WoS / PTPP, part XXV (continued from XXIV )

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Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 7, 2006 - 10:55am PT
Here are the previous 207 or so messages.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=231718&f=0&b=0

This thread was split again at about 235 posts.

Go here to post new messages:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=237614&f=0&b=0

Please do not post all additional messages to this thread.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:07am PT
I'll tell you what - no matter what you think about Wings of Steel and Mark and Richard, this climb and what happened has generated more interest than anything else in the history of Supertopo, as evidenced by the number of posts that continue to be written. Wow!


Uh, knott quite.

Both the Stonemaster Stories and Mussy Nebula threads had at least triple
the number of posts of all of the combined WOS threads...
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:20am PT
Matt, I'm quoting Maysho's post on a different thread...

"...Referring to the endless WOS issue and Dueces post about bolts per pitch. ZM and Aurora both done in Sept 81, were probably the last new routes before Wings of Contention. Aurora had about 80 holes for 10 new pitches, and that was a better ratio than the Trip on which we began and ended. So WOS might not have been much of a bolting departure.
Peter"

Did you get that? still think is the overbolting (not) that got these guys in trouble?

Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Tardbuster did not get the memo:

Here is what he posted on the other larger thread:


Tarbuster writes:

Twight,
Here is the distinction as I see it.
We've got locals/non locals.
We've got accpeted practices/new practices.
And the mix of those 4 elements.

Burton and Sutton, with the Magic Mushroom, came in with their own independent experience and logged an outstanding new route, under the noses of the locals if need be said, but they did it by playing the "accepted rules" by linking features.

Henry Barber travelled widely and snagged first free ascents "out from under" locals world wide. So did Mike Graham. This is straight forward competition carried out under accepted norms of play.

Bachar changed the rules when he introduced hanging from hooks as a means to extend the linitation of stanced drilling. He was a local, pretty much no uproar.

Carrigan came to this country and instituted hangdogging; a big uproar ensued, much like this Wings experience. He was not a local.

Kauk brought in hangdogging, big uproar: he was alocal.

The Wings was an institution of a new approach both in terms of goal and tactics, yes it was wrongly reported interms of boldness. This is what Matt, albeit long winded, has been saying.

As times have changed, a lot of people are espousing less provincialistic behavior, less xenophobia. A broader sense oc community. Bravo I say. We now have a more global community. We have many co existent styles. Yes, we still have disagreements, that is as ever will be.

Hey Nefarius/Pete:
What truth about the route WOS is not yet known?
Do you mean the truth about the publicly known identity of the vandals?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Thanks Russ.
(i am a slow typer and the ship sailed while I was in the hole)
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:36am PT
darod- i'm saying it ain't up to you, in 2006, to decide the route is this and not that. you can only see it through your own eyes, in your own era, same as me. you cannot vindicate nor validate either the route or the climbers, you can only editorialize and express your opinion, and it needs to be done in the proper context, with all the disclaimers that ought to be associated w/ 2-1/2 decades having past. those were different times, and the culture was what it was, period.
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 11:51am PT
You know Matt, I honestly agree with you, things need to be analyzed within an historical context, however, that same historical context is what i'm trying to get at, and as you can see, JM has one idea about hole count that is not shared by other notable first ascentionists of the era.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:01pm PT
Darod,
Not a wall climbing (hard nailing) expert but I was there for all of this.
(I had done a handfull of grade 5/6's and already guided a grade 5)

To clarify, hole count spread out over an entire route which links features needs to be distinguished from several contiguous pithces of aid drilling/hooking primarily/entirely on blank slab. This is the historically relevant difference.

edit-
I will say this is an aid climbing distinction. I also think the mis-reportage of run outs perhaps skewed acceptance of the style.

Free routes were then happening within an accepted precedent using very similar formats, this is an interesting aspect of this matter. I referenced my communication with Ed Leeper on just this matter, in the Where is PTPP thread.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:31pm PT
darod-
here is what i see, a few people who have apparently gotten to know richard and mark, primarily you, pete, tom, and nefarius (did i get that right? maybe), have joined w/ them in a defacto effort (albeit not necessarily an organized effort) to "get the truth out" and "clear the names" of richard and mark.

seems like a reasonable enough goal, honorable even.
but here is what's missing, for me:

if all the rumors, lies, and slander that supposedly miss-defined this climb among the climbing community in the early 80's were in fact the basis of the community's objections (which the "get the truth out" effort assumes is the case), why aren't there any notable posts from people of that era, stating that they never knew it was all hard run-out hooking on slab between infrequent protection bolts, and they would have accepted that as a legitimate effort, rather than having scorned the route, if only they'd known "the truth"?

the obvious answer for me, and one that is regularly bolstered by comments in these threads, is that the drilling up a featureless slab was itself the problem, and while assumptions or rumors about rivets or enhancements may have fanned the flames to some degree, the actual fire itself was the choice of the line.

all the editorializing i see here from the above mentioned group accepts the line itself, but i have not seen that from anyone of the era in question (thus my repeated comments about context, etc.).


TB- i may be long winded, but i apparently have to keep repeating myself anyway, go figure.


and again, it's not my issue, not my battle, whatever, but there are how many posts about how alpinist or someone ought to write up something that celebrates the climb and sets the record straight, i am just not convinced that those are one in the same.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:40pm PT
It would be interesting then, to understand why others, locals even, had also, in fact, tried to have a go at the slab previously too. Maybe it *is* the line that is the problem as someone feels like their toes were stepped on or something was taken from them...
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
bingo matt.
read my edit above.

i was at the SAR meeting between WOS and a few Valley locals.
The facts concerning the runouts were presented by R & M: while I found this interesting from my viewpoint, it didn't seem to modify the prevailing opinion of the choice to aid a multi pitch blank slab.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 12:45pm PT
Nefarius,
Whether there would have been acceptance given the stated facts is now only a matter of conjecture.

You could pole some locals from the era who were held as aid afficianados and arbiters of style and ethics.

Ditto (conjecture) with any jealousy held by people who may have tried the slab.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:00pm PT
I guess the biggest question I have, and maybe tarbuster, healjye, deuce, russ, werner... Maybe one of you guys can set me straight. Seriously. I wasn't around then. You guys were. I'm wondering, and I suppose I could go check in the slab thread that ran for a while, if any of you climbed slab, enjoyed it and maybe even put up a new line somewhere. If so, why would WoS be any/so different from this? Why would an aid route up a slab be any different than a free route up a slab?

You see, maybe there *is* a point to this that I don't understand as I grew into climbing when all of this "new" stuff/ethics *did* exist already. And, apparently, ethics have changed... OK, so that last line makes no sense to me. Changing ethics kind of invalidates them as ethics. But it's safe to say that "things" have changed. Still, I don't get the reason to lie and run these guys into the ground the way it was done. If the ethics were so set in stone, so agreed upon by the entire community, then shouldn't the arguments of the locals stood, based on that single point? Without the need to over-exaggerate and lie and the desire to put them out of the climbing business for good, esentially?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:09pm PT
All good points and maybe for clarity we should define/distinguish ethics and style.

To your point Nef, which is key for sure:
I do not know exactly how the reportage was offered as it was.
I have said this in other posts.
If that was a conspiracy, it was trotted out by a very few at its point of insertion to the culture at large.

Again, at the SAR meeting, I know I heard about run outs from R & M.
I know I posed that to the other guys.
My recollection is hazy on their exact response, but as I have said, I recall they dismissed those reports as false or inconsequential to the overall composition of the goal vis a vis an aiding, by whatever means, of a very large blank slab.

The aspect of cultural absorption by all including media is what happened. Again, conjecture as to how and why, but it happened.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
if you don't think ethics can and do change w/ time, you are not very well versed in the history of climbing in yosemite. ever read steve roper's book, camp 4?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 01:18pm PT
Nef,
I see I did not answer your initial question.
Aiding a blank slab vs freeing a blank slab.

It seems pretty evident to me that they were thought of differently, period.
In hindsight, yes I see you could allow both,
Heck, both are bold and ground up right?
But that was not the deal then.

As to getting all of this figured out at the time:
Look how long we have been at it on this forum, with all this new technology (internet) linking all these people and their ideas. We are still just getting to it here.

We had no instant/dynamic mode of engagement then.

Really, it took a decade to haggle out rap bolting and it was fierce: now your are asking me why we (a huge community in some regard) did not make a rapid determination in favor of WOS?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:14pm PT
"if you don't think ethics can and do change w/ time, you are not very well versed in the history of climbing in yosemite. ever read steve roper's book, camp 4?"

Apparently, in the climbing world they do, sure. But independent of climbing and for what they really are, they do not. I was simply making a statement about ethics in general.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:17pm PT
I most definitely wasn't around at the time and in fact the only climbing I was doing in '82 was running tree and roofing crews during a lapse in climbing. But I agree the "featureless slab" aspect of WOS obviously lent at least a partial [technical] rationale for some of the adverse reaction. Ammon's comments on personal taste are also probably a bit relevant in that entire routes of this kind of aid / hooking has never been in vogue and never will be - hell, you don't see folks lining up to hike the Sahara either, but we typically don't malign those that try; but maybe it's because they're out of sight so quickly and we're curious if they'll ever be seen again.

I remember my first trip to Whitehorse Ledge where I did happen to get shown around by a couple of local slab afficionadoes (sorry, I forget your names...). They said let's go check out this new .11+ route and we started walking up the slabs which eventually got steeper and steeper to a point where they somehow managed to keep walking and I had to start making other accomodations. Eventually, with much beta, we all made it to the beginning of the "route" which they pointed to with great pride. Now admittedly I was pretty stoned, but I just burst out laughing and then had to kind of reel myself in as I could see I was hurting their feelings and they didn't understand my laughter. I then told them, "First off, this is a perfectly smooth featureless slab, every square inch of which looks exactly like every other square inch - how can you possibly label a beginning, middle, or end to any of it and designate it as a line? Second, how would you find it again even if you did? Third, there's zero pro unless you count that bolt way the f#ck up there. And fourth, I don't believe you can possibly climb up any further than where we are standing..."

Man, did I get a serious education in road rash that day - I still consider it one of the most savage beatings I've ever taken - more like riding the ball return in a bowling alley than climbing (belaying was a defensive art). The bottom line was they basically looked a hell of a lot closer and harder at their granite than we ever did our sandstone and so they "saw" it entirely different than I did. It was definitely not my cup of tea, but it was theirs and had they come to the Valley it's hard for me to believe they too wouldn't have been instantly drawn to WOS and no doubt tried to figure out if it might be possible to free it.

But, to be honest, I don't think a route like WOS is about the nature of the climbing itself so much as the nature of journey / goal. Standing on a hook for a half and hour alternately trying to figure out the next placement and the reason you're doing it at all clearly isn't for everyone, but as rare and daring journey's go (however relentlessly boring and scary) my hat is off to Richard and Mark for their vision, skill, and perseverence. To me it seems that while the individuals, line, tactics, and time involved were all "outside the norm" and bound to attract some negative attention, the "community" response is a real stain that could be greatly eased with a couple of heartfelt apologies and it seems a little sad those apologies appear to be as difficult as the climb itself for those directly involved.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:24pm PT
tarbuster-- thanks. Was just curious if there was a known line drawn concerning slabs going aid versus free. Trying to understand. I guess I was wondering, mainly, because of the whole idea of aid, in general. Without change, (nothing to do with ethics) aid itself, would not be considered legit. After all, it was "cheating your way up a crack, whereas real men climb the thing without needing to ladder their way up on gear..."

If it made sense, as things got harder on cracks, to start to aid your way up a route, then why not a slab as it became featureless enough to prevent free climbing.

Again, I understand no one can really answer this question, but just posing it as an open thought process...
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:32pm PT
Just for the record, I do not personally know anybody directly involved in this issue, nor PTPP, nor the WoS crew. It's just my personal interest in the matter, as I think it really pertains us all.

Interesting comments.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2006 - 02:35pm PT
As I recall.... I think "we" thought climbing on the Apron was a little light in the PA's too.... maybe it was just a slab thing afterall.
Bilbo

Trad climber
Truckee
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:40pm PT
I think it really comes down to having respect for the rock, especially the sacred stone. Free climbing has way less impact(less holes, less bolts ect..) than Aid.
If your going to damage the rock and leave scars shouldn't it be a natural line or at least something that future climbers will enjoy and use?
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:46pm PT
Re: manufactured vs. natural difficulty.

It appears that Wings of Steel involves manufactured difficulty, up to 20 percent from what we can gather by the statements by MSmith. Comparisons have been made to the manufactured difficulty as practiced by one of the greatest big wall climbers of all time, namely Jim Bridwell. But notable is that many other first ascentionists of the era were purists who eschewed "enhancements" on the rock to maintain difficulty.

Arguably, there is a difference between enhancing a hook placement to link two A4 seams on an overhanging piece of rock, as Bridwell often did, and enhancing hooks repeatedly on a slab. Regardless, hooking standards of the era on vertical and less-than-vertical rock are exemplified not by Bridwell, but by routes put up by Steve Grossman and Charles Cole: Jolly Rodger, True Nose, and Turning Point, probably Space, too, to name a few testpieces. On such routes, from what I understand, no chisel was ever used to enhance the rock during long, difficult hooking sections.

The repeated sound of metal on rock could have been heard by valley climbing locals at the time when Wings of Steel was being established; perhaps this was the cause of some of the reaction (and also the source of the rivet ladder rumors). Given the sacred nature of the big stone to many, I can understand where the concern about the route came from at the time.

In any case, it appears to me that to climb the second ascent of WOS (and exemplfying one of the problems of manufactured difficulty on a first ascent), one has to come to grips with some philosophic issues, and may have to resort to the same techniques employed by the first ascent; namely, to carry a chisel on lead while climbing and be prepared to use it. For many, this may be considered a lowering of personal ethic.

As Ammon pointed out, while on lead, to find the one placement amoung a choice of possibly dozens of possibilities within reach (most of which will fail, and lead to a whipper), takes much more time and effort than the alternative of reaching up at an optimum level and whacking off some crystal, or the tip of a tiny exfoliation, to make a placement with known qualities (based on the level of enhancement).

The ethical framework employed by Pete Z. and Ammon may answer some questions of the difficulty of their attempts. If one was prepared to use a chisel on lead, as the first ascentionists did, would the route still be considered as difficult as it now appears?

Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
Cool! Thanks, Russ, bilbo, tarbuster, darod, etc... Just trying to get an idea of the thinking of the day, guys. I dunno, throw my own thoughts in, mix it up a bit. Fvck, I dunno.

I really appreciate everyone's posts.

Great story, healjye! Thanks.

Deuce's post wasn't there yet Edit: Thanks for the post, Deuce! Always well thought out.

I will need to go back through the threads and read about the enhancements, for sure. It's all been so long ago that this started, and so much has gone back and forth, etc. From my personal conversations with Richard and Mark, I was under the understanding that they had really done much enhancing at all, and when there was, even at the time, you would have been hard pressed to tell where it was, it was minute. I can understand, certainly, how folks then would have been quite pissed when thinking about how *anyone* would get up that slab without drilling it into submission and then hearing constant hammering on top of that.

I know Mark is around, and Richard should be back around tomorrow or Wednesday. Hopefully, they can clarify more on the enhancing, as well as things they may have said that seem contradictory.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 02:54pm PT
Hey All,
It seems like we might be getting somewhere here.
I have emailed Richard and invited him to talk with me, extemporaneously.

To sort of get into Healyje's thing, always in good candor I might add, I see that if we'd had a really good way to collectively, simultaneously, and accurately view WOS at the time, this comparative aspect with hard free may likely have held water.
That is just a guess.
Aid and free however were simply not viewed similarly at that time. Stonemaster and pre-Stonemaster bolt routes on blank multi pitch faces were well accepted. Drilling "Had" to be done from natural stances.

With Mike Lechlinski at the helm, I was putting up very run out, 3 pitch free routes in the CA needles in '82 or '83: sometimes hanging from hooks to drill. Bachar had paved the way for that, but with the advent of Bachar Yerian which was very new. At this time 2006, I really see zero difference between choosing to do big run outs on hooks or on fingers: sheesh look at dry tooling?!



I feel that Matt, someone apparently not from my generation, has a very important grasp of WOS contextually speaking.
Deuce definitely has the cred to comment on accepted aid practices during the period in question, lots of it.

After all of it, I have tried to bring some clarity and equanimity to the items at hand and rather than bolster any argument, I have strived for understanding.

I really can't speak for "my" community at large because they have not collectively granted me that voice, but I feel "we" collectively owed those WOS guys some fair analysis and consideration. I was at the '82 SAR meeting and exposed to their recount of their route and I was impressed with their availability to a dialog, independent of right/wrong/acceptance or otherwise.

Richard and Mark are part of our community, part of the grand narrative: as climbers we can do well do mend our fractious ways. It is good training for survival as a species on a global scale.

Youch: good luck with the notion brought forth in that last sentence everyone.

Cheers,
Roy McClenahan

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 03:05pm PT
The ethical framework employed by Pete Z. and Ammon may answer some questions of the difficulty of their attempts. If one was prepared to use a chisel on lead, as the first ascentionists did, would the route still be considered as difficult as it now appears?


Seems to me that would depend on whether the original hook placements were worn, blown, or - like the routes at Whitehorse - simply hard too hard to see a second time. But I believe what I'm hearing from Ammon and Pete is that, first or second ascent, traveling that stretch of stone in any approximation of the way the FA party did is consistently hard, runout, and tedious.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 03:20pm PT
healyje wrote:
"It was definitely not my cup of tea, but it was theirs and had they come to the Valley it's hard for me to believe they too wouldn't have been instantly drawn to WOS and no doubt tried to figure out if it might be possible to free it."

and Nefarius wrote:
"If it made sense, as things got harder on cracks, to start to aid your way up a route, then why not a slab as it became featureless enough to prevent free climbing."


TB beat me to it, but you cannot conveniently ignore the fact that the accepted standard in the valley for all the old-school hard free slab routes, which were bolted ground up, and from stances. how are you gonna do that on WoS? no offense to these comments (or any others), but if we are gonna compare aiding slab to freeing slab, then let's be sure to compare them honestly.

i am no expert on when which things were introduced and where, but i have to think that we would have seen the same contempt for some guys to come in from nowhere to rap bolt a free line on that slab, or even just drill from hooks for pitch after pitch after pitch, in the name of free climbing.
EDIT
honestly, could you even get away w/ that today? probably not!
/EDIT

again, wouldn't you think that the locals would want these guys to climb some other stuff to get a feeling for what would be acceptable? (i.e. in the case of this comparison, wouldn't it be reasonable for 'locals' to want an aspiring FA team who planned to put up fee slab routes to climb some existing stuff, to see how a free climb that was bolted only from stances on lead would be different than one drilled from hooks, so that they could be exposed to the local standards before they went off and drilled from hooks?).



EDIT
nefarius wrote:
"I was under the understanding that they had really done much enhancing at all, and when there was, even at the time, you would have been hard pressed to tell where it was, it was minute"

i don't think it's possible to overstate the potential offensiveness, to some, of the idea that some small enhancements are ok, especially when layered into a situation where the slab has no natural features for any protection so all the protection is drilled, these guys are on their 1st el cap route ever, and it's 1982.




as i said in the previous thread:
it's not as if nobody told them that they didn't like their choice of a line and the style that climbing it required, and yet they turned their noses up at "those local as#@&%es" and went about their business as they saw fit- ok fine- but don't now come cry that no one liked their choice of a line and the style that climbing it required- whatever- i don't see how they get to complain about it now, TS.

and what about shitting on those ropes? ok that's f*#ked up, but to them, so was conquering el cap w/ a drill, and they were defending her, in their minds.

i for one, 25 years later, am not prepared to say that anyone was right or anyone was wrong, but i feel like it might be fair to say that you guys chose your own path, despite what "the community" (whom you now wish to rely upon for the unknown past dirty details and eventually the future redemption you seek) was telling you, and telling you loud and clear.
/EDIT
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 7, 2006 - 03:28pm PT
From Turbuster:

"Richard and Mark are part of our community, part of the grand narrative: as climbers we can do well do mend our fractious ways. It is good training for survival as a species on a global scale."

That's big. If half of us get a solid grip on this concept, we would be really getting somewhere.

Thanks Roy.

darod.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 03:42pm PT
Well, we have to remember that we are talking about El Cap here. It *is* 1982. People didn't come to pioneer free routes on El Cap then. Period.

Honestly, I don't know when bolting while on a hook, rather than a stance, became OK. I know it was bachar who made this break through happen and that's about it. I think it was on the bachar/yerian, but am probably wrong. Short of that, the route (WoS) was done ground up, obviously.

I'm still just trying to figure out why things (change) didn't carry over from one genre to another. Still. Nit-picking won't get the question answered. Neither will side-stepping it. It's a general question, so bear with me. But if it was OK to climb a slab free, and use a few bolts, then why not to aid a slab and use a few more bolts, as there is a direct mirror of this when dealing with cracks or features. It was OK to use an almost same number of bolts, per pitch, on an aid crack once it got above the current ability of free climbers. On top of all the gear being placed to get there, some of which was left as protection.

I'm sure I'm not voicing this right or getting my point across. *sigh* screw it.

Edit: OK, took a break and thought about what I'm trying to say a bit more.

I guess, in the simplest tersm, I'm asking why was it OK to aid a crack, but not to aid a slab?

So, bachar walks up to a climb and says, that's fvckin' rad! The climbing is extremely hard, I know I can do it, but it can't be bolted on stance or it's too dangerous, or whatever. He makes a move, eventually it's accepted/acceptable. Why wouldn't this translate over to slabs? It's acceptable to bolt on a hook now, be it a slab or a face.

With this in mind, it would seem that Mark and Richard were simply ahead of their time, convinced the route would go, and stewards of change. No different than JB. So that brings us back to them being newcomers and not having paid their dues, thus it wasn't acceptable.

Again, sorry, Just trying to figure things out, reason, etc... Really not trying to offend anyone.


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 03:58pm PT
Matt,

Again, part of my "upbringing" was pretty much everything we touched locally was a first ascent and because of that my partner and I went out of our way to not use guides and not talk to the locals prior to climbing when we rolled into a new place - our idea was and is to try to approach a place the way it was before it was ever climbed, eyeball it, pick a line that caught our eye, and do our thing. All the better if it turned out to be an FA, but cool if not; I just love scoping out stone on my own - on some levels and to some extent I don't care what the locals do or have done and knowing that stuff simply contaminates that "walk up to an unknown rock" experience. I love meeting everyone and learning all that stuff after I've had my fill of climbs and epics, but typically not when I first roll in and try to do my thing...

And just a note: even though I'm using those examples I'm not contrasting or comparing free vs. aid or attempting to join that sub-conversation. My point is simply that people arrive at stone with different vision, experience, perceptions, and approaches. You might disagree with them but responding with gross disrespect after only inferring what's going on without knowing the facts is less than standup. And a years long lynchmob / vendetta is even more embarassing. In this case it seems like a lesson that had been learned by the previous generation in the Valley and apparently had to be learned all over again by this one. Too bad they didn't object in the style of the previous generation - by trying to climb the route...

Tar: "Richard and Mark are part of our community, part of the grand narrative: as climbers we can do well do mend our fractious ways. It is good training for survival as a species on a global scale."

Darod: That's big. If half of us get a solid grip on this concept, we would be really getting somewhere.

Thanks Roy.


I'll second that thanks...
nvrws

climber
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:15pm PT
Nefarious some might not consider standing on hooks to place bolts on free climbs a, "break through". I mean no disrespect to Bachar.. This really speaks to that sort of elitism that was around then and now. In alot of ways as was already stated, the narliest climbers of the day really weren't so much a part of that as perhaps the cronies one notch down on the skill level were. At any rate what is implied is, if Bachar(subsitute any other hard man/woman climber of the day) did it, it must be ok. Perhaps the corallary of that may be even more significant...if you aren't a hard man/woman then maybe its not ok. Like I said I mean no disrespect to Bachar but if he decided to duct tape his unit, climb naked and every time he got a little sketched(not that he ever did, how would I know)on a free solo, think of his last conquest and use that duct taped unit as a piece of pro...I'm not jumpin on that band wagon.. but then again all I'd be able to climb would be thin cracks, not my thing.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:16pm PT
Nef,
On that one my guess would be that large slabs were thought to be relegated to the realm of free climbing possibility and typically left as such.

Most hard nailing at that “late” date was typically considered above what was free climbable and perhaps thought free climbable at a much later date.

Then of course what follows is why not let the wings guys aid something so others can free climb it later.
Sounds good now.


Healyje:
Clearly the response was atrocious per the fecal vandalism.
Chopping, well that was going on quite a lot all over the place.

Nevertheless per going into a local area and doing things, when you're talking the application of bolts things could get sticky. Bolting always had a fairly strict set of locally accepted and well-known norms. For instance: no bolting in the Gunks, very little bolting or none El Dorado, plenty of ground-up bolting at Suicide.

Any time anybody places a bolt anywhere they can come under ridicule.
Here in Boulder Canyon Colorado even as recent as the last few years we have had trad climbers in uproar over rap bolting.
It goes on and on.

I'm with you man.
On sight, maybe no report.
Fresh experience.
Go get a bite to eat.

Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:30pm PT
hey healyje, i get what you are saying, and i even like the way it sounds when you say it, but the simple fact is that approach will serve you better in some instances than others.

crude and exagerated examples of this would be to suggest that you take your sly stallone bolt gun out to delicate arch and establish some clip-ups for the tourists, or go nail your way up anything at indian creek, or drill/chisel some pockets into (intentionally blank) so it wouldn't be such a scary clip.

doing what you want, where you want, when you want is just fine, so long as it's not exactly the thing someone there doesn't want you to do. that said, i'm not defending the other side either.

my thing is that you just cannot obsolve these guys of their own responsibility, 25 years later, never having been there in person for the show, just because their ropes smell funny and now everyone bolts everything w/out even a 2nd thought.

as i said before, if this route was visionarty, it was envisioning a time when people might no be offended by the idea of bolting a line up the slab.


having considered the above free climbing comparisons a bit, here is another question:

which would have more percieved value if established in 2006, and which would be more readily accepted by today's climbing community (and yosemite locals in particular)?

1) WoS- were it put up today in exactly the same manner, just 25 years later-

or

2) a difficult "test-piece" free route on the same line up the slab, also established in 2006, which was either rap bolted or drilled from hooks (and would that distinction matter?), w/ well camoflaged bomber protection bolts every 10 feet or so, and well equipt for rappeling from any point.



keep in mind that nobody has repeated the route in all these years, and of those who have been on it, ammon has already called the climbing "tedious", while pete, a veteran of dozens of el cap routes, has no interest in earnestly attempting the 2nd ascent of WoS.


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:33pm PT
"Nevertheless per going into a local area and doing things, when you're talking the application of bolts things could get sticky."

I hear you loud and clear on this one Roy and this is also where I don't have the local history or knowledge. It just seems to this outsider like a lot of hammers, drills, and chisels were flying in general in the Valley during that period and certainly to me (an old originally anti-chalk LNT freak) the distinctions involved with the ethics of their various application was and is occasionally strange, blurry, and difficult to keep straight.

At most smaller crags it's more a black/white, yes/no bolt decision versus a fine grained rainbow of greys involving flakes, crystals, chisels, prying, rivets, divots, holes, etc. - simultaenously a veritable cornucopia and minefield interesting a peculiar things one can do to a really, really big rock.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:57pm PT
The decline of style began with the introduction of the rope and continues to this day. There was a huge hue and cry when Bachar used hooks to establish a "free climb" So much so he rated it 5.11 A1 and considered it "mixed" and proposed a style rating. At the same time others in the Meadows were "freeing" bolt ladders ( that they themselves established ) . Which is the better style - obvious - Bachars' style was more dangerous, hence,better.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 7, 2006 - 04:58pm PT
Matt -- I hear what you're saying, man. I think you pose a totally legit question too.

Personally, I'd have to say that I'd think a free ascent of that slab would absolutely unreal! If someone could send that, I'd think they were the sh#t, for sure!

However, while I feel that the techniques required to do the route free would be incredible, I think the risk would wholly be the same, and this is the area (most frequently) used to judge aid lines. Wow! Difficult question! On the flip side, free routes are judged more on their skill requirement.

I think the risk of injury and fall is the same, IMO. I'd also very much respect an aid first ascent, ground up. It seems as if most people here have spoken, in one way or another, to say that they would agree that it's respectable, if not proud by today's standards. I really thitnk either type of ascent would shine in it's own right. Not sure I could say which I thought would be the proudest. However, I get what you're saying and I *would* be inclined to say that a free ascent of any aid line is super proud!

You pose a good question, Matt.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:03pm PT
Yes HJ,
the tedious nature of the "rules" has alot to do with the admonition of knowing the local customs.

my sense of the nailing culture is that it had even more distinctions going on than the free modality.

here in the flatirons, bolting was banned; now it is allowed, but only after a detailed committe oversight.

hey i wanted to do a flatirons route ground up on sight and they would not let me!
-had to be rap placed, or ground up but with pre approved bolt placements. wahooey!

i like matt's scenarios; almost OT but not quite, and relevant for certain as an extension of the thought process in total.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:13pm PT
Matt,

I do also hear what you're saying, but in my case it would never have entered my mind to alter the rock anywhere I went and wasn't a local. And, as Roy says, there were a lot of rules around it all there and then so there is no small element of truth in your comments about their own responsibility in the matter. As for no one repeating the route, well, I think I covered my thoughts on that in previous posts even without raising the issue of an unfair stigma around the route which has likely kept folks well away from it over the years. Few people I know go out of their way to deliberately step in sh#t unless of course they like wading like Pete or are covered with teflon like Ammon.

My points more revolve around the fact that from what I can tell they've never had a problem owning their part in the matter at any level whereas I hear a lot of silence, technospeak, and just plain shuckin' and jive'n from the other side relative to the actual response, misinformation, slander, and media blackballing that took place during and long after the fact.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:18pm PT
h- no arguments w/ that post.

tb- part of my point, i guess, is that the ethics of the climbing community serve topassively preserve the resource for everyone, sometimes through brash and unfriendly actions, true enough. the overall priority would be to keep things at the highest common denominator, rather than the lowest (not that WoS is/was either).

no one at the time wanted them to put that route up, and lookie here, no one has ever repeated it. nevertheless, that line is now taken up (as are any opportunities w/in a certain small distance, i suppose), the resource is diminished (to some small degree, at least) for future climbers, and the community, arguably, has not gained anything, other than to watch the standard be degraded as the "local bolting ethic" was diluted in practice, and perhaps a little more quickly than it would have w/out that climb being there.

so who has wronged whom?

(and i am not making judgements, just raising questions, again)
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:20pm PT
John Middendorf - where on earth did you get the idea that WoS used a lot of hook enhancements? 20%?! Holy frig.

Ammon and I have both reported here that in the first two pitches [on both starts] that we saw no enhancements.

Please explain.

P.S. I have climbed Jolly Roger, and as the dedicated aid climber [my partner did the free stuff] I led all the hooking pitches. I don't remember seeing any enhanced hook placements on JR. What I can tell you is this - I saw no enhanced hook placements on Wings of Steel - they are all natural.

And on Wings of Steel, the hooking is hugely harder, sicker and more dangerous than on Jolly Roger.

Here is how I would rate what I saw on Wings:

Let's call the famous hooking pitches on Sea of Dreams as being H4. When I climbed the route, it had been enhanced, the hooks were good, but in several places I remember ten or eleven hooks in a row.

Jolly Roger is one rating harder in its hooking than the Sea. The hooks are natural, they are smaller and harder to use. The consequences of falling are more serious. Call it H5.

Now here's the thing - if Jolly Roger is one grade harder in its hooking than Sea of Dreams, then Wings of Steel is fully two grades harder in its hooking than Jolly Roger.

Honest! The hooking is sick, serious, and terrifying. You have to be a lot more sick and twisted than me to be able to climb it. No thanks, mate!
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:22pm PT
pete- again, read your own threads, but not just your own posts (look for JMs posts in the last thread). i am out.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:23pm PT
Hi Pete-

MSmith reported that 10-20 percent of the hooks were enhanced. See the original forum posts way back in 2005.

That's the source. It raised my eyebrows, too.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:24pm PT
Tarbuster said, "Richard and Mark are part of our community, part of the grand narrative: as climbers we can do well do mend our fractious ways. It is good training for survival as a species on a global scale."

wow. It is worth reading all the WoS threads for this one nugget.

Matt, the way I interpret what you are saying is that despite whether WoS was a blasphemy, there were few if anyone from the early 80's that even attempted to see their side of things. Too much negative emotion seems to have prevailed. It seems fair to right that wrong depsite what one may feel about their climb.

With regards to visitors at your home crag, it was a time in history where locals seemed to band together a bit. In Little Cottonwood Canyon in the late 70's to early 80's we had a visitor come through and do a few new lines. One as a bolted(on lead) face climb that started near a classic crack. It was not a squeeze job but did raise a little ire. Then the dude proceeded to add a couple other lines and while they were good, many of us wondered when Climbing published his article on LCC. Who the hell was this Ed Webster dude anyway? Acually, he had climbed with a couple youngsters who were duly impressed primarily with his hunger for climbing. Besides they were good lines that dude put up. If LCC had not been so laid back, I could almost see some of his lines getting chopped first. Instead the locals tried to climb them and discovered that they were great climbs.

When one judges another to a fault, they sometimes need a mirror placed in front of them to show them the true source of their angst, frustration and other negative emotions. But I am sure Tarbuster can say this better than me...
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:32pm PT
That number sounds high to me, John. Having spent a week with Mark and Richard, and asking them every possible question I could think, what I recall was they were uncertain as to how many enhancements they made.

They did say that their enhancements were of the microscopic nature - and if you saw the stuff they hooked, and actually tried it yourself, you would know exactly what I mean. Believe me, John - if you go back and read my posts before I met these guys, and before I had a look at the route myself, you will see that I was quite facetious about it, and ribbed them somewhat mercilessly! Words to the effect of, "Oh, OK - I get it. You only enhanced it a little - kinda like being just a little bit pregnant, eh?" and words to that effect.

Man, I'm eating those words big time having seen the route. Those guys hooked some scary hard sick stuff for a long long way. SO much harder than Jolly Roger.

If anything, I think these guys were "too honest" - if they said, "we made no enhancements," then you could go up there like me and Ammon, and see none. If they made any enhancements in the first pitch, they were invisible to me.

I repeat - two guys checking two pitches, zero enhancements seen.

I believe Mark wrote somewhere, not sure where, that he believed he may have made somewhere between three and eight enhancements in the total 151 hook moves.

But it is a valid point worth clarifying, for sure.
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 7, 2006 - 05:44pm PT
Are you factoring in 25 years of erosion on a slab that courses like a waterfall?

Did you see any of the spots that looked like someone just beat on the rock with a hammer?
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:08pm PT
Pete-

I suppose the issue of enhancements is at the root of my doubt of the first ascentionists' cry that their route deserved a better reputation in the media, and from the "Valley Boy" conspiracists. The number of admitted enhancements is ever-changing; and it is core to the argument of the style of the route, in my opinion. Of course, the 1982 modifications to the original rock will now be invisible.
(EDIT: Evidence of the modifications will have become invisible over the years due to micro-erosion and the return of some patina).

It seems that the slab will offer additional routes. Perhaps just as back then, it will require a new style and boldness to climb without enhancements, and perhaps new tools--custom designed hooks? The question to me is really, could the slab be climbed in better style, and if so, who will be the one to "step up to the plate," as Tom Frost has always prompted.

Then again, I was (and still am) an advocate of Bachar's argument that rock should be left alone until climbers had advanced thier skills and abilities to the best possible human style. Bachar lost that argument in Yosemite, and perhaps the WOS boys were visionaries in the same sense that Kauk, Chapman, and others were, when they brought sport climbing to Yosemite.


By the way, I understand the lower Jolly Rodger pitches have been modified (enhanced) by subsequent ascentionists, so Pete, unless you climbed the second ascent, it seems like it would be hard to comment on Grossman's original difficulty. I inspected one of the pitches on rappel soon after the FA (coming down from Heart), and it looked terrifying to me!
Apocalypsenow

Trad climber
Cali
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:11pm PT
This is really going on? You boys need to get out of the ditch for a while. Really..............
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:14pm PT
bottom line is that if a rout is established ground up you got no buisness chopping it unless you climb it first. The only exception to this rule that i can see is with a horrible squeeze job that alters another rout.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:19pm PT
if the enhancements are so small that you can't see them now then what is the big deal??? Climb it first, then spray if you have to......
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:25pm PT
JM,

I think what we need to do is make very careful consideration of the true nature of the enhancements. It is my understanding that they are more or less microscopic, and it's possible no longer visible after twenty-five years' erosion.

Let's leave it to Mark and Richard to clarify precisely what they enhanced, how, how much, and how many.

I'm still rootin' for Ammon!
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
True, Pete.

Let me ask you this, since you are still willing to terrify yourself on hard aid: would you feel different about climbing the second ascent if you were able to "microscopically enhance" (with a selection of sharp chisels in your shirt's pocket protector) any particular hook placement you came across?
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Aug 7, 2006 - 06:37pm PT
Of course, the 1982 modifications to the original rock will now be invisible.

Dartmouth/Stanford pedigree... right? And you wrote the above statement?





Wow.

EDIT [morning after]: Beer turns me into a sarcastic prick. Sorry.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 09:06pm PT
darod, healyje, golsen, and anyone else who picked up on that:
thanks for the concurrence on my nod to humanity.
i hope R & M get that, along with a few others.
(maybe i can walk sum talk too)

matt said:
"tb- part of my point, i guess, is that the ethics of the climbing community serve to passively preserve the resource for everyone, sometimes through brash and unfriendly actions, true enough. the overall priority would be to keep things at the highest common denominator, rather than the lowest (not that WoS is/was either)"

i say matt, once again, tagged a highlight.
i'll add that ethics can also serve the quest for standards.
it can also simply serve the style in fashion at the time.

in modern times we have all this great diversity of styles.
a bit more tolerance.
still no small amount of bickering.



ironically: now in the flatirons i am not permitted to do a run out bolt route. period. game over. routes are for the lowest common denomiator. nobody gets hurt. everything is sterlized. no more ego wars.
Ha!
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 7, 2006 - 10:27pm PT
Don't worry Tar, there's plenty of scary hard routes in Boulder that you can get run out and crack your head on.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Aug 7, 2006 - 10:38pm PT
Don't try teh trick me Meemers,
I got a nice tidy thought process goin' here.
Yah.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 07:15am PT
I must say that I am genuinely grateful for the obviously honest attempts on the part of many to find a solution and to integrate Mark and I into the community. While I'm sure there will remain disagreements between us and some of you, there has been a very productive sea-change in understanding (I think) over the last year and a half, and from many I have felt genuinely listened to.

The question has legitimately been raised: exactly what does it take to make us feel "satisfied" or that we have "closure?" The request was for NO (sorry) all-caps and a clear bulleted list. Ok, there will be NO all-caps IN my bulleted list.

I can only speak for myself on this list, although I expect that Mark thinks much the same. But Mark will have to make his own list, if he cares to.

* I want the climbing community (of course, that subset of it that is represented here) to acknowledge that WoS was not the "rape" or "crime" that it has been cast as for over two decades. (This is starting to become a consensus, but there are still some vociferous critics that have cleverly made satisfaction here a moving target. More on that point shortly.)

* I want the people responsible for the chopping, etc. that was done to us and the route to publicly acknowledge and apologize for their role in those activities. (Many seem to think that this would be "good" but very unlikely. And there are some critics who continue to think that such "exposure" serves no good purpose, or they have other arguments to undermine the validity of this desire. This is an ongoing topic, but I wish to separate my "ideal" goal, which was requested, from what anybody might think is practically possible.)

* I want the people responsible for the ongoing smear campaign to publicly acknowledge and apologize for their role in that campaign. For example, I want to know who applied pressure to Ed Leeper. I want to know who the editors were turning to in their decisions that we lacked the cred to publish certain things. I want to know who started what slanderous little Intifada rumors managed to gain their tiny footholds. And so on. (Everything I said about the previous point applies here as well.)

* I want the climbing community to demonstrate an awareness of what are appropriate and inappropriate methods for addressing ethical/stylistic disputes. (This is clearly happening and is particularly reflected in a number of the more recent posts, but, again, my total "satisfaction" on this point is denied because of the "moving target" syndrome."

Of course, I have more personal desires as well, but I take personal responsibility for their satisfaction. In the right climate, such desires will be quite easily satisfied.

The next post will address the "moving target" syndrome, and will take some time to compose, but I'll get there.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Aug 8, 2006 - 07:33am PT
I wrote in an early WOS thread having met you while bouldering at Pirates Cove/ Corona Del Mar a year or so after the ascent of WOS. Very much enjoyed your company/ would seek it again. So as a friend, I urge you to look more to your future. Good stuff awaits and people need your help, love and support, eh?. Don't spend any more of your energies on a jihad trying to right past wrongs. Just my opinion....
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Aug 8, 2006 - 07:43am PT
"Arguably, there is a difference between enhancing a hook placement to link two A4 seams on an overhanging piece of rock, as Bridwell often did, and enhancing hooks repeatedly on a slab."

I don't see a substantial difference at all. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

It is a religious question for Big Wall Adepts, no one else cares at all.

DMT
Richard Large

climber
sneaking up behind you...
Aug 8, 2006 - 08:31am PT
"How many angles can dance on the head of a pin?"

Depends on whether we're talking baby angles or four-inch bongs.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 8, 2006 - 08:42am PT
John Midd,

Ah, what a tempting thought, but absolutely not viable. Why? Because for all reasonable intents and purposes, as determined by the visible eye, Mark and Richard made NO ENHANCEMENTS on Wings of Steel.

In their continuing crusade to be completely honest in reporting everything they did, they talked about making virtually-microscopic enhancements to a few crystals behind only a few hook placements - 3 to 8 total in eight pitches I believe was their estimate, but they will clarify - in order to make a placement work. And when a placement required anything more than level of enhancement, they drilled a bolt or rivet on lead.

I basically laughed in their face - you can find the posts - because my premiss was simple: "an enhancement is an enhancement - if your drill touches the rock, then it's cheating, plain and simple." In my smart-assedness, I even proposed a rating system for the enhancements - E1, E2, etc.

I was a total skeptic.

But then I got up there. I looked at what these guys hooked on, and John, it is beyond comprehension how small the stuff is that they hooked, and how far they did it between bolts and rivets! It is far far harder and more serious and scary and dangerous than Jolly Roger. My logic is thus - if they were able to use such terrifyingly little placements, whatever enhancements they might have made up higher must be so small as to be virtually invisible. They weren't kidding - to change a non-hookable edge to a hookable one [by the ultra-sick Mark and Richard definition of "hookable", which few sane men would agree with!] indeed would require nothing more than the removal of a few grains at the microscopic level.

I don't know what you'll find above, but if those boys enhanced on the first two pitches, neither Ammon nor I could see it.

Tom actually did make some custom Wings of Steel hooks. It was a clever design, in theory. In practice, they were too aggressive, and sheared off the rock. I didn't use them on the route, I merely tried them along the base. The middle hook on the talon seemed about best. Mark and Richard used Leeper narrow hooks, but I don't like those.

John, you write, "let me ask you this, because you are still willing to terrify yourself on hard aid...."

I am not sure this is true! It depends on what you call "hard". I was able to climb Jolly Roger, and it was Pretty Darn Hard with plenty of DFU sections. Wings of Steel is much much harder.

Here is the difference - when I climbed Jolly Roger, I found that by thinking my way up and using my experience, I could turn the hard aid pitches into what I considered to be "reasonable" excursions, in that I felt I had a reasonable chance to reach the anchors without taking some monumental and scary fall. This turned out to be the case.

On Wings of Steel, the hook placements are so small that in order to make the second ascent, you WILL [not might] take many long and scary falls down an 80-degree "slab". On Jolly Roger, I figured I probably wouldn't fall, so I was willing to climb it. Hard, but reasonable. On Wings of Steel, I knew without doubt that I would fall again and again, and that the falls would be long and scary and dangerous. There are several ankle-breaker ledges on the first pitch, and if you've seen my ankle X-rays, you could appreciate my reticence!

Mark and Richard took many long falls on this route figuring out the hook moves. Ammon told me he took three fifty-footers on the second pitch using the left start.

And you know what, John? That's too hard and nasty for me. So that's why I bailed.

I only went back up to try toproping the first pitch basically to keep Mark and Richard happy. I was pretty sure I didn't have the skill or balls to do the whole route, but they convinced me to give it a try. My reasoning was that if I practised the hard hooking moves, and learned how to do it, then maybe I could run a few laps, learn the necessary skills, and then send the "headpoint" lead. I was willing to compromise my usual good style to be sporting for Mark and Richard, but the truth is I just wanted the hell off the damn thing.

Toproping is cheating, no matter how you look at it. For this reason, I almost never toprope. If I have toproped more than two pitches in two years, I would be surprised. I never go to the gym and more. One of the things that perplexed me was how incredibly gripped I was practising this thing on toprope. I was using my Grigri, and well aware of how much slack was in the system down low. I guess I just wasn't willing to trust the rope. Crazy, eh?

I was so focused on climbing the thing, and figuring out how to do these crazy-ass sick hook moves that would barely stick, all I could think about was actually being out on lead, which of course was the object. And I knew, beyond all reasonable doubt, that no matter how much I practised, I would with certainty take several long serious whippers if I tried the headpoint, and I just wasn't willing to do it. I can tell you I was so scared I felt pukey, and knew if I tried to lead it I'd need to bring a barf bag.

Ammon has stepped up to the plate - he's climbed the first two pitches on the left start. He even said the right start didn't look too bad. Tom replaced the bolts and rivets in the first two pitches on the right start. Ammon told me this spring that he intended to fix fairly high, and then send the route solo. But by the time he finished his filming project with Alex and Thomas Huber, it was getting pretty hot, and his brother Gabe told me he intended to finish up in the fall when the weather gets cooler.

Go Ammon Go! Five 2-4's of beer so far, eh?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:09am PT
Ammon has also plainly stated that he has very little interest in the route or continuing it now. He has expressed the same to me on the phone.

Ya gotta remember, Ammon like to climb hard stuff fast. While this is hard, it aint fast.

"Arguably, there is a difference between enhancing a hook placement to link two A4 seams on an overhanging piece of rock, as Bridwell often did, and enhancing hooks repeatedly on a slab."

I think if we're going to use the word "ethics", then you can't seperate degrees of enhancing, or bestow upon some person the "special" crown of enhancements... To be "ethical" either all enhancements are bad or they are not. I mean, lying is lying, right? No matter how many times someone says a little "white lie" is OK, it's still flat out, just another lie.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 09:14am PT
Thread drift...sorta...

Pete:
You keep talking about Jolly Roger. Why do people keep telling me you drilled on that route to get past some hooking or a crux or something? Not sure why they tell me this stuff, but they do... and a few of them. So I ask.

True or bullshiit? There is a big elephant in the room. Please advise.
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:20am PT
Richard,

It is good that you formulated and formally set forth what you "want" in all of this. That was an excellent first move. The problem is that it is not likely to happen. It has been 25 years now and if they were going to feel remorseful and sorry, that would have already occurred. They would have long apologized by now. Even if they could be "outed" and "made to" apologize it would be more like a scenerio wherein Mommy drags little Johnny over to Mrs Smith's house and "forces" him to apologize for something he said to her. It will smack of insincerity.

That is why I suggested a panel of well respected persons (which BTW should have included Breedlove - that was my oversight) to hear both sides of the dispute, deliberate as a panel and then put forth an "official" statement. Each side would submits a statement along with supporting evidence to said panel.

What you want is appropriate in theory but it will never happen and you will remain wanting justice for the next 25 years - assuming everyone even lives that long. I am trying to offer you a more practical solution wherein you can gain some justice
and put it all behind you. Could you not accept some compromise from the "ideal" in the interest of justice and closure? Could not an official statement from a panel of experts who are deemed to be unbiased, knowledgeable and concerned substitute for a formal apology from the parties who wronged you? A copy of said statement could even be forwarded to the editors in question with the request that they publish it. Probably they would.

P.S. Everyone, I TRIED to be unwordy. This was the best I could do but I am trying. God, it is hard!

madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:27am PT
The moving target syndrome:

1) Originally WoS is called a POS because it is a "bolt ladder," and the phrase "1000 bolts to Horse Chute" is coined. This bolt-ladder aspect of the route is the sole motivation cited by the SAR "gentlemen" for their actions and for the start of the smear campaign.

2) After the initial "discussion" at the rescue cache, the theme changes slightly. Finding that we are using rivets as well as bolts, the route is then called a rivet ladder. One word change; same motivational force.

3) Matt writes, presumptively speaking for the Valley locals at that time: "drilling up a featureless slab was itself the problem, and while assumptions or rumors about rivets or enhancements may have fanned the flames to some degree, the actual fire itself was the choice of the line." Yet, our "choice of line" was NEVER the point of contention as it was cast to us. Yaniro and Vance had tried the slab before us (as had another team, the names of which I have forgotten), and at one point Yaniro told me flatly that they quit because they couldn't see hanging there for the month it would take to work something out up that slab (much the same thing that Ammon is now saying).

During the rescue cache "discussion," the only point of contention we heard was that we were "drilling our way up the last great problem on El Cap." When we tried to convince anybody to simply walk up to the base, even ascend our fixed ropes, and have a look, this was rejected with the height of disdain. Instead we were told, "Do a bunch of El Cap routes first, or just do the Sea of Dreams, and prove that you can do the slab in good style, and then we'll take you seriously." We replied, "Just look at what's there now, and you'll have enough evidence to take what we're doing seriously." But this repeated suggestion/plea fell on deaf ears. Again and again the refrain is that we are simply "drilling a ladder up the great slab." And Matt even now refers to it when he uses the phrase "drilling up featureless slab." So the issue was clearly stated even then that it was WHO we were, not WHAT our line was that had the Valley boys so angered.

4) Slater ascends our first five pitches and clarifies that the route is not the rumored bolt/rivet ladder. He states that it has the most technical hooking he has ever seen and is a bold and legitimate route. He is resoundingly ignored, although he had done enough of the routes of the era to make a fair comparison. So, clearly even a half-slab ascent by a credible climber cannot offset the weight of "overbolting" slander by this point. Still the issue remains that the route is a "ladder up the slab." What does it matter if there are a "few" hard hook moves between a sea of bolts/rivets? It's still a bolt/rivet ladder, regardless of what Slater says!

Meyers echoes this SAME refrain in his guidebook when he refers to our 145 holes in "1200" feet of climbing, when actually we had 145 holes in about 1800 feet of climbing (which, when you're doing hole-ratios, puts us at a better ratio than than the vaunted Sea itself!). And WoS is the ONLY route in the guide that was downgraded sight-unseen and that has the diminutive description, "Note: there are many rivets on this route." Even Meyers can't BEAR to let our "overdrilling" pass without "note" in the guidebook--such is the force of the original justification for the ire of the Valley boys.

5) Looking at the original threads, you will find many references to "bolting excessively" and so forth, but you will not find references to our "bad style" other than that and the time we spent (with the garbage that produced). So, "bad style" and "overbolting" go hand in hand until these threads start to develop.

6) Finally, two undeniably credible teams go up on the thing and they find no "overdrilling." Just as we had said, and as Slater had said, they find very bold and technical hooking between widely-spaced drilled placements. Suddenly, the whole house of cards that was founded on the original lie is about to be blown away.

7) With the "bolt/rivet ladder" motif now essentially gutted, those on these threads still supporting the poor, embattled Valley locals turn to the issue of "enhancements." Comparing our "enhancements" to those used on other well-known routes, they fixate on our supposed "many," while minimizing the relative "few" found on these other routes. Again, the idea of "using the drill" to get up is the issue, only now it is subtly recast to move the target from bolts/rivets to something like a "drill dependent route" in some vague sense.

The idea is floated that, "Burton and Sutton, with the Magic Mushroom, came in with their own independent experience and logged an outstanding new route, under the noses of the locals if need be said, but they did it by playing the 'accepted rules' by linking features." So, now WoS is still cast as a POS because it is drilling dependent in "some way" that Magic Mushroom was not: MM used "features," while WoS did not. In this move, the clever side effect is to minimize the "bowing down to the locals" motif that originally justified a good deal of the locals' ire, but on these threads has quickly been seen as unacceptable elitism (and the more unjustifiable since the Valley is really unlike any "local" climbing area anywhere on Earth, which makes the SAR guys no more "locals" in virtue of the mere longevity of their stay than any number of "visitors" who get away with stays longer than is allowed by law).

So, to continue justifying the poor Valley boys' unendurable offense at our efforts, the fact that the MM team ALSO "thumbed their noses" at the Valley boys is minimized because, in effect, "at least they chose a great line that ANYBODY could see was legit, because it ascended 'features.'" Of course, the fact that the MM team caught flak ANYWAY, which shows the extent to which the underlying problem was, as Harding properly said, "Dogs pissing on trees," is now totally minimized in favor of the idea that our choice of "blank" line was the whole problem.

8) With the issue now firmly focused on "enhancements," the idea has been and continues to be floated that EVERY ascent team will have to make their own "enhancements" to get up the slab, which means that the route is "unrepeatable" in "good style" and will "actually be harder for the SA team than it was for the FA team." We fairly well buried the enhancement issue hundreds of posts back, but here it surfaces again. And well it should, because it is the SOLE basis upon which the claim of a "drill dependent" route up a "blank" slab can be maintained.

Of note on this point is that, again, a moving target, we were repeatedly told, "If you go up and do the Sea, then we'll know you're legit, and you'll get no more trouble from us." And, "You guys have got no soul." When asked what "soul" was and how we could get ourselves some, the Valley boys would always tout the Bird as the bearer of soul (as Long continues to do in his book), and that doing HIS routes would give us this sorely lacking soul. NOW, JM writes: "Comparisons have been made to the manufactured difficulty as practiced by one of the greatest big wall climbers of all time, namely Jim Bridwell. But notable is that many other first ascentionists of the era were purists who eschewed "enhancements" on the rock to maintain difficulty." I'm baffled by this ad hoc argument, since nothing resembling it can be found in history, so it cannot be used, as attempted, to explain the pathos of the Valley boys, and what JM is NOW in effect stating is that even though the Bird is "one of the greatest big wall climbers in history," we CAN'T look to his "greatness" as ANY sort of examplar of how to do a route "right!"

To WHOM can we look for our desperately needed soul??? It apparently CAN'T be found on Bridwell routes, as we were so confidently told lo these many years ago. But, NOW JM makes the exact same argument as the early Valley boys, except that... moving target... we SHOULDN'T look to Bridwell as our example. We should look... well, elsewhere, because, doggon it, there are certainly some unenhanced routes on the Captain (in fact, undoubtedly JM himself is just such a purveyer of purity), so, if we want soul we had better go check THEM out instead!

Problem now is that NOBODY who has "enhanced" at the microscopic level we did it will ever admit to it, because "don't tell about what can't be seen" must be the obvious working motto now! "Just look at what the Mad Bolters are going through, and none of it would have happened if they would have just kept their stupid mouths shut about what you can't see anyway!" So, how "pure" are these NOW touted routes really?

Is JM really going to float the claim that neither he nor any of the other "prophets of purity," as Harding would call them, have tapped an offending crystal off of the back of an otherwise perfect ledge (using a hammer pick or drill tip, as though that distinction matters!)? If so, I say, "My big fat horse's Greek wedding!" I simply refuse to believe such an unsustainable claim, because EVERYBODY has "cleaned" out the back of a copperhead slot before planting the head home, and we did FAR less than that when we "enhanced!" Fess up, JM, YOU have "enhanced" on your own routes to the same or greater extent than we did on WoS. The only difference is that, as Pete says, we were stupid enough to outright admit what we did! You probably won't be as stupid, but this line of argumentation certainly is!

Bottom line is that "enhancements" were a WELL-known part of the game at that time and have been long before and always since. This has never been some "developing issue" like Bachar hanging from a hook while drilling on a free route! The Bird et al was doing it from early on, and all other FA teams were also to varying degrees. Regardless of this current rendition of this "issue," this issue was NOT in play when the poor Valley boys were stumping to justify their slander, and it's a pathetic and utterly ad hoc argument now. We are being singled out for special scrutiny on this issue, and the reason goes all the way back to the original and now totally debunking idea that we were "drilling our way up the slab." Take that myth out of the picture, and you have NO more reason to get in a froth about our FEW, microscopic, invisible "enhancements than EVERY other El Cap route put up in the last 35 years.

If JM et al can compare what we did on WoS with the literally countless "enhancements" that "linked the features" of the Sea together, then I can't find enough common ground to continue that "discussion" on any level. Unlike the few and unnoticeable microscopic "touch-ups" we did, the Sea and the P.O. wall (just as two examples) were "enhanced" bottom to top with manufactured "ledges" where nothing usable existed before, straight in holes on shallow, useless "bulges" to hold hooks (in effect uncounted bat hooks), trenched heads in blank corners, etc.

9) But this leads to the crucial current point, and this is where the target has moved to NOW: what counts as a "feature" that can be "linked up" to form a "legitimate" route. Now, keep in mind HOW far we have come from the original justification for the "threat" that the poor, poor Valley boys felt they had to defend against. Bolt ladder doesn't work. Rivet ladder doesn't work. "Drilling our way up a featureless slab" doesn't work. "Choice of line" doesn't work (remember, Valley boys tried it first, using our very tactics), and, historically, this was never an argument they employed. So, now, decades after the FACT of an utterly groundless refusal to even LOOK at the route (because we had no soul, so there was no point), NOW we finally turn to subtle stylistic issues that have to do with exactly what is legitimate to do on a slab.

I repeat, if THIS issue was in play in ANY minds at that time, it was never expressed to us, and we certainly had ample opportunity to hear the Valley boys' side of what was bugging them, because they found countless opportunities to tell us about it! But these guys simply weren't thinking in subtle terms like this at that time, and my proof of this fact is obvious: look at how long it's taken us on these threads to really get down to this very issue! And THAT is with serious attempts at discussion and understanding that were utterly lacking at that time!

Moving target, all along and until now. But, the question remains: WHAT does it take for WoS to not remain a POS in the minds of these defenders of the poor embattled Valley boys?

Well, I'm convinced at this point that some folks here cannot be convinced by any means. So attempting that is an exercise in futility. But what I think CAN happen is that the majority of reasonable people here can see that any ire at WoS now JUST IS purely stylistic, where by "stylistic" I mean something like an undefinable "ick" factor that is entirely subjective and NOT normative.

So, it has been handed to the Valley boys on a silver platter that they were defending "something that they saw as sacred," yet when you strip away all the layers of smoke screen and outright lies, what you find is that their TURF is what was sacred to them! And regarding THAT, we did not "thumb our noses" at them but instead tried to dialog at ever opportunity (as even our critics have admitted), and TRIED to explain that we really were sensitive to the issues, but that without "bowing down to them" or acknowledging them as "gatekeepers" of some sort. And in THAT response, we are part of a notable tradition going all the way back.

So, let's get to the current issue, and recognize that it IS a current issue: what counts as "features" that can be "linked together" is the issue remaining here. Most climbers clearly value a more or less "climb by the numbers" route, where they don't have to really think things through for themselves past a certain point, and where SPEED is of very high value. Now, I'm not in any way dissing that set of values, but let's at least recognize them for what they are! When you're used to having as your "decision" on a route coming down to whether or not to go with a beak or a rurp in the obvious seam there that everybody else has clearly been using, it IS a whole different ballgame to look at three flakes and say, "Which one is most likely to hold me, and which one is most likely to ship me back out of here for fifty or so feet?" Even the "hard hooking routes" don't require decisions at that level. Yet, a large part of what MAKES such hooking routes "hard" is that they start approaching that level of decision-making.

Obvious legitimacy is found in climbing a crack from the ground to the top. "Here's a one-inch crack. Ok, what one-inch gear should I use now to fill it? Rinse and repeat." Linking cracks with some drilling also has a long tradition. Linking cracks with enhanced hooks enjoys a long tradition that long predates WoS. Linking short seams with drilling and with enhanced hooks enjoys a long tradition. The Bird even joked that what made the P.O. Wall special was that the features were SO tiny that "there is nothing to hide your ass in." And that trend has only continued, as the "connectable features" have gotten smaller and smaller and more and more sparsely placed.

WoS didn't make some quantum leap down this road, as some are suggesting. There are actually LOTS of features on the route that are neither hooking or drilling dependent. The slab is FAR from "blank" as this latest argument tries to sustain. We merely took an existing trend and extended it onto even smaller features. Instead of it being obvious which flakes to hook, you have to really think it through, and your choices actually are really likely to have consequences. The drilling DOES link "features" exactly as has been done on many other routes. The features are just much, much smaller than what had been called a "feature" before.

And this point has been argued before, by clearly bears repeating, WoS is not just a matter of using the same Leeper narrow over and over again until something pulls. Mark and I, and Ammon, can attest (and Slater could) that you can FIGURE OUT what will work best. It is a long, slow (perhaps "tedious") process, but you CAN get good at it, and as you develop skill in choosing flakes on that slab, you will take fewer falls. But this will still never be the same sort of choice as whether to go with a one-inch TCU or a one-inch tri-cam in that one-inch crack (and where even that decision is often made for you by what gear is left on your rack).

So, the current argument suggest the WoS is STILL a POS (for VERY different reasons than has been floated in years past), but it is now a POS because it's a "tedious" or "contrived" line, which just means that it is not a climb by the numbers line. But, it IS a line, nevertheless. We did NOT just head up there willy-nilly tossing hooks up to see what if anything would catch and drilling if nothing did. We had line drawings of a scoped-out line, much of the slab follows entirely traditional features, and even our choice of which lines of flakes to employ was done to minimize drilling in EXACTLY the same way such choices have ever been made. The fact that our choices were less obvious and more micro than macro is a ridiculous basis upon which to claim that the route is illegitimate.

And regardless of who this point convinces or fails to convince, at the very least let's not rewrite history and try to claim that the "dogs pissing on trees" were anywhere CLOSE to this sophisticated in their thinking. The endless refrain of "bolt ladder," Grossman's own published assertion that the route was overbolted, and the very development of these threads themselves prove that no such thinking was taking place back then!

Harding, with his penetrating wit, got it right way back years ago, and his insight sums up the issue then and now. For the die-hards that are just determined to bash the route even now, all I can say is, "Just keep moving that target," but at least be honest and admit that it's getting more and more ad hoc as time goes by.
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:37am PT
Richard,

The above would be the very sort of statement you might submit to the panel I have suggested along with other evidence with supports your case. El Cap fool states he knows who the parties who wronged you are. He could collect a statement from them and submit it to the panel or else the participants in question could email/snail mail their statement (likely anonymously) directly to the chairmen of the panel. The panel would elect the chairman. Everyone can debate here until the cows come home (if they ever do even come home) but absent an "official" statement, it will always be just so much talk. Nothing will ever get "settled."
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:39am PT
LEB, God I am sympathetic (and unsuccessful at duplicating your success) regarding the wordiness issue!

I REALLY appreciate your suggestions. At this point, I don't believe that the perps will ever "have the sac" to come forward, but I do believe that MUCH has been accomplished in these threads, with many thanks (genuinely heartfelt) to the honest participants!

While I would still love to see the ideal done, I am aware that we live in a less than ideal world. So, I'll keep hoping in the back of my mind for some "sac," but it's not going to affect me going forward it it doesn't materialize.

Just the genuine, honest efforts of people like you have gone FAR toward removing my angst about the whole thing, and for that I am grateful!

I'm sure that there will continue to be discussions going forward, but for my part I honestly believe that these discussions will be productive and fruitful, rather than merely (at least apparently) vindictive and defensive. I believe that a fair and balanced article is in the works, and I think that its very publication will indicate a sea-change on the part of the mags. In short, I am sensing a level of closure to the whole affair that I didn't think possible even a matter of weeks ago.

For that I sincerely thank you and the many others like you.
Kofi Donny Annan

climber
darkest of africa
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:45am PT
31 paragraphs. My God.

I actually made it to perhaps the 15th before I hit the snooze button.

Richard, at this rate, you are looking to die a very bitter old man.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:48am PT
Madbolter writes:

"JM, YOU have "enhanced" on your own routes to the same or greater extent than we did on WoS."

Pretty bold accusation towards someone you have never met, or climbed any of my routes.

If you think my ethics on the big stones were the same as yours, you are clearly wrong. It was a point of honor among myself and my peers never to create manufactured difficulty, as you appear to have done.

As I once heard on El Cap from a retreating party, "Off belay, ASSHOLE!"
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:01am PT
Richard,

The problem with hashing it out here is that even if it gets "settled" on this forum, this is a very ephemeral media. Soon this thread will disappear in the vast sea of threads and unless someone is very good at searching (with this poor quality search engine) it won't even be retrieveable.

By contrast, I offer you a solution which is permanent and which is publishable in paper media. There is no question in my mind that the editor(s) of any climbing magazine would jump at the chance to publish it.

For the record the "ammended" panel (to review all the evidence and pass "official" judgement) which I personally recommended are the following people: Werner, Tarbuster, Walling, Sir Bird, Karl Baba, Breedlove, and Ed H with Jaybro serving as the alternative. Anyone may recuse themselves *without prejudice* (meaning that it does not "count" against them or suggest guilt) for any reason. I would nominate Ed H (or Karl) to write the official statement for publication. In my earlier post, I inadvertantly left out Breedlove (who has since beat me up - only kidding).

A statement by this particular group of people would most definitely get published in any climbing journal and would serve as a means of settling the issue once and for all, henceforth. Who knows, it might even get published in the lay press (Time mag, etc.) if it were a slow week. More importantly, I believe these men WOULD be fair, sincere and impartial and that they would take this responsibility very seriously. I would submit that you will find no finer panel of judges to hear the evidence and render a fair "verdict."
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:06am PT
No, not bold, JM, just being an obvious realist. YOUR version of what counts as "manufactured" will clearly filter out whatever you have done, but will just happen to capture what we did on WoS. But I assert that there is no difference in principle between you taking the pick of your hammer (even once) to the back of a copperhead placement before placing it (or any of countless other ways you can move a tiny bit of rock around) and the FEW tiny bits of rock we moved on WoS. Ever scraped away a loose, dangling bit of flake from the side of a seam??? At the microscopic level we're talking about, it is (I'm sorry) impossible for me to believe that you have never, ever, not even ONCE moved a SINGLE bit of rock out of the way for a placement. I don't have to know you or your routes to know that such is a simply outrageous assertion to try to sustain. You may get a few or many to believe it, but I won't be among them. At least I have been blatantly honest.

Far better to just admit the reality that aid climbing IS intentional "modification" on so many levels that the game of deciding what is "legit" and what is not is a very personal sliding scale that has little objective going for it.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:09am PT
Sorry, Kofi. Actually I am FAR from bitter or old. In charity, how about looking at the volumes I must respond to. I think there's a few more than 31 paragraphs of responses to me before I respond again. So, I do what I can to keep things as short as possible, while addressing the issues, AND attempt to at least write well enough to keep a person engaged. If the "engaged" part is lost on you, again I'm sorry.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:21am PT
LEB, I think you make a good point about physical publication. The problem now is the matter of "choosing the jury," so to speak.

You mention Werner, Tarbuster, Walling, Sir Bird, Karl Baba, Breedlove, and Ed H with Jaybro serving as the alternative. With all respect, and I mean that, I do not agree that this represents "no finer panel of judges to hear the evidence and render a fair 'verdict.'"

Bridwell, may, for example be really pissed that I refer to modifications on his routes, missing the point I have tried to make that his routes are GREAT regardless of what a consistent "prophet of purism" would be forced to say. I think most people would clearly sense the reasons I would have for not being comfortable with having people who insist to this very day that the route is a POS (namely, Werner and Russ) be on the supposedly objective panel. I have no reason in particular to distrust the others, but neither have I any special reason to trust them. Tarbuster has seemed generally very reasonable to me, but I simply don't know him. The very fact that you (I'm sure very unintentionally) load the "court" with some people that I have obvious reason to be concerned about makes me (and I hope makes you) realize that "choosing the jury" will be a monumental task in itself.

I must also ask why people like Randy, Tom, and Pete (who have actually BEEN on the route, unlike all the others you suggest) are absent from the "jury." How fair and unbiased will this be? It seems obvious to me that people who have actually been on the route should weigh in with some actual weight on the panel you suggest.

I'm sure you see the problem.

I remain very grateful for your continued efforts, and, seriously, your point about the transitory nature of these threads is very well taken!
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:24am PT
This is so exciting. You've met Lois!
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:35am PT
Richard,

I think each "side" should have the right of excusing certain members from a proposed panel (much the way we do in an actual jury case) until both "sides" agree to a given panel of say 6 or 7 members. If you felt that certain persons I nominated were not capable of being unbiased then you would submit alternatives names who would stand up to scrutiny - meaning they are persons who would generally be held as someone who would not automatically side with you. I offered my choice as a suggestion. It does not mean, it was written in stone. The important criteria is that the person be UNBIASED and knowledgeable/expert. If there is reason to suggest potential bias for a given panelist, obviously he should not serve

The people, once empaneled should also hear public comment. A post office box (which is very cheap) or a dedicated email address should be set up for this purpose. Interested parties submit from the community can submit formal statements to the panel and these would be considered along with the official statements from both sides of the dispute. The fact that those opposing you submitted their statements anonymously should also be noted.

The fact that given members of the panel which I recommened are not objectively the best choices does not mean the idea would not work. It is just a matter of selecting the right group of 6 or 7 persons to hear this case, examine all the evidence and come to some sort of consensus statement which would be subsequently published for all to see. I suggest that you use the 7-8 people I selected as a starting point and then suggest substitutions for the person(s) you feel might have unavoidable bias. In their place, be sure you chose persons who generally hold high levels of credibility/expertise and which could not be accused as coming into this matter with a prejudice for your side.

Of course, in order for this process to work, you must be happy with the panel and believe that said panel can be unbiased. Why not give some thought to an alternative panel which might be preferable to the ones I suggested, making substitutions as you see fit, and then posting the choices here.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:35am PT
Lois, just as an observation, picking folks that you know in ST land to 'judge' may or may not have anything to do with the folks that really matter in getting closure on this issue. In my case, I am not a good candidate because I was not a Big Wall aid climber, this happened after I left the Valley, and it involves folks that I have only heard of but do not know. I don't have any of the credentials to judge any of this.

Also, I think that your suggestion for a panel to ‘judge’ all the issues is not really likely. I think Russ just made the same point.

I haven't followed any of these debates and have only read Russ' summary, but generally the wounds that remain open are associated with the issue of respect--not the physical actions. In the climber's world there are no law books to consult to define crimes and punishments. I think Werner said recently that we are on an 'honor system.'

I am sure that I am repeating points already made--I'll make amends and read the posts (if there has been a change in attitude towards WoS because of posting on ST, I am definitely interested in the effect of the Forum on a live climbing issue)--but the only thing that will work is to focus on the route itself: if it is a proud route that was ahead of its time, everyone one will move on. If it written up by a good writer with a good historical voice that everyone can listen to, the wrongs will be righted.

This sounds exactly the opposite from what we all say when we talk about first principals of style, but in climbing, historically, the ends justify the means.

So, if I read the following posts will I know what this is about?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=72849#msg113855

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=234030&f=35&b=0

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=114602#msg116278

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=231718&f=0&b=0

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=234216&f=0&b=0
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 10:35am PT
WoS guy, LEB, etc....

Don't get caught up in this "jury" fantasy. It just ain't gonna happen. Best you can hope for is some mag will publish a piece and it will include snippets from these hundreds of posts.

Locker style edit:
LEB.... you have found your way here... keep it short. There are already too many words in this one.
SueV PHD

climber
San Diego
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:41am PT
Richard, meet LEB

LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:43am PT
Russ,

I am not suggesting that the entire threads be posted in a magazine. I am suggesting empaneling a group of impartial experts to review all the evidence and then publish an "official" statement. I believe we can find 6-7 suitable men who would serve in this capacity. Why would it not work? Why could not six or seven willing and suitable persons read all the evidence, deliberate and come up with a publishable consensus statement? Also I am NOT suggesting that the panel read everything here-to-fore written on this forum.

I am suggesting that the parties submit newly crafted and formal statement summarizing their positions - anonymously if necessary i.e. if the defendents to not want to come out of the closet - and then submit these NEW statements to the panel. A chairman would be elected to receive the statements. Each "side" submit an official statement to the panel (never mind what was already written thus far) for consideration along with any supporting evidence.

Members of the community can also submit official statements as part of the "public comment" process. Any interested party can submit a statement to the panel by a specified date. The panel then reviews all the evidence (including any public comments which are submitted to them), deliberates as a group and then formulates an official "position statement" which is submitted for publication. Why would that not work?
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:46am PT
Ok, SueV, that's just not fair! I almost died laughing!

LEB, I can no longer say anything complimentary to you. Are we clear on this? (BTW, what's the "EB" stand for?)

I will think on it. Russ may be right, but it is a fun fantasy, and I'll try to think on it like it might be reality.
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:49am PT
This story is such a classic example of revisionist history. No amount of whining and chestbeating will change the fact that what you did and how you did it was wrong.

If you geeks showed up in the Valley today with that ridiculous amount of gear, your bonehead attitude, and lack of previous wall experience, I believe you'd be run out on a rail by many of the same guys who are sympathetic to your whining now.

You have written so much in your defense and I've tried keeping up with it. Have you ever had the depth of character to acknowledge that what you did was a colossal mistake?!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 10:53am PT
LEB: too many words already.

Reading the posts and having a panel all sounds fine and dandy.... but....

The panel can only read the words. They have not done the route. They were probably not there at the time. The WoS guys have had their say, the "poor Valley Boys" have had their say (at least the 4 or so that are actually here) and then what is the panel to do? Decide the merits of a 25 year old problem from a he said she said manifesto?

"ladies and gentlemen... the panel has reached a verdict...... The WoS guys are the baddest asss wall climbers ever and their route is the hardest in the world." Satisfied WoS guys? Didn't think so. We still have no apologies, we still have no shitters tied to a stake with fire under their heels, and some opinions have still not changed.

Carry on with your fantasy..... this thing ain't going anywhere.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:54am PT
wow, this is unbelieveable.

regarding JM, you haven't climbed any of his routes, and yet you profess to be certain of his tactics? maybe you are out of line there, just maybe. and since you are by all accounts unhappy w/ the judgement of the community in the 80's, you may have to put up w/ continued inquiry from people who weren't there at the time.

first of all, i'm not trying to attack you here, honestly, but you seem to have this tunnel vision (from my perspective anyway) where you see yourself in this place of vindication, and everyone else is just making excuses for not being there with you. at the same time, you brush by certain things or dismiss them as resolved in one way or another. in the eyes of many, that hurts your credibility. maybe you need to make each of these points one time, very very clearly and completely (i.e. not ranting or otherwise being what can fairly be described as bitter or defensive). in that way, you would be able to refer back to that specific instance as having addressed said point. when you do that now, all you can point back to is one rant or another, which quicly becomes a pettern for someone looking back at your previous posts. just a thought, not sure if i've made it well enough.


back to the unbelieveable- this whole concept of "microscopic" modofocation bothers me. what the f*#k is that? i'll tell you what it looks like from here- that is very clearly the intentional use of descriptive language to minimize the impact of or diminish the signifigance of the subject at hand. it's microscopic, so you can't see it, and therefore it is of no importance, it cannot be verified or quantified in any way, and the point is moot, move on.

perhaps more honestly stated, you aren't aware when you are looking at "it" that "it" is not natural.

drawing upon your massive reserve of academic integrity, if i cannot visually identify something, is that the same thing as being microscopic? or is that the intentional masking of an issue w/ language?

tell us this much- did you have a f*#king microscope out?

were you able to visually verify, without any sort of magnification, that whatever modification you had made was complete, and satisfactory to your goal or intent? i think you get my point (although i'd expect that you are likely to dismiss it via either the now familiar "moving target" or "vast conspiracy/smear campaign" complaint).

now then, moving up from what we are agreed is not really any sort of "microscopic" manufactured enhancement-
did you use a sewing needle?
or a high grade stainless steel surgical impliment?
or a tooth brush?
or a wire brush?
or the tip of a drill?
or a chisel?
or a hammer?
or a hammer and a chisel?

nobody knows.
how would we know?
we have to take your word for it (if you are ever clear about it), and given your choice of language, perhaps we can surmise that you might be inclined to continue to unintentionally minimize, w/ language, it extent of said impacts. one thing is clear, that without said impacts, you felt that you couldn't do it, thus the modification, isn't that right?

so, do you expect that said modifications still exist today, in an equally acceptable state, wrt enabling the move to "go"?

if not, do you expect/accept that the 2nd ascent (per JMs comment above) will be done also w/ some amount of modification on the part of the leader?

if you remove yourself from you deep rooted emotional involvement in all of this, simply as an exercise in logic, can you not see my point at all? or are you just being unfairly attacked again?

you have written pages and pages about how you have been the victim, but only briefly described, and generally described in a fully dismissive manner, your intentional modifications to the rock. you accept them as "part of the game" and claim that "everybody does it". yet JM just stated quite clearly that is not always the case, it was just what you accepted as the norm.

did you ask yaniro if he was leading w/ a chisel in his pocket?

seriously.
you were drawing that parallel, was it really parallel?
i'm just asking.

why don't you draw on all of that rigid academic principle (as described in the other thread) and be very clear about what you used to chip or chisel, how you used it, and exactly how often it was used? i think people would like to know.

now then, when and if that particular point is ever clear, asking you about something else won't necessarily be a moving target, it will simply be asking you about something else...



oh one last thing- sorry- but you mentioned that some sort of concensus was building, regarding your route? are you basing that on a dozen or so posts on some internet forum somewhere that say "gee, i didn't know that, sounds like they got a raw deal"? let me tell you about what happens once these posts drop off the page for a week or two...





Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:57am PT
"We still have no apologies, we still have no shitters tied to a stake with fire under their heels, and some opinions have still not changed.
Carry on with your fantasy..... this thing ain't going anywhere."

Truer words were never spoken.
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:07am PT
Richard,

Why can you "no longer say anything complimentary" to me. What did I do wrong? I am merely offering what I believe to be a workable solution to bring closure to a problem which is ongoing for 25 years. What is wrong with offering a suggestion? Why is this bad?

Mimi,

True but maybe hanging and damning are not healthy. Maybe we are not looking to "punish" anyone per se but rather bring some sort of closure and judgement. Why could we not find 7 concerned and expert and UNBIASED persons who care enough about the principles behind all of this to review all the facts and come to some sort of a conclusion. Why is it so ridiculous?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 11:14am PT
LEB: don't troll this thread.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:15am PT
in a past post i commented that you guys refuse to take any resopnsibility at all for whatever part you played, and that in many ways you chose your own path.

mimi notes that all this is nothing more than revisionist history, and russ predicts that none of this will ever go anywhere (i agree).

so here's my question for ya:









ever wish you had just run up sea of dreams 1st?
i mean, it seems pretty ironic that these "valley boys" you refer to wanted you to do that 1st in good style, but you refused, and then you just did it afterward.

go back in time and switch the order, and how does that change your lives?

wasn't it your own unwillingness to budge on that demand that paved the way for all of this? you complain about moving targets and the like, you say you asked them to inspect your route, etc., but you also say they told you what they wanted to see, and you were unwilling. hindsight? (what's another week when you are spending a month and a half already)
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:15am PT
Lois, with all due respect, involving yourself in this thread when you should be studying is really not a good idea although it is a wonderful thing that you've met Richard.

Your SuperTaco addiction is nearing intervention threshold. Log out, go get a smoothie and hit the books. Someday soon, like after grades are in, you're going to regret the time you're wasting here.

Time to get back to work, I'm out!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:29am PT
"It was a point of honor among myself and my peers never to create manufactured difficulty, as you appear to have done."

John, this pains me more than a bit, but I have to take exception to this statement. Aside from the use of the innuendo-laden "appear to have done" (given what we now know of the route) and simply sidestepping answering whether you "micro-enhanced" routes (relative to the scope of the route) on any regular basis, I have to say that "manufactured difficulty" smacks of just the "moving target" Richard is talking about. Big stone or small, I believe there are times when the choice of route alone largely dictates the mode of travel - and WOS appears to me to be just such a route. Are you really attempting to say someone (say you or Ammon) could travel up that apron anywhere in the vicinity of WOS and somehow employ a significantly different mode of travel or a significantly different style of aid? I have a very hard time believing that based on everything I've read in these threads.

What it sounds like and comes across as is you are essentially saying then, from my admittedly remote perspective, is the apron shouldn't have been climbed at all, or shouldn't have been climbed by Richard and Mark. I personally see no other alternative interpretation for the quote above as there is nothing about the difficulty of the climb that was "manufactured" by anything but the choice of route from what I can see. If there is some other way to climb the apron in the vicinity of WOS with unmanufactured difficulty I'd very much like to hear exactly how that would be done.

[LEB: Again, you have some interesting things to say here and there, but regardless of who invited you here you should consider slowly backing up towards the door. Russ is right - it isn't going to happen and you have no idea what you're involved with here...]
LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:32am PT
Mimi,

I am going out to plant some sunflowers in my garden. I was merely trying to offer a possible helpful solution - nothing more, nothing less. I fail to see what is so terrible about that but you are correct. I do have other work to do.

Russ,

I am NOT "trolling" the thread. I was simply offering a solution up for consideration. I have no vested interest in this solution but simply offering what I thought might be helpful. There is nothing inherently wrong with someone offering to help another. Said parties can accept or reject it. Look up the Kitty Genovese case and see what happens when no one gives a sh#t about anyone else.

edited in
healyje - I am out of here anyway. I just offered up some suggestion for consideration. I was not trying to harm or threaten anyone. I will turn this thread back over to you all since it would appear my in put is not much wanted here - Adios to all. I do hope it works out in everyone's best interest. The sunflowers await me.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:35am PT
mimi-- I realize that no one else has given the time of day to any of your posts, in this thread or the others, and that mine is only going to fan the flames, but hey, fvck it. I just came out of a meeting with the rest of management and am in a bad mood now. So the self control I've been exercising is gone, and I do tend to speak what a lot of others are only thinking.

You're a sarcastic beaver, aren't you? Just makes me wonder who enhanced your route to make you so bitter...

And before you chime in DMT, yes, I realize its another troll... remember the office thing I mentioned... =)
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 11:37am PT
LEB: You missed madbolters point (he was joking and *can* talk to you) and you are continually regurgitating your position. Let me put this another way.... STFU for while. Don't like me telling you to STFU? Start another thread, tell me how I should not tell anyone to STFU in 50,000 word or less, but keep it out of here.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:37am PT
LEB- that doesn't mean you hafta post every 10 minutes about your stupid panel. this isn't narnia.

Nef- whatever you think of her beaver, she is every bit as much a part of any "community" as richard or mark, and they are the ones who are out to remake their legacy. if they are gonna get there (which i doubt) they better at least hear that there are people who think reconsidering the legacy of WoS absurd on it's face, otherwise they start chirping about "concensus", and bickering w/ lois about whether or not bridwell "gets to be" on "the jury" (w/ you, apparently).

is lois already booking the confrence room at some PoS hotel near the airport?
The Schmutzvink

climber
The WAY past
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:39am PT
LEB wrote, "Look up the Kitty Genovese case and see what happens when no one gives a sh#t about anyone else.'

Kitty Genovese? WOS?

wow


LEB

climber
Glen Gardner
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:48am PT
Goodbye, everyone I was simply trying to be helpful. I am not planning to check back into the thread again so if you have anything else to say to me on this matter, please email me. I am going to say this one last time - there is nothing wrong with offering to help another.

If that person rejects it, fine but offering to help is not in and of itself wrong. "Thanks but no thanks" is usually a preferable way to handle a suggestion which you do not find useful. It is not necessary to flame a person who sincerely was trying to offer assistance to you but that's fine. I have thick skin and I will still continue to offer help to people I find along my path in life. If you want to respond, email me because I am not coming back here again.
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:56am PT
Necro posts: You're a sarcastic beaver, aren't you? Just makes me wonder who enhanced your route to make you so bitter...

That's rich coming from a person using nefarious as their handle.

Jeeze, never been referred to as a beaver before. Interestingly enough, they're not one of my totem animals.

I feel strongly about this bit of climbing history and this forum is a place to voice our opinions. Duh? I know who my friends are on here and how they feel about this issue whether they're chiming in or not. Taking a shot at me and speculating about me is pointless, don't you think?

Have a nice lunch. Maybe you'll get into a better mood and have a nicer afternoon. ;]
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 12:02pm PT
Mimi was there and in the mix....
she knows more than you think. {{{{ insert evil laugh }}}}
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:15pm PT
There were plenty of people who were there and in the mix... However, little, to none, of what she's (presumably - you never know around here) said has been to offer anything other than sarcastic statements about people, and nothing about the issue being discussed. It's done nothing to contribute to this thread, at all. On a topic that is rapidly approaching 1000 threads, and thinking we'd left stupid sh#t like that behind, what 3 or 4 threads ago, it seems kinda pathetic and mundane to be doing it now.

I'm kinda thinking everyone wnats to get this resolved somehow, the sooner the better. If she truly has something to offer, that'd be great. She was there, so, OK, any sensible contribution is welcome.

Just offering my viewpoint.

Nice subtle insinutations there Russ. =) Did the "old boy club" of Yos include a female?
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:24pm PT
quick questions...

is WOS now really a "worthy" route because PTPP met the FA team and top-roped two pitches?!?

Can those with opinions for or against WOS ever be taken seriously without having climbed the route?

Are these threads about the route WOS anymore, or is this just about bruised egos?

please resume...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:32pm PT
"is WOS now really a "worthy" route because PTPP met the FA team and top-roped two pitches?!?

From what I just read both Pete and Ammon got on at least a couple of pitches (by whatever means) in the spirit of getting an independent view of just went on. Now you can attempt to minimize that all you want, but you simply reiterate exactly what Richard has been angry about all this time - that it very much appears there is nothing anyone can do or say that will stop the slander and lies. If you can't take Pete or Ammon's word on what they found how about simply getting on it yourself and reporting back here.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 12:41pm PT
Nef writes: Nice subtle insinutations there Russ. =) Did the "old boy club" of Yos include a female?

Insinuations? None there. The "old boy club" has always included some females... if they had the grit and tenacity to get through the door.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I sure am hearing a lot out of what I'm thinking is PTPP's rack caddy. Forgive my refusal to read through all this again, but how do you fit in? Were you on this last failed PTPP mission? Were you around back then? Please advise. Just trying to keep all the players straight.
Gene

climber
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
Fact:

There was a lot of misinformation about the route during and after its FA. People disagree as to the route’s appropriateness at the time it was put up (the line, the duration, the techniques used, etc.). The climb is hard.

The actions by the Valley Boy Perpetrators were wrong. You don’t sh#t on people’s gear. You don’t chop without first passing the offending bolt or rivet by ‘legitimate’ means.

Do we all agree so far?

Opinion:

It’s a crying shame that Richard and Mark were subjected to abuse.



What else is there?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:45pm PT
"If you can't take Pete or Ammon's word on what they found how about simply getting on it yourself and reporting back here."

So, if that were the case, then you'd have to count at least mine and Tom's opinion's, as well. However, I've not done any of the routes with hard hooking that it seems to get compared with. Sea or Jolly Roger, etc...

But, at the very least, I can say I've been on the first 2 pitches. They are not a river or bolt ladder. The hook moves are sick. The danger for injury high and the falls sick. I think any pissing around or moaning, or whatever, about whether or not the route is legit, hard and proud, is well, just that. Pissing and moaning. As easily as it can be said for Mark and Richard to "get over it", it could *just* as easily be said for the detractors to "get over it". The difference is that the route is here to stay and being the FA team, Mark and RIchard's names will stay with it. I think that, rightly, they are proud of that fact. Eventually, any chestbeating, egos, opinions, etc. will be gone and forgotten. In the future, WoS sill be known as a badass A5 route, put up by Mark Smith and Richard Jensen. Plain and simple. The "controversy" will die with it's benefactors.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:47pm PT
Maybe if just one or two of the players that were around then would stop playing and just speak plainly this issue could have been settled in 100 posts instead of 10,000 and those of us interested in this bit of cultural history with a couple of cases of wine and beer riding on it would have lost interest long ago...
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:49pm PT
2 pitches?!
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:03pm PT
re: "I think any pissing around or moaning, or whatever, about whether or not the route is legit, hard and proud, is well, just that. Pissing and moaning"

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=231718#msg232854




re: " In the future, WoS sill be known as a badass A5 route, put up by Mark Smith and Richard Jensen. Plain and simple"

i thought A5 meant if the leader falls, the anchor will blow?
what's the worst anyone has been hurt on those 50' bolt protected whippers we keep hearing about? sounds like A(?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:05pm PT
"Maybe I'm missing something, but I sure am hearing a lot out of what I'm thinking is PTPP's rack caddy. Forgive my refusal to read through all this again, but how do you fit in? Were you on this last failed PTPP mission? Were you around back then? Please advise. Just trying to keep all the players straight"

Wow! Now *I'm* the moving target! Right on!

Russ-- Well, I'd guess that the easiest way to figure this out would be to use some advice you, yourself, have given others. F*#king take a read, buddy. I guess you could start 2 posts below yours, which wasn't there when I started typing, dumbass... Regardless, of your self-uninformed "opinion" What I say seems to be making sense to quite a few though, eh?

I think this exactly demonstrates the kind of bullshit that got this whole thing going, in the first place. I really think who I am, what I have/haven't done, etc. really has no bearing here, nor the fact that I was *not* there during the FA. Again, read my post 2 below yours and maybe you'll understand why; I'll be here, when your ass is gone.

Who I am is, yes, a good friend of Pete's, as well as quite a few other people here, on this forum. Yes, I have carried Pete's rack to the base of climbs before. I'll gladly do the same in the future, regardless, of what as#@&%es like you might think. More importantly, I am Mark and Richard's friend and it kinda pisses me off that folks, such as yourself, have been spreading drivel and lies about them for quite some time. So, I guess that alone allows me to voice my opinion. Yet, even more importantly than that, is that I am a member of the community that has been cheated *while* you've done this. Wow! That kinda pisses me off too.

Since this is about character, and the community, etc. I really don't think anything else plays into it. I could give a f*#k that I've never climbed an A4 or an A5 route. Guess, what most of the people posting here haven't either.

And, I'd be real quick to remind that I'm, in no way, anywhere near the gentleman that Mark and Richard, and even Pete, are so I'd just kinda leave me off the target list. Not that I didn't expect it eventually. Welcome back to the f*#king sandbox!
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:05pm PT
yes, 2 pitches. Same as Ammon, same as Pete. Last I checked, the crux pitches of a route, kinda define the route.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 01:09pm PT
wow... touchy? I'm not attacking you nor are you a moving target. Rack Caddy thing get ya? Guess you can' take a small prodding.

Call me what you want if it makes you feel better.. Seems like you are a bit over the side on all this to me. But what would I know. Maybe you need a nap.

Locker style edit: Just re-read your post again. Guess I know where you stand and thanks for the insults. Way to keep the dialog open and flowing.

Locker edit two: hey... quit adding to your post.... Yeah, I'm the demon that made all this happen. Maybe you should read up. I'm the guy that don't give a sh#t and was not involved. Ask your mentors.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:10pm PT
Nef writes: "Yes, I have carried Pete's rack to the base of climbs before"

Russ thinks: "yep, that's what i thought"
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:15pm PT
Really has nothing to do with *what* was said. Probably moreso, about a direct attack being issued, at all. Maybe a bit to do with who it's from. Since I was, at least, the second troll you've done to shift the focus of the thread in the last 10 or so posts. I thought I'd get things back on track.

Regardless, I'll always be the person which will say right off, "I'm not the person to stand by and take sh#t from people." So, you wanna fire an insult attempt at me, I'll fire it right back. I think I stated that pretty succinctly, what you do from there is your business.

"Locker style edit: Just re-read your post again. Guess I know where you stand and thanks for the insults. Way to keep the dialog open and flowing."

I might say the same, as you leveled your weapon first, brutha! In light of that, you're quite welcome, to be sure! Again, I'm not polite enough that I'll take any of your sh#t. Sorry.
Brick

Social climber
SF, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:19pm PT
Sub-Men (aka Rack- Caddies aka Choad- Bobbers) tend not to have much of a sense of humor about their lowly station in life. But they do get quite puffed up in defense of their betters.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
Ok tuffy.... I guess we are done.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:29pm PT
Whatever guys. I bit. It's all good. I stated what I had to. If I spent my life thinking I had to spray on a forum about any climb I've done or really felt that it mattered to my peers and friends, I suppose I'd end up like you. Lucky me that I'm above that.

Still doesn't change the facts, though, deos it. So now that we're past that, hopefully the intelligent conversation about the issue can continue. Have fun.

Not sure about a nap, but I think a smoke and some lunch are in line.
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:34pm PT
"hopefully the intelligent conversation about the issue can continue"

what issue? I am being serious and not joking when i ask that. WOS was climbed 20+ years ago. Until it gets repeated, theres nothing left to talk about, is there?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 01:35pm PT
Nef writes: So now that we're past that, hopefully the intelligent conversation about the issue can continue.

Sorry mudslinger. I was just in such a good mood I was going to reveal a "shitter". Guess that is off the table now..... grrrrrrrrrrr....meanie!
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:40pm PT
Could someone please post a couple pictures of where WOS starts and what the "slab" looks like.

Thanks.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 01:45pm PT
http://www.jensenconsultations.com/climbing/wos/wos.html


Try that instead of bogging down the thread
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:46pm PT
i had posted this as an [edit] to an earlier post, but now i'll move it down here to get the slander going back in the right direction again.

i do really hope these guys will respond to my earlier post and specifically, definatively, thuroughly address their techniques, severity, and frequency of "enhancements", but i am posting this before they do, because i feel like it's my honest take on tha matter, and i am tired if it already...


so w/ that,
ya know what i think?

BULLSH#T

there it is, i'm calling bullsh#t.
you guys chiseled and drilled your way up a slab.
no one liked it back then, they didn't like the way you did it, nor that it was you that was doing it, so you have decided to make your case now, decades later. well you know what? i won't ever be climbing hard manufactured hooking aid routes up a slab, but if it were an easy manufactured hooking route up a slab, i would still climb every other route in the valley before i ever got on it. no wonder people think it's a PoS.

you cannot go on and on about your life experiences as a professor of philosophy in one thread, and then arbitrarily define some level of chipping flakes on a slab to accept your hooks as acceptable, and imply the ascent was not manufactured. what limited you was not the rock itself, nor a certain acceptable level of manufacturing, but instead it was your skill or talent, in combination w/ the tools you had available to you. w/ that combination, the hard and scary slab was too hard and scary, so you brought it down a notch or 2.

you have a whole list of refrences for what was going on elsewhere in the valley or on hard el cap routes specifically, upon which you base entirely subjective claims about your ethics vs what you thought was the standard at the time (and what you assume even now, that everyone does), but you refused to go do even one of those climbs and see it 1st hand, and you are bitter that you weren't respected because of that... hmmm...


what about the slippery slope?
if you get to do that, doesn't the next guy get to do it too? who's to say the next guy can even find your enhanced flakes? who's to say they are even still there? and if every leader is going to chip the route, why can't i enhance those flakes until my shoes will stick?

and why do we call them "enhancements"?
that itself is a rather flattering term, why not "instances of premeditated and intentional destruction of organic features, or IPIDOF's, we can call them IPID's for short?

the only reason that your IPID's were small is because the hooks are small. your chipping was intended to create opportunity specifically for the tools you had. the only reason they are small IPID's is because your tools were small. if you had been limited to larger tools, necessarily then, your IPID's would have been larger as well. why should you get credit for having small hooks?

your ethics were such that you allowed yourself to do whatever you needed to, in order to get up the thing. hard scary hooking, occasional IPID'ing, and periodically drilling bolts.

you expect that you should have been given the green light to do whatever bridwell had done (or in your opinion, what eveyone else was doing, or had done). nobody seemed to agree w/ you, and neither do i.

what if you were "new" and wanted to come into yosemite and establish free routes, and you heard that bridwell had pounded out some scars on (i think) geek towers(?). would you expect to be well recieved and well rememberd 25 years later, if you had come in and done the same, on your 1st FA?


i think your position and your personal pain prevent you from seeing other perspectives, and i guess i don't even see the point in arguing about it.


EDIT-
this post may seem harsh, but i personally find it infuriating that someone can rely on carving out a spot for a hook placement through a critical section, repeatedly, and then brush it off as "microscopic". that offends me and my perception of what climbing is and ought to be, and that is where the tone in my post comes from
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:55pm PT
Russ,

The ring-angle claw was a joke. The big wall community has really benefited from the work of you guys who got the Fish hook to market. Thanks for the effort to dig up Shipley’s letter. It seems clear that although Richard and I were concurrently developing similar hooks, your initial work predates ours. (Btw, we haven’t been riding you for 20 yrs. I think the first public mention of Richard’s hook design was by me earlier this year.)
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:56pm PT
Deuce,

Regarding your assertion we are shifting our position, nice work pulling a couple of quotes out of context and forgetting the rest. (Your posts since the one I refer to here are at least somewhat better.) The biggest thing I learned here is my general stupidity for suggesting that you go find some quotes to bring back. It’s not reasonable for those who read these hundreds of posts for us to restate our previous and detailed response to your gripe. (Yes, bogus argumentative tactic of repackaging and minimizing your issue as just a “gripe”, but, hey, I’m frustrated!) If you want to hear it again, form a properly titled splinter thread and I’ll cut-n-paste my position again. Btw, so have you done PO or the Sea, or was your assertion of “carefully choosing” only non-modified routes a bunch of hog-wash?
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:57pm PT
Lois,

The number of posts since I was last on has totally overtaken me. Those following along might do well to skip this post as it is way dated.

It seems like most everyone including myself is consumed in stating a position, while you and Tarbuster are working to find a solution. You have made me pause and ask what I’m looking for here on Supertopo. I didn’t start any of the WoS threads. I was drawn in like many others to refute statements I perceive to be wrong or misguided. Cutting down our ropes was legitimately a big deal at the time, but that was almost a quarter century ago and that act alone (“alone” being the key word) doesn’t matter much now. The problem with a quasi-secret apology idea is two-fold. First, I think a bigger issue has been the bandwagon/group-think mentality that followed WoS and which has dogged me for these years. I love to climb, not as a recreational pursuit (although that too), but as a window into myself. Without climbing I wouldn’t be who I am, and that other “me” would be a lot shallower. Most times when I interact with climbers I sense a cloud hanging over me. This was well evidenced by the early-on post of the guy who directs the climbing camp that I once directed who, when teens mention that Jensen and Smith once worked there, just grins and keeps it to himself that Jensen and Smith are really just a huge climbing joke. The cutting down of our ropes helped kick the snowball rolling, but it has been the oral culture of a few local climbers greatly aided by the Grossmans of climbing who have used his pen to create a unflattering mystique of who I supposedly am. Those who have actively fostered an unbalanced view of not just the climb but of Richard and I should step to the front of any apology line. Asking for an apology from those who cut down our ropes wouldn’t address the deeper issue. (Btw, one of the three did many years ago.)

The second point is that those who advanced imbalanced views against us and protected those who vandalized us have given a bad rap to all the Valley climbers of the 80’s. Unlike the Robbin’s affair which reflected poorly on RR, WoS has reflected poorly on an entire climbing sub-culture of which I am (sort of) one. An anonymous apology does nothing to address this hurt which is much more important that any hurt I have suffered.

The utilitarian side of me calls to give it up because no one is going possibly step forward and accept any responsibility. The principled side of me says that every community should be based on certain basic principles of conduct, that something really dastardly happened here, and that members of the community should expect and demand responsibility of its members. Therefore, we collectively devalue ourselves to let water under the bridge carry away our integrity.

So for me getting the ropes cut down is not a big deal in the long run. Getting an apology would be nice but isn’t that important or necessary for my well-being. I personally (in my ideal world) would like two things. First, that the climbing community shows itself to be a group which expects that basic standards of conduct be a necessary part of the community. Apologies to the climbing community as a whole from those who misrepresented the Valley sub-culture of the 80’s are offered. Second, and more selfishly, to get some respect. To be able to check into C4 and be viewed as one of a group of the 80’s Valley climbers who were trying to push the envelope, rather than trying to register for the site in the far corner of the camp.

You, Lois, and others have given me a lot of encouragement. Thanks for helping meet my second need! Next time I check into C4, I’ll whisper a silent thanks to you.
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:58pm PT
Tarbuster wrote (http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=233119&f=0&b=0#msg233424);: “let Richard and Mark concede that they may well have been doing something unorthodox for the times …”
Tarbuster, consession granted. I’ve never claimed that WoS should be viewed as a great or admirable route. I think there is much to recommend it, but other reasonable minds will have an entirely different opinion. Many of the Supertopo criticisms have been total trash, IMHO, but a number of criticisms have merit. Richard and I accept that.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 8, 2006 - 01:59pm PT
Mark... yeah I know... that was a joke. The whole thing really. Just pulled out the letter as I was curious. We do that on here pretty regular... everyone has invented everything before the other guy..... that and the ™™™™™ joke as every phrase and product name is ™™™™-ed by someone years before anyone else.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:05pm PT
Sorry for the delay posting. My Net connection went down and seems to be down for some unknown time. I had to go to my wife's office to get this, but I can't stay there indefinitely.

Ok, are we back to the early damned if we do respond and damned if we don't situation? If so, then I guess we've come full circle and it's game over.

Assuming not, there's a lot to respond to.

Mimi confidently asserts that: "This story is such a classic example of revisionist history. No amount of whining and chestbeating will change the fact that what you did and how you did it was wrong." I am honestly baffled.... How did WE do any "revising" of the tale. The fact is that the Valley boys accused us of doing something we simply weren't doing, and the fact of that matter has now been firmly established in the VERY way that hundreds of posts suggested. They then used that ongoing lie to justify a number of assults and to maintain the same old lie over decades of public media. These points are indisputable, so I don't see where the alleged revision is. Real name, Mimi? It would be nice to know who really is asserting revision here.

As past threads (including references to bat-heading) clearly show, I/we have repeatedly demonstrated the "depth of character" to admit mistakes. But I haven't seen anybody yet get the case off the ground that we engaged in "a colossal mistake" by just showing up and doing the route the way we did. Your mere assertions don't offset the undeniable facts of the matter as they have been reported by SA teams of your (collectively) own choosing!

Russ, we've never been after: "shitters tied to a stake with fire under their heels" or that all opinions be changed. You here make us seem utterly unreasonable, even when Mark, Randy, Pete, and I have all clarified repeatedly that the FA team is not after anything like what you here suggest. Is the game now going to revert to the juvenile straw-man tactics that we saw so much of at the rescue cache? I have said that I think LEB's idea has much merit and that something like it could be more than satisfactory. So why now put words in my mouth that I have never spoken or even suggested, when LEB might well have been onto something?

Matt, you have much to say, so I'll try to take it point by point, just as you suggest.

You say, "You see yourself in this place of vindication, and everyone else is just making excuses for not being there with you." All Mark and I have ever been after in ALL of these hundreds of posts is that the truth come out. Hundreds of posts ago, the prevailing wisdom was the WoS was a POS BECAUSE it was an overdrilled bolt/rivet ladder up a blank slab. YOU (speaking collectively) urged two teams to go up and bring back the "real story," and they did. Ammon and Pete are well known to not be "best buds" or anything like that, yet their independent reports are strikingly similar. The truth, as reported by your own chosen people, was that the route is no bolt/rivet ladder, doesn't appear to be overdrilled, and that there is insane, sick, bold, run out hooking at least two grades harder than you have considered other hard hooking routes.

Furthermore, the whole history of climbing supports that people don't go up and chop a route they haven't even climbed. Yet this was done, based upon what is now clearly seen to be an intentional misrepresentation of reality.

When we kept silent for many years and could not get a voice, then we were accused of "not setting the record straight." Now, when we DO fight to have the truth come out, we're accused of "whining" or being "in a place of vindication," as though the latter is a bad thing. Of course we want vindication; we've been lied about for 24 years! There's no bitterness, whining, self-pity, or hand wringing in that simple fact. Mark and I have moved on with our lives, and we have responded here as we can because the issue just keeps coming up. So, we decided, "Let's give this our best shot at closure now."

When we are forceful (rather than straw-manning or name calling, as has been the most common tactic here), we are perceived as "ranting or otherwise being what can fairly be described as bitter or defensive." We HAVE been "defensive" in some sense, but have you ever stopped to put yourself in our shoes over these last eighteen months? We have NOT been bitter, and our (mostly my) rants have been controlled and quickly followed by obvious good humor, which I have honestly felt.

You make much of the term "microscopic," yet this is actually not my term, but Pete's. I have simply adopted it as being the closest term to describe the TINY bit of a crystal we removed in a few instances. You ask what we used to do this, so here is that answer as well (again, with us being more forthright and honest than you will ever get any other big wall climber to be on such a topic).

We were sharpening our drill bits on four sides, which created a fine point. At that time, drill bits even came from the distributors that way, and we didn't know (as everybody does now) that a flat, chisel tip drills faster. So, our drill tips were sharpened to a very fine point. Now imagine a dime glued to the wall. You could just hook the top rim of the dime, except that there is one crystal about the size of a period printed at 12 point (accurate enough?). This crystal keeps the tip of the hook from seating down onto the "ledge."

Perhaps we should "remove" it by just putting the tip of the hook in place and weighting it, but, as Pete will attest, the risk of that hook blowing in the attempt is pretty high. Now, of course, if we did THIS, it wouldn't count as "modification," even though most of our hooks "seated" and "chipped" their way in on most flakes (such is the nature of Leeper narrows). But in this particular, rare instance, you can't even get the tip of the Leeper to begin to sit there well enough to risk weighting it.

So, we would (again, since this point seems to get lost) VERY rarely take the tiny tip of our drill, place it against the side of that crystal, and tap (and I mean, lightly tap) the drill to pop that crystal off the rim of the edge.

We weren't creating any ledge that didn't already exist, we didn't drill straight in to make a nice "pit" to help the tip of the hook hold better. We didn't "manufacture" a placement in anything even remotely resembling what has been commonly done on so many of the "great" aid routes.

So, I'm sorry if I'm just "missing the point" as you see it, but I just fail to understand how removing period-sized crystals maybe eight or ten times in 1800 feet invalidates the route on that ground alone! And, I stand by my claim that THIS level of "modification" or "manufacturing" is done constantly by even the purest of the pure, because if you EVER use the pick of your hammer to remove ONE loose flake or scrape away some loose crud in a copperhead seam, then you have already intentionally removed FAR more rock to "make your placement better" than we ever did!

You then say, "We have to take your word for it, and given your choice of language, we can surmise that you might be inclined to continue to unintentionally minimize, w/ language, it extent of said impacts." I really don't understand this statement on many, many levels. First of all, we have been clearly and obviously honest throughout this whole discussion. As Pete has himself noted, we would have done FAR better for ourselves to just not mention our batheading and our (again, RARE) "enhancing." In the latter case, had we not mentioned it, nobody would ever have known. So, I ask you, "Why would we be honest enough to bring the matter up, and then start lying to 'minimize' the reality of what we had done?" And, I really can't minimize it enough, because, as YOUR own chosen teams have noted, there is NO "enhancement" visible. So, again, you don't have to "take my word for it" (although you have no reason to doubt my word and every reason so far to have confidence in it), you have objective voices saying the exact same thing.

So, I see this whole "modification" thing as a ridiculous tempest in a teapot to divert attention from the real issues of this debate. If there are those who think that we were bad, bad boys for doing even this level of "enhancement," then I submit that there is simply no way to convince such people of anything about the route, and I don't propose to try. However, what I have seen in hundreds of past threads is that people do realize what a blind alley this aspect of the story has been, and it is to those people I continue to try to explain the more significant issues.

You say, "If you remove yourself from you deep rooted emotional involvement in all of this, simply as an exercise in logic, can you not see my point at all? or are you just being unfairly attacked again?" I think I've just demonstrated that I can both see your points and unemotionally respond to them. The fact that there is disagreement does not mean that anything "unfair" is taking place. On the contrary, with some rare exceptions, I have felt that most of these hundreds of posts have been honest attempts to discuss in a rational manner. That doesn't mean that there have not been strong emotions on both sides. But strong emotions don't HAVE to sully the search for truth either.

It is impossible for me to not be emotionally involved in this debate. But is IS possible for me to consider people's views on their merits. I have done my best to do so, and I know Mark has also. The fact that we continue to disagree with a few people on a few points does not negate my impression that a lot of progress has been made.

At this point I am increasingly disinclined to continue hashing over the same old points over and over in slightly new ways. I think that to reasonable minds the truth has come out at this point, so I grow weary of trying to "make a case" that to some people simply cannot be made. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (literally). My goal was to come away from this whole effort feeling that we had done the best, most thorough job we could at setting the record straight and giving people the opportunity to respond to an obvious injustice. As I just said to LEB, I believe that has been done at this point. Regardless of what happens in the future, or what venue further discussions utilize, I think we've about reached the limit of what these forums can possibly accomplish. So, movin' on.

You say, "Let me tell you about what happens once these posts drop off the page for a week or two." Regardless of that happening, as past history shows, Russ is more correct on this point than I take it that he intended: "This thing ain't going anywhere," and that includes "away."
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:08pm PT
Sorry, LEB, my attempt at a humorous response to SueV's hilarious picture fell flat. After that picture, I was saying that compliments were being "misunderstood," but I was entirely kidding. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Gene

climber
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:19pm PT
Richard,

Are you asserting your 'modifications' other than filled holes are limited to trimming a crystal the size of a 12 point period?

.

Wow.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:27pm PT
richard-
that was a well reasoned and non-ranting post, and i commend you. if you are being entirely accurate and what you removed each time you used the drill bit was in fact the size of a period in 12 point font, then there is certainly merrit to your arguments, but it does also add merrit to JM's arguments about hard hooking and 2nd ascents (i.e. does everyone get to go up there w/ a drill bit?)

also, it seems clear enough, also from what JM posted, that some climbers would have viewed it as a less than noble. i'd agree that many weighted hook placements probably do more damage, perhaps then, the difference is in one's intent? i could repeat what i have said about having been willing to repeat other routes, but i'd guess you have been around and around on that one over the years.

i don't think anyone hand picked pete or ammon, rather some people encouraged them once the suggestion was made. i personally thought it was odd that pete was goin on a route that would likely mean 50' sliders, didn't he just break both ankles a year ago? and isn't he 45 or 50? that seems like a bad idea from the get go, no wonder he didn't lead any of it. i still feel that a modern climber cannot see it in the context of the 80s, period.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:32pm PT
Yes, Gene, that's what I'm saying--all somewhere less than a dozen of them over 1800 feet. WOW is right! What a ridiculous tempest in a teapot! Matt and JM scrape more rock off than that in half a pitch just trying to get better footing. This whole issue is just a complete smoke screen. But, you know, so be it. As I said just a moment ago, I think this has about played itself out.

BTW, I'm trying to track down a guy who is the long time friend of another guy who has emailed me. It's been something like four years since they saw each other, but the friend tells me that this guy he knows got up the slab on WoS years ago and thought it was really hard and legit. Not at my computer right now, so can't even get his name, but, as soon as I have a Net connection again, I'll see what I can find out. The guy who emailed me said to post something about this because, as he put it, it substantiates what we've been saying, and this guy's been all the way up the slab. So, we'll see what we can find out. Of course, if he's not "known" in jussstttt the right way, then I guess HIS views will be taken as crap as well. After all, Slater's opinion couldn't get it done, and Pete, well, from what I hear now, HIS opinion is TOTALLY worthless because he didn't get it done.

Moving target again, and I should have anticipated this one: no matter who does the route, there will be some "taint" to them personally or to their ascent, such that even that will not be sufficient to tell the "real story." It's actually getting pretty funny now. "Revisionist history???" It's more like revisionist present.

Anyway, if I can unearth anything in the next couple of days about this alleged slab ascent, I'll post. Otherwise, I've said about all I can imagine is worth saying.

Cheers to those who have contributed with integrity.
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 02:33pm PT
Beating the rock into submission wasn't good ethics in the 80s just like it's not good ethics now.

Edit: Revising history is exactly what this is. Your propaganda and younger climbers entering the picture without a complete understanding of the ethics of the day in the Valley have resulted in skewed facts. You and your submen have put more emphasis on the local "perps" than your own actions. And this moot issue of repeating the route. The line is marred by your incompetence. Now, whoever goes up there will inadvertently "vindicate" you which is why many respected climbers haven't gone up there. The difficulty of the route is irrelevent. Your legacy should not be to encourage bad tactics. Therefore, you owe an apology just as much as you and your submen believe the perps owe you one for chopping, etc.

You completely disrespected El Cap, nevermind the local climbing community, and flailed for 39 days with a shameful amount of gear, and chiseled your way up the route. I really love this 12 pt font angle. You are delusional and a liar. You've continued to downgrade the amount of rock bashing. And then, to prove what great climbers you were, you spent how long on Sea? Way longer than the first ascent party, right, like two weeks? And then you or Rubberhead, I get you mixed up, soloed Horse Chute. What else did you do up there, not that I'm requesting your climbing resume, but it points to a level of incompetence and arrogance that resulted in you two going up on a pristine portion of the Captain and basically shitting your way to the top. Utter disrespect and shameful, hence the symbolic response; defecating on your gear.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:00pm PT
OK. Back from lunch, had a smoke, hell, I even had a drink! Feel so much better! So, I *have* been having a shitty day, but went and has a side of "sense of humor" for lunch.

While driving to lunch, I kinda gave myself a hard time. For, while I have my own personal reasons for taking great offense to anything I ever perceive as an attack, and being pretty quick to head it off, I'm usually pretty adept at not being an as#@&%e, be it in return or not. So, as to that matter I apologize. To Russ, and anyone else who took offense. I'm sorry. I probably went a bit overboard.

As to the all the jest about being a rack-caddy and sub-man. Wow! At least, now I know what sub-man is. I'd never heard that term used prior to mimi, higher up. Rack caddie... I think it's a funny term, if nothing else.

Pretty much, up front, I'll gladly be *anyone's* rack caddie who's going to do a decent climb and will allow me to photograph them. Sometimes I climb with them on the route, sometimes I prefer to climb the route ahead of them and make a station, or sometimes I hike ahead and rap down and setup some rigging... All depends on the climb. Carrying their rack is the least I can do. If this makes me a rack-caddy on these projects, OK. Cool. I bet I'm pretty damn good at it, as I'm carrying my rack, on top of yours, my rigging and my camera gear. This might also make me a food and beer caddy too, as I try to repay people in some way for allowing me the shoot! While being a rack caddie, instead of pursuing my own climbing projects, if you're kind enough to let me lead a bit, I usually buy you more beer.

As far as defending a friend, you betcha. That won't change.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:04pm PT
Context or no context, I am still baffled how the modification claims of Wings of Steel went from "many enhancements", to 10-20 percent of all placements, to "FEW", and now only 5-8 grains of sand...

Perhaps some Supertopo statistician can help by compiling a complete list of all claims, with date and context?

EDIT: Whoa! Is it just me, or did the claim just get upgraded to 8-10 grains of sand with an edit?
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:20pm PT
Madbolter writes:

"So, I see this whole "modification" thing as a ridiculous tempest in a teapot..."

Perhaps it is, but perhaps it isn't.

If you could consider for a brief mili-moment that it could quite possibly have been an issue for climbers of the time, you might begin to understand the position of the "valley conspiracists" (and your "persecutors").


---------------------------------------------------

EDIT: By the way, the enhancements by no means "invalidate" the ascent, as you so strongly claim, it just suggests that the route was done in "questionable style", to put it nicely. You don't seem satisfied that this may have been the reason why your mug wasn't on the cover of every climbing mag, but that may in fact be the truth.

And just in case you go comparing yourself to Bridwell again, please note that Bridwell's reputation as a great climber comes from a wide repertoire of cutting edge routes over a lifetime, not just his prowess on the Sea of Dreams.

Also, by the way, I had never heard the term "1000 bolts to Horse Chute" until I read it on your website. I think you must enjoy repeating the most extreme comments you hear, and state them as the widespread opinion.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:39pm PT
Ooo, ooo, that was a good one, John. Just have to jump back in here since there's finally something new going on. And, finally we have Mimi for the first time I'm aware of on all these threads actually coming right out and saying it: Shitting on the ropes was appropriate, for it made the exact right statement that had to be made! Excellent, now we're actually getting somewhere, and it's really exciting!

John, the whole enhancement thing really is totally retro, but your take on it has this slightly different twist: look, the Mad Bolters are totally inconsistent in their claims. Perhaps you, as the master of taking our quotes out of context, should be the ONE (as in Jet Li) to compile just such "proof" that we're totally inconsistent. You're going to have just one little, bitty problem with that, though. Mark and I have repeatedly admitted that we don't remember clearly or even the same about this detail, which was as trivial in our minds then as it is now. Mark remembered more at one point, but in thinking back about it more carefully (since accuracy on this bit of trivia seems SOOOO important to a couple of people), he started thinking that in his rush to "bare all" that he perhaps gave us "credit" for more than he should have. His range was 10 to 20 percent, as you yourself just quoted. Let's assume his lower range, which is certainly consistent with even his most "bare all" memory you can find. We placed 151 hooks to get up the route. So, at 10 percent, that comes to 15 "enhanced" placements.

Amazingly, after all these years, I remembered the number as being "certainly less than a dozen." Hmmm, pretty close correlation there already! Where do I ever ASSERT five? I have always said that I believed the total to be somewhere between five and less than a dozen. That is certainly a reasonable range, given that we weren't keeping close track and given the intervening years. And, notice that it actually does correlate closely with Mark's independent memory of events.

So, while you make a tempest in a teapot, John, you still have not looked us, the community straight in the eye, and answered my earlier question: Do you really expect us all to believe that you have NEVER, not ONE time moved a tiny little, dangling, offending flake or even bit of crud ANYWHERE on ANY of your climbs? Are you really prepared to try to float that level of purism? If so, I say again, count me out of the "believers" in that pile of horse byproducts.

I agree that "beating a route into submission" isn't ethical at any point. However, be careful with your filters, because whatever one you use on WoS, you're going to find that it has some VERY respected routes getting "beaten into submission" by your own gods! This will occur both in number of holes per foot, per pitch, and number of "enhancements" per foot and per pitch.

Oooo, oooo, then there's the OLD, "They were absurdly slow" line! Oh yes, that CLEARLY shows that we dissed El Cap! I guess that being slow really IS a crime now. Not sure how, but it IS! Clearly! Just assert and believe, assert and believe; breathe in and assert; breathe out and believe. Ahh, it's good now. Hmmm... just remember that former speed demons (Slater: P.O. wall solo in five days; Ammon: Native Son in sub-24 hours) were, uh, well, quite a bit SLOOWWWEEERRR on WoS. The route doesn't lend itself to speed, and we did have to drill ALL THOSE HOLES. Then there were storms, running water, and (oh, heeeerre we go again) ALL those Sabbaths! Yup, we just CLEARLY dissed the route!

Nah, now that I think about it, these "points" really are just the same old garbage that the rabid have been frothing at the mouth about since we got into these threads. Again, nothing like the enhancement "issue" appeared prior to these threads, so, I still haven't heard any justification that most are going to buy for the shitting. It IS exciting, though to hear something SO close to an admission from one of the (apparent) players. I'm just WAITING now to hear Mimi admit to shitting, or saying that he/she would have done so, given the chance. Then, ALL we would need is a name, but, of course, cowardice being what it is, I guess I'll be waiting a long time for that, huh?

Easy to spew... harder to stand up and face the music. What are ya made of, Mimi?

This has become so pointless and retro now.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:41pm PT
Nope, John. No edit. I don't play that game. Perhaps your OWN memory (from a few posts ago) isn't as good as you would like to demand of us from more than two decades ago.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:48pm PT
The "enhancement" issue did not come up anywhere prior to these threads. At NO point did anybody accuse us of it at the time, and it was never mentioned in any of the published materials. So, this is a recent "issue," John, and not a justification of the rabid group-think that dominated the past. As Pete has noted, if we had never mentioned it, this "issue" would never have arisen.

Also, let's make up our minds, shall we? Does it "invalidate a route," as Mimi (not me) repeatedly states, or does it not, as you seem to be suggesting now? "Questionable style?" What in the world does that MEAN? That style was employed by your own gods for long before we ever appeared in the Valley. Is it "questionable" when the Bird does it? Or is it only "questionable" when two yahoos do it? If the latter, then the incredible RESTRAINT with which we did it (as yahoos, of course) should be to our credit when compared with the standards of the time (i.e.: Bridwell and the Sea, as we were constantly told).
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:53pm PT
"Is it "questionable" when the Bird does it? Or is it only "questionable" when two yahoos do it?"

Yes, now you are getting it.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 03:59pm PT
Actually, the Bird's tactics on the Sea stand on their own merits. This is the problem you guys have had for years, you simply cannot avoid conflating WHO a person is with HOW you perceive what they've done. If we "butchered" WoS, then the Bird et al butchered the Sea far worse by any standard you care to employ, and no amount of "continuous cracks" is going to save you from that conclusion. (If they "features" were sooo continuous, then why all the drilling/modifying?) But it's simply stupid to go down that path. OF COURSE the Bird et al didn't butcher the Sea! But then, neither did we butcher WoS.

Regarding the "1000 bolts to Horse Chute," actually that line first appeared in one, then all of the Camp 4 bathroom stalls. Then it was yelled at us repeatedly, sometimes from across the Village store. There could be many theories as to why you didn't hear it--including, perhaps convenient memory loss. But, this is a stupid thing to speculate about, isn't it?
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:01pm PT
Klaus tell what the bird did on your route? If it was really him then shame!!!
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:01pm PT
Whoa! I've had difficulty keeping up with this gargantuan thread. I'm amazed that I'm the first to suggest that it was okay to defile your gear?! You must've missed the "admission" post on WOS XXIV. You guys are so damned soft! Cowards for taking a crap? Sophmoric maybe. I think it's hilarious. You deserved as much. What huge pussies you are!

Cowardice was you not bailing off the route when you realized early on that you hadn't a clue. Standing on a terrifying hook for HOURS didn't send a signal? And as you continued to emphasize in your '83 article, you were in a daze or something like that; I don't have it in front of me at the moment. So you break out the chisel/drill and get to work. Wow, what a difference that little 12 pt font adjustment made! All I can say is, I think it's more honorable to admit to a mistake than to blindly charge forward out of arrogance/stupidity and ignore the advice of others with a much better perspective.

Edit: Don't even go there comparing yourselves or what you did to Bridwell. His record speaks for itself.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:04pm PT
If the internet tells any truth of climbers... I'd hate to be one!
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:04pm PT
Cool! Now we're almost in agreement, John! What makes it "questionable" is that WE did it. Then, you MUST be on the brink of congratulating us and sighing in relief as you realize what incredible restraint we employed (being yahoos and all), when, clearly, being yahoos, we could have done far worse than we did, and, amazingly, on our first FA outing on the stone did better in this regard than was done on the Sea!

We are actually on the same page now! WoS is less drilled and modified than the Sea, which MUST mean that we actually did a GOOD job on that front! Of course, we might have still been complete yahoos AND slow, but at least we're in agreement now about the relative "destruction" that took place on WoS! I'm jazzed, man. We're about ready to shake hands, huh?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:10pm PT
Bullsh#t is right, total bullsh#t. None of this is rocket science and it doesn't matter a rats ass where this occured relative to some pretty damn simple questions:

1) It was a legitimate line to take or it wasn't. Period. If your think not state exactly why it wasn't and isn't a legitimate line to climb.

2) If it was a legitimate line then:

a) They either did or did not do the climbing on the route
in a style that assumed risks in order to minimize the
impact of the passage over the stone.

b) Their "enhancements" are either obvious and persistent as
they are on all the other aid classics or they were so
minimal as to either be invisible or that weathering
eliminated them.

c) Could anyone, then or now, have done the route, or
a nearby line, any differently? Or in any better style?

Their tribal status, how much sh#t they took, and whether they took the time to hold prayer services on the route are utterly irrelevant. What was the true nature of the climbing they did? What I'm really hearing, given Pete and Ammon's assessment of what they saw, is that while some of you may have been able to do it faster and/or lighter, none of you could have done it significantly different or in any better style. That's all that matters. So what a lot of you are really claiming is this part of the stone was and is basically offlimits to climbing - again, I suspect at least a couple of old guys from Whitehorse might tend to disagree with that opinion.

Pretty much all the rest of what I'm reading here is a bunch of tribal bullshit and I have no stake whatsoever in the matter beyond a couple of cases of Oregon's finest should someone repeat it. Had Pete and Ammon reported back the FA's butchered their way up the apron I'd have been right in there telling Ricard and Mark to crawl under a rock. In this case, though, it seems pretty damn clear to me it's more about what collectively crawled out from under a rock over them puting this route up.
deuce4

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:12pm PT
"WoS is less drilled and modified than the Sea"

Sorry, I'm not convinced of this statement, unless I hear it from Jim himself. Remember, Madbolter, you did the fifth ascent, if I recall correctly? Lots could have happened (and it did) in the second to fourth ascents.


(De-lusion is not just a term for the trick of a magician)
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:14pm PT
John, is Jim god? Are you god? God of aid?
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:20pm PT
in 2005, one of you guys wrote:
"So, yes we were up there a long time, but under the conditions we had, it is unclear that the time we took was inordinate... in fact, Rob Slater told me that after fixing they were making about a pitch a day up to the fifth anchor where they stopped, and they didn't have to drill any rivets from top-looped micro-hooks"


since you guys are so kindly being specific, exactly how many bolts and how many rivets were drilled? i gather that you had 4 anchor bolts per pitch, so exactly how many holes were drilled for protection, per pitch? thanks very much. (is there an accurate topo posted anywhere? i didn't see one at the consulting site).
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:24pm PT
"a couple of cases of Oregon's finest should someone repeat it."

ahhhh, Blitz Weinhard... An off the couch ascent?
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:28pm PT
Good point, John. We did do the fifth of the Sea. So, the question then, if the Bird et al didn't do all that stuff has two parts: 1) HOW did they get past those clearly necessary modifications? And I think that those who have done the route will agree that the "enhanced" hooks in many places (as well as the chopped ledge system) were necessary to getting up. 2) WHO (among entirely respectable former parties) did ALL that "trashing" of this beautiful route? Either way, the problem isn't solved for you, because well-known and respected climbers did that route before us. Of course, maybe it's an easier bullet for you to bite to claim that Price or Slater, for example, did all the modifying than to admit that we didn't utterly botch WoS.

Fortunately, those are the only two questions that are going to fly, because when WE did it, we were scrutinized every day (from the ground and a nearby route) at a level that would guarantee that we didn't do any, must less all, of that drilling.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:30pm PT
Ah, yes, the waft of California brewing tribalism - wine yes - but beer? Any day of the week - California gets drowned everytime on that matchup...
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:31pm PT
Matt, I've posted that info on an earlier thread (1 or 2), and I can't use my home computer right now to look it up. But all that info is in the back of my book, from which I lifted it to post.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:31pm PT
on oct 26th 2005, MSmith wrote:
"If you can look at a Wings placement and say “that was done with a drill or chisel,” then you are looking at a rivet or a bolt."


so what were you saying there?
were you saying that if you can modify a route in a way that is not visually apparent, then no harm, no foul? because now you are saying that you did "enhance" somewhere between "several" annd "many" hook placements, and that you did it w/ a very sharp drill bit, acting as a chisel.

thanks again.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:32pm PT
HAHAHA... Maybe LOL!

Maybe I had too much to drink at lunch! Hope not, as I had to come back to work afterwards. But, Man! This is actually becoming humorous to me. Somehow I'm thinking that this really is just a game at this point. A game to see how riled people can get with irrationalities.

I remember being in college and playing what were called computer "MUD"s, which is where the name Nefarius (I know it's misspelled, BTW, but a word for a name wouldn't be any fun would it?) actually came from. Anyway, my frineds and I were quite good at this online game and were even mentioned in a book or two, about MUDs, in general, due to our adeptness at killing other players and taking their sh#t. We were also pretty good at finding bugs in the game and exploiting them.

The reason we were so adept and fast, and I'm getting to my point here, is that we would all be in the same room, in a computer lab, at school. So, while other groups of people were spread out, we were in the same room able to communicate freely amongst ourselves. If someone attacked one of us, or we were attacking someone else, all of our typing was devoted to the attack, rather than having to message each other back and forth AND attack...

Anyway, for some reason, I envision a small group of a few people here, sitting in a room saying things like, "OK. So what completely absurd thing can we say to get people riled up next?" "Hmmm... Well, you've already said that, so what if you spin it this way?" "Oh! I know, THIS will really bake their noodles and get them going..." "Oh, I know, I'll post under a different name!" And so on, and so on...

Maybe, rather than an article, the higlights of these threads should be sent directly to a magazine so that the climbing community can make their own decision about the logic here...

Either way, f*#king heeeelarious! My own drivel and outburst included! =) Sure beats setting up the new firewall and DMZ on our network this afternoon!
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:34pm PT
From above: c) Could anyone, then or now, have done the route, or a nearby line, any differently? Or in any better style?

That's really the point isn't it? We'll never know now because two boneheads did the first ascent in such poor style that a another party was robbed of the opportunity to do it in much better style. No doubt about that. Then or now, or in the future, climbers should respect the stone (and other climbers) and not beat the rock down to their level. Haven't I read this somewhere before?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:35pm PT
See, Matt, most people read that as, in it's simplest form, "The "enhancements" were so minute that you're not going to see them. The only place you see where a drill or chisel, or whatever touched the route is at the rivet and bolt placements."

Seemed pretty cut and dry to me.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:35pm PT
Preach it, Randy! You're so right. Same old, same old. I'm done.

edit: uh, bad simultaneous posts. This one goes back to your second one up.
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:37pm PT
Healyje, i was serious, I used to love Blitz when I lived in Eugene. Drank the stuff every chance I got. Delicious.

King Cobra these days. LOVE beer...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:40pm PT
"so what were you saying there? were you saying that if you can modify a route in a way that is not visually apparent, then no harm, no foul? because now you are saying that you did "enhance" somewhere between "several" annd "many" hook placements, and that you did it w/ a very sharp drill bit, acting as a chisel."

So Matt, rather than just repeating yourself, how about simply saying either a) the apron shouldn't have been climbed and still shouldn't or b) that you or anyone else then or now could have climbed it differently or in any better style. If you mean "a" you're no doubt entitled to that opinion, if your mean "b" then I'd have to call complete bullsh#t (to quote mimi)...
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:44pm PT
"We'll never know now because two boneheads did the first ascent in such poor style that a another party was robbed of the opportunity to do it in much better style. No doubt about that."

Well, see, being that I have been on the route, I'd beg to differ. I think Pete will agree, I think Ammon will agree too. I also think Slater would have, as well as anyone else who got off their ass and went and had a look. If you feel you, or someone else that's out climbing, has been cheated out of an ascent of the slabs, then you're mistaken.

Those same hook placements are all over the slab. The slab is big. The slab isn't going anywhere, and I doubt *anyone* has balls big enough, in light of the last 24 years, to have another go at a new route there, to begin with. Regardless, using the hook placements they did, the possibilities are endless on that slab, and probably most other slabs. Cheated? Surely not. Sounds more like a cop out to me.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:49pm PT
"That's really the point isn't it? We'll never know now because two boneheads did the first ascent in such poor style that a another party was robbed of the opportunity to do it in much better style. No doubt about that."

Actually there is doubt aplenty, according to Pete and Ammon's report from at least a couple of pitches this statement is a complete bald face lie - no doubt about that.

"Then or now, or in the future, climbers should respect the stone (and other climbers) and not beat the rock down to their level."

Then or now, I've read - zero - that gives any indication you or anyone else could do a significantly different or better job of it then the FA's did. So, unless you consider Ammon clueless or less than impartial I'd have to conclude they showed more respect for the rock than some folks from your own tribe over the years.

[Edit: You obviously have some beef with the "(and other climbers)" aspect of the whole saga, but clearly their climbing was in fact either top-notch or as good as anyone of you could have done or do on the same line.]
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Aug 8, 2006 - 04:53pm PT
Mimi=LEB?
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:15pm PT
In my opinion LEB is a troll, a figment of someones imagination. And if she is real, she clearly stated that she does not climb. Her panel idea should be tossed into the internet sea to feed the trolls. I do not belive that a troll or a non-climber whose only exposure to climbing (except ST) can have much of value on the subject.
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:16pm PT
Cop out? What about ignoring what the FA party wrote about the route and what's in the record regarding chiseling/drilling? How can you assume that anyone else going up there would do the same thing?

It's great Ammon went up there to check it out, but I'd be surprised if he would say that it couldn't be done without chiseling/excessive drilling.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:25pm PT
here is another MSmith post from oct. 30 2005 (which JM was refering to earlier (i have quoted nearly the whole post, to ensure context):
note- bold text added by me.

deuce4 – “In aid, of course, it has always been an occasional technique to break off a loose flake or something to make a placement, but think about it en masse, and you may be coming closer to the questions people were raising at the time.”

It seems like part of the complaint is the ‘quantity’ of modifications. I totally agree that it is a legit concern, and well expressed. I can’t recall the figure, but Wings of Steel has somewhere around 150 hooks. At least 10% of these saw modification. I feel safe to say that less that 20% did. That would come to about 20 -25 over the climb. (Richard, if that doesn’t jive with your recollection, feel free to jump in.) So I don’t know if that falls into the category of “occasional” which, as you acknowledge, is standard Yosemite ethics, or whether if qualifies as “en mass.” I could have described our number of modifications as “several,” but to me “several” means 3-5, maybe 3-10. So I used the word “many.” The only reason Wings of Steel could work as a climb is its less than vertical nature. On an overhanging wall you need a pit to make things go. On the Great Slab a flat surface is reliable. The number of micro-ledges and flakes on the Slab with flat tops usually left us with the problem of figuring out which one was best, not where to find one at all. Moreover, most of the flakes on the Slab are too small to be banging into as they are smaller than the diameter of the drill itself! If Jeff wants to count every modification as a hole, then consider the climb to have 165-170 holes.

“there's a big difference in the experience if you have a drill and/or chisel by your side and are willing to enhance to your level.”
It seems we are back an argument of ‘quality’ of enhancement. As I think should be clear from my post that kicked off this debate, we didn’t modify flakes “to [our] level.” If a flake was otherwise usable but had an obstruction at the back, we chipped the obstruction to get a flat spot big enough to take the tip of a Leeper Narrow (which as you know has a tip of almost no size). We didn’t say, “Gee, while I’m here, I think I’ll just bring this puppy down to my comfort level.”

One point I’ll throw in, although I realize this deviates from the topic. Regarding hook modifications, we could have said it never happened and sold the story. But we have attempted to be honest and transparent, offering both supporting points to our climb and points that are open to criticism so that those following this thread can form a judgment based on the entire truth. Our forthrightness should be worth something.





i agree, the forthrightness is worth something, but 10-20% of 150 hook placements is 15-30 "enhancements" (i still don't like that word), not 8-10.

i am more inclined to believe you when you make a wider estimate (a range of 15 rather than a range of 2), because you ar not going to really remember the # itself unless you keep a record, and it seems you didn't do that because you thought of it as no big deal, especially if it was not visually apparent or obvious that you had chiseled.

by that statement alone, i am calling this a manufactured route.

i mean, come on, you chiseled up to 30 placements-
unless you were underestimating? even slightly?
if i can still read, the # is now already down to 10, so...

was the drill out in every hard section, or wasn't it?

you said you had a 30% failure rate for hook placements, if you chiseled a placement and it blew, and you had to start over, does that chiseled placement that just blew count toward your total? (30% of 150 is another 45 placements, how many of those were chiseled? didn't you say that the "modifications" made failure more likely?)

do you expect future ascents to follow in your exact hook placements? how? you said yourself they cannot be seen, right? so you chiseled to make it go, and even then you whipped off left and right, but the 2nd, if there ever is a 2nd, either 1)doesn't get that advantage (though it can probably be made up for in additional less-than-clean slab falls), or2)gets to chisel his way up el cap.

now you have a middle aged insurance salesman just a year or two over a pair broken ankles (courtesey of el cap), trying your route on TR, and a speed guy who gets bored climbing by braile on the rig (go figure).

did you offer either one of these guys your drill bit beta?

seriously, did you suggest that they could fall less frequently if they would consider employing the same techniques that were used on the FA?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:28pm PT
I'm not saying anyone else up there would or wouldn't chisel, or anything else, mimi.

I'm simply stating that the slab is *huge* and blank. Essentially, it is the same from one end to the other. If someone really wanted to prove this point about any of these questions, they could simply move down the line 20 feet and get the exact same experience. Remember, it's a featureless slab. 1800 feet later, you'd be at the headwall. Essentially the same experience. That's all I was saying.

No one's been cheated out of the opportunity of anything except climbing a line in the *exact* same space as WoS. There's plenty of slab to offer the exact same experience, however.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:39pm PT
from above:
Wings of Steel has somewhere around 150 hooks. At least 10% of these saw modification. I feel safe to say that less that 20% did.

and

it's a featureless slab. 1800 feet later, you'd be at the headwall
so how do you get up 1800 feet of hard hooking w/ 150 hook placements?
Bart Fay

Social climber
Redlands, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:40pm PT
Without a doubt, Mimi is the most entertaining thing to happen to this thread in a while.
It almost makes up for LEB's appearance.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:44pm PT
Matt, you keep saying it again and again in more words than Richard - why not simply come out and say it? You don't consider WOS a valid line. Ignore this and write all you want - but in the end all those repeated words all simply boil down to: "quality", "quantity", and "manufactured". And, again, that leaves no other conclusion other than you think a) it isn't a valid line (in which case no line up the apron would be) or b) you think someone else could do it better. It's quite amazing you and others can't speak simply and plainly and say one or the other.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:56pm PT
h- i guess i don't know if a or b are true, but i think there is room to argue either, using just the info in their own posts, and i don't think there is any reason to entirely vindicate these guys or the specifics of their ascent, all these years later. maybe your point is that i am spending way to much time on this thread, and you are probably right (bye then).
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 8, 2006 - 05:57pm PT
Actually, the slab isn't the same all the way across. Water flows heavier in some spots.

Mimi, you are rad! I agree with every word you have written.

What I saw on WoS was that someone had beaten the rock with a hammer. I don't pretend to know who did it, but it looks to me that someone was trying to erase placements. This was 6 or 7 years ago, I don't keep those kinds of records.
I got to the third anchor by the original start with no falls, and I clearly credit the Petzl crochet hooks I got in france for making it that far. And yes I threw up.

Jensen, you continue to push too hard. You gain ground and then go and insult Deucy, once again sending you to the talus.

What was the rational for replacing the rivets with Z-Macs? That is the ultimate epitome of manufactured difficulty. Your as bad as Beyer setting up somebody to die.
Anything you did right is offset by that atrocity.

And for the record, if there is a rivet between anchors, it ain't A5. Your putting in purposely bad rivets still doesn't make it A5.

Do you still not get it?

It is clear to me you wanted to put up an A5 route. That's not how it goes. You pick a line and climb it, and rate what you find.


More later, gotta go
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 06:05pm PT
Matt, my final take on it:

a) It's a largely uniform slab.

b) No one's getting up it without "enhancements" of some sort.

c) Every ascent is likely to be essentially an "FA" in terms of non-repeatable hooking.

d) They did as good a job as anyone is likely to.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 06:12pm PT
um, ^^that^^ guy got up 3 pitches w/ no falls, did he just get lucky and find all their doctored placements? did he have better hooks?

if they chipped up to 20% of their hook placements, that sounds like all the really bad ones to me (there musta been some good ones, right?). you might as well bolt on some plastic holds, at least we could all see where the route goes.
WBraun

climber
Aug 8, 2006 - 06:49pm PT
I have absolutely nothing against you Mark & Richard nor against your route the Wings of Steel and you did a great job climbing it in whatever style it was.

But to me and to me only, it's a piece of sh#t. I wouldn't want to do it.

Can't I even have that opinion for myself?
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 8, 2006 - 06:59pm PT
Some say the WoS guys fell to the talus...No, the thread did. Mark and Richard, the biggest mistake you could make now is believing everything you read on the internet.

How about this, everyone except those that have climbed the route are talking out their ass. So much BS strewn across the web. The difference is whether you are condemning the WoS guys without adequate knowledge, or you give them the benefit of the doubt and some respect for being willing to put up a bold climb. And by anyones account, it is a bold climb.

In other words, to the crowd who thinks they raped the stone. Climb the route and prove that they did.

Climbing IS still an action sport. Talk is cheap. If I were Mark and Richard this is the challenge I would have laid down years ago.
WBraun

climber
Aug 8, 2006 - 07:10pm PT
If "Talk is cheap"

Then why even Talk?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 07:22pm PT
Werner -- I'm sure Mark and Richard will appreciate and accept that. I think it's totally valid that anyone have their own opinion about it.

elcapfool -- Here's the thing, concerning your claims. First, I've heard expressed doubt, a few times, about your claims of getting up that far on the route. To me, neither here nor there. I could care less, but always try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say they've done something.

However, here it could be valid, as you say you got up three pitches, and also say you saw all this evidence of someone hammering all over the rock. So, not to offend, but the people who saw and are "supporting" also feel the need to verify the "detractors", as the lines seem to have been drawn.

So, first, you surely waited an *awful* long time to claim this (hammering). It certainly didn't appear in the initial threads. Why hasn't anyone else seen this hammering? Maybe both Ammon and Pete missed it? Maybe Tom missed it, or I did? Are you saying the hammering is above pitch 2 only? What are we missing?

As far as the A5 crap above... Someone said that if it were A5 the belays would pull (too lazy to scroll up now to see who). Apparently aid ratings are moving targets too, when talking about WoS?!?! Check your ratings - that would be A6.

As far as the rivet/A5/Christian did it thing... Aid ratings are based on danger. From the JM/JL book: "A5 always refers to a string of placements so marginal, it takes not only God, but all the angels and saints to keep them in place. If one placement goes, they all go and physical harm is almost assured. You may hit a ledge or swing into a corner."

Well, from what is known of this summer, by several folks, this kinda sounds like Wings. This says nothing about pulling anchors (which would be A6), nothing about the length of the pitch, or runout, yadda, yadda, yadda... I think a string of desperate hooks, run out 30 feet or so, above a ledge that you *will* hit if you fall, which *will* break something, at the least, which desribes the crux 2nd pitch of WoS, sounds pretty similar. Again, the ratings are based on danger.

So, I guess what I'm wondering is that when you've got it on pretty good word from a couple of guys, who would know, that the climbing is very hard, one of them, who could be classed, rightfully, as some sort of "superstar" climber is taking multiple falls and *neither* of them saw any eveidence of any "hammering", which is confirmed by other people who have been on the first 2 pitches in the last couple of months.... How do you account for this?

bringmedeath

climber
la la land
Aug 8, 2006 - 08:00pm PT
Jesus Chist just take aid ratings from a book and act like an expert why don't ya!?!??!
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:18pm PT
Werner, perhaps you missed my point.

Those people who say it is a rape job would carry much more weight if they had climbed the route. Raping seems to be an up close and personal act better identified by the rapist and rapee or someone in close observation that has surveyed the damage...
WBraun

climber
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:36pm PT
Yeah, I don't see any rape.

Seems like weird thing to say to me, but what do I know.

I remember people dreaming to climb the thing free (the slab).

Man, looks impossible to me. They could barely hook it.

I like to climb stuff I can see. Sounds like you need a microscope to find your way around up there. Plus I don't need nor want any road rash from falls. There are so many good routes in Yosemite. Why would someone want to mess around on this thing and risk fuking yourself up beats me. You all can have it.

It's a wonderful thing to look at though.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 8, 2006 - 09:43pm PT
yes, even if I were a non-climber there is something in me that appreciates placing the palm of my hand on the rock of el cap and staring at it.

It seems to be the humanity of us all that creates most of the problems. Sounds like that slab is alright after all of these years...
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:15pm PT
I think the breath wasted on this topic here must equal the entire communication that M and R exchanged in 39 days. I know this, because I am an idiot savant. Or an idiot who is smarter than a calculator. Or maybe just an idiot.

I climbed on a shitted on rack quite a bit. My buddy soloed Cosmos back around 1980 and had an attack of bad cream cheese hit him near the end of the pitch. He had to fire hose everything, ropes, pigs, all the hardware below him. A good rinse in the Merced and the hardware was fine. The ropes had these long brown stains, and I wouldn't use them. He used my ropes or used his on unsuspecting partners.

So, to surmise this bitter, lengthy, tome, I will sum up...

1) Route going up. Everyone thought it was some nobodys drilling up the blankest part of El Cap. Pissed off a lot of people. People are now saying it is way hard.

2) First two pitches chopped and gear sh#t on in a (night time?)raid. I was in the valley but not for the raid. I heard about it in the morning. I never saw slander in the shitters about WOS, but there was this period where the stalls all read, "Topper is real, Dino too." Sometimes accompanied by a crude dinosaur sketch.

3) Route repaired and sent in a long period for 13 pitches or so of new climbing(using the Reid guide).

Hasn't been repeated. FA boys evidently want some respect. Bad blood still runs deep from the old timer valley locals.

I have an opinion, but I'll keep it to myself. No matter which way I go, I'll just be tossing bombs at someone.

I vote that we boycott this entire discussion, and leave it to the righteous to fight it out over email. I can't imagine something that hasn't been said by now. Most of it over and over and over.

I vote on a best bong thread, or maybe a soloing on acid thread.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 8, 2006 - 10:19pm PT
"um, ^^that^^ guy got up 3 pitches w/ no falls, did he just get lucky and find all their doctored placements? did he have better hooks?"

I believe ^^that^^ guy said:

"and I clearly credit the Petzl crochet hooks I got in france for making it that far. And yes I threw up."

Now, how would you interpret those statements? I'd tend to take him at his word that he likely had better hooks. I'd also tend to think if he threw up then it was likely a pretty damn stout endeavor for anyone.

Endless, tedious slab hooking wouldn't do anything for me, but nothing I've heard yet convinces me these guys didn't put up a stellar slab aid route. And just because slabs don't happen to ring my bell I'm not about to call it a piece of sh#t. But hey, that's just me.
Mimi

Trad climber
Seattle
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:25pm PT
I apologize if I missed this request earlier in this gihugic thread. Just one question to clarify this whole thing in terms of what the second ascent party should hope to find on the route in its entirety. In your original article, WOS: Living in the Sky (Climbing, 1983) you reported that the route required 145 drilled placements including 75 rivets and 39 anchor bolts.

If you consider every hook placement touched by a drill, does this whole count still hold up or exactly where are things at this point?

I'm hearing 145 +10, going twice!
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 8, 2006 - 11:31pm PT
i take it all back

forget i said anything-

i'd delete it all, but that would piss someone off too-

i now agree w/ werner, the valley's resident sage and my defacto spiritual mentor- i have no interest whatsoever in that slab and whomever wants to climb it can have it, and in any style they see fit, who f*#king cares anyway?

i recognize that this is not my fight- i think i was drawn in by all these people who weren't there, chiming in and offering these guys redemption or something, but redemption from anyone who wasn't climbing in the 80s will be hollow enough w/out my opinion, so i'll just try to keep my trap shut, for once.


richard and mark, if you can find out who crapped on your ropes, more power to you, that wasn't a very nice thing to do. best of luck w/ that effort. i can tell you this much, it wasn't me. i was in junior high.

further, if you can get lois' jury or any other group to represent the "community" and offer you any sort of closure (i have had a woman or two ask me for that, so it may be a definable human need on some level? who knows), again, best of luck w/ that. it's not my gig, and i officially do not have an opinion on PoS, oops, i mean WoS!!




(come on now, that's a JOKE! =)
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 9, 2006 - 03:27am PT
Nef,
I didn't say the "anchors would rip", that was somebody else.

Yes the route is ridiculously hard, but still only A4+, because of the rivets(even though they are intentionally bad).

Mighty bold of you to be calling me a liar, since I live 3500 miles away now. So you've heard from many sources? How many? Are you aware Pete and I have history of bad blood? (Muir wall)
Not trying to restart that war(please God, NOOOO), but what I saw up there didn't exactly make me think Pete was a bad ass, and I specifically remember his concern that I was running it out too far.
I've got two witnesses on that so, bring on your evidence.


I did not do the "bogus" start, so I can't comment on that.
I also can't say what has transpired in the last 5 years.

Also that is definately not the first time I mentioned the hammering, although I think I used different words. But I am sure I mentioned the route had been damaged, several times.

I wish I still had those Petzl hooks, so I could send them to you with detailed instructions where to put them, but all my gear was stolen in 2004. They were VERY agressive, sharp and pointy, with only about a 1/4" radius. I didn't have to do any modifications, the hooks did it for me.
So, since you've jugged the first two pitches (as if that makes you badass?) wouldn't you say that would be the best hook for that you have ever seen?

I bailed because I was not having fun. I thought someone had bashed the route, and it was way harder than the FA. That may or may not be the case. Anyway, Kevin made it farther than me, why don't you ask him?

It was actually a friendly gesture I made to Pete, telling him to stay off Wos. I know how he climbs, and the details of his deal (that he comes on his vacations). If I was still pissed at him I would have said "you gotta do it , it's rad!" But I didn't did I. I said he should do Space.


And since you put me in a defensive posture, There is no F'ing way there is only 150 hook moves on the slab. Do the math, if it is 1800', then there must be between 450-600 placements.

Also, It might be called "The Great Slab", but it is only a few degrees less than Vertical. I think many people don't realize that with all this "slab" talk thrown around.

I find it both amusing and infuriating that with no first hand knowledge, you are calling me a liar. That is so ironic. I've got WoS syndrome. It seems anyone who touches that route has their integrity called into question by the unseen hoard.

Who in their right mind would have ever thought someone would be called a Liar for saying they bailed on a route?

My ropes were fixed for three days, and I spent "quality" time at the base with Chongo. Dozens of people went by headed up to LF or where ever. Bill Russell was aware of my attempt.

So Nefarius, name names, or STFU.

Edit-
After rereading your post, I see I forgot to adress the why didn't they see hammering. Gee, I don't know. Maybe because when I saw it it was fresh, and now six or so years later the wet winters out west have faded the scars? White stands out on gray. Light gray on medium gray is likely harder to see.
You're saying P2 was the crux? I felt less secure on the first pitch, probably the groundfall potential. And I don't remember these "Ledges" you're talking about. If you can't sit on it, it ain't much of a ledge.

I have been all over that stone, and to be honest, most of it blends together in my memory. There are highlights, to be sure, but for the most part it was all just a Gordian knot of nylon stuck against a granite wall, like the spagetti test.

With few exceptions, the most memorable spots were on ledges.
And as an additional caveat, the thing I am probably best known for is not exactly conducive to clear memories.

Second Edit-
And Pete didn't see the neon yellow paint on two of my Lost Arrows. "Oh, I thought those were fixed." (and then two pitches later "You didn't bring enough LA's!")

I don't believe I ever said WoS wasn't hard. My issues lie elsewhere.

-yet another edit,
Petzl seems not to make that hook anymore. Their current small "reglette" is at least twice the radius of the ones I had, and the sling is sewn totally differently. The ones I had were bartacked like a sport draw. Still searching, but no luck so far finding a pic. Once you see one, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 9, 2006 - 10:09am PT
elcapfool-- I think, if you notice, and since, as you point out, I don't know you, I said/offered benefit of the doubt. I think I've read some of those things here, in these threads.

My question was in regards to the hammering. I took it from your descriptions that someone had ravaged the rock with a hammer, which would be noticeable, even six years later. Maybe I'm wrong. It is a watercourse, which could certainly affect that.

Too bad you *don't* have the hooks, I'd definitely like to see them. Sorry about the gear! That sucks. Do you have pics? Maybe a sketch you can do? It would be interesting to see something that someone thought worked well. I'd tend to think that a sharp hook might not be best, as it might tend to cause the *tiny* (you know, as you were there) flakes off the wall. But, who knows. The hooks I stood on were slightly flattened, and as I stated before, I didn't have the balls to try much more than a few placements a few feet above the ground. So, I think that would pretty much take care of, in any way, you somehow thinking I was implying I'm a badass. My aid experience is definitely below A5 or A4+.

Actually, now that I think about it, they may have been slightly pointed. I took pics, I'll have to go through my files.

Also, sorry, as I wasn't implying you said the anchor thing, dude. I thought I typed something about being too lazy to scroll up to see who it was. I'm too lazy to do that now.

I would like to say that I think we all can take a cue from your post to Mark and Richard, in the thread you created. I think these threads have had their good points, for sure. I think a lot of understanding has been gained, all around, on all sides. However, I think it's also had it's bad points. Quite a few, really. And, if we can see nothing else from the WoS "thing", we can see that the bad certainly sticks longer than the good. All sorts of things have been questioned about all sorts of people, that normally wouldn't have been, might should not have been and probably don't really matter in the big picture. The term moving target was used in the discussion most recently, and there *has* been a moving target, that has hit folks on all sides. I've been hit by it, as well as I've leveled the weapon. I guess I'm not proud of that.

There are plenty of people on this forum whom I've had opposing views with on this topic, that I've looked up to. That we all look up to. I still do and think you guys did/do some rad sh#t. I apologize to any of you I may have offended in seeking to help friends and figure this thing out. That was never my intention. I suppose we all get heated when trying to do something we believe in or trying to support the same. Isn't that what this whole thing is really all about anyway??? Support of your beliefs?

While I certainly understand all of the points on both sides, and have no clue as to where to draw the line on so many of these topics, I don't agree, at all with the vehicle used to deliver it. I guess at it's simplest point, I think we're all adults involved and shitting on people's gear, and the mob scene action and smear campaign that followed was kinda in bad taste, damned immature and doesn't really do much for the community. But I wasn't there. If I had been, I can honestly say I wouldn't have participated in it, at any level, no matter what I believed. There are just better ways to handle this sh#t. This has been my point, all along. And it's certainly not like we all don't face these types of controversies currently, in Yosemite (if you're lucky enough to live there or close, as I do), or our own home crags. There have been plenty at my home crags and I've been on the side of ethics and fought hard, so I understand that side.

But as far as Wings, honestly, it seems like really not a lot has changed. Sure, people aren't out shitting on gear, surrounding Mark and Richard again, etc... Segregation also isn't practiced anymore either, but it doesn't mean that things have really changed in areas like the South. Which, is unfortunate, as change is really another thing that this is all about. Without it, none of us would be climbing The Captain at all. Period. Most of the great routes that exist wouldn't.
Being the stweard of change, or just trying to be is a risky business. I think we've seen this over and over.

I guess, I'm saying this whole thing has certainly taken a toll. It's certainly tired me the fvck out. I've pretty much reserved to simply not post to it anymore, after this post. For a lot of reasons. I think the biggest being that anything that needs to be said has been. I guess the one reamining thing, I personally don't care about. I think it would be nice if the "shitter(s)" would contact Mark and Richard, if they feel so inclined, and have a dialogue with them, however, I personally don't need to know who it was, nor here anything from them. If they wanted to offer something up to the community one way or the other, great. But I'll be fine without it.

Anyway, it's been fun guys. Just wanted to make my peace and move on to more climbs, hopefully some great shots and future good times with you here and elsewhere, should we meet. I wish the same for you.

Cheers!
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 04:18am PT
Edit-
Ok, that was needlessly harsh, I broke my 'no posting before coffee' rule, sorry.


That's all good and I can accept that.
The only outstanding issue is that you stated you heard expressed doubt a few times.
To me that means you are saying a few people are calling me a liar. Or did Pete just say it a few times?

I know Ammon well, but we have never climbed together. And I don't know him to be the kind of person to say that sort of thing.
My history with Pete is well known. I don't doubt for second he would talk shite about me. I could write a book about him, but I thought we had a truce. His opinion means as much to me as a pimple on the ass of a pig in Peoria.

So that's two people that know me that were there, one of which I have never climbed with.

I may not be fast, sure, but that is not at issue here. Speed and WoS are like peanut butter and kerosene, they don't taste great together.

I am not going to let you drop that bomb and just walk away.
This whole thing has been about accountability.

Plus I am curious who I know that is still even around?
If you don't have the sack to post it, email me.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:27am PT
Russ,

It has been an endless source of amusement to me that people have suggested I drilled on Jolly Roger. I think this is because they couldn't believe a guy who sells insurance and climbs walls part time could climb the route without cheating. Let me assure you that I did not drill on Jolly Roger, or enhance any placements or anything like that. I climbed it in legit style, however I cheated by bringing along a free climbing gun to climb the hard free stuff! It's not a route I could have soloed.

I will confess that I placed at least two rivets for convenience to hang my portaledge. This was before it was pointed out to me that such a thing is not kosher, and I no longer do this.

Sorry, no elephant here.

John Middendorf - have you ever chiselled a head placement during a First Ascent? If so, how many and how often?

What I saw of Wings is that it isn't modified, at all, John. What I saw on the Sea is that it is modified - a lot. I don't know how many modifications were done on the first ascent, although Jim Bridwell told me in person he chipped the flake on the Illusion Chain on the FA. [I bypassed it low and to the right]

Matt - only a moron [like you] would suggest that Mark and Richard chiselled and drilled their way up a slab. All you have to do is look at the first two pitches, which you can see from the ground, to know that this is not true. Or you could take the word of me and Ammon.

Christian - Tom, not Richard, replaced the Zmacs with Zmacs. There were never rivets per se on the climb. We chose to replace like with like.


elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:50am PT
But wasn't that by request? I am pretty sure I read that.

There is way too much to wade through to find the exact quote.

In an effort to bring a wider understanding of everyones opinion, I feel the Zmacs are at the heart of the matter.

I really want Richard to explain this, in the expert manner in which he explained the WoS/SoD order issue. He won that arguement with calm clear rhetoric.

I would very much like the choice of Zmacs to get the same treatment.

Also, it would be nice if Mark could address my numbered remaining issues. I am 80% of the way there.

Don't get me wrong, I am a stauch "rivet with rivets" supporter, so it is possible to win me over. I just need to hear one particular concession, or a rational reason that I have been missing. As I see it, there are rivets, or there are bolts. Both should be bomber.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2006 - 09:40am PT
Pete writes
It has been an endless source of amusement to me that people have suggested I drilled on Jolly Roger. (snip) Let me assure you that I did not drill on Jolly Roger, or enhance any placements or anything like that. I climbed it in legit style (snip)
I will confess that I placed at least two rivets for convenience to hang my portaledge. This was before it was pointed out to me that such a thing is not kosher, and I no longer do this.


Right on Pete. Maybe you aren't amazed at how many people have told me this... of course I didn't know for sure, but I do now.

As for why I asked: Your pit bull friend Nefarious accused me of trolling with this to dilute the conversation because I'm a "fukkin assshole", and a "dumbass" or something. But... besides me being all of the above, it would be pretty hollow for a guy (you) to keep using the Jolly Roger as a reference point for hard hooking, and then applying this standard to the WoS hooking you encountered, if the facts were you drilled past the Jolly Roger hooking. That is all. I just wanted to know if you knew what you were talking about. And you do.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 09:47am PT
OK, I'll post again, simple to clarify something I said for someone. But, again, off the merry-go-round.

Christian, again, I said I thought I read it on here. Maybe it was more in relation to the hammering, which no one else has seen.

And, *were* it to come from someone else, especially while working on my own project related to this whole mess, I'd not "out" who it were to begin with. Just as I have not outed, even to Mark or Richard, exactly who the shitter is, and who the person (SAR member at the time) is that told me. I will say that it *does* go along with what Werner said; it's not anyone I've ever heard mentioned here, and if he was, it's real obscure and searching for any kind of info on him has really not yielded much of anything at all. Involved in a couple of FA's, nothing major. He's not only not been a member of the SAR team for quite a while, he's not been doing anything climbing related for a while, apparently.

And, for the record, As well as I know Pete, I don't know the story or haven't heard a story in regards to bad blood between you or any reasoning for there to be such. So, obviously, there's probably nothing to it, or he has, in fact, respected this "truce" you speak of. And I guess, so as an omission doesn't seem like some confirmation, in all time I've known Ammon he's never mentioned you.

Cheers!
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 09:56am PT
And since I am here...

I think it interesting that with all the talk about the ethics of the day, ethics in general, etc. and how, supposedly, no one is being held to a higher standard, that here, on this site, there is a photo of one of the "perps" using a stick clip or cheat stick while on lead. I kinda thought that was taboo, as well. It would certainly, I think remove any "right" he'd have had to be on the "shitting team of ethics".

Or is stick clipping accepted now as well?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2006 - 10:00am PT
C'mon Nef... you know the drill (pun intended)... names, pics etc.

I would love to see a shiiter with a stick clip. And, no, it ain't Kosher.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 10:34am PT
Russ -- OK, so, before I go getting ahead of myself and spouting off, as I did the other day...

Would attaching stuff to the end of a hammer or using something like a trick, duct-taped, extended draw, when you're obviously not in your top steps constitute cheat sticking/stick clipping?

Just verifying what I've always been led to believe is considered such...
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2006 - 10:42am PT
Depends™™™™ Neff.... Taking a cheat stick for use as a cheat stick is IMO bull crap unless:
you are a midget
-or-
the topo calls for it (don't like this one either, think LoveTron™™™)

As for the hammer trick or the wired stopper trick.... quasi legitimate. On the spot improvising is probably ok. Top steps??? Who uses them on a steep route?

Let's see the pic.... you are well on the way to outing a cheater and a shiitter. (hope it ain't me!) Isn't this fun!?!?
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 10:59am PT
Russ -- That all sounds pretty straight forward and makes sense.

My take on the image is that the part of the route being photo'd is not particularly steep, and Mike is actually pretty far down the aiders. While the bolt/rivet looks pretty crappy, I'm not really sure what's going on here. Just seems odd to me and looks like he's got a scream aid on the end of something. What's your take?



Again, I could just be talking out my ass. But this is how it ocurred to me when I saw the photo.

Thanks for having a look, Russ.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2006 - 11:05am PT
hahaha! I would have to go with "midget" to help out my fellow "Valley Boy".

Not sure what the fuk is going on there.... but it kinda looks like an un-convicted but accused shiiter with a cheat stick...... THE SHAME!

Good work Neff.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 11:22am PT
I really like your response about cheat stick use, Russ. Seems pretty reasonable. Even on the easy aid I've done (in comaprison to the topic), I've never taken one with me and don't intend to start. I've seen them plenty, while watching people through a long lens on the end of my camera though. It has just always occurred to me that there *is* a way through it, if you suck it up and figure it out.

I wonder if a lot of things out there for reading might lead people new to aid to believe it's actually somewhat acceptable. You certainly can read, even here, on the route pages where people use them and no one really gives them any grief about it.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2006 - 11:33am PT
Neff writes: I wonder if a lot of things out there for reading might lead people new to aid to believe it's actually somewhat acceptable. You certainly can read, even here, on the route pages where people use them and no one really gives them any grief about it.

Like most things, it boils down to personal style or what you have been taught. I was taught that they were puss, and have never used one or taken one on a route.... that I can recall...

But.... people use them all the time. Here is the problem/no problem with that:

This falls under the heading of "I don't care what you do (except for damaging the rock) as long as I don't have to hear about it". So if a sprayer used a cheat stick and starts spraying about some hard asss route and how he floated it etc... that is bullshiit without disclosing the use of a stick. If Joe Anyone goes and does the Column and says, "yeah, I used a cheat stick on the Kor roof and the rest of the route was easy"..... then big deal. What do I care if he used a ladder.

I guess I only care when there is not full diclosure on harder stuff. Ratings are our yardstick for ego, pecking order, and all the rest. Cheating with a stick makes routes easier. The playing field is no longer level.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 12:00pm PT
Good stuff, Russ, for sure.

I was also taught the same about cheat sticks and things, in general. And, I agree, it *does* all come down to personal style. Any of those guys saw me use a stick and I'd "have sand in my vagina" for sure. I'd never hear the end of it.

I think, luckily for me, that I started out climbing with guys that were from a previous generation. They instilled a good ethic in me.

When looking around at the newer climbers in my local area, I'm kind of pissed off about what I see. Ethics in general seem to have gone out the window. I often wonder if they simply don't know any better, as so many people start climbing in gyms now. They've even gone as far as to upload a topo to a site with re-named and re-graded routes, all on a re-named wall. The real wall, route and grades have existed for years and years.

While I'm not going to sh#t on anyone's gear, it really pisses me and others off. So I can understand when people feel like a local ethic has been violated and get heated, and I take interest in what others think about their local ethics. While I don't live in Yos, I consider it to be my home crag away from home, as it's only an hour and half away and I spend great amounts of time there. In light of that, what all of you guys think is important to me.

Anyway, I really appreciate your thoughts on this stuff, Russ. Thanks.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 10, 2006 - 12:33pm PT
re: "Matt - only a moron [like you] would suggest that Mark and Richard chiselled and drilled their way up a slab. All you have to do is look at the first two pitches, which you can see from the ground, to know that this is not true."


actually, that really is my opinion.

i have been persuaded that, just as i said umpteen times upthread, these guys need to be judged in the context of the era of their climb. therefore, how there tactics (or anyone else's tactics) sit w/ me is of little consequence.

truth be told, they never said the didn't chisel and drill their way up the slab, they have only argued that they did it in a style that was bold and committing, and not entirely divergent from this example or that, and they seem to have some valid arguments to that end.

it's an open question (and always will be) whether they would have looked at "ethics" or "tactics" differently, had they "paid their dues", if you take that phrase to mean submerging themselves in the culture and the community (i suppose in their defense, there is another open question as to whether or not the "community" would have ever really let them in). would they have encountered anyone with the same ideas that JM spoke of, in terms of a new idealistic approach, specific to the early 80's, rather than measuring their approach by the yardsticks of what they had read about? we will never know. if they had been more of the hero-worshiping type, would they have been more interested in seeking out the tutalidge(sp?) of established valley climbers? would they have found people who had these ideas that JM describes? would those ideas have changed the values that M&R brought w/ them from their past experiences? who knows. it doesn't really matter.

as for my comment, that you quoted above, i have since retracted it, in the contect of this thread. and therefore in the context of the intent to criticize these guys.

that doesn't mean that i don't still have that opinion, in the context of my own value system, and in terms of what i would or could ever do myself. as i see it, these guys hooked their way up when and where they could. when they couldn't hook, they pulled out a tool to manipulate the rock enough to provide them with the opportunity to hook. when they couldn't do that, they drilled a rivet. they drilled regular but infrequent protection bolts to prevent their potential falls from being suicidal or otherwise unacceptable, and the need for those bolts was maximized, relatively speaking, by the fact that the line they chose offered little in the way of natural protection.

as i read these threads, none of these points are contested. all that has been argued (and argued w/ some success by R&M) was that what they did was no different that what was done by this guy or that, in various well respected instances.

that does not mean that i as an individual see their tactics as acceptable or ethical, in terms of my own relationship w/ the rock that i climb, or in the world that i live in, as i see it.

you pedro, state repeatedly that you cannot see any evidence of drilling/chipping/manufacturing on the 2 pitches that you ascended via toprope. in my opinion, in terms of what sort of interaction i find acceptable, that is not the measuring stick, but i do recognize that it's not so different than what goes on in other venues (consider for example the cleaning of a
"new" bouldering problem w/ a wire brush, or the use of a crowbar to make a sport climb "safe").

my opinion, which again i have specifically retracted from any sort of criticism of R&M or their route, would be that using the drill bit as a chisel cheapens the climb. obviously, they can defend that in terms of the tactics of others in that era, and i only make that statement in terms of my own value system, which is not in any way important in terms of the legacy of WoS, which i have repeatedly stated i believe should be judged in the context of the era it went up. so w/ that in mind, if the drill/chisel was used only 3-8 times (as you, pedro, stated in one post) than those few indescretions hardly seem worthwhile in terms of the requirement of such a significant footnote (a footnote that, just like the use of a cheaterstick or a bathook or whatever, is necessary in terms of the legitimacy associated w/ full disclosure), and if in fact it was 10-20% of the hook placements (as M stated in a post in 10/05), that strikes me as a manipulation to a very substantial portion of the hard hook placements (can we not assume that at least a few placements were bomber, and others moderate, leaving some percentage of the total as truely sick? so the percentage of the hard placements overall, would then be greater than what was mentioned above).

in terms of my relationship w/ the rock, all of that is bogus. that is not to say that i can criticize them anymore than i can disrespect the practices of aid climbing in general, and the wide acceptance of continuously progressive damage and destruction to rock, in the name of manufacturing repeated ascents. when you layer that over the regular placement of protection and anchor bolts, and then divide by the total # of climbers who ever have or ever will use them, the overall impact easily surpasses any threshold that i personally, in my own mind, and in my own perspective, could ever become comfortable with.

the fact that you, pedro, are not of the same opinion, is of no consequence to me whatsoever, and the fact that you could go through your whole big wall career and become competent to ascend horse chute, and still need to be told, after the fact, that drilling a rivet on a route like that for only the convenience of hanging a ledge is unacceptable, makes me laugh heartily when you call me a moron.


R&M, i did not write any of that post w/ the intent to criticize you, and again, i was not climbing in 1982 and i am not judging you. best of luck to you both, you do seem like bright guys and have been remarkablly patient here.

carry on.



EDIT
i still fail to understand why each and every time the drill bit touched the rock, that is not recorded and considered an equal entry in the hole count, but that again is not my fight. R stated above somewhere that they were not criticized at the time for that, and i would counter that perhaps among all the ruckus at the time, it was not clearly communicated by them? either way, it's all just banter now, and they have taken more than their share of public flogging, so if there ever is/was and discrepancy, time served...

madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 10, 2006 - 02:10pm PT
Christian, things seem to be happening on this thread now, although you posted your summary of points on the "apology" thread. My voluminous responses didn't seem appropriate there, so I've posted them on the "Mimi" thread (which seemed the active thread at that time):

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=236000&f

Thanks for the great summary of issues.

And, Matt, points taken. Thanks.
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 04:50pm PT
Randy,
I am not cool with that. Nope, not at all.

You are doing to me what "the unseen hoard" did to R&M back in the day. And that is ironic, since I reported that I failed on the route. I freely admit I couldn't muster the gumption to climb the route, and you feel the need to say you heard from "sources" that I failed even lower than I really did?

Should I send you a rope to shlt on?

That's really uncool, especially since I am doing far more than most to be rightous about this whole debacle.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 05:30pm PT
Christian,

I'm thinking maybe you need to read what I actually wrote, in the first place. Maybe "heard" was a poor choice of words, but frequently gets used online in place of read. Human nature. I think you're getting your panties all in a bunch for assuming it was told to me. I stated, for clarification, that I thought I read it here. As far as anything else, I honestly couldn't say. See, I actually talk to a LOT of people about this thing real time. Not just post here. I've heard every opinion on this there can possibly be. Anything about your claims is nothing I've saved any notes on or made any real special note or effort to remember.

Now if it's honestly your concern that either Pete or Ammon said something to me, then it sounds like you have something to talk to them about. Sounds like you have some issue with one of them and are rather defensive that he may be saying something about you. That is rather removed from me. And, incidentally, as far as my part, 3500 miles really has nothing to do with it. I really don't have a problem with sitting down and talking to someone and being open with them. I'd ask the same questions of you in person.


I expressed my own questions/doubts, whatever you want to call it, based on the hammering and why no one else, including myself has noticed it. I believe even Mark and Richard has wondered about that, possibly here or maybe in person. Ya got me, at this point as to which with a thousand emails and a thousand posts.

Regardless, any issue you might have with me is outside of this "debacle" and how you should feel about it. *I* in no way should have any influence on that. Especially since you spent time on the route.

Done. And back to actually accomplishing real world stuff for a bit. I'd like to continue to make money.

elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:30pm PT
Nice try, but this is what you wrote.

"Here's the thing, concerning your claims. First, I've heard expressed doubt, a few times, about your claims of getting up that far on the route."

I shouldn't care, but for some reason i feel the need to get indignant at that.
If you're saying it wasn't Pete or Ammon, then I suppose it shouldn't matter at all.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:37pm PT
truce be damned, lets have the DIRT!

all this reconciliation is f*#king dull anyway
elcapfool

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:44pm PT
Matt,
I love you man! (In a Bud light sort of way...)

I gotta go spend some time with the wife, but Dr. Piton is in the reticle, and the trigger finger is getting itchy.

Tune in tomorrow for the regularly scheduled ass-ripping...
WBraun

climber
Aug 10, 2006 - 06:59pm PT
"What you KNOW is that the rivets were never intended to hold falls"

Why put in a rivet with this kind of thinking?

Weird .............
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 10, 2006 - 07:48pm PT
To "keep the commitment level high" where we can't find a usable hook placement.
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 10, 2006 - 08:15pm PT
Well, that sounds like manufacturing a grade to me, and I have to concur with WBraun on this one. IMO, if you're going to drill, then make the damage to the rock worth something.

To me that thinking is just a little better than a bat hook hole, bad style, actually no, i thnk is worse.

darod.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 10, 2006 - 08:27pm PT
elcapfool wrote -- "You can't apologize worth shlt.
Makes perfect sense to me you're friends with Pete.
You both deserve a good punch in the teeth. "

Whatever, dude.

Well, the apology was really for your misunderstanding. For something you can't accept. I'd think, as evidenced by my apology up above, to Russ, that if I *really* felt like I had something to apologize for I would be pretty direct about it.
I'll count it as a failed attempt to keep things mature and civil.

I'd use your own words here, however, about the being so bold when 3500 miles away, bullsh#t. Tell ya what sport, since I am certainly good friends with Pete, and generally deliver him to the valley and pick him up for his return flight, not to mention all of the countless weekends I spend in the valley, in between, you should have no problems in trying to find and deliver on your threat. Or, you could just have a beer and chill/laugh over what is undoubtedly stupid.

I think we're done now.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 10, 2006 - 10:07pm PT
I'm honestly not getting this one, Werner and darod. So, since I'm clearly missing something here, let's start with the presumptions I must be having and try to get to the bottom of them.

Are you advocating that every drilled placement be a bolt, and that if a drilled placement is not a bolt then it's "manufactured difficulty?" I'm honestly trying to understand your position here.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 10, 2006 - 11:38pm PT
you didn't ask that of me, but i'll take a stab at it anyway.

what exactly do you think "manufactured difficulty" would be, if it's not defined by what you tried to do?


in your own words, " I'm honestly trying to understand your position here", so-
is this the logic(?):

we can't hook here-
we can't even improve a placement and hook-
so we are going to drill a hole here-

but, we still want to keep this fall potentially dangerous-
so we aren't going to put anything in this hole that will hold a fall-

and yet, we may have to "improve" a hook placement or 2 above this hole that we are drilling, because the fall from there would be too serious...




honestly, is there more to it than that?
cause this aid climbing sh#t may be even more "way gay" than i'd thought.




EDIT-
i just checked upthread, it says there are 75 rivets, is that right? in how many pitches? plus ther are about 30 protection bolts, right? and in 10/05 M posted that there are about 150 hook placements, is that also right? can that all be right? because that would mean, on average, there are 2 drilled placements (specifically rivets and in pitch protection bolts) for every 3 hook moves, not including anchors?

are there ladders that skew that ratio or what?
(shows you how much i know about the route...ha!)
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 11, 2006 - 12:00am PT
"and yet, we may have to "improve" a hook placement or 2 above this hole that we are drilling, because the fall from there would be too serious... "

I don't believe that is a fair characterization of what M & R or Pete and Ammon have said at all. The few grains they removed were to make the hooks [they had] work at all in those spots - not to simply make them more secure or bomber which is what you are implying. They also stated in some cases they may have been able to accomplish the same thing by weighting the hook, but that was going to make just establishing the hook a game of russian roulette. If Ammon spent 25 minutes pondering flakes and didn't see signs of their passage I think it's a safe bet your characterizations simply don't hold water. And again, short of having whatever Petzl hooks Christian had (along with his obvious skills) I can't believe you believe anyone (i.e. you, JM, or Ammon) would be able to traverse a line in that vicinity any differently. I still maintain the line dictated the means of travel, not M & R; especially since they climbed totally conventionally above the apron and on SoD.

Ammon: From what I did see on the first two pitches was: It is NOT a bolt ladder like I previously thought. They used every possible features to climb the slab. No lack of balls, either. I took some pretty good rides and was impressed with how far they made their run-outs.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 11, 2006 - 12:23am PT
re: "in some cases they may have been able to accomplish the same thing by weighting the hook, but that was going to make just establishing the hook a game of russian roulette"

i was pretty certain i read in some upthread post where the idea of hooking w/out improving might have worked, but it would have been too serious to find out the hard way, thanks for digging up the quote for me.

i'm sure there's a million different ways you can choose to see this stuff.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 11, 2006 - 12:28am PT
I'd agree with that depending on the power of your microscope...
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 12:33am PT
Wow, Matt, I remain as baffled as before. Really. I understood everything up until this line: "yet, we may have to 'improve' a hook placement or 2 above this hole that we are drilling, because the fall from there would be too serious..."

You seem to continually fixate on the idea that we were "improving" hooks, like the common notion of "enhancing" hooks that is familiar to everyone because they have seen so much of it on other routes. What you are imagining is that we find a flake when we are WAY run out and say, "Man, I'm not willing to fall from here, so if I just drill a little pit here for the tip of the hook.... Well, ok, it's a LONG way run out, so it's needs, really, a little BIGGER pit, 'cause I'm NOT falling from here.... Ahhh, yes, that looks deep enough. Well, maybe just a LITTLE bit deeper."

There are NO "pits," or holes drilled behind flakes, or "enhancements" to make a hook placement "better" such that it is less likely to fail. As we have already said, what we ACTUALLY found is that when we would tap a flake AT ALL, that seemed to make it more likely to fail rather than less. So, if anything, the more run out we would get, the less likely we would be to want to try to "find" some wildly marginal flake and "make" it work for us. The farther out we would get, the more likely we would be to look at a flake and say, "No, that's really crap! I'm not trying that one. After all, a hook wouldn't even seat on it."

You also continually imply that there's just "modifications" willy nilly on the route, as you suggest that any place we got run out there would be "a hook placement or 2" that we "enhanced." We have argued this endlessly, but I will take one final "stab" at clearing this up in your mind. Let's say that Mark's earliest, wildest, most hyper-"honest" (to the point of hyperbole) "estimate" of our "modifications" is strictly accurate (which even he has said is not the case). In that ONE passage you have repeatedly referred to he said 10 to not as much as 20 percent of hooks might have been modified. So, let's go with the outer edge of 19 percent, just for the purposes of your argument.

The number of hooks we used on the route is one of our known quantities, because that we did count up as we went: 151. Assuming a 19 percent figure, that would mean that 28 of those hooks were "modified" (I think, an absolutely outrageous number that is far from reality, and I have never agreed to as many as a dozen). Now, there are 13 pitches that number is spread over, but we won't even count the 13th, where there are only rivets and bat hooks that we didn't count as "hooks." So, that means 28 "modifications" spread over 12 pitches, which averages out to 2.33 "modified" hooks per pitch. All of those twelve pitches were at least 145 feet long. We were often run out during a 145 foot long pitch (since there is only an average of about 3 protection bolts per 145 foot pitch). So, giving you your wildest best-case scenario data, you would still be very hard pressed to sustain your idea that any time we got run out above a rivet we would plan to "modify" "one or 2" hook placements.

But, again, all this "data" is actually a red herring, because we didn't "modify" hooks in anything like the sense you are used to seeing, which is a point you seem to insist on not getting. Our "modifications" did not make hooks "better" in the sense of making them more likely to hold us. Our "modifications" made a hook placement POSSIBLE where it was not POSSIBLE before, and such an attempt made that placement MORE likely to fail rather than less (a point we have repeatedly made from the very beginning of this discussion, and which you perpetually don't get). So, again, we certainly weren't doing it to AVOID falls, which is the point with traditional "enhancements" that are designed to put more rock under the tip of the hook.

If, after all that has been said on this subject, you can continue to believe that our knocking a period-sized crystal off of a dime-sized edge was some sort of "chicken move" to avoid falls, then you really are beyond the value of any further discussion on this matter. All I can say at this point is: "Get your butt out of your chair and up onto the route, and then, IF you can get anywhere on it, you'll be in a better position to talk about all of the "chicken modifications" we (in your mind) were sprinkling liberally all over the route."

Regarding the earlier sentences of your "argument," all I can say is that I still don't get the point. Dowels and rivets were introduced TO do the very thing we used our rivets to do: "Keep the commitment level high," where that JUST MEANS, "Keep the long fall risk high." If you are advocating that ALL drilled placements must be bolts to make pitches "safe," then I can only say that this perspective doesn't jive with decades of "hard" (read: long fall danger) routes that have used rivets for just this very purpose. If you want rivets to be counted on to hold falls, then just put in bolts (or use a scream-aid on any old crap, and it's effectively as good as a bolt).

So, in the future, please don't continue to try to flog the dead horse of our "modifications" by introducing them into EVERY discussion, even where they obviously don't fit, such as this one.

You don't like that we "modified." We get it!!! But you're one of the few who thinks that this is an "issue" any more, and you're not convincing us that we did anything "wrong." We've heard AND understood ALL the arguments about it. That discussion has never succeeded in making the case that we did anything in "poor style" compared to many if not most of the most respected ascents of not only that decade but all the decades since the start of the 70s. That dog won't hunt, and dropping it into this discussion still doesn't turn a puntable, perfumed toy poodle into a black lab!

So, as I said before, try to take another "stab" at it, that THIS time answers the simple question: Do you advocate that EVERY drilled placement MUST be a bolt? I just don't understand what Werner, darod, and now you seem to be suggesting, because it strikes me that it flies in the face of the whole POINT to using rivets at all. Please explain.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 11, 2006 - 12:57am PT
interesting.
actually in that last post, i was just being obnoxious.
i stated my opinions at length, a bit above.

care to comment on my edit?
thanks.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 01:33am PT
Yeah, Matt, there are "ladders." It's been stated repeatedly that almost the entire third pitch is a rivet ladder. There are a few short ladders here and there as well.

What you might see in various places (this sort of thing is actually easily seen from the ground on the first pitch) is something like this: A protection bolt, then (dang, hoped to hook from the good bolt, but nothing there) a rivet, then (dang it again!) another rivet, then (cool!) four hooks in a row, then a bolt, then free climbing past two more bolts, etc. It's not like placement types were spread evenly through the pitches or among pitches. There are easy sections and run out sections spread through the pitches (these are long pitches). Again, if you think you're getting anything LIKE a "picture" from crunching the numbers, I can only suggest you get up there and actually see how those numbers play out. It's a big slab, but I encourage you to perform whatever count intrigues you once you're there.

The figures are for the whole route, which is thirteen pitches and about 1800 feet of climbing.

I'm still not hearing what's wrong with body-weight-only rivets.
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 11, 2006 - 06:45am PT
Placing a rivet is not just to keep the commitment level high. You do that as oppossed to a bolt, because it takes a fraction of the time and at least on the short term, is probably less damaging/intrusive to the rock. Now, choosing a rivet that is not intented to hold falls (although they did as you mentioned before), is what I think is the wrong mentality and trying to manufacturing difficulty.

Richard and Mark, from the start last year of this saga here in ST land, I have appreciated your honesty and I have been a firm supporter of the truth. I believe you guys put up a damn hard route and people did and still do, treat you almost like criminals, all based on ignorance and local arrogance, I have appreciated how forward you guys have been about the route, more so than most people would be in this kind of situation. I believe your route was futuristic and probably misunderstood, and also believe you did it in the best style you could have possibly do it, period.

In regards placing a bad rivet with the sole purpose of keeping the danger/commitement level high though, I guess we will have to dissagree.

You guys are alright in my book, and would have a non-alcoholic beer with you any time!!

Cheers,

darod.
Teth

climber
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Aug 11, 2006 - 07:45am PT
I think the choice of body weight only rivets is totally a question of style (not ethics) which is a subject fit for much debate over a few beer, but can’t really be held as criticism of the route on an ethical basis. I just want to make sure everyone maintains perspective here, as an academic debate over preferred style does not fall into the “moving target” of ethical standards.

The choice of what to put into the hole, once it is drilled, is really at the discretion of the FA team. I think their choice to use the rivets they did to maintain the commitment level was totally legit. They placed bolts often enough to prevent falls from being fatal, but kept the commitment level with their choice of rivets, because they were trying to push themselves to face their fears and all of that. The result is a route which is more mentally committing than dangerous (at least not any more dangerous than a highball boulder problem where you might get banged up or break and ankle but death is not likely.) It sounds like it really makes a climber come to terms with their fear of falling (as apposed to decking) in a way most routes don’t require. I respect that.

All that being said, I would personally be inclined to put the best protection I could into whatever hole I drilled, so if I did an FA I would be looking for a different experience than these guys were. If I used rivets it would be because they required less of a hole and were less obtrusive, but I would use the strongest rivet I could get, because I have trouble even convincing myself that a bolt will hold, so with my irrational fear of heights everything I do above twenty feet up a cliff requires quite a level of mental commitment anyway.

This is all Big Wall Theory, however, and completely an academic exercise for me, since I have never used a rock drill except to hang pictures in a brick house. I have had to be very sensitive to distinctions of ethics versus style however as I was president of Climb Nova Scotia (CNS certifies instructors and handles access negotiations in Nova Scotia) for two years, and have given these issues a great deal of thought in the local context.

Teth
WBraun

climber
Aug 11, 2006 - 08:42am PT
When you use bad rivits to keep the so called "commitment level" high it means you created the route for yourself and yourself only as I see it.

You can do that, I wouldn't.

Now it's your route and yours only .........
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:11am PT
Well, I guess in the end, it seems that Teth makes the most overarchingly cogent point: "Style vs. Ethics." Nice job, Teth.

Darod, I HAVE very much appreciated your perspective throughout all the discussions, and I'll share some sort of beverage with you ANY time!

I still don't see how the Zamacs mean that the route is now for us alone, but sometimes I can be dense (seriously). Anyway, I guess we now own an El Cap route. Cool. :-)

Dang, I just thought of a major problem, and it has really destroyed my cool! If those rivets start getting replaced with the bolts that some think are needed, then our ownership will trickle through our fingers.... Soon, just ANY sort of riff-raff will be "bold" enough to go up on the route! It won't be just for us any more! Arggg! Noooo! People can't DO that to OUR route!!! I see ONLY one option: Mark and I are just going to have to take up shifts across the Valley with a high-powered rifle and at least wing anybody who even THINKS about replacing those rivets!!! I don't own MUCH in this world, and I'm NOT losing WoS! Can I get some help on this from any of you? Darod? Anybody who's been sympathetic? Come ON guys, band together! Help us KEEP what's OURS!!!

(Sorry... don't know what got into me. I'm all better now.)
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:21am PT
see richard? you still don't get it! the valley is steeped in traditions and precident. there is no historical precident for protecting your turf in the valley w/ a high powered rifle! if you want to keep the "riff raff" off of what you view as "your" chunk of the big stone, you have to climb something above them and drop poop bags...
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:31am PT
Matt, with the limited information you had, I can certainly understand you not "getting it" about how best to protect YOUR resource. It's sad. Really. Poop bombs are the "small guns." Pathetic.

Actually Mark and I DO know from a very well-known, although now dead, Valley boy that threat of a high-powered rifle IS the best way to keep the riff-raff from degrading a route, like, say, the Sea of Dreams. So, I KNOW first-hand how effective such a prospect can be, and if it can keep the Sea pure, it can keep WoS pure! Without that ol high-powered rifle looking over our shoulder, there's just no telling what we would have done to the Sea!

So, Matt, I appreciate what you're saying, but, man, you've just got to be prepared to REALLY step up to the plate.
Teth

climber
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:33am PT
Classic Matt. Classic!


Edit: OH, I don’t think Madbolter1 got it.

Edit 2: Or is mad just being sarcastic too? Now I am confused. I assumed Matt was pointing out the absurdity of the whole protect your turf mentality.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:38am PT
That's not true, Werner.

Tom replaced the bolts and rivets on the first two pitches. The rivets will indeed hold short falls when you put a Yates Scream-Aid onto it. They're every bit as strong as a head, maybe stronger. An aid route that involves runout hooking above heads is legit.

Also, as you can read above in great metallurgical detail, the existing rivets and bolts are not bad, either, and will still hold falls when equipped with Yates fall arresters. Ammon proved this with three fifty-footers onto [an] old bolt[s].

The route is not enhanced when you compare it to any others. If there are any enhancements, I couldn't see them.

Quit whining, start climbing. If you think it's so terrible and chipped and everything, why not go take a look at it now? Maybe Ammon would let you use his ropes? Or you could try to climb it like me - it's pretty darn hard. I'll raise my offer to Ammon, and make it a case of beer delivered to the base of Wings of Steel! I'll get Randy to help, cuz he wants to take pictures. How much more incentive can we give Ammon? He's at five cases already!

Matt - you have a lot to say for a guy who has never stood on a hook. Or have you? Have you done any hooking whatsoever? If so, please share with us the total number of hook moves you have made while leading aid climbs. Note: "Zero" is an acceptable answer if it is true.

I still have an outstanding [url="http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=234216&f=0&b=0#msg236621"]question for John Middendorf.[/url] This link will take you to it, and put the question into context. Please answer beneath.

Now guys, have a good look at this photo. This is pretty much representative of the kind of hook moves I found on Wings of Steel. They are sick, scary and runout. If you move a hair, you're off. It is very difficult and strenuous to make a hook placement like this work.



Now, I will tell you that this is probably as extreme a hook placement as I was able to use. Most of the placements are better, but here's the thing - the hook placements are not really much better than what you see above!

The points I want to make are this:

The hooking is sick, hard, runout and scary
It takes Balls of Steel to climb stuff like this
Whatever enhancement these guys made, you won't be able to see because the enhancements are truly at a microscopic level

Now follow this logic - if this is the sort of hook placement that Mark and Richard actually used on the route, then ask yourself this question:

How much artificial enhancement would a more marginal placement then this one above take to render it useable, in other words, to bring it to the same size edge of as this? Answer this question, and you may get an idea of the level of enhancement these guys might have made in a few places!

If you can actually find the far-greater-than-actual "2.33 enhancements per pitch", then you have better eyes than me, cuz I couldn't see Dick on a stick.

I repeat - Mark and Richard are too damn honest! If these said, "we made no enhanced hook placements," then anybody climbing up there would agree. In their quest be be forthcoming in every detail, it is almost as though they are shooting themselves in the foot.

What nobody seems to be understanding here is the truly futuristic nature of this route! Look at the bloody hook above! Now imagine standing on it, and trying to move up. What do you find? Something else just as sick! And now you're ten, fifteen, twenty feet or more above your last bolt. How are you feeling now??? [Answer: me - pass the puke bag]

Now here is another point you guys seem to be overhammering. Hundred-bolt routes were put up on El Cap subsequent to Wings of Steel. Even counting enhancements, these guys drilled fewer lead bolts and rivets per pitch on Wings of Steel when compared to some later routes.

You know, when you drive a piton into a crack, you have to listen to it. With each subsequent whack of the hammer, the pitch of the piton's ring goes up, but the change in pitch is very slight. You need something of a musical ear to detect it. When the piton is fully driven, then two blows of the hammer will emit the very same musical note. At this point, you need to stop. You have said as much to the piton with your hammer as you can possibly say, because if you hit it any more, you will overdrive the pin, and actually loosen it.

Wings of Steel may be the most overdriven piton in the history of this forum! Recently, I scored as the Second-Most Loquacious after Lois, with a word count of 141 per post. Can someone please calculate Richard Jensen's average word count? He might be #1!

Hey Richard - I bet you overdrive your pin placements, too! Doncha?! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:43am PT
Yeah Matt, don't think madbolther1 got, go easy on him...

lol

edit: ditto Teth! is the joke on us now?
Teth

climber
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:56am PT
Just to clarify, how long is a Leeper narrow hook? It measures 7 inches on my 19" monitor, so I am guessing that hook placement looks two or three times larger in that photo than it actually is. Knowing how long the hook is would give some scale to the photo.
WBraun

climber
Aug 11, 2006 - 09:59am PT
Pete

I think we were talking about purposely placing bad rivets and not copperheads.

I always thought if you drill a hole for protection you put something in there to hold. (The rivets were never intended to hold falls) Not making time bombs.

The route is made for others too?

Just me wondering how people think in terms of ....... ? the community and others that will follow.

Edit: So all this is fine, but no wonder no one has done this variation on El Cap. You need to be so bad ass and have balls of steel to do. Most people are not crazy.
darod

Trad climber
South Side Billburg
Aug 11, 2006 - 10:00am PT
the leepers are about 3", maybe 2 1/2"? something in that neighborhood...
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 11, 2006 - 10:28am PT
I have to confess that time-wise I've been unable to keep up with all the posts, so forgive me if I spout off on things already hashed out. Regarding our use of Zamac rivets, our intent was several fold: keep the commitment level high, create something reliable for future ascent parties, leave as small of a footprint as possible. No device is best at even two of these, let alone all three. We felt the Zamac was the best device available to compromise all three concerns. I still feel that the Zamac was the best choice because I haven’t seen anything else that does a better job at balancing these three issues. However, given the flack we’ve taken for them, having to do over we likely would have chosen something else out of respect for the will of community at large. But I should note that when Tom told me that he was going to replace the rivets on the first two pitches I asked him if he would save the removed rivets for me. He gave me four of them. The stainless steel nails which are the key to their strength had essentially no corrosion and looked as strong as the day they were place. The lead alloy sleeves have become noticeably brittle, but seem to have more than enough integrity to keep the nails in place. I would much rather lead the climb today with modern screamer technology than I would with new rivets and no screamers. My major point is that we intended to leave a repeatable route and the recently removed rivets indicate that we succeeded.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 10:42am PT
Dang it, Teth/darod... I was the FIRST one to post the sarcasm about protecting MY resource, THEN Matt hopped on MY bandwagon. Then I upped the ante. But it's MY bandwagon! MINE, MINE, MINE! Don't you see??? (sniff, sniff). I'm so misunderstood! (sniff, sniff) You guys are sooooo MEAN! (sniffle) (I take back everything I said about sharing a beverage with you, darod... you meanie!)

(On my site, from which that pic is taken, there's another with a thumb holding it, which gives a sense of scale. Both of the pics show hooks that did hold body weight.)

OVERdrive, Pete? You have no idea. I put pitons into pin scars, when HB nuts would have been perfect. THEN, I take a two-pound sledge to 'em until that ol' eye is FLUSH. "Rising tones???" Bah! Don't need 'em! THEN, I pull out the five-pounder for a few extra whacks, you know, just to make sure! THEN, because I hate to fall... ever... I have Mark send me up the two-handed twenty-pounder, I lean waayyy back in my aiders, pull that big brute waaayyy back, and give that piton ONE more good hit, just for good measure! THEN, finally, I give that puppy racks-over-the-head, agressive testing before I eeeeaaaassse up on it.

Oh, and then I notice that I had threaded a manky old 1/2-inch tie-off through the eye of it, and I'm scared anyway! Does THAT answer your question?
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Walla Walla, WA
Aug 11, 2006 - 11:03am PT
Pete, I think John is trying to answer your question on a new thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=237505&f=0&b=0
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
Aug 11, 2006 - 11:06am PT
Some of you have been asking, who is this Mark guy? Relative to Richard, he seems like a real nice, some have said “reserved.” And he never descends into ALL CAPS. Looking over the recent posts, it seems like a good time to shed some light on this. The main difference it twofold. First and most importantly, Richard doesn’t care a whole lot about being PC, at least relative to me, when being PC conflicts with saying what needs to be said. So I while I’m putting a big chunk of my neural power into thinking about how others will “feel” when they read what I write, Richard uses his neural power toward considering what needs to be said and whether it is logically consistent. Second, esp. over the last few weeks, I’ve been insanely busy with other demands which means you hear less from me. The truth is that Richard and I are much more similar in real life than we appear and philosophically are pretty close to twins. So feel free to address us collectively and know that if you met us you’d probably conclude that I’m more opinionated and Richard is more flexible than you would have expected.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 11, 2006 - 11:33am PT
pete said, "Wings of Steel may be the most overdriven piton in the history of this forum! Recently, I scored as the Second-Most Loquacious after Lois, with a word count of 141 per post. Can someone please calculate Richard Jensen's average word count? He might be #1!"

Puhlease, you have an enginering degree right pete? Please factor in WHAT is being said into the actual word count. In terms of the BS level, there is no equal to LEB. Factor in that she is a troll and I take that as meaning that all her posts are 100% BS.

uhoh. That means you guys might be #1 and #2 on the Real Scale...But hey, if it helps you guys any, I personaly would rather read 100 words from a real character than 1 from a troll.


Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Aug 11, 2006 - 01:15pm PT
I've tried to follow nearly all of the WoS epic (including the original WoS threads) but recently it seems to have exploded and amplified exponentially in many directions so it's possible that I've missed or passed over several critical points of argument (is there a Cliff Notes or Grand Flow Chart version in the works?).

Months back I recall talk of topos: the published Reid topo (which I have), another published topo, and also talk of an original lost topo ... can someone please post a clear, reliable, and verified topo of the route?

PS: I understand that the FAists carefully recorded their aid placements en route. I also realize that the FAist's memories may be faulty on this one point, but if at all possible can you please post a marked-up topo that identifies the location of the enhanced hook placements?

Thanks a bunch.

(This is getting burly, maybe time to split into part XXVI)

Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2006 - 01:37pm PT
Go here to continue this thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=237614&f=0&b=0

Please do not post anymore to this particular thread
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