Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 11, 2007 - 11:19am PT
I posted this below in the needles thread and thought maybe a good topic for thinking about?
Hammer did make an interesting point that made me think about this problem we are now facing every day in climbing areas around the country.
"This 'ethic' is turning the Needles into a museum with routes to look at rather than climb."
It seams this was also the core argument/idea that weschrist was trolling a while ago also?
Are "we" the so called "old guys" unconsciously trying to "overprotect" the past?
Another point hammer made "There is already a disconnect with the experience of the first ascent, they weren't clipping bolts that had been there for forty years."
How many of you would go out and clip 40 year old bolts and do the death run out with no feeling of "Oh sh'it I'm gonna die now feeling?".
Sometimes it does seem that "the old skool is making museum climbs which nobody can climb anymore?
On the other hand the young guys that have been coming all these years have been doing incredibly hard scary ass sh'it,
that will make any seasoned hard man piss in his pants just standing at the base.
Just some thoughts of mine, so don't go ape sh'it over them.
Werner, I was thinking along those lines on the "Kid,BDTH" Thread. Just something to read.
Its interesting to me sometimes when I think about some of those older badass routes ( some I've done some I most certainly haven't) that the bolts are sooo bad now that the climbs themselves have become even more badass. To me there's a big difference with gunning it above a rusty old thing and gunning it above even a new 1/4 incher. Are people with me on this one? I'm NOT trying to take away anything from those bold first ascents because they are truly awsome and take unbelieveable determination and skill. Two things many new climbers don't have when it comes to putting it on the line as far as safety goes. I wonder though, if some of the younger crowd aren't going for those routes because of the rusty old things. Maybe they, me(I'm 34), are just lazy and don't want to go through the trouble of changing out those bolts for the go. Even if they do they won't have the same experience as some of the folks that nabbed ascents back when the bolts were still sound. One, they could go for it on lead which means they have to climb the route on sh#t bolts that may very well not hold the big wing, thus forcing them to do the more insane. or Two, they could rap in and replace the bolts, but then they don't get the full OS experience because they see it all before climbing it. And I know my eyes would be open for that crucial hold 30 feet out if I was rapping in to put sound bolts in.
I did Mr Kamps and a route that starts left of Sorcerer's App then crosses it and then comes back to join it after the Sea of Knobs (no idea the name or who did it). Both of these routes had not been replaced, but we were very tense because of the old bolts. Especially when at hanging belays and the leader was out gunning it. I went back and did Mr Kamps post replacement and it was a whole different experience. Had pucker, but not like the first time.
Just some thoughts on the subject of older, superbad, inspirational routes that should get done more often and probably get done more than I think. Believe it or not there are some young, soft spoken climbers out there who do the raddist of rad whether its well protected or not and they only talk about it with their closest friends
At the moment what is emerging is something like what we see in landscape and urban management with designated areas set aside for conservation. designated historic districts have strict building and renovation codes to preserve period housing and commercial building styles. In recent years we've seen particular areas like the Gunks or Needles become preserves, mostly through consensus but sometimes through the initiative of land managers or owners. That seems like a really reasonable solution to me--although it may be less appealing to gung-ho teenagers whose only local crag has been designated a reserve for aging traddies and the few who would emulate them.
The interesting thing is that this approach to "historic preservation" in climbing has appeared across Europe as well: Gritstone (trad) versus limestone (sport) in England; Fontainebleau versus Boux in France; Elbsandstein versus Frankenjura in Germany.
If you haven't read the new Tuolumne Planning Workbook (AND YOU OUGHT TO--THE COMMENT PERIOD ENDS SOON), one of the most intriguing options is "Concept 3" which would place "historic landscape" at the center of management priorities. The plan currently refers to the river corridor but could easily be expanded and serve as a model for other management zones (i.e., most of the climbing in the park).
The Sistine Chapel ceiling has been restored a few times. It's not the same piece as when Michelangelo put it up, but he's still the man. It's in a museum (sort of) and Renaissance freaks can enjoy it for what it is.
Should I be able to go add a couple of bolts to the Bachar -Yerian at fifty so that the crux runout doesn't prove so bothersome? The answer is likely no to most people. The license that some people are after is simply that. I bolt where I want to, when I want to. Right??? The discussion on the Needles Eye thread ultimately distills down to that core issue of bolting as a claim right. We all allow each other the latitude to drill while creating new routes but that license does not usually carry over to repeat ascents. Every climb is not for every climber and the ethic that has thus far allowed most of our routes to maintain their historical character and challenge dictates that you respectfully don't alter or diminish the creative efforts of your fellow climbers.
If every person viewing the Mona Lisa felt the need to flick a booger at it to establish a more personal and lasting connection with the artwork, should they be allowed to express themselves in that fashion at everyone else's expense? Again, probably not. Well, little metal boogers ain't really so different.
Yeah, and replace the hardware will be one of the fighting issues. Easy to get behind replacing bad bolts but what about the fixed pins near gear placements? Historic preservation has to pick a period to "fix" as its ideal. Do we pick the thirties? Fifties? We're obviously not going to get a lot of folks keen to wear corduroy knickers and a bowline with four soft iron pitons to cast off into the blue.
The "historic" period that will be "preserved" will be the seventies, or the seventies approach to routes of the thirties, forties, fifties, etc. So we'll have kids in 21st century clothes and gear, aping a seventies clean climbing experience on historic routes from, say, 1937. Not necessarily a bad thing---
there are three different experiences provided by these climbs.
The experience of the first ascentionists is unique and cannot
be duplicated exactly.
Climbing a bolted route with old, suspect bolts, as you describe,
is special, obviously, but was never part of anybody's plan.
You are certainly aware of the ways, positive and negative, that
it is different than the first ascent.
When one of these climbs becomes a standard, or a classic, or
even just "accepted," the experience that is considered standard
and worth preserving is that which early repeaters got to enjoy.
2nd Ascent principle.
ALL routes need to be maintained. There is nothing special about the old runout trad routes in that regard except that they have been ignored for too long and probably the only safe way to rebolt some of them if from the top down. BUT just because a route needs it's bolts replaced shouldn't have any bearing on whether anyone has the right to add more bolts.
If someone really wants to do a particular route and the route needs new bolts then show some initiative and replace them. But don't think that you have any sort of license to change the route. Nobody should be dying because of bad bolts, but no one should use them for an excuse either.
Replacing hardware is a necessity- why should future climbers have to risk their lives cuz the FA party put in mank? Those fecking leeper hangers for example. Should climbers 50 years from now be expected to clip those things and do the same run out as the FA party? I can't believe people were even arguing about whether to replace some ancient pins in SD. Seems like route preservation is a nuanced thing and the answer lies somewhere between grid bolting classics and refusing to update obscure routes that have random dangerous sections having nothing to do with the FA party's vision or boldness.
The thing that I see most often over the last few years is that some new climbers can't tell the difference between what is a pant-filling-but-relatively-safe fall and what is really going to hurt someone. A lot of old school routes have runouts, but then you find that that bolt is right where you need it to be to PROTECT the route. I say we stick with that. Replace old bolts as needed to provide trustworthy protection, but there's no reason to add bolts just so someone doesn't have to exercise judgement and experience risk on the routes. A lot of climbers these days seem to want to "feel safe" all the way up a route and that's just b.s. IMHO. Good healthy fear is a critical element of climbing for me. Lets me know when I'm sticking my neck out too far, or maybe just enough.
Funny how when sport climbing started, all the sport doods were clamoring about "why can't we have both type of areas, trad and sport!", and now we have the trad climbers saying the same thing. It's great that we can all pick and choose our level of "risk". Lets not lower that to the lowest common denominator.
like castles made of sand, slips into the sea, Eventually.
be real careful defining 'your' territory, climbing 'artists' (good gawd) and grad-students.....a bus tour where they hand out binoculars and you get to look from the road cut and identify all the historical rust stains of art sounds like a US Dept. of Zookeepers wet dream.
Where's the Nobility? probably in not attaching your sense of self-importance to some fleeting exercise in bravado.
Sometimes it does seem that "the old skool" is making museum climbs which nobody can climb anymore?
In the "Old Routes Disappearing into Obscurity" thread, I noted that MANY old routes are becoming unclimbable due to aging hardware. As each year goes by, routes that haven't seen maintenance will fade away.
BDTH is a good example. No repeat, yet who's going to start that one from the bottom? The only reason we're talking about it is because of it's place in history--the FA party made the route a highlight the moment it went up. Other lesser known, but still worthy, routes just keep fading ...
Space Babble, which had some pitons for pro, is a good one to look at--a fantastic route that needs some TLC. Do you replace pins with bolts? Not if you can use modern gear instead, but what if you can't?
Museum pieces? I say some routes should remain as so--so what if You Asked For It doesn't see many ascents anymore--I look up at that in awe, shaking my head at what it would take to start up it. Sure, a 5* line that goes unclimbed. Maybe I have to climb 3* route instead. I don't mind.
As the museum guards tire and go to sleep, will the vandals break in and paint a beard on the Mona Lisa?
I agree that the hardware should be kept sound, but not added to change a route. If one thinks that a route should have added hardware (which they are free to think in my opinion) then they MUST ask the establilsher(s) of the route. There is a route called "Black Bart" on Daff dome which I've done three times now and the crux 5.9 on the first pitch leaves one with a ground fall from 50 feet up. Not good. Then the crux if basically sport bolted. TM and Ron Kauk were the first to finish the route so I asked Ron what he thought about adding a bolt (just one) to keep the ground fall from happening because its not in character with the rest of the route. He (no surprisingly to me) said go right ahead. I was quite fired up because that route is really cool, but then I started to think more about what I planned to do and also thought about the fact that I did not clear that with TM. Ron also told me some other guys started that route and didn't finish it before them. So, do I need to talk to them about the first pitch since they did it? I don't remember who they are, but..... Anyhow, I decided I didn't want to go ahead with that mission because of all the grey areas, and besides, I'd already done the route a few times which means I was ready for it like the first folks. Maybe it should just stay that way, but with updated metal. Not more of it.
Just some thoughts.
With older gear, you'd go out and be happy to get in a few pitches in a day. With advancements in gear (and familiarity with the rock), folks are doing much more in a day.
We expect to be able to fly up the stone, with bolts being bomber and modern gear quickly protecting our asses. We expect to climb many routes in a day.
The thought of taking time to go out and do some maintenance on an old route is almost unheard of.
A repeat of Burning Down the House? It will take about as much time as the original FA, days; you'd fist have to replace the bolts (unless you approached it as a solo). And obviously nobody is willing to take the time for that.
Sure, we can get scores of folks to go out and Clean Up our crags, but how many folks will take that a step farther and put on a rope and help to clean up & restore the routes.
Big Round of Applause to Roger, who recently made the museum of Arches Terrace visitable again. He went over to GPA and reopened the door to the Oasis. How many folks did he have to help him. Sadly, I was out climbing...
(My excuse was the heat, dang it was hot those days!)
The 'joker', is an old school Pat Callis route in the Gallatins that has a 40 foot or so run-out on 5.9 face to a spinner bolt(worst bolt in the canyon?) to another 30' or so to your next piece. One of the few routes (in the canyon) I could see certain death on... My friend Nate recently repeated the route, and when he clipped the spinner, he sat and replaced the bolt. Now I know he didn't get the exact experience that Callis got (since Callis probably drilled from a stance), but he got as good as protection as Callis, if not better, and replaced the bolt in what I believe to be in good style, making a proud route more accessible to the masses, though not to many will go up there anyways....
Well, as long as we're not talking about museum CLIMBERS, if you know what I mean. Not that anyone on SuperTopo is quite museum quality, yet...
I suspect few have any difficulty with climbers replacing old bolts with new, one for one, in the same location. Even adjusting the location (but not number) slightly, if there's clear community consensus, it's ok with the land manager, and those who did the first ascent are agreeable, assuming they're alive and can be located. If the replacement is done en rappel, few would have problems - it's really up to the personal choice of the replacers. If they plan to climb the restored route, then the purest thing would be to not preview. Climbers can get someone else to do the replacing, and not provide beta - perhaps "You fix up the route I want to do, and I'll fix up the route you want to do". Or alternate, with the climber who's belaying a given pitch being the replacer for that pitch. Or the Mike G approach - blindfold. (Don't tell YOSAR.)
Adding fixed anchors, whether at belays or for runners, is a far more complex subject. Best if there's solid community consensus, it's well communicated (in advance), and those who did the first ascent agree.
A lot of climbs are possible, even if poorly protected. The amount of rock is finite. If we allow everything to be gridbolted, we're simply stealing from following generations of climbers. The Alps are overrun by via ferratas and guides, and many European rock climbing areas are entirely bolted (often retro-bolted), despite natural anchors. The English and Scandinavians are very protective of their rocks and mountains - they don't have a lot, it's under great pressure, so they simply don't allow some activities.
The Grand Wall bolt ladder at Squamish is protected as a heritage artefact - even though it's one of the longer pre-1980s ones in the world, and was the subject of some debate.
We also have to think of how outsiders look at climbing. If we're seen to be responsible, and looking after our heritage and the environment, it always helps. Indiscriminate bolting, and squabbling about same, do the opposite.
Ultimately, we don't own the environments in which we play, despite all the adolescent male territorial behaviour - and we have to look after them.
(Anders types faster than I so he wins! Good show Anders.)
The discussion on Needle’s Eye broke into two discussions, only one part of which is treated here. The full question is:
1. Are we willing to have a policy for rock climbing routes, and how is it to be enforced?
2. What shall that policy be?
Please note, there are climbing areas where these decisions have not been made by us and so they have had to be made for us.
If they are to be made by us the only mechanism presently visible on the horizon is the Climber’s Coalition concept. I believe the first such coalition may have been the one in Dresden formed around a century ago. If we do go that route we need to realize the good thoughts already expressed here deal only with Yosemite.
That said, since I am not a Yosemite climber anything I might say is probably irrelevant to the policy you should have in Yosemite. Nearly forty years ago and in another galaxy far away I became quite disturbed when I realized I could and in fact often was putting in new routes anytime I touched the rock. One or two of them were quite nice I thought but now that I had done them they were not half as nice as they were before I found them. I realized I was actually not “creating” a route. I was only “changing” a route. Today, possibly because I can no longer get around as fast with my cane, I think even when young I did not need to have 10,000 “routes” in every area.
I would urge you to follow the land management plans to which most governments have adhered. A diversity in use has to be maintained, including the concept of wilderness. You need to have areas with no routes. You need to have areas with no bolts. You need to have areas with no preplaced protection at all. You need to have areas with no chalk marks.
I would echo one of the thoughts already expressed. When we are out climbing and full of the spirit, we also need to think about leaving something for the kids. And for that matter leaving something for ourselves.
It would not be hard to do this. Think about what it must have been like at Cloggy in the forties and fifties before all the "facts" were nailed down on paper and the mystery killed once and for all for everyone. Rumors swirling everywhere about what may or not have been done. Did anyone see where Joe and Don were climbing last weekend?
We need to relish mystery. Hey, that is why we do first ascents isn't it? This mystery is mine,mine,mine,mine. Now that I have done it, no one else shall have it
"If they plan to climb the restored route, then the purest thing would be to not preview. Climbers can get someone else to do the replacing, and not provide beta - perhaps 'You fix up the route I want to do, and I'll fix up the route you want to do'."
Good way to solve the problem.
With old buildings, we respect their heritage by restoring them before they crumble. If we neglect them, they become abandoned and anybody can do with them what they please.
If we want to show others that we respect our older climbs, we need to restore them before they deteriorate into worthless (unclimbable) routes. When we don't maintain older routes, we in a sense abandon them. Who's to say someone doesn't have the "right" to go out and make them climbable.
In another 10-15 years, no sane person would trust the bolts on Space Babble to hold the falls that are possible on that route. If nobody's cared enough to restore it, what difference does it make if somebody goes and releads it, placing bolts wherever they may?
How long does a route need to stand unrepeated before it goes back into the public domain?
Ah, the Rule Against Perpetuities. Either you're a lawyer or like to read really boring, arcane subject matter. I could follow up on that but I swore after law school that I would never deal with that again.
Anyways, I'm assuming that if the first ascentionist could have put in bomber gear with the tools then available and in an ethical manner, such as drilling on lead, they would have. Think about it, if they could have slammed in a bomber bolt on lead rather than some spinner button head, they would have. Unfortunately, the technology then available only permitted what often amounted to mank gear.
Unlike some folks though, I do believe that some routes should stand as a monument to what our predecessors did accomplish, rather than bringing it down to what the current standard is. I don't think everyone has a right to climb whatever they want with fixed gear established at the intervals they feel is appropriate. Climbing isn't about appealing to the lowest common denominator. It's about rising to the occasion. If you can't do it on a bold climb, there are lots of other routes to climb.
Let's see. Most of the routes we are discussing are on land not owned by the FA. In other words, he was just a visitor, presumably a legal one.
So when he bolted or pinned the climb, the work has about the same legal status as graffiti (FA = first artist). He was there legally, but the status of what he left behind is far less clear. Apparently he may think of it as a monument to himself, or just his "Kilroy was here." Regardless, that is his own personal opinion. There is no reason to expect others to agree or keep their own hands off.
Now I suppose if one were to purchase the land, or had it granted, a'la the railroads, as owner one could choose to do what one might.
Sorry, but I am not buying the monument / museum / glory proposition.
A land steward/owner has the right to determine the rules independent of previous trespasses or visits. He also has the right to impose the rules upon future visits, including the right to prohibit them. I think we should work together with him to set the rules. If the visitors "paying the freight" want bolts, bolt. If they want the slate to stay blank, then the steward can go with that.
No denial, at least from me. I'm not good enough to climb them (at least stuff like You Asked For It, etc.) and maybe never was but that doesn't mean that, because sufficient time has elapsed that I've "earned" the right to go and retrofit it. What a pathetic argument.
If the bolts are mank (which they probably are) replace them. That alone with bring the severity of the route way down. If you still aren't capable of climbing it then get better, shut up, or take up bowling.
Hey, Bob J., up-thread, you talked about 'Black Bart' on DAFF and the difference in bolt protection on the first pitch and the upper, crux pitch, and your conversation with Ron about adding a bolt on the first pitch to avoid a grounder—if I read you comments correctly.
The route was started by TM and me. I led the first pitch and placed the bolt that you mentioned. My lead was to come in from the right, starting near the rope-up spot for the "Crescent Arch", and then move horizontally to the base of the thin crack that completes the first pitch. There were a lot of loose micro flakes on that traverse and I was skating around and pulling off stuff to find secure holds. I started getting nervous about peeling, and asked TM what he thought about me dinking in a bolt. He begged off an opinion and said I should do what ever I thought was right. We didn’t place bolts willy-nilly, but I put one in, moved over to the crack and finished the pitch.
TM and I were guides at the climbing school and whatever reason we bailed on at the top of the first pitch. When we returned with Ron as our rope gun—I think it was the next year , TM led the first pitch and I followed. As TM was belaying up Ron, I un-roped and took a peek at the next pitch around the corner. When I came back, I didn't tie back in, but stood on one foot on a giant knob chatting with TM.
Mid sentence the whole knob broke off, and I was in the air. I lunged for TM's tie in rope and just managed to get my fingers from one hand on the loop of rope. Just as I reached full extension and had started pulling TM out of his position, he braced himself, and, using his Black Belt speed, slapped his hand on top of my wrist like some sort of sprung trap and caught me, fully extended, legs a-dangling. A one-handed catch.
I was pretty shaken up at my willful disregard for the nature of the mountains to kill off interlopers. So, when Ron got up to the belay, we rapped off. I started back to college that fall, and Ron and TM returned later and finished the route.
I am not sure that I have a valid opinion about the bolt I placed on the first pitch since I didn't finish the route. It might be that folks now reach that crack from a different angle and a ground fall is more likely. I would consult Ron and TM.
I did however have an opportunity this past year to consider the issue of adding a bolt to a not crux pitch on another route in the Meadows (see Ed's thread on 'Peter Peter'). Part of what happens naturally on first ascents is that you don't know what you are getting into or what level of commitment and climbing standard has to be sustained. It is really easy to under-protect the easier parts of a climb as compared to the crux, with the perverse effect that easier pitches are dangerous and the crux pitch is sewed up. I was mostly lazy and for all the times that I told myself that I would go back and fix up a route--add a more logical start or finish, or rearrange the bolt protection or belays, I only recall doing it once, in the Valley. All the other times, I just let it slide. On some ascents, when we were putting more forethought into it, we took the time to fix the issues on the first ascent.
The first ascentionist doesn't own the rock, but there are rules to this game. Otherwise hiking around to the top might count for just as much.
As far as replacing bolts vs. adding bolts -- two completely different things. I'd support the former most of the time, mostly without even getting permission. As long as it's done well, you'r not changing the experience too much.
Adding bolts changes the experience, and while there is no law that requires getting the permission from the FA's, the most common rules of the game accept that.
Pins are more complicated because technology has changed that part of the game and because repeated replacing pins changes the crack. Should be addressed more on a case-by-case basis.
It seems reasonable to assume that when the first ascent party did these climbs, they intended that all fixed anchors (bolts) they placed be solid. In the 1970s and early 1980s, that usually meant 1/4" x 1.5" or 2.0" Rawl split shaft contraction bolts. That was state of the art, and considered the gold standard. If 10 mm x 3.0" stainless compression bolts had been available, it's safe to assume they would have been placed instead.
Somehow it seems unlikely that a first ascent party would insist that their now rusty old bolts be replaced by the same kind of bolts, just new ones. Stating that the type of bolt couldn't be upgraded to modern standards would be only slightly less absurd than climbing a route and removing all the bolts (cleanly), so that others could have almost the same experience. (Never completely the same, once you know someone else has climbed it.)
When Hilti drills and 3/8" stainless bolts appeared, in the late 1980s, we were quite lucky at Squamish in that a number of public spirited individuals did a lot of work to simply replace the old bolts. There's at most 5% as many anchors at Squamish as in Yosemite, and they had some corporate support, but it helped a lot. Even though the routes were often beyond the abilities of the replacers, they replaced the bolts anyway, although sometimes they got a little carried away.
Edit: Pins are another and more complicated matter. Of course, once they invent works-anywhere stick-on protection this will all be moot.
This all depends so much on which route we're talking about, doesn't it? It's hard to picture a one-rule-fits-all solution, althought the first ascent principle (out of respect, not ownership, as Dingus previously has noted) seems as good as any -- preferable to any "property rights" (of whomever) formulation, IMO.
Regarding my own routes, where I have the strongest opinions -- there are some where we fixed pins on the FA, and it seems just fine to me to replace those with good bolts, one for one. When we hammered in those pins, we knew something about how good they were, but lord knows how good they'll be for other climbers many years later. Seems fair IMO if the fixed pins are later replaced with bolts.
On the other hand, where we found clean protection or anchors, I've been sorry to see new retrobolts drilled in. It's been done for guides' convenience rather than safety. But those climbs were fundamentally changed for everyone, and I think something was lost.
Finally, I can think of one route that's not so safe, because we brought no hammers and couldn't always find protection. It's clearly described as serious in guidebooks and IMO it's fine to leave it that way; nobody has to climb it or will go up there by mistake. There are plenty of well protected routes in that area and no need to "make safe" a few that offer a different kind of experience.
'You Asked for It' does in fact have all new bolts. You still won't see me on it.
As for Joe's question, I think the routes got neglected because tastes in routes changed and those of us that kept climbing 'trad' didn't bother to go do maintenance. Now that there are actually new people that would like to do some of these routes, they are in such bad shape that they aren't doable. I firmly believe that once these routes get new protection more people will do them. Now there are still quite a few routes that few will ever do, but then that is as it's supposed to be. There just aren't many people born in each generation with the skillset and mindset to do routes like 'You Asked for It' or 'Guardians of the Galaxy'. But that is a GOOD thing.
John: I'm guessing the fellow in the plus fours probably wouldn't shoot any foxes, either.
Edit: I believe John B, and/or Dave Y, have set a good example by returning to the Bachar-Yerian, replacing the bolts with modern ones, and slightly changing the locations of belay bolts for belayer safety.
I am getting my money together to install an escalator up "You Asked For It" so that Werner can go do it. He's been gaining even more weight than I have by sitting in that museum of his....
Joking aside, I gotta agree with Gnome when he stated,
" I think the routes got neglected because tastes in routes changed and those of us that kept climbing 'trad' didn't bother to go do maintenance. Now that there are actually new people that would like to do some of these routes, they are in such bad shape that they aren't doable."
I personally can't wait to go to Elbsandstein and experience their crazy bold lines that were put up decades ago and I also hope they preserve them as they are for the future.
We have some beautifully bold climbs here in the US and Canada and we should be proud of them. We should just do faithful maintenance on them and let them be as they are - climbers of the future will appreciate it!
It seems simple....Replace any anchor that has become unsafe, original protection bolt if unsafe, leave the runouts( that is part of the character of a climb), do not add any bolts unless those that did the fa agree...no?
The problem with Joe's argument, as with all arguments supporting the "advance in difficulty as a result of sportclimbing" (approximate quote) is that it only focuses on the technical difficulty of the moves. There are other "difficulties" in climbing. The biggest difficulty, and the one that gives climbing its greatest beauty, is the mental control and focus of making difficult move when the climbing is runout, the pro is poor, etc. By saying that runout routes are contrived ignores and/or devalues that very real aspect of climbing. Advances in numbers are not necessarily advances in style. Style is all, numbers are of secondary importance.
If you talk to a Spaniard, they'll tell you that bullfighting is a beautiful sport because the matador is not fighting the bull. He's fighting his urge to runaway and to control his fear. I'm not a bullfighting fan, but the analogy is apt.
Climbers of yore did not "contrive" to make routes runout. Most runout climbs are that way because of the difficulty or limitations of placing gear, not because of the purposeful decision to make the climb runout just because. Realization may be a monument to technical difficulty (no disrespect to Sharma because is a pure, awesome climber) but Bachar-Yerian is a monument to respect for the rock (JB only placed bolts when he could find a knob big enough to hold a hook) and mental control.
Not that people talk about it anymore, but climbers like Jim Erickson and others used to aspire to climb with the minimum amount of "aid" possible, whether it be a rope, chalk, shoes, to make the experience more pure. That is a worthy goal, not one to be sniffed at because it means that you can't climb bigger numbers. If you don't get or appreciate that you shouldn't be participating in this discussion.
There are, quite obviously, different aspects of 'difficulty'. Sport climbs lie flat along the danger axis, but spike upwards in technical difficulty. Easy but runout is the mirror image of this kind of thing. Climbs that redline the technical difficulty as well as relative risk are deserving of great respect.
There are zillions of dime-a-dozen, 'safe' crags around. Those who want to do hard moves without sticking their necks out should climb on these. On another day, one might choose to engage the fortitude muscles a bit more and run things out a bit. There is a place for each of these in my life as a climber, and I for one am glad that both options (and ones in between)exist.
I've wondered about a climb getting the reputation of a "death runout" when, in fact, no one has ever died doing it...
...in fact, there seems to be a rather healthy inhibition among American climbers regarding pushing things into the death zone. They tend to back off.
In my way of thinking, that is the correct thing to do on those climbs which the FA feels were protected appropriately. Some climbs are scary, and require a level of accomplishment and commitment to climb. They should be left alone for future climbers, the hardware should be maintained by the community, but not modified.
There are a class of climbs which Roger refered to which are not test pieces, but were incompletely equipped, a legacy of FA's which may be difficult for people who don't do FA's to understand (the majority of climbers these days have never done a Trad FA). An example is Snake Dike which Roper tells us received additional bolts after the FA since it was such an obviously great, moderately easy line... There are probably other climbs out there where the FA team would be happy to have additional bolts added... they should be asked when possible. If Kauk and TM and Roger all agree that Black Bart would be ok with additional bolts, then maybe that's fine.
I say maybe because at some point a climb becomes so a part of the community that it is beyond the authority of the FA to alter it...
There is no answer to the question posed by Werner. This topic will and should always require a lot of discussion in the community. It's entirely appropriate to have it often and expansively, the FA team is mortal, and after their time is up, their ideas of what to do with their climbs will be lost except for the discussions.
But if I am a climber, I believe that it matters, that the ideas of the FA were important, and that I have to be careful when I contemplate altering a climb permanently. Certainly no climb is like the FA of that climb, the gifts of the FA are a one time deal, unless the history is lost. In that case, we have lost something important from our community.
But it also says something about ourselves if we assume our own ideas about a climb over ride what the local ideas, often based on long tradition, of a climb should be. I imagine a line climbed by some early climbers who left no trace, and did not report the climb so someone else would have the experience of an FA. How horrible would it be for me to find I bolted it up because I thought I was the FA, that I did not do it in the style of the true FA, who might have never known even earlier FAs.
On known climbs which are "dangerous," it can only be ego to assert that it is my right to be able to climb it on my own terms, therefore it should be protected to satisfy my own standards of "safety." Maybe if I'm insisting on that I am climbing for the wrong reasons.
Nah...me and Kauk are going to go to Joe Hedge's University of Technical Sport Climbing Difficulty and get our Diplomas. Then we will proceed to float all "museum cimbs" in existence. Tah dah!
"On known climbs which are "dangerous," it can only be ego to assert that it is my right to be able to climb it on my own terms, therefore it should be protected to satisfy my own standards of "safety." Maybe if I'm insisting on that I am climbing for the wrong reasons."
Well said Ed!
Joe - there are surprisingly less "hook-able" knobs up there than you would think. That's why those "artificial" run outs are there!
All you macho guys saying that the climb should stay the way the FA did it.
You sound like the gang thug threatening anybody who dares to overpaint your "work of art". And everybody in the gang will respect the thug's graffiti, or at least won't paint over it. So here we are. A bunch of old climber gangsters deciding how others should behave.
At least a couple of artists have admitted here that their work was not that great. Original, but...
I think Werner has raised an interesting issue. Should these climbs be put in the museum for people to look at? Nope. The first ascender did not own the canvas. They by sheer serendipity were simply there first.
I'll climb my way, thank you very much. I invite everyone else to do the same, assuming that they are climbing according to the owner of the land's rules.
Say, for example, if you want to do a classic like Bachar-Yerian and you feel the bolts aren't like you would have them, then would you see it ok for you to put more bolts in for your ascent?
I'm not being a critic here, I'm just curious about what you just wrote. That's all.
"On known climbs which are "dangerous," it can only be ego to assert that it is my right to be able to climb it on my own terms, therefore it should be protected to satisfy my own standards of "safety."
That's a knife that cuts both ways. Why may the FAist assert the right to climb on his/her own terms, protected to satisfy his/her own standards of safety?
The flip answer is that they were there first (so take yer finger off the "post this reply" button) but to accept that argument one must also accept that once a climb is done, it's done forever, even if no one climbs it for 500 years and the key holds have eroded away. That doesn't make sense.
I'm sure alot of routes were intentionally run out but there were probably alot where there just wasn't a spot to stop and drill and they couldn't reverse the moves, and the only thing to do is just keep moving before you run out of grip.
It's easy to think in the Rap bolting era that the route needs a bolt in a certain spot. But could you place it there on lead?
I just don't get how anybody could be so presumptuous as to start a new route at the bottom and then deal with whatever limitations might be encountered on the way to the top. Man that is just egotistical hooey.
And to think entire climbing communities once supported, even strove to expand such an approach...
It is presumptuous to assert some guy who (i) just broke up with his girlfriend, (ii) is suicidal, (iii) is high on angel dust or whatever drug was popular in 1976, or (iv) just plain crazy, forever dictates how a given piece of rock is climbed.
I've only ever done routes ground up, and never added a bolt to anyone's climb and seriously doubt I would. But I still don't understand the sense of entitlement evidenced here.
John Hansen- routes put up in the style you speak of are probably routes no one would ever consider altering. Lots of areas have test pieces that should be let alone. However, there are lot a of routes out there that don't fall into that category and are dangerous for reasons having nothing to do with boldness, vision or flow. I think anyone who has climbed for a while can tell the difference.
It is presumptuous to assert some guy who (i) just broke up with his girlfriend, (ii) is suicidal, (iii) is high on angel dust or whatever drug was popular in 1976, or (iv) just plain crazy, forever dictates how a given piece of rock is climbed.
I think this is disrespectful of most of the FAs and FFAs as the leaders of those teams overcame their fears and pushed a way through. They worked their routes with no knowledge of what difficulties they would encounter, whether or not they would be able to get protection in, or if they would be able to pull the necessary moves. I'd say that all routes are much more difficult the first time up than on any subsequent trip. The FA teams deserve our respect for doing what they did.
For those teams who fall under one of the categories (i) through (iv) above, I defend them also. Is the art of an artist stoned out of his mind on absinthe, so distraut in love that he cuts his ear off any less beautiful than the artist who is socially well adjusted? If you assume that the FA was just reckless than perhaps you might question the validity of the ascent, but many of these same people had put up many climbs at the limits of climbing... it wasn't that they needed temporary insanity to accomplish these feats, it was that they were excellent climbers.
Climbing is not just the atheletic physical performance of a well trained climber. It requires physical improvisation in response to a changing medium and the capability to think through the physical moves in response to those changes. On a first ascent, the changes are not even known and it becomes all the more beautiful an experience. The successful improvisation becomes a route, and the changes known... those that follow can prepare both physically and mentally.
For routes put up in that style, I believe that we should allow them to remain as much as they were when the FA put them up.
The jerkoff "Alf" suggested everything should had only bolts (even back country stuff) circa 1987. To take Hedge's comments a little further- everything should be super safe and have bolts added to remove all fall factor.
JB, Largo- ready to go bolt bottom to top Astroman?
new pro for the route: 17 'draws' and a cordelette (I own neither)
I've done a lot of FA's where I wanted to leave few 'footprints' for others to follow. (of course, I never expect anyone to find my routes for the most part) Repeat leaders can find their own way and "play the chess game" to determine the line of least resistance. Skinner once said of the Czech towers he visited that local ethics limited bolts to 3 per 80 feet (those big ring things). I simply duplicated that for standard free pitches to 6 bolts per 160 feet. Pitches that required more than 6 bolts- I would not drill. Hopefully, they would take clean pro or even a fixed pin first. I have seen others create great drilled lines exceeding this limit- but I have seen tens of thousands of crap routes exceeding this.
Just remember Shiprock and the stink of bolts there- and Arizona's own Ray Garner blowing it for the Canadian Rockies on Mt Brussels.
Oh well, I'm off Thursday to tackle a 4-6" 30' crack to overhanging 35' 4-8" crack. My partner and I won't need the bolts for that.
What was this thread about again???? anyway.... so I'm in the "meadows" as the beautiful people call it, just last week..... There are tons of routes there that I'm just flat out too scared or too out of shape to do.... maybe I'll never be able to do them.... and that is fine too, but the key is that they are there and available if I want to do them. I don't want them to be "sanitized". So I grow like one or maybe two hairs on my sack and decide to do a route that is sorta run out. Sure, it is piss easy at 5.9c or so, but you could still take some giant falls if you blew it.... but it was the best route I did the entire trip, and maybe all year.... why? not because it was hard, but because it was challenging and brought something more than a clip-up to the game. If there were bolts every few feet, it would be yet another exercise of pulling in safety. There is not much attraction in that for me, and I am sure glad the route has retained some teeth after all these years. I did plenty of these easy and well protected slabs on this last trip, and they are are all kinda ho-hum, whatever..... they will never give the same feeling of vitality and exhilaration that a run out route can provide, at least for me. I suppose a fair question is, which is more important: leaving a so called Museum Climb for the one or two guys who do the route each year and get a big stoke from it, or retro bolting all the museum climbs so the average punter can clip up the things in relative safety? I say have something left to dream about and aspire to. Another clip up is not really the answer.
If you want "safe" climbing, go to the gym. At least they have insurance and the right to worry about making climbs achievable for most of their clients.
As for museum climbs, I will be very offended if anyone changed a Kamps route just to make it "safer." Kamps did most of his climbs in hiking boots for God sakes! He didn't even have sticky rubber! IT is true that his routes are run out and are very HARD for their ratings! That is what makes them CLASSIC!
That is why thinking about him putting a bolt from the ground up on some of those slabs gives me the willies...
Let me just say that for those of you that think a 5.9 route in the Meadows is harder than what you are use to at the gym or sport routes... Then stop climbing in the gym/sport crags and learn how to trad climb a 5.9 in the Meadows. DON'T try to make a trad route into a gym or sport's route!!! If you changed the climb to fit your needs/ability, it would be like trying to appreciate Shakespeare from only reading a one paragraph summary of all his works. Doing such an act would destroy for all generations the chance to measure their abilities against the people before them.
In fact if you need to change a route just to make it safer (which actually is about making it easier to climb...) STAY HOME AND DON'T DARE GO NEAR ANY KAMPS, REARICK, HIGGINS, ROYAL, etc. ROUTE.
IN FACT STAY INDOORS AND AWAY FROM ANY REAL CLIMBING AREAS. Since you can't handle the climb, then don't pretend. Stay home and leave it for someone who can.
By the way "old guys..." Since I am thirty-four, I represent a new generation that wants to keep the FA's as they are forever. If I can lead "You Ask for It," like the original FA, can you imagine what that would imply? That would be "incredible!"
That brings in the point that the original routes are untouched so the next generation can measure itself accurately! Nothing is wrong in being humbled by those that came before us...
A detail from a Roger Brown photo of Bob Kamps at Rock One Stoney Point, probably 1959.
Bob Kamps and Dave Rearick were heading east on old Rt. 66. They saw a photo of this formation on the wall of a diner. The rancher owner bet them a steak dinner they couldn't climb it. They won the bet but Bob lost the seat of his pants riding out to the pinnacle in the back of the rancher's pickup. Photo by Dave Rearick.
know why because if the FA ascentist did not put up a climb, spurto's would just drive by, look at the guidebook and say well no climbs here let's go to New crap city & clip some shiners. we all know spurto's lack vision. werner i'm kind of young and F**kin hate bolts.
Interesting to bring up the Elbsandstein ethic here...
Chalk is not allowed, no metal protection is allowed, and placing/replacing the "rings" is highly regulated. These are spaced way apart.
In between you can jam knots or sling the sandstone features.
When I visited in the mid 90's for a conference at Dresden I had a day out there, and some gracious German locals showed me around (fearing I'd do something stupid like soloing rock that shouldn't be). They were very bold. I learned that the proper translation for "watch me!" into German was "achtung!" said with the same, unmistakable tone.
The legend goes that pre-unification, the East Germans couldn't get western climbing shoes, and that the east german shoes were so bad that they just climbed barefoot, and not just climbed, but climbed at a very high grade.
Safe? who gives a sh#t, they were strong and committed, and were able to push the grades hard in relative isolation... amazing.
If you are whining about runout routes in the States, don't even think about going to Elbsandstein without a case of Depends.
The place was like a museum, many of the routes had been put up very long ago. But hey, I really dig museums... and this was a cool one.
Bachar, we could do something like a surf casing rod and reel setup where casting with a lure-like thingy that would eventually grab the bolt 40 feet out would be the goal. It would take time, take built up skill, and would also be a great way to train for fishing days. Whoa! A new sport? Doesn't even matter if you get up the climb, its nabbing the furthest away bolt that counts. The steeper the climb, the more precise the caster needs to be. Oh yeah, then if one wants to toprope to the next cast, go for it. Or just rap and call it a successful day. "You should have seen it. Ricky threw this huge cast and nailed that bolt first go! Overhanging even. He didn't even get to drag the lure/clip back with a slow drag. Man, it was really impressive!"
New way to enjoy the rock for sure. I'm going to start a business now.
PS wish I could follow these threads today, but I actually have to work. Damn!
Good Debate with many of the usual answers. I think you need to clearly define WHAT you're debating however. If you start making blanket statements like "leave it alone - if you can't climb it don't" you may miss what is truly being discussed.
I think the climbs becoming museum pieces falls into these categories - each with a different answer. Below - simple debates to more complex ones. The debates I have when discussing bolts are as follows.
I wrote this up a while back when I got into a HUGE debate with a climber "acquaintance" of mine - Modified a little to fit here...
-------"Routes Becoming Museums because:"-------
1) The hardware is old and rusty. = Replace the hardware: period. The FAist was using what they believed to be solid pro at the time. The route should be restored such that a climber today has the same "bomber" pro as the FAist did. Most of the time this is a simple pull the rusty 1/4in and put in some goo 3/8 SS. No debate here. The BY and some 5.9 in NH should get the same Upkeep.
Personally, I think this is where most of climbers effort should be focussed. Everyone like to spend a lot of Breath etc talking about the points below when 90% of the time, simple stewardship and upkeep of the hardware is all that's needed. If we all spent 3-4 days of our year replacing stuff, 90% of this debate would be moot.
2) Old Pins or Fixed Pro is dicey: Here, we're talking rusty or loose fixed pins and things like "there used to be a small tree / thread through there" to protect the moves. A little tougher, but not much. I'd bet that most if not all fixed pins, when first placed, provided bomber pro nearly on par with a 3/8 SS bolt. If the pin can be pulled and an EQUALLY AS SOLID natural modern piece will work - there you go. IF HOWEVER, you're pulling a once Truck LA to be replaced with a flared 00 TCU, I call BS. You're changing the nature of the route, which will bump you further down this list. If you can't get equal, natural gear, you should put in a fixed piece. Here, I think a bolt is the better option. It requires far less maintenance and thus, will avoid the "museum" for far longer than a new fixed pin. I've seen this method used to actually reduce the number of fixed pieces on a route. 5 pins out for 3 bolts in. This may not be feasible though, if bolts are banned/highly discouraged in an area. I saw this problem in the Gunks last time I was there. After climbing MF (5.9) I commented to and old local near me that the fixed pins on it were getting dicey (one was LOOSE). He said that back in the day Standard (I may have the wrong guy - RGold? Help here) made a point of placing or replacing pins in the area with very high quality steel ones. The intent being long lasting fixed pro on those routes. Well now, 20-30 years later, the FP is bad and there's a ban on bolts there. So you either replace the pins with new ones (can you?) that will hasten the museum status or you just let them go museum right now....
3) Fixed Gear (bolts et al) is rusty and some locations are questionable: Replace the rusty with SS - see above. RE: locations, we're not talking about a perceived LACK of bolts and adding additional ones, we're talking bolt locations in illogical or bad spots. I've seem this occur for two main reasons. One, the route was originally an aid line with bolts placed on aid, or the route was a ground up on-sight attempt and well, you didn't want to spend a lot of time planning where to locate them. I'll cite some real world cases here. One, JB moving a bolt on the BY to a better spot that protected the belay. He didn't change the nature of the route (It's still PROUD thank god) but he did eliminate an unintended risk to the belay. Dancing in the Light in Squam. Bolts were replaced and a few moved to, again, protect the belay. It's still just as spicy but now you won't factor 2 your belay from 30 ft out. Note: Both done by the FAist or with their consultation. I've seen other routes changed in a similar way without FA consultation and I thought them to be good choices.
Not Yet Done Case: Stevens Pass Motel (Croft FFA) was originally an aid line freed by Peter. There is apparently a bolt in a poor spot (they all need replacing) when if you blow the move before getting to it, it's pretty bad. It's been done that way, but again, bad to blow it. People have said that during the FFA, there was a long sling on said original aid bolt to make the clip occur BEFORE pulling the move. Now, do you move the bolt's location during the Stainless upgrade? I say yes since you're not altering the nature of the FFA. Another example would be the "very tall FAist". I've had height challenged friends make R moves to clip a bolt out of their reach because the FAist drilled as high as he could from a stance. The move was not R for them but for anyone under 5'10"... different story.
4) Routes becoming Museums because of boldness: Assuming the hardware is good (there's no excuse for a museum route because it's not modern SS) I think these routes fall into 2 categories.
a) Intentionally bold
b) Unintentionally bold
Herein lies the bulk of heated debate because it's not often easy to separate the two and even more so - climbers do not want them to be separated for reasons discussed later. Intentionally Bold routes have classic examples: The BY the Grand Daddy of them all. They were put up in a bold style that has been recognized and respected by most climbers for years. Others, in my mind, include the Dike Route on Pywiack and Misty Beethoven. These routes are known for their run-outs and pushing of the envelope. "IBRs" should be without debate. End Of Story. Anyone who whines that "The BY would be done more and super classic with more bolts" will get a swift kick by me. I probably am not bolt enough to do it EVER, but I'll fight to the last crowbar, to defend someone else's right to try. I also personally believe that the bulk of run-out routes fall into this category. The routes replaced on Royal Arches? "IBRs" Routes on Whitehorse Ledge? "IBRs" It's the climbing community's duty to educate newer climbers to "IBRs" and to do it in a way that is helpful, not condescending and counter productive. When a 14 year old complains about that 5.10c on the Apron, don't mock them as being weak and call them a "Gymbie" or what not - you've just discredited yourself and moved everyone backwards. The first time this happened to me I took said lad on a 5.9 (well within his range) IBR and sent him off with history of the FA already shared. He "got it" after that - He doesn't like the style but at least he respects it. Now there will be those that don't "get it" and you'll have to stand your ground as do I.
The BIGGEST grey areas for me - and I believe many here as well - are routes that are bold for unknown or questionable reasons. Upfront I'll state I think these types of climbs are RARE but do exist. Routes that are bold because the FAist didn't have the means or the preparation to protect it well might fall here. I've heard several FAist state they didn't have the $$ to buy bolts and would have put more in if they had them or they were saving them for the unknown above. Snake Dike is an example of this. If the FAist says, "yeah, I wish that had been better protected. It's not how I wanted people the experience the route" I think that's pretty much a green light to go back and fix it. I'm not talking bolts every 4 feet here, but if there are moves or sections that, with the addition of a FEW additional bolts, will drastically reduce the Museum Factor on the route - why not? If you stick to my belief that most climbs are and should remain "IBRs" then improving a route here and there will not "lower the sport" in anyway.
Lastly, there are the climbs that are moderate but needlessly bold. I'm talking climbs that were made bold by a climber with abilities far above the grade of the route. I've done one or two of these in my time and think they're BS. Things like, skipping a perfect drilling stance below a crux, only to put the bolt in right above it. Come On. If you were at your limit you would've done it differently.
Again, most of this debate should be about why we don't do more to replace our aging hardware, not about the small % of routes that fall into the gray area.
Matt, as to the "why" here is a perhaps from the Glacier Point thread:
Re: Glacier Point Bolt Re-placement Update Sep 11, 2007, 10:21pm PST
Maybe OT or something... but does anyone else think it is absolutely moronic that these guys need to HAND DRILL these projects just because the Park Service has its head up its ass?
What is the fine for using a powerdrill to do this work? Maybe a collection can be taken up where the "purp" just replaces all the damn bolts with a drill, gets a $100 ticket and has his cordless drill confiscated. BFD.... cut a check to the green gestapo and move on to the next route.....
Re: Glacier Point Bolt Re-placement Update Sep 11, 2007, 10:26pm PST
I was wondering why there was no power drill happening here and over on the arches.
If we want to use Elbsandstein as our model for the future management of Tuolumne and other areas, it is important to point out that the area reamined "as it was" for two reasons. First, as part of the DDR, it was backward, isolated and really impoverished. (A bit like the Needles in SD!) Second, it has two levels of bureaucracy that directly regulate climbing. The first is provided by the state on the public lands. The second is a bureaucracy originally organized by the climbing clubs that has the power to impose rules, enforce them, and punish infractions. There are committees, meetings, "trials," elected and appointed officers, and official rulebooks.
Many self-described "trad" climbers have a pretty strong libertarian streak, at least when it comes to climbing. The conservation of ground-up climbing styles, and original (or historically restored) fas, is eventually going to depend on trad climbers developing their own bureaucratic regulatory structures. The alternative will be land managers doing it for us. The older practice of ridicule and occasional bolt-chopping is not going to be sustainable given the current numbers and visibility of the sport. John's comments above are considerably gentler, but this is the point he was trying to make. And he's been there and done it in the Gunks.
PS- Elbsandstein has also recently developed something like a two-track system with the older areas reserved for "trad" and a handful of more obscure newer areas being developed with chalk, bolts, and rap stations.
If you are going to visit Elbsandstein, I strongly recommend going when the weather is dry and cool. The run-outs (which can be really moderate on some of the face climbs) may not be as intimidating as the prospect of climbing without chalk. I was there in the summer, maybe 80% humidity, and that stuff is definitely not Dakota sandstone, but the constant stream of sand particles rolling off on your palms is a poor substitute for magnesium carbonate.
Russ - I feel your pain. WA had some areas in NFS land that I had time, a weekend or two, to go work on. Problem for me was hand drilling would've limited me to not even one route. Drill? I could've done a route AND climbed that weekend. Tough to sell a partner on an approach with limited climbing the whole weekend. I too wish you could just get a permit to drill replacement holes. Not a bid deal and you could argue it would keep cost down by not having to do a rescue due to bad bolts failing.
Hell - get a rep to work with the Climbing ranger.
Dingus, I think high traffic is the yardstick of the "modern" climber. They often use that as proof that it's okay to retrobolt routes to make them "safer". More bolts = more traffic = "See, it was needed!"
We have literally thousands of sport climbs. Why can't we have a few that aren't?
I pretty much agree with your break down given above. I'm still in doubt about the "needlessly bold" and "unintentionally bold" categories myself.
I have on sight soloed a number of FA's in various places (especially Tuolumne) that may come close to being in those categories. I have mixed feelings about them. One in particular is "Solitary Confinement" on Fairview Dome. It is 5.9 (maybe 10a), four pitches (don't know really - didn't use a rope). I am fairly proud of this accomplishment and it is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Even though it is relatively easy climbing it was very difficult and committing to walk up to this 300 foot black streak and "go for it" on the free solo. I didn't know how hard it was going to be and to this day I would have a hard time seeing bolts placed on it.
However, I did do a bunch of on sight FA solos on the left side of Low Profile in the 5.8 range that I probably wouldn't mind adding bolts to. They were challenging at the time but I'm not so proud of them that adding bolts wouldn't really bother me. Plus they would be great routes for climbers at that level. Tough call.
Ultimately I just wouldn't want to see people adding bolts to anything they deem "too run out" (without consent from the FA party).
kik - I had no idea about the "politics" of the Elbsandstein region. Thanks for the info. I always thought the climbers were just proud of their style and ethics (which I'm sure many are). It still is pretty inspirational to me to see them continue to practice in that vein.
the reason some of the museum routes in MT are in disrepair is when they were put up, the gear (button heads were bomber) was good and everybody from the 'old gaurd' who wanted to, made their repeat. Why replace the bolts if you already sent it 15 years ago??. Everybody else is satisfied repeating the friendly .6s through .8s, so when a few young guys want to try one of lowes or dockins test pieces 20 years later the leepers dont look so inspiring, go figure...
How is run out contrived? Well...
Look for a good place to stand so you can place a bolt... If there isn't a good place to give you a stable enough stance to drill, keep climbing until you find one. If you can't handle the climb, you shouldn't be on it.
As Kamps once told me; the first rule of being a leader is "don't fall." If it is possible that you might fall, it means you are not good enough to lead.
Edit: I have no problem with someone replacing an old bolt that has gone bad, but adding new ones where none were before...
Why? I thought you guys climb better then these old goats? Or what you really saying is that many of you "fall" better than the old guard? Which one???
You just described the B-Y to a tee. I agree with you, runouts done by people at their personal limit deserve respect. Contrived runouts done by people climbing 2-3 number grades below their own level are BS, and that is a big reason those routes fell into disrepair in the first place, and why rebolting them with the same BS runouts won't matter.
come on jhedge. geez. with all these great young guns running around burning the numbers up should they really lower themselves to adding bolts to a lowly 5.11. christ, the sport std is now 5.15. i cant imagine any of these self respecting sport climbers wanting to add bolts to a 5.11. maybe not even a 5.12, what with their superior skills and all....
jhedge, i finally get your drift. if we had a raod paved up to the top of half dome and maintained appropriately then think of all those who would want to drive up there. the opening of the masses. get the NPS going on that will ya? i mean who the hell wants to sweat and grunt (even up the cables route) when you can drive up there in a bago with a cold beer in your lap?
Hmmm, I can't relate to these uber climbs sorry. You know me, I'm a punter.
In 73 Mike Graber and the brother Black established some routes on Balloon Dome in Mammoth Pool country.
So far as I've been able to tell, me and two friends did the 2nd ascent of one of those routes some 18 years after the FA. There were two quarter inchers on the route. The neighboring route, Boku Maru, I think had 9 bolts as it was mostly face.
Those routes are both 5.9.
Now the bolts are over 30 years old. I wouldn't count on any of them personally. So if I were to try either of them again I would certainly consider a bolt kit mandatory.
The age of the bolts ALONE wouldn't necessarily put me off. But the prospect of replacing them and the time it would take certainly would be a significant obstacle for me.
If someone said "Hey Ding, I rebolted Boku Maru," I'd be far more inclined to go back.
The reason a lot of those routes fell into disrepair is not so simple as you suggest. However, the point you make does seem valid in one sense.
But when I go to a real museum and see some African mask for example, cared a thousand years ago, its not particularly important for me to know it was used last week by Idi Amin or whothef*#kever. I pretty much EXPECT museum pieces to be used very infrequently, that's sorta why they're in the museum to begin with.
Oh, and for us commoners who can't travel to Africa to do the research ourselves. We appreciate the lift.
Ditto the 'museum route' concept I guess.
I've never heard a valid 'one size fits all' argument about this topic, EVER. Except in isolated situations and urban sport crags I've never heard a valid argument to displace the "Rule of the FA' precedence.... not by you, not by anyone.
No he's saying people vote with their feet and if these routes were important to youngins they wouldn't need rebolting.
I get that. The point is plain.
I still say... SO???????
I like the lone ranger aspect of it all, always have. If Billy Joe Bob decides to rebolt some 30 year old route, COOL! If no one ever does, why bother strictly for the sake that someone else *might* want to climb them some time?
Why not leave the rebolting effort to that future someone?
It seems a valid point. I think its also valid, however, for some others to say, 'hey, we don't want Route X sport bolted when those old 1/4 inchers finally fall out of their holes, so let's rebolt it FIRST.'
Committees and all that bullsh#t? Rulebooks??? The Park service issuing rebolting permits? Historic Route Register criteria???
So if I do a kick ass FA and no one can repeat it, that means someone can bolt it up to make it easier? "That doesn't sound right..."
If all the climbs are set up for every person to be able to get on it... Where is the challenge that defines our sport?
I think that if there is limited to no traffic on a route, it is because the route is a test piece waiting for someone worthy to climb it. That route is going to be a proving ground for a certain level of competence.
For example; that is why when I see someone free climb Beggar's Buttress, I automatically respect them.
Hedge does raise a good point I didn't touch upon earlier. Traffic patterns on routes.
I think looking at climbs (bolts or non bolts alike) there is a definite tendency for harder climbs to go museum faster than most. A lot of seminal climbs don't see the traffic simply because the bell curve of talent precludes it. 5.12 won't see nearly as much traffic as 5.10 or 5.8 and at some point, unless there's a healthy supply of high level climbers coming through, the routes age to the point where the condition as well as the grade speed it's descent into oblivion. INDEX, WA was local place where I saw this. Mainly stuff at 5.10 and above, gear and bolts - there are TONS of quality routes there but most moss over and rust. Why? The proud crew that was active moved on and until recently, there wasn't another to take up the torch. It's seen a lot of new interest lately and with it, scrubbing, pruning and hardware upgrades, which has increased the interest even more. A good side study could be made in the dynamics of climbing areas and "museum status". It would also be interesting to study how many times climbs get done looking at variables such as difficulty, risk, style etc. You certainly may see things that stay in the "museum archive" a lot longer than others.
So - open debate here: I've often pondered whether the climbing community would EVER allow something as controversial as "scaled retro-bolting". Here's what I mean... Slab climbing is a style near and dear to me. I love the focus and technique you need to get up something that at first seems "blank". Very puzzle-esque. I, at times, also thoroughly enjoy the mental challenge of run-out climbing. Putting my mettle to the test against the FAist and succeeding is a fantastic feeling. HOWEVER. I think there is a short coming in the slab style that keeps many from enjoying it. There is no real "learning curve" available to most as there is with the other styles. On cracks, you can work your way up in both difficulty and danger in a very incremental way. You don't jump from 5.6 to 5.10 R in rapid steps. Slab however, rarely presents this as an option. Because it was an older style, a significant number of the FAs in the moderate realm were put up by a select few set of climbers adhering to the proud style of the day. So now you have a larger and broader set of climbers looking to progress and you find it goes from 5.6 to 5.10 40 feet out VERY quickly. There are few places you can learn hard slab without also looking at bad falls. I'd be interested to see what FAist and the community would say if someone said - hey? how bout a long, hard slab route that's well protected (within reason - 3 ft spacing is not what I'm saying). Then one where the run-outs are moderate, then back to bold? We have crack circuits and wide crack circuits and even sport climb circuits - why not older styles as well? Now I realize a lot of what I just typed flies in the face of the typical ethic. I'm not saying you go out and retro bolt 50 climbs. But think of how many areas might see more traffic - across the board - if select climbs were retro'd to varying degrees. I know I've read on here about guys working up to do the BY - easier climbs to hard - I just don't think that option exists a much in the lower grades. Crazy talk I know but this has been a good thread so far.
back in the old days there were severeal routes that i knew i had to have certain abilities to do. i worked at it and didnt get on these routes until I KNEW that it was unlikely i would fall off them. i felt that i had earned the right to even attempt them as falls would have been unhealthy.
i realize that there are some folks out there who need things handed to them on a silver platter (ie: bolts galore). sometimes, life aint easy and you just got to quite your cryin and sack up. or admit defeat gracefully. gawd damn i hate admitting to those weaknesses i can see how it might get under some folks skin....especially if you can climb 5.13 on plastic but cant sack up for a 5.11. pity those guys i do, yep.
Funny thing is, the longer I hang out on this rock, the more I recognize that everything comes full circle. The styles (clothes, hair, cars, etc) of today were often the hot deal years ago, even if someone claims to have come up with it on their own. Maybe climbs that require nerve and skill will come back into style... (completely tongue in cheek if anyone misses the intent of humor).
No stuffing my rope gun!
In fact I don't think there is an expiration date on him. Right now he's getting back in shape so I have reasons to be curious about the future of John Bachar "the climber."
DMT: "Committees and all that bullsh#t? Rulebooks??? The Park service issuing rebolting permits? Historic Route Register criteria???
F*#K.... ALL... THAT...."
But that is where we are headed. One of the chief justifications for allowing climbing--and certain types of fixed protection--on public lands is that climbing is a "historic use" that has helped to create a "historic landscape" which is one of the values that managers can plan for and regulate. And it is one of the justifications for "trad" climbing generally in a land use plan that might otherwise mandate regular fixed protection in order to limit legal liability. That means that someone is going to define "historic" and define what would constitute "historic character." Better the AC or one of the climber's coalitions than the NPS. Put it another way, at least in the context of the National Park System: If it isn't a "historic landscape," then it's a "natural landscape," and few land managers are going to describe bolts--button-head, star drive-ins, stainless steel or otherwise--as "natural."
I can't say I like the idea either, but it is one of the things that preserved access in the Gunks and kept Elbsandstein from being grid-bolted. John can say a lot more about how it worked in the Gunks. COSIROC at Fontainebleau is another successful example.
Matt, if the climbers of yore learned to slab climb and did not get seriously hurt doing it (in most instances) then why can't current climbers do the same. The reason that I suspect is that most newer climbers, climbing in the gym or at a sport crag, don't want to take a dent to their ego to spend the time getting comfortable on a 5.7/5.8 slab when the feel much more macho doing an 5.11a at Williamson that requires no more than a set of guns to fire off.
Runout slab climbing can be learned safely, but first you have to learn how to read a route and, probably more important, have to down climb really well. I know so many climbers at the gym who beat their chest about a sport or crack climb but will refuse to hop on a 5.9 slab because they don't know how to climb it (since they can't muscle their way up it); plus you don't score any points in your little circle for saying you bagged Stick to What or The Fiend.
Offwidths are really hard too if you don't know how to climb wide cracks. Should we retro bolt those too? If you don't want to invest the time to climb slab then don't climb it. Most opt not to. That's why the traffic on the museum climbs is so low.
P.S. DMT, I've always been really curious about Boku Maru, etc, particularly since I've got a buddy who can dance his way up 5.10R off the couch, which is where we find ourselves most of time these days. Any beta other than find the dike and follow it?
The many dimensions of museum climbs
1) Boldness - likelihood of death / serious injury on failure
2) Quality of protection - hooks to bolts
3) Frequency of placements - none to frequent (This and #2) contribute to 1
4) Quality of equipment, shoes, tape, chalk, ad nauseum
5) Vanity of first ascender - That's right folks!
6) Vanity of prospective repeater (I'm as bad-ass as he...)
So here is the True Climbing Museum Solution
M.0 Museums are required by law to be wheelchair accessible. So a cable is necessary for W/C access.
M.1 Climber uses carefully placed bolts meeting ASTM specs every 3 feet.
M.2 Climber skips alternate bolts. They are numbered. He may choose even or odd.
M.3 Climber clips only bolts with G, R, X, F* ratings
M.4 Climber clips only bolts with R, X, F* ratings
M.5 Climber clips only bolts with X, F* ratings.
M.6 Climber clips only F* bolts
M.7 Climber places own gear at F* locations, if necessary.
M.8 Climber free solos the route
M.9 Free solos the route and sprays in publication or web-site
*F denotes locations of gear put up by first ascenders.
Pluses and minuses or letter grades can be added for any non-pure ascents in the above grading system.
Finally, suffix N (for nostalgia) can be claimed for grades above M.6 when the climber replicates the equipment of the FFA, e.g. work-boots for Kamp climbs, hand-forged pitons from stove-legs, etc.
RFIDs will be issued to those that want certification of their climbing.
Nope, cept maybe Graber's email addy! SoYO guide is useless for route detail (as it is for the approach haha). It starts just right of the East Face route we did, which is easy enough to find. After that you're on your own. Its a SEA of granite, nary a crack for the first 300-400 feet.
I love the provocative nature of Joe's challenges. The thing I've noted about Joe personally, through some 10 years of online discussions, is this...
he's quite proud of his Yosemite heritage. So don't let him fool ya just because he's trolling the calm Taco waters. That doesn't mean he doesn't mean what he says... I think he does.
But when some young punk sport climbing as#@&%e starts piping up about he knows not what, I've seen Joe play the old hardman card to haha.
Cheers Joe. But this little paragraph from bachar's post really stood out for me:
"I have on sight soloed a number of FA's in various places (especially Tuolumne) that may come close to being in those categories. I have mixed feelings about them. One in particular is "Solitary Confinement" on Fairview Dome. It is 5.9 (maybe 10a), four pitches (don't know really - didn't use a rope). I am fairly proud of this accomplishment and it is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Even though it is relatively easy climbing it was very difficult and committing to walk up to this 300 foot black streak and "go for it" on the free solo. I didn't know how hard it was going to be and to this day I would have a hard time seeing bolts placed on it. "
You call that manufactured difficulty. I say its the exact opposite. The hardest sport climbs are nearly 100% manufactured difficulty and yes surely many a trad climb were manufactured as well.
Not that one though. Nothing artificial, no added sweetners, nothing but rock, man and rubber.
But even that isn't what I found remarkable about that statement. THIS:
"it is one of the hardest things I've ever done."
With respect to 'in vogue' climbing styles... free soloing hardly seems to be going out of style.
I think retrobolting that route would be f*#ked up. Simple as that. Its not hero worship either, its simple respect.
Setting aside personal animosities and debate grudges, the point I want to make from all this is simple...
this goes to the core of what I feel is deserving of respect from elder generations and worthy of preservation. We don't need to use Jailhouse crowbars and gas powered Rhyobis on every motherf*#king cliff in existence, just to open more contrived made up routes with manufactured difficulty. Here's one IN THE RAW. Nothing whatsoever is manufactured about it.
joe would have you believe that bachar knew exactly how hard that was going to be and cakewalked up there. where in retrospect, a climb like that takes something that a sport climb doe not require, a belief in ones abilities and the ability to get over the basic fear of f%%%in up....bigtime.
Would this be a good place to mention the excellent work being done by Roger Brown and Clint Cummins, and others, in the Valley? On exactly the sort of thing that jthedge is concerned about? They're simply replacing existing drilled anchors, very carefully, but are putting enormous work into it. And many of the climbs, although slabs without a lot of bolts, are within the ability of a competent 5.9 or 5.10 leader. http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=441303
Seems like some who think it through realize there is a nuanced question underlying all of this. Others revert to the usual "go climb in a gym" or "every cliff does not need to be gridbolted" BS. Most of the climbers on this forum are not just gym climbers and I don't think suggesting the addition of a bolt to prevent a fatal fall opens the floodgates to gridbolting. Also, there's a huge difference between a runout climb and a dangerous climb- the two are not necessarily coextensive.
In any case, some routes will fall into oblivion and will be redone, some times in good style and sometimes not. This has already happened at places like the stronghold (it's probably more likely to happen out in the provences than a place like YNP). It probably means the route was not that great to begin with or was not done in a style anyone cared enough to remember.
Joe you ignorant slut!
Bachar was right. Sportclimbing is a relatively soulless pasttime and, given the grid bolting, chipping, "cleaning" and other activities at some sport areas, destructive as well. The fact that some sportclimbers have gotten so good as to apply their talents to things such as El Cap does not justify denigrating every area to a sportclimbing ethic.
Some ideas are worth pursuing. The notion of climbing as a sport where the climber relies primarily on his skill and not a line of bolts to progress is the ideal to which we should aspire, even if we probably fall short of that and still manage to have a good time. After all this discussion I still believe one general premise should hold true: if you can't climb it in the same style as your predecessors, either get better or walk away and leave some rock for better climbers to aspire to.
perhaps you can elaborate on why retrobolting routes like the BY would further the sport of rockclimbing at the leading elite levels?
seems kind of quite the contrary....like you are pissing and moaning about how great sport climmbing is and how it has made climbers better (i agree in some respects) and i dont see the tie to retroing dangerous routes....
"not every route should stay runout just out of blind adherence to tradition."
i actually agree with you here. however, just because something is not done frequently does not infer that the majority of climbers feel that it was put up in bad style. i got to hand it to you though, you hang on liike a pitbull. if you hang onto knobs like you do this issue, it ought to be easy for you to go 4th class that thing!
Joe, oh homo one! When are you coming to Kentucky to practice climb with us?
We were never good enough to do the scary routes in the park but we can climb overhanging sandstone till our forearms explode with the pump. Come hither Joe...the safety of overhanging sandstone sport routes calls.
Joe said about me, "I just have to laugh at how totally and demonstrably wrong he was in the 80's about the impact sport climbing was going to have. "
For the record Mr. Hedge, I was against rappel bolting, not sport climbing. I think steep face climbing is great (it is my favorite type of climbing) but I felt well protected steep face climbs could all be established ground up.
John, personally I think Joe is funny.
The reason is...
I imagine Joe climbing three feet away from a bolt and getting nervous about falling. I see his hands sweating, needing to re-clip. I then see him actually breaking down after ten feet of no clipping. I hear him calling with a desperate voice to his belayer; "take, I am about to fall!"
You can then see him reaching for an imaginary hanger, wishing it was there as he slips, screams and he falls ungracefully down...
I once watched Joe take the big slider off of 10 Carat's Window Pane Pitch at Suicide; so he is no stranger to runouts.
In his defense I must say his shoes were a bit big and totally blown out.
It's OK Joe,
We still love you even though you like to throw (air) rocks at us from time to time.
And Snyd is there on the right too; agree or disagree, we are for the most part all family here!
"Huber had never crack climbed 3 months before he freed the Salathe, and Free Rider often gets done by people with the same background. Hard for even me to believe but true."
yeah i know these trad climbers that are trad only type of folks that came to yosemite and did the the waltz up Free Rider w/ out hang dogging. the also never report what they do unlike the spray from those shiners
I remember Messener once on the top of the mountain feeling he really summated. he finally was at peace. He didn't need to do anymore.
Then it came again ..... he had to do more.
False summit ......
Is there such a thing as a "false summit?"
When we achieve our summit we have finally perfected that moment and then it is separated from us by time. We must seek it again until death makes time irreverent. In death we unite with our past, present and future selves so our moments become part of forever.
Messener found peace and it waits for him. I think he is just collecting more...
There's another factor contributing to the neglect of some of
these climbs. Joe has touched on it in the past, but I'm not sure
if he has done so in this thread.
Aside from runouts, it's plain that a large percentage of climbers simply cannot stand slab climbing. Hate it with a passion. Detest the insecure process of entrusting their entire
being to standing on their feet with nothing to pull on.
Most climbers these days want the rock to be vertical or steeper. It's that simple. Many of these climbs that are nearing
museum specimen status would never be popular even with lots of
scuffy b is exactly right-- one of the reasons some trad areas (i.e. needles) have become museums is that the movement itself-- slab or even crack --has gone out of style. even with lots of shiny new bolts, the needles is not likely to be a destination area given the current fashion trends.
yosemite and idyllwild still get pressure because they are world-famous areas on the edge of major metropoles with incredible population pressure. as a result, they'll still get action, although even there, you can see the change in traffic patterns: compare the cookie on a weekend with glacier point (even before the rockfall freaked folks out). most climbers now learn in gyms or sport areas and haven't learned how to stand on their feet. they feel more comfortable on the steep.
ironically, the population pressure on yosemite is one of the best arguments in favor of museum piece routes in the meadows: climbing patterns (endless lines on regular route and cathedral but no one on b-y) weirdly echo the NPS notion of "sacrifice zones" in which certain sites in the park are intended to bear the brunt of visitation while other areas shade off into less frequent visitation patterns. from an NPS manger's point of view, visitation spread out evenly over all the routes would actually be less desirable. at least until the NPS changes its management criteria.
don't count on slab climbing remaining forever out of fashion. fifteen years ago i never would have believed that bouldering would become a mass sport.
Elbsandstein was a center for climbing innovation from the turn-of-the-century until WW1. Then, with the piton revolution in the Kaisergebirge and the Dolomites, it became a backwater and remained one until the seventies. Then, the advent of clean climbing (and softening of the Cold War) suddenly put the place and its climbers, like Berndt Arnold, back on the world map as a destination. Everyone from Henry Barber to Kim Carrigan had to go and see. Now it's a backwater again.
If a "museum" climb is one that doesn't get done often and is just stared at then it is most likely because it is difficult. Maybe not just "gymnastically" difficult but "mentally" difficult. By definition a 5.15a sport route or just a 5.10c X route will not get done that much - only the very best climbers, the top 1% let's say, will be able to do these climbs. Both are valuable tests of a climber's abilities and both may very well end up being considered "museum" climbs in the long run.
There are climbers that can crank 5.14 sport routes no problem that may never be able to do a certain 5.11 X - and vice versa, climbers who can do the "head" routes who can't pull off the 5.14 sport route. On top of that, neither of these types may be able to do the V15 boulder problem.
I like to compare this to the game 'rock, paper, scissors' - which is best? Neither of course, they each have their own value and strength.
We have been mainly discussing competitive ethics on this thread and not many have mentioned "environmental" ethics. When placing bolts, I always tried to adhere to the ethic that placing bolts only when needed was less damaging to the rock and that by exhibiting more skill one could scar the rock less. That's one reason I didn't place a lot of bolts - I didn't want to make a mess out of the rock.
The other reason I didn't place a lot of bolts is that I didn't want overbolting to replace climbing skill. I felt it showed a certain level of skill and was an artistic statement about climbing the rock with respect and not just punching holes anytime I was scared.
I personally like "sport" climbs - they are great fun but sometimes I have witnessed sections of "grid" bolting that are frankly quite ugly and shockingly overdone. Environmentally speaking, there's a fine line between enjoying the rock and desecrating it.
Ultimately I think both types of climbs are valuable and fun and we should be stoked that such a wide range of climbing difficulty is available to us.
Side note: I also believe that some kind of "commitment" rating should be adopted to make new climbers aware that risk is also a type of climbing difficulty and to keep them from getting hurt as well...
I continue to be amazed at these old photos you keep pulling out of the hat. Joe looks about 14! And a big howdy to Joe and Chris, it has been way too long!
I think the great diversity found in rock types and local area values and traditions, makes blanket overall ethical stances ineffective. If we view first ascents as "artistic statements", we should consider them individually, taking into account the place, time, skills and tools available to such artists. Then viewing historical routes and how permanent gear may be upgraded or in some cases repositioned, we must give heed to the first ascent party, their intentions, and current views.
Then there is personal taste, as with viewing or experiencing any art.
As an example, here is my personal opinion about a sampling of Medlicott routes, because I don't agree with a blanket statement about "contrived runouts".
Sweet Jesus: Bold for its time, but every time I've done it (though long ago), I always wondered if the groundfall potential between the first and second bolt came from FA necessity or misjudgment of distance, as there is a stance a bit lower, and I dimly recall a broken leg from someone blowing it there.
Bachar Yerian: A world class statement, exploring a new technique and technology, and very well done. Even at 45, I haven't let go of the dream of spending a month in the meadows honing knob technique and then doing that one. I would be sad to have that dream taken away by anyone changing it.
You Asked For It: The ultimate statement, since a lot of the boldest runouts connect natural stances rather than hook placements.
The Kid: A thin emulation of Bachars style, and the story of the FA, though perhaps inaccurate, depicted what I would call a "contrived runout" as a bad groundfall was created with intention and purpose. This bothered me and I said so at the time, as I viewed it as simply a deadly version of the nearby Ciebola, and did not really break new ground. This takes nothing away from my respect for Kurt, who I consider one of the truly great american climbers, I just don't think it was one of his better statements.
funny thing is, on these runout museum pieces you hear of far fewer accidents than you do on many other routes. take the green dragon (?) on the arpon. pretty well protected but i have heard of some serious accidents on that thing.
so far as slab going out of style, some of us learned on that stuff.
There have been about 1/2 dozen threads like this over the past 3-4 years on ST. The comments are generally the same, but they need to be rehashed as often as it takes.
But one aspect of the change in climbing over the last 30 years that is hard to grasp--from both ends of the spectrum--is pointed out by John in his last point above:
"...Side note: I also believe that some kind of "commitment" rating should be adopted to make new climbers aware that risk is also a type of climbing difficulty.."
Bold leading was always part of the best climbing in the 60s and 70s (I cannot speak about later times, since I died). Pratt climbed off-width without protection, using his own trust in his technique. Others followed. Most of the climbs on the Glacier Point Apron were lightly protected. In the late 60s and 70s, slab climbing came into vogue in the Meadows and in the smaller aprons in the Valley. Because of the requirement of bolt protection--which are a pain in the neck to place and were open to all manner of criticism--the element of boldness and how to practice it became finely honed. We all practiced not allowing our minds to wander off, get scared, and cause us to peel. Personally, this aspect of mind control and the flow that accompanied it was the best part of climbing.
Of course, once this level of boldness was established on a route, people followed, sometimes without the mind control that Pratt, or Kamps, or Higgins, or John had (has). This doesn't mean that everyone pushed as hard in this direction as everyone else (Bridwell didn't like slab climbing but it would be dangerous to accuse him of lacking boldness), but that does not invalidate it. Most of us stayed tied in. John and others pushed it to the point of no ropes.
There was nothing more unsettling to me than to watch someone desperately quake and lunge up an unprotected off width or slab climb and then express a pride of success as if they had done the route. I didn't misspeak in that last sentence. I am echoing John's comment about an element of climbing that assumed steady control (have you ever watched John climb?) that lots of us sought out when we tackled slabs.
One of the reasons, I think, that this type of climbing is not well understood today is because it was established when leaders were not supposed to fall. Nowadays falling and falling often supports much higher climbing standards, and is more or less essentia. There is even a special significance given to an ascent without preview where the leader does not fall. That used to be the norm.
I think most everyone agrees that old climbs should be repaired (As has been pointed out many times we thought that our 1/4 inch spilt shaft bolts with threaded nut keepers were bomber. They can be replaced with the latest and greatest as far as I am concerned) but otherwise left along, but it shouldn't only be because they are old--the museum analogy is apt--it should be because that this type of climbing would simply be lost even if the same rock supported long lines of people waiting to clip up. (This doesn’t address adding bolts that should have been drilled in the first place by common agreement.)
And if no one wants to climb these sorts of routes enough to fix them, then so be it. They can remain random scenery until someone does.
It's pretty hard to regulate art: others have said as much up thread.
Yes, but there are distinct schools of art, and they're not given birth so easily, because art objects (meaning art opposes, said by Jeanette Winterson) and it typically does so against the status quo. When Warhol opposed Jackson Pollack’s “drip paintings” (Abstract Expressionism?), with the soup cans (Pop Art), that didn't go down so easily. The distinction and evolution of different art forms is sometimes fluid, but more often than not it is harshly resisted. So of course, sport climbing, rap bolting was likewise resisted but accepted as a new and valid expression. But now we are looking back at the validity of the “old ways”.
Rule of the First Ascensionist.
A route given "ownership" to the first ascent party:
(Notwithstanding the obvious “true ownership” rights of the actual landholder).
While the yeoman's effort at establishing a thing is the sole investment of the first ascent party, I submit that the first ascent party acts within a grand narrative and so inspired by that narrative makes a contribution to the community. So the route doesn't really belong to the first ascensionists, it belongs to the community, because it is the extant communal narrative which inspires the first ascent party to extend themselves to begin with; it is a legacy in which we all partake. The first ascensionists are inspired by their peers, and likewise make a contribution toward their peers. The route is bestowed upon their peers, so the peer group becomes the steward of the route.
As it happens, or happened back in the day, the community in turn granted the first ascent effort, right or wrong, a cherished status to be upheld and preserved. If any changes were to be made it was deemed appropriate that only the first ascent team would be given that right; this clearly avoids the slippery slope of group consensus slowly changing and racking around the original routes. From a practical standpoint, that works pretty well to preserve the route as it was put up. In essence, we all own it, but as a group we don’t reserve any special right to change it: in fact, we humbly refrained from such action. Oddly, I think the converse should be true: as the route was born of the community and bestowed upon the community, I think the first ascensionists, unless they make changes right away, should live with it and I don't think even they should reserve the right to change it years down the line; admittedly that's a pretty extreme interpretation.
Joe on this thread and Hammer on the Needles thread have noted that a couple routes, after a significant passage of time, have languished due to both the limited protection and the deteriorating quality of that protection.
Burning Down the House just may be a route which sits unused for good reason, in that it was a response to an external attitude/pressure, reportedly imposed by Claude and Vern, strongly felt by Kurt and Steve and the run outs may have been retaliatory in nature and perhaps unnecessarily long. (Peter just mentioned The Kid, which may well be a similarly fit example). I haven't done BDH, but that was my sense of it at the time; and on top of that we were all told a huge run out was protected by a spinner. Nevertheless, a bold and viable statement, for whatever reason, was made and as Ed Hartouni said up thread, so be it. Are we next to question motive in order to render a determination of a route’s viability? In my opinion, it's OK to have a few oddities hanging out there in the breeze and I don't think we need to go fix them, other than upgrading the original hardware.
JB's concept of limited bolting encompassing an ecological imperative certainly has merit. I also think KLK’s concept of the “sacrifice zones” as posted up thread goes some distance in support of the ecologically beneficial, place holding aspect of these “Museum Routes”. Many others in this thread have said that leaving something to strive for, however wacko it might look from the outside, is something worth preserving, and I agree.
There is a lot of rock out there and in my opinion plenty of room for different types of terrain dictating different protection styles and likewise for different expressions of protection style even within the same type of terrain. There was once a sport/rappel route put up (down) near Body and Soul: the hangers were flattened. My greatest concern was that there would be a backlash, which would encompass the retro bolting of wonderful masterpieces such as Body and Soul, BY, You Asked for It. We gotta live and let live here folks and appreciate these various forms of expression.
Use of pitons in cracks, replacing them with "nearby" bolts, as opposed to re-nailing them and Steve Grossman’s pin-bolt concept:
In the Needles thread, if I have Hammer right, he/she is making two statements:
First, just replace the aged pins on the Needles Eye with a good bolt.
Second, it isn't such a good idea to put up a 5.8 which is unleadable for 5.8 climbers.
The concept of pin versus bolt as fixed protection is a nuanced one to be sure. Although both require maintenance, it seems straightforward that the pin will loosen up and that repeated replacing is a bad idea in terms of rock deterioration.
While Steve Grossman's pin bolt idea seems at first blush a bit arcane and will probably ring contrived to most of us, I believe if it's worked out properly, it is an elegant solution to the concept of retaining the idea of a fixed piece, the piton, which to me represents a degree of imposition on the rock in terms of fixed protection that is somewhat less forced than a bolt and as such warrants a place in the canon of fixed gear. Yes, even for routes to be done in the future, not just for maintaining older lines where pins were left in crucial placements.
I say this because a fixed piton, although a chunk of metal requiring maintenance, is not as great an imposition as is a hole drilled into the rock. The piton works with the natural feature, and it is used as a last resort where passive or active protection will not work. If you replace a fixed pin with a bolt there's a disconnect from that subtle value of working with natural features. I like the pin bolt as a response to the maintenance issue. What I don't yet see is how a pin bolt works in a straight in crack. When the pin bolt concept is applied in a corner, the bolt portion of the set up is perpendicular to the blade and so is unobtrusive. It seems to me that a pin bolt set up for a straight in crack would have to have some odd hanger like portion attached perpendicular to the blade. It may also violate the rule of diameters in that the hole would be very close to the crack and may create an unstable structural situation.
As to the idea of an unprotected 5.8 and that creating a museum route fit only for climbers possessing greater technical ability: there are plenty of well protected, traditional routes in the 5.8 grades and even lower, whether they are crack, bolt, or naturally protected face. As was stated earlier up thread, there are plenty of moderate routes to train on for run outs and it is quite likely that people just don't want to lower themselves to the grade that they have to climb at to develop those skills and to get that act together. To me, the concept of apprenticeship applies here; follow some stuff, be humble and pay your dues (check Roger's post just above).
The occasional test piece, which is over the head of most applicants at that grade by my line of thinking is OK, because it is a head style route, its difficulty is not about the grade: it is about the commitment factor, so expressing the route as a function of its grade alone is missing the point. I believe it is a bit inflexible to assume that every route out there must meet a requirement that it be leadable by a leader whose proficiency tops out at that grade.
A subset to all of this is the free solo first ascent. It doesn't happen much, but when it does it essentially forecloses all future use of the rock, unless you can TR the climb. These are true museum climbs. It's so uncommon that it doesn't really matter much beyond interweb pondering. But, if a 5.12 climber just free soloed a bunch of 5.8s on a cliff, those climbs would be off limits to almost all other climbers. Seems selfish to me.
Yes and JB mentioned one of those up thread on the far right side of Fairview: Solitary Confinement. A corner case for sure, and something to ponder. In the end just another artform and worthy of respect.
In 1985, I had done things like Grey Ghost (without the bolt), Tune Up, and other run out things. I went out to do one of those routes to the right of Solitary Confinement; Run for Cover. You scramble, solo really, about 5.6 up to a ledge, which is situated with some degree of exposure. Zilch for anchors. Tommy Herbert had said to try some small RP's. Then for the first protected pitch you start getting into maybe some 5.8 to reach the first bolt, which of course is a ways out. I just wasn't comfortable with that scenario, so I belayed my friend down and I left it at that; you know, discretion being the better part of valor.
It's interesting, even having led some of the routes in question, like 'Tune Up', I can not honestly say that I enjoyed it. I know some people that take great pride and are really happy after surmounting the fear inherent in climbing these routes but I just am not one of those. Quite frankly they scare the crap out of me. Often I am so spent that I can't even climb the next pitch or even the next day. It takes that much work to concentrate that hard to avoid falling and I am worthless after. I do admit that I can look back with some pride to the fact that I DID IT, but in reality those were usually my least enjoyable climbing days.
And yet, I still would never want those routes changed. Let others also find whether they have it in them to get up them. Some will learn to love the risk, others will hate it. That is as it should be.
Grey Ghost is an interesting case, I guided that one day, taking out two gorgeous dancers who were more skilled than the average client of the day. This was back when we were all inspired by the runout knob routes going up, and the amazing things JB was up to. As I faced the short section of polished 5.9 near the top, and looking at the grounder, I felt more or less in control, but also felt bad for subjecting my clients to the risk of witnessing a horrendous fatal fall.
Back at the rat room, TM told me that Robbins had got in some decent pins in the horizontal. Did someone ask Royal before adding a bolt? I wonder what he would have said, or hopefully did say!
I often guided RCA. Though quite sporty, you get some good tricams in the horizontals. One time I had to lead the "beach ball" move on the last pitch with rain splattering, still a sweaty-palm-inducing recollection.
These are both good examples of 4 star moderates that should be avoided by those who would be climbing near their limit.
I guess I was taking advantage of this state, knowing that no matter how crowded West Crack was, no one was ever on RCA.
Did someone add a bolt to Grey Ghost Peter?
I don't think so; I was referring to the single bolt way down low. I skipped it because there was a better line in the knobs slightly to the right and in either case, I deemed the bolt worthless for the crux above.
I hear you on that runout burnout syndrome Jan. I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy those routes, but I did notice a succession of them could take its toll.
I did a handful of them with Jenny Bergeron and after a string of them it was Jenny who I brought up to the belay on Run for Cover. With Jenny cheerfully sitting on the ledge enjoying the view, I fiddled some more with the RP's on the flat ledge to no avail, looked above at the long runout to gain the bolt, glanced again at her ponytail and I was done.
I'm for safety, replace the old bolts and keep it fun. Does it take a needless death to drive the point home? Then what, someone is sued and new regulations say all bolted FA's over 20 years old are off limits? Self policing only makes sense. It was never the intent to have quarter inch bolts last forever. To do so is selfish and reckless. I'm not advocating adding bolts, just replacements.
IT's okay to have to catch up with the past, or do the best you can in that direction. In the modern world we have more venues to challenge ourselves in; why compromise the ones we don't quite 'get' yet? -doing 'that' would obliviate the point entirely.
After multiple attempts, I Tr-ed the Thimble, in first generation sticky rubber fires™. I came away shaking in said boots. Though I can't ( or at least did not) experience what Dr Gill did, the first time, I still felt enlightned. I didn't change the route for those who can do a more pure ascent, though.
You can't "cross the same river twice," but you don't have to obscure the original message by dumbing it down.
I misunderstood you about the "without the bolt" on Grey Ghost, thinking you meant that one was added. Yeah that lower bolt was irrelevant to the business up above. Basically a solo, but with a rope to weigh ya down. Wonder how many times that has been done in the last 20 years.
John, "I consider Joe a friend, we used to solo 5.11 together"
Huh? Can either of you guy's name even one route that you soloed together? I consider Joe a friend too but had he soloed even a 5.10 route w/the almighty JB everyone of his bros in the ditch would have heard all about it.
John said, I have on sight soloed a number of FA's in various places (especially Tuolumne) that may come close to being in those categories. I have mixed feelings about them. One in particular is "Solitary Confinement" on Fairview Dome. It is 5.9 (maybe 10a), four pitches (don't know really - didn't use a rope). I am fairly proud of this accomplishment and it is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Even though it is relatively easy climbing it was very difficult and committing to walk up to this 300 foot black streak and "go for it" on the free solo. I didn't know how hard it was going to be and to this day I would have a hard time seeing bolts placed on it.
I get from you John that this was one of those defining moments for you, where you stepped out of a comfort zone and climbed thru. Probably nobody did it better than you did. I know I gathered inspiration from tales of your solo’s that were printed in the mags in the late 70’s through the 80’s.
That is truly the great thing about climbing is that those defining moments can come to all ability levels and types of climbs. 99.99% of us are not "advancing the sport" or pushing standards. But we can all share those defining moments.
I have almost always agreed with the idea that routes should not be changed after their first ascent (except to replace old gear with new). However, this discussion has forced me to re-think that notion. Throughout life (and climbing) our opinions and thoughts are sometimes challenged and we rise to that challenge based upon our life’s experience and knowledge base.
As a recreational climber who didn’t push any standards other than my own, perhaps I am out of place sharing this with some of the finest climbers in the world on such weighty matters.
However, the commonality that I too, have had defining moments in my experience leads me to share this. I on-site soloed a few new routes back in the 80’s, and one of them stands out for me. It was so close to my roped on-site ability as to rank in the fool hardy category, but sometimes it is those moments where we survive that end up being a “defining” moment. That route was later bolted by a party that was unaware that the line had been climbed. I frankly had no interest in climbing it again, no further experience on that route would rival what I had when I was alone. That moment in time was gone, yet will always be with me as one of those defining moments. I moved away from that area and never heard much until a few years ago when I started looking at some of the climbing sites on the internet. The few comments I read from some climbers who had climbed the route, and knew the history, leads me to believe that the route in question offers the climbing community more than just a museum piece. Frankly, I am glad that it was bolted. Make no mistake, this route is no Tuolumne test piece, and the only bearing it may have on this discussion is that it was one of my defining moments where the climb was bolted to allow future climbers safe passage.
I believe that climbers get more appreciation out of the route by understanding the history and climbing it, than by walking by and not climbing it. The fact is, no amount of preservation will equal the moments I had. This is no call to arms to bolt those bold routes, in fact, I am much more concerned about someone adding bolts to say, Bachar-Yerian than they are on the little insignificant pebbles I climbed first.
Ontheedgeandscaredtodeath said, subset to all of this is the free solo first ascent. It doesn't happen much, but when it does it essentially forecloses all future use of the rock, unless you can TR the climb. These are true museum climbs. It's so uncommon that it doesn't really matter much beyond interweb pondering. But, if a 5.12 climber just free soloed a bunch of 5.8s on a cliff, those climbs would be off limits to almost all other climbers. Seems selfish to me.
It was really this comment that got me to thinking about it. IMHO otestd has a point. I think a route that is virtually unclimbable without bolts is more valuable to the community at large if it is opened up, so long as the history is maintained. I for one won’t ever drill the bolts required but I also won’t be chopping them. I am also not for bolting everything to make them reasonable.
Risk in climbing is something that have no ratings for and a lot of these routes must be maintained as yardsticks for fture generations.
Imagine how cool most of us would feel to climb solitary confinement with bolted belays and reasonable runouts with the knowledge that JB had done this ropeless. To me this would be worth more to the community than walking by the line and staring up at it. Otherwise, it will remain a museum piece with perhaps a very, very few brave souls who are willing to reach across the barrier and touch the masterpiece for fear that the punishment of being caught is simply not worth it.
The Park Service is behind this all. With $20/night camping fees and 14 day limits, no climbers can stay in the Meadows long enough to get honed for those monsters.
I can't figure out what Werner means by "museum climbs." Are we talking about routes that see very few repeats because they are runout or are we talking about older routes that don't get done because the bolts on them are rotting.
It seems the debate has woven in between the two.
Many old routes don't get done because they have old bolts. While I'd like to think that if the bolts were new, the routes would see some traffic, I'm not so sure.
Now that Arches Terrace has been updated with new hardware, we can look there to see if that type of climbing has simply gone out of style (although I know I'll be going back over there!).
In some senses, I think Joe is right. We recently went over to do some of the great routes below the B/Y ledge. Man, what a ghost town! Even the easy .10- routes had no chalk on them, and those routes are relatively new (3/8" bolts).
As for "museum pieces" that are testaments to bold climbing, see what JB said above. And Joe, some of those routes (B/Y, You Asked For It) have new hardware because the community does respect them.
golsen - I know what you're saying. I am wrestling with these ideas all the time.
Like I said, I would definitely not have a problem with retro bolting some of the things I've done but not all of them. Hopefully people can respect that...sounds like most people can.
"Solitary Confinement" is one of those things that I'm super proud of and I can see both views on it so I will ponder it more!
On another note - I was at Hammer Dome yesterday looking at the museum climbs down there...whew baby, there's some stout sh#t on that wall! A lot of those routes are fairly well protected with new bolts (thanks Greg!) and they are still rarely done.
I think at the time those types of climbs were put up, there really wasn't any friendly hold sport climbing in the area. Now there is. I think people prefer larger holds in general and don't want to deal with the small hold super technical climbs too much anymore. Those climbs are not only hard, they are downright painful. They hurt your fingers and they kill your feet too! And if you don't have some stiff high top shoes, forget it - it's almost impossible to edge these routes in modern sport shoes. "Mystery Achievement" in slippers??? yikes... all those Settlemeyer/Caunt routes? -damn stout edging and well protected too.
Anyway, I'm not so sure a lot of these climbs are becoming museum pieces because they are runout - I think it's largely due to the painfulness of this type of climbing!
Edit: LOL Roy! I do have some extra 1/4" tapers however...
I have to say that I am sure I am not alone in really appreciating that you take the time to offer your important perspectives to these threads, and the way you maintain your consistant good humor amidst the BS that flys around here.
Now there is a name I have not heard for a while.
Somewhere I have a picture of him and (Rob?) Settlemeyer putting up one of those routes on some nice gold rock, real edgy, maybe over by Ursula/Tune up.
Even back then things on Fairview were sometimes off the map, like Unh Huh & Unh Unh,
Jenny and I did both and there were full on cobwebs on one of them:
Lots of things fall out of fashion; here in Colorado, I have been seeking out old Kor routes in the high crags.
You get history, you get solitude, and you get to cover terrain you haven't seen before.
I like doing Museum climbs!
I agree with you wholeheartedly Bob.
That's what I mean by accusations aside; his (Joe's) accusations.
I also find a lot of his counterpoint to be entrenched, stubborn, and it tends to attract the ire of some of us, who get stuck in a contentious loop with him, thereby sidelining the general tone of constructive dialogue. (And I am not really calling out anybody in particular here, such as k-mans' small jab just there, more a trend that shows up).
Sometimes things get messy; nothing new there.
Overall there has been a lot of good stuff on this particular thread, including some self-examination.
Just skimmed through this latest re-hash of an ever-new debate. Have to say, Bachar nails it. Golsen, Tar and many others do, too. No absolutes - the communuity matters as well as the experience of the FA. Ergo, some routes will get maintained, some will be retro-bolted and then chopped, while others will be allowed to keep added bolts.
Climbing is best compared to art. There are no champions, just artists of different stripes. Reading between the lines, it sounds like even old jhedge is an artist, at least in an artificial sense.
The ultimate climbing experience for me? On-sight solo of major technical climbs in the high mountains, with difficulties on both rock and ice. Ties it all together, demanding everything in the name of art. Instant museum pieces. I've done a handful of them and they are my favorite works. Most have never been repeated, but they are my most lasting and meaningful contributions to climbing.
Yeah Tar - those damn Settlemeyer - Caunt routes are effing serious. I can't believe the stances either. That hand drilling routine was down right brutal.
Hell, I did "Shadow of a Doubt" yesterday and even those "easy" stances are toe wrenchers. I remember on-sight soloing that thing in the early eighties but I was whimpering on the lead yesterday (too much sport climbing lately I guess).
You really got to be in good "edging" shape to deal with the Tuolumne slab stuff. I remember we used to make fun of "Slab Sheriffs" - now it turns out they were (are) masters of a truly demanding craft. If I were a sport climber I'd stay away from that stuff too! (I threw that in for our buddy Joe...)
heh heh, jb
Edit: I like your museum pieces Jeff - people will dig on them for decades to come!
John, we went out to Hammer on Labor Day and did Shadow of a Doubt and Skeletor. Jesus were they hard! I did Skeletor twice and couldn't touch rock the next day my fingers were so sore. Even those of us that enjoy that kind of climbing admit that it hurts like hell. It takes a whole nother kind of mental strength to do them knowing how badly they are going to hurt.
I was disappointed to see Mystery Achievement still had old bolts. I will probably fix that next August if no one has taken care of it before then. Even still, I know that I am NEVER going to do the bottom of that route again, I am not even going to try. Talk about pain!
A lot of thoughtful things have been said on both sides of this debate. A few questions:
1) Since climbing can only be made "safer" and not "safe" who decides on what the acceptable threshold of safety is for a climb?
2) If retreat is possible off of a route, why isn't retreat an acceptable outcome when the climbing party encounters difficulties beyond their capabilities or risks they deem to be unacceptable? What are the responsibilities of climbers with regard to the routes?
3) What is the extent of the authority confered on the First Ascent team regarding a climb? Who confers it?
4) What is the extent of the authority confered on the local climbing community regarding climbs in that locality? How is the community constituted?
1) Since climbing can only be made "safer" and not "safe" who decides on what the acceptable threshold of safety is for a climb?
The FA party first, then that loose thing called the local, and ideally locals only, community.
2) If retreat is possible off of a route, why isn't retreat an acceptable outcome when the climbing party encounters difficulties beyond their capabilities or risks they deem to be unacceptable? What are the responsibilities of climbers with regard to the routes?
Rather than leave a bail sling, it seems that the complainers will do it from afar, having never even tried the route, but can tell by the grade or style that it is not for them.
3) What is the extent of the authority confered on the First Ascent team regarding a climb? Who confers it?
Absolute, unless they botch it bad.
4) What is the extent of the authority confered on the local climbing community regarding climbs in that locality? How is the community constituted?
Absolute again, but you are using pretty big words for me, or at a minimum it ain't clear to me.
As Jello pointed out, a new route is the creation of the first ascender, and as a material product of vision, inspiration and effort, it really does fit the definition of art. Like art, a climbing route stirs emotion in those who behold it, and holds a more intense experience for those who climb it. The experience and emotion a climb inspires isn't always positive, just like some art is disturbing or has an offensive flavor to the viewer, but the climber who conceived of the route, and realized it, has made a statement about themselves on the rock, for all other climbers to see.
The route may be highly regarded or ridiculed, and climbers are defined by their routes, like artists are defined by their work.
I suppose that is what is at issue. Some folks dont like others works of art, particularly a blank canvas.
Morning Edition, July 23, 2007 · A French museum was displaying a Cy Twombly painting. It might be the ultimate work of modern art: it's nine by six feet, untitled, and white. It's big white canvas, valued at $2 million. A woman named Sam Rindy kissed it. She left a lipstick stain, and got arrested. But she says, "I found the painting even more beautiful. The artist left this white for me."
Course lipstick will wash off and bolts are forever....
1) Since climbing can only be made "safer" and not "safe" who decides on what the acceptable threshold of safety is for a climb?
2) If retreat is possible off of a route, why isn't retreat an acceptable outcome when the climbing party encounters difficulties beyond their capabilities or risks they deem to be unacceptable? What are the responsibilities of climbers with regard to the routes?
3) What is the extent of the authority confered on the First Ascent team regarding a climb? Who confers it?
4) What is the extent of the authority confered on the local climbing community regarding climbs in that locality? How is the community constituted?
Russ nails it too.
On point 4, I think you're asking how responsible is the "local" community to the climbs in that community.
It's hard to go against the local community. They have the advantage of being there all the time, so they pretty much have the final say. If the attitude in the Meadows really changed and all the locals wanted to sport-bolt You Asked For It, resistance to that would be futile.
The lack of route maintenance has really begun to show itself in the past few years. 10 years ago, many 1/4" bolts felt pretty solid. Today, Yikes!! I think this is one reason slabs have slowly gone out of style, they've long been equated with long run-outs on crappy bolts.
As folks have picked up the deferred maintenance tab by going out and replacing hardware, the perception of the older routes is changing to the other direction. You can now look up to see if a route has had replaced hardware.
But there will always be insurgents who go against the grain and wreak their terrorists activities. I pity the fool who puts a bail bolt with a quick link half way up the B/Y, but how long would it take for anyone to notice if Guardians of the Galaxy sprouted a few extra bolts.
Mike Bolte - yikes, that looks familiar....makes my tips sweat. Thanks bro.
I guess I'm still surprised more people aren't discussing the environmental ethic here.
Back in the day it was kind of expected that a "free" climber should bring himself up to the level of the rock and not drag the rock down to his level. The clean climbing revolution was one of the more amazing group efforts I've ever been part of. It really was a beautiful thing to see everybody trying so hard to do things clean and not screw up the rock anymore. Not slapping bolts in anywhere was part of it.
Maybe modern climbers are so used to seeing bolts that they don't view them as ugly anymore? When I see over bolted walls it looks like a line of rivets on the hull of a big ship - they destroy the natural beauty of the rock.
Is it just me or do others get that feeling too? Do modern "free" climbers still think about this ethic?
I don't think I ever thought of bolts as being ugly exactly. The clean climbing era was a reflection of a generally idealistic culture that existed throughout American youth at that time. Placing few or no bolts on a route, and laying it on the line to do so, was a statement that you would risk life and limb for the sake of not altering the rock to climb it. It was an expression of the depth of your dedication to climbing and respect for the rock. There were more practical reasons not to drill too, but that was the spirit of it.
Sportclimbing changed everything, for better or worse. Well placed bolts that protect but don't overprotect an obvious route aren't ugly to me. I even see beauty in the line they define up the rock, and how they can harmonize with rhythm and flow of the moves for the leader when positioned right. Placing bolts on routes is a totally creative act, again, to be respected and enjoyed or ridiculed by other climbers.
Bolts that are squeezed in on contrived lines right next to a well bolted classic route bug the sh#t out of me.
Standards change, but beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
If everyone refused to modify the rock and the natural problem presented us through tectonic forces some millions of years ago - there would be no "museum question." For that matter, almost all the questions treated here would not exist.
We would have chalk and its viual blight to deal with, we would have to protect the vegetation, and we would have to work with other users to minimize conflict. Please note none of these real problems are discussed here.
Do we create artificial problems, BECAUSE we look forward to fighting over them?
Very interesting. When I drove my first piton I do remember thinking, "OK. That shows I was here." That phase did not last a long time.
Language is extremely powerful. When I choose to say, "That is impossible" one knows beforehand 50% of the hearers will say "Oh. OK. That's impossible." The other 50% will move heaven and earth to show me wrong.
When we say "Primal" what does that do? 50% will say, "Oh OK. We can't change that. The other 50% will say, "Hell no!
Homo Sapiens has survived because we are adaptable. It is time for us to get busy adapting."
Thank you for raising this point. It is a real help.
John, I think that you have touched upon the root issue here that distinguishes it from clean climbing. The only way the slab climbs could be done in a pure 'leave no trace behind' is if there were no bolts placed and no pins placed. This is what you accomplished in the Gunks, to the greater benefit to all climbers. However, if no bolts or pins were placed in the Meadows almost all current routes, if they existed, would be ‘R’ or ‘X’ or free solos and this discussion would be even fiercer.
I am a ignorant upon why people are obsessed with changing already established routes when there is undeveloped rock "everywhere." If someone want's to established a well bolted climb, why don't they work on creating their own FA? Why must they desire someone else's route?
Plus if is it possible to create a route from the ground up, how can it be "too difficult? "Doesn't this sound like someone is trying to dumb down the climb to accommodate their own abilities? Also, how can anyone say a 5.8 climb is not climbable for a 5.8 climber? That makes me think that the climber has "illusions of their ability" and think they are something they are not. If they can not climb the route because they are not good at slab, shouldn't they work on their slab climbing until they achieve a slab skills to accomplish the route?
The bottom line is that some routes stand as challenges for those who dare. They are the true test pieces for developing hard men. I don't want them changed, instead I want to see who in the future will rise up to them and be the next generation of our heroes.
These routes are not just Museum climbs, these routes are what measure our climbers against the past. These routes helps us figure out if we have skills equal to those before us. I am not surprised that many sport climbers are finding themselves unable to do them. It only shows what they need to work on, and if they truly love this sport... I think a few will rise to the challenge.
To begin, the problems in each area were set by Mr. Geology. On the whole what I advocated works very well in the Gunks. That is not to say it will work everywhere.
So we have to ask, what would a failure look like? Well if there are a lot of climbers sitting around amidst square miles of rock none of which they personally are able to lead, that could be a problem. Particularly if there is no way to rig a top rope on any of it. While people have been known to do a climb on a top rope and then, once it is wired, to solo it; with their creative juices energized by the prospect, I think that approach can be carried way too far. (Before meeting Henry and some others, i thought it no approach at all. Life is awfully sweet and once dead you can't go climbing.) Are there hundreds of climbers sitting around in Tuolomne with no natural routes available? I don't know. You tell me. There is no trace of a justification based on the need for 10,001 routes when we now have only 10,000.
Now the fact a piece of rock would make a sterling route if only I could climb it, in and of itself justifies nothing. At Seneca I had a great bottom and a even better top pitch picked out. I just lacked any way to protect the middle. Do you know that non-route remains, some 35 years later, a diamond like image in my memory. Just the potential..... Judging by my inability to remember the things I actually did I gained immensely when I refused.
I go back to the story of Joe Brown's last attempt on his great problem at Cloggy, later redpointed(?) and named by another. He refused to use more than the number of pitons to which he had always limited himself. When he refused he showed beyond all doubt that Joe Brown had mastered himself - the single great challenge every person faces upon birth, climber or not. You know who you are - when you refuse.
What we are presently doing is unsustainable. We all have tremendous talent. We all have honesty. We all have regard for each other.
With all of this can anyone really say it is not possible for us now, to take a path that will leave something for the kids?
Mike M, regarding your slab dilemma...
One can always toprope or score a ropegun. Or walk away, right? I think that many climbers have progessed through the grades on the soft end of the rope... good for them.
Anastasia wrote: "If someone wants to establish a well bolted climb, why don't they work on creating their own FA? Why must they desire someone else's route?"
Maybe because finding and hiking to the location of a new route is a lot of work. Rather than being visionary themselves, they come upon climbs, guidebook in hand, and think that their climbing experience would be better if they changed what's already there.
I don't know if it is a "Museum Route", but my buddy and I just did Goodrich Pinnacle on Glacier Point. Holy Shnikies! On the fourth pitch, I had more than half of a 60m rope payed out, with no pro beyond an old fixed pin! That is 100ft of rope beyond the pin, and in the event of a fall, you are looking at a 200ft+ fall down the cheese grater. The topo says 5.7 runout face climbing, but jeezus! WTF is that all about? I don't think bolts should be added. I just won't do it again. Not worth it. Not fun. Topo should say 5.7 no pro, don't F-ing fall. No wonder nobody else we talked to had done it. They probably all knew better. Hahaha!
Haha Jaybro! I should have expected that response. Yeah, it's 5.7, easy. You could practically walk up it. But climbing something that run-out doesn't make you hard. It's stupid. Why on earth would anybody voluntairly put themselves in a position to take a 200ft fall on less than vertical terrain? You'll be lookin like a real hard-man when you're being fed through a tube after that one. If you looked up the definition of "not worth it" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of pitch 4, Goodrich Pinnacle.
Edit: Maybe we did get off route, but I don't think so, it's pretty straight up. We even checked it out on rappel, and still couldn't find any bolts, or opportunities for pro. Just a sea of granite. Beautiful climbing but....?
It may be scary, it may be dangerous, but it's not stupid.
Runouts are a skill to be developed like any other. They are a major part of climbing's evolution, and the ability to confidently run it could literally mean the difference between life and death in certain mountain situations. As rock climbing has evolved from mountaineering, many of the basic skills that were so important forty years ago, when that route was done, have been forgotten.
It's understandable that most climbers don't like runouts, but if you can learn to relax and forget about falling, there's nothing like streamin the rope out on "a sea of granite".
"Maybe we did get off route, but I don't think so, it's pretty straight up."
Slab climbing is a subtle art, and it is a rare slab climb that climbs straight up. They almost always zig and zag, often almost imperceptibly. Route finding, and keeping open eyes and mind, are assets. Both to find what protection there is, and to chart the easiest route.
Yeah point taken. Sometimes you gotta run it out, and speed=safety. I just couldn't believe it. We went from casual climb to, holy sh#t, real fast. We did it no problem, but damn...anything goes wrong, even a simple, stupid mistake, and you will pick up speed real fast, and not be happy with the outcome. I like to keep it relatively safe and sane. Why make it life or death if you don't have to? I've never really been one for the live hard, die young mentality. I'll keep it mellow, and live to be an old arthritic mediocre climber. But that's just me.
Edit: Jaybro, the FA must have had some pucker-factor going on if he chose to run it out instead of drill. I understand that. I'm kind of surprised that he didn't put in a bolt on the way down to protect the climb for the next time he climbed it. Oops, that would be rap-bolting...punishable by death! Ok, got it now.
Mighty Hiker, yeah understood, and agreed, but this one really was pretty much straight up. You should do it! It's fun! Great friction slab climbing!
I got a route for you Spencer. It's a slab; Never ending story, I forget the rating (edit .11b) it's at Vedauwoo. Climb the crux of Mainstreet (ow) then hang a right and follow the bolts on unlikely crystal pimping. On the first ascent, Coach (Layne Kopishcka, RIP)
climbing on a solo, self belay lead rig, placed just a few bolts. Later he thought it was too runout (he was right, imho) and placed more bolts on Rapel.
Layne did what he thought was best, for future partys, and in line with the then current local ethic. We can only assume that's what the FFA-ers on Goodrich did. We don't have to agree with them, but accept it for what it is. Though, sometimes, you have to wonder ... which, it sounds like, is exacly what you were doing in your post, Spencer.
I don't know how others do slabs but I am in Anders's camp. I believe I have never done even one slab climb straight on. For that climb I have an image of a dog leg right in my head. Beats me why. Still no recollection of a 100' run out.
Someone who has done the climb recently or who still has memory left will check in I am sure. Which brings up an old joke.
An old guy and his wife were headed to the Doctor's for tests. She tells him to be prepared for urine,fecal, and semen tests. He says, "WHAT?" She repeats her instructions. He says, "WHAT"S THAT YOU SAID?"
I think that Spencer is correct about their being little protection on the fourth pitch of the right side of Goodrich, whether you wander around or not. The same could be said for other old routes on the Apron. Roper’s Green guide says that there is a bolt on the lower part of that pitch, but it sounds like it is the last one until you get to ledges nearer the belay. It may be the case that Royal or TM got a knife blade in somewhere (1964 was pre-nuts) since neither purposefully created difficulties, as far as I know, and Roper does not mention a long run-out.
It is interesting that the route was not noted for the run-out. I had never heard of it before I took a client up there in the early 1970s. I remember thinking it was really easy but un-nerving since eventually you have to get a belay, and I was only carrying nuts and slings. I do remember thinking that if you stayed on your feet you probably would not slide very far--it is rough rock and low angle. I doubt that Royal or TM would have used that as a reason not to place a bolt. But that might be the reason additional bolts have not been added.
Interesting stuff fellas. I'll put that route on the list Jaybro. I work with TM, so I'll ask him about what the FA was like...if he even remembers.
Roger, the one bolt you get is actually a fixed pin. I believe the middle mark of the rope passed through the 'biner on the pin before the belay was reached. That's a pretty long run-out in my book. I didn't know Royal was on the FA team. No wonder.
Umm, my often defaced original Meyers guide indicates that at some time or other I've done all the routes on Goodrich. Mostly in the 1970s and early 1980s - that is, with EBs, hexes, stoppers, early Friends, and whatever was already there.
We do quite a lot of slab climbing at Squamish, so the concept is quite familiar.
Two related things - with modern shoes and sticky rubber, it is sometimes possible to stop and place bolts where it wouldn't have possible to do so with EBs, RDs, Kronhoffers, etc. Hand drilling, even of your basic Rawl compression bolt, has never been fun, apart from the ethical considerations. Which further helps explain why there aren't many bolts on some of these routes.
On a side note, now that you've identified a concern, it would be most public-spirited of you to go back to Goodrich, and replace the existing fixed anchors with modern bolts. You could even do it as part of the FaceLift - must count as restoring and cleaning up a trail or something. You could probably enlist some experienced help, get some advice as to what should be done where, and work on nearby routes at the same time.
Edit: Oh well, thought it was worth a try. If we don't look after ourselves, and the places and climbs we cherish, who will?
I don't know about that. All the pro on the route is pretty solid, just a bit run-out for my taste. To others it may be just fine. Plus, my vacation just ended. 10 days in the valley, and now I'm back to singin' the workin' man's blues.
Edit: If somebody wanted to replace bad bolts/pro they could replace the anchor on the second pitch of Little John Right on El Cap. You are supposed to climb up a corner, then step left and traverse to easier ground to the top of a ledge. Most people miss the traverse...we did. So you end up going straight to the top of a corner, and belaying under a little roof type thing. There is one solid bold (thank God), one rusty 1/4" that I wouldn't even use to tie up my dog, and one fixed rusty stopper, with two or three other rusty stoppers that came out of the crack, and are just blowing in the breeze. To top it off, there is a total rat's-nest of sun-bleached webbing. If I had brought my knife, I would have cleaned up the webbing, but the other fixed pro really needs to be upgraded. Great project for somebody. ASCA? I will donate all the hardwear! How about it eh?
There has been a big effort recently to rebolt the slate quarries. This is an area of amazing adventure cliimbing in North Wales in the UK, which was developed in the 80's.
The climbs are a mix of pure trad and bolted - and a lot of the bolted routes are adventure bolted with 2 or 3 bolts in a full rope length and lots of bold injury / death potential.
The climbing is awesome, but a lot of the (often few) bolts had corroded since placed and were also cheap builders bolts, so the climbs werent getting done anymore.
The area is now getting re bolted, and mostly the bolts are being replaced bolt for bolt. This means the climbs retain 100% of their original character and risk, but can be climbed again!
Additionally, in a few routes, bolts are being added to make (mostly non-classic secondary) lines that were very hairy less bold so they get climbed more, but this is being done ONLY with the first ascentionists permission.
I just talked to TM. He said that he was not part of the first ascent of Goodrich. He might have done a variation, but it was someone else who did the FA. When I asked him about the run-out on pitch 4, he said flatly, "Yeah, that's why I won't climb there anymore." Very interesting indeed...
I got TM's name from the first ascent info in the 1987 edition of Yosemite Climbs. RR, his wife and TM, 5/64 it says.
I didn't mean to dis my buddy TM by writing that it was doubtful he did the runout, but I kept thinking of that classic photo of him on the Salathe slab bolt ladder pitch where he looks all terrified and one hand is waving in the air like he's about to whip.
Plus Royal liked to run it. Anyone who's climbed at Tahquitz knows that.
When I think about it, to TM the right side of Goodrich was probably a variation on the regular route--the left side. So, he could be speaking the truth and still be denying that he climbed the route with Royal and Liz. Besides, he cannot just up and deny the Roper guide from 1971: it is true even if it didn't happen.
I was just looking at the topo for Goodrich Pinnacle Right, which I should have done in the first place, and it clearly shows a jaunt out right on pitch 4 to a belay, and continuing on a 5th pitch before the chimney past three bolts to another belay. The route we took?...5.9R var. No Pro, 165' to belay 6. Yikes, no wonder we were sh#tting twinkies!
scruffyB, Yes...more or less. If you look at the topo for Little John Right, from the first belay it shows a 5.7 mantle, then you get two fixed pins (and some gear), then a traverse left, 10 feet above the second piton (don't go too high). But everybody goes too high. Enough people that it is a pretty frequent occurrence anyway. The belay you reach if you just keep going up is part of the Dorn Direct. It's a sucker corner that, if you stay in it, and miss the traverse, you're screwed. So then you can rap off to the ledge after the traverse (where you are supposed to be, and finish the route proper. It is that anchor (sucker corner leading to Dorn Direct) that is way sketch-ball, and really should be upgraded.
Weither or not people continue on with the Dorn Direct is almost irrelevant in my book, because enough people are going to do exactly what we did, and rap off that totally jankey anchor back to the top of pitch one of Little John Right, where the bolts are bomber, that I think it is justified to bomb-out that anchor. Actually, it the anchor there was upgraded, then you really could climb the sucker corner, then rap and finish Little John, and get a bonus pitch of great 5.7 lieback and jam climbing, without the, "OMG, we have one bolt, and the equivilant to double-sided scotch tape for an anchor...we're gonna die!" type of experience.
I hope that clarifies what I said. Look at the topo, and you will see what I mean.
I don't know how others do slabs but I am in Anders's camp. I believe I have never done even one slab climb straight on. For that climb I have an image of a dog leg right in my head. Beats me why. Still no recollection of a 100' run out. " _
I believe I shall have to hire someone to pat me on the back. When you get old doing it yourself raises hell with the shoulder.
Since I have done only three GPA climbs all told perhaps it is not too surprising that I remembered something. The third climb I very much remember. Pete Ramins and I did Punch Bowl. Absolutely brilliant route. If the rock won't stop coming down, I suggest we make a plaster cast of the Punch Bowl and build a copy in Tuolomne.
By the way Spencer, you made a great contribution here. I believe you have something called props(?) coming.
Well, it just goes to show that you have a memory like a steele trap...Rusted shut! Hahaha. I kidd.
Yeah, rockfall is another issue over there. It is very cool, however, to see where the forest has tried to grow back after the rockfall way around on the left side, past the Grack, and the trees all laid down the same direction on the ground, and the other trees snapped-off at mid height. That must have been one doozy of an event. My friend and I were talking about that just before we did the Grack. If something else cut loose, which it surely will again, you would have absolutely no where to go. Just turn around, enjoy the view, and kiss it goodbye, because it's over.
Oh yeah, we also saw two juvenile bears at the base of the Grack, so if anyone goes over there, don't leave your packs with food in them at the bottom of the climb. The bears don't have ear tags, but it's best not to give them thbe taste of human food (Bear Crack).
Weschrist wrote: But 6 weeks climbing in Squamish followed by 2 weeks climbing on the Eastside is. Unfortunately it is all coming to an end... I have to do a 4 day Geology field trip followed by a day on the river... at least all the food, transportation, and accommodations are free.
I sold my soul a long time ago... got a pretty good price if you ask me.
"No receipt, no refund..." suckit Satan.
Climbing since June...no working, 50 new (fa's) routes/pitches, alpine routes and a fair amount of hiking in the mountains.
Still have two more months off.. the Black and then the Gunks in Oct.
Werner said earlier that Henry Barber stole fish crack from JB. I'm with Oli when he wonders how you can own a climb before it's been done (or after it's been done, for that matter). But I got in trouble with my friend David Breashears when I followed JB on the first free ascent of the Wisdom, in Eldo. David had tried it, wanted it, and considered me a traitor to help John scoop him on the climb.
My own feeling was (is) whoever's ready at any particular time for any particular climb should be the one who gets it. Henry was ready for Fish Crack and Bachar showed his Wisdom appropriately.
Never said he stole it from JB. JB wasn't there that day we cleaned it. Now why not get the facts straight.
It was Kauks original prize and he spent like a whole day cleaning the thing with me helping him get up there. Then along comes Henry and never asked how this thing suddenly got clean as he was looking at before it was ever clean.
Same with hardd at the cookie, etc etc.
All the locals cornered him one day as he knew what was really going on and just wanted the prize, although he'll deny it.
Wes wrote:The only reason you are a "been anything at all" is because you were squeezed outta the tw#t before me. Impressive, indeed.
No...it.s because I was climbing much harder than your lame ass is doing today. It's seems very hard for you to process basic facts!
Wes wrote: So, basically, what you are saying is that the things you accomplished way back when, that define you as a hard man, the accomplishments of which you are so proud, are incredibly common place these days?
No that not what I'm saying...I am saying your feats are quite common. Climbing at the top end is never common.
Your historical perspective on climbing is very weak...like your climbing skills.
The old, bold routes??? That's the idealized version of what people think was the 'adventure, vision and determination' it took to do the old X rated routes.
'...Bold, unbelieveable determination and skill...', Superbad, inspirational routes...'. bull.
It seems like the only routes valued as routes of 'historical character' are the R and X rated ones. I'm guessing a lot of them were just put up by guys who were in over their heads and just didn't have the skill to stop and place pro, and couldn't downclimb so they had to push on and were lucky enough to live.
Here is an example of a route put up in the so called 'old, bold' style. About three weeks ago I did an onsite, trad first ascent on the Fist in the Needles, a long vertical flake system with a crack behind. I was forty feet up before I could place my first piece of gear, a small/medium nut in a crack behind a flake, I backed that up with a medium cam about six inches higher. I put two more pieces in the crack in the next eighty feet or so that could easily have held twenty more pieces, then joined an existing route (Little Finger 5.6/5.7) for the short top section (one old hanger held with a button head). The new route is fairly sustained 5.8, I call it Middle Finger.
Bold? visionary? committed?...bull. I was just in a mood to climb, felt very confident, and wanted a nice FA in my 65th year. Rather than keep it a 'bold' museum climb I intend to go back and add two modern bolts below that first placement so others will climb the route. It will be a 5.8 that a 5.8 leader can climb. Doing it the way I did wasn't bold, it was just plain stupid.
Ooopps, after reading 'The occassional test piece...' upthread by Tarbuster, Maybe I'll leave it as is. Although then maybe the 'local community' will add bolts some day.
Wes wrote: Some people never grow up, they just get old.
Wes wrote: I generally try to piss people off, tell them they are worthless and washed up, then watch them redirect that energy into something great in order to prove me wrong. I can take your hate if it makes the world a better place.
Thanks for trying to make me great and for making the world a better place.
"Firm rock, rich in good holds. Up I go, no need for pitons here. There is nothing finer than this kind of climbing, with the abyss ever-deepening below." Hermann Buhl
Hammer- I put up lots of "museum climbs" because I am in the mood and because I like that sort of excitement. Just like YOU. Style is a reasoned approach and not an accidental, piss stained outcome. You are comfortable on 5.8, I don't mind 5.11. At 65, how long have you been doing new routes?
Wes- With your insipid snivelling about all we can hope for is a change of diaper and some good air freshener. Y huela!!!!
Been putting up a few new routes for the last three or four years, easy stuff mostly. I enjoy free solo when I'm in the mood, usually in September and October in the Needles when there are very few people around.
Spenser, that guy may be a little dyslexic with his numbers, what can you expect from a cockroach? But I could tell ya stories about him ....
"I think a 50 year old man with grown children just called me gay. that is awesome."
Who said that one? Help an old bro out, wheezegimp, I missed that one and my bifocals won't last through that many, 'previous'es.
How can a fidy yr old have grown children? are there 50-yr olds who are, themselves, grownups? Could I find a 50 yr old woman who climbs and has out grown her comittment issues? I have heard rumors... you are my guiding light, weakwrist.
Steve, I don't put up museum climbs so we're not alike at all.
I will go back and add two bolts to the lower section so others can enjoy that route. You on the other hand, deny certain routes to anyone who is not willing to risk life or serious injury.
I know of no way other than R and X rated routes that one person can effect the resource in any state or national park (public property) so as to deny others use of that particular piece of real estate. Doesn't seem fair to me.
"You on the other hand, deny certain routes to anyone who is not willing to risk life or serious injury."
You have to look at runout routes as difficult to climb in both a physical and mental way. Difficult moves, as on routes with upper level ratings, deny certain routes to people not physically capable of doing the moves. Runouts deny certain routes to people not mentally capable of doing the moves.
A different skill set and mind set is required to do runout routes. If you understand the essence of climbing, and it's history, you understand why runout routes exist, and why they have value to climbing in general, if not climbers in general.
Earlier Hammer said "...I'm guessing a lot of them were just put up by guys who were in over their heads and just didn't have the skill to stop and place pro, and couldn't downclimb so they had to push on and were lucky enough to live... "
If this were true there would be a lot more dead climbers. From falls that is.
You ought to consider the possibility that before bolts were the norm, back when gear was crude, many climbers actually had more skill at protecting themselves than most climbers do now.
I don't really think there are that many runout routes that truly call for "risking your life". It seems like the few screamers you hear about on routes with a rep for runouts rarely even result in significant injuries.
History repeats itself. Good chance there will be a day when more climbers want to run it to challenge themselves. Why spoil the resource for those potential climbers?
John Muir efforts of preservation don't influence us today?
I don't have the fatalistic idea that my efforts to preserve climbs will go unnoticed.
Neither do I believe that the deaths of the old climbing guard such as the passing of John Muir will end this argument.
Strangely, or perhaps not so, there's a good chance you're right on that one Wes.
I said as much back in the 80's when sportclimbing was starting out. Sure, I liked putting in ground up routes that were a bit necky, but harbored no illusions about stemming the tide with those efforts, and I did them for myself. I predicted the masses would favor a more predictable environment. And you know, by definition, the masses outnumber the highly invested and spirited few, so I figured they would assert themselves in time and prevail.
However, things are not so binary and the Warbler's quote goes some distance to describe the multivalent reality at hand:
"I don't really think there are that many runout routes that truly call for "risking your life". It seems like the few screamers you hear about on routes with a rep for runouts rarely even result in significant injuries.
History repeats itself. Good chance there will be a day when more climbers want to run it to challenge themselves. Why spoil the resource for those potential climbers? "
Stemming the tide with a reasonable compromise is a dream.
What one climber, or group, deems reasonable (eg 15 ft runouts
are reasonable, 40 ft are not) will always be excessive to
Saying that a bunch of climbers agreed, in, say, 2011, that
Climb X-Y has the right number of bolts, will be just about as
compelling as saying that the first ascentionist put in the right
Any number (15, 20, 10) is divisible by two or three or more.
If I want the bolts at 5 ft on a particular climb, what the hell
do I care that the runouts used to be even worse than they are
Can we say that the needs of the community (ephemeral) are
analogous to the "reasonable compromise" you mention a few
My feeling is that the reasonable compromise reached when there
are still a few elder statesmen around will not hold any more
weight than a rigid anti-retrobolt position.
What reason do you have to place faith in a reasonable
And just look at those guys, they haven't even had hair since Streisand was big, while the young boys are just going to do what they do anyway, "have it their way" and it's all just burgers as far as the eye can see...
Gotta’ appreciate that particular cartoonist’s eye for wry irony; it cuts so many different ways into the schisms of modern life.
I'd say Scuffy b & Weschrist were exploring some good dialog just a few posts back.
The cartoon just happens to take a more oblique viewpoint of the conflict at large and in a playful sense, I think it nails it.
I'm not so much into debate & polemics (they have their place). My preference leans toward expression and appreciation of viewpoints, because I find debate is about winning, losing, and prevailing as opposed to a striving for coexistence, which is benefited by the aims of collusion, inquiry and understanding.
I have elucidated my perspective on the matter about as much as I care to. Now, to crank up an appreciation for the broader context of the controversy at large and to then form an appraisal of the inherent dynamic of the conflict at hand, that might be interesting.
(Jeepers, that sounded stiff, hahaha)
There will always those who wish to be remembered for their accomplishments, that is the real genesis of sport climbing. But in the end, they will have accomplished nothing. No one will remember who installed any sport climb even one year later, but no one will ever forget the really gutsy traditional leaders.
Drilling a climb down to your level isn't much to be remembered for.
Wes the troll probably isn't laughing too hard about that cartoon.
Wes...your arguments are so antiquated, you need to get with the program. Haven't you heard that the sportclimbers are growing up to becoming a new generation of hardmen who respect the efforts of those who came before them and are focused on difficulty AND risk? WHere have you been? I suppose sitting at your computer perfecting your arguments for the "Bolt Uprising". Look at the generation you are arguing for and you will see that almost all of the leaders are embracing risk to push the limits. Deep Water Solo's, FFA's with existing aid gear, and 5.14 X routes to name a few examples.
There will always be those who choose to not embrace the true essence of climbing. For those we have the millions of sport routes scattered across the country. But difficulty is just one ingredient in the climbing recipe and without the others the experience becomes bland and short lived. Some people have the ability to focus on difficulty for a lifetime. Others realize that embracing risk brings out true flavor and character. If you look at the history of climbing you will see that risk is an essential part of our past. Without that risk you loose a key factor in what climbing is all about.
Why are you so threatened by those who choose to embrace risk? Have you ever sucessfully tunneled through the fear and rose to the occasion on one of those routes you spew so elloquently against? Do you really think we should make climbing a homogonized experience lacking any depth or character in an attempt to right the wrongs of run out routes?
Kevin wrote: Look at the generation you are arguing for and you will see that almost all of the leaders are embracing risk to push the limits. Deep Water Solo's, FFA's with existing aid gear, and 5.14 X routes to name a few examples.
Kevin...most of the climbers you speak of have embraced sport climbing to reach the levels that have achieved. Tommy Caldwell, Ron Kauk and the Huber Brothers come to mind.
Also remember that most of these climbs were not done in true trad style. Most if not all of the new hard routes in the Black Canyon in the last 15 years have been done from the top down (previewing), toproping pitches and even using dry-tooling to "free" one historical aid route. The above remarks also hold true for the Diamond.
There has never been a fa of a 5.14x climbed on sight, ground up.
If so please let me know.
Headpointing is not trad-climbing and has more of a connection to sport climbing.
Wes does make several good points and others that just to tend to irritate.
The fact of the matter is that sky isn't falling and no has added bolts to Jules Verne, Perilous Journey, Bachar-Yerian or other routes in that vein.
That's a good point to make Bob.
For there is an aspect of coexistence in terms of styles and a healthy, productive cross pollination has been at play for some time.
Werner & Kevin are both right and it is rarely so simple, yet to understand the broader context I find it is helpful to understand that we live in a society that has become ever increasingly risk-averse, while at the same time, highly enamored of an open display of multidisciplinary personal accomplishment.
There is an advertisement for a cruise line, which shows affluent happy couples sipping drinks from inside the comfort of the ship's railing, while overlooking Rio de Janeiro and that wonderful rock complex, Sugarloaf. How exotic! My particular sense for irony perhaps lifts more from this depiction than many of us would see, yet, what I see here are people so insulated through wealth, comfort, and fear that they actually have no intention of leaving the boat. What was that quote from Apocalypse Now? “Never get off the boat man”. They'll just view the mysterious land from the insular safety of the cruise ship deck, take a peek from a safe distance and settle for that as direct experience. Paul Bowles in “The Sheltering Sky” highlighted a distinction between the tourist and traveler. To paraphrase: the traveler drapes into the landscape, melds with the culture, endeavors to learn the language, transforms themselves through absorption, while the tourist takes snapshots from a safe distance and dines in safe enclaves with their familiar countrymen.
A risk-averse society: not to deride the new fashion or sentiment about gear, but look at the modern climber’s predilection for huffing helmets and packs up basic rock routes, cell phones, bolted anchors & etc, it's an outgrowth of the same thing. If one were to look at the actuarial tables, I would bet it is more warranted to wear that rock helmet while driving a car than it is when out climbing on the clean stone while consciously piloting oneself in a focused manner.
Another advertisement: it depicts John Travolta, suave and debonair, while the line reads something like, “Travolta, career: actor, profession: pilot”. It is now common in our culture for people, highly educated, very accomplished people, to seek validation in everything they do and not necessarily from making the consummate investment. Sure they have done it in their jobs, but when it comes to adventure activities, they presume quickly to wear the garland of the anointed professional. A good friend of mine has been teaching snow science for many years and he's well aware of the capricious nuance presented by the medium: yes, he has learned much respect for the dangers and the unknowable aspect of the ever transforming snow pack. Quite often, when he finishes an introductory or mid-level avalanche clinic, the next thing people want to know is, “how can we become instructors?”. Likewise, I have a good friend who's a very accomplished venture capitalist, yet now, with no real prior experience or dedicated chops based upon years of lugging the uninitiated around the vertical environment, beset with questions, tasks and responsibilities, he fancies himself a guide. It's all about the badge.
So what am I saying here? I'm saying people are greedy for self validation and they repeatedly display and consume the shiny tokens that illustrate something: they don't want to make the sacrifice, engage in the risk, pay the dues to reap the internal rewards garnered through sincere, genuine experience. This is not a repudiation of sport climbing and an elevation of trad per se; it is an observation of a trend which informs the overall complexion of this discussion.
Most people want a extreme adventure...they just don't want the risk that come with it. There will alway be the small percentage of the population who embrace the risk and do some really amazing things.
The other side is when the extreme ones expect the general population to follow in the same manner...not everyone thinks a climbing route is worth a life.
Also...I used to think that other should climb like I did...then I grew up.
Scrambling has become problematic as well; none of the tweaks and strains in my legs are healing. I'm seeing an internist who has pulled some remarkably telling numbers. I've got low amino acid uptake, poor mitochondrial function (cell energy), blown adrenals, a disrupted stomach ecology. All of this may be at the root of poor muscle and tendon recovery.
Damn, I still look good though!
... maybe I just need a fresh hat.
lot's of intangibles when 'running it out'; both on the rock and on the road. it would probably be a little remiss to assume there was no 'fortune' involved in successfully navigating on the redline.
now if you want to define that as an 'accomplishment' after the fact, fine. but if your going to assign relevance of experience to others down the line, don't forget to include those times when things don't turn out so well. call it serendipity if you like, but just remember, some folks see that putting themselves in that position continually to achieve personal satisfaction and the accolades of a diminished few end up on the short end of the probability stick.
is it worth it? a personal choice i s'pose. but demanding that others adhere is the short bus to explicit regulation. probably better in terms of the road, it's deadly out there.
if soloing past bolts is so painful, then there are some pretty big masochists around these parts. either that or they 'solo' in popular areas for other reasons entirely.
Hey Wes, where was the Two-Step model in the Cave Rock thread?
I've only been hitting this thread every couple of days, so please forgive me if I'm missing some context, but: When you write about the people on the cruise ship, the people in your friend's snow class, and Travolta, aren't you denying them the high road that you're suggesting we show sport climbers ("...crank up an appreciation for the broader context of the controversy at large and to then form an appraisal of the inherent dynamic of the conflict at hand")?
I mean, if you're gonna be empathetic, you might as well be globally empathetic, don't you think?
Thanks for drawing that focus to my remarks; I can see where my words are colored more with scorn than with empathy.
I'm not necessarily indicting sport climbing, or saying that traditional climbing is comparatively the higher road, but I am drawing distinctions and painting a viewpoint of a cultural narrative which I find strongly informs people's approach. As I said in another thread, labels limit people, while distinctions highlight uniqueness and beget understanding. At some point you still have to call a spade a spade.
I'm saying that the cultural narrative at large often encourages people to engage in something akin to the Emperor's New Clothes.
“Crank up an appreciation for the broader context of the controversy at large and to then form an appraisal of the inherent dynamic of the conflict at hand”…
That's a tall order and a complex job, but I am trying to take a crack at it and the outset, even that is more expository on my part and not so collusive, but you gotta start somewhere.
"Broader context of the controversy at large":
By this I mean a lot of things, while the “Emperor's New Clothes” syndrome and other grand narratives which inform the general public's apprehension of the pursuit of excellence and subsequent follow through, is just part of it, or a particular example. It is responsible in part for "rating creep" in climbing. In a granular sense, I would be talking about the climber's narrative, which includes the etymology of the term “trad” and all the history associated with it; this definitely including the rise, development, and utility of sport climbing, which has made great contributions and has its established place in the scheme of things.
"Appraisal of the inherent dynamic of the conflict at hand":
This is where the New Yorker cartoon up thread came in. I was suggesting that there is always a changing of the guard, a passing of knowledge from one generation to the next and with that comes posturing, struggle to preserve on one hand and a struggle to create anew on another. Just as an adolescent struggles for autonomy, so does the new generation do so and that is right for them, while the old guys don't always know just what is the best way to achieve that outcome and may not even know where it's going. They laid the foundation and have to let go. Heck, they don't even have hair anymore! The young guys do, they are wearing it and they are going to take a little bit of this, add a little bit of that, ultimately working it out on their own.
Flying Kiwi said:
“I mean, if you're gonna be empathetic, you might as well be globally empathetic, don't you think?”
Again to appreciate the broader context (and how that filters into the inherent dynamic of the conflict at hand), this is an excellent point which Ian made. While taking care not to succumb to a limp, flat land, undiscerning landscape of political correctness, it is generally better to include than to exclude. People want, they need validation and a sense of belonging: it's essential they know that it matters who they are. This often comes to the foreground when a struggle of styles goes to the mat. Likewise for the passing of the baton to the younger generations; after all, while the old guard prefers to be appreciated for their contribution to the ever expanding structure, do they really want the next generation to do just as they did? I don't think so and you just can't impose conformity and demand respect. We sort of just have to put it out there and wait and see.
“Most people want a extreme adventure...they just don't want the risk that come with it. There will alway be the small percentage of the population who embrace the risk and do some really amazing things.
The other side is when the extreme ones expect the general population to follow in the same manner...not everyone thinks a climbing route is worth a life.”
“call it serendipity if you like, but just remember, some folks see that putting themselves in that position continually to achieve personal satisfaction and the accolades of a diminished few end up on the short end of the probability stick.
is it worth it? a personal choice i s'pose. but demanding that others adhere is the short bus to explicit regulation. probably better in terms of the road, it's deadly out there.
if soloing past bolts is so painful, then there are some pretty big masochists around these parts. either that or they 'solo' in popular areas for other reasons entirely.”
See those are both fairly sober and objective reflections upon the context of our climbing community and they are respectful of the right for each of us to express joy and striving in the way most appropriate to our individuality. Here we see homage to a continuum, and this is good.
As well, a little self-examination can leaven our contribution to this thought stream. As for me, you have to figure a guy, who for 27 years, goes to the trouble of leading climbs beset with the impediment of a cowboy hat, has to have a little bit of vanity, maybe some bravado, dashed into the mix. I'm an indulgent romantic, and I don't expect everyone to be that way, we don't all have to die with our boots on.
As well, a little self-examination can leaven our contribution to this thought stream. As for me, you have to figure a guy, who for 27 years, goes to the trouble of leading climbs beset with the impediment of a cowboy hat, has to have a little bit of vanity, maybe some bravado, dashed into the mix. I'm an indulgent romantic, and I don't expect everyone to be that way, we don't all have to die with our boots on.
Well if y'all mosey out this way again, we got some almost-hands-free museum climbs you ain't done.
Around here there are X rated routes (routes with ground fall potential of 25 feet or more) that have a few 1/4" dia x 1 1/4" lg button heads. when there is a long X rated runout with no button heads I assume the guy couldn't stop to put one in.
Which brings to mind, if the old, bold guys coudn't put in a 1/4" button head where did they get the rule that new routes must be done ground up while on lead? Modern bolts are expected to be 3/8" dia and 2 1/2" or more in length.
I must admit that I've only read maybe 20% of the posts in this thread, and maybe somebody else has already said what I am about to say. Having said that, I think that climbing would really suffer if the only goal was related to how hard a climb was rather than the combination of how hard and bold. The climbs that I have aspired to do, and occasionally HAVE done are, invariably, ones with a reputation for being scary AND (relatively) hard. I enjoy sport climbing, but it's generally something that I think of as practice for REAL climbs - ones that take a good lead head. ANYBODY can be a 5.11-5.12 climber with enough dedication (= time spent in the gym and at the crags). Not everybody can lead scary 5.11. Someone like me, who can only get out 3-4 times a month (over the past 30 years), will never be able to compete on a purely technical level as someone who climbs 10-15 times a month or more. But I like the fact that I can have goals that rely on my overall abilities, including lead head, and can pull off some climbs that climbers who are technically better can't do.
Keep those bold climbs as bold and don't "dumb them down" for the masses.
"Technology is imposed on the land, but technique means conforming to the landscape. They work in opposite directions, one forcing passage while the other discovers it. The goal of developing technique is to conform to the most improbable landscape by means of the greatest degree of skill and boldness supported by the least equipment."
This fact remains...if you are reaching to clip the first piton on the Needles Eye and fall, you will splat onto a blacktop parking lot 70 to 80 feet below in front of a bunch of tourons. Within hours lots of Needles climbing will be closed to everyone.
Theres a lot of stuff here so I just scanned a bunch but I saw some one post about getting safer routes for the next generation so they don't have to risk their lives.
WTF??? All climbing is risking your life. Collect stamps if you want to be safe. Climbing takes us to an uncomfortable intersection between life and the real possibility of death...the outcome is a heightened sense of awareness.
Some climb for the movement only, fine. Climb G rated routes.
Some of us climb for the movement, but also the feeling we get when we are run out and commited. Don't alter the character of those climbs. We can all find something to climb. But please, if you think bolts take away all the danger and you aren't risking your life...you are confused.
Long before Wes was even Futurespunk there was Bob Kamps. He was a thoughtful fellow and had this to say back in 1965.
The last sentence is well worth pondering. A life emptied of consequence is hardly richer for the trade. Mr. Kamps was good for climbing...With all of your peevish and petulant harbinging, Wes, can you say the same by extension?
Great article Steve! Heres a quote I like from Johnny Dawes in the Climbing mag I saw today.
"Unless it feels impossible, its just a sport. If it's impossible then it's not a sport - it's an internal adventure and an external adventure. When the internal and the external adventure plaque together beautifully, there is a spark of recognition between the invisible and the visible that sets your heart alive." Johnny Dawes
Those of you who argue the need for routes with 'risk' are being dishonest.
You can get the risk anywhere simply by free soloing existing routes or leaving long X runouts when you place protection. The thing that really drives your arguement is being able to say (sometimes only to yourself) 'I can climb that and 95% of climbers cannot'. By climbing that X rated route you get a feeling of superiority. You NEED to be able to do something others cannot. Sad that you need to risk your life to feel important.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make 'em think. One simple question for you ego free drill saints. Does your climbing have any value or consequence beyond your own experience? A yes or no is all that I am after here.
I have acknowledged the need for the bold/risk routes. I have not suggested retro-bolting anything.
I originally asked if there is a reasonable arguement for not replacing two pitons that protect from a 70/80 foot groundfall (and have been in place for 20 to 40 years) with modern bolts. The R and X rating on the route would remain, the climber would just have a bit more confidence in case of a fall from above the gear. The one or two 5.8 moves on the route are above the gear.
There has been a lot of climbing/risk philosophy discussed and I have been drawn in to some of that. I have mixed feelings about 'museum' climbs because I agree with some of the arguements on both sides.
Of those who addressed my original question, the opinions seem to be about evenly divided among those who say leave the pins alone and those who say replace with bolts, but no overwhelmingly convincing arguement on either side IMHO.
The Needles has some 'used to be signifcant' routes that are no longer climbed, and some 'used to be significant' old,bold route setters who no longer climb the routes.
Hammer- According to climbers that have far more experience than yourself, there is other protection to be had on the Needles Eye to back up the horrific historical pitons. Based on that information, be clear that you are/were advocating adding several unnecessary bolts to THE area classic. Period. Still no answer as to why you feel the need to express yourself in that fashion without reasonable cause.
Wes- You can enjoy those neglected routes and leave them intact by simply top-roping unless you are just too feckless and lazy to make the effort. You still haven't committed to any specific route or course of action, so your position doesn't really amount to much more than a bunch of self-involved drivel.
Even though I somewhat agree with Wes on this thread, I've still got to side with Steve, because I like his comment about Wes's position being a bunch of self-involved drivel. Sorry Wes, I just can't get past your politics.
The problem is: who decides which route is a "significant" one and which is "insignificant"? Apparently we all agree that significant routes should remain protected as they were on the FA. Until someone manages to create universally accepted standards for judging the "significance level of routes", it seems logical that routes should be left as the FA party left them, to avoid a downward spiral of route alteration.
The first ascensionist of a route should be the only person to deem a route insignificant or open to added bolts to keep things civil among climbers. If they refuse, let the route make a statement about that climber, whether negative or positive. The "climbing community" that retrobolting advocates profess to speak for should be able to get their desired result, sometimes at least, with a little communal effort to sway the route's first ascensionist.
Not a perfect solution, but no climb, and no climber is perfect.
Save up for a 600 ft spool of 3/8 inch static line - you can toprope almost anything.
A better solution is to find and do your own first ascents, protecting them in the way you feel is ideal. Show those run out freaks how a real rockclimb should be done. There are infinite possibilities for a creative climber.
I've put up a handful of routes. All sport routes, most of them top down.
The best one I've done is a retro bolt of a bullshit aid climb on some super shitty rock. Don't know what the grade was, don't know who did the FA, don't know if it had a name. I saw the line, saw a couple old bolts and some rusty angles that came out in my hand. The thing was abandoned, probably hadn't seen more than 1 ascent based on the amount of loose rock I cleaned. I did not try to locate the FA.
I sport bolted it on rappel. And now it is a fabulous route. Don't feel any remorse, I'm actually rather proud of the route.
This is NOT to say that I think everything should be retroed, but this one was total bullshit and now it's a cool climb. There's plenty of history on noteworthy routes, we don't need to savor every scrap of history on lame routes.
Wessy poo: where do you get the 10 million climbers number? Anyone with your rep will need to provide factual links. Besides that, I'm behind Neptunes if you ever have an itch you need scratched. Van, hangboard, womb. Let's make nasty.
OK, all you guys favoring the FA party having the last word. The...THE... FA individual would like to see the two Pitons that he placed on the Needles Eye replaced with modern bolts, (check the Needles Eye thread) his second disagrees, I say he was first, he placed the pins, he gets his way.
He is far away, will not likely come to the Needles to do the deed so I'm volunteering.
NOT adding 'several' pins Steve, replacing two suspect old pins with two bolts. All those 'more experienced' climbers are wrong, they're backing up bad pins with bad gear in bad rock...three bads doesn't make a good, and they're not climbing the 'classic' route if they don't just clip the pins with no back ups so what are you protecting but a memory. And, I'm willing to bet they routinely climb .11's and harder so big deal they can hang it all out on a 5.8.
Hammer, if you act as you keep threatening to do, your longterm contribution appears likely to be starting a bolt war on one of the most iconic climbs in the Needles. You've found lukewarm or less support on the Topo despite hammering away relentlessly day after day. Certainly nothing like a consensus. Drilling those bolts is your mission, you've made that clear, and no one can stop you from drilling on Needle's Eye or anywhere else. Nor can you stop someone else from chopping, after which more bolts could be drilled, and chopped, and so on, with results visible even from the parking lot you keep mentioning. There's your legacy.
While I know nothing about the route in question, this appears to be a good example of how local climbers, or even the general climbing population, assumes stewardship of particularly classic and/or historic routes. In spite of the FA's blessing, the person wishing to alter the route may face the scorn of the majority of local climbers, and incite a bolt chopping binge to boot. An effort to "improve" the route for fellow climbers to enjoy could backfire.
It's kinda like running it out.... the climber has to weigh the personal consequences of a making a bad decision....
Still not clear on what you ARE interested in based on your postings. Are you really willing to take the position that those other climbers claiming adequate backup protection on the Needles Eye are mistaken or lying? You seem to be the one short on experience and judgement here despite your age. Again- go ahead and drill fool, and face the music. Myself or someone else will clean up your mess. Otherwise leave the route as it is and avoid it if it scares you or you find the climbing too taxing.
Discussions like this have gone on for more than 30 years with no sign whatsoever of any resolution. When there is no chance of resolution at present, as I believe may be the case here, those of us who feel other opportunities for progress are far larger, might consider just putting this question aside. No value is gained by continuing.
I think the climbing organizations in each area can gain great value by assisting those responsible for management of the land in dealing with many of the problems they face. Facelift tells us this as does the work many such organizations have already been carrying out. In both the Northeast and in the Southeast some 35 years ago we took this path and many other problems were solved subsequently as a result of the common effort that developed. Real answers came out.
Hammer, there is a secret super taco team that's deployed if anyone touches an historical relic. They'll parachute in and re-install the 40 to 50 year old pitons you replace. Better someone die than the historical nature of a rock climb be minimally altered.
Hammer, you are being devious when you say replacing the piton
with a bolt is requested by the FA.
You know full well that rgold, who actually led the first ascent,
has expressed opposition to your plan.
Wes wrote: Unfortunately you are butting heads with elitists who value their own opinions over anyone else's.
Bullshit Wes...Hammer stated his case...people have spoken seems and it seems Hammer doesn't like what he is hearing...who's Ego??
This is a historical route!
Wes wrote: Bob, I have absolutely no problem with leaving some classic routes as they are. In fact, I have stated that routes like that should be preserved MANY times. I'm talking about the insignificant routes that never get done because they are X or R.
Actually, Rich backed off the route before even getting to the horizontal seam (where the pins are) and his partner Don Storjohann got the first ascent. Don is in favor of the route maintainance in question. Lets keep the comments accurate.
Look at your link again Bob, 99% of the routes mentioned are in the Rushmore climbing area, a sportclimbing mecca. Once again, those guys don't climb in the Needles anymore, maybe the best routes are too runout for them.
The only Needles routes mentoned are proposed repair and proposed repair takes those guys a year or more to get around to. They spend their time bolting with the Bosch from the top down 'repairing' sport routes.
The 'new locals' who climb in the Needles every year have done more route and anchor repair in the Needles in the last 4 or 5 years than the coalition has ever done in the Needles. (also established over a hundred moderate new routes, the kind that get climbed, opened up one new area and re-established a long forgotten area). With more climbers visiting the Needles every year the new areas were needed.
Also once again, the best placement for pro to back up the two pins on the Needles Eye is around behind the arete left of the first pin. The only reason there is a nut placement there is because broken rock left a perfect medium nut placement but, it is still broken rock, not good in my book. And, once again, if the route can be protected so easily by your 'more experienced' climbers why leave the pins there at all?
Hammer, here is the source material I based my comments on.
Please tell me where I went wrong.
"He's more interested in her boobs than in me."
When a guy has this thought about another guy, the observation itself would seem to be a no-brainer. But the circumstances here, even if they did not alter the truth of the observation, nonetheless distorted my reaction to it.
"Pay attention, dammit," I shrieked, failing to note that Don could have perceived this as a hearty approval of his current focus rather than a plea to change it. How, I wondered miserably, did I ever get myself into this mess?
It wasn't hard. The year was 1964. I had come across some articles in Appalachia by Fritz Wiessner, articles with spectacular photos of a forest of slender pinnacles. The Needles in South Dakota! I headed out with almost no information about what I would find.
What I found was Don Storjohann, a strapping farm boy from Minden, Iowa with a booming voice, a twinkle in his eye that made women melt on the spot (why can't I do that, I wondered hopelessly), and a passion for teetering precariously on the sometimes breakable crystals of the spires of Custer State Park. Don suggested that we try to make the first ascent of the Needle's Eye.
OK, ok, it wasn't a first ascent, but it was, by Needles standards. A line of 14 aid bolts on the West face, placed in 1953, led to the summit---if you could find appropriate hangers and screws. There was a rumor that Layton Kor had chimneyed to the top of the Needle's Eye and then aided out. But no one had free-climbed the pinnacle. Herb and Jan Conn, who had rediscovered the Needles in 1947 and established amazing classics nearing 5.9 in difficulty, using a single 60 foot rope (requiring them to downclimb every pitch) and $1.95 tennis shoes, set the Needles ethics agenda by declaring free ascents to be the only ascents. So the Needles Eye was unclimbed.
Don had picked out a possible route that started in a gulley at the lowest point of one face of the eye, traversed out to a belay at a flake on the face, then followed the left edge of the face to a fold or crack delineating a kind of "cap" of the pinnacle. From there, a traverse right led to a bulge guarding the lower angle rock to the top.
Hmm. The face above the flake was unprotected. We'd be in groundfall range at or before the fold. If we could get a piton in the fold, we'd have some protection for the bulge. Otherwise...we were young enough not to think about otherwise.
At least not right away.
The Needle's Eye is located at a turnout on the Needles Highway, a sinuous track snaking through the heart of the spires and ducking through a narrow single-lane tunnel at one edge of the turnout. In order to avoid the tourists, we started up at 6 in the morning, Don quickly led the short pitch to the flake belay, and I sallied forth on the unprotected face above.
Well, sallied isn't quite right---dilly-dallied would be more like it. Hours went by as I traversed back and forth and climbed up and down. In truth, the climbing wasn't especially hard, but the thought of making even one irreversible move and then arriving at the "fold," only to find no protection available, brought the hitherto distant thoughts of "othewise" sharply to the foreground. My attempts were nothing more than an elaborate dance of defeat, which I had the bad grace to prolong until the conclusion was inevitable. I turned over the lead to Don.
Bursting with Midwestern corn-fed enthusiasm, exuding the "right stuff" that got us to the moon, and utterly oblivious to my gloomy procrastinations, Don launched up the unprotected face with hardly a pause and rocketed on up to the fold.
The sound of a piton being driven, a hollow sound, lacking the musical confirmation of solid pro, and abruptly terminated by the lugubrious vibrating note of a bottoming placement. Some more attempts to place pitons to no avail, and suddenly Don became fully aware of just how bad his situation was, especially since he could see that the bulge was going to be much harder than anything he had done so far. Unlike me, who had been battered by doubt, Don was decisive. No hours of delaying tactics for him. He announced that the pin he had placed was highly suspect and he didn't trust it to lower off of, so he would climb down with a belay through the pin, realizing fully that it might not hold his weight if he slipped, and that the consequences in that case would be an almost certainly fatal fall to the ground.
I held my breath. He made it back to the belay.
It would have made perfect sense to give up at this point, but rationality is not a strong suit of the young. I had on me a very distinctive gold Charlet-Moser piton that I had failed to pass over to Don. It had a thicker blade than he had with him, and he thought it might go in where his gear had failed. And so, armed with the hoped-for magic bullet and comforted by the knowledge that Don had climbed up and down the face below the fold, I headed up to see if more progress could be made.
Now all this had taken a lot of time, and the road was now choked with tourists and backed up for almost the entire length of the Needles Highway. Our 6 AM start had been wasted, and we had become the gladiators in the arena, battling a ferocious nubbin-encrusted beast while the hoards waited, not always patiently, for some a catastrophe to enliven their day. They had no idea how close we were to satisfying their morbid craving for a moment of entertainment.
Locked inextricably into the traffic jam was a convertible with a young woman in a peasant blouse as a passenger. The blouse was revealing enough at eye level, but from the vantage of the belay flake directly above, little was left to the imagination. Don almost immediately engaged his moltenizing twinkle beam in an effort to...well, you know what guys do.
And so it was that I found myself up at the fold with my belayer locked in a mammaric trance below.
The first thing I did was to test the piton Don had placed. A single blow of the hammer knocked it out of the crack and sent it on its way down the rope to Don, who, in an admirable display of concentration, barely acknowledged its arrival. So now I'm up at the fold with nothing in, having lost the only one of Don's pitons that he had been able to place, staring wildly at the spot where my gold Charlet-Moser special was going to go. First some delicate loving light taps---we don't want this baby to bounce out---then some harder blows, and finally all-out pounding, mercilessly overdriving that sucker for whatever extra security it might acquire.
I traversed right, yelled ineffectively at Don, and started up the bulge, which was indeed much harder than the climbing below. (The 5.8 rating of these moves does not convey the cumulative psychic distess I was laboring under as I advanced.) Pinching two crystals, I high-stepped onto a small blackish blob and started to pull through.
I think my nervous system registered the departure of my foothold before I heard the cracking sound, certainly before the the loud thunk from below announced the impact on the hood of the Breastmobile. The bad news: the boyfriend of the Peasant Fantasy was shrieking obscenities at us for damaging his car and I was suspended from two pinch-grips with my feet flaying about ineffectively and one piton between me and oblivion. The good news: I finally had Don's undivided attention.
An adrenaline infusion coursed through my veins and I suddenly found myself several feet higher with no memory of what I had done to get there. With the apoplectic tones of the offended boyfriend wafting up from below, I floated ecstatically up the ever-lessening angle of the final summit slope.
Hammer wrote, Actually, Rich backed off the route before even getting to the horizontal seam (where the pins are) and his partner Don Storjohann got the first ascent. Don is in favor of the route maintainance in question. Lets keep the comments accurate.
Which reminded me of my earlier comment, You're spinning, not listening.
If "broken rock" is not good to you, leave the pins in place since they are going to break the rock on removal, no?
If you have the FAist in your corner, why are you still debating? Go do what you feel you should do.
There's bullshit on both sides of this argument. I'm blessed with LOTS of rock around here so if i see a climb that is too dangerous for me i climb another one (but i leave it for someone else). I understand that at other places this might not be the case and in this instance, consulting the FA party and voicing your concerns is the right decision. His/her/their opinions about the route should be final (IMO) since you have spoken with them, who cares what anyone else thinks on this site (whether for or against it). Go Cubs
Hammer- Please try to comprehend that those pitons are part of the story of the FA and have some value for historical reasons even if clearly not to you. The question of adequate protection on this 5.8 climbing assumes a leader climbing at that grade. Don't be so blithe as to take the position that a 5.8 leader wouldn't like to have those pitons (or pinbolts) to clip into while arranging other gear. Have it your way on your own routes. You have little support for carrying out your plans on the Needles Eye.
got it, randomtask.
What I posted above (on this page) is Rich Goldstone's account
of the first ascent.
It was the initial post of the First Ascent of the Needle's Eye
In that thread, Hammer brought up the opinion of Don S who
thought a bolt would be appropriate.
Rich (rgold) responded that he was opposed to Hammer's proposal
to place a bolt, and he requested that Hammer keep that in mind.
Hammer has continued to stress Don's opinion while ignoring
He has also stated that he considers Don the true first ascentionist.
I want to make it clear that I am not offering an opinion on what
should be done with this climb.
Well then, let's cut to the tiebreaker. Would either Rich or Don have any objection to the installation of pinbolts to replace the existing fixed pitons in the absence of reliable gear nearby? The pinbolt entered the discussion well along on the Needles Eye thread. Again, I would be happy to provide them and assist in the installation. It would be much less depressing than pulling and patching.
In fairness to Rich, his point has not been that the pins should never be replaced. I'd encourage folks to re-read the thread before they accept Hammer's definition of Rich's position, as seems to be happening above.
Do I have this right? Your respect for Richard Goldstone has been decreased because he insists a decision affecting shared lands( The Needle's Eye) must be made by an appropriately constituted organization of climbers? Because that is his stated position. Perhaps you need to go back and actually read what he said. You apparently missed both of that post's central points.
Does this kind of thing happen to you often? If so it is pretty serious.
A few weeks ago I was climbing Higher Cathedral Spire with my buddy Geoff. We were following the SuperTopo guide for the Regular Route, and it says that you can go out left of the 5.8 rotten chimney on pitch 3 on a 5.9 "wild and airy traverse". Yeah, well, we did that, and boy-howdy, we ended up on some damned ledge that was very obviously the end of the line for us, not the 5.7 chimney we were supposed to find.
There were two bolts spaced about 8ft apart or so, but no way up. So we rigged a bail-off from a web-o-lett. While we were there, we saw a few old, rusty, angle pitons. While I'm relieved that we had solid bolts to rap off back to "Second Base", so we could go straight up and finish the route, It was very cool to see the old relics up there, and ponder the person and circumstances in which the pitons went in to begin with. That person was probably in a similar state-of-mind as us, however many years later. We dubbed our location "Rat Fvck Ledge".
Here is a shot of Geoff, wondering what the hell Chris Mac was talking about in the route description.
I don't know, sometimes the old stuff has got to go. But sometimes it's cool to see the old stuff. It makes you appreciate what people did in previous generations. I had a FA who doesn't climb anymore once ask me to put a few new good bolts on a route he put up, but please leave the old stuff, because they have cool home-made hangers and stuff. It's like looking at a little slice of history. But that doesn't mean it is at all safe to clip. It also makes you appreciate they work that others are doing to keep routes climble.
Yes guys, you've got it right, I have less respect for Rich because he wants to continue leaving a route 'off limits' to anyone who won't risk his life to lead it. (as though 40 years hasn't been enough)
Many of you have described ways to get around the risk by placing backup gear but do you really think you 'repeated' the route when you do that. Face it, none of you have the stones to repeat the route on the old pins.
Imagine if you could change a hiking trail so that 95% of people wouldn't/couldn't hike it...some of you would actually do it so you could be 'better', 'stronger', 'bolder', more 'adventurous', more 'visionary', etc., etc. Hikers wouldn't let you do that to public property.
One of these days someone will die from a fall off the Needles Eye, then no one will be able to climb it.
Someday someone will get killed on an 8' folding ladder. Everthing must be pipe scaffolding and not too rusty. Nameless Hammer- you are an idiot with a cup and ball that is your empty and losing stance. You can't reasonably expect that which you are not willing to provide, namely respect. Keep trying, you'll figure it all out. And people will continue to climb the Needles Eye even if you parade around in a sandwich sign and bullhorn warning them of impending doom. We are talking 5.8 here remember. The horror, the horror. Yuk Yuk Yuk! GAK!
You are still having trouble coming into balance with the real world around you. Richard is only suggesting how the decision should be made. He said he would go with whatever a properly constituted organization of climbers decides.
You may be thinking you are just spinning like so many do today. But you are well outside of that envelope. I repeat. You are well outside of that envelope. You are having trouble understanding the world around you. I strongly suggest you not go climbing again until you have gotten help.
I would also comment that in the past when I have decided whether to trust my life to a piece not placed by myself, I have assumed the person placing it was stable. This affair causes me to wonder. Perhaps all of us need seriously and immediately to consider how to qualify people assigned the task of placing fixed protection. They are articles of personal protection and are subject to considerable legal examination.
OTEASTD wrote: "I also think Ed Leeper should be forced at gunpoint to rappel off one thousand of the time-bomb anchors he wrought upon us."
this is the sort of spew that would be a laughable indication of total ignorance if it did not contain a germ of slander, and I mean in a legal sense.
I had talked to Ed Leeper after he bravely posted his warning regarding his hangers. It should be noted that it is not just his hangers which are a problem, but all such hangers. I happened to have a stash of his hangers that I bought in the 70's, which had sat in my closet for the intervening 30 years or so. I sent him those as samples, so that they could be tested. After he tested them he called me up and we talked a long time about the "problem." It turns out that those examples I sent him were fine, they spec'd out as they had 30 years ago.
Ed's views at the time were that Stainless Steel was probably the way to go, I remember arguing that maintainence was needed for all bolts. Ed was well aware of the status of other hangers, but his ability to discuss the general problem publicly is limited, as the precise cause of hanger failures, and the attribution of hanger failures to bad accidents, is extremely difficult to show.
However, Ed took the brave and honorable path to inform the climbing community of the problems cropping up with his old hangers. HE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT, he could have just let the problem go on out there, which is precisely what the other manufacturers did.
Ed Leeper is a member of the climbing community, he understands his responsibility to that community, he has demonstrated his concern even though he knew he would hang flack for it from uninformed members of the community.
OTEASTD, Ed Leeper is totally accessible, though he doesn't suffer fools, you could probably contact him and get the story straight from him, and some of his very intelligent and informed opinions regarding how to move forward. Instead, you are just sh#t talking with absolutely no idea of the issues. If you are afraid of coming across these sorts of things on a climb, you should probably limit your climbing activities to getting into bed at night and pulling the covers over your head.
Gosh, I guess since Leeper is such a stand up guy he and his ilk should get a free pass on the thousands of potentially dangerous/fatal scenarios they created. Brave to disclose? Maybe, though it could be that knowledge + failure to warn = punitives, and I mean in a legal sense.
I've clipped plenty of those things and have always wondered how anyone ever thought bending a wafer thin piece of metal at a 90 degree angle and bolting it to a wall with a quarter inch bolt was a good idea. State of the art at the time? puh-leez. Why are there not the same concerns regarding pitons from the same era?
You say that if I'm afraid of coming across these sorts of things on a climb, which I have too many times, I should probably limit my climbing activities to getting into bed at night and pulling the covers over my head. Why don't you give a call to the loved ones of climbers killed as a result of defective mank put in during the "golden era" and tell them that. I am sure they would appreciate your wit.
If that someone gets killed on an 8' folding ladder that someone else purposly made to be dangerous, that someone else is partly at fault. And, we're talking about a 5.8 that no 5.8 leaders will lead. Steve maybe you could come out next summer and free solo it just for yuk's, its only 5.8.
Rich is suggesting that the decision be made by the BHCC which is controlled by others who have dangerous routes they refuse to 'upgrade' to safer gear, they have a vested interest in agreeing with Rich and he knows that.
One of the infamous Needles X rated routes was recently left out of a new guidebook even though the rock it is on was featured. I think that is the way most of these routes will fade into obscurity, no one will even know they're there.
there has to be intent, and then how do you determine what the cause of the accident is, how do you establish equipment failure?
Ed Leeper made the best equipment, his hangers "meet spec." We might not agree that those specs are appropriate now, and the bolts and hangers are being replaced. The hangers age differently depending on where and how they were placed.
The driller is responsible for bolt placement, if they don't do it correctly then you have a "bad bolt" sitting out there somewhere, might not look very different from a well placed bolt. How do you know? Shouldn't they have a bit of the responsibility too?
The National Park Service allows bolts to be placed, in fact, they only allow the holes to be hand drilled which creates a hole inferior to those machine drilled, in my opinion. They do not require any certification for the person placing them. Does the NPS also have a responsibility?
No one goes out to put bolts in that are intended to harm another climber, no one. Ed Leeper has a lifetime of supplying climbing equipment to secure the safe passage of climbers on the rock. To imply that he intentionally made equipment harmful to climbers is idiotic.
The bolt placers also do not intentionally place bad bolts... people who create routes are not thinking about the future climbers, in most case, but how do they safely exectute that climb that day.
Fact is, you have the responsibility to decide whether or not you are going to do a climb, risk the possibility that the bolt you are clipping may not be what you think it is. Beware! and if it's gettting dicey, go back, don't go on, retreat.
The climb is not more important than your life. Be responsible, you make the choices, Ed Leeper doesn't have a gun to your head making you clip his hangers.
Both Edge and Hammer are classic examples of those who think they are entitled to something in climbing. Get it straight, climbing is about adventure.
If you imagine any piece of metal that has been outside for 30 years is entirely trustworthy that is a clear indictment of your judgement. How about the connection of that piece of metal to the rock? Ever heard of frost wedging boys?
It's still way easier for you than it was for the pioneer of whatever you are doing no matter what. You have the advantage of fore-knowledge of the route and its difficulties, as well as the techniques required to overcome them.
Wanna climb routes equipped with the hardware of your choice at the spacing you require? Try doing some first ascents.
Rather than slandering other, clearly well intentioned people, I think you should embark on a voyage of self examination. Perhaps you could discover something of real value doing so. In other sports it's commonly referred to as heart.
Seems to me (presuming that i'm even qualified to answer such a question), that the time is ripe for the new guard to share more intimately with the FA the FA's original experience.
New Guard... get out there, lead the old-skool 5.9+ onsight! Take a hammer and drill kit with you, hand drilling (in a appropriate place, within say... 12" of the original bolt?) a new hole in a manner similar to the FA's method (be it a stance, from hooks, or what have you). No additional holes than originally drilled, please understand, but instead a simple upgrade of the hardware to the current state-of-the-art.
Perhaps with such a technique everyone can get what they most desire... something most approximating the FA's experience (for the re-equipper), while replacing hardware for those who would like to follow but are scared off by the old rusty (and probably dangerous) hardware. If the original 1/4" 'ers and Leeper hangers are left in situ, perhaps it will enhance the "museum" experience of the new guard who choose to follow, while affirming to the old guard that there are still climbers who can and will climb with an "old-skool" ethic (the one who upgraded the hardware).
Does that sound like a "reasonable" compromise to anyone who put up a significant number of routes from "back in the day"? Would "you" provide carte-blance permission to re-equip "your" route in such a manner? Perhaps "you" might have a better solution to offer (but then wasn't that the whole point of WB's post)?
Personally, I do appreciate being able to check out the old 1/4" button heads directly adjacent to some more recent 3/8 hardware on a re-equipped route. It speaks for the route and the FA'ist, both in style and age of route. I do not advocate for the erasing of history, nor will I. I'd rather see the original hardware disintegrate to a rust streak before it would be pulled, as that speaks for the route in and of itself!
edit to add:
sorry fellas if this has already been covered. overlooked the fact that 450+ opinions had already weighed in on the subject. It might take me a bit to wade through all the responses previous to this one. :(
Nicky d says "I think you should embark on a voyage of self examination. Perhaps you could discover something of real value doing so. In other sports it's commonly referred to as heart."
Well! I suggest YOU embark on a voyage of of self editing, so as to not inflict wince inducing cliches on the rest of us. I don't think I'm entitled to nuthin in climbing beyond what the FA party had, which was hardware that was not rusty and defective. Also, I wouldn't be spouting off on this thread if I never had hand drilled on lead so please drop your patronizing "try doing some first ascents" BS.
Anastasia started a thread about the strength of the climbing community, and she proposed her hopes for constructive advancement, generation of safe harbor, and realization of an overall positive impact enabled by our communal bond.
So on to bolt wars!
Enemies share one of the greatest of bonds.
(OK, he probably didn't say that, I just went through “The Prince” trying to find it, but someone said something like it. And I'm sayin’ it, even though it's also probably totally out of context as well. Any pundits out there?)
Is this really the type of bond by which we wish our community to be known?
Often, what strengthens this adversarial bond is in fact, a strong will on the part of the opponents to engage in a conflict which provides the opportunity to rigorously cling to and fortify a stance. Enemies need each other to continually sustain their struggle for Position.
By its very nature, this type of relationship excludes solution because it feeds on mutually entrenched positions. But we have a choice: expression and maintenance of intransigent positions on the one hand, versus the alternative: expansive and instructive dialectic couched in an understanding of and regard for the interests at play, which can lead to a more agreeable pattern of resource management and a more productive style of communal discourse. The latter may still cleave to the concept of an engagement with an enemy making us stronger, which is why a worthy opponent is worth honoring, yet it encompasses growth.
Positions versus Interests:
If we seek only to fortify our position, we feed the beast and strengthen the bond in a purely divisive way: the bond of enemies is maintained, yet only through prolonging the trouble. If we examine interests behind the positions and engage in and employ a more functional exchange, the bond may remain; although it might be transmuted to one of mutual respect, understanding, and in doing so inherently nurture the community through expansion of a greater appreciation for the big picture.
Example of Positions (wants): -we should engage in risk because we grow through it-, or -we should climb unhindered by risk, because our lives shouldn't be risked unnecessarily and we’ll athletically exceed-.
Example of Interests (needs) behind both the positions: we all have a need for self-expression, for growth, and we all want that to be validated. We sense a need to be right and we need to be understood, to be appreciated.
This approach is sort of like agreeing to disagree, but it is more: by evolving the bond from adversarial to collusive, we move toward synthesizing an expanded relational space where more interests of both parties are met. This is usually not the case in a head-on clash were only positions are fought for with equal amounts of combative force.
At the least, in striving to understand, respect, and honor the opponent, we shift the tonal quality of the exchange from discordant, shrill attack, to one of inquiry and creative integration. Hopefully, the outcome produces a shared use of resources usually achieved through some fashion of compromise, which accommodates the expressed interests of those involved, especially to the degree that they overlap, while engendering a pattern, a bond, leaning in the direction of communal harmony and stewarded growth.
Oddly, we already enjoy a fairly well divided playing ground. This argument, which we see here in this thread, is more often just about arguing. As Bob Antonio said, to paraphrase, nobody is really adding bolts to established trad icon routes such as the Bachar Yerian, Perilous Journey, and the like. We already have tons of great sport climbs. Nobody is saying we should be leaving rusty pins and bolts in situ, to the contrary, everyone agrees maintenance has to happen and it is happening. Yes, Hammer would like to see old pins replaced with bolts instead of newer pins; he is uncomfortable with routes, which are poorly protected for the grade. Yes Wes has proposed an argument for retro bolting. We will not always agree; but we do enjoy extant examples of all these styles and more.
Werner initially proposed a discussion on the status and value of some of these older routes that have rusted gear, which seldom see an ascent, which languish …and away we went on the typical clash of positions. (We like going apesh#t over your thoughts Werner).
Enter Wes, when he sees a fight, he likes to push buttons and often he only needs to express his sincere viewpoint to do so; after all that is easy, because his viewpoint is one of modern access and protection and clearly at odds with the old ground up, risk-taking mentality. But sometimes he just states something to get a reaction, so we call him a troll. Sure, it seems annoying, and it is because that is what button pushing is all about, at the outset. What he is partially trying to do, is to loosen up some of those aspects of ourselves which reside in the subconscious unknown, often called the shadow. Often our interests are in fact unknown to ourselves and they reside in the shadow, behind the stated position. So Wes comes along and applies his drawing salve to the wound, to leech and extract the vitriol and likewise to expose the deeper roots of motive and interest which lie behind, in the end to get us to think about our stance (our position) which we guard so strongly.
Whether or not Wes has regard for the traditional approach to rock climbing, and the keen rewards which it offers is not so much the point. The point is he understands that life moves forward un-haltingly, unsparingly, and it is forever changing our landscape, our bodies, our minds.
“The ocean waves surge freely against the shore, wetting the pebbles and shells.”
-Ken Wilber, “No Boundary”
"Just as the Ocean waves, the Universe Peoples."
John Fowles, in one of his novels, to paraphrase, said that war is essentially a failure of the understanding and application of the fundamental nature of relationship: of relationship to the self, to the other, to nature, to life.
Ever notice how you get very few women in these bolt war arguments? In international mediation and conflict resolution a standard model is to work with the women in an embattled region; to educate them, to grant them the skills to foment change, to seek resolution and to engender peace. Why? Because they intrinsically understand relationship: they give birth. They have an irrevocable stake in a more harmonious, communal future.
Edge, while I admit I can be over the top at times, your answer clearly shows you feel a sense of entitlement,"I don't think I'm entitled to nuthin in climbing beyond what the FA party had, which was hardware that was not rusty and defective."
What did the FA party have when they went up? Unknown rock quality, difficulty of moves, and no assurance they would be able to get any protection at all.
Also, since you are so ready to get down on Ed Leeper for his "defective" gear, if it was so bad in the first place, then how was the FA party any better off than you are now? I have used a lot of his gear over the years and in my opinion most of it was pretty darn good. I think Ed really contributed a lot to the climbing world.
Since now you know everything about the routes before you leave the deck, perhaps you should think about replacing the gear that makes you afraid on the lead. It would still be easier for you than it was for the FA, at least you would have whatever they placed to make you feel more secure while you drilled. It would make your ascent that much more of an accomplishment, and simultaneously allow you to contribute something to the climbing community at large.
No two people climb for the same reason or climb in the
same way. If I even leave chalk marks on the holds(never
mind putting in a bolt) the people who want the full mystery
will be shortchanged because of what I did. Because we
share the land there will always be people at cross
purposes. That is a given. Neither party is “Right” though
frankly I rather prefer the people who try always to impact
others as little as possible. I don’t know what to say about
the people who do not accept this as even being an issue,
except to say they exist and they seem irretrievably stuck on
being right. They don’t even realize that is what is
happening. Sometimes we have to live with what we have
got. Well, actually this is always true.
What Anastasia is getting at on another thread is that
unmitigated conflict, while momentarily reinforcing our
pleasant feeling of being “Right” , also corrodes our
interactions, our relationships, and degrades the climbing
experience to a much greater extent than our feeling of
being right can ever improve our experience. Decreasing
returns. The problem is made complex due to the fact each
of us has a different point at which our returns begin to
If I had the you know whats needed to tell you there is an
easy answer, I would be better off spending my time running
for president. There is a difficult answer. People need to
listen to each other and begin to value the other’s needs as
highly as they value their own.
Both sides accepting perfection will never be achieved.
This thread reminds me of that story in the movie Smoke.
I suppose it all goes back to Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen of England?
Not Elizabeth the Second, Elizabeth the First.
Did you ever hear of Sir Walter Raleigh?
Sure. He's the guy who threw his cloak down
over the puddle.
That's the man. Well, Raleigh was the person
who introduced tobacco in England, and since he
was a favorite of the Queen's -- Queen Bess, he
used to call her -- smoking caught on as a
fashion at court. I'm sure Old Bess must have
shared a stogie or two with Sir Walter. Once,
he made a bet with her that he could measure
the weight of smoke.
You mean, weigh smoke?
Exactly. Weigh smoke.
You can't do that. It's like weighing air.
I admit it's strange. Almost like weighing
some one's soul. But Sir Walter was a clever
guy. First, he took an unsmoked cigar and put
it on a balance and weighed it. Then he lit up
and smoked the cigar, carefully tapping the
ashes into the balance pan. When he was
finished, he put the butt into the pan along
with the ashes and weighed what was there.
Then he subtracted that number from the
original weight of the unsmoked cigar. The
difference was the weight of the smoke.
Not bad. That's the kind of guy we need to take
over the Mets.
Oh, he was smart, all right. But not so smart
that he didn't wind up having his head chopped
off twenty years later.
But that's another story.
(Handing PAUL his change and putting
cigar tins and lighter in a paper bag)
Take care of yourself now, and don't do
anything I wouldn't do.