posted by dpm on 04/15/2011
Calling out “The Dab”
Last week, young Ashima Shiraishi, a phenomenal nine-year-old climber, was bouldering in Hueco Tanks. On her last day Ashima was attempting to send Martini Right (V12). She battled through the line three times and even topped out the boulder multiple times. However, she could not state that she had completed the line as her foot popped on every ascent and glanced into a small tree. Every time she topped out the boulder she must have known she hit the tree. Even if she thought she was home free we understand that the film crew who was there had to look down upon her little face after every ascent and inform her of her dab, which couldn’t have been easy. And although Ashima is only nine years old the thought ran through our minds that perhaps a certain four letter word came to the top of her thoughts every time she felt her foot glance the branches of the small tree. It is possible that thought continued to reoccur in her head as she read the words from the lips of the film crew after every ascent.
That thought being “CRAP”!
Click the image for video of Ashima on Power of Silence (V10)
Ashima’s ascents were considered invalid due to her body coming in contact with a “foreign object”. The young nine-year-old displayed a very mature outlook on the situation and accepted that she did not, in fact, send the climb. For that the community is very proud of her. However, the growing argument that continues to develop is; would she have sent regardless of the “dab”?
The general definition of a “dab” is “anything” that comes in contact with the climber’s body that is not a part of the natural boulder problem. The definition is fairly straightforward but there is room to question the definition and perhaps the way the climbing community deals with the term. The glaring question that is constantly overlooked is; would the climber have sent regardless of the dab and did the contact with the foreign object in fact assist in their ascent? And to add to that, we should consider why there are allowances for ‘some’ contact with foreign objects (especially when topping out) and not for others. It is glaring oversights like these that continue to plague our sport with intense internet gossip and awkward social posturing.
To help draw a line in the sand, DPM has created a survey that will allow you to understand your level of commitment to the word “dab” and your place in climbing social structure. To assist those who would like to find out where they sit on the spectrum we have constructed the following survey. Please consider the following questions and mentally check off the box in your head “dab” or “no dab.” At the end, you will be asked to total your points and see how you scored on this quiz so that you might better understand your place in this age-old debate.
Please answer honestly as you will not be able to ascertain your true position if you flip-flop.
1.) A climber pulls through the crux on an ass dragger, their foot pops and their toe kicks up
some dirt, but they did not in fact place weight on the foot that glanced over the sand.
B. No Dab
2.) While pulling through an over-hanging wall over a dicey landing the climber barn doors and kicks
the hand of an over-zealous spotter, but the climber manages to control the barn-door and top out.
*Note: They would have held the swing regardless of the hand-kick.
B. No Dab
3.) While filming a new V15 F.A. a climber pulls through the belly of a roof and onto a mini jug on the
vertical headwall. The climber pauses and asks to have a chalk bag clipped around their waist.
Their best friend obliges, runs over and clips the bag around said climber’s waist as they lean out,
but the friend brushes the climber’s shirt as they fumble with the clip.
B. No Dab
4.) On a hot day in Hueco several climbers work on The Flame (V12). On their last go one of the climbers pulls the crux, hits the lip and proceeds to beach himself through the top out. While grimacing as they dry hump the top their hand slaps up and hits the over-hanging boulder above them. *Note: This boulder forms the hole, which you must pass through to top-out the climb
B. No Dab
5.) Finally, Alex Johnson is working her way to the top of the Mandala. Two moves from the top her left foot pops and she swings away from the wall. While readjusting her body position the laces of her 5.10 Dragons clip the wings of a small butterfly causing a tsunami in San Diego.
B. No Dab
Please total up your responses for questions 1-5 and see the chart below to identify your place in the current argument at hand.
If you answered “Dab” on 1 out of 5 you are most assuredly a low-key climber who climbs to enjoy themselves and most likely do not have an 8a scorecard.
If you answered “Dab” on 2 or 3 out of 5 you probably take your climbing seriously and even spot check before you get on a problem to ensure your pad, spotters, and living creatures are free from the “dab zone.”
If you answered “Dab” on 4 out of 5 you are a very stringent fellow and would have no problems looking into the eyes of a nine-year-old and informing her the V12 she just pulled was completely and utterly invalid, you may even smirk a bit.
If you answered “Dab” on 5 out of 5 you may want to move to Colorado. You can troll bouldering crags and anonymously yell out dab to those deserving of the call and then run home and post it to your blog. Make sure you include the climber’s name who dabbed, along with the name of the problem and what object they dabbed on.
Check out video of Ben Moon on Martini Right. The dab tree is clearly visible in the video.