Bolting on stance - ground up - leading

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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 5, 2006 - 01:48am PT
Just came back from the Valley, we ended up bolting an obscure line that ablegable had scoped out. Mostly out to have fun.

The question here - when developing a new route where bolting is necessary for protection, the drilling seems to be a lot harder than the climbing. Drilling from stance on a ground up effort, leading, zowie... my calves are reminding me that I don't use them that way very often.

Climbers who whine about bolt spacing should be invited up to fix the situation, bolting on stance and leading.

Any stories? there must be a ton...

I couldn't wait to get that sucker in so I could start moving again. On particularly scary placements, I seemed to drill faster than when I had a more secure purchase.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:12am PT

pimp4crimps doing it no matter what.


mungeclimber, yours truly, having the time of his life.


Feral Rat- another day at the pinns


Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:15am PT
another hooker shot


Operation Pinnacles Freedom 5.9 * right next to Trafalger Tower.

todd-gordon

climber
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:15am PT
Nobody drills on the lead anymore....I bet for every bolt drilled on the lead, there are 500 bolts rapped in by some machine-welding sport-climber wearing flowered lycra. I know the sore calf feeling, for just today I drilled 11 bolts myself....(2 were anchor bolts....).... the other 9 were drilled all on the lead, of course..(Hooks, stances, sketchy pieces or standing on a bolt)......(Rap bolters are weak....)......bolting on the lead aint' for everyone, but those who put up new routes should try it every now and then... just to keep honest and see how the "old guys" climb.
WBraun

climber
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:22am PT
Hey hey looky here your heel came out of your shoe (last photo above).

Ground up leading with bolts? Yikes! are you crazy :-)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:23am PT
I'm of the opinion, that if you can get a partner, everyone should drill on lead. It's just that much more fun.

However, on shitty rock, that's not at Pinnacles, I'll top down that shiz in a heart beat. Though for this one, I was too scared to be on top of the thing longer than it took to reach up and touch the top. So no bolts on the top pitch. but it did go in ground up.



Like Mike Tupper said in one of the MOS vids, "we've all chipped our teeth" putting in some route or the other.

CanuckClimber

climber
Calgary, Ab
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:29am PT
Up here in the Bow Valley the only really excepted way to bolt a route is on lead, unless it is some sport climb in the canyons. No hand drilling and no hooks, just a hilti and like you said a whole lot of calf burn.


http://www.calgarymountainclub.com/photos/Brad_tdbrad.jpg
Ouch!

climber
Feb 5, 2006 - 02:56am PT
Munge, looks like you damn near needed crampons on that mossy rock.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Feb 5, 2006 - 03:19am PT
December 23, 2003 a 6.5 earthquake rumbles through central California leaving two dead in it's wake. Clint Cummins and I are at the Pinnacles in the High Peaks putting up a new route. Now the Pinnacles are smack dab on the San Andreas Fault and when the quake hits, Clint is about 35 feet up trying to place our second bolt while hanging off a single hook placement. The whole pinnacle we are on starts swaying back and forth and things get pretty weird for about 30 seconds. Clint was a pro. He just kept drilling.

Needless to say, when I was drilling the next bolt while hanging from a thumbnail sized knob on a dead vertical wall, I was trying not to think about aftershocks.

Bruce
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Feb 5, 2006 - 04:30pm PT
Here's a stance story with a twist - Jay Smith invited me to a new route with him at Calaveras which looked really good. He had already established the first two pitches which I led at 11a. They were high quality slab affairs with big bolts that I assumed were stanced as there were no edges or features to hook ect. Power drills were just hitting the scene and Jay had one which was great - big bolts and on lead powerstancing opened up new potential for hard stanced routes. At this point the wall steepened dramatically and I drew the crux lead. After a few powerstanced bolts the climbing got steep and wingus and I found myself well above my last bolt on 5.12 micro features. Incredibly I managed to arrange a marginal stance but way to precarious to haul up the Bosch. Jay suggested I break out the hand kit and drill a quarter incher ( I had carried it on the lead just for such a scenario) After considerable hardship I finally managed a meager 1/2 inch hole but felt I had it in the bag when Jay yelled up that he was sending up the bat hook. " Whaaat? I'm almost done with one of the hardest stances in my life and you want me to bathook?" I fumed. " That's right" he said, " It's my route and I want all big bolts ,- I don't care about stancing,just the final result!" Turns out he had bathooked the lower pitches as well in order to hang on them while he hauled up the Bosch with impunity. I was appalled and we had words but I finally gave in. We put up four more pitches that day up to 11.c but didn't speak a word to each other. We decided that the route should be called " Bad Company " and that was the last time I climbed with Jay! Looking back now it seems less important because although it could have been a proud stanced 5.12, it is still one of the best routes I've ever done!!
maldaly

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 5, 2006 - 06:01pm PT
I got involved in an "ethical altercation" over P1 of a route called Pizza Face on Lumpy Ridge. Read this thread from climbingboulder.com:
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/colorado/lumpy_ridge/the_book/105751048

I got involved in an "ethical altercation" over P1 of the route. You can see it all re-hashed here...mostly by people who don't know a thing about it. That's why I wrote the long post. It's about half way down the thread. Germaine to this thread, however, was my ascent of P3. Check it out. It's certainly the most memorable pitch I've ever done.
Mal
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Feb 5, 2006 - 07:14pm PT
"Turns out he had bathooked the lower pitches as well in order to hang on them while he hauled up the Bosch with impunity."

That is SO 15 minutes ago.

Thin trail line through a pulley at your waist. Second hauls the Bosch for you. Return of the proud stancers.

Brutus
Norman Clydesdale

climber
Mule capitol of the world
Feb 5, 2006 - 09:16pm PT
What Brutus said.

Power drills/rotary hammers=well drilled holes and quality bolts.

Arguably easier to drill from hard stances with inventive drill hauling technique than to fiddle f*#k around with bathooks, hooking, and /or marginal slung pro.

Hand drilling on lead from poor and mediocre stances often result in poor holes and poorly placed bolts that end up with rap replacement later.

Drilling on lead is more of a trade than an art form.

Many "proud" lead bolted lines at the higher grades suffer from bad drilling. Hand drilling is best done on new routes in the backcountry and in areas with bans on power drills. Well drilled bolts last a long time. Fewer and fewer people posess the abilty to place a good bolt on lead with a hand drill.

Power is good, whether on the lead or on rappel.


bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Feb 5, 2006 - 09:43pm PT
Power is no good in National Parks (Yosemite, Zion, RMNP, etc.) and National Monuments(Pinnacle, etc.) since they are prohibited. Hey, but you already knew that.

Bruce

ps - the trick isn't drilling with power or by hand, it is in knowing the quality of the hole you have drilled. I have seen poorly drilled holes with a power drill.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Feb 5, 2006 - 10:10pm PT
Ed, on stance or just on lead?
Do hook stories count?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2006 - 10:52pm PT
So far I have done it mixed, both on a stance and "just" on lead.

The whole hook thing freaks me out, but I haven't done many that way (yet). I'm sure I'll be fine with it eventually. However, "back in the day" I suspect that hanging from anything was suspect ethics. But I don't really know.

The last bolt on The Vision appears in a logical place for it to be stance bolted on lead. I remember that and the one before appear in the only place you could probably get a bolt in standing. That would have been a very wild lead. Perhaps Tom remembers, I think that the bolts that are there are mostly the originals.

But if you've got any stories, tell'em here!

Norman... perhaps Brutus was being a bit sarcastic? Since I'm drilling in Yosemite no power tools, though I am sure we would get away with almost anything, obscurity is a good cloak (but we wouldn't power drill!)
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:38am PT
"Thin trail line through a pulley at your waist. Second hauls the Bosch for you."

Funny! I was just having a conversation with Tom Davis about this method today. Doesn't this put a two to one on the climbers waist? Meaning, if the drill weighs 12 pounds, then the climber feels 24 pounds. Better to hang the drill from the last bolt on a fifi and a 25 foot or so cord. Hand of hand it up, when you need it.

I guess this would only work if the stances or hook placements are good, but still seems better than hanging off of micro crimps while your partner essentially tries to pull you off the cliff.
Norman Clydesdale

climber
Mule capitol of the world
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:09pm PT
Drilling on lead is hard work. Whether it is with a hand drill or a power drill, you need to experience it and put your time in to appreciate the work and effort involved.

Hand drilling in granite can be epic. There is a reason why there are/were so many buttonheads and 1/4 inchers around.

There have been several times when I have climbed a new route and found many of the bolts to be drilled poorly. Replacement of bolts and anchors is often called for the first season after the route went up. The FA knows what a good bolt is in a well drilled hole, but wasn't about to hang around for a half hour to sink a fat 3/8 Rawl. So, we end up with one offs and assorted mank.

Conversely, I understand when I and others have caught flack for the bolts placed on a new route. "Why didn't you place 3/8 bolts? You have a responsibilty to the community. 3/8 are the standard, you drilled 1/4 inchers" My answer, "actually they are 5/16 and if you knew the work involved to put those things into granite, you wouldn't be asking the question."

Power is awesome when you can employ it. It allows for big bolts in a timely manner. Whether the drill holes are good or not is dependent on the craftsman doing the work.

I started drilling ground up by hand in sandstone. I thought I was bad ass. Then I tried hand drilling ground up on granite and got schooled. I gained a huge amount of respect for anybody putting up bolted lines on lead.

All the trickery and systems that can be employed seem to get you to the same place. You will push your limits on drilling the same way you push yourself on lead. Once something becomes a bit more manageable it allows you to approach a new level of difficulty. I dont think it ever get's easier. You get more efficient and can work quickly on easier routes, but when you are putting up something new and difficult, even though you have a system dialed, the work is still grueling.

As to stories I have a few. The unifying theme is me hanging from a hand drill or dangling from a partially driven bolt after my calfs crumbled. Then there was they time I pulled half a rap anchor on an a repeat ascent of a new route. The bolts were hand drilled 3/8 buttonheads in what appeared to be solid rock. Turns out the person who drilled them totally cratered the holes and the buttonheads had no bite. I became really suspect of buttonheads after that.

bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Feb 6, 2006 - 12:47pm PT
I don't know anybody bolting on lead these days who are using 1/4" or 5/16" bolts for permanent anchors because it is too hard to drill 3/8". Some people place the smaller diameter bolts on lead and then come back the next day and replace them with good stuff on rappel.

The problem I see, especially at Pinnacles National Monument, is people drilling 3/8" but, using short length bolts where longer bolts are recommended. For example, 3" or 3.5" are the best for the soft rock. But, in my rebolting efforts there, I have pulled a number of 2.25" Rawls! And, the problem is that you can't tell the length just by looking at them. That's bad.

Yes, whether bolting on lead or on rappel there is a huge responsibility to do it right!

Bruce
Norman Clydesdale

climber
Mule capitol of the world
Feb 6, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
BHilden,

The southern Sierra is full of "newer" routes that sport small diameter bolts. Many of them went up in the nineties on lead. For a while 5/16 was really hard to come by and you were lucky if you had a good stash. This shortage of good skinny bolts forced many old school FAers to commit to 3/8 for at least a while.

I agree you won't see them at the crags. But, there is arguably still a place for them on backcountry granite face routes. A well drilled 5/16 in granite inspires confidence.

Your point about people putting up a route on lead and then rapping down soon after for bolt replacement cracks me up. I know it happens. Pinnacles is a different world.

In the early nineties people were psyched to see 3/8 going in at Pinnacles. Problem was, a lot of those fattys were mank. There was/is some popular 10 or 11ish sport climb on Discovery wall that had the newer bolts and those things flexed from the get go. There were fracture circles around the bolts higher up on the route. The route might have been called "Verdict", does that sound right? I don't think it was 3/8 Rawl at the time, but 3/8 hardware store specials instead. Last time I was on that thing was 93 or 94 and I can remeber people heading to it because it was one of a handful of routes that sported "good" bolts. I guess anything 3/8 was thought of as good at that time because bad was thought of as 1/4 buttonheads or star drives.

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