Safety Trumps Leaving No Trace


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Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 23, 2014 - 12:25pm PT
Let's start a new thread.

Safety Trumps Minimizing Your Trace

Once we step away from the more absolute, can we identify a scope of discussion?

fwiw, I'm not sure there is a natural world impact on climbing most of the named arches. It's more of an impact on access issues because they were closed in the first place, no?

Dingus McGee, are you trying identify the principles around which we can determine the scope of when Safety Trumps Minimizing my Traces (STMMT)?

Or are you specifically looking to refute some aspect of minimizing traces?

More commonly I hear the "plaisir" climbing justification as 'I just want a "fun" route.'

A lot of lot of lot people want fun routes! Me too!

I also want some appreciation for risk. That can be way fun too! I want to problem solve that risk. I want to intuit that risk and see what I'm capable of as I climb.

Can that be made into a guiding principle? Not without detail around both taking time to do top down routes (and doing them right!), and detail around what drives ground up approaches.

Scope the conversation!!!

edit, rgold's post just arrived, so I think more are to follow...
The Call Of K2 Lou

Mountain climber
North Shore, BC
Jun 23, 2014 - 12:34pm PT
Should I poop on top of the bear poop rather than bury it to show'em who's boss and decrease the chance of bear attacks?

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 23, 2014 - 01:20pm PT
We have some wrong side of the bed here.

If all people are rational( and value safety above all else) we may conclude no climbers are rational.

When jstan and rgold were leaving their marks on east coast climbing, I would read about their exploits and views with admiration in Berkeley. Now, 45 years later, they again demonstrate their understanding. The real issue is over degrees, not absolutes. If we truly wanted to leave no trace, we would do almost no climbing, even unroped, because of the evidence of our passage on the lichens, the approach, and the oils we leave on the rock.

I feel a need, however, to remind the discussion that not all bolt placing creates sport routes. I did my early climbing at Pinnacles, before I thought I was ready for the real climbing in the Valley. The early bolt-protected climbs there, just like many bolt-protected Meadows routes, differ radically from any accepted definition of a sport route.


A pile of dirt.
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
Great first bolting cracks , now lets leave a trace!!!

Why not be safe and leave no trace? Why must these things be mutually exclusive...Oh, wait someone is riled up because not everyone agrees with his ethics...or cause this was a troll...
Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:27pm PT

Your uninformed opinion grows tiresome. I'm going to Reese in July. How about you come out and check out all the "cracks" yourself and make a statement from knowledge instead of your misguided belief? Let me know. Stop being a dick.

As to leave no trace, it involves a whole lot more than the bolt count. Dennis has insisted that all visitors at Reese do not build a fire so there are no fire rings. He has spent a lot of time on trails so that erosion from braided trails does not exist. He insists that we camp on sand so that the juniper and native plants are not disturbed. Dennis has done work for the Nature Conservancy searching for and cataloging rare plants. What have you ever done? Anchors are painted metal, no ratty slings. Try to expand your mind and realize that bolts are necessary to climb faces with no natural protection and that we can minimize impact with prudent practices.

Trad climber
Here and there
Jun 23, 2014 - 03:45pm PT
Not spragging about routes on the internets and guidebooks would go a long way to leaving no trace...

A lot less people would go to many areas, this would reduce impacts.

Yeah, I know I am a hypocrite.

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Jun 23, 2014 - 04:53pm PT
I feel sorry for the young generations that seem to think safety is the foremost reward of climbing. The dumbing down of youth continues.

Being safer equals dumbing down? So when climbers saw the safety advantages of new climbing technology such as dynamic ropes, cams, etc., they embraced them because they were stupid?

If you saw a guy setting out to do a big route in Yose in hobnail boots, a swami belt, static rope, and some homemade pitons, you'd be like "Wow, now there's a fella with a good head on his shoulder"?

Or would you be like "the dude's cheese done slipped of his cracker"?

Trad climber
Jun 23, 2014 - 05:50pm PT
Blah blah blah nothing ever created more of a 'trace' than a cliff sprayed with bolts

Rationalize it all you want you old coot

Your butt is hurt cause people called you out on your sh#t lol go have a good cry, fire in some more bolts and you'll feel like 'the man' again soon enough

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 23, 2014 - 06:27pm PT
I've only 'sport climbed' in Vegas. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Jun 23, 2014 - 06:50pm PT
I started with French, then Ranch, been going with Thousand Island for a while now.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 05:30am PT

read me more carefully, I never said Jstan was incorrect but that I did not want to use the likes of his type of pedantic analysis, the syllogism. His and your sophomoric analysis gets us no where with safety and risks except the posting of new sub-categories of what fits your limited definition of rational. Or is your definition of rational an absolute standard?

You guys chose that narrow interpretation of rationality and tried to make a statement about my thread. Well here the is definition of rational from Merriam-Webster--

Rationality is the quality or state of being reasonable, based on facts or reason.

I take it that "facts" here can mean empirically gathered evidence.

Your view of my view is quite presumptuous when you say my view [this definition above] of rational poses an absolute standard.

Social climber
Jun 26, 2014 - 09:21am PT
Safety trumps leaving no trace

That’s true but that is not what you are defending. What you are defending is convenience and your personal manifest destiny to bolt whenever and whatever you want.

As for those who try to deconstruct the “leave no trace” meme to some kind Zeno paradox of unattainable and hierarchy and complication it’s not that but just an admonishment to be thoughtful about how you treat public lands. It is a good basis for approaching wilderness to be conservative in the moment so down the road some can take liberties in the future.

Jun 26, 2014 - 09:27am PT
Sophomoric? RGOLD's statement is sophpmoric you say? BS Dingus. The man wrote an in depth approach to answer this and that's what ya got in response?

soph·o·mor·ic - pretentious or juvenile.
adjective: sophomoric

Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 09:40am PT

you fail to see the sly rhetorical measures used in the Rgold post. In fact the only way to make that syllogism work is to use such a narrow definition of rational --"context free". And when this sopho level puzzle is used it produces no good answers to reducing safety and risk. Study some risk analysis and you will find little or no mention of the Jstan like syllogism. It is merely cheap talk or lip service instead of figuring out real solutions to minimizing risk while we are doing what we are doing.

To say rational must be "context free" is to use the same absolute standard they accuse me of using.

Where as in another post I stated that rational is choosing the best of several less than optimal. How much information do we have on each option?

Goldstone's reasoning can be subjected to same standard measure of scrutiny I would give to your post. It is sophomoric in that once you know how to reduce risk you don't even go to that syllogistic way of explaining the methodology of risk analysis.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 11:03am PT

The syllogism advanced by Jstan and Rgold is pretentious (couchmaster definition of sophomoric if you will) in that its use does nothing to advance risk analysis--a mere pretension to know something of safety and risk reduction.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
Jun 26, 2014 - 11:07am PT
Krahmes, very articulate post.

Dingus, respect and civility, please.

And, although I disagree with your ethics regarding bolting, I do need to give you credit for the overall considerate and conservative way you have developed Reese. Kudos to you for that.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 11:20am PT

Is the reward of Leaving No Trace in the instance of rappelling on a cotton camouflaged shoe lace (that soon disintegrates)more than the safety you feel when you use some beefy webbing as the rappel ring?

Using the shoe lace means you will use No Trace rational at the expense of your safety.

I am saying that for most of us rational types safety overrides "Leaving No Trace".
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 11:26am PT
Mark Force,

I respect Freedom of Speech. Civility? If you are bothered by what I say it is your hang up, not mine. The Founding Fathers were well aware that many sore losers cry foul. Some peoples feelings get hurt because they do not understand they have put some dumb ideas on the table.

And thanks for the compliment.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 26, 2014 - 11:29am PT
Placing gear is a skill. Gear can be adequate. It just doesn't work on faces. And if you don't have any you cannot place some.

"Shades of gray" and that is why I want continuum measurements as opposed to discrete(black and white)[all or none]measurements. Game theory if you will; What gives me the best/adequate odds for what I want.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 26, 2014 - 11:30am PT

I've re-read the posts of rgold and jstan, together with your repsonse, and I'm still having difficulty understanding your argument. Jstan simply acknowledges the feelings of a great many non-climbers, namely that we're not entirely rational to engage in this hobby in the first place.

Rgold's post emphasizes that this isn't a simple, all-or-nothing, tradoff. We trade degrees of risk for degrees of alteration of the medium.

Finally, your criticism of the use of a syllogisms strikes me as, ultimately, a criticism of the use of logic. Maybe because I have a mathematical mindset, syllogisms form the subatomic particles of my reasoning. [You're entitled, if you wish, to add "sic" after "reasoning" in the previous sentence.] If we cannot argue using syllogisms, what argumentative instruments would you permit?

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