Respecting local ethics...thinking Internationally


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 41 - 60 of total 76 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Social climber
Sep 28, 2012 - 05:48pm PT
This particular situation may not be a good example, Jim, as per vlani's post above.

It might have been language barriers and a poor decision on who to trust on the part of the TNF "team".

If the guide, Sergey, a Russian, didn't find out the local Crimean (Ukrainian) do's and don'ts and none of the "team" speak Ukrainian or Russian then OOOOOOPS!!!!

Maybe the "team" felt they had an understanding of the local ethics via their guide when ...............they didn't.



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?


Social climber
Sep 28, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
vlani, what I meant was the TNF team speaks no Russian languages and had to trust Sergey . Sorry I wasn't clear in my other post.

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.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Oct 5, 2012 - 09:25am PT
Just think how you would feel if a bunch of French climbers came to Yosemite with the attitude of imposing what they believed were international climbing rules for bolting. This would not be welcome at all.

It's great to see people connecting with Russians and Eastern Europeans. Has anyone ever used their titanium gear? Seems like a better material to me. Guang sorry I did not see your comment before regarding Colombia. Adventure sports in general are not popular in Colombia, mostly because the outdoors are dangerous and largely controlled by armed guerrillas. Aside from that, many people's first instinct would be to treat you as a tourist and they would be your paid guide. I am not speaking from experience in Colombia - in fact I think most of the climbing areas here are totally unexplored. There are too many mountains not to have them.

Gym climber
Oct 5, 2012 - 10:01am PT
Hi i am new here and only registered to participate in this topic because the second side of the conflict is not present here, which is important to understand if there is a real ethic issue.
My point is that No ethics been violated and no harm was made to the rock itself, the only bad thing which creating the route named Cold-War made, was hurting Yury Kruglov huge ego.
Before CW route the only way to climb Morcheka was 40% skyhooking (artificial holes)and 60% of climbing, and Kruglov's route "Skyway" which was violated by one station is no exception it is a path of artificial holes imagine "Kompressor". Sergey and Cedar called Yury asking the permission to establish the station on Yury's route "Skyway" and permission was granted.
Now there is one route that can be just pure climbed. It is interesting and new and never been done before here. And the only way to make it was from Up to Down.
Mr Kruglov is a head of a local alpine governmental organization and is trying to rule and reign in the region, he personally has a lot of objections on other climbers activities in the region especially those who promote region for foreign climbers, who are not ready to make holes for skyhooks and other artificial points, who fix the old routes thus he acts like a whole bureaucratic routine machine.
For many locals here is clear, that mr.Kruglov wants to freeze all activities and initiatives in the region at least on the level when he was a climber, using so valuable reasons like ethics and environment.
Which ethics was violated and what is behind ethics and violation in that particular case? I can't see how exactly making a new, fresh and pure climb route can harm anybody.
The only real concern of Kruglov's i can agree with is that he doesn't want this rock to became a sport climbing gym place, at the moment it's a skyhook paradise and a good place for mountaineers to exercise their climbing skills.
With all due respect to the community and both sides of the conflict. Please excuse my English.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2012 - 10:07am PT
Thanks for your input...that's the way an open forum should work- viewpoints from all sides.
When I started this thread I said I would not comment on this particular climb because I did not know all of the facts. I used the brewing controversy as a template to initiate a more general conversation.

Trad climber
Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine
Oct 5, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
Hi all,
my name is Yuri Kruglov. I am keen traditional climber like many others in our area who enjoy and preserve multi-pitch traditional climbs in the area.

We never do any harm to sport or gym climbing routes. Luckily, there are no sport climbing routes or gyms on Morcheka - too scary for them ))). Our ethics on Morcheka mountain has few simple rules such as:

 Yes for rebolting when neсessary
 No for retrobolting
 No for rap bolted routes

These and the other principles of Morcheka climbing community could be found on the page 45 of the first climbing guidebook to Morcheka which was published in Sevastopol in 1999 and is available in Ukraine and Russia. One of the copies of the guidebook is always kept together with climbing logbook which is stored in the camp-site at the base of the mountain.

Anyone who ever been ещ the bottom of the face and climbed this iconic mountain is familiar with climbing ethics of Morcheka.

Ethics declaration is also available online at together with the list of Morcheka FA who are top climbers of Ukraine and Russia.


P.S. I wish we had any climbing organisations backed by government )))

Oct 6, 2012 - 01:14pm PT

My name is Alexey Ivanov. I want to say few words about traditions which kindly mentioned Mr Kruglov.

>>Anyone who ever been ещ the bottom of the face and climbed this iconic mountain is familiar with climbing ethics of Morcheka.

That's a lie. Big lie. I've been many times in there and never heard about this "rules". Mr Kruglov is highly egoistic person. Some years ago he was a strong technical climber. One of the best in that times. Now he represents local bureaucratic sport organization and by any means spoils anything what contradicts his personal believes and bias. Unfortunately this happens to some of best sportsmen. At some point of their life they are best. And then they get older and youth become better. And some of such sportsmen become acrimonious with an irritable nature.

>>Ethics declaration is also available online at together with the list of Morcheka FA who are top climbers of Ukraine and Russia.

This declaration is posted on the 4th of October, 2012. Few days ago. Never published before. The list is really questionable.

>>P.S. I wish we had any climbing organisations backed by government )))

That's really showing Mr Kruglov attitude to climbing. He wants to be dictator in Crimea climbing.

My message is in that all these is not about respecting local ethics - all these about ego of Mr. Kruglov who is intentionally deceiving climbing society.

Thank you.

Mountain climber
Oct 12, 2012 - 07:03pm PT
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 12, 2012 - 07:09pm PT
"Locals" aren't always right, wrong, or informed when it comes to access, conservation and stylistic matters, and neither are "Outsiders". (Bearing in mind that the lines can get blurry.)

Whatever, better talk talk than war war, preferably before war war.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Oct 13, 2012 - 01:19am PT
Just read Andrew's Rock and Ice piece on the subject.

The proposal that 'some climbers maintain coming top down is actually a way to minimize fixed protection' is a bunch of tripe.

Minimization comes from selective placement, and tired arms, not counting holes. The choice to selectively place bolts comes after the decision to go ground up or top down.

However, in as much as the ethic of ground up is to preserve the sense of adventure and keep the "murder of the impossible" at bay for as long as we can, then deliberately making run out routes top down is anathema.

Conflating ethical approaches with the goal of minimizing bolt counts is completely inapposite. By the way, bolt counts is a decidely aid climbing issue, not a free issue. So to use bolt counts as justification for a top down route to remain, just does not pass the sniff test.

Keeping traditional areas as ground up is really quite difficult in today's age where the collective group's safety and lowest common denominator seem to drive the 'fun' factor toward clip ups.

Many of us have cut our teeth on GU stuff and later decided to do some top down routes too, but there is an entire generation that has yet to be born that will never get the opportunity to try ground up efforts if we unnecessarily bolt everything we can via rappell in the next mere 20 years.


Messages 41 - 60 of total 76 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews