Chopping the Central Pillar Anchors? Pro or Con?


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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 13, 2006 - 11:32pm PT
Did Serenity and Sons today with some bros. (first pitch very slimy but doable) They talked to a guy at Reeds named Zach the day before who said he was the guy who chopped the pro bolt on the Serenity 1st pitch. Guess he lives and works in Groveland.

BTW (I got a .75 in the wet scar by the ex-bolt that seemed fine but my friend said that bolt saved another friend's life)

But this isn't about Serenity.

Zach told my partners that his next project was chopping the anchor bolts on Central Pillar because, after all, it's possible to top out on that route. (sort of anyway, and god knows when the last time that happened was)

But anyway, my friends seemed convinced that he was serious about doing it. Just thought I'd put it in front of the community to see what the opinions were and maybe some friends of Zach will be able to share the views expressed so we don't damage the rock needlessly.



Jan 13, 2006 - 11:44pm PT
I see Zack almost every day most mornings in the cafe for coffee.

I will kick his ass tomorrow and tell him it's a present from Karl.

Trad climber
Eagle River, AK
Jan 13, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
Sounds like some a-hole named Zach needs to get his butt kicked and I volunteer to do it. Getting a bit tired of bolt cops screwing things up.

Gym climber
San Franpsycho
Jan 13, 2006 - 11:50pm PT
Dude he lives in the valley and you dont ok thats that. I got Z-tons back he's my homie. Plus you're all the way in Alaska what the hell do you care.

Trad climber
on a rock or mountain out west
Jan 13, 2006 - 11:57pm PT
He's a fu-cktard if he tries that.

Will be fun to see how things go on Serenity w/o that bolt. Without that bolt on P1 of Serenity, that's going to cut down on the traffic BIG TIME on that route. Which I guess is good. And will also lead to more injuries on it. Which is bad. Done it enough times I really don't care about that one anymore.

But WTF, leave CPF the hell alone. That route's just great the way it is. If it's the Zack I know, yeah, he's a nice guy. And hopefully not dumb enough to do something like this.

Actually, fu-cktard is kind of lame. That word's old. I like sucktard better.

Zack's a sucktard if he tries to chop Central Pillar's anchors. If he does, a mean old does of rockfall karma's got his name all over it. But personally, I'd like to see him and Werner go mano y mano over it. That I'd pay to watch. I think the butter knife will win.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 14, 2006 - 12:06am PT
While ideas like "Ass Kicking" certainly entered my first emotional response, I'm not advocating that.

Best not to jump to conclusions, talk to Zach to make sure he's not just rattling cages.

Then try to involve him in a community dialog so that bolts that need to stay stay, unnecessary ones go, and we don't go back and forth on the rest as much.

I don't think the Serenity Bolt needed chopping but it's not the end of the world that it's gone. A .75 camalot seems bomber there. Still, hope nobody gets hurt cause I know lots of folks who have whipped on the bolt that ain't there no more.

But Central Pillar is a different story. It would be pretty Taliban to take the most popular route of it's grade in the valley and turn it into an obscurity.

Which, of course, wouldn't happen, It would just lead to rock damage as the bolts would be back in a week and the culprit would have to watch his back.

Fortunately, this seems like an avoidable problem




Jan 14, 2006 - 12:10am PT
Zack will not listen, but maybe the cafeteria butter knives may have some effect when I approach him tomorrow, unless of course he's hiding at coilers.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jan 14, 2006 - 12:40am PT
Seems a pretty lame idea; and what is the point? And exactly how many people have actually done the route to Powell-Reed Ledges? (next to no one). Yes, you could do 2 more pitches (not that great) and then traverse/escape to Kor-Beck and rap that route. Pretty poor alternatives.

Karl has the real bead on this. It must be the most popular route of its grade in the Valley. The bolts will quickly re-appear (no matter how many time they are chopped) and only the rock will suffer.

Perhaps someone should direct their efforts to more productive pursuits.


Social climber
The Deli
Jan 14, 2006 - 12:54am PT
“Sounds like some a-hole named Zach needs to get his butt kicked and I volunteer to do it. Getting a bit tired of bolt cops screwing things up.”

Hahahahahahahaaaaaha aaaa Ha ha ha…..

Really? And who you be, AK? You've never said... Do you know Zach? I bet not.

Seem to recall that Zack popped Gabe (of all people) in the face at one of the Coiler Fests because he was so wasted that he mistook good fun and games for an assault on his well-being. Of course, Gabe was himself - well-mannered and not even phased. But the McNeely brothers will never let a good bit of fun go to waste, so our friend Zack got what was coming to him the next morning… while he was suffering from a gnarly hangover... The brothers McNeely, being the clever monkeys that they are, grabbed some old ratty climbing rope from the shop, wrapped it around one of Zack’s ankles (like there was much opposition…) and then proceeded to haul (like a good wall climber…) Zack up into the tree that once sheltered his hangover haven. Hanged him, they did! And then tied ‘em off and left the boy dangling there as we all laughed hysterically!!! Oh, what fun…

But seriously, Zack’s a feisty kid, and I would think twice before engaging him in a brawl. But then again, AK, I know you’re not thinking…

Uhhhh, did someone say “chopping”? Has the community been consulted???


Davis, CA
Jan 14, 2006 - 02:48am PT
Sounds like Zach hasn't thought this one through. If his ideal is have routes with as little human-induced rock damage, pulling bolts on a trade route is not the way to go. Like Karl said, they'll be back up there in a week, seems self defeating to me. I'll be there on Sunday, if I knew how to find Zach I'd be happy to have a civilized chat with him about it.

Trad climber
bay area
Jan 14, 2006 - 03:04am PT

What is his rational for this. Just because you can top out. Very selfish. Might as well chop all bolts in the Valley.

I don't see any reason for this. As stated above, they will just be replaced. I'd rather have nice solid bolts as anchors than mixed fixed gear with a rats nest of webbing.

I thought these bolt wars were behing us.

As a climbing community, there needs to be better communication on issues like this. Having radicals chopping bolts, etc. could compromise access in the future.


NOT Fresno
Jan 14, 2006 - 11:51am PT
Are we sure it's this kid Zack who's committed/is planning these acts? Sounds like a my friend's sister's boyfriend saw Zack at 31 Flavors thing.

I vote no.

Paging Dr. Breedlove...

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Jan 14, 2006 - 12:09pm PT
I'm pretty sure this is the zack that I hung out with a bit last winter. Skinny tall kid with short dark hair?

I remember him threatening to chop cookie monster back then... I think he really like questioning status quo. Don't get this kid started about eating meat.


Social climber
El Portal
Jan 14, 2006 - 12:33pm PT
Met Z. yesterday up at Reeds. He had his mini.

Pehaps he's trying to start a little con-tro! Trollin..indeed!

In his first sentence to me he mentioned "you" Werner, Go Gett'm!!



Social climber
Jan 14, 2006 - 12:45pm PT
Zach and his buddy Ben are the ones who removed the bolt on SC. They also were going to steal Ron Kauks fixed line off New Dimensions a couple of weeks ago. Ron had a line there for 1 week to mini-track. Ron is smart enough to know not to put the line there on weekends or busy times. Ron was at the base getting ready to climb when he saw Zach and Ben climbing something up and right of New D. They then came down to the top of New D and started talking about how this rope should not be here and that they should remove it and the anchors. Ron could hear this whole conversation and after listening awhile yelled up at them to leave his rope alone.

These guys can not even climb New D so why would this rope bother them? Who put them in charge to dictate how others should climb? Why do these self appointed prophets/dictators think that they are the only ones who are right?

I think the valley rangers will be very interested in their lifstyle (bandit camping, etc)
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Jan 14, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
I would be fine with chopping all the bolts on Central. What I would like, is a series of rap anchors to the left side of the route so that you don't have to rap through parties to get down.

There is already an anchor to the left of the route, just under the lip that is at the same height as the second belay of the route (rapping to this anchor saves your rope from getting caught in the roof crack when you pull the ropes from the third belay). This anchor is a double rope rap from the ground.

There is also a higher anchor (around the height of the fourth belay?) that is part of a bolted route that breaks off from the Bircheff-Williams.

To have a separate, double rope rap route, it would only take one more anchor to complete.

But if the point behind the chopping is to make people top out and walk off it aint gonna happen. You can always come down the BW.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 14, 2006 - 01:41pm PT
You can already rap with double ropes from the top of pitch 5 and not use Central pillar anchors. The first rap goes to the newish bolted face route out left. Much better for the parties on Central Pillar to rap out left.

Cental Pillar can be a zoo of people. They don't always make it to the top, sometimes because of all the people above them, or because it rains or whatever. Removing bolts would do nothing to improve the situation on the route however.


Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Jan 14, 2006 - 02:02pm PT
Well I am one of Karl’s bro's that was talking to Zach at the Reeds area. When we walked up to Lunatic Zach was talking to Kauk and Kauk was telling Zach that there are other opinions than his, their conversation was civil but did not seem too friendly. Zach was talking about wanting to remove some fixed lines from New Dimensions; he also claimed to be the Serenity bolt chopper.
I was not present during the Central Pillar conversation (I was hack sawing a stuck cam out of Lunatic, there is still one more to remove in the upper crux, that was too deep to get out with the tools I had, I'll return with more tools, but the stuck cam that was about 1/2 way up in the back of the wide section is gone now). Any how Zach told my partner Jim that he wanted to butcher Central Pillar since it went to the top and that is the way it should be climbed.
I really don’t get his attitude, while he was friendly to us his attitude was caustic, he did not think my partner should be leading Lunatic since it is at his upper ability of climbing. He said he has only been coming to the Valley for a few years, yet he thinks he can pull bolts where ever he wants to remove them because it is his opinion.
It seems these issues on bolts should be a consensus of the climbing community and not a single climber’s opinion who has only been climbing in the Valley for a few years.
I dont know if Zach is serious or if he was trying to get a reaction from Jim/us. I guess after we told Karl, he is getting his reaction.

August, as I recall the route can be rapped from the top anchor and then down to the left with out using any of the routes anchors except for the top of the 5th pitch. Also why chop the bolted anchors and then add more rap bolts? I say leave it as it is.

Gym climber
Jan 14, 2006 - 02:08pm PT
lmao... Werner, that's some funny-ass she-it.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jan 14, 2006 - 02:21pm PT
Didn't we go through this argument about the Kor Beck and Space Babble last June: "A Peaceful Proposal" I think that Karl and Ben Wah were the main players. - msg76004

I don't think I know of anyone who has topped out on any of the routes between the Kor Beck and Paradise Lost. I rapped off on everyone I ever climbed--leaving two pieces of gear and new slings at every rap. Dale and I rapped off the Kor Beck after we finished the 'Chicken Sh#t Traverse' on the CPoF. And, I would be willing to bet that Jim, John, and Billy rapped off from the bottom of the U-shaped bowl on the FFA of the straight up finish.

Any way, I don't see the logic of removing rappel anchors because you 'can' top out. You can top out on Glacier Point Apron, the North Face Apron on Middle and many of the routes at the base of El Cap if you put your mind to it.

It doesn't sound like anyone climbs the pitches above the fifth, so what is the point?

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