First Verse Bolt Replacement – Ed Barry???


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Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 17, 2010 - 11:36am PT
I am interested in replacing the (few) old quarter-inchers on the route First Verse (5.10d R) on Razor Back in Tuolumne Meadows. According to the Falcon guide, the route was first climbed in July of 1985 by Ed Barry and Naci Adinolf. I seriously doubt that the route has seen a second ascent. The route is three pitches in length (5.10c, 5.10d, 5.7) although my guess is that the route is harder than 10d and more like R/X, based on the looks of things. So far, I have only seen four bolts on the entire route.

There is a single bolt above the first ledge and then another bolt above a smaller ledge, slightly higher than the first ledge. It appears that they belayed on one of these ledges (first pitch belay), off a single bolt, but my question is which ledge – the upper or lower? Should this single-bolt belay be replaced with a single bolt, or should the belay be upgraded to the modern standard of two solid bolts? I would like to hear input from the climbing community on this, as well as from Ed Barry if possible. Does anyone know Ed or know how to get in touch with him? If so, can you please send me an email, or have him send me an email through this website?

And in case anyone is wondering, NO, I am not about to lead this route, even with fresh bolts! Lucho has expressed interest.

I don’t get to the Internet too often these days so please be patient if I do not chime back in for a bit.

Thanks in advance for your help,

 Bryan Law

Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Sep 17, 2010 - 12:11pm PT
I have been doing the one for one thing for years now and I think all bolted anchors should be two bolts. One bolt/0ne fixed pin are the worst. I look back at last season and regret not adding a bolt at some of those anchors. If we just started doing it as our new policy, I wonder if anyone would bitch? I am starting to think "Let um bitch, I'm tired of doing dumb stuff"
Roger Brown

Sep 17, 2010 - 12:18pm PT
turning a one bolt ANCHOR into a two bolt anchor?!?!?!?!111169

hell yes!

Greg Barnes

Sep 17, 2010 - 12:32pm PT
I think pretty much every time you ask a FA party about a one-bolt belay, they say "we were just being cheap" or "we were running low on bolts" - I've never had a single reply of "we wanted a one bolt belay"!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 17, 2010 - 12:40pm PT
Contact Ed Barry directly if you need answers, he's around.

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2010 - 12:06pm PT
Thanks, Roger, Doug, and Greg!

Mr. Grossman, I am trying to get in contact with Ed Barry; that’s why I posted! Do you know how to get in touch with him? Anyone? Thanks.

Sep 22, 2010 - 03:26pm PT
Nice routes out there on Razor Back. We noticed at least 2 new routes to the right of the 10c face, the last route on the right in the new guide. Also saw several new 2nd pitches to established routes not listed in the guide. Any body have info on what these climbs are rated and named. Thanks

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2010 - 04:01pm PT
Glad that you have been enjoying Razor Back. Thanks. We now have 18 new routes on the wall, from easy 5th to 5.11b. Just finished the last new pitch on Monday and replaced 11 of my quarters yesterday. Still got a bunch of quarters to replace (with stainless) and hope to have that all wrapped up by the end of this season.

I will post a topo and a ton of info and photos this fall/winter.

Ed Barry, are you out there? Your generously spaced quarters are rusty!


Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 13, 2010 - 02:07pm PT
Thanks to Shipoopi, I was able to get in touch with Ed Barry a couple of weeks ago. Ed is super-cool. We chatted about Tuolumne and discussed his route, First Verse. I explained my intentions to replace the bolts on the route and he was quite receptive. He couldn’t remember exactly where they belayed on the first pitch but said that adding a second bolt to a single-bolt belay was ok and to use my best judgment.

After returning to the base later, I was able to spot a second lead bolt on the first pitch, with the help of my digital camera. With the discovery of this second bolt, the route description in the Falcon guide suddenly made sense – the first belay is at the first ledge, with a single bolt. But there was still another bolt on the second pitch that I had not yet found.

From the Tuolumne Meadows Reid/Falkenstein Falcon guide, 2006, p. 133:

First Verse (5.10d R) This route is located a few hundred feet right of Juvenile Delinquent. Face climb past two bolts (5.10c) to a belay, then past three more bolts (5.10d) to a second belay at a tree. Climb a 5.7 corner above to the top. Descend with three 150-foot rappels off trees to the right.”

So, with the return of nice weather, I headed up to the top of Razor Back yesterday morning, armed with the proper route beta, two ropes, my bolt kit, and a small pile of ASCA stainless.

From left to right: Marmot Dome, Whale’s Back (below), Razor Back (above), Fairview Dome, Cathedral Peak, and Eichorn Pinnacle

The top of Razor Back, Fairview Dome, Tuolumne Peak, and my favorite tree in Tuolumne (because it hasn’t killed me yet…), yesterday morning

The view towards the northeast from the top of Razor Back, yesterday morning: Mt. Conness, Mt. Dana, Mt. Gibbs, Lembert Dome, and the meadow; puddle from thunderstorms the previous day

Once again, I rapped down to the upper anchor on Slasher, hoping that I could then swing far enough to the right from that anchor to intercept First Verse. After passing below the third-pitch 5.7 corner, it was time to start looking for rusty bolts – Leeper hangers that would do their best to evade my eyesight.

No bolts. Lower a little more. No bolts. Lower a little more. I began to worry that I had chosen the wrong route to rap from, thinking that Metalhead might have been more in line with the second pitch of First Verse. The upper section of the second pitch to the tree looked relatively easy, compared to the rest of the route, and I stopped at anything that looked like a drilling stance. But no bolts. With what looked like a potential bolt (dark spot) farther off to the right and below me, I felt a sense of defeat, and that I had rapped down the wrong part of the wall and would have to hike around Marmot Dome and back up to the top of Razor Back… again. Ughh!!!

But then suddenly, to my relief, there was that devious little Leeper, twenty feet below me, blended with lichen! I had been viewing the hanger from a perspective that was parallel to the plane of the spine of the hanger, making the bolt almost invisible. Woohoo, I thought… Time to go to work! And then the hammer started to swing.

All old bolts were removed cleanly and the original holes were drilled out and reused. I added a second belay bolt (new hole) to the left of the original first pitch belay bolt. There are now seven bolts on the route total, five of which are lead bolts.

Bolt 1, pitch 1: A rusty quarter-incher with a recalled Leeper hanger and its modern replacement

For a 25-year-old bolt, this thing was pretty solid! I actually had to throw a third fork into the stack!

Bolt 2, pitch 1: The old and the new

Bolt 3, pitch 1: What was once a shorty quarter belay is now fat city…

Bolt 4, pitch 2: This one didn’t take much at all to pop it loose… Yikes!

Bolt 5, pitch 2: A longer quarter, this one was solid, like the first bolt, but was a spinner

Bolt 6, pitch 2: The last bolt before you rrrrrrrrrrrun it out!!!

The six original quarter-inch bolts from the route; the two middle hangers are SMC “death hangers.” Notice the two different bolt lengths

By October, most of Razor Back stays in the shade, making it too cold to climb. Yesterday, the wall was damp. June through September is the best time to climb on Razor Back. First Verse will be good to go for next season, however the route does need some cleaning and scrubbing and you had better be prepared for some run-outs! As far as the descent for the route goes, I haven’t seen any rap slings on trees to the right of the route (a la guidebook description) and am not sure how Ed and Naci descended. It now makes sense to traverse right from the top of the 5.7 corner on exposed ledges to the top anchor of Metalhead. Three two-rope rappels (60m) from the Metalhead anchors will bring you back to the base. I will post more info on the route when I post a Razor Back topo, etc. later this year.

Thanks to all of you who emailed me and helped in the search for Ed!

Special thanks to Ed for taking the time to discuss bolt replacement over the phone!




Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Oct 13, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
Hats off, three cheers, and huge thanks to Minerals, Roger, Ed Barry for chiming in on his old route: to everyone who does these bolt replacements. All of us lazy a$$es who don't get around to this really owe you a ton of gratitude, and the least we can do is post up our appreciation. If you busy bees are looking for a really cool route that could use this treatment, may I suggest (if I don't get around to it next year maybe) Mother Lode on Marmot Dome. Although it did not win many stars in the guide, it is, in my opinion, a real Schneider classic pitch, a WHOLE PITCH of Tuolumne orange slickness. And often you do not get little flake edges, you must move on the snot! Too cool!

Thanks again, guys.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Oct 13, 2010 - 03:08pm PT
Thanks for replacing these old bolts and beefing up the belay. Climbers who undertake such work are under-appreciated. Though it is nice that you were able to consult with Ed, it is always cool to replace old funk in such a careful manner as shown by your post.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 13, 2010 - 03:15pm PT
And there we have it, chapter and verse so to speak.

Thanks, Bryan!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Oct 13, 2010 - 03:25pm PT
Good Job as usual Bryan
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 13, 2010 - 03:37pm PT
Nice job, Bryan.

I might also add that Bryan also replaced a lot of 1/4" bolts on his own routes this summer, without using material from ASCA. Bob Steed bought 10 boxes of 3/8" x 2.25" SS Powerbolts at a big volume discount. Bryan used all of 2 boxes and got 2 more....

Trad climber
Oct 13, 2010 - 04:01pm PT
Hats off to Bryan!

BTW when are those topos coming out?

Trad climber
Mountain View
Oct 13, 2010 - 04:41pm PT

hats off yet again. Loved all your routes I've been on and still need a few more days at Razorback to slay the rest of them. Alas I'm days away from a newborn so it will have to wait until next season for me.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 13, 2010 - 05:12pm PT
Huge prop's!
Greg Barnes

Oct 13, 2010 - 05:14pm PT
Thanks Bryan!

Funny how the single bolt belay wasn't even one of the long bolts!

Oct 13, 2010 - 11:44pm PT
Thanks Bryan.


Oct 13, 2010 - 11:48pm PT
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