Fans are OK as pre-clipped QDs


Sunday, 25 October

Fans have been used increasingly for the last five years and some of the hardest boulders have lately been done with several fans following the climber blowing air from both sides. Once Dave Graham released his uncut Ali Baba 9b send, where he had a friend blowing air, also from a ladder during 15 minutes, some reacted negatively. In the video, Dave actually said in Spanish that it would not have been possible without the fan. He refers to 20+ degrees, 70 degrees humidity and no wind.

"Lots of hate on the fan, not sure why, wind is natural haha, and we use them a ton in bouldering? The cave gets zero wind so it helped on the really hot days, like when it was 35 degrees that was huge! Anyway, I read the comments and was like WTF. The whole thing depresses me, sucks to get so much hate for a hard ascent."

I am personally OK with that fan-ascent. The big issue is of course, what if fans are too good? What if some guys bring an industrial AC and a diesel generator as well having some guys hanging in ropes and then downgrade it to 9a+? What if the pros think it is so important that they carry up such a fan set up to make it easier to repeat Ondra's 9c in Flatanger?

"If people want “fan” support on routes, it would look ridiculous. This is an exaggerated fear for me. Would be the ultimate spectacle and a pain in the ass, comments Graham."

So what do you think? My thoughts, at this point, are that fans are in the grey area like that we can not draw an exact line when it comes pre-clipped quickdraws. I have no problem as a fan is not used in a systematic way to create better friction than in good climbing conditions as we should not use pre-clipped QDs in order to make the climb easier. But if QDs are for safety reasons or fans are for poor conditions, both situations are OK. It is up to the climber to decide if two or three pre-clipped quickdraws are ok due to safety reasons and when fans are OK. For me having several fan-boys or standing on ladders are, though, pushing it just to the limit.

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