The Road to Space Babble

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Wade Icey

Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 5, 2006 - 01:05am PT
In light of recent SLAB banter and since we have many of the past and present protagonists present, as it virtually were, perhaps we could benefit from some mentorious input ala http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=129073&msg=134024#msg134024
same questions, just swap the word slab for the acronymn OW. What say you???
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
Dec 5, 2006 - 01:50am PT
I'd say, "I'd like to know too."
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 5, 2006 - 11:28am PT
I can tell you the road I took- assuming you've already got 5.10/easy 5.11 face climbing skill. The route has only one 5.11a pitch and the rest are moderate 5.10 and one 5.9 pitch, well within the rating ability of most modern freeclimbers. It's leads do require a high level of commitment and an ability to relax over your feet while working out the moves. The routefinding is mostly straight forward, or it was to us, with a choice of ways to go on the start of the fourth pitch, other than that the route follows an amazing weakness that coaxes the leader up the center of one of the most beautiful and flawless buttresses Middle has to offer. The rock is as good as it gets and breaking holds isn't a factor on the lead. With the exception of the upper part of the first pitch there are no long sections of sustained difficulty. On the second pitch Ron did a 5.10 c mantle that's about 15 feet out and probably the scariest moves on the route, but like most cruxes on Middle, the hard moves are between big postitive holds to go for or downclimb to. If you send that and stay on route the moves are all easier to the top.

What the route requires most is a familiarity with the holds and smears unique to Middle that catch many climbers offguard. The confidence required on SB's sparcely protected leads comes from putting in the hours on Middle's other easier/better protected faceroutes, and the traverse along the base from DNB to SB and beyond, simple as that. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a waste of time to train on other slabs, but there's nothing like Middle rock,

From my experience the sequence of Middle routes leading to the skills for SB would be:

Paradise Lost
DNB
Stoners

Then to the North face Apron. My experience here is limited to routes that were FA's, but I know there's short, well protected routes up there, maybe even better to start on than the above mentioned routes. I haven't done it but The Flakes would probably be a good adventure. How hard could it be if Sacherer and Powell did it in '64?

Freewheelin
Quicksilver
First six pitches of Mother Earth (if rebolted)
Jigsaw (if rebolted)
Black Primo(if rebolted)

Throw in some long hours traversing the base between routes. Get comfortable with texture of Middle, push the limits near the ground.

Don't know the extent to which SB has been rebolted, or how many ascents it's had. If you go for it bring a hammer, some blades, 5 or 6 various arrows, 2 baby angles, a standard angle, even a boltkit and a prybar to replace anything that needs it.

If you like that kind of climbing you're gonna be totally psyched - it's an alltime faceroute.

Kevin
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 5, 2006 - 12:27pm PT
Here is a topo I drew right after we did the route shortly after it was put up by Ron and Kevin. Kevin's suggestions about how to prepare for the route are spot on -- not much to add.



One thing I will note (even the topo notes some of this), the fixed gear was pretty shitty (even right after it was placed). Bolts were not fully drilled, fixed pins (KBs an Bugaboos), were driven into flared spots and the offset prevented them from being fully in or solid. Unless already done, all the fixed gear after pitch 1 sould be replaced. Note the shitty bolt belay (at top of pitch 2) and the two pins at the belay for pitch 3 were very sketchy too. We didn't trust any of the fixed gear.

The second pitch was probably the scariest (at least for me), the 5.10 "mantel" was very funky and the type of move you would only be "comfortable" doing (seemed more like 20+ feet out) if you had done a lot of Middle climbing.

One of the best quality routes I've done on Middle. Still pretty vivid experience after 30 years.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 5, 2006 - 01:25pm PT
Kevin's post is the word on this topic.

My only point of disagreement might be to suggest starting with the better protected face routes on the North Apron before venturing onto the easier run-out ones. You really have to get used to the stone, moves and route-finding. Do Stoners before paradise lost, at least the first four. Stoners has good bolts and better rock.

Space Babble is pure death but hopefully will be restored before you launch. If the anchors have been replaced but if it's not equiped with fixed pins, Grossman pin-bolts, or a community decision to replace pin protection points with bolts, you'll have to know how to use pins or climb bolder than the Fa.

In that case you could consider headpointing it by rapping in from pitch 5 of Kor Beck and TRing it on the way down. That's less adventure but if you're not Kauk/Kevin in your skills, you have to factor a bit of survival into the equation. If it seems you'd survive after the dry run, have at it. That's the way the bold brits go for the death routes.

Peace

Karl



eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 5, 2006 - 02:09pm PT
Space Babble is now on my to-do list. I love climbing on Middle.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 5, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
Karl I've heard the "pure death" description from you before. I'm wondering exactly where you mean that death is an element on the route. Obviously if a belay failed it's death, but that's fairly easy to remedy. There are places on the upper pitches where you could go for a loooong ride, but the climbing's barely 5.9, if I remember, and it would be a pretty clean fall as far as any ledges or large pointy things go. Most leaders who reach that height basically never fall on 5.8/5.9 anyway. I don't remember any groundfall potential above fifteen feet or so, provided the pro holds.

Death is always a possibility when climbing. On our first effort a storm moved in quickly and before we could descend, a basketball sized rock passed between us and the Bircheff Williams at terminal (death) velocity.

As far as dying goes, It does seem like a "pure" place to experience it.

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 5, 2006 - 03:00pm PT
Kevin, I think that in general folks who have looked at Space Babble and discussed it on ST--Karl in particular--believe that all the original protection needs to be replaced--the original stuff would not hold. I think that you are saying the same thing.

Tell us about the name. Why ‘Space Babble?’
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 03:09pm PT
Randy, thanks for posting your topo, showing the fixed pin locations. It's exactly what is needed for restoring the fixed pro on the route. I'd be psyched to rap down it (again) and replace all the bolts - that would be fairly easy to do in one day (hopefully when it's a bit warmer). [Edit: Bruce Hildenbrand already volunteered to team up so there's no reason the simple bolt replacement part of the job can't be done before April.]

Replacing the former fixed pins on the first pitch is more complicated, so I think the plan for that would be to leave a fixed rope on the first pitch and take a second day to figure that out. I'm open to whatever Kevin and Ron suggest for replacing the pins. If it was up to me, I would first look carefully at the placements to see if modern tiny cams would fit, but since Kevin and Randy have described KBs and LAs that seems unlikely. Steve G's idea of using bolted pitons is interesting. [Edit: Steve proposes manufacturing his own SS replica pitons, to be bolted into place so they don't fall out, discussion on the "Welcome to Kevin Worrall" thread at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=252358&tn=160 ].

My choice would be the Petzl Coeur SS hangers which have a pretty small visual footprint. They could be placed in the same spots where the original fixed piton eyes were. And I would use the Powers/Rawl 3/8" x 2.25" SS "five-piece" bolts. At belay stations there would be SS rings.

I rapped down this route and toproped most of it in 1995.
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/rep/957yjohn.txt

I remember the bolts and pins at some belays sticking far out, as Randy mentioned. We didn't die rapping from them. But I'm pretty light. I presume Kevin and Ron had to rush a bit to get up the route, hence a few too-shallow holes. Easy to fix now.

As for bolt replacement on other Middle Cathedral routes, there is a fairly good list at:

http://www.safeclimbing.org/areas/california/yosemitefree.htm
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 5, 2006 - 03:26pm PT
Kevin wrote
"Karl I've heard the "pure death" description from you before. I'm wondering exactly where you mean that death is an element on the route."

Pure death because some belays aren't even safe to rappel on. Maybe since we're talking about these days. something will happen but until the route is repaired, the road to Space Babble is road to nowhere

Peace

Karl

PS Grossman is talking about using stainless steel pin-bolts See the welcome to Kevin thread
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 5, 2006 - 03:33pm PT
With all due respect to Ron and Kevin, much of the fixed gear they placed (including many of the bolts on the upper pitches) were crap. I think we did the 4th ascent, in either 76 or 77 and the gear was still essentially "new."

As far as the route being death -- well, while the falls would likely be clean (if long), we thought some of the belay anchors were so poor that if the leader did take the unlikely big whipper, the belay might not withstand the fall. Actually, as Kevin points out, most of the run-outs on the upper section is sustained 5.9 -- meaning you shouldn't fall there anyway.

With thin, shortened or otherwise modified Lost Arrow type pins, perhaps some of the pin placements might be more secure. Ultimately, pins are a short term type of "fixed" protection and absent availability of other clean gear, should (imo) be replaced with permanent fixed gear (but, hey it ain't my route).

Edited to add: Karl is right, rapping the route would necessarily involve replacing the anchors as you go, or risk taking a long ride to the deck.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 5, 2006 - 03:39pm PT
"Maybe since we're talking about these days. something will happen"

Who better to do the job of upgrading the gear than a guy who lives in the Valley and makes his living by climbing its rocks? As you pointed out, unlike the routes on the N. Face Apron, you don't have to lead Space Babble ground up on the decomposing gear to do the replacement.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 5, 2006 - 04:55pm PT
You might have a point Mellisa, but I'm like Switzerland, neutral and don't drill and don't chop. I don't even have the gear except for an emegency 1/4 incher.

And I wouldn't bother except if I could deal with the fixed pin issue too. I like Steve's idea but it's not practicable yet, except maybe by him. Clint had a good idea too, of using piton looking hangers, but I don't know if the community is ready to buy replacing pins with bolts, and don't want my efforts chopped.

In any case, I'm just old enough and rusty enough to consider Space Babble in the league of maybe coulda, but just don't have enough fire for risking my neck on anymore.

I don't remember any fixed pro on some of those pitches. Sure, you could be solid, but a pebble from above or a butt cramp and you could ride 300 feet. (I do still solo once in awhile) If the leadouts were 5.8 maybe, but I content to just spray!

Now it's in Shaggy's league for sure. But it sounds like we might lure these codgers out from the woodwork for an adrenaline reunion. Why spoil that?

Peace

Karl
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Dec 5, 2006 - 05:25pm PT
Cosgrove and i did this route in the spring of '84 and had a blast and got very puckered up on this route. The climbing was excellent and route finding tricky as there was no chalk to guide you like now a days...
what i do remember is a 5.9 pitch near the end (last pitch) where scott was getting a little sketchy 45' above my head with no pro, and i was ready to untie from the belay and put him on the anchors and see if we both lived or not!
Very memorable day for both of us young em's and the memories are still strong for me during my time spent in yos in the 80's.

My only concren is, if you replace the bolts i would not replace the pins with bolts as you will kill the true taste of adventure and turn it into another trade route.....
KS
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 06:15pm PT
Kurt,

Thanks for sharing the story of when you did it - pretty cool.

> My only concren is, if you replace the bolts i would not replace the pins with bolts as you will kill the true taste of adventure and turn it into another trade route.....

Clearly your concerns are shared by many. Although using the original types of pitons under the flakes on p1 means they will fall out again fairly quickly, unless someone volunteers to go and reset them every year or so, I think. Or people could rap down the route and reset/replace the pins if they intend to lead it. But unless people have access to Randy's topo showing where the pins go, this is not likely to happen.

What would be your (and Kevin's) thoughts on having at least one bolt at the belay anchor at the end of pitch 3? Those 2 pins stick pretty far out and were scary even to rap on. The pins could be left in place if some people don't want to use the bolt as part of the anchor....
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 5, 2006 - 06:44pm PT
Is this cliff, given its exposure, subject to a lot of freeze/thaw action? If so, it also suggests that cracks dropping behind flakes from above would be vulnerable, especially if widened/opened by pitons. In other words, a solution involving re-placing just the pitons may be pretty temporary. A or some of the flakes may be vulnerable to repeated mechanical prying/impacts, and the increased potential for freeze/thaw wedging. Also, not so many are familiar with hammer and piton use, or even carry them. If this is the one free climb in the Valley where hammers if not pins are obligatory, it won't be climbed often. Not sure what's the right solution. I haven't done the climb, though was intrigued enough to once hike up to its base.
James

climber
A tent in the redwoods
Dec 5, 2006 - 07:11pm PT
IF someone replaces the pins with bolts...yada yada yada. When some DOES replace anything then we can talk about it. Until then I'm saving up my karma so I can max it out on Middle sometime.
junior

Trad climber
Modesto. CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 07:34pm PT
I climbed this route in 87 with Werner and the belays were very Questionable. The first pitch I protected with small brass nuts and stoppers and I don't remember any fixed pins. I wouldn't think new fixed pins are required for this pitch, the gear seemed adequate, but new anchor bolts a necessity. The climbing was killer but I don't think it was 5.11a more like 5.11+. Terry
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 08:09pm PT
Terry,

Thanks for the beta on the adequate clean gear. That settles the debate for me. Bruce and I will replace the existing bolts.

We will also place a bolt belay (to replace the piton belay) at the end of p3, if that is OK with Kevin and Ron. The other permission needed would be for adding a second belay bolt at the end of the first pitch, and at the end of pitch five - is that OK, Kevin?
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Dec 5, 2006 - 08:17pm PT
we also need to consider the new small gear out there that was not present on the first ascent and later ascents that may avoid some pins and make some belays better.
ks
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 5, 2006 - 09:21pm PT
With respect to refitting this route, I am committed to getting it done this coming year. I still need to coordinate any activities with Kevin so that at least one member of the FA is directly involved. I am coming up with solutions about as fast as the problems are showing up. Seattle is way industrial and a paradise when it comes to fabrication. Just to update, the prototypes are made of 3/16" Type 304 mild stainless steel 2"X2" angle. The steel is somewhat wrought during production and should be suitably stiff to act as pinbolt. Karl, I just dropped off a sheet of 12 guage Type 304 (~1/8") to be folded into a shape that I can cut and press baby angles out of! It will be a couple of weeks.

The best thing to happen all day was the conceptual realization that relatively inexpensive stainless steel dropin anchors can be set deeply enough with the setting tool provided to allow a 3/8" or 1/2" solid stainless Grade 5 machine bolt to make the connection to the hanger once a stainless sleeve takes up the slack in 1/8" oversize hole. Compared to the bolts that I have been using (Rawl ss 5 piece) and will soon need to replace, this will be an ultrasolid, all stainless bolt for hopefully about $3 or so! I still have to source the 1/16" X 1/2" stainless tubing which should be easy.

The beauty of the pinbolt option for replacing the fixed pins is that with a little skill and craftsmanship the final result in each case should be far more reliable that the original gizzle and shizzle. No reason that SB can't be a model for restoration and one that comes at just the right time it seems.

Cheers-Steve
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 5, 2006 - 09:51pm PT
I trust with the caliber of people talking about fixing this route, that they will use their best judgement and their judgement will come from experience. If clean gear works well, then great, but some tiny RP in a roof might be psychological pro rather than a real solutions. You guys will know.

Also, I love the idea of pins or Pin-Bolts that could be permanent and not entail repeated hammering and removal. Boldness isn't the only value worth ascribing a value too, the stone itself also counts.

And if the route is done right, maybe somebody will do it, particularly after all this talk

Peace

Karl
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 5, 2006 - 10:00pm PT
Hi Clint - you guys have at it, I'm stoked you're willing to put out the effort. I have no problem with new belay bolts especially, on any route I FA'd for that matter. I guess some "trad" climbers might object to that on crack routes with good gear belays, but certainly any marginal belay or belay with old original bolts. Space Babble belays could be a valuable rappel route for the Kor Beck and even the full Bircheff Williams and would make doing those routes more appealing also.

I suspected the first pitch might protect with modern passive pro like the new microcams especially if the cracks underneath those roofs were well cleaned, a small job to do on rap. I know there's places we drove short arrows up higher though that need something done. I personally don't have a problem with a bolt placed next to the placement with an effort to get the hanger's eye as close to the pin's as possible, but I know particularly Steve is against that. He has good reasons and deserves time to advance his excellent pinbolt idea. As I said earlier SB would be the perfect place for their debut, and might set a strong example for other routes. As with the first pitch, new pro possibilities could easily appear up higher.

I vaguely remember Ron mentioning the belay bolts atop pitch three weren't that great, but I just kept going. We were in a hurry to finish. Maybe I was cooked, but I also remember getting sketched at the end of the sixth pitch, arriving at the belay exhausted, and barely being able to hammer out the holes with a dull bit.

Roger- the name Space Babble popped up really as a joke immediately after the route. With all the heated discussion about runouts here I'm a little embarassed to be honest about the context of the name originally, but what I remember is one of us remarking that future leaders on the route would likely be reduced to babbling incoherently due to the scarcity of bolts. We also felt the route was so dramatically different and futuristic than the neighboring routes with names taken from the first ascensionists, that we had to cristen it with a name as different and, well, futuristic is a stretch, but with a final frontier element. It stuck.

I hope more climbers experience the route as a result of all this. If we could do it so long ago in EBs with no falls, it can't be THAT bad!

Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 5, 2006 - 10:54pm PT
I talked with Ron about rebolting Space Babble about 5 years ago, but he said he might go do it himself and that I shouldn't bother. Looks like it's still bad bolts, but Ron definitely mentioned that he wanted good belays and that to do that, bolts might need to be added at certain belay(s). Obviously rebolters can talk to him again, but that was his view as of a few years back.
WBraun

climber
Dec 5, 2006 - 11:09pm PT
I was climbing with Kauk today and he definitely wants the belay bolts bomber.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 5, 2006 - 11:11pm PT
Kevin (and Ron via Greg and Werner), thanks for the permission on the new belay bolts. It will become safe to rap on. We won't put on big chains or massive hangers or anything other than rings.

I presume by "bomber" belay bolts that (2) 3/8" x 2.25" Powers stainless 5-piece are good. If not, let me know. (Greg sent Bruce and I a nice box of these recently). These bolts can handle very high loads yet do not appear "massive".

I'll check the original piton placements, too, as per Randy's topo. I'll take some photos and look at clean gear placements (I'll scrub a little as required). We'll report back with what we find, so Steve will get the feedback as well. If there are fixed pins in place, we'll test and reset them. We won't add any, since Terry and Werner did it in '87 on clean gear.

We'll go up there in February or March, when it's a bit warmer and the days are longer.

I'd prefer to just do it, instead of announcing a detailed plan in advance like this. But it has been very helpful to consider the alternatives with people who have climbed it before, and get permission to replace bolts and add the few belay bolts.

It will not turn into a trade route - it will still have all the runouts and hard climbing. There might be a few more people who rap down it, but probably not many.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 5, 2006 - 11:56pm PT
Hi Clint - you sound determined, that's great! Maybe Steve and I can charge up the Kor Beck this spring after you guys and deal with the fixed pin issue on your new rappel route.

Would like to hear about your efforts and get your input about what's needed beyond your work first.

Kevin
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 12:09am PT
Kevin,

It's not hard to rap down the route and replace bolts, so Bruce and I are happy to help out. We'll fill you in on exactly what we find, so sure, you and Steve can do more if you'd like (check w/ Ron, of course).

Thank you and Ron for having the vision and the talent to establish the route in the first place. It's the stuff that dreams are made of.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 12:35am PT
I think it's a great idea to rebolt Space Babble. It might restore some stoke for this and other routes on Middle besides the already rebolted and far easier (but still clasic) Stoners.
Reading all these post on Space Babble I could kick myself for never climbing what may be the best of them all.

JL
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 01:59am PT
This thread is a real inspiration about using this communication medium to resolve community issues in a imaginative and consensual manner. I think it's great that Clint's going to fix the bolts, and fantastic that Steve Grossman has a perfect Iconic route to establish a new vision of maintaining pin protected pitches while holding fast to their original flavor.

Good for everybody.

And, in this case, those would would desire a more santized experience can pay the price of admission by climbing Kor Beck and play on Space Babble on the way down. All the moves, no permanent damage, and the route gets enjoyed.

Bircheff Williams hardly get's climbed past it's first pitch, but I did the whole thing once. It would be better to rap Space Babble. It's a pretty fine route itself and, for Middle, pretty reasonably protected. Any body know how to climb the third pitch? or is it fourth? You choose between a wedgy corner that blanks out near the top with a bolt and a splitter grassy groove that starts dicey and gets better. I wedged up the corner and then felt checkmated.

Regards to all. Space Babble will live again, and it really is one of the best unsung routes around.

Peace

Karl
coiler

Trad climber
yosemite
Dec 6, 2006 - 04:21am PT
the road to Space Babble...
1) Stop doing ASCA routes
2) Get dumped by your girl/boy friend
3) Start drinking "OLDE ENGLISH 800"
4) Grow some BALLS and quit whining about runouts and your precious bolts
5) stay on your feet...
Viola- your ready for Space Babble! (or any other Middle slab route)
P.S. Replacing the pins with bolts would be sacrelidge
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 07:30am PT
For those who haven't met him, Coiler's has put a lot of local time in and has often had concerns about bolting and has sometimes taken those concerns into action.

So Coiler, given the dicussion here, including the FA input, what's your opinion on dealing with pin protected freeclimbing where repeated placements would likely break or scar features? (Fragile flakes and such) and also for fixed pin placements for free climbing in general.

Make sure you read and understand what Steve Grossman is proposing by looking at the pin-bolt protypes and discussion at the end of the "Welcome Kevin Worral" thread.

Would you support the solutions that a competent FA team approved or chop anyway?

Peace

Karl
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 12:31pm PT
FYI if you guys go up by way of Kor Beck....

I was looking at the topo last night, and it showed the route traversing into Kor Beck at a tree, but it didn't indicate which tree. The upper tree of the two shown at belays in the middle of the route was completely wiped out by the big rock fall a few years ago. I had to keep going for another 130 feet or so until I could get to a suitable belay (so the resulting pitch was about 270). I don't know if this goofs up the rapping plan?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 6, 2006 - 01:16pm PT
Clint, how were you planning to set up the bolt stations? I hate to beat the all stainless drum again but it is important. I mentioned earlier that I still have lots of ss SMC hangers that I would be happy to donate to this project. Maintaining the original favor of the protection bolts is a clear priority which is why I made the Leeper replica hangers. The belays are a separate matter with a slightly different set of concerns. I have 1/2" stainless chain and the ability to have it welded easily. I have been working on anchors for use on the Nose rappel line that may not be transferrable in look and feel. To keep costs down overall, I have been striving to avoid stainless quick links or pin shackles to connect the bolt hanger and wearing components. The Nose anchors that I have worked out utilize two hole stainless plate hangers as mentioned in the "Bolts from the wayback machine" thread. These anchors are clearly acceptable for the areas where the Rohr descent line departs from the climbing route. Using the same anchor for belay stations on the Nose will probably be more controversial with respect to visual impact and historic feel. I will post a pic of this setup once I have a couple in hand.

The concept of SB as a descent line is novel but good. Very little to hang a rope on up there! A lot of the mystery will be gone from this section of wall, if you can check it all out ahead of time but I doubt that Space Babble will consequently become a trade route.A lot to consider.......

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 03:35pm PT
Here is my marked up topo from 1995 (rapping/toproping), showing the fixed pitons that we found in place at that time. They match several shown in Randy's earlier topo. The topo below is modified from the 1987 Meyers & Reid guidebook. In the 1994 edition, there are two small changes on p2 (adding "f.p." in the middle of the LFC) and putting an arrow below the 5.10c indicating it is lower, closer to the first bolt).

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 03:42pm PT
Melissa, here is my marked up topo from 1995, showing how we rapped from the Kor-Beck down into Space Babble. The key anchor we used was halfway up pitch 4 of the Kor-Beck, at a fixed nut and pin.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 04:14pm PT
Steve,

Yes, we will use all stainless on the belay stations and protection bolts/hangers. The plan is to use the Powers SS 3/8" x 2.25" "five-piece" bolts, with Petzl Coeur hangers. These hangers are smaller than the usual Metolius or Fixe. I haven't discussed exactly with Bruce the type of SS rings, but probably best would be to use a SS quicklink (5/16" x 1.5" x 2.75" Maillon Rapide) and one 3/8" chain link. An alternative to the chain link is a 3/8" x 2.2" SS welded ring, but this is larger, so I thought the chain link would be a nice, less massive solution. The cost of the SS quicklinks for just these few anchors is not a problem.

Another alternative is a Fixe ring hanger, which is only 2 pieces instead of 3, but it does not look as much like the original hangers on the route.


I will put some more photos up (probably this weekend) of the alternatives, so people can look them over. There could definitely be some things you could improve upon, with your bending and welding capabilities.

I have used the SMC SS (thick) hangers in the past for several routes and I agree they are quite strong; also nice and small. They are smaller than the Petzl Coeur, so they could be a good choice. There is not as much space for clipping them above the quicklink, though. Some photo comparisons should make this easier to see.

For the Nose rappel route, you might enjoy talking to Tom Rohrer, if you haven't already. He is active in SS replacement, and I have his email address around somewhere. I ran into him a couple of years ago at El Cap Meadow, and he showed some of his setup.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 6, 2006 - 06:16pm PT
No offense to my good friends George and Donny, but the topo I drew back 76 is much more accurate than the one shown in the guide. Exact number of pins and bolts are shown. Typically, I would draw topos of all routes I did in Yosemite and Tuolumne immediately afterwards. If there are any variances between what is currently present and my topo it is because pins have disappeared. There was no bolt on pitch 4 as shown on the guide topo.

I like the bolt pin idea, and Steve's prototypes are quite amazing. The retention of the "retro" look and feel is an important advance in thinking about preserving older climbs.
They could have applications far afield from just Yosemite.

One would hope that the idea of preserving routes as part of our climbing history (while ensuring the fixed gear is lasting and solid) will catch on. Perhaps this progressive view will stem the popular tide which judge a route solely by how accessible it may be to the great unwashed, or the number of ascent it sees every season.

If the route does have its hardware updated, perhaps I'll consider doing it again before I'm too old and feeble of mind.

I'm not sure if Coiler has done the route, but if not .... well you know where I'm going.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 06:53pm PT
hey, sorry for asking about the plot in the middle, but can anyone point me in the direction of more info about steve's piton things? they sound interesting. photos would be cool.

thanx
atchafalaya

Trad climber
California
Dec 6, 2006 - 07:40pm PT
caught, check the Welcome to Kevin Worrall thread for photos and info on the "pin-bolts"

MM EDIT http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=252358&tn=140

I think its the last post on the page...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 6, 2006 - 08:12pm PT
There has been a valuable discussion, including some of the pioneers and first ascenders, regarding many of the bold slab routes in Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows, particularly Middle Cathedral Rock, Glacier Point Apron, and the Royal Arches apron, with much discussion about bolting and protection issues. I’m creating this cross link post so that those in the future that wish to visit this issue can read the threads that were interrelated at one time.

Hope this helps, it might be the best record that we get on some issues and climbs

1970s Bolt protected run-out slab climbing

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=287643

The Road to Space Babble

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=289527

What ever happened to "ground up"?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=283058

Welcome to Kevin Worrall

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=252358&tn=0

Spicey [runouts] by design

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=288190

Peace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 09:06pm PT
caughtinside,

The direct link to Steve's post with the photos and description of the pinbolts is:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=252358&msg=288897#msg288897

It may not load direct to his post, though, due to all the other photos on that page that have to load first.

Here is one of Steve's pinbolt photos:



(2 SS pinbolts at top, Leeper and SS replica Leeper hangers at bottom)

One way of thinking about it is a fixed piton that won't loosen and fall out. Another way of thinking about it is a bolt, but which can only be placed right where a piton would fit into a crack. Sort of a "bolt with restrictions" - it would not be used in the middle of a face with no crack.
WBraun

climber
Dec 6, 2006 - 09:53pm PT
Clint

That is a pretty cool idea, (pin bolt). Pretty damn cool!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 09:57pm PT
Werner,

Yes, it's a pretty interesting idea. And just to make sure there's no confusion, it's Steve Grossman's idea (and his prototypes above), not mine.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 6, 2006 - 10:10pm PT
that is a neat idea. I take it the idea is to drive the pin, then drill the hole for the bolt through that extra eyehole, and hammer that in, fixing it for good? Looks super bomber, just can't drive it too deep or you'll block the hole.

I have to ask though, is there really an interest in replica leepers, or other old style hangers? That 'new leeper' looks plenty bomber, but I have to say, when I'm clipping a bolt, the only thing I really care about is if it's bomber or not. Historical bolts can be neat, I guess, but a fake historical hanger?

maybe others feel differently?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 6, 2006 - 11:31pm PT
The bigger concept is historical restoration using period hardware replication. When you climb the East Buttress of Middle and hit the bolt ladder would you find it pleasing to clip into bombproof period bent strap hangers or a line of justboughts. The same for the Nose route as I have proposed earlier. I don't know about you but I like period hardware as long as it works properly. My old Victorian era house is full of it but it is a matter of taste and opinion. To some folks, houses aren't about such things.

I happen to be in the position to innovate a little here and see where it leads......
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 12:27am PT
Steve, there is something so freaking cool about the pin bolts, and yet at the same time does it make sense? Like Clint has pointed out, how different is this than placing a bolt with a modern hanger in the same location as the piton eye? And as far as trying to copy the Leeper bolt hanger, this has always been a lousy design for a bolt hanger, even Leeper agrees now. Of course it is far better in stainless steel, but still not to par with a Metolius, Petzl, or Fixe. Would it make any sense to copy the quarter inch bolt too? How would you even place a pin bolt? Seems as if you would need a pin bolt of the exact same size at the original placement, the placement would have to be one where the pin is flush with the rock, you would have to drive it, mark the bolt placement, drill the bolt hole, place the bolt, redrive the pin, and bolt it on. Or could you drill the hole through the pin? I admit to very little experience placing bolts, so I don't really know. I also admit that I will never be leading this route, since even with new gear it sounds too dangerous for my tastes. But it also sounds AWESOME, I'd be super psyched to repeat the Kor Beck and rap it, toproping every pitch on the way down. I just know that if in fact I WAS leading it, I would be way more psyched to find modern bolts and hangers at the original gear placements than something custom made for just this route. I also BOW DOWN to those who are willing and motivated to place gear on new routes, or fix old ones like this. If you feel it best to use your inovative pin bolts, then go for it, that rules. I just wanted to point out what I would do if it was me replacing the gear (which btw is not going to happen). I would replace every pin and bolt placement with a modern bolt and hanger, in the same place as the original placements. Whoever ends up doing the work, thank you!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 7, 2006 - 01:08am PT
Virtually all the pin placements on Middle are behind flakes from three inches to a foot thick, often expanding. Usually in the 1/8th to 3/4 inch range, more often on the thinner side. Steve's pinbolts could work really well there because the back of the blade is nearly always flush with the wall, and there is often a long enough section of flake/crack to select an ideal spot. The proximity of the eye to the face of the corner or roof could make access with a drill handle difficult, but longer bits, like 12 inches would solve that problem.

It would probably be ideal to use a hole in the blade just large enough to have the option of drilling through the already placed pin. With an epoxied bolt installation the pin's smooth blade would ease the clean up around the bolt's head.

The strength/security of these will effectively make the route little safer than it was on even well driven standard pins and thus more user friendly - a compromise and nod to the present.

The idea is really art mixed with function. The extra trouble in placing a pinbolt should be worth it if perfected - all the strength of a stainless bolt with a tasteful nod to the past.
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2006 - 02:59am PT
There are some climbs that will always remain true classics, timeless and they will transcend our everyday mundane ramblings of our foolish minds.

These routes can never be destroyed.

They are eternal creations by the true climbing spirit.

They remain in our hearts which never die .......
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 12:42pm PT
Tom,
Yet another of your vague re-hash posts. The details of the pinbolt installation and intended fabrication have already been laid out. The rationale for their use has already been adequately described from my end. Far less clear is your position on the subject. You simply can't give blanket approval to my efforts while maintaining the position that you find the end result undesirable. Is it that you don't trust the skill and judgement of people like myself or does your need for a consistent and predictable climbing experience somehow narrow your focus down to commercial hardware only? If the nuances of the proposed restoration elude you as somebody that does not drill, no surprise there.

Conventional hardware relies on providence, ability and discovery to arrange. Bolts are inherently arbitrary and are usually positioned and placed using a distinct set of criteria. Merely positioning bolts in the vicinity of the original piton placements without some functional connection will more than likely lead to what will be experienced by future parties as an awkwardly bolted pitch with respect to the flow of movement. It is going to take sound and caring judgement to produce optimal results once all relevant concerns are addressed. It sounds like you don't care what the finished product looks like as long as it fits, makes you feel warm and carries a designer label.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 7, 2006 - 12:59pm PT
Hmmm, I think you may have over reacted there a little Steve. I think the question is a good one. Are we looking at using pinbolts strictly to maintain the look of the original placements? If so, then has the community decided that is a worthwhile objective? It seems that the resulting piece is not going to be functionally any different than placing a regular bolt so the main difference is aesthetics. Do people really care (other than you obviously)? Please don't take this personally, as someone who has been climbing for 33 years I am just wondering how people feel about this.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Dec 7, 2006 - 01:06pm PT
Damn Gnomer... ya beat me to it while I was looking up how to spell aestetics or however that goes.....

If the pin is now a bolt, why not just use a bolt that a regular punter can maintain etc. The crack moves, the pin gets loose, you can't beat it back in because it is a bolt... then you have a bad pin-bolt. If the bolt needs to be fixed, can you go up in size on the bolt or if the pin needs to be beat back in, then the hole wont line up.

I'm just not getting it.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 7, 2006 - 04:04pm PT
Jan and Russ, that's funny stuff!

It is my belief that people other than Steve care about this; me included. The pin placements on this route are (imho) ideally suited to the pin bolt concept.

The more I considered what Steve was proposing, the more I realized that he is way ahead of the curve. All of us have seen the inane posts by climber wannabes who cry about how routes are too run out and how everything should be retro-bolted. Routes like Space Babble stand in stark contrast to this effort to sanitize rock climbing.

Treating routes like these as both great routes as well as historically significant in a "physical" sense, is the best way to not just preserve an ethic, but to elevate it to something to be respected and honored. In the process, it becoes living history that can be exeprienced by anyone who brings the proper skills to the table.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Dec 7, 2006 - 04:12pm PT
Great topic Mr. Dicey. I've been on some "training wheel" slabs out here (yeah, there's a few) but don't think I'll be on big slabby runs in the near future without the requisite "Calves of Steel".

Cheers from the land of more forearms than legs! What ever happened to those magz?
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 7, 2006 - 04:26pm PT
Ok Randy, let me ask this a different way. Does anyone other than us old f#cks care about having a route like this 'look' the same as it originally did, in regard to pro, while actually making it safe(r) to climb by really using bolts that just happen to look like pins? I can see where our generation is getting to the point where we care about our 'heritage', but does the climbing community as a whole care whether there is a bolt that looks like a pin, or a normal bolt on these routes?

Is the bolt-pin thingy as good as a bolt or is the bolt in it only good enough to keep the pin in the crack but not sufficient to catch falls? And if the later, is this false advertising?

Don't get me wrong, I can see where the aesthetics might feel important to the FA, but is this a good path to go down?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 7, 2006 - 07:04pm PT
Jan... I suspect that if properly placed (maybe with a tad of epoxy on the blade tip), these pins will be bomber pins that will last and be bomber. But, that is an excellent question and one that should be explored.

My own feeling is that there is a nascient movement among some younger climbers toward a new trad ethic. I think the idea of retro bolting everything for the (m)asses is a dead end. This type of restoration might not only encourage younger climbers to get on these routes, but may (my hope) change the thinking about such route's value to climbing.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 7, 2006 - 07:11pm PT
that's cool randy...

but what does it really say when these pinbolts are placed?

This is a pin placement, that's been bolted?

It's an interesting idea. BUT, a)you still have to drill, and b) it has the same effect as a bolt.

Will we see pinbolts on FAs? My guess is no, we'll see bolts. So is this just a discrete preservation of history project? And does it meet it's intended goal?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 7, 2006 - 07:27pm PT
(Edited a bit, for readability.)

If route finding is or should be integral to the challenge of at least some routes, e.g. Space Babbble, together with maintaining an experience that is as close as possible to the first ascent, then the important thing may not be whether it's a regular bolt or a pinbolt. The key is that it be in the same place as the original placement, be reliable and durable, and if possible no more visible. Even if that means the new placements are often not so convenient.

A modern stainless unit, even if disguised as a pin bolt, will unavoidably be much stronger than a Rawl bolt was, even when new. However, the latter was perceived (in the 1970s) as being as "secure" as the former is now. The Rawl units were placed because they were then 'state of the art'. So that doesn't change the ethos much - although it should be admitted that we all relied on Rawl bolts, fell on them, and used them for belays, but never really trusted them.

A thin pin behind a flake may be less secure, even if newly placed, than a new bolt placed in adjacent solid rock. Replacing an old pin with a new bolt in the same location, where microcams aren't an option, may thus make a climb a bit less committing. There's also perceptions. Once climbers are informed that, although there may not be a lot of protection, and it may be hard to find, at least it's reliable, as are the belays, then some of the psychological barriers go away.

I'm still trying to get my head around the pinbolt concept - they may be just a little too elaborate in terms of functionality. A lot may depend on how they're placed, and some experimentation may make sense.

A very good thread, and healthy discussion. A bit too much re-bolting goes on at Squamish, IMHO anyway, and morphs into retrobolting.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 7, 2006 - 07:41pm PT
Exactly, I would like to hear Steve's thoughts on the strength of the pinbolt. Looking at his photo it doesn't look like the pin is really designed to be driven well, just set in the existing hole and bolted to the wall. This would seem to mean that the fall holding ability of the unit is in the bolt. If that's the case then I just don't see the point. If the bolt is only there to hold the pin in place then I see this as a ruse that is going to get the people who are uninitiated in this device in trouble because they are going to assume it is as strong as a bolt. So, except for the aesthetic attributes of this device, I just don't get it. And if that is the only point, then who are we doing this for?

Steve?????
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 08:35pm PT
I was thinking about this the other day. There's a perceptual benefit to the pin bolt that a regular bolt in the same location won't offer. Pins, like nuts, get placed where they can. Sometimes, this is not from an ideal stance, it's a matter of where you can get the pro. Modern bolt craft is all about positioning the bolt in the best location for the clip. Having your "bolt" also be a "pin" makes the placement location more sensible, whereas if it were just a bolt, it'd be real easy to envision the route as botched, since you could have placed the bolt in another location better suited to clipping, rather than working with what the rock has to offer.

Sure, it's a subtle psychological thing, but so is much of what makes climbing interesting.
lazide

Big Wall climber
Bay Area, CA
Dec 7, 2006 - 08:52pm PT
Can't say I agree with the concept - all the destruction of drilling a bolt hole, with the added visual impact of a pin? A large SS 'pin' would certainly grab my attention (in a negative) manner more than a hanger, or a normal cro-moly pin.

Also, what sort of bolt would be used with this pinbolt? Would it be replaceable? How strong would it be?

If it is an adventure route and has fixed pins, use the fixed pins. If you care about the safety of a route, use bolts?

If there are preexisting bolts (or pins), they should be maintained at approximately the same percieved level of 'bomberness', etc. as the FA.

i.e. 1/4" bolts with handers == 3/8" or whatever new bolts with handers when dangerous, rusty old pins replaced with newer pins, etc.

If the route needs to change, why attempt it with half way 'solutions' that don't seem to accomplish it any better?

I don't think anyone would be under the impression that what they have is ANYTHING like what the FA had?

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 09:13pm PT
Howdy folks,
This discussion was started early on the Welcome to Kevin Worral thread and has jumped here. I have tried to address most of the issues already on the table tonight in earlier posts but I am going to recap a little. The discussion started with replacing the pins on SB especially the first pitch. The current absence of most of the original protection points has greatly contributed to a lack of repeat ascents. I began thinking stainless steel and theft resistant and the pinbolt concept was off. The only pictures of the pinbolts shown thus far are of unfinished blanks with no taper ground or blade material added to yield a finished shape. I just wanted to get the conversation rolling plus I was exited about the possibilities.I clearly plan on having an ample selection at my disposal come gametime and will show and tell asap.

Because these pinbolts are cut from type 304 stainless steel angle, I get a uniform 3/16" material thickness and I can make them right or left handed and to whatever length and shape necessary. All BD blades for instance have the eye on the left, CMI's on the right. At this point there is no stainless Lost Arrow on the horizon so the basic blade shape of a CMI is what I chose to pursue. At this point I am not entertaining any through bolt smaller than a 3/8" stainless button head cap screw set in rated construction epoxy or a 3/8" X 4" 18-8 stainless steel machine bolt set mechanically. Either of these proposed bolt installations, if done properly, exceed the strength of the draws. I am a GC and understand well what is involved here on all fronts.

Space Babble is in pristine condition right now as it has "protected itself by unprotectable" to quote YC & DR. I plan on setting fixed lines from above with Kevin and/or Ron present to first check the whole situation out. These pinbolts are available as an alternative if the original features will not offer reasonable and adequate conventional protection. Once an individual pin placement is determined to be necessary and desirable (by whatever process) a custom, blackened pinbolt will be set and throughbolted using one of the two fasteners described above. The strength of each pinbolt easily exceeds the fastener once set but does not rely primarily on the holding power of the blade as does a conventional piton. Since this is no longer intended as a line of shakey fixed pins, the odds are that only one or two may be necessary if other pro shows up.

This is an outcome quality centered process and a labor of love. Give careful thought to your own past climbing and you will probably realize that clipping fixed pitons and other hardware has value in historic reference that will disappear without a more reliable and lasting solution. I am also trying to raise awareness about doing thoughtful anchor replacement. In the interest of maintaining flavor, it would be simple to replace all of the old SMC type hangers everywhere with identical stainless steel ones. These are currently out of production even though there has never been a failure according to SMC. All that would need to happen to start production again would be a significant order. The ASCA folks should consider it. They should enter into this discussion once it becomes a little more generalized. I am really concerned about unnecessary rock damage from fork pullers and am reviving a great old design for widespread use pulling 1/4" and 3/8" compression type bolts. I hate to keep saying this but more soon.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 10:40pm PT
Steve

No worries, I am an expert in seeing both sides of things, I very much respect your opinion on this subject. A few posts back I was simply pointing out how I personally feel about this, while simultaneously showing mass respect for not only the first ascent party, but also for whomever takes it upon themselves to fix what sounds like an awesome and amazing route. I will fully admit right now that I am a hypocrite, since I do not in any way agree with any alteration to rock whatsoever...yet I am THRILLED that there are those willing to take the time, effort, and money to drill holes, place pins, whatever is necessary to create and upgrade routes for my benefit! Once again, I BOW DOWN. Thank you all, including you! Even after your response to my last post! And I will gratefully clip those bolts! I thank you. I do have a question after your latest post, though. I am completely missing your point about the SMC hangers. I guess you can lump this along with my prior comment about Leeper hangers. Yes, the SMC design is better than the Leeper, but still worse than that of current hangers. So why do you want to try and get SMC to make them again? I can fully understand why the pinbolts inspire you, because they are innovative and cool, but why in the world would you want a company to again produce a hanger that is inferior to the latest designs, that has always required a bolt, and that the same company has abandoned for likely the same reason? Thanks for your input!
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 10:57pm PT
Two things just dawned on me regarding pinbolts. Would these not be more destructive to the rock than either a pin or a bolt? Since both pins and bolts are destructive, doesn't this just double the destruction over one or the other? Also, since all fixed gear is a form of climber related trash, and since the goal has always been to keep the amount of hardware fixed to the bare minimum, and since a pinbolt uses more metal that either a pin or a bolt, does this not cause a contradiction? Just another thought...
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:07pm PT
Hey Steve, so does SMC acknowledge the many failures of the non-stainless hangers, and have they ever recalled the non-stainless? I've never had a straight answer on that from anyone.

Stainless SMCs are generally good hangers, but they're modern sport hangers in the eyes of 99% of climbers (while the old thin ones are sketchy looking when rusty). They also have their weaknesses - on overhangs they bend out, and on vertical/slabby stuff they can get stretched/bent/beat up (eg many sport routes at Owens). If you used metal as thick as those replica Leepers, the hangers would be a lot larger than the stainless SMCs, and thicker, heavier, and likely more noticeable than a Petzl. Not sure what the point of replicating them would be - not that different from a Petzl, which are a superior design. Fixe's are bigger, but still hard to spot (after replacing Stoners people were having trouble finding the first bolt). Both the Petzl & Fixe have larger holes that can easily accept two biners (nice for belays).

I like the pinbolt idea at first, and I really like the idea of maintaining historical flavor with the piton, but the more I think about it the more I have to agree with Clint - a well-positioned bolt with Petzl hanger (or SMC or replica Leeper, etc) is probably a better long-term solution. My main concern is what happens with freeze-thaw cycles and flake flexing. I think a pin-bolt might subject the bolt to strange loading cycles over the long term. The other thing is that these stainless pins, once they are tapered down to replicate the original, might bend/squish during installation.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:15pm PT
The SMC stainless steel hangers are the equivalent of most compact designs currently available. That pleasing shape is original equipment more than any other hanger design. The Leeper hanger was a bad design primarily because chromoly steel was an unsuitable material. The same goes for the original SMC chromoly hangers. Routes in areas like Suicide could retain their historical look and flavor and all somebody has to do is think about it and make the period sensitive hardware call. Route restoration doesn't get any easier.

A suitably darkened pinbolt tucked behind an ear would be far more subtle (and hence cool as per OW), better protected from rockfall damage and will never become a spinner!

Just think of the advantages and the greater selection from which to choose.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:18pm PT
jghedge:

No offense to anyone, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your post!
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:22pm PT
Of course it is personaly preference, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I find SMC and Leeper hangers to be butt ugly, and I also find Metolius, Petzl, and Fixe hangers to be not only pleasing, but beautiful. To my eye, clearly not to all. For those who feel otherwise, enjoy!
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
Dang, one more thing. It would be interesting (per this thread) to know the exact statistics on hangers, as in which ones have been used the most as original equipment on routes. My experience spanning nearly 30 years would rank brands I have seen from most common to least:
Metolius
Petzl
Fixe
Leeper
SMC
all others.
This includes WA, CA, AZ, WY, UT, NY, KY, OR, ID, CO, Canada, probably forgot some.
What have others found?
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 7, 2006 - 11:55pm PT
Steve, I like the pinbolt idea.

Do you think that your stainless replicas will be able to be adequately driven into the old placement without deformation?

Do you think that the bolt should be a removable design for future maintenance (even stainless rusts)?

I don't think the replica hanger idea should be widely accepted. I think it'd be cool for a few routes, including some of the classics in the Valley. However, I don't think many people would support the ASCA switching to replica designs when modern tested hangers are available, especially when the stainless SMC hanger is basically a modern hanger still in use for many new routes.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 8, 2006 - 12:08am PT
"Looking at his photo it doesn't look like the pin is really designed to be driven well, just set in the existing hole and bolted to the wall. This would seem to mean that the fall holding ability of the unit is in the bolt. If that's the case then I just don't see the point."

Seems to me that practically speaking, this unit has the strength of a bolt and it doesn't much matter if the pin gets looser in the crack.

Randy wrote

"Treating routes like these as both great routes as well as historically significant in a "physical" sense, is the best way to not just preserve an ethic, but to elevate it to something to be respected and honored. In the process, it becoes living history that can be exeprienced by anyone who brings the proper skills to the table."

That's the point, if care, respect and attention is paid to these routes, they might survive. If 15 years go by with no ascents (as is likely the case) and nobody even cares that the gear is degraded and unsafe for all, then the new generation is more likely to say "You guys didn't use it or value it, so it's ours now to change any way we like."

It's also a way of dealing with the conflict between tension toward retrobolting and the need to provide fixed gear on routes that used to require hammering and removal of fixed pins, and which, because of expando fragile features, regular fixed pins are unsafe and don't last. The pin-bolt says "Look, pins used to go here, we can't fix a pin here because the stone will suffer, but we're not retrobolting, we evolving hardware solutions while preserving boldness"

Steve does seems to appreciate the aesthetic of using historic looking gear. The way I look at, the folks who spend the time and money doing public service for the climbing community get a good share of latitude in how they do it if the end results works.

Ultimately, the community of the future will decide what do do with these old routes. No One knows if these routes will be repeated if maintained. We should probably find out before handing them down to a new generation so they will have reality and not assumptions to work with. A route that's actually climbable has a lot more to say for itself, and represents a viable choice. A decayed relic doesn't say near as much.


Peace

Karl
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 8, 2006 - 12:16am PT
ok, for what it's worth, i never did space babble.

but i done pinkgug at rubeedoo -- proud, fer sure.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 8, 2006 - 12:28am PT
Karl:

Whatever my opinion on all this bolting stuff, I could not agree more with your comment:

"The way I look at, the folks who spend the time and money doing public service for the climbing community get a good share of latitude in how they do it if the end results works."

Right on, and thanks again to all who do the dirty work...I sure don't, and I certainly take advantage of all of your efforts!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 8, 2006 - 12:42am PT
The pinbolts in either installation option described above can be removed and serviced for whatever reason. The epoxy cap screw scenario assumes that a good twist with an allen wrench would release the stainless capscrew. There is some uncertainty here as to the service life of the epoxy but past one hundred seems reasonable. The mechanical option should be good for several hundred and would require overcoming permanent grade threadlock compound to remove the throughbolt.

If SMC hangers are acceptable, original equipment and available I still don't hear a good argument against retaining the original funk and flavor. It won't hurt nobody......honest.

Mild steel just ain't the stuff for any doubters out there.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 8, 2006 - 01:29am PT
Interesting thread.

For me, these routes on Middle and Middle Apron epitomize a very aesthetic free climbing opportunity: multi pitch, steep slab climbing protected largely through exploitation of natural features, with minimal reliance on bolting. This is connoisseur territory and a delightful alternative to bolted slab.

(And the holds on Middle and Middle Apron in particular are often chunky and secure, mixed in with all the other styles of crisp edges, uneasy smears and whatnot; it is such intriguing stuff).

I gain a high sense of satisfaction by relying on protection derived primarily or solely through adaptation to natural features and then spanning those features with long sections of delicate, bold moves on crack-less, unbolted rock.

Use of passive gear in natural features is a cool experience when slab climbing. A piton still exploits a feature; it is not an imposition into blank rock as is a bolt and therefore a piton retains the feel of working with the features. To me, then, a fixed pin on such a route is much more desirable than is a bolt in terms of its complimentary approach to the terrain.

Yet, there has always been the problem of pin placement degradation through freeze thaw, flake expansion and subsequent rock degradation through pin replacement.

We have a route in Boulder called Wendego, which has (had?) these fixed pins which were the primary gear for some pure, hard face moves; the late Rob Slater was adamant they not be relaced with bolts. He said the old pins were bomber (Not! Too Rusty), but hey, I get the aesthetic twist and the sense of marring that territory with bolts.

The pinbolt seems a little quirky at first blush; but I think we should give it a shot, at least in so much as it is a viable upgrade for pins which exploited a feature and thereby minimized bolting in blank rock, where that particular implementaion of craft was part of the intended game.

And yes, if it comes off well, future routes could be done ground up with nuts, cams, pins, minimal bolting and then pinbolts could replace the pins in time.

Happy Sailing All,
Roy
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 8, 2006 - 03:49am PT
Joe, you raised some interesting points.

> On the one hand you're talking about preserving the ethic, honoring the history etc - but on the other you're talking about *rapping down it* to fix it. Why not do it ground-up, on lead - you could even hang on the old gear while you fire in the new stuff. You have to hand-drill anyway, right? Why not just lead it? It'd still be way less bold than the FA. Plus with sticky rubber it's much easier. Surely someone is willing to actually back up all the hot air on this thread.

I agree it is a jarring contrast with a traditional ascent to think about casually rapping down the route to redrill/replace bolts (and possibly to replace some pins as well). If you or someone else want to have the adventure of doing that on lead, be my guest, and have fun doing it. However, the fact that nothing has been done in 30 years to fix the bad belays and to restore the route suggests that this type of adventure is not that appealling to the few people who may have the ability to do it. So I don't feel I am likely to be denying someone their desired on lead rebolting adventure. More likely, people who want to lead it would prefer to just climb it and not have to deal with the hassles of rebolting. I don't think they would care if it was rebolted on lead or on rappel, as long as the results are good.

> See, this is what's so laughable about this whole thing, spread out over these various threads. You're insisting on ramming your climbing style down someone else's throat, with no intention of actually going out and doing those routes yourselves - you're going to rappel down them.

I'm not imposing my preferred climbing style on anyone. People can lead, follow, solo, toprope, jumar, etc. this route; even hangdog on it if they think it would help. :-) I don't think people care if I rap down it and never lead it, as long as I don't interfere with someone else who wants to climb it.

> Wouldn't the people whom you're talking about doing all this work for have already done it for themselves if they were really into all that history and honor and respect?

You could be right - maybe there are no people left who want to lead it. Maybe nobody wants to rap down it and toprope it, either. Actually I know there is at least one person - me, who wants to rap down it and toprope it again (and try the pitches I didn't get to in '95). Maybe I'm the only one. That wouldn't bother me. I suspect over the coming years there will be other folks who will climb it as well.

> And isn't it possible that slab climbing died out, and will continue to stay dead, because the runouts are viewed as silly, contrived, and arbitrary, not historically significant, bold, and exemplary?

I guess it depends on what you mean by dead. Some people still climb slabs and do runouts. Hard routes with runouts will never be very popular. That doesn't bother me; I like the idea that there is a diversity of difficulties and risks in the different routes. I think you have a good point that merely replacing the fixed pro will not make Space Babble (or similar runout routes) popular. But it will make potential falls more survivable for the small number of people with the talent and interest to climb it. So it may be helpful to those few folks who were going to do it anyway, or who feel the refurbished gear makes it a more acceptable risk.

The runouts are definitely bold. Whether they are historically significant and/or explemplary depends on your point of view.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 8, 2006 - 04:16am PT
Tom wrote:

> Dang, one more thing. It would be interesting (per this thread) to know the exact statistics on hangers, as in which ones have been used the most as original equipment on routes. My experience spanning nearly 30 years would rank brands I have seen from most common to least:
Metolius
Petzl
Fixe
Leeper
SMC
all others.
This includes WA, CA, AZ, WY, UT, NY, KY, OR, ID, CO, Canada, probably forgot some.
What have others found?


Personally, I'm not sure, because I don't climb that many bolted routes. But I suspect your ordering is about right, since the first three on your list have been in common use since rap bolting began in the mid 80s.

What is the reason for your interest? I hope the point is not to suggest that SMC are unpopular because they were poor quality, simply because they are currently infrequently found. I can tell you that the reason I stopped using SMC hangers on my new routes was simply because the Metolius became cheaper! (Some things never change with climbers - looking for cheap bolts and hangers seems to always be popular!). I don't know why the Metolius became cheaper; it might be because they were better for the steep routes being bolted at the time, which led to larger production runs and lower costs. But that's mostly a guess.

Things I like about the (stainless/thick) SMCs (vs. Metolius/Petzl/Fixe):

 plenty strong and durable for routes less than vertical
 less metal, so nicer to look at when installed
 do not stick out so far from the rock, so maybe less bruising if you hit them in a leader fall (I have never hit one, though)

Things I don't like about SMCs:

 not so good on overhanging rock - they bend (probably still strong unless they get bent back and forth repeatedly, but not nice to look at)
 less room in the hanger for having a lap link or quick link plus clipping in a biner
 expense (when Metolius became cheaper)
 hard to find now
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 8, 2006 - 04:43am PT
A couple of comments on pinbolts vs. placing a bolt in the same location as the piton eye.

 placing a bolt in that position will be unacceptable to many people, because it constitutes "bolting next to a crack", which is one of the very basic guidelines for bolting. I know it is something I keep in mind when I'm placing bolts on a new route.

Yes, there is a grey area, because some cracks will hold marginal gear (like say RPs in a shallow flare). There is no easy answer to those situations. Some people will want a bolt and others will not.

 are pinbolts just a bolt "masquerading" as a piton? Well, maybe, since the bolt part could be holding all the weight in some cases. But they are not really the same as a standard bolt because they are very restricted in where they can be placed (not only in a crack, but also where fixed pins were used on the FA, and where clean alternative pro is judged as inadequate).

I do not envy Steve (and Kevin + Ron) in making the decisions on Space Babble p1 about where fixed pins / pinbolts should be replaced. Especially after Terry and Werner led it without them. Given that RPs did not exist for the FA in 1976, maybe the pins are not needed there anymore. But it could be a grey area like above, since it would not be surprising if some of the clean gear is not high strength or is subject to getting pulled out if the rope moves in certain directions.

 others have mentioned that the pinbolts may be "too good", i.e. stronger than the original fixed pins and thus a drilled upgrade which would not preserve the original risk of the fixed pins. This could well be true. There might even be a design solution which yields a fixed pin that does not fall out due to heat expansion or need to be maintained/reset, but fails in some way during a fall at about the same load that the original pins would fail. This might seem like a ridiculous requirement, since most replacement/rebolting gear is designed to be very strong, and to be a solution to weak old gear. However, I think if this is really a concern, it could be solved in a somewhat messy way, by having a (suitably thin) swaged cable loop through the eye of the piton. So if there are people who really want to lead on the original weak fixed pins, they could clip the cable loop, which would break in a big fall. I hope nobody seriously wants this sort of feature, because it messes up the asthetics of clipping the pins/pinbolts for other folks.

OK, the cable loop idea is pretty bad - most people seeing that would simply think whoever put those on was nuts, and they would probably be right.... But I see this sort of concern being raised in the context of replacing rivets on aid climbs, and it was raised in this thread as well. I just don't see a simple enough design solution to handle it at present, since you don't want the piton to fall out and create the same maintenance problem. Maybe the answer is that any people who really want to experience the original shakey gear need to bring their own manky/weakened quickdraws to clip the pinbolts with. The same for people aiding on former rivets replaced by stronger buttonheads - they can use the thinnest cabled rivet hangers to recreate the thrills of potentially long falls that existed when the original rivets were still fairly new.

This sort of thing might seem like a ridiculuous approach to climbing, where you deliberately make something less safe than seems natural. But it's not that strange if you think of climbing as a game, where you choose the rules to make it interesting. After all, we often pick a very difficult section of rock, and then make it artificially easier by using shoes, chalk, rope, nuts, cams, pitons, bolts, topos, beta websites, leading instead of toproping, etc. So we are often already making things less safe than they could be.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 8, 2006 - 08:28am PT
A bit more elaboration on aspects of this pin bolt concept, as I think it is a corner case with a valid application in support of a limited frame of route styles.

While “Sanitized” routes are much more the norm in modern times, there are members of the modern generation who adhere to, aspire, and accomplish a minimalist approach to certain routes. This subtle trend, coupled with extant examples of pin placements as a characteristic feature of quite a few classics on Yosemite’s Middle Cathedral and in Eldorado Canyon, may help to illustrate my point.

Off hand, I can think of two examples of young climbers who have embraced some “Old School” routes or styles. Adam Stack, several years ago in his earlier youth, lead a bolted crack, in Dream Canyon, Boulder area, sans bolts, all on natural gear, rating I believe was 12+; he went on to work the Salathe with Tommy Caldwell. Matt Seagal repeated Skip Geurin’s Super Fly, in Eldorado Canyon, a very necky natural route, 12+. I know other younger, twenty-something locals who are expressing an interest in moving from sport to difficult trad.

While choosing not to clip in situ bolts seems contrived and it’s not my bag, I get what a young Adam was doing. Once gear is in situ however, I use it. So whatever we do to the rock, this is for most practical purposes what will define how other climbers will tend to experience the route.

There is an aspect of contradiction to the pin bolt, in as much as it takes the sometime questionable pin placement and relegates it to the security of a solid bolt; in this regard it represents a compromise. But I would propose that many, though certainly not all, pin placements where once quite bomber.

Per the idea of replacing stuff ground up vs on rappel, I say that is a further remove from the issue, as this falls into the category of route maintenance and is distinct, at least in my mind, from on sight ground up route establishment. It is distinct from subsequent on sight ground up ascents. If others wish to headpoint the route or in contrast, prefer to do route maintenance from the ground up, that is their prerogative.

So, to the degree that it supports a greater dependence on natural features, especially for a route style which historically focused on this notion, I say the pin bolt may have a place. Eldorado Canyon is a prime example of dependence on natural features and old pin placements and I would be interested to see what the Eldorado Fixed Hardware Review Committee thinks of the pin bolt concept.

Again, while we know necky trad is not the norm, it has its adherents, young and old, as well as its exemplary routes, such as Bachar Yerian, Space Babble, Body & Soul, Jules Vern, Superpin: the cherished examples are out there.

No doubt, many climbers, young and old, will scratch their head when confronted with the pin bolt concept: both at face value and again when prompted to consider it as a tool to achieve the ends of route preservation. Given that likely outcome, I still propose many of these more natural trending routes styles deserve to be retained as close to there initial state as possible, for they represent and enable expression of a valid, meaningful approach to the endeavor and for some climbers these routes offer access to a highly regarded aspect of the game.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 8, 2006 - 10:16am PT
Because Joe, for some, the first ascent style still matters, as does the opportunity to more or less do repeats in said style. Furthermore, my statement addresses route maintenance, not route institution and I agree with the opinion that rap placed, overly run out route routes are a contrivance.

Interestingly, per your point, Richard Rossiter states that how the bolts got in there is irrelevant to subsequent generations, to him what matters is quality and aptness of placement selection. I get that sentiment.

Ironically, the Flatiron Bolt Committee will not allow ground up, on sight routes, because they anticipate bolts will be in the wrong place. On lower angle to steep angle slabs, I say that placement selection error is less likely to occur than it is on steeper terrain.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 8, 2006 - 11:11am PT
I would distinguish it as restoration or route maintenance Joe, much the same in outcome as many of the other bolt replacement programs now in effect that Greg Barnes & Kevin Powell for example have undertaken.

In the end, per your points, I find no need for my opinion to prevail over yours. I do find it interesting to address the fixed pin issue.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 8, 2006 - 12:36pm PT
Nice thoughtful post Roy. I am glad that folks who care are chewing on this topic.

jghedge, Space Babble is no contrivance. It was put up in immaculate style from the ground up with no rehearsal or preinspection as were most of the great lines on Middle Rock. It seems that all you metalheads can see fit to do is declare that style is no longer relevant and somehow twist every shred of an argument toward that end. If you personally choose to devalue the adventure and risk aspects of climbing, you are settling for less than your capability and the rewards potentially offered by the climbing experience are greatly diminished. I sport climb just like everybody else and I know a sanitized situation when I walk away from it.

To wish that others share in the bounty that traditional climbing has always offered is an act of generosity. To wish a sanitized, bolt rich experience on others is something quite different. I have yet to hear anyone on the sport side of things articulate the rich inner world of bolt mania that would somehow offset the adventure and challenge lost through compromise to feckless and immediate gratification. Ask yourself what you have gained by selling your soul as a climber to the devil of expedient convenience? Beyond fun..........
Kevster

Trad climber
Evergreen, CO
Dec 8, 2006 - 01:41pm PT
The idea of replacing the bolts on lead seems pretty stupid to me. Risk death for public service and end up making a bigger mess than was there originally (drilling new holes next to old ones). Doing a good bolt replacement job is harder work than placing the bolt originally as you are using a larger bolt and need to remove and hopefully use the same hole. Part of the reason the route does not get climbed is because the bolts were questionable when first placed, why potentially repeat the process with larger bolts?

I like the idea of preserving FA's in their original shape but question the pinbolt idea. Drilling holes next to cracks does not make a lot of sense, as the rock will be weaker. If you are going to drill a hole I think it is better to make sure it is going to be in good rock. Also even though they appear as 1 unit, in effect you are doubleing the protection.

I think another answer might be an expanding piton, where a bolt is between 2 sides of a piton and tightening the bolt expands the pin into the crack. Maybe we should start with simply gluing a pin onto the crack and see how it withstands weathering?
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 8, 2006 - 03:54pm PT
Joe opines
When it falls to 50 year old retirees, none of whom have any stated hope or desire of actually doing the thing themselves, to restore the most classic and storied route of the genre, which itself probably hasn't seen an ascent in a decade or more, and on rappel to boot...we're talking rigor mortis.


Roy pretty much addressed most of your "comments."

While I may be over 50, I ain't anywhere near retired. If SB has it's fixed gear replaced I am likely to do it -- I'd like to lead the pitches I didn't get to lead before.

In my opinion, your ideas are very 20th Century. The evolving trend is toward respect and appreciation of all types of climbs. It is no coincidence that current top trad climbers and those who are doing cutting edge routes throughout the world gained power, strength and stamina from sport climbing. It is all good, even if it is different. Perhaps your view of climbing has become too narrow and is suffering from ... what did you call it ...yeah, "rigor mortis."

So you're going to have this bold ground-up multipitch, but all the fixed gear will have been placed...on rappel?

Red herring if there ever was one...See the thoughtful replies of others.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 8, 2006 - 04:14pm PT
Jghedge, I think that you are entitled to your opinion on how routes are restored, but you are sort of in left field on this one. As far as I know, once the 'community' decides to replace old gear, nobody has expressed any concerns about how the work gets done. (By the same token, if someone decides to chop the effort, I don't think it was ever because of someone rapping in.)

I think that there are some fairly active types who like to rap in and replace bolts but who don't do much active climbing anymore. Everyone appreciates their efforts and no one faults them, because no one sees it as a problem. Everyone is talking about restoration of original gear and not equating the effort to the first ascent.

Roger
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 8, 2006 - 04:25pm PT
Joe wrote:

> Drill bit binds/breaks in old hole. Now what?

You extract it (with needle nose pliers if necessary), put on the new bit and finish the hole, no big deal. I have never had a SDS bit break off when widening a 1/4" hole, or when drilling a new hole. I have had the carbide insert on the tip chip off when widening a 1/4" hole once. No big deal, I finished the hole with it anyway.

> You drill new holes to get the best quality new bolts (otherwise, why do it at all) and leave the job of plucking the old ones and filling the holes for later on rap.

That's pretty lame rebolting style, if you are adding new holes and changing bolt locations. Have you done it this way yourself? The enlarged holes are already best quality.

> You have to hand drill it anyway, so it don't matter if you're hanging on old gear or on a rap line. Except that rapping down it to restore it would be a hypocritical cop-out.

Using your own arguments, you should not be resorting to aid to place the bolts, otherwise you are having a "hypocritical cop-out" - Kevin and Ron didn't use aid to place the bolts on the FA.

This idea of replacing on lead for style reasons is a bit absurd. Go ahead if you want to, though. As Dennis Erik and I used to joke, "The only ethical bolt chopping is done on lead!" I think replacing on lead fits into the same category [kinda pointless].
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 8, 2006 - 06:07pm PT
Joe is kind of known for being a bit contrary. I am not sure if he is even serious in this discussion. However, if he is, I am pretty sure he is in a small minority of climbers in his thinking here.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 8, 2006 - 06:19pm PT
Well, Joe's posts certainly are a bit confrontational, but I think he does make some good points. I like hearing his point of view as well.
WBraun

climber
Dec 8, 2006 - 07:26pm PT
Hey man

Just put the f'ckin bolts in the rock any way you can on this thing and fix it.

Like WTF with all these dumb ass arguments. Just fix it!

Man, reading all this bullshit is nuts .....
Kevster

Trad climber
Evergreen, CO
Dec 8, 2006 - 07:32pm PT
Your ethic is very proud Mr. Hedge, but I think it's effect is more damaging to the rock. So would the old bolts have to be pulled on lead as well?
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 8, 2006 - 07:33pm PT
That's just dumb Joe. Replacing old bolts in the same hole usually requires doing the rebolting on rappel. Even when we have to lead routes to replace them, usually the leader clips the mank and replaces bad bolts at the belay, then the follower replaces the pro bolts. When the leader needs to replace a pro bolt on the lead, you usually have to drill a new hole (unless the stance is REALLY good, or the original bolt fell out already). So you'd advocate messing up the replacement of bolts just to do the replacement on the lead? That makes no sense at all.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 8, 2006 - 07:35pm PT
Well, Joe, look at the bright side. At least the anchors, few as they may be, will all be sound. They may be infrequent, placed in inconvenient spots, and hard to see from below. But climbers will have the knowledge that they're there, and reliable, although it's still a serious route.

Those who did the first ascent (climbers who are still active, and well respected in the community) apparently consent to replacement of the anchors as discussed - even though it would slightly dilute the experience the route offers. They don't mind that it would be done en rappel - re-placing fixed anchors is often done in that manner, and few seem to quibble with it.

It's pretty clear that both the first ascenders and many others would not abide retro-bolting of the route. It simply won't be tolerated. Maybe bring the subject up again in five or ten or twenty years, and see what people think then. In the meantime, there are lots of routes you can do that offer similar albeit not identical challenges, but suit your preferences for protection.

Thanks again for stimulating an important and rather nuanced debate.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 8, 2006 - 10:24pm PT
I've wanted to chime in here a number of times, but have had computer problems. The timing leads me to address Joe first.

Joe, you obviously don't have the same sense of aesthetics as the majority of posters do here if you see no problem with drilling a new hole next to the old bolt, placing a new bolt in the new hole, and then pulling the old bolt and filling its hole. Pulling the original and redrilling the same hole to new specs is far cleaner.

Installing the proposed pinbolts in their ideal locations would be next to impossible on lead without placing an adjacent pin at least for pro if not aid, unnecessessarily adding to pin damage. That's the point of doing this proposed work on rappel- it allows the restorer to do the best possible, cleanest job at each pro point, whether it's a bolt or a pin bolt.

You of all people should approve of the motives of anyone doing this as it is in the interest of safety for all climbers to follow. To suggest it's hypocritical to do it on rappel is laughable. Enough said about that.

Karl, Randy, Clint, Steve, Roy- you guys have all given this a lot of thought and I see eye to eye with all of you. I have no problem with the fact that pinbolts could make the route safer than it originally was, on the contrary, as I said before I think it's a good gesture to the folks chirping about adding bolts to runout routes. Clint's consideration of that issue with the underbuilt draws cracked me up.

The point made that a pinbolt would comply with the rock's natural features and duplicate the original placement is an important one, I think. Often times pin placements aren't in the ideal location ropedrag and protection wise and it would be tempting to favor those things if a bolt was placed "next to" the original pin placement. Brings to mind the slippery slope of adding bolts to runout routes.

Seems like the bottom line is the perfection of the pinbolt design and installation. Steve strikes me as having solid common sense in that department. There is one aspect of the bolt itself that I was considering, and that is Steve's suggestion that an epoxied capbolt could be removed later with good torque. My experience with those has been that their hexagonal hole strips with an allen key a lot easier than a standard hardened machine bolt head does in a 6 point socket... just a detail.

As far as where to draw the line between pinbolts and newer cams/wedges in the old pin locations, I think the restorer has to make a judgement call as to how the passive pro option compares to a pin placement. If it is obviously as good or bomber, no question- no pinbolt. If the new passive option is significantly worse than a well driven pin, and the idea is to preserve the FA's experience and protection methods, I think a pinbolt is called for. Obviously there will be a grey area in there.

Gives us something to talk about.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 8, 2006 - 10:58pm PT
Kevin,

I view the epoxy as an option for being necessary only if the pinbolt can't be reasonably removed once the final desired throughbolt hole position is arrived at. I much prefer the mechanical option that drills a 1/2" X 41/2" hole in the proper location, sets the dropin and sleeve at proper depth and then throughbolts with a 3/8" X 4" stainless bolt and threadlock compound. I could easily substitute a machine bolt shape for the capscrew to allow more breakaway torque, it just needs lots of threaded length. I liked the look of the capscrew since it resembles a buttonhead. No big detail and I really don't think anyone will need to mess with this setup for a very long time. I did source a perfect Simpson two part, tip mixing, epoxy setup that fits in the palm of your hand and is perfect for this situation.

It strikes me that what we are proposing here threatens the sanitation committee mindset. Preservation and bolt sanitization are diametrically opposed with repect to underlying values and vision of the future. That is why the metalheads are so desperate and foolish in their reasoning and arguments. The house of cards collapses when the base values fail to gain traction. Sanitized climbing is just plain dull fare. The future very much needs the past at the moment.
WBraun

climber
Dec 9, 2006 - 10:40am PT
jghedge said: "All I'm hearing are weak excuses for rap bolting from the exact same guys who claim it is so important to preserve the ground-up ethic and tradition."

Then you will fix it (Space babble) on the lead ground up. No more talking. Get the f'ck up there and do it NOW!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 9, 2006 - 11:39am PT
Werner's so sexy when his brawny side comes out.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 9, 2006 - 12:37pm PT
Yes, Werner Brawn, that's it. Perhaps his should be the first Stonemasters Action Figure to be released along with his foil, the multiarmed, rotohammer wielding Punkazfuul, who, of course, drills everything into submission! They're gonna sell like hotcakes, I just know it.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 9, 2006 - 10:17pm PT
I just wanted to point out what a bummer it is that a route that sounds as fantastic as Space Babble will likely never be doable by most climbers including me; not because of technical difficulty (well, who knows, maybe also because of technical difficulty) but because it is too dangerous, even after the hardware is replaced. I am not making an inflammatory post, I would never advocate adding bolts to this route or others like it (Bachar-Yerian comes to mind). I absolutely see the value in preserving some of the most rad and inspired onsights that have ever been done. There is the argument that why should a route remain dangerous for eternity simply because there were climbers on the first ascent willing to take risks beyond what most consider acceptable. But in this day and age, as most classic and reasonably accessable routes have been done already, I believe that the few routes that have been preserved in the original ground up rad ethic should most definitely be kept that way. If not, the few climbers so good as to be able to climb and appreciate this sort of route would be left with...nothing. The last thing I would ever want to do is deprive some of the most gifted climbers in the world of this sort of route. I just wanted to moan a bit, the thought of this beautiful route that virtually none of us will ever get to lead! With some rap bolts in key locations (like at the runnout 5.10c mantle), it would RULE! Can't we somehow copy the cliff and also have a better protected version? For you hardware masterminds, how about some remote controlled bolts that could be added, but turned on or off before starting the route! Ah, just rambling, I really do love and appreciate the fact that someone will at least be replacing the belays so I can someday toprope the route. I would just be so psyched to lead it, but that ain't gonna happen in this lifetime...
Kevster

Trad climber
Evergreen, CO
Dec 10, 2006 - 12:03am PT
Bravo Mr. Hedge,
I like your ethic and I agree that it would be the best style to replace it on lead. Were only talking about what a dozen holes to fill on a 600 ft face. Wish I lived in easy commuting distance from the Valley to give it a go.

Someone else has to sack up and go for it ground up!

(Edit: Hummerchime never say never! Maybe it will become a headpoint masterpiece with good anchors...Anyone seen any 1/4" SS Buttonheads?)
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 10, 2006 - 12:25am PT
...Space Babble will likely never be doable by most climbers including me; not because of technical difficulty (well, who knows, maybe also because of technical difficulty) but because it is too dangerous...

This is pure BS (not SB). As outlined in the beginning of the thread, any reasonably motivated climber could lead this route. Most climbers have put a lot of effort into developing physical strength -- leading a 5.12 sport route is hardly noteworthy anymore (even for some of us pentagenerians).

In the mean time, mental strength and control has atrophied, or worse, never been developed. That is why routes like SB are perceived to be "death routes."
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 10, 2006 - 12:50am PT
Hummer wrote "...Space Babble will likely never be doable by most climbers including me; not because of technical difficulty (well, who knows, maybe also because of technical difficulty) but because it is too dangerous..."

Then Randy wrote "This is pure BS (not SB). As outlined in the beginning of the thread, any reasonably motivated climber could lead this route.///"

Well Randy, I think it IS true the most climbers can't afford to risk a fall 120 feet led-out on slab. Between having families and friends and regular lives, it really is a level of sticking your neck out that's reserved for the very few. It hard to argue that given that it's a fine route that doesn't get done.

That doesn't mean it should be sanitized and the top rope option it there for folks, but it's not BS to say that most climbers can/should be able to do there.

Peace
karl

Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 10, 2006 - 01:01am PT
Joe wrote: ". . . people will just start rap bolting new routes on Middle. Since it obviously can't be done correctly on the lead."

Who says it can't, and hasn't been, "done correctly?" Who had decided this and on what criteria?

JL
WBraun

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 01:46am PT
That's right Largo, It WAS done correctly. There ain't no book on this sh#t. It's done from the heart and soul. Go ahead, make it safe, go ahead. You'll just kill yourself in the process. You'll be a walking corpse that you already are.

They did it that way to live!

Go ahead kill everything. Sanitize it.

Dead man walking ..........
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 10, 2006 - 02:03am PT
I think what Randy is saying Karl, is that a good climber that trains himself to control fear and relax on moves well below his limit, in spite of the possibility of a long fall, should be able to do the route. The 120ft fall you mention couldn't happen on the 5.10 climbing on the route (maybe a 50 footer) and the 5.11 is actually pretty well protected, provided of course the bolts/pins hold. The 5.8/5.9 stuff you just don't fall on.

Another factor involved is the ability to downclimb out of an unsure situation, a valuable skill that many modern climbers don't work on. This is something the base traverse is great for. There are so many big holds on the route that with enough time and some endurance several efforts can be made on the tricky sections, downclimbing in between. Retreat is always an option. A climber who can do the first and second leads should have no problem with the rest, again assuming the original pro is made good.

I think the issue of style is irrelevant to what has been discussed as nothing more than route maintainance. If it is relevant, I think the best style is the one that guarantees the most solid, cleanest result in a reasonable amount of time for the climbers doing the job. It makes no sense to me to compare this to rap bolting new routes on Middle Rock.

I don't pretend I have the head for the Babble right now myself, but I sure like to think that I could summon it up if I had some time to focus on Middle again, just like Randy says most competent climbers could.

Kevin

Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Dec 10, 2006 - 02:18am PT
route maintenance is simply high angle construciton work. it aint climbing. must be some good stuff joe is smokin though...

Ironically, the Flatiron Bolt Committee will not allow ground up, on sight routes, because they anticipate bolts will be in the wrong place. On lower angle to steep angle slabs, I say that placement selection error is less likely to occur than it is on steeper terrain.

The FBC can sit on their bosch bit and spin.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 10, 2006 - 03:06am PT
Kevin wrote
"I think what Randy is saying Karl, is that a good climber that trains himself to control fear and relax on moves well below his limit, in spite of the possibility of a long fall, should be able to do the route. The 120ft fall you mention couldn't happen on the 5.10 climbing on the route (maybe a 50 footer) and the 5.11 is actually pretty well protected, provided of course the bolts/pins hold. The 5.8/5.9 stuff you just don't fall on. "

I was talking about 120 foot lead-out on only 5.9. That equals nearly a 260-300 fall. If Dereck Hershey can die on 5.9 in Yosemite, there is no guarantee for anyone, no matter how good. A rock can hit you on middle, you could get a cramp. Choose a bad move.

Which is just to say, a regular climber can't do this route. Some pretty bad ass guys on this thread including you say they're not up for it at the time.

So I think it's more fair to say that a talented climber who can afford to make a calculated but actual risk of his life could do this route. If the climber isn't talented or is unwilling to risk all, he has no business on this route.

I just think that's the way it is

peace

karl
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 10, 2006 - 11:00am PT
I stand corrected Karl, I actually noticed your exact language after my post but was too lazy to edit it, partly thinking that there has to be SOME protection up there on those 5.9 sections- I dknow maybe the rock IS flawless.

I think the game played on such routes is a serious one, no question, though not as serious as a ropeless solo like Derek's. There is a rope and a belayer after all. Ultimately it is not so much a test of the leader's climbing ability, but of their judgement, route finding and mind control skills. Without the risk, that's lost. Not for everyone, but, on a certain level, the true spirit of climbing.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 10, 2006 - 01:03pm PT
"Better we raise ourselves than lower the climbs." RR

Space Babble is a route for people that have mastered face climbing on Middle Rock. Technical difficulty is secondary to adventure and discovery. You simply have the right stuff to climb without protection on 5.10 or stay off the route. "The ultimate climbs are not democratic" wrote YC & DR. This is an ultimate climb in my experience.

"Where protection is not assured by a usable cracks long unprotected runouts sometimes result, and the climber of committment must be prepared to accept the risks and alternatives which are only too well defined. Personal qualities - judgement, concentration , boldness - the ordeal by fire, take precedence, as they should, over mere hardware." YC & DR

"We believe the only way to ensure the climbing experience for ourselves and future generations is to preserve (1) the vertical wilderness, and (2) the adventure inherent in the experience. Really, the only insurance to guarantee this adventure and the safest insurance to maintain it is the excercise of moral restraint and individual resposibility." YC & TF

jghedge - stop leaning on points of ethics and style that you clearly do not grasp with any depth or clarity. To try to twist these positions around to attempt to support your morally and ethically bankrupt position swiftly makes a fool out of you when you don't really support them in the first place. In case you haven't noticed, most of us old guard are very clear in our positions, opinions and postings. You metalheads are grasping at straws and drowning in a cesspool of blatant, snivelling self-interest.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 01:13pm PT
Joe, what is your opinion of You Asked For It in Tuolumne?

The bolt replacement was done ground-up, leader climbing with a replacement kit, replacing one bolt at each belay, the pro bolts and the second anchor bolt replaced by a follower.

I bet you still want to retrobolt it, and you're just blowing smoke with your weird take on replacement style.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Dec 10, 2006 - 02:38pm PT
Thanks Kevin for clarifying what I was trying to say.

I still have to completely disagree with Karl. How is unprotected 5.9 on a 5.11 route any different than popular easier climbs such as Hobbit Book or dozens upon dozens of other routes one could name. On all of these types of routes, where the run out sections are on far easier (but still 5th class ground), a slip or rockfall from above, could mean a very long fall on featured and less forgiving terrain.

Mimi

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 02:54pm PT
jhedge, this is soley about a restoration effort. You need to open your mind to that concept and let go of the style issue for these particular projects. You're totally missing the point here. The guys offering to do this work have already done the route.

The quality of experience of the work crew seeking to restore the fixed protection doesn't in any way, shape, or form have anything to do with the style used by the FA. The proposed route maintenance is about results, not about adventure or challenge.

Although some work parties may elect to do anchor work GU, this is by no means necessary, and it sets no precedent. It's irrelevant to the FA; it's simply a restoration job ideally agreed to by the community and all involved.
Mimi

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 03:46pm PT
jhedge, What don't you understand about repair versus an FA? The distinction is clear. You obviously have reading comprehension issues. There is no controversy here. It appears that you are still drowning....

There's plenty of controversy surrounding establishing a new route on rap and retrobolting. These maintenance and restoration projects are neither! These projects are an entirely separate case and stand alone.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 10, 2006 - 03:54pm PT
well, the distinction between an FA and a repair is clear, but I think joe has a valid point of view. Why should the rules be any different? The rationale is that it's for safety. Well, if safety is now a justification, I don't see why that can't be extended beyond...
Mimi

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 03:59pm PT
See ya! You're also starting to sound trollish.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 10, 2006 - 04:04pm PT
Ok. I'm just saying what you guys seem to be suggesting. Style is paramount, except when it isnt.
Mimi

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 04:10pm PT
You guys are total morons.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 10, 2006 - 04:15pm PT
oh yes. not a moron. a total moron.

thanks for your poignant insight mimi.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 10, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
mimi, i'm speaking from personal experience here, trying to intelligently discuss an issue with joe -- on the internet, anyway -- is like trying to shovel water against an incoming tide. a waste of effort with no hope of success.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 10, 2006 - 08:57pm PT
I think Joe has some very valid points that only miss (intentionally) one main thing.

The thing is that our ethics aren't logical or consistent. They are like our ethics about Sex. They are culture and vary from place to place. Those who are inside the culture know the unwritten rules and what you can get away with and what will make a scandal.

That doesn't make it consistent, wise, reasonable or unreasonable.

So it's food for thought, even if we decide, because we all know what flys or not, that it's fine to rap bolt for the maintenence of the route. Perhaps someday something else will be the culture and we can all whine about it like old codgers

Peace

karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 10, 2006 - 09:21pm PT
"I still have to completely disagree with Karl. How is unprotected 5.9 on a 5.11 route any different than popular easier climbs such as Hobbit Book or dozens upon dozens of other routes one could name. On all of these types of routes, where the run out sections are on far easier (but still 5th class ground), a slip or rockfall from above, could mean a very long fall on featured and less forgiving terrain."

Because the issue at hand concerned "most climbers" Just like unprotected 5.12 on a 5.14 route would be a deal-killer of many.

You can sling some dinner plates on Hobbit Book and the climbing is much easier so "most climbers" have a better chance, but plenty of climbers avoid the Hobbit Book cause it wouldn't be a fair gamble when you have kids and aren't honed.

I'm not saying the Space Babble should be changed. Just that it will remain a mostly elite climb and it's denial to claim otherwise.

Peace

karl
WBraun

climber
Dec 10, 2006 - 10:36pm PT
NO .....
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 11, 2006 - 12:11am PT
Kauk would have no problem with fixing the route on rappel, joey.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 11, 2006 - 11:59am PT
There is no hypocrisy, just your need to jump around farting and waving your arms and yelling, "I am here, look, I am really here!"

Figure out where you stand or swim and be genuine. In the meantime, how about thinking more and spraying less.

Incidentally, challenging your ill-formed and baseless position does not amout to facism.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 11, 2006 - 09:49pm PT
The clearest example of hypocracy I see here is on joey's part. The former advocate of retrobolting all "deathroutes" for the good of all, and outspoken critic of the egocentric motives of their first ascenders, particularly Bachar, now fights the good battle against the morally bankrupt who would requip the same routes to make them safer on rappel because "Bachar wouldn't have stood for it".

It's too bad this thread got hijacked by such babble.

Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Dec 11, 2006 - 10:42pm PT
All I was doing was turning the argument against itself

pretty f*#kin lame logic, which is why people tried to show you the right way to pull, so your head would come out of your ass and youd still have ears....apparently, it didnt work though
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 12, 2006 - 11:39am PT
Or you could try allowing your head to proceed in the other direction until you turn inside out! At this point you might end up as a bold, thoughtful and articulate trad climber with something meaningful to say. But there are other ways short of the bunghole inversion lobotomy worth considering.............
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 12, 2006 - 01:07pm PT
actually, I think it's quite telling by how worked up and sputtering mad a couple guys got when confronted with the idea... from a couple sport climbers. too rich.

just remember, 'how the bolt got there isn't important. So long as it's a good route.'

hahahaha
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 12, 2006 - 03:45pm PT
Sorry but you still don't get it. How the bolt got PLACED the FIRST TIME matters a lot. How the bolt got RE-PLACED doesn't matter, we're just happy someone went to the trouble to do some maintenance.
Mimi

climber
Dec 12, 2006 - 03:53pm PT
Bingo G_Gnome!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 13, 2006 - 11:42am PT
If the idea was to stupidly provoke a response here, well you got your tiny but exciting moment. But now that you have established beyond a reasonable doubt that you are an ass, well, we are entitled to ride you around for a while, just for fun.

G Gnome- rising above the cesspool, a single clear thought shining like a beacon of hope!!!

If you feel the need to be phoney here on ST, you get what's coming.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Dec 13, 2006 - 12:28pm PT
Hey, anything for fun!

Anyway, good luck with the pin bolts, I hope they work out.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 13, 2006 - 05:09pm PT
i tried you warn you guys.........while i have heard from reliable sources that jh is a thoughtful and humorous person irl, it's clear that everytime hojoe logs on to the intardweb he suffers mightily from forum lobotomy syndrome.

btw, joe, have you done space babble??
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 13, 2006 - 07:19pm PT
jdhedge, I see that you have posted on ST for a while, but I don't remember you posting on the discussions on ST about fixing the anchors and bolts on 'Space Babble' that have been going on for several years.

The main complaint, first voiced by Karl, was that no one climbs the run-out routes on Middle anymore, and that there is such a sigma attached to any repairs that no one wants to touch it with a ten foot pole. Do you recall the question that Karl put to Coiler last week? When he asked him specifically if he would agree to the effort to replace the bolts on 'Space Babble' and not chop them. Coiler has not responded, at least publicly. This indicates how sensitive everyone is the issue of replacing any bolts on old routes.

Let's go back to the beginning and point out that the reason this is being discussed for so long is that no one has offered to fix the route, the way you suggest or any other for that matter.

After discussing it for 3 or 4 years on ST, Kevin, who just joined us on ST, sparks a real interest in fixing the route. Nothing new, but he was on the first ascent, which means a lot to everyone. (Ron, through Werner, agrees.)

A couple of well respected and conservative guys stand up and say they will do the work, if everyone agrees on the method.

Then you come along with the idea that the route repair and maintenance should be done the same way the first ascent was done. A couple of folks point out that method may not be the best way to get the best long-term results, but I am sure that no one thinks it wrong to do it that way. (Someone is fixing one of my old routes that way.) But, no one thinks your way should take precedence over the time worn rapping down method to repair old routes.

So if you know this person who is planning to fix the route ground up, as you suggest will happen, urge them to talk to Kevin and Ron to find out what those guys think of their plan. Laying it all out on ST is a good way to build a consensus the same way the folks who offered to do the work by rapping in have done. No one is going to ‘eat crow’ if someone gets the job done in a commendable way. This isn’t about the folks involved; it’s about fixing the route.

However, if this person doesn't exist, then we are right back to where we started—a fine, but very bold route, with bad bolts and fixed pins that no one dares to fix. And that no one climbs.

Last point, jdhedge. This little summary is not for you. It is for all the other folks who read along and wonder what will happen next. On this point I don’t know because in most cases folks let things remain broken if there is a controversy on fixing them.

Some folks who seem to know you indicate that you are a blowhard. If this is true, then I want to step up and urge the folks who were working on a solution to continue. There is no controversy in that plan.

Unless of course you really can deliver someone with a better plan.

Roger
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 13, 2006 - 10:16pm PT
Beyond clinging to your one position like a turd to a stick, jg, you haven't offered anything else but your false sarcastic nonsense. How many people have to tell you that you are defending an empty position before you take notice?

Not to shatter your complacent stupidity again but I am also restoring this route so that I can do it again. I am not quite fifty, chump, and a long way from cowardly or diminished in my climbing ability. The kind of mastery that SB requires leaves a strong impression on anyone who does it. I remember the crux moves like I was just there last week. As I have said before, this is my favorite Valley face climb. I might just leave the chalk bag in the car too, for old times sake!

I think that the concept of having really big fun on a death route is what eats at you the most. And that so many other folks have a similarly splendid time up there with so little pro!

You would do well to review your thoughts on a case by case basis and try discarding a few.
WBraun

climber
Dec 13, 2006 - 10:45pm PT
Well you know .......

That is why it's called "Space Babble".
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 13, 2006 - 11:07pm PT
Perfect, Werner! exactly what I was thinking.

The name always seemed a little... out there, but suddenly it seems like it fits more than ever, thanks to joey and the flap he created!
Mimi

climber
Dec 13, 2006 - 11:10pm PT
Much ado about less than nothing for sure.
TimM

Trad climber
near Joshua Tree
Dec 13, 2006 - 11:15pm PT
Steve, Roger, et al. Joey is a troll and he has explicitly told you he is trolling you. Yet, you keep biting on his posts. Just ignore him. You can't argue (debate?) with a fool. Just let him have the last word in the forum and hopefully he will go away and we can return to more inspirational conversation about Space Babble and other historic routes.

Locker-style edit: This has been one of the best threads on ST in a long time. I hate to see it brought down by a troll.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 13, 2006 - 11:21pm PT
So right.
couchmaster

climber
Dec 14, 2006 - 01:51am PT
Steve G: great looking stuff. Nice innovation. Anyone whos been on a wall during an earthquake and seen pins fall out of cracks will apprecieate the fact that these are staying in there and don't need to be periodically reset by climbers of the future, none of whom carry hammers on free routes any more.

2nd) HealyJE pulled and reset some pins out at Beacon, he took before and after pics. It was shocking to see how much of the high alloy just disappears through corrosion - and it's all below grade and not visible to the naked eye. I wouldn't wish a long Middle Cathedral fall to an enemy that at some point would rip a pin out and result in a death or wheelchair. Stainless is the way to go. Especially when you might not have anyone get up to check the crap out for 30 more years.

3rd) I was there that day that Derek flew Karl. Pretty sure it had rained in the early afternoon. Free soloing on a wet day is not germaine to this discussion IMO.

4th) JoeH, despite being a bolt clipper and sports climber, makes a good point for a devils advocate...maybe several when you think on it. IF you are willing to "Fix the Pro" to make it safe on rappel......is that not somewhat contrived vis a vis the ground up FA ethic? My personal view is that anyone of 10 people who have already posted on this thread are capable to do what ever the hell they think is the consensious which appears to have already been reached- ie, which is to strenghten the route and fix some potentially lethal issues. - I personally don't care if they rap it or ground up it, I think if it was me, I'd ground up it or pass, but hey, I don't feel that strongly either way. Who ever gets on it, most important is to do a good job technically. Still- Hedge has some good points.

5th) Steve - Re: your point "When you climb the East Buttress of Middle and hit the bolt ladder would you find it pleasing to clip into bombproof period bent strap hangers or a line of justboughts." Struck a cord with me as not only do I think about that, but I have that first bolt and hanger off that route in my chalkbag carrying it to this day and have been continouiously carrying it since my buddy had it break following that pitch under body weight only sometime @ 25 years ago. History is important to most of us. Going up to a route like "Crack of Doom" and knowing that Chuck Pratt story of hanging out on it while asking for his belayer to run back to the car for gear (which didn't fit anyway): or thinking of Robbins running out the Robbins Traverse 1/2 way up half dome without any big pins, in his old RR's, while I crank it with sticky rubber and plug in a #4 Friend is important to me, and should be to others as well. I suspect it's one of the reasons so many of us lurk here on ST. One of the best parts of your pinbolt concept is that it causes the followers to think about that FA hammering in that pin, which is a radically different thing than clipping a new 3/8" bolt.

6th) G Gnome: I think that you wind up with the best of both worlds with the pinbolt concept. A pin behind an expanding flake or shallow bottoming placement can sort of work until it frost heaves and falls out, or becomes weak: to replace that with another sh#t pin seems kind of pointless. Conversely - bolting next to a thin crack could possibly lead youngsters to believe that bolting next to cracks are OK, but the pinbolt idea - secured to the rock, would be both the logical place to put a piece, and a rememberance to all who followed that IN THIS OR THAT SPOT, Kevin W. or Ron K. actualy stood and pounded a piece, which would be both following the flow of the natural route and a rememberance of the past while making it a bit more secure ........

Anyway, good luck with the project, glad to see it getting hashed out here and getting throughly discussed first.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 14, 2006 - 11:31am PT
Cmaster, Once the route has been established, in my mind, all style and ethical constraints and standards change to impact related concerns. I set the bar for adventure and challenge about as high as anyone and see no meaningful challenge to be met while servicing anchors. Do you put routes up yourself? If so, do you really feel the need to recreate that experience once the route is no longer mysterious and becomes a known quantity?

The onsight aspect of first ascent ethics and style is probably the source of confusion. The way a climber responds to the challenge presented by a stretch of unknown terrain is the essence of personal ethics and style. If you preview, preinspect and work the moves first this is generally considered to be poor style because the unknown and hence the adventure has been scripted out of your experience once you finally get around to actually climbing the route. Most of the sport vs trad arguments spin around the concept of onsight leading contrasting with a rehearsed experience. Where you sit in this debate depends greatly upon whether you place value on the first ascent party's experience or consider it irrelevant. There is no unknown once you have completed a route on a first ascent or repeat so there is no grappling with the unknown to be had.

To simply create difficulty or challenge by working from the ground on a known route doesn't really yield or accomplish anything meaningful that the climbing community should value or judge. Personally, if I fell while restoring a route from the ground and was seriously injured, I would have gained nothing from the potential experience to offset the risk and consequences incurred.

The first ascent is a one time, onsight proposition never to be re-staged or re-enacted in any sensible way. The gift that a bold and committed first ascent party leaves for the community is a route that is as close as possible to untouched with respect to fixed protection and any other indications of ascent. The first ascent principle, in a nut shell, dictates that everybody respectfully leave the routes as they found them to the greatest possible extent including the first ascent team.
duncan

Trad climber
London, UK
Dec 15, 2006 - 09:06am PT
Space Babble is one of my all time favourites – anywhere. It’s great to see that people are looking to restore the route in a way that will give a experience similar to the one we had in the early 1980s (sort out that 3rd belay though!). It would be a fine benchmark for future work of this kind. We have similar problems in the UK with decaying fixed gear, particularly on sea-cliffs where the rate of corrosion is far faster, but have come to no consensus on what to do about it.

I appreciate the spirit behind Steve’s peg-bolt hybrids. However…there have been a number of reports in the UK of sudden, catastrophic, failures of stainless steel pegs that looked in fine shape with no obvious signs of corrosion. This sometimes occurred relatively soon after placement. There is some discussion of this, mostly related to sea-cliffs, here: http://www.ukc2.com/forums/t.php?t=30221&v=1#414601

My understanding is that this has also happened on inland crags. Is there a Metallurgist in the house who would care to comment?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 15, 2006 - 10:53am PT
Steve wrote
"The gift that a bold and committed first ascent party leaves for the community is a route that is as close as possible to untouched with respect to fixed protection and any other indications of ascent. The first ascent principle, in a nut shell, dictates that everybody respectfully leave the routes as they found them to the greatest possible extent including the first ascent team."

Perhaps in some areas, by some climbers, for some routes, but as a general principle I have to disagree strongly. The logical consequence of the statement above for face climbing is that climbers would always leave the absolute minimal pro on first ascent and that climbers who follow should respect the standard of the first ascent party.

The practical result of this philosophy in the Valley and Tuolumne has been routes that are very seldom repeated and more of a gift of the first ascent parties to themselves rather than to the community. Sure, it has it's place, but I'm all for a mix. There are long, frustrating lines on Tuolumne Cracks within a hundred yards of very seldom repeated face climbs of the same grade. Why? Because dangerous routes aren't public service, they are elite service. That's not alway wrong but to glorify it as a gift is a stretch.

On the other hand, routes like Greg has put up, or the few that have mere 15 foot run-outs get done all the time.

It's really not practical to lead and bolt a multi-pitch, relatively safe but spicy bolted route onsight in a push unless you go back and add bolts and craft a contribution to folks who might actually want to climb nearer their limits (even if the limit is 5.9)

I think the weekend 5.8 to 5.10 climber is in the vast majority and I don't agree with an ethic that suggests shutting him and her down if they are unwilling to risk dangerous or deadly falls.

I think there is room for both approaches. 25 years of experience has shown that the "bold only" method has led to neglected, unclimbed routes and a blacklash that ignored the old school completely (sport climbing), rather than refined and adjusted it.

Different stroke for different folks

Peace

Karl
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 15, 2006 - 11:30am PT
Hi Karl,

I am curious. Does this mean that all new bolted routes done until fairly recently are rarely climbed?

This is just a question of understanding the facts. Fifteen feet runouts are much shorter than just about anything I can thing of.

Roger
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 15, 2006 - 11:59am PT
Hi Roger

You wrote

"I am curious. Does this mean that all new bolted routes done until fairly recently are rarely climbed?

This is just a question of understanding the facts. Fifteen feet runouts are much shorter than just about anything I can thing of."

Obviously the 15 foot number is just a ballpark off the top of my head. Some sections can be more run-out some less.

and I'm not sure what defines "new bolted routes" and "fairly recently"

But it's easy to boil this down.

X rated routes are rarely climbed.

With R rated routes, there is a wide range between "pretty spicy" and "Near X rated" Most R rated routes are rarely climbed. Some exceptions being Stoners, Dike Route, B-Y, and a few others. The Dike route used to get climbed more but seems to be falling off in recent years (but I commonly see guys my age on it!)

There is commonly a line on Shagadelic and the Golfers route, on the other hand. Needle Spoon gets good traffic.

You'll be happy to know that Central Pillar often as a line 2-4 parties deep on it, but Paradise Lost, at the same grade, is rusting and I've never seen a soul on it.

Just the way it is. The best Space Babble can hope for, given all this talk about it, is that it will become a mental testpiece with a renewed reputation, like Bachar_Yerian is in TM. Folks want to do it as much to spray about it and test themselves, as they do for the classic qualities of the rock. No Rep, no climb.

Disclaimer- there are certainly notable exceptions to the above statements, just as there are folks who have fetishes of many sorts in many "sports"!

Peace

Karl
junior

Trad climber
Modesto. CA
Dec 15, 2006 - 01:04pm PT
Joe writes,I would think that polling those capable of climbing the route (none of whom post here), instead of just polling those capable of rappeling it, would be a good way to build consensus. It is not IMO a matter of just "doing the work". Something, to my mind, would be lost, and a precedent set, by rap bolting it (that route in particular). Maybe it was that picture of Graham (?) pulling over the roof in Yosemite Climber - I don't know. Someone post that shot, please? And I (obviously) don't really care if I'm in the majority or not. I don't always agree with that ground-up style, but I still respect it. I have mixed feelings about it. So sue me.

Hey Joe I'm still capable of doing this route and think if someone is willing to fix the thing please do it along with all the other great routes on middle and on middle's apron. I enjoyed those routes years ago but now there just in need of repair.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 15, 2006 - 01:37pm PT
Roger, most routes put up these days have bolts at least that close together, even in places that traditionally had few bolts like TM. However, even in the 70s there were lots of routes put up without the long runouts between bolts. Maybe not so much in the valley and the meadows, but the rest of the world was putting more bolts in than every 30 feet. Go to JT and look at the older routes, while a few are quite run, most are nicely bolted and get climbed a lot.

As someone who has climbed in the Meadows for 30+ years I am not sure how I feel about some of the newer routes like Shagadelic. Too many bolts is my initial impression but then I see the lines on them and realize that not every route should have the mental challenges associated with the older routes or they are going to sit and rot like the older routes with just us older folks doing them. A perfect example is on Low Profile Dome, Darth Vader's revenge always has a line of people waiting to do it while Black Widow, which is a better route, rarely gets done because of that 'R' next to it's name.

So, should climbing and new route establishment be controlled by the elite who don't mind the long runouts or by the common person for whom 15 feet is a long way between bolts?
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 15, 2006 - 02:18pm PT
There's a good number of older Tuolumne routes with lots of bolts - and they often are the more popular at the grade, like Ciebola, Ursula, etc. Plenty of lesser known ones with tightly bolted sections up to and including bolt ladders. Actually, even Rawl Drive has its first 3 bolts fairly close together - not much different from Shagadelic bolt spacing (averages 15' between bolts for the 2 long face pitches). And many of the 5.11 and harder routes in Tuolumne have very tight bolt spacing, even down to 5' or so especially at cruxes. I think Shagadelic just touched a nerve due to the rating - if it had been 5.10b or harder, no problem, but at 5.7, big deal.

In any case, there were lots of routes done in Tuolumne in the '70s and early '80s with pretty tightly bolted face climbing.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 15, 2006 - 04:45pm PT
Actually Greg, I recently did the route you put up on the left side of Darkside Dome. Excellent route. Except for a few too many bolts it is one of the better routes in the Meadows at it's grade. Even then, I didn't skip any clips.

Speaking of Cebola, have you done Aliens or Swiss Orange Chip? Not very many bolts there for some hard 11 routes. It just all depends on who put them up.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 15, 2006 - 05:39pm PT
Roger wrote:

> ... Do you recall the question that Karl put to Coiler last week? When he asked him specifically if he would agree to the effort to replace the bolts on 'Space Babble' and not chop them. Coiler has not responded, at least publicly. This indicates how sensitive everyone is the issue of replacing any bolts on old routes.

I don't agree with this summary of the two early posts on this thread. Coiler simply said that he felt pins replaced by [plain?] bolts was sacrilege. Others feel the same way, nothing unreasonable there. Coiler did not suggest he would chop replaced bolts. Karl was asking more about the pinbolt idea.

> A couple of well respected and conservative guys stand up and say they will do the work, if everyone agrees on the method.

I initially volunteered to inspect/replace all the fixed gear, after checking for clean gear alternatives to pins where they had been used originally. Later, to simplify things, I decided to leave the replacement of pins to Steve and Kevin. Bruce and I will replace all the bolts a few months from now, when days get longer and warmer. We also secured permission from Kevin and Ron to make a bolt belay at (3) and add a second bolt to the belay at (1). These plans have not changed. If someone with a strong desire to replace the bolts on lead appears and does the job before Bruce and I get to it, that's fine, but either way it will happen.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 15, 2006 - 06:35pm PT
Terry requested that someone post the photo from Yosemite Climber - here is a fairly low-res scan of it (hopefully this is fine with George; if not I'll remove it):





Ron Fawcett beginning the hard section on Space Babble (5.11) on the North-East Face of Middle Cathedral Rock. This hard climb takes a line between the Kor/Beck and Bircheff/Williams routes. It involves five sustained pitches of steep face climbing which gradually get easier, but less well protected. This first (crux) pitch takes a line up under the overlap to the right until it is possible to break through on to the upper face by a move to the left. A protection bolt here is followed by 15ft. of hard climbing to another bolt. Thereafter the climb continues up the wall above for four more pitches (5.10, 5.10, 5.9, 5.9). Kevin Worrall and Ron Kauk made the first ascent of this fine route in 1977. Photo: Pete Livesey

(original caption from p.94 of Yosemite Climber)

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&an=George+Meyers&y=12&tn=Yosemite+Climber&x=51

http://www.amazon.com/Yosemite-Climber-George-Meyers/dp/0906371090/sr=1-1/qid=1166225697/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-2680985-7533535?ie=UTF8&s=books
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 15, 2006 - 07:02pm PT
Cool photo, thanks for posting it Clint! That's quite a high step!

Glad you liked the route Gnome (assuming you mean Imperial March?), yeah it's probably too tightly bolted but I was rope-soloing and hooking/slinging knobs, and a snapped knob shook me up down low (especially with the potential of hitting the slab by the first pitch anchor). As soon as the angle changed after the little roof, I bailed until I could return with a partner (the following year) for the lower-angle stuff up top.

RE: Alien and Swiss Orange Chip - there's no shortage of runout hard routes, but my point was that not all routes done in the '70s/early '80s were runout. Those routes and all the surrounding ones were replaced last year by Roger Brown, so now they are 'back in business' for anyone who's up for it!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 15, 2006 - 09:22pm PT
Hey Clint- It's good to hear you haven't been put off by all the squabbling going down here, I fully support your plan to requip the route on rap. Sure, it could be done on lead, but extremely challenging to do the cleanest way, that is by pulling the original bolts with the minimum amount of scarring, and drilling out the original hole for stainless. The idea of plugged holes next to new bolts bothers me a whole lot more than you guys rapping. Also I have no problem with two bolt belays top to bottom if you're into it, otherwise we can pinbolt the belays that used pins. I'm open to input on how others feel about that detail.

If Steve and I follow through on the pinbolts, rapping will facilitate the tricky drilling involved. I expect several pinbolts will need their holes drilled with a twelve or even eighteen inch bit for the handle to clear the corner or roof at the placement, and get the hole in tight and square.

Since so many people seem to be interested in this restoration, particularly the pinbolts, and since this would be their first appearance I'd like to do it as carefully as possible.

That photo of Ron Fawcett sure stirred up some good memories. He and Livesey were the best limey climbers us Valley boys had seen. We always used to laugh about how the Euros wore harnesses instead of swamis and just hung on the rope if they got tired....
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 16, 2006 - 06:28pm PT
Kevin,

> Sure, it could be done on lead, but extremely challenging to do the cleanest way, that is by pulling the original bolts with the minimum amount of scarring, and drilling out the original hole for stainless. The idea of plugged holes next to new bolts bothers me a whole lot more than you guys rapping.

Good point. I didn't intend to encourage folks to jump up there on lead to rebolt, unless they were going to replace bolts in the original holes. I.e. like how Greg described You Asked For It was rebolted.

> Also I have no problem with two bolt belays top to bottom if you're into it, otherwise we can pinbolt the belays that used pins. I'm open to input on how others feel about that detail.


I'm certainly into making (3) and (1) into 2 bolt belays. If you (and Ron) prefer, though, we could place a single bolt at (3) if it looks like pinbolts would work well there. Same at (1) - replace the current single bolt; leave just that if it looks like a pinbolt would work there. My recollection is a bit faint, but I recall the pins at (3) stick out quite a ways, and may not be in a flush corner that would be required for a pinbolt. We'll see soon enough. Probably it would be simplest to just have 2 bolts anchors at (3) and (1). That way you and Steve could concentrate on the protection pins, as needed.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 17, 2006 - 04:39pm PT
Karl Baba, the "in a nutshell" ethic that I posted was in force when most of the routes on Middle were established and is pure old school, bolts to a minimum. It was commonplace among climbers to morally weigh and judge every bolt by asking the simple question "could someone else do this without drilling here?" Each and every climber determines for themselves the relevance of this question. If you don't even ponder bolting from this elevated standard, then the value of a bold and well crafted line may be elusive and misinterpreted with respect to motivation. From my perspective the trial by fire involved in creating a masterpiece like Space Babble on the part of Kevin and Ron makes it an inspiration to climb superbly at ones limit and hence a gift of rare and imcomparable value to me and others with a love of adventure. If you don't need or seek out such inspiration how can you really value or cherish it?

Duncan, great to hear that you love and care about the fate of SB too! Thanks for the warning about the stainless steel piton problems. Stainless steel tends to be more flexible than tempered cromoly and depending on fabriction and material thickness more prone to twist shearing with or without sea water thrown into the mix. One advantage of the pinbolt concept is that the throughbolt should stabilize flex and bending under load. The 3/16" type 304 angle that I am planning on using is stout and has been stiffened somewhat during fabrication. The angle configuration is far more rigid than a field bent eye as well. Any information on the failing piton designs? I have lots of testing and meddling left to do to say the least! How many fixed pins do you recall on the first pitch when you did it?

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 17, 2006 - 06:04pm PT
Steve

I don't have a problem with the ethic you posted except that you used the present tense and seemed to imply all routes should go up like that. If that's not the case then no problem.

Since you are saying that the FA should ask "Is there somebody else who could do this without drilling" then the answer is often yes. Unfortunately, that would leave the vast majority of climbers with only death routes at the moderate grades. That's why I believe better protected routes put up by public service minded climbers can and should coexist with bold routes put up by top climbers.

First Ascent types tend to be committed climbers who can virtually solo 5.9 and run-out 5.10. That's not representative of the folks at the crags these days. You can't live in Camp 4 any longer.

Peace

Karl
WBraun

climber
Dec 17, 2006 - 06:48pm PT
Karl says: "You can't live in Camp 4 any longer."

Only dead people there now?
Mimi

climber
Dec 17, 2006 - 06:50pm PT
Karl's inferring that the old ways are dead. I say pffft!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 18, 2006 - 12:41am PT
Olt Ways Dead?
Scurrilous Rot Indeed!

Why, just this wee-kend I partook in the ways of olt tymes pass'd...


...With a minor adjustment to accomodate the duple rope technique.


And with swain footwear proudly minted some 40 years agoo:



No lie: Ground Up We Sail'd, On Syte and Daisy Fresh;
Alas, one well placed cherry bomb would've rendered the crag level as tha sea:


Not Dead Yet!


(talk amongst yerselfs, regrupe I say and carry on...)
(the prior communique in no way expresses any unjust or lowly feelings for the Babble,
...nor towards its reconstruction, not on my part, for trew.)
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 02:11am PT
"Karl's inferring that the old ways are dead. I say pffft!"

Karl said
"First Ascent types tend to be committed climbers who can virtually solo 5.9 and run-out 5.10. That's not representative of the folks at the crags these days. You can't live in Camp 4 any longer. "

What I'm saying is that there are far few climbers living in the valley and focusing on valley climbing than there used to be, partly because it's harder to stay here long term without being SAR. Back when ya'll were putting up routes on Middle, it not only was a much smaller scene but the scene consisted of a higher percentage of committed climbers. 5.9 and 5.10 were respectable grades if climbed boldly. There was more of a reason to "get into" these bold face climbs as they were new territory and there was a group energy focusing on them. We loved to go to the Apron and there was people all over the place.

No longer. Climbing is a much bigger scene and the folks climbing 5.9 and easy 5.10 are mostly weekend warriors. The Apron is a ghost town, as is the Middle Apron and Arches Apron. Most Bolts are not replaced in most of these routes despite being moderately rated routes in "climbing central" What does that tell you?

Just that times have changed. If there are few remaining 5.9 and 5.10 good lines in Tuolumne, I don't want anyone telling me that they "should" be soloed or done X-rated by 5.13 climbers because "they can and it's good style" It's one thing to save these old classic routes but another to lay the fundamentalist ethic over the future as well.

I do think the little guy should have something to climb without quiting his job and risking his life.

Peace

karl
stich

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Dec 18, 2006 - 07:47am PT
Tar speaks thu truth. I was there as well and can confirm the grund up Nateure of the FA, replete with the lack of a decent harness or even a belaying device. Goatboye gave him a hipe belaiy.

When Tar set off to pluck a second line on the Bulge, I got out my acktuale harness and a moderne device of belaying. He put in a cam and announced, "This rock is bomber." Before I knew it, large chunks had been pulled out hitting Roy in the chin and continuing on down in my direction. I dodged the landslide of krappe rock and examined Roy's chin for holes. A spattering of bloode was all.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 18, 2006 - 12:02pm PT
She's a fyne rubble pyle laddies, her shaipe and taixture rekyndles memorys of me grannys arse.
goatboy smellz

climber
boulder county
Dec 18, 2006 - 05:12pm PT
Arrrrrr! I'd sooner ascend your gradmamas arse than that rock again.
Good from afar yet far from good.
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 18, 2006 - 06:06pm PT
Arrgh, sounds the same as his grandmama's ass then.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Dec 18, 2006 - 09:18pm PT
Duncan...Nice to see you here in Supertopoland! I'd love to see you add some of your British 'visitor's' perspectives to the assorted pissing matches and strolls down memory lane here.

Melissa (who tagged along w/ you to Stannage Edge when I was in England for work a few years back.)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 20, 2006 - 10:01pm PT
Duncan, glad to hear that you love Space Babble and care about its fate. I couldn't glean much information from the postings about piton shape or material. Stainless steel in sheet form can be fairly flexible material and pitons formed by bending would seem prone to twist shearing with or without seawater thrown into the mix. The pinbolts that I have in mind are cut from formed 2" x 2" x 3/16" type 304 angle which has some mildly forged character and seems beefy enough. Any info on the actual failed pins themselves would be greatly appreciated. Is the climbing scene where you are suffering from a lack of modern day mettle or has boldness kept its place in youthful minds and imaginations?

Karl, you sound like you have had your share of wild times, why would you wish anything different on the future? People are going to do as they please to be sure when the new route bug bites them. There are dozens of piles being sportbolted in the name of good clean fun every weekend by the top down folks. If somebody wants to get really wild up there and put up a runout route because they feel that old school mojo rising and flowing, that has roots far deeper into adventure and alpinism than any silly sport climb or otherwise sanitized clipping experience.

The lack of oral history and information on old school routes and climbing style has everything to do with parties deciding not to check it out. Bad anchors thrown in and you have little to no popularity. The scene is not the way it was nor is the average climber these days as experience hardened or ambitious. In thirty-six years, climbing has changed dramatically from my perspective and I seek to inspire other climbers to take an approach that has historically yielded the fullest and most rewarding experience. Quality of experience versus mere moves tips the balance well in favor of adventure climbing so that is what I advocate. But it's not everyone's thing baby!
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 21, 2006 - 02:18am PT
Karl, I find myself agreeing with all of your posts. I do think that some of which you have written has been misinterpreted by others. Most of what is being discussed in this thread boils down to personal preference, and how it varies among us all. Take any face climb with fixed gear, there will be those who think it is perfect as is, others will have preferred something different. Unfortunately, every climb can only have fixed gear set up exactly one way at any point in time. If there was just some way to clone each climb in different dimensions of time and space, so that every climber’s preference could be met at all times! I am in complete agreement that the overwhelming majority of climbers have no interest in leading rad runouts. I include myself in that majority. In fact, I hate runouts, I wish they did not exist. I do not enjoy true danger, simply the illusion of it. To me runouts are a necessary evil to be avoided whenever possible. It is clear, however, that there are those that love runouts. And I do not consider myself to be a “little guy”, I absolutely love climbing and have been devoted to it for nearly 30 years. I know climbers, and have read the posts from climbers, who find true danger in climbing to have strong appeal. In fact, I am convinced that some climbers find true danger to be the strongest draw to climbing, something that really turns them on. And I have no issue with that whatsoever, just pointing out that for me and many others this is not what draws us to climbing. I am not advocating adding bolts to routes like Space Babble, since I believe that routes like this done in impeccable style are so impressive that they should be preserved; it would not be fair to those who enjoy this type of rad climbing to ruin every route like this for them. The mega rad honemasters deserve this. But if it was only me and those with my tastes for climbing in the world, then Space Babble would need and get substantially more fixed gear! And it would be most unfair to the majority of climbers if all routes were "R" or "X", because we would be forced to risk injury or death or simply not climb. Karl, again I so agree with your point about aprons of incredible rock in Yosemite (and elsewhere) that virtually never get climbed because the routes are so dangerous. Again, the routes there are so impressive in the style in which they were done, but at the same time it is such a shame that they are essentially being wasted. Perhaps a consensus among us as to if a route never gets climbed, perhaps a change in gear is reasonable? Big name routes like the Bachar-Yerian, and likely Space Babble after being fixed up, are sought out by at least some by top climbers. But lesser known routes in similar runout states likely never get climbed at all.

So what is “silly”? Sport climbs, or life-risking runouts? I think neither. They are just different; I suspect the average person would consider all climbing to be silly. Everyone has a risk line they are not willing to cross. What turns one climber one turns off another. Most prefer safer climbs, while at the same time being impressed and respectful of those who prefer more radness and danger. What is a quality experience for one is not necessarily a quality experience for another. Enjoy!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 21, 2006 - 04:10am PT
We like to talk about principles and ideas but what really happens is a mix of factors that changes with time, fashion and personalities.

What we do and say has an effect on how the future plays out but all extremes tend to lead to pendulum swings.

It is what it is cause that's what it is.

Time will tell. Best way to preserve Space Babble is put some attention to fixing what's broken. Then let's see some folks have at it. Maybe that will lead to something.

Having broken unused routes leads to nothing and that will be used as an excuse by future generations tempted to reclaim unused stone.

So let's have it and see if it catches on

Peace

Karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 21, 2006 - 04:20am PT
Steve wrote

"Karl, you sound like you have had your share of wild times, why would you wish anything different on the future? People are going to do as they please to be sure when the new route bug bites them. There are dozens of piles being sportbolted in the name of good clean fun every weekend by the top down folks. If somebody wants to get really wild up there and put up a runout route because they feel that old school mojo rising and flowing, that has roots far deeper into adventure and alpinism than any silly sport climb or otherwise sanitized clipping experience."

Steve I don't think it was to be extremes between Space Babble madness (10c 20 feet out and 150 feet of no pro 5.9) and sport bolting. Theres a middle ground and I think there's room (hopefully) for everyone. Some rad routes, Some sport routes, and something inbetween. I just don't agree with a manifesto that says always ground up and bold as possible because that is a recipe for elitism. I'd like to be more generous than that.

Peace

Karl
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 21, 2006 - 11:03am PT
Karl, because of the risks and demands involved, putting up routes in the old days was decidedly an elitist activity with most people content to repeat climbs once they were known entities with respect to grade and committment level. What exactly do you mean when you use that phrase in the context of boldness and creative excellence? My personal style and standards are not dictatorial or the rule. I am far more concerned with poorly planned and excessive bolting at the moment than with the past ripping off the present. My voice is only one of many but I try to take the long view.

To pass judgement on a route as "broken and unused" is to begin to walk down the path of sanitation whether you are willing to own that intent or not. "Better we raise ourselves than lower the climbs." Raising your own game has always been the response to "I can't do this route today." Do you consider YC, DR, RR and TF to be elitist? If so, where does the list end for you? The tag is overused and if all you need to do to earn it is to climb boldly and well, then elitists lead and steer the parade as they always have.

Sanitation crews are not necessarily in everybody's best interest especially if the goal is to accomodate people like Hummjob that want risk and adventure gone, if they had their way as stated. The dialog needs to start from the old school perspective because that view has integrity and does not become debased by idiosyncratic whining and shortcomings. Of course there is room for all flavors and styles and for discussion on the nature of the value, worth and future of our shared resource.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 21, 2006 - 11:12am PT
Hey, Steve,

"...old school perspective because that view has integrity and does not become debased by idiosyncratic whining and shortcomings."

I don't like that you just cut me out like that. I take my idiosyncratic whining and shortcomings seriously.

Buzz

PS: I am not always sure that subsequent ascents are easier than first ascents. For a climber with the skill and drive to do a first ascent, especially one that is bolt protected, it is easier to follow one's own path and place bolts where they seem to be needed than to follow someone else's path. Space Babble is an excellent example of this. It is much easier to create a new route than face badly placed bolts and very long runouts.

Roger
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 21, 2006 - 11:25am PT
Steve,

The thread has gone on and on about the different issues and no point in rehashing at this point. I'm not talking about changing past routes, only that I suspect the future will choose to do so if they aren't valued or maintained.

And I also call for a mix of routes being put up these days. My definition of an elitist is anyone who says 5.9 SHOULD always be R or X rated because a stilled climber can put up routes at that grade without pro consistently. That's all

Many times in this thread "one side" seems to think everything "the other" types is advocating the extreme, sanitation or death runout. This is not the case. I am on everyones and no-ones side.

It's not about me. I care about the average joe, I care about you. I look for win-win situations

Peace

Karl
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 21, 2006 - 12:00pm PT
Roger, absolutely no interest in disenfranchising your personality. LOL Gripes and muttering are essential existential tools in my world, but hardly a reliable compass.

I agree that repeats can be very engaging especially on shabby fixed pro! The focus that goes into onsight climbing on a first ascent may not be there next time around.

Karl, we are on the same page with respect to valuing the past. I take a firm stance for the sake of clarity but respect the nuances of this discussion. I climb very boldly as a matter of style and still view bolts as a last resort. I do not, however, consider my new routes in a static or frozen fashion. I am open to additional fixed protection on many of the routes that I have established, but I am going to fight tooth and nail against having that decision made for me or without, respectfully, my involvement. I have had beautiful and boltless routes sanitized by mistake because of the perspective difficulties of others. Few things are sadder in my climbing experience.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 21, 2006 - 12:29pm PT
Since the routes Swiss Orange Chip and Alien were mentioned, I should add some history since my friends put those routes up.

These guys were good face climbers, but they weren't looking to create any death routes. They used hooks to place a number of the bolts, trying to stop and drill wherever they could.

Bruce
G_Gnome

Boulder climber
Sick Midget Land
Dec 21, 2006 - 12:59pm PT
Bruce, I have done Aliens and except for one section on the first pitch getting out of the scoop it seemed safe enough. Swiss Orange Chip on the other hand is not quite safe and requires some pretty serious commitment to get on. I only know of one party that has done it in the 30 years I have been climbing in the meadows. I am sure there have been others just none in the crowds I hang out with. Of course I don't know many people that have done Aliens either. Aliens is one hell of a great route and Swiss Orange Chip looks great but a little too serious for me.
Greg Barnes

climber
Dec 21, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
I've heard this viewpoint defined by a well-known FA guy, and I've heard echos in talking with others. Paraphrasing,

"Some routes we meant as testpieces. Others we didn't mean to be scary but we just didn't want to bother adding bolts to."

He asked me to add a bolt to one of his old routes in the second category. Back when he put the routes up, he didn't want to spend the time or money to add a couple more bolts to some pitches, but he'd actually prefer if I "fixed" some of his old routes as opposed to just replace the existing bolts. Yet at the same time he was also talking about chopping a bolt added to one of his routes in the testpiece category.

Thoughts on that view from other old-school folks?
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Dec 21, 2006 - 01:59pm PT
As a face climbing kid in Tuolumne in the 70's, I recall the clear awareness had by most of the few climbers in residence that it was lopsided that the 5.11s tended to be bolt ladders and the 5.9's put up be the same folks were stout and run out. We are now faced with the classic issue of individual self expression vs. community needs. I agree both with Steve, "bring yourself up, don't lower the climb", and Karl "a shame that many fine routes are never trodden upon save by the winds and rain rattling the rare 1/4 inch spinners that make up the only protection".

The answer probably lies in the example of this thread, an approach made by those who would like to climb and survive some old scary classics to those who did the bold first ascents, to come to aggreement on replacement bolts. Has anyone asked Vern, Claude, Bob H. etc. about potentially replacing and/or adding a few bolts to some of the Tuolumne 5.9's that could use them? Case by case, and with permission of the first ascentionists will be the key, no blanket policy or doctrinaire ethical stance will work. My 2 cents.

Peter
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 21, 2006 - 02:28pm PT
Greg, I know exactly what you mean. I only did a few bolted routes and none are test pieces, but even I know what you are talking about. It is pretty clear that over some period of time--probably 30 years ago, bolts were added to the last pitch of 'Hoodwink' in addition to someone replacing two of the three 'chicken' bolts we placed on the first ascent right above the roof. (The three Jim and I place were replaced by two and several more were added to the remainder of the pitch.) This is absolutely appropriate in my view. Just because Jim and I were willing to walk up 5.6 climbing without protection is no reason that the climb should be ruined for someone else.

I can also say the same thing about the little route Tom McCabe and I did on Fairview, "Peter, Peter," which has a 'R' rating because I didn't put in two bolts on the first pitch. On this route the crux--traversing under the roof and pulling the corner--is very well protected with natural gear. It seems silly to me that a nice, moderate route should be off limits to a climber who doesn't want to risk a ground fall on 5.9 just because I didn't put in a second bolt. This route is not a test piece because the crux is not hard. It is also not climbed because it is too runout on a non-crux section. Having said that, I also recognize that I am one of many voices and current climbers may be justified in insisting in leaving it the way it is, even though no one climbs the route.

On the other hand, the route 'Freewheeling' on Middle, which I helped put up with George Meyers and Kevin Worrall in 1973, should be maintained at the original level of protection. The decisions we took to place bolts were part of our ascent plan. The head-trip is part of the route. I don't think that 'Freewheeling' is a test piece by any stretch, but it is part of the collection of routes on the 'North Face Apron' that were all done in the same style and modifying one route would be taking a step on to a very slippery slope.

While these distinctions seem crystal clear to me, I don’t think it really helps much. There are other climbers of my generation who don’t want any additional bolts added to any of their routes and I am sure that there are others who cannot be bothered to have an opinion either way.

Roger

Ps: Karl posted: "My definition of an elitist is anyone who says 5.9 SHOULD always be R or X rated because a stilled climber can put up routes at that grade without pro consistently.

Now Karl, just to be clear here, are you referring to any sort of stilling or a particular type? Grain, potatoes, grapes, rice?

Buzz
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 21, 2006 - 03:17pm PT
Typo for "Skilled"

The alternative to leaving everything as it always has been, or allowing future generations to do whatever they see fit, would be for first ascensionists to outline their vision for their pasts routes as Kevin and Roger have done in this thread. A kind of First Ascensionist Registry, to be used along with community standards and "consensus" in making the calls after the pioneers have passed from the scene

PEace

Karl
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 21, 2006 - 09:22pm PT
As I've said before, I think Karl's idea of a FA registry is a good one, as much for historical info's sake as the specifics of the FA party's feelings about additional bolts. Turning the concept into a functioning reality would take some effort.

On the first pitch of Stoner's, the first pitch I ever placed a bolt on, we added a bolt after I did the lead, it was the bolt after the crux traverse we added later, mostly to protect the second on future ascents, but it does soften the lead also. The point being it would be hypocritical for me to object to similar action on other routes with the blessing of the FA, and I think such action has its place and worth. The proposed registry might help quell the conflict if such addition of bolts is made years later.

I never put up a face route intending to make it a "testpiece" for anyone other than myself, but I guess it happens. IMO, the bottom line is that a route reflects the first climber's abilities and personality and as such should be respected as is unless that climber agrees to changing it later to broaden the range of climbers it's accessible to.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 21, 2006 - 09:28pm PT
wtf. 200+ posts??

i got an idea.

lets: replace the fixed gear, using steve's plan and methodology.

place a ban on anyone who has not actually done the route from posting to this thread.

replacing the gear top-down is totally f*#king o.k. with me. it's GEAR REPLACEMENT, not route creation.

i don't beleive this shite.

i'm drunk, btw. burn this post.
Mimi

climber
Dec 21, 2006 - 10:33pm PT
Not on your life bvb. You are the voice of reason once again.
WBraun

climber
Dec 21, 2006 - 10:48pm PT
No no no veeee must have controversy and chaos, without, it's too boring. hehehe

Kauk says add more protection bolts.

Don't-cha love it .......
Mimi

climber
Dec 21, 2006 - 10:53pm PT
Kauk? Who's Kauk?

You mean this guy; on the left? And the other gorgeous hunk on the right is Doug McDonald, aka Rudy McNugget.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 21, 2006 - 11:43pm PT
Ain't Kauk.
It's Tom Cruise posing as Kauk.
(Don't TC wish...)

And thuh other guy is Doug Vangina.
In front of the original Rose Van.
Mimi

climber
Dec 21, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
I stand ko-rected. But you do mean Alotta Vangina, dontcha?
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Dec 22, 2006 - 12:08am PT
Steve Grossman posted:

"Sanitation crews are not necessarily in everybody's best interest especially if the goal is to accomodate people like Hummjob that want risk and adventure gone, if they had their way as stated. The dialog needs to start from the old school perspective because that view has integrity and does not become debased by idiosyncratic whining and shortcomings."

It's Hummerchine, wienerdude.
I never said I want risk and adventure gone.
As for integrity, perhaps you should read my last post again, and compare it to yours?
Who's whining?
Heh.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

hummerchine
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 22, 2006 - 12:42am PT
Werner wrote:

> No no no veeee must have controversy and chaos, without, it's too boring. hehehe

Kauk says add more protection bolts.

Don't-cha love it .......


Uh-oh, now this could get messy!

I recall this had been offered in the past, and I hope this is about more than Karl's postings about calling it a "death route", "elitist", etc. That hard first pitch seems like a perfect filter to make sure people who get onto the upper pitches with less pro are good enough to know what they are doing. With bomber replaced belay anchors, any long whippers that might still happen should be survivable. It just seems like added bolts could be a potential downgrade - if the upper pitches have protection bolts added, people who "need" them won't be able to get that high, and people who can get that high could be bummed that they don't get to share the memorable experiences which Kevin, Randy, Kurt, Duncan, Steve, etc. have all described.

Ron and Kevin can do what they want, if they come up with a specific plan on protection bolts to add. But they should make sure they really want to do it. It probably seems ironic, but people will complain no matter what is done or what is not done....

Space Babble shouldn't be thought of as being singled out for criticism because it has runouts and relatively few ascents. There are other hard routes like You Asked For It, Bachar-Yerian, and Southern Belle which see few ascents. Or how about something like Hoosier Highway on the Apron - full pitch runouts on 5.9 friction and one-bolt belays. It doesn't get much traffic, but I have never heard anyone complain about it - there are so many other routes to do if you want something "conventional". With Space Babble and other comparable routes, the quality and memorable experiences are there for people who can rise to meet the challenge. The routes can also be experienced indirectly by people who dream about doing them someday when they get good enough.

My advice, which is probably valueless, would be to make sure the anchors get replaced, and leave it alone for awhile (or climb it to see how it feels). If people whine that it's still a "death route" or something, advise them to get their training up to speed on other Middle Cathedral face climbs, or put up their own route in the protection style they prefer. If bumblies like myself can do new routes, really there are no excuses - find your own route and show us what you prefer in terms of fixed protection. It's not very fair to criticize other people's routes unless you put up your own and are willing to face the same type of criticism....
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 22, 2006 - 01:18am PT
Werner- you're really stirrin' up the sh#t with that Kauk comment. Scary thing is I can see the guy saying it!

You're not exactly the jiveass honky type.

You should let the guy, no, make the guy, read all this flap about SB (or as much as he can) over there in your office if he has some free time. Then try to get him to post up his own take on the issue.

C'mon man, if anyone can do it you can.

WBraun

climber
Dec 22, 2006 - 01:22am PT
Awe f'ck Kevin, you know Ron has a computer and he doesn't care about this supertopo bullshit here.

He was just saying he wouldn't care if it happened. Call him yourself and tell him to post up. It might be intresting to have him give a speil about what he thinks here.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 22, 2006 - 01:33am PT
Werner- don't have his number, could ya email it to me? My address is registered here.

hahahahohohohehehe happy holidays!

Thanks, Kevin
WBraun

climber
Dec 22, 2006 - 01:37am PT
Sorry Kevin I don't have his phone number, like I use phones?

But I'll get it for you ......
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 22, 2006 - 05:14am PT
Kauk told me years ago he didn't care if bolts were added but I'm not assuming he gave it long thought or would still feel that way. I had just mentioned that it was such a great route but nobody had done it in years.

Clint, I'm guessing there is one bolt that didn't get placed that makes the route a real risk to somebody who isn't headpointing it after rehearsal, (or isn't a major talent) and that's the 10c after a long run-out on pitch two. If I were Kevin or Ron, I'd probably have a little regret over that one bit of overboldness.

Nobody complains about Hoisers cause nobody does it or thinks about doing it. I bet it hasn't had an ascent in 25 years. I started up it a time or two ages ago but got screwed up because it's got a big long pitch that seems to make you simulclimb if you only have a 50 meter rope and that's all we had back 20 years ago. (or maybe I didn't realize one 1/4 bolt equaled a belay!)

The great thing about replacing the anchors on Babble is that mortals will be able to top-rop the route which is fun, and the studs can go have at (we'll see if they do or not, but after this thead, I wouldn't be surprised. be sure and bump this thing with some spray when the time comes.)

Peace

Karl

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 23, 2006 - 09:53pm PT
Karl, do you have any pictures of Hoosier's Highway or a tale to tell that might hook somebody's interest? Word of mouth or a forum thread is a great way to get folks inspired to have a look and perhaps tidy up a bit.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 23, 2006 - 10:29pm PT
Hi Steve

I think there are other routes that might deserve work before anyone got around to Hoosier's. I'm away from "the office" who did the FA anyway?

I don't think I got beyond pitch 2 when I climbed up forever, clipped a 1/4 bolt (maybe) and climbed further until I ran out of rope on a blank face and had to downclimb and bail.

Folks that want to go play on a long Apron route should check out Galactic Hitchhiker. Goes to the rim. It's over-bolted in some places but you still have to make some 5.10 moves with an Alien 5-10 feet below.

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/Galactic_Hitchhiker.html

Lucifers to Oasis might be a good 5,9 if it weren't pure death (like having an anchor of one fixed angle before a pitch with zero pro)

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/LucifersLedgeSolo.html

Here's a good slab climb that has a balance of leadouts and good pro. Seemed overbolted when the first ascent went up but not anymore

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/Crest_Jewel_Direct.html

Peace

Karl
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 24, 2006 - 02:42am PT
My partner and I did the 2nd ascent (whoopee!) of Hoosier's Highway. Here's the 411.....

We were students at UC Davis and were reading the current issue of Climbing where it menionted Hoosiers and how it had repulsed several attempts at a 2nd ascent by "very strong local climbers" or something like that. We were at the base, racking up for the climb, the very next morning.

It has been 30 years so the details are a bit sketchy; I led the crux pitch, it wasn't all that bad at about 5.10c. But, as Karl mentioned, the Climbing Magazine article failed to mention that the first ascent team had a number of single bolt (1/4" Rawls!!!!) belays.

Unfortunately, I discovered this the hard way! I had clipped a bolt and was about 20 feet above it when it was clear that I was going to run out of rope before getting to another bolt. I guess it was a bit of bravado that led me into the situation, but being the smart person that I am I figured out a really unique(!?!?) solution.

Back then the leader climber with both a lead and a trail line and luckily for me both there 11mm. I couldn't downclimb those twenty feet and I could see another bolt 25-30' above me so I just tied the 11mm trail line into the lead line and headed for the bolt.

Maybe those of you with an IQ in triple digits could figure out that I only needed to add 30 or 40 feet of the trail line to the lead line to reach the bolt, but.... I tied the whole 165' of the trail line into the lead line which meant if I slipped I could fall somehwere in the neigborhood of 200'. Thankfully the moves were only in the 5.9 range and I reached the bolt in one piece.

After that we just made sure to keep a couple of bolts between us on all the pitches which was a bit difficult when you are swinging leads! Thank heavens for the trail line!

Man, we(well, at least me!) do some stupid things sometimes. Hopefully we learn from them!

Bruce

ps - Colorado climbers Steve Shea, Lou Dawson, Molly Higgins, and Larry Bruce. We just had to restore the rep of the locals! Also, you would have thought that with all the people somebody could have carried a few more bolts.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 24, 2006 - 02:57am PT
Karl mentioned Lucifer to the Oasis. Yeah, that has some pretty runout climbing up high. I lead one pitch that was about 5.9 with the hard move about 70' out from the belay. At the top of the pitch all I could get in was one of the old Forrest Foxheads about the width of a couple of dimes. I think my partner had a number 4 or 5 Chouinard stopper in for the next belay. Also, the belay at the end of the 1st pitch (the traverse) was a single quarter inch bolt.

We did the route in November and topped out just as it got dark. Luckily we had done the Coonyard rappels once before and did all 10 rappels in 1 hour to the ground. Nothing like looking for anchors in the dark!

Bruce

edit - "70' out from the belay" should be "70' out from the belay with no pro". Maybe that was obvious from the wording.....
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 24, 2006 - 06:46pm PT
" Lucifer to the Oasis"

The first time I did the route, I got off onto blank stone off to the right about 60 feet with no pro before i realized the route went left with no pro. I had to downclimb the whole way and start over. It was beyond nerve-wracking and I think my GATT (Girlfriend At The Time) was belaying me.

Naturally, it was years before I forgot how nasty that was before I somehow thought I should go solo that thing.

Peace

Karl
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 26, 2006 - 01:31pm PT
About the name Hosier's Highway.....

More recent Yosemite guidebooks call it Hoosier's Highway, but when it was first reported in Climbing Magazine it was called Hosier's Highway. Also, the yellow Meyers guidebook calls it Hosier's Highway. Anybody got any info on why the name was changed (if it is a typo it appears several times in different places incorrectly (Hoosiers))?

Bruce
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 26, 2006 - 01:31pm PT
Edit - Kevin, yeah I seem to remember the name "Hoser's" as well. Interesting that the 1st Meyers guide had "Hosier's" and it has morphed into "Hoosier's". Some of those Valley mysteries run deep:-)

Bruce
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Dec 26, 2006 - 02:55pm PT
I thought it was called Hoser's Highway.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 2, 2008 - 07:58pm PT
Space Babble bolt replacement is finished! Thanks to Kevin Willoh for help Monday-Tuesday, and to Greg Barnes (of ASCA) for sending me a box of hangers on short notice! All bolts are now 3/8"; all belays have two 3/8" bolts with Fixe/ASCA double ring hangers. There were two existing 3/8" bolts at belays which were left in place but the hangers were replaced.

I checked/tested all the original fixed piton locations using Randy Vogel's excellent topo. Except for on the first pitch, almost all of the pitons are still in place and are still good.

Here are details on the 3 pitches with missing fixed pitons:
 p1: Aliens/TCUs work well here, except for possibly the last placement before going over the roof. I placed a Lost Arrow there up on the far right. I was unsure about the moves over the roof, so the newly placed fixed piton may not be on the easiest path (bring your 5.11/5.11+ skills for this pitch!).
 p4: the second fixed pin is gone, but it protects with a 2" cam and nut. The first fixed pin is in place, but somewhat weak, since it is under an expanding flake and moves too easily under testing with a hammer.
 p7: the fixed pin at the stance on the traverse is gone - it looks like a little rock broke there under pressure. I was unable to get even the tip of a knifeblade piton to stick there. So it probably needs a bolt if Kevin and Ron agree; there is a good stance there, so it would not be hard to place on lead. Without the bolt, there is no pro on the pitch so it would be a long ride if you fall. An alternative is to just rap from the end of p6.

So my conclusion on the fixed pitons is that Steve's proposed "pinbolts" are not needed for this route.

Here is a revised/updated version of Randy Vogel's topo:


PDF version: http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/spacebabble_rv08.pdf

All fixed pins noted in this topo are in place and tested.

On p1, the "pointed flake" noted on Randy's original topo appears to have broken off, not leaving anything very useful to hold onto. So the move over the roof there doesn't have very positive hand holds.

Note the extra bolt on the upper left of p2. This was not on the original topo, but was the same type of bolt/hanger as the rest of the bolts, so I replaced it. It looks possible to climb out left and use it, but I didn't actually try climbing this way, so I put ? marks on the topo.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 6, 2008 - 01:00am PT
Good effort Clint! That must've been a long day.

Don't know what to say about the offroute bolt on pitch 2. Yabobabble?

I'd like to hear how the route climbs from someone, now the sketchy bolt/belay factor is history. Nice to know the cam sizes to keep that rack real light.

KW
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 6, 2008 - 11:33am PT
Very nice to see this route refurbished and preserved.
(No worries Steve. The pin bolt still has a future! Me 'n Russ will find a need somewhere down the line...)
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jun 6, 2008 - 11:55am PT
I always thought that Max and I did the third ascent of this route in 78 or 79. I led the first pitch. The topo we had showed the 5.9 pitch and said simply "No pro". Max looked at me and laughed when I started up it.
I have a few photos of the route, I should dig those up and scan them.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jun 6, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
Excellent work Clint (and Kevin Willoh). This route is such a classic, perhaps it will now see more ascents from a new generation of climbers. It is impressive to see climbers putting so much care and energy into restoring old fixed gear. Thank you!

Maybe even us old farts can put some time in re-learning our Middle Cathedral face skills and give it a go (TM and AJB -- are you game???).

RV
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jun 6, 2008 - 12:37pm PT
way cool
kev

climber
CA
Jun 6, 2008 - 03:03pm PT
It wasn't too much work but it was rather wet. We got hit by some hail and a small down pour on Tuesday. Amazing how less than perfect weather speeds up the drilling...Now I can give this thing a try and hang away - It looks like a ton of fun!

kev
Double D

climber
Jun 6, 2008 - 03:08pm PT
"the "pointed flake" noted on Randy's original topo appears to have broken off, not leaving anything very useful to hold onto. So the move over the roof there doesn't have very positive hand holds."...

That's funny, I don't remember it EVER having positive hand holds!

Hopefully there's more than a 1 bolt or 1 pin belay at the end of pitch 1 now. That was one of the scariest belays I've ever done. That was a way "heads up" route for it's time for sure!



Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 6, 2008 - 04:23pm PT
coz + Dave,

You were not alone in feeling sketched at that p1 belay - Randy had noted on his original topo "needs reinforcement". So somebody added a 3/8" bolt there, and also at belay (5), sometime in the past. I improved it further by upgrading the 1/4" bolt to 3/8" and making a new hole at a safer distance. See photos below. Incidentally, the 1/4" bolt was long and pretty good, although there was no way to tell this without pulling it.


p1 belay anchor, 2008


upgraded p1 belay anchor (left hanger later swapped for one with ASCA stamp)

It could be improved further by upgrading the somewhat rusty 3/8" bolt, but I didn't have the tools to do this - maybe later though.

I will get some more rebolting photos up later.

Roy,

The pinbolt might still work on p7, but there is really nothing for the blade part of the pin to go into now, so it would be working really as a bolt and I figure a plain bolt would be a way of expressing that. I think the pinbolt could still be a good solution on other climbs. On p1 of Space Babble, if the cracks were not large enough to take Aliens/TCUs, the pinbolts would have been the ticket there.

Dave,

Yeah, not much for positive holds above the roof! I'm glad to hear the missing "pointed flake" is not a problem.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Jun 6, 2008 - 04:39pm PT
Thank you for posting this Clint, and to Clint and Kev for doing the work!

How did you access the route? An adjacent climb?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 6, 2008 - 05:06pm PT
caughtinside,

Kevin and I accessed the climb by doing the first 3.2 pitches of the Kor-Beck. Here's an updated topo of that:



Here's an overlay photo of p1 of Space Babble. Note foreshortening high on the pitch - it's a ways between the fixed pin and the first bolt, and between the bolts. Randy's topo is better scaled. Also, I placed the fixed pin on rappel, and it may not be easy to reach if you are not tall.




Ron Fawcett on p1, photo by Pete Livesey from Yosemite Climber

Detailed Caption - from the back of the book (this description got me psyched to hopefully try the route, back in the day):

Ron Fawcett beginning the hard section on Space Babble (5.11) on the North-East Face of Middle Cathedral Rock. This hard climb takes a line between the Kor/Beck and Bircheff/Williams routes. It involves five sustained pitches of steep face climbing which gradually get easier, but less well protected. This first (crux) pitch takes a line up under the overlap to the right until it is possible to break through on to the upper face by a move to the left. A protection bolt here is followed by 15ft. of hard climbing to another bolt. Thereafter the climb continues up the wall above for four more pitches (5.10, 5,10, 5.9, 5.9). Kevin Worrall and Ron Kauk made the first ascent of this fine route in 1977. Photo by Pete Livesey
Double D

climber
Jun 6, 2008 - 07:05pm PT
I remember belaying from the top of pitch one begging (no names) my partner not to fall coming onto the belay...but he did and I was way too scared to let any tension go onto the anchors catching the fall on a hip-belay sitting on a very small stance.

My palms are sweating just thinking of it.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 6, 2008 - 09:16pm PT
Double D -

Isn't it great you can scare the crap outta yourself so close to the road like that?

The second bolt on the first pitch was the most excruciating stance I've drilled from - after the first bolt, the climbing stays pretty continuous for a ways, and I just kept thinking another move or two would get me to a better place to drill. That never really happened, and finally I just had to make do with a stem between two cups at equal heights, about four feet apart. The cups each had a little edge in the bottom of em, but the upper part of each of the cups had some lichen growing under the mini roof they formed. Every time I shifted my feet around, a little lichen would crumble off and settle on the edge I was standing on, making the stance less and less secure. My legs were beginning to tremble uncontrollably as the hole slowly got deeper, both from the strain on my calves, and the dread of a 30 to 40 ft whipper.

Probably wouldn't seem too bad now with the lichen gone, and sticky rubber. And a toprope.

Sorry about the sketch belay - we were on a mission, and low on the bolt count.

Clint's generous effort will make Space Babble climbable by more people, without compromising any of the adventure, challenge and thrills the route offers.

KW
Dirk

Trad climber
The Middle of the Pacific Ocean
Jun 6, 2008 - 10:37pm PT
Really nice job there, guys. I tend to hate re-bolts/re-tools but your craftsmanship and communication with the FA party is commendable. Transparency: the pics of the old and the new belays. This is a good precedent. Some days it seems like I'm never going to get back to Cali, but the route is on my list now.
Double D

climber
Jun 7, 2008 - 01:29am PT
Keven...great story on the FA of that. I can't even imagine drilling for 30 mins there...probably would have just duck taped a hook and called it good!

Anyway...great route!

PS...remember the "squeeky" sound generated by EB's on Middle? As I recall it's more prevalent on the golden colored stuff but then again, memory does go quickly these days for me.

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 7, 2008 - 09:52am PT
The great Whazoo?

Tell us more Cozzie!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 19, 2008 - 04:02am PT
To see way more than you really want to know about the 4 days of rebolting Space Babble, see the photo trip report:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=617625
nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Dec 14, 2009 - 10:24pm PT
Bumpitty-bump for an interesting discussion, more route dreams, and a great roadmap for "how to grow the skills and sack for Middle Cathedral."

Biggest gem for me was the suggestion to try traversing along the base of the north apron area. It just looks so damn appealing to climb around there, and much scarier on it than it seems when looking at it in pictures or from below.

Thanks for the community service Clint, and thanks for Warbler and the generation of studs that had the skills, courage, and audacity to do this stuff in the first place.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jun 9, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
Bump and current link to Clint's great blog on replacing the bolts (and a lot more) on this ultra classic exercise in Middle Cathedral face climbing.

http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/rep/08526sb.htm
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 9, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
Any known ascents since the stainless went in?

I'd sure like to see a super sharp Tom Evans shot from the bridge of some climbers in the midst of that psychedelic slab...

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 9, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
I forget, I wonder if pins were used as pro but not fixed during the FA.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 9, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
I think we fixed all pins, but I know the first pitch pins, 2 or 3 of 'em, were bootied at some point. We did the route before cams, and it seems I remember hearing that cams work for those placements. Higher up on the route are a few pin placements too. Clint probably knows.

This might have already been discussed earlier on this thread, but I'm too lazy to check.

Somebody doing the route should probably take a couple baby angles, a couple Arrows and a KB.

Oh, and a hammer.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:17am PT
Warbler,

Tried Space Babble a couple times but never had the skills or cajones for the first pitch.
Less and less likely it'll happen in this lifetime.
Coz' reference to the great Whazoo is actually the Grand Wazoo, a very cool line that climbs five bolt protected pitches straight up from the top of the second pitch of the Bircheff Williams to a ledge about a hundred feet below the U Shaped Bowl.
I saw the line when I put in the alternate rap route off the top of the fifth of CPOF in the fall of 95.
Cozzy solved the crux on the first pitch then bailed due to girlfriend drama and Sutton and I finished it off, hand drilling all 3/8 stainless bolts off hooks on lead.
There's another thread here somewhere with more detail including a topo by Clint (I think).
Although the lower pitches have had some traffic, I don't know that the entire route has ever been repeated.

PB

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=888671&tn=20#msg2157114
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 10:59am PT
She must've had a great wahzoo if Coz bailed off of this FA for her...

Sounds like a winner!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 10, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Space Babble has some of the finest easy 5.10 and 5.9 climbing in the park after the first couple of pitches. Of course the no-pro situation makes it daunting.

So for mortals, a truly fine day is to do the first 5 of Kor Beck and then rap Space Babble, tope roping the pitches on the way down. This wasn't exactly safe before the rebolting but should be a fine day now

Peace

Karl
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jun 10, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Top-ropping on your way down, now that's an interesting mode of ascent.

I seem to recall Doug saying the same thing about the upper pitches of Growing Up. Both adventures sound like they'd be worth the time.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Jun 10, 2013 - 10:04pm PT
I tried Space Babble last year. There were obvious places where a pin had been placed on the first pitch but was no longer present and looked to not have been for some time. These tiny pinscars would not take even remotely reliable gear and with the present situation of the climbing, continuing without them would have to be carried out without the slightest bit of prudence. I was able to back off the slow and under control way, but only just so.

A small rack of pins and a hammer would be required gear in my opinion. I don't get much time to climb in the valley, nor do I easily obtain partners who are willing to engage in such adventures of whom I trust to belay. So I'll probably never bother to get back on it. Looks good though.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
Sorry to hear that, Chad, If I have Salamanizer's name right, I viscerally remember driving angles up under that roof in 2 spots. I think there was also a blade in a horizontal crack about 20 ft off the deck. I glanced back at this rambling thread and this is the problem that prompted the pinbolt concept.

Carrying a few pins seems like the solution for now, but the route is exceptional in many ways, and might call for an exceptional solution if more climbers show some interest in it. It's arguably the purest face route on MCR. Ron and I were pretty blown away by the weakness that allows it, and the position it takes.

It's worth working out that first pitch because the climbing above is all time.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 11, 2013 - 05:18am PT
Chad,
I looked at the cam placements on the first pitch, although I was on rappel at the time. I thought it would protect OK.
Do you have any comments on the details I posted on my page about the pro?

Space Babble p1



line of climbing on p1. None of the original fixed pins were in place on p1, and it had been led without them; Aliens or TCUs protect the lower section.
I noticed the "pointed flake" on Randy's topo at the move over the roof had broken off, and I wasn't sure if that had happened recently.


I cleaned some dirt from the crack at the small roof but left the ferns in place, noting 1-2 blue Aliens protect after the mantle.


View of the likely location of the original 4th fixed pin, in center of photo. It was probably a baby angle straight up under the roof; orange stain visible there.
This spot will take a good small cam now (like a green alien or #1 TCU).


The former "pointed flake" has broken off, and the move over the roof is fairly hard.


I chose to place a new fixed pin, above the former level of the pointed flake, and hopefully above any holds useful for moving over the roof.
It may be difficult to reach for a short climber.
I think if the "pointed flake" had been missing on the FA, they may have chosen to place a pin there.
In a recent post (after my rebolting) on the supertopo.com forum [previous page on this thread], Scott Cosgrove explained the flake broke while he was leading it; he plunged and nearly decked! [and one of the formerly fixed pins pulled and he was saved from decking by a slider nut]
-------
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 11, 2013 - 09:42am PT
The slot above the fern looks solid, and maybe big enough for two equalized cams. From your description of Scott's fall, Clint, it sounds like whatever was placed by the fern must've pulled if he nearly decked.

That seems a little odd because as your photos show, there is a small piece under the roof 10 ft or so back from the fern placement which is the second piece of pro off the ground. To fall that far it would seem that piece would be the one holding the fall - it also is a more likely spot for a "slider nut". If that's what happened he's a lucky guy.

A more likely scenario is that the baby angle under the roof above the fern placement pulled, and the fern placement caught him. Or two pieces pulled. If you fell from the pointed flake with a good belay, even if the piece in the orange scar pulled, with good pro at the fern you shouldn't fall more than about 15 to 20 ft.

Or Scott got cocky and didn't place anything at the fern at all and just ripped the hold off with his 5.13 pull down power.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Jun 11, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Over the last number of years I have significantly changed my opinion on the use of pitons as fixed protection. Originally, I viewed pitons as a preferred and more natural means of fixed protection as they utilized crack features.

However, it has been my experience that fixed pins -- in the vast majority of cases -- eventually fail, often without obvious signs of having loosened. As a result, absent carrying a hammer to test a pin's security, fixed pins significantly increase the risk a leader takes.

A fixed piece of gear should be just that, and solid to boot. There seems no point in placing a dubious pin (or bolt for that matter) as fixed protection on a free climb.

The first pitch of Space Babble originally had a number of fixed pins that provided protection for the crux. These eventually failed (or merely fell out). Repeatedly replacing these will (over the long run) create significant pin scars that either allow for removable gear (good, I guess?), or become unusable.

In the interim, you have to climb the route (1st pitch at least) with pins and a hammer.

This is why I thought the "pin-bolt" was a viable middle ground approach. But, ultimately, absent a secure "clean" placement for vital protection, I view a bolt as better alternative than various "generations" of pitons that may not provide secure protection but continually damage the rock.
WBraun

climber
Jun 11, 2013 - 12:44pm PT
The fixed gear that used to be on the first pitch was removed on rappel.

I believe it was Shultz for whatever reason he was thinking at the time?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 11, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
It looks to me like the problem area is just above the fern in Clint's photos. A hold has broken making the moves harder, and the pins in that area are driven up under roofs, making them less than bomber.

The alternate route to the first bolt could arguably be called a variation on the pitch, and arguably could be protected by a new bolt. It would straighten the rope out, and make the pitch less dangerous.

It's one thing to take a sixty footer up high on the route, taking one 50 ft off the ground is a problem.

wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Jun 11, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
So is the protection resolved? I'd like to try the original line in October.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 11, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
Go with some pins and a hammer, Tony, and do what you have to do to climb it. It's apparently been done as is with cams, but (b)ring the pins just in case. Then tell us what you think, especially about the first pitch.
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Jun 12, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Cool that it's been done with the cams and Clint's piton looks good for a try at the missing hold/original line. Thanks.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Jun 12, 2013 - 10:18am PT
These MC threads gets me psyched to go back. This route sounds much more serious than Stoner's. Somebody needs to go up there with the hammer and report back - Chad?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 12, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
I went "up" there (on rappel) with a hammer, found many usable cams (as shown in my photos), and placed that one pin when I couldn't find a good cam placement for the move over the roof.
But I wasn't on lead.
We know that Terry led it without pins, but he's apparently very talented.
Chad is really solid, too, but my view of adequate cams may not quite measure up for him, because he's a bigger guy than I am.
Actually I think the only scary looking cams were the 1-2 blue Aliens.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Jun 14, 2013 - 02:50am PT
I didnt get very high up. Got to about the first piece of pro, couldn't get anything solid, looked up at more sketchy protection all on 5.10+ friction which should be taken with a grain of salt and got skert. I don't think it's impossible climbing, I'd just prefer something solid between me and the ground. I didn't feel like I was going to get that.

Maybe it's worth another go in the future if I can actually find some regular climbing partners that aren't total lazy asses. Either way, it's a serious route and you had better approach it as such.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
May 1, 2014 - 06:09pm PT
bump
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 1, 2014 - 07:46pm PT
Five R route -


Radical Rarely Repeated Runout Relic


Salamanizer talks above about 5.10+ friction on the first pitch, the rating's accurate but I wouldn't call it friction climbing. The Central Pillar thread reminded me that first pitch on SB is as steep as the second pitch of CPF, without the crack.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
May 1, 2014 - 08:38pm PT
I thought Weasie mighta pulled that fixed gear when he was working on "Tour De Force"... But, it has been a long time and my memory ain't what it used to be..
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 1, 2014 - 08:53pm PT
Yes rumor has it Shultzy bootied the gear on the first pitch

For what, i don't know

Every time i plant a seed

He say kill it before it grow


Seriously, I think if you get to the roof 30 ft up you got good gear to the upgraded fat stainless bolts

Just gotta boulder it out

You're only gonna deck if you fall

Think of the first pitch as the price of admission!
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