Bolt ladder practice aid climbs

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tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 7, 2008 - 12:17pm PT
I was just pondering how many of the old bolt ladders that were put up as practice aid routes have been freed. Which got me to thinking, did the people who put these lines up intend them to be strictly practice aid routes, or were there ulterior motives?

I've done enough aid climbing and hand bolting to realize that a) you learn almost nothing about aid climbing on a straight up bolt 1/2 pitch bolt ladder, and b) hand drilling really sucks and I can't see wasting the time and money on gear to just aid up and clip a line of bolts.

Finally, the few aid lines that I've free climbed have been some really great little climbs. I'm thinking about the bolt route at Mt. Diablo on the lower tier of the boy scout rocks, and bolt run at Donner Summit.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Mar 7, 2008 - 01:52pm PT
"you learn almost nothing about aid climbing on a straight up bolt 1/2 pitch bolt ladder"

I'd disagree with this... While not as fun as a C1 crack, they are both pretty much the same and both will teach you all of the basics that you'll need to get going on aid routes. You could certainly use them to get your systems dialed, as far as upward movement. You can also use them to learn hauling, etc.

I went out and learned on cracks, but I have taken others to bolt ladders and it's been extremely beneficial for them. Especially when the ladder is overhanging.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Mar 7, 2008 - 01:55pm PT
Yeah I'd taken a lot of people to ladders like the leconte memorial so they could learn how not to fumble around in their aiders...
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 7, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
I can see the benefit on overhanging walls, but on crags that are more slab like, it's questionable. One could easily take a static line, put a figure 8 every 4' and achieve the same thing.

I was just wondering if perhaps there were ulterior motives to some of the aid ladders that were put up over the years, which later went free.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 7, 2008 - 02:10pm PT
Some were put up just to get to the top of something.

There's a tale in the original (1970) J Tree guide about a party puting one up on The Lost Pencil only to discover one already established on the other side when they topped out.

I learned a lot on some of the Rubidoux ladders back in the Juriassic. Some of those involved at least a few placements. Usually 2-4 pin short tied off stacks.
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