Bolt replacement 2009


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Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 26, 2009 - 11:54am PT
Hi all,
At last we have gotten something completed. (kinda) I will pull the last of the ropes off Ochre Fields this week sometime. Clint and I started back where we left off last season at Hall of Mirrors, moving east from there. The following routes have been completed:
Flakey Foont
Mouth to Perhaps
Regular Mouth
Boche-Hennek Variation
Deep Throat
Ochre Fields
Roller Coaster
The Grack Right Side
Hoppy's Creed
Hoppy's Favorite
An Udder Way

We have our ropes fixed to the start of the last pitch of Tight Rope right now and they kinda meander down thru Hoppy's and The Cow routes.
Since we would be working this area so long we decided to try to establish the original trail to The Grack. Well, the trail is back. We are still working on it but we managed to find our way down it by headlamp several times now.
Turn right just past the A-Frame, go a short distance and you will see the trail heading off to the right. It is well marked and getting pretty well worn. We think this way is a lot quicker and easier.
How did those guys get to the top of Perhaps? A day I'll never forget:-) And the traverse from high on Perhaps to that last pitch of Tight Rope was interesting also:-))
Ropes will also be going up over on the west side around Mr. Natural at the end of the week.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Jul 26, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
Oh, such Apron stoke!

Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Jul 26, 2009 - 12:17pm PT

Thanks Roger... offer still good, if you need anything, let me know about it....

Jul 26, 2009 - 11:43pm PT
How many pitches did tightrope end up being??

Tom Carter

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 26, 2009 - 11:48pm PT
kick ass, and then some Roger!


especially on a direct trail. that will save multiple folks traipsing around aimlessly causing braided trails.

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jul 27, 2009 - 12:22am PT
great work, roger!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:07am PT
Very nice effort, thank you to all who are involved for taking on such a task.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:46am PT
> How many pitches did tightrope end up being??

Tightrope is 8 pitches. Roger has replaced the bolts on the first 7 pitches so far. Roger has got a couple of good slab climbers to help out and hopefully get up that 8th pitch to finish it off!

Apron - East side

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:59am PT
Some shots of the replacement work:

Roger replacing bolts on Ochre Fields, June 21

Hoppy's Favorite / Hoppy's Creed / Tightrope, July 12:

Roger replacing the belay bolts at the grassy nook atop Hoppy's Favorite (see Greg's photo in "Off White" post above)

first bolt on Hoppy's Creed - with Vern Clevenger's thin but strong special aerospace metal hanger

second bolt on Hoppy's Creed - flattened SMC hanger

replacing first bolt on Tightrope p8 - old Dolt hanger

Roger replacing bolts on the traverse of Hoppy's Favorite; Grack in the background
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 27, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Thanks for the hard work guys!

Tightrope is a stellar friction route and the best at its grade.

What was the situation on Ochre Fields? That route always had a reputation for poor and missing bolts. What did you guys find up there?

Retrofit and they will come....hopefully.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 02:49pm PT

On Ochre Fields, the 1982 guidebook said "bolts may be unsound".
On pitch 5 (5.10c), most or all of the protection bolts were "doubled" -
someone had added a second bolt next to the original bolt.
There was also a protection bolt which someone had probably added to p4 (5.10d) -
we could tell because the hanger type was different (homemade instead of SMC).
The doubled bolts were removed, and the added bolt on p4 was left as is (not replaced).

I climbed Ochre Fields back in 1986 or so, with my partner John Lockhart leading the harder stuff.
Kelly says it's one of his favorite climbs!

For the bolt replacement, Roger and I first tried climbing up Perhaps (a Bob Kamps route, rated 5.10 A5 in 1963, now down to 5.10d A4). But I only got as far as the (only) bolt on p2, which I replaced on lead but then downclimbed. From the belay, we were able to tension out right to the belay anchor at the top of p3 of Ochre Fields.

Next I came back with Bob Steed, and he led up Deep Throat, starting midway up p3 (where I had fixed a rope with Roger from the Ochre Fields high point). Deep Throat p5 in particular was quite runout on glassy 5.9. On p6, Bob made a traverse left over to join Ochre Fields p5. The runout to the anchors was pretty sketchy, so he made a new variation which goes up to the right side of the arch (instead of the center). From his high point, he could tension left to the top of Ochre Fields p5. I led p6 "5.8" (5.9) with some aid. It was getting late, so we fixed ropes to this high point.

Act III: I returned with Roger to the high point on Ochre Fields, tensioned left and climbed up the crack to the start of the 5.11a traverse. Here I made an anchor and lowered way down and left to reach the 5.10d A4 pitch on Perhaps. I clipped the old bolts and then lowered down to the start of the pitch. Roger came over to join me. Then I used the rope to regain the bolts, replaced the top original one (1/4" Star Dryvin - 1/2" deep). The A4 looked kinda blank, but it went using a thin LA, 2 beaks, a KB, and a Fish Hook. There were hardly any pin scars, and I'm not sure how Kamps did it without beaks. There were a few tiny edges to hook - that would have been A4 for sure.

The 5.10d below the A4 would have require placing LAs or thick KBs for pro. After Roger followed, I led up the corner pitches above, which were given 5.9 in the topo, but had 5.10 sections with some moderate ground as well. We reached the top of Perhaps. Later we had an adventure climbing left above the huge arch to reach down to the top of Hoppy's Creed.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:19pm PT
Thanks for the details, Clint.

Do you have the anchors from Perhaps to show? I would be curious what the originals look like if they were still in place on the route. The aluminum strap hanger from The Mouth to Perhaps would be fun to see again also if you guys are keeping track of that sort of provenance.
Those thin guage, Clevenger hangers never inspired much confidence when I came across them with runouts all around! LOL
No offense intended, Vern!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 03:23pm PT
Photos of the original bolts on Perhaps (1963):

the protection bolt on p2 (5.10b) - 1/4" Rawl with square nut and homemade aluminum hanger

replacing it on lead (fortunately there was a good stance, and a good TCU for pro at my feet, but it was a stretch up and left to drill.
It took me about an hour.

I gave up on leading p2 and downclimbed. Later, Bob led me up Deep Throat / Ochre Fields, and I returned with Roger to tension into Perhaps p3.

Looking up at p3 - using the rope to regain the mid-pitch bolts.
Did this route ever get much traffic? It was kind of hard for 1963... (5.10 A5 in the 1971 Roper guide).

2 of the 3 bolts midway on the pitch. I believe the Leeper hanger bolt on the left was added afterwards, because the original 1/4" Star Dryvin was only 1/2" deep.
It looked like a tough stance, which probably explains the shallow bolt (maybe a dull drill, too?)

The Star Dryvin, after removing the tieoff slings behind the hanger.
I should not have used a double ring hanger here. It's not safe to belay at this point, because if you fell from the A4 you would hit the belay. I think Roger replaced it for a regular Fixe hanger.

Top original bolt replaced - time to leave all extra gear behind and try the A4!
It goes up this blank tiny arch.

Jul 27, 2009 - 04:28pm PT
Big thanks to you guys for doing a thorough job. Bravo!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
Regular Mouth bolt photos, from May 2009:

(I did not see an aluminum strap hanger on the two lower protection bolts for the first pitch of Mouth to Perhaps, but there might have been one on the third bolt or the anchor bolts).

the protection bolt at the end of the traverse on p3.
I "tied it off" with a stopper cable; fortunately the moves there were easy.

belay bolts at the top of p6.

There is a thin finger traverse to the belay at the end of p6 - it was very runout for me on lead.
Probably it was originally protected with a piton, but there is no fixed pin in place there now.

the protection bolt on p7 (run it out on 5.8 above this, and then slightly easier ground with no pro to the belay, unless you detour left on harder slick ground to clip a fixed pin).

In July I found the hole for the original second bolt on the pitch, 15' below the belay. (Melissa had told me it was there, and it was described in the Roper guide). I believe Roger replaced it.

belay anchor at the Mouth.
The right bolt was originally placed by John Servais; I replaced it.

there is an unusual anchor at the Mouth.
elevation 4917' ?

replacing the protection bolt on p3, on the way down.

Regular Mouth will never be popular, because p2 has a slick 5.9 move, with pro 8' below you in a low angle corner.
It looked very hazardous for my ankle, so I tossed a hook to a ledge above the move and aided/cheated past it.
mark miller

Social climber
Jul 27, 2009 - 07:05pm PT
Thanks Roger and for the next generation of apron climbers,"Good work sir".
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 27, 2009 - 07:30pm PT
Good work, guys - thanks! I've always liked slab climbing, and it's nice that you put such effort into looking after these climbs, in their historical context. It must be hard for a new climber to imagine the first ascents of these routes in the 1960s, on sight, placing the bolts on lead. A different world.

Fascinating that there's an official benchmark at 4,917' on the Apron. I wonder if the current NPS people in the Valley know about it, e.g. Jesse and the park geologist whose name I forget? It may be useful to them in their geomapping project, especially if its location was pinpointed with a GPS.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 10:09pm PT


> It must be hard for a new climber to imagine the first ascents of these routes in the 1960s, on sight, placing the bolts on lead. A different world.

Um, that's the way I (and others - Bob Steed, Eric Gabel, etc.) usually do FAs - not such a different world. The drilling technology is better though - easier to drill 3/8" by hand and no more "dull drill" problems.

I think that benchmark at The Mouth is quite unofficial.

Trad climber
Nevada, CA
Jul 27, 2009 - 10:25pm PT
Cool! Thanks much for your hard work!

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
Jul 28, 2009 - 12:40am PT
Awesome work, Roger, Clint et al...!!!


Those are some classic hangers!
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