Bolting at Cragmont, Berkeley


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Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Aug 14, 2012 - 11:03am PT
Bolts are bad because I am firm believer in a no trace ethic, or at least as little trace as possible.

I also prefer my rock in its natural state as much as possible.

Sport climbing is slowly but surely swallowing up all else. The cancer cell of climbing.

These are not new arguments.

But I haven't climbed in over a year and am beginning not to give a fig. 9,000 miles away, I am only a local by proxy.
all in jim

Aug 14, 2012 - 11:11am PT
Right Kelly, next I will bolt Nats.

C'mon! You've placed more bolts than I have, why would you take a shot like that?

Gym climber
Aug 14, 2012 - 11:14am PT
It's not that the bolts on this one small piece of rock are bad. But consider, bolting this small crag sends the message that it's OK to bolt anything, and everything.

From the gym, to city choss, to the hills and beyond.

Also to consider, this crag is an historic climbing location. Bolts had never been used in past generations, by folks whose names we all know.

2:1, this becomes one of the most lead routes in the country.
So yes, there is that positive side.

all in jim

Aug 14, 2012 - 11:30am PT
There is another bolted route to the left of Farewell to Arms that has been there as long as I've been climbing. It's a weird route, but lead-able and aid-able. It's called Wipeout or something, 4 or 5 bolts.

I certainly was not trying to send a message that indiscriminate bolting is ok. I don't think it will send that message more than any other bolted route.

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Aug 14, 2012 - 11:40am PT
I certainly was not trying to send a message that indiscriminate bolting is ok. I don't think it will send that message more than any other bolted route.

Maybe, but all together they shout it quite loudly.

Gym climber
Aug 14, 2012 - 11:55am PT
First, I'm glad to hear that you, a local climber there for years, did the work. We can all count on the bolts being solid, and in the best locations.

I've climbed there a few times. For me, one of the most fun things about that rusted-out old crag was its place in the history of California climbing. I thought it was cool, I was learning the same way the old masters had done it.

The bolting of Farewell was inevitable. In 10 or 15 years, nobody's gonna remember who climbed there in the past, nor will they care. Still, how cool it would be to climb there in 20, 30 years, and have it be the same as it ever was.

I'm always concerned that exuberant youth will see this as a green light to bolting, and why not bolt other things like it. Nat's, ;-), is obviously an exaggeration. But I know some boulder problems nearby that I was too shy to do, and boy, I would have loved to have lead them.

:- kelly

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Aug 14, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
Let's make the Bubble a two-bolt lead.

Center Overhang, why not?

Watercourse, four bolts.

Three for Transportation Crack. (Don't want to keep the beginners from the bolted leading experience, do we?)

Aug 14, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
Let's keep respect in the discussion. (And asking on ST would have been a farce.) It makes a big difference to me who put the bolts in. I was concerned that it might be someone with much less experience in the area, ready for more, a perfectly reasonable fear. And, yeah, I haven't been back there in several months.

Jim, you have to admit, it could be really tempting to put in 2 bolts on the 5.9, or 4 bolts on the 5.8, left of the 5.4 crack, or a bolt to protect the high 10d crux. From what you've said, I don't think you'd like that, correct?

Maybe you can see why someone would object to having the big metolius hangered bolts right on the cliff face, as they bouldered past. The clear local tradition is to have bolts for tr s on top of the cliff.

I don't think it's that big of a deal to leave one new lead route, if it ends there. But if someone comes along and adds more lead bolts, only arbitrary decisions would allow their removal--whether based on a committee or seniority in the area. And everyone chafes against arbitrary decisions for good reason.

Trad climber
Aug 14, 2012 - 12:45pm PT
I instead asked at Cragmont, a place I have climbed at perhaps 1000 times over the past 33 years. The overwhelming response I received (I've put the idea out there to dozens of people over the years) is that it was a great idea and would be an ideal spot for fledgling leaders to practice. It was bolted with those people in mind and is a safe lead, contrary to what's been posted here by people who have not lead it.

thanks for the detail. and yr intuition about not posting on st ahead of time was obviously sound.

i am most impressed by the fact that you have climbed at cragmont a thousand times. that's pretty papciak at mortar.

wish i had yr motivation cheers


Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Aug 14, 2012 - 11:10pm PT
Seems to me, Jim, that you've gotten off very lightly.

Trad climber
OAK (nee NH)
Aug 15, 2012 - 01:39am PT
Cat's outta the bag, Jim.

You might have some solid underpinnings to your stated reasons for bolting the route, but I predict that they won't be shared.

Maybe those glue-ins would have been better (and less controversially) been utilized as TR anchors?

My twin brother's laundry room
Aug 15, 2012 - 02:34am PT
Bolt the planet

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Aug 15, 2012 - 10:32am PT
Jim, I don't feel "strongly" about this from a user standpoint because, although I live on the Peninsula, I don't bother to climb outside on Bay Area rock anymore. I go to the gym for a workout and then I go "outside" to climb whereever I want to go.

It just makes me sad from an access standpoint.

It was bolted with those people in mind and is a safe lead

And beginning leaders often have beginning belayers. How long will it take before someone figures out a way to get hurt on a "safe" lead? And is it more likely to be an underage climber who doesn't have the resources to get to the ORG and clip bolts? Whose parents then want to "shut down" the climbing? This is a can of worms I know. People can figure out how to get hurt setting up top rope anchors as well. But it's specifically because this is a rare local resource in an area of high population density that the pros and cons of changes needs to be carefully weighed.

Take care, Phyl

Sport climber
Aug 15, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
i had the audacity to do this to a couple of routes i had put up as top ropes at cosumnes long ago. my thinking was, as jim's, that the area, largely a beginners area, could use a couple bolted leads for people to practice on. the locals i heard took great offense and promptly chopped them, thus keeping the area safe from rampant grid bolting.

Trad climber
it's all turtles, all the way dooowwwwwnn!!!!!
Aug 16, 2012 - 01:07am PT
this thread is way longer than that route

Trad climber
berkeley ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2012 - 06:28pm PT
My additional two cents.

It seemed to me that both the first bolt would lead to hitting a ledge and the distance between the second to last and last bolt was both going to lead to rope drag and hitting a ledge. I seems really unnecessary given that indoor gyms have replaced the need to bolt short top rope crags. I fear that other routes will be similarly equipped and that you may be setting a new and unfortunate precedent. Send newbies to Mt. Diablo where leading has a strong precedent. The line bolted to the left of Farewell is similarly unnecessary and I believe only bolted because it was done by the FA party.


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Aug 23, 2012 - 07:13pm PT

Same BS you were touting on the rapbolting going on at pinnacles.

Funny how you pimp this "Fun credo" everywhere you go.

You just FORCED your mentality/ethic/hardware on the COMMUNITY. Those who frequented the crag, who gave you the OK are not the only members of the tribe.

Talk about narrow minded.

Leave the history alone Jim.


Trad climber
berkeley ca
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 25, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
Moss slab next!
Nate D

San Francisco
Aug 27, 2012 - 12:06am PT
Interesting thread. I've seen the curious lead bolts, and they looked well placed, but tempting as it was to clip 'em, having TRd the thing years ago, I simply don't climb enough anymore to manage the pump. Would be a stout first sport lead or first outdoor lead, IMO. I wouldn't put a noob on it, but plenty young guns will likely want to clip those bolts now that they are there, even if not up to the task.

Thanks for your guide, Jim. I've got the 1992 edition and haven't needed anything new - provided many years of play in the Bay area. Seems I do keep having to update the bolt counts, which I suppose is inevitable. Do you happen to know who put in the couple new 2-3 bolt lines on the east face of the Egg?

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Aug 27, 2012 - 07:52pm PT
Back at School I slipped off of "No Fall Wall" at IR, around the back of it. Near the top of the slab, which I was using to practice for a GPA route, my ratty EB rands gave out. Made a lunge to the right, and grabbed a jug on the overhanging, but easy, dihedral. And greased.

The landing ledge gave me a hairline fib fracture.

Since I'd taken AC Transit to get to the boulder from my apt on Telegraph, that was my ride home. Started to hurt later, after a bunch of asprin, so I walked across the street to Alta Bates for an X-ray.
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