Serenity Crack p1 bolt is back

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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 28, 2008 - 04:22pm PT
My friends Cory and Laura did Serenity Crack on 4/26/08 and told me there is a bolt on pitch 1 again. Cory said it seems to be a little lower than it was previously. It was not there on March 3, the most recent time I did Serenity p1.

Personally, I don't really care if it is there or not; I think it was probably originally placed because it was pretty runout there on nuts. Once less-wide cams (such as the green .75 Camalot) were in common use which fit the placement at that point in the crack, the bolt was no longer really needed. It was a little scarier to climb p1 when it was wet, knowing you had to hang on and put the cam in carefully. Nobody was hurt there as far as I know. I did see a guy take a long leader fall from 20' above the (missing) bolt once; he wasn't placing good gear and almost decked. A cam above the (missing) bolt held his fall.

Here is my recap on the history of this:

10/1961: First Ascent - Glen Denny and Les Wilson
Climbed with pitons; no bolt used on p1.

1967: FFA - Tom Higgins and Chris Jones
Climbed with pitons; no bolt used on p1.

1972: "Preserving the Cracks!" lead article in the 1972 American Alpine Journal, compiled by Tom Frost. Lead photo is of Serenity Crack, by John Stannard. Bolt not visible (to me at least).
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Preserving-The-Cracks-Tom-Frost-Makes-His-Case-AAJ-1972/t145n.html

early 70s: Doug Robinson proposes a "nuts and bolts" style, using bolts instead of pitons so that climbs can be done without piton scarring. The idea is controversial.

1974: people free climbing it with nuts; bolt in place on p1. This according to a post on supertopo, in one of the threads linked below.

1977(or 1976?): First edition George Meyers topo guide to Yosemite; bolt is shown on the topo.

80s/90s: 1/4" bolt replaced with 3/8"


Photo posted by "Dingus" 7/06 (photo taken at some date prior to 10/22/2005)

10/22/2005: Bolt removed, apparently by Zach. Discussion ensues on supertopo. A good cam (green camalot, red alien, or #1.5 Friend) can be placed at the same level as the bolt.

3/2008: Bolt not in place.

4/2008: Bolt back in place, apparently 2-3 feet lower than before.

[2011 edit:]
11/2008, 5/2009: Bolt gone again.

Supertopo discussions on 10/05:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=111072

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=113083

Bolt was removed by Zach, according to secondhand conversation posted by Karl.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=142035
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 28, 2008 - 04:25pm PT
Nice job of putting all the info out there for discussion Clint.

Peace

Karl
scuffy b

climber
up the coast from Woodson
Apr 28, 2008 - 04:29pm PT
Friends of mine tell me that a friend of theirs decked last year
and sprained an ankle.
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Apr 28, 2008 - 04:31pm PT
superfluous bolt that i predict won't last the season


on the flip side, if you ae gonna retro-bolt this fun but manufactured line, i guess the chicken bolt ought to be in the area where the pro is poor, rather than right next to a bomber .75 placement.
(now the line up on weekend mornings will include all of those who were too sketchy to lead it w/out the bolt, what are the odds those folks are going to be 'moving right along'?)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
scuffy b,

Did you happen to get enough details from your friends to know if the person who decked had climbed up to the level of where the bolt used to be? Of course, even if they fell below the old bolt location, maybe they were waffling about downclimbing, and if the bolt had been there, they might have been able to make it to the bolt....

I'm tempted to favor a decision rule like "if the climb existed for 10 years in a given state and was getting traffic, it should be left as is". But in this case there were 2 different states in place for a long time (without bolt 1961-~1973, with bolt ~1973-2006), so the rule is not very helpful. And commonly used gear has changed, so the usefulness of the bolt has varied as well. I don't expect any consensus on adding/removing bolts on a climb.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 28, 2008 - 04:49pm PT
The bolt was very much there in autumn 1976, when I climbed the route - I may even have a slide showing it. Having only hexes and stoppers, I was quite happy to get to it.

The bottom of the route is something of a watercourse, and fairly polished naturally. I suspect it's gradually becoming more polished, perhaps even cancelling out the advantage of sticky rubber.

Tout ca change, tout c'est la meme chose.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 28, 2008 - 04:54pm PT
Man choppin that bolt is like showing up to a porn-shoot with a 2-inch pecker.

DMT
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 28, 2008 - 05:03pm PT
Anders,

The main line of pin scars is not polished; the nature if the rock is rather grainy there (which contributed to the scarring). The first 10' is barely scarred, and pretty polished. I think it is mostly a case of the ground/soil level receding there. It's a long reach for me to the first small scar (from atop the highest little boulder), and I doubt it was aided that way.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:04pm PT
Just shows you how crazy climbers are... worrying about a single bolt on a totaly manufactuered climb........ How anal can you get???? maby go up there and fill the sucker with cement and paint it to match the surrounding cliff.......
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:07pm PT
the highest boulder?
dood- the climbing starts at the ground, you wipe the sand away from your toes and climb the edges for a couple of feet, it ain't hard at all.



say now, that one bolt is still kinda high, maybe there ought to be a few there, just so it's safe, for everyone... ?
martygarrison

Trad climber
Modesto
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:11pm PT
I for one don't believe the route needs a bolt there, but hey maybe we can have another 2000 post controversial (or please not) thread.
James

climber
in between climbs
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:12pm PT
Zach- aka "Georgia Ice" aka "Georgia Zach" aka "Best Bet Subman" aka "The next Way"
That Zach?
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:16pm PT
I did that route a couple of times betwixt 1973 and 2006 and don't recall a bolt?? The first part is not that hard or steep, but I remember being happy when I got that first cam in.
jewedlaw

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:37pm PT
Can we leave the bolt till I've climbed it? I lost my .75 a bit ago.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:37pm PT
I am undecided if having the bolts back is good. I used to focus on that bolt for my first clip. I think I've lead that pitch 4 times since the bolt was removed and I never really missed it, there is pro and the climbing is fairly solid, especially when my feet are shoved into the pods.

about 4 years ago, my friend Brett was leading the pitch (with bolt), he clipped the bolt and moved about ten feet above it. He placed a cam in the slimy crack and then decided to rest on his cam. As soon as he weighted his cam it blew out and he tumbled down the rock. The bolt was all that he had and he stopped about 5 feet off of the ground.

BTW, I am Karl's bro and so is the Brett mentioned above.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Apr 28, 2008 - 05:42pm PT
Dingus Milktoast wrote:

Man choppin that bolt is like showing up to a porn-shoot with a 2-inch pecker.


Man replacing that retrobolt is like showing up to a porn-shoot with a vagina...
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 28, 2008 - 06:28pm PT
I suppose another benefit of having that bolt there is it de-zippers the marginal placements above it. I've never done the route but the placements sound potentially marginal in the pinscars.

It's always nice to get a bomber piece in early on a pitch. A multidirectional one at that. I say leave it.

(i've wanted to do this route for a while too, I'd prefer to have the bolt when I do it).

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 28, 2008 - 06:40pm PT
I think being uptight about the bolt is, well, uptight, since it was there over 20 years.

But heh, I've got the route wired ruthlessly so I can do it soaking wet and the lack of a bolt seems to have reduced traffic a tiny bit so I win either way.

I'd hate to see somebody hurt on a classic route where the first pitch is mostly manufactured anyway. I've known more than one person to nearly deck and be saved by the bolt.

The .75 placement seems pretty bomber but both placing it and trusting it when you're standing in wet slimy pin scars is another issue.

In this case, I guess it just boil down to who has the most energy to wage bolt wars

Peace

karl
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 28, 2008 - 06:44pm PT
I can't believe that no one so far has asked whether it was placed on lead, or a rap bolt. :-)
cmclean

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 28, 2008 - 07:49pm PT
The new bolt is about 2-3 feet lower than the old one. There's no doubt that the bolt will increase traffic on the route--when we noticed it on Saturday we were fifth in line, with one party trailing their friends' lead line and pre-clipping the bolt for them.
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