't say anything bad about the Beat Kammerlanders and others, but you also have to question their business sometimes. I was once in the New Age at Schweizereck and was almost thinking about 7a rather than 8a+. Of course, a lot of it is subjective.

          The clip stick will of course remain a phenomenon, and beginners as well as elites will use it. Courage and boldness will play less and less of a role. You will probably be looked at askance in the future if you DO NOT use a clip stick.

          In principle, there is only one other development that is sadder than this development, and that is in high-altitude mountaineering. This is the discipline of alpinism where today we are miles, miles behind what was achieved at the end of the 1990s.

    • I think Glowacz is a prime example of the old white man who can no longer keep up in terms of performance. And when you can no longer stand out through your performance, you just start to believe that everything used to be better, wilder and what not. Then you talk about environmental protection, but get paid by a morally highly dubious sponsor and jet around the world for your projects. If you can no longer score points with pure performance, then the goals have to be more unusual and exotic in order to be able to sell them. A phenomenon that can be seen in many former top athletes.
      Of course, Glowacz was at the forefront at one point and was also the first to attempt morally demanding things from below. The moralist at the time noted that he also used bolts (bolts = murder of the impossible). Probably because the old white men at the time couldn't handle the fact that routes could suddenly be climbed and secured for which they had no assignment.
      So the mechanisms stay the same, only the objects change. Bolts, more bolts, drill, clip stick, what's next?
      Sorry, didn't have much to do with clipstick softening...

  63. Mark's comment from January 26.01th is unfortunately one more of those who still haven't understood anything...The argument with the "old, white men" stinks to high heaven!! This is by no means about previous performances and their evaluation - it's about the attitude towards a sport.
    It's somehow logical that this attitude might not be the same for an indoor freak who hangs on plastic 5 times a week as for someone who has a passion for rock and nature... and that scissors are in a relatively young sport, which is divided into disciplines, will probably continue to expand, too. However, our sport should consciously deal with this development! The problems will increase...

    Quote from my text: “The question at the end: Was everything better before? Not at all!” (@Mark)
    It is also a time phenomenon of news reaching faster, higher, further and at an ever faster pace: read superficially and get upset about trivialities.

    • Markus, are you intentionally misunderstanding me? I explicitly wrote in my last sentence that my comment does not refer to your Clipstick hate tirade at all. And yes, I was upset about a trivial matter and communicated that way. I just picked that up. I can't say anything about B. Kammerlander, I don't know him, but S. Glowacz should better not play the saint...

      Regarding your statements in the comment: Of course the attitude is different for different people, so what? The good thing about climbing as a hobby is that everyone can find happiness in their own way. Who decides what attitude you should have towards climbing? Certainly not you and me or any association, but each for himself. You have your own, and so do I, which, by the way, differs very much from the indoor clipstick party on the rocks faction. The only fundamental difference between us is probably that I don't care when others embroider clips, curtains, or otherwise shit themselves and then mark the big Maxe. Why should I be upset about it? My time is too much of a waste for that and it only puts me in a bad mood.
      In my opinion, the most pressing problems currently arise not from the attitude or ethics practiced on the rock, but from the sheer masses who go climbing and trample through nature without a brain. The same thing also applies to ski touring, biking, and actually any outdoor sport. However, outside of the generally accepted boarding time, you are usually “among yourself”. I went ice climbing today and yesterday, 1,5 hours of very comfortable approach is obviously too much for most people despite (almost) perfect ice and that with the temperature over the last week...

  64. Quote Mark: “In my opinion, the most pressing problems currently arise not from the attitude or ethics practiced on the rock, but from the sheer masses who go climbing and trample through nature without a brain.”
    I can hardly disagree with that - although for me things are very much connected! Anyone who “just wants to have some fun” and goes to the rocks/into nature with a consumer mentality usually behaves accordingly...And the Clipstick is just ONE piece of the puzzle in an overall development!

    The current problems in Val Bavona/Ticino (report on this page) are further proof of the undesirable developments...

  65. Dear Markus,

    I took the trouble to filter out all the derogatory terms in your article and number them:

    1. Fabric softener
    2. Miracle stick
    3. Clip your way up the routes
    4. Suspicious and critical
    5. Mockery
    6. frowned upon
    7. Plague
    8. No courage
    9. Not fascinating
    10. No careful consideration
    11. No determination
    12. Dilution
    13. Undesirable developments
    14. Clip embroidery
    15. Easy method
    16. Mass movement
    17. Easily consumed
    18. Undesirable developments
    19. Cheating stick
    20. Dilution of ethics
    21. Avoid effort
    22. Avoid imponderables
    23. No courage
    24. No boldness
    25. Gymnastics exercise
    26.. Cheating stick
    27. Pre-clipped polka dots
    28. Absolutely reprehensible
    29. Fabric softening process
    30. Artificial aids
    31. False security
    32. Negative domestication
    33. Plaisir climbing
    34. Mainstream
    35. Wrong image
    36. Easily consumed
    37. Faster, Higher, Further
    38. Path of least resistance
    39. Negative building block
    40. Undesirable developments
    41. Clipstick Plague

    So you open this discussion with 41 put-downs and attacks against other climbers. And then you're surprised that the first commenter shoots back in the same tone.

    Therefore my first specific question to you: If you want a factual discussion as written, why do you start it with 41 devaluations and attacks?

    So much for the tone of your post. Regarding the factual content: I tried really hard to understand what exactly you have a problem with. Concrete:

    So you and your partner work out an 8b in the traditional way. Lead climbing, clipping, falling, working out the sequences and hopefully at the end the red point climb.
    Right next to you there is a rope team that uses a clip stick to get to the diverter of your 7a and then tries out the tour on the top rope.
    Yes and? Where exactly is your problem now? To what extent does this top rope rope team affect you? You climb your 8b your way, they climb their 7a their way. Nobody hinders the others in any way. And if you didn't devalue her so much because of her, and I quote you, "absolutely reprehensible clip embroidery", then you could even work together. They could cheer you on, you could hook their top rope and help with beta.

    So Markus specifically please: Why does it bother you when others climb differently than you? Even if they don't hinder you in any way with their style of climbing?

    • Hi Andrew,
      So you've located 41 downvotes...an impressive number. However, it quickly becomes apparent that your meticulousness goes way beyond the mark and makes multiple mentions!! I just stated this in passing, because I don't really care about the number... As imprecise as you are in your survey, you have apparently also read the content of my text.
      And to emphasize it once again: I have no problem with the topic! (Quote: “I tried really hard to understand what exactly you have a problem with.”)
      Elsewhere I have already said why I consider the clip stick to be problematic and I would like to repeat myself here again with one key word - FABRIC SOFTENER!
      If you don't feel up to a climbing route, you should simply forego it - but unfortunately this is often not an option in a fast-moving, consumer-oriented society...

      Regarding your last sentence: I see our sport going astray due to the constantly increasing number of aids!!!

      • Markus, you see things correctly... I agree with you on a lot of things.

        But on the ethics of hedging: Fachet and you originally secured the pacemaker on Schafberg very narrowly, right? Big runouts (how big?) and lots of SU slings?…

        Only, now you have renovated it...

        Have you made a fun route out of it, or is it still just secured?

        What exactly did the renovation look like?

        PS: Thanks to your Alpstein tours Pacemaker, Parzival and Liberte, as well as short tours like the Stifel/Bollenwees, you have cult status among Alpstein climbers. A Hutter route guarantees quality.

        • Hello Ralph,
          Even if your question about “pacemaker with a heart” only has very little to do with the discussion here, here is an answer:

          Shortly before the first ascent of this route we had climbed “Modern Times” (Marmolata) and “Supertramp” (Bockmattli) and were in an alpine flow. The bold hook spacings, some of more than 10m, just happened like that...especially since we were still drilling by hand back then!
          I would have preferred to renovate the route 1:1 and maybe just replace the hourglasses with hooks... However, I was contacted by other climbers who said that the relatively new route XXL (drilled by Mr. ng Trivial...) would destroy our independent line !!! I was asked to renovate in such a way that clarity about the lines remains or is regained. The 1st SL. Originally it didn't have a single catch... now it has an almost plaisir character and serves as a signpost... But this changes again afterwards! I have repaired the lead climb - unfortunately the matter is not yet finished!!

          • Okay... Are you going back into the pacemaker to finish rehabilitating it? By the way, the tour is tough for 6c. It's more like 7a, right?... Overhang, splintery in places, but a top tour on the Schafberg... Unfortunately, it's done far too rarely, right?...

  66. Since the discussion is now slowly coming to an end, I would like to thank everyone who commented constructively! Mountain and climbing sports will of course continue to develop and there will always be something to talk about... Even in a sport that has no set rules except in the competition area, it is worth questioning the wild growth from time to time about trends and developments place.

    In the future, I will regularly dedicate myself to sensitive and controversial topics here!

Comment on the article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

×Display 350x90_Knatsch in Magic Wood