Old routes disappearing into obscurity

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k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 10, 2007 - 03:37pm PT
So many great looking lines, so many fading into obscurity due to old bolts.

I love climbing on the Apron, be it at Glacier Point, Middle Cathedral, or the Arches. But so often I get to the base, have a look at the "pro," and say "Yikes!"

The "1/4 Inch Bolts Failing" thread shines a spotlight on the problem.

Cruise across the base of the North Apron of Middle Cathedral and you'll see what we face. Beautiful routes, protected by widely spaced bolts that are decades old. What do you do?

I'd be great to be a Good Sam and take the day(s) needed to fix up an old classic. But on a run-out face, how exactly do you do that? Get good enough to climb to the anchors, then rap down so you can do a proper job of rebolting? Or do you drill a good bolt next to the old bad one, then patch the old?

Maybe we should organize Clean Up days where we gather as a group and work to restore some of our older classics. Imagine what a group of 10 folks could do in a day.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 10, 2007 - 03:44pm PT
Kelly,

Roger Brown is doing it now. You've got the slab skills; he's got the non stop bolting arms - that a combo! He's in Camp 4 now, looking for help in rebolting routes on the Royal Arches apron.

I think the best method is to lead through on the old pro, replace one of the belay bolts, and then fix the rope and replace the bolts on the pitch you just led. Also a fixed rope to the top of the highest route can probably be used to rappel diagonally to access other routes.

I will try to get up there on Wednesday night.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=400384&msg=407237#msg407237
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2007 - 03:50pm PT
Clint, this sounds about right. We slowly replenish the routes that have a high profile. But there are so many worthy routes, yet so few willing to do some work.

Also, wouldn't it be cool if someone made available some high-quality tuning forks. I know I'd buy one...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
I hate to point this out (maybe somebody already has) but this is in part the legacy of a ground up ethic that emphasizes performance over product.
Miwok

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:36pm PT
but this is in part the legacy of a ground up ethic that emphasizes performance over product.


Well said.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:41pm PT
The most extreme routes ain't for every body.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:43pm PT
Tmoses might be cajoled into making you some Tuning forks for a nominal fee.

Alternatively, you can borrow mine K. I'm in Mtn View and SJ areas if you are over this way.

jack herer

climber
veneta, or
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:46pm PT
greg at asca sells tuning forks http://www.safeclimbing.org
Greg Barnes

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:02pm PT
We sell tuning forks for $10 (includes shipping). They are made out of #3 Lost Arrows and are for removing 1/4" bolts only - they are NOT large enough for 5/16" buttonheads.

However, we frequently lag behind in producing them, so delays are common - often over 1 month.

ASCA
PO Box 1814
Bishop, CA 93515
Greg Barnes

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
Oh yeah - k-man asked:

"Cruise across the base of the North Apron of Middle Cathedral and you'll see what we face. Beautiful routes, protected by widely spaced bolts that are decades old. What do you do?"

Come up to Tuolumne, where TONS of old bold routes are sporting nice new bolts.

It's a pain finding partners for the GPA, Cathedral, Royal Arches, etc where you have to replace ground-up. Hard enough digging up partners for hand-drilled new routes...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:42pm PT
"Everybody wants to go to the party.
Nobody wants to stay and clean up."

DeNiro in Ronin
LongAgo

Trad climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:07pm PT
Many thanks to those preserving good old routes protected by aging bolts, and respecting the original line by replacing only what was there in the first place.

Indeed, there are many fine routes on the Middle apron (some pretty run out) which provide shady challenges on hot summer days. How great if the old bolts there could be redone someday.

Another candidate for redoing: Punch Bowl on Glacier Point Apron, apparently with smashed or missing bolts from rockfall. I'm a bit biased on that one as it was a first ascent way back when ...

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Miwok

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:07pm PT
"I never walk into a place I don't know how to walk out of".

Another De Niro Quote from Ronin applicable to this thread.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2007 - 06:18pm PT
... but [widely spaced bolts] is in part the legacy of a ground up ethic that emphasizes performance over product.

Hmmm...I'm not sure I'm convinced of this. Bolting face routes was initially done in stance, mostly because of the strict Traditional ethic from which technical climbing began. With in-stance drilling, you had to take your stances where you could find them, which often meant long run-outs on the harder routes.

Certainly some climbers put up routes that pushed the envelope of protection, but I don't believe that this was the emphasis. I think instead that the emphasis was on putting up routes, and the more difficult they were, the better the experience.

So I don't believe that performance trumped product. In most cases, the product was just as important (people usually like to see others attempt the routes they put up). With traditional routes, the style of the FA is often seen as an important part of the product. Too many bolts, especially those placed from aid, diminish the quality of a route.
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:00pm PT
Kelly, you know I'm always down to dedicate some time to working on that sort of stuff.

Clint - I agree with you that the best way to replace the routes would be to lead through to the anchors and then work from the top down so as to get the best replacement in the same bolt location. However, I remember looking at those routes on Middle Cathedral, and damn... that could be a horrifying task, even on things that are within one's climbing ability, some of those bolts look like they are about ready to jump off the rock.
I don't disagree with you at all, just saying.. I'd love to help out with anything like that though.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:33pm PT
SNP;
"So why are you here?"
"You know the answer to that."

(and Natasha packed a compact IMI 9mm, old style frame mounted safety. GRRRR)


k-man,
my friend, you misread me.
Ground up meant people used quarter inchers. As a result the product was "poor" in terms of shelf life. Runouts are another issue entirely. I'm not against them per se. Routes of mine include Full Metal Jockstrap and the N ridge of Notch Dome (with decking potential on the SECOND pitch!!)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 10, 2007 - 08:05pm PT
hoipolloi,

It's true that some bolts may be too scary to lead on, depending on the likelihood/length of falls. Screamers may help somewhat. An ultra skinny leader might also be handy. In a few rare cases where the old bolt has broken off, one might have to drill on lead. I am not a very good slab climber, so I favor the ultralong cheater stick idea!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2007 - 08:07pm PT
Full Metal Jockstrap...what a hoot!

OK, clear on the "product" placement.

What I've heard of folks doing nowadays is putting in really small lead bolts, then coming back and beefing 'em up.

Those who drill on lead, my heros.
My Name Is Drew

Big Wall climber
Dogtown, LosAngeles, CA.
Jul 10, 2007 - 09:19pm PT
There is or was at the time a seldom done route at the east end of The Arches near the base (obviously) of Washington Column; I think the first pitch went free and the second began the aiding following a small dihedral arching up and left.
At the time (mid-80's) it was fairly dirty; evidence of it's not being particularly popular.
Anyone know the routes name?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 10, 2007 - 09:35pm PT
K-man
Full Metal Jockstrap is above another route in Snow Canyon with a dangerous LARGE loose flake that has to be climbed over.
The name of that route;
A Little Nightmare Music
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