Respecting local ethics...thinking Internationally


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the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Sep 27, 2012 - 06:23pm PT
i am 100% with Donini on this..
yup i've been sponsored over the years..
yup i have drilled many many bolts, by hand, by drill ground up and some top down.
yup i have been busted by the rangers for drilling, on lead on el cap. we never added a single new bolt to the Muir wall, we replaced anchors and added few bolts on variations..
when i go to a new area i respect the traditions of that area..

this is a trend now, these modern sponsored climbers need to keep doing these climbs and promote them to get paid and live the life they want. nothing wrong with that except when it impacts the local environment or ethics of that area..

so it will be interesting to find out who these cats were and what the logic was behind the ascent.


Sep 27, 2012 - 06:41pm PT
Wasn't talking about you, Jim. I was surprised by the downbeat tone of the OP.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Sep 27, 2012 - 06:46pm PT

That's incredible, Jim. You never cease to amaze me.
One of these days I hope to tie in with you.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 27, 2012 - 07:09pm PT
Yes, the more respectful corporately sponsored climbers that have carbon footprints bigger than Sasquatch are sooooo much more ethical.
corniss chopper

breaking the speed of gravity
Sep 27, 2012 - 07:39pm PT
Crimea climbers do have different ethics but they post clips to youtube
just like us.

At 3:00 min into this vid a climber whips out a paintbrush and paints
the name of their new climb onto the rock face next to the belay tree
after 1st using a wire brush to scratch the surface clean.


Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Sep 27, 2012 - 08:00pm PT

photo not found
Missing photo ID#265445

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2012 - 08:29pm PT
M of K, more than two views in a lot of countries. No, not more important but, because cultures and languages can be so different, misunderstandings are more prevelant when climbers travel to different countries.
rick d

ol pueblo, az
Sep 27, 2012 - 08:37pm PT
solution: hand drill.

I've seen Jim Waugh put a 3/8" x 2 1/4" in under 3 minutes during an August electrical storm on Babo. Deuce put an unknown size in 1 minute flat on flat ground. It can be done.

It is because you are weak and your skirt is blowing up in you face if it takes longer than that.

If you go to an area (that accepts bolts in the first place), you drill by hand, and go from the ground up there are far less chances to screw a route up and piss people off.

Better yet, 'shoes, shirt, and rack on your back' and do the damn thing without a single hole in a day and you gain respect from climbing peers anywhere in the world.

Sep 27, 2012 - 08:44pm PT
When you're up to your neck
Style is everything

Fall like a man
Drown in the dust

Trad climber
mountain view, ca
Sep 28, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
Whole Morcheka controversy discussed, in Russian, here:

From what I read the main mistake NF team done was taking a 'local' guide Sergey who is a great climber and all that but lives in St Pitersburg some 700 miles from Crimea and different country all together. Big part of the blame is on him, for not learning what locals feel about their rock. Sergey has spent a bit of time climbing in the area and has done some great things - like freeing old aid lines. But seems like he did not pick much of the local's ethics.

Trad climber
mountain view, ca
Sep 28, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
Tami there is no language barrier between Ukrainian and Russian climbers. In fact folks in Crimea usually speak better Russian that Ukrainian.

It is more of a case of 'Imperial' thinking on a side of Russian climbers who take Crimea rock for they own back yard.

Mountain climber
Sep 28, 2012 - 06:41pm PT
Thanks for that link, vlani!

Below's a bad quality, auto translation, excerpt from the Russian thread. They do mention this ST discussion, btw. And Sergey, who accompanied the NF team, is posting there, too. The complaint seems to be "top down" rap bolting, done by outsiders, not respecting local tradition.

Blondie 7:41 p.m. 9.27.2012
In this incident, there are two precedents - one small and one large. Small - spoiled the existing route. Big precedent - what happened - the first and only project Morcheke when the route is made ​​from the top down, not bottom-up. Violated an unspoken agreement about Morcheka - territory free from such projects. If this precedent is left unchecked, then soon all of our routes will be surrounded by such projects as Morcheka not rubber. Therefore, the precedent left unattended will not.

Trad climber
Sep 28, 2012 - 08:20pm PT
Therefore, the precedent left unattended will not.


Trad climber
mountain view, ca
Sep 28, 2012 - 09:44pm PT
Here is couple day's old Sergey's post on his blog, in Russian again:
Oh well..

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Sep 28, 2012 - 10:29pm PT
While I have not traveled or put up as many FA's as Jim, I have to agree, most countries have more than one point of view and ethics.

Bolting, not bolting is always a hard decision. I've only used a hand-drill a couple of times. I prefer to avoid them, if we have the technology to place a safer and better bolt, and the person putting in the bolt is willing to lug the extra weight up the pitch, I see no issue with it.

I don't bolt cracks, just can't bring myself to it, but I have lead face climbs on gear, bolted a belay station, and on the rappel made it a bolted climb. Especially here in Indonesia and Southern China.

Here in Indonesia, local climber form "clubs" pitch in money to buy gear. A climb of 15 people may own a rope, 4 pairs of shoes a few harnesses, and a collection of slings and biners that they all share among themselves. When I arrived, I donated 2 dozen QD and a rope to the local club so they could climb more.

Same was true in China.The limestone towers I was climbing offer protection on some places. Not everywhere. Bolting routes meant that local climbers, who often relied on foreigners to establish routes, could actually climb. Developing fully bolted routes also meant that the areas could have a couple of hundred routes instead of four lines 3 hours from the nearest city.

In general, I agree, if a route can be free of bolts, I prefer it that way. I don't believe no bolts should ever be placed. Think Glacier Point Apron or Stone Mountain, how many great routes wouldn't exist without bolts on those two formations alone.

Respecting local ethics is fine, I prefer to discuss them with locals and try to understand why they are what they are.

In Indonesia, I often find cracks with bolts and climbers are still beating angles into cracks when free climbing. I am not willing to do either. A few climbers here think I don't bolt cracks because I am selfish and don't want locals to climb them, or that I am showing off because I trust nuts and cams when leading.

Bolting, like things in climbing, isn't a cut and dry issue. The more a climber travels, the more grey areas they are for him to interpret.

I've met several climbers over the years who say bolts should go in Ground up. Or bolts should be hand-drill only. When I asked, most of them haven't put up a single FA.

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Sep 28, 2012 - 10:40pm PT
Guang, thanks for this insight that most people would never consider. In most parts of the world, no one could afford to do this sport. Aside from the difference in people's income, they would have to import all the gear. Sharing gear in a club is a great way to do it, and that's just not going to be feasible with trad gear. I would personally have no probem with people bolting all the routes so the local climbers can do them. Although our trad climbing ethic is integral to the sport and should not be lost or limited to the USA. It's essentially the wilderness ethic of packing out your trash and not wrecking the place any more than you have to.

Trad climber
Asia, Indonesia, East Java
Sep 28, 2012 - 10:49pm PT
I agree, and I still leave plenty of routes as trad. Again, routes a=that are mostly crack, I tend to leave unbolted. Even the face climbing pitch between the crack pitches if they take gear.

The local cliff I developed has 70 routes roughly. 6 of them are trad routes because they were cracks. One of the sport routes had a crack for the last 20 feet, I placed a bolt on it to keep it consistent. (60 Meter Route)

In general, if I think I'll need to bolt a route, I prefer to rap-bolt. Rap-bolting means I can place the bolt in the best place.

The local gear has a set and a half of my old Camelots and two set of fairly new nuts from me. They use the cam to do easy aid, A1 A2 stuff, but they don't believe people should fall on cams. Working on it.

Only guessing, but Columbia most be a hard place for local to get started in climbing too?


Mountain climber
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Oct 5, 2012 - 05:10am PT
I am following mentioned by Vlani discussions at Russian during good few days and it is not quite clear for me what "local ethic" was violated by TNF and Sergey...
I directed some questions to proponents of "ethical violations" but was not able yet to get clear answers....
Sergey is not a just "'local' guide Sergey who is a great climber and all that but lives in St Pitersburg some 700 miles from Crimea and different country all together" He is climber of new generation who is opening idea of free climbing to eastern climbing society. So that is quite reasonable that he was the one who introduced Crimea mountains to TNF. This year he spend in total 7 months climbing at Crimea!!

Sure there are some people, whose opinion was violated in some way, but it is still quite not obvious if the personal opinion is the "local climbing ethic"!
Sure there are plenty of climbers having quite different opinion and supporting Sergey Nefedov position
It seems the conflict is not about "ethic violation" but rather between "fathers" and new generation of climbers different view to what climbing in Crimea is (or perhaps even what the climbing is at all)

I am not going to say that one's or another's party position is correct on not - I just wonna say - it is not so clear and obvious case!!
(I apologize for my English)
Andrey and Serguey &#40;2 brothers&#41; during free climb of Mochombo ...
Andrey and Serguey (2 brothers) during free climb of Mochombo route at Marcheka (Crimea) (first and the only free ascent)
Credit: ElbrusRace

Trad climber
Oct 5, 2012 - 08:43am PT
Crusher wrote-"Sometimes sponsorship (free flights? Free gear?) can create a sense of obligation to perform. To do stuff that will look good in the blog the sponsors provide".

I feel there is huge pressure on sponsored climbers to "perform", and get those articles written in the climbing mags; promoting various corporate sponsors.

A case in point:

Several years ago, a large North Face team went into the Wind Rivers, and a few months later, there was a large, centerfold spread in climbing magazine.
The article featured a "new" 16 pitch, 5.10 route up Ambush Peak. In fact,these guys had climbed a route I had done with John Bouchard 16 years earlier.
I would excuse the error; except that there was a photo of this free route and an old mixed line I did many years earlier, published in the AAC, ONE YEAR PRIOR, to the writing of the article in Climbing.

I was a little shocked; to say the least; and couldn't fathom how there seemed to be no research, prior to the writeup. A simple search of the AAC would of exposed the line.
Climbing mag. did correct the error, in the next issue.

I expect, as the sport evolves, corporate sponsorship, will even be more prevalent, and who knows where this will lead?

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Oct 5, 2012 - 09:06am PT
All you can do to establish ethics in a place where you are essentially all visitors like Patagonia is to throw ideas on the wall and see what sticks. It's going to be a constant battle as it is now.
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