Doug Robinson, Sean Jones, rap bolt South face of Half Dome!

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coz

Trad climber
California
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 29, 2008 - 05:52pm PT
I've been in Mexico working for four months and away from all this, can anyone tell me if this is true? I can not believe it myself. I just read in Rock and Ice a story called, The Better Half. Please tell me, I read it all wrong.
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 29, 2008 - 05:57pm PT
Scott,

Take a deep breath and reread the article. I'm pretty sure that's not what happened. But, just to be sure, Doug's on here from time to time and I'm sure he'll post up. If I see him, I'll ask...
WBraun

climber
Mar 29, 2008 - 06:55pm PT
1000 bolts with coz's name on them.

Some glue-on holds for ambivalence.

A shock kit at the base with mental relaxant drugs for those who will freak when they see.

Something for the heart too, a defibrillator, to revive the weak hearted.

Hahahaha Coz .......
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 29, 2008 - 06:58pm PT
And the NPS didn't notice a thing while it was all happening...

Edit: I'm not in any way criticizing the climb or climbers. From the account in the magazine, it sounds like they're very capable, and did a fine job. I somehow suspect that DR wouldn't hold still for any nonsense, too.

But I may have been teasing Coz. Werner started it.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:09pm PT
Fer Cripe's Sake Coz! -how could you let a thing like that happen?
coz

Trad climber
California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 29, 2008 - 07:14pm PT
If it's not true great, I can not really believe those guys are such, ah-cats
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:22pm PT
RE:
"A shock kit at the base with mental relaxant drugs for those who will freak when they see. "

LOL!
wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:25pm PT
Does the NPS have regs against hand bolting on rap? I sure wasn't aware of it, if they do.
This is what I can say as far as my involvement with this project is concerned. We did the first half of the route trad style, ground up, and installed 10mm stainless two-bolt anchors for every pitch at stances. That Half Dome granite is the hardest granite I've ever seen, with numerous 30 minute holes and broken bits.
I don't know if you've been up there Anders, but that upper face can be pretty deceiving. Ask Hank. Sean and Doug made some hard decisions in the interest of the quality of the route, which, in my opinion is a lot more important 100 years from now than how big your balls are. What they will remember is that it is not a shwag route.
This is only MY opinion, I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I feel like when you're getting into 5.13 slab territory, only having a bolt every 60-70 feet, 'cause that's where the micro potato-chip "jug" you stood on to drill a shitty sketched-out bolt from, doesn't cut it.
We decided to preview the top half in a 900 foot single line rappel, and I'm glad we did, because only in having done that, did we see that the line we WERE going to take, some enticing vertical rib/dikes from the end of the arch, ran out into complete blankness after 500 feet. I'm glad we didn't put in the time, and scar the rock in the process for a "mistake" route. As it is, on that preview, we found a counter-intuitive line that is of absolute quality, and you won't break your back or smash your body if you fall. Regrettably, I had to return to my work with the Park Service in Tuolumne, or I would have helped Sean and Doug bolt that upper wall.
Go climb it. It's awaiting a second ascent. Report back here.

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:25pm PT
The second "gold rush" is on!
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:38pm PT
Wow.
coz

Trad climber
California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 29, 2008 - 07:41pm PT
My God Man, so it is true! Ya that's great, you are pushing the standard now. I say why stop there, install another cable route right up the South Face then any tourist can enjoy it. Your right history will show you guys where the smart ones, what where we thinking, running it out, having ethics and being willing to fail, cavemen I guess.

And to make a spray article about your climb, god my heart ahhhh!!!

I am ok, I am sure Walt's rolling in his grave. Sad day for me boys. What a blight on the proud face.

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:45pm PT
ding ding!

wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 29, 2008 - 07:54pm PT
Didn't mean to bum you out bro, just thought you needed some answers. I can e mail you Sean's phone number, if you want to talk about it the old-school way, instead of on the internet.
As for the spray article, Doug's a writer. He writes.
That's a slippery slope there, talking about a second cable route.
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 29, 2008 - 08:04pm PT
Oh well, its a big rock, a few more bolts ain't gonna tip it over.

Inquiring minds want to know the more vital underlying subtexts.

What was their carbon footprint?
Did they contribute to the erosive effects of industrial tourism, or support the local product economy?
Is Sean still with Maggie?
Does ol' Doug get with the groupies on the slide show tour?

These are the vital questions.

Peter
marky

climber
Mar 29, 2008 - 08:04pm PT
he probably meant via ferrata
WBraun

climber
Mar 29, 2008 - 08:06pm PT
OMFG ..... I think Walt's coming out of the ground.

The fuking end is here for sure, eeeeeaaahhhhhh eeerrrggghhh!

Huh?
wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 29, 2008 - 08:06pm PT
Peter, Ben Montoya here. Sean and Maggie are still bomber, as always. How have you been? I haven't seen you in a while.
jiimmy

Boulder climber
san diego
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:14pm PT
Out with the old, in with the new. Tomes change. Dont dwell in the past.
Ok, thats what some people would say.
NOT ME!! HOly crapbags!!!Why would anyone defile a rock like Half Dome? Too many self righteous types in the climbing community now.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:20pm PT
Wow!
Brilliant!

Two cable routes!
You could make one the "up" and the other the "down"...
nature

climber
Santa Fe, NM
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:22pm PT
just grid bolt the entire thing and be done with it. It's the direction of climbing so why fight it? In fact, for the routes that don't go I suggest bolting on holds. Just be sure to keep the red route under 5.10+ so I can send.

I'm gonna have to read the article I suppose. I'm curious.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:40pm PT
talk about politico....ssssss
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:43pm PT
Something smells here...

Why is this any different from the WOS debacle? Who's gonna take the dump this time?
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Mar 29, 2008 - 09:51pm PT
Having done a few FA's back there I'd have to agree with Coz. What a shame to beat the rock into submission in such poor style, taking all the adventure out of the game. It doesn't even seem like fun. I'm not surprised though. Climbers in general lack respect these days. Like Skinner bolting Jesus Built My Hotrod. Very lame.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:04pm PT
Personally, I don't see the value in restricting routes on Half Dome to strictly ones with dangerous runouts. Should every harder route be equipped to only get an ascent every 5-8 years? It just ain't possible to make certain routes ground up with any kinda safety (or even without safety)

Ya got your Southern Belle, yur Autobahn, and this route. Something for every taste.

and it's not like you see the bolts on one from the lack of bolts on the other.

It's ironic that there's a morality police that's ready to condemn one act of climbing when other morality police have themselves condemned the first morality cop's ascents in the past to boot.

Whatever your form of climbing, aid (most destructive and free standards increase all the time) power drilling, hang-dogging, siege climbing, rap bolting, even using chalk, topos or cams. They've all been dissed in the past. It could be argued that any use of a hammer for anything is beating the rock into submission.

For every cry that climbing is getting dumbed down, there is a bold ascent and a standard exceeded. Doesn't mean everybody has to do it that way.

Peace

Karl
Hankster

Trad climber
Eldorado Springs, CO
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:32pm PT
It might be nice to climb that rock without the whole broken ankles thing, hard to say not knowin'. I still think that hike is gonna keep most of the riff raff away. But what do I know, I'm a Texan living in Boulder.

Caylor
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:35pm PT
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
-MLK

A abhor political commentary on this forum, but Karl, I gotta ask, would you condone a rap-established route next to the Nose (for example) that was glued plastic from toe to summit? A "climber" in the future might argue this was the best way to do a FA free-solo route on the Captain. As you said, "Something for every taste."
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:43pm PT
Would that be The Hole unNatural Art of Protection?

Har har.

Got to see some of the pic's of that route. Whew. Looks pretty neat. Then we shared some beta on rap bolted routes.

Cheers, Doug!

-Brian in SLC
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:48pm PT
As with WOS, criticism of the route would have value if it came from someone who's done it, IMO.

Lots of routes have been rap bolted in Yosemite. Seeing Half Dome as an exception to that style of first ascent seems unjustified. I know the other routes on the South Face were done ground up, but when steepness eliminates the ability of a leader to stance drill, aid must be used. Sure, using a hook to drill is scarier, OK, ballsier, but on a route of that size, you're talking scores of hook placed bolts. And very likely a route that gets stopped by a blank section. In which case all those holes are destined to be unused.

Considering the nature of that wall, continuously freeclimbable face routes are going to be difficult, if not impossible to see from the ground. That factor, and the scale of the route, make a preinspection justified in my opinion, especially after ground up attempts that fail after a good effort. Few of us have the time to make numerous false starts on a route of that scale. Once a preinspection is done, the adventure factor of a ground up ascent is lost, and if aid is used to place bolts, hooks or rap - it don't mean much to me.

At that point there is a lot to be said for a well crafted route that finds a well camouflaged, barely climbable, and beautiful line, enabling future climbers to appreciate it forever. That's what I suspect this route offers.


Climbers pushing the standards and exploring new ground often have used controversial methods. The finished product will be judged in time by climbers who have the ability and the open mind to do the route.


Of course, a successful ground up effort would be better style and more impressive - but time and successive ascents will yield the only qualified criticism of the route, and the climbers who did it first - as I see it.

KW







survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:52pm PT
5.13 slab???? I don't really like the idea of rap bolting anything, but I just don't have the danglers for 5.13 slab or much of any other kind of 5.13, so...I guess it only bothers me in a dislocated kind of way. But then, the whole WOS thing didn't really bug me that much either. It's all just blowin' til somebody goes up there, does it, and then says it sucks. Probably wouldn't change much anyway...
Climb on brothers, climb on.
B
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:55pm PT
Does the NPS have regs against hand bolting on rap?

Nah, but they might be bummed if you used a power drill, on El Cap, for instance.

Where's Dingus?

Ha ha.

-Brian in SLC
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 29, 2008 - 10:57pm PT
"A abhor political commentary on this forum, but Karl, I gotta ask, would you condone a rap-established route next to the Nose (for example) that was glued plastic from toe to summit? "

There's obviously a limit to everything and extreme examples merely make obvious what is a judgement call...Where is the line?

I'll tell you this much: The retro bolts that all those who freeclimbed the Nose have clipped, I doubt very much that they were placed from stances or even hooks.

Peace

Karl
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 29, 2008 - 11:26pm PT
A dozen postcards says this thread will quickly pass 100 posts.

I have always (just ask my kids) said I don't care what someone believes in or practices (bestiality, bathhouse glory holes, veganism, smoking a pipe, Jehovah's Witness, chewing tobacco, Branch Davidian, Republican, etc.) just as long as they don't push it in my face and tell me I am wrong for not being a believer. Do whatever you want, whenever you want, but please remember that there are others who do not go with your flow.

Devil's advocate for a moment...

1. New bolts are placed on old aid routes to make them safer and doable. This seems an accepted practice. So would it be wrong to place bolts on an established free route so it can be done as a practice aid route? The bolts would not change the holds of the free route. Free climbers do not need to clip them.

2. Has anyone ever led Nabisco on aid? Would we allow them to do that or laugh them out of the Park?

3. If bolts are placed on an old aid route to make it a free route would it be wrong to chop the new bolts to return the route to its original state?

4. Is FREE higher on the climbing structure than AID? Yes, I think most would say so. But are free climbers allowed more freedoms than aid climbers? When will we close the Salathe to people who cannot do it all free?

5. Very few people "enjoy" a long runout. But what is an acceptable runout? If the runout was 35 feet on the FA and the second ascent determines the route would see more ascents if it had five foot runouts would they be wrong to add the bolts on rap? Sport climbers have shown us that bolts placed at one-meter intervals are acceptable since they produce hard routes that advance technique. Those short runouts seem to help the popularity of the routes.

Again, everyone is free to do what they feel is in their own best interest. Who am I to say, "she's right. You're wrong. That route stays as is. That one needs to be chopped." The community (climbing, religious, political, sexual, etc.) will establish and modify the acceptable guidelines as times change. Hopefully in climbing, the end result will be routes many people can enjoy in a safe way without death leads and without hand-holding arrows painted on the rock showing the direction to the next clip for many eons to come.


Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:22am PT
How many Pin_Bolts™™™ were used???
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:43am PT
This thread has asked the wrong question.


What is a sufficient level of adventure to justify any climbing action?

If we could answer that, then we could determine much.



but to say there is no adventure in those routes is probably mistaken, but also to not try more adventure (as a principle) is mistaken. The real story is somewhere in between, and we sure don't have it here.




ok, i'm outta this one. done posted too much in WOS anyways.

cheers, all, see you at the crags.

healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:43am PT
Now this is what us outsiders sign up for - new lines, big names, old controversies rekindled, and sparks flying. And yes, where is Mimi, et al. with their enduring outrage? How many micro-flakes were sacrificed? Or, is this the case that finally proves once and for all that WOS was really about the climbers and not the climb?

And who knows, maybe it really was a desert up there on those slabs, where quality routes can only be found through a process of diligent 'rap discovery' - a term we clearly need to add to the climbing lexicon given the dawn of what promises to be a new era of hidden Valley gems.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:06am PT
".... the end result will be routes many people can enjoy in a safe....."

Not all routes are meant to be safe or enjoyed by many people.

They are are "there" whether one enjoys or not, if it's safe or not.

Routes have soul ......

You can cover that soul, with ignorance, passion, and goodness.

And, .... you can come face to face with that soul when you transcend those 3 modes and come to pure goodness.

The best and most beautiful pearls lie in the deepest ocean.

Half way ground up, and the second half top down, how ironic on one of the most beautiful faces in America.

It faces east were the suns first rays illuminate to reveal the truths ......
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:26am PT
"Half way ground up, and the second half top down, how ironic..."

Are you implying the route was ground down to achieve success?
KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:48am PT
If I remember correctly, The R&I article states that the upper headwall was mostly 11+ climbing. These guys were obviously capable of climbing well past that level, especially after pre inspection. Once the continuous line was discovered, might it not have been worth at least an attempt to do it on the lead? You can always ad bolts to your route after the fact, in order to make it safe for the "masses" if that's what you'd like. They did a kick ass job on the lower part of the route, so whats wrong with a 6 or 7 pitch classic that you have to rap from?



marky

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:46am PT
"I'm a Texan living in Boulder"

this HAS to be the name of some route somewhere
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Idaho
Mar 30, 2008 - 08:02am PT
Please give to the grid bolting association.
coz

Trad climber
California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2008 - 10:15am PT
Just wanted to make a few comments, first I do not judge what's right or wrong based on what big brother (NPS) has to say. Yes, I have broken the law and I'll do it again if it's about saving lives from bad anchors.

How anyone can compare fixing anchors to the South Face of Half Dome being rap bolted is beyond me.

People have been climbing slabs since the 1950 and placing bolts on lead. Not one bolt on the Southern Belle was drilled from a hook, all from stances.

Walt and Dave had no idea if the line would go, me and Dave had no idea if it would go free, but that was the adventure and the magic.

What Doug (hang your old head in shame) and Sean (what's his name) did was take a huge step backwards. Where others had dared they simply and cowardly back off. In other words they took the beautiful Southern Belle, threw her down and forced their will on her.

I will not chop their climb and it is a free country and I am not judging anyone, but I feel it is a terrible thing and the ends never justify the means. Climbing is not safe, never will be, no matter how many bolts you place. Klaus did a route solo first ascent, drilling on stance all by himself a 100 feet left of the cowards' rap job and never ask for a spray article or tried to make a film. That's my idea of a climber.

I am shocked and sad about this, shameful.. That's all it is.



Riotch

Trad climber
Kayenta, Arizona
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:27am PT
This is a good discussion. I would much rather see climbers arguing among themselves than have some government agency telling us what is an acceptable method of first ascent.

I will say, as a first ascentionist, that I have personally botched some of the routes I've established on lead. The end result, in some cases, would have been better if I had rap bolted.

The route in question is unique, and it does set a bit of a precedent in Yosemite, which despite a few rap bolted lines, remains a ground up area (IMHO).

So, keep hashing it out, it is worth careful consideration.

What will the future of climbing in Yosemite be. And, who will make the rules, climbers or the government???
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:04am PT
I wonder if others have scoped that route but decided to pass or hold off on it until they could do it in good style?

Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:37am PT
Most of this boils down to what people consider to be an adavance or improvement in climbing standards and practices. That, in turn, is informed by your particular values. If adventure, risk and all that other stuff are th key aspects in your experience, you'll look to go bolder than those who came before. If security and knowing outcomes beforehand is important to you, tradition becoms meaningless and you do whatever is necessary. I don't think either camp is a fixed thing and I've climbed routes by both means.

One of the things I most regret is not jumping onto the South Face of the Dome back when I was climbing all the time. We planed for it once and intended on putting a team together of Suicide dime masters but for whatever reason we never did . . .

JL
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:44am PT
Anybody have an example of a 5.13 slab climb of over a dozen pitches that's been done ground up?

Does anybody have the routefinding skill to see, without previewing, if a section of slab would be 5.13 or impossible? If not, would establishing a (sparsely) bolted line to nowhere be admirable or a blight on the stone.

Seems to me that it's one thing to shame a route for what it leaves for others versus to blame it for the perceived lack of risk the first ascensionists took.

Some routes are established with a public service mentality. There are pros and cons to that. Many climbers put up routes that are below their limits. Once bolt protection is required by a route, the FA party has to decide for all who follow, how accessible their route will be.

Personally, I'm glad there are routes like Galactic Hitchiker (39 pitches on the Apron) that are designed to be climbed by those who lead that same grade.

Southern Belle certainly has admirable qualities but it could also be said to occupy a beautiful piece of stone in a way that's reserved for very few. There are pros and cons to that too.

I think there's room for both and certainly room on the South Face of Half Dome.

To me, this is pretty evocative of the whole "Robbin's-Dawn Wall controversy", where Royal prejudged a route based on his perceptions of what "should" exist in that location based on tradition.

Many of the folks who railed against sport climbing, hangdogging, and the rest have gone on to do plenty of it.

There are those who have the skills to repeat the route and make a real judgement of it's merits or demerits. I'd applaud that.

Peace

Karl

Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:46am PT
Before I get all worked up about this I would like to hear from Doug Robinson and anybody else who has actually climbed this aleged autrocity. Then again, it is Sunday so feel free to continue with the sermons.


Cracko
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:49am PT
I say live and let live.

Let's hope the protagonist's of these opposing styles do an honorable and quality job, whatever the project.
We still see an adversarial/combative mentality from both camps, which sometimes borders on the absurd.

For example, a buddy of mine from Boulder, seeking to justify his rap route designs, said to me:
"Ground up? Nobody does that anymore!".
That's just an untenable statement: you get stuff like that from both sides.
Realistically, all he had to say was, "this is how I am going to do it."

Silly.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:02pm PT
I'm not against sport climbs or rap bolting, they have their places.

But rap bolting a big wall? Especially Half Dome should never be done.

Leave the big walls alone. If the south face of Half Dome can't be climbed ground up then don't bother. Leave it.

If Half Dome can't be be climbed from the ground up for a hundred years then so be it. Leave it alone.

If the South face of Half Dome has only 4 routes to the top and they are all horrendous death routes, then so be it. Respect!

Respect. Climbing is not suburbia, although that's where the modern trend is going.

I've always wanted to free climb the south face of Half Dome, but I never thought I was good enough, so I walked on past and respected that great masterpiece standing there.
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:03pm PT
Tar,

Reminds me of the time I was in wales climbing Left Wall and Cenotaph with a friend when up walked Wolfgang Gullich to climb "Lord of the Flies". I watched as he quickly moved up this crimpfest until about ten feet from the top where he started fidgeting with a small nut to protect the last moves. He couldn't get anything in and then starts jabbering in German to a friend on the ledge below to get him the appropriate nut and climb to the top and lower it down. Gullich hung on nothing for a good ten minutes until his buddy got to the top and lowered down the appropriate micro nut. He then placed it and powered to the top. A brit climbing next to us said, "Bloody ell.....he didn't free it !!" Talking about absurd !!


Cracko
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:11pm PT
Werner,

Don't want my post above to be construed as support for this new route, just commenting on how absurd our style/ethics debates can get. I agree with you and will continue walking past 90% of the lines I see knowing there's no chance !!!


Cracko
couchmaster

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 12:11pm PT
Before I get all worked up about this I would like to hear from Doug Robinson and anybody else who has actually climbed this aleged autrocity. Then again, it is Sunday so feel free to continue with the sermons.

Ha ha! Nice one, more of these people do need to just head outside.

When I first read that artical it just didn't seem quite right. Not trying to be judgmental here, I mean, it's the original "Cleanmeister Doug Friggan Robinson" up there and he's loudly and proudly tooting this new routes horn.....hmmm. Surprised some of you are not yanking about the bolt placed next to the crack picture either.

I too was wondering if a ground up line of bat-hook holes and various pin scars which the next 5000 climbers could have beat out really would have been better. I know they would not have been. I'm not passing judgment as much as watching what appears to be the inevitable change coming. Like what Ron said, as I suspect this will allow others the mental ability to now say " Hey, if Doug and those guys can preinspect and rap bolt over there...then it's fine over here for me".

Now, I got to go as it warming up finally, I'm heading out myself for a little rapping and cleaning effort. Don't think it needs bolts though.

Take care all!

Bill
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:09pm PT
I don't know that wall at all really, only done Snake Dike and some routes on the other side. If what Coz says is true, that Klaus did a route 100 ft left, solo, placed all the bolts on stance, and that route goes all free, then I think it's legitimate to question the style used to establish this new route. But I also think it would be fair for a climber to reserve harsh criticism until after they've done the climb, or at least talked to a few people who have.

Coz, I'd be critical if someone rap bolted a route on Middle, if it was on rock with features and angle similar to existing ground up, stance drilled routes. If that's the case here, I think objection to the method in the context of the South Face of HD is healthy, as it discourages what Ron referred to as a "gold rush". I think first ascencionists should consider the style of routes immediately adjacent to their project, and respect the style those sister routes were done in.

To me, everything changes when a route has been preinspected, especially a bolt protected route. That means the climbers doing the FA have knowledge of every hold, every protection option, and the exact path of the climb. They have an advantage then over anyone doing a subsequent ascent in that they know what to expect on the lead. I think the climbers establishing the route at that point have an obligation to future climbers to craft a route that has the basic challenges and difficulty they confronted when they did the final FA. Run outs on rehearsed or preinspected rock, for example, seem wrong to me.

How the route is crafted involves balancing many factors in deciding where protection goes and how it's placed. That's the creative aspect of doing a new route, and the FA guys open themselves up to possible criticism and possible praise.

If the route isn't well done, there's no question the FA guys will be harassed for eternity, and that should discourage similar climbs. But... climbers with extensive FA experience deserve the benefit of the doubt until it's obvious their route was done poorly, IMHO.
b.p.

climber
bishop
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:23pm PT
"Old School" means style dictated by respect..for the stone, the environment, the people.
"New School" means safety achieved at all costs.

"Old School" is concerned with the Way.
"New School" is concerned with the Goal.

"Old School" IS a school of thought, a way of living.
"New School" IS a sport.

"Old School" will keep you honest.
"New School" will make you arrogant.

There is no Right and Wrong. There is only Choice.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:30pm PT
Bp...it's obvious you were not around when old school was old school.

b.p.

climber
bishop
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:39pm PT
bob d'antonio, may i ask which part makes you think i was not around when old school was old school?
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Mar 30, 2008 - 01:40pm PT
how the times have changed!
it is almost 14 years ago when the Coz, Eppi and i got busted on top of the Muir wall. the slaggin that we got went on for quite a while for drilling with power tools to replace manky bolts and add a few on our variations and not add bolts to the original line...what most people never recognized was the fact that we had never done the muir (never previewed pitches) and wanted to do it in the style of old school yos big walls. From the bottom to the top...and gain an adventure and show the wall the respect it deserves.

It is a sad day when the valley becomes the same as any other sport crag. When big walls go free and the aid routes lose the flavor of adventure with the many bolts added. When you can climb 1/2 dome with a rack of draws and a few cams, the SOUL of the ADVENTURE is gone! Climbing has never been a SPORT to me, but an adventure with flavor that i wish to taste every time i climb!

But, everyone has their right to express their vision and craft what they seem as the proper path. I am not perfect and have made many mistakes in my climbing life, so it is hard to express too much outrage, but it is much easier to express disappointment with the vision of todays climbers...

is it asking too much to keep a few walls left to adventure and keep the sport climbing to the crags in a place like the valley that is steeped in history and adventure?

Where i live now in the SE, when this type of route is done on North Carolina big walls, it is immediately chopped, patched and the authors strongly chastised in the community. Out west they get the cover shot and the sponsorships and slide shows..

ks

billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:12pm PT
Wow, I'm shocked and surprised to read the posts before me:

The Kid: "Climbing has never been a SPORT to me, but an adventure with flavor that i wish to taste every time i climb!"

Is that the same kid who established 5.13+ sport routes in Rifle and put El Portrero Chico on the map?

Werner: " I'm not against sport climbs or rap bolting, they have their places. But rap bolting a big wall? Especially Half Dome should never be done. Leave the big walls alone."

Wait, let me get this straight: you're not against sport climbing, but then again you are. Okay...

And then there's Ken: "To me, this is pretty evocative of the whole "Robbin's-Dawn Wall controversy", where Royal prejudged a route based on his perceptions of what "should" exist in that location based on tradition. Many of the folks who railed against sport climbing, hangdogging, and the rest have gone on to do plenty of it."

Thank god somebody around here seems to speak with a consistent voice! I think Ken has put a spike through the heart of the issue: if you're so aroused by the notion of this route, why don't you go up and judge for your phuckin' self. Put down the gossip rags and climb. Afterwards, if you still hate it, then lets have it out. But I'd venture to guess there's still about 10 acres of granite on that face that offer plenty of adventure.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:15pm PT
BP...because your little blip is more romantic than truth.

wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:20pm PT
I hear a lot of "assumption" coming from the self-tagged "old-school", and you all know what happens when you make an assumption. Let's all just take a deep breath here.
Somehow, in about 50 posts, the climb (of which no one but four people have any first hand knowledge) has gone from a half trad, half bolted face route, to a sport route, to a via ferrata, and finally, to a bolted crack.
Wow.
Bottom line- until YOU have done the route, it is all just conjecture. I would advise all to exercise some constraint.
It is not a "grid-bolted "sport" route. That is laughable, and it makes you sound ignorant. It pains me seeing people in our small community slinging mud, especially when we all have things other people can take offense at.
One of Royals biggest regrets was getting worked up into a froth over shield-rattling hot air on the ground, only to find a challenging, hard and beautiful route once there was some air under his heels on the dawn wall. We can all learn from his mistake of rushing to judgement.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:21pm PT
i find adventure every day that i go climbing and do it for adventure and not for sport. even when i am bolting lines in rifle and mexico. it's about the line, the style and adventure that comes with it. 90% of the lines i bolted in rifle were ground up as were about 80% of what i bolted in mexico. Sport is the by product of those adventures in my eyes..

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:22pm PT
Kurt wrote: Where i live now in the SE, when this type of route is done on North Carolina big walls, it is immediately chopped, patched and the authors strongly chastised in the community. Out west they get the cover shot and the sponsorships and slide shows..


Kurt....just because you did something a certain way doesn't make it right or wrong.

A lot of assumptions going on in this thread...the truth is more than likely no were near what some people are saying.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:27pm PT
WB said, "But rap bolting a big wall? Especially Half Dome should never be done. "

Gotta agree with him on that one...

Southern Belle had a first "ascent"...

A rap bolted route never does - it's always gonna be an invisible top rope...

Just my opinion, jb
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:31pm PT
how classic would the NA wall have been if Royal rapped from the top to finish it, because it might be too dangerous. geeze come on folks this is a travesty.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:34pm PT
Doug Robinson isn't some kinda bad boy (like Harding) is he?

Sean Jones is a Yosemite local who knows the place.

Perhaps we should be asking more questions in the beginning and making less sweeping statements.

It's true Kurt and Coz got way more slagging at Muir time than they warranted.

Why is the climbing community so ready to think the worst of people, even those we "previously" knew and respected.

I'm sure we'll get more of the other side of the story soon.

Half Dome is a more pristine area of Yosemite but most of the routes on the face went up with plenty of aid, nailing, and bolting, and when you look at the pioneer route on the South Face, it was called into ethical question at the time too: bat hook ladders up blank stone. (that's better than freeing it with rap bolts?)

At least this one is free

Peace

Karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:36pm PT
"how classic would the NA wall have been if Royal rapped from the top to finish it, because it might be too dangerous. geeze come on folks this is a travesty."

Would have been pretty revolutionary if he had freed the route at the time.

All this goes way back. How many days did Harding spend sieging the Nose? Routes like the Nose don't need the top down inspection cause you can see the cracks from the base (and you can bet it was inspected that way) Slabs are too subtle for that.

Two sides to every coin. We may look bad at all the hammering we've done in Yosemite as the real long term damage done to the stone.

Peace

Karl
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:37pm PT
the NA would still be classic, but a lot less pin scarred...don't you agree?




Ever hear about Gandhi, kids, and sugar?
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:37pm PT
To clear things up: I never claimed to have soloed an all free route on half dome. I have however soloed a mixed free and aid route up it where I was stance drilling bolts self belayed at a 5.10 grade. I've also done a route up it with Minerals that I stance drilled bolts to protect climbing up to 5.11d.

It had occured to me that I could just go to the top, throw a few ropes down and proceed to search for the best features. I consider that cheating and I certainly never would have placed a single bolt on rappel there, and then spray about it. I wouldn't have been able to live with the shame.

I'm sure their route is a high quality one since the rock back there is the most beautifully sculpted stone I have ever seen. It's just disappointing to hear of people resorting to the tactics employed to achieve their goal and defend it as "public service". but then they, Sean and Doug, are the ones that now have to live with the shame.

Could this be the first time I'm in agreement with bachar and wbraun?
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:39pm PT
"Does anybody have the routefinding skill to see, without previewing, if a section of slab would be 5.13 or impossible?"

Let me re-write this statement just a tad:
"Does anybody have the route-finding skill to see, without previewing, if a section of rock would be A4 or A5?"

Sure! It's been done countless times on El Cap and Half Dome. No need for Bridwell et al to rap down the PO to know it would be intricate and hard from the ground up. He just did it. The various routes on the Porcelain Wall are less than obvious from the ground but no one felt it necessary to rap them first.

Some might argue that you cannot compare doing hard aid on the FA lead with hard free on the FA lead. Crap! They are both an exploration of the unknown; just with different techniques.

Someone once wrote these words:

"Besides leaving alone what one cannot climb in good style, there are some practical corollaries of boldness in climbing. Learning to climb down is valuable for retreating from a clean and bold place that gets too airy. And having the humility to back off rather than continue in bad style--a thing well begun is never lost. The experience cannot be taken away. By such a system there can never again be "last great problems" but only "next great problems."

And I still say something smells a bit off here... There is a picture in the article of the South Face clearly showing the Harding/Rowell arch (like you could ever miss it) with the caption, "The new Route 'Growing Up' (Vi 5.13a a0) takes the prominent left-leaning arch, then bangs straight up the bald face for some 1,000 feet..." That reads like a Cliff Notes topo for the South Face route.
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:43pm PT
I think I get what u say klaus; but here's something to ponder...how many people climb as well as you do (even off the couch).



but yall know me; more harding than rr. Remember who said "It was a route...worth bolting for..." anyhooz. A famous VC...


(Courtesy Raydog iirc)
wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:45pm PT
Ihateplastic- They are separate arches. The description of the So. Face route in the old guide was/is in error.
wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Mar 30, 2008 - 02:54pm PT
Marty, it wasn't rap-bolted for safety. The assumptions here are mind-boggling. It is not a sport climb. Bolts on the upper face were put in on rappel so that the route would be quality and the bolts would be in the right places.
You know, I've been reading a lot of Cormac McCarthy lately, and one thing I appreciate is that the protagonists, ranch hands and cowboys, only share their opinions based on first hand experience. They don't comment on anything they don't have first hand proof of. It's very noble, and as a consequence, their words have actual weight.
ec

climber
ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:01pm PT
..."But every climb is not for every climber; the ultimate climbs are not democratic. The fortunate climbs protect themselves by being unprotectable and remain a challenge that can be solved only by boldness and commitment backed solidly by technique. Climbs that are forced clean by the application of boldness should be similarly respected, lest a climber be guilty of destroying a line for the future's capable climbers to satisfy his impatient ego in the present -- by waiting he might become one of the future capables. Waiting is also necessary; every climb has its time, which need not be today.

..."And having the humility to back off rather than continue in bad style - - a thing well begun is not lost. The experience cannot be taken away. By such a system there can never again be "last great problems" but only "next great problems." - Doug Robinson, The Whole Natural Art of Protection



Of course Doug once told me, "Be careful of what you read."

 ec
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:03pm PT
Different arch? Well, okay... there are two big ones back there. For the record I was referring to Galen's comments in an old AAJ as to location.

While it may be true there are only four people who have intimate details of the route that does not change the manner in which it was done. It may well be a fantastic route with fantastic rock and fantastic leads and fantastic anchors where, "You could climb anywhere up that wall! 5.10c--no more than .10c, dude!" (Sean Jones.)

On one point I wholeheartedly agree... let's get up there and repeat this route. Do the same with WOS. Then offer comment. If the routefinding and aid on WOS is stellar then let's all sing the praises of the FA team. If the second ascent team announces the 1/2-Dome route is stellar but could have been led ground up then we have the information we need to further the discussion.

I just hope this is not the start of an explosion of top rope big wall climbs...
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:09pm PT
What a fukking hypocrite this Robinson is. Really a shame.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:10pm PT
e.c. Did Doug ever tell you, Be careful of what you write.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:17pm PT
That wall has had only a couple of routes in the 40 years since Rowell and Harding went up and had to get rescued. And those couple of routes have each had only a few ascents.

It's not like folks are lining up to do ground up test pieces on that face. I bet this route doesn't see alot of traffic either. The climbing is hard and the approach is long. Most people just aren't that in to slabs. How many ascents/attempts has the much more accessible Hall of Mirrors seen?

One could argue that you should just have left the wall completely alone, but then one could argue that about any route that involves altering the rock, whether with pins or bolts on lead.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:20pm PT
Klaus wrote: What a fukking hypocrite this Robinson is. Really a shame.


People and methods change...even in climbing. How fukking boring would it be if it didn't.

You don't seem so concern with the rock as to the style. El Cap has been beaten into submission a million times with a lot more damage.

Who really is the hypocrite??
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:25pm PT


b.p.

climber
bishop
Mar 30, 2008 - 03:45pm PT
Bob d'antonio,..."because your blip is more romantic than realistic"...thank you for clarifying.
I agree, it is... but then, I was generalizing over the principles we try to operate by.
The reality is indeed...a matter of opinion, as this whole vociferous discussion testifies.

At the end of the day, I repeat, there are no Rights and Wrongs, only Choices.
Because, Rights and Wrongs belong to words, the domain of the ego.
Whereas, Choices belong to actions, the domain of the spirit.

Words, like egos, fade easily. Actions, like the spirit, tend to endure.




KP Ariza

climber
SCC
Mar 30, 2008 - 04:00pm PT
Billygoat, ten acres today, nine tommorrow, then eight. In 30 years time it could all be banged out huh? Then there will be zero real estate back there. Nothing for the climbers of that day who will be climbing at levels we can't even imagine. Climbing as a sport BTW, will still be in its infancy.
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 30, 2008 - 04:30pm PT
My point was that there is plenty of rock up there and in general for routes of all styles. And there still is. If you don't like what's up there, go do something that you do like.

I do, however, have one concern. As I understood it, they maintained the style of Southern Belle, and expanded the possibilities by freeing (ground up) what had originally been aided. The stuff that was bolted on rap was new territory, ya? I would like some clarification about that, as I do think there is a significant difference between establishing a piece of art (a route) in one's own style and trying to alter a previously established route to conform to one's own desires.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 04:41pm PT
"Bottom line- until YOU have done the route, it is all just conjecture."

What's "just conjecture?" It's not just conjecture per the methods used on the Half Dome climb. The "just conjecture" angle implies that if only I had climbed this route I wouldn't be concerned with how it was established. This thread is about whether the means actually mean anything or whether they are just meaningless abstractions that become moot or needless providing the route is a Jim Dandy or is otherwise technically out there.

I'm sure the route is a great one - that's not what folks are arguing about.

JL
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Mar 30, 2008 - 06:02pm PT
Why is rapping down a route to ensure you can link pitches free and with minimal bolting WORSE than climbing a route ground up, finding out the features don't link and A) Having the route not top out or B) Drilling bolt ladders to "connect the features"

Why is reducing impact while improving quality viewed with such disdain? Because it reduced the "adventure" of the first ascent?

Would a ground up route to nowhere receive more respect and accolades? Why should it?

Frankly, in this day and age of heightened scrutiny of climbers and their impact on the land it's IRRESPONSIBLE to not consider what the final product will be.

The South Face always pops up on the radar every few years with a VERY rare follow up ascent of a route or a new route established. It's arguably one of the least traveled pieces of amazing stone around.

As stated above, your beliefs affect what offends you. I my case, I believe in the ENJOYMENT of climbing. Some days that involves adventurous run-outs on bold ground-up routes. Some days that involves clipping bolts up a beautiful 50m tufa strewn wall. I climb the whole bell curve of styles in the rock climbing world.

On the far left of my bell curve is the ground up on-sight solo. As we move right we get ground ascents on gear, ground up ascents with gear and bolts from a stance etc et. The farther right we go the more common the ascent style. At the far right would be rap cleaned, rap grid-bolting low style glued routes (or something therein). The climbing community typically has a "does not tolerate" policy on the right hand side and correctly so. You start grid bolting crap and I'll be one of the first in line with my crowbar. However, I WILL argue when the cutoff on the curve starts greatly favoring ethics over aesthetics.

I don't see the point in criticizing a climb that will still take a great deal of strength, commitment, courage and fortitude to complete just because the FAists "looked at it ahead of time". Is it a Southern Belle? No - and that route still remains as do the ethics in which it was put up (Bold ascents seem to be increasing recently in fact).
Karl made the point that the blankness of slabs introduces ethics other features do not inherently have. As always, climbing's history is not nearly as "pure" as people make it out to be and as always, we continue to debate on how that bell curve of pure-ness should be distributed. In this case I think the curve has remained un-changed.

Now pass be another beer as I go back to the main forum...
Burt Bronson

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 07:26pm PT
MEN, BURT BRONSON HERE.

I HAVE HANDLED THIS ISSUE. ALL BOLTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED AND ALL HOLES HAVE BEEN PATCHED. A TOTAL OF 1137 BOLTS WERE REMOVED. THE ROUTE HAS NOT BEEN ERASED IN TOTAL, HOWEVER. WHILE CLIMBING AND CLEANING, MY PARTNER AND I WERE ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY FREE THE ROUTE ON ALL NATURAL GEAR WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ONE #2 AND TWO #1 COPPER HEADS WHICH WERE NECESSARY FOR THE PENDULUM OUT ONTO THE FACE.

WE BELIEVE THE ROUTE TO BE 'JUST OK'. WE THOUGHT SOUTHERN BELLE TO BE A MUCH BETTER ROUTE.

SINCERELY,
BURT BRONSON
THE LAST BASTION OF THE TRUE MAN CLIMBER
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Mar 30, 2008 - 07:49pm PT
I'm just wondering here

did they climb any terrain that was already part of an established route?

if NO, how close were they to the nearest route?
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2008 - 08:23pm PT
"Doug Robinson isn't some kinda bad boy (like Harding) is he?"

A couple of years ago, on movingoverstone.com, DR was advertising his guide service and had an offer that said something to the effect of:

"Be part of a first ascent on Charlotte Dome. For a fee you can join us while we put up a new route."

As one who enjoys finding and climbing new routes, and had scoped a few lines on Charlotte this made me want to puke, now he's rap bolting Half Dome...what next?

Slander sucks but if you make yourself high visibilty, then it goes with the territory.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 08:46pm PT
Is this Sean on the route?


Photo from: (seanjonesclimbing.com)
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Mar 30, 2008 - 08:54pm PT
It matters that it doesn't matter.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:25pm PT
Werner, given the colors, that photo is probably not on Half Dome - more likely on one of the crags at Shuteye Ridge.

[Edit: Werner checked and it is Half Dome - see his post below]
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:28pm PT
I could be wrong, but it looks a little tall for Shuteye.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:36pm PT
It's the South Face of Half Dome Clint, no doubt.

Go to: http://www.seanjonesclimbing.com/index2.php?ver=v1

and it's gallery "Growing up"
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:39pm PT
Colors are right for Shuteye but unless the focal length on the lens is long then the height seems unreasonable. Also, a lot of Shuteye is more textured than this image.

What am I saying, there is orange granite everywhere!

But Sean seems well set for gaining/hanging on to sponsors!

Edit: WB confirmed before I could post. Thanks WB.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:43pm PT
Rincon,
Aside from the rap bolting Half Dome thing, what's wrong with him offering to guide on an FA?
FA's were guided for a long time in the Alps, so it's hardly against tradition.
And very few clients, I imagine would be willing to pay to sit around while someone drills a whole bunch of bolts. That's about as exciting as watching paint dry. So I'd tend to think that's not what he had in mind.
GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:51pm PT
"'m not against sport climbs or rap bolting, they have their places.

But rap bolting a big wall? Especially Half Dome should never be done.

Leave the big walls alone. If the south face of Half Dome can't be climbed ground up then don't bother. Leave it.

If Half Dome can't be be climbed from the ground up for a hundred years then so be it. Leave it alone.

If the South face of Half Dome has only 4 routes to the top and they are all horrendous death routes, then so be it. Respect!

Respect. Climbing is not suburbia, although that's where the modern trend is going.

I've always wanted to free climb the south face of Half Dome, but I never thought I was good enough, so I walked on past and respected that great masterpiece standing there."


Werner spoke with true wisdom. This is the only "con" argument that really stuck to me.


To say that Walt and Dave did something so everyone should adhere to their ethics is lunacy. Don't compare climbers to climbers. SOmeday down the road Southern Belle will be free soloed. Maybe in a hundred years, but what does that say of Walt? What a tool, adding a few bolts to it when it clearly doesn't need them!


I agree it should have been done on lead, however, if they added just as many bolts on lead, and had the line stray 3 different directions because it is impossible to scope from below, is that "better?" This, in my opinion, is not *bad* style. It's not great, but that depends on your definition of the word.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:52pm PT
Matt M wondered,

"Why is rapping down a route to ensure you can link pitches free and with minimal bolting WORSE than climbing a route ground up,..."

Good enough question that is often asked. Simply put, I would say it's not better or worse - they are two different activities. Is rappeling worse then climbing?

Rapping (going down) is not climbing (going up). Like Dirty Kenny pointed out rather well, there is only so much terrain that exists like the South Face of Half Dome. That terrain should be respected and left for true climbers (people that go up) and not taken away by top-down, rap bolting, pseudo climbers from future athletes who will be able to actually advance the art of free climbing and go up the damn thing.

They should have left it alone and gone back the next year ground up and tried again....and again... until they could or could not make it.

Now it's an unfortunate botch job - like the cable route.
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Mar 30, 2008 - 09:58pm PT
once again: It matters that it doesn't matter.
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:00pm PT
I don't know about a botch job John, Sean is a pretty damn good climber and don't believe he botches climbs up.

Now if I remember correctly .... I believe it was Clevenger who wanted to rap bolt Bachar Yerian before you did it John. He thought it would never go from the ground up. He was ready to do that, and you beat him to it. A bit of history.

WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:02pm PT
Loomis

Your mantra is nihilistic.
ec

climber
ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:04pm PT
Thx John. edit: 'botch job is a bit harsh, don't you think?

Scott what does matter that now there is no "next great problem" for that section of stone. It has been stolen from the future of possibilities...

Stolen dreams...


 ec
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:11pm PT
Apparently, some people have not read the article (Rock & Ice #155). It is not a 5.13 slab climb. It takes the arch just left of the Harding-Rowell route, with eight 5.12a liebacking pitches and one 5.13a. After a 30' downclimb and 5.11 traverse left, they hit a 60' blank headwall where they quit their ground up ascent.

On rappel from above, they found a way to connect from the top of the blank headwall (where they put a 60' aid bolt ladder). On the 1000' upper slab the article mentions two 5.11 slab pitches and one 5.10c.

In the article, Robinson says "The specter that haunts us is of a dead end, of striking out up a promising line only to have it blank out. Then our folly will be marked forever by a line of bolts to nowhere."

What a copout.

The holes are forever (although patching can make the holes very hard to find), but the bolts do not have to be. The $1 stainless wedge bolts are "forever" (hard to pull, although you can drill the hole deeper in advance, and then pound them into the hole under the surface and patch), but if you use removable stainless ones like the $6.25 Powers Powerbolt (5-piece) or the $5.20 Fixe Triplex, you can easily remove them if you are not happy to stop your route to the high point. Or it could be done with 1/4" on lead (like Klaus and Minerals do), and then replaced with stainless 3/8" shortly after (or pulled if not happy with the route to the high point).

Risking that a route might "blank out" is what ground up climbing is all about. If it blanks out and you stop the route at that point, why is that bad?

Jones could have ended the route at the base of the blank headwall, and he would have had an all free ground up hard route. But apparently he felt it would not be a "success" (my words, not his or Robinson's) unless it went to the top, by whatever means necessary?

The real reason(s) for the rap inspection/bolting are probably:
 avoiding the time and effort of drilling from stance or hooks (I'm not sure if there is much which is hookable up there)
 Jones didn't want to put in the 60' aid bolt ladder unless he thought it would go free above

In Hetch Hetchy, Tim and I did a new route which went up several pitches of cracks and partway up a corner. At our high point, the corner got very thin and looked like it wouldn't go free. I traversed out right to an arete and slab. It looked like it might go, but I didn't want to take the time and effort to bolt it on lead. So I did a hard clean aid pitch up the corner instead. A few months later, we came back, and Sean Jones had rap bolted the arete (5.12a) and slab to make the lower half of his route "Resurrection". If that's the kind of adventure he wants to have, that is OK with me, under certain conditions. I didn't exactly see anybody else lining up to bolt that on lead, and it is his time and effort to decide how to use. If it was a route which other people had been attempting from the ground up, that would be a problem.

[Edit to add, plus many other edits done above over the past hour]

One of the other things that bothered me in the article is when Robinson said "Sean Jones ... a guy with 90 first ascents in Yosemite." Quantity of first ascents means nothing, especially if they are rap bolted; those can be done very quickly. What matters is quality. (Well, quantity does matter in terms of future ground up adventures lost, but that is a hard tradeoff to judge. My standard is to try to limit myself to a low number of good routes, done by whatever style, but of course I have done some bad/junk ones...) Maybe Robinson was trying to compensate for the fact that Jones' topos are mostly unpublished (maybe partly because Globe Pequot Press hasn't published Don Reid's new edition), so maybe few have heard of him.

Thanks, coz, for speaking your mind on this. The article has been out for months, but it seems that nobody has been willing to address this (myself included).
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:11pm PT
WB - Just for the record, it was actually Christian Griffith who wanted to rap bolt the BY. When he told me that, I went up there the next day and put the first bolt in.

By botch job, I mean we will now never know if a more skilled climber/climbing team could have climbed up the confusing, difficult, hard-to-read face.

Somebody got robbed of a great first ASCENT. The funny thing is they robbed themselves first (if they indeed could have ever succeeded).

Edit: Maybe 'botch job' is not the best description. I think Clint's use of the term 'copout' is more accurate, now that I think about it.
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
The point is, that we can all post our feelings about this and not change that it has been done. And my opinion does not change it either.
adventurous one

Trad climber
reno nev.
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:24pm PT
It is not about getting to the top. It is about the adventure getting to the top.

Even if this was the most amazing free route on the planet, with plenty of ass puckering adventure, one must ask what such a precedent may lead to and what it may encourage others, with less skill and respect, to do with ever less desirable results. Half Dome is not your neighborhood choss pile sport crag. Every climable line does not need to be found.

Imo, much better to have a handful of mistakes that go "nowhere" than to see a "Gold Rush" of big wall rap routes that ruin the sense of adventure for all.

stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:24pm PT
All of this posturing about future climbers seems a bit odd. That wall is hard to get to and has seen hardly any action in the last 40 years.
On the other hand, El Cap, which is obvious and easily accessible, has had the crap beat out of it for 50 years. Should the Salathe team have refused to climb because someone in 2030 might be able to free solo the route?
If we take this to extremes, we've basically got gritstone rules. Only nuts and cams allowed. Maybe taped hooks and cam hooks. Anyone who has done anything else on El Cap has let down future generations?
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:30pm PT
Must all routes "go somewhere?" Are the Geek Tower routes less than perfect since they do not finish "at the top?"

Part of the excitement of doing a FA is not knowing what comes next. Did the Vikings or Old Chris C. take a beeline to North America? I bet they wandered a bit before getting to where they wanted to be.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:36pm PT
stevep - Forget Gritstone rules. We already have Yosemite "rules"... on sight, ground up. If you fail, you go down - if you make it, you're on top.

Yosemite had the cleanest, purest, most balls out standards on the planet...

Now we got "trad climbers" who top rope things 69 times before they do a 1st "ASCENT".

Golf is now more bad ass than trad climbing!

billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:47pm PT
Wow, well I guess I misremembered details from the article. So what ya'll are saying is that this route is entirely new terrain? And you are throwing a hissy fit merely because it wasn't established in the style YOU would have established it? As much respect as I have for many of you as climbers (I hate to say this), I'm glad I'm not any of your girlfriends--which is to say, nobody likes a jealous partner. There's a route out there somewhere called "Shut Up and Climb." Go send it.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:56pm PT
I understand that John, and I understand the stylistic distinction. It certainly does take bigger balls to do things ground up, and more smarts to get it right. Maybe to be truly honest about it, we should go back to only allowing yoyoing and no hanging.
But is a ground up ascent with tons of holes or lots of pins in a crack more acceptable than a pre-rapped ascent that results in less damage to the rock? I certainly would rather see something rap bolted with 10 good bolts in 50 meters than 50 meters of rivits every 5 ft. Ground up shouldn't be the only consideration.
I'm not saying I approve or disapprove of DR and Sean's ascent. I don't have enough info.
Just that I don't think ground-up should be the only consideration. And also that if one is trying to say that we should somehow "save" that wall for future generations, you open up a can of worms about all kinds of previous ascents in more travelled parts of Yosemite.
adventurous one

Trad climber
reno nev.
Mar 30, 2008 - 10:56pm PT
The biggest issue here is not that they stole the first "true" fa from themselves or others. The big issue is what sort of future impacts are we going to see from writing an article about it in such an influntial medium as Rock and Ice. Someday are our revered big walls going to look like a local grid bolted sport crag? I am sure this is not the, well meaning, intention of the fa team. However, for a climbing community this is a well needed thread topic.

Edit- btw, I thourghly enjoyed the article and am not putting anyone down. Putting up any route on the backside of Half Dome is impressive. I am sure it is an intimidating line above my ability. I just hope this does not inspire a rush of others to go out rappeling big walls looking to put up rap routes everywhere because they don't want to put in the effort of ground up routes.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:00pm PT
billygoat, Shut Up and Climb and Shut the Fvck Up and Climb are at Cave rock and are now closed. Drat.
Matt M

Trad climber
Tacoma, WA (Temp in San Antonio)
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:14pm PT
Seems to me that the ENTIRE history of Yosemite climbing most definitely was focused on getting to the top. First to summit Higher Cathedral, first to climb the NWFHD, first to climb the El Cap etc etc. They didn't rap but they sure used a lot of OTHER means to reach the summit. Pins and bolt ladders, penjis etc. As time progressed they changed their styles but an ENTIRE route was almost always the goal. It's been that way for climbing for eons.

I for one HATE when I see a "route to nowhere" in the Yosemite guides. The idea that a ground up, dead end route is preferable to a continuous line to the summit is wrong to me. Hey - Good for you, ground up and on lead. But that aesthetic of pushing a route to the summit is missing. That is a part of the climb that all future parties will miss. They will marvel at the boldness and purity of the route and then marvel as to why the FA party didn't go THERE instead so they could go to the top!

Yes the route was not of the "purest style" but to burn it at the stake as an abomination smacks of a time in Yosemite history that many of my elder mentors remember with disdain. A time when you were with the Catholic Church or a heretic.

If it were rap bolted top to bottom with no thought given to quality style or ethics I'd be right there with you doing the burning. This seems to be no where close and as such, I'm not about to burn my Protestant climbing companion.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:16pm PT
I am not sure how widely this is known, but Sean Jones has established other long multipitch rap bolted routes, on Parkline Slab (1000', above El Portal), and on Balloon Dome (Southern Yosemite / Mammoth Pool). I didn't know about these until I was searching the AAJ online a few weeks ago. 2006 AAJ. The articles don't mention rap bolting; it is my assumption that they were rap bolted, given what I saw in Hetch Hetchy, with his ropes fixed from top to bottom of Hetch Hetchy Dome. And also because he mentioned on Balloon Dome that they humped loads into a base camp, but did not mention its location, and mentioned that you could hike in to the midway point. And on Parkline Slab, he mentioned that Flying in the Mountains and Homeworld meet at the top anchor, 1000' up.

[4/2/08 - Edit to add: on Parkline Slab, there can be a lot of moss to clean off, so doing some prep on rappel would make a lot of sense. Since cleaning moss is nominally against the rules, I wouldn't expect this sort of thing to be reported, so I don't think I want to hear more details on Parkline.

For Balloon Dome, to be more accurate, Sean described a lot of crack climbing on the lower route, so that is not rap bolting territory. And I don't see anything wrong with making a rappel approach to the lower route from a base camp above it.

My main objection to rap-placed multipitch routes is when they are being done on formations where traditional FA methods are also being employed (although it may be tricky to define "being" / "concurrently"). This is because rapbolting usually is done much faster than ground up, so a rapper can snag all the FAs before the ground up party can get their chance at one. This objection does not apply to doing a single route with rap methods. It does apply if several of the routes are rapbolted in a short time period.

As for that bolted arete on the lower part of Resurrection at Hetch Hetchy, in theory that is one of those "single route" cases, so I don't really object. But it was sort of a shock to me how fast it happened. Probably a big part of my feeling about it was that I was suddenly competing for FAs against a climber who was a lot more skilled than I was, and he was using much faster methods. To his credit, Sean was a nice guy and asked us to call him, so he could ask for permission to climb the lower pitches of our route to access the arete/slab. He didn't need to ask, since we didn't own the rock (so of course we gave him permission), but it was a nice gesture.]
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:27pm PT
caughtinside-- My point is that when people get caught up in petty issues about what's sacred and what's not and who's rules should prevail, then the climbing community tends to suffer as a whole. There was a bit of an intended pun in my comments, I'm glad you got it (or, I think you did)! Anyways, I'm not going to pass stylistic judgment on anybody's route until I've climbed it. Sure, ground up, stance drilled, free routes make proud lines. But I think we've all climbed plenty of routes established in other styles that were pretty f*#kin' cool.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:34pm PT
So these guys climb 8 pitches of 12a and a 13 ground up, get stopped, and the resort to rapping in to make sure taking their line will go further, and that makes em some kind of criminals? Particularly since the hard climbing was already done? Make em responsible in my mind.

Doesn't seem like anybody here would have had a problem if they simply aided the first 8 pitches, drilled a ladder past the blank spot, and climbed mixed free and bolt ladders to the top. Would that have "really" been so much better and bolder than what happened?

The history of big wall climbing is not so pure and bright as some seem to recall here.

Somebody wrote

"No need for Bridwell et al to rap down the PO to know it would be intricate and hard from the ground up. He just did it. The various routes on the Porcelain Wall are less than obvious from the ground but no one felt it necessary to rap them first."

Yeah, because he knew that if the features ran out, he could just drill a bolt ladder until the feature allowed more heads (which, I might add is a rather unsustainable technique)

I'd argue that the PO is a lot less of a route today compared to when it went up compared with this route, which will be more or less the same for every party that comes to it in the future. I couldn't do the PO when it went up, but I could now. I'll never do this route.

The history of big wall climbing in Yosemite is full of guys looking at every feature with high powered telescopes, linking them with bolt ladders, and establishing fixed lines for hundreds of feet so they could eat and drink at the deli while getting their route started. All all the time hammering and aiding.

Is this route really so much worse than all that?

This seems like a bunch of pedophiles complaining about the evils of gay marriage. We accept our own ethical weaknesses because they are shared and attack the visionaries because their ethical weakness is ahead of it's time. Climbing has always been that way for sometimes better and sometimes worse.

I'm not hearing anything lower than what's been going on all along. Only different.

Peace

Karl
marky

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:49pm PT
thanks, Bush/Cheney!
WBraun

climber
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:50pm PT
From reading some of the posts above I guess climbing is just a sport and the moves and getting to the summit are everything?

Some folks here seen to merge aid climbing and free climbing a wall as the same thing?
dave

climber
Earth
Mar 30, 2008 - 11:56pm PT
seem to, NOT "seen to"...
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:02am PT
wow-








i just read this whole thread, and i am SO PISSED OFF by it!
or by what i found in it



















way up thread, plastic man wrote:
"I don't care what someone believes in or practices (bestiality, bathhouse glory holes, veganism, smoking a pipe, Jehovah's Witness, chewing tobacco, Branch Davidian, Republican, etc.)"







































dood-
why do vegans get lumped in w/ the rest of that rif-raff?
come on pal, that's just not right!

=)
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:13am PT
stevep - I know what you're saying too. In my messed up opinion, any climber that has enough ability to do a first ascent on a face of that scale is not going to drill a huge bolt ladder (unless they had to summit for life or death reasons).

When you're on-sight, ground up, on-the-lead, on a face climb, and can't tell where to go to summit, after a few aid bolts - you are going to realize that you're not free climbing anymore. If you are really into free climbing, and you want to be a vertical Bruce Lee, you won't drill a massive bolt ladder. You will go for it or come back another day when you're the shiznit.

If you never achieve Shiznit staus, that's cool too. Big respect for trying.

At least you went for it.


-jb

john hansen

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:17am PT
From an early AAJ by Ament


On our last day in Toulumne, Bob Kamps and I attempted what
looked like the “a&time” route in the Meadows--the very center of
Fairview’s west face. Starting below a conspicuous roof and a series of
small arches, we hoped to climb a steep crack system to the summit bowl.
After four full pitches of fantastic climbing on %akes and knobs, we
encountered an utterly blank 85” headwall. Utterly blank? As unlikely
as this seems for Toulumne, the wall would simply not go free. We had
already used four bolts to protect 5.9 and 5.10 climbing immediately
below, would four or five aid bolts now be appropriate? We pondered
the situation and finally decided to go down. Here was a route more
resistant than any we had previously encountered. Once on the ground, we
discussed the free climbing tradition being established in Toulumne and
speculated that perhaps someday the headwall wo& go free. Then, to the
car. Bob wondered if he had lost his camera, whether he would then be
camera-shy. I ignored him and suggested we call our half-a-route The
Abortion. He suggested we go home.




I think this later became the "Fairest of them All"
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:18am PT
Well, if the route is now 'visionary and 'ahead-of-its-time' maybe this discussion should be deferred until its time arrives and the vision of rap bolting routes in the Valley is a common one.
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:27am PT
ec: do you believe what you wrote?
Stone Masher guide came out years ago and there are tons of new routes still to be done all over the south, as well as the north.
Stolen dreams?
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:34am PT
On sight flash " Southern Belle"?
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:16am PT

Half Dome is a stone fox.















Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:24am PT
Matt... sorry. Guess I just needed to offend as many as possible in one brief thought. Next time I'll write the first half of the sentence then jump to the end and write the rest of the sentence from the end backwards.

I knew this would go way past 100 posts.

Next prediction: This thread will be in Chris' "best of" next month.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:37am PT
Karl...nice post. You are wasting your time and effort trying to be logical...the jury is already in on this with most of these folks.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:39am PT
John Hansen's posted a description from the AAJ about a route attempted by Ament and Kamps which was stopped by a 85' blank headwall. He speculated that this route later became "Fairest of All".

I believe this is actually a route that is just left of Piece de Resistance. The headwall was attempted by Jeff Vance and Brian Cox in the early 80's. A few years later, John Bachar gave Jeff a call and asked if he could try the project. John was also unsuccessful. A few years ago, the headwall was rap-bolted and went at 5.12+. Now if I could just remember the FA info(Clint, help me out oh wise one)......

Bruce

ps - About the major issue being discussed here. Does the end justify the means making rap bolting of HD OK? Not in my book. If you don't succeed, better luck next time!
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:39am PT
I heard Robbins was gonna go chop it.

DMT
ec

climber
ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:54am PT
Scott,
I meant 'that' dream of the route in question.

And don't let on about unfinished business in the Sierra, as we both have some unfinished business. LOL. At least I'll spend enough time and effort to watch the sun & shadows pass to see what most likely will be out there. Sometimes its a gamble. I had to scope Tehipite a few times. The headwall was like looking at the Shield. In some parts of the day the wall looks blank, then when the sun is just right...If the cracks weren't there we would have had to bail. We lucked out.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 05:13am PT
John Hansen and Bruce -

The quote is from Tom Higgins' (not Pat Ament's) article in the 1969 AAJ. It is on Tom's site (see the last page):

http://www.tomhiggins.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=20&limit=1&limitstart=0

The obvious implication is that the route described was later done as "Piece de Resistance", and aid was used by Vern Clevenger to place one of the bolts. Higgins was of course disappointed by this change in ethics/style for Tuolumne climbing, just read his intro to the Tuolumne guidebook.

Bruce, I'm not sure what route Jeff + Brian tried. Maybe you are thinking of Retrospective? (that headwall is 5.11+ on the topo, I don't know if it was rap bolted or not - ask Mike Schaefer). Probably you should ask Jeff or Brian. The headwall on Retrospective starts just right of where Plastic Exploding Inevitable cuts left after the big right facing corner ends.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:33am PT
The "Stolen Dreams" concept has been around for many years in climbing and it's applications are worth debating in climbing. Where do you suggest we draw the line?

Should be blame Klaus for climbing "Jesus built my Hotrod" when it could have been saved for somebody who could have freeclimbed it without as much stone damage?

If we had waited until cleaner aid gear was invented, the shield headwall could have been spared it's total savaging.

Perhaps any hammered aid climbing isn't warranted as clean gear might arrive to let the stone remained perserved as is forever.

Perhaps ANY aid climbing is also stealing the dream of the climber who could make a ground up free ascent someday? We keep finding that free climbers keep making inroads in territory that was unimaginable years back.

Take the South Face of Half Dome even. If it had been left alone by Harding and everyone else, what could Caldwell walk up and do there today? A very different route i'm sure.

Asking everyone to lay off the stone in deference to future superheros is like telling teenagers to save sex for marriage. There are a few examples of it happening but...

Somebody wrote:
"Must all routes "go somewhere?" Are the Geek Tower routes less than perfect since they do not finish "at the top?"

Actually, to be honest, the Geek Tower's routes would get climbed 500%+ more if they went to the top, so I have to imagine they are "Less than Perfect according to climbers voting with their feet. It's worth noting in this ethical debate that lionizes the noble kings of the past that Bridwell intentionally pinned out a crack on Geek Towers Freestone so that it would go free.

Climbers are a lot like humans. Once you get beneath the surface, we have flaws and strengths, different ideas of right and wrong, and different circumstances cause us to apply those ideas in weird ways.

Peace

Karl
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:41am PT
Great post Karl. It's about time constructive scarring got mentioned. Also, at one point, a route was considered to have gone free even when bolts were placed from hooks. I don't think half the heroes mentioned on this thread have been portrayed in the true light of their so called "ethics."
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:01am PT
le bruce,

Thanks for the pictures!

Nice seeing it from a different perspective.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:08am PT
Yes thanks for those pictures!
What an impressive jewel of the Sierra that is.
Having never seen it from those angles it is all the more incredible.

Cheers,
DD
BASE104

climber
An Oil Field
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:12am PT
I have never seen Doug Robinson use chalk.

Also, about half of that article was about all of the other routes on Half Dome.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:42am PT
the worst scrutiny for the man of compromised values occurs behind his eyelids as he tries to find peaceful rest.

i speak from empathy, as i
utilize forest products to shape the heart of the earth into man's structures. (ie build wood formwork to mold concrete (limestone) into buildings).
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:44am PT
I have to disagree with Karl (big surprise) about Geek Tower, I was just up there yesterday doing the approach with spyork in the weather. That area has 3 or 4 lines that go to the top (LA Chimney, LA Direct, Yosemite Point Buttress,...) and the traffic is very light on any of them. The "problem" is not that Freestone and Geek Tower, Right end at the top of the "tower," but that it takes effort to get to them. With so much high quality climbing within 15 minutes of the parked car, distant cliffs are essentially abandoned to people who have the luxury of spending an hour or more on approach.

There are exceptions, of course, Snake Dike being one, but it is the one way up Half Dome that nearly every climber could say "I've climbed Half Dome, well, not up that face" when asked the inevitable question.

Perhaps my following comments have been expressed above someplace, I ran out of steam while attempting to read carefully through the above posts, but we all do make choices when putting up first ascents anywhere that we do them... and it balances the extreme of "adventure" between venturing without any preparation vs. having that venture totally planned. The antonyms of "adventure" are words like: avoidance, passiveness, inactivity,... i.e. sitting on your ass at home.

Why prepare? When we attempt an FA, we often have to plan on putting in protection which is "permanent" e.g. bolts. We might also alter the environment by "gardening" the climb. If we did this without preparation then the cliffs would be littered with byproduct of our adventure seeking, that is, you start out on something that can't be done at some level of style, or with finite effort.

Preparing for a climb doesn't drain the adventure from it, scoping big wall routes has been done from the beginning, photographing the walls, or looking at photographs to try to divine a route, identifying features, etc. No one wants to go up a line and not succeed, especially altering the line.

Climbers can choose to go without a bolt kit, which commits them to a particular style. Eric and I didn't take one on the retro-FA of A Walk In The Park because we sought a particular climb, an old style natural passage. It's not a classic in the "Meyers Yellow Guide" definition, but it was an adventure. We didn't leave much of a indication of our passage.

Other times, we have ventured out and put a bolt in where perhaps we shouldn't have, but that can happen. Retreating and trying another line is classic and often results in the "off route bolt" designation on the topos, we've all seen it. Our style is to try to minimize this sort of thing by planning the routes. We could also use a relatively modern innovation of removable anchors, which I'm coming to believe is the correct manner of bolting, allowing errant lines to be removed, and classic lines to be re-equipped easily.

I think how these climbs are put in are largely a personal choice, but one that effects the entire community. These debates are worth having especially if they are conducted in a constructive spirit, the WOS debate has long since passed the stage where it can be discussed with any good coming from it, a caution is not to let this debate go the same way. Passion is good... but we also aren't going to agree in the end.

Unfortunately, none of the principals of the FA have posted. It would be a more interesting discussion with their participation. I'd like to know what their point of view is on this, what was their vision. It is an important component of this debate.
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:26am PT
Having followed this thread for the most part from the start. I have determined that the best quote comes from Karl....

"This seems like a bunch of pedophiles complaining about the evils of gay marriage. We accept our own ethical weaknesses because they are shared and attack the visionaries because their ethical weakness is ahead of it's time. Climbing has always been that way for sometimes better and sometimes worse."

That made me laugh out loud, carry on.

Prod.
handsome B

Gym climber
SL,UT
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:37am PT
Prod,
I was going to bring up the awesomeness of that quote! Dang it.

Bumper sticker anyone?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Hmmm...I liked the part about "walking past the great stone", and "rappelling is going down, climbing is going up".

"Southern Belle had a first "ascent"" Yeah, aid climbs have done some damage, no doubt about it. That's what this is it seems to me, an aid climb which can now be done as a free climb.

BITD any time you hung on gear, it was aid. Placing bolts on rappel is aid.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:03pm PT
The climb is what it is, not what you call it.

Or to paraphrase:

The climb speaks.
Double D

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:04pm PT
le_bruce, nice photos! Taken from a slightly illegal flight pattern???

Thanks for posting.
John Moosie

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:10pm PT
This quote of Karl's got me too.

"Climbers are a lot like humans"


So climbers aren't human, but a lot like them? hahahaha....

True Dat.

Gobie

Trad climber
Northern, Ca.
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:19pm PT
Yeah...constructive scarring. Now we are talking. I cant climb 5.13, but can aid like a mad man. If a bunch of us aid the lower section with angles eventually it will turn into a classic like serenity. If thats to scary then we can just aid it on top rope until the rock submits.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:20pm PT
"This quote of Karl's got me too.

"Climbers are a lot like humans"


So climbers aren't human, but a lot like them? hahahaha....

True Dat. "

Have you heard the noises made while climbing?

It's either non-human or pubic audio sex

;-)

Karl

More seriously, some like to judge things by their own standards which complement their own history, background and strengths but it's true

The climb is simply what it is.

Seems like one thing to judge the results and how they impact the stone and future climbers and another to judge "Did they have enough adventure and could they have forgone the climb so somebody else could have had greater adventure?

It's like a lot of our human situation. Perhaps people should marry when both are virgins, stay together for a lifetime, and live happily every after.

What Life is, is completely different. Different situations, changing standards, perspectives, and values breed different results. Something is lost, something is gained.

To each their own.

As Ed Says, these climbs are restricted somewhat by the effort required to approach and establish them. There are huge faces with few routes up the canyon from Watkins. Have at em

Peace

Karl
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:22pm PT
Survial wrote: BITD any time you hung on gear, it was aid. Placing bolts on rappel is aid.


So is placing them on hooks...what your point? This thread is f*#king hilarious.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
Bob wrote
"Survial wrote: BITD any time you hung on gear, it was aid. Placing bolts on rappel is aid.


So is placing them on hooks...what your point? This thread is f*#king hilarious."

Leave Bachar alone Bob. Just cause he aided his loosely bolted sport climb doesn't mean it wasn't proud.

;-)

Karl
WBraun

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:33pm PT
Hahaha that's pretty funny bob d'

On another note, not just a question only to you Bob.

Has the evolution of rock climbing gone to rap bolting because we've lost sight of the true summit?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:34pm PT
Bob, I agree, placing bolts from hooks is aid too. I didn't say it wasn't.
We all defend our own style, right on. As long as everybody is cool with subsequent ascents using aid, I guess it's all good.
I'm sure they won't mind if I drop a 1500 foot toprope down it, or whatever length it takes to get a rope to the bottom...

Edit: I've got no problem with aid climbing. I lIKE aid climbing. At times though, there has been a lot of smoke blown about "free" routes, that haven't been exactly free. I don't have the FA record that many many on this site have, but I have done a few bold things on sight with no rap, no bolts, no hooks, so I like to think of that as high on the style chart. That being said, this route wouldn't have gone that way. And as I said earlier, this route is out of my league anyway, so maybe I'd best pipe down and read....

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:43pm PT
Werner wrote: Hahaha that's pretty funny bob d'

On another note, not just a question only to you Bob.

Has the evolution of rock climbing gone to rap bolting because we've lost sight of the true summit?


Moe than likely as very few routes go to summits.


The sport has evolve and change is good. I wasn't slacking on Bachar as I have respect for his efforts, always have...he did the best he could at the time and that is more than good enough for me.

It you take Surival comment as face value....old routes in Valley, Gunks and Boulder area have never been free climbed because gear use was placed with aid.

Not one person has commented on the quality of the route...I would almost be bet that it is a great route in a beautiful setting with good protection...but not a bolt ladder. Seth and Doug made some hard decisions fully knowing that the climb would stir this type of debate.

I bolted climbs back in the 70's and early 80's on lead into the 5.12 range and most have not been repeated...I wouldn't even go back and do them ...the bolts are old, somewhat runout and maybe not even all the good. Doing a FA is somewhat self-serving and personal...doing a first ascent that is climbed a lot is a community contribution.

I been around this game (climbing) way too long to past judgment on people I don't even know on the style of a climb they did. I much rather judge them on what kind human they are...a good friend, father, son, wife, etc... and what they do for the community.


We only get one ride at this rodeo (life) and I not going to fall off because of some bolts on a wall.
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Mar 31, 2008 - 12:51pm PT
Thanks Doug and Sean for generating some controversy. This site has been boring as sh#t lately.

Lot's of good comments on this thread.

You often hear "it's not about getting to the top, but how you do it", but how come we don't hear glorious stories about the first tries to send the face half dome of that didn't succeed? It's usually how you do it AND getting to the top that counts. An aid pin on Higher Cathedral Spire, and aid bolt on Lost Arrow, a bolt ladder on RNWFHD. How far are we willing to deviate from perfection for completion. We ALL compromise.

Leaving a climb for future climbers is a slippery slope, someday someone could free solo most any free line (and many that are thought only to be possible with aid) so then no climbs should go in with bolts, period.

The funny thing is the style of the FA can have ethical ramifications, but if the FA party doesn't publicize how they did it then there is often nothing to discuss but the merits of the resulting climb itself. Once someone writes up how they did the FA they are opening themselves up to scrutiny and criticism, and maybe this war of words is just as interesting as the physical modifications of the Earth.
randomtask

climber
North fork, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:02pm PT
Didn't they fire Half Dome?
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:07pm PT
The Fet asks about why we don't hear more stories about failures.

Well, we do! Some of the best stories about climbing I have read in print are about climbers who got shut down, re-evaluated and came back to either succeed or get shut down again. It really is about the journey and not the destination. Especially if you can get your ego under control.

Bruce
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:10pm PT
Folks have bagged on the Cable Route as some sort of transgression. It went in ground up - twice. Its a trad route.

DMT
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:17pm PT
Bruce wrote: The Fet asks about why we don't hear more stories about failures.

Well, we do! Some of the best stories about climbing I have read in print are about climbers who got shut down, re-evaluated and came back to either succeed or get shut down again. It really is about the journey and not the destination. Especially if you can get your ego under control.

Bruce



Bruce...first off...how are you?


Just because they took a different path on their journey than you would...you think it is wrong....who really can't control their ego?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:49pm PT
Bob,
I like what you said above about judging someone by what kind of human being they are. Well put.

I like the only go around once comment too. Unless we are reincarnated and get to be climbers again???
I had an old buddy who, when I would be too busy to go do something with him, used to say "Hey Birchell, this isn't a f**king dress rehearsal man, this is the only ride...let's go!"
I always liked that....
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Mar 31, 2008 - 01:56pm PT
someone above mentioned the pin scars on serenity crack, which got me thinking-




maybe this HD route is really 2 routes?
one is a true ground up trad climb, hard corner pitches climbed (all or primarily?) on gear, then from above starts another climb, a hard slab mulitpitch, that was rap bolted.

can't peoples' opinions be separated by the two climbs?
the corner sounds rad, i'd to be good enough to send that one day...


5.13 slab multipitch?
no gracias, i'll just rap.






EDIT-

btw- karl, the problem w/ your "live and let live" attitudes wrt climbs and bolts an the like is that it ignores the reason the valley is the way it is, that being the peer pressure used by the community in general to discourage certain practices, even as they were gaining acceptance elsewhere.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 31, 2008 - 03:12pm PT
Greetings You Topians,

I am not ahsamed. Thought hard, agonized even, over this style, talked it down endlessly, then chose to finish the route. I'm constantly aware of what I wrote in the past and proud of those words and those ideas, and I get it that this seems contradictory. If you go toward absolutes and toward judgment, then this is not as pure a style. But it still feels like a proud climb up some of the best stone I've ever seen.

And I'm not so sure that absolutes and judgment are the ultimate deal. They seem to loom larger in our lives at night in the bar, and they seem to loom larger too while sitting on my ass in front of this glowing screen. But when I'm out there moving over the clean stone in sunshine my animal joy in the tenuous position and the finesse of moving well and being poised over the void tend to downplay my interest in absolutes and judgments and let me more simply revel in it. Maybe that's some of the point of Growing Up.

Please go climb the route and let me know how you feel about it. Meanwhile, sure I'll sit here and type back and forth about it. I value your thoughts; this is about as good a community as I've found anywhere. A worthy place to work on getting more human.

While we're talking, read the article again. I spent two months writing it because this decision was not simple, and not easy. It was complex and subtle, but it represents our best effort to grow on our noble Valley tradition and respond to that particular stretch of stone. Most places it's too steep to stance drill. It's scallpoed and polished in a way that doesn't lend itself to hook drilling. Historically, hooking was the first big step away from free and clean drilling from stances, and here that wouldn't work.

Big respect for the Bachar-Yerian, John. Your response to that stretch of stone was impeccable; it departed from tradition in a bold way. But the South Face is different climbing than anything in the Meadows. Part of my problem in writing about it is trying to convey what we found there. How we responded is easier to see. But it gets dangerous to go off into "shoulda's" without really feeling the terrain.

Big respect to you too, Coz, for your first all-free lead of Southern Belle. Honestly, though, I have very little idea what the stone is like over there a couple of hundred yards east of where we were. Thought about dropping our fixed line down there to take a look, because my respect is mixed with curiosity. Southern Belle has become such a legend it would be interesting to just be a tourist and check it out. I'm damn sure never going to see it in the traditional way, climbing from the ground. But while actually up there with fixable lines, I never had the time and energy to go look.

By the time we came to it, every free route on the South Face had upped the ante until you had to stare down death or at least being crippled to go up there. We talked to most of the activists, and their sense of it was pretty serious. Schultz said he wouldn't go back. Caylor is the only one so far to seriously pitch, 70 feet or more, off that wall. He said Southern Belle was "just a bad idea." His ankles healed, but after crawling all the way to the Valley he found that his boldness was crippled for upwards of 15 years. Potter, making the second free ascent 18 years later, allowed that he was "scared."

So it seemed that the X-club was monopolizing the wall, yet each of its members was personally backing away from the place. All the while raving about it being the best stone any of them had ever climbed on. Maybe the bold tradition was getting self-limiting there. Maybe it was time for another idea. At least to try one. And after, if it had felt terrible in my gut, felt like a transgression, I would have rapped back down there myself, chopped and patched. Instead it felt exciting, felt like bearing the gift of a superb new route.

Making these decisions was threading a needle's eye. One of the many realities that seem ironic is that the Bachar-Yerian seems safer than the South Face, because it's so steep. After paying the consequences, Caylor highlighted that: "The B-Y is a reasonable climb..." Not the way most folks look at it. The South Face is right around 75 degrees. Too steep to stance, but low angle enough to smack stuff on the way down; his fall began to cartwheel.

So here's an invitation, a potential that personally excites me but wouldn't fit in the article. The whole four months we were up there I had tendonitis in my elbow and couldn't climb. Ironically, I could hold a drill OK. All better now, so here's what I'm going to do and what I suggest to all of you who might also find the 12a crack climbing off the ground too hard. 'Course you have to walk a ways. for starters, climb the Snake Dike as an approach. Rap a ways down the upper wall. Climb back out. Three pitches down it goes to .11a. Below that it eases back into .10-something. Five or six pitches down (Sean, we need your topo) is the "Mini Snake Dike," 5.10c which looks really good. Below there is the .11d pitch pictured upthread. I think at my level I can get half way down to the top of the arch and still lead back out. I know it'll be one of the best climbs of my life. I know it'll still be sporty with some 30-foot runouts. A good rock climb, not a death route. The only opportunity most of us may have in this lifetime to experience that wonderful stone.

Well, I'll quit for now. I've thought about this so much that what I've just gotten down is the tip of an iceberg and it's still long winded.

I hope we hear from Sean too. He says it's the best route he ever did, and he's been around.
couchmaster

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 03:43pm PT
Good to hear from you on this Doug. Well said.
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 31, 2008 - 03:52pm PT
Thanks Doug. I'm good !
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Mar 31, 2008 - 03:57pm PT
Seems like much ado about nothing. There is an absolute limit to ground up FA slab/face routes, even with hooks (which can result in bolts in the wrong spots). Once the bolts are there (and assuming they are placed with care and consideration), does how they were placed really matter to anyone but the FA?

Kevin Worral summed up my opinion:

Of course, a successful ground up effort would be better style and more impressive - but time and successive ascents will yield the only qualified criticism of the route, and the climbers who did it first - as I see it.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 03:58pm PT
Just to clarify..

I still think the BY is 5.11, A1. Even if you free climb past the bolts you are still indirectly using aid protection.

I also think placing bolts on rappel is not technically aid climbing. It's not even climbing. Placing bolts from hooks or another bolt is aid climbng - you're still climbing.

Just my whacky opinion...jb
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:11pm PT
I knew that Doug Robinson didn't have any class.

Just bunch of lies, slander, and rationalizations cause he doesn't want to die or be crippled!

;-)

Personally, I'd do well for myself to just hike up there once in awhile. Folks tell me they want to do Snake Dike and I like to talk em out of it.

Peace

Karl
petey23

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:25pm PT
For what it's worth (my opinion shouldn't count for much as I don't climb 5.12 of any kind and I'm not a local either), I respect that Doug came on here and defended it.

To me, it doesn't so much matter how the route is established. More important is the fact that some serious thought and soul-searching went into it. If someone can demonstrate that they considered the options with a serious mind and did what they thought was best, then I'm fine with it. It is more than obvious that Doug did that (and I assume Sean too).

k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:39pm PT
I think it's a plus that they hand drilled every bolt.

Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:45pm PT
You've got to wonder how many people's opinions actually change in a discussion like this. If anything, folks tend to get more "reasonable" as they get older, and the super hardcore run-the-rope-a-mile, ground-up folks will eventually stove in and "excuse" rap bolting or whatever, rather than sticking to the hard core ethic. You think it over and ofcourse risking life and limb for a rock climb seems absurd so you do whatever in required to make things "safer" and saner, right?

Thing is, in all of those ground-up face fandangos I was involved in (when I was young, granted), the point was never to be "reasonable" or safe; likewise it was never to be unreasonable or unsafe. The point was to squeeze the most experiential voltage out of the route as you could. It was always understood that some routes simply had too many volts, at least for me, and so I didn't try or do these routes, be they new routes or repeats.

JL
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:46pm PT
Good post Doug and way to keep it non-combative...a few here could learn a lesson.


Some of these posts border on religious type fanatics statements.
Buggs

Trad climber
Eagle River, Alaska
Mar 31, 2008 - 04:59pm PT
Very interesting dialogue. What a beautiful place.

le_bruce - thanks for the awesome perspective.

For those who have not been up there, the approach is long but well worth it, some of the most magical terrain I've ever seen.

Buggs

Trad climber
Eagle River, Alaska
Mar 31, 2008 - 05:02pm PT
Another example

Buggs

Trad climber
Eagle River, Alaska
Mar 31, 2008 - 05:04pm PT
And yet another. just being up there next to her is lovely, peaceful, awe-inspiring.

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 05:16pm PT
I just came back on here.
DR, thanks for joining the conversation. Very nice post. It's clear that you had to chew on this choice for a while.

Buggs! You made it, you sly dog. I knew you'd have pictures of that thing.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 05:46pm PT
Largo wrote

"Thing is, in all of those ground-up face fandangos I was involved in (when I was young, granted), the point was never to be "reasonable" or safe; likewise it was never to be unreasonable or unsafe. The point was to squeeze the most experiential voltage out of the route as you could. It was always understood that some routes simply had too many volts, at least for me, and so I didn't try or do these routes, be they new routes or repeats. "

So are you really just speaking for yourself John or should we read between the lines and infer that a route like this should be done by those capable of doing them from the ground up with the little protection they could place on lead (which in this case would be almost none)?

For me, I feel like restricting a whole wall, or even a whole type of climbing (slabs that can't be stance drilled or hooked) to death routes is a type of ethical fundamentalism that serves very, very few. Perhaps 6 guys over 10 years who could simply up the ante and solo the thing.

Is climbing first ascents solely restricted to the maximum experience of the First Ascent party (while conforming to the communiity's ideas of best style) and the ones who will follow count for nothing?

This feels like a quality route that will see traffic and it won't be the sport climbing clippity do dah crowd either. You have to climb 5.12+ trad and then do 30 foot runouts.

I think Doug has made a reasonable case for the technique employed. If anyone would like to prove otherwise, seems like one could climb to the top of the arch and establish the "Throwing Up" variation a hundred feet to the right or left and there wouldn't be enough bolts on it to make it feel squeezed.

Or does it all come down to a religious kind of belief in what the sport is about and how things should be?

Or is it more like "We walked 3 miles in the snow to school and them new school kids should pay their dues too?"

Just asking

Peace

Karl
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Mar 31, 2008 - 06:00pm PT
RE:
"The point was to squeeze the most experiential voltage out of the route as you could."

awesome,
LOL
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 06:05pm PT
Largo wrote

"Thing is, in all of those ground-up face fandangos I was involved in (when I was young, granted), the point was never to be "reasonable" or safe; likewise it was never to be unreasonable or unsafe. The point was to squeeze the most experiential voltage out of the route as you could. It was always understood that some routes simply had too many volts, at least for me, and so I didn't try or do these routes, be they new routes or repeats. "

So are you really just speaking for yourself John or should we read between the lines and infer that a route like this should be done by those capable of doing them from the ground up with the little protection they could place on lead (which in this case would be almost none)?

I'm just speaking for myself. I look back at all the crazy stuff we used to do to avoid placing extra bolts and all the times I scared myself stiff and it seems almost ridiculous. But I wouldn't have wanted it any other way and I wouldn't trade my experience for anyone elses. I don't expect others to climb like we did but I don't know anyone from back then who regrets climbing ground up.

But frankly I don't much care how anyone else climbs - never have, and I certainly don't condem Doug or anyone else. Tastes differ. Existential voltange is not the currency for everyone. Nor am I worried that wall will be overrun by rap bolters. The South Face (absolutly spectuacular photos - what a freaking wall!!) has been there forever and how many parties have gone up there from thee ground or from above?? People are lazy.

JL
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 06:12pm PT
Largo wrote: 'm just speaking for myself. I look back at all the crazy stuff we used to do to avoid placing extra bolts and all the times I scared myself stiff and it seems almost ridiculous. But I wouldn't have wanted it any other way and I wouldn't trade my experience for anyone elses. I don't expect others to climb like we did but I don't know anyone from back then who regrets climbing ground up.


Nice John...my feelings on the matter too. I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago and things changed for me....I'm thankful for that.

Sounds like Doug had a great adventure and experience and really and it took a great effort and amount time. I feel a little jealous.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 06:34pm PT
Here here..
I'm definitely not up for quite the same voltage myself. (I liked that too Largo, "experiential voltage" ) Yeah, there was all kinds of voltage back then.....
30 years later, and a family with four kids and it doesn't mean exactly the same thing. My ethics were somewhat flexible back then, and I found myself being quite a bit more cautious even the last time I was on the Captain...But wouldn't change a thing from back then.

Thirty foot runouts? Maybe true, but previewed runouts are not the same as coming at them from below, first try. That's what other guys will have to do.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Mar 31, 2008 - 06:47pm PT
I'm with Werner on this one and it's possible that soon I will be in a position to put in place a ban on rap bolting. Get your routes done soon, if that's your standard.


Jody's evil twin.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:30pm PT
I believe Largo's point was that "responsible" is an irony in climbing, because what we do is by its nature irresponsible - we risk our lives for our own selfish thrills.

The "public service" spin of creating a "first PG rated" 1000' rap bolted mostly 5.10 slab above a 5.12a/5.13a corner and 60' bolt ladder is ludicrous. Very few will be motivated to repeat that. And to suggest somebody is going to gain 4800' to get to the top of Half Dome, to rap down a couple of pitches for a 5.10 slab is pretty high fantasy in my view, when they can get it roadside in the Meadows, Valley and many other spots.

The 1000' slab was rap bolted so Sean Jones would have a route that is a "success", by going to the top of Half Dome. It's about Yosemite first ascent #91. It may be related to the demands of being a sponsored climber - getting the FAs in print, helping friends get nice photos and movie footage. And about the challenge of trying to do a big new free route, too. I'm sure there is some very good quality climbing on it, and it's "safe", but the story behind it is plain ugly. It is not motivational to me.

Is it Sean Jones' fault that routes which do not reach the summit may be less valued? If he stopped at the end of the arch, would someone else come along and get full credit for the FA in the guidebook if they "punched it through on aid", just like when Clevenger "succeeded where Higgins and Kamps had failed" on Piece de Resistance? If someone came in like the Uriostes in Red Rocks and made a bolt ladder, then removed 2/3s of the bolts to created a bolted free climb, would that be better? It hardly seems inspirational, either.

I enjoyed the history and interviews in Doug's article very much. But it felt ironic that the history of adventure was ignored for the upper part of this route. Is the implication that adventure is dead on Half Dome now? - all the worthwhile ground up routes have already been done? Repeats are somehow less worthy than FAs?

I think Kevin Worrall and Randy Vogel have made a good case that it may have been the only way he could get the upper route established (without creating a mess with a lot of extra holes). So I think it is a question (which others have raised also) of whether that part *should have* been done. Similar to the discussion on Wings of Steel.

Karl's arguments are usually good and I respect his balancing viewpoints. But in this thread, some of his arguments are disappointing (for example the concept that the South Face is restricted to extreme runout routes). I am usually sympathetic to the idea that it doesn't matter for subsequent ascents how the bolts got in, only where they are. But the back story on this route does affect the motivation of other folks to repeat it. It is not the same as rap bolting a 100' pitch somewhere - for those routes we have lower expectations and it is easier to get motivated by the observable climbing on them.
Gene

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:38pm PT
Why now? Are today's climbers the best that will ever be?
WBraun

climber
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:46pm PT
fattrad

You can't ban rap bolting, now you behave and keep your govt. buisness out of climbing.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:53pm PT
"I'm with Werner on this one and it's possible that soon I will be in a position to put in place a ban on rap bolting. Get your routes done soon, if that's your standard.


Jody's evil twin."


I wondered how long this thread would go before we had one of the conservatives calling for more government regulation.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:54pm PT
Clint wrote: Karl's arguments are usually good and I respect his balancing viewpoints. But in this thread, some of his arguments are disappointing (for example the concept that the South Face is restricted to extreme runout routes). I am usually sympathetic to the idea that it doesn't matter for subsequent ascents how the bolts got in, only where they are. But the back story on this route does affect the motivation of other folks to repeat it. It is not the same as rap bolting a 100' pitch somewhere - for those routes we have lower expectations and it is easier to get motivated by the observable climbing on them.


The only reason that are disappointing is because you don't agree with them.
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:57pm PT
We all know what those "tap, tap, tap" signals mean in the GOP!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 07:58pm PT
Bob,

> The only reason that are disappointing is because you don't agree with them.

Not true. His conclusions could have been supported by better arguments. Whether I agree with his conclusions or not is irrelevant to my comment on the quality of his argument.

For example in Karl's first post he used the technique of "distort what the person said, then refute the distorted version instead of what the person really said". (It may have not been intentional on his part). I expect better from Karl and he usually delivers!

Here's the quote, to be concrete:

Personally, I don't see the value in restricting routes on Half Dome to strictly ones with dangerous runouts. Should every harder route be equipped to only get an ascent every 5-8 years? It just ain't possible to make certain routes ground up with any kinda safety (or even without safety)

Karl's point here is that if you go ground up, there are probably not enough stances on that upper slab and it will be runout as a result. And runout is bad because the route will not get much traffic (I am somewhat sympathetic to that last part). But the route could be done Urioste style with bolt ladders (or Harding style with batholes) and then pulling/patching if there are not enough stances. This yields a safe, ground up route. So ground up does not necessarily imply unsafe, and does not imply very low traffic (although unsafe does imply low traffic). Karl may have just overlooked this option, if he was thinking about Southern Belle (vs. say the Harding-Rowell route).

The original argument which Karl wanted to refute was that the route should have been done ground up. The original argument was not that all routes on the slab part of Half Dome should be runout.
Haggis

Trad climber
Scotland
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:00pm PT
i know i am not a true Yosemite climber but we (not I) climb hard routes ground up with no bolts all the time (maybe not the size of half dome)

good example:

angel: Etive Slabs E7 6b 250 m no bolts or pins and very poor gear (hard 5.12 - 5.13 ish), 50 degree slab no holds no pro just you and friction

FA Dave "Cubby" Cuthbertson in 97'
http://www.cubbyimages.co.uk/index.asp

there is also the more run out but less dangerous route "Gecko" to its right at E6 6b

there have been maybe three ascents to date of each.


other example is not slab but dam hard would be Dave Mac's new Ben Nevis route

Don’t Die of Ignorance XI,11
http://www.davemacleod.blogspot.com/

i think he placed some pins on the route but thats still grey area in Scotland's winter ethics and personally i do it all the time. ground up in the mountains.


the British have a very different outlook on bolts from a Yosemite climber, you guys will all say that its because your routes are longer. thats not what we think! we have cliffs at 1800' and there are no bolts. if Yosemite was in Scotland there would be no bolts, just think of how few el cap routes there would be.

it is even worse ethics to place your gear on a rap line before climbing your route. sorry but it is

just my 1 pence (about $.02 considering the exchange rate)

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:17pm PT
Clint wrote: Karl's point here is that if you go ground up, there are probably not enough stances on that upper slab and it will be runout as a result. And runout is bad because the route will not get much traffic (I am somewhat sympathetic to that last part). But the route could be done Urioste style with bolt ladders and then pulling/patching if there are not enough stances. This yields a safe, ground up route. So ground up does not necessarily imply unsafe, and does not imply very low traffic (although unsafe does imply low traffic). Karl may have just overlooked this option, if he was thinking about Southern Belle (vs. say the Harding-Rowell route).

Clint...it goes both way...rap-placed-routes don't mean overbolted, safe or more ascents. The real crux for most people is the quality of the climbing, gear, position and fun-factor.

Bad routes exist ground up and rap-placed. Also what is the sense of placing a bolt ladder and then going back and pulled and patch bolts...just to say up did it ground up?? Weird!
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:27pm PT
And, what's wrong with a low traffic volumne route that only the few bold and capable climbers attempt?


Jody's evil twin.
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:29pm PT
I don't think my question has been answered. Does the route climb any terrain that is already part of an established route?

and Karl, Jesus Built My Hotrod has suffered More damage from the attempt to free it by bolts added to sections where I ran it out on hooks. I can argue that I climbed it with the least amount of damage by Not drilling as much as a free-climber would consider sufficient. Also if that hook pitch is in fact 5.10 as Jim said, why do they even need bolts if they're such great climbers? to create a "trade route" for the masses? I don't know, but bolting an established route to free it is simply poor style
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:30pm PT
Fattrad wrote: And, what's wrong with a low traffic volumne route that only the few bold and capable climbers attempt?


Jody's evil twin.


Nothing...I still think there is enough room on that face...hurry up fat....the clock is ticking.
stich

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:40pm PT
"Bad routes exist ground up and rap-placed. Also what is the sense of placing a bolt ladder and then going back and pulled and patch bolts...just to say up did it ground up?? Weird!"

I definitely think that's weird.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:40pm PT
Bob,

Not me, I'm old, fat and never climbed hard when I was young and thin.


Jody's evil twin.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:41pm PT
Here's to the Southern Belle boys with the giant danglers!!
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:43pm PT
Fat....don't expect of others what you are not willing to do yourself. :)
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:56pm PT
Bob,

I expect the young of Caltech, Harvard and MIT to cure cancer, provide solar energy and bring world peace............someday. I expect the next generation of climbers to push the standards even further than the current Potter/Sharma/etc. generation. Might be a new generation of shoe rubber that helps them. I'm an optimist. From what I've read, this was an ego route to be completed at any cost, one made to appeal to the current crop of excellent climbers (but not everyone).


Jody's evil twin.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 31, 2008 - 08:59pm PT
Klaus,

The route is entirely new, on terrain that had never been touched from bottom to top.

There has been some confusion from the guidebooks showing incorrectly the line of the original Harding-Rowell South Face aid route starting up the corner this route is in. That turned out to be incorrect.

To clarify, three separate crack lines leave the ground within that giant corner of the biggest arch on the face. The right-hand one is Southern Belle. The middle one is Harding-Rowell. The left one was untouched until last summer and is now Growing Up.

Starting off the ground the crack pitches go 5.10a, 5.12a, 5.12a, 5.12a, 5.12a, 5.12a, 5.12a, 5.13a (crux tips lieback), then 5.11-something across a dike 20' under the ceiling. Sean can confirm this to be certain I've got it right.

Wish I had Sean's topo to post up. Rock & Ice was going to print it but then ran out of space.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:03pm PT
Tough subject as I have very mixed emotions on the issue. I've seen it from just about every angle as well as I've bolted bottom up, top down, replaced mank, have been chopped, have chopped.

To me the most rewarding climbs personally have been done from the ground up. Whether hand drilling from a stance, or pulling up a power drill on a zip line that is hanging from the last bolt on a fifi hook. But dang it's mucho work, and honestly some bolt placements have been botched due to a less than steller position to place the bolt. Some of the rap bolted routes have been very well recieved, especially an established tr problem that I still have misgivings about bolting.

As to the comment about sense of adventure, absolutely, for the first ascent party. But once there is a topo and the route is publisized, the future ascent parties will never experience the adventure of the first ascent. They'll get to see if they are good enough, but they'll never have to doubt if the route gos, rather just if they can make it. They'll never know if the bolts went in bottom up or top down, but they will be left feeling either that's an incredible route or it was a cluge, or something in between.

At the end of the of the day, what I think all FA parties should consider is if they place permanent anchors, they should be good ones.

I would hate to see the day of the adventure climb dissapear, but I also wouldn't like to see how a route is put up mandated by law. I doubt that will happen as the government would be putting themselves in a liability pickle by dictating how a bolt is placed. Be sure that it would only be a matter of time before somebody greases off a stance, get's hurt, and the guvment get's sued for not allowing the climber use a safer means of placing the gear. If anything it could very well signal the end of placing permanent anchors.

As to the comments across the pond regarding the adventurous grit routes, it's my understanding that the majority of them can be top roped, and often are top roped before a lead or solo. That is the opposite of most Yosemite climbs that have to be climbed on lead.
Haggis

Trad climber
Scotland
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:10pm PT
tolman:

your comment applys to most hard routes on grit and some recent hard routes further north in Scotland however both routes cited were ground up with-out top roping.

the top roping situation is a current and long lived debate much like what you are having now. in Scotland there are few places where it would be possible (eg dumbarton rock and other small cliff) but our mountains are rather too large to be top roped.

we consider that personal feelings toward a route are not a reason to bolt it nor is the excuse of safety. if the line is meant to go then it will go, it simply awaits the correct person. you should not lower the bar just so you can climb the rock, leave it for someone better than you.
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:22pm PT
hello bob-

you seem to have a pretty accepting stance here in this thread.

just for clarity, care to briefly discuss your history of FAs and the style you chose to put them up in, as well as the various reactions you may have had from the climbing community?

thanks in advance.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:24pm PT
Bob,

> ...it goes both way...rap-placed-routes don't mean overbolted, safe or more ascents. The real crux for most people is the quality of the climbing, gear, position and fun-factor.

I very much agree, in the context of shorter climbs. For longer climbs (in the sense of more effort on approach and logistics), motivation (in terms of the history of the route) can also be important.

This can be in the sense of "recreating" the first ascent experience. Like for example, I was doing Flying Buttress Direct on Sentinel a few years ago, and we came to a junction where we could stay on the north face or go around the corner onto the west face. There wasn't any obvious fixed gear to guide the way. So I got to ask myself the questions, what would I do here if I was Kor? (I went onto the West Face; of course my guess could have been wrong, but I got to face the same question he did).

> Bad routes exist ground up and rap-placed.

Agreed.

> Also what is the sense of placing a bolt ladder and then going back and pulled and patch bolts...just to say up did it ground up?? Weird!

Weird, sure, by some viewpoints. (In some places like parts of Red Rocks and Smith Rock or various caves, top down is not feasible, so aid/intermediate holes of one sort or another get used). Going ground up does change the experience for the people on the FA, because they have to decide which way to go based on their view from below about what might be promising features above. On subsequent ascents, people get the same view (except for visible fixed gear) and get a sense of the same choices. On a rap placed route, on the second ascent the viewpoint may be: "the FA people must have seen some good stuff up there on rap, because I sure can't see much from here!". This perspective may not matter to all, but it does matter to some. And it matters more if the route is longer or routefinding is more complex.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:24pm PT
This is a pretty good discussion so far. I'd like to say some stuff, not necessarily to weave a coherent stance or make any great sense of this issue, but rather to address a couple highlights and underscore some subtlety.

For starters, I tend to favor traditional climbing. For me there is a certain tension to the energy afforded by on-site ground-up climbing. Largo's "experiential voltage" if you will. Given my background and experience, the majority of sport climbs under the 5.12 grade tend to have too many bolts, the outcome is predictable and the exercise feels repetitive, such that the experience of leading the route lacks a certain zest.

Done from the ground up and on sight, a successfully achieved ascent has a very palatable internal energetic feel. The construct of a sport climb; which encompasses things like rappelling and succinct prior knowledge, a fairly sanitized and very safe protection scheme, and in a subtle way, yes even the communal lore of its construction -for me, these things sever the energetic tension of the route. We typically know how a route was originally done and I say that does matter. In ground-up style climbing, there is an aspect of emulation at play which is quite valuable.

When Werner says the route has a soul he's describing that energetic tension that exists for the route as a possibility. I get it more as a collusion of my internal striving with the canvas which the route represents. So for me it's a relationship and I like for that energy to be as fresh and whole as possible and ground-up climbing, whether I'm doing the first ascent or following in the footsteps of a pre-established ascent, the ground up traditional style effort does the best job of retaining that essence, best characterized as a completeness and a continuity, like an independent living thing.

So that's my sense of the peculiarly distinct internal reward conferred through trad climbing. It is something that should not be overrun. It's an artistic imperative that has fewer and fewer voices and outlets in our urbanized, formalized society. Spontaneous, fluid improvisation: we need to keep that heart alive and beating.

Karl wrote:
"Actually, to be honest, the Geek Towers routes would get climbed 500%+ more if they went to the top, so I have to imagine they are "Less than Perfect according to climbers voting with their feet"

I have to say, although in the strictest sense this may be true what you say, for me, Geek Towers and the Good Book reach logical conclusions because they represent the apogee of features. As a trad climber, topping out on those things and rappelling back down affords a sense of completeness; the energetic tension is there with those climbs, they do not feel unfinished.



Personally, I feel there is plenty of room for sport climbing, whether it be a fierce 40 feet with a couple of bolts, or yes, something as big as El Capitan. I won't be telling people they shouldn't do it. Somehow, for people like John Bachar, Scott Cosgrove, and many others it seems to serve their personal truth to speak out against these competing styles. I must say, that commitment and outspoken stance has its place here and elsewhere, as it serves the dialectic.

Essentially, I'm saying there should be no resolution here, because climbing is an art form that is evolving, expanding, diverging, and converging. Different viewpoints upheld with a critical vigilance; that's how stuff of substance is made. It's a healthy conflict.



A couple comments on what others have said:

John Bachar said:
"Just for the record, it was actually Christian Griffith who wanted to rap bolt the BY. When he told me that, I went up there the next day and put the first bolt in."

Good for you John; it sends chills down my spine just thinking how close that was -- that the Bachar Yerian may never have come to exist as an expression.

In his own way, Christian has done some great sport routes and that's OK too. I am glad that Body and Soul exists, but it doesn't really bother me, or didn't bother me, when Kauk and Chapman put in that sport climb nearby. I like that there is a Bachar Yerian and the existence of Peace does not detract from it; rather it provides contrast.


Karl also wrote:
"Climbers are a lot like humans."

Now that is some of the best satire to appear in these pages.

Cheers all,
Roy
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:32pm PT
After seeing those great pics of the South Face, all I can say is how sorry I am that I never jumped on that wall when I was climbing crimpy face routes about 200 days a year. Win or lose, we would have had some fun. The texture of that wall looks fantastic.

JL
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 09:48pm PT
Matt...I'll try to be brief. Over 1500 fa's trad and sport...mostly sport. I taken my fair share of hits (criticism) from both sides. I bolted on lead route up to mid-12, solo my share and done a crazy amount of high-ball boulder problems, also looking to finish a route in the Black Canyon ground up. I taken 60-70 foot falls and repeated a number of hard-trad-routes in my day. That was a personal choice and wouldn't expect others to do if they didn't feel the need. I have with age come to the conclusion that climbing isn't worth dying over. My wife and children mean way to much to me to not squeeze out every second on this earth to be with them.


My best routes are the ones that get climbed and put a smile on someone face. Bolts or no bolts on that section of Half Dome the sun will rise and set, the fighting in Iraq will continue, people will continue to starve, murders will happen and more than likely we will continue to polluted and destroy this place we call home.

I think there are bigger fish to fry!

I feel quite lucky to part of something cool and feel that 99-per-cent of the time I try my best to do what I felt was right at the time.

Sean and Doug put themselves out there on this issue and knew what would come of it. Before convicting let history be the judge of the route and keep it civil. These are people with family, friends and other things going on in their lives...they also seem like really good people.


Also...I'm not going to slander or name call on this thread...way to many people I respect posting here.
Orion

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:05pm PT
hooo ahhh!

this and the trip reports are why I come to the taco, this is a great debate with a lot of people considering their opinions, some more consideration than others, on Climbing ethics and style. Thank you.

This is soooo much better than political drivel and slander, please keep both out of this post.
pimp daddy wayne

climber
The Bat Caves
Mar 31, 2008 - 10:54pm PT
What about rap chopping? I would chop on lead because I'm bad ass...............
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:04pm PT
Clint said it best:

"The 1000' slab was rap bolted so Sean Jones would have a route that is a "success", by going to the top of Half Dome. It's about Yosemite first ascent #91. It may be related to the demands of being a sponsored climber - getting the FAs in print, helping friends get nice photos and movie footage. And about the challenge of trying to do a big new free route, too. I'm sure there is some very good quality climbing on it, and it's "safe", but the story behind it is plain ugly."

This is the plain and obvious truth. Fattrad said it too:

"From what I've read, this was an ego route to be completed at any cost"

I don't respect the route and, if I could climb that hard, it would be of no interest to me. I would point out though, one redeeming act that I think everyone here can agree on. At least they were up front and totally honest about it. Although I've lost a lot of respect for Doug (who I've never met, but always admired), at least he's willing to post publicly, truthfully and thoughtfully. That I do respect.
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:21pm PT
This can either be a debate about ethics, or it can be a debate about how big of an ass Sean Jones is.

I don't feel qualified to discuss the former; I've seen pictures of the bolted crack and I've also heard there's ~60 feet of shady bolting ethics.

On the latter, well, he wants his name all over guidebooks, and I've heard him say it and I've heard his close friends say it. As in Clint's example of the bolted arete, it's not like no one could have done these climbs first. Most of the crap he's doing seems to be mungy and gross trad lines or sport lines that no one wanted to bolt because trad lines don't fly in the Valley.

It's not like he's an original, and I'm certain many of his 90 "first ascents" were done by others who didn't feel like mentioning the chossy crap they had just sent. Obviously, he's a good climber, but he doesn't seem to understand quality over quantity.

To me, it seems like most of what he's doing is cheap and easy, and even if his name is all over the guidebooks like he wants, a good number of people will never respect what he's done because it's cheap and easy.

But I could be wrong.

Realistically, his kids are fantastic and so is his wife, and I very much respect how he's trying to take care of them. That probably makes his climbing less ethical, because he's overbolting to be safe or something.

He grew up in Mariposa (close to the West entrance) and does seem to have an absurdly strong sense of posession toward Yosemite/the Sierra Nevada. I think there are plenty of people here who will outright scoff at that, as have I.
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:32pm PT
Well, in the long run I believe this kind of dialogue is beneficial. Many good arguments have been made on both sides of this issue. For what it is worth, I would like to share that many years ago Doug Robinson came to my school, at my request, to present a climbing slide show to students in hopes of giving them a positive perspective on life. Following the slide show, Doug volunteered to meet with a group of advance english students to talk about writing. He stayed until all student questions were answered and left quite an impression in the minds of some talented adolescents. Somebody mentioned this in a post above, but ultimately I judge people based on their integrity. Doug Robinson demonstrated integrity many years ago when he freely gave of his time to work with kids, and he demonstrated it again on this thread when he forthrightly explained what he was thinking regarding this climb. As I said earlier........Thanks Doug...I'm good !!


Cracko
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:41pm PT
Mtnyoung & Domingo....your posts are nothing but speculation and hear say. Good job!
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:49pm PT
> Bob, I've admitted what's hearsay and speculation, but this whole thread is generally speculation. For one, none of us have climbed this route. For two, it's a Supertopo debate on climbing ethics. I mean, you can't narrow a damn thing down, even if you wanted to; people are going to decide for themselves.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:58pm PT
domingo wrote: This can either be a debate about ethics, or it can be a debate about how big of an ass Sean Jones is.


So what does this statement have to climbing styles/ethics????
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Mar 31, 2008 - 11:59pm PT
Ask yourself this. In terms of style/ethics/heart/soul, which route is more admirable in your own eyes, Growing Up or Southern Belle? Sure, I'm looking from far away in miles, years and ability, but even from way out here I like Southern Belle better....
Owlman

Social climber
Montucky
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:02am PT
Oh man. I'm hurting inside on this one.

I was inspired to start climbing by Doug, Dennis, and Galen's "clean ascent of the NW Face of Half Dome" article in National Geographic, 1974 issue. Dennis was on the cover shot, hooking on the second to last pitch. The attitude was that the clean approach, hammerless, brought more respect into the relationship between climber and wall, human and wildness, and it was almost, gag, spiritual, for me...I was inspired.

I still think the ground up style IS part of the heart and soul.

I think we all suffer from the act. We are somehow accountable. I think that route should be removed and I don't think it deserves to be there, whether I climb it or ignore it. I think "Growing UP" is devolution. I think Doug's excuses are lame. Safety, age, wives and Children are poor excuses to play it safe, and lower the standards.

I want you rap bolters to stay the hell off Half Dome.
Go somewhere else. The money changers are in the Temple!


Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:03am PT
Ah yes, I did want to clarify that:

I'm not calling him an ass, and honestly don't think he's an ass, if you're wondering; also, I'm pretty sarcastic and it doesn't tend to come off so well over the internetz, so you may not have picked up on it.

In all honesty, I was making a jest about the two sides of this thread. It seems like some people are decided against climbing the route not only because it was rap-bolted but also because it was rap-bolted by someone who, outside of Yosemite, is kind of unheard of, and also by Doug Robinson, hero of the clean climbs before he got 'over the hill', so to speak.

So yeah, it's all conjecture and I'm being rather obscure, but I admit, I wonder if Ronk Kauk had done this line whether it would cause the same fuss.

GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:06am PT
Domingo, those are pretty intense words to say about someone you never met.


A long time ago (well not that long. Some of you dudes are like 90 years old) when I started climbing in a gym, Bachars name was synonymous with a-hole. He was the guy who was trying to stop climbing progression, who would rather die than do something as tame as rap bolting.

Some time later, I began climbing outside of the San Diego scene. I went to Joshua tree and Suicide and Tahquitz. I gained an appreciation of what it meant to "do a route," not just "go climbing." Stories came out, beers were passed around, and climbing became more than just a sport. Sport climbing isn't about bolts. Its about mentality.

Sometimes I laugh a bit when someone asks if I went "trad Climbing." I see Sonnie Trotter (who, btw, is a badass) hanging on a TR, putting gear every 4 feet on a crack, and see that win the "trad climbing" golden piton award and wonder to myself, yet only so much, because not long ago to me trad climbing was something seperate entirely.


Maybe trad climbing is a bad word, maybe we have Sport Climbing and Lifestyle climbing. When it becomes your life and takes over, it isn't a sport anymore.


Long story even longer, you can never really know somebody until you meet them. Let the route speak for the route. You may find out like I did that what you feel right now about something may change.... Bachar is a good guy. Maybe sean is too.
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:11am PT
How do you know I haven't met him? :) In any case, it's his style that I don't like, and I do have strong opinions about things. I like Dean Potter, in some senses (haven't met him, honestly), but I do have strong and negative opinions with the 'Delicate Arch Publicity Stunt.'

Also, do read my clarification. Bridwell was an as#@&%e too, I hear. And Harding. We're all bad people.

Except Ouch.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:11am PT

'Climbing' > 'trad climbing' > 'adventure climbing' (abominable)

And in about another 10 years or so it will probably be called 'danger climbing' or 'death climbing' as climbing is further sanitized of risk. Climbing, for the vast majority of today's climbers (my guess is 80-85%), is simply just another [bolt-dependent] risk-free entertainment option now well-inculcated into suburban pop culture. And while "Growing Up" is far from anyone's definition of a 'mainstream' route, it still manages to raise the full spectrum of trad vs. sport issues and arguments - many in Doug's post alone:

 Changing values of aging climbers
 Groundup vs. Topdown
 Onsight vs. Previewing
 Movement vs. Risk
 X-rated exclusionary lines / zones
 'Establishing' vs. 'Developing' routes
 Self-expression vs. Community Service
 'Quality' vs. Abandoned lines
 Consumption today vs. Saving for better climbers
 Respecting rock as a resource vs. Use as another consumable 'good'
 Risk-free entertainment vs. Passionate risktaking
 Entitled vs. Earned
 'Improving' vs. 'Corrupting' climbing
 Potential future costs of thresholding acceptable levels of 'safety', 'risk', and 'adventure'
 Environmental 'importance' scoping

Yosemite big walls have never been, and will never be, immune to such disagreements. Yet whether we're talking the Valley or any other rock, one can argue precedents matter as do the fundamental mindset and 'philosophy of use' they convey to the next generation of climbers, land managers, and the public at large.

I for one happen to believe it really can be a 'slippery slope' in terms of how new lines define or redefine the words "safety", "risk", "access", and "use" in today's world. I also think the perception of 'safety' and 'safe climbs' as an entitlement has steadily grown to dominate the definition of what 'climbing' is today for the majority of the people who
now identify themselves as 'climbers'. This isn't a good thing in my view, but I'm clearly a very small minority in that respect.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:15am PT
Actually Bob, my post doesn't contain any hearsay, just affirmations of other's opinions. Opinions that appear to me to be irrefutably true. Oh, and an observation of my own about the value of honesty.

While I've got your attention, earlier in this thread you posted (about North Carolinians):

"Some still married their cousins in certain parts of NC..."

Did these words actually have anything to do with climbing or with this route and this discussion? That post bugged the crap out of me in so many ways. Would you consider editing it? It certainly isn't consistent with your other, later posts that "I'm not going to slander or name call on this thread," and "Good post Doug and way to keep it non-combative...a few here could learn a lesson." The two latter posts seem more like you.

Just an observation.


bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:16am PT
This will hit 300 posts...easily and that a good thing.

Mtnyoung..I wrote that tongue and cheek to show how hearsay and speculation can be so ignorant. Sorry if it offended anyone.


Mtnyoung wrote: Opinions that appear to me to be irrefutably true.

No they are still just opinions.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:16am PT
It is refreshing to me to see in print the shared wisdom, feelings, philosophies, history, and styles of American Climbing voiced on this thread.

I have very little if anything to add other than to acknowledge the great debate which for the most part is way more civil than past ones.

Tarbuster, dude, you nailed it for me and I suspect for many others. Thanks for putting words to the soul of which Werner speaks.

Cheers,
DD
GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:22am PT
Yeah domingo you posted your clarification while my stubby fingers were still processing. The whole Beer to brain to hands to screen thing for me is a slow process.

After re-reading your post i did get the sarcasm, hehe. See, I assumed you didn't know him. Thats what happens when you assume! You make an ass out of u and me.... so stupid. When someone says that to me i want to punch them right in their faces. as hard as i can. with my fists.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:05am PT
First, I join others in saying "thanks" to Doug for posting. It would have been beyond disappointing if he failed to post. I will not say his current words have changed my opinion at all, but thanks.

I also want to say a personal "thanks" to everyone for stepping up to the plate with opinions on this delicate matter. Sure is a HELL OF A LOT BETTER than reading about politics!

Clint wrote "The 1000' slab was rap bolted so Sean Jones would have a route that is a "success", by going to the top of Half Dome. It's about Yosemite first ascent #91. It may be related to the demands of being a sponsored climber - getting the FAs in print, helping friends get nice photos and movie footage. And about the challenge of trying to do a big new free route, too. I'm sure there is some very good quality climbing on it, and it's "safe", but the story behind it is plain ugly. It is not motivational to me.

For me those words, "...the story behind it is plain ugly." say it all. There is so much untapped rock in this world to practice sponsorship retention on, why Half Dome? Why the Valley. Like many here, I have watched traditions and acceptable practices change, move forward, lunge backwards, crash to a halt and change directions yet again. I guess we will have to accept this route as another change in acceptable practices. The question on the horizon is, what happens next?

moss hog

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:05am PT
Just reading through this gives a great perspective on what an emotional issue this can become. It is clear that climbers from myriad backgrounds and generations are still debating what is the appropriate way to put up a route, how much autonomy an individual climber should have in choosing his or her methods and who is morally entitled to hold them accountable. (This aforementioned moral jury has propogated extensively with the advent of the internet.) The emotions evoked by this debate has blown many a passionately opinionated contributor off course, causing them to deviate from the ethical debate at hand and into muddier waters of character analysis. Whether or not the disclaimer of sarcasm is invoked to atone for astringent character incursion, harsh words said (and especially typed) are indelible. I am less sorry to hear of the devolution of climbing than I am to hear of the devolution of climbers.

Burrrrp!
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:27am PT
Hatesplastic -- "The question on the horizon is, what happens next?"

Hahaha easy.... you go on living.

I like how Bob D' says the human side is what counts.

The other stuff is just stuff. Blah! I don't make much sense when I read what I write.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:33am PT
I dunno Werner, I like to think of rock as more than just 'stuff'. And as far as I'm concerned, the 'human' side of things - our wants, needs, and entitlements - are well-represented in the current balance.
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:35am PT
Okay, since this thread is indeed guilty of quite a bit of it, lets get our definitions straight. In my dictionary, "hearsay" is defined as, "Information or a rumor heard from another." I believe I could reference several of my own guilty examples.

However, following the citation of opinion-based information Mtnyoung wrote: "Opinions that appear to me to be irrefutably true."

I believe that counts as referencing secondhand information to advance an argument--also known as using hearsay for the purposes of debate. Now, if Brad wants to get into the lawyeristic nitty-gritty of hearsay, he can start another thread. As for myself, I would appreciate it if we all try to cut down on the bullshiit.
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:36am PT
OK healyje

Tomorrow I will get a rock and study ......
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:38am PT
"Sure is a HELL OF A LOT BETTER than reading about politics!"

OH snap, that's my que to post up on climbing principles of ethics and style...


1. I can do whatever I want so long as I don't violate land manager rules. so f' off.

2. It's wrong to do things in bad style, so you shouldn't try. Leave the good lines alone for those better than you.


yep, that about covers it.

;)
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:49am PT
I read the rock & ice article when it came out...


and I was psyched! Looks rad!
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:00am PT
We will come and go as insects.

The rocks will remain.


We are inconsequential, one mighty rockfall could crush us all.
The stone is merely biding its time, of which it has plenty.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:06am PT
There has been a lot of interesting and informative discussion upthread, and I look forward to hearing what the second ascent party thinks of the climb. I suggest that we think of other perspectives, though. Perhaps we should consider how outsiders might react to the creation of routes such as this, and to the debates within the climbing community about them. Climbers aren't the only people who read SuperTopo.

I'm not for a moment suggesting any concerns about the route, or how it was done. AFAIK, the only relevant NPS rules are no power drills, don't endanger the public, leave the critters alone, and clean up after yourself. All of which I'm sure were fully complied with - indeed, I suspect Doug could teach the NPS a thing or two about Leave no Trace techniques.

It's more how others might perceive us, whether in relation to this route, or others. Half Dome is in a national park. Climbers are by and large allowed to self-regulate in Yosemite, at least with respect to matters of style and technique. We arguably have more freedom than many other user groups. It's only when our behaviours impinge on others or the environment, or are perceived to, that we get regulated there. (Referring to climbing proper - not camping, parking, driving, food storage and day to day living.)

For now, this climb stands as one of a kind - the nearest similar route to its upper half is perhaps Hall of Mirrors. We're having a spirited discussion about whether it was established in a style that is acceptable in Yosemite, how we decide if a style is acceptable, and (indirectly) whether other such routes should be accepted. That's good - not too much name calling is going on. Some things will have to wait for the perspectives from a second ascent, of course.

But it may be useful to think about how land managers, the public, and conservationists might look at and react to the climb. There doesn't seem to be any reason that those with authority should do anything, but you never know. Their perspectives and agendas aren't the same as ours.
James

climber
a porch in Chinese Camp
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:07am PT
Ground up first free ascent of a formation as big as Half Dome. Sounds hard. Maybe even unrealistic to the strong who try to make second free ascents. It's unreasonable to force ethics onto others unless you've been their yourself.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:42am PT
A lot's been said here by those critical, even outraged, by the methods used to complete this route. Most of those critical and outraged claim to be so because a route has been done in less than perfect style, that could have been done in a style they deem perfect - by someone else, some time in the future. The offense therefore, is to that possible person, or persons, who could have done it perfectly, not just better - but perfectly. A highly idealistic stance to take, not without merit, but very unforgiving when the human element is factored in.

The same dynamic of controversy was inherent in the Dawn Wall episode, the hangdog debates, and the rapbolting wars of the eighties. Always idealistic climbers preaching about the end of "real climbing" and the imminent premature loss of the frontier. The forecasted doom didn't occur then, hasn't now, and only will occur in the minds of those that focus on the negative. The real pioneers of climbing and the ones with the vision to create new climbs that evolve into tomorrow's classics will always have new stone on which to express themselves. Partly because so many critics focus their energy on the negative, and not the positive new climbing possibilities.

New routes in Yosemite are everywhere. I know of more possibilities than I could ever realize in ten lifetimes. Most climbers don't want to do long approaches, spend nights far from the car, and work their ass off for collective weeks or months to climb a new route. There's room for many styles of climbing, and many, many new climbs.

The offense, or damage to climbing, or climbers, done by the creation of this route could prove to be insignificant or non existent in the future. Time might actually prove that many climbers' lives were affected positively by climbing this route. That seems to be the intention of Doug and Sean.

You gotta admit it's possible. Wouldn't that be a good thing?

bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:55am PT
Would it make a difference in anybody's opinion on this topic if the FA party had just inspected the face on rappel, scoped out the line and then bolted it on lead from the ground up? Just curious.

Bruce

ps - I read Doug Robinson's post and all it said to me is that he felt the end justifies the means. That's not good enough in my book.
jghedge

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:35am PT
"Always idealistic climbers preaching about the end of "real climbing" and the imminent premature loss of the frontier. The forecasted doom didn't occur then, hasn't now, and only will occur in the minds of those that focus on the negative. The real pioneers of climbing and the ones with the vision to create new climbs that evolve into tomorrow's classics will always have new stone on which to express themselves."

This is the best thing I've read here so far. I could understand having a rigid stance against rap bolting - if it were 1985. But now? That train has left the station, boys.

Didn't Dave and Walt aid their way up SB first, thus depriving others from establishing a ground-up free route? Shouldn't they also have stopped when the going got too tough, like Sean should have? And didn't Dave go back and replace the bolts on SB on rappel? Seems to me that aiding up something, then freeing it, then going back and rap bolting it, hardly sets an ethical example that Sean's route should have to live up to.

Doug Buchanan

Trad climber
Fairbanks Alaska
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:35am PT
How much these human minds discuss the decisions of other minds, rather than make their own decisions, for the amusement of the observers.

It is an equal endeavor, as much fun, to erase the pro, for just as good a story, to leave the next chaps with the same effort as the first sorts if they wish to do the route in that style, but there is so much rock to climb in the world, in the style one chooses, that a climber might instead prefer to do so, leaving the previous route to the events of history and a burgeoning population of diverse equals.

Make your own decisions, and have fun doing that, but to retain the freedom to do so, always conclude your disapproval of the other climber's decisions that create no real damage, with absolute support for his or her freedom to do so, because the mental midget National Park Service thugs and other government dolts of every government are predicated on any rhetorical excuses to tax you more to pay themselves more to make more of your decisions for you, a fool's quest, and force their self-serving decisions on you, under threat of jail.

Your choice. Climbing being a unique expression of freedom, some of the finest climbers in the world never climbed, but defended your climbing freedom, while some of the most repugnant sorts of the subculture climbed Sagarmatha herself, are still adulated by fools and derived much money supporting the National Park Service's taxation and restrictions on non-politically privileged climbers.

Enjoy the comedy of the humans.

DougBuchanan.com
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 07:51am PT
Several have said they were happy to see a non-political thread...


How is this thread not political?

It is full of posts of people with huge egos trying to impose their own beliefs on style to restrict how others can climb. I dare say a significant number of those might even restrict climbing styles to those consistent with their beliefs, if they had the power to do so.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 09:34am PT
It is a "climbing" politics thread, rather than McCain vs Dems politics...still good news.

"Full" of posts by people with huge egos? Maybe a little, but hardly "full". You think Sean doesn't have a huge ego? Or possibly even Doug?

I don't see anyone except Fattrad suggesting "imposing" either.
Even your handle, TradIsGood, suggests a certain agreement with this whole discussion. Maybe you should change it to AnythingGoes? No offense intended, just pointing out a certain...er...contradiction.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 09:59am PT
You can count them. Plenty of posts about leaving the Half Dome unchanged. Restriction is requlation. Those posts are about reducing liberty, which to my way of thinking is political. I think neo-cons vs dems or whatever is preferable. At least it doesn't matter. :-)

Pretty sure fattrad was tongue in cheek.

 AnyThingGoesIsGood


EDIT: Nothing wrong with having a big ego, until that person starts deciding what is right for everybody else.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:07am PT
Thank you bob, for the edits. I suspected that the one comment was tongue in cheek, but it really looked bad in black and white. Now back to the regularly scheduled discussion?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:24am PT
Billygoat: with respect (and no "lawyerese,") can I say one more thing about hearsay? Your definition is a good one: "hearsay" is defined as, 'Information or a rumor heard from another'."

So here, if Clint had put forth some fact and I repeated it, that would be hearsay. I think the part of his comment that I quoted was all or mostly his opinion, not fact (that is to say, it wasn't "information or rumor"). Fattrad too.

What I did was endorse their opinions. And, for what it was worth, I added my own.

And, BTW, what's wrong with a climber's discussion containing lots of bullshtt? Isn't that a hallowed tradition?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:28am PT
The filming and extensive photo-documentation is another aspect of this particular climb that suggests there is more to the story than just putting a "modern" route up the South Face of Half Dome.

Perhaps Doug could fill us in on the details of the rigging specifically provided for all that work. The photos in the R&I story are wonderful, but as we see throughout the STForum "history" threads, there were seldom high quality photographs taken of Valley historic FAs on route, and even less taken from modern angles in the aesthetic of Eppy... e.g. shot from above, off route, out from the cliff.

And there is the movie. The one other movie I remember is "Free Climb" produced by Robert Godfrey which documents Erickson's and Higbee's attempt to free the NWFHD which was shot by Frost. In that movie the FFA attempt ends in having to do the last few moves on aid, to which Erickson declares a "magnificent failure." From a modern perspective the multiple attempts to free sections, like the Zig-Zags, with falls and hangs, etc, seem pretty tame, but in 1976 were a matter of debate on style.

Erickson and Higbee are granted FFA status in Reid's guide, but I suspect that they didn't meet their own standard of what constitutes an FFA.

Planning on filming an FA on a notoriously difficult face is a tremendously risky decision. I have in my mind the final fade, panning back from the golden wall at sunset with the voice over saying how the climb just didn't go, stopped by the "natural defense" of blankness. The climber protagonist saying those brave words about the capabilities of future climbers, lah-de-dah-dah...
...instead we'll hear about why pushing through to the top at all cost was the right thing to do.


survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:36am PT
When and where will this film be available for viewing?
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:47am PT
Werner and Healyje

My wife took a sociology class recently where they had to wander the campus and find a stone that would talk to them. They had to sit with the stone and have a conversation. Seems this is what the Indians used to do. Ask Ron, maybe he has a view on this.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:03am PT
I definitely missed that filming the FA was involved and on doing a quick look at their production company's site you can see they were promoting this film before the attempt. I have to agree with Ed it sounds a like a lot at stake. Clearly folks were going to be rapping anyway for the filming, and with such an investment involved his point is well-taken that other motivating factors were likely involved with the decisions taken to arrive at that outcome.

Not sure where the dividing line is in this case between simply doing something and investing heavily in a commercial venture built around that doing. Would they really have had a viable product in a film about Half Dome without this climb / FA in it? All in all, the commercial / film aspects of this FA throw the whole affair in an entirely different light - clearly, a bit more than ethics and style were involved the decision making process, which makes this discussion somewhat mute from my perspective. I'd say the better question to ask is whether having a great film on Half Dome was (in a manner of speaking) worth rap bolting to the top for?

k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:06am PT
bhilden: Would it make a difference in anybody's opinion on this topic if
the FA party had just inspected the face on rappel, scoped out the line and
then bolted it on lead from the ground up?


DR: Most places it's too steep to stance drill. It's scallpoed and polished
in a way that doesn't lend itself to hook drilling.


So their choice: Attempt to put up another scare-fest that will rarely get
climbed, and then if climbed, done so only by the very elite. Or put up a
route that can be enjoyed by enthusiasts?

I see the opinion that this is not an actual step forward, and that of all
places to do this, Half Dome. Does it not seem ironic that the man who's
picture on the cover of National Geographic, of him climbing Half Dome,
ushered in the age of clean climbing is the same person who helped open
Growing Up?

How many Grade VI free climbs have been established without any aid? Are there
any in the Valley?

If you dis this route, yet climb and enjoy routes that were put in in less
than perfect style, are you not a hypocrite?

Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:10am PT
I think I just woke up...

Ed wrote, "The filming and extensive photo-documentation is another aspect of this particular climb that suggests there is more to the story than just putting a "modern" route up the South Face of Half Dome."

I will not claim this is what Ed was alluding to, but I now see the possibility of this being nothing more than a commercial venture. Sean gets more sponsor money to buy more bolts and a longer rap rope. Doug has a new reel to show to investors. Shawn has a cover shot and plenty of stock images to sell. And everyone is talking about the whole thing. There is no bad PR...

EDIT: Do you need a permit to make a commercial film in the Park? I think I know the answer.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:11am PT
There aren't any "enthusiasts" that will do a route with that many 5.11 & 5.12 pitches on it. It's still for the elite.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:17am PT
Chop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Jody's evil twin.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:19am PT
There aren't any "enthusiasts" that will do a route with that many
5.11 & 5.12 pitches on it. It's still for the elite.


This climb is in the range of many, many climbers.
The other routes on the S Face, few x few.
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:19am PT
OK, I've now read this entire thread (no small feat) and figured I'd throw in my thoughts.

When first reading the mag article and seeing the pictures I was psyched. It looks to be a beautiful line up a seldom visited piece of stone. For the efforts involved to establish the line, these guys get some applause from this corner.

As to the method in which they bolted the upper portion, I can't take offense. But, I'll be the first to point out that I'm primarily a sport climber these days and that more and more, I too place bolts on rappel. In my mind the quality of the climbing, correct location of the protection, etc. left behind by the one doing the bolting matters more (to me) than the way in which they were placed.

I don't know either of the FA party members, but know that they seem to have both fans and haters in this community (as shown in the posts above). As such, I can't really speak to their integrity or character personally.

The thing that sticks in my mind the most negatively about this whole thing is the publicity side of it. Properly photographing this route, and now we find out filming it as well if that happened, requires a lot of added work and a certain amount of hubris when setting the whole thing up before hand. It also explains some of the necessity for a successful, complete ascent. I really don't have a problem with the route itself or the decisions made in how the upper portion was protected, but it seems as though the marketability of the route had as much to do with the FA party's motivation as the climbing itself. In my mind, that's a real shame.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:20am PT
Getting paid to do something fun is unamerican.

Next thing you know we'll have a commissioner, drug testing, and Spitzer will want to do it.

Let's have a Congressional hearing before this gets entirely out of hand!
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:21am PT
Is this debate fundamentally different from the Dawn Wall?

Seems to me at the end of the day the CHOICE of the Fa team reigns supreme, and always has.

Doesn't have to I guess. We could have a permit system, hole-counts, approval committes, route police. F*#k that.

I accept the inevitable chaos of CHOICE.

Mutual respect is the underpining of our 'system,' whether we care to recognize it or not. What, 3 or 4 folks in this thread have climbed a route on that wall, each in a style different from the others.

We're all equally free to 'judge' this creation, from cutting edge climber to fat old man crying 'ego route.'

Its the way things work. The torch is bing passed.

DMT
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:23am PT
Is it a torch, or a burning cow pie?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:25am PT
Then other SFHD routes are within the range of many many "enthusiasts" also.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:29am PT
Chop it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fattrad, instead of resorting to violence, perhaps see this has an opportunity. Free climb
up to where they started rap-bolting, then bust out on your own ground-up route.
Sucks, you could even call it "Growing Ys."


PS. If you chop it, would you do it ground-up style? Much like Robbins on the DW.
To rap in and chop wouldn't really make the best statement.


EDIT: Reading backwards, I see Karl already mentioned this option,
sorry, not trying to steal ideas ;-)
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:31am PT
"Is it a torch, or a burning cow pie?"

Its a torch, to be sure. As the boomer crowd fades into obscurity, they have left a legacy of stout routes and killer climbs.

That's pretty much it. Now its someone else's turn. Graybeards don't get to decide anymore.

DMT
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:34am PT
The funny part is that some people on his tread wouldn't be offended by more bolts, placed in wrong spot as long as the route was done ground up....because it fits into their almost Taliban way of thinking how we should rock climb. Weird.


The route looks beautiful. Hopefully someone will climb the route and give a first hand account on the quality of the stone and protection situation.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:35am PT
Then other SFHD routes are within the range of many many "enthusiasts" also.

Now you're just being belligerent. My bet, this route gets repeated before any other SFHD
route gets a repeat. And that it will tally more ascents than any of the other existing
routes, combined. Check back in 10 years...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:36am PT
Again, it turns out, this wasn't simply a matter of the ethics, style, and choices made during the course of a climb - there was clearly much more going on then that. That could be an ethical debate all on its own, and arguing these issues like it was a normal FA in the face of the added goals, motivations, pressures (and camera rap lines) of a film project seems a bit pointless.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:44am PT
Dawn Wall all over again. Same argument, nearly 4 decades later.

DMT
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:46am PT
k-man, while I would agree with you and admit that is prolly correct, is it right ?

Hundreds of climbers have enjoyed the shite out of a particular rap-bolted 5.8 face/slab climb of my doing, BUT

....those that have climbed my few ground-up trad 5.11's walked away with an experience similar to that of my own--challenge and gratification of the unknown.


Neither is right, both are justified, but maybe we should look at it this way:

Will DR, SJ (and others) look back on the route the way that JB (and others) look back at the B-Y route ? Prolly not, due to the style and circumstances--and it is for them to live with, we can only critique.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:48am PT
Dingus wrote: Dawn Wall all over again. Same argument, nearly 4 decades later.

DMT

I wonder who going to play the part of Royal this time???

Joe, Fat, Bruce...???
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:49am PT
My Facelift project.


Jody's evil twin.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:51am PT


"We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities"

Or perhaps better...

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:52am PT
Not me - I try not to mix business with pleasure...

--------------------------------------------------------

Note to ihateplastic: with regard to Werner and I getting all native sitting around listening to stones:

In the old days our people had no education. All their wisdom and knowledge came to them from dreams. They tested their dreams and in that way learned their own strength. - Ojibwa Elder.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:56am PT
Bd'A asked, "I wonder who going to play the part of Royal this time???"

Ah yes, and who will punch whom in the parking lot?

Is it really John's baby? Stay tuned for more of The Edge of Half Dome.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Grid bolt the south face - not such a bad idea!

 After the ADA mandated shuttle is set up so you don't have to hike.
 After the reservation system for the existing climb gets booked as far in advance as Lower Pines Campground.
 You might still want to bring your own water though - to cut down on those disposable/recyclable plastic bottles.
 All you'll need is a harness, shoes, rope, some draws, and chalk bags for the photo ops.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:00pm PT
Joe wrote: In the old days our people had no education. All their wisdom and knowledge came to them from dreams. They tested their dreams and in that way learned their own strength. - Ojibwa Elder.


Geeh Joe....we now have the intartnet...where you been?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:14pm PT
And 36v lithium batteries. No doubt about it Bob - these days you can get both strength and the batteries to go with it over the internet.

(Bob, just doing my part to get us to 300 at this point...)
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:28pm PT
DMT -- "Dawn Wall all over again"

Most people here have never done an early ascent of the Dawn wall so they don't really know. Harding went berzerk up there, I think he lost it near the end.

He drilled rivets next to perfect A1 cracks, I was nailing along when suddenly I see rivets right next to the A1 placements I was standing on.

Porter had previously after Royals ascent chopped a few of them also but still many rivets survived because they were almost invisible to see.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
Crowbar, tuning fork, hammer, anything else?



Jody's evil twin.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:47pm PT
Fat wrote: Crowbar, tuning fork, hammer, anything else?



Jody's evil twin.

Diet, start working out and stop drinking beer. Good place to start.
lost.hairrow

Social climber
Ojai,CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 12:56pm PT
Question: Is it ok to rap bolt now?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:04pm PT
You bet, go for it.
lost.hairrow

Social climber
Ojai,CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:07pm PT
Ok. So if I first aid a route ground up, can I then rap and place more bolts to make it a safe route?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:08pm PT
Yep.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:09pm PT
Bob,

I'm in good enough shape to get up the Mist trail.


Jody's evil twin.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:09pm PT
So Werner, I don't remember enough details of the Dawn Wall story to know if any of it involved rapping, but seems to me not much of it did.
Some of the attitude here seems to be that even those rivit placements next to A1 cracks are better than something placed on rap, solely because they were placed ground up.

And on a separate note, this business about a film does bother me. In some ways, this makes it more like Dean's climb of Delicate Arch. I'd have been OK with that if Dean had done it with less publicity, and I guess I'd have better feelings about this if it was clear that Doug and Sean's goal was simply to find the best route up a beautiful piece of stone.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:13pm PT
This debate is such a good one because I think a lot of folks hold the same ethics
as I; ground-up is the way it goes.

To answer my own question, do I climb and enjoy routes put up in less than perfect
style? Hell yes I do!! However, the style of the FA is always in the back of my mind.
It *does* make a difference.

Certainly Growing Up was not a step forward in style. It was an attempt however.
I know what Sean did before he broke out the ropes at the top. And he didn't rap
in before he climbed to the top of the arch, from the ground (and attempt a couple
of other lines on the face too boot).
[Ed. In other words, they did not start by going to the top.]

That said, would the route be as good if they forged ahead without the shenanigans?

Is there a point where the quality of a route trumps style?

Will others not climb Growing Up simply because the top half was previewed, then
rap-bolted? My bet is very few with the ability will bypass the route simply
because it was not put up in the best style. The line is about as good as it gets.

I know that it would be at the top of my list, had I the guns. Right after
Warbler's Basket Dome route.
lost.hairrow

Social climber
Ojai,CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:24pm PT
Ok im just trying to clear something up here and im kinda slow. Is film or photo coverage a exception to the rule. Rap bolting is ok if you are a certin distance from cameras?
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:26pm PT
Let's just say that a film crew significantly widens the distribution of spray pattern.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:27pm PT
This is a really dynamic thread with a few static lines thrown in for the heavy lifting. Threads like these are what make SuperTopo so valuable and interesting. And addictive dammit!

Tarbuster you so eloquently presented the poinancy of "Trad" climbing that I was left with nothing else to say. Thanks!

Healje you perfectly and clearly summed up the issues regarding style, ethics and presidence. Well done!

And Doug I want to tell you I also appreciate your posting up.
It is always good to get first hand info.

Only time will tell how this new route and it's creators will be perceived and regarded in the greater climbing world.
It may prove to be a lasting "classic" climb that future enthsiasts aspire to for generations. Or it may be yet another accepted "ego blight" like the Jardine Traverse or the Compressor Route. There are numerous examples of currently accepted and sought after climbs that were established in any number of unacceptable manners. Is pre-inspection and rap bolting off the South Face of Half Dome really any different than rapping to pre-inspect and pre-place gear in the Black Canyon? If it is please tell me why. Prehaps the reduction of adventure, discovery and risk that a top down approach entails will be outweighed by the increased preservation of a limited resource that a carefully "planned" route could, if done well, present. We have nearly enough examples of routes beaten into free climbable submission already. It is also inevitable that people will continue to seek out and develope new terrain. Some of those routes, as in every previous generation, will only rarely be repeated and only by the elite of the day. Others will be within reach of a much wider field of enthusiasts. Some of each kind will fade into obscurity either because they are utter choss or a death route while others will become hallowed classics regardless of the FA style. Climbing is funny that way.

Werner, any chance that Harding was placing all those rivets next to A1 cracks because he had an epiphany and was just trying to save it for the future? lol





survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:33pm PT
He just didn't want those beautiful cracks bespoiled!
ec

climber
ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:38pm PT
This style of first ascent allows for the 'manufacturing' of a route. Virtually anything is possible with this state of mind. The thought that, "I'm going to put up a route on that." becomes very conclusive doesn't it?

"Growing Up" looks like an awesome line, no doubt. The route will stand the test of time as other contreversial routes. I have tremendous respect for Doug, however, I am saddened by his decision. It just seemed like "Climbing Half Dome the Wrong Way."

Sorry. Some of us would still rather not know what the fvck is coming-up on the next pitch. 'A friend of mine once said comparing FA styles, "When you do an FA of your own rap bolted route, it's like doing someone else's route."

 ec
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:41pm PT
Survival wrote: He just didn't want those beautiful cracks bespoiled!


Looking back in retrospect and the state of some cracks on El Cap...you might be right.
lost.hairrow

Social climber
Ojai,CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:46pm PT
I wonder if all bolted routes were put up in the same style as th B.Y. if climbing whould still be legal especially in national parks. What a great thing that whould be. Talk about something fun to watch, illegal ascents most resulting in alot of blood. All right im switching to decaf.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:50pm PT
Chop it.



Jody's evil twin.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:50pm PT
Which is more important?

 Quality of the route.
 Quality of the climber.
ec

climber
ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:54pm PT
• Quality of the Experience!

Are you experienced?
wildone

climber
Where you want to be
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:55pm PT
Fatty, your repetitive posting of that phrase is pedantic at best. It reminds me of your take on international diplomacy "nuke em' all", and begs the question, were you not loved as a child?
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
LOL. If it is the "quality of the experience" then there are only two who could rate it.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:59pm PT
Chop the Compressor Route.
Wait on death sentencing this route until further first hand assessments are available.

Something tells me this thread will go over 400.
ec

climber
ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 01:59pm PT
TIG, You got that exactly right!

Our opinions don't really matter...What's done is done.

 ec
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:02pm PT
Last time I checked, someone was very near to chopping the compressor route before people made a HUGE deal about that possibility.

I'm not necessarily pro or con chopping "Growing Up", but since we're gambling a lot already:

If no one chops this route before it sees twelve ascents, I bet 50 postcards it won't get chopped at all, a la popularity. People will flip over a chop.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:03pm PT
"When you do an FA of your own rap bolted route, it's like doing someone else's route."

I always held that if you rap-bolted a line, you could not be on the FA team.
ec

climber
ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:08pm PT
"I always held that if you rap-bolted a line, you could not be on the FA team. - k-man

I guess in the guidebook there will have to be a list of 'contributing manufacturers.'

 ec
nature

climber
Santa Fe, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:10pm PT
'contributing manufacturers.'

naw.... I think the correct terminology would be "route equipped by:"

Which is the terminology I/we use when establishing new sport lines in various places. Said sport lines are rapped in and IMHO is the only sane way of equipping the routes. Chossy sandstone that cleans up nicely (once the effort is put in) isn't waiting for someone bold enough to do it ground up. To do it ground up would simply be a rather silly idea.

300th?!?!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:18pm PT
Heck with all this ancient ground up stuff. Talk about thinking outside the box, I'm going up there to rap down and just put up a few pitches near the top. You know, well scoped, not too hard or scarey, well protected routes that are within range of a lot of folks. Kind of a community service you might say....

Rap bolting is cool, who says they have to start at the bottom? I'm the FA guy, I get to be the judge.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:18pm PT
wildone,

The answer to your question is no, that's why I get along so well with Dick Cheney. Now back to the issue, if it disappears before a third ascent, it will likely never get discussed again. I'll be in the ditch 4/26.


Jody's evil twin.
adventurewagen

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:30pm PT
After reading the entire thread I'll keep it simple.

I'd love to get on the route, at least the first half but seeing as there was never and will never be an FA for the second half it looses alot of it's appeal for me. To say that I climbed Karma, Autobahn, Southern Belle, etc would have true meaning since I'd be repeating an amazing feat first and more impressively done by the FA. Climbing "Growing Up" is just a tick. No style points, no amazing feat, just training and cranking through the manufactured pre-protected route.

Not to say the route won't get done but it is nothing more than a "tick" at this point for anyone. It will never be an "ascent" for me or anyone that climbs it. Maybe the first half but never the second. The only interest it holds would be in those first 10 pitches at which point I think I'd rap because repeating the second half just holds no interest and would practically dirty the clean send you could go for on the true part of the climb.

On another note I consider myself to live in a world already "climbed out". Most every beautiful line within my ability has already been climbed so I'm one of he many climbers (a whole generation and future generations) left to sloppy seconds and for me the FA team plays a big part in the route, especially for places like the valley. If people take the true gems and rap bolt them for us then we lose yet another route that could have had more character than your average crag climb.

I dream of climbing Southern Belle though I never will, but I just can't see wasting my time on "Growing Up". I could see getting on the route and plugging it up to where the crack dies but there isn't anything pushing me to the top other than getting that "tick". So for me this whole debacle boils down to whether it's another tick for my list or an actual ascent for my personal history books.

Since I can't get the FA on the climb the best I can do is repeat the route the same way the FA party did it and then oooh and aaah over their marvelous route. Making it through run outs or over odd terrain are part of the game. I guess it's time to go rap in and check the route out. Then climb it or whatever...

Rap bolting in my mind should be left to all the crap rock you find at your local crag, which is merely training grounds for where the real stuff happens.
Cracko

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:36pm PT
Tradisgood,

My vote is for the quality of the person. However, the quality of one's route can make a strong statement about the quality of the person as this thread clearly demonstrates. Carry on !!

Cracko
lost.hairrow

Social climber
Ojai,CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:37pm PT
Question: Is it OK to rap down a blank face and using a saw manufacture a hand crack if you then lead it clean/ground up?
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:52pm PT
I am just saying that this "debate" is all confused.

Suppose your guidebook were at home.
If it is the route:
 You see the start and guess it goes to the top.
 You climb it.
 You decide how it was during or at the end.

If it is the climber:
 You don't climb it because you do not know who or how

Today you have your guidebook
If it is the route:
 You climb it no matter how it was built because everything about the climbing is classical
 Don't climb because it is total choss, despite being put up in classical style.

If it is the climber:
 You climb that piece of junk because it was ground up by Joe Famous (and you one day might want his autograph)
 You don't climb it even though Joe Nearly Famous put it up because he used some aid technique you don't like.

Maybe we need to have a study.
 Compare people's ratings of routes with guidebook info, without it
 whether or not they read People magazine, Architectural Digest, Women's Wear Daily, watch Oprah
 Do they buy art because they like it, or as an investment

;-)


EDIT:
Left out - You climb anything you see that looks like it would be fun, because that is why you climb.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Apr 1, 2008 - 02:58pm PT
Good points TIG. I'm not sure that the style of the FA should somehow make all other ascents invalid. There are certainly climbs put up in the 60's that I could do in better style, without damaging the rock. But that doesn't mean I disrespect those ascents, or that I would enjoy those climbs any less.
martygarrison

Trad climber
Modesto
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:26pm PT
For me this thread is getting tired. I think folks have stated and restated their position. I for one am on the side of rap bolting half dome is not high on my integrity list, however I also understand it is just a sport, we all do it for fun and life certainly has other curves balls that will be far more important than this issue.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:28pm PT
"... I bet 50 postcards...

Cool! I started a new form of currency!

S.C.R.E.E.E.C.H.I.NG. halt!!!!!!!!!.. Adventurewagen considers himself living ,"... in a world already "climbed out". " Holy Sh't! Not even close! The approaches may be longer but the number of cracks, slabs, ridges, etc. left in the Sierra, Baffin, Norway, Patagonia, northern Africa. etc. will keep the next ten generations of climbers posting up new trip reports.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:28pm PT
"On another note I consider myself to live in a world already "climbed out". Most every beautiful line within my ability has already been climbed so I'm one of he many climbers (a whole generation and future generations) left to sloppy seconds and for me the FA team plays a big part in the route, especially for places like the valley. If people take the true gems and rap bolt them for us then we lose yet another route that could have had more character than your average crag climb. "

You're in luck because the vast majority of Long Yosemite face routes were put in the traditional way.

And you're also in luck because it's very rare for any of them to get climbed. No line for you.

So it shouldn't be a problem to give this climb a miss. In fact, you should make a moral point of it.

After all, If lesser climbers are denied, by lack of boldness, all the R and X rated lines put up by the hardmen of the past., then:

Those who disapprove of rap-bolted, pre-inspected, or sieged lines should stay off them-to do otherwise is like being one of those politicians that legislates against prostitution in the daytime and bangs whores at night.

Avoid Snake Dike to begin with. It was retrobolted.

If you think "OK, I just won't clip the retro-bolts on Snake Dike, then the same option is there for you on "Growing Up"

Or just climb to the top of the Arch, A0 the bolt ladder, and free solo to the top by your own route, cause that's basically the alternative if you can't stance drill nor hook drill.

Did Doug and Shawn get less adventure because they rap bolted? Yeah! Why did they do so? Two possibilities..

1. To selfishly establish their creds with a route to the top of Half Dome.
or
2. To create a route that future climbers of that grade could enjoy.,

Since I'm mostly a route-repeating kind of guy. I appreciate #2 and think there's a place for it.

Cause after all. The guys who put up the Death Routes on Half Dome...Why did they do so? Two possibilities..

1. To have an awesome adventure with or without regard to those who follow.
2. To make a name for themselves and get respect and honor.

Is it so different?

I remember when Crest Jewel went up. (in good style I think) It was still criticized for having too many bolts. Such a fine route and one of the few faces still climbed in Yosemite of that length.

Times and opinions change. If you're one of those who used to condemn hang-dogging and now you do it all the time, maybe it's time to be quiet about your next moral judgement about others.

The second half of "Growning Up" exists in only two forms. As a death route, as a rap bolted route, or not at all. For those who lionize putting it up as a death route by somebody capable of running it out from stance to stance, I ask one question:

If I go to the Elementary School and kick the ass of all the toughest 6th graders, does that make me a brave hero?

I think there's something to be said for public service on public lands that future generations can enjoy.

Peace

Karl
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:35pm PT
Cracko, think about this highly contrived scenario:

Reinhold Messner decides to rap bolt a route on SFHD--having never placed a bolt before, the outcome is a disaster.

Mojede decides to rap bolt a route on SFHD--having placed many bolts this way before, the outcome is a success.

Just saying that there is a fine line between the route and the climber, that's all.



edit: on the topic of quality herein.
Owlman

Social climber
Montucky
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:49pm PT
Choppy chop chop.

Or change the name to,

"Growing Down".

Eddie

Trad climber
San Francisco
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:54pm PT
Perhaps we could put a sign at the base of the route that says "Beware: Upper sections were Rap Bolted...Climb at Your Own Risk"

Then, we'll employ a NPS ranger to stand at the top, and make sure to point out to the tourists that the climbers topping out aren't REALLY hardcore, because the route they climbed was put up in 'bad' style.

Lastly, we'll make sure the guidebooks point it out as well, right next to the 5 Stars...
paganmonkeyboy

climber
mars...it's near nevada...
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:55pm PT
"Reinhold Messner decides to rap bolt a route on SFHD"

ok - that made me laugh ;-) i'm picturing him swearing profusely in german while hand drilling...
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 03:57pm PT
There is no movie. In fact, the movie was dead in the water long before the decision to carry fixed ropes up the cables. Too bad, because part of my dream was to film some of the decision-making that goes into a FA. That could have become interesting indeed. Might have even given us something a little more real to watch than the all-too-common sort of "sport filming" of ruthlessly wired moves set to a heavy metal soundtrack.

But even as the climbing got started back in March '07 my partner in the filming company was spinning off into his own personal purgatory. For me that became a huge distraction. "...wandering around down on the coast looking for a partner" is the way I put it in the article. It dragged my attention away from HD. End result of that fracas: not one second of useful footage was shot on the face. Too bad; but on the bright side I suppose I saved some of you from the moral dilemma of whether to watch such a tainted production.

BTW we did have a film permit, after posting the required million dollar insurance policy. Another expense gone to waste.

I did keep supporting the climbing with logistics, because I was excited about the climb and respected how Sean was doing it and because I had promised to. And I went deeper into debt. Where I still am. Financially it was a black hole and with tendonitis I couldn't even climb, but I carried up food and rope and some of the beer that we drank while hashing out how to proceed.

Lines were fixed for filming that never got used. All the way up the arch they were put up after the climb was led trad, ground up. Shawn Reeder, whose still photos I like, used them to shoot those modern angles above, to the side, and over the shoulder. For awhile 97 of them were on his blog, maybe still are. The only bolts on the whole arch section are the belay anchors. Because the arch leans left, fixed lines from a higher anchor hung out to the side and Shawn was able to shoot stills from them.

The arch turns into a roof going way left at its top, and coming back down along the route from there was not possible, so we fixed a rap route straight down. Like the bottom of the rap route off the Nose, it crosses some pretty blank rock, but you can get to the ground with two 160 foot ropes. And it connects with the line on the upper wall, so it's possible to retreat from up there in bad weather, which will avoid some of the epic close calls like Harding and Rowell and Middendorf had.

So our hard decision at the top of the arch to switch from trad to dropping a line from the top had nothing to do with film or with making money. Reeder sold a few shots from up there (and those give you a glimpse of the terrain and the texture) and I got less than minimum wage for writing about it. Sean's sponsors got some publicity, and his take didn't prevent him from -- right now -- working construction to feed his kids. No slide show, no groupies.

Now this next part is starting to feel ironic in light of the crap some of you want to dump on us: we did it for you. We did it for the future. We did it as an alternative to the death-route spiral the South Face had been in. We did it for choice. You can still choose Southern Belle, sack up and face the consequences. My big respect goes to you if you make that choice, as it goes to Coz and Schultz for putting it up. But now there's another possible choice. And this choice will likely get climbed more. I hope its a lot. That stellar terrain deserves to be felt.

Oddly, that leads to politics. See, I think more climbers on the South Face is a good a thing, just like more hikers on the cables is good. (Besides keeping Werner in work, I mean, since 25% of all the rescues in the park are on the Half Dome Trail.) All those people getting out there and breathing mountain air and getting the "glad tidings" as John Muir would say, they all add to the political constituency of wilderness. And wilderness needs all the help it can get.

Climbing can use a bit more political voice too. And I think that more climbers having more fun in the mountains is a good start. Somebody cratering off of Karma won't help our political stand as much as a thousand climbers Growing Up. This route will never do as much as the Snake Dike, but it's going to give more people a breathtaking experience in the mountains than Southern Belle ever will.

Enough. I hate it when anyone starts to sound preachy, expecially me.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:03pm PT
WELL SAID DOUG...

Domingo & Mtnyoung...now it's not hearsay!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:08pm PT
thanks for the reply Doug, it goes a long way to explaining the dynamics driving the choices that were made by the FA team. Style is a choice, and when we make that choice we are fully prepared to be judged by others in the community. But the adventure has been had by the FA and the excitement of the whole thing shared by the FA with the community. We get to go and repeat it, in small part, anytime we want, that is our choice.


socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:17pm PT
Thanks for posting Doug.

With the movie project out of the way prior to the bolting of the upper half, I'm firmly back on the side of admiring the route and those that established it.

Maybe there was some sponsorship pressure or media intentions still, but when they walked away they left what looks to be an amazing line. One that appeals greatly to me, and one that will likely be repeated far sooner and more often than its neighbors.

As I said prior in this thread, the manner in which the bolts were installed (rap or GU) means less to me than the fact that they are properly positioned in respect to the climbing. I also would be saddened if the protection consisted of body-length bolt spans, but that doesn't sound like it's the case either (30-foot runouts?).

Looking forward to a repeat ascent and the resulting feedback. This could be the type of route I'd like to go and climb...
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:20pm PT
Karl,

I disagree with a few of your thoughts, as usual. Snake Dike was put up from the ground, the retrobolts are few. This route smacks of "gotta have a long FA on my resume", maybe this section of HD should never see an ascent. I'm voting for removal.


Jody's evil twin.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:26pm PT
Fatty wrote
"This route smacks of "gotta have a long FA on my resume", maybe this section of HD should never see an ascent. I'm voting for removal."

These guys have been around long enough to know they could have got better kudos from simply climbing the Arch free and calling it good. This was public service.

This kind of debate has been going on a long time in climbing and it's good for us. Perhaps it helps us grow as much as climbing itself to see how we think, how others think, and how we understand and misunderstand each other.

I'll agree to disagree Fatty. This November I'll also be voting for removal

peace

Karl
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:37pm PT
Thanks again for posting Doug. I'm impressed that you stay pretty close to being pure information without getting wrapped around the axle.

I still don't agree with "Death route spiral" and number of repeats being the goal. Nor do I buy the idea that you and Sean did it for "us".

I thought the climbing community historically has always had great admiration for routes that took commitment and great bravery to establish. Few repeats was something that was admired and became part of the legend, something for the new generation of climbers to wonder whether they had the guts for.

Edit: Karl Baba wrote: "This November I'll also be voting for removal." (Speaking of politicians, not bolts)Now that I like a lot!!

Edit: Thank goodness the top isn't so accessible to rap off of in some places.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:45pm PT
Say Fatty have you EVER climbed HD by ANY route? How about doing your own FAs? Ever hand drilled a bolt, EVER?

Who said you had a vote anyway? In climbing we vote by doing, not by sitting at a desk in the Bay Area.

DMT
adventurewagen

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:49pm PT
Ihateplastic - When I said everything was "climbed out" I didn't mean literally. Geez. Take a deep breath and move away from the keyboard.

My point was just that for many climbers today there aren't nearly as many gems left out there in the easy to access or obvious places. I know for a fact if I had the time I could hit up Patagonia and put up a few FA's there. My buddies just got back from a couple months of putting up new FA's. Right on Fitzroy even!

Obviously as the population grows and the weather changes we'll continue to expand further and further into nature until that once far off crag is a mere 10 minutes from down town. I'm just saying that unless you climb 5.hard or happen to live next to an untapped crag the number of easily accessible and obvious lines that are climbable by normal humans is lower than it was.

I'm just saying for an overwhelming percentage of the population we are left climbing in the footsteps of the grand dads that were lucky enough to be around during the birth of hard climbing and until I quit my job and move to some unknown crag or start climbing 5.14 I don't see an endless supply of FA's for me to choose my own style. I can only hope those people with the time and skill do the right thing.

So you wanna go tick that climb or not? I'll take pitch 1-10.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:51pm PT
DMT,

Snake Dike twice, I'm guessing at ten FA's in JT and many of those felt the bit.

DMT......your're a noobie, but not a n00b.


Jody's evil twin.
Tez

Mountain climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:51pm PT
Thanks for posting Doug. Climbing ground up until natural protection features ran out and then completing it by inspection from above is good form in my book.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:54pm PT
Mmmm hmmm, Opinions are like as#@&%es. everyone has one and they all stink.

Go up there and chop it big guy, see what it gets you. That's the only vote you have - chop it or don't.

DMT
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:56pm PT
What about all those sick strong euros who show up every spring and freeclimb the big walls. Do they get to vote on this?

They'll probably just onsight it.
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 1, 2008 - 04:58pm PT
DR said,
"Now this next part is starting to feel ironic in light of the crap some of you want to dump on us: we did it for you. We did it for the future. We did it as an alternative to the death-route spiral the South Face had been in. We did it for choice. You can still choose Southern Belle, sack up and face the consequences. My big respect goes to you if you make that choice, as it goes to Coz and Schultz for putting it up. But now there's another possible choice. And this choice will likely get climbed more. I hope its a lot. That stellar terrain deserves to be felt."

Thanks for posting. I remember using nearly this exact language to Mugs Stump about a route I rapp and drilled on a cliff he liked nearly 20 years ago. He called BS on my response and after 20 years I do think he is right.

In other words if you are climbing for anything or anyone other than yourself maybe it is the wrong reason? If you are placing a bolt for anyone other than yourself, should you?

Not throwing smack your way just a different viewpoint...I dont give a sh&& one way or the other about your route and the style it was done in. But I do question the validity of the argument as it could be used for all manner of "un-ethical" impacts to the rock.

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:18pm PT
I remember using nearly this exact language to Mugs Stump about a route I rapp and drilled on a cliff he liked nearly 20 years ago. He called BS on my response and after 20 years I do think he is right.

You're not referring to Hellgate, by chance?
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/utah/wasatch_range/little_cottonwood_canyon/105739780

Geez, there's what, near 60 routes up there now? Great summertime hot weather venue, even though the rock ain't the greatest.

And, really, if you're placing a bolt considering climbers coming after you, why isn't that a valid reason, if that's what's important to you? I mean, the logic here being, if you're climbing for you, and leaving something for other's to enjoy is important to you, then...

I don't know. You could take this to the next level and just never report any of your ascents too. Then, every one gets an FA.

What it sometimes boils down to is style and ego, which seem intertwined at times.

Anyhoo, great to hear from you Gary. Maybe this summer, when its too hot to climb down low on the beloved granite of Little Cottonwood, we'll see you sniffin' around Hellgate, Alta, Devil's Castle...

-Brian in SLC
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:23pm PT
Yeah Brian,

All in all, I hope the FA guys got out of it what they wanted. It sounds like they did.

bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:30pm PT
One last post from me as it has been a fine discussion for the most part and nothing much more for me to add...

Sean and Doug...sounds like a great route, thanks for thinking about future parties, thanks for the effort (over three months) of work that it took and Doug thanks for your honest and open posts on the route.

It not easy being a dartboard but that's what happens when you jump out of the circle and actually do something that goes against the grain.

Gene

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:34pm PT
Now this next part is starting to feel ironic in light of the crap some of you want to dump on us: we did it for you. We did it for the future. We did it as an alternative to the death-route spiral the South Face had been in. We did it for choice. You can still choose Southern Belle, sack up and face the consequences. My big respect goes to you if you make that choice, as it goes to Coz and Schultz for putting it up. But now there's another possible choice. And this choice will likely get climbed more. I hope its a lot. That stellar terrain deserves to be felt.

The future has a funny habit of showing up real soon in the Valley. The history of climbing in the Valley is full of examples of the past generation's last greatest problem is this year's trade route. As far as the SFHD, why not keep the bar high?
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 1, 2008 - 05:56pm PT
Y'all try to remember that Doug and Sean are not two neophyte yeyhoos from a rock gym with a wild hair and dreams of glory.
They have been around, cut their chops and paid their dues. I am assuming but fairly sure they put as much if not more thought into this route than most FAs. If to some of you it represents a hard to accept seemingly hypocritical about face of ethics for Doug, well who of the long lived climbers hasn't changed or modified their approaches to ascent as they were "growing up"?
When I was young and a 'real' climber the ethos of the day were; onsight, ground up, all clean, no chalk, no fixed gear, no bolts, no hangs, no falls. Anything less was aid climbing. If I remember correctly that same ethos eshewed sticky rubber and cams when they came out. Well the ethos of today is far different than before.
Now not only do I have sticky sticky shoes and cams but I chalk when I don't need to, gladly clip bolts when they are there and hang to rest to avoid falling. My younger me would have disdaned the older me but I am still enjoying the experience.
Is that wrong or should I be burned at the stake as a heretic?
Prehaps I have no place in this discussion as I have never done a Half Dome Route. Though I have always wanted to! Or prehaps because I have only placed three bolts in my life. Two hand drilled on lead from natural stances on I Can't Believe it's a Girdle. And the third after rapping nearly 1000' down the Goss Logan to replace the blown crux bolt. Something about the thought of smashing into the dihedral after the 5.11 traverse had me alter my ethical high ground for the sake of doing the job right. And yes the understanding that scores and scores of others would pass that way after me played a big role in the decision. But who out there would or wouldn't climb either of those routes based solely on the ethics of previous ascents?
Enthusiasts are still coveting routes like the Hallucinogen even though it has been subdued by post FA fixed gear. Should that route be retro chopped to it's original FA conditions so that others may enjoy the terror? Or are the routes themselves expressions of the evolving nature and ethos of climbing as a whole? Taking over a month to establish now the Hallucinogen has been climbed in under eight hours and nearly freed except for some revolutionary mixed climbing. Due in no small part to the current festooning of retro bolts and fixed gear. What are we to make of these shifts to our paradigm.
Now that I have been outed as a hang doggin', chalk swillin', retro rap boltin' hypocrit I ask only that you wait to see what a few on sight ascents have to report about this new route before you grab the pitch forks and light the torches.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 1, 2008 - 06:05pm PT
400 easy!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 1, 2008 - 06:07pm PT
I believe that the purest form of climbing is a ground up first ascent, placing all equipment en route, and minimizing impacts on the natural environment of the cliff i.e. cleaning, bolts. Also generally minimizing impacts on the human and natural environments, being completely honest with ourselves and others about what we've done, and remembering how fortunate we are to engage in our antics. These are ideals we should all aspire to, that are consistent with the traditions of our community, and the centrality of risk and adventure to what we do.

I am interested in the larger picture - I mentioned way upthread the way in which others might see the route, how it was established, and our debate about it. Doug brought up some other wide perspective issues - though if we do get lots more people hiking up Half Dome and getting the glad tidings, it not only makes work for Werner, it may lead to more idiots throwing rocks off...

When the thread got to 327 posts, I quickly looked at all of them. 216 posts were by males - that is, people I'm sure are males. Known quantities. 108 posts I wasn't sure about. I don't have the time to check, but I'm reasonably sure that most of them are males. (Not sure about BURT BRONSON, though.) One post was identifiably by a female. Perhaps a few of the pen names that I'm not sure about are also females, but clearly a tiny minority of the posters are female.

All of which suggests some interesting things about adolescent male sociology. I'd guess the climbing community is now perhaps 2/3 male, 1/3 female. SuperTopia may be a bit more skewed towards males - perhaps 75:25. Given all this, it's ironic that the route name is Growing Up.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 1, 2008 - 06:11pm PT
MH,

I've got my Facelift project.


Jody's evil twin.
Chewbongka

climber
लघिमा
Apr 1, 2008 - 06:14pm PT
MIGHTY HIKER IS ON TO US!!!

EVERBODY SCATTER!!!
WandaFuca

Gym climber
San Fernando Lamas
Apr 1, 2008 - 06:42pm PT
Thank you Doug and Sean Disney.

Now can you go back up and drill holes for rebar and concrete ledges with beer cozies? Can you cut a better path to the base and put in a barbecue for when we get there? Then could you cut-out 8x11x1 spaces at each belay for inset and sealed, weather-proof, lexan-covered route history/topo pages at each belay?

Maybe others have even better suggestions for improvements to make the route more user-friendly. Hey, come to think of it, if you were doing it for us, why didn't you get suggestions and take a poll and run it through a commitee and take a vote before you made this route for us?
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 1, 2008 - 07:47pm PT
Doug... "...we did it for you. We did it for the future."

I have no words to express my gratitude.
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Apr 1, 2008 - 08:19pm PT
Perhaps the most amusing posts in this thread have been the shrill cries about chopping it. Fattrad doesn't look like he could even waddle to the base, much less do any of the actual climbing involved to get up there.

So choppers, gonna chop on the lead? Or are you gonna have to rap in to do the deed?

Is that any different?

Chopping a route on rap, all about the ego boost, none of the challenge of actually climbing a route.



golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Apr 1, 2008 - 08:26pm PT
Just checked out the web site WB posted.

Cool pics, looks like they had a grand time up there.
tolman_paul

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Apr 1, 2008 - 08:39pm PT
Hopefully the days of bolt chopping are past. The deed is done. While whatever sort of ego or monetary factors may drive a first ascent using tacticts that the closed minded boltophobic traditionalists may abhor may be questioned and discussed, everyone looses in a chopping spree. Kinda like moving from the discussion that terrorists are bad to invading a sovereign nation.

If the point of view that traditional ground up FA's is the best style we can utilize is valid, then it will stand on it's own merrits. If the crowbars come out in the dark of night, then the traditional stance is tainted and painted as stance of grumpy old men who aren't what they used to be or never were as well as the wanna be's trying to emulate them.

I think a better name for the route would have been, I've fallen and I can't get up.
GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Apr 1, 2008 - 08:47pm PT
Well, if they had climbed Sea of Dreams a month earlier I would say keep the route. As of now its just a thousand bolts to horse chute. Gimme some TP i'll deposit my opinions for ya!


oh wait, wrong thread.



Carry on.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2008 - 09:27pm PT
JHedge wrote

"Didn't Dave and Walt aid their way up SB first, thus depriving others from establishing a ground-up free route? Shouldn't they also have stopped when the going got too tough, like Sean should have? And didn't Dave go back and replace the bolts on SB on rappel? Seems to me that aiding up something, then freeing it, then going back and rap bolting it, hardly sets an ethical example that Sean's route should have to live up to. "

Nobody clarified that? Anybody know the history.

Klaus wrote

"and Karl, Jesus Built My Hotrod has suffered More damage from the attempt to free it by bolts added to sections where I ran it out on hooks. I can argue that I climbed it with the least amount of damage by Not drilling as much as a free-climber would consider sufficient. Also if that hook pitch is in fact 5.10 as Jim said, why do they even need bolts if they're such great climbers? to create a "trade route" for the masses? I don't know, but bolting an established route to free it is simply poor style"

Everybody knows Klaus climbs in the finest style that Aid offers. Some here seem to suggest that routes should be left untouched until they can be climbed in the finest style. I'm guessing these same folks would suggest that free is better style than aid, so I'm asking them if potentially free routes shouldn't see FAs on aid, particularly if there's hammering to be done.

Clint wrote: Karl's point here is that if you go ground up, there are probably not enough stances on that upper slab and it will be runout as a result. And runout is bad because the route will not get much traffic (I am somewhat sympathetic to that last part). But the route could be done Urioste style with bolt ladders and then pulling/patching if there are not enough stances. This yields a safe, ground up route. So ground up does not necessarily imply unsafe, and does not imply very low traffic (although unsafe does imply low traffic). Karl may have just overlooked this option, if he was thinking about Southern Belle (vs. say the Harding-Rowell route).

I think it's unimaginable to expect the FA party to hand-drill hundreds of feet of bolt ladders, just to erase them latter. All to lay claim to somebody else's moralistic ideas the adventure of ground up. Seems like you'd get a pretty good preview of the freeclimbing while drilling the ladders and they would provide even greater protection than the eventual few bolts that remained after chopping and patching. Really Clint, that's a stretch.

Now I'll admit that better style would have been to run-out the pitches on lead completely 160 feet on hard 10 to potential 11+, and then, if you believe in public service, rap down what's already ascended and equip the route.

but I'm not ready to tell anyone that that's what I expect from them

Peace

Karl




Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 09:36pm PT
WandaFuca:

Thank you for your call.
Your suggestions for improving YosemiteLand
are important to us.
Please stay on the line.
The next available Matterhorn climber
will take your call.

....
....
....



I'm sorry,
the Matterhorn climbers
are still on their Lettuce break.
(Gotta hire real climbers...
Whadda ya gonna do?)
So Tinkerbell will take your suggestions.
You may not recognize her from your youth,
Cuz now she's a Big Dyke...

Have a Special Day
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Apr 1, 2008 - 09:47pm PT
I love the debate around how the style of an FA effects ethics. It's one of the few really grey areas to me.

1. Should a climb be left alone for those who can do it in a better style? And what level of improvement of style justifies/demands leaving it alone. No fixed ropes? No rap bolting? No bolts? Free vs. aid? By a faster party or one that requires less holes? Shoeless/chalkless/onsight/free solo ;-)

2. If a climb can be done better by rap bolting (better bolt placements, no uneeded holes drilled, better line) does that overway the concerns of doing the FA in a better style?

3. If a climb hits a blank area should it end?

4. How many bolts are justified to connect natural placements in a 'trad' climb?

5. Is sport climbing either?

6. If a block is forced loose by a passing FA climber and it later falls when no one is around a does it make a sound?
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:02pm PT
Doug, when you start your first reply with "I am not ashamed" it really does get one thinking.....?
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 1, 2008 - 10:48pm PT
Someone upthread had suggested I should hang my head in shame, so it seemed like a direct line to start out on.

Is that what you referred to?

I'm still proud of the route. If it could have happened ground-up all the way of course that would be cleaner and I would be more proud. But that's not what the stone was saying to us as we pulled out from under the arch. We were pretty sure that something would be climbable up there because routes like Southern Belle and Autobahn and Cataclysmic Megasheer had all gone free on the upper wall.

We were also pretty sure that we didn't want to leave behind another death route. Enough of those on the wall already, and only getting worse. So it felt like an act of humility to go around and come in from above. Like we were sacrificing something of our personal FA experience for the sake of leaving behind the kind of route we wanted it to be. Something more accessible than everything on the wall so far had been.

I think that's part of this equation that some of you aren't quite seeing yet: That we gave up our personal FA experience, traded it away -- especially Sean, who wanted his first steps ever onto the summit of the Dome to be the culmination of this route -- to create this as a different experience for the future than anything yet done on the South Face.

A little pride, a little humility, trying for balance.
couchmaster

climber
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:17pm PT
hard to say........

It seems like the Valley always had a real strong sense of what correct style was. The changes that are coming form the gyms has pretty much put style, ethics and the enviroment back behind performance and safety.

It seem like it will be a short step to wankers like moi rap bolting a new 5.6 next to arches, and then seeing others add bolts to existing routes to increase the safety of them....you know, they will do it for the others.

Kind of sad to see this change, guess I'm agreeing with Werner, Cos and JB.

Where is the end if that is the overriding concern...ie, to make a route safe for others? That is, to make "Something more accessible" Was that ever a concern on earlier great routes like NA Wall, Salethe etc, ever ?

Based on that ideology, it will not end until the outdoors is as safe as a gymnasium. The change is coming one chink in the armor at a time. This is but one more chink. Different areas have different ethics and styles based on history, the valley has always has this strong sense of value on limiting ourselves to maintain a high standard of adventure....

I can understand rap bolting a little shithole 70' high local cliff, I mean, you have to rap down and roll 2 2,000 lb loose blocks off or die trying it ground up. So you've previewed it at that point ....but this is the valley.

Or it was anyway.

".... the end result will be routes many people can enjoy in a safe....."[i/] Like the red route in the gym, we told them that they needed to add another bolt to it, and another hold cause it was pretty sketch trying to send it being 5.10+ and most of us 5.10- climbers trying it, once that did that we got the send...

Like that.
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Apr 1, 2008 - 11:40pm PT
couchmaster,

I agree with you holeheartedly (pun intended) but it seems you may be missing an angle. Not only did they rap bolt it to make it safe (by DR's own admission above) but they couldn't "Figure it out" from below where the route should go. So they rap down from the top searching the wall scrutinizing the best possible way it should come up from the bottom.

As I said earlier, I'm sure it's a good route, I just cringe upon this tactic to create it. They set a NEW standard for Big Wall Freeclimbing IN YOSEMITE that in my opinion is a step backward. Yet as others have said "it is now done, deal with it". I feel this precedent encourages the acceleration of "progress" to "develope" the potential of this wall by a simple means. It's sad.

edit: you added to your post while I wrote this and we're both thinking the same thing.
note: bold edit
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:02am PT
Klaus wrote: As I said earlier, I'm sure it's a good route, I just cringe upon this tactic to create it. They set a NEW standard for Big Wall Freeclimbing that in my opinion is a step backward. Yet as others have said "it is now done, deal with it". I feel this precedent encourages the acceleration of "progress" to "develope" the potential of this wall by a simple means. It's sad.


Sorry...I said I was done...I'm not.

Big walls in the Black Canyon and Diamond (some as early as the late 70's) had top down inspection and pre-placed gear so your wrong on that point.
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:05am PT
NW face of Devil's Thumb
Wings of Steel
South Face of Half Dome--Growing Up


What a tick list--man, I've got some fun to be had.
Wish I were capable of the lofty ambitions of others.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:17am PT
"It seems like the Valley always had a real strong sense of what correct style was."

Have to disagree there. In the 28 years I've been around, ethical debates have constantly raged and the idea of correct style has shifted.

Clean climbing, fixed ropes, cam, sticky rubber, hand-dogging, previewing, rap-bolting, every other kinda bolting, copperheads, hole counts, retrobolting, constructive pin-scaring, tape, topos versus descriptions, competition, route-stealing, you name it.

Name almost any climber and there's usually something controversial they did.

Name almost any standard setting route and it could often be construed by go against one of the ethical principles somebody or another on this thread has suggested.

as for "top down" big wall freeclimbing. There's been loads and loads of it on the Captain as hardmen rap in to work the moves. It's just been for first free ascents rather than first ascents.

Peace

Karl
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:20am PT
This is where the notion of 'community service' - even well-intended - starts to become both a minefield and a slippery slope. Such 'service' unavoidably entails subjective judgments. And those judgments of 'death routes', bolt spacing, and 'quality' of the bolted legacy left behind are just that - unavoidably and problematically subjective.

Growing Up is a reasonable endeavor to you guys, and maybe even to the majority of us irrespective of the ethos involved, but what about younger, gym-raised, 'safe' climbers who still considers it a far from safe by their standards? The risk would seem to be one of throwing SFHD open to any and all 'means' so long as the end result or 'legacy' meets their or their constituencies' criteria - which may be very different than your or ours.

And such subjective notions don't necessarily stop just at rock climbing routes either - via ferratas have now breached our shores on private lands and won't need much of momentum or time before some clever concessionaire sees the same financial potential in them and pushes for them on public lands. Commercializing previously free via ferratas is an unpopular yet growing trend in the EU right now. While the ADA was mentioned as a joke up thread - the prospect is actually fairly real - a US-affiliate of viaferrata.org could easily use the precedent of the Cable route and the power of the ADA to make a play for opening up public lands to via ferratas using exactly the same 'community service' rationale as is being presented here.

It's a Valley-sized leap from Growing Up to the Cable route or a via ferrata, but the same arguments and rationale are expressed for each and the ultimate question Couchmaster, Klaus, and others are basically asking is where does it stop? Once that door is open, who's criteria for these subjective notions should rule?

Edit: and these issues aren't constrained to the Valley, we are actively dealing with them up here as do most areas these days.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:20am PT
Father?

Yes son?

I've come to kill you.

DMT
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:20am PT
I'm winding down, but I do wonder if we can now establish routes and claim we are doing it for the future would it be wrong to establish a bottom to top bolt ladder on something significant so future climbers can learn how to use aiders and haul and bivi and poop into a bucket?

Wit that, I think I am now out.

Thanks for the fun!
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:21am PT
"I'm still proud of the route. If it could have happened ground-up all the way of course that would be cleaner and I would be more proud".

I think we all agree with you.

Doug, I have followed your adventures for many years and believe you are one of the good guys. It will be interesting to see how opinions play out over the next few years as your route gets done and reported on.

All the best,

Steve
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:25am PT
Ihate wrote: Wit that, I think I am now out.

Thanks for the fun!


Some people were never in it...just spewing.



Dingus...and Mother...I want to...

"It seems like the Valley always had a real strong sense of what correct style was."

That's funny...

Correct style...now tell me what religion is correct!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:40am PT
Gotta say Bob, I have no problem with people pointing out the lapses, paradoxes, and exceptions that went on in the 70's around the country - I do have a problem when those exceptions are presented as the rule to paint an all-to-common-and-convenient revisionist history of a 70's that wasn't dominated by a clean climbing movement.

That somehow we lept straight from pins to bolts with barely a breath in between and that none of us commonly held to a clean style or ethics in any consistent way. I hear that revisionist spew trotted out again and again - usually just alluded to, or said under one's breath, hoping no one will notice it attempting to parade as 'fact'.

I suspect I'm not alone here in feeling less than unapologetic for bristling a bit at the suggestion which is clearly Rovian in it's scope and intent.
klaus

Big Wall climber
San F*#kincisco
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:41am PT
Karl, so people have been rap-bolting free routes on el cap for years? I had no idea, I guess I live in a cave.

the gold rush is on then.

edit: I just re-read your post and I think you mean they just TR an established freeclimb. The natural progression to this is the bolting of new and old.
billygoat

climber
3hrs to El Cap Meadow, 1.25hrs Pinns, 42min Castle
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:44am PT
Mtnyoung wrote: "And, BTW, what's wrong with a climber's discussion containing lots of bullshtt? Isn't that a hallowed tradition?"

I'll grant that it's tradition, although I'm not sure how hallowed it is or should be. But, where I was coming from was the sense that this discussion is putting more than a few of our opinions on the line. In historical terms, accusations of this kind of magnitude have resulted in the ruin of climber's reputations and (some might argue) careers. When those are the potential stakes, I think it's wise to have a serious discussion driven by personal experience, careful thought, and respectable (even if critical) word choice.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:52am PT
Gee, b'ob, I checked every definition I could find and "spew" does not fit anything that I opined. And I know for a fact that I want to have nothing to do with Elfish Welfare! (But that Hermione is hot!)
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:21am PT
Joe wrote: That somehow we lept straight from pins to bolts with barely a breath in between and that none of us commonly held to a clean style or ethics in any consistent way. I hear that revisionist spew trotted out again and again - usually just alluded to, or said under one's breath, hoping no one will notice it attempting to parade as 'fact'.



Joe...that funny too...you are preaching to the choir. I started climbing in 1971...and led my first 5.12 on gear in 1978. I was there and know what happened.

Doug has done more for the clean climbing movement than you, me and many others on this thread put together. He did nothing wrong on this route. He is a mature climber with over 40 years of climbing under belt and wisdom to go along with it.

Not one person who is against the route has even been on...they are casting stones blindly. F*#king sad when you really think about.

As to you and rest of the crew...climb anyway you want... but if you are going to pass judgement...at least get off your ass, climb the route or do better...there is still a lot of open stone on than face.


As to people in the 70's, 80's and 90's...the ones who got the most sh#t were the ones willing to put themselves out there...to do something different and not worry what other thought or said...it call being different and creative. God f*#king forbid if everyone climb just like you... the sport would have shrivel up and died a long time ago....how boring!

You want to climb just trad-routes and feel good about putting cute little nuts in cute little crack feel free too..just don't expect the rest of the climbing world to follow suit!

bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:36am PT
Doug,

you did the route for me? Thanks, but I didn't want it put up in that style. Since you did the route for me, can you please go and remove the rap-placed bolts since that is what I want?

Bruce
ec

climber
ca
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:43am PT
DMT, your killing me! ROTFLOL...
 ec
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:44am PT
Bob D'

I think you missed Klaus's point totally. Please don't reply to me but to klaus if you do.

Next my blanket question to no one in partcular. Just a devils advocate type question.

What if some guy goes up there and chops the upper bolts and said I did it for you?

:-)
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:47am PT
Bruce,

I didn't say the style was for you,
just the route.
The style is all mine;
I get the karma.


Doug


And Sean: I want to be sure to include him here
but not presume to speak for him.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:48am PT
Similar to the collapse of windsurfing in the early 90's - I'd have no problem whatsoever if the 80-85% of 'climbers' today who are risk-averse and wholly bolt-dependent disappeared from the scene tomorrow. Actually, could we schedule that for around 9:30am tomorrow so I'd have a chance to grab breakfast before heading out?
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:49am PT
Klaus...I don't remember seeing Yosemite in the post and highlighted.

So if something is never been done before and then someone does it....does it make it wrong!!

survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:50am PT
Speaking as an old Smith Rocks guy (mid-70's), once Alan "opened" the door, there was an explosion of rap bolted routes, fixed lines, people dangling for days and weeks on end working out the moves to their latest gymnastic problem, and more giant bolt hangers and pounds of chalk visible than all the pin scars of the previous era. It is not an improvement.

We don't need to wait for anyone to show up and "do better" now on SFHD, all we need to do is sit back and wait a few years for all of the people who can do the same, rap in and build their route. The question isn't even so much, was it ok this once, but is that the future of the SFHD? I wonder what Doug and Sean will think in years to come when they see similar things done up there with their torch that aren't so planned, considered, or established by experienced guys that have "been around".
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:52am PT
Joe...your elitism is almost beyond belief...I imagine you set wind surfing standards too.
James

climber
a porch in Chinese Camp
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:01am PT
Virtual fisticuffs! Awesome!
Loomis

climber
Lat/Lon: 35.64 -117.66
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:09am PT
It's all the same thing, no new tale to tell...
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:14am PT
Thanks, Bob! Nope, didn't set any standards, but the sailing sites in the Gorge on big days are pretty quiet compared to the late 80's boom - and hey, that just plain works for me.

Personally, I think it's a bit of a bummer we won't see a similar collapse in climbing so long as gyms act as commercial engines continuously cranking out a steady product. And 25 years later, the 'inconvenient truth' is the vast majority of those climbers expect, if not demand, [willing and selfless] 'developers' provide them with an relentless stream of novel outdoor emulations of their indoor climbing experience.

These folks now constitute the large majority of climbers, are risk-averse, and it's really not all that outlandish to suggest at the rate drills are going these days that SFHD, the Valley, and many other classic crags might end up under the gun at a much different standard of 'safety' some day sooner than later. As Dingus said, "I'm here to kill you" - pardon me if I don't lay down quietly for the big event.
Jennie

Trad climber
Idaho Falls
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:27am PT
I’m not meaning this as an affront to specific individuals. But isn’t this entire debate motivated more by competitive ethos, submerged rivalry and pride rather than conservation ethics or behavior systems and guiding philosophies of singular moral importance to the climbing community?

Bolts are placed on rappel---do they deface the rock more than bolts placed on lead?

Yes, “ground up” will likely provoke a greater sense of adventure in the first ascent team and demand a more challenging construction of route. But what is that to those who follow? Will second and third ascent parties experience a tangible dearth of adventure or is that just an illusion conceived in prior knowledge? Will those parties strive toward their goal with any less conviction?

If 99% of the climbing community should agree that on any large wall, bolts should not be placed on rappel, what sentiment and culpability will be reserved for “offenders” who feel they must resort to the tactic to finish a big route? Will the issue merely regenerate the predictable, age-old , free will vs. social constraints debate? Or will we sling moral indignity at them, assign them Ahab status; ignoring the Rachel captain’s pleas for help, and sailing on in search of that big, nasty whale.

We who are infected with pride commonly display indifference or contempt toward those who are in pain, confusion or need. That lack of compassion can extend to fellow climbers who feel they must digress from common practice to finish their ascent. (And pride is based in rivalry and competitiveness, not confidence or high minded moral principles.)

I’d suggest that rivalry, unfriendliness and ill will “pollute” the climbing environment more than bolts, litter or blaring music.
Peter

climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:43am PT
When I repeat someone else's climb I don't give a hoot how the bolts got on there, as long as there are enough of them to protect my neck. Guess I'll never be a hero - like I care. If Doug and Sean claimed to have done the route ground-up they'd be liars - but they're not. If they had done the route ground-up and placed no pro then I'd shrug and figure another couple of elitist heroes, creating a route they claim to own on rock that doesn't belong to them, that no one else will ever get to climb.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:50am PT
"When I repeat someone else's climb I don't give a hoot how the bolts got on there, as long as there are enough of them to protect my neck."

Yeah, pretty much exactly my point...

Done here I think, night all - it's been one of the more interesting threads in awhile...
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:54am PT
Joe...I ain't buying your grim reaper tales and predictions. The new breed is doing pretty good, Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, Chris Sharma, the Hubers Brothers and host of others who have been seen in the gym and clipping bolts on occasion can and are finding their way.

In fact they are seriously kicking some ass.

Hats off to new breed...they are keeping the dream alive. You saw the future a long time ago and it just scare you.

BLD

Social climber
CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:02am PT
Hello super thread topo people or whatever. I just wanted to toss in a little support for Sean. I am Sean's step brother and have climbed with him since 1987. Sean is someone who puts allot of thought into everything he dose. I think that if rap bolting the top of GROWING UP was the decision Sean made it was a good one. I'm glad that a super proud 1000' bolt ladder is not in place above that great arch. What was done up there just has to be better than pecking around with rivets or something and trying to find the way up. I think that if just a few of you climb the route you will see.


B
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:06am PT
i've gone around on this a couple of times-
here's where i'm at today (not that it matters to anyone but me)
not really sure i will end up with these exact feelings, FWIW.


if they'd climbed those arches banging in pins the whole way, that'd be ok, the FA's perogative, right? (but of course they didn't). still, they could have done, on aid, whatever the hell they wanted, because their are no limits to what aid guys can do to get where they are going, they just get to do whatever they want, whether or not the terrain they are on can be climbed w/out aid tactics. but to put up a free route, they were bound to an aid climber's ethic, even though that aid climber's ethic would have allowed them to hammer and scar where they didn't (need to) do so.

then, if they'd drilled endless holes on lead to aid up the slab, that'd be ok?
clint suggested that they could have drilled just to patch?
seriously? that's ridiculous.

i would have picked rapping in over drilling up.
which way would the stone have voted?
would we sacrafice the stone for our sense of adventure?
to drill scores of holes for a single passage?
WTF, why?


maybe if they were out to put up an aid route, but who would ever go aid it?
(WoS PoS Jr., just 5 miles uphill of an aproach, and probably the 8th or 9th coolest aid route on the formation at best, so have at it kids!)

what's more, if they'd dirlled up and aided it, everyone would freak out if it were subsequently set up as a free climb (aka retro-bolted).

so instead of establishing an aid climb, they established a free climb.
now i'm not the expert some of the ST crowd seems to be on the history in these parts, can someone give an example of a long, steep, somewhat featureless slab that was drilled all the way up and aided on FA so it could be immediately set up as a bolted free cllimb?



i do find the ethics of the old dads inspiring, but i don't see a huge distinction between drilling on rappel and drilling on hooks. what the heck is so proud about aiding a slab w/ a drill? seriously. BFD. as i read it, shitty pro is often used in such circumstances to manufacture some spiciness, but that is just boldness for its own sake, not because the stone requires the FA to be bold, so in my mind it's purely ego, "check me out, i'm bold, my pro sucks, i made sure of it!".

considering some examples made in this thread:
BY:
could the BY have been left for a climber who didn't need the pro placed from hooks?
did JB even need them? or was that compromise also made so that others would have access to the route?

WoS:
would those guys have possibly taken more grief if they'd rapped in a set up a free route? wha if DR and SJ aided up WoS and set it up as a free climb? f*#king thing hasn't seen sh#t for traffic in 20+ what years? i'd say let's find a way to get some use out of the fact that all those holes were drilled there.
the aid climbers have voted w/ their feet on that one.
BLD

Social climber
CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:12am PT
Matt is speaking my language.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:20am PT
Ok, one last go for the evening. The difference is, Bob, that instead of those folks representing a ratio of something like 1:5,000 or 1:10,000 in the mid-70's they now represent a ratio of something more like 1:500,000 (wild ass guessing here, but you get the idea) - they are the peak of a far broader-based pyramid. The 'traffic' and impact each one of them represents is fairly enormous given 80-85% of the base is wholly bolt-dependent now versus barely any in the mid-70s.

And while they perform and accomplish great feats - the raising grades (pure physical difficulty vs. endurance) are fast approaching the same sort of curve experienced on the times for running a mile or doing a 100 meter freestyle - increasingly smaller incremental gains. Having seen that end game played out between computers and humans in chess it simply holds little fascination for me.

And while I'm all for folks pursuing those limits, I'm at least willing to acknowledge the price paid to support today's base population of climbers whose midst such 'stars' emerge from. It is not without a cost. I don't consider it all 'progress'. I find nothing inherently interesting about a grade - any grade - only lines are interesting. And scared? Surely, that must be it...
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:23am PT
healyje,

well said! There seems to be a huge divide who don't seem to care how a route was put up as long as they have routes to climb. On the other side is a group who cares about the style and ethics. It is sad to me that some people don't seem to care about style and ethics and only care about the result.

Not to make this a political thread, but I think a whole lot of problems we are facing in this country are because of the same "the end justifies the means" attitude we see being expressed here. Just look at how the pro-Iraq war crowd are now justifying their invasion of Iraq. Where I am standing it is exactly the same thing.

Bruce
Matt

Trad climber
primordial soup
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:26am PT
but what would you say if they'd straight aided and drilled their way up the slab?
or should they have just left it alone?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 03:52am PT
Karl, Blair, and Matt,

If you want some examples of somebody aiding a steep slab/face with lots of drilling:

 Harding and Rowell, on the original Half Dome South Face route. Harding's approach for minimal impact slab aiding was to use 1/4" batholes, with occasional bolts. I don't think anyone has been back to try to create a free route out of the slab part of their route, probably because the lower part looks too hard to free.

 the Uriostes, Prince of Darkness, in Black Velvet Canyon at Red Rocks. They made a bolt ladder and then pulled some of the bolts because not all were needed for free climbing. They used the same methods on other routes at Red Rocks.
[4/3/08 Edit: I'm informed by Greg Barnes, who has done a lot of ASCA bolt replacement at Red Rocks, that Jorge Urioste more often used batholes between bolts, rather than placing and pulling; also a few belays were moved and a few of the 1/4" bolts broke off due to leader falls after the FAs. So that is a more accurate description of his technique on those routes.]

I haven't seen the rock on the upper 1000' of Growing Up, so I don't know if it has fewer stances than Southern Belle or Cataclysmic Megasheer. Probably Sean estimated that it would be about the same as Southern Belle. If he was correct, it would be sketchy to get it done on lead by free climbing between stances, and maybe he didn't have those skills or didn't want to take those risks. I'm sure the idea of drilling bathook ladders was not very appealling to him. That is more of an option for somebody like Harding who couldn't free 5.11 between stances and did not mind drilling.

Doing the upper slab on rappel allowed Sean to use his rapbolting skills to make a route with lots of bolts that might be popular if it was a little more accessible (it requires a lot of effort due to the approach, short seasons, hard free climbing in the arch, the bolt ladder which some free climbing purists might not want to do, and the fact that the upper part is slab climbing which does not seem to be popular). I hope I am wrong and it does get some ascents.

I suppose the adventure of doing a ground up version of the FA of the upper slab is not really blocked, since Doug described a version to the left which blanks out after 300'. Maybe someone will go up there and have that adventure. It wouldn't be a 1000' bolt ladder. If the upper 1000' had not been rap bolted, and somebody had done it ground up and managed to find the same line of climbing that Sean found on rappel, if they were capable of drilling the 5.10 pitches on lead from stance, then there might have been some bathook ladders on the few 5.11 pitches. Or if someone does the left version, there might be a bolt ladder through the blank section (I don't think it was mentioned how long that was), or they could presumably pendulum left or right to find freeclimbable rock.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 04:16am PT
Matt,

> if they'd climbed those arches banging in pins the whole way, that'd be ok, the FA's perogative, right? (but of course they didn't). still, they could have done, on aid, whatever the hell they wanted, because their are no limits to what aid guys can do to get where they are going, they just get to do whatever they want, whether or not the terrain they are on can be climbed w/out aid tactics. but to put up a free route, they were bound to an aid climber's ethic, even though that aid climber's ethic would have allowed them to hammer and scar where they didn't (need to) do so.

Uh, since when is an aid climber's ethic "no limits", "hammer and scar", etc.? That sounds like a non-ethic. The ethic that I know about is called "minimal impact", using clean aid whenever you can. I don't think you see many people banging in pins on the Nose or Salathe' these days, so this ethic seems to be popular.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 05:21am PT
chill out dude, with dialogue like that you must be a POME, just think what Sir Douglas Scott would think of your rambling on..........................Hey, this is Yosemite, the rule is no rules apply!
raymond phule

climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 06:03am PT
"The 'traffic' and impact each one of them represents is fairly enormous given 80-85% of the base is wholly bolt-dependent now versus barely any in the mid-70s."

and other comments about gym climbers.

I dont believe this discussion is about bolt dependent gym climbers vs trad climbers.

It is possibly to be a trad climber with pretty sound climbing etics and still believe that a rap bolted route could be a better choice than a death route in some cases.

Bold routes have their place and BY is a prime example of a good bold route because it is actually repeated.

The possibilities on the south face of half dome seems to be:

aided bolt/rivet/bathooks ladders.

ground up death routes with very very few repeats.

rap bolted routes that actually might get repeated once in a while.

no route at all.

This is my view and I believe I am a pretty standard trad climber that dont like huge runouts but like to climb climbs like central pillar of frenzy, nut cracker, east buttress of middle and walls. I am atleast not feeling I am a gym climber...

I am also pretty glad that the FA on east buttres on middle didn't try to be bold and free climb the 10.c ground up that probably would have resulted in no bolts and very few later ascents.

I almost believe that it was more people on the east buttress when I climbed it than have been on the south face of half dome in the last 40 years...
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2008 - 10:41am PT
My Facelift project.



Jody's evil twin.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Apr 2, 2008 - 10:44am PT
What's worse, a thread 389 posts long about bolting ethics, or a political thread?

Don't make me start a political thread.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 10:58am PT
Joe wrote: Ok, one last go for the evening. The difference is, Bob, that instead of those folks representing a ratio of something like 1:5,000 or 1:10,000 in the mid-70's they now represent a ratio of something more like 1:500,000 (wild ass guessing here, but you get the idea) - they are the peak of a far broader-based pyramid. The 'traffic' and impact each one of them represents is fairly enormous given 80-85% of the base is wholly bolt-dependent now versus barely any in the mid-70s.


Joe....you might have a point if the climbers who did this route would fall into your profile....they don't and again thanks for gloom and doom to scare us into thinking that climbing is heading into a big-black-hole.

I ain't buying it just like I didn't buy the fear induced reasons for the Iraq invasion. Your wild ass quessing is just that and the same tactics used by Bush & Co to get this country into a non-declared war.

Your disdain for gym climbers, bolts and sport-climbers is apparent and that is a fact and that's ok...but your reasons for not liking this route and others like it are based on emotions and nothing more. You haven't climb the route, seen the route or talked to someone who has.

Your statements are based on emotions and nothing more!!!!


The only person presenting facts on this thread so far has been Doug...he has been honest, straightforward and under the circumstances...a gentleman.
Haggis

Trad climber
Scotland
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:11am PT
this thread is great!!!

one final point from me (the popcorn is almost done)

There seems to be a misunderstanding of ethics.

climbing ethics are set by the community to protect the community and its resources. so far the community (in this case supertopo, maybe a bad test subject) thinks that it was the wrong style to rap bolt the route.

nothing more needs said.

ill say it again, do not lower the bar so that you can climb the route. leave it alone or get stronger. if its a death route its a death route. it may not see much traffic, but you care about your experience, DR, on the route then this fact is relevant and whom ever sends the route after you will also have to deal with the challenges that you had. if you wanted to set up a line that could be followed and benefit the community then i hope you placed enough bolts for me to think its safe!
(i like run outs but i get scared at the 20 m mark....thanks)

the route was simply to difficult for you to send it in good style so it was beaten into submission by people who should know better, driven by what.......... or to what aim..........? it hasn't impressed me. why did you climb it?

good luck guys.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:27am PT
When does the rap bolted project on El Cap go up?


Jody's evil twin.
Darren D.

Social climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:30am PT
Let he who is without sin chop the first bolt...
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:30am PT
There seems to be a misunderstanding of ethics.

You hit that nail square on the head. Unfortunately, the misunderstanding is yours. There really is no ethical issue here at all. The only issue is that of style. You seem also to have missed the point that there are any number of people that are quite accepting of the style (in your "ethical" argument).

If there were an ethical issue, it might be about whether bolts were used, not how they were placed, which is the basis of your objection.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:33am PT
Good post Trad....you beat me to it.
Haggis

Trad climber
Scotland
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:37am PT
Ethics denotes the theory of right action

this was an unfortunate side track in my degree because it made me "more balanced"
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:40am PT
Yes, ethics is the basic principle of purification.

Of course, in this material world everything is immoral, but still we have to distinguish good and bad.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:43am PT
Boy, next thing you know rap bolting is going to spread to Tuolumne,
the bastion of ground-up ethics. Oh wait, stop the press... No luck, that
one has already been printed in the new guide. Look for it right next to Piece.

So what is the next step here. Almost 400 posts in a couple of days, and
we have a stalemate. I see some people view this route as the beginning
of the end. Or maybe even the end itself.

The fact is, we're not talking about gym climbers going out and grid-bolting
faces. We have SAR guys rap bolting, and old-school heros rap bolting, and
born-and-bred Yosemite locals rap bolting. [Ed: thanks ec]

Some folks put up routes for themselves--the famous quote goes "I'm not about
putting up public-service routes." Others put up routes to be climbed and
enjoyed by anybody with the skills for that grade.

"Death" routes have their place (although few have died on them). But even though
the Arches Terrace routes have been completely retrofitted, those routes, for the
most part, remain untouched. Indeed, there was a long thread about this very
subject, started by Werner, not long ago: Museum Climbs?
(http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=447487);.

I am not arguing that rap bolting is good, or desirable. In fact, I spent a
lot time writing an article and arguing till blue in the face that "rap
bolting steals the best that a route has to give, that of the first ascent."

So where are we. Do we call Ken Nichols? Do we live with some amount of
rap bolting? Should we publish rap-bolted routes in guides, or smash
rap-bolter's cars.

Is there a point where the quality of a route trumps the style in which was put up?
Do we give a pass to some top-downers because of their status in the climbing world,
or because the route they "opened" is high-quality, or do we put a blanket
statement out saying "NO RAP BOLTING" and chop all rap routes. Because if
you chop this route, there's a few more to go before you rid the planet of the disease.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:44am PT
400...and still going strong.
philo

Trad climber
boulder, co.
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:49am PT
Really a great thread. And an important disscussion.

I bet 5 post cards this thread tops 500.
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:50am PT
It's a cool route done in good style. In this case the style serves climbers rather than egos.





There was a famous doctor named Spock who said the the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. This was after they toasted Khan.

DR must be the new Spock. Feckin cool.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:50am PT
The nice thing about 400+ ...

We should be able to build a list of the ST control freaks.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:50am PT
The problem is the "I've got to get an FA and my name in a guide". Just the thought process of a photog staff and film crew puts this project into an "ego route" status.


Jody's evil twin.
My few FA's unreported.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:57am PT
fattrad, you have no idea how the film crew got involved and what the motivation was for the movie. This route did not start out as a publicity stunt, and it did not end as one.

Bubba Ho-Tep

climber
Evergreen, CO
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Count your blessings, boys. If the SF of HD was as accessible as El Cap, you would easily have 50 of these contrivances on it. As it is, it is a stylistically unremarkable climb on an otherwise remarkable face.

It seems, by consensus (except for a couple of bolt the planet types), that we now have:

Southern Belle - A Bad Idea
Growing Up - A Bad Decision
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Apr 2, 2008 - 11:59am PT
It's funny that if the route went in and the only info about the FA was a topo nary a word would be said about it. But since it was reported that it was rap bolted it became much more controversial and interesting. The means are more interesting to discuss than the end.

I think I agree with Karl, the quality of the route is more important than the style of the FA (edit: within reason of course, or at least the quality of the resulting route needs to be addressed when deciding on the style of the FA). Like I said if they didn't report on the style of the FA we wouldn't know any difference. But if there were an extra 100 holes needed for a ground up FA that to me is a more tangible negative consequence.

And for this establishing a precedent leading to a slippery slope of sport climb big walls with bolts every 5 feet, come on that's like saying pot leads to meth. Sure the climb possibly opened some eyes that rap bolting big walls is possible, but everyone is going to make their own decisions, and hopefully climb in the best style they feel is appropriate for their FA. It is good we are taking a hard look at what happened (and the thoughts behind the route were discussed in the article) because hopefully that will influence future climbers to look hard when putting up FAs too.

People forget that style is a spectrum. At one end is the best style: no bolts, ground up, no shoes, no chalk, free solo. At the other end is: bolt ladder, rap bolt, hand dogging. Depending on the difficulty hopefully the FA decides how far to deviate from the best style to put up the climb, often with an eye on the final product that will probably be there for hundreds or more years vs. that one time experience of the FA. Probably everyone here who has done an FA has deviated from the best possible style in the manner they feel is approriate, but some think that the level they are willing to compromise to should be the same for everyone. Basically people living in glass houses need to be careful when they throw stones.
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:08pm PT
"At one end is the best style: no bolts, ground up, no shoes, no chalk, free solo."

Uh, I just want to interrupt for a minute to suggest changing that to 'purist' style rather than best.
Not semantics either IMHO. 'Best' could be argumentative.

"Purist" I think isn't...

carry on...

DD
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:11pm PT
The film crew never filmed them setting the route, as Doug said.
couchmaster

climber
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:13pm PT
Look, this isn't about rap bolting as much as it is about the acceptable styles and traditions in Yosemite. Many of us have no problem with rap bolted routes at Smith or other places at all, if that is the prevailing ethic. (Some if us do have issues, but thats not what is being discussed here.)

When Alan Watts freed the Stigma after Skinner had all but got his ropes sh#t on for hangdogging it into submission and placing pro on rappel, Watts, despite being a proponent of rap bolting in his little corner of the world at Smith Rocks, did it ground up and even placed a piton on lead. He kept the style of the ditch and it still went at 5.13 something. He rose to the occasion and the challenge, and it was an amazing lead and standard setting route.

It's about being Yosemite and keeping the standards and historical ethics of this place, which are different than Smith, say. Each area has accepted styles and ethics and history.

This is Yosemite....or it was.....

Where is the logical place this change in acceptable style heading too? Maybe I'll go rap bolt the route next to Snake Dike now, since it's all OK now and everything. I can put a bolt every 6 feet, for those who are going to follow, and those not strong enough to free it (mostly likely myself) can then use a stick clip to aid it. Or we can bolt on a few holds for those who need them, nothing wrong with that is there? Is that the direction this is going? To make climbing safe and inclusive for all? Like John Long said: this route is probably a good route, that is not the issue: does it not now open the door to my rap bolted gymfest next to Snake Dike described above? The style is very similar, and a logical outgrowth of this very route. .....I mean, I want to make the cover of climbing magazine too, and that would do it, since it's OK to do it this way via rappel and all now, bringing the rock down to my level, instead of rising to the challenge. I've rap bolted too, and have some plans for more, almost on a Bob D'Antonio level - so don't mean to sound all preachy and holier than thou - but never rap bolted in the valley. Would never consider it. Till now anyway, but now that it's OK and all......maybe a new rap bolted route on El Cap is the ticket?

Since theres no issue with it, you're fine with it, right Doug? I have heard from some folks that if someone thinks it's OK to just put bolts in where they want (other places, not about this route), by that ethic, it's OK for anyone else who disagrees to just pull them out. I haven't been able to out logic that argument yet, and find that although I generally agree with it, in practice I find it quite sad and unproductive as well. I'm not saying this in a mean way, but really do wonder where the logical conclusion of this major shift in attitude can (and invariably will) lead.

This is my last post on this subject, and I really have a fair bit of ambivalence still. Although I like cracks above all, I do clip bolts. I place bolts. I will be rap bolting later this summer. I understand the argument that if you're going to put in a route (which is a new concept in itself "putting in a route", I don't think NA Wall was "Put in" or "Developed" by "Route Developers"), then you have an obligation to those that follow (another new idea). Yet in Yosemite, that wasn't on the agenda or thought list anywhere, it was about rising to the challenge and restricting ourselves so as to maintain the challenge, which is why we (many of us older folks anyway) climb anyway.

Some things to muse over:

Take care all

Bill
GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:15pm PT
If this wall was as accessable as el cap, I couldn't imagine what the '80s would have done with it. Given some of the ideologies of San Diego Sport climbers.... 70' pitches of 11b with 15 holes per, weaving in and out of ever concievable inch. Hehe.

Honestly though, the hike isn't that bad. Actually pretty fun, you get a good warmup, kill some beer calories, and you have a fantastic view the whole way up. Not to mention, no sound of traffic, cars, and spectacular view of little yos valley (which is somewhere i've wanted to climb for some time now... now THAT would be a hike!)
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:20pm PT
Domingo,

Only because the deal couldn't get done, otherwise it would be on IMAX.


Jody's evil twin.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:21pm PT
It might be worth noting that Growing Up was not the central focus of Doug's film. Doug's project merged with Sean's idea of putting up a climbable route on SFoHD long after Doug's project was underway.

I add this to clarify the fact that Growing Up was not bred to be a publicity stunt, there was an opportunity there to show an FA, and Doug took it.

[Doug, hope I'm not stepping on your toes here...]
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:26pm PT
Maybe I'll go rap bolt the route next to Snake Dike now, since it's all OK and everything. I can put a bolt every 6 feet, and those not strong enough to free it (mostly likely myself) can then use a stick clip to aid it. Or we can bolt on a few holds for those who need them, nothing wrong with that is there?

wow, I guess there really is no bottom to the level of human stupidity.
ec

climber
ca
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:28pm PT
bred not bread...
Domingo

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
"wow, I guess there really is no bottom to the level of human stupidity"

says the self-identified gym climber. As long as he's bolting every six feet for the good of climbers everywhere...
moss hog

Trad climber
El Portal, CA
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
The rats are completing the maze much faster now. The humans are getting better and greener at a few things too. When will the climbers catch up or will they?
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:38pm PT
Nice to know, Domingo, that you've never climbed in a gym (or are you just too proud to admit it?). lol...

"As long as he's bolting every six feet for the good of climbers everywhere..."

Did somebody really endorse this, I missed it.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:43pm PT
Couchmaster,
Yes, some of us do have a problem with all the rap bolting at Smith. Once upon a time there was a ground up ethic there too. Rap bolting didn't become the accepted style until Alan rammed it down our throats for a few years. That was kind of the whole point of my earlier post.

I really do wonder if Sean and Doug will now welcome ALL rap bolting on SFHD or will they draw their own lines, based on experience etc. I'm sure they have their own thoughts about what's acceptable.
Fill me in guys, exactly what's "unacceptable"?
Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:54pm PT
Reasonable question there of Survival's.

I have postcards too, so 5 to whomever bumps this before it hits 500.

"legitimate" bump only... (I know that word's argumentative as well but you get my meaning I think/hope).

Cheers,

DD
adventurewagen

Trad climber
Seattle
Apr 2, 2008 - 12:54pm PT
My initial comments took a look at the absolutes. Apparently people couldn't handle that so let me present something a bit more gray.

I still don't much like the idea of rap bolting but I'm not sure this route is the beginning of the end. For example read the article in the same issue of R&I on the Robbins route redone (Arcturex I believe its called). It was also rappelled for cleaning and placing a few key bolts with permission from the FA party. It sounds like they only bolted in places where pins would have needed to be fixed.

Again doing it ground up and just getting the FFA to me seems like the best style, but I'm starting to cave. Maybe cleaning the route is an ok thing to rappel in for. Maybe adding a bolt on rappel is better than hammering a pin on lead and destroying the usable climbing feature? Then thinking about it, while you are there cleaning and rappeling why not preview and TR some of the crux pitches? It's slippery slope, I'm just not sure there is a big cliff at the bottom waiting to fall off.

Realistically the route those guys cleaned and retro bolted sounds awesome. It would have been sweet if they could have just climbed the route ground up free but maybe it's just not something we should be asking or pushing people to do. Maybe what they did was just put up the first clean ascent on an old climb in a style that we need to see more of?

I mean before they cleaned up Arcturex (correct me on the name pleas) it is a route I could only dream of climbing. I'd probably just have aided the route, but know that it's been cleaned and bolts added to free climable pitches that otherwise needed aid I can actually add it to my list of routes to live up to.

So with that, maybe this whole rap bolting of "Growing Up" isn't so bad and that maybe there isn't any big slope to slide from? DR mentions that had it been more feasible ground up wouled have been preferred. I'm starting to think that maybe this route isn't going to push us in the wrong direction, maybe future FA parties will look at it and push themselves harder to put something up in a cleaner style.

As people have stated, maybe half dome is the next big play ground for hard FA's and because these guys have so much experience in the valley and understanding of the ethics other teams will take that knowledge and use it to better their climbs. I'm starting to think I'd like to go get on this climb. Maybe those top pitches are beautiful and maybe it will give others inspiration in knowing there are climbs left and that they'll want to up the anty yet again by going ground up and free.

Whose to say this isn't going to usher in the next generation of climbers with a mentality and goal to put in ground up protectable routes such as this? Maybe it's not that we need more death routes maybe we need those guys to truly step up and figure out how to put up ground up routes others can repeat.

Ok, now I'm just getting off topic myself. Seriously though. Take a step back and question whether this may not help push the balance and ethics back the other way? I sure as hell would never rap bolt anything on HD after reading this thread and everyones views. Even the people that agree with it.
Off-Width Loving Crack Whore

Trad climber
SLO
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:39pm PT
Arcturus

Just doing my part to reach 500.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 2, 2008 - 01:53pm PT
Acturus might get us to 600!

Half Dome, it's sin city!

Snake Dike retro-bolted.

Robbins drilled unnecessary bolt ladders on a route that would go free at only 12a

Teams competed to snag the FA on the Direct and decades later Skinner fixed lines up the thing and camped there for weeks working it (and still got accused of not really freeing it) Caldwell just did the second Free ascent 14a.

Harding got grief for the bathook ladders on the South Face

Hedge mentioned some stuff about Southern Belle

and now "Growing up" and "Acturus"

That first ascensionist set the stage in the late 1800s with his heavy handed drilling.

;-)

Karl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:03pm PT
"Like John Long said: this route is probably a good route, that is not the issue: does it not now open the door to my rap bolted gymfest next to Snake Dike described above? "

Here's where I really blaspheme and speak only for myself.

I wouldn't give a crap if there were some long, well bolted routes on Half Dome. 10 and easy 11 slab climbs up Half Dome? Bring em on!

Would it be so much worse than EL Cap where there are about 50 routes, beaten into submission ground up but with fixed lines, telescoped scouting, trenched heads and bolt and rivet ladders?

Or the Glacier Point Apron, with it's rusty 1/4 inchers, where I go on Labor Day weekend to have a wall to myself?

That's just speaking for me. I'm all for finding some concensus where possible and then considering these kind of developments on a case by case basis when they come up.

Peace

Karl
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:06pm PT
Karl,

I attribute your comments to your live and let live nature, why I and I expect everyone likes you, but some level of norms should exist in any society or community. I believe that rap bolting in the ditch violates that norm. Maybe a Facelift project?


Jody's evil twin.
TradIsGood

Chalkless climber
the Gunks end of the country
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:14pm PT
Karl, do you think they need to put up a little ladder aid-fest (from the ground of course) for the COOFC (Confederation of old fart climbers) to talk about doing over beers - endlessly talking about it, of course?

Seems like "Kangaroo Court" would be a nice route name. After all, these guys broke the unpublished rules of the unchartered, unorganized confederation.

Do some of them sound a little shrubbian trying and convicting without evidence of a violation of an unwritten rule. I tell ya, this is a political thread. It is over 400 posts! What more evidence do we need?

Guilty - sentence them to an aid ladder. :-)
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Apr 2, 2008 - 02:15pm PT
This is a good thread. I'm impressed overall by keeping the discourse civil. And I'm often impressed by the quality of thought; next to climbing itself, it's the many brilliant people who've also chosen climbing as a way of life -- you drawn me to this community.

We never considered aiding all the way up that wall. Our aim was to create a free climb. I started to say "put up," but one result of our stylistic decision is that I don't get to use that language here. For the first time in my life. I'm a trad guy, not much of a bolter, and this was the first time I've ever rap bolted.

So the goal was a free climb. But just as we rejected aid (irrelevant) we also rejected the total monopoly -- I could say stranglehold -- of death routes on the central South Face. I'll leave off the R-rated stuff marching in from the left, beginning way back with Snake Dike and including Autobahn and Cataclysmic Megasheer -- good routes I aspire to. And yeah, I'll be happy on them that someone else put the bolts in and I can focus instead on the quality of the climbing.

But rejecting the monopoly the X-men had on this wall meant going beyond our cherished ground-up ideals. For me, it was the first time. It is a compromise. Remember, it took us a lot of thought over a long time to go there. So we must have had good reasons, for us, to do it. We wanted us, and you, to be able to climb on this stellar rock without putting our lives on the line. For us the climbing up there was worth it. We wish you the same. If our compromise is distateful to you, go climb Southern Belle. Probably much similar rock. Your choice, and now there is a choice.

That rock is unique. Nothing like it in the Valley. Nothing like it in Tuolumne that I've seen, which is a lot more surprising. It's exciting! Go check it out.

I still feel divided within myself for coming in from above. When Werner says "just walk on by," a part of me goes "right on!" Absolutiststs and the more judgmental among us may struggle with this, but it's my honest feeling. In the end, I too voted with my feet. And I still believe in what I did. What we did.

One thing that really surprises me as I "grow up" -- a process fo' sho', that one -- is realizing how much the tendency to cling to absolutes and to be judgmental varies among us all. They're not givens, but rather personality traits. (see the Meyers-Briggs Personality Types, a series of sliding scales begun by C.G. Jung. The first of four is the well known scale going from introvert to extrovert. The fourth and final scale is anchored at one end by the trait of judging and runs the other way to "perceiving." That scale has been very illuminating to me as I scan us climbers who are, yes, a lot like humans.) So clinging to absolutes and being judgmental is, while not exactly a person's choice, at least a variable among us. But if you live in that realm, your tendency is to feel righteously that we all should be like you. But -- surprise -- we're not. Catch-22 anyone? Check it out...

So when I say I feel torn within myself about this decision to rap bolt, I'm not going wishy-washy on you but telling my truth. Doesn't make this discussion any easier, just more real. And it's a heads-up from my world to the loudly judgmental fringe of this discussion. Think about it. May be too real for some, too (ahem) runout... So if this still makes you squirm inside then you can retreat, gravitate instead to what we actually did, how in the end we voted with our feet. And we can carry on from that level. But the rabbit hole goes deeper than that...