First Ascent Tactics

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Blizzard

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 4, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
What are yours? regarding developing a new area? camping nearby? stashing gear? trail building? mitigating loose rock? Preparations for retreat? Tag line pros and cons? Tips and techniques? anything else i should know? This area is in a National forest if you know any laws regarding camping and climbing in these areas or a reference to those laws please inform me. I am a novice developing an area for the first time and would like to learn by experiences, yours and mine. Thank you for your input.

-B. McIntosh
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 4, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
Beware of Locals
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Sep 4, 2013 - 08:13pm PT
For development at the Riverside Quarry, we would bring along our good friend, Dave (aka: Super Dave), who would obligingly clear away loose rock by belching mightily at the cliff face.

We could climb on whatever was left after the dust had settled.

After we had picked ourselves up off the ground and removed our ear protection.
cragnshag

Social climber
san joser
Sep 4, 2013 - 08:29pm PT
Resist the urge to buy a power drill.

It is the path to the dark side...


Go out there and have yourself an adventure!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 4, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
What kind of rock?

Style of routes?


This thread is useless without pics! Show us the freshies!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 4, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
Usually I bring two things just in case. One is a power drill in case I get scared, and tow is my boxer buddy in case the locals show up. lol

My real strategy is to avoid learning how to bolt so I do not have to listen to people bitch, and to have a lot of fun with my friends.

If area is overhanging choss it probably is good for sport climbing. If there are cracks and it protects than it is probably a good place for ground up trad. If it is a slab and you are first to discover the area I think it is your call if you want to rap bolt or go ground up. Whatever keeps you happy.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 4, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
Carefully choose one climbing partner, and keep the place and your activities secret for as long as you can.
Rivet hanger

Trad climber
Barcelona
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:24am PT
Do a FA that takes me at least 60 days (not climbing on Sabbath), write a tedious book claiming it's the only real A5 ratted route on that wall and explaining the troubles I had with local climbers. Then, wait for 30 years to find out it's just A3+...
brotherbbock

Trad climber
Alta Loma, CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:31am PT
Just always remember that......



































YER
















































GONNA


























































DIE!!!!!!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Get there, first.

Get there first, second.

And when you get back home, thank the Lord and spray.
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:38am PT
I don't think RH will ever understand new wave versus old wave aid ratings.

I also doubt RH reads the same book most of us read.

Do you get too distracted by the twinkle of trenched lead heads and the brittle cracking of wooden pegs around you when you read and just sort of fill in the blanks with whatever weird ramblings are happening in your head RH?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:42am PT
Don't promise an FA on Denali to a client if he is gonna go blab to the
Canadians at loose ends camped nearby. Jess sayin'...
Blizzard

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 5, 2013 - 11:48am PT
thanks for the replys and i'll try to get some pics up soon. This area has vast potential for trad, sport, and bouldering. So far we have developed one trad route and a slew of boulders. (i wish it was the other way around because my arms feel shot with minor injuries and we only had one awesome trad day) It has been real fun nonetheless. The trad route has a mellow walk off and approach. we stash our gear out there near the campsite in 5 gal buckets along with some food, beer and water. as far as trail building goes we only built cairns and developed a path from walking over the same path to get to different areas. we will bring a small hand saw to aid in this aspect of developing. I bring gear to bail such as rap rings, pro and slings. I don't own a tag line but am considering purchasing one for it's uses with bailing and self rescue. I am a novice and am just learning on my own so i thought i could consult the vast knowledge held captive by supertopo users. Thank You Guys.
I really started this thread to hear about YOUR experiences with developing areas or routes. I thought if we all came together to offer our insight into this realm of climbing there would be a plethora of tips and techniques from various situations to help aid each one of us in our unique pursuit of happiness. Thanks again.

-Bruce McIntosh
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:51am PT
I think the thread title in inauspicious, I don't view an FA as a battle requiring tactics with a winner and a looser... it's not a combat against the cliff or mountain.

When you view it in a different light the "tactics" become a lot clearer...


Rivet hanger

Trad climber
Barcelona
Sep 5, 2013 - 11:52am PT
The same book, dude! Thank Lord only exists one edition of this literature pearl (makes Lionel Terray look like a pre-school student!). The birds, the storms, Sabbath, bad angry boys in the Valley, prays, hooks (used in both new wave and old school I guess), and so on...
By the way, very funny you still don't undestand the use of wood wedges and the pitons! Needless to talk about physics properties of lead...
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:17pm PT
I don't view an FA as a battle requiring tactics with a winner and a looser... it's not a combat against the cliff or mountain.

Now there's a Californian point of view if there ever was one. Come up to the PNW one of these days Ed, and we'll show you some fierce FA battlegrounds.

Entering the combat zone
Entering the combat zone
Credit: Ghost

Flying into battle
Flying into battle
Credit: Ghost

Hand-to-hand combat
Hand-to-hand combat
Credit: Ghost
Chim-Chim

climber
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Weed
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
Your first ascent tactics should respect all USFS and NPS regulations. I believe hacking local flora is illegal. Stashing 5 gallon buckets of gear in a National Forest is probably ok as far as I know. I hate when people use the term "develop" when talking about putting up routes, because it sounds like you are building a city or something. Trail building is not legal, so keep it small. LEO's read this forum.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Sep 5, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
What rincon said.

Around here the Forest Service have prosecuted "developers" on occasion. Not for bolting, which is usually legal and legit everywhere, but for damage to vegetation, construction of staging areas and trail building.

When folks do get busted, it's a big bummer, it all gets real ugly for everyone. Developing a new crag is thankless at best, it hurts bad to get prosecuted after all the hard work.

Best to do a bit of research (internet search? Phone call?) first to figure out what regulations there are in the particular forest you are interested in.
Barbarian

climber
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
My FA tactics have always been the same:
Pick a line.
Climb it on lead.
Drill no holes.
Leave no tat.
Go home.
Tell no one.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
What rincon said.

Up to a point. Not all potential climbs are in areas administered by the FS or the NPS. Regulations governing vegetation removal, trail-building, fixed anchors, power-drilling, overnight camping, fire-building, etc etc etc vary from place to place. As do local customs and consensus about what is acceptable.

What is important, at least in my view, is not to screw things up for others. So, yeah, check the land status. Find out what the regulations forbid or permit. Talk to other folks who put up routes in the area.

But remember, what is illegal (or unethical) in your corner of the woods may be legal and commendable elsewhere. And vice versa.

looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
My FA tactics have usually been the same:

Steal a good looking line from someone with greater "vision" than I,
Find a stronger partner to do all the harder leading,
Place at least one bolt to "mark" the route,
Brag about the route,
Publish a guide and give my routes 5 stars so everyone knows how cool I am.
(Or so I've been told.)
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
What's the first rule of fight club?

DMT
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
Carefully choose one climbing partner, and keep the place and your activities secret for as long as you can.

That's generally been my M.O., Kevin. Based on published first ascent information, Tim Schiller and I did the first technical climbs on Fresno Dome, Little Baldy, Dogtooth Peak, Dinkey Dome, and several other small cliffs in the Western Sierra. In every case, there is no published record of our ascents, and FA's were generally credited to others. In a couple of cases, FA's were credited to others, even though I placed a bolt on the FA, either for protection or aid, and each topo shows the bolt.

We kept things secret out of laziness, though, not virtue. Nonetheless, being the first person to climb in a new area provides levels of adventure and commitment greater than any other experience I've had climbing. Partly for that reason, we have not consciously "developed" the areas we thought we pioneered, other than those two bolts. If someone else gets to experience the same isolation and adventure we had, so much the better.

John
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 5, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
Tim Schiller and I did the first technical climbs on Fresno Dome, Little Baldy, Dogtooth Peak....


John, when did you climb at Little Baldy?

EE and I went there in 1976... not a bolt in sight. We did a 4 pitch climb, using the new fangled FRIENDS and put in like 8 1/4 inchers. A few years later a crew showed up and blasted a NEW ROOT right up where we had gone. They slamed in about 35 bolts... but they were very puzzled by the 1/4 inchers they kept finding.


So to the OP. Make sure you are the FIRST before you start "developing".

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Guyman,

If you were there in '76, you beat us by two years. We were there in '78, IIRR (which is doubtful), but I didn't see an earlier reference in the guidebook.

Our route went fairly close to the line shown as "Wigged Out" in the 1984 guide. I placed one 1/4" protection bolt on the third pitch. We saw no other signs of human activity.

Climbing with Tim had its own elements of adventure. While I was leading that pitch, Tim was on belay around the corner. I had in a string of largely psychological protection, none of which I trusted. The psychological crux came right before the bolt, though. From around the corner, Tim shouted at me, "Hey John!" I assumed he was going to tell me one or more of my alleged pro had pulled. Instead it was "Garvey just hit a home run. The Dodgers are ahead three to two!"

This was way before we started using belay devices. I decided then and there it was time for some real pro, so I broke down and placed the bolt.

John
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 5, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
but I didn't see an earlier reference in the guidebook.

I first started going to Sequoia while trying to climb the Watchtower.

No GB if I remember, so we didn't have anybody to send the info about the climbs to.

WE got around to climbing Chimney Rock Spire, we thought for sure we were going to be the FIRST.... but no, six people had their names in the summit register.

But we had an adventure and that is what matters most....

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 5, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
"...so I broke down and placed the bolt."

The law states that you don't have to incriminate yourself: In this case, Morality trumps The Law.

Good on you, John; but it certainly satisfies when you can blame the flucking Dodgers for anything at all!

Fres, yes!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 5, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
it certainly satisfies when you can blame the flucking Dodgers for anything at all!

Hear, hear, Mouse! Tim used to carry a 3" X 3" X 1" transistor radio with him at all times to listen to that nefarious ball club. I took great pleasure in explaining to his daughter that more educated people root for the Giants (Tim is an MIT graduate). I have a picture of him listening to that infernal thing at Chimney Rock around 1974 or 75 (Where we, too, were disappointed to find out we weren't there first, guyman). Now if I could only find it. . .

John
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