Bolting between existing cracks at Suicide rock


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Big Wall climber
San Diego
Oct 9, 2017 - 04:42pm PT
Man that sucks! This young fart hopes someone with a steady hand can minimize collateral damage while resisting the weakification of climbing

Oct 9, 2017 - 05:00pm PT
TIA to whoever erases the squeeze job.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Oct 9, 2017 - 05:11pm PT
OK.... MP has more active climbers, this is old news.


Trad climber
Idyllwild / Joshua Tree Ca.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 9, 2017 - 08:58pm PT


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 10, 2017 - 05:40am PT
Are they gone yet?

Trad climber
Oct 10, 2017 - 05:58am PT
This is not the only contrived bolting going on at T&S. I have noticed new weirdly located bolts on random small rocks around. There's a rap bolter in our midst gentleman.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Oct 10, 2017 - 06:00am PT
They are, however, heavily into trad climbing.

It is doubtful that this condition is treatable.

Trad climber
Idyllwild / Joshua Tree Ca.
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2017 - 06:58am PT
Roadsclimbs is correct.
Many previously led routes in the area behind Tahquitz that have been led by me and others are now clip ups.

I have been accused of keeping those climbs a secret, but it's more true to say we left them as we found them- including the mystery and the adventure. I'll show these routes to anyone that won't make them " theirs ".

The " developers " like to lag bolt signs to trees, remove any offending trees and shrubs, and advertise thier " discovery ".

I am not interested in villifying these folks. I am sad to see the changing of the gaurd be so lacking in reverence.

I am also keenly aware of how lucky we are to have time for such a debate whilst most of the world is dealing with tragedy.

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Oct 10, 2017 - 07:09am PT
I too have seen these bolts. It is not a new route. Someone has bolted the old top rope climb Decapitation (5.11a) Bob Gaines, John Long, Yvonne MacPherson, Paul Edwards, James Watts June 1988.

some things to think about here

Did the party that bolted this top rope talk to Bob and John and FA party to see what their take was on this?....probably a good idea to talk to the FA party to see what they think of bolting their top rope.

It is not a sport climb; need to bring gear to supplement the bolts;..there are only bolts on the face section. Where there are cracks, you need to bring trad gear for the cracks.

Placing bolts at a mostly trad area, next to "classic" climbs is always a controversial situation. Chopping anyone's bolts anywhere is always a controversial situation.

If someone "chops" these bolts, are they going to patch the holes, make it look nice, and are they experienced at doing this job; is an art form and not as easy as one would think.

Talking about this with the local (Idyllwild and so cal) climbing community it the right thing to do....keeping in mind that internet conversations often turn into negative "shit shows" quickly, and are sometimes not even productive when the name calling and negativity runs amuck.

If these bolts are chopped, will the person or persons who put them in replace them again? This is always a bad idea, as the rock ends up taking the hit.

If they don't get chopped, are we saying to the climbing community that this is Ok? Are we opening Pandora's box?

If they do get chopped, are we saying it's OK to chop routes when we don't like what we see? Are we opening Pandora's box?

There is also the human/personal element. When you chop someone's route, feelings usually get hurt, people feel bad, not nice words are often said, friendships go in the toilet, etc. Rock is rock and humans are more important than rock (at least in theory).

It's easy to slag on the internet, but before the internet, these "issues" were mostly discussed and settled around the campfire. Times are different.

Just stuff to think about. My personal take on it? I say ask Bob and Largo;.....what they say is what I would go with.....but that is MY personal take on it. I also say, go do the route before you jibberjabber about it....nothing like first hand knowledge to add to the conversation. (I have top roped the route years ago, but not lead it with the bolts....)


Oct 10, 2017 - 07:24am PT
Thanks for your measured input, Todd.

Spider et al, it normally goes without saying that "chopping" bolts means removing them via the best means possible considering the bolt, and patching/disguising the holes.

Mountain Project
Oct 10, 2017 - 07:55am PT
Oh my!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Oct 10, 2017 - 07:59am PT
PC's creeping in every aspect of daily life. The pussification of america, and all its sub-disciplines! Everyone so goddamned literal these days 

hope someone will remove these bolts and hope bolts are not placed in such a close proximity to an existing route.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 10, 2017 - 07:59am PT
It sounds as if the climbs main problem is that it is a squeeze job and it gets very close to an existing route. There are probably much bigger issues out there....!

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Oct 10, 2017 - 08:38am PT
Bob Gaines is an ace at establishing new routes and places bolts frequently. It speaks to the class of the F.A. party that they left this as a fun TR.

Placing bolts at a mostly trad area, next to "classic" climbs is always a controversial situation. Chopping anyone's bolts anywhere is always a controversial situation.

Not much controversy here... :-)
the Fet

Oct 10, 2017 - 08:49am PT
Sounds like a case of not just a squeeze job, but retro-bolting. If the FA team thought this line was best as a TR and it's in the guide book as such, I also don't see the controversy in removing the bolts.

I wonder if the term chopping came as a result of Royal taking a cold chisel to the WEML? Of course today we'd castigate him for doing a bad job and not patching the holes :-)

Oct 10, 2017 - 09:08am PT
Todd is correct, those bolts are on the TR route Decapitation and have been there at least several years. I climbed that route by top rope prior to the bolts and later after the bolts were placed. Yes, the route is a squeeze job but what bothered me most was the not well thought out bolt locations. If the bolts were more logically placed then there might be an argument to leave them, but as it stands I wouldn't mind seeing them go. It's a fun TR.
I would like to add one more comment to this discussion. The fact that Bob Gaines and John Long chose to leave the route as a TR and not add bolts speaks volumes. Based on their track record of establishing a number of superb routes over the years, their judgement is impeccable.

San Diego
Oct 10, 2017 - 09:16am PT
I learned multi-pitch climbing during the 80's at Tahquitz. Never did much at Suicide. Trad too the bone I was. Never owned a power drill until a few months ago. Bolts I ever placed were either done by hand or with some other guys drill. I started making topos of my routes because people started bolting them thinking they were doing a first ascent. This is an old story.
During the period when San Diego's Corte Madera, Eagle Peak and El Cajon all got rap-bolted I took part but I was tripping. Eventually, I accepted the fact that blank faces of which all these cliffs have in abundance are death routes without the bolts. The people bolting these routes were all hardcore dudes with many El Cap routes done. None of them were fluffy gym climbers.
Upon my return to The trad bastion Tahquitz, I was shocked at how many bolts had appeared, even on lunch rock was a three bolt route. I saw Bob Gaines guide book and so did everyone else. Crickets. What gives?
Whoever bolted the route at Suicide Rock should fess up who they are. If a route has no author proud enough to claim their work then what happens to the route has no consequence. Bolts are a little weird, but without them climbing would be pretty limited. No El Cap routes for example. My point of view is each route is an individual case, as is each bolt. To talk about chopping bolts is to talk about one route and one bot at a time. Broad brush painting is like racism. Because one bolt is offensive; they are all offensive.
To Ernest whom I have never met, now would be a great time to claim exactly, and I mean exactly, what you have done concerning the "Others." Everyone I know is very respectful of routes that have already been done. How can anyone know if there is no record and one passed by as a ghost without disturbing even a blade of grass? I look for old broken branches, or faded tat on a tree, or the obvious scar of a loose rock removal or a pin scar. Short of these subtle signs and without a recorded claim, how is one to have a climbing history? How can one re-write history if it has never been written in the first place? Mountain Project is perfect for this. Or post trip reports here on ST. Secret areas are only secret until other intrepid people find them just like you did. It's not rocket science.
Todd Gorden whom I have met once, is a cool guy and has a measured response because he has established hundreds of routes and knows the grey area of such activities well. It's not always so straight forward as to bolt or not to bolt.
All we climbers have is time and the clarity of written communication. This thread is a good start. Post up and claim your work people. Don't alter other people's routes. Be friendly.

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 10, 2017 - 09:44am PT
A long haired pacifist queer would leave the bolts and hug the offending bolter...IMHO...

Big Wall climber
Never close enough to the good stuff, CA
Oct 10, 2017 - 10:16am PT
Hey taco gang, regarding the bolts on Decapitation. I placed them after talking to Gaines. He said they didn't feel like bolting the line back then but admitted it would be a fun lead. I have been climbing up there since the mid-90's and have nothing but respect for these crags. My grandfather also climbed there in the 50s and 60s and was the co-owner (with Don Lauria) of the West Ridge mountain shop in LA. I say this to explain I am neither a newb nor irrevernt to the old school ethics. On the contrary, I have a deep respect for the pioneers of our sport and of Idy rock. I placed all but the last bolt on hooks from the ground up. I was sparse with the placements except down low where the fall potential was more serious and took gear where I could get it. I know several people who have enjoyed projecting this over the past few years (I put this up about 5 years ago). Perhaps it is a little close to Guillotine, though I would disagree that it makes sense to clip these bolts while leading that route. If the greater community is 100% against this, I will gladly return it to its TR status. I appreciate Ernesto asking the question instead of launching into the standard taco spray-fest. This retro-bolting was done with the permission of a member of the FA team and in a style I felt was befitting the area. So, again, I put it to my fellow locals, you've heard my piece, if everyone thinks I was way out of line, I'll go pull and patch the holes. But, I would ask that you give it a look for yourselves, in person, first. It's a fun, slabby route that now offers a heady lead for those willing to get on it.
the Fet

Oct 10, 2017 - 10:23am PT
Brave to walk into the buzz saw LLama and say your piece. Respect.

Add: thanks to Llama's additional info it sounds like this is not cut and dried. Since I have not seen/climbed it I will not render judgement and I would encourage others to not pass judgement until they have seen/climbed it as suggested.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 107 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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