Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 7, 2008 - 03:17pm 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.
"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.