Stop “comfortizing” routes with bolted belays!

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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 16, 2018 - 03:22pm PT
Multi pitch traditional routes are despoiled when unnecessary bolted belays are added with the bizarre notion of comfortizing them. One of the joys of such routes is using your judgement to decide where to stop and set up a belay. One of the prerequisites for a belay is the presence of places to put your belay anchors....bolted belays are rarely needed on traditional routes.
I have established hundreds of belays around the world over the past six decades, many of them on previously unclimbed ground, and have had to resort to hand drilled bolts for anchors exactly twice.
Bolted belays:
*scar the climb
*draw people to them and exacerbate the herd instinct in climbing
*create climber dependence
*deter learning opportunities for new climbers
*remove much of the exploratory aspect of climbing
*are almost never needed
One of the reasons I enjoy the Black Canyon so much is the almost complete absence of bolted belays.
A young climber asked me once...”how do you know where to belay if there isn’t a fixed belay?” Go figure!

Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:25pm PT
Good points, Jim. The only exception are climbs in places like Pine Creek Canyon outside Bishop. There are no walk-offs to speak of, so down the route you go, fixed anchors/belays.

BAd
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:33pm PT
The Gunks are a junk show.
The lost art of self reliance that starts in the gyms has ruined the experience.
That no one understands what was lost is sad.
The need to learn how to be safe/build anchors, in the relative safety of the small foot hills.
On the positive side, I guess, it means the greater wild will
remain off limits to at least half of the new to climbing hoard who only spend 4-5 years climbing anyway.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:34pm PT
Thanks Jim. Well said.

And Pine Creek Canyon is hardly adventure climbing.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:39pm PT
I blame Aeriq. :0)
ec

climber
ca
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:48pm PT
Do you trust the ‘third-party’ welds on those links?

 ec
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Sep 16, 2018 - 03:56pm PT
Well in Eldo there seems no consistent agreement from those who decide where anchors can be placed. Some routes that are a straight shot to the top have bolted stations with an easy descent. No bolts needed. Yet 50 yrds away a route with no anchors with a goofy descent. Or worse tat.

I've climbed there long enough to figure out how to "work around" things (traversing a ledge to get to an anchor). Knowing where I can get down quickly and where I'm kinda in a pickle getting back to my pack. I'm using Eldo 'cause there is a committee that decides these things and many times its been a head scratcher.

I agree that the Black is nice that you are on your own and you need to be competent. Its sadly becoming unique. I'm reminded of Crusher et. al. employing the 2x4's to avoid anchors and were removed using a clever setup.

I don't really have a point maybe just giving fodder for conversation right now.

S...
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Sep 16, 2018 - 04:16pm PT
Free soloing don't need no stinkin bolts...
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 16, 2018 - 04:19pm PT
not all routes are created equal. some climbs it makes sense to have bolted belays. I do agree with Jim that on trad climbs it totally changes the character of the climb. I especially liked group therapy in red rocks the first time we did it (2004) as it had not a single piece of fixed gear after one bundle of tat 70 ft off the deck. the next 700ft were completely up to us to decide where to go and what to climb. there are other places like that but not as many as would be nice. The Gunks certainly got messed up with all the added fixed anchors.. all that being said I also love climbs that are properly bolted to give the climber a great experience.
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
Sep 16, 2018 - 04:20pm PT
agreed, shaky 'tons in fractured tuff are way more sporting. faster for the fa too.
Rankin

Social climber
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Sep 16, 2018 - 04:32pm PT
Multi pitch traditional routes are despoiled when unnecessary bolted belays are added with the bizarre notion of comfortizing them. One of the joys of such routes is using your judgement to decide where to stop and set up a belay. One of the prerequisites for a belay is the presence of places to put your belay anchors....bolted belays are rarely needed on traditional routes.
I have established hundreds of belays around the world over the past six decades, many of them on previously unclimbed ground, and have had to resort to hand drilled bolts for anchors exactly twice.
Bolted belays:
*scar the climb
*draw people to them and exacerbate the herd instinct in climbing
*create climber dependence
*deter learning opportunities for new climbers
*remove much of the exploratory aspect of climbing
*are almost never needed
One of the reasons I enjoy the Black Canyon so much is the almost complete absence of bolted belays.
A young climber asked me once...”how do you know where to belay if there isn’t a fixed belay?” Go figure!


Couldn't have said it better myself.
WBraun

climber
Sep 16, 2018 - 05:11pm PT
St00pid old fart climbers!!!!

The wave of the future is ALLL bolts everywhere.

Cheaper than all that st00pid overpriced gear you need to carry ...... :-)
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Sep 16, 2018 - 05:13pm PT
So what are we gonna do about it team? Let's right this wrong. Get to choppin!
WBraun

climber
Sep 16, 2018 - 05:24pm PT
Supertopo clowns are gonna run around and chop bolts on climbs they can't even do, wow !!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2018 - 05:34pm PT
Yo Werner....you’re surrounded by routes with bolted anchors, many moderate enough for this crowd...me included. Leave them be but consider not adding anymore. I on rare occasions pee on them.
Stewart Johnson

Mountain climber
lake forest
Sep 16, 2018 - 05:37pm PT
Haha!
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Sep 16, 2018 - 05:48pm PT
Ironically many or most of the bolted stations on Yamnuska are from guides.
WBraun

climber
Sep 16, 2018 - 06:42pm PT
I did several FA in Yosemite and used old pins and old nuts equalized for rappel anchor hoping the next party puts in nice anchor bolts.

One such FA route I rapped off one rock jammed into a crack with a sling around it.

Needs nice shiny big ass anchor bolt there :-)

ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Sep 16, 2018 - 06:52pm PT
I agree with Jim. How many times have all of you set up at an established belay that could have been so much more convenient for your - skill set, gear, communication, rope drag etc.....at a different location?

Those choices are a big part of the fun of the adventure, and show your expertise at independent decision.
WBraun

climber
Sep 16, 2018 - 06:56pm PT
It's a big adventure diddling with gear making an anchor with independent decision?

Oh wow!!!

What did I miss?
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