Retrobolting Prediction

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ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 10, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
The stories re crowding on the classics in the Are you Fast thread and the issue of nice lines with ancient bolts in the fade into obscurity thread prompts this prediction: As a result of the increase in climber numbers puts more and more crowd pressure on moderate classics there will be at some point in the future a lot of retrobolting (and I mean the addition of new bolts as opposed to replacement) of routes that are good quality, but are sparsely protected. In a climber generation or two, people will conclude that the FA party has no right to make a climb so sketchy that only a handful of people can do it. Well known testpieces might be preserved, but many others will be redrilled. I can see arguments both ways. I would like to routes left in their original condition. On the other hand, what right does one climber have to render a public natural resource unusable to the majority of other climbers?
seamus mcshane

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:10pm PT
'will be at some point in the future a lot of retrobolting"
Dude, the future has been here as long as new routes have gone up, FACT.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:20pm PT
"On the other hand, what right does one climber have to render a public natural resource unusable to the majority of other climbers?"

As far as I'm concerned just the assumption this is somehow a valid and reasonable question dooms a certain percentage of climbs outright. It presumes [risk-free] fixed protection is somehow a right or entitlement and inalienable component of the usability of a 'public natural resource'. If "natural" is indeed a key edifice within that descriptor, then what if 'natural' public resources don't provide access to the 'majority of other climbers'?

The tortured logic behind questions such as this are a testament to and foundation for endless retro and grid bolting scenarios...
paganmonkeyboy

Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:27pm PT
can ? check...
worms ? check...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 10, 2007 - 04:46pm PT
opening can, check!

"unusable to the majority of other climbers"

HORSESH#T!

Toprope it.

Rap in from above and set a fixed line.


Which is not to say that I don't like lead climbing, but in this context of rebolting existing lines. well you get my point I hope...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:17pm PT
there is case law supporting the idea that the gov't should [not] start regulating climbing, otherwise it may run the risk of assuming a duty of care it doesn't otherwise have.

with that said, YOSAR runs rescues of climbers, why not reduce costs and via ferrata The Nose.

[] = "post hoc sketchy" edit. see below regarding this typo by omission. :)
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2007 - 05:18pm PT
What I am saying is that there are going to be more and more climbers who won't (1) top rope, especially multi-pitch stuff, (2) rap in or (3) learn to climb better. They also won't care that some long forgotten climber had the boldness or vision in 1976 to not place a single bolt on some obscure 5.9. When crowds get to the point where it's actually unlikely that parties will be able to get on the classic trade routes that pressure will be relieved elsewhere.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:34pm PT
Crowds? [where's the ital. button on ST?]

If overcrowding is the problem, then can you prevent retrobolting with condoms?
Greg Barnes

climber
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:38pm PT
We could relieve some of that pressure by changing to French ratings for sport climbs and gyms, and leaving the YDS (or TDS for you Tahquitz locals) for trad routes.

It would be sweet to have new climbers say "I climb 6b+" and then see the "5.7 100' runout" and say "what's 5.7?" Then maybe they'd have some respect for 5.7 slab or offwidth...which often deserves quite a bit of respect especially on old and obscure routes!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 10, 2007 - 05:59pm PT
Recently I was thinking about what "Trad Style" meant.

It means you start at the ground and climb up, doing your very best to not fall. With "Trad," the onsight (or flash) is the ultimate goal. In other words, you don't weight your protection if at all possible.

While we all pretty much know this, it was an interesting realization for me. Trad means to climb with the intention of freeing every pitch, every time.

How, you may ask, does this relate to retrobolting old traditional lines? In short, the Traditional style of climbing will always live within many of us who climb. Retrobolting goes very much against that grain.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:03pm PT
"As a result of the increase in climber numbers puts more and more crowd pressure on moderate classics there will be at some point in the future a lot of retrobolting (and I mean the addition of new bolts as opposed to replacement) of routes that are good quality, but are sparsely protected. In a climber generation or two, people will conclude that the FA party has no right to make a climb so sketchy that only a handful of people can do it."

There's already a place you can experience this. It's called Europe. Although there much of the convenience bolting is motivated by commercial considerations.

Why not cherish what we have, and try to improve ourselves to meet the challenges that nature provides, rather than use technology to reduce things to our comfort level? Retrobolting is a short, steep and slippery slope, and there's only so much nature out there to go around.

Climbing can never be safe, is by definition inconvenient, and should always provide challenges.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:08pm PT
On the other hand, what right does one climber have to render a public natural resource unusable to the majority of other climbers?

This argument works also for putting a tramway up Half Dome, etc.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:10pm PT
"What I am saying is that there are going to be more and more climbers who won't (1) top rope, especially multi-pitch stuff, (2) rap in or (3) learn to climb better. They also won't care that some long forgotten climber had the boldness or vision in 1976 to not place a single bolt on some obscure 5.9. When crowds get to the point where it's actually unlikely that parties will be able to get on the classic trade routes that pressure will be relieved elsewhere."


Ah different proposition.

Maybe localism for 'trad' areas will kick in and gumbies will get the smack down if they come up on the trad areas thinking they are all that.


It may be incumbent upon guidebooks to call out those issues... like what style a particular route goes up in. I recall a discussion about this issue where a route was TR'd first, then lead thru (tricky hard 5.11 moves on questionable rock). The FFA was then qualified with the disclaimer that it was done after preview. That way the true first free ascent much like Kelly is suggesting in his post can be gained without the preview. Bottom to top no falls and no previewing. The best style.

Not one I always live up to, but a superb goal nonetheless that preserves much.

To take that away just because a mob scene of gumbies and assmunches decides to play unilateralism with a bosch doesn't mean they get to make the rules for all of us. I for one would take offense if someone were to retro my masterpiece 5.9 route Transmogrification. 4 bolts in 110+ feet and a knob tie off and a couple nuts. I own a crow bar and epoxy and sand to patch the holes.

on the other hand many routes are too far distant for your average dickferbrains to bother with. It is the more urban crags that run the risk of overbolting. Boulder canyon comes to mind, but I'm not an expert on that location. Just rumors.
atchafalaya

climber
California
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:22pm PT
If someone goes to the effort to retrobolt a route I put up, more power to them. I had my experience, seems they are entitled to theirs.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:39pm PT
If someone goes to the effort to retrobolt a route I put up, more power to them. I had my experience, seems they are entitled to theirs.

Count me in the other camp, I'm not glad that a few of my old routes have been retrobolted. In one case particularly, it wasn't due to any danger, there is fine trad pro and anchors. Rather, it was done (I am told) for the convenience of guides. What got lost then is not my experience, that's unchanged, but rather anyone else's chance to have a similar experience of self-sufficient ascent on that route. And that was a big part of its charm.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:45pm PT
They still have that chance... don't clip the bolts

You climb a lot in gyms?
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 10, 2007 - 06:58pm PT
... don't clip the bolts.

This is always the last argument from those that feel routes are a common resource that should be made safe for everybody.

What is the problem with the following statement:

If you don't like my graffiti, don't look at it.
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:20pm PT
You?

I asked because I hear "just don't clip the bolts" most often from people used to gym climbing, where "touch only the yellow-tape holds" defines the game.

And because it's hard for me to believe that anyone who has actually climbed long steep routes (let's say 8 pitches or more) that have zero fixed pro or anchors, would think that the experience of climbing such a route would be no different if it had been fully bolted, but you just passed up all the bolts.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:24pm PT
Whenever someone uses the "just don't clip them" argument I always feel like we've arrived at the point where Dawkins got to in commenting on folks who believe in creationism - that they're "ignorant, stupid, insane (or possibly wicked)".

In that context, he says ignorant is a compliment because that means they aren't stupid...
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
Jul 10, 2007 - 07:24pm PT
at one time weschrist, climbing meant to ascend, you know, move upwards. not hike ot the top and rappel and use construction tools to make the climb safe for weenies.

it used to mean that if you were a 5.10 climmber, you had some measure of confidence that you were not going to fall as that could have some very bad consequences.

i realize this is a difficult thing to grasp for some, but thats the way of it. those routes are really pretty few and far between.

but thats kewl. lets use your logic. then as i get older and that 5.11 gets too hard i can just drill a new hold. if you dont like it skip it. thats your game...
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