East Buttress of El Cap, Crux Bolt Gone

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johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 3, 2012 - 07:24am PT
I am referring to the 10b move at the beginning of Pitch 2. I climbed this back in 93 and there was a bolt at the crux which did a good job of protecting the move. I understand that originally this bolt wasn't there but the first ascentionist gave permission to add it. I did the climb on 9/30/12 and found getting good pro in was difficult. I read, in a thread elsewhere, that one could get small nuts in the thin crack directly above the belay but I didn't have nuts small enough and it didn't look to me like the crack would take any nuts that would inspire much confidence. I tried to place a cam in the pin scar but that didn't work. I finally tensioned to the crack on the far right and got in some pro. I didn't want to make the move without pro for two reasons, I am a gumby and I didn't want to have the potential of falling on my belayer. I suppose if there were an appropriately placed pin (as pin scar's indicate was done before the bolt was placed) that could be a solution but someone would probably pull the pin, then someone would replace it and then someone would pull it etc (pretty soon you'd have a Serenity Crack). Personally, I'd like to see the bolt reinstalled.
klaus

Big Wall climber
Pacif*#ka
Oct 3, 2012 - 07:27am PT
then go put it back in

problem solved
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 3, 2012 - 07:29am PT
Spice is nice and should suffice.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Oct 3, 2012 - 07:35am PT
Your ass is grass, don't get smoked.
Loose Rocks

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 07:43am PT
The small nut or small cam up high works. I did't test it but it went in fine and looked ok.
Woody the Beaver

Trad climber
Soldier, Idaho
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:23am PT
Old and bold is alpine gold.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:26am PT
When in doubt run it out.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:29am PT
I lead that pitch on Sep 7, and there were two fixed pieces (tcu and wire) a couple feet above the belay pins. I also was able to step up and place a tcu at the very top of this seam.
Woody the Beaver

Trad climber
Soldier, Idaho
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:33am PT
To foil the mortician, just go fishin'!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:33am PT
seems to me that you can get a really good nut placement above your belayer, and the potential swing is mitigated by the fall being controlled...

while this is the technical crux of the route, I don't think it is the actual crux, the 5.9 sections above being much more cruxy...

In 1964 Frank Sacherer and Wally Reed freed the route, they did so without that bolt. You can now appreciate that accomplishment from first hand experience. That FFA was one of a set that established a distinct Yosemite Valley style which includes bold leads and the consequent of moving quickly on very long routes. Now, 50 years later, climbers with modern technology on their racks and feet, and access to an unbelievable detailed array of information on nearly any route, still have to face the boldness of those early routes.

It is a good thing that we have to measure up to those routes rather than engineering them down to the level of common capability.

Suck it up, buttercup...
if you can't do the time, don't do the crime...
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:37am PT
That bolt wasn't necessary. I heard that Shipley put it in to make it easier to guide. You can get bomber pro right at your feet. It was never necessary and I don't think the fall there is bad. It would be less than a ten foot fall. Protected as well as most sport climbs.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Oct 3, 2012 - 08:50am PT
If it was in a gym it'd have a bolt. I mean, I climb 5.11, but this scares me ....
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:00am PT
The bolt hasn't been there for a long time. People seem to be doing fine without it.
johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 3, 2012 - 09:17am PT
Like I said, I am a gumby. I made through the 10b move but it took a lot of doing to get pro in. If you can get a TCU or nut in the crack directly above the belay, that would solve the problem but, because I am a gumby, I didn't think I could get anything in that would hold and gumbies, like me, don't like to make 10b moves on less than perfect pro. I led the entire climb (because my partner had only done one previous trad lead, Pony Express on Sugarloaf, but he saw sure a good follower and very supportive. I did let him do one 5.7 lead but after he took off and got 30' above his last piece of pro I was scared to death that he might fall and die and what would I tell his parents, me - the big time gumby trad leader - letting him lead). As others have said, the 10b really isn't the crux but I had no other problems. Maybe I'm not as big a gumby as I think. I wonder if people posting on this thread that are saying things like "Old and bold is alpine gold" are only SuperTopo leaders like I have seen so many times on this site. Just wondering,
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:18am PT
It was missing about 7 years ago when I did it, just placed a nut up and left of the belay, and I took two big pendulum falls to below the belayer and welded a big nut in there for a few years. Shook me up but no real injury.

We bailed that day, but did it a couple other times.

Bolt not needed.

Edit: The 1-2 face moves was the technical crux of the route for me, but if you can't handle that little runout after then it's a good place to bail low on the route before creating too much of a clusterfvck. I say having that bolt there would let more folks through who are more likely to have an epic higher up on the route.
johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 3, 2012 - 09:19am PT
behilden: How do you know they "are doing fine without it" Maybe most parties are rappelling after the first pitch.
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:20am PT
Bolt has been gone for a long time. I did it 5 years ago with no bolt. My partner led that pitch. Got a small cam or nut up high. Fell, swung into me in the alcove belay. We laughed. He did the move.
Farouk

Boulder climber
Sylvan Grove
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:21am PT
Everyone who has posted so far would smoke you in the gym Gumby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
pvalchev

Social climber
Mountain View, CA / Calgary, AB
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:30am PT
Honest question: if you didn't know there was ever a bolt there, would you propose that one is newly added?

For what it's worth, I did the climb a few years ago and led that pitch, I remember the move being exciting and I was scared, but I don't think anyone can seriously injure themselves there (in fact the party before us took multiple falls at that spot and seemed fine). I think I got a yellow alien in the right crack but didn't fall to test it. I don't have super strong feelings about these topics though... I don't like the potential thought of falling onto the belay/belayer so if a bolt was there I'd clip it, but if there's no bolt that's just part of the climb, gotta deal with it. Pretty sure you'd feel the same if you didn't know there was ever a bolt there, and it sounds like the history of that bolt is "questionable".

How about we discuss the Serenity bolt now? :)
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Oct 3, 2012 - 10:01am PT
If you can get a TCU or nut in the crack directly above the belay, that would solve the problem but...

see post # 9
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