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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
Where does that sort of logic come from?
I first saw it described in:
Basic Rockcraft, by Royal Robbins, 1971, p.62
"THE FIRST ASCENT PRINCIPLE"

But he describes it in a more positive way.

Later, in Advanced Rockcraft, he describes Exceptions to the First Ascent Principle.

I've also heard this principle described as "you leave my route alone, and I'll leave yours alone." But I don't think this was the original intent.

The main idea is there are "uncertain property rights" on public lands, and the FA principle is supposed to provide some stability, instead of having bolts come and go depending on who climbed the route last....

As Hawkeye said, it was not described as "ownership". That is a distorted interpretation of the principle.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
It's matter of respect.

Respect the rock and respect the route, in that order... respectively.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
I first saw it described in:
Basic Rockcraft, by Royal Robbins, 1971, p.62
"THE FIRST ASCENT PRINCIPLE"
But he describes it in a more positive way.


i dont have that book in front of me as i am on travel and i have it at home...

but i am certain the word ownership NEVER came in to it.

i do remember the ideas of minimal impact. i agree with the OP. ownership and always asking the FA team is some kind of sh#t idea.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 9, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Agreed....the first ascentionists do not own the route. The rating should come from consensus and not be locked into the FA's opinion. Remember a rating is a guide and should be as accurate as possible. Underrating a climb intentionally only makes you look insecure and foolish.The initial style should be respected but only to an extent. If a 5.13 climber puts up a 5.8 route with one bolt....retro bolting is legitimate.....just use the common sense rule.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 9, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
the first ascentionists do not own the route

Of course not, but they do own the experience of climbing it first - going where no one else has. If, by misfortune, it is degraded later they still own the experience (e.g., see memories)
rick d

climber
ol pueblo, az
Sep 10, 2013 - 12:06am PT
and to add to Gill's comments,

second,third, twenty fourth ascents should try to emulate the first ascent or do it in a better style.

Or better yet solo it onsight which is only surpassed by an onsight first ascent-solo (sans rope).


What if a 5.10 climber drills one bolt on a 5.9 route-should it be retrobolted?

but who cares about style anymore?
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Sep 10, 2013 - 12:20am PT
I know I don't "own" the routes I put up, but on Mexican limestone, and especially on the long multi-pitch, I've put in hundreds of hours of hard work climbing, bolting, jumarring hundreds of feet every day to go to work, cleaning the loose rock and vegetation and residual dirt(which requires about 4 or 5 passes per pitch), not to mention the out of pocket expense,etc. so there is a certain sense of "ownership" and a desire to protect from those who would vandalize the route in any way.
Degaine

climber
Sep 10, 2013 - 02:56am PT
rick d wrote:
second,third, twenty fourth ascents should try to emulate the first ascent or do it in a better style.

Why "should"? I think there is a confusion between the notion of "style" and how a route is protected on a first ascent.

If I choose to pull on gear (cams / nuts) all the way up Nutcracker, why do you care? You and everyone else who follows won't know the difference. That's the "style" I choose to climb (free vs aid), and it affects absolutely no one.

Deciding to add a ton of bolts to an existing route, for example, is another story.

On the style note, whose style was better on the Nose, Harding's or Hill's? Both are worthy of respect.

Cheers.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Sep 10, 2013 - 01:03pm PT
If I'm a 5.8 climber and I, shitting bricks the whole time, put up a 5.8 route that's 50m long with one bolt and no natural pro is it somehow different than if I'm a 5.13 climber and I put up the same route?

What if I'm a 5.8 climber then but I improve and climb 5.13 now?
(Or, more likely, what if i was a 5.11 climber then but I',m a 5.8 climber now?)

Also, why can't the whiners that feel my 5.8X 1-bolt route needs more bolts just go and climb one of the many plentiful well-protected 5.8s nearby instead?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 10, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
Also, why can't the whiners that feel my 5.8X 1-bolt route

We whiners don't agree its your route. If its on public land it is most definitely not yours.

We might respect your death route. We might not. Some of it may depend upon how you talk to and treat us. Tell us how you own the route and we're pussies for wanting to make it safer... tell us we are not worthy of your earlier suicidal impulses... tell us this death route must stand forever more and don't forget the reason: "This is the way I learned and that is that."

Other people learned it differently. Imagine that.

The only common ground we can find is mutual respect.

Give none? Get none, its that simple.

G-day

DMT
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 10, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
When we started out, the idea behind repeating a testpiece was that the FA folk has created a certain experience that involved climbing a certain rock a certain way. On straight forward splitter cracks the equation was reduced to simply getting up the thing and what the first ascent party did or did not do had little influence on how you did your business. But once a route started changing cracks, or involved long face bits, or bolts, the first FA party was more creative in engineering the experience in terms of quality and commitment.

The notion was that those that followed were attempting not to simple get up the rock, but to repeat the experience the FA party established on this particular piece of rock. It was a game, or course, and with these rules there was some uniformity to the adventure and climbers had a yardstick for their performance and a mandate to try and live up to a given standard. You had your pride and honor - that you were up to the challenge of repeating whatever experience the FA had sought fit to throw down. You did not reinterpret the experience to fit your own standards, which was nothing short of a chickshit way of giving your self permission to do whatever you pleased with no discipline and no shame and no pride. The person who changes or dumbs down a route is really the person who asserts their imaginary ownership over what others have had the sac and integrity to try and play by the routes own standards.

To grumble about routes done 40 years ago in swami belts with the old shoes and coffin nail bolts is not something to be taken seriously by serious climbers. There's million's or "safe" routes out there. Do those if the scary ones scare you. Pissing in our ear about the FA being zealous owners is a deflection of the real issues of a given team not being up the challenge - and blaming the FA guys, who are probably 55-70 years old. And that's some weak sh#t.

JL
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 10, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
The Man has a way with words.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 10, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
We're not all playing the same game.

Its really that simple.

If you want the rules of your game preserved you MUST appeal to those who come after you.

Suggestions:

1. Do not espouse "FA owns the route." You will lose a lot of folks who might otherwise work top preserve some of your legacy, just by being obstinate.

2. Don't tell everyone why your rules should rule. Rather, tell why a particular route is worthy of preservation...

Or don't. It doesn't matter.

DMT
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 10, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
To grumble about routes done 40 years ago in swami belts with the old shoes and coffin nail bolts is not something to be taken seriously by serious climbers.
The problem is that there are a LOT of climbers out there who are not "serious climbers"...and the number increases every day.

Dingus' point is basic: treat these newcomers with respect. They are learning to lead in gyms where not only are the bolts 5 feet apart (if that), but you're not even allowed to skip a bolt (and employees will remind you of that...or even kick you out of the gym if you don't play by the rules). They go outside for the first time to sport climbing areas, and can't understand why it's so runout (particularly "older" sport climbing areas) - often 15 feet to the first bolt, and if you fall at the second bolt you'll hit the ground! Let alone going someplace like Tuolumne or Valley slabs where it's often tough to even spot the first bolt, and concepts like 3 bolts in 165' just doesn't compute.

Taking the newcomers under your wing, patiently explaining the history and the background to the runout face routes - this is the only way that climbers in the future are going to give a rat's ass about preserving historical climbs. In Europe they sometimes call the wholesale retrobolting of crags "la democratization" of the crags - because runout routes are elitist (and gear routes are elitist as well since you have to have more money to buy gear). No reason to think the same pressures and reasoning won't be applied here over time. Of course, there's a lot of reason to think that the land managers won't allow climbers to turn everything into sport crags (see the latest NPS proposed regulations), and probably good reason to suspect climbing might just get banned if climbers start bolting even more, yet that pressure is there from newer climbers.

It's also a bit of a stretch to say that even the older FA folks are united - from more than one well known FA party, I've heard stuff along the lines of "some routes were meant to be testpieces, and some routes we were just too lazy or cheap to protect well" - particularly easier routes that they just ran up without a second thought. As JL says, "the idea behind repeating a testpiece..." - yet I bet that a large majority of routes that people want to retrobolt is some easy thing that no one ever considered a testpiece.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 10, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
The person who changes or dumbs down a route is really the person who asserts their imaginary ownership over what others have had the sac and integrity to try and play by the routes own standards.

mt10910 must be bored, since he's already started two likely-trolling threads, but I'm on a break, so I'll bite. Perhaps because I've made a few (obscure) FA's, and am between 55-70 years old, what Largo says rings true to me.

In a way, it's to climbing what Gresham's Law (bad money drives out good) is to monetary policy. Or maybe in climbing, abundant fixed protection is the equivalent of a higher state of entropy.

I think Robbins' articulation of his First Ascent Principle may have reflected, in part, the state of climbing in the early 1970's, when first ascents were merely a trip to the High Sierra, or the west side thereof, away. After 40+ years, though, its basic assumption -- that a climber can find any variety of climb desired relatively easily -- still holds true. The First Ascent Principle preserves that variety. Otherwise, climbing entropy, as I defined it above, would result in every worthwhile climb loaded with fixed protection sooner or later.

John
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 10, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
Ahhh ye ol 'if you want more protection ye are a lilly-livered chicken sh#t , need too grow a pair' argument.

well, kids these days.... they don't care.

Sasha D was a sissy sport climber til she flashed 14 then went to the Dolomites and flashes 13 on threads, old pins, and the odd cam.

She didn't go through the ranks of suffering on run-out museum climbs in the valley, praising the Stondedmasters and worshiping the gods of ST.

She just ignored all that and surpassed ye ol trads of yore..


...at their own stupid game.
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Sep 10, 2013 - 03:33pm PT
Fact is the runout routes are a step above, not below, the run of the mill bolted lines.

Th Bachar-Yerian is famous for the runouts. The quality of the climbing is just a bonus. same route with bolts every 5 feet would be just another boring knob hop with no character and nothing famous left to it.
Cragar

Trad climber
MSLA - MT
Sep 10, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
Largo writes well...stating the obvious

I learned in a place with cracks and sport routes(TheGrotto) and had worked my way climbing what I could and there were some that were too hard, so should I have chipped them to my liking? I do not understand the make everything safe mentality. If that is your thinking, drive less and become a vegetarian for starters, both make for a safer living environment for all, not just climbers.

What attracted me the most to climbing was learning to physically and mentally bring myself up to a task. Knowing well I wouldn't get all I was after but after all, isn't it about the journey?

The magazine athletes of today want everything easy, fast, now and do not want to crinkle a nail in the process...you know like the models in their REI catalogs!! Plus, how do you blog on the internet about non-attempts?

Seriously, this is about an endeavor of bringing oneself up; not doing everything but, to just get up.

My opinion.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 10, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
Partick, routes like Twilight Zone and the DNB were done long before I ever arrived in the Valley and they will never be "museum climbs." Saying that people young or old should try and live up to the standards of the route reaches back to Chuck Wilts and the first free ascent of Piton Pooper, and before that even. When Sasha does her magic in the Dolomites, she's simply carrying on the flag Chuck and others first hoisted.

None of this is a knock on the younger generation. ANY generation or any climber, young or old, is doing climbing history a disservice by permanently imposing their owe standards on an existing route. The purpose of maintaining standards is not to glorify us old farts - who cares, really - but to keep the flame burning.

JL
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 10, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
As a fairly new climber (just over 3 years), I love the tradition of the respect of the FA. While it may mean I won't be on a route without a rope-gun, I would rather it lead to inaccessible routes for some vs access for all (the general 'public' fvcks everything up eventually).

Related and relevant with the thread on Gerughty, at the end of this season I felt like I could finally handle the Dike Route on the sharp end - we didn't get on it, but I will save it for next summer and it will still take me a while to warm up to that thought. Yeah, its only 5.9, but it gives me something to strive for (and seems like a much better accomplishment than redpointing 5.12).

Anyways, its not like this is a new subject on Supertopo or like we're going to hear any new arguments. I really enjoyed the SuperChicken rebolt thread and even more so enjoyed leading the crack on it, looking up the next pitch and rapping the fvck off this summer!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
SurfStar's pick of the Dike Route on Pywiack Dome in this discussion is telling.

For those who have not climbed the route, it is a low angle, glacier polished slab with micro edges, intersected by a small dike. It does not have many bolts for protection on the hard pitch, and as far as I remember, there is no natural protection. It was first climbed in 1966 by Tom Gerughty and was the first route on Pywiack.

The Dike Route is fine route and is about as classic as it gets. One of the elements of its classic status is that there are so few bolts, and the reason there are so few bolts is because Tom was too scared to stop and drill.

Here is Tom Higgis' take:

Tom Gerughty was perhaps the first to climb and protect a large, crackless expanse of Tuolumne rock. He demonstrated that bolts could be placed while free climbing, but not without difficulty. In 1966, Tom began climbing the lovely crystal dikes on the northwest face of Pywiack Dome. But Tom had an aversion to bolts and had little experience placing in them. Once in Yosemite, Tom stepped on a bolt in the presence of Sacherer. Frank yanked the rope so hard Tom nearly fell off the wall. Perhaps Tom learned the lesson too well. He trembled up and up on the dikes of Pywiack, unable or unwilling to stop, the drill dangling uselessly from his side. Dave Meeks and Roger Evja, his partners, waited for the 200 foot, slab splashing fall. Somehow, it never came. Tom captured the aesthetic plum, The Dike Route, on Pywiack, as well as the respect of numerous climbers who imagine leading the last pitch with two less bolts, since added with Tom's permission.


I cannot image the community of Tuolumne climbers ever agreeing to add any additional bolts--it would ruin the story of the first ascent.

I think this points out that the "law" of preserving the style of the first ascent is not enforced by the FA party; it is enforced by the local climbing community sometimes long after the FA.
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Sep 10, 2013 - 06:36pm PT
why is that? Where does that sort of logic come from?

It seems like the FA team gets special respect, and is bestowed ownership of a route, because they got off their asses and went out and did it. Climbers respect that.Anyone who does the route later has an easier time of it, and is therefore weaker in the eyes of the community. Maybe only a tiny bit, but still weaker.

To climb first is to climb without beta, without a trail, without bolts, without knowing that someone else did it once.

Plus, without some rules, the sport would have anarchy. How could anyone measure themselves against others without some sort of rule book?

Dave


Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 10, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
Despite what some say I have never tried to claim "ownership" of any route I've put up.
I do go with Royal on the FA Principle though.

In the long term, however, I think we all as a community would actually benefit by respecting a well made description of a route by its pioneer(s) as the intellectual property of that party.
It might put a crimp in the rape and run guidebook business, but is that really a bad thing in the end?
rnevius

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Sep 10, 2013 - 06:49pm PT
I think this points out that the "law" of preserving the style of the first ascent is not enforced by the FA party; it is enforced by the local climbing community sometimes long after the FA.

And if the the local community thinks the style is bullsh#t?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 10, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
^^^ People 3000 miles away will feel free to criticize you for it!

:-D

DMT
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
And if the the local community thinks the style is bullsh#t?

I think that by definition, the local community can do what they want. And, pretty much only locals get a vote on style issues in their own area.

The other piece that is probably necessary to maintain a strong support for preserving the FA's style is that the FA’s style has to be part of the community's style or be seen as a natural progression or at least an arguably acceptable step-out of the community's style.
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Sep 10, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
I follow the same line of reasoning every time I drive on the interstates. I travel at 30 mph and I refuse to wear a seat belt, for the experience.
Synchronicity

Trad climber
British Columbia, Canada
Sep 10, 2013 - 08:01pm PT
I'm not going to argue my point for either side but instead provide a brief anecdote to explain my opinion.

I'm a wuss for the most part when it comes to climbing, I prefer good gear when the going gets hard, and bolts where gear can't be found. I like to keep myself safe and off the deck at all costs.

I also have a huge respect for climbing history and greatly admire the stories that accompany the FA of a legendary testpiece.

Just this past weekend I was walking past an old slab testpiece, 3 bolts in 140' sort of thing, I really wanted to try my hand at it to gain some insight into that connection to the past when bold climbers would cast off into a sea of granite looking for a place to stop and drill.

I started up the slab about 30-40 feet before traversing into the first bolt, puckered at the idea of a groundfall, feeling safe to be protected, I quickly passed the next two bolts before staring up to see nothing between me and the anchor far above. I figured the crux was somewhere between me and it, I knew once I took off from this stance there was no place to stop and no turning back, pay the ticket and take the ride.

As I started out from the last bolt, I stared down every step and watched the bolt get further and further away, I looked up and the anchor seemed an eternity away... I wanted out... I wanted security and there was none. I reminded myself that someone did this with a hand drill on lead, and that gave me the confidence to keep moving. As the bolt faded further away, I was filled with an almost zenlike feeling, having already committed to the runout, I was free to focus on the climbing alone... I had to or else.

As the anchor grew near I had to compose myself... don't rush... don't blow it now... small steps... the anchor got closer... 12 feet ... 8 feet... 4 feet... as I spied a small hold below the 2 bolt anchor I made the final steps and reached out to grab it....



My hand smacked that hold and I tell ya, it doesn't matter how bad it could have been, you would have never pried it out of my grip for eternity.

As I clipped the anchors, I felt myself wondering if that was the same way it felt 38 years ago when a brave soul ventured onto that same spot and endured the same experience as me. That kind of a climb changes something inside you as a person, and I don't think those types of routes should ever be taken away. If you never venture out of your comfort zone, you will never know what you are capable of. It is a privilege to be able to feel that emotion and connection to history, more valuable than a million well-protected forgettable routes.

Much respect to the FA parties of such climbs the world over, for creating not only classic routes but an experience for those who make the pilgrimage to share.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 10, 2013 - 08:53pm PT
Community style....ho hum, often leads to stasis and mediocrity.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 10, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
You can no more apply logic to climbing than you can apply dancing to agriculture. Climbing is illogical, requires risk management and courage and is potentially dangerous. For those who believe this criteria is foolish, and that they are needlessly risking their lives, then they can stick to the ten million of so sport climbs that are out there.

Demanding, in the name of sanity and sober judgement, that every climb be "safe" and that it conforms to your level of appropriate risk, is to retroactively void and totally disrespect the adventure in climbing because that's what you want. Expecting the entire climbing world to go along with what you want, regardless of your rational, is unlikely. But faulting boldness as rash is not a viable argument in adventure sports. They're not for everyone.

JL
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 10, 2013 - 10:16pm PT
Community style....ho hum, often leads to stasis and mediocrity.

Maybe in some static and mediocre definition of a style, Jim. But I would say that the Valley and the Meadows both have had strong community styles that have evolved and created great styles for many years. Your climbing in the Valley was in great style and very much part of the 70s community style, even if 60s climbers thought we were way too fussy in all-free ascents.
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
Sep 10, 2013 - 11:33pm PT
I don't know anybody that feels they own their FA's.

Only god owns them, and I use the term "god" loosely.

If you don't want to lead it, top rope it.

Don't let your inadequacy to lead bring the bold routes down to your level. The next guy or gal may appreciate the FA style and have what it takes to follow through.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 10, 2013 - 11:56pm PT
Climbing is a physical art form more than any other single description. A route is a work of art,some, more an expression of mastery than others. Those that alter a first ascent, are presumably better artists?
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Sep 11, 2013 - 12:04am PT
I go with Largo on most of this. It's not a "law" or even a "rule." It's partly, at least, about inspiring those who follow in the paths of the FA parties, to have a similar experience to those who first climbed the route. When asked how a FA party "proves' they did the route, I reply that they write up where they went and what equipment is needed and publish it in the AAJ and/or who's ever keeping track of routes in each area. But mostly I emphasize that we do it to share an experience with our friends. Inevitable, we will share it with strangers as well. But whether I know them or not, I do hope they enjoy the climbs as much as or more than I did. And I know that the enjoyment, ultimately, comes from the satisfaction at the top, of completing a climb with the least amount of mechanical support and the greatest amount of personal commitment, NOT from placing a check mark, back at camp, on a tick-list from which I try to convince myself that I am far better than I really am.

I wonder if an artistic metaphor works here: Artists who create unique and inspiring works of art, Da Vince, Michelangelo, Ansel Adams, etc. have a vision that others become inspired by. Someone who later comes and makes a copy cannot have the exact same inspiration, but he/she can very well appreciate the techniques and other qualities that were required of the original artist. So it may be with others who do second and later ascents of climbs.

Comments?

Edit: Seems like Rick S. and I are thinking along the same lines at the same time...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 11, 2013 - 12:12am PT
Joe, I think you can never get anywhere at all by examining anyone else's style. The question is: What are we going to do at the bottom of a route? If the route demands this or that from us, how will WE respond, and what is OUR thinking and our motivation for doing what we do. Some of us choose to try and honor the route just as it is. Others, for whatever reason, feel thy have every right to do things just as they please, even alter the route for all time - and never mind what other feel or what history has decreed, good or bad.

I think everyone ultimately has to account to themselves. Justifying what we do by virtue of someone else's behavior is dodgy, I think, because we can find fault with anyone. But the point remains, there are millions of sport routes out there for those not made for big time risk management. It's not for everyone.

The reason we sometimes used to run the rope was to make things exciting, something young people do all the time in various ways. Same for free soloing. I like the rush. Others did not. Tastes differ, but we each do what we do not because of what some other person did, but because we decided to make certain choices. Blaming those choices on others is the very quintessence of so-called alcoholic thinking.

JL
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Sep 11, 2013 - 12:13am PT
How do you know when a FA was at a teams limit Hedgy?

Just by the names?

Pfft.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 11, 2013 - 12:36am PT
I just go back periodically and chop the retro bolts that have been added to some of the FA's I was a part of.

Sad that there are those out there that need to add bolts to a route in order to bring it down to their level of ability.

Old Steve Petro's thoughts some 20 years ago surely apply here"


"If your shakey at the grade, stay off the route dude!"

The Chief, seriously???? But you defended adding bolts to Hair raiser Buttress!
Rolfr

Social climber
North Vancouver BC
Sep 11, 2013 - 12:45am PT
A lot of talk and examination of why you have tiny balls, mt1910. Some routes are there for climbers to aspire to. Period!
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 11, 2013 - 01:11am PT
As has been said many times: There are countless sport climbs, safe trad and splitter cracks that are not bold by any means.

Until one has climbed all of these other routes, I don't see why there is a need for this discussion.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Sep 11, 2013 - 01:27am PT
A huge part of climbing is the opportunity to face a challenge.

The FAist often makes choices influencing the nature of that challenge. This right is granted by the age old, almost universal 'rule' called first come first served.

Changing the nature of that challenge is usually not only ethically unfair to the FAist but also to everyone else in the future who is denied the original challenge that route presented. E.g. there is a difficult crux move on a particular climb that is physically and mentally challenging and hence very memorable, someone decides to add a bolt there, future climbers now just clip a bolt and that challenging crux move is no more.

Of course it's not a steadfast law or rule. Sometimes bolts do get added and it may be ok it depends on the situation, e.g. a route out of character for the area. What happens is usually a result of community action, bolts get removed or bolts get added and stay. Bolts are much easier and cheaper to remove than to place so things will naturally err on the side of bolts getting removed if they are controversial.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 11, 2013 - 01:28am PT
As usual, you are quite wrong Hedge. A lot of those bold routes of yesteryear were at the first ascensionists limits-they were often finished because they just couldn't get down. Funny, but true in a lot of instances.
Degaine

climber
Sep 11, 2013 - 04:12am PT
Lot of ego in here, hard to fit back into the discussion with all of these swollen head. "Pride", "Honor", "Weaker", "Courage", please.

In addition, everyone seems to still be confusing climbing style and how a route is protected.

Again I'll ask, what business is it of the FA or of yours if I decide to pull on gear, aid a crack, or free your aid route? No one will even know I've been there.

Seems as well that everyone has tunnel vision and is only discussing run out face routes bolted ground up. Pretty limiting.

If we take Lover's Leap as an example, while establishing Fantasia was certainly an exercise in launching into the unknown, I fail to see how a climb like The Line, just a few feet over, was visionary in any sense of the word. The FA team (of the Line) simply got there before others and was "lucky enough" to be born before many of us were even a thought in our parents' head.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 11, 2013 - 06:29am PT
What if you up 50+ grade IV-VI ground up routes and all of them are unrepeated?
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 08:11am PT
Respect the FA and bow down bitches!
Respect the FA and bow down bitches!
Credit: patrick compton

FWIW, I do buy the 'respect the FA' argument, because otherwise it would be chaos.

but all the armchair chest thumping is absolutely hilarious.

areas these days aren't being developed to worship the ego the of the FA, it is set up moreso by the community as a whole.

With more and more climbers entering the sport, people want access to quality rock.

This isn't to say that all climbs need to be sport climbs, but people are deciding more and more what areas are worth being spicy, what aren't.

It isn't simply up to the guy or gal who happened to stumble across a route first and amount of protection they deem necessary for themselves...

...and the rest of ya'll pussies need to sack the fvck up!

weak sauce, weak armchair on the porch sauce.







Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 11, 2013 - 09:28am PT
Of course it's not a steadfast law or rule.

Of course not. Its more like an old man's dream :-D

The more I read about this topic the less interested I am in this fantasy-law.

The FA does not own the route. When she walks away from the climb the only hold she has on it is the mutual respect afforded her by her peers. End of (real) law.

DMT
WTF

climber
Sep 11, 2013 - 09:48am PT
Of all my FA's only a few have not been altered.

Do I care?


Not a single bit because as the FA ist I didn't put the climb up for you I put it up for me not you and once done I could give a sh#t what you do. Dumb it down make it safe whatever I enjoyed them in the style I did it in.

It would just be nice if people would stop bolting climbs I did on gear.

Pussies

There ya go
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:00am PT

Pussy's

You mean 'pussies'. Pussies is the plural of pussy.

'Pussy's' means something belongs to the pussy.

ex: That pussy's bolt on my route made me cry.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:25am PT
The Chief:
I just go back periodically and chop the retro bolts that have been added to some of the FA's I was a part of.

What about retro-bolting North Peak couloirs and adding convenience anchors? What are your thoughts on that, The Chief?
mechrist

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:28am PT
79 posts about why bouldering is far superior to roped climbing. Keep them coming.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:31am PT
This argument ended long ago.

Hell, they're rap-bolting classic top ropes at Cragmont Rock in Berkeley for Chrissakes.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 11, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
A lot of those guys from JL's era were, easily, 5,12 climbers (or 5.13, or in a few cases, basically, 5.14 climbers) running it out on 5.10 or 5.11 FA's. Sorry, but I just don't buy that the only motivation there was boldness, when they were climbing 2 or 3 number grades below their personal limit. There was ego involved there as well, John - don't try to deny it. You're just simply not making an honest statement or expression of boldness when climbing 2 or 3 number grades below your personal limit. You know that.
--

I would say this to you, Joe.

First, our climbing back in the day was not the fruit of a fraudulant argument, nor was it motivated on an ethic that only honored boldness, with the intentions of scaring every one that followed. Informed by the deep ecology movement, the idea was that you left the rock as close to it's original status as you possibly could. You didn't start hammering into the rock and placing permanent bolt anchors unless you absolutely had to, not to frighten the next guy who had some argument, but because placing bolts was thought to be akin to defacing the rock, or littering the trail. It was always a give and take kind of thing - you had to place SOME pro but the idea was to place as few bolts as possible because that was the ethic. I was profoundly influenced by the 1st ascent of the Salathea Wall which used only 13 bolts. Total. So if you had to be a 5.12 climber to be good enough to pull this ethic off on 5.10 routes, than that's what the game required.

If you have a beef with the old no-bolt ethic, then you have a beef. But blaming the players for adhering to it and calling their efforts fraudulent by virtue of your own "bold" argument, or that we had egos, is just silly and misguided IMO. Of course we had egos. But not as braggarts, but as people who could get out on the sharp end and do work confidentally and without sacrificing our ethics to terribly much.

Also, the fact that some of the run out routes were three grades below our limit did not make this simple work to the point of being fraud, as you contend. For instance, by 1975, I could boulder problems that were later rated V10, so I could do 5.13 at that time, at least the stuff that was geared to my fat ass. Lunges, power stuff, wide cracks, etc. We did many 5.10s with very poor pro back then because the pro was poor to begin with (no cams). Also, the vast majority of this climbing was on-sight so there wasn't an option to falling off.

I can remember doing routes (with hexes and stoppers period) like Twilight Zone, Left Side of Independence Pinnacle, and Right Side of Absolutely Free, all 5.10 routes, with NO pro that I thought would hold anything but a short fall, if that. While this stuff was well below my limit, I certainly didn't feel like a fraud while leading it. Same goes for all that free climbing we did on Middle Cathedral.

I think what you don't understand is that the thinking back in the "limit-the-bolts" era was that in many instance you had to be a 5.12 climber to safely climb certain 5.10 routes. According to your thinking, this is a cheat to the "real" 5.10 climber, who is somehow being swindled out of what is rightfully his by birthright by some ego-tripping Stonemaster running the rope to "keep the fluff off." Not the case, but I believe you think it is so by virtue of the intentionally incendiary statements make back then just to stir the pot.

But all of this is besides my earlier point that it should always boil down to what WE think and believe and bring to the table, not what someone else did long before. If WE are not up to the challenge, as it stands, and we decide to alter the route to fit our comfort level, how is THAT not a profound act of egoism, neglecting all those years of tradition and history believing our actions are justified because egotists and frauds did the climbing world a disservice in the first place by engineering danger into a given route? In fact, the danger was always there. By limiting the bolts, they simply did not dial the comfort down to a level ALL others might find acceptable. But to say this is the FAs fault, that a 5.13 climber on-sight ing unprotected 5.10 is a fraud, is in my mind a total misrepresentation of
what adventure sports are about.

Like I said, adventure climbing - where risk management is very much part of the game - is NOT for everyone. Blaming others because the game is the way it is seems like the declaration of someone who never accepted the game as legitimate in the first place. Which is fine. It makes no logical sense to take risks. But is it really your right to retroactively change the rules because you want to, based on your beliefs about the other guy?

JL
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 11, 2013 - 01:56pm PT

The bolts were already added with FAist permission. Big difference lad. By permission from one of the FAist. Then repeatedly chopped. Never once chopped by either of the FAist that is.

Tom Higgins obviously did not agree with any additions.
http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=22

What about retro-bolting North Peak couloirs and adding convenience anchors?

Guides adding convenience anchors is old news Gary.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
The thing I take issue with is the claim that 5.13 climbers running it out on 5.10's somehow creates this noble ethical standard that should be adhered and aspired to - especially when that ethic extends beyond the actual FA, to a kind of virtual ownership of the route. 5.13 routes could have existed long before they actually did, as proven by the level of bouldering being done back then. There's tons of x-rated 5.10's from that era. The honest statement of boldness, IMO, would have been routes near the actual difficulty level that those doing them were capable of, not 2-3 number grades below.

that would the difference between creating the line for yourself, or opening it for the community.

Largo,

I do appreciate your explanation of the minimalist ethic of the time. It is true, each bolt is another small hole in the rock. And this stance does lend toward bolder climbing.

The interesting thing is that as things started to lean towards athleticism... surprise! More bolt protection for the harder lines, bolted anchors, cleaning on rappel, even the dreaded hang-dogging, often by the same people that made run-out 5.10s.

I am not saying this was you, but it is human nature to want to succeed in the physical arena by limiting the mental risk. Turns out the 10s can stay 'bold', but the 13s.... well... we're going to need to work those so we needs more pro!

'Bold' has a different face these days. I think it is telling that many of these R/X lines go unrepeated.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 11, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Is a 5.12 climber running out a 5.10 FA really expressing their "greatest amount of personal commitment"?

Joe, how did that 5.12 climber know that the FA went at 5.10? I've done FA's where it was not apparent from the ground that the route went at all. Until you complete a pitch on a FA, you often don't know how hard it is.

Largo's response about altering the rock and the various comments about confusing style with ethics I think hit fairly close to the mark. I haven't seen much of an outcry when people climb Twilight Zone with modern protection, rather than limit themselves to the three or so pieces Pratt had on the FA. That's because modern protection on Twilight Zone doesn't change the rock for the next climber.

The presence of additional bolts does, however, change a climb. The post describing the lead with three bolts in a 140 foot slab states it quite well. If someone placed additional bolts on that lead, the commitment level would diminish because of the availability of an easier retreat.

Perhaps the availability of protection doesn't make much of a difference to you, but judging by the vehemence of opinion on this issue, it sure seems to make a difference to most people. I've always considered commitment a major element of adventure, because of the uncertainty that often accompanies it.

Ultimately, I think Roger Breedlove gets to the heart of this issue. We don't have an infinite supply of rock. What kind of climbing experience do we want? Since locals spend the most time at any particular area, they -- even more than the first ascent party, should make the decisions.

John
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
until it got hard, then the game changed.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 11, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
TH was not the one that did the chopping btw. Never.

I think he cares about that issue less than majority of us internet wankers. He did the FA, stated his opinion on retro bolting, and why be bothered after? I was just giving you crap. Never lost sleep over this issue ;)
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 11, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
Not surprised of your attitude hedge. But YES the ROCK dictated to us what would be done and how. BECAUSE that is the way we played our game.

until it got hard, then the game changed.
-

That's not strictly true. When I made the first free ascent of Paisano Pinnacle at Suicide, in 1974, nobody had ever done any inversion (feet first) climbing, and the route/crack was so expanding that it was rated A3.

All we had were several steel bongs. Richard Harrison spent half an hour on rappel at the lip, trying to bang in a decent bong but it would only go in so far and then fire out as if spring loaded. So he finally got it in and draped it with a runner and that's what I had at the crux. I might have been able to lower off of it but a fall and it would have ripped out for sure and I would have dashed that slab far below (by then). So I couldn't fall and the route went at 5.12c/d, quite possibly the hardest wide crack climbed at that time.

I don't say this to brag, but to point out that the idea that we only pushed the boldness on stuff well below our limit is total bunk.

Joe wrote: The thing I take issue with is the claim that 5.13 climbers running it out on 5.10's somehow creates this noble ethical standard that should be adhered and aspired to - especially when that ethic extends beyond the actual FA, to a kind of virtual ownership of the route.

Nobody cares what you do on any route so long as you don't dumb it down wit extra bolts after the FA. It's a very simple game here Joe. There is the route. It exists like this or that. You can try it or not. What you are arguing about is that "the route" is really not a route at all until it passes mustard with your own self, and the criteria your bring to the game per safety. In that sense, the argument is all about what you want and see fit, with you deriving your bill of rights by virtue of fraudulent behavior of the FA party, which regulates how others must behave ever after if they want to tresspass this particular piece of rock. While you are ruing others for acting shamlessly on the FA, what I really hear you saying is that you don't like others telling you how bold you have to be or not be on a given route, and that you basically want to do things exactly how you please and never mind the egotistical wankers who did the FA. They don't own nothing because I say so.

Really, Joe. the last time I climbed with you like 12 years ago out at Echo you hiked a 5.12 I could barely follow on a top rope. You seem an unlikely person to be harping on this issue. It doesn't reflect poorly on anyone who does not feel the urge to get up there and run the line. That kind of climbing really isn't for everyone one and it doesn't need to be.

JL
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
I am not referring to cracks that can be protected at many points that allow gear.

I am referring to slabs with no natural pro. 10, 11s, and even 12-s had 20' and 30' runouts, but as soon as hard 12 and easy 13 came along....

boom! ... all of a sudden the bolts were a lot closer together.

Where did the environmental, deep ecology concerns go? Seemed to maybe apply to 10s and 11s, not so much the 12s and 13s.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
...so I again I say the 'rules' changed when the grades got harder.

Invaded our shores?! LOL. Did the French come over in Lyrca and force feed you snails?

No, it was many of the very same players of 'the bold game' that changed the rules to suit their goals of pushing the physical limits.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Sep 11, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
No, I do understand that you needed to be a 5.12 (or better) climber to do those 5.10's. That's the problem.

To which "those 5.10's" are you referring (specifically). The era John and friends were active is fairly finite -- as are the possible routes they may have established.

But, I'll call bullsh!t on the premise posed by you. Plenty of non-5.12 climbers climbed (established and repeated) the type of route which seems to the subject of your ire.

Perhaps the difference between then and now is that a greater percentage of climbers "then" had strong mental skills, rather than the "now" (current) prevalence of merely being physically strong.

And, accordingly, maybe it would be more true to say that most current climbers need to be able to climb 5.12 to repeat some of these 5.10s.

So the real question is: Should routes be altered because the mental prowess (a shift in demographics) of climbers has declined over the years?

Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 11, 2013 - 05:07pm PT
This sort of argument would have a lot more relevance if there was only a very small amount of rock, particularly if there was no way to go set topropes.

We are so lucky (in the Western US at least) to have TONS of rock around that no one has touched.

Leave the old school routes bold, and replace the bolts for the (few) bold folks and to show that the community still cares. If the FA wants to add a bolt or more to their own old route, respect that (even Kamps added a bolt to Ewe Must Be Kidding). If well protected is your game, then do new routes! There's plenty for everyone...even without much hiking (as Pine Creek, Highway 108, and tons of other crags show). And with a little bit of hiking (no backpacking required) there is ENDLESS rock that no one has climbed...not to mention tons of sport routes, many of which are new to most people (check out the Shuteye guidebook...or for Pine Creek near Bishop check out Mountain Project). Lots to climb, lots of different styles, go have fun!
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 11, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Sketch

There is plenty of bold climbing going on, but it is over pads on 40' v10s, not on run out 11s on 30 year old bolts.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 11, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
I think that in the early 70s there was more reaching for a bold standard beyond wanting to leave only a small trace behind or because we couldn’t stop or didn’t have enough money for bolts. All of those reasons probably played a part in individual cases, but there lots of bold routes were climbed where none of those issued played a part. I think that we have to 'fess-up to run-out leads because we liked it that way. I cannot speak to climbing past the mid-70s and outside of Yosemite.

While there were exceptions, for the most part, good leaders protected easy pitches; not because they needed the protection, but because they had an obligation to the other climbers. I know that from personal experience when you are working your way up a slab pitch, the calculus is always based on where the next stance to drill is, how far above the last piece you are, how bad would a fall be, and how hard does the climbing look to get to the next stance, all filtered through, “Is this line going to go this particular direction.” This decision process is done in sequence, and starts over at the new stance. If everything is easy, in hindsight, a bolt that should have been placed much sooner leads to a long run-out, or if there is a miss-calculation on how hard the next section is, then unintentional run-outs can be created on hard climbing. If you are off route and cannot climb down, a bit of sling is left to confuse the hell out of the next party, who usually came looking for you to complain about bad instructions. It is harder to figure out where to place bolts on a new route than it would seem.

But I know that we ran-out leads on slabs because that was part of the style that we developed. There was a lot of discussion about how far to push run-outs. We liked long run-outs. We practiced quiet and controlled climbing. We practiced run-outs so our heads were together. Part of exhibiting that skill was risking long falls, on both unprotected cracks and on slabs. But we rarely fell. Not because we were climbing well below our standard, but because it was not good style to fall. Taking lots of leader falls to ascend a pitch really only started with Vern Clevenger in the Meadows when he was learning in the early 70s and with Ray Jardine in the Valley on his hangdog routes in the mid- to late-70s. Even if falling became the standard for new difficulties, Vern and Ray were exceptions. Even on climbs where natural protection was available, such as the routes on the highly featured NW Face of Middle, most of us ran-out our leads.

There were specific pitches where bolts were added after the fact to clean up mistakes, but I don't recall anyone ever telling us at the time that we should have put in more bolts as a general proposition. If someone didn't like that sort of climbing there were lots of other routes to climb. That said, I can easily see that for someone climbing today who has climbed mostly on sport climbs with a bouldering approach to many tries and many falls, the 70s routes would seem like they are from another world, put up by ego driven maniacs. I know that was just not the case, but I can see the point looking back. But it only holds up if one assumes that those of us climbing then understood—then--how climbers today climb. But that sort of backward projection is not justified: we didn’t know that our routes would have “x’s” and “r’s” next to them and that so many new climbers would join the sport that they would run out of “safe” routes to climb. Just as climbers today have no easy way to understand what we were doing--until they try it out themselves--we had no concept then of how today's climbers would climb.

On a second point, I regularly climbed hard 5.10 but rarely above that level. So, the whole notion that long run-outs were the result of leaders who were too bored with easy climbing to put anything in is just not true. In the early 70s in the Valley the run-out slab routes were close to the highest standards. In any case, 5.12 did not exist, much less 5.13.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 11, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
We have a climbing area that is rife with these problems. It is of course a big slab, rarely vertical, with a number of routes in the 5.10 to 5.11 range. Many of them have insane runouts. I took a hundred foot fall trying to do the 2nd ascent of one of them at age 19 or so.

The rules back then were no bolting on rappel, which to today's climbers sounds stupid. The routes were put in ground up, stance drilled, and face it: a lot of the time there weren't places where you could drop your hands and drill.

Today, very few people do any of these routes, but back in the day, everyone did them, or most of them. We were all used to it, and a 5.10 climber would climb a 5.10 route. One of the best routes in the state is a 150 foot pitch with 4 bolts. They are right where you need them, though, so it seems G rated.

Very few people got hurt. A broken leg now and then would happen.

Most of the routes were put up by a very good climber, but he was "just" a 5.11d/.12a climber back then. And yeah, occasionally he would blow off a bolt stance to keep away the riff raff. The vast majority of routes have a bolt at every stance.

What is weird is that many of the routes were climbed daily by the mortals. Now, climbers a thousand times better won't even touch those routes. Slabs, with micro hand and foot holds are just not in vogue.

Permission was granted to add some bolts to about ten of the routes, but the line was drawn there. They aren't even that great, but now they are the only routes that the majority of climbers will touch.

Now we are all old and gone, and I have to say that it wouldn't hurt my feelings anymore if a lot of them got retro bolted, just so people would climb the routes. They don't learn in the same kind of environment that we did, and although the new guys can climb circles around the old folks, they still don't go there often.

Whadda ya do? It is a drag that nobody does the routes other than a few really strong climbers. We still leave it up to the FA'ist, but he's gonna die of old age in twenty more years, and I suppose that it will bristle with new bolts eventually. I would have blown a fuse over adding bolts ten years ago, but now I don't care.

This problem is mainly on slab routes. As I said, slab routes aren't in vogue, but it would increase the amount of climbing without a doubt if bolts were added.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 11, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
I'm glad I was a 1950's climber. Life on the rock was much less complex and less controversial. The arguments about whether someone grabbed a piton (French-style free climbing) seem now so innocent and inconsequential compared with bolting over boldness and permanently defacing the rock.

On the other hand, current free climbers have reaped the unintentional rewards of damaging the rock with chromally pitons and overbolting during FAs from that period.

Succeeding generations see the sport differently.

jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 11, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
Hey JGill, did you know that "Bouldering didnt count fer squat back then"?


;>)
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 11, 2013 - 07:53pm PT
Quartz Mountain, Oklahoma.

It is great rock, very much like Josh, but without many cracks. We used to all hook up there on the weekends and climb our tails off.

Bachar was our hero at this point, and we took to soloing something awful. Nobody got hurt until much later. Bad story there.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 11, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
Basically, the best climbers of that era were (and still are) asking everyone else to adhere to an ethical standard they themselves rarely (if ever) did.

I'm sorry. I just don't understand this bizarre, nonsensical statement.

No matter how hard we were able to boulder, that technical difficulty never translated directly into the establishment of FAs. Even the hardest individual problems found on a boulder--albeit perhaps the hardest moves we could do--just couldn't hold a candle to the seriousness of peering from the Sharp End into the realm of the Unknown. Bolts, especially on face routes, were seldom placed for convenience. It could be excruciatingly painful to drill at the best of times, exceedingly so when there were unknowns yet ahead, watching as the strength slowly drained from every pore. Was it any wonder that we approached a new route with conservative, prudent caution? ...a caution that also celebrated increasing the complexity (or boldness) of the Game.

Only now--through your own filter--does all this seem like hubris, ego, and elitism.

Climbing the new line was important. Establishing a new route was a statement one's art reflected in the ethos of the day. Economy, difficulty, boldness, and adherence to the rules of the game, were all factors that helped dictate the quality of one's route. And each of us was aware that we were answerable to the art of our craft.

Ethical standards--of the period--were how our FAs would be judged. Each one of us practiced them as we saw fit, using the tools of the times. Applying a modern lens to the imagined time in question and making judgements about motive and methods is merely conjecture. It means absolutely nothing to the principals involved.

Respect your elders, youngster, and pay attention to history.

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 11, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
Why, then, did the vast majority of bold routes of that era rarely, if ever, exceed easy 11?

Joe, that is a really good question. I don't know the answer, but I think it is probably wrapped up in the differences between bouldering style--lots of no-consequence falls--and no-fall, bold leading. If this is the reason, it pokes a big hole in your a*#ertion that bold routes were well below the climbing standard.

I think someone on ST, several years ago in a similar thread, pointed out that hard slab climbing had to be very well protected since the leaders had to take lots of falls and that easier pitches were run-out. I think that this is true on any bold climb in Yosemite I can think of with the possible exception of Bachar-Yerian. So, are there long run-outs on Mother Earth (1975) on the easier pitches or Space Babble (1976)?

Funny that ST see a$$ in assertion and fixes it in the upper text but not in this.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 11, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Right on Hankster! Once again the thread dribbles from a more general query (that's been mulled over on many threads with one basic conclusion by general consensus)into the realm of style wars, only to have the original OP buried. The original OP asks about FA ownership in general. It doesn't pertain to a specific style. And since this question's been asked to death with the general consensus (see Clint's reference to the "super chicken" thread) that the FA's original intent, not ownership is to be respected, be it sport climbing, aid climbing, slab climbing, doggystyle or whatever..... That is the current consensus that most agree with regardless of style. Otherwise, as one poster put it, chaos would ensue, or the color brown would be pervasive. It is innately human for us to be communal (even screwball climbers) in some way and be protective of each other in those communal endeavors. But I try my darndest not to be judgmental of others proclivities and to respect them.

Higgins was mentioned up thread. His writings go well beyond what was mentioned and he foresaw all of this (more climbers, more styles, different games and possible solutions. Go to his site and you'll find it). You need to remember that back in the day there were few climbers and most of them practiced much the same styles in terms of climbing.
Today there are many more climbers practicing different styles and playing different games. Dingus mentioned respect for ones style and it's communal respect that is usually followed and it's the FA's intent, whatever the style, which seems still to be the one, if not law, a constant. The only reason I am posting is because I, and others more so, are working hard to preserve bolted climbs, regardless of style, but preserve that styles original intent. Because, if the new paradigm is that anything goes, then there is no reason to do all the hard work.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
Come on Joe, since Robs is a standard bearer for 70s California climbing, he deserves a more careful reading, and deserves better than your gloss. Robs clearing states that the technical climbing mastered in bouldering was not the critical element in establishing a FA.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
Law number 1.....never repeat a first ascent. Have that first impression be your last....and this comes from someone who loves repeating climbs.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:19pm PT
How can we be sure the FA party on a runout route was really being bold, and not just stupid or stoned?

Or out of bolts, broke the drill, arms got tired,

Doesn't mater!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 11, 2013 - 10:33pm PT
Sometime during the 70s, hard climbing became a process of lots of falls. Jardine was the first person I know of who practiced this and he climbed much harder routes than he could have done with the older, don't fall approach. In this context, good climbers could only reach new limits with lots of falling; it was necessary to get beter. None of this was necessary for 5.11 and maybe a bit above into 5.12. Separate Reality, as I understand it, took Ron many tries until he was able to piece it together. Once it was established, I am sure that someone flashed it.
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 11, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
jghedge - what's your point? After all of this, what do you want to hear? Permission to retrobolt? Chest thumping from the stonemasters?


We've been trolled.


"Is 20' of thin climbing on a 20' boulder really that different from 20' of thin climbing after clipping a bolt?"

Yeah, actually you can fall twice as far on the route vs the boulder.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 11, 2013 - 11:32pm PT
...basically they never challenged themselves at what their limits actually were - but expected everyone else who wasn't as good as them to do what they themselves wouldn't do on their own routes - challenge themselves at their limit.

I gotta jump in here and disagree, Joe. First, climbers of the era did challenge themselves at their mental limits on FAs of bolted routes, and the physical limit is governed by the mental limit - IOW the physical limits were pushed hard also. The stress and body tension that comes from drilling on a crap stance 20 ft out is most physical, if I remember right.

And furthermore, bro, I for one never expected anyone else who wasn't "as good" as I to man up and lead pitches that I maxed myself out on. The mindset on the FA was to climb the route without falling using the minimal amount of bolts - as simple as that. All the reasons for the minimal bolting have been discussed over and over. Most of them are valid, even the accusations of ego driven runouts have some validity. But mostly the results of the mindset were pitches you could look down on with very few blemishes on gorgeous expanses of rock. It really was a simple time in climbing's evolution, and from the complicated perspective within this thread, and within the vast modern climbing world, it's clear now that less is (was) more.

High standard routes done in the late 60's and 70's were done when the number of climbers nation wide that could do them would fit comfortably in Camp 4. The climbers to follow weren't nearly as much of a consideration back then, as there just weren't many of them.

I think we're over analyzing it here.

And that brings me to the OP. That mindset and the era that fostered it is an important element in the evolution of climbing. It was a time of high ideals, and a time when rock climbing was young and more closely related to mountaineering, and an endeavor centered around exploration of the natural world with a minimum of man made tools.

I know the routes in question might never be popular, and might fade into obscurity (if they haven't already), but I believe it's possible that climbers and climbing might come full circle to the point where more climbers seek out the type of challenge they offer. That's probably the best reason to leave them as they are.
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 11, 2013 - 11:45pm PT
Don't tell me that I gotta do what you did, when you didn't really do what you're telling me I gotta do (climb at my personal limit on the run-outs).

That's what we've been telling you - you don't HAVE to climb anything.
5.9 leader? Lead a 5.6R. No one is forcing you to climb a death route at your limit. See, now-a-days, we have these things call 'guidebooks', and not only do they tell you where a climb is, but how hard and whether it is runout or not!!! Problem solved. End of discussion.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 11, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
Why the FA did or didn't do what they did or didn't so has nothing to do with what kind of challenge we all face when having to repeat the route. If there is a 20 foot runout on 5.10 it matters little to the next person if the leader was stoned, being stupid, bold, absurd or otherwise when he dicked the runout. The only important thing is that he did the runout, and if we want to repeat the route that is actually there, we too have to do the runout. Put diferently, when your get up on the route, your are NEVER facing a reason. You are facing a runout. You don't have to climb the reason. You only have to climb the runout. The crux of the entire biscuit is the runout. The reason left with the FA when they packed their bag and went home.

Insisting that we don't have to do the runout unless the FA can provide a rational argument that meets our approval is taking the issue of self-importance to a strange level, IMO, while we masquerade as truth bearers outing a fraud. The fraud, to me, is the person who is afraid to sac it up and run the cord, but never admits as much, and instead of saying the truth, I AM AFRAID, he blames the FA for (fill in the blank).

The runout is not a fraud. It's just a runout. Sac it up and do it, or go home. Everything else is just circling in your head.

JL
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:42am PT
"Far as I'm concerned, he had no business running them out in the first place, if he was going to insist they stay that way. He can go run it out on a FA at his level (5.13). "Pick on someone your own size", as they say.

But hmmm...that never happened, did it. Gee I wonder why... "


Ho Lee Fuk - now you're just whining.

Its a rock. No one is forcing you to climb it. If you can't or don't want to - DON'T. Its that simple.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:46am PT
jghedge I would think you would have a point that it's a problem when high level climbers put in runout easier climbs but only if most of the climbs (or even most of the classic climbs) done in an area were put up in a run out fashion leaving little choice for climbers at a certain level. e.g. all 5.9 climbs were put up as 5.9 X climbs. But where is that really the case? Usually there are some runout climbs next to easily protected cracks. And perhaps some sport climbs around the corner.

I think there's room for and it's beneficial to have all kinds of climbs. Sport climbs, easily protected trad climbs, run out face climbs, free solos, top ropes,
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:49am PT
Merely reiterating that claiming bold bolt-protected routes need to be respected and emulated when the vast majority of the existing ones weren't that bold for the FA party (because boldness is relative to the ability of the individual climber, who in most cases were climbing well below their actual ability).

That statement offends me because your conception of boldness and individual limits, as discerned from the rhetoric of your posts, fails to take uncertainty or commitment into account. Coonyard Pinnacle in Zillertols in 1960 was terribly bold, if "only" 5.9. No one knew it would go, and the available protection was scant. The second pitch of Crack of Doom -- a mere 5.8 -- was harder than most climbers could get themselves to lead without protection for many years. As Kevin stated, the relative lack of traffic on the runout routes speaks to the "real" limit of climbers.

Frankly, it sounds like Monday morning quarterbacking to say that a FA runout deserves little respect because the climber's "limit" was much higher. Maybe that is so after the fact, but during the lead, that was less than clear.

Ultimately, though, my final reaction is "so what?" If someone doesn't like the route, no one is making them climb it. My geezer-plagued generation believed that not every climb was for every person. We also thought that we should minimize anything that changed the rock. If climbing has evolved so that those are no longer the norms, then so be it. Climb only what can be led without risk, but if rock alteration is the norm, don't be surprised if the wilderness purists class us with dirt bikers, four-wheel drivers, snowmobilers, and others they find undesirable, and we consequently find our access severely restricted.

John
rnevius

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:41am PT
After reading all of this, I think I finally get it...

hedge just wants the old guns to sack up and admit that their runout first ascents weren't at their personal limits.

From this, I think hedge hopes to "prove" a few points.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:46am PT
Just wondering why nothing run-out at their actual level ever got done


In a nutshell, assuming by their actual level you mean their actual limit, when you felt likely to fall, the drill came out. Not sure what your point is, Joe.

Runouts were the product of ethical considerations, but also practical considerations. Less holes = less chance of dulling or breaking a bit, less bolts placed on easy ground = more bolts in the kit if it gets hard, less drilling = more climbing = earlier top out, less bolts = more bolts for the next FA, that kind of thing. Bolts, bits and hangers, and handles were not nearly as easy to come by as they are today.

If there was anything to prove, it was that the vision was realized, and the climbers' ability to get the route done with the minimal amount of gear. You can call that egotistic if you want, I guess, but...

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:10am PT
Wow, I go away for 12 hours, it is the same discussion repeating itself, repeating itself...

..I'll say it again, IF runouts are so great, ballsy, holy, ethical, environmental, etc,

WHY did runouts suddenly STOP when 5.12 came along?

Could it be the slab hardmen got scared?

Hedge has it right, pick on someone your own size, stop putting up run out 5.10s and 11s. No one is impressed other than your own ego.

Amazing you guys got laid at all considering 'girlfriend routes' are 10s that are decently protected for the old lady to climb while you are on trying something harder.

ohhh.... big men you ran out the 5.10s, I bet she is impressed while she is down at the beach doing something enjoyable while you play hardman on a glassy 5.10.

I know the routes in question might never be popular, and might fade into obscurity (if they haven't already), but I believe it's possible that climbers and climbing might come full circle to the point where more climbers seek out the type of challenge they offer. That's probably the best reason to leave them as they are.

Again, No one is doing these routes because they are pointless. No one wants to die or be seriously injured on 5.10.

If you are going to take a risk today, do it falling on v10s and 12s in the Buttermilks pitching off the 40' boulders there.

Good work valley 'hardmen', you created a museum of slab clunkers like 1970s Buicks rotting away in an in Arizona desert junkyard.

I decree! No boltz shall be hencefore added!
I decree! No boltz shall be hencefore added!
Credit: patrick compton
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:20am PT
Un dialogue de sourds, encore une fois.

Quelle horreur!
raymond phule

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:42am PT
I think that snake dike is a good example of a route that became much better when it was retrobolted (by the FA team) than it was before.

It is now a classic route and the only relatively easy climbing route to the top of half dome and it would probably been an obscure "test piece" with few ascents if it where not retro bolted.

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:06am PT
So which are you Chief?

Do you 'sac up'? Or are you a ball-cupping waterboy for the varsity like Ron is?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Again, No one is doing these routes because they are pointless.
-

Run out routes yield fruit only discovered from the doing. "Pointless" merely tells us you don't know this particular terrain - of that we can be sure. Otherwise you wold know the point. What is dishonest here is while you and others circle around writing risk management off as "pointless," the underlying truth is never copped to: I am afraid of these routes.

Own that simply fact and we might have a conversation. Ruing old trad routes armed only with a sport climbing mentality (danger is BAD and pointless) is to mix genres. Every trad route is not for every climber. Period. That seems to be the sticking point for many on this thread - they can't justify in their minds accepting a certain degree of risk management, are locked out of doing this or that route, and blame others for putting them in that situation.

That ever trad route is not for every climber is no one's fault. It's the basic fact of the trad game - and a fact some simply don't accept, all the while trying to concoct logical reasons, ranging from "fraud" to recklessness, why the route in questions is a crime against mankind.

But none of these people ever say what is the bottom line: I am scared of these routes. I will clearly say it: When Kevin W. and I did the FA on route like Black Primo and even old stuff like Stoner's Highway, we were SACRED the whole time. So what. We didn't blame God or Royal Robbins. We accepted fear as part of the gambit.

Sac it up. Or go home. Quite your belly aching that every route is not perfectly "safe." It's an absurd demand on a sport where courage and fear management are central issues. For those to whom such issues are unacceptable, go sport climbing. You have 10,000,000 routes at the ready.

JL
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
The Chief:
What retro bolting and bolts Gary?? No bolts atal. None. Never have been nor are there any now. Six stoppers and two pins total that can be pulled at any time by anybody Gary.

"Couloirs"? Singular Gary. Singular. Left or #1 Only.

Seems folks kind a like the idea Gary. They are still there after eight years. Received several notes and personal thanks for putting them up.

Got anymore bullshet claims Gary.

I'm cornfused. You did, or did not install convenience anchors on North Peak?

I'm a might hazy on this, so that's why I ask. There seems to have been an Internet posting a while back saying you placed convenience anchors on North Peak. Thought I'd ask you and get the straight poop.

Another question would be, is placing convenience anchors retro-bolting?

I do remember your first troll on summitpost was about bolting the U-notch. I think some took you serious there.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
Joe's premise is still false. The fact remains that many non-exceptional climbers established run out climbs near their limit and many more repeated such climbs.

Roger, Robs and Kevin's observations are spot on.

Another false premise proposed by some is that because a person's bouldering accomplishments were significantly higher than the lead climbs they did, that somehow these climbers were leading well below their limit. This is, of course, a false comparison. The most difficult boulder problems you can climb invariably require repeated attempts and working the moves (which sport routes often entail). What is relevant is one's on sight ability... a metric significantly lower than what practicing and training for moves offers.

And (with no disrespect to bold bouldering), for climbers trained in gyms and exposed to sport crags, the mental element of leading has not been equally developed, resulting in climbers who are uncomfortable with even a 20 foot runnout.

Climbing has never been democratic. In its most elemental, it is harsh and unforgiving of even the most minor lapse. Sport, bouldering and trad are all climbing and rewarding. As in life, respect for others and our differences counts for far more than the facile posturing of the absolutist.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
Re read my posts. I never said everything should be a sport climb.

The telling truth is that while climbers today are as brave as ever, they don't touch the 30' run out slab museum pieces.

ETA, Sketch

Do you reay think the likes of Honnold are scared of a 20' run out on 5.11? LMAO!
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
"I am scared of these routes."

Exactly.

All the routes I was scared of I tried to find people who were good enough to lead them and saked them if they need a belayer to follow them.

I followed and belayed Masters like Rick Accomazzo, Kauk Warrall Bard Largo etc etc etc.

I did Space babbles with Terry from Modesto.

I had to batman the rope at the crux.

Either that or I just stayed home to drool.

Why stay and drool instead of doing cool climbing ......
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
Can we argue over whether Fires are aid now?

Or the very real problem of excessive tick marking?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
And I'm saying that not every FA was for every person, either. Some of them shouldn't have been done in the style they're currently in, and being insisted on being left as.


Fair enough?

Thanks, Joe. That helps greatly. Although Snake Dike isn't a Stonemaster climb, it's the perfect example of what you're talking about. The FA party authorized retro-bolting for that reason.

Do you have specific Stonemaster climbs in mind for similar modification?

John
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:53pm PT
Do you really think the likes of Honnold are scared of a 20' run out on 5.11? LMAO!
--


Of course not. And kindly show us where Honnold is complaining about a 5.11 runout. Or any runout. Thaty's the difference between Alex and you. He accepts those runouts as legitimate parts of the game. you, apparently do not. That's fine.

And what "museum pieces" are you referring to, exactly, and what does "museum climb" even mean?

JL
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Can we argue over whether Fires are aid now?

I remember in the early 1970's referring to EB's as "EB Super Cheaters."

;-)

John
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
As Sketchy and Largo pointed out, it is really about respecting the level of mental accomplishment, not just difficulty. Reducing the level of mental focus it takes complete a runout at at your limit changes the whole experience of the original ascent and cheapens the mental dischipline it takes to climb at the level.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
He isn't complaining about them, but also doesn't do them.... just like the thousands of other Valley area climbers that year after year pass over the run-out slabs for cracks.

Museum climb:

Climbs that aren't done because they either

A) suck (loose rock, sharp, etc) or

B) are contrived run-outs that aren't worth the mental effort and tight shoes for the grade.

Either situation sees few if any subsequent ascents... hence they are in a encased as in a museum to look at but not touch.



Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:02pm PT
Museum climb:

Climbs that aren't done because they either a) suck (loose rock, sharp, etc) or B) are contrived run-outs that aren't worth the mental effort and tight shoes for the grade.

So your definition of a museum climb is a shit#y climb?
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Not necessarily, often museum climbs are on really good rock, as in the Valley or the Needles.
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
Wunch did the FA of catchu on nuts only wall.

I went with Kauk to do the second ascent, I think it was?

Anyways .... Ron led it and I followed and had to grab the rope at the crux to get up it.

I went with Coz again to to do the 3rd ascent.

Again I grabed the rope at the crux to pull up.

The next party to attempt were all saying we've evolved with better gear and we're better climbers now.

They bailed at the crux pitch without trying because they knew they would all die ..... :-)
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
W-Rong again.

I'll say it again, still plenty of balls today, since you seem to like that word, just not on run-out 5.11.

Chim-chiminy, I am scared of everything and nothing.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
Again, No one is doing these routes because they are pointless. No one wants to die or be seriously injured on 5.10.

If you are going to take a risk today, do it falling on v10s and 12s in the Buttermilks pitching off the 40' boulders there.

Good work valley 'hardmen', you created a museum of slab clunkers like 1970s Buicks rotting away in an in Arizona desert junkyard.

Damn, you're a cocky bastard PC. I'm tempted to just laugh off your opinion, but I'll shred it just for fun-

First, as John pointed out, you can't see the point if you can't climb the route. And people die climbing more often on easy and moderate climbs than they do on runout stuff, by far. The runout stuff demands focus and experience and tends to weed out the rock jocks, and that's one of the beauties of it. It's a more cerebral experience from the vision through the action to the rewards.

It follows that I would question why doing "v10s and 12s in the Buttermilks" looking at a forty foot grounder is somehow less pointless. That logic dictates that the sole point of climbing is purely found in its difficulty. I know it is for some, you apparently, Patrick, but lots of us see more there, and we have experienced more by doing the routes you deem to be "pointless".

As far as the rotting car analogy goes - get up on some of the routes we're alluding to, and you'll find the rock as perfect and pristine as the day they were first done - a ride that's got clean lines, power, simple beauty, character, a higher price tag, and is not for everyone - a classic.

The best routes aren't necessarily the popular ones...
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 01:41pm PT
Main stream people entered the climbing world many years later.

A lot of those cockk roaches made up all the rules and laws that were never around originally.

Those stupid cockk roaches were all the first to run like girls to the land managers and cry to make all these modern draconian stupid rules we have now ....
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
I am not listing what I find acceptable for myself to have it dissected by this forum.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
This morning, out of the futon in the back of the 92 Econoline.
Fluid

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
There's a difference between being fearful and being responsible. Some people have more to lose if they get seriously injured. Yes, I will focus well if I know that, at this spot, if I slip then serious injury is likely. For some, that is acceptable, but for others, it is an idiocy. For example, when other people depend on you. You know, like an adult, not an adolescent boy.

We should be wary to avoid survivor's bias. Those engaged in the conversation are those who have a stake, those not dead, injured, or so turned-off they no longer engage. For that magical group, it's all about risk management and mental toughness, not realizing that it is exactly a clear-eyed assessment of risk that leads the mature to turn away.

Yes, there are now better protected routes. Yes, we can set aside the best rock for boys as a manhood challenge (the early climbs are, of course, usually the best location and rock). We'll just crowd the majority of climbers onto a few trade routes, or some obscure choss that can at least remain chopper-free.

There are many reasons for how a route was originally put up on a given day, many quite arbitrary (fixed gear was expensive? so that determines a route for all time?). Alternately, a route can be thought out, well-constructed, as a work of art designed to last. You can walk up to a public wall and paint the first thing that comes to mind, with whatever materials you have at hand. You can do this for the experience that it gives you yourself. But you can hardly expect all those after you to admire and maintain. If you want that kind of respect, you have to craft carefully and with talent. The alternative is a tyranny of the aged.
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
mt10910 you're so full of sh!t

Sac has got anything to with other people.

I remember me Largo and Freeman at the base all pissing in our pants at this hienious off width.

Largo says you lead it.

Finally largo realizes we're to fuking scared and he goes for it.

He sac-ed up.

So fuk you mt10910 ......
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
I have respect for the legends and the history of the time.

But if I list what I do and did, I would be skewered like a trapped coyote, such is the nature of online anonymity. See your last response to MT as an example.

I am questioning the relevance of some styles of climbing given how little they have been climbed in 40 years.

... and how vehemently they are defended as a paradigm of boldness.
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Pat

Those climbs you are talking about were rarely done even back.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:34pm PT
Haven't read the whole thread, but with talk of runouts has anybody mentioned fall factor?
It ain't just the distance.

Most of my routes don't require great sac, but a few like Full Metal Jockstrap and Babes In Thailand have some 10m fall potential.

But the former has a low fall factor while the latter has a factor 2 (pitch 6), but it is on terrain that is more than a grade easier than the crux (pitch 8).

The runouts are peculiar characteristics of the routes, and it would be a shame to retrobolt them since so many of the others are "safe".

Fall factors are another element of the discussion (too bad so many climbers don't even know what that is,..)
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
One thing for sure is that if these run out slabs remain generations after the FAist are long gone, and pretty much every climber is no longer steeped in a long mentorship clanging around with hexes and learning the details of the heroic deeds by his / her predecessors, a better argument than "sac up" is probably going to be necessary.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
Before rap bolting was finally accepted, you had to climb ground up, on sight, and protect it if you could. Like Hankster on Southern Belle. I've heard stories about the FA, (the FFA came a short while later) where Schultz and Walt were certainly wishing they could drop their hands and drill. The stances weren't there. That is why it is run out.

Now climbers think bolting the snot out of something is no big deal, and I have to admit, they are right.

I've done very few runout routes where the FA skipped a possible drilling stance on purpose. The rock dictated where you could place bolts. I promise you that on many of the runout routes that I grew up on, everyone who has ever climbed it wishes that there was another bolt stance here or there.

These routes weren't put up to be scary. It was just the lack of stances 99% of the time. If it was really steep, then you had to bolt in on rappel, and that wasn't accepted until the late 80's or so.

Sport climbing has been a tremendous source of new routes. Now pro on overhanging face climbs is no biggie.

I remember driving through Rifle back when there were only a few routes there. After sport climbing finally cemented itself, then Rifle became covered with great and very hard routes. Sport climbing at least tripled the amount of available rock.

Slab climbing is weird if you haven't done it, like many climbers who come out of gyms. Of course they are good enough to do them. They would rather be climbing in a cave, though. Modern hard climbing is like that. Caves are at a premium....

As for Southern Belle, didn't Honnold go do that a few years back and say it was no big deal? That guy is freaking good.

Standards march on, and so it goes.

rnevius

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
I think what hedge and other are getting at is that is has less to do with courage and more to do with the fact that the strong guys were putting up easy routes that were well below their own limits (e.g. 5.10), but that were bolted in a way that would prevent someone who has a limit of 5.10 from climbing them in the same fashion. I don't think this was courageous (although, as pointed out, guys sacked up plenty).

But what I'm not understanding is what hedge and others expect. For example, if I was climbing a 5.6 slab, which is well below my limit, I probably wouldn't place many bolts because (a) I wouldn't think about it, (b) it would take a lot of time and energy, (c) why? when I could conserve the bolts for another climb, etc. Should I, as the first ascentionist, instead bolt the climb so that it would be safe for a 5.6 climber? How would I put myself into said climber's shoes to know how far is too far to run it out?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
One thing for sure is that if these run out slabs remain generations after the FAist are long gone, and pretty much every climber is no longer steeped in a long mentorship clanging around with hexes and learning the details of the heroic deeds by his / her predecessors, a better argument than "sac up" is probably going to be necessary.

Yes, this is true. It is a real drag that climbers who are ten times better don't like that type of climbing.

I suspect that eventually most of the old slabs get retro bolted. Fine by me. They are just gathering dust now.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Most of the arguments presented here result from attempting to compare the achievements of one generation with those of another. In a loosely regulated (or unregulated) sport like climbing this is never really satisfactory. If you are still climbing, climb in the here and now. To the youngsters who are breaking ground these commentaries must seem antediluvian. But, if you wish to dwell in the past, that is your prerogative, keeping in mind what was done, was done in contexts that can never be adequately recreated.
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 02:49pm PT
jgill nails it ......
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
Joe's premise is still false. The fact remains that many non-exceptional climbers established run out climbs near their limit and many more repeated such climbs.

Joe, you carefully don't address this basic fact.

You imply that Largo (and the handful of elite climber of his generation) were responsible for establishing the majority of these so-called "museum" climbs. This is patently false.

And, as an extension of this fallacious premise, you state:
I expect "you" not to require me to do what you yourself never did - run it out at your level.


Which begs the question: Who is forcing you to do anything?

But even more fundamentally:

Should all risk be eliminated from climbing?

What level of risk is acceptable?

Should this apply only to 5.10s and 5.11s, or should 5.1s and 5.2s that have 20 foot run-outs be retro bolted?

Who should set the standards?

Since any answers to these questions are on one level arbitrary, perhaps the idea that the FA party should make these decisions (for better or worse) seems a reasonable approach after all.
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
...the best BUZZ i ever had in climbing was setting at the top of some rock after having pulled off some hideous run out. Such acts tend to make your confidence level soar like nothing else.

Spot on Ron!


I can’t remember any of the names of the routes I've done in Rushmore.

I can remember every one I've done in Custer.

I’m very thankful for the routes that were put up in a “minimalist” style, it is a fine check to the ego and creates the impetus to improve my ability.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
jgill nails it ......

+1... and Gill's problems are at least as relevant today as they were then.... aka visionary.
Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
The Chief:
GARY
Convenience Anchors

I am assuming you have not ever climbed T-Bolt nor Starlight nor any routes in Lee Vining etc. Oh and how about that El Cap or Half Dome or... Done anything on them?

So, did you place convenience anchors on North Peak? Yes or no. It's a simple question. Please clear it up for the doubters.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:26pm PT
For the record, I have shrugged at the idea of adding bolts to routes on MCR which I did, Space Babble, for example. It has 7 protection bolts in as many pitches, with lots of 5.8 - 5.9 climbing on immaculate rock. It's just a damn good route, as good as a slab route gets and I'm not bragging, just stating the facts. Minutes from the road in arguably the most popular rock climbing area in America, if not the world.

When I indicated here on ST in a similar thread that I would be OK with the right person adding some bolts, after I heard that Ron Kauk, my partner on the FA had already voiced the same feeling, all kinds of people implored me to change my mind for various reasons.

The principle, example and style that routes like that embody are very important to lots of climbers who have climbed for lots of years. It's important to me to, to a point, but I also think it's unfortunate that a route that good rarely sees an ascent. I had an experience on it no other climber will ever have, and no amount of new bolts on it can take that away. I see the problem with having a piece of rock like that locked up, so to speak, but in the end I respected the wishes of the majority of my peers, put my feeling about it aside, and agreed that it should remain as it was, more for them than me.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
I think John Gill has his finger on the pulse here. When we ask for examples of climbs that should be retro-bolted, there is a big silence. That's because we aren't arguing over what we do now; we're arguing over what people did then. If others really care about adding fixed protection to existing routes, please tell me the route(s) you think deserve such treatment.

As for what we did in the past, I have a quibble with word usage. Boldness and courage differ. To me, courage has no place in an activity pursued for fun. Soldiers going into battle demonstrate courage. Honnold and Pratt climbed boldly (and jgill bouldered boldly, too!) The only time courage should enter the climbing lexicon is in the context of an accident or rescue.

If I may use my terminology, I understand Joe H's point to be that not all of the runout leads we have now represented boldness by the first ascenders. That almost certainly is true. This issue, obviously, deals with the past, not the present.

I quibble with how Joe measures boldness, because to me, the "limit" of a leader necessarily includes the mental discipline needed to push a route into unknown territory. That differs from what a person can climb after intense rehearsal (e.g., a difficult boulder problem that the climber wired after innumerable tries).

It's like the difference between what I can play on the piano with lots of rehearsal, and what I can sight read. There's lots of difficult pieces I've performed in public, but I practiced a lot to get them up to performance standards. I could never have performed them publicly on sight.

Also, though, it's a matter of accepting the rock on its terms, not ours. Purists would argue that if we really cared about accepting the rock, we would place no bolts, so my standard is not "pure," but limiting placements to hand-drilled bolts on lead, I necessarily limit where I can place a bolt. If I allow myself to rap bolt, I only limit myself by my sloth (i.e. at some point my laziness prevents me from drilling more) and, in a few cases, accessibility via rappel (e.g. overhanging terrain).

From the comments on this thread, I think very few posters think we should eliminate all runouts. So again, my question for the present: which ones should be changed?

John

Gary

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:46pm PT
Thanks for the clarification, Rick.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
B) are contrived run-outs that aren't worth the mental effort and tight shoes for the grade.


For starters, what is a "contrived run-out?" The rock is simply the rock. By standard logic, the more bolts you add to what wasn't there to being with, the more contrived (unnatural) it is. Simple as that.

The whole "museum climb" argument hinges on people who simply do not accept the ethic that ruled at the time: That risk management was just as much a factor to engage and respect and unhold as pure technical difficulty. "Not worth the mental effort" goes totally against Joe's contention that for the climber's putting up these routes at the time, there was no such "mental effort" because they were so much better than the route required. Now you come along, noting that the difficulty of the old slab routes is "museum" quality, meaning very low, but on the other hand, you balk that they "mental effort" is too high for a route so low down on the technical scale.
Sounds like you guys need to get your story together.

And Joe, you'll never sell your "hypocracy" angle to anyone because focusing on what someone else did had nothing to do with you. If you don't want to take the risk, don't take it. It's just that simple. End of story.

And this business of calling "sac it up" a sophmoric locker room ploy is simply silly. The idea that courage no longer has a place in rock climbing is an attitude that would astonish virtually every hard core legendary climber prior to about 1985. What's more, saying that making a stand for courage is childish and macho is to my mind the simple sour grapes yammering of a chickensh#t. Calling said courage "hypocracy," foolish, not worth it and so forth is a simple dodge away from the underlying and greater truth that the people making these statements are simply afraid of these routes, but lack the integrity to admit it. Or posing preposterous arguments such as: If that route was any harder, or was near a modern grade, then maybe the risk would be "worth it," when we know perfectly well that if the sad sac can't man up enough to get up a sketchy 5.10, he surely ain't gonna cut the mustard on a 5.11.

Lastly, if you think all of those run out museum climbs are Simple Simon technique wise, let me know and I'll come up and belay you on Black Primo or the first ten pitches of Mother Earth. Both were on-sighted at 5.12 A or B -- piss easy by modern standards - so you should make easy work of them both. Of course you can take 100 falls on easy 5.10 climbing on both routes, so you'll have to sac it up on those bits, Huckleberry.

JL
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Sep 12, 2013 - 03:58pm PT
Jelezarian.....

Is New York City worth preserving? Was manhattan of 1913 worth preserving?

What part of 1913 Manhattan would I choose to change? In 100 years? Why.... Virtually ALL of it! But that is spoken from hindsight. How might I change 2013 CLIMBING in the next 100 years? I lack that foresight. But I am virtually certain that most of it WILL change.

Manhattan and climbing both share something - the limits of geography. Each are ultimately limited.... And at some point it's out with the old to get in the new. It's just the way it is.

The decision is not ours to take, though.

Actually it is... Each time we choose to alter or not... A route.

DMT
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
Climbs represent their place in time. For me, the climbs of the 70's represent what Largo spelled out: A time of adventure with an attitude towards environmentalism.. Aid climbing represents something different as does bouldering and sport climbing. all of them unique to a time and place in history. To alter any forms would be a shame as they represent their time and place.
Style wars have already been hashed out decades ago. You think Ron Kauk needs you to tell him about ethics. The man put up arguably the most iconic boulder problem in the world, some of the most iconic traditional climbs in the world and embraced and was on the cutting edge of sport climbing enduring fist fights and everything else that came along withi it. His sport climb "peace" sits near the Bachar/Yarian and both climbs have the respect of climbers of all styles.

And if he or anyone of the climbers who brought in the changing of the gaurd like Schneider or Smith who have great respect for tradition but also embraced new games give there consent to change their routes, then so be it. But I won't retro the original intent of what they did unless the community agrees to do so.

So far, there has not been one FA party that I've talked to that want's retro's installed on routes I've rebolted. Just the oppossit in fact. A bolt was just removed from "rawl drive " at the FA's wishes. It just got harder, not easier. And if I see that bolt go back in I'll chop it.
rnevius

Trad climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
*Yawn*
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:21pm PT
JL,

Fair enough on the contrived argument. I have my view, but it isn't definitively arguable. It is either preserving the rock by less bolts (I don't buy this), or opening the route for more people. To me, 10 bolts are the same impact as 1. The only pure pursuits are cracks (without anchor bolts) and bouldering.

Museum climbs aren't decided by me, or 'you' as you refereed to, but by lack of ascents. Does it say 'museum climb' in the guide? No, but by the lack of chalk and cobwebs you know when you see it or hear about it.

...and still it all comes down to sac-ing up? Ok, I have.... similar to Ron I soloed a few hard 11s in my late 20s, but when I got to the top on the last one, instead of the buzz of elation he describes, I decided I was more interested in sleeping with my girlfriend that night and climbing tomorrow than risking death today.

But that is me. I am not a hardman, I 'sac up' for the occasional runout 11 or 12 quality line, but in my middle age I'd rather throw myself at permadrawed caves, and that is exactly what I am going to do now that it has stopped raining.

In any case, I have a lot of respect for your contributions to sport. I apologize for some of my language and tone. But, I figure it is like the construction sites I worked on: if you take AND give sh#t you get more respect in the end.

peace out.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
DMT,

Do our views really differ all that much? I asked for the list of what should change because that question relates to what we do today. No one is worked up over making that list because, in my opinion, this thread has become centered on what others did in the past, not what we should be doing now.

I find the comments of wstmrnclmr very well thought out and very well presented. Most climbers have great respect both for Peace and Bachar-Yarian. I think any attempt by anyone to alter either of those routes now would produce a strong, maybe even violent, negative reaction. (Yes, I know, even B/Y's FA used tactics that weren't generally accepted by the guardians of purism in the day).

Maybe it gets down to the First Ascent Principle being like the "Pirate's Code" in "Pirates of the Caribbean," -- more of a guideline than a law. I personally think it's served us very well, by preserving all kinds of climbs in all kinds of styles. What's not to like?

John

Edit: Upon re-reading recent posts, I think this thread would have had much less traction if the references to runout leads didn't imply testosterone poisoning as the cause.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
Where are the run-out slabs that were at the top of the best climber's abilities?

On the SE face of Lower Cathedral Rock, among other places.

John
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:45pm PT
What I got out of climbing in the long run was being able to deal with extreme situations and believing I was the master of that world. I am in my element and anyone who's never been there can BS me all they want, we'll see who's a poser and who bails. At some point you have to make a hard decision, and once made, there is no turning back. That's total focus and once there, I'm at my very best. At this age, I'm just glad I lived through all those times, but I'm definitely the better for it.

I dont know how other people got into this, but for me, I was amazed that people could just climb up the side of a cliff, and I wanted to be like them. The idea was incredible at first. And very scary for the first few years. I'm not sure it's like that for the people learning in gyms. For them, maybe if they get onto dangerous terrain, it feels like something is wrong. I have mixed feelings about it, because I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to do anything to get themselves killed, but I know what the experience did for me.
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
I think too many people are taking this shít way too serious, come on, it's only scrubbing ones mitts up a fučking stone wall. The rock does not care if one is there, we place the value and a story behind it. We see if we can start a tribe of followers. Facebook is an excellent way to monetize this following.
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Does the same claim apply to mountains?

Yes .... if I do the mountain first I own it.

I'll determine what you can do there or not.

If you go against my wishes I will release 100 tomahawks for 48 hours and you'll be toast.

It's the American way .... Jose .....
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 12, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
This is the last I'll say to this.

Back when I was about 18, I remember complaining to Bridwell and Klemens that it looked like Twilight Zone was basically unprotectable with Hexes and they asked why that was their problem. If I lacked the sac to do the route, where did I get off complaining about it?

Now how about if I'd said to them their attitude was childish locker room macho posturing and that I expected more from such luminaries. For starters, macho was part of the game back then. Big Time. But it was never something someone postured - rather it was all part of the old "Rodeo Code."

"There's no explaining and no complaining. You either get out there and do it, or you don't. And nobody cars about nothing else."

This "something else" is all this bitter talk about "fraud," and hypocrits, and macho posers, just the rattling on of those not cut out for this rodeo. The problem some of us have is that they still want to rodeo, but by their own rules, rules that were not around at the time the bulls were actually ridden, so to speak.

So why are there cobwebs on those precious few routes? What keeps people off them? Fear, or lack of technical ability?

It is fear, and we all know it. But we have not once heard anyone say as much. Instead we get disparaging comments about how the old broncs are hypocrates, frauds, and macho posers. But in fact they were people rodeoing by the old rules. Trying to yank these old routes out of context and judging them by today's controlled risk mindset is like what Dingus said about the 1918 marathon. You've missed the point entirely.

JL
WBraun

climber
Sep 12, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Quit yammering over my bullsh!t and study Largo's post ......
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 12, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
It's an odd argument. I can't see hypocrisy where no one is saying anybody else should do anything. We make our own choices how and what to climb. I think any GU on sight lead of maybe hard 5.10 and up starts getting pretty sketchy regardless of whether one can climb 5.12, especially on a slab where you probably can't hook. I don't think they hooked in those days anyway...







Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
Largo, have you ever been to Czech republic?
They had 5.11c in 1932 (bolts 40 feet apart) Skinner had people clip the first bolts on these for Beth Wald photo's. Skinner also backed off many of the routes.
Before Bachar died he asked me to help him with a book, argument for ground up ethics,the Czech's did a great job and the routes are governed (country law) by the community. There are many routes there that have never seen a second ascent. So, they will not see new bolts or they will be chopped. I agree to not placing bolts on established climbs, but the natives are getting restless.

Edit: Lechlisky and Bachar were there, you know this.
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 06:19pm PT
BTW:When the "Arrowhead Arete" 5.8 was established in 1958, it was considered the hardest route in the world. Don't make me laugh... Ha ha ha
Mark Powell was rad though.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 12, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Question: Since when does the frequency with which a route is climbed determine it's validity?

This logic would render some of the most impressive accomplishments in our sport invalid.
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
this thread isn't quite complete




there, that's better
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 12, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
JL-you make me giggle with all this rodeo, mucho talk...reminds of men in a gym on a friday night because they aren't cable of maintaining a healthy relationship with a woman, lifting weights, grunting, and egging each other on in front of wall to wall mirrors-the opposite of the mucho world I was brought up in


Why this is totally and shamelessly dishonest is that none of us did the complaining. None of us were ranting about modern climbers being sacless because it's not true. No body who did run out routes back in the day was ever doing anything remotely like the silly example listed above of Bluto posturing in front of a mirror. This is what psychologists call a "reversal," whereas someone takes issue with what someone else did (run the rope), and then accuses them of having the problem (with girls, in this case). No who, exactly, has the problem? The old farts who put up the run out routes, or the Johnny Come Lateley's who disparage the old guys for their efforts. Then go on to say how we are the ones consumed by what others think. Fact is, I don't know one of the old school run out guys who gave a rat's ass what others thought about their climbing. And at that times there was no crowd who did care. All of this yammering is stuff you rube's are pulling out of you ass, deflecting the simple fact that when it comes right down to it, you're light. It matters little to us if you think this is macho or posturing or whatever because you are the one complaining and not mustering the sac to dick the "museum climb." And Joe's argument that the run out roues were 2 or 3 grades below our limit is totally midguided because our limit was only achieved after many, many efforts, and the routes we are talking about had to be on-sighted. And no one in their right mind was going to try and on-sight at a level they could achieve only after a dozen or so falls. Had you ever actually put up one of those museum climbs, Joe, you would understand this very clearly. 5.11 was the absolute limit of what any of us would ever want to try and on-sight with any sort of runout because it was all we could handle. I am flattered to hear you think that yo believe we were just waltzing up this sh#t with the greatest of ease, but in fact when we were, say, belaying Kevin W. up the FA on pitch two of Black Primo, which is "only hard 5.10, but features a gigantic fall if you blow it, we were shitting bricks. And when Ricky Accomazzo was on-sighting The Wave on Greasy but Groovy, only 5.11c, but terribly run out, we were also crapping our pants as he looked at an eighty footer. This was the rodeo back in the day. The idea that it was somehow invalid because it wasn't at the technical level we had achieved on the boulders is non-argument in this regards. It was our max on-sight. And not one person who did this rodeo thought or felt himself a fraud. I would suggest you getting up on one of thee museum climbs and reporting back to us how much or a fraud and a poser you feel like once yo get way out there on the sharp end. This kind of talk really is just the silliest fear-based clap trap imaginable.

A real cowboy doesn't posture. He doesn't brag about stuff nor worry about what others think, and we never did. If you don't like that approach - more power to you. Lie the old motto goes - No complaining is allowed. You either get out there and do it nor you don't. Nobody cares about anything else.

JL

susu

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
Sep 12, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
Some great posts in this thread, Largo's most of all.

Run-out is all over the place in climbing and part of some real classics.

Uniting as a community to fix run outs is not even realistic. Who says we can come close to including all who should be involved in a decision like this? The community is ever changing, if not growing older, and softer, then drumming up potential we can barely dream of...
See: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2214423/Seek-and-You-Shall-Find
So, which groups decide for everyone?

The Ethic (not law) to respect the FA is what we've got to ensure that we don't mess things up for everyone. No one can make everyone happy. Advocates for the original FA are needed now more than ever with so many climbers getting drills and focusing on "route setting." There might be rare cases of routes for a community to approach an FA party about in the development of a death flake... Otherwise, seems we must tolerate if not respect what we might not ourselves want to climb.

Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Sep 12, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
John,

Thanks for that response. You could have passed on this whole thing, but I kind of like the fact you dug in and fully expressed yourself.

I've been a rec climber for the past 45 years, and have often lacked the "sac" to do a lot of climbs. I can relate to your "you either do it or you don't". Does not bother me if I don't, and I don't start looking for people to blame. My best lead was 10 Karat Gold at Suicide. To this day I'm glad there are climbs like that out there for when the stars align.
Most of the time I simply back off and do a climb I feel more comfortable with.

I really don't understand this debate. There are thousands of climbs out there at every level. Do it, or don't do it. It's all about staying in the game !!!


Cracko
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
Cracko, the debate is about entitlement.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:03pm PT
Nice!

Largo's gettin fired up!


More please
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
So, who drove the rodeo back then? Sure wasn't an American.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
A real cowboy doesn't posture. He doesn't brag about stuff nor worry about what others think, and we never did

Methinks the lady doth protest too much . . .
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Mari Gingery once said: "Sharpen your skills before you sharpen you drill"
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
Joe, the needles route is "Phosphorescent Flow"(5.9) Mari Gingery established this route. I have a photo somewhere.
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 09:07pm PT
This is the best troll I have ever seen... Keep it coming :D
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 12, 2013 - 09:10pm PT
John.... thank you for writing the words that go with the feelings I have on this subject.

I sort of skipped english 205.... was out climbing.

And Joe Hedge... your wrong about Largo being a 5.13 climber, he never rated a climb 5.13 that he FAed. That was done many years later, by other folks.

The same with Kamps.... he rated stuff hard 5.10 cause he figgured thats as hard as he could climb.

J. Gill wasnt claming his problems were v10..... no that was done years later, by others.

best topic on the Taco in like 5 years
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
Guy, you nailed it!
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 12, 2013 - 09:18pm PT
Chim-Chim:
photo not found
Missing photo ID#320969
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 12, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
I have been on approximately 40 alpine expeditions and have always, save one, tried to do a first ascent for these reasons.

1) Less intimidating because you have no prior knowledge of the horrors you are about to face.

2) Much less embarrassing to fail on a first ascent than on a climb already done.

3) Do an abscure climb and provide confusing beta and it will never be repeated and will receive a reputation it doesn't deserve,

Win....win.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Hedge why don't you just do routes 2-3 grades below your level too? A sidewalk on a hill maybe?
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
My god Hedge, are you still arguing this one. Your one stubborn dude.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
respecting first ascentionists is fine, but ownership? no. it is not their route. nor did they "create it", unless they chipped it. nature created it, through wind, water and other factors. we climbers walk up and see the line that nature gave us, we experience what nature has to offer and some styles respect that nature and others less so. we climbers for those few moments (at least on shorter climbs)experience what nature gave us. we did not create it anymore than man created the earth. it is those moments on the sharp end that matter the most. not what someone chooses to do with the rock later. we can never control that, and we dont own it(unless you own a cliff on your property.

respect for oneself, the environment and the accomplishments of others is what is important. not an unwritten law.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 12, 2013 - 10:59pm PT
What's the name of the 2-bolt x-rated 10b at the Needles that got retro-bolted, then the FA guy went back and accidentally chopped his own bolt and made it worse than it was before, so that now the first bolt is above, not below, the crux?

Always thought that was pretty funny

By the way, that's one of the best granite 10b's anywhere, it's a travesty that it's a death route - and yes, put up by a 5.13 climber

If you are referring to Phosphorescent Flow, you are clueless to the actual events, as sad as they were.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 12, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
And I'm saying that not every FA was for every person, either. Some of them shouldn't have been done in the style they're currently in, and being insisted on being left as.

Fair enough?

Hardly fair enough. You are dictating how a route should have been done, and you were never there. Never there. Unless you were at the sharp end, questioning every aspect of the unknown, you have no right--nor any obligation--to have a say in what transpired. Believe me, every route a Stonemaster established was near the limit of their ability, their creativity, and stands for the moment. They own the experience. You may partake of it as you wish. Or you can gnash your teeth, and bemoan your limitations, and decry the callousness of those who dangle their skills in the written book which is their route.

That stands. It is a testament to their craft. Your choice... Do or not do. Believe me, they didn't create that route for your sake. It wasn't created for you. It exists. It was done without rehearsal, without prior inspection, without the knowledge that it was possible.

You, the follower, have the satisfaction of knowing that there is a bolt, that the route can be done, and that there is a path to follow. Take comfort in knowing that another human has passed this way.

How dare you to decide whether the style meets your "approval"! There it is. As it is.
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Sep 12, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
"Cracko, the debate is about entitlement."

Yes Ron, and I'm entitled to express myself regardless of how "off-topic" I am.

Cracko
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 13, 2013 - 12:07am PT
The problem with changing routes from their original bolt count is drawing the line betwixt where it makes sense and where it isn't justifiable, then there's deciding who draws the line.

Since a number of posters seem to be advocating this, how would those posters go about doing it?

Where would you start, how would you defend your actions, and how would you deal with the inevitable bolt chopping that would follow?


With out answering at least these questions it just sounds like unproductive bitching.

(sorry tioga)
Todd Townsend

Social climber
Bishop, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 12:28am PT
As a relative ST youngster, at age 37, it has been a real treat to hear some of the elders chime in on their thoughts and feelings regarding the methods, attitudes, and traditions that led to the creation of the routes that we all enjoy today. I'm curious to know what people think of routes that were established free solo, and thus lock away lines without any protection whatsoever. Since there's been a request to name names, I'm talking about routes like Solitary Confinement 5.9X, Walk of Life 5.9X, Blue Moon 5.8X, and Silverado 5.6X, all on Fairview, Walkman 5.6X at the Bunny Slopes, and Pearl Harbor 5.6X at Daff Dome.
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
Sep 13, 2013 - 01:35am PT
Seems simple Todd, either do them or don't, just don't bring the challenge down to a lesser level by altering the route.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 13, 2013 - 01:38am PT
5.6x? Cool that someone went out and had an undoubtedly great time. But locking it in forever that way is silly, at least given current climber pressure in TM.

I think there is a lack of distinction between test pieces and meaninglessness slabs that would be fun for many climbers.

I just think the sac up line in the sand will eventually lead to awful retro bolting of run out classics when everyone is dead or doesn't care and that some thoughtful reconsideration of easier random routes that really were run out on purpose or just soloed might relieve some of that pressure.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 02:26am PT
Why not just leave em alone? It's not like there's any shortage of routes or any any shortage of unclimbed stone. Not everything needs to fit ADA standards.
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 13, 2013 - 02:56am PT
Kris, I stand corrected, please tell us about the Needles incident.(In a PM, if you wish)
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 03:03am PT
Higgins from a post on this continuing saga.......I particularly like the second paragraph. http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=22
allapah

climber
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:24am PT
You have all been trolled, and masterfully
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:17am PT
Like it or not in the rock climbing world in most areas the FA owns the route. In most cases this is a good thing but in some cases obviously it it is pretty darn sad.

If the climb is all natural gear then it is not such a big deal but once you put drill to stone you are makeing decisions that other folks will have to live with for good or bad for a very long time.
For my own peace of mind I take the responsibility of bolting a rt very seriously. If it is a GU effort I will go back after the FA and make whatever changes are nessicary to create the best route possible. If it is a top down route I will put a lot of thought and effort into getting it right before I sign off on it. I have a few 30m top down rts that took 6 days of effort to get just right so that I was satisfyed that the final result is a masterpiece. In many ways it is a lot like a work of art.

there are several prolific rt developers in the area who are proud to boast that they could give a rats ass what anyone else experiences on their routes and that they put the rt up for themselfs. like it or leave it. These same guys are also the most adament that they own the route. I was told by one of them that" i never once thought of how anyone else would experience one of my routs" yet this same guy would raise holy hell if someone tried to fix one of his mistakes. That is some selfish ass clildish sh#t INMOP.
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Sep 13, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Like it or not in the rock climbing world in most areas the FA owns the route.

actually, the only thing the FA owns is the first experience. sorry, you don't own public rock.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 11:53am PT
Randy is the OG Stonededmaster!
Randy is the OG Stonededmaster!
Credit: patrick compton

I just think the sac up line in the sand will eventually lead to awful retro bolting of run out classics when everyone is dead or doesn't care and that some thoughtful reconsideration of easier random routes that really were run out on purpose or just soloed might relieve some of that pressure.

A call for rational, holistic thinking for the future of the community?!

Heresey! Here on ST we MUST have dualistic, black and white arguments that belittle the pussified, sac-less opponent.

They shall cower before us and their women shall worship us as gods!

Nay, there shall be no middle-ground knave! Brandish thy sword, I will have satisfaction!
Cragar

Trad climber
MSLA - MT
Sep 13, 2013 - 12:14pm PT
"I got really good at down climbing the impossible too. Self preservation is a powerful motivator of higher learning. "



Well Ron, a lot of folks don't like that kind of responsibility these days. It is like folks approach climbing as they do court sports. That is what sport climbing is for.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 13, 2013 - 12:16pm PT
The problem is American climbers want it both ways. One, using a hammer on a route is o.k., and two, I get to dictate how everyone else uses their hammers.

Everyone likes to slag on euro bolting but the truth is that's the only place run out, no bolt, death route, knot protected paradises exist. I doubt there are retrobolting threads about the grit on ukclimbing.com.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 13, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
JL "Fact is, I don't know one of the old school run out guys who gave a rat's ass what others thought about their climbing."

JL "Back when I was about 18, I remember complaining to Bridwell and Klemens that it looked like Twilight Zone was basically unprotectable with Hexes and they asked why that was their problem. If I lacked the sac to do the route, where did I get off complaining about it?"

all this talk about beans and sausages has me confused.

you didn't care what Jim thought about you climbing?
But you cared if he thought you had a big sac?
or he cared if you had a big sac?
or he suggested you grow some sacs?
-----


What you are not realizing here is it is you who are adopting the persopective theat we cared about what the other guy thought, and drew motivation from this, when in fact that is how you see it, and are building your arguments around a kind of dipshit codependency that simply was not there IME.

In reality, this issue about sac, and Twilight Zone, and who cared about what, played out just like this (not in the drama you have constructed in your brainpan).

I complained that TZ looked like it couldn't be protected (circa 1973) with old Hexes and Bridwell asked me why that was his problem. IOWs, he didn't care what I thought about TZ, and my issues were really between TZ and my very own self.

I went on to climb TZ with sh#t pro not because I cared about what Bridwell thought, but because I wanted to climb TZ. That is, the reason to grow sac was not to impress others, but to be able to do these routes in the classic style, without having to change the rules owing to selfish demands I feel I am entitled to impose on an R or X route.

You are confused about this because you are limitd to your own understanding and beliefs - that the old runout routes were done as a kind of chest thumping exercise. Quite naturally you think this because you never had the experiences of being out there on the sharp end on any of these scary FAs. Out there, so far about the pro, a big name counted for nothing, and what others thought good or bad couldn't help you one bit. Others didn't even exist at that moment in time. It was all about you and the rock.

Because you apparently never had those experinces, all mention of sac would seem to you to be a kind of rooster posturing done for others. In fact the exact opposite was true. Sac was mustered for the route. It didn't count for a hell of a lot with all the other guys because they all had it too.

Now along comes those lacking said sac and they declare it was summoned as a gym class kind of childish macho wankalong. And how very silly and puerile - and what gets lost here is that they are the ones whimpering about the run out, not the doods who ran the cord in the first place, who now are being disparaged as macho snobs, once out to impress the crowd that was never there at the time.

This is all as wonky as Joe's argument that the old runouts were invalid because they were so far below our technical limit. But as Robs pointed out, there were many times when what we were on-sighting was pushing the envelope on what we could do when we COULD NOT FALL. Now we hear that we who did those routs were frauds and pretenders out to impress others. Given what actually happened, that totally amazes me. It's not so much that I care what others now think about it but rather what is being described here is not historically accurate.

JL
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
This was mentioned several times up thread, but we were really trying to work with what the Rock gave us. In order to do that, you had to take calculated risks and push yourself out of your comfort zone. This was the focus at the time of the climb, not "wow, someone will think I was pretty bitchn' back then".

There was a lot of mutual respect among climbers of all levels, and that led to a lot our routes not getting subsequent ascents until the next person was ready for the challenge.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 13, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
"Fact is, I don't know one of the old school run out guys who gave a rat's ass what others thought about their climbing."

Sorry, Johnny, but it's disingenuous to suggest that we were indifferent to the attitudes of our peers. At least, in my opinion. I just can't think of anyone that didn't compete for prestige and acknowledged prowess. Case in point: the pleasure of the "sand bag." Some did go so far as to "sneak a peek" or pre-work a pitch, but that was something about which one never bragged. In the era of Tricky Dick, there were a few Nixonian Watergates. Right?

However, at the sharp end of the rope I also know of no one who intentionally or purposely ran it out just for bragging rights. On steep face--leading from the ground up, without prior inspection--protection was vitally important, but so too was the need to conserve strength for the unknowns yet to come.

This whole thread may be an elaborate troll, but the issue is real and recurring. Placing additional bolts on existing routes is chickensh#t, clear and simple.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 13, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
I want to top rope Southern Belle, who is with me?

If it is a personal experince with your sac on that bull
that you were riding why do you care how others climb up on that bull?

Because if that bull is beaten to sh#t people of the future will not know how big of a sac you had. : )



RESPECT THE SAC 4 EVA!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
I'm basing my argument on your own (accurate) contention that you guys basically were 5.13 climbers

We have a definitional problem. What makes one a 5.13 climber? Some of the very obscure boulder problems I had wired in Berkeley in the early 1970's could well have been at that level, but there's no way I could have done any of them on sight. I haven't read Largo -- or anyone else of that era -- claiming they could climb at 5.13 without multiple tries and multiple falls on any consistent basis. Put another way, they did not purport to be 5.13 leaders of runout slab climbs.

On a slightly different note, I'm glad someone identified some climbs to consider retro-bolting, in this case several on the Bunny Slopes. For multi-pitch, poorly-protected, 5.6-ish climbs, I think we have reason to consider doing so, but we also need to consider how many other options exist in the area. Would we improve the overall climbing experience in Tuolumne Meadows by retro-bolting more easy and moderate climbs?

In one of my home areas, Squarenail, we have a grid-bolted area of generally easy climbing called the Elvis Wall. It's hard to go five feet in any direction without finding a line of bolts, and it's thus possible to accommodate a great number of fledgling sport climbing leaders at once, but otherwise, we don't need most of those lines of bolts, because we can top-rope just about anywhere there. The proliferation of bolts doesn't bother me there, though, because the ambiance of the area isn't one of great scenery in a National Park worthy setting. If we had that same grid bolting in the Meadows, it probably would bother me, because it would seem out of character with the area.

I go back to what John Gill said, though. The decision about what we do belongs to those climbing now, not those who climbed in the past. Of course, I do have a strong preference for what decision gets made.

;-)


John
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 03:42pm PT
Credit: patrick compton

Solution! Get this Wesley fella to confirm the grades, or would his 130 lb nutz be considered aid because it gives an extra point of contact on a slab?

I'm thinking dip them in a bucket of hot C4.. Locker please advise.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 13, 2013 - 03:44pm PT
When people put up half suicidal routes I can see why no one would do a second ascent. When you have skills to repeat a route like that, you might as well work on your own.
granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 13, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
I don't usually chime in on threads like this, because it's not really my thing, but this one seems to have caught the attention of some climbing luminaries who I really respect.

I think my climbing style is a bit different than a lot of the people who post here. Most importantly, I'm just a weekend warrior. I don't lead very hard (5.7-5.9, with the occasional 5.10). My goals with climbing are just to enjoy myself, see some nice views, spend time with great people. I emphatically am not out there to die, or to get badly injured, or to prove anything, even to myself. After a heady run-out, I don't really feel much sense of accomplishment, I just feel glad to be alive.

Tuolumne is a great place, but there are very few routes there that fit my style. I remember the first time I climbed on Dozier Dome, leading a .10 that didn't feel like a .10, or even a .9, because at no point did I feel like I was gonna die, or even risk a major injury. It felt fun. Which is not an experience I associate with many of the lower graded climbs in Tuolumne (the Valley is different - cracks I can protect with gear).

Tuolumne in its current state is basically a monument to the egos of climbers past. That's fine. It limits my climbing experience there, and that of many others. On the whole, that's ok - there are other places. But I have to admit, sometimes I look at an easy-looking line and wonder if it's climable, why it isn't in the Supertopo, whether it's worth digging out the Reid to end up on something that's likely the scare the dickens out of me.

There are a lot of people like me out there. I think it's inevitable that eventually, many of these easier routes will get retro-bolted. Not by people like me, but by other people with stronger egos who want the rock to conform to their viewpoint. If I were an FA'er, I think I'd want to have a say in how that happens now, while this debate still matters, while people are still listening.
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
Instead we continually invoke past glories which every day are further in the past

This is a perceptive quote from Jan on the P,G,R vs S thread in, of course, another more general context. Might it also apply here?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
Chief, every time you tie into a rope you are playing with fire, yes, but there is a difference between playing on routes that are PG and R X.

For example some of those aid lines where people nail up a flake that WILL fall off some day. Not many have desire to repeat a line like that. Maybe it would be fine on a first ascent for some, but why REPEAT a route with high objective danger? Unless it turns you on in some way. For example I am not turned on by loose rock, or run-outs, but for several reasons I would love to repeat your friend's line (Planaria) on Temple Crag.

Ice climbing comes to mind here. Mark Twight was complaining many of his lines didn't see a second ascent or were downgraded. Well no shit! When you climb a very difficult line with poor pro and high potential for injury/death you will not see many 2nd ascents. And when they DO happen, they would likely happen when ice is thicker and line is in better conditions (usually easier, even though not always).

Ron, if some lines did not inspire other climbers YET, than let them be undone for a while. When someone comes around with enough skill and desire to do the line, it will be done. At times climbs just do not light up a fire that is needed to repeat a hard climb with serious fall potential. By the way I am just theorizing here since I do not climb 5.12s or really scary stuff...
Todd Townsend

Social climber
Bishop, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Funny you mention Dozier Dome, granite_girl, as just last week I climbed there. While on Isostacy (an adequately, but not overbolted 5.8, imo.), I remember looking over to the left at an obvious line and wondering why there wasn't a route over there as well.

Got back to the ground, pulled out the guidebook, and realized that there actually was a route there: "Granite Garden (5.9 X), a 500-foot free solo."
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:44pm PT
Tuolumne in its current state is basically a monument to the egos of climbers past.

WTF??
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Sep 13, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
"Male-bashers [along with others] like to say that insecurity lies beneath the male ego. They are right. Bu this insecurity is not a personality flaw in the occasional man. Rather, insecurity is part of being a man, an essential part of the male role in society. Manhood is never secure. It must be claimed via public actions; risky things seen and validated by other people - and it can be lost. The fact that manhood can be lost even after it has been successfully claimed means that the man has to watch out for threats , pretty much forever. Plus, he must be willing to defend himself and his honor if need be."

Roy Baumeister,
Is There Anything Good About Men
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
We're going by what you yourself wrote about the FA's, that the bolts were spaced to "keep the fluff off" and leaders being heckled from below to not stop to drill and keep going, which helped create the problem we now have of routes nobody wants to do.
-

That was the game amongst peers. But this was not the ONLY reason, nor was it a matter of ego. This is to vastly simplify the process. To me, and many others, the main draw of doing run out routes was the thrill and sense of mastery and the fact that you got way out of your comfort zone and there, you discovered resources you never would have imagined otherwise. You could even meet God on occasion if the run out was scary enough. Simply writing the ENTIRE game off as an ego game or some childish act to impress others, or moreover, just young men "going to war" with public displays of stupid and vain heroics, is to miss the larger current that swept us past ourselves in the process.

The result now is that, as Joe says, there are a number of routes "nobody wants to do," and the thinking of those "nobody's" is - if Joe and others are correct - that the reason these routes were run out was for vainty, ego, to impress the other guy etc. But what I am saying, and others will vouchsafe, is that the main reason people are having problems doing these routes is that they never developed the key skill - which is thriving outside of your comfort zone, with all those chains rattling and wolves snapping at your feet.

You see, ego and other people's praise was never enough motivation to get most of us to run the rope. It was the thrill and chance to meet something rare and previously unknown inside of us that drew us on. Without this calling, run out routes will look like nothing more than ego trips, and people who believe as much will never be talked out of their misconception. That always takes a direct experience. But for those who get on the run outs, they find much more than a vain highway. ]

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Forget it Largo, it's Chinatown,..
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
Tuolumne in its current state is basically a monument to the egos of climbers past.

You describe yourself as weekend warrior. Toulumne has a lifetime of well protected climbs for us weekend warriors. Beautiful granite, good weather, amazing vies. One of the best locations in the whole world. Has test-piece climbs for weekend warriors and pro climbers.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
...And not just Tuolumne, either..

Would you care to elaborate?
granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 13, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
Largo, I think you hit the nail on the head. You are absolutely right about transcending yourself, about sweeping past where you thought you could ever go on that rock. The difference is, I probably see God about 150ft lower than you do on any given run-out 5.8. So, unfortunately, a lot of those climbs that you (or others) did, that were revelatory experiences for you, are completely off-limits for me. I don’t even aspire to do them, because that’s not the way I like to climb.

To me, the continued existence of these climbs in their current state looks a lot like ego, but maybe it’s not. Maybe “museum piece” is really the more accurate description. They represent a particular time and place in the history of climbing, one that created a lot of great climbers, and that spurred the development of so much of what we younger climbers take for granted. And certainly some of the routes should never be touched, as a monument to that era. But all of them? Just because that's how they were first climbed?
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:06pm PT
How many heads do you have Ron?

Sorry granite girl, there is to be no discussion of moderation. It is a slippery slope to permadraws, kneepads, and ecigarrettes.

And really people, can't we keep the tone a little more Serious in here?
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
And certainly some of the routes should never be touched, as a monument to that era. But all of them? Just because that's how they were first climbed?

Yep, all of them. (You really don't have much choice.)

Who will you appoint as the curator of the museum? Which routes become museum pieces, and which canvases get painted over? Do you have a criteria in mind?

The FA party established the route. It is now your prerogative to critique the effort, the setting, and the style. Or, you might pass on by...

Now I really don't like Dali's body of work. I'm just not prepared to appreciate his masterworks. But I'm damned well not going to repaint 'em to match my tastes! Imagine the arrogance that would take...
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
unfortunately, a lot of those climbs that you (or others) did, that were revelatory experiences for you, are completely off-limits for me. I don’t even aspire to do them, because that’s not the way I like to climb.

You do not need to climb a route that was challenging for Largo to be challenged, if you want. You can pick a climb that would challenge you, and give you the same goosebumps a much tougher climb would give Largo, or anyone else.

It is easy for climbers of all levels to find a challenge. But one does not need to bring a harder climb down to their level, since it will take that climb away from climbers that climb at a higher level.

I think climbs could be a way of self expression. Art work. I do not ruin art work at a museum, and I would not want to ruin someone's route. Would not want someone to ruin mine. Plenty of rock out there to climb.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:17pm PT
There is a difference between the actual FA experience and the "law" that the resulting climb must remain forever thus.

All of the eye rolling, WTFs, sac ups, and barfing will not change the fact that future climbers are not going to play by the current rules unless those rules seem reasonable. Seems to me some routes are classic test pieces. It also seems to me that a lot of climbs were botch jobs, easy solos for slab masters or whatever. I predict retrobolting will mostly occur on the easier stuff.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:32pm PT
They're, unfortunately, not going to listen - probably the clearest indicator that what's really being addressed here is male ego and male insecurity.

Man. You are so full of it. (A f*#king bully and his name calling...)

What's being addressed here is your inadequacy, your ego, and your fear of breaking out of your comfort zone. Either blow up those tiny boysenberries, or go play somewhere else in the schoolyard.

Until you're ready to talk about specifics and particulars, you're just nattering tautologies.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
Tuolumne is a great example of a place with a fair amount of run out climbs. Many lines were put up by Yosemite Valley hardmen, some of the best climbers of their generation, turned loose on another world class area that had very little interest previously because Yosemite valley was so close. Plus it has lots of face climbs, many done in an era of boldness. So really a perfect storm for run out face climbs.

But there are still MANY lines left in Tuolumne. Look at some of Greg Barnes' lines like Shagadelic or Blown Away. Put up relatively recently with more bolts than other climbs. There's plenty of rock in Tuolumne for all styles of bolting. It is understandable route that route developers (usually advanced climbers) equipped these route for their ability and spent the time and expense on bolts for their ability rather than spending a lot of time and money on bolts they didn't need. So it's really cool when someone like Greg spends a lot of time and money putting up moderate routes for moderate climbers.

As I said earlier I'd far rather hike an hour and put up an FA than retro-bolt a climb closer to the road (even if it wouldn't be chopped).

This is all about ethics not style. No one should care how you climb a route, e.g. if you pull on gear. But when you add bolts you are changing the experience for everyone that follows you, that is ethics. You have to draw the line somewhere and this is the best way to do it (as mentioned it's not a hard and fast rule, but works well in most situations). Much worse but similar would be chipping a route. You can say well just don't use the chipped hold (don't use the added bolt) but how do future climbers know what the chipped hold is (or added bolt is)?

It's not that the FA owns the route, it's that changing the route effects it for future climbers.

If you get hurt it is usually nobodies fault but your own.
granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
Seriously, kudos to Greg Barnes! I've always wanted to thank him for what he did on Dozier. It feels like a public service. I just wish some of the larger Domes had a few more routes like that. Shagadelic is another great one.

And that FA party that allowed the retro-bolting of Snake Dike - they get some serious props in my book too. I never could have had the experiences I've had on Half Dome, especially with novice climber friends, if not for their foresight.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 13, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
granite_girl by her own declaration has not and never will do a new route, yet she is happy to say that many of those who have did not do so to her satisfaction. Her statement that "Tuolomne in its current state is a monument to the egos of climbers past" is hogwash. There are more moderate easily protected routes in the meadows than she'll ever do. Unless of course all she can do is clip bolts.

I mean seriously, have you done the regular route on Fairview? Or maybe that one needs bolts too?

I'm sorry if I come across as mean spirited. If you knew me you'd know that I am not. I just know that there are all sorts of climbs out there, and all sorts of climbers. Plenty to go around, so when someone with no skin in the game starts accusing others of egoism etc., the hair on my neck stands up. Do names like Kamps ring a bell? Do you think his style of climbing was driven by ego? His style was one of elegance and beauty. He and climbers like him set a standard which many others, myself included tried our best to emulate. Not because of ego but because, as Mr Worral stated so nicely upthread, it was beautiful to see the long uninterrupted expanse of granite.

edit: Most of the above post is rude and offensive to someone I do not know. My apologies to Granite_Girl.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
Ksolom, thanks for berating granite girl for her honesty and for speaking her mind.

Let the sausage fest continue unencumbered by thoughts of there being even a hint of compromise possible.

Sac up bitches! (Said in best dave chappelle impersonation)
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:15pm PT
I'm sorry, but if you decide you can't do a climb in the style of the FA, don't whine about it. It really says more about you. Speculations about the motivations of the FA party under these circumstances are very self serving.

I went to BY 3 times and tried to lead it once. Got pretty far, but did not have the requisite sacage. Never thought about trying change it, just stood there marveling at the accomplishment.

granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Ksolem, you bring up an interesting point. If I read you correctly, you are saying that by putting in a bolt, you eliminate the possibility of a particular kind of experience. An experience that is simultaneously athletic, aesthetic, and mental. I can see why it would make you sad to deprive others of that experience.

It makes me sad to stand in line at the bottom of a moderate climb (or, horror! be that slow party holding up others on a popular climb), when there are so many good climbs possible in Tuolumne. Climbs that are not currently climbed, because they were originally free-soloed, or put up with too few bolts for most moderate leaders.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about adding convenience bolts to crack climbs like Fairview. Just adding bolts to bring down the rating of some climbs from X to R, or R to PG.


Edit: Hey guys, the debate's been fun. Like I said earlier, I don't really like to get sucked into this kind of stuff, especially on-line, so I'll sign off here. Best of luck to the bolters and non-bolters alike, and many thanks to all the FA parties, both run-out and grid-bolted, who have made climbing possible for people like me.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:22pm PT
Toker Villian Ahhahaah...........So easy to troll using this subject for bait......How many threads? I have to admit the Hedge may be the best troller on here so far. I fell for it. So much reaction to one with so little credibility. Good job man! And mt10910...Way to use Largo's photo dragging this thread to a new low......Doesn't matter. No more retro's gettin' placed in TM in my lifetime anyway.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:43pm PT
Expanding? Please, only way that thing is expanding is if you place a pin in a stupid placement. A3? Only if you had a lack of hardware or sucked at choosing pin placements. Nobody had ever done inverts/feet first? hahahaLOLOL. Man, I think you guys actually believe your fairy tales.

And btw, I didn't pre-place pro, or use aid climbing methods of taping for size or gloves either. So rodeo up on that, cowpoke


The amazing thing here is that some yokel admits to taking three days to thrutch up something that was fired 39 years ago, then sprays about how deficient my effort was, reciting, again, the silly myth that my hands were "taped to fit the crack." Has anyone ever actually done this? Who, and where, and who witnessed it. And you know perfectly well that the crux is off size and hand size doesn't matter.

And so far as there being all kinds of inversion jamming done before 1974, as you indicate, kindly list examples. You can't, hayseed. And of course you didn't need to pre-place pro because you had cams. Back then, we had steel bongs, which you never once pounded into the route lest you'd know the thing expanded like your very mind when you gut that Olde English 800.

So you enjoy A1 protection, have the advantage of practicing on many other testpieces featuring hand stacking, still fall off the damn thing shamelessly probably 25 times, and come bellyaching on this thread, taking smack about how Richard Harrison (veteran of 250 walls) doesn't know how to place pitons, etc? Go back with steel bongs and see how much smack you talk.

Rodeo that chump, LOL.

JL
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 13, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
Ksolom, thanks for berating granite girl for her honesty and for speaking her mind.

Judging by her subsequent post her skin is thicker than yours. I tried to be clear that I was not berating her.

She mentioned some routes established by Greg Barnes. Greg is a great guy, and I think it's cool of him to put in well protected climbs that G Girl likes. Greg has also been very helpful to me and others in our effort to replace rotten old bolts in many climbing areas. My focus has been on the CA Needles, and Greg has been very generous through the ASCA with materials and tools.

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
you mean like these MT?

Credit: patrick compton

..and yes, that is a relatively teeny tiny penis, coincidence...?
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Wow, sounds like you saying Bachar sand bagged BY.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:23pm PT
I've never been on the bleeding edge of climbing ability, but some of the most treasured memorable leads were climbs that have now been neutered.

Glad I got to do them before they were altered.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:23pm PT
No 5.13 X routes because nobody wants to try and onsight at that grade without massive bolts.

Another thing is that the people doing run out FAs are not infringing on your freedom because they are not imposing anything on you. You are not obliged to climb anything. You do it of your own free will. I can understand wanting decent pro on 5.7 routes, but griping that every 5.10 and 5.11 route does not fit your criteria, then blaming the FA folk for poor behavior is a screwy kind of logic. And let's remember we are talking about a minute number of routes here that are actually R or X at the 5.10 grade and higher. Surely less than 5% of all routes nation wide. Yes, you can have everything, but you'll have to earn your right to climb those 5%. Bitch if you want, but the runout won't get much shorter. So at some time you simply have to shut up and put up.

And Joe, i know for a fact that you are perfectly capable of climbing most of the roures you are complaining about, if you haven't already. I also know you are a very kind natured dood, all the favors you did all those broke climbers in the Valley when you worked there. So I'm a little confused where you are coming from on this one.

But enough of this.

JL
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
Here is the question:

If new routes were being done on-sight solo in 19digity, even up to the 5.9 and maybe 5.10 grades, why was it ever o.k. to place a bolt?

Also, The 5.10-5.11 and maybe 5.12 slab run outs of yesteryear (I hold steep GU routes in a different class) would be child's play for many modern climbers, even on-sight and hand drilling and all of that. Why were those routes not left for a future generation to simply solo??

I really respect what went down in the 70s and 80s, but also don't see how that forever defines U.S. climbing.





BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
This is an American thing, although I imagine that if somebody retrobolted some of the hairball old test pieces in the Verdon, even the French would get pissed off.

I was surfing the web, looking at pictures of routes done long ago that I don't have my own pictures of, and low and behold there was an ice gully that was sport bolted.

The rock to the side took g-rated pro. Perfect stopper and cam placements.

I asked a bud who is in the know regarding world climbing, and he told me that the guides got tired of dying.

Alpinism is a real sport. I weep for any of you who missed out on it, and for those still at it, buy a ticket to Cham and dirtbag for a summer.

With a power drill, you can put in a modern bolt in about a minute..or drill the hole that fast. It is such a small amount of effort to retrobolt.

Like I said before, climbing has moved away from slabs. A slab is not anything vertical or less, like the video of Tommy Caldwell using these micro holds on Mesca Dawn.

Now that the bolt wars are over, I'm for adding enough bolts to make modern power meisters comfortable on slabs. These routes are just gathering dust. Different areas have differing opinions, but my buddy put up a couple of runout slab routes at Enchanted Rock. A few years back, the locals "fixed" the routes. Not only did they place bolts on rappel, they changed where the routes went. There is a sort of logic for this:

On the FA, it was a race to the next bolting stance. Perhaps the better line goes in a different direction from the stances. Anyway, he wasn't amused.

I remember when sport climbing really took hold. Christian Griffith wrote a letter to Climbing, and I can only vaguely paraphrase it:

"We are not pile and crampon laden mountaineers.....what we are doing is totally new."

That was true as well.

How can everyone be right? Scaring the youngsters isn't as much fun as it was back in the day.

Here is the story of my 100 footer, written by Duane Raleigh, who told me I could do it, and being 19 or so, believed him like Moses.

http://www.wichitamountains.org/bigbite.html

If you added two bolts, that pitch would be easy. We had 150 foot ropes back then, so he caught me from a belay while realing in yards of slack.

To this day I have no reason why my feet started slipping. I'd done the hard part in about five minutes. Funny reading, all true, but I don't remember stinking burning EB's.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
I should say that the bolts that I really hated were the convenience bolts and chains at Quartz Mountain. Others like them. We used to downclimb a 5.8 and do another route. Safer than rappelling.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:38pm PT
Here's a suggestion to those climbers who feel short changed by all the X/R rated moderate and easy routes, in Tuolumne for example.

Get a hammer and a bolt kit, and do some hiking and rock scrutinizing with binoculars. Go to those big open, clean slabs where the routes that have inadequate protection stand. Look for the big gaps between established horrorshows and start filling one with your own route, bolted just the way you like it. If the routes to the side are 5.8 - 5.9 or easier, but runout, you pretty much know you can climb anywhere to either side of them or in between.

Just don't crowd the existing routes, especially where your bolts and those on the original routes are concerned.

You'll walk back to the car with a new perspective on all this stuff being talked about in this thread, and you might leave behind your own climb, done the way you feel is the best.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:39pm PT
Very few routes have true death potential. I took that hundred footer off of an x rated route and got away with it. Duane pulled in enough slack to keep me from breaking my legs on the knobby start of the route.

My brother in law broke his leg on those knobs on a route that shares the belay. So it is legit go to the hospital. Duane saved me.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Sep 13, 2013 - 08:45pm PT
I'm not sure if most younger / newer / safer type climbers fully realize all they have now that didn't used to exist.

Have you seen the old green guidebooks that used to be all the info that was available to weekend warriors for places like Yosemite or the High Sierra?
There were NO cams in stores until 1978 - WC fixed friends.
There were NO small or flexible cams until 1985 Wired Bliss & Metolius.
The revolution in climbing shoes occurred from mid 70's RR/EB to 1982 Fire to ~ 1990 multiple models.
There were no modern comfortable harness until ? early 80s?
There was NO internet and NO sport routes, and no electric drills.

Just using the mountainproject search tool for California Sport routes,
which is far from comprehensive:
5.0 - 5.7 362 routes
5.8 - 5.9 825 routes
10a - 10b 888 routes
10c - 10d 622 routes
11a - 11b 679 routes
11c - 11d 416 routes
12a - 12d 565 routes
13a + 128 routes
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
40 years ago? I'm still putting in routes ground up. Most of em tend to have some kind of runout. If you don't like them go climb something somewhere else. There is no shortage of stuff to do. WTF?
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
I often see a comparison between a new climb and a canvas upon which a painting is applied. There is a huge difference.

A canvas is a commodity item, and if one is used up you can get another pretty much like it. A painter who enjoys their own style doesn't stop anyone else from grabbing another nearly identical canvas and doing something different with it. While there are tons of rocks around, they are in fact a limited resource. Especially if you are looking for a rock to do a particular kind of climb that appeals to you, at a certain slab angle with a certain friction, with a certain interesting color or formation, with a certain crack width at a certain angle, etc.


I think a better analogy is this: imagine if Ansel Adams had decided that the only way to take photographs of South Dome was to do so while riding a unicycle on a suspended wire while also juggling. Forever after, the only people who can take photos of Half Dome must follow this protocol or not take any photographs of it. That sounds like a pretty stupid scenario, but how different is it from our present fetish to dictate how a community resource should be enjoyed based on the way it was done by one party who happened to be the first?


I just don't see the philosphical underpinning for the model. I do see the way in which it creates culture and history among climbers, helping to cement the creation of a community. And I enjoy that aspect of it, and willingly play along. But beyond that motivation I don't see any inherent right a first ascent party has. If simply being the first to enjoy a resource in a certain way dictated the method that all others must follow, why, we would never have any climbing at all. Why not honor the ethics, history, resources, etc. of the first party passing through an area that declared it "unclimbable by humans"?

In short, I don't believe in sustaining a climbing meritocracy. But I am also interested in preserving the past and maintaining some fuel for future dreams. How to allocate resources in a way that is not overly biased toward skill and fear tolerance? Where to draw the line is fuel for endless debate.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
Didn't Steve Schneider put up a safely bolted route next to the Bachar Yerian?

People do the BY because it is still a sort of feather in the cap. I suspect that Shipoopi's route gets more traffic.

This is hopeless. We grew up climbing slabs with little pro. Today they grow up climbing steeper stuff and it is far harder. If they only knew how easy these old 5.10's and 5.11's are for somebody that strong. Which reminds me. We used to say that you could climb at Quartz if you could do one pullup. It is all about balance and footwork. When Fire's came out, it made a big difference on some routes.

The popularity of Indian Creek is evidence that they can learn to place gear.

I just feel rotten that all of our favorite routes as youngsters are now considered too run out and scary. I can't yack beta with the young hard climbers. They have better stuff to do with their time.

Hedge: I never saw a bolt stance skipped due to heckling. Those routes were far more desperate for the FA leader. Climbing up and down and soft peddling a slimy dish while trying to get the bolt in. For us, and most runout routes, it is the lack of bolting stances that dictates how runout the route is.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:14pm PT
Hedge I'll keep doing new routes ground up and onsight for as long as I want and when some sac less POS adds bolts to em I'll chop em. That's just how it is. I don't care if you don't like it.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
Haha yeah I chop retro bolts.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
Those that climb a retrobolted route can never know how they have been shortchanged.

Someone else made the decision for them.
selfish man

Gym climber
Austin, TX
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
I'm no lawyer but I thought bolts were considered abandoned property. Not really sure why either FAists or retrobolting advocates are so adamant about them.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
Go for it but good luck getting down. I'm not to worried. Most sac less POS don't chop bolts
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
Yo, its Friday night in merika, anyone want to do some blow?
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 13, 2013 - 10:00pm PT
You won't do sh#t but wine and bitch
WBraun

climber
Sep 13, 2013 - 10:07pm PT
Don't young climbers laugh at old grown men arguing about how they did it back in their day .......
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Sep 13, 2013 - 10:13pm PT
not as hard as old climbers watching youngins climb these days !;-D

yeah, I think that element has changed.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 13, 2013 - 10:14pm PT
You 2 sound like the old birds in the peanut gallery from the Muppet Show.

... this sh#t ain't gunna snort itself
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:00am PT
The gate swings both ways....

I guess if I don't like some over bolted clip-up I can go up and chop some to make it more interesting.

Should I talk to the FA party or just get my fork, crowbar and epoxy?



murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:39am PT
Just a quick appreciation that granite_girl's perspective as a moderate-climbing non-yos-local is pretty important, since it represents by far most climbers in Yosemite. Why does it seem that there are few well-protected moderates, and that most of the good ones are dangerous? Because that's right? Because most of the routes she wants are not in the guidebooks?

Supertopo doesn't really serve that huge market any better than any other guidebook. It's a big opportunity for someone.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:42am PT
I'll chop em.

And how do you propose to do that when you're 65, 70, 80-something, or dead? You won't. Which is why there is no "law" of the FA. The current generation will dictate what happens. As it should be, since they are the ones using the resource, not some greybeards reminiscing about when they were hard between sips of their metamucil.

I personally don't advocate changing those routes, and have chopped some retrobolted routes myself. There are surely proud runout adventure climbs and plenty done by people actually climbing at their limit when establishing them or on terrain where stopping to drill was simply not possible.

But there is a large element of truth to what Hedge is saying, Dingus as well. Plenty of runout routes established by people purposely skipping stances and installing those runouts well below their ability level, creating death routes for anyone not climbing way above the level (and sometimes for those who are..rockfall, bird flies by, thunderstorm breaks out). The idea that they were "mastering their mind" is a f*#kin' joke. I free solo stuff a couple numbers below my limit and there isn't fear, otherwise I wouldn't be up there without a rope in the first place. To act like a 5.13 climber is "mastering their fear/mind" on 5.9 terrain they routinely solo is comical at best.

surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:46am PT
Sh#t dude, and what's with these f*#king boulderers - I mean some of those routes are higher than 15' !!! Those motherf*#kers need to start adding bolts too. WTF!!!
Hedge - get on this sh#t - rally for the cause!

Todd Townsend

Social climber
Bishop, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:49am PT
I feel like this conversation is worthless without specific examples. As it is, it's just arguing and posturing over endless hypotheticals and abstractions. So here's one for you.

In 1984 John Bachar free soloed a line up the black streak to the right of Magical Mystery Tour. He called it Solitary Confinement 5.9X. According to Don Reid, it's one of the best 5.9's on the dome, warranting 3 stars. The only other 3-star 5.9 on Fairview is the Regular Route. In fact, it is one of only 9 3-star 5.9's in all of the Meadows in his guidebook, which includes Crescent Arch and Crying Time Again, which have been upgraded to 5.10 in the Supertopo guide. Keep in mind that he had established the Bachar/Yerian three years earlier.

So, here's the situation. You have one of the best climbers in the world, at the peak of his ability, who solos a route far below his level, which happens to be one of the best lines at that grade, on the biggest dome in the Meadows. Now anyone who wants to enjoy that line is expected to follow suit and risk their life in order to do so.

Does this make sense?
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:53am PT
We need to turn this:



into this:



Placate the masses!
WBraun

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:18am PT
anyone who wants to enjoy that line is expected to follow suit and risk their life in order to do so.

That's right tough sh!t.

Climbing was never intended to be a sport spirit soul killer for the masses with endless blabbering, yammering and bullsh!t.

But the general masses wall mart crowd moved into the relm and made it their property now with draconian controls.

It's all yours now and you can have it.

You get what make out of it.

The rest of us have moved on.

Cya ......


BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:21am PT
I did a FA at Joshua Tree back in the 80's (Black Ice 5.10b R) with one bolt.

20 years later a friend and JTree local asks me "Hey, that's a great little route, but nobody ever does it, too scary, mind if I add 2 bolts?"

I say sure. So my friend retros in 2 bolts.

Then another JTree local chops 'em.

I always thought the "rule" was that if you ask the first ascent team and get permission, then it's OK to retro bolt a route.

So my friend retros the bolts back in, again. And they get chopped again. Now the route is back to a single bolt, with a bunch of scars. Go figure.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Kids now days simply have no respect for their elders accomplishments. Seems to me I heard that before, when was it- let's see about 40 some years ago-hmmn.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:43am PT
Should they groom the dbl black diamond runs on the ski hill so everyone can enjoy them & instructors can take ski school down them? F*#k no, obviously.
Degaine

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:43am PT
JEleazarian wrote:
I have a quibble with word usage. Boldness and courage differ. To me, courage has no place in an activity pursued for fun. Soldiers going into battle demonstrate courage. Honnold and Pratt climbed boldly (and jgill bouldered boldly, too!) The only time courage should enter the climbing lexicon is in the context of an accident or rescue.

Extremely well put, John! I tried to write such, but much less elegantly. You are absolutely positively right. It makes me cringe in a climbing or any other sports context (especially pro sports) when the word “courage” is used.

Climbing is an activity that we all do for recreation – albeit there is a strong passion, often beyond words for many of us – and the words “courage” or “bravery” should never be used, even on the supposed sacrosanct first ascent. "Bold" is a better term. "Insane" sometimes applies as well.

Degaine

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:46am PT
Ron Anderson wrote:
Not surprised of your attitude hedge. But YES the ROCK dictated to us what would be done and how. BECAUSE that is the way we played our game.

Honestly, Ron, how is it that you are so wrong about so many things so much of the time? It would be an impressive feat if it weren’t so sad. You clearly don't pay attention to what you write either. In one sentence you state that the rock dictates, and then in the very next sentence you admit that you made the choice (“how you played your game.”)

So I’ll just reiterate: the rock did not dictate anything. The rock is just that, rock: inert, impersonal, and not alive. The meaning it has is the meaning we as human beings attach to it. YOU are the one who dictated the rules by which to play on you first ascents.
Degaine

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:48am PT
Ron Anderson wrote:
seam......

Pretty funny that you of all people are criticizing someone’s spelling. The Internet you really is a f*#king as#@&%e.
Degaine

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:50am PT
I find it interesting that the OP never mentioned run out slab routes, and yet this discussion slowly but surely got narrowed down to run out granite slab climbs in California. If you’ve climbed a bit around the world, or even just the US, you’d know that this is just a small sliver of all the routes out there to climb.

I also find myself wondering why those in here yelling (virtually) that the FA’s route should never be altered by ADDING protection, yet not a peep when a route is altered by REMOVING protection. With modern cams, nuts, etc., there are quite a few routes that don’t need that old rusty piton, or in fact where that old rusty piton has been removed and those of us repeating the route have not thought twice about it. No complaints there yet the protection on the route has been altered.

Oh sure, I know the proverbial answer is "progress," whereas adding a bolt to a route is considered a degradation. I’m in general okay with this, but let’s just all stop hiding behind the bullshit “don’t touch the FA’s work!”
Degaine

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:52am PT
Everyone keeps using the term “sac” (sic) or expression “sac (sic) up,” and almost in the same sentence criticizing others for only looking at the situation from their own limited personal perspective (which we all do to a certain degree anyway, how can we do otherwise?). Let’ s just put aside the misogynistic and sexist aspect of the term, which has surprisingly been used over and over again EVEN after a few women jumped into this discussion. You could have just as easily used the expressions “rise up to the challenge” or any other variety of similar phrases. No, Ron, Largo, WBraun, etc., you continue to use a macho shithead testosterone “male-charged” expression in the very same sentences where you claim that ego and showmanship never had anything to do with your first ascents.

With the exception of the online personality called “Ron Anderson,” I have nothing against any of you, you seem like good enough people, but nobody’s perfect and we all have our faults, and when you write sh#t like that it just shows to what extent you are out of touch anachronisms so to speak (or rather, write).

Anyway, to make a long story short, you just assume every climber – and that includes all those women climbers out there – step off the ground to “sack it up” and prove themselves, and totally ignore the enjoyment aspect, the heading off into the mountains and great outdoors aspect, that is the major motivator in climbing (as well as mountaineering in my case).

Of course challenging and pushing beyond my limits is also a motivator depending on the day and how I’m feeling, I’d be dishonest if I wrote otherwise, but I don’t feel the need to “sack it up” (and when I’m 15 or 20 feet run out from the last bolt, my sack is usually practically pulled back up into my intestines and not swinging “proudly” between my knees) every time I go out climbing or even when putting up the very limited number of FA’s that I have put up.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Sep 14, 2013 - 10:59am PT
have no respect for their elders accomplishments

Per his usual MO, Sumner creates a strawman lie. This is simply false.

First, half the style of routes we're talking about were not an "accomplishment" in any form. A guy running it out 5 numbers below his ability creating death routes when he could have adequately protected the route for those who follow is not "accomplishing" anything other than stroking his fragile little ego.

Second, the ones that are actually proud accomplishments are highly respected by the community. A british kid, George, went up on the BY with Mason about 4 or 5 years ago and attempted to up the style by doing the thing without even clipping the protection bolts, just using removable pro, tying off knobs and sh#t. He almost pulled it off too, ended up clipping the last bolt on the last hard pitch. People revere many of them, the Edge in Idyllwild is another good example.

Third, someone can respect the accomplishments without needing to repeat them. In fact repeating many of them is impossible today. I respect Columbus sailing into the unknown. Me sailing off into the blue knowing the world is not flat, in no way changes what Columbus did. The accomplishment was an event, not what is left behind.
sullly

Trad climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:11am PT
I'm a female who has no problem with Largo's use of "sac" and cowboy analogy earlier on this thread. Read his previous works and recognize his signature style. It melds Raymond Carver with Samuel Clemens. Must everything be so pc with writing sanitized and free of metaphor? He chronicles this sport like no one else.
surfstar

climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:18am PT
"Placate the masses!"


Take your male ego, and your adolescent male vanity/insecurity out of it, and what's left of your proud, run-out, "go climb something else" tradition?

Not much.

Except you selfishly denying the use and appreciation of a natural resource you have no right to claim ownership of.

No. Doesn't apply to me as I have never done an FA.
Sounds like your ego is the one that is the crux of this thread. If we don't bring down every climb to your level, you don't wanna play and that's not fair to you.
Oh well.
Like we've said many times, climb something else. Get better and eventually get on them or never do. I don't see myself climbing 5.13 ever, but I don't advocate chipping them so that I can. Get over your own insecurities dude.

and... good troll. Way to stick with it.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:43am PT
You would know Ron.

Got it now; sac: good. bewbs: bad.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
Everyone keeps using the term “sac” (sic) or expression “sac (sic) up,” and almost in the same sentence criticizing others for only looking at the situation from their own limited personal perspective (which we all do to a certain degree anyway, how can we do otherwise?). Let’ s just put aside the misogynistic and sexist aspect of the term, which has surprisingly been used over and over again EVEN after a few women jumped into this discussion. You could have just as easily used the expressions “rise up to the challenge” or any other variety of similar phrases. No, Ron, Largo, WBraun, etc., you continue to use a macho shithead testosterone “male-charged” expression in the very same sentences where you claim that ego and showmanship never had anything to do with your first ascents.
--

Did it ever occur to you we were doing this intentionally? Just to stir the pot? Like I don't appreciate what effect my words have on a particular demographic? Or that I didn't climb predominately with Lynn Hill (certainly a girl, last time I checked), who "sacked" it up with the best of us, often better?

It was very simple. Back then, bolts were considered a form of cheating, so we did our best to avoid them and that was defined as skill. It required a big commitment and risk management and none of us were so good that it didn't seem sketchy at the time. Now bolts are not off limits and safety
instead of courage (go ahead and redefine the word, dipshit) and securityh instead of adventure have trumped the old sac ethic. Fine. Go climb your sport routes. But that's not good enough. You want it both ways, can't, and in turn blame the graybeards for limiting your freedom. Now if you don't think we're not going to pull your chain for claiming such selfishness is your natural right (and of course invert this to say when you are deprived from your freedom, it is US who are selfish), some of will naturally have some fun with this kind of fey, new wave narcissism, masquerading as a kind of enlightened, PC ethos. Bollocks. You want something for nothing. We're talking about a few dozen routes here and there.



With the exception of the online personality called “Ron Anderson,” I have nothing against any of you, you seem like good enough people, but nobody’s perfect and we all have our faults, and when you write sh#t like that it just shows to what extent you are out of touch anachronisms so to speak (or rather, write).

This assumes that we who are out of touch have no idea that the new wave you claim to represent lack the skill and resources to tackle the few old "museum routes" out there which challenge your comfort zone. Well, for starters, those routes still get done by the folks who earn them, and second, we perfectly understand that you don't consider mental mastery a skill work risking anything for. You want to do your "adventures" within you comfort Zone. But sweet pea, an adventure is by definition something in which the end is unknown.



Anyway, to make a long story short, you just assume every climber – and that includes all those women climbers out there – step off the ground to “sack it up” and prove themselves, and totally ignore the enjoyment aspect, the heading off into the mountains and great outdoors aspect, that is the major motivator in climbing (as well as mountaineering in my case).
-


This assumes that getting out there on the run out was not enjoyable. In fact some of my greatest memories were pushing past my fears and feeling that blisfull rush of getting past another run out. These are moments worth having, for all generations to come. That is why some of us are pushing to preserve the precious few museum climbs out there. If and when people get up on them, they encounter life altering experiences. Nixing these so people can have "fun," and climb with impunity, which out of the other side of their mouths bad mouth us for being rash, out of touch, macho posers, is to be totally out of touch with the entire history of adventure.

Face it: There is a difference between the voyages of Vasco de Gama and taking a cruise ship to Maui. Some of the folk out there want the thrill and adventure of traveling with Vasco, but the security, cush lodgings, shuffleboard risk factor, and rich viands of the cruise ship, insisting that Vasco didn't know what the hell he was doing, that he was a cheat and a fraud and a macho man with no sense of "fun."

If that's entirely true for you, if you honestly feel that way, then never mind Vasco. Stick with the cruise (sport routes) and the shuffleboard. No one here is saying you are not perfectly justified in doing so. And of course, no one is making you climb Vasco's few "museum routes." We'e only saying that IF you want to climb a Vasco climb, you have to "do like Vasco." If you ridicule Vasco for doing what he did, that is hardly Vasco's problem. Just don't presume to "fix" the situation with your own solution.

JL
WBraun

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Some want to destroy the museum and rewrite history into their own draconian consciousness ......
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
He said your internet persona is that of a f*#king as#@&%e. It seemed pretty clear. As clear as any of the gobbledygook that you pass off as communication, anyway. At least what you write isn't the faux enlightenment others try to pass off here though.

Typically, any message to be gleaned is lost in the sideshow drama train that follows your type. Not that I'd expect much more from a flatulent thread topic like this.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
Does this Lycra make my Sac look big?
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
I don't believe in the "law of the FA." Just because you were there first, you do not own the route. When a 5.13 climber states that the 5.9 line that he just soled is now off limits to all but other free soloist, and that anyone who questions that doesn't have "sac," I only hear ego, hubris and juvenile territoriality. Even if the climb was at the edge of the FA's ability, they don't gain ownership and control of the route for eternity.

It is interesting to note that as the difficulty of FAs gets closer to ability of the top climbers of the day, the number of bolts gets higher. If the minimal impact ethic is so strong, why place any bolts at all? By the same logic many here are using, it would seem that if you can't do the line as you find it (no bolts), then you should just go home or climb somewhere else. Hey, there are tons of easier routes out there where you don't have to place any bolts. Either sac up and solo, of go home! IMHO, once you add a single bolt, you destroy your ethical high-ground and all your arguments about minimal impact, "just doing the route" and "sac" become subjective and extremely diluted.

That being said, I have immense respect and admiration for the accomplishments of those that are bolder and stronger than me. I just don't recognize the FAs unalienable right to control usage of a public resource (the rock) and their inalienable authority to dictate the risks others must take. That does not mean I think we should retro-bolt every route. However, I do think that there is a middle ground. The FA was a unique experience that can never be repeated or taken away. However, the potential journey that allows us to manage risk and explore fear is always there, regardless of bolts being added. If you want to set sail on that journey, great. just don't clip the bolts or place the pro. To each, their own.

How is this situation managed? I am not sure. I in no way expect the FA to do a route in a manner that makes others comfortable. The FA, and any climbing experience, is deeply personal and I have no desire to control that. Likewise, the FA has no right to tell me how to climb or where I should / should not place bolts. In the end it is about respect and dialogue. Dogmatism, entitlement and raging ego are not solutions.

David Roberts
Alpine, CA
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:08pm PT
Capintheazz, you seem to have an unhealthy fetish of following me around the forum in critical review- give it up son, find another target more worthy. As far as strawman lies, you couldn't be further from the truth. In the 1970's I did a number of routes that might be considered bold if measured by lesser standards than those exhibited in the major climbing centers. Climbing with partners like Bill Todd, Jay Smith, Greg Dexter, Steve Miller we established routes like Tapestry 5.10x (the first true face climb at Sugarloaf independent of crack systems), Bolee Gold 5.10r, Pigs on the Wing 5.10x, Pearl Pillar 5.10x, Beer Can Alley 5.10r/x, among others. At the time most of us were 5.10 or occaisional 5.11 climbers, so it wasn't well below are abilities, it was near our limits. We did these routes in this style because it was the tradition of the time to alter the rock as little as possible and conform to the consensus view of the time to climb as adventurously as possible while relying on one's self control and wit to perform them within an element of safety. Most of these routes have been heavily retrobolted, some of them completely erased from the current guidebooks. You missed the point of my last post- im not bemoaning the facts, just looking at them in a humorous light.
ruppell

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Hi Bruce. No, not the same.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
I feel like this conversation is worthless without specific examples. As it is, it's just arguing and posturing over endless hypotheticals and abstractions. So here's one for you.

In 1984 John Bachar free soloed a line up the black streak to the right of Magical Mystery Tour. He called it Solitary Confinement 5.9X. According to Don Reid, it's one of the best 5.9's on the dome, warranting 3 stars. The only other 3-star 5.9 on Fairview is the Regular Route. In fact, it is one of only 9 3-star 5.9's in all of the Meadows in his guidebook, which includes Crescent Arch and Crying Time Again, which have been upgraded to 5.10 in the Supertopo guide. Keep in mind that he had established the Bachar/Yerian three years earlier.

So, here's the situation. You have one of the best climbers in the world, at the peak of his ability, who solos a route far below his level, which happens to be one of the best lines at that grade, on the biggest dome in the Meadows. Now anyone who wants to enjoy that line is expected to follow suit and risk their life in order to do so.

Does this make sense?

+1

Perfect example of a limited resource and a land-rush ownership mentality. I don't have a good answer though for how to balance things... I don't want to see a free-for-all cause all of the old scary/adventure routes to disappear.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
Please remember that analogies of people soloing routes and claiming ownership of the style one must use ever after is pushing a metaphor to absurd place. It was really very simple. You tried to limit the bolts. Such run out routes are VERY few and far between. It was always, up to the day these run out routes were established, the tradition in climbing that the FA dictated the style in which others were to do the climb, that is when bolts were added for protection. This is a tradition that some of the newer generation are not willing to brook, and they have made it perfectly clear that they will not be told or informed by any tradition, no matter how old or hallowed. They themselves and entirely of their own authority will decide that they need not be bound by any tradition, that the climbers of old never "owned" the route but they, apparently do, and will do as they damn well please. Fair enough. No body is in a position to stop them.

But if you actually believe that by adding bolt you will have removed everything but danger, you understand nothing about adventure at all.

That's all I've been saying all along. It's just that in an age when climbers are so demonstratively better than we were 40 years ago, it seems nutty that people would want less challenge than more, and write this off as a kind of enlightened philosophy.

I think if these people just came out and said, "I am afraid of these routes," we might have a meaningful conversation. But the first shot across the bow was to disrespect the original folks, to call them frauds and posers and cheats, and macho fakers and lunitics exercising ownership over which they have no say except by traditions no longer consider valid. What gets lost here in this blamfest is that they look up at those owl Museum climbs and say, "I am afraid of this." But this in NEVER discussed by the detractors here, who instead counterattack with aguments about sanity and macho this and so forth never coming clean with their emotional truth. So for this reason the arguments sound narcissistic and dishonest since the fear, which is the pivotal issue here, goes unmentioned.

JL

GoMZ

Trad climber
Eastern Sierra
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
I'm probably in the younger demographic for this forum at 39, certainly not the youngest, nor the boldest, or best climber. Average at best really. My mentor was an old east side climber. I was taught to respect the rock as much as possible. This is a tough subject and I can see a good argument for both sides of the coin.

Take a route like Dike route or Fantasia for example. These routes are test pieces for the grade. Climbs like these IMO should take some time to work up to. Adding fixed pro to these routes would be a blasphemy and would promptly and rightly be chopped. The problem is some people don't appreciate the mental toughness required to climb routes like these. This is a big part of climbing to many of us. I think some people want it handed to them. IMO climbing is not about safety, it is about calculated risk. All climbers getting on the sharp end need to be able to assess the risk. If you can't do this even on a sport route with bolts every 6 feet you should reconsider WTF you are doing.

I don't see why we can't have it both ways. There is plenty of room foe both styles and there are many climbers that enjoy both well protected routes and runout puckerfests. Do I always want to push my mental limit while climbing? No. Some (most) days I want to plug gear into cracks and protect a route the way I want to. Some days I want a bolt every 6 feet. Some days I want to challenge myself on a route that is more spicy.

There are plenty of new routes going up in TM that are well protected, pretty classic and super fun. I think this is a really good thing for the most part.

Edit to add:
Mr Long, I am afraid of these routes. I can see 3 things to do about it.

1. Get better and lead them
2. Find someone willing to lead them for me
3. Shrug it off as one of the many routes that weren't meant to be climbed by me in this lifetime

DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
Please remember that analogies of people soloing routes and claiming ownership of the style one must use ever after is pushing a metaphor to absurd place.

No, it is not. This is an actual example that was shown earlier in this thread.

I am afraid of some routes. I readily admit that sometimes I am owned and limited by my fear and will not do some climbs because I don't want to risk death or injury. I also understand the value of the head game. Personally, I love the adventure and the risk... up to a point. That "point" is different for all of us. I am just saying that the FA doesn't get to decide that experience for all of us. I am also saying that the journey of emotional exploration that occurs on a climb is a personal thing. I do not buy that adding bolts to potentially popular lines eliminates the potential for that to occur. How you climb and experience a climb is your business. Adventure can be found wherever you choose to create it.
GoMZ

Trad climber
Eastern Sierra
Sep 14, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
I see your point Hedge. How do we differentiate though? It is a slippery slope for sure. I think there is a place for these routes though. Who gets to determine which are worthy?

Every time I walk by a "route" like solitary confinement I think about what a beautiful line it is. A part of me feels like it is a shame that it was "put up" as a free solo thus eliminating the possibility of future ascents without risking death. I am not saying we should bolt these lines just wish I could climb them without risking my life. I do shrug it off though because I have other climbs on my list that I will do instead.

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:00pm PT
I wishes i had me a time machine for Honnold so he could solo everything up to 12..

...and no one could climb anything!

FA rules, sac-less pussies drool. Nanny nanny boo boo!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Kind of reminds me of the argument for tearing down old buildings to put up yet another glass-and-steel tower: the old building isn't serving anyone, it's not how we live these days, it's hogging primo real-estate, etc. Later on, though, people look around at their faceless, character-free city and wonder where all the charm went.

The fact is, the FA principle is not perfect, but it's the closest thing we have. We're kind of stuck with it, unless we want a completely anarchic dumbing-down of all climbing areas. I do not want this.

Some FA's were indeed put up by people of a mental state to which few aspire: stoned, macho, adolescent, unhinged...these examples can be found. In another light, they serve also as examples of what can be achieved by humans of singular vision. We all appreciate the art of a Van Gogh, but few would trade places with him. That's OK.

Many more FA's have been, and are being created by, folk with a more 'community-service' outlook. If the Van Goghs scare you too much, there's always TV. This was created with the masses in mind. It's not often as brilliant, but it serves. Thousands of these routes exist. I would submit that sport climbs outnumber the runout testpieces in this country, by a huge margin. Greg and Bryan and those guys are doing the majority of climbers a huge favor by putting up repeatable, mortal climbs. They're fun, and safe. Lots of times I dig these routes.

Sometimes the TV climbs don't get the best terrain. Too bad. There's not a dome in Tuolumne that you can't walk to the top of. Take your modern pro and super-sticky shoes and your explicit beta and Google-Earth the f*#king dome and throw a toprope off it, you can't lead it.
kpinwalla2

Social climber
WA
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
Consider this example of the "first ascentionist owns the route" paradigm... Suppose a 5.13 climber finds a new area with gorgeous granite domes covered with moderate face routes. Although she has no qualms placing closely-spaced bolts on new sport routes that are near her limit, she feels no need to protect the 5.6-5.9 face climbs on the domes. She methodically solos all the new moderate lines or perhaps occasionally girth-hitches a chickenhead (one or two her 100 ft. of climbing). By the "rules" is every other climber required to solo these routes, or use only the unlikely-to-actually-hold-a-fall chickenheads? While this may seem like an unlikely scenario, something very similar was occurring at the City of Rocks in the late 80's. Sport climbers had "discovered" the City and were busy putting up steep new lines on the Dolphin and other crags. Unfortunately, from my point of view, they also started to explore some of the lower-angled knobby faces. Since these routes were far below their limit, they placed very few bolts. At the time, I was primarily climbing trad routes, because most sport routes of the day were beyond my ability, but I could recognize what was happening. The guys with drills were not only putting up the hard routes but also claiming the prime moderate terrain and putting routes up in a style that kept moderate climbers away. Where were the moderate sport climbs? I decided the time had come to remedy the situation, so I pulled out an old hand drill and spent most of a day establishing "Conceptual Reality" - because it realized my concept of a well-protected moderate sport climb. Guess what? Conceptual Reality quickly became very popular - probably because a huge number of climbers (the majority, perhaps?) were not climbing primarily to test their fear-management skills and risk death or serious injury. (go figure!) In fact, Conceptual Reality was so successful that I decided to buy a power drill and focus on putting up new routes, bolted in my own style. I've put up dozens of these routes and most of them are quite popular. Over the years I've endured plenty of verbal abuse from the "big balls" "rip the heart and soul outta climbing" crowd. A favorite was some guy who thought he was dissing my route when he said "my grandmother could do that". My response was that I figured I'd be a grandparent someday, and when I was, I still wanted to be able to climb it safely. For every negative comment there's been about a hundred that are very appreciative - "I got my first lead on your route", "your route was my first multi-pitch" etc. etc. Bottom line, I won't retro-bolt your runnout nightmare route that rarely gets climbed and exists primarily as a monument to someone's fear-management skills, but please acknowledge, as others have here, that we all play this game for different reasons
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Ronski,
So this is the badge of honor, putting up lines so pointless that no one wants to do them?

Wow. No wonder no one under 40 is on this rotting porch of easy chairs.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
The kpinwallas are out there, and they put up lots of climbs. Case in point. Thanks dude.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
And climbers should indeed beware calling the kettle black when they throw around the term 'pointless'. You'll get nowhere fast with that one.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
OK, jdhedge, I'll admit it. I guess I was a 5.13 climber, and certainly all my Stonemaster friends were adolescent adrenaline stoners too, since we could boulder circles around most folks our age. I pulled off the Hangover at Tahquitz onsight with no falls. We could really climb, we were good at it, and we did FAs. We "ran out" those bolts because--as you have heard time and time again--it was often too hard to stop and put in one more unnecessary bolt. No, we didn't do it to spite all you; in fact, we didn't care about YOU at all. (And, I guess we still don't.)

We were playing The Game Climbers Play--obviously with different rules than you. Rules we believe correct, but rules you believe to be arrogant, insulting, and flagrantly childish. So be it.

Some of our FAs remain unaltered by you children. May they remain so as a challenge for you, when you are ready.

Tell you what... You get good too. Take some time and develop the mental fortitude ("sac", in other words) necessary to play at the higher levels of the one true Game. Free solo the same sh#t that Bacher did. Get comfortable with climbing at levels higher that you can imagine in your small little world, and maybe then you'll see why we never really pushed the absolute limits of OUR climbing ability on the sharp end, with only a hand drill in our back pocket and ill-fitting EBs on our feet.

Yeah, we were chicken-shits not to have put in all those extra bolts you need to make those X and R routes accessible to 5.10 climbers. And you are chicken-sh#t, if you can't wait to become a 5.13 climber before you approach our heinous, horrible, mean old 5.10R routes. Boo hoo!

Mental fortitude. Yeah, that's it.

aguacaliente

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
Somebody could have climbed that route before Bachar and established it in their own style, but they didn't. (I wasn't around but gather there were no conga lines in 1984.)

It's kinda humorous or something reading California people flame the crap out of each other over the limited supply of rock. Compared to most inhabited places California has plenty of rock per person. Maybe the stuff that is 20 minutes from the road is climbed out. Previous generations could explore the unknown 20 minutes from the road, new generations can walk to explore. That's a little unfair, so's exploration - once someone's been the first to climb a mountain, nobody else can be the first again.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
This high horse of respect the tradition of the
last generation falls apart when one considers
the last generation didnt respect the generation
of before-hip belay anyone?

Respecting the tradition of the last generation is exactly what I, for one, we, I could say, were doing when we ventured out on unclimbed slabs and tried to avoid placing any more bolts than we absolutely had to. In my case, Robbins was arguably the standard bearer of the previous generation, and his creation that is the most outstanding example of the mindset was The Salathe Wall, which he proudly only used 13 bolts on. That simple fact was probably the most notable and talked about aspect of that route, other than the line itself. Our approach to slab climbing was done in that spirit, and out of respect for his generation and their ideals.

Where rap bolting and hangdogging is concerned is another story, as far as respecting the last generation, so there is some truth to the quote above also.
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:26pm PT

Wow. I am really sorry I ever found this thread. To hear many of my heroes speak with such arrogance, condescension and adolescent bravado is disappointing. Your accomplishments on the stone are both bold and admirable. Your attitude is something else. I will always aspire to match your climbing ability. Your lack of humility and maturity, especially at your ages, is something I truly hope to avoid.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Jeff, you don't own it, but you do set a bit of an example.

All arbitrary rules give forth quirky little offspring. The FA principle has given us some runout test pieces, lots of trad and sport climbs, a few oddities like bolted cracks and the occasional true outlier like Solitary Confinement. So be it. It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty good, and we fuk with it at peril of losing more, I would submit, than we stand to gain by opening the door to 'improvements' by anyone with a drill. Or a chisel. I'm not worried about El Cao getting grid bolted, but I would hate to see, say, Fairview Dome turned into a consequence-free playground. Consequences make our game real.

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Reality is relative.

It seemed to get real right about 11+/12.. and those stances for drilling. .. or later rapping and drilling. .. seemed to be a lot more pertinant.
Hedge keeps repeating this because it is logical sticking point of the argument.

Individual is greater than community. Part is greater than whole.

Rugged individualism, Distinctly American west.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:42pm PT
I read somewhere(and truly believe) that climbing is:

33.33333333333% physical ability
33.33333333333% technical ability
33.33333333333% mental ability

Rmuir & Largos posts have been spot on.

Respect those that had the vision, they did the work, they broke the barriers & they required all of the (mental, Physical, Tech) skills to put up the route. Whether they put in 18 bolts or zero over a hundred feet it was their call to make. If you have a problem with it you should have got off the computer or couch or whatever you were doing & gone & done it the way you saw fit. But you didn't, so don't complain & think it should be your way, just get stronger & better & do the routes or don't. It is great to have the option for self discovery, personal power, risk management, adventure & physical challenge available- if you want it. These days, if you don't want it, well there is many other options for you too, but thinking everything should be for everyone is a shallow pool to draw from IMO.

BTW i'm 32 yrs of age & will have you all know that not everyone of a younger generation(at least around here) is a whiny, lightweight, weenie bitch like many of those that have posted their crybaby, disrespectful opinions on here. Many much younger than myself understand the path you need to follow in order to prepare yourself for the many great historical testpieces that previous generations were kind enough to leave behind for us to be tested upon. Many appreciate the history & reason they are there. Altering them without permission is also altering a great testament to human ability. I've spent much time waiting & preparing for specific climbs until i was ready, many times i wasn't & had to bail or back down but i wouldn't ever want any of those climbs to be changed in any way to suit my selfish, pussified needs so that i do not require the full balance of mental, physical & technical skills to step to them. If i came back to them & found they were weenified I would be super bummed. Everyone wants everything easy these days & i really find it refreshing to know that there is a pastime like climbing where mental focus, patience & hard work can bring great rewards if that is what you seek.


See ya later, i'm going sport climbing.


Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
I just received a PM from Granite_Girl, regarding a post I made back a ways here which was rude and uncalled for. Her note to me was much more civilized than I deserve, and it is clear that I owe here an apology.

I really try to only say things on the forum which I would say face to face around the campfire. This time I broke my own rule. Hopefully if we ever cross paths in the non-virtual world she won't give me the smack-down I deserve.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
Sounds like they were real to her. Maybe they weren't the consequences you'd hoped for, but there's no denying their reality. What's your point? And who's talking about ignoring consequences? Not me. I just said they make things real, not that we should ignore them.

And you asked about the rock...not the ice. Not going there. Start a new thread for that one.

I feel like there's kind of a statute of limitations on changing routes. After a certain number of people have climbed something, and had a certain experience on it, it's no longer OK to add fixed pro that significantly changes things. The route kinda goes into the public domain. If you wanted to safen up a pitch, you shoulda done it within a season, or a year, of putting the thing up. Depending on how far from the road, how much traffic, et. etc. Like that last pitch on Super Chicken: too late.

Ditto with taking bolts out, I guess.

But anyhow, once that route has entered the public domain, it's kind of a heritage piece. You might not love it, you might have made different choices if it was your route, but it's not. It's everyone's, and right now 'everyone's best and most respectful take on the thing is that you don't mess with things without real good reasons, and consensus, and a bit of respect for accomplishments that happened in a very different time.

Climbing may have an element of consensus, but it is not fundamentally democratic. All climbs are not for all people. What is so hard to get about that?

Why should ordinary people have access to extraordinary things without doing the work required to themselves become less ordinary?


Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 14, 2013 - 06:11pm PT
Stretchin' it JAB. Big difference between tidy bolted faces and adventure choss where you're just reporting back on what you found.
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Ron, climbing performance and the 'head game" have always been a deeply personal thing to me. It is not about competing with others, showing my "sac" or earning the "respect" of my peers. It is about a personal dialogue with fear, managing risk and learning how to truly listen to my head but not be ruled by irrational fear. Fear often wins, but getting past that is the process. That just me. Others live to sport climb, and I like that too.

When I read many of the posts by the "old guard," I hear a lot of ego and distain for others that don't climb as hard as they do. They claim ownership of a public resource, and state that anyone who is unwilling to meet their standards can't go there. They claim that its about preserving the "adventure." These are 5.13 climbers that are whining that their 5.9 solo should remain off limits to all but other soloist. If you disagree, then members of this group won't hesitate to call you a "chickenshit" or weak. No sharing, no dialogue, just dogmatism and name calling. To me, that is sad. It just sucks to see people that I held in high regard, whose stories I have enjoyed for many years, espouse a position that is more fitting for a testosterone filled HS boy than the elder statesman of american climbing.

I am not promoting the retrobolting of every mentally taxing runnout climb. I don't want to remove fear or the need for emotional control. I would like to see some compromise and an end to blind dogmatism and arrogance that leads to SOME amazing climbs being off limits to those not willing to risk death.

One more point - even if the 5.9 solo is bolted, the adventure is still there for the taking. Just don't clip the bolts. The existence of bolts never stopped Honnald from pushing his limits. Problem solved... unless this is about ego and keeping the "fluff" away.

David Roberts
Alpine, CA
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:03pm PT
mt10910.....It's too bad that this subject always brings up pissing match's and ego flares, with a generation trying to hold on to relevance way past the shelf date. This topic has been bandied about for a long time with the usual outcome of same ideas. DMT's idea of "Respect" for an individuals right to express him/herself without manipulation in any medium you choose. The way it is know (or is it changing as things do when larger numbers participate) is still where, at least in the case of climbing, respect is shown for one's vision as applied to their craft, not ownership of the rock but of their idea and creation of how to usethe rock.

By your reasoning (and Rhodo touched on this), it would be OK for me to decide that the line you put up (say in the context of safety, which seems to be one of the larger themes in your argument) is too safe and not in keeping with the so called spirit of the community of the area and that it would be OK for me to remove protection. I disagree whole heartedly with this reasoning because I believe in your right to put up a climb in whatever style you see fit and I respect your right to your point of view and your ideals whatever your intent. This to me is the idea of the FA's right to protect and preserve their creation (not ownership of the physical rock) and I suspect, at least in the community in which I participate, is still the one of the very few, if not "Laws", then "ideals" which the community embraces throughout changes in the climbing community.
Your original OP idea keeps coming up as it should because it is important to review it as the climbing game changes. But the idea of the FA's right to maintain their creations seems to be the one ideal that get's passed on.

Perhaps because it's innately human to do so? I love the paragraph in "Fountainhead" where Howard Rourke explains this in his defense.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
I am also saying that the journey of emotional exploration that occurs on a climb is a personal thing. I do not buy that adding bolts to potentially popular lines eliminates the potential for that to occur.
-

Nor do I.

But somewhere between around 1980 to 1990, a change in orientation occurred, a switch from the route/FA team declaring to the world what was required to climb said route, to a subsequent climber, surfeited with self-entitlement, telling the route what criteria it needed to meet to be valid and authentic, this criteria having no impact on the likelihood of psychological adventures, the belief runs . . .

That's not been my expoerience.

Case in point. I’d been climbing several months and am starting to tackle the bolt protected face climbs up at Suicide Rock, mostly in the 5.9 range. I stumble onto a route called “Harm’s Way,” requiring a 35 foot runout on what was probably 5.11 in the old boots (pre-EB), and is still 5.10 even in sticky rubber. I looked at that run out and nearly sh#t my pants.

Harm’s Way was WAY over my head at the time, and I used my fear of the route as motivation to hone my skills and train my mind till I had the nerve and the sac to give it serious try. The point is, the route, and Bud Couch (RIP) who did the FA, couldn’t have made it clearer what was necessary to climb it. I had to do the runout. Or no go. There was no arguing or reasoning with the runout. It simply was. That was the challenge.

Now someone comes along and the route, and Bud Couch (RIP) no longer speak to him with any authority, with any prestige, with any sense of tradition or courage or gamesmanship. Instead, the climber now speaks to the route, informing the route, and Bud Couch (RIP) what is required of the route, which is to fit his or her personal criteria. And if it doesn’t, the climber has every right to go off on both the route and Bud Couch (RIP) about what a vain and macho cheater and fraud it/he was for presuming he or she was there to risk his life, that he had no right to his life and that the route was simply invalid as is because they say so for a bunch of reasons other than the fact that they are scared shitless and have neither the psychological or physical resources to handle this challenge.

What has happened, in the blinking of an eye, is that whereas once, a route declared to the world what was challenge was, and invited all comers to have at it, now it is the climber himself who declares what the challenge is or must be, according to her or her own criteria, since no one “owns” the route, and the challenge has no “right” to impose itself on Josh or Sara, as it were. They are not there for the shallow game of challenging themselves in the outdoors, but for something finer, something “individual,” something courageous which the rubes who established such routes could never fathom.

Notice here that the only thing that matters is the technical grade. And in the homogenization of all things, climbing included, all 5.10a must be climbable to all 5.10a climbers since that’s what the rating says. The idea that a few routes like Harm’s Way are NOT for 5.10a climbers is simply not fair, since it was so far below the max of the guy who first led it. Raher than work on increasing your max, now the fly thing to do is to try and dumb the route down to your own level for person reasons.

In this subtle but decisive shift from the route telling us what is required (traditional), to us telling the route what is required, then bashing the route if it falls short of our criteria, the core of adventure (you cannot control the process or the outcome) has been co-opted for a fey, New Age, smell the roses ethos where I decide what the climb can give me, not what I might bring to the climb.

To insist that this is an improvement or a mature take on the old trad milieu is a blatantly narcissistic turn of events that virtually nobody could once have imagined as coming from an insider in the climbing world. Now, some are saying, there are no standards to try and live up to but your own.

JL
jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:38pm PT
Abandon all hope ye who enter here . . .


;>(
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
You know exactly why we're using the terms "vain fraud macho cheater" - and that ain't it.


No, Joe, what you are saying is that a run out route is only valid if it is at your max. You will find none of us who used to run routes out who had that experience, and in fact what you say is simply not true - for us. We would know, not you, since we were the ones having the experience. Period.

What you're saying, without listening to any one else, is that every 5.10 route has to be engineered to be doable by a 5.10 climber or else the 5.13 climber is swindling the former by sandbagging him.

I am saying that the number rating of a climb was never the main issue on these run out routes. The point was to see just how little we could get away with pro wise, and in my experience, it was a VERY heady game running the rope on 5.10 knowing we could not fall. That was the game - you could not fall.

You are simply saying that others who come along should not be expected to do the same run out and I am saying the route declares in simple terms what is required. You either accept the challenge or not. If you don't, you are insisting the problem and the crime lies with the first ascent party, but they weren't climbing according to your code, Joe, rather their own. If you don't like that code, for whatever reason, then don't do the route. If you do, tie in and have at it.

But one thing is incontrovertible: the trad ethos said that the route declared to the climber what the challenge was, and it was the climber's task to rise - or not. Now, Joe and others, for reasons that are totally secondary to the main point, are saying that the route no longer has the authority to say anything to anyone. The climber is now the judge of what is just and unjust.

Anyway you define it, this is a reversal.

JL
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 14, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
I'm not saying "me". I'm saying the "community"(meaning the larger consensus). And perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe the "community" has changed it's point of view but so far, I don't think so. In other words, I would submit that right now, your and mt10910's view is in the minority. But that may be changing...... I certainly have been on some of the "museum climbs" (a term with which I disagree) and had partners questioning the validity of the FA's intent, but I haven't had a partner disagree with the FA's right (I wish I could come up with a better word denoting less "ownership" then respect for) to maintain their view of their "use" of the rock.
I think that right now, the community accepts, and defends, your and mt10910's right to maintain your originality, or idea as to how you use, but not own, the rock. I don't think the consensus of the community supports one's right to alter your use of the rock without your consent.

Edit: And Largo..The questions been asked before but I'd be interested in how you'd handle this. When/if the community/consensus changes and if the consensus were that retrobolting (LeDemacratization)becomes the norm, how would you handle it. I have to admit it's been tough watching the rules of the road change be it in the surfing line-up or literally on the highways as the population grows.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
Then do the same thing you were requiring of others not as good as you!
-

Most any modern, active sport climber is better than we ever were. Remember, we are "museum climbers."

And calm down, Joe. You're starting to define a fanatic - He won't change subjects and he can't change his mind.

And Joe, you might think about changing medications, because the one you're taking is making you crazy.

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 14, 2013 - 08:38pm PT
Either that, or double the dose.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Why don't you just climb something else? There's no shortage of rock. Why must everything be made safe for the masses? If a route is too hard for you do a different route. If you can't do a route because it's to scary or dangerous for you then it's to hard for you. If you can't lead a runout 5.10 then you don't lead 5.10. This is true for every grade. WTF? It's not that hard to understand.
WBraun

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
It's not that hard to understand.


LOL

For some people they make it hard for themselves to understand a simple thing.

Their brains will suddenly take over their own selves and run amock.

Like riding a horse with no bridal.

Most will not be able to control the thing that way as they don't teach this stuff in modern education.

This why I call them stupid ......
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 14, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Like I said, johnkelly, it's about entitlement.
Same thing that is tanking the USA.

Some people just refuse the concept of making do without.



Werner!
LOL
The Mongols created the largest empire in history by steering their horses with their legs so that they could fire bows from their backs.
The halters were for securing your 4 or 5 mounts while sleeping, although with designated edge riders the interior riders slept while riding!
Thats how they beat the news of their arrival, early shock and awe.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
F*#k old timers for bringing us rock gyms and sport climbing. The root of the problem.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:02pm PT
Hedge I learned to climb in North Carolina over 25 years ago. It was the norm. Wouldn't know a thing about sport climbing, other then it's neither, always avoided it like the plague
WBraun

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:03pm PT
After the horses get married they get a bridle ....... :-)
WBraun

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
All those stomemasters will be reborn in their next life looking up at the routes they put up in their previous lives and then saying;

"Who is the psycho that put up these routes?"

"We need to add some bolts" they'll say.

How ironic? LOL

:-)

johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Mt there's tons of unclimbed rock too. Go put up whatever kind of routes you want. Sure a lot of it's public so do whatever you want. I'll do the same. Including doing routes ground up and getting rid of any bolts I want. It's really very simple
LongAgo

Trad climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:46pm PT
Case for Leaving Routes as First Done

Here's my case for trying to do routes as they were first done, especially on the point of adding bolts, all from a 2006 Supertopo post around the time of the Hair Raiser Buttress debate:

"Preserving original protection is not to insure climbers get scared or first ascent parties get into history as bold. Preservation insures climbers preferring to do the climb in its original style get to do so. Some climbers prefer more risk and complication than many sport routes provide. They deserve their opportunities just as much as sportsters deserve theirs. But the picture is bigger than preferred risk profiles. Not altering routes insures they remain tributes to the time and mentality around their creation.

An important joy of the climbing game comes not just from doing climbs, but viewing, pondering, absorbing (as per this very web site) the full well of experiences, the moving stage of heroes, fools and follies, high and low tales, grand and vain acts. In the drama, the features of routes and associated protection are the underlying choreography, the hand and foot sequences set in stone and passing on through time. Once protection is changed, the original choreography of moves, runs, hardware (and sling) frustrations, resulting pumps and rests, the curses and hoots - the entire emotional passage - is altered. And lost is an assessment of how nuts or noble were the makers, our second guessing of all they felt. In short, there is no tribute to the past, no way to tap the well. It is for all these reasons, barring unusual circumstances, routes should be left to stand as they were first done."

From Principle to Application

So there's the underlying rationale or principle from which to start. What about its actual application in climbing areas where there are strong differences and contentions between those preferring more protected or sport like routes and those preferring more risk and traditional feel to their climbs? The issue becomes more than theoretical where the pressures is on to fix some old run routes or do future first ascents on scarce remaining rock in one style or another. Here's my take on what to do in such a situation, this time from a 2012 Supertopo thread:

“… I think we need to understand climbing never was and never will be a purely harmonious enterprise with all agreeing on climbing styles generally and protection styles in particular. Instead, we need to accept both the stellar and horrible routes around us, and our great hodgepodge of saints and sinners, however we define them. We can and should argue about better and poorer ways of climbing and resulting routes, but we need to let multiple styles have their place and day as long as they don’t impinge on one another. So, sport away on your sport cliff. Trad away on your trad cliff. Curse and pass on an old R or X route, fair enough, but leave it untouched for those who want the quirky pleasure of doing it. Scold and pass on the sport route bolted every 10 feet, but leave it for those who like it.

While not easy, the way I suggest through tiffs like on this thread about bolting style is to agree area by area just how protection style preferences can play out without curtailing the options of anyone. Argue to the death (keeping as civil as possible) about what styles are superior as a climbing experience, but don’t chop the sport routes and don’t retro bolt the trad routes. Preferably, stake out cliffs to provide opportunities for each style and enjoy. If both styles have to play on the same cliff, go with caution when crossing old trad routes with new sport routes to avoid effectively retro bolting the old lines (the new Southern Sierra guidebook makes just this point). I think this is the way (and maybe only way) to insure maximum climbing satisfaction and minimum harm to camaraderie of the game.”

These and other posts and articles on style issues going back several years can be found in two places on my website, for those interested:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=2&id=5&Itemid=19

And:

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=2&id=11&Itemid=22

Tom Higgins
LongAgo

Jim Clipper

climber
from: forests to tree farms
Sep 14, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
All those stomemasters will be reborn in their next life looking up at the routes they put up in their previous lives and then saying;

"Who is the psycho that put up these routes?"

"We need to add some bolts" they'll say.

How ironic? LOL

perhaps, already happened
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 14, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
Great post Tom Higgins!


Thanks.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 14, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
The claim of "entitlement" is pretty ironic!


For years, decades, a route was a simple calculus: It offered a challenge, as is. The route offered an experience, and the ethic of the day, the name of the game, was that if you wanted to play game, you followed the dictates of the route. Or you found another route. You didn't go to the ballpark, so to speak, cry fowl because you didn't like curve balls, and suddenly declare that you have henceforth changed the rules to fit your own needs and comfort level because, after all, nobody "owns' baseball.

That much said, when a climber looks up at a "museum" run out climb, and decides that the challenge it offers is invalid, by their own evaluation, and that it needs to be retooled according to their own standards, who, in clear and actual fact, is asserting their "entitlement" over the route?

Fey, shamelessly craven efforts to try and flip this equation by accusing the FA party of anything at all is known in psychology as a "reversal," an attempt to try and deflect what you are doing (claiming ownership of the route so you can do exactly as you please, and to hell with traditon because I say so), and lay some concocted blame on the FA.

A person not only has to have no shame to do this, and no pride in their ability to muster an effort (dumbing down 40 years old routes is an embarrassment considering how good modern climbers are), but you have to have an inflated sense of entitlement to even think this way. What's more, what does the first ascent party have to do with you? Their not holding you hostage. You either do the route as is, or not. What's wrong with having to work up to something. Nothing, unless your need or in this case your "right" to climb the route needs to be immediately gratified. Postponing gratification till you develop the necessary nerve and self mastery is the ticket to ride here. By changing the route you swindle your own self out of a chance to grow and improve. But as they say in the recovery movement, "I know what I want and I want it NOW." Never mind working up to something. That takes effort.

JL
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 14, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
So I should change professions too?
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:17pm PT
JL, thanks for your reply. I appreciate you relating your personal experience with Harms Way.

For me, the crux of the issue is where you talk about "the route" as if it is a natural thing. "It simply was." I disagree. A route is a contrivance of a man, a journey undertaken by one person, protected to suit his standard. I would NEVER presume to tell the FA how they should climb, and have respect for those that are stronger and bolder than me. By the same token, I don't think that the FA has any right to dictate anything to anyone just by virtue of them being there first.

Jhedge said:
(a route) was "tooled" to somebody's arbitrary standards in the first place, which were neither more or less valid than anyone else's. Claiming your standards are valid, and the standards of anyone who wants to change it aren't, strictly because you got there first is, obviously, entitlement.

I agree with this. When I combine it with the fact that the adventure, the challenge of the runout or solo, can still be had, regardless of bolts, I come to the conclusion that FA ownership is less about the preservation of the challenge and more about ego or territoriality.

Not all routes are for all people. Not everything should be dumbed-down to sport climbing standards. Cracks that take gear should not be bolted. A three star 5.9 pitch that was soloed by a 5.13 climber should not be off limits for a party willing to put in the work to bolt it. Dogmatic adherence to the "law" of FA ownership is flawed. That is what I believe. Others see things differently. The rock where we all come together is a public resource. Neither one of us own it. We need to work through our disagreements with respect, dialogue and compromise.

David Roberts
Alpine, CA
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
Pretty obvious the adversaries here have staked out their territory and are unwilling to compromise. Few aspects of rock climbing have consistently brewed up feuds like bolting and runouts, and the two combined. To a certain extent I see it as a product of the emotion these routes evoke whether the climber is on the sharp end or on the sidelines. A testimony to their power, in a way.

It seems there are a few things all but the most extreme can agree on -

Runout routes have value as climbing experiences.

Lots of runout routes, particularly easy to moderate ones, would be great fun for the average climber if they were bolted like sport routes.

At this point in climbing's evolution, adding bolts to established climbs is unacceptable without the blessing of the first ascensionist, and even with that OK, lots of climbers find it unacceptable.

Adding bolts to any significant route in any popular area will almost surely lead to the removal of those bolts, the ensuing rock damage and followup conflicts in the local climbing community.



The burden of crafting a solution to the problem is on the shoulders of the climbers with the complaint - I see no thoughtful suggestions in this thread as to how to deal with the perceived problem from the folks griping about the unfairness and absurdity of the status quo.

Those of us who participated in establishing significant climbs in the style in question pretty much all feel that they have value as they are, and that they are an important part of climbing's evolution in spite of the fact they have fallen out of fashion for now.

I personally think the other side has valid points, and while I haven't experienced their frustration myself, I see the sense in adding bolts to some routes in areas where nearly all routes are rated R or X. The question to be answered is which routes and by whom with who's agreement, and the ball's in the complainers' court.

The first obvious step is to get the ok of the persons who did the FA. That requires more effort than most of the complainers on this thread are willing to make, I'd guess, not to mention the actual purchase of bolts, hangers, bits and the time to put into the effort. And they must be willing to take the inevitable arrows from the fringe. It's a different kind of runout, with different risks, eh?

You've seen the old school solution to wanting more routes to climb - what's yours?






allapah

climber
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
the law was installed by the founding fathers in the golden age as a way to protect the rights of the stone itself- these are human-centered viewpoints on this thread- we have been trolled by sir jabbers and now i have been foolishly drawn in as well to point out that the rock is imbued with mental process and would most certainly say sack it up

the law is also an inalienable mammalian directive, playground rules, a Y2K bug embedded in our triune brains, there's nothing we can do about it: you must do it in the style of the first guy to make it up there, hence all this talk of scrota

in the choss fields, where each protection point is theoretically worth zero, the law is of course irrelevant

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 14, 2013 - 11:58pm PT
Warbler,

Not really a fair challenge considering the old school's solution is to do nothing and address dissent from the community with 'sac up. '

Seems like some routes are more fitting of retrobolt consideration than others. Identify those, then there is a place to start a discussion.

When my mother asked my grandmother what was most valuable of all the antiques in her basement, she looked shocked and said 'well, all of them! ' They weren't, and these routes all aren't.

A good way to maintain control of the situation would be to let few go.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:10am PT
I laugh robustly!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:12am PT
Well there's a step in the right direction!

Joe, you might be the most vocal and consistent proponent of the retrofit movement, and if it has any chance of happening without the sky dropping buckets of crap on the whole thing it's going to take some supreme strategizing - something I know you have a talent for.

Also a lack of concern for what some very influential climbers think, which you seem to own, in your online persona at least.

I like to think I have an open mind, so I think there's a possibility the "law" of the first ascent could be amended. It'll take a leader, a movement and a generation of turmoil, I'd predict, but it could happen.

Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:20am PT
... re-calibrate the soft sport ratings as a first step towards introducing climbing reality back to the masses. When 5.6 difficulty routes in gyms or outdoors are listed as 5.10, the realities of what standards are get completely twisted. The gym/sport climber is simply not prepared to deal with the world of trad/slab climbing...

Now back the regularly scheduled fist fight!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:28am PT
^^^ Todd! Genius.


Jghedge is nuts!!



& bolts!!!




Warbler is bringing great points here too.
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:42am PT
Respect the FA.

But the trick is when the FA says "sure, add bolts to my runout routes." I've had FA folks ask me to do exactly that, including folks who've put up runout testpieces but would be psyched to have bolts added to some of their easier runout routes.

Lots of generalities in this discussion - so let's get specific. Alan Nelson invited people to retrobolt his Tuolumne routes, and even offered to send them a check for the hardware! For those that don't know, he put up more Tuolumne free solo FAs than anyone (pretty sure he did more than Bachar). He also did a large number of seriously runout routes. No one (that I know of) ever took up his offer, but he did make it in a very public forum. Unfortunately he passed at a very young age (late 40s) due to cancer.

So...now what? Do we respect the FA in his youth, or in his 40s? The 500' Bachar free solo 5.9 Solitary Confinement has been brought up here - and there are 3 Nelson free solos to the right on Fairview Dome (more in the 400' range), Walk of Life (5.9), Blue Moon (5.8), and Silverado (5.6).

So chime in on this specific example - Silverado, the 5.6. In 1985 the FA does multipitch length free solo, 18 years later in 2003 he issues a very public invitation to retrobolt his routes.

What say you?
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:49am PT
Oh yeah...here's his actual post from 2003, on rockclimbing.com. The line between the ::: is a quote he was replying to.

Alan Nelson (pywiak):
----------------------

pywiak

Jun 26, 2003, 9:19 PM
Can I enlist you to help me retro a few of my Tuolumne routes?
:::If you are the FA'r and you agree to have them bolted, great. What if you didn't want them bolted???:::

Let's see now - I did the FAs, and not only did I "agree to have them bolted", I put the bolts in using the type of hardware and style of the day. In my judgement (based on almost thirty years of setting routes, bolted and non-bolted) a lot of the hardware (if still original) is mank, and the bolt locations may pose unnecessary risks for subsequent leaders. This may be why many of my routes show up in the "Tuolumne Topropes" guide, despite being established as dangerous leads.

That was the foolishness of my youth, of which I have repented.

I declare "open season" on all of my Tuolumne routes for anyone who feels like rebolting or retrobolting these lines. Since I'm firmly settled in northern Colorado, I don't get out to the Meadows very often anymore, and I'd rather spend some of my time doing new stuff and climbing other folk's routes than spending all of my trips trying to atone for the sins of my youth.

For those with a drill who wish to contribute safe climbing experiences to the vast community of bolt-clippers, look up the ascent info in the back of the book or PM me for suggestions. Send me an updated topo when you're done, let me know what hardware you placed, and I'll reimburse you for the gear.

As for those who feel that routes belong to the FA party and must be preserved in that manner for eternity, I humbly disagree. Routes belong to the community, and it is the community that will maintain them long after the FA party gets the chop. Community implies a diversity of views, but ultimately the work is done by individuals. Anyone involved in route maintenance would be wise to consider the history and context of an area, be seasoned and experienced in a full range of climbing styles, and courageous enough to be fully accountable for their efforts in the face of violent opposition and criticism from those who disagree.

Unsafe climbing is stupid.

----------------------------------
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:50am PT
There you go!

Thanks Greg.

Start there boys, bolt that stuff up!


Greg brings up the point overtly that I was trying to make in a subtle way earlier in the thread.

Most of the people that complain about how routes are bolted have never done it themselves. Seems they'd rather gripe about how others have done it than get out there and put the hunt, effort, time and money into doing a route that's good by their standards.

RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:54am PT
Most of the people that complain about how routes are bolted have never done it themselves. Seems they'd rather gripe about how others have done it than get out there and put the hunt, effort, time and money into doing a route that's good by their standards.


+10 retrobolts


Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:13am PT
Unsafe climbing is stupid.

Then climb within your capabilities or in the exciting edges...
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Don't forget the staple wars Bruce!
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:30am PT
You know canucks, you could fit half a dozen sierras in your coast range and hundreds of yosemites in the fjords. Flew past your little B.C. berg on a blue bird day Weds. and was greeted with an impressive sight.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:32am PT
Yo Bruce! What ya drinkin, eh?
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:40am PT
I'm really interested in seeing what Largo and others think about Alan's invitation.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. It would really come down to particular routes. For instance, Alan did most of the routes at the very popular Western Front, one of the most popular top-roping spots in Tuolumne. I don't think anyone should add any bolts to those - why when you can easily throw a toprope down? Doesn't make any sense.

But similar slabby routes on the east face of Lembert (where he also did solo FAs) - there are a ton of routes ranging from free solos to super runout to runout. I could see having a couple better protected over there. Not easy to set top-ropes.

And those 3 long Nelson solos on Fairview - if the quality is really good, I could see those being super fun. Maybe one of the three could be a roped route. Or maybe they should be left as solos...
Crack-N-Up

Big Wall climber
South of the Mason Dixon line
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:05am PT
Anyone wanting to be a rock climber should understand that it comes with risk. Some established climbs have more risk than others.

Changing the nature of the climb is also the same as changing the name.

If adding bolts make sense, why not just aid drill it, so that later you can hang dog the whole way and brag to your friends you climbed it. Your either a climber or your not. Get used to taking chances if you want to be one.

Carderock, MD, had no bolts placed anywhere that I could remember. You either top roped or soled this area. Tradition has it, bolts were not acceptable there and I doubt any are there now.

Are adding bolts to established routes acceptable in your area, if not don't try to re-invent the wheel, Dumbass!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:20am PT
We're rejecting your claim of ownership, not making one of our own. Saying "you don't own it" doesn't mean we're trying to. Nobody owns it.
-

Than that settles it. Since you don't own it, you have no right to change it according to your preferences.

I personally have no beef with retrobolting routes at 5.9 or below. Putting up unprotected 5.8 routes is a sure way to make a route no one will do. But once the route gets to 5.10 trad, that's expert terrain and an expert has a different game to play. Part of that game used to be the mental challenge of minimal impact and keeping the bolts down. I understand hat this ethic is no longer popular even though the normal active climber is WAY better than the climbers of my generation. A kind of disproportionate thing has occurred once people got used to grid bolted sport climbs, whereas the old adventure climbs seemed pointless as the mental game was entirely lost or unknown. Not by all, for sure.

But taking the mental game out of, say, the few bold routes on Middle Cathedral, is to really lose those climbs forever. I think the thing lost on many people here is the superb game of the mental climb, and in its place they want a merely technical route, with solid pro.

Hell, bolt it up. We had our fun. But you'll never convince me that forty years after the fact this isn't a step backwards. Maybe start with Stoner's Highway and whenever you start feeling the nerves getting in the way of your wilderness experience, slap in a bolt. We've already heard the voice saying that tradition counts for nothing, and that what the modern dood wants is king. So get to bolting and tell us how it goes.

I gotta wonder what a route like Black Primo would be like with sport bolts. Probably pretty fun. It scared us pretty good.

JL
BG

Trad climber
JTree & Idyllwild
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:23am PT
Warbler wrote:
It seems there are a few things all but the most extreme can agree on -

Runout routes have value as climbing experiences.

Lots of runout routes, particularly easy to moderate ones, would be great fun for the average climber if they were bolted like sport routes.

At this point in climbing's evolution, adding bolts to established climbs is unacceptable without the blessing of the first ascensionist, and even with that OK, lots of climbers find it unacceptable.

Adding bolts to any significant route in any popular area will almost surely lead to the removal of those bolts, the ensuing rock damage and followup conflicts in the local climbing community.

I concur.

Does the new generation really want to add 20 bolts to the Bachar Yerian, or The Edge on Tahquitz, or add 4 bolts to Stichter Quits at Josh?. I sure hope not. It would never stand. It would be construed as an act of vandalism, and the rock would suffer scars from the ensuing petty bolt war.

Listen to JL, Worral, Muir, and Higgins. There is great wisdom in their voice. They've all walked the walk, so they can talk the talk.

Respect the rock. Respect the FA. Respect local ethics and tradition. Don't chip holds. Don't add bolts to existing routes without permission from the first ascent party.

If you want to help the climbing community,and improve the safety of bolted routes, start by donating to the ASCA and help guys like Greg Barnes who are putting a lot of effort into replacing old bolts. It's hard work.

I often tell beginning climbers that ask about the risks of climbing that it really boils down to personal choice and judgement. You can make it as safe as you want. The risk is there if you want to take it- or not. You can toprope routes. Lead sport climbs or safe trad climbs. Lead runnout climbs. Free solo. If it's too scary of a climb you don't have to do it. It's really up to you.

Widespread retro bolting is a pandora's box we don't want to open.

Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:31am PT
Add bolts to Stoner's? Hah hah...gone in 60 seconds...and the chopping would be done by plenty of younger folks.

Hopefully no one is talking about retrobolting classics - but in the case where the FA asks people to retrobolt lesser known or never climbed routes - tough call in my opinion - what do you think? I can see both sides, those that say that after a certain period of time even the FA shouldn't be able to change it, and those that say the FA should be able to retrobolt (or allow others to do so).
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:50am PT
I gotta wonder what a route like Black Primo would be like with sport bolts. Probably pretty fun. It scared us pretty good
.

There it is - I know John can still feel the fear and the solid feeling of confronting it and moving upward, even though it was 40 years ago - there is the reason to leave routes like that as they are. You just can't get that kind of experience and reward from a clip up.

The fact that a smaller and smaller percentage of climbers know the feeling doesn't make it less a part of climbing as a whole.

If Black Primo had 12 bolts per pitch instead of 1 or 2, it would get done all the time. It's one of the best slab routes I've ever done, maybe the best. As is, I'd be surprised if it gets done once a year.

An amazing line and weakness, incredible rock and holds, hard moves, all in the ultimate setting...
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:52am PT
I can sympathize with you Joe, battling orthodoxy can be tough. But you're sounding a lot like a zealot on the other side. I think your arguments are a bit thin, take the direct start to Central Pillar of Frenzy for example (poor topo in the guidebook, very runout with a couple pitons and 2 bolts for sustained face climbing, easy to TR with two 60m ropes from the p2 anchor on CPoF). Old-school 5.11d, 1979, probably really 5.12. How many boulder problems were people doing in the late '70s that were 5.12 slab with no micro-edges? Were people actually doing 5.13 slab boulder problems then (or now - again, no micro-edging slab - "real" slab)?

How many of these runout testpieces are actually big sandbags? No one ever does them, so maybe a lot of them have true 5.12 moves even though they are rated 5.11. And how many of these "5.13" boulder problems you refer to are overhanging? Take out any boulder problem that's too steep to stance drill on, look at the moves that people were doing at the same time period as they were doing these runout routes, then go check out the runout cruxes on those routes and compare. I bet the difference between the two is a lot smaller than the V-ratings-translated-to-YDS make it seem…particularly if you compare only boulder problems and routes with similar moves and angles.

I think there's just so much rock out there, new routes are where it's at. Run them out if you want, or bolt them tightly (or do both - add bolts right after your FA if you feel like it). And there are so very many sport routes around that it's getting pretty tough to argue that classic runout routes should be retrobolted. Shipoopi is next to the Bachar-Yerian…respect both.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:30am PT
Joe asks me about Black Primo -

Then why insist it stay the way it is, when no one's doing it, or scores of others?

It's one of the best slab routes not only for the reasons you quoted, but also for an important reason I mentioned foremost in the post, before the quote you selected to try to support your position, Joe.

You're real good at making folks eat their words, but it doesn't work here.

I'm not even insisting it stay the way it is - only stating why I think it's important that it does.

To reiterate:

"There it is - I know John can still feel the fear and the solid feeling of confronting it and moving upward, even though it was 40 years ago - there is the reason to leave routes like that as they are. You just can't get that kind of experience and reward from a clip up."

The other reason I haven't mentioned is the character, personality, soul - whatever you want to call it that a route has. It's a product of all of its qualities including the way it's protected, and the experience that creates. I won't attempt to explain it beyond that - if you've experienced it, you know what I mean. I believe it's important enough to preserve.

To belittle that by calling it simply macho chest pounding is to belittle the activity of climbing itself.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:34am PT
jhedge is correct is saying that a new generation of climbers are coming, and they think differently then us "old farts." Remember when ALL rappel placed bolts got chopped at most areas in America?......
I am sort of on the fence with this issue. I was really impressed w/Alan Nelson's comments about retro-bolting his mad run-outs in Tuolumne Meadows;...good for him to "get over it"...so to speak. Craig Fry has said the same about any of his run-out routes. I feel the same way about any of my older routes that are run out and dangerous. Tucker Tech feels the same way about any of his older routes that are run out and dangerous. As far as routes like Bachar Yerian in the Meadows and The Edge on Tahquitz;.......those are routes people sac up to do........and they get done. Other routes may be classics if they had better protection;..but now they just sit as testement to days past where things were done differently.......presently, in 2013;..it's a tough call and a tough decision, and fuel for lots of discussion and many internet posts;...I think in the future, this issue will not be so heated and controversial. New generations will make up their own rules and not live by rules of old climbers who are long gone and climbed with different gear and attitudes.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:43am PT
Other routes may be classics if they had better protection;

True that, Todd.

But some routes would be less classic if they had better protection.





Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:52am PT
Kevin;..you are correct;...just depends on the route, doesn't it.......I see all the different ideas about this;...I agree with everyone!....and that is the crux of this issue........seems like everyone's ideas and points make some sense;...or alot of sense. Time will sort this one out;...I don't think we have to figure this situation out tonite;..or this week, or this month...or even this year..................................................
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 15, 2013 - 08:12am PT
I feel that the key is is if the rout gets climbed and folks are inspired to work up to the challenge then it should stay runout and the only changes should be replaceing the existing old bolts. If a climb on the other hand never gets climbed and is a great line with a few rusted bolts gaurding it then the fa should be contacted and permission granted for a talented pro to fix the climb. Not everyone should be allowed to owne a drill! It takes a real touch and vision to create a great route. Not everyoneone has that!
Sometimes the difference between a botch job that never gets repeted and a 5 star classic is one perfectly placed bolt. Over bolting can completly ruin a slab climb. Fact is that Slab is as boreing as roofing (without the pay) when it is over bolted. Rogers rock NY has a a few 5 star 5.8 routes that average 4 bolts per 50m pitch that get climbed a lot. Some new kids came allong and rap bolted The matrix 5.8+ in the same style w/ 4 bolts per pitch. It is 5 stars and I lead it every time I go there. Obviously thease climbs as well as a bunch of high traffic classics on White Horse NH are deemed to be awsome slab climbs yet have abundant 40 and 50ft runouts. Sea of Holes on whitehorse has a 50ft runout on P3 yet the Webster guide lists it as well protected. That is the nature of slab climbing. I guess my point is that if a climb is slated for an upgrade it needs to be done by someone with a real feel for what makes a 5 star slab climb that will be a challenge that folks will strive for yet not a stupid death route or a sewn up snoozer..
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 15, 2013 - 08:42am PT
Something that is being over looked here is that no one really wants to fall on a slab, no matter how close the bolts are.

Even if on some alternate Earth, these slabs were sport-bolted, 'working' or dogging the crap out of route isn't really practical at that angle. Cheese-gratering, breaking ankles, hitting ledges are all very real.

So what we are really talking about is, as Granite Girl said earlier, is taking the imminent death factor out of a select few. The straight-up solos seem a logical place to start.

Then it goes from the leader MUST not fall to probably not a good idea to fall. This is still pretty serious climbing, but you don't need to be ready to die on 5.10x that day.

One may even see a resurgence in interest in this style of climbing. As someone pointed out earlier, this angle of climbing simply isn't popular in and of itself.

A few bolts to allow a reasonable margin of living, but you still wouldn't want to fall, may build interest in the style and promote trying harder, bolder lines.

I remember Scarpelli saying in the early 90s when I was a local at the Voo that despite all the increases in fitness through sport climbing, no one wanted to do hard offwidths. Of course, that has really changed now. But would it have happened if the Voo didn't become a destination for the front range with easily accessible top-rope anchors and single pitches?

People need a way to train (in this case mentally) for these lines.

Maybe removable bolts? That way, there is just a small, almost invisible hole, and the leader knows that they are placing pro that wasn't originally there and they can make the conscious choice to do so at that moment.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 15, 2013 - 08:53am PT
Removeable bolts are for temporary pro in rt developement and not even remotely suitable for that application.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Sep 15, 2013 - 09:04am PT
Last month up at TM Ryuichi and Hiroshi did Blown Away over on DAFF. My knee was acting up so I sat it out getting more jealous by the minute watching and taking pictures.

First thing out of Ryiuichi's mouth when he got down was" thank you"

"What do you mean? I'm just siting here taking pictures"

"If you hadn't got us on those climbs at Joshua Tree and Tahquitz, we could have never done this"


So Todd, please don't go back and neuter all the "pre children" routes. ;-)

You can't learn to keep your head together on a runout slab, without leading some runout slabs.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Sep 15, 2013 - 11:00am PT
My point is that there needs to be mutual respect for the FA, whether clip up or run out. I was being facetious (just a little) when I said I should be able to chop FA bolts on a clip up without talking to the FA to make a point. You can't have it both ways.

If the FA, says it's ok to add bolts, have at it, but if you think not using them somehow recreates the original experience you just don't get it. If you are someone who had no involvement in the "creation" of the route and think it is ok to start modifying it to YOUR tastes without talking to the "creators", under the guise of knowing what is best for everyone, YOU are the one that has the ego problem. It has nothing to do with ownership. It is about respect for what other people value.

There should be some routes that don't have masses of newly minted gym climbers lining up at the base. The last thing we need with land managers scrutinizing us is another round of "bolt wars" that only lead to the rock being disrespected while puny humans bicker over the arrangements of deck chairs on the titanic.

Maybe as all of us old farts die out, the new farts can do whatever they want. But something will have been lost. Narrowing the range of experience and eliminating risk diminishes our existence. Much respect to younger climbers climbing way harder than I ever did, but please don't turn the sport into a purely physical challenge. As most mountaineers will attest, learning to manage risk will keep you alive in the long run.

The dinosaurs will be ok because we still know where some hidden gems are that most folks won't ever hike to, let alone retro-bolt. I guess bold climbing will become some bizarre ritual practiced by secret societies in obscure places.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
"Just don't clip the bolts if you don't like em"

Probably the weakest imaginable argument for altering an existing route.
DavidRoberts

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
As opposed to "I was the first to climb it, bolted it to my preference, and now everyone has to live with it." It is a PUBLIC resource. None of us own it. Not you, not me. If you don't have the sac to bypass a bolt, then you should just go climb an easier route.

David Roberts
Alpine, CA
Loomis

climber
Svět
Sep 15, 2013 - 12:27pm PT
And now for your Sunday morning "Break from the topic" Largo approved:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgWMiDMt0Bk

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:24pm PT
I remember being a beginner and looking at run-out Jonah at Tahquitz and dreaming of the day I might do it. I'd have to be bad ass, and I wanted to be because then I could climb Jonah (done in 1963 by Tom Higgins). Now, being bad-ass is equated with macho posturing and testosterone addled lunacy and egotism so there is really only one thing to do.

First, we accept the modern credo that no one owns the route, that the FA has no rights to the route, and no rights to impose to anyone after the FA how they should climb it. All of these rights now lie entirely with the individual. Whereas we once wished upon a star, now we can wish entirely upon our own self, blaming the FA folk of selfishness if we are robbed of our freedom to climb exactly as we so choose.

Today it is our sovereign right to regulate the degree of mental commitment, risk and challenge of a given route, and since it is impossible to gauge what that level is for everyone, slab/face routes will now be bolted every six feet. This practice will commence with bolting up Black Primo on Middle Cathedral. The now dozen or so bolts will be upped to 500, and if you want have the original experience you are totally "free" to skip as many bolts as you please. Next up with the Bachar/Yearian, then The Edge, which will be a really fun route out there on the edge with a bolt every body length for good measure. And while you're at it, piss on Tobin's grave.

Because the FA has no right to tell us where to climb, a 2nd and 3rd line of bolts, running 10-feet right and left of the original line, will give us the freedom to choose where we climb on the climb of our own design.

Because 72 draws are too much to lug for a 120 foot pitch, they will all be left in place. And each bolt and draw will be eco gear that will blend into the rock.

Since the FA doesn't own the climb, whatever name was given to a route is no longer valid because it might not square with the moniker that is more in keeping with the wilderness experience and ambiance that Josh and Gina have in mind and desire for their climbing adventure. This is a "personal" thing after all, so every route will be assigned a simple number, leaving each ascent to name the route according to their very own likes. For example, this is Gina's "Natal Birthday Route," or Josh's "White Rapper Fandango" climb. To each his/her very own. after all, none of us know what Gina is looking for with her climbing experience, and it is the routes responsibility to conform to Gina's wishes, for expecting Gina to rise to the level of the route is to tell Gina what to do, and that no longer washes in 2013. Nobody "owns" Gina.

Next, since history, heritage, and tradition has no right to impose itself on our freedom this very minute, no route history will ever be recorded because after all, no one "owns" the route, ergo no ascent is any more meaningful than any other ascent.

These improvements reflect the evolution of the sport and the advances each generation makes on the work of the previous generation. It will be interesting to see how future generations will advance the cause beyond the model just prescribed, and how each and every route can reflect our right to a personal experience and absolute freedom as we define it.

JL
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
"If you don't have the sac to bypass a bolt then you should go climb an easier route."
Hahahaha WTF? Am I reading this right? Hahaha

If you don't have the sac to do a route the way it is then you should do something else.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 15, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Hear, hear!


Largo for the win.
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Teach your children well,
then let them go their own way.
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
I agree with Largo about 90%. His straw-man doesn't address the obvious logic flaws pointed out by jghedge, but I would hate to see a world where all the bold climbs were neutered. I hope that never happens. Soloist claiming routes pisses me off, but not enough to start drilling. I also wouldn't be pissed if someone threw a few bolts on Solitary Confinement. Whatever. There is a lot of rock out there. Most of the people who want to do climbs with bolts every 6' will gravitate to sport crags and will not be interested in slab or risky climbing. Everyone arguing extreme points of view with the words "always" and "never" needs to chill. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.
Deekaid

climber
Sep 15, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
i love sarcastic largo...nice one
Abissi

Trad climber
MI
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
Get this, I used to climb at Ralph Stover "High Rocks" Pennsylvania back in the 70's. A bunch of us put up a lot of new gear routes, I don't think here was a bolt in the whole place.

The guidebook that was sold at the time listed the routes and put them in there correct place (the Practice block, The Jungle, The Cramped Face etc. Along comes a guy who wants to write a new guidebook. Cool, somebody who is going to take on a labor of love.

When I first got my mitts on a book I was appalled by what I saw. First off he renamed the sections of the cliff, mostly to "Biblical" names. like the Joshua 1:4 area. (BTW, I am an ordained clergyman. I like Biblical names BUT never having parts of the cliff renamed and obliterating the history behind them) Next, Many, Many climbs were renamed and the author listed himself as the first ascentionist.

We really stuck our necks out when we did the FA's climbing with old non-sticky shoe on the Brunswick Shale that he cliff is made out of. Climbs like the "Pit and the Pendulum" (5.9X) became "the Phone Booth. "Obnoxious Partner" one of the best climbs of that era, put up by Mike and Pete Werner, was now some name like Nehemiah ???. One of many climbs i put up survived the name cut. Climbs that were put up back in the 1940's were now accredited to someone else (More than not the Author of the book.

I really think the law of the first ascent was violated here. Recently I had a Facebook chat with a guy who climbs in the area. When I mentioned "The Cramped Face", an area that was host to some climbs hat were put up by Lou Lutz back in the 1930's, this area is central to the whole climbing area. He had no idea what i was talking about. this guy climbs there most everyday. The book author obliterated the history of the area.

Yeah, sorry for some of the ranting. whenever I think of the disservice that was done I get mildly upset.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:14pm PT
Sorry Warbler, your call for a discussion was railroaded by extremist hyperbole and absolutes.

Makes sense that the myth of rugged individualist would have said individualist assume that dissent from the community would degrade into an anarchy of individualistists.

Thinking of the community wasn't an issue in 1973, so why should it be in 2013?

This is all getting surreal like a Spaghetti Western.

We get it trad dads, its your way or the highway.

Guns a blazing at high noon over slabs!

History has spoken and its taking the highway.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
Like I said - compromise on a few glaring examples of run-amuck run-outs now.
--


But who will be the arbiter of what "run-amuck," and what do you do when Gina says your solution doesn't go far enough, that you have no right to tell her what risk she has to take?

And who in their right mind believes that "logic" and ration are the handmaidens of rock climbing and adventuring? Logic says not to go at all. Rants about climbing ethics not being logical are about as germane and relevant as doughnut holes. You want logic, you picked the wrong game. Go play chess.

The problem is that there is no middle ground once you disrespect the first ascent and start down the path of regulating risk according to your own likes. The reason to do so, we are told, is to make the route more accessible to more people, to up the utility of a public resource. So to make a given route acceptable to all the more, you have to grid bolt it and, as it has been said repeatedly on this thread, those wishing for a bolder experience have the option to bypass the bolts. This is not a straw man argument, but said scarecrow is the quintessence of what people have said they wanted: For the route itself to impose NOTHING on them in terms of risk.

Why this is a totally preposterous approach is that it assumes adventure sports, to be anything at all, must be attainable to every able bodied yuppie out there, and they should have the right to regulate the degree of acceptable risk. Nobody owns the rock. So we end up with something that is totally denatured, but makes for great Facebook shots. This is an improvement . . . this is Patrick's "highway."

Ain't it grand. And so far as the "myth" of this or that, why not hop up on one of those X routes and report back to us about the mythology you mentioned.

Thought so.

JL
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
With respect mt10901...We are definitely not in agreement....Yours is still the minority view. The FA owns the route, not the rock, after all this thread has put forward. In the real world of say, Tuoulumne, you put a route up in the style you wish, so long as it isn't a squeeze, and your creation is respected. If someone wants to change it, the FA is consulted and the community decides. And to this point, the community has decided along with the FA. If gear is added without the FA's consent, it is removed.
The only reason I keep posting is because a lot of work is going into re-bolting older climbs and also in putting up safer climbs. It would be a waste of time if a new ethic were imposed, rendering that hard work (and guide books!) useless. Routes, whether new or old take a lot of work and there are relatively few actually doing the work to put them up and even fewer preserving them. The FA's did the initial hard work but aren't preserving their vision much. Maybe when those doing the re-bolting are also done and down the road, the climbs will truly disappear. No-one at this point has raised a cry to change the routes while re-bolting. And the new climbs put up by Greg Barnes and Brian Law et. al. show that safer climbs can live in harmony with a tradition that is still alive and well.

This is just talk while the real work is being done.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
Do what is best for CLIMBING.

A cool drink of Kamps clarity circa 1965.



Once you step back from self interest and entitlement while offering a long top rope for the timid then the arguments around the first ascent principle start to fall away pretty quickly.

Better we raise ourselves than lower the climbs.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
The myth is that of the rugged individualist, the pioneer, the western hero archetype in literature and art.

I get it, but as a consumer I also don't.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:44pm PT
I'd like to introduce a subtlety that will be lost on a few here...

Let me propose that there is a distinction between the route and the rock upon which it exists. Now, of course, rock is the physical object that does exist and was here long before--and probably long after--we tailless monkeys started playing here. It cannot be rationally owned but we agree that it is often held in common trust for all us monkeys.

The rock is a mental construct of a physical object which we all agree is public property and, as such, is unownable yet "owned" by each of us. We, usually, agree that it is be conserved, protected, and yet be accessible to all. Individual ownership is anathema in this regard.

Now, a route on the other hand is also a mental construct, but one that is not strictly physical. Sure, in our monkey minds, we know that it "exists" on physical rock, yet we imbue it with something more. Over the years, we have generally and collectively agreed that climbing routes also reflect the times, skills, the mental makeup, and the values of the FA party. They "created" the route; it wasn't there before it was climbed. It wasn't included in any monkey's guidebook beforehand, and as such it reflects many aspects of first ascender. A route in this sense is inseparable from the creator. We can say, without equivocation, that the route is owned by the FA team. Of course, you silly, they don't own the rock!

You can--if you choose--disregard the style of the first ascent and claim some higher right to do as you will. After all, you do own the rock. Just don't forget that we own it too, and Martin Buber might have a few words for you. The tragedy of the commons, indeed...

The fact is, I do own the god damned route. It is the FA's creation and it exists in a mutually-agreed space in our monkey minds. You can propose that you have the right to dumb down the route for whatever self righteous and arrogant, hairbrained reason you might have, but the fact is you can't alter the route. You don't own it!

Rail all you want, it won't do you a bit of good. The route exists, and it is "owned", Joe. Maybe after us toothless olde tykes of yesteryear are gone to dust, and everyone who ever knew us has forgotten, a new route will rise in some monkey's mind.

But in the meantime, the route exists and the rock abides. Deal with it.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Sep 15, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
JHedge.....As I said before, it's amazing that people get so worked up over posts from someone who has ZERO credibility. I know what's happening in the real world and can back it up. You cannot. Plain and simple. Largo's point of view may be extreme but he surely can back it up and has the support of the community at this time. I would be happy to watch you place a bolt on any of his climbs and watch the results in real time. You like to be inflammatory but your flames have no heat.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 15, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Hahahaha, I went on sport climbing trips to Kentucky and the New with Kamps, he was no ideological extremist.

So you say...

Some of us went to Bob's memorial service, and it was out of love, affection, and respect for a man who lived his life boldly, put up solidly uncompromising routes, and clearly understood the value and tradition of climbing. Many of us climbed and bouldered with him too and knew him to be far less of an ideological extremist than you!

You've got a lot of f*#king gall...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 15, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
So far as the fey, post modern take on the myth of the cowboy and so forth, I'd look that word up before you tossed it out there. Myth in your context means, "lacking factual basis." I have said all along that a run out is not a myth, it's a runout. And if you believe those who first put up said runouts are phonies and products of a cooked mythology, kindly go do an X route and give us your impression.

My main beef here is that people not accepting run out routes on the routes own terms are not being emotionally honest. They never say, "I looked up at that route and it scared the sh#t out of me, and I know I'd never muster the effort to try it and I felt that was unfair." Instead they sidestep the fact of their own experience and start ripping on the Kamps and Powells and Higgins' of the climbing world calling them vain, macho, mythic (phony) and so forth.

If we took your terror of the runout as a starting point, we might have a conversation. If your starting point is that those who originally ran the rope are deficient, deluded, childish and false, then you're going to get called out as a poultroon every time because you're hiding your emotional truth, which should be the FIRST thing said. Just as I said it: When I first looked up at routes like Jonah and Harm's Way they scared the sh#t out of me and I knew they were way over my head. That's the starting point right there. Not ripping Bob Kamps, RIP, and the original run out crew.

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 15, 2013 - 04:21pm PT
Joe's out?

I thought he was going to tell us that we couldn't handle the truth.
In fact, I can hear the rant now,..
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be protected by men with bolts. Who's gonna bolt it? You?
I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for the old ways and you curse the retrobolts. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that some retrobolts while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you WANT bolts on that wall. You NEED bolts on that wall.
We use words like safety and protection and survivability, we use these words as the backbone of a life spent protecting something. You use them as a punchline.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and slips onto the blanket of the very protection that I provide, and then QUESTIONS the manner in which I provide it.
I would rather you just said thank you and went on your way, otherwise I suggest you pick up a drill and place a bolt.

Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.










(my guess,......... Joe isn't "gone" by a long shot)

17957
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:01pm PT
Ron it would be nice if the "kids" did some exploration but it's a sad truth that the concept of exploration is lost on them. The majority of them seem to think that everything has been discovered already. Their claim is that everything worth climbing has already been climbed. There's nothing left for them. The reality is that they are even more afraid of exploring new ground then the run out routes that they claim are to dangerous to do.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:13pm PT


Ron it would be nice if the "kids" did some exploration but it's a sad truth that the concept of exploration is lost on them. The majority of them seem to think that everything has been discovered already. Their claim is that everything worth climbing has already been climbed. There's nothing left for them. The reality is that they are even more afraid of exploring new ground then the run out routes that they claim are to dangerous to do.

kids are putting up new routes every day in my neck of the woods. New generation sh#t.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
Larry that's nice, the way it should be. Not so much here. Lot's of retro bolts showing up in the past few years. Pretty sad considering the location. There's still virgin summits you can walk to in a day but instead of making that their focus the concentration has been adding bolts to the most traveled rock lines in the area. Crack in the Woods and Sunshine Buttress are prime examples
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
Larry ever check out the Doloris near Dove Creek. I wonder how many retro bolts have showed up on the routes I did there?
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
I'm out.
and
Ok now I'm out,


Pity... I guess we kept the kid up past his bedtime.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 15, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
From what I've seen, and I'm in a climbing gym at least 3 times a weeks working out, the "average" climber of today would technically have been a star in my generation. And more than a few - women included - are doing big trad routes like El Cap and so forth, and going to the Creek and crushing cracks, and high balling the sh#t out of things. So this business about being scared to death of museum climbs seems strange to me, even though no one has yet come clean about their fear, and instead have settled behind Joe's "logical" arguments or the faked and/or "mythical" machismo and glaring character flaws of the old farts.

But if those old routes are going to be bolted up, there's really no one to stop it. If that's where climbing is going, that's where it's going.

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 15, 2013 - 06:04pm PT
Pfffft, dozens of bolts have been added to routes I put up (and then of course blamed on ME).
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
Sep 15, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
John I floated the Dolores but not climbed. Looked cool though. There is so much virgin rock around here.
I don't know of any retro bolting around here except the extra bolt I put on Ancient Art due to the changing of the route but so far no one has complained.
There have been some mini bolt wars out at potash mainly due to the wAy a route was put up.
Yawn. I've got better things to do then get mad about what other climbers are doing.
Words From On High

Mountain climber
Virginia
Sep 15, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
The wall was the ambition: the style became the obsession. Virginity had fallen out of vogue with the virtual extinction of the unclimbed summit.

Alex MacIntyre, The Shishapangma Expedition page 21
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 15, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
Jhedge is definatly comming off as a whack job and i doubt that anyone at this point is thinking that his giberish is the way of the future.

I put tons of time, effort and money into my routes and they are as perfect of an adventure as I can create when I am done with them. They have spice in the right places and gear in the right places. Mess with my routes and we will have to have a talk. I actually had to do that this summer. Some self important crusader save the rock type cleaned my pins from an obscure 11a R rt that goes over a roof because he decided that they were not nessicary as you can get some micro gear in there as well. Turns out that he did not even know the rt went over the roof. He thought the pins were for the 5.8 that traverses under the roof. I ended up soloing up 75ft of pretty steep sustained 5.7 to where he had his rope solo TR anchor and had a little very polite chat to make sure that none of my other fixed gear was going to be chopped... the upside is that I now have a good excuse to retro bolt my own route that has only been led twice. When I get arround to it I will add one bolt to replace the bad pins and gaurenteed it will get climbed regularly ;)
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 15, 2013 - 10:38pm PT
There are several different arguments woven in to the posts on this thread. The first is centered on the long-standing rule that the FA’s style is maintained, the second is based on riffs of Joe’s notion that the FA run-outs are frauds because the FA parties were too talented and it’s not fair, and the third by the climbers who want to climb good routes but are not interested in run-outs.

Personally, I think that maintaining the FA style is the only sensible rule because nothing else comes close to being so simple and “fair.” But it is only a start: there are many routes that have been “fixed” and bolts added, however, apparently there are many climbers who want more routes to do that are otherwise blocked because they are run-out. I have a good concept of the climbing community in the 1970s but not now, and I accept that things change: we took the aid out of routes without using pins and expected that subsequent ascents would follow the same style—to hell with the those old farts who nailed the route.

I have pointed out up-thread that the FA rule is only enforceable by the community that is currently climbing—eventually those of us who did the FA will no longer have even a faint say on changes to the routes. After reading the posts on this thread, I have decided to accept on face-value that, at least in Tuolumne, too few routes with good protection exist for the current generation of climbers. I don’t know if this is true, but some climbers who have posted believe it, so I accept that it as a valid point of view. I know that in the early 70s, routes were run-out as a stylist choice, but I accept that this may have been pushed too far after the 70s into moderate route territory and it rankles climbers who want closely placed protection. So, what to do?

Here is a suggestion:

Create a list of climbs in Tuolumne with the intent of training younger climbers to lead with more serious run-outs. This should account for difficulty, distance above the last protection, and the danger if someone falls. Think of Chris’ “Road to the Nose.” Let the goal be BY. If there are gaps in the this progression, or too few routes to satisfy the number of climbers, identify run-out routes that would otherwise fit into the progression, get the permission of the FA party, and add bolts to existing routes and close the gap. Create lots of opportunities for younger climbers to climb the way they want while also nudging them to take an interest in the notion that clip-ups are not the only way to have fun. The intent is to close the gap between the head skills to climb run-out leads and the understanding that “museum” climbs were originally climbed to enhance the climbing experience and are fun.

It does not seem to me to be fair or sustainable for young climbers to be thwarted in having fun, in the style they way they want. If those of us who found the pleasures of run-out leads want to entice new generations, we need to work to make the climbing experience more enticing and make it relatively easy to allow those climbers to aspire to the pleasure of leading a long way out.

With this is an incremental approach that does not try to establish a end-all solution, it should provides a way for the current climbing community to a path to establish where they want to draw the line on run-out climbing. It also avoids the immediate rap-bolting of BY (I cannot see any reason why retrobolting on all routes is not the outcome based on half the posts on this thread, especially routes where bolts were placed on aid).


If the current community decides that lots of bolts on all the routes is the way to go, then no one in the climbing community will stop them from adding bolts and arguing about how many is enough—maybe the National Park Service but no museum climbers like me—but at least there will have been a chance to persuade younger climbers to aspire to the pleasures of run-out leads.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Sep 15, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
Lots of bolts can suck just as bad as not enough bolts... 5.8 slab generaly 4 bolts per 50m pitch is only PG rateing not R and gets climbed every weekend here in the North east.
kpinwalla2

Social climber
WA
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:01am PT
Not sure why "lots of" bolts can ever suck as bad as having too few (or suck at all IMHO). Someone climbing a slab who thinks it has too many bolts always has the option of skipping clips and upping the fear factor, if they wish. Someone climbing the route she perceives has having too few bolts does NOT have the comparable option of adding points of protection to the climb. And just what is it about "lots of" bolts on a route that can make it "suck"? Is just a visual thing, or that by allowing more folks to climb a route it deprives others of the elitist experience they covet? BTW I think some routes should stand forever as mental test pieces, but IMHO those routes should be on the fringe, not the norm.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:09am PT
Not sure why "lots of" bolts can ever suck as bad as having too few (or suck at all IMHO). Someone climbing a slab who thinks it has too many bolts always has the option of skipping clips and upping the fear factor, if they wish. Someone climbing the route she perceives has having too few bolts does NOT have the comparable option of adding points of protection to the climb. And just what is it about "lots of" bolts on a route that can make it "suck"? Is just a visual thing, or that by allowing more folks to climb a route it deprives others of the elitist experience they covet? BTW I think some routes should stand forever as mental test pieces, but IMHO those routes should be on the fringe, not the norm.

Less important than the frequency of bolts for clipping, a ladder of bolts eliminates the route finding questions that make slab and face climbs so interesting...
Crack-N-Up

Big Wall climber
South of the Mason Dixon line
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:14am PT
Looks like the haves, have it and the have not's never will. Time to go to sleep.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:23am PT
^^^^^


I thought you were "out" of this thread and went retrobolting or something?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:33am PT
To draw an analogy with sport climbing - adding bolts to a runout route is comparable to adding new anchor bolts to a sport route in the form of new and lower chains for when the pump gets bad.

100 ft sport pitch, originally done ground to chains with a 60 meter rope, and just enough rope to lower the leader to the ground after the red point. I can't red point it because there are no rests. Why shouldn't I double up protection bolts every 20 ft so less fit climbers like me can lead the "route". Heck, now you've got a five pitch sport route instead of 1 demanding pitch.

Better?
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:33am PT
Thought I'd give the temper tantrum queens a chance to calm down.
Male menopause is nothing to take lightly, apparently...

attracted like a puss to bolts..... apparently
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:40am PT
Sorry Joe, not buying your whole schtick on here. Good troll though. Even better than your Syria crap. Keep reeling them in.

jgill

Boulder climber
Colorado
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:53am PT
But if those old routes are going to be bolted up, there's really no one to stop it. If that's where climbing is going, that's where it's going.

Simple wisdom. You have your memories of exciting and challenging times . . . that now lie in that distant land, the past.


johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Hedge if you think these retro bolts you propose can't be removed faster then they can be placed you are seriously mislead. Like I sad before, I chop more than I drill and I'm not the only one. What do you think the managers of these "public lands" are going to say about a mass retro bolting movement? "Logic and common sense" tells me that it'd be foolish to risk having our access limited or shut off completely.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:40am PT
Jim, Hedge has obviously been clipped.
rmuir

Social climber
From the Time Before the Rocks Cooled.
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:08am PT
Some old records can't be broken:
___
jghedge

climber

Jul 24, 2007 - 11:16am PT
"Second myth- it took a long time for me (and many others) to get to 5.13, so all those routes in the 80'2 had nothing to do with 5.13 or the modern frigging that goes on today."

Squid you make some valid points, but I would have to argue that you guys were 5.13 climbers putting up 10's and 11's. Even if you weren't leading that hard, the bouldering that was going on proves you were quite capable of climbing 13 or harder. The thing I always wondered was, where was the 5.13 Bachar-Yerian? The true and honest statement about running it out would have been made by someone climbing at their limit, not 2 number grades below it. A 5.11 climber putting up a 5.9X route surely would not be any big deal - why should a 5.11X put up by a 5.13 climber be any different?
___

Six years on and Joe is still spinning the same platter. ...the same old groove. How's that working for ya?

Not like a puss to bolts, Russ. More like a moth to flames.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:35am PT
... and Hedge said he's a 5.13 climber but he's he crying about how 5.10 is to hard for him. Hahaha
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:57am PT


Credit: RyanD
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:10am PT
Nope one Hedge is enough
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:19am PT
I already did. Again, what do you think will happen to our access when hundreds of new retro bolts start showing up? Damn you're dense
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:23am PT
I'm not sure I'm following the retro-bolt (adding new bolts to shorten run-outs) logic here.

Is the idea here that anybody should feel free to bring any climb down to their level?...

"I'm not willing to try that move as run out as it would be. But if I put in an additional bolt in the 'right' place, then I'll take a stab at the move. And, after all, nobody should 'have' to face that fall to try that move."

Is that the idea here?

If so, then please explain what "consensus" or any other "pressure" might keep every route from becoming a bolt ladder... you know, lowest common denominator and all that.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:32am PT
Why would this be limited to YNP? Ultimately I think that land managers will disapprove of a massive increase in fixed gear of any kind and that will jeopardize our access. This is not a problem that's limited to YNP.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:46am PT
A few years ago a bunch of retro bolts started showing up around here. The next year the Chugach State Park came forward with a proposal to ban ALL fixed gear in the park. Luckily it didn't go through.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:54am PT
Canyon Lands banned all fixed gear. Flat Irons has a bolting ban. Eldo has a permitting process, for bolts, now. It's not that far away. There you go four examples where climbing access has been limited because of what you propose
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 03:56am PT
The CSP's proposal will come back up. They made it very clear that the rampant unchecked bolting needed to stop. It's very obvious
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:03am PT
One more, off the top of my head, Taluhalla(sp?) Gorge has a ban on adding or replacing any fixed gear. There's five areas, spread across the country, where the ideas the you are proposing have already fuked us.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:07am PT
Are you saying that not being able to leave any fixed doesn't limit climbing?
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:20am PT
It wasn't the runout routes the changed anything. It was stuff like power drills, huge increases in bolts/other fixed gear, and the overnight increase in traffic. Get it? What's with the name calling? You whine and bitch when others called you names, like puss, and then you start with the name calling.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:32am PT
They limit the number of people who can climb that route.

Why is that a problem that needs fixing?

I really don't understand the problem. We are, after all, talking about climbing rather than hiking. Doesn't that mean conforming to what the rock presents, while doing as little TO the rock as possible while getting up?

If an FA team can get up with very few bolts, isn't that a good thing? If that limits the number of people that can rise to that standard of conforming to the rock, isn't that fact exactly what distinguishes climbing from, say, hiking?
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 04:52am PT
An increase in bolts will bring an increase in traffic. That's two things many land managers do not want. Very simple. Plus adding bolts to existing routes is weak. If you can't do a route as it is then do a different route. How is bringing a route down to your level gonna help anything? Not increasing the bolt count doesn't limit access.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Sep 16, 2013 - 05:17am PT
What you really want to do is limit access by limiting bolting

These are two totally different senses of "limit."

In the first sense, we understand that to "climb" at all means to voluntarily "limit" oneself to doing only those climbs that one can get up BY conforming to what the rock presents. That is what distinguishes climbing from, say, hiking. So, a CLIMBER acknowledges when he is not "up to the challenge" presented, and "limits" her ascents to only those she can do without bringing the climb down to his level. Instead, a CLIMBER seeks to raise his level TO conform to the climb. Adding bolts to make a climb "more accessible" to "more climbers" is really a contradiction in terms. As more "climbers" can do a given route, it necessarily becomes less and less "climbing."

In the second sense, the limitation is not self-imposed, as a voluntary conformity to what climbing even IS; instead the limitation is imposed from outside the climbing community and has nothing to do with what defines climbing itself. The limitation is a function of land managers' decisions and sweepingly limits access to ALL, regardless of their ability to conform to the rock.

To the extent that anybody can "legitimately" add chicken-bolts to existing climbs, to that same extent people will continually ensure that every climb becomes less and less CLIMBING and more and more hiking. At that point, the question becomes pressing: Why bother with the bolts? Why not just hike to the top and forget even the pretense of "climbing?"

The ethic of leaving routes in basically the same condition the FA team did has nothing to do with "ownership" of a route; this ethic instead attempts to preserve the value of the route as a CLIMB rather than a hike. Otherwise, we should not stop at adding bolts. We should chip holds... as big as needed to ensure that nobody is "limited" from doing the "climb." While we're at it, let's just cut stairs. And even that's not enough. Let's have those ADA-approved stair lifts, so that even people that can only ride up alongside the stairs can also have access and not be "limited" in their ability to say that they "climbed" the route. And, of course, those power lifts will have to be bolted to the rock... big bolts, so that they are maximally safe!
raymond phule

climber
Sep 16, 2013 - 06:06am PT

Doesn't that mean conforming to what the rock presents, while doing as little TO the rock as possible while getting up?

If an FA team can get up with very few bolts, isn't that a good thing?

I think this brakes down when the FA team is doing routes way below their level. Is it really good if a possibly nice 5.9 route require the skill and boldness of a bold 5.13 climber because the extremely skilled FA team soloed the route?

I remember the routes in the area that I started climbing at. The difficult bolt protected routes had many more bolts than the easier bolt protected routes. The 5.11+routes where often bolted such that a 5.11+ climber could try to onsite those routes. Many of the 5.10- where really not that good for the 5.10- climbers.

I am not for over bolting all routes but to few bolts is neither good.

I still think that snake dike is a good example. The FA team climbed the route with less bolts than it have now but the current state is still far from a sport climb. Had it really been better if the FA team didn't add some bolts?
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 16, 2013 - 08:06am PT
Credit: patrick compton

Credit: patrick compton
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 16, 2013 - 10:09am PT
Why are you people arguing with jhedge?

He is obviously a true believer that no reason will sway.

So why are you wasting your breath? Just like arguing with climate change deniers, you're only giving him a larger platform from which to spout his nonsense.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 16, 2013 - 10:15am PT
Joe, dude, you're exhibiting the same behavior that you showed us early in your climbing career. There's more then a grain of truth to the nicknames bestowed on us C and D team members.

Remember this knock knock joke Joe?

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Joe
Joe who?

Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Sep 16, 2013 - 10:17am PT
I am at best a mediocre climber.

There are many routes that I will not lead because I do not feel that my mental ability is up to the task of undertaking the required runouts, even if the moves are within my ability.

Such is life.

Many, many safe routes exist for me nonetheless.

Why is this such a problem?
Deekaid

climber
Sep 16, 2013 - 10:28am PT
JHedge is holding his own here and makes some valid points, in my opinion. I am with the "leave the route as it was originally done" camp because that is the tradition. If the tradition naturally evolves into something else so be it.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Sep 16, 2013 - 11:45am PT
JHedge is holding his own here and makes some valid points

Such as?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:36pm PT
unnecessary run outs


You say that as though you had something besides a personal opinion as to what "unnecessary" means? Like some objective truth. Whatever you ropinion is, it's different than those who made the run out 1st ascents, who figured if they could climb a given section sans bolts, then adding holes was clearly "unnecessary." You can't use the argument that active climbers these days are not FAR superior to where we were 40 years ago, because they are. So the technique argument holds no water today, when any old gym climber can dick 5.12 with ease.

JL
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 16, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Problem is gym 5.12 = 5.8 slab...OK, maybe 5.9. Definitely not 5.9+.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
The lack of added bolts has destroyed the growth of climbing and lowered the standards of climbing in Britain...

... yea, sure.
johnkelley

climber
Anchorage Alaska
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Exactly they climb 5.12 in a gym and 5.8 on a trad route. That makes them 5.8 climbers not 5.12 climbers regardless of what they think
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
Amusing that lots of the big name runout routes were done in EBs or worse, with the mental block of 5.11 being the human limit, with no cams, and most modern climbers still can't deal with the reality of the leads.

The other reality is that next to nobody gets killed or even seriously injured on such routes, or if they do, I'd guess it happens less per capita than it does on average climbs, especially if you include mountaineering. Lots of runout routes have potentially long, clean falls on them - but the consequences of such falls are unknown, something lots of climbers are uncomfortable with. Even with lots of bolts, accidents can happen, and so to a certain extent they provide a sense of security that's false.

It's human to fear the unknown, but one of the basic elements in the spirit of climbing, and adventure, is to go forward with skill, confidence and open eyes. Climbers that brush off runout routes as egotistic displays or primal chest thumping haven't invested the time in climbing them it takes to see deeper than that.

As Largo continues to point out, climbers these days are on the average so much better, rating wise, than climbers were when runout routes were the norm, and the rubber was funky. BITD, where new climbs were concerned especially, it was all about raising standards, in whatever way possible - style, speed, difficulty, and minimal drilling.

One of the strongest arguments against rap bolting was that it lowered the standard of style in favor of pure difficulty of moves, but at least that was a compromise that led to a huge raising of standards in difficulty.

Wide spread retro bolting would be a compromise that does nothing I can see to raise the standards of climbing - in general or for the individual. It would be the first major change in the evolution of free climbing ethics, that I can think of, that simply was made to enable less skilled climbers to climb more routes.

Maybe raising standards isn't important anymore

patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Sep 16, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
style, speed, difficulty, and minimal drilling.

As Hedge pointed out about 60 times, as the difficulty got harder the drilling increased... so those 2 ideas can't be included in the same list.

People don't do slabs because they aren't that interesting: high step, balance, trust feet, repeat. At least you get a great view in TM. Add 30' run outs on 40 year old bolts because the FA did it that way.... and you have this thread.

People are still concentrating on those 4 things in places like the Peak District.

But the difference is, manky pro in cracks and such is natural pro, so it turns out that is something people want to do.

Following in the footsteps of an FA who chose to place a bolt once in 30'... turns out not so much.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
If someone climbs a 120' of 5.7 with no drilling and then climbs 120' with two sections of 5.10 protected by 2 bolts, then the climbing got harder and the drilling increased. But that does not refute Kevin's point that there are only 2 bolts not 12 on run-out slabs.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
I think this brakes down when the FA team is doing routes way below their level. Is it really good if a possibly nice 5.9 route require the skill and boldness of a bold 5.13 climber because the extremely skilled FA team soloed the route?

Who gets to decide when a route is bolted to the "appropriate" level? As John asked just up-thread, who decides how many bolts are "necessary?"

If you are a 5.9 climber, that does not imply that you "can" get up all 5.9 climbs. Unlike gymnastics (or much of "sport climbing"), real climbing involves risk that contributes to a "head game" that goes far beyond mere physical capacity to "make the move." Real climbing ties into that "grace under pressure" aspect of character development that makes climbing a true "head game" rather than just a physical endeavor. The more a route is strictly a physical challenge, without an element of risk, the more that route is a gymnastic endeavor using the rock as apparatus.

Thus, there will be a large number of climbs at a given rating that a climber that can supposedly "do" that rating will not be able to get up... strictly because the climber doesn't have the "head" to be run-out while at their physical limit.

What this means is that a "5.9" climber might have to up his game enough to be solid on 5.11 before he can get up a really wide range of 5.9s (including really run-out ones). Or the climber that really is maxed at 5.9 might have to up her mental game in order to perform effectively at her limit on a really run-out 5.9.

The point is that climbing is ABOUT upping your game (physically and/or mentally) rather than bringing climbs down to the level of "the masses."

There's plenty enough of lowest-common-denominator endeavors in the world as it is! Do we really need to bring climbing to the lowest common denominator also, thereby gutting the very meaning of the word?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Sep 16, 2013 - 02:21pm PT

As Hedge pointed out about 60 times, as the difficulty got harder the drilling increased... so those 2 ideas can't be included in the same list.


I was speaking about difficulty across the spectrum of climbing, not specifically on runout slabs, and including it as one of the ways in which standards can be raised, as in rating difficulty. Proponents of retrobolting don't like to acknowledge that runouts are difficult, because their experience with difficulty is mostly about the moves, rather than the mental difficulty of relaxing in a perilous situation.

A basic element of runout routes was that you increased the difficulty on the easy moves by upping the mental difficulty with long fall potential. Done well, this creates a climb that's consistently challenging.This argument about more bolts as the move difficulty increased doesn't support the notion that every move on the whole route should be equally well protected - that would lower the (mental) difficulty of the route, and isn't required of the FA. If a multipitch route's crux is well protected 5.11, why not have big runouts on the 5.8 - 5.9 stuff to make that climbing difficult in a mental way?

Routes that are consistently easy or moderate with little or no protection are a different matter.