East Buttress of El Cap, Crux Bolt Gone


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Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
I climbed this a month ago in 85 degree heat and high humidity- slipped off a move or two after pulling the crux and took an unexpected ride onto the fixed nut and purple tcu. Clean fall (10 feet past the belay)

its better than coffee

Oct 3, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
I read, in a thread elsewhere, that one could get small nuts in the thin crack directly above the belay but I didn't have nuts small enough

seems to me that it wasnt the lack of a bolt but a lack of an appropriate rack that made the move unprotectable.

either way... you got through it, maybe just a little more time and energy. I climbed the thing a year ago and there's definitely a bomber small nut above the belay that allowed me to cheat through the crux.

Gym climber
Oct 3, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
The OP questions, 'behilden: How do you know they "are doing fine without it" Maybe most parties are rappelling after the first pitch.'

One might offer that "doing fine" in climbing means no serious injury. To me, rappelling is not a bad thing. I've been on many routes where the 2nd rope comes out and I say "I guess I need to train up for that one!" Not a thing wrong with that, and nothing hurt except a bit of ego.

It's great that you want to get out and challenge yourself. And long routes in Yosemite can be just the ticket. But, as has been said here, there is pro for those moves and that's why the retro bolt was removed.

In other words, get the proper gear, train up, and do routes that don't scare you too bad. You'll have lots of fun without trying to bring the challenges down to your level of competence.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
In fairness to the OP, it sounds like that's what he did, k-man, since he was able to complete the lead and, apparently, the climb.

Good advice generally, though. I think I made the most progress as as climber as a result of failures and bailouts (or, as another thread named it, yellow-pointing).


Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Oct 3, 2012 - 03:05pm PT
I have always gotten along fine with a small nut just up and right of the belay.

Oct 3, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
i didn't chop the bolt, but i was belaying the guy who did it. 1999? not gonna out him here, i'll let him make that choice. not sure if he even lurks here anymore.

didn't know what his plan was back at the lot. was a little confused why a purple crowbar was part of the rack.

had one of the scariest simulclimbing experiences ever later up the route. seconding and got to the 5.9 bit with a huge loop of slack. kept yelling "up rope" before sketching through the moves thinking "i hope he's got a handjam in or something".
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 3, 2012 - 04:57pm PT
I've done the climb many times; usually there are many parties doing it, and I've never seen anyone bail from that point. The bolt was never there in all the times I've done it. The pro seems fine to me. A bolt or two right there would change the feel of the moves a lot; currently you are climbing above and to the right of your pro and have to think about whether you are solid enough to lead up while facing a potential swinging fall. I feel that permission from the FA party is not relevant for adding a bolt, as the climb has been done by hundreds/thousands of people in the 50+ years since the FA without a bolt being there. Too much part of a shared experience to change at this point, in my opinion.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
Interesting question from the "ETHICS" viewpoint

FA says OK to bolt

Community Consensus seems clearly against a bolt.

Apparently even the guy asking the question made it through the pitch.

SO it seems to me the answer is clear

Not to bolt.

Gym climber
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:09pm PT
Indeed John, the OP did make the moves, even without the small nuts needed for pro. So kudos there.

Sorry to sound harsh in my responses, but sticking it out a little is part of the climbing game--especially on multi-pitch. In defense of the OP, he did read there was a bolt at the crux, so I do understand the trepidation you'd experience there if you thought it was missing for no good reason.

I did the route a few times before there ever was a bolt there, so I'm familiar with how those moves feel with pro off to one side. I also did the moves once with the bolt--boy did those moves feel different then! And I'll back up what Clint said about the years of experiences without that psychological pro.

For what it's worth, the last time I did that route, I did bail from that point. But not due to the moves being too run out ;-)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:13pm PT
If we do not put in a bolt, can we at least chisel out a few more hand/foot holds?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:15pm PT
The Valley's version of the Doublecross controversy. So there JT, we know how to go on and on about nothing to.

Trad climber
it's all turtles, all the way dooowwwwwnn!!!!!
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:23pm PT
I cannot believe there was ever a bolt there to begin with!
We climbed that route when we were new, and I am short, and still it was kinda straightfwd- super easy to chimney up and place a piece, then the move is done on TR!

That said, the last time I was up there a friend was in the party ahead of us and I watched him take 3 factor 2 falls directly onto the belay before I broke down and shouted up the beta for said TR, and he was not entirely inexperienced, so I am sure sometimes people struggle there- still, it ain't the gym, even if there are slideshows with free beer...
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Oct 3, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
David Lunn and I did the East Butt in February 1969 and we used pins and a hammer. Those things called hexes and stoppers were only a glimmer in Yvon's mind.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 3, 2012 - 06:36pm PT
Yeah, the pin scars are the crux. One move. It is fine without a bolt, and I'm not the bolt police.

Stanky, Litterbox
Oct 3, 2012 - 09:15pm PT
Screw bolts. Shits not pure... but PINS!

Its all about how it was done back in the day. Time to just start banging in pins just like the people that did the FA! I mean isn't that what they belay is on? and that is why there is a pin scar by the crux... right?

Oh yea and im gonna bang pins all the way up serenity since thats how it was originally done.
Todd Eastman

Bellingham, WA
Oct 3, 2012 - 10:22pm PT
... 10b move?
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