Should WEML exist?


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Topic Author's Original Post - May 17, 2017 - 08:18am PT
300+ holes on the FA bothers some people, obviously. Does the hole count negate the route's legitimacy? Should the route be left to decompose (as it was the last decade-plus), or be maintained?

It used to be a standard option to avoid traffic on Mescalito, and it used to be climbed with some frequency. I know a couple here who have done it. I have thoughts about the route and its climbing, but I'm interested in what other climbers think. TFPU...

Trad climber
May 17, 2017 - 09:05am PT
When does too many holes negate a worth of a route? Who chooses? When does hot water become warm water?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 17, 2017 - 09:07am PT
Who chooses? You choose for yourself the climbs you want to venture onto.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 17, 2017 - 09:12am PT
the first ascent sets the low bar for style on a route,
you can choose to ascend the route with better style than the first ascent.

that may also include variations that allow good style to be used.

as far as the line is concerned, it seems to have been a compelling vision of the first ascent team, though such explanations are necessarily aesthetic judgements, and subject to fashion, which may be dated. In the end, high quality routes seem to ascend lines that are compelling to every generation.


May 17, 2017 - 09:28am PT
What is this, 1971?

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 17, 2017 - 09:28am PT
Dawn is always My favorite time of day....

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 17, 2017 - 09:31am PT
A climb exists in the eyes of the beholder. If a climb falls into disuse there is a reason.

4 Corners Area
May 17, 2017 - 09:36am PT
"Should" that is a pretty loaded word, all full of judgement and sh!t.

It exists. Deal with it.

Social climber
carmel, ca
May 17, 2017 - 12:44pm PT
If it ain't your ideal of marmalade and toast stay the f*#k off it.

How hard is that?

If it rots, it rots. Or someone else will do route maintenance. I certainly wouldn't mind. But that and $4 will get you a mocha latte these days.

If you aren't climbing it, it only exists in your mind.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 17, 2017 - 02:04pm PT
Ed I am surprised at you.

I guess you have forgotten Lito's letter to Mountain.

It wasn't the drilling that made this climb so important. It was the experienthal life on the wall, self-contained and self-supporting.

Before then the longest anybody had been on a wall was 12 days (and that was Warren too).

This climb showed the way for climbs like Latok.

May 17, 2017 - 02:09pm PT
It exists, climbed or not!

If you haven't climbed it (I have, in 1981), STFU, as your opinion weighs very little. Ron, I agree with you...



from out where the anecdotes roam
May 17, 2017 - 02:37pm PT
should we have trashed the moon? hell ya, we're the monkeys
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 17, 2017 - 03:17pm PT
I'm not saying that Warren and Dean's ascent was in poor style, I haven't done the route so as e.c. advises I cannot really comment on it...

however, those who would go and do the route with the idea that it could have been done in a better style have the challenge to do it...

by "low bar" I meant that any climb that is done, and FA or an FFA, shouldn't be climbed with a style lower than that of the FA or FFA... that bar might actually be quite high.


May 17, 2017 - 03:31pm PT
Warren Harding was "Pioneer"

Modern climbers are just followers and imitators who spend all their time talking sh!t ..... :-)

Social climber
carmel, ca
May 17, 2017 - 03:33pm PT
If WEML is illegitimate, then every single route on El Cap is just as illegitimate.

What's the diff between hundreds of pin scars on NA/Salathe, hundreds of chiseled head placements on PO or bat hook holes on WEML?

At the end of the day there is none. All of those FA parties destroyed the rock in some measure to get up their project and hundreds followed in their footsteps beating those things out to sh#t.

No El Cap route goes clean or free without pin scars (de facto chipped holds) or bolts.

We are all in the same tainted boat my friend. And any talk of "degree" is just self-serving elitist hypocrisy.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 17, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
I agree (having done the PO, but not the WOEML). Or how about sport climbs? Sure you're free climbing, but only because someone was nice enough to install all those big 3/8" bolts for your clipping pleasure.

I think it was recently following RR's passing that I read his comments about recanting about his notion to chop all of the bolts on WOEML because, after following in Harding's tracks, he respected the difficulty of the climbing. Looks like a great route. Go climb it and find out for yourself.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
May 17, 2017 - 06:14pm PT
*haven't done it, but it always intrigued me.

Tut's statement "And any talk of "degree" is just self-serving elitist hypocrisy." Gets the conversation closer to Ron's point, but isn't quite right.

The net result is that each team for an FA has their own game they play. It's not that we shouldn't talk about degrees of value, but post hoc discussions of erasing without knowing the full story might be 'self serving' to a judgment. But I don't think Mike is putting his judgment out there yet.

Instead, we should be clear that comments reflect sub-games that are limited in scope because they are post hoc and only partially informed and likely judged against an absolute scale, when the scale is not absolute.

A harder question is how much restoration is the right amount of restoration to preserve or not.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
May 17, 2017 - 06:52pm PT
The bolt removal on Cerro Torre South East Ridge, elevated it to being an A2, 5-11 alpine mountaineering route involving bad weather and plastered ice.

Wall of the Early Morning Light is a Yosemite wall route that in comparison to other Yosemite wall routes, has become legitimate or not based on how many holes were drilled.

The Patagonian route is viable with the bolts removed.

Social climber
carmel, ca
May 17, 2017 - 07:32pm PT
^^^ You're right Mungie, and I agree "degrees" of resource degradation are important and worthy of debate.

No one wants to see bolted on hand holds up PO (for one extreme) and certainly, all clean routes with no bolts or other rock damaging exercises are totally worthy and to be lauded...

But to compare El Cap routes and say this one is worthy and that one is not...THAT is hypocrisy imo, as virtually every single route has serious scaring from our adventures. Hell, WEML might have less scaring than many routes if it has gotten less traffic over the years.

I haven't done PO (and always wished I had) but what's worse: Fixed trenched head ladders in beat out micro corners or a bolt ladder that leaves the seam alone? I don't know...

And then you have Tommy's Dawn Wall, which goes because of heading and nailing that beat the route out to make holds, for better or worse....(not that Tommy or Kev's efforts should not be lauded).

I just don't have the answers to this other than agree with Werner that Harding was a pioneer (and sometimes such adventures lead to less than ideal results) that opened up so much that came after it. To erase WEML is to erase a big part of the man, imho, and that would be wrong.

Topic Author's Reply - May 17, 2017 - 07:53pm PT
Thanks for the insights, guys. Iím haphazardly gauging interest in the route to gauge my interest in doing replacement on it.

Good point about the details, Munge...

I had forgotten about the consistent condition of the lower progress bolts (P3Ė). They are 1.25" (or 1.5") x 1/4" split-shaft screw-top bolts without nuts (threads usually usable), drilled 1/2-3/4Ē deep. So yes the bolts stick out a lot, the split is consistently visible on the lower pitches. I would be more concerned about grazing one of these (body or rope) in a fall than one breaking on lead. The holes mostly appear they could be re-used with a new 1.5 x 1/4Ē BH/washer.

The aluminum rivets up high I recall looked pretty good (in late 90s). I think any "sketch" on those is the small cable which must be used on some (small space between flange and wall), not the rivetís integrity. I would plan to leave those in place but perhaps replace the bolt that shows up every 5th or 6th placement with something fall worthy if itís not.

If the general feeling is the route deserves to fall into disuse, no problem here Ė I had my fun on it, and if someone wants to climb it, she can figure it out. If itís wasting space as a museum piece, has perceived merit as a climb and people want to climb it, I could get behind updating the drilled anchors.
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