Respecting local ethics...thinking Internationally


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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.


Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Oct 13, 2012 - 02:25am PT
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)

Yeah, f*#k all those people who established the lines ground up, and set the standard. Since new generation can pull harder, it is for sure OK for them to rap bolt and retro bolt existing lines to free climb them. If you pull harder than the dinosaurs from the past you can do whatever you want.

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
Oct 13, 2012 - 05:11am PT
Excellent and balanced article from R&I.

Always make sure your "local" is local, I guess...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 13, 2012 - 06:23am PT
Jim, absolutely no sarcasm intended. It might creep in, it's Friday.

Have you ever read Talk To the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door)?

It's a recent endeavor by Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

Of course, she's a hero of mine, since she, like myself, I feel, has very good things to say about topics which ordinary people don't give a damn about.

It isn't my place to elaborate. Others, including the darling of dots and dashes herself, are better equipped, since I HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK. Don't you hate it when some jerk starts telling you about some book he hasn't read? I do.

One thing I will do is to put up a link so you can familiarize yourself. It's polite elephantism to the middle rank. You're welcome.

I want you to know I enjoyed her words in that link immensely. "Forensic polemic" (Here is where I tell you you heared it hear first) is a description of what Lynne wirtes. I got to luv this Great Brit, she's got true grit. A reg'lar little Mattie Ross. The rest of her words about her other efforts are hilarious.

For example,
Making the Cat Laugh, first published in 1995, is a collection of columns from The Listener, The Times and Woman’s Journal. By contrast with Eats, Shoots & Leaves, this book had quite abysmal timing. They now deny this, but my publishers did argue with me when I suggested, in 1995, that there might be quite a big market for funny books about single women in their thirties. Oh well. Making the Cat Laugh was published in a low-key way, sold out quickly and that was that. And a year or so later, along came the wonderful Bridget Jones, with the result that, for the next ten years, any funny book by a woman that wasn’t about a single woman in her thirties (such as my own Going Loco) was seen to be insanely out of step, and was marketed as chick-lit regardless.

Back on topic.
Credit: turd
Remember that time that turd told the story about the Spanish guys having the American on about the turd in his pocket? And he reached in to check it out? And the turd yelled out "I'm still in here!?" And the Spanish guys yelled out, "Viva la mierda!?"

That was awesome.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 13, 2012 - 10:32am PT
We may be in the Circus Room Bar making a mountain out of a molehill, one of Batso's proclivities.

Long live Low Sierra Proclivities!!!

And High Sierra declivities!!!!

And funky funded foreign climbing activities?

(Best I can muster, without aid. All-nighter, Jim.)

Oakland, CA
Nov 2, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
Looks like a wave of apologies coming from TNF crew:

Rap and retro bolted. Ouch.

Hard to swallow the "it's our interpreter's fault" excuse. Rap bolted a line AND retro'd over long-established traditional lines?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 2, 2012 - 03:50pm PT
Corporate apologies are like ptpp apologies, insincere and meaningless.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 2, 2012 - 04:26pm PT
Sport climbing is now nicely settling in with the same sort of maturity as Chlamydia.

Big Wall climber
Barcelona, Spain
May 13, 2013 - 04:33am PT
There is a strong discussion here in Spain going on with last Sharma route project in Montrebei (Catalunya-Spain). He is opening one of the most difficult wall lines in the world, or maybe the most...which is amazing, but bolting the whole 300 meters line in an area where bolts are restricted to exceptional cases.

Personally I am fine with his initiative but some people believe there is a wall ethic that must be preserved.
Comments are written in Spanish or Catalan, sorry about this.
Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
May 13, 2013 - 09:17am PT
When climbers were re-branded as athletes by the sponsors and paraded around in cute little teams this crap was soon to follow.

Climbing had long been the realm of the anti-athlete; a far more fit and adaptable specimen than the athlete!

Long live the climber!

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
May 13, 2013 - 09:36am PT
This is a topic that applies to mountains as well as rock faces. Many of the same arguments have appeared on the Fisticuffs on Everest thread. The visiting outsiders with more skills and attitude offended the locals. In that case, the locals banded together to stop it and then most in the international community cried foul, because of the threat of violence. Individual visitor's rights in that case versus the livelihoods of thousands.
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