Topic Author's Original Post - May 4, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
The schism has become so pronounced that in addition to the tacos longest thread it has spawned spinoff arguments.
My feeling is that the trads undermine their own high point by so demonizing those who have a different view.
It could very well be that they create an incentive to lie about how routes are established as well.
I can think of numerous areas where routes of entirely different natures exist side by side. People recognize how they were established and credit is doled out on that basis.
Let us not dismiss the value of the candor in this arrangement.
It is becoming a more crowded world. We are going to have to reach an accommodation or see it all lost.
So my question is this;
is the "trad only" school of thought noble or merely selfish?
I guess it can depend on the motives for climbing.
Some of us climb for fun, and some are climbing for
"existential" reasons too; or that they are doing something
that will give fame and glory and live beyond themselves.
I can't complain too much about the later because it gives
climbers like me (rec) an almost infinite lifetime supply of
readily pre-placed routes to follow up, and I appretiate
As established areas require some regulation to keep things
in check, some will find this oppressive and has given birth
to what some refere to now as "The Secret Area" or TSA as I will
refere to it.
TSAs now abound amoung climbing groups as a way to
circumvent the "ethics commitee" and styles vary from trad
to hauling in heavy equipment such as compressors,
jackhammers, grooming, gardening equipment etc.., even so far as to constructing furniture out of natural materials for
the comfort of the climbers at the base.
The TSA will usually last a year or two until word finnaly
leaks out to the rest of the climbing world, but by then if
their ambitious, the good obvious lines (plumbs) are picked...
The bolts in, and is doubtful anyone is going to erase an
an etire area of bolts for "ethics".
I know of a few TSAs in progress right now in Colo, but I
was let in on some of them on the express condition that I
not tell anyone. I also know of several that havn't been
discovered but I have respect for the pristine nature of
the area and will reamin silent on both types unless offered money and will now take cash only bids on this beta if anyone is interested.:)
Here are a few former Colo TSAs that are now established.
Turkey rock (trad)
Shelf road (sport)
Thunder ridge (both)
Boulder canyon (both)
Devils head (both)
Eleven mile canyon (both)
Lots I have forgot (both)
Anyhow pristine rock still abounds, even in Boulder,
or even Yosemite. it just requires a bit more walking and exploring off the beaten path, a bit of discreetness and discretion, and ("good" or "bad"), you can do most anything you want.
I like your query Ron. I do think there is room for both. I DO value everything the extreme trad side has to say about why they believe what they believe. Before this whole thing happened, I considered myself to be pretty far into the unbending ethics side of things, but now I'm not so sure. There's a lot of shades of grey out there, and I guess I've become more of a realist than my previous idealist. One thing I can say though, is that it doesn't impress me when someone expects to be listened to, but does no listening of their own, and refuses to address valid points or questions about their own past, whilst criticizing others and catastrophizing with incredibly lame slippery slopes. Oh well, nobody is perfect. Well, there was that one perfect f*#ker, but we all know what happened to him. ;)
This particular schism in the thread seems not to come at a fortunate time. I would urge everyone to visit all the other branches so as to track the whole.
I will try to describe how this same discussion developed in a Climbers's meeting in the early 70's. Because of the realities it avoided what, to me, appears to be a weakness developing here. In that meeting called to decide the future of the Gunks everyone was physically present. Everyone thought through very carefully before they spoke what they would say and what they thought to be most important. Everyone was, physically, leaning forward in their chair anxious to hear everything. The thoughts collected this way were largely unaffected by what had been said before. Finally, each person was brief and knew they would probably get just one chance.
In that environment after less than an hour, we were moving out on the path forward. A path that led to success in a little over two years. When people have decided together how they want to move out, things go quickly.
Because of its structure a discussion over the net is different and we all are still learning its strengths and weaknesses. This is all new ground which actually makes it pretty exciting. We learn quickly so there is no reason to despair of our eventual success.
Early in the history of the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition I was invited down to the mountains to speak to their conference just north of Atlanta. That conference was conducted in a manner very similar to the Gunks climbers's meeting described above. I saw in that group the same energy and easy exchange between members that I saw in the Gunks and I see today at Facelift.
As a trad climber for 30 years,when sport,and rap bolting,wholesale bolting if you will,came on the scene,I don't think anyone ever imagined we'd be discussing"sport cliffs",or people would be crying about the elitist aspect of owning a trad rack,or not being able to afford yada yada.I never imagined people would place bolts next to cracks,or grid bolt.
We were sold this crap as a way to utilize underused areas etc. etc..
Sportos promote the idea that bolting like this is essential to the developement of the sport.It's not.Cobra crack is 5.14,on gear.The so-called leading edge is barely a whisker ahead,with bolts every five feet and whaaa I can't even clip my own bolts so left my draws in place.Yer not even carrying a rack for Christsakes.
I wish we had nipped it in the bud.The Farley group got Ken Nichols dragged in to court.In the process a picture of the cliff was posted.It's plenty featured enough for trad,did not need to be bolted at all.No wonder the guy is mad.The courts think it should be safe,that surprise you?
Just heard a route I headpointed twenty five years ago was retrobolted by some well meaning dipsh#t.
The classic example being Prince of Darkness and Rock Warrior in Black Velvet Canyon in Red Rocks.
Two routes a few yards apart -different first ascent teams- different visions- one in no way detracting from the other.
There is plenty of room for different climbers to express themselves in different ways.
I would just echo your statement about respecting the vision and hard work of those who put the effort into establishing new routes.
Read an interesting article in the April 19 issue of the Economist. It was a study of testosterone in stock traders. Turns out the highest levels of testosterone are measured in the anticipatory stage of gaining (or losing), and not in the actual gaining.
I think when whoever-it-was wrote about holding other people down and punching them in the face for 5 minutes, all this discussion took a turn for the worst.
-- is the "trad only" school of thought noble or merely selfish?
trad being the Gritstone like ethic? or 'ground up' ethic?
Gristone ethic would mean no bolts, thus no impact if no bolts go in. Top down or ground up is irrelevant in that no bolt goes in to have an impact on another and thus an 'ethical' import.
'ground up' by contrast, is merely a matter of style, but when it includes bolts, it has certain outputs vis a vis how the route turns out.
it seems that any bolt is merely a selfish act. So saying 'merely' is trying to get at something else.
A bolt is not necessary, ever. Thus it must be an expression of self. So is inherently selfish whether blaced by GU or TD methods.
As for noble, the exalted moral or character reference I would suspect eytomologically derives from a historical sense where those with power and influence were decided by rank and or title and thereby determined was was called 'noble.'
Maybe if we ask a different question; e.g. does the method of establishing climbs that have some bolt protection have some value other than self expression?
Noble from dictionary.com...
1. distinguished by rank or title.
2. pertaining to persons so distinguished.
3. of, belonging to, or constituting a hereditary class that has special social or political status in a country or state; of or pertaining to the aristocracy.
4. of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence; lofty: a noble thought.
5. admirable in dignity of conception, manner of expression, execution, or composition: a noble poem.
6. very impressive or imposing in appearance; stately; magnificent: a noble monument.
7. of an admirably high quality; notably superior; excellent.
8. famous; illustrious; renowned.
9. Chemistry. inert; chemically inactive.
10. Falconry. (of a hawk) having excellent qualities or abilities.
–noun 11. a person of noble birth or rank; nobleman or noblewoman.
12. a former gold coin of England, first issued in 1346 by Edward III, equal to half a mark or 6s. 8d., replaced in 1464 under Edward IV by the rose noble.
13. (in Britain) a peer.
"Maybe the back side of Half dome should have been ..."
... left alone in the olden days, so that 21st century Yosemite climbers had an almost pristene wall to establish new routes on, in the style and methods of their own day.
That's basically what happened, no? It was a generous gesture by all those old famous dudes, to leave such a big piece of rock for those of the future.
BTW, I think routes established by differing methods, right next to each other, mostly go totally unnoticed. I'm sure that most of us have climbed routes established on rap without even knowing it. Or caring enough to conduct an indepth inquiry first. We just look up, say 'that looks nice', and start climbing.
Whats the deal with June 2nd? Is there going to be a scheduled brawl at El Cap bridge? Becareful some of the tough guys here may bring their 'biner brass knuckles or some other inventive climbing gear weapons which we have heard about on previous threads.
radical said El Cap certainly wouldn't be El Cap anymore if there were bolt ladders all over it.. I thought it did have a bunch of bolt ladders? they are even named after some of those famous dudes who often get mentioned when the discussion turns to bolts.....
Someone has been hacking my computer and stole my plan for doing Everest in the hardest way! Get to be a billionaire, and invent a helicopter that can hover at 40,000 feet. Rather than risk getting snow on my wing tips I can just pee on the summit from the helicopter. I have contracted with Pixar for the movie showing me doing the E scale drawings for the copter. Going to be an exciting movie. Anyone interested in advanced sale tickets?
shit i wish i wasn't 3000 miles away from the valley right now! June 2nd sounds like a good time to me..
I'm with the old school.. Coz and Bachar i got your back here in WV!!!!
you start at the bottom and go to the top. anything else is just a mere image of climbing..
either way, the sport has been fractured for 20 years and now with half dome the target of sport bolting, climbing is done. lets just call it like it is now: SPORT CLIMBING...
real climbing died in the 80's...
Piton Ron asked: "So my question is this;
is the "trad only" school of thought noble or merely selfish?
I think there can be elements of both in there. If you are trying to put up a ground up onsight FA and have a handdrill for that blank section, there is no question that it isn't a deeper game, a more challenging one as well. You can't stop and put a bolt where you need it, but where the route will dictate you can stance (or hook depending on where or who you are).
One you have done that route, per the predominant ethic today, no one else can add any bolts. The FA, often feeling grateful to have made it out alive, now feels "Proud" at their display of balls and luck at having survived and leave the route intact so that others can be aware of how good of a climber they were. In Coz's case, as he says, he can't or won't go back to try Southern Belle ever again unless a great climber leads all the pitches and he gets a toprope as it is too difficult, dngerous and frightening for him now.
Even Coz, by his own admission, can't climb a route which he, by climbing it as he did, dictated and forced that style on all others now. Whats the point of that?
Conversely, as jstan says, if you accept that all technology can be utilized, then just get a helicopter and fly to the top and you're done. Surely, as Robbins endlessly postulated, we need to draw a line in the "technological sand": Bacher, Kurt and Coz see that line and are trying to get everyone else to accept that point that they are detailing should be universally accepted. Kurt has rapbolted where rapbolting is appropriate and is the accepted dominant ethic. Not in the valley though.
I thought that having different areas keeping and maintaining different traditions to be a great idea. Growing up, the route on 1/2 dome, challenges that area's predominant historical ethic, and seems somewhat wrong for doing so. Doug has outlined his reasons they did that approach and top downed the upper part. It makes sense, and I believe it is a good thing for this route: yet that area's predominant historical ethic line in the sand did get crossed in a big way through such an act. In that I feel sadness and understand the loss which the folks who have climbed there a lot feel. It's a sad thing for sure.
Up next: helicopters? Meantime, Coz and no one else can - or wants to, try Southern Belle.
I'm so glad that people are seriously considering the titled question of this thread. When I started it I feared that it might quickly degenerate into a polarized camp with champions actually assigning a place to join combat egged on by provocateurs from a state where family values means marrying your cousin (not that there's anything wrong with it).
Imagine my pleasant surprise to find you all in easy chairs wearing tweed jackets slowly swooshing your cognac snifters and pondering the ramifications of the other's positions.
If climbing is dead, I think the use of the power drill played a major role in it's death. I also feel that anyone who put up a route with a power drill, regardless of the style, contributed to it's demise.
For me it's still alive. Today I will probably be plugging in gear scared out of my mind and loving it, tomorrow enjoying some clip up(descending route) and loving that too. I will probablybe still be scared on the clip up, what a wuss.
The concept that the FA "owns" the route seems to be the problem. Maybe some alterations to that ethic would be more universally acceptable.
Until you have repeated the route, it can be done in any style by a subsequent party. Same applies to them. (If you won't do it again, then you have no right to expect a second ascender to do so in your style.)
If the route is more than one full number grade below your highest FA, then any subsequent party can repeat in any style of its choosing. Your highest FA for the purpose of this rule is the highest grade that is accepted by the community from the time of this FA plus 5 years. (Soloing easy climbs by highly accomplished climbers does not give them an ethical FA ownership.)
Any subsequent death on the climb starts the FA ownership all over again. (X protection elimination.)
Any climb that remains unrepeated for any 7 year span returns to the "public domain". (You don't retain monopoly rights forever. Use it or lose it.)
Natural alteration of the climb starts the clock over. (If a key rock, tree, etc. falls, then the climb as done previously no longer exists.)
"The "rules" agreed to by the largest set of people apply. That is what I meant by "more universal".
Somewhere between an anarchical approach, and a tyrannical approach may lie some democratic common ground. "
TIG, I don't entirely disagree with all of your rules. There's a lot of gray area and individual cases out there. How do climbers go from a culture where inclusion depends on knowing the nuances and navigating just how far to push the limits, and predefined limits.
I'm listening to a an audiobook in the inquisition. Seems like there used to be a universe where the people, church and state almost universally agreed that burning at the state was proper remedy for heretics who wouldn't renounce their beliefs.
Karl, that burning stake thing falls under the "sh*t happens" rule.
"The Black Swan" is an interesting read. Nobody can predict what happens in most of the world. Ironically, in many cases, the "experts" are often the worst at predictions, and the surest that they are correct.
Harding would not have predicted the stopper (or he would have invented it). We can no more predict how things might change in the future. We can guess that the number of climbers will continue to grow. Then again, it might be outlawed entirely. (It is against the law to climb in NJ State Parks without filling out a waiver. That is new. It used to be just plain illegal, after it was completely legal.)
It does seem that we can confidently predict that things will change, but just not how.
Rather a while ago Fritz Wiessner was trying his best to get everyone to go over and climb in Dresden. It is a very soft sandstone, I understand, and back in the early 1900's the climbers there were into climbing without shoes as this was less damaging to the rock and there was strict regulation as regards artificial fixed protection. Apparently it was pretty hairy. You can find links and descriptions easily so I won't babble on further.
What's happening here and now, is people are talking calmly about what we want the future to be like. We have the technology to get rid of all the Dresdens and gain another one huindred or two hundred thousand "classic" routes or we can have areas or even parts of areas where we think, "I'll have to get my sh*t together before I go there." Or even, "No one has managed to get up that mother. Holy moly!"
It is simply a choice. Posters in this thread realize no one of us outweighs any other person and are accepting of the need to provide room for all. If I were asked what is by far the most important route done in the past year I would have to say, "Ron's Road to Hell thread."
The Gunby trip report is right behind it though. If you have your head on straight there is any amount of fun you want up there.
I really DO think the question is worth asking, and can't help but note that those who seem most inclined to view it as the road to Hell tend to be those that are pot committed to their school and don't wish to see their accomplishments crowded upon.
Perfectly understandable human nature, but is it reasonable to allow elitism to dictate what the hordes climb upon? Don't they get a vote?
I've put up some of my best routes solo. Would it then be reasonable for me to claim that, having set the bar at that level, any more new routes in that area should be put up solo or not at all?
"Great cases like hard cases make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their real importance in shaping the law of the future, but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment."
Every bolt speaks for itself. The roads being paved with them speak to a 'tyranny of democracy' in a brave new world where risk is an unacceptable abberation to be collectively eliminated rather than individually managed. Climbing was not preempted to the shadowy status of "adventure climbing" because the vast majority of climbers are better, stronger, smarter, or braver - it has been cast into this categorical cage like a 'dangerous' zoo animal so that people might safely 'admire' the wild from behind the railing.
All the rest is a drive towards climbing as risk-free entertainment and maybe a little candor from the other side would be in order relative to honestly acknowledging that is the real utility of the vast majority of the bolts being placed today. That an assured intact return to our 'normal' selves and families is the priority today because we have collectively 'grown up' and cast off the clearly selfish ways of our youths. I personally find it all very convenient.
And frankly, I also find the introduction of the higher purpose and value of marriage and parenting into the discussion a bit disconcerting - it's almost as if [aging] climbers collectively slapped themselves on the forehead and discovered they have responsibilities. And I'm not sure which is more disconcerting - the simple act of this discovery, that apparently it's a new idea to many, or that FAs are now a family planning matter because of it.
Just got back from climbing at Eldo last weekend, thanks.
Delusional? Not at all - no one has the real stats - but I'd guess that 80-85% of the people who put on a harness to rock climb this weekend were climbing bolted routes and that that is the case every day in the US. I'd say just the opposite - you're in denial.
Getting down alive, still a gamble.
Extremely exposed and often hit directly by the Jet wind - the summit of Everest is the windiest place on Earth. The highest forecasted wind speed during our research period (2 latest years), was 78 m/s (175miles/hour) on Feb 6, 2004. This is well above the 156 miles/hour threshold for a Category 5 Hurricane.
But it’s not the maximum wind speed that makes Everest summit extremely windy, it’s the consistency of high winds, especially during autumn and winter. From October 20 until end of March, there is an almost constant Category 1 Hurricane (32m/s - 74 miles/hour) pounding the summit of Everest. During this period 3 out of 4 days experience above 32 ms/74 mph.
Issue # 1 for me,like most people interested in new routes,I've passed up lot's of stuff,showed what I think of as restraint,because it was going to take too many bolts.That mindset seems entirely gone today.
Issue #2 are the do-gooders.Those selfless folks that grid bolt cliffs,they have dozens of rap bolted routes,all done in just their particular style and mode.They paid for a Bosch and by god their gonna use it.What's left for the next generation,and the one after them?Well there is lot's of rock along the Colorado if yer willing to hike a little.....
Issue #3 This type of usage is finite.Go to Rumney,look at the place and ask yourself if you think this approach is anywhere near sustainable.We are the only user group allowed to drill holes,place metal anchors,rub chalk around.Yes,I know the dirtbikers are riding on BLM land,but you know if they drilled two holes and placed two bolts to hold their bikes up the man would come down on them like white on rice.Everybody else is not allowed to pick up a rock.Any other group,the slings would be litter.
Rumney is done with a tacit agreement with the Forest Service.It will not surprise me in the least if the end result is that the FS uses it as an example of what happens when we allow climbers free reign.
Look at the routes on English Grit.Look what they have accomplished.Do you think Whillans and Brown saw it coming?
A start would be,motorised drilling ground up only.Rap drilling by hand only,to slow the pace.
The pace.Sportos gotta have a zillion routes bolted,because they don't fill the soul.That's the problem.
I stayed outta the GU thread.I don't climb that hard,and I'm from the East.They could have rapped down to find the right way,and the stances,and bolted on the lead.Even that would have been better.
I got no problem with hooks.Every bolt(4)I've placed was from hooks.
Sorry lads but I have put in a lot of work to make the ElCap Bridge an icon of the Yosemite climbing scene and will not allow the hormonally driven to ruin the scene there... so you will have to find another place to disrespect.. It is not nice to screw with the Bridge!
It seems like the solution to this and many other threads (e.g. fixed ropes at the Cookie) might be to install a plank on the El Cap bridge. Maybe several planks. Pirates could play pirate with it, and even talk like pirates. Real and imaginary ethical transgressors could be made to walk the plank. Some hot tempers might be cooled down. A few fish might get concussions - collateral damage. Some climbers would get a much needed bath. As the only fixed gear would be the plank(s), and there wouldn't be any other impacts, the NPS should be OK with it.
All going well, it would become an attraction at Disney Yosemite. Though don't be counting on the FaceLift crew to clean up any messes. :-)
To the original post, I think the traditional climbers to a large extent have been painted with an unfair claim that they are demonizing those with a different view. At one point in time I had read all the SFHD threads, and I could have sworn there were more claimbs of trads being fascists that wanted everyone to climb like, then actual posts by trad climbers stating such, if there were any such posts at all.
Seems to me the most obnoxious posts by were one of the FA party and his buddy basically saying, F you I'll climb what I want, how I want. Anyone that says different is a has been. Critisizing my climbing style is taking food out of my kids mouth.
Personally I'd say folks that have a financial interest in their first ascent, whatever style they claimb have alterior motives that seem to taint how and why they climb, and perhaps how they treat others.
I'm blown away by the thought that the traditional ground up approach is sellfish, I always figured it was the bolt the heck out of every rock to get your name in the guidebooks and climbing mags that was the sellfish aproach.
As an answer to the noble or sellfish question, ask yourself what type of ascent gives you the greatest feeling of fulfillment. My most satisfying climbs were always approached at the base, and climbed w/o falling. Sure I had my share of climbs that were technically more difficult that had a rest or ten, and I never fealt that I could honestly consider that as a valid ascent. I never climbed to brag about the experience, it has always been very personal. And I can't just bs myself, as whats the point?
I know alot of folks just don't understand the traditional approach, as it is anethema to how they lead the rest of their lives.
I really don't care how other people or what floats their boat. But I am very concerned about how the proliferation of fixed anchors in National Parks will affect access to all of us. Especially the F you we'll climb what and how we want attititude and the resulting conflict can have very real consequences. At some point somebody will approach the man, saying something should be done, and it's almost guranteed none of us will like what get's done to us.
On the North American Wall and elsewhere the leading Yosemite climbers made a major effort to avoid placing bolts. They would go into extreme A5 nailing and hang sky hooks from tiny flakes rather than drill a hole. They saw bolts as radically different from pitons. With bolts, climbers were free of the natural configuration of the rock and could go anywhere at will, provided, of course, they had the time and equipment. The unrestrained use of bolts opened up areas of rock where there were no natural lines and mad success inevitable. These were the major objections to Harding's Leaning Tower route. However, the point at issue during the early 1960s was the use of bolts to avoid difficult nailing or to protect a free climb where better climbers would do without. Unskilled climbers were using bolts to overcome routes that were beyond them when using "traditional" means. The issue was hotly debated around campfires and in the pages of Summit, from Chouinard's "Are Bolts Being Placed by Too Many Unqualified Climbers?" through a whole spectrum of attack and counterattack. The purists wanted to keep climbing difficult. They despised the success-at-any-cost attitude of the bolting enthusiasts.
How Frank Smythe would have smiled to hear his arguments brought up to date!
In this debate the purists were partially successful. There have been outbreaks of bolting on established routes, but there is now nothing like the proliferation of earlier days. However, the issue of whether bolts should be used to connect up blank areas of rock, to create direct routes or "directissimas," or even used at all was not then addressed. It has not been resolved to this day."
"The saga of the Dawn Wall was far from ended. The media hailed it as the greatest climb since Mount Everest, and the protagonists became instant folk heros. Climbers were not so sure about the merits of the Dawn Wall. One aspect of the climb that could not be challenged was the guts that Harding and Caldwell had shown. While their tenacity was universally admired, their heavy reliance on drilled holes resurrected the bolting controversy once again.
Climbers hardly bothered to question the bolting on Half Dome's Tis-sa-ack and south face, the first because it was Robbins, the second because it was a route that few cared about. Why was the Dawn Wall different? It was a recognized problem on which others had tried and failed using "legitimate" means, that is, accepting a constraint on the number of bolts. The 300 drilled holes seemed outrageous, and then there was the incredible publicity.
Are bolts ever justified? A handful of first-class European climbers maintained they are not. If they are, what proportion of bolting is acceptable? The heart of the argument is that by the tedious but relatively simple expedient of bolting, any blank rock can be climbed, that bolting is not in the true spirit of mountaineering, that it threatens the foundations of the sport. It all comes back to Frank Smythe's thought, "It is knowing where to draw the line that counts in life."
While climbers up and down the country argued the merits of the Dawn Wall, Robbins decided to make the second ascent and "erase" the climb by chopping out the bolts. This was no easy decision. In taking such an unprecedented step, he was laying his reputation on the line. He and Don Lauria spent the first day removing bolts. During the first bivouac doubts about their action assailed them. They continued to the top in another five days without removing any more bolts. Although the route was not erased, Robbins had made a strong statement.
The Dawn Wall became a symbol of the various schools of thought in climbing. Whatever the merits of the actions on the Dawn Wall, the purists' concern that bolting not get out of hand seems to have been realized. Subsequent routes on El Cap averaged around sixty bolts. Those outside the gut level of the sport may consider this concern over ethics far too heavy and serious. Does it really matter? The answer depends on your viewpoint. Does the sportsman take an automatic weapon to kill his tiger?"
"On Snowpatch and Shiprock the Sierrans convincingly demonstrated the excellence of their granite gymnasium, Yosemite Valley. Back in the valley, climbing was on the move. Successive attempts on the Lost Arrow Chimney, "the nightmare of all those who inspected it closely," inched the route upward. A new generation of climbers was making its mark. Typical of the newcomers were Fritz Lippmann, Robin Hansen and their friends, the self-styled "goose gutters." The active encouragement of beginners was a strong tradition on R.C.S. outings. The goose gutters felt this cut too heavily into their climbing time. If the Sierrans scheduled a weekend meet, the goose gutters went elsewhere to avoid the crowds. However, this shift from group to individual climbing was not the real concern. What bothered the original R.C.S. members was the newcomers' extensive use of direct aid. It was an ironic twist. Aid climbing had brought censure on the original R.C.S. group. The older generation also considered the newcomers rash. They criticized their lax attitude to safety and reminded them of Leonard's dictum that should he ever fall, his first thought would be, "What will Underhill say about this in Appalachia?" The newcomers' Arrowhead Chimney climb (not to be confused with the still unclimbed Lost Arrow Chimney) was characterized by Shand as a route "which borders on the suicide climbs of the Wetterstein and the Kaisergebirge."
Were these criticisms the result of a lack of understanding between generations, or was something else involved? If Eichorn's group used pitons on the Higher Cathedral Spire, were not Lippmann and his pals entitled to find their own frontier? After his defeat on Shiprock, Coloradan Carl Blaurock had written, "Will someone find the key to the route by which the summit may be finally obtained, or if it is to be reached, will it be by methods not considered ethical?" Did the end justify the means? The debate was opened, but it was a debate that would have to wait. When Lippmann got down from the Arrowhead Chimney, Yosemite's age of innocence was over. It was December 7, 1941."
British climbers may justly consider themselves free from taints of mechanisation and nationalism. For the most part they have always looked upon mountain climbing as a sport in the purest sense of the word, a test of strength and skill in surmounting natural obstacles undertaken in accordance with traditional rules, and governed by the love of the thing for its own sake. At the same time, they cannot be wholly absolved from the charge of expediency. There exists, or has existed, a school of thought that Everest must be climbed, if not by traditional methods legitimately augmented by the best that manufacturers can supply in the way of food, specially suitable clothing and the usual mountaineering equipment, then by the employment of oxygen breathing apparatus. It is true that the diminished oxygen content in the air near the highest summit of the world suggests the use of such an apparatus; there is little enjoyment to be had out of climbing without it at the highest altitudes of the Himalayas; at the same time, there would to my mind, be singularly little satisfaction in reaching the summit of Mount Everest with oxygen apparatus, and any satisfaction in so doing would be offset by the thought that perhaps it might be possible to get there without it. It is certain that were Everest to be climbed with oxygen apparatus, mountaineering tradition -- were it worth anything -- would very soon demand a non-apparatus ascent. This cult of expediency, as exemplified by the scientific experts, is to my mind one of the evils of the present age. Let us keep mountaineering clean and undebased even on the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Let us win through to the top of Everest for the love of the thing, not because it is expedient to get there. Expediency and good sportsmanship simply do not go together.
If any charge can be preferred against mountaineers as a whole it is that they have taken their achievements too seriously. I have been as guilty as any in that respect. I now realise that it is the joy, the good comradeship, the climbing that matter in mountaineering, not the attainment of the objective. Mummery was the great apostle of the joy of mountaineering, and it is impossible to associate such a character, bubbling over with irrepressible gaiety, conscious always that it was the game that mattered and not its prizes, with the dour exponent of the expedient in mountaineering to-day, with his pitons and his oxygen apparatus and, not least, a nationally-minded Press to spur him on to some fresh 'conquest' for the fancied honour and glory of his Fatherland. It is essential to the well-being of mountaineering not to overburden it with mechanical aids but to keep it as simple as possible.
from MECHANISED MOUNTAINEERING: FELL AND ROCK CLIMBING CLUB JOURNAL 1942
What have I personally got against "direttissimas"? Nothing at all; in fact I
think that the "falling drop of water" route is one of the most logical things
that exists. Of course it always existed - so long as the mountain permits it. But
sometimes the line of weakness wanders to the left or the right of this line; and
the we see climbers - those on the first ascent , I mean - going straight on up as
if it weren't so, striking in bolts of course. Why do they go that way? "For the
sake of freedom," they say; but they don't realize that they are slaves of the
They have a horror of deviations. "In the face of difficulties, logic commands one
not to avoid them, but to overcome them," declares Paul Claudel. And that's what
the 'direttissma' protagonists say, too, knowing from the start that the equipment
they have will get them over any obstacle. They are therefore talking about
problems which no longer exist. Could the mountain stop them with unexpected
difficulties? They smile: those times are long past! The impossible in
mountaineering has been eliminated, murdered by the direttissima.
Yet direttissimas would not in themselves be so bad were it not for the fact that
the spirit of that guides them has infiltrated the entire field of climbing. Take
a climber o a rock face, iron rungs beneath his feet and all around him only
yellow, overhanging rock. Already tired, he bores another hole above the last peg.
He won't give up. Stubbornly, bolt by bolt, he goes on. His way, and none other,
must be forced up the face.
Expansion bolts are taken for granted nowadays; they are kept to hand just in case
some difficulty cannot be overcome by ordinary methods. Today's climber doesn't
want to cut himself off from the possibility of retreat: he carries his courage in
his rucksack, in the form of bolts and equipment. Rock faces are no longer
overcome by climbing skill, but are humbled, pitch by pitch, by methodical manual
labor; what isn't done today will be done tomorrow. Free-climbing routes are
dangerous, so the are protected by pegs. Ambitions are no longer build on skill,
but on equipment and the length of time available. The decisive factor isn't
courage, but technique; an ascent may take days and days, and the pegs and bolts
counted in the hundreds. Retreat has become dishonorable, because everyone knows
now that a combination of bolts and singlemindedness will get you up anything,
even the most repulsive-looking direttissima.
Times change, and with them concepts and values. Faith in equipment has replaced
faith in oneself; a team is admired for the number of bivouacs it makes, while the
courage of those who still climb "free" is derided as a manifestation of lack of
Who has polluted the pure spring of mountaineering?
The innovators perhaps wanted only to get closer to the limits of possibility.
Today, however, every single limit has vanished, been erased. In principle, it
didn't seem to be a serious matter, but ten years have sufficed to eliminate the
word 'impossible' from the mountaineering vocabulary.
Progress? Today, ten years from the start of it all, there are a lot of people who
don't care where they put bolts, whether on new routes or on classic ones. People
are drilling more and more and climbing less and less.
"Impossible": it doesn't exist anymore. The dragon is dead, poisoned, and the hero
Siegfried is unemployed. Now anyone can work on a rock face, using tools to bend
it to his own idea of possibility.
Some people foresaw this a while ago, but they went on drilling, both on
direttissimas and on other climbs, until the lost the taste for climbing: why
dare, why gamble, when you can proceed in perfect safety? And so they become the
prophets of the direttissima: "Don't waste your time on classic routes - learn to
drill, learn to use your equipment. Be cunning: If you want to be successful, use
every means you can get round the mountain. The era of direttissima has barely
begun: every peak awaits its plumbline route. There's no rush, for a mountain
can't run away - nor can it defend itself."
"Done the direttissima yet? And the super diretissima?" These are the criteria by
which mountaineering prowess is measured nowadays. And so the young men go off,
crawl up the ladder of bolts, and then ask the next ones: "done the direttissima
Anyone who doesn't play ball is laughed at for daring take a stand against current
opinion. The plumbline generation has already consolidated itself and has
thoughtlessly killed the ideal of the impossible. Anyone who doesn't oppose this
makes himself an accomplice of the murderers. When future mountaineers open their
eyes and realize what has happened, it will be too late: the impossible (and with
it, risk) will be buried, rotted away, and forgotten forever.
All is not yet lost, however, although 'they' are returning the attack; and even
if it's not always the same people, it'll be other people similar to them. Long
before they attack, they'll make a great noise, and once again any warning will be
useless. They'll be ambitious and they'll have long holidays - and some new 'last
great problem' will be resolved. They'll leave more photographs at the hut, as
historical documents, showing a dead straight line of dots running from the base
to summit - and on the face itself, will once again inform us that "Man has
achieved the impossible."
If people have already been driven to the idea of establishing a set of rules of
conduct, it means that the position is serious; but we young people don't want a
mountaineering code. On the contrary, "up there we want to find long, hard days,
days when we don't know in the morning what the evening will bring". But for how
much longer will we be able to have this?
I'm worried about that dead dragon: we should do something before the impossible
is finally interred. We have hurled ourselves, in a fury of pegs and bolts, on
increasingly savage rock faces: the next generation will have to know how to free
itself from all these unnecessary trappings. We have learned from the plumbline
routes; our successors will once again have to reach the summits by other routes.
It's time we repaid our debts and searched again for the limits of possibility -
for we must have such limits if we are going to use the virtue of courage to
approach them. And we must reach them. Where else will be able to find refuge in
our flight from the oppression of everyday humdrum routine? In the Himalaya? In
the Andes? Yes certainly if we can get there; but for most of us there'll only be
these old Alps.
So let's save the dragon; and in the future let's follow the road that past
climbers marked out. I'm convinced it's still the right one.
Put on your boots and get going. If you've got a companion, take a rope with you
and a couple of pitons for your belays, but nothing else. I'm already on my way,
ready for anything - even for retreat, if I meet the impossible. I'm not going to
be killing any dragons, but if anyone wants to come with me, we'll go to the top
together on the routes we can do without branding ourselves murderers.
"... I will begin by outlining a minimal set of 'Categorical Imperatives for Ethical Mountaineers'. These are:
1. Climb the Mountains
2. Test Your Skill
3. Test Your Nerve
4. Love the Mountains
These, I think can all be supported without controversy in the sense that most climbers would accept them as minimal conditions for being a Good Mountaineer. 1 is so obvious it is usually overlooked; 2 and 3 have been extensively discussed - they were dealt with by Lito Tejada-Flores, in his widely published article, [url="http://home.comcast.net/~e.hartouni/doc/Games_Climbers_Play.txt"]Games Climbers Play[/url], and they are much in the mind of all normal mountaineers (though 3 is often rejected by the serious-business brigade); 4 is perhaps the most intriguing and the one about which I shall have most to say...
Love the Mountains
I suggest that this imperative should be interpreted quite literally, so that we treat the mountains as we would treat a lover. Of course, the conjugal relationship is somewhat promiscuous -- there are a lot of us and a lot of them and each of us loves all of them. It is as a result of 'love the mountains' that climbers deplore the acts of defacement and defilement to which our mountains are so often subjected. Defacement by chairlifts, railways, fixed ropes, paintmarks, pegmarks, rubbish, beaten paths - all are acts of assault upon a loved one and are therefore deplorable. Defilement by excessive indiscriminate promiscuity -- so-called 'people pollution' -- is also deplorable, particularly so when the people concerned do not love mountains. Elitist attitudes of this sort were forged a long time ago. On that celebrated occasion when Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive those more important Ethical Imperatives, the Lord was very specific with respect to this point about how the mountain should be treated by the rank and file. First of all He informed Moses that He had sanctified the mountain and then warned him of the dire consequences that would befall any of his people who set foot on the mountain. For good measure He ordered Moses to instruct his menfolk not to 'come at their wives' for three days!
A second consequence of this Fourth Imperative is that, like any lover, the mountain should not be treated lightly, should not be taken for granted. And so it here that we derive our proscriptions against the attempting of the unduly difficult or the unduly dangerous. The mountaineer who takes these liberties is taking them with his life but it is no that that we should care about: it is that he is taking liberties with the mountain.
A final implication of this imperative is that rape is unethical: the mountain must have the chance of turning you down..."
We should fight, you can throw me in the river first. Then I will throw you in the river. Then you can Throw me in the river, then I will throw you in the river. I wonder if that would satisfy the blood lust for all these people. One way to know who will win a fight is who has been in the most. There are little tricks some people don't know, like pulling a shirt over someones head. That is a good one.
As with pitons, development and use of the expansion bolt can be traced to Europe early in the 20th century. In 1927, Laurent Grivel, a climbing guide and blacksmith in Chamonix, France, used bolts on the first ascent of Pére Eternal, a 200-foot spire on the north ridge of the Aiguille de la Brenva. Their use continued sporadically in Europe, but was not well documented.
It was not until the well-publicized 1939 ascent of New Mexico’s Shiprock by Sierra Club climbers David Brower, Bestor Robinson, John Dyer and Raffi Bedayan that the expansion bolt really surfaced in the climbing world. The difficult ascent involved the use of 54 pitons, half of them for direct aid, and four expansion bolts “where inadequacy of stance and lack of piton cracks would otherwise have plunged the entire party to their deaths in case of a fall.”
By the late 1940s bolts had become commonplace in American mountaineering, not only as a means of protecting against a fall, but also as a means of facilitating upward progress on flawless rock and as secure rappel anchors. As Richard Leonard and Arnold Wexler wrote in the 1946 Sierra Club Bulletin about the expansion bolt, “It makes the climb no easier—placing one, even on a flat ledge, is a long job—but it permits a lead in safety that might otherwise be quite unjustifiable owing to the belayer’s inability to hold a fall.”
But the ability to place a bolt virtually anywhere made this tool a bit more controversial than pitons, and their permanence offended some. Fred Beckey, arguably America’s most prolific exploratory climber, offered the proponent’s position in a 1949 article in The American Alpine Journal: “I do not believe in blacksmithing a route up a cement wall—that is not climbing—but recently we have met peaks that would be impossible even with aid pitons. The choice remains: to retreat, or to use a few bolts to overcome a flawless pitch.”
The debate over bolt use reached a fevered pitch in 1961, when Yvon Chouinard, a top Yosemite climber and equipment manufacturer, wrote an article in Summit magazine entitled “Are bolts being placed by too many unqualified climbers?” Chouinard commented that, “Due to their low cost and their availability, they have been used far more extensively in the United States than in all other areas combined… [M]any climbers would feel undressed if they approached a rock climb without their ‘bolt kit.’” However, several top climbers wrote letters to the editor opposing Chouinard’s idea that only experienced, technically proficient climbers be allowed to place bolts. The consensus of the opponents was best articulated by Chuck Wilts, a pioneering Sierra climber, who wrote, “I think climbers should accept the general principle ‘to refrain from the use of bolts unless really necessary for the safety of the party if the ascent is to be continued.’”
Though bolts continued to be controversial among climbers, as was reflected in articles and letters in the climbing journals, climbers tended to coalesce around the principle articulated by Wilts. With the exception of sport climbing, an bolt-intensive form of climbing which developed in the late 1980s and is generally practiced at non-wilderness cliffs, climbing has tended to progress to a point where people attempt to climb with as little use of bolts as possible."
Are Bolts Being Placed by Too Many Unqualified Climbers?
Yvon Chouinard Summit March 1961
During the past few years climbers have become justly concerned with the problems of ethics in the use of bolts in climbing. The use of expansion bolts is difficult to write about and must be treated in the same manner as social morals. The problem is not one of individual taste, but rather one which must be determined by the entire climbing fraternity and adhered to by everyone who climbs. In presenting this article I will attempt to convey my own thoughts and ideals on this subject.
The problem of bolts is very real and grave. Due to their low cost and their availability, they have been used far more extensively in the United States than in all other areas combined. Bolts have been used only recently in Europe and then only on large, severe walls such as the west face of the Petit Dru, Cima Grande direct north face, and the Roda di Vael by expert climbers. Here, in the United States, many climbers would feel undressed if they approached a rock climb without their "bolt kit."
The main objection to bolts is that they permanently mar the beauty of the rock. Bolts also enable inexperienced and unqualified persons to climb routes with comparative ease. Bolts are often a means of making up for inexperience and inadequacies, and I like to think that not every route is for every climber.
Bolts have three uses: as rappel and belay anchors, for protection and for direct aid.
1. Rappelling. This should be a very rare use, as it is almost always possible to use bushes, trees, pitons or a knob of rock as an anchor. A bolt's only use should be on difficult sixth-class pinnacles where good pitons cannot be placed, or in the life and death descents from large walls, where again good pitons cannot be placed.
In 1959, I observed a shocking misuse of bolts for rappelling. On the first ascent of Shiprock only four bolts were used on the entire climb. Now, on one of the rappel points alone, there are five unnecessary bolts in place, three of which are Phillips type without hangers, and two compression studs, also without hangers. None of these five bolts are well placed, and it is possible to put in a good piton nearby.
2. Protection. Whether or not to put in a bolt for protection is a problem which is difficult to solve by an objective set of rules. If a climb has been done several times without bolts, even if it was only climbed by extremely well-qualified climbers, then this is an indication that bolts should not be placed by following parties. If a leader is confronted with a pitch that has been done before without the use of bolts, but feels that since the rock is icy, wet, or just too much for him to lead with any degree of safety, then he should simply descend rather than desecrate the rock with bolts, or risk a fall without them. A route doesn't always have to go, and wet or icy rocks or a less-than-expert leader is never an excuse for placing a bolt.
An outstanding example of an unqualified party choosing to place bolts because of a lack of ability was a team of two climbers who, in 1959, climbed the Lost Arrow Chimney in Yosemite Valley. On one of the pitches, which is normally done free, the party placed six bolts, partially because of the wetness of the rock, but largely because of their lack of ability. The bolts themselves can be removed, but the holes will always be there.
On a first ascent, if the next lead looks like it will be very difficult, dangerous and offers no chance for protection, and if the leader is an excellent and capable climber, then he is justified in placing a bolt. However, it is only justifiable if he thinks that it would be very dangerous even for a better climber than himself. For this reason, it is important of the leader to know his exact capabilities at that moment and to be able to judge a pitch on sight.
3. Direct aid. The problem of misusing bolts on direct aid is one of that can be solved in a far more objective manner, even though it is in this field that most of the misusage of bolts prevails. One of the biggest problems in American climbing today is that too many average, or even above-average, climbers are attempting direct aid climbs which are too difficult for their ability. This leads to bolts being put in place where they would not be necessary if the climber were more expert, and also ruining the route for the experienced climber who rightly belongs there.
The Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite is a good example of what is happening on many difficult artificial routes in the United States. Several necessary bolts were placed by that great climber John Salathe´, on the first complete ascent. Through the years "climbers" have added more and more unnecessary bolts with the result that the reputation of this magnificent climb has somewhat declined. Because of the decline in the reputation of the spire less capable climbers attempted the route and still more bolts were placed until, in 1957, Mark Powell removed nine bolts that were not placed by Salathe´.
Some of the many reasons why a party would want to place a bolt on a direct aid climb that has previously been done are: inexperience, a short leader, crumbled or overused cracks, or the lack of proper equipment. In none of these reasons, except perhaps in the rare case of crumbled cracks, is the placing of bolts justified. Often a route requires special pitons, such as knifeblades, wide angles, or short wedges. If this is the case, then this information should be included in the guidebooks. With the great variety of pitons being made, especially with the increasing use of alloy steels in their manufacture, it is possible to utilize cracks ranging from hairline thinness to over six inches wide. Lack of any type of piton or equipment is never an excuse for the placing of a bolt.
Only the very experienced and expert climber should even own a "bolt kit." It is incomprehensible for the average climber to know just what can be climbed safely by the expert on either free or artificial ground by utilizing small holds in combination with poor direct aid pitons, by pendulums around blind corners, tension traverses, arrangement of slings, and by the use of special pitons.
Never should a bolt be placed that is just good enough to enable the party to surmount the obstacle and to then come out on the next party. If it is necessary to place a bolt, it should be a good solid bolt of the nail type expansion variety. This type does not suffer from metal fatigue as do compression studs.
With the many types and sizes of bolts being manufactured, it is very inconvenient to carry the many types of nuts, screws, and hangers necessary. The standard use of one type of bolt would eliminate the necessity of mentioning the sizes and types used on various routes in the guidebooks. However, the guidebooks should mention the number of bolts in place to aid in preventing over-bolting.
Ed - thanks for the "Murder of the Impossible" piece.
" I'm already on my way, ready for anything - even for retreat, if I meet the impossible. I'm not going to be killing any dragons, but if anyone wants to come with me, we'll go to the top together on the routes we can do without branding ourselves murderers."
Even Reinhold was willing to retreat if it meant sacrificing climbing style - and he was just talking about using too many bolts on an ascent! I wonder what he thinks about top down escapist techniques, where the climber chickens out and lowers a rope down from the top to "complete" his "ascent" ?
TiG - I thought it might be worth while to consider that the particular controversy we are debating in Ron's thread is a very old one. I suspect it was discussed even earlier than Smythe's publication.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. - George Santayana
I don't know how to learn about history other than reading about it, or discussing it with people who have studied it... thus the articles and long quotes. I suspect that most people participating in the forum do not know about the past discussions, or that this topic has been around for a very long time... certainly in Smythe's case, the Forum was probably conducted in a bar with all of the advantages and disadvantages that venue provides.
Your comment doesn't surprise me.
Ron-I don't get paid to do any of this, and in fact, I should probably be working a bit harder on my paying job after hours to show what a dedicated employee I am, so this is probably taking bread off my table...
John - Somehow in all the years you have maintained a consistent image of climbing, a vision which provides a cynosure for yourself and other climbers. But interestingly, its fundamental precept is that one has to be willing to back off, that success is not a necessary outcome of an attempted ascent.
This is a point that is made in most of the primary opinions regarding the use of bolts. That climbing is not an activity where the outcome is a matter of "life or death," it doesn't matter if we make it to the top, send the pitch, summit; climbing is not a survival activity but an activity born out of our "leisure," an activity we choose to engage in for no particular reason with little direct value to society.
Why then is the expedient of getting to the top an overriding issue? As Smythe observed, anyone can with sufficient artifice. What is the point of that?
So bolts come into the picture because they provide safety to a passage that would otherwise have to be traversed, apparently unsafely. But we have had that debate before, in the guise of the morality of "free soloing" where a climber forsakes all aid and all insurance and must climb "as if their life depended on it," which it does... see the thread on Steph Davis...
If that is acceptable, than why wouldn't forgoing bolts also be acceptable? it is, but it cuts out the vast majority of climbers, it is elitist in that the climbers capable, physically and mentally, of pulling that sort of climbing off are few. And the numbers get smaller and smaller as the grade increases. As anyone knows who has done it, free soloing, or even running out a long distance, is a very different type of climbing.
For most crack climbing, I can get as much gear in as I want, technology has "advanced" to the point where I can even sew up wide cracks. I do not for one moment imagine that the feeling I get climbing the early 60s test pieces is remotely like going up there with a rack of pins. Now climbing is more physical, when you are way out from your last protection, climbing is much much more mental. Keeping it together to pull the moves you are physically able to pull is where it's at...
Now we can complain that safety of human life is an overriding concern, is the overriding concern, but that is bogus, for if it were true we would not choose to be out climbing. The very environment is risky, from actions far beyond our control. If you want safe, stay away from the hills... generations of humans have known this to be true. If you want to risk going in to the hills, then you should choose only to do those things which you are comfortable doing, no one requires you to be there, to climb.
It comes down to your own choice, to everyone's own choice. On a ground up First Ascent protection is put in as the climb unfolds, taking what the mountain gives in terms of protection. The line is made safe enough for the FA, who reports it. The FA is not responsible to make the climb safe for everyone, they cannot do that as they have no control over who chooses to attempt their line in the future. All they can do is climb the line, or if they are not capable, coming down and letting someone else do it.
Bolting the line brings the climb down to their ability, usually mental ability, often physical ability. It takes away the opportunity for the mountain to "turn us down." And that lessens the whole experience, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many much better climbers than I who have written about this over the decades.
Read those words, they are an important reminder of the fact that some of these "rules" are important and fundamental. What is climbing otherwise?
The point I was trying to make, albeit rudely (I apologize) is that there is no need to rehash the same tiring arguments.
What I am trying to get at here is that being able to make multiple statements is what democracy is about, but whether flaw or strength, what is the downside of side by side ethics?
If there is honesty in the "statement" made by the ascent why can't that stand on its own merits (or lack thereof)?
TiG, I'm not trying to predict the future, I am trying to avoid making the mistakes of the past. Those are two different things. (And a way of thinking about climate change by the way).
Ron, while I am sure that these old arguments are tired to you, I get a sense that they are unknown to the vast majority of the STForum readers, even as there is a core of those readers who participated in some of the original discussions.
A FA does stand by its "statement," but there are a range of quality in those "statements" which put the FAs on unequal footing, that is, some are better than others. In the end it is you and the rock up there, and you do what you can. I think that what has always been part of the discussion is the question: why do you have to succeed?
Fact is you don't. But there are a million ways of redefining success... to make it a meaningless concept. Smythe hit on that point right away. I think it is important to remember it.
My point is that a "mistake in the past" is not necessarily a mistake today. Attempting to build airplanes, looking back in history, seems to have been a silly mistake - up until the invention of the internal combustion engine and tubing for bicycles!
Funding fusion research (expecting to build commercial generation in the next 5 years) is clearly a mistake. We have repeated that "mistake" every year since the 60s. :-)
Yesterday's mistakes could be today's break-through. Viagra was not developed to solve ED!
Main Entry: ar·ro·gant
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin arrogant-, arrogans, present participle of arrogare
Date: 14th century 1 : exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner 2 : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance
synonyms see proud
— ar·ro·gant·ly adverb
climbers have changed, but climbing has not... at least I recognize Smythe's characterization still, after 70 years...
a test of strength and skill in surmounting natural obstacles undertaken in accordance with traditional rules, and governed by the love of the thing for its own sake
If you are looking for an origin of the meaning of "trad" then you have probably found it...
Just what are "traditional rules?" You can find them in Smythe's essay. We shouldn't hide our deviations from "best-style" by redefining the sport, rather, we should own up to the choices we have made in the name of expediency that deviate from the pure form of the sport.
I'm sick and tired of all this hand wringing. Nobody has said why we can't have two routes side by side with one being established in a manner that permits mortals to enjoy it while another nearby route could stand as a testament to boldness.
Each is its own statement.
Why can't we agree to disagree?
I personally believe in the ground up philosophy, but that is just my opinion and that is all it is.
Jody wrote "What would almighty Bachar do?" "who cares?"
Well we all should. If you believe in the ground up philosophy then John has been our spokesman- not afraid to say what he believes in. I thank him for that. If you are on the other side of the fence you should still care what he has had to say because it has affected climbing and the community around even if you don't agree with him. And Jody it sounds like you "do care" what Bachar has to say because you come across bitter. I don't know you it is just what I gather from your prior posts.
On another thread (half dome) soemeone stated that we should not continue trad values because we are so far behind the Europeans and how hard they are climbing. Makes it sound like we are just ego driven and worry about the number you are climbing instead of the experience. I personally climb for the experience not what I can spray.
Sounds like Sean Jones and Doug put a lot of thought into Growing Up and finally decided in doing it in the style in which it is now. First I am a father like Sean and there is nothing more important than providing for your children, but I have to say I do not believe that using the argument "this is how I feed my kids" makes everything acceptable. Sean a lot of people have said what a great family man you are and I don't doubt that for a moment, but don't throw them in to the mix to justify your climbing objectives.
What I have gathered from both perspectives is this;
The ground up community is very disturbed with this type of ascent and has spoken very passionately about it. The top down community seems to be OK with it. Here is a thought: tradsters have accepted that there will be rap bolted routes in certain areas that are SPORT CRAGS. They just choose not to climb at these areas. Why can't rap bolters do the same. If you want to do a route top down then go to an area that accepts this train of thought. Seems like tradsters have accepted rap bolting in certain areas why can't rap bolters do the same when it comes to trad areas, accept it for what it is and leave it alone.
Lastly $ money makes the world go round and we could bicker and argue against each other all day. But if you want to make a difference pro or con about ethics then write how you feel to the companies that sponsor climbers and tell them how you feel. I think that if we all wrote letters there would be more against rap bolting in trad areas then there would for it. I say this because ground up comments on this site seem to be much more passionate in there beliefs than the people that have been for it. I would write a letter but I own a climbing shop and I get to talk to these companies and their reps all the time, and there will be talk in Salt Lake this summer at OR in August.
Anyways these are just my opinions and that is all they are.
healyje wrote: "an ever greater percentage of the whole are risk-averse and expect risk to be manged for them."
I think those are two different issues. Certain days I'm pretty risk averse, so I'll sew it up just to be sure and for peace of mind. Of course I'm not asking anyone to manage that risk for me, but I sure as hell am not going to put my ass on the line because someone else thinks I should place 4 cams instead of 9 on a given pitch or crag route.
Asking someone else to manage the risk for you, that is "hey, how come the FAist did not put more bolts up there to make it safer?" is a separate issue.
Magical Mystery Tour 5.8 *** R - 1973 Tobin Sorenson & Mike Graham Solitary Confinement 5.9 solo *** X - 1984 John Bachar (solo) Straight Street 5.10a ** R/X - 1985 John Bachar & Ed Barry Run for Cover 5.10b ** R/X - 1985 John Bachar & Tom Herbert Pumpkin Eater 5.9 R - 1974 Dale Bard, Vern Clevenger & Bob Harrington Walk for Life 5.9 solo X - 1985 Alan Nelson (solo) Blue Moon 5.8 solo X- 1985 Alan Nelson (solo) Silverado 5.6 solo X- 1985 Alan Nelson (solo)
The solo routes were put up on sight. There are no bolts on those climbs. The other are pretty standard Tuolumne Meadows routes, minimal bolts, ground up, stance bolted (I'm pretty sure, members of the FA teams will correct me).
The solo routes could be considered "best style," FAs as nothing was done to alter the rock at all. The leads were bold, and the routes still stand today for any climber who wishes to test themselves against them. The only difference from the FA is that the grade of difficulty is known, a considerable bit of knowledge.
Of the other climbs, Magical Mystery Tour is probably the most climbed, and it is pretty standard fare for the area. Some leaders unfamiliar with the local "style" will feel it too run out. But it has the character of most other area climbs.
These other routes are bolted, so a compromise of the "best style" in that they are protected by bolts instead of running it out between protection. There would be no possible belays for some of these routes, especially as you get up on Fairview from that side.
Expedient? yes, of course, but the routes are high quality. Climbers can test themselves with any of these climbs. My guess is that the solos do not see much traffic. Their existence as unbolted climbs has been the subject of STForum (see for instance this) and an apparent invitation from the FA soloist (Alan Nelson) to retro-bolt them... Alan has since died but that invitation is still out there. As far as I know, these routes remain unbolted.
Here climbs of very different styles coexist, the styles are a continuum, from bold on sight solos to relatively pedestrian "every-person" climbs.
The "ethics" of the FA parties was probably pretty close to being the same. No road to hell here, just a lot of fun.
Don't forget the ultra classic "Blazing Buckets" 5.9+ on Reeds. Put up solo on the first ascent, perhaps in the same style as Magical Mystery Tour, from the sound of the name anyway.
The second ascent placed a bolt. I don't really have any issue with that, it's a really stupid route to solo--if you blow it, you'll bounce off a sloping rock on the ledge above the second pitch of Reeds, and go the distance.
I wonder if anyone has even done the third ascent?
Wes,the"we need more routes"idea did not work.When we started bolting the crap out of everything,and making the game safe the numbers of "climbers" increased exponentially,and I don't see that changing.It made it worse,not better.
Ron,sorry if I have not answered your question.The side by side thing is thought provoking.I guess if climb a is a trad,ground up,climb rated 5.x,and someone took a few risks into the unknown,and establishes a good route,then someone rap bolts another just twenty five feet away,we traddies start to wonder if the bolt expectations will leak across.Until you make a sport route at cliff Z,there are no sport climbers there.Then you make one,and it takes just ten minutes to climb and we need a few more.And the next time you come back there are four sport routes because they go up so fast.And pretty soon some well meaning soul who cried that he could not afford a trad rack shows up with a Bosch and fixes that trad route,because hey,it's a sport cliff right?
This stuff is happening,and not just in a few places.
Just want to say that the GU thing,I know it's not a sport route,I'm sure it's a killer route.I don't particularly admire folks who climb 5.11 putting in 5.8 X routes,and unlike most folks,I do not consider free solo the ultimate expression.The U E for me is ground up,gear if at all possible,bolts if necessary,on lead,hooks OK,and saving you stones for the true runout,but not falsely creating them by soloing way below your limit.So I am saying,go ahead and drill from a stance.To keep the game good,the rock has to exert some control of the situation.
Jhedge, funny thing is that most of the staunch traddies in the east go to Rumny, have a blast clipping bolts all day and then the next day they are back to complaining about bolts and fluff grades... For the record I am generaly all for keeping the areas and styles intact I am also willing to allow an exception if the rout is of high enough quality.. the more important issue for me is Squeeze jobs. If you rap bolt a great line in a trad area I will be dissapointed that it didn't go in with better style but if it is well done and quality I will not be tempted to chop it.. On the other hand if you hook your way up a squeezejob and place your single bolt within reach of my allready existing classic climb that bolt needs to be removed. If you rap bolt a squeeze job so that it alters the way existing climbs, climb then the rout needs to go. Rojers rock has experienced this last summer. The Matrix to the left of Screaming Meanie is an excelent 4 pitch rout. Unfourtunatly Rap bolted but loads of fun to climb. To the right of Screaming Meanie is a total squeeze job that makes it impossible to climb Screaming Meanie without being tempted to clip the first two bolts of the new rt. The 1st bolt I don't mind as it is TOTALY a retrobolt of the start of S.M. and allows normal people to do the direct start ( I used to traverse in from the right) but that second bolt just screws up the way the rest of the pitch climbs...
Tom, You can't blame the bolts for the crouds. Just que up for Thin Air, Recombeast, Bombardment, Funhouse, Inferno, Whitny G, Moby Grape, Highe E, CCC, Shockly's etc. Etc, Etc....None of those are bolted climbs and many have no bolts at all. The culprit is GYMs, Climbing Schools, too many babies and Marketing......
Have to say Nick(Tradmanclimbz),the queus...q's....quu...the line,the freakin lines,don't really bother me on Trad climbs even popular ones.If I want to do a classic multi pitch I know I need to go early,or late.
I have had fun clipping bolts at times.Really you can't climb here and not want to get on some bolted stuff at Cathedral and Whitehorse,and not all of it went in ground up.What I personally don't like about Rumney is the grid bolting,path building,fixed draws(are you really climbing something if you can't even clip in situ gear?)and the attitudes I see there.It's like a city,with people vying for parking spaces,no eye contact.Last time there I watched a girl try to borrow my partner's rope because she wanted to lead a climb and hers was not long enough to slingshot.I suggested she just belay on top and she looked at me like I was nuts.
The Gunks is that way now too.If people get on a classic climb there they camp on for hours.We went back to Never Never Land three times one day but the threesome on it tied it up for like six hours.The bolt anchors were intended to assist rappelling and instead created a toproping epidemic.
Gyms are a piece of it.I love people who say they are rockclimbers and have never touched a rock.....
Ron's original question is difficult to answer.
Most of what I see on this thread is people once again arguing their case; arguing for a position of trad versus sport.
As usual some of these are very eloquent and I always enjoy reading Healyje’s distinctive & eloquent characterizations.
I don't see very many suggestions as to whether or not these two styles can manage to coexist where there has been long-standing conflict over style.
(Not to discount those who have broached this challenging issue)
Yes, there are areas in the country where they do coexist: the crucial and specific question is, in an area such as Yosemite where we have long-standing conflict, can we come to agreements whereby these two styles can coexist?
That's the tough one.
Some areas in the country, some specific crags happen to support a culture where both trad and sport bolting coexist side-by-side; but did this happen through constructive attempts by the community of climbers to make it so? Or did it just come about in relative harmony without any resistance, without any need to generate agreements.
We have areas in the country where climbers engage exclusively in new bolting by means of traditional style, where that is informally agreed upon, but not formally enforced, such as the Pinnacles of California. We have areas such as the Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon in Colorado, whereby governed committees dictate all new bolted routes must be pre-inspected and bolt spacing must allow safe passage for leaders confident at the grade. These are examples of polar opposites; examples where there is an absence of an accommodation to side-by-side expression of bolting styles.
Most of these threads in the last couple of months have grown out of the Yosemite issue.
In answer to Ron's O P; I'd say in this case it's going to be very difficult for the community to come to such an agreement of coexistant styles, because Yosemite is so high profile, so steeped in traditional history and thereby tantamount to the "last great stand" of the traditional camp. It would seem that a continual if not endless conflict over style will win out over a discussion leading to an accommodation of the sport climbing style.
And if such an agreement were struck, would it open the floodgates onto the slippery slope thereby paving with good intentions the "road to hell", propagating the end of the trad legacy? These are hard questions and good ones. It is difficult to create structures (committees) which will adjudicate such subjective engagements as the use of bolts within a relatively artistic confine of their use by climbers.
I won't make an assertion whether one style should win out over another in Yosemite and short of some heroic triumph of conflict resolution, it's hard to imagine the implementation of a collective agreement which accommodates a side-by-side expression of both bolting styles. But my guess is: the conflict, the fractured community -- this will not be good for the user group, for the climbers as a whole.
Jhedge, here in the east the trad climbs all have lines on them as well. It is not just sport that is a ZOO. just too many people in the world. And yes the Gyms, Camps and adventure tours do pump a steady stream of new climbers into the system. They have to otherwise they would go out of buisness.
Indeed as the clientele in Rock Gyms begin to find those physically small gyms too confining one might expect commercial interest in going to public lands and developing specific cliffs into sport areas. As the trade becomes large enough even the high cost of gasoline can be resolved, at least partially, by setting up bus tours for the clients in the home gyms. For those gym climbers who specifically enjoy the presence of large numbers of people, the bus ride will in fact be part of the experience.
At a minimum one would hope such things are not done without first getting a Special Use Permit for commercial activity from the authorities managing the land. Would be interesting to see if any such permits already exist.
I have no concern that traditional climbing will die out. You can look at many sports and other activities and find folks who are dedicated to the traditional means and methods. There are blacksmiths and furniture makers turning out the most amazing works, using traditional tools, techniques and materials. Climbing is no different, those seaking out more adventure, commitment etc. will be drawn to the traditional ways.
Yet, there is nothing that can be done to force traditional climbing on everyone, and honestly I don't think any of the traditional climbers have any desire to do so.
Perhaps the traditional climbers will have to be content to realize that the rocks that will be reserved to the traditional means will be those that are difficult to access and aren't well known.
"Perhaps the traditional climbers will have to be content to realize that the rocks that will be reserved to the traditional means will be those that are difficult to access and aren't well known."
There is pretty much the essence-by-extension of the whole just-don't-clip-it mentality and facetiousness of the idea that sport climbing doesn't really affect you if you don't do it. It explicitly acknowledges the reality on the ground - that any rock within reasonable driving time of a major city, and within a reasonable approach of parking, that isn't under the protection of active public land managers or private owners - is being bolted. And it's being bolted to provide new climbs for the folks who persist as sport climbers from the large annual tidal flow of gyms which now act as the commercial 'engines' driving the demographics of our sport.
To be honest, in all these discussions one rarely hears or sees simple, explicit acknowledgements like this from the pro-bolt side of the discussion. And the lack of simple acknowledgements of that reality-on-rock looks like denial to many and really does act to impede what might otherwise make for more constructive discussions on the issue - at least from my perspective.
The reason we won't agree to "letting both coexist" is many of us believe one of them is murder.
Murder of a possible (or impossible) challenge for all of us including future generations. The submission of stretch of rock removes the possibility of personal growth while climbing for both a potential FAist and any repeaters who might gain something tangible from pushing themselves later on.
Since no one owns the rock, it's not fair for over-bolters to steal these challenges away from all of us. If you only want fun climbing outdoors, set up a toprope. Why do you need to add bolts and take something from the rest of us when you don't really even want the challenges or risk of leading?
If you can't climb it fairly now, leave it alone until you can. And if you are in desperate need of fun, risk-less lead routes, we have this thing called the climbing gym.
As the original generations of rock and roll fans matured, the music became an accepted and deeply interwoven thread in popular culture. Beginning in the early 1970s, rock songs and acts began to be used in a few television commercials; within a decade this practice became widespread. Starting in the 1980s rock music was often featured in film and television program soundtracks.
Just as jazz lost its ability to offend, so did rock. While mainstream rock music was no longer able to shock or offend, new forms of music, particularly the punk scene in the late-1970s and rap and hip-hop in the late-1980s as well as some pop acts, emerged to fill this role.
When asked if he was "still playing the Devil's music" Jerry Lee Lewis stated "Yes, I am. But you know it's strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they don't."
"Question for traddies.When this crap started,did you forsee the epidemic it is now?Did you think you'd be vying for crags with sport climbers.Did you think you'd ever see a bolted crack? "
Yes, as early as '75 I could see the writing on the wall clear as hell. In places like Eldo and the Gunks you could see about 40-50% of the folks leading were very nervous about it and basically less than competent and confident with gear. Many folks simply stopped leading or quit climbing altogether if they couldn't deal with placing pro.
It was a very pent-up demand for sport climbing before it even arrived. At that time the divide wasn't yet around the form of protection - it was around the stylistic divide that preceded bolting - and that centered around dogging which became the mainstay tactic of sport climbers once the bolting started in earnest.
It was always clear there was no shortage of folks who would be drilling like mad once the bolts started flying. But the overwhelming spread of sportclimbing had to wait for battery technologies to evolve and drop in price. And those advanced battery technologies are the true foundation of sport climbing. Once those drills became cheap it was quite clear what was about to follow.
I don't understand Wes, how can you compare the possibility of man flying (without artifical wings) to the possibility of man climbing without a bolt every 5 ft? You're analogy would only hold true if man had started flying originally without machines (considering man started climbing originally without bolts).
In fact, if man could fly on his own, why would we need airplanes? The fact is man can climb without overbolting!
Look, all I'm saying is if your reasons for climbing don't include the mental challenges that go along with traditional climbing (bolts or not), why not just toprope? Why lead at all? If you just want the joy of climbing movement, what does leading have to do with it? Why do you have to insist on overbolting to the point where leading loses its purpose when you don't really even care about leading?
I think many who would argue for traditional ethics will argue that traditional leading adds value to a route with classic climbing movement. I am just not sure that overbolting adds value to anything.
Champion wrote: Look, all I'm saying is if your reasons for climbing don't include the mental challenges that go along with traditional climbing (bolts or not), why not just toprope? Why lead at all? If you just want the joy of climbing movement, what does leading have to do with it? Why do you have to insist on overbolting to the point where leading loses its purpose when you don't really even care about leading?
Safe to say you have never done a really hard sport route.
Better analogy Wes, but I'm not sure anyone would argue that highway driving is a sacred or amazingly fun recreational experience.
I will agree that overbolting is a relative term, and everyone has the right to climb for their own reasons. Of course, everything is relative and that has never stopped people from including terms like "reasonable" in the law. I can agree that sport climbing has its place. But I also think there are places where sport climbing does not belong.
Funny thing is, I was just reminiscing about climbing with folks of various styles. The only time I've had a climb "ruined" was by a group of trad climbers. This was right on the cusp of the sport/gym transition, so the majority of climbers were just climbers, of various abilities, or lack thereof.
It was my first attempt at the regular route on Fairview dome. I don't recall why, but we ended up making a late start, with 2-3 parties ahead of us. I didn't so much mind the slow pace of the party ahead of us at first, and was content to chill at the second belay. But when gear started winging down on us, and this seemed to further slow their pace, it made me realize if we stayed on the route, we'd likely get nailed by falling gear, and would definately be decending in the dark. Needless to say we didn't have a flashlight with us. So we bailed and went craggin.
I've been to plenty of other areas where folks were falling their way up a route bolt by bolt, but it never ruined my climb.
wes wrote: 'The solo routes could be considered "best style," FAs as nothing was done to alter the rock at all.
Is that like "best religion" or "best tradition" or "best cultural norms?"
Are you suggesting anyone unwilling to risk their life is unworthy to climb the rock? Or simply that those who climbed it first dictate how it should be climbed in the future? '
I was not very clear in that post. On the west side of Fairview Dome in Tuolumne Meadows, natural features are very scarce so climbs are protected by bolts, for the most part. So it would seem that there isn't really any choice but to bolt. However, there are two other choices: climb the route solo, or don't climb it at all. So of the three choices, climbing the route solo is inarguably the choice of "best style" if the route is to be climbed, not climbing it is also "best style."
What surprises me in this discussion is the fact that we can choose not to do the climb, backing off, or just not going up to do it at all.
I'm not saying people should solo, that's a personal choice. When I solo I am fully prepared to back off, my life depends on that...
When putting up a new route I like to think I'm ready to back off if the line I choose won't go. Better to leave it for someone else then to force it, that someone else might even be me...
If I go up on an established climb I have to be prepared to back off too.
Now about who dictates what about climbs... we've been around this before on the Forum. In reality the climbers who climb those routes do whatever they want. I think the FA team or the FFA team does have some say in this matter. The whole concept of a "test piece climb" is based around the idea that the team had in establishing the climb, sometimes this is a very careful deliberation, and part of the act of creation. So changing the configuration of the climb after the FA (or FAA) could change the idea of the climb.
To some extent the ideas are important, and even compelling. The impressive thing about Smythe's essay above is that he points out the fact that climbing is really a construction that we climbers create. Climbing could be a whole lot of things, we see it on this particular thread, trad, sport, gym, etc, etc. It is a game of sorts and it has a set of rules that describes it. This doesn't trivialize it in my mind, but there are no immutable laws of climbing. So while you may not think the ideas of the past are worthy of limiting you, I find it hard to believe that you have absolutely no interest in how climbing is defined. In fact, you have been passionate about making sure that the definition of climbing not exclude what it is you do. So you care about ideas. If some later generation of climber posts on whatever the future medium communicating climbing news and opinions dismisses your perception of climbing as "archaic" and "no longer valid" I suspect it will bother you... but who knows, really, just a point of argument.
My examples in the previous post are examples of "side by side" ethics, which coexist without too much controversy. I suspect this is true because we understand the ideas which motivated the execution of the FA.
"OK, I've never been on these, nor will I likely ever do anything but walk underneath and look up, but what's the prevailing opinion about these two routes at Reed's:
Crossroads 5.13a * - 1990 Ron Kauk
Phantom 5.13b - 1986 John Bachar
it would seem these two climbs might provide an example raised in Ron's OP question"
These routes, when they went in, epitomized the controversy.
Bachar employed "quickies", a sliding nut design, to extend natural protection and avoid bolting on Phantom.
Kauk's Crossroads, was a countermove of sorts. The name Crossroads itself indicated the conflict, stating that we were at a crossroads in climbing, with bolting in particular at the center of it.
Tar wrote: These routes, when they went in, epitomized the controversy.
Bachar employed "quickies", a sliding nut design, to extend natural protection and avoid bolting on Phantom.
Kauk's Crossroads, was a countermove of sorts. The name Crossroads itself indicated the conflict, stating that we were at a crossroads in climbing with bolting in particular at the center of it.
And why can't both be seen as positives for the climbing community?
There's a whole sidebar, a bit of thread drift, actually a lot... to explain that phenomena.
But real quick:
Wunsch wrote very eloquently in a piece which you can read in CLIMB!, about the mental gyrations which he felt when working on some of those roof routes in Eldorado. It's a kinesthetic oriented fear; it's about putting your body in wild positions, where falling is a near certainty.
Traditional climbing, soloing, for those who are in the zone, tends to engender a feeling of certainty of NOT falling. You target and calculate for that and achieve it and that's what's special about it; not as a comparison to the other, but in its own right.
"The only time I've had a climb ruined was by a group of trad climbers."
Of course these trad climbers could magically be distinguished from yourself(as you were both on a trad route) even though...
"the majority of climbers were just climbers, of various abilities, or lack thereof."
In fact, what makes them evil trad climbers is not obvious here. But anyways, you were on a 'trad' route and you had your 'trad' experience on said 'trad route' ruined by some 'trad' climbers. So, what are you complaining about?
Oh, right. You are complaining because YOU...
"ended up making a late start"...
On one of the most popular routes in Tuolumne and YOU...
"didn't have a flashlight with us, So we bailed and went craggin"
And by the way, You have never had your 'sport' experience ruined, becuase there is never anyone frickin' climbing above you on a sport route, duh! You weren't on the same climb as the
"folks [who] were falling their way up a route bolt by bolt"...
And you never needed a flashlight to bail off a sport route because you never really go anywhere. Of course, climbing some BS sport route next to the folks falling their way upwards is a way better experience than climbing the Regular Route On Fairview, right?
Can you comment more on the Phantom and Crossroads?
I recall that Ron doing Crossroads, that that event took place at the height, or right in the middle of the rap bolting controversy in Yosemite. For me it was emblematic of the controversy, but I don't remember any big dustup over that route.
Please correct me if I'm wrong here John, or fill in the blanks: but it seemed like he more or less just got away with that one, (I remember Ron talking about his route name; he was making a statement with it, but I don't remember your input on the matter) so how that really went down, that does inform the discussion, historically speaking, of side-by-side styles.
I never even looked at these routes, but doesn't Crossroads cross right over the Phantom?
That's what I remember.
It may as well have been called "Crossing Swords".
Tar - Yeah it caused a few ground up folks to get pissed off. Crossroads did get chopped and replaced. Kauk was unhappy about that. I thought it was a bad precedent at the time. That is also when I wrote that "Compromise" piece that was posted by Deucy in the SFHD thread. Kauk didn't want any part of that and the rap bolting began.
Now people rap bolt 2000 foot faces....
Gotta go free soloing for now....see ya' later (I hope).
A good deal of the posters here on Supertopo are staunch traditionalists and pretty much categorically defy rap bolting. While that gets explained really well, again, the crux of this thread, the crux of the biscuit so to speak, is the notion of coexistence. Is this a pipe dream? Will the prevalence of rap bolting blot out traditional styles?
I brought it up a few times and it tends to go unnoticed here, this fact that in the Flatirons of Boulder, ground up, on sight, bolted first ascents ARE NOT ALLOWED. To a forum so composed predominantly of traditional climbers, this should seem ironic or ridiculous to say the least.
Here is a case where the tables have completely turned. I find that noteworthy. For those of us who were around in the 80s and active, we may remember that in many ways sport climbing found fertile territory in Colorado, while it was initially much resisted in California.
This goes some way to explaining how we can have an established committee here in Colorado which outlaws traditional means. I found it telling that one of my friends here, who had a hand in instituting the Eldorado model of bolting controls, which was used as a template for the Flatiron committee, this person had never heard of Tom Higgins, or if he had he didn't understand the significance of Higgins’ to the historical development of bolted slabs. This would be like me, originally a Californian, having never been fairly cognizant of the influence and legacy of John Stannard.
A lot of people who have input on this matter are lacking in knowledgeable appreciation of historical context.
To my point: even though Colorado was once a hotbed of purism, (for instance, the idea of eradicating all hanging belays wherever possible through creative stance, and Jim Erickson's chalk less no falls ethic and so forth), we've since had lots of influence from the concept that sport climbing introduced; namely that the quality of a route is more important than how it went up. (I'm not saying that sentiment doesn't have its place).
The Flatirons model embraces this and it also rejects any sort of route involving bolts which is by its nature, say by being run out for example, liable to exclude people. That's a long ways down the line from people working with the natural environment ground up and setting an example of something to aspire to, which includes risk.
So in trying to sort out some of this methodology which has been adopted by these Colorado committees, I asked one of these committee members how a traditional style bolted route might be accommodated and they said "Well Roy, we'd have to have quotas for different styles". He made that remark, and it was tabled as a remark and not as a suggestion, as though it was absurd.
So circling back to the letter that John Bachar just referenced as appearing in the Half Dome thread, the one which Deuce posted, that actually suggested a place to start in terms of creating some sort of format to accept these different styles in a way somewhat more codified than a free-for-all style of competition for potential lines.
My last post was simply to point out in all this arguing of co-existing is that the only time a climbing party has had an effect on a climb of mine was a trad group, not sport climbers. I thought that was pretty funny in light of this conversation.
Sure, I was young and had poorly planned the climb, evident by the late start and lack of headlights. My climb wasn’t ruined, and I wasn’t mad at anyone. It was learning experience, like every climb has been. I learn from both good and bad experiences. I went back the next summer, was the first one on the route, and had a great time.
High horse? Cripes, I don’t see how I’ve tried to force my style on anyone, or claimed superiority. I just like climbing, not falling. There is a huge difference between having a live and let live acceptance of other styles, vs. adopting them. It seems some sport climbers want to force everyone adopting their styles as the only way they can feel that they are being accepted. Why is this?
My current climbing partner is the best partner I've ever climbed with. Not because he's a strong climber, which he is, not because he's a trad or sport climber, as I don't know what he considers himself, and I don't think he's ever thought about it. He's just a climber, ice, rock, gym, he clips bolts, he places pro, he free solos. We simply enjoy climbing together.
Our jobs are flexible enough that if the weather is right, and the mood strikes, lunch time is spent getting in a climb, and we feel great about it afterwords. He has no problem with me being out of shape and climbing several grades less then he climbs. If I'm stuck at something that's cruxing me he doesn't spray or try to rush me. If I'm cruising or climbing well, he doesn't blow smoke up my azz.
If I were to put in a nutshell why he's such a good partner, it's that he climbs sans ego.
Styles can co-exist, but big egos can't, even if they are from the same camp.
Ok, I'll come down off the horse. Don't mean to rag on you Tolman, but it just seemed you were ragging on Traddies without a good reason. Bob, there is merit to sport climbing, and I know it can be a meaningful pursuit.
On the other hand, the both "coexisting" concept is a really warm, fuzzy ideal that neglects some of the realities of what really goes on.
The truth is sport climbing, or the sport climbing mindset, can have an negative impact on traditional areas. I've seen it happen recently here in Phx, AZ at a traditional area, Pinnacle Peak. Here, an existing semi-runout bolted trad route "Lessons in Discipline" has been retro-bolted without FA permission or even a community concensus. Now, the run-outs are removed, and a route that meant more than the sum of its moves is just another sport clip up. I see this kind of thing as a tangible negative impact of sport climbing in a traditional area.
On the other hand, what impact does trad have on sport areas? Is there a perceived negative impact for sport climbers when a trad line goes up in a sport area? If we are to work towards a "both coexist" live and let live mentality, there should be give and take. I just feel like the "both coexisting" concept, in reality, is only a benefit for sport climbing and mostly a drag for trad climbing.
Paul wrote: Now, the run-outs are removed, and a route that meant more than the sum of its moves is just another sport clip up. I see this kind of thing as a tangible negative impact of sport climbing in a traditional area.
I would chop the bolts and fill in the holes. Pretty simple solution.
Nate - Here's the compromise letter I came up with (thanks to Deuce for saving this).
I thought maybe we could share the rock and still have some challenges for ground up climbers but the rap guys wanted nothing to do with it.
The problem is that ground up efforts take a lot more time than rap bolting efforts and all the open terrain gets eaten up real quick on rappel thereby leaving the ground up guys with nothing. That's why I quit climbing in Tuolumne - everything I was trying got rap bolted so I left.
When I found the unclimbed Owens River Gorge, I was stoked but after I put up three routes, the rap bolters put up a hundred. Then I quit climbing there too.
So much for co-existence and giving the "other guys" a chance.... Up is up, down is down.
In areas where the two ethics exist, one existed before the other. Up to local ethic (or lack thereof) to decide if this sets a precedent for the entire cliff or region, I guess. Or it's simply live and let live, depending often on the egos involved.
How often does an individual visit a trad (GU) crag and start putting up sport climbs?
How often does an individual visit a sport crag and start putting up trad (GU) climbs?
I reckon the first happens much much more often. And that's the perceived threat to traditionalism. It's not a very even playing field - when competition for a limited resource enters the picture.
Where I climb, the two ethics co-exist side by side, largely due to lack of any local climbing community. A number of the FAists do routes in both styles. But I can guarantee that far more sport routes are going in then trad (GU) routes.
Ultimately, if any hope for a balance is to be maintained in these areas, then the traditionalists have to get to work, while also recruiting the next generation of climbers to go at it ground-up.
Thanks John for reposting. Did any top-down practitioners participate/collaborate in penning this co-existence letter?
I'm glad to see that the coexistence issue is getting some consideration, but I don't think that John's first condition is a reasonable expectation.
I climb for myself, not to compare myself with others. So suggesting that my style be dependent upon difficulty, and furthermore that that level of difficulty is dependent on the levels that others are climbing at is not gonna work for me.
If the rap bolters are putting up a hundred routes to the trad's three then in my eyes the accomplishment of those three ascents is only greater. It adds to their status.
For me quality has always meant far more than quantity.
You should be proud of those three John. They only distinguish themselves that much more.
The thing that bugs me is that people do climbs without the faintest notion of their history (don't get me going).
Well, there you go - except if we're talking within reasonable driving and approach distances for a day of climbing then I'd say there isn't 'plenty of it to go around' at all in many parts of the country - and what there is, that's unprotected by private ownership or active land management, is all but under siege by drills.
"Question for traddies.When this crap started,did you forsee the epidemic it is now?Did you think you'd be vying for crags with sport climbers.Did you think you'd ever see a bolted crack?"
That was a poignant question!
Healyje did a pretty good job with it:
"In places like Eldo and the Gunks you could see about 40-50% of the folks leading were very nervous about it and basically less than competent and confident with gear."
Another thing which Healyje has asserted throughout these discussions: something to the effect that the predominant number of climbers out there in this day and age are risk-averse and prefer a fairly sanitized well protected experience.
In answer to Tomcat's first question and to expand on it:
Hell yes I knew (rap bolting) would likely become prevalent. In the early 80s Lechlinsky and I went on a little bolt chopping junket in Joshua Tree. Not to be insensitive here, but it was sort of fun; at that time even rap routes were done with quarter inch button heads and they came out laughably easy. Some of the routes I had previously climbed with the rappel bolts in place, and others I hadn't, but lead them later without the bolts, except for one of them. (Frankly I don't give a hoot about those last details, just some trivia for people who find that important).
We did it because we thought it might, -might stave an onslaught of rap bolting, long-term, in the Monument; you know, nip it in the bud. But I harbored no illusions about the long-term realities. I figured, as the masses began to get involved in rockclimbing, they would sooner or later get around to imposing their risk-averse ways.
What Healyje said about risk-averse climbers, even within the trad community, that is so true and quite key. I believe it just so happens that there aren't that many of us, in a proportional sense, that really excel at on-site leading. It might even be an innate talent, even though it can obviously be learned and polished, I think a great many climbers just don't have it. So in essence, it is by nature a little bit elitist.
In support of that last paragraph, by way of example: take Tony Yaniro. Obviously a brilliant climber, demonstrating great footwork, awesome power and limitless enthusiasm, he probably knew how and had in the past run things out, but in general he just didn't want to risk a lot and loved to sew things up.
When Lechlinsky and I were doing new routes in the California Needles around that same time, we'd sort of been giving Yaniro and Leavitt grief for their top-down tactics. We had been using hooks occasionally for some of the steeper slabs, bolting in positions too steep to swing a hammer from natural stance. Tony capitulated, made himself a bunch of custom hooks, (he really loved making gear, he once hand cut his own 3/4" cams), and went to work on Sirocco. It's a great route, but they basically just constructed a bolt ladder from their hooks, and selectively removed bolts after the fact to make the leading and clipping more balanced.
So you just can't make everybody play your game and there are lots of climbers out there who just don't risk it, so sport climbing is here to stay (not even to mention or defend all the straightforward athletic positive things about sport climbing). In my opinion, once that appraisal comes into focus, things only get worse when we try to impose our own will upon others; next thing you know, a few turns and a few years down the road (now), they are the ones who are in the majority, and your “Noble Savage" style is the thing getting ruled out!
So that last bit is obviously the best argument for extending towards sport climbers a means to coexistence where trad climbers are concerned. I am not saying I know how to achieve it, but we are in the minority, in essence, as noted by Healyje, always have been.
Tar wrote: Another thing which Healyje has asserted throughout these discussions: something to the effect that the predominant number of climbers out there in this day and age are risk-averse and prefer a fairly sanitized well protected experience.
I hope Joe put himself in that group...knowing his past as top-downer or top-roper.
John...since your proposal...how many 5.13c trad routes have been done in the area and by who??
bob - Not many if any at all 13c routes have been done that I know of - they all got rap bolted. No one gave the ground up guys a chance.
Nate D hits it on the nailhead - rap bolters always win. They get to all the lines quite easily and quickly.
Ask any ground up dude/dudette how it feels.
Werner - Yes, I hated trying to write that stupid co-existence thing. I was trying to give both sides a chance to do their own thing (dumb idea but at least I tried - I didn't get any compromise ideas from them). Everybody can still do their own thing but the ground up folks always get the raw deal. Most of the obvious good lines get the top down treatment in rapid fashion - "Sorry about that ground up climber".
Bob D: "I hope Joe put himself in that group...knowing his past as top-downer or top-roper."
Bob, was never a top-downer, but we did top rope a bunch and that was entirely LNT-driven back in So.Ill. based on the rock and does include a couple of X-rated TR's in the mix if you're ever in that neck of the woods, as well as one roof that went highball / free solo for the same reason. That and I've stacked a few hexs in pegmatite here and there over the years on new lines. And actually, TRing real steep lines and roofs is a lot harder than dogging up them bolt to bolt - it's really closer to deep water soloing - it's entirely 'think fast and do, or fly'.
My current FAs are actually pretty grim affairs at the moment from an objective hazard standpoint. And while I'm not particularly talented, well-rounded, or strong in this company, I don't think anyone then or now would describe my climbing as particularly risk averse.
The only route I chopped, and it wasn't so much a chop as unscrewing the hangers was a route at Summit Rock across from Castle Rock in the Santa Cruz mountains. It actually required pulling the hangers twice to send the message.
Some of the formation was maybe 1/2 rope length high, but there were plenty of boulders around. There was this one slab maybe, maybe 15' high, that had a large horn on the top a good 2' high and well over a foot in dia. Somebody had placed not one but two bolts on the thing to "lead" it, and two more to belay from. It was like a 5.7 boulder problem, If you had to use rope a rope for it, this could have been easily accomplished by just wrapping a sling around the massive horn and top roping it. The base was completely flat, so risk of tweaked ankles on a bad landing.
It was at that point that I realized for some of these "climbers", the "first ascent" really wasn't what it wasabout, nor the route, nor even climbing. These people were little more than dogs urinating on a post to mark their teritory, and their "routes" were little more than an effort to leave their mark on the world.
John wrote: bob - Not many if any at all 13c routes have been done that I know of - they all got rap bolted. No one gave the ground up guys a chance.
John...I still do ground up and top down. Still a lot of new rock even in a place like Boulder Canyon...the so called traddies just seem to be their own worst enemy...a lot are good at complaining...but not doing.
Joe...go do a cutting edge new route and then come back and talk. The level you are climbing at was reached 30-40 years ago. As to risk...the r and x rated routes never had waiting lines...even 20-30 years ago.
"I think the "just don't clip the bolts and we won't place bolts closer than..." preserves your adrenaline rush."
It's not about the adrenaline rush.
For me and other first ascensionists, it's about having some rock to do first ascents (the most challenging type of climbing I've encountered over all these years). If it doesn't matter to rap bolters "how" the bolts got in, why not let a bunch of dumb first ascent guys risk life and limb to do it ground up. The top downers can add bolts later so the general public can feel safe and have fun and get better at "free climbing" and all that other good stuff. The ground up first ascent dude gets what he wants - a chance to pit his will and might against the unknown.
I've climbed all styles, techniques, etc. on rock and the two most enjoyable things I've ever really liked are doing "on-sight, ground up, first ascents" and "free soloing". I can free solo tons of stuff and still get my groove on but on-sight ground-up first ascents are hard to come by.
"But it is only a bolt after all, hardly the eye sore others would have to (have had to) see when someone craters."
Let me try visualizing that one...
Pools of bloody, pounded flesh and bones - or bolts. Given we aren't talking whales washed up on beaches, that's a pretty powerful image. And quite an easy choice, too. I'd have to consult with Tar (who seems to have his fingers on an amazing breadth of visual and factual climbing history) to see if that wasn't the Powerpoint deck that convinced Boulder of the need to institute draconian down-bolting measures on the Flatirons, but I wouldn't doubt it if it was.
So, we're talking bolts in their savior role here (or is that you for sinking them), protecting people from their own judgment. Or is the point of bolts also to protect us from the disturbing aesthetic consequences of other climbers' bad judgment? Clearly I'm not up to speed on all the many safety attributes of bolts - but I'll be sure and add this rationale to a list. Is this one of those "I have a dream..." sort of deals where some year they don't have to publish an ANAM? I personally don't want to be protected from my own actions, from routes, or from the mistakes of others which - hopefully - we all learn very real lessons.
Tar, I hear and see you searching for some common point where both sides might meet and move forward from, but personally I find the denials about the rate lines are being drilled up and the radical disparity between notions of individual and group risk management to be pretty serious impediments. It's about like tribes in the 1800's who tried sending representatives to Wash. DC. for honorable discussions with the US government. Not sure what 'treaty' you could write that wouldn't literally be full of holes before the ink[jet] dries.
Edit: Bob, you're right, we were putting up .12s in the mid-70's just like folks in other places and now I'm just as happy as a clam putting up .10-.11 ground up trad lines 30+ years later. I've never once - not once - climbed for difficulty, only interesting rock and lines. If they happen to be hard so be it, otherwise I could care less.
For many a seasoned climber, there comes a time when some realize the only chance they have to put everything together and test themselves against the rock is during a ground-up first ascent up an unclimbed piece of rock. It forces them to dig deep into their soul and come up with everything they know and feel to make it up some unknown face.
Top down bolting is a bummer for would-be first ascensionists. Ground-up is slow, hard and dangerous, rap-bolting is fast, easy and safe. Ground-up guy has a harder time nowadays. His dream of climbing unknown terrain gets eaten up quickly by top-down dudes. Where can he go to do first ascents?
Can top-down dudes leave ground-up dudes some space to do their own thing?
I appreciate the flavor of a ground up first free ascent, on-sight, and all that yummy stuff.
And I don't agree with this whole notion about it being a selfish endeavor, because if it is conducted within the confines of ground-up territory, the end product is something that makes sense for those who come to repeat it, generally speaking. Southern Belle, the Bachar Yerian: these are exceptions to the rule of ground-up routes in terms of the risk; they are the corner cases.
Just to level the playing field (or perhaps only to trim the lawn back a bit), a couple other things, one from each side, which I find annoyingly off mark:
From Rappel Bolters:
"If you like run outs, you don't have to clip all the bolts on our routes"
-hogwash! For a route to have realistic run out tension, that kind of contrivance won't cut it.
From Ground-up Boys and Girls:
"Why don't you just top rope it, instead of punching in all those bolts?"
-um, no. There is plenty of artistry and tension in leading a sport route, but it is of a different nature, more athletic.
Okay, now that I have that off my chest:
You've outed me!
My whole shtick is about bringing people together. I do not even care about the subsequent state of my first ascents so much; because to me, it's all about that experience of looking into the eyes of those people who were present with me on those adventures. It's transitory.
We are all climbers. Different preferences is one thing, but a fractious, divided and bickering community, heck, WORLD, is not my best hope for us and in some real sense, it scares the crap out of me for our future.
Anyway, yes I like to try to appeal to a model of conflict resolution where possible.
A simple distinction:
We can fight, bargain, argue for positions:
In this case the outcome is such that there is usually a winner and loser.
Alternately, if we choose to do so, we can examine interests, expand our understanding of these and perhaps come to common agreements, yes, compromises.
We all want to continue bolting, (at least in this context we're discussing).
That is common ground. Those are interests. Interests are more general than positions, not so specific.
To avoid gathering too much notice from the powers that be: this might be required to avoid the shut down of all bolting, so it might behoove us to clean up our profile, so that we don't lose all bolting privileges. That is also an interest and not a position.
So common interests are common ground. And if we care to seek a solution that serves both parties, we start evaluating and valuing these types of things and then try to come to agreements based on their recognition.
Yes I have pretty much said all of this before. No I don't have the answers. But that's not how conflict resolution works; one person doesn't walk in with the answers, the disputants have to step forward and choose to engage the process of understanding one another in hopes of seeking a solution, typically because they believe the standard adversarial process will not serve them.
We don't want a winner and loser; we want both styles to exist and flourish, um, maybe…
TiG - I did the first three pitches of Southern Belle with Werner. We got onto the face after the amazing crack (which I couldn't do free - had to aid a bit - 5.12c it is I think).
After a while I knew I wasn't going back up there so I told Middendorf and Shultz about it. I truly thought it might go free and wanted them to have a go at it. I thought they might be able to make it and send a little message to further first ascensionists.
"Joe...weren't most of those routes done on top-rope and if they were you started at the top?"
Yes, many were top roped, but not one of those from the top, or dogged, and not one them got previewed.
"How can you have a top-rope x rated route?? Wouldn't that be a solo?"
Only through the crux on roofs, on really steep stuff you had to worry about the trees both going out and coming back in. One route, "Fear of Flying" did break one back - he made it out through the trees alright, but didn't manage to navigate back through them quite as well.
Bob, we walked to the top and set anchors, walked to the base and did things ground up. Again, on that steep rock the easiest way to 'bag' those climbs would have been to bolt and dog them - but it simply isn't possible to dog with a top rope on steep rock or roofs.
Having done a lot of TR FA's I'd say we were 'sport' climbing (minus the dogging) way before sport climbing came in. All the more reason why I've never understood the inherent contradiction involved with bolting single pitch routes - either you're into 'the movement' - in which case you should dispense with clipping faux placements and just climb (on a TR) - or, on the other hand, you're into the clipping for clipping's sake for some reason as an weak emulation of placements and 'movement' really isn't as big a deal as it is often claimed to be. And I do understand it is its 'own thing' now, I just don't much care for what it has become; or what would become of the Bastille and Eldo in general if sport climbers had their way with them.
I do, however, agree with you about Tar essentially playing the role of Jimmy Carter in the ME - but that's what I like about both of them - integrity, good intentions, smart with a sense of history, and a willingness to at least try in the face of overwhelming odds. But then, hey, that also sounds like what JB ended up being all about on more than one or two climbs and walked away accomplishing something inspite of the odds. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...
Joe wrote: I do, however, agree with you about Tar essentially playing the role of Jimmy Carter in the ME - but that's what I like about both of them - integrity, good intentions, smart with a sense of history, and a willingness to at least try in the face of overwhelming odds. But then, hey, that also sounds like what JB ended up being all about on more than one or two climbs and walked away accomplishing something inspite of the odds. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...
Jimmy Carter is one of my personal heroes...love the man and what he stands for.
Bachar..along with with others have done a lot for the sport of climbing. The ball is going to keep rolling and the new will carry it when the old can no longer. I also admire what the new breed is doing...some really amazing stuff going on.
Joe...you seem like a good guy..let's hook up the next time you are in my neck of the woods.
Bob, would love to. I'm normally in ABQ every month, although the past three months I haven't while we've been renegotiating with the folks who bought our vendor down there. I've been having to go to Milwaukee instead (bummer). But, we've just about got a new contract in place, so I should be starting to head down that way again soon with stops in Eldo as often as possible. And for that matter, all my gear is in a friend's garage in Vegas and I need to get down there at least once as well. And hell, I also need to get my ass kicked by the locals in the Sandias, while I'm at it. Will let you know when I start heading back down you're way.
I'm quite sure there is no way ACE, (Action Committee for Eldorado), would ever allow the retro bolting of things like the Bastille Crack, or just about any Eldo classic for that matter.
It's a very preservationist set of controls they have in place, regarding the old classics. As an example: a fellow climber of mine, who fancies himself a guide, (in my opinion more to shore up his self-professed legacy, than to actually make a living as a guide), this person petitioned for ACE to retro bolt the anchors on some of the classic 5.8’s "so they could be guided". (Of course I countered that idea from the fundamental standpoint that the guiding experience should include building anchors). ACE was having none of that idea of adding bolt anchors to classic routes where there is ample opportunity to build an anchor, so from a preservationist standpoint I think they're doing good things to quell any impetus to change those routes.
In understanding why they don't allow ground up bolting, I've indicated a bit of that before; for one, there isn't much legacy of that style of bolting in either Eldorado Canyon or the Flatirons. In the 80s, most of the bolting in the Flatirons, if not all of it, was of the top-down variety purely for sport climbing. So the current model is merely a resumption of that style. (... and I don't think it has anything to do with the death of Goukas on PowerPoint, Higher Cathedral, if that's what you were asking).
Second, they see this as a very limited set of terrain in a Mountain Park setting, very close to urban areas, not so wild at all, and subject to many gentrified climbers of the gym population. So their assertion is, even moderately run out bolted routes would be a liability for those people; and equally as strong, is the assertion that they don't want routes to exclude people, they want a style of access in terms of bolts which accommodates a broader range of users (climbers).
But here's an interesting speculation that might be made about this situation, in light of what is indicated in that last paragraph:
Piton Ron suggested a point about the democratic process up thread: to paraphrase, he asked wouldn't it be more democratic to allow a variety of styles to have their play. I think what we have here in Boulder, (notwithstanding the lack of a lot of historical precedent for ground up bolting), is the analog to the Neocon, which I might call the Neoliberal (keep in mind I'm perhaps not so politically astute). This is a style of liberal who is all in favor of instituting structures which protect us from ourselves. -Now I wonder if that was a loaded pair of statements? ...But it is an interesting thought in terms of how it might be affecting policy here in Boulder.
Roy fairly clearly sketches out the nature of the policy decisions facing us. Depending upon density of population we may be looking at something like a vertical theme park in Eldorado, if you will. I think there is one thing we are carefully ignoring. If you are in a theme park, the equipment fails, and you are injured or killed someone can sue. Who is going to be liable during the years between now and when we reach an insured commercial theme park in Eldorado? Indeed we have commercial and would-be commercial entities interested in creating sport areas all of which are putting customers on bolts installed by god knows whom. Companies producing the personal protective equipment itself have been structuring themselves for years so as to limit their liability. Some even changed their names or created new corporate structures for this reason. How is it the actual placing of bolts has fallen through the cracks? One would think the city of Boulder, now that it is involved administratively in the placing of personal protective equipment, would be very interested in this.
Here in town a young girl suffering epileptic seizures tragically drowned while participating in a city sponsored program. The city was sued for $200,000,000. Would you believe me were I to tell you this taxpayer can't afford that?
There was the usual waiver which is easily by-passed through claiming gross negligence.
"The FCC will administer the permit process through its Fixed Hardware Review Committee (FHRC), and will serve in an advisory capacity only. OSMP (Open Space and Mountain Parks) will make the final determination as to whether new routes that require bolts are allowed."
This tells me Open Space and Mountain Parks takes the first hit in a litigation?
Another statement pulled from the Flatirons Climbing Council web site:
"The permit process operates under the guiding belief that individuals can no longer take unilateral actions that affect all climbers without community input and consensus. Toward this end, the permit process exists as a public forum to assist and regulate the installation of fixed anchors with the goal of facilitating controlled growth of quality routes and anchors in the Flatirons."
So you see here where things can go when bolting really goes mainstream. You can forget about individual expression i.e. "unilateral actions". This is where on-site ground-up routes die off. Now it could be possible that "community input and consensus" might allow for traditional style bolting, and that might be so in some areas, but in general it looks to me like: End of the Road Baby...
Tar wrote: So you see here where things can go when bolting really goes mainstream. You can forget about individual expression i.e. "unilateral actions". This is where on-site ground-up routes die off. End of the road baby...
Not in Boulder Canyon, or the Black or RMNP and so on...
Tar wrote: And I agree that those of us that choose or aspire to wild experiences, need to seek out wild and less governed spaces.
Front-country usage is way up and back country way down...hiking, biking and climbing along the population centers will continue to grow and grow...solitude is out there and like you said...you just have to seek it out.
I'm with you Tar when it comes to hoping that climbers could just work it out, but that seems highly unlikely. All it takes is one person with the "if I can't have her then nobody can" type attitude to blow it for everyone.
seems like this thread is circling the drain right now...
wes is doing his wes thing, taking the old crusty's quips seriously
the old crusties are rising to wes' bait
replace wes with "sport climber"
replace "old crusty" with "trad climber"
repeat observation -
I climb, I do it in all different modes, I have my own set of standards in terms of climbs I'd put up. If you ask me my opinion about someone else's climb, I'll give it to you. If you don't agree, I'll listen to your points, might still disagree though -
Well, aside from the folks who refuse to even imagine any sort of compromise, the fact remains that sport climbers have much less motivation to create some sort of coalition or committee to divide Yosemite into style parks. The only driver for those folks is the rather vague threat that at some point the NPS might be moved to ban fixed anchors altogether.
How many Yosemite regulars under, say 30, are fully committed to ground-up only? Under 35? Under 40?
Yosemite is going to be a much more difficult proposition than Eldo, partly because it's a National Park, partly because it has a much wider range of user groups and constituencies, and partly because of dynamics in the climbing community, namely, that it is a premiere destination for big-wall nailing.
Not to my knowledge has any renegade bolting happened here in the Flatirons or Eldorado. The historical clamp down on bolting severely curtailed a robust sport climbing productivity, so the current pilot programs are likewise very well valued.
Regardless of any of that, I'm not aware that a lot of trad climbers here are chomping at the bit to do new bolted routes in those two areas. But I could be way off base, as I'm not really plugged into that community. I'm pretty much out of the way doing my own thing.
I've been told that before... doesn't come as a surprise that you would say it.
But actually, my point is that it is very likely that no one has ever restrained you from doing anything you wanted to do on a climb... you have been completely free to go up and retro-bolt routes the way you'd want them to be.. that you could climb, in what ever style you wanted, any route... to develop new routes in your chosen style.
What restrains you?
You call me an idiot, but so what, I disagree with lots of your arguments, I'm not going out there with a gun and blow your ass off routes I think you're executing incorrectly. Does it matter at all to you what my view point is? does it affect the way you climb? I hope not.
My idiotic point is that you are largely free to climb as you wish. You are even free to alter climbs as you wish. You might bring the wrath of the community down on your ass, but they aren't going to hunt you down...
...well maybe if you chop bolts in the Northeast... but you aren't even as obnoxious as that guy is...
Over the years you've been posting here there seems to be some strange need of yours to validate your view on climbing and invalidate the "traditional" view. You want to be right, and you want the others to be wrong.
Maybe I'm an idiot and don't see the subtly of your actual position, but you seem to post around here with a huge chip on your shoulder.
How come? don't you get out to climb enough? anywhere you want? lots of places?
So practically, this all is just a lot of BS pot stirring...
...I'm an idiot for thinking that there is any value at all here... I'll admit it.
Just got back from climbing. Did a TR FA on an sketch arete with no pro of any kind - now I do have a real dilemma: will it become my first sport climb...(oh, the humanity) or leave it a TR?
Wes, that's the sort of stuff we were doing in So.Ill. in the mid-70's knee-barred, no-hands rests and all - but we were doing them on TRs (don't know how tall that one is). It's pretty exciting and challenging doing far overhung steep on TR as, by-and-large, there's no hanging around figuring things out.
Heallyj, can you hook your way up that arette and hand drill it? scare the piss out of yourself and probobly be pretty fun as well. Then you might have a nice clip up to enjoy... It's actually a really good feeling to watch people enjoying your hard work;)
The problem that I have with JBs rule #3 is that its kind a a wanker rule.. If your planning on climbing something then go climb it.. If someone beats you too it then snooze you lose. Theres lots of stuff I am thinking of climbing but putting off because I am too lazy or scared or whatever so If someone else comes allong and gets it done what am I supposed to do? raise a stink and say hey I was going to get arround to climbing that thing someday so I have first dibbs??
I think John Stannard proposed this earlier;
But we could schedule a meeting at Yosemite Facelift to give it a shot again. Perhaps even publicize it in the mags? (To increase the likelihood of getting fair representation across the board).
Maybe do a Yahoo group, where rappel bolters could post up an intended top-down effort, and give the ground up folks an opportunity to respond, providing for their chance to have first crack at it.
Then, if things wind up being too "museumlike" after the ground up route is completed, horror of horrors, a little retro bolting could be considered so the final outcome is not so exclusive.
Or it could be voted to be left as is, if deemed worthy.
Tardaddy writes: Then, if things wind up being too "museumlike" after the ground up route is completed, horror of horrors, a little retro bolting could be considered so the final outcome is not so exclusive.
I'm all for this. If a route does not get at least 3 ascents in a fifty year span, it can be retroed for the dickless rock starved masses.
Tar wrote: Maybe do a Yahoo group, where rappel bolters could post up an intended top-down effort, and give the ground up folks an opportunity to respond, providing for their chance to have first crack at it.
They have had numerous chances to do many routes in any style they wanted...and they haven't.
Boulder Canyon is a good case in point. Close to a popular climbing city with a solid base of trad-climbers, short approaches and routes that can be done ground up if they wanted to put the time and effort in...they just won't do it.
Most just complain after the routes are in and say they could have done better.
I am in a straitjacket now Werner.
I'd have to be so, in order to be posting up any open-ended ideas on this thread.
You know Bob,
I have to agree about Boulder Canyon.
Most of the good trad lines have already been done long ago.
What's left is Choss in that regard (discontinuous and choppy, not that elegant or logical in terms of trad climbing), and I can see how what is left can work out better for sport climbing.
And although your argument might hold about trad climbers getting around to things in Yosemite, I wouldn't compare Boulder Canyon to Yosemite, not in terms of quality potential lines.
Tar...I disagree with your assessment of Boulder Canyon, there have been many new classics done in the last five years and they could have been done ground up or by rappel.
This sh#t is really getting old...no one stopped anyone from climbing that route on Half Dome in the last 25 years...the reality of it is that no f*#king so-called trad climber wanted to make the effort to do the route. If they use half the f*#king energy they used complaining on the internet they might have a good chance of getting up the route from the ground!
Hope you know this semi-small rant is not directed at you.
As you argue for things to be left as they are, meaning unstructured, with no agreements and with a relatively laissez-faire arrangement, any of the suggestions I'm posting here are meant to address the OP, and to take a peek at what agreements might look like, or how they look in other areas of the country where they have been implemented, such as they are.
On a personal level, I have to say I don't really care a great deal what happens about all this bolting hullabaloo. But I don't mind tossing in a little intellectual grit as an aspect of my participation in, and perhaps a contribution to, the community and a sense of community.
Tar wrote: On a personal level, I have to say I don't really care a great deal what happens about all this bolting hullabaloo. But I don't mind tossing in a little intellectual grit as an aspect of my participation in, and perhaps a contribution to, the community and sense of community.
Funny...is that the same community that wanted to beat Henry Barber up when he came to the valley and freed some routes that locals couldn't do...the same community that called Sean and Doug rapists
and almost every other word in the book for their route...the same community that harassed Paul and Todd when they came to the valley, Alan Watts when he did the Stimga and Ray Jardine for using friends. Let not forget how that community laughed at the Huber brothers when they first came to the valley with plans to free some big walls...the list goes on...
Not sure to which proposal of mine you refer, but no matter either way.
I would suggest a couple of things.
1. If involving Facelift is a possibility several of you should first sit down with Ken and mull over all the pros and cons. Are we ready for a meeting?
2. You need to think over the format or the ground rules of the meeting. I am not suggesting Robert's Rules of Order or any such but there has to be something. Suggesting a time limit is very good for helping people to prioritize what they wish to address. The meeting has to focus on something so perhaps the first few minutes might be spent defining what the group thinks the problem is? If it is too early for a meeting you will get no consensus on even this. If you do get agreement then what people feel the meeting can achieve might be discussed.
3. You need to come up with a respected neutral moderator. Ken is the natural choice but he may not want to fill this role. So that you waste no time, I am out.
Maybe something like:
What is the problem?
What can we realistically hope to achieve here?
Then what might be approaches to the problem(s)?
(It might even be that a short, perhaps smaller, meeting early in Facelift could deal with these first two parts, and then a larger meeting later could address approaches? Dunno.)
My opinion, based on 2300 posts is that discussions of climbing style lead nowhere. Probably not even the issue, I think.
It was at such a meeting that we in the Shawangunks defined our objectives, and very successfully so.
John. I am well aware that those rules were put together a long time ago when you guys were in the process of dealing with a new style of climbing.. Euro invasion so to speak. Even today I wouldn't mess with someones project without asking them first but in some circles anything seems to be fair game.....
Bob, I'd like to offer opposing views regarding your historical accounts. As for the Sean and Doug debacle, name calling is to be expected and is totally consistent with the schoolyard brawl mentality of which I'm a proud member. The trouble is, Doug was a kind friend when I got to know him and I'd rather not comment on this controversy.
Henry had the rep for poaching routes. Common knowledge. Since when is there a shortage of bombast between rivals? I think his antics are classic despite how big an ass he could be.
Criticism of Paul and Todd was due to the disdain for their hangdogging and other tactics, nothing more. Most everyone appreciated Todd regardless.
As for the Stigma drama, Alan Watts was not the one who was being hassled, it was Todd for pre-placing pins for his attempt. When some of the pins were pulled, Alan did the ascent without them, and therefore, in better style than Todd.
My recollection of the feelings toward Jardine was that he was dogging hard routes, using these new topsecret gadgets, and eventually claiming the FFA or FA. Of course that would ruffle some feathers.
I'm pretty sure it was JB that was on the receiving end of the sucker punches. Sad sauce but nothing that wouldn't pass for fraternal love in a fine British pub.
It was more colorful than that; don't give it such short shrift.
Carrigan wrote an article, generally calling the Valley locals a bunch of myopic, xenophobic, flyweight, deli-bound wankers.
Then he did that America's Cup thing on the Cookie.
There's more good stuff, but as I've already shown, I don't have a mind like a steel trap for such anecdotes.
He sort of championed this whole idea of the poor sportsmanlike California-centric behavior of which Bob speaks. Perhaps somebody could post up the article; I think it had a picture of him doing the Rostrum roof in Harlequin inspired Lycra.
Anyhow, I liked him, we climbed Hotline together in '80, before the big dustup. (He lead the crux)...
You know you guys are insane don't you? I mean, I always knew Roy was pretty far gone, but Bob had proven himself to be so far over the edge as to rival even Wes for wacko ideas. You guys really should just drop this thread. Isn't it obvious that no one cares? Only a few of us old fvcks are even reading this anymore and we all know we are lost souls too. This stuff will go down how it goes down and there is nothing anyone can or will do about it until it is way too late. Move on, there is nothing left to see here.
Although I know that post was somewhat (only somewhat) tongue-in-cheek,
One wonders how much truth there is in that Jan.
In the original post, Ron wrote these three things:
"It is becoming a more crowded world. We are going to have to reach an accommodation or see it all lost."
"My feeling is that the trads undermine their own high point by so demonizing those who have a different view."
"So my question is this;
is the "trad only" school of thought noble or merely selfish?"
As far as this thread goes, I'm not sure I'm seeing any grand impetus to reach an accommodation. Which is fine, as it was merely put up for discussion.
Regarding the second and third quotes; this is the type of stuff that raised Bob's hackles in the last few posts: exemplified by this whole thing about California climber style arrogance and the similarities that behavior has to some of the trad community and their opinions and actions toward rap bolters.
As it turns out, and it has been echoed here by a few, it seems as though any accommodation at this point is to be made for the trad climbers, not for the sport climbers. Even though there are plenty of young trad climbers, it would be interesting to know just how many are feeling pushed out their active first ascent opportunities by the prevalence of rappel bolting.
I ask this, because I agree with what Bob said about Boulder Canyon. Trad climbers really hadn't done anything there for years, then when sport climbing started happening there in a big way, a lot of the old guard rose up in indignation.; this wasn't like John Bachar, 20 years ago in Tuolumne, experiencing overwhelming competition for stone.
Is a lot of this opposition toward top-down tactics in fact more a phenomenon of aging trad climbers who speak out on this forum and in towns like Boulder. How many young climbers in Yosemite are feeling put out by the new route on Half Dome?
I'd like to see trad survive, I think sport climbing is cool too. Just how robust is the current trad FA bolting movement and how can we assess that?
But from what I know, not that this is a problem, most young climbers focus their trad experiences on gear routes.
Around here, they rehearse and red point nasty cracks with poor pro; almost head point style. When they "clip bolts", they are thinking sport climb. I'm not so sure many of them are running out to look for stance drilling experiences.
I think at some point in the next 10 years some of the runout nasties will start to get done again. Some of the younger guys I boulder with are heading there. Like you said Roy, they still think trad is gear. They are starting to learn.
At the same time, I think a lot of us older climbers who understood that half of hard climbing was keeping your head together on long runouts are disappointed to see that ethic die and are spouting off trying to save it.
Bob is just an anti California guy who is jealous of the notoriety of those very same California hard men who were famous at a time that all Colorado had to offer was Pat and his boy toy Christian.
G gnome wrote: Bob is just an anti California guy who is jealous of the notoriety of those very same California hard men who were famous at a time that all Colorado had to offer was Pat and his boy toy Christian.
Like I said before get over yourself. :)
My climbing partner a well known Cali-boy thinks that the stagnant attitude of the locals in Yosemite set standards back 20 years. Makes you think...
It one thing thinking your the best and another being the best...
Just funnin' with you Bob. You climb with Jack don't you? We all know he is a hardman.
I think the valley still has that affect on those who spend too much time there. There are lots of other great places to climb and other great climbers. But the whole idea of getting any sort of agreement out of the lot is absurd. I think Wes is a perfect example of that.
posted upthread was an essay by Frank Smythe titled: [url="http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=588524&msg=589666#msg589666"]Expediency[/url] and it is worth contemplating why he chose that title, and what his main point was; I believe this is the crux of the issue, a long running issue, in this sport.
The point is: why do what is expedient instead of waiting to do what is consistent with our tradition.
Of course, this could be a broader societal discussion and has the larger relevance to the source of generational disagreements. After all, who among us did not think we knew better than our parents when we were 19?
Anyway, the point is, the lines are there to be done in what ever style we choose. Smythe asks the question of himself: what if I did a climb using all the artifice at my disposal now, and find out later that it could have been done without resorting to that artifice?
Why is expediency a valid reason for transgressing the traditional "rules" of climbing?
In all I have read about so-called climbing ethics, this one essay is the deepest, in my opinion. A well spring from which all the other discussions should flow.
Ed...looking back it seems to me that the climbs were somewhat secondary to friendships earned and time spend with some pretty amazing people. I think we do take this all to serious at times and lose our perspective. Thankfully I have my wife, children and a few good friends to get me back on track when I derail!
Bob, it's not whether you're the best, it's whether you did your best. To believe the Valley locals 'set standards back 20 years' by not supporting hangdogging or rapbolting routes is a shortsighted attitude. Saying the Valley locals had a stagnant attitude is also ridiculous. Incidentally, maybe this reaction against the Valley ethic was due to many climbers getting their asses kicked with each visit.
The locals were doing their best without robbing future climbers or gridbolting the area simply because they wanted to compete against the Euros. I presume you believe that the 'museum' climbs are also robbing the future.
Pushing the standards using these tactics is a result of impatience and expediency. And ego, of course. Was it really that beneficial to climbing as a whole that 5.14 was attained sooner than later? The rock is still there, climbers, as have all athletes, continue to improve with each generation.
Did you support the bolting ban in the Gunks? Would the Gunks be better off today if you and your pals were allowed to drill away? If the 'future' had arrived there, would you be a happier man now?
"Ed...looking back it seems to me that the climbs were somewhat secondary to friendships earned and time spend with some pretty amazing people. I think we do take this all to serious at times and lose our perspective. Thankfully I have my wife, children and a few good friends to get me back on track when I derail! "
I don't know what to do with the above.
Are you now saying,
" I really do value all of your friendships more than I thought and so will listen much more carefully to what you think we should do with the rock we share."
Or are you saying,
"It is the friendships that really count so it does not make any difference what I do to the rock we all share."
Mimi...nice...glad to see you are holding the torch for the Valley Boys. Funny how many other climbers don't share your perspective.
Mimi wrote: The locals were doing their best without robbing future climbers or gridbolting the area simply because they wanted to compete against the Euros. I presume you believe that the 'museum' climbs are also robbing the future.
Seems you presume wrong... it safe to say I done my fair share of museum climbs..so you don't want to go there! Get off the "future shit" in the valley. They just didn't like certain people and their style.
As to the Gunks...no I don't support a total bolting ban and the crew that was for bolting some routes...thier voices fell on deaf ears. The Gunks are private and so be it.
Your grid bolting remark is a typical response to instill fear. A overworked tactic in today world.
John... both. As to the rock part...a honest and responsible approach is the best way to get things done. My examples would be the San Luis Valley and Shelf Rd when it comes to land managers and users creating a medium that fits most and not a few.
Thanks to the bolting ban in the Gunks there is an area presently in its natural state, at least as regards bolts. So I can pose the following:
When someone proposes to change the status quo the burden also falls on them to project any long term consequences of their change and show how deleterious result can be avoided. So let me ask:
Were you to propose new bolting in the Gunks or if you were to propose going into entirely new areas to develop routes using bolts, what is the proposal you have made as regards management of the activity?
If you see "grid bolting" as not being a problem then you do not owe us an answer. Otherwise, I believe you do. You must have thought about it.
You say " Areas do not necessarily become "grid bolted". So how do you propose the areas that do tend toward grid bolting be managed?
In reality I think Grid bolting is a term a person uses whenever their personal sensitivity to the non-natural state has been exceeded. Bob also has such a threshold and I am sure it comes before the state wherein the rock is so tightly bolted it cannot be directly touched. Whatever his personal threshold, when he finds an area that exceeds his threshold he will begin posting on ST now to the other side.
Terminology aside when a person proposes to change the status quo they have the responsibility to contemplate downstream consequences. In this case those consequences are hard to estimate due to individual differences but that difficulty does not remove the responsibility. Indeed that difficulty, and not "style", may be an important reason many of us object to this practice. As it has been carried out it is irresponsible.
I've heard areas being "grid bolted" but I'm not sure I've climbed in any of them. The only sport area I think I've climbed in is Owens River Gorge, which is heavily bolted. I liked the climbing, and it did seem very popular, with lots and lots of people climbing a la an outdoor gym. Is ORG considered "grid bolted?"
There are some "gear routes" there, but I suspect few climb them. So side-by-side is a difficult comparison. And most routes do not go to the rim (actually do any routes?) and I believe most routes are essentially a half a rope length or shorter.
John wrote:Indeed that difficulty, and not "style", may be an important reason many of us object to this practice. As it has been carried out it is irresponsible.
John...listen to what I am writing...I helped developed two major climbing areas in Colorado, Shelf Rd and the San Luis Valley. From the start we were in contact with the land managers and created a working relationship that is healthy and exist to this day.
We installed trails, bathrooms and camping sites and the areas are considered multi-use. I was given volunteer of the year in Colorado by the BlM in 1993. I'm proud of the work I have done and the enjoyment that these areas have bought to climbers and other users in the past twenty years.
John....give me an example of a grid bolted area that you been too. You sound like GWB and the WMD thing...I know they are out there but I just can't prove it.
Bob, you're missing the point. Everyone gets a spanking in Yosemite at one time or another.
Not wanting to seige and hangdog a route into submission is IMO, protecting an area's integrity, not stagnating in it. That the scene didn't stay in Yosemite and moved elsewhere as it always does, doesn't by itself invalidate the past standards and accomplishments in Yosemite. There was a point to it all.
Csdude writes the San Luis that you initially developed "is now an overbolted mess." This is exactly the point I was raising when discussing a developer's responsibility to look ahead. Are you or will you be looking ahead in your future activities?
In the same post where you gave as examples the two areas you developed while discussing some of my objections, out of left field you cited "GWB" and "WMB". In the old days ad hominem involved attacking an idea through attacking a person. In recent years we have added to this capability believing if we can merely associate someone's name with a sound byte like GWB or WMD we are freed from the need to address an issue. Remember "swiftboat?" It is even a verb now.
You know I am just one person. You can ignore my concerns. But all your customers are just people and when one of your customers has a problem you have to get right down in the dirt and deal with it. If you do not you will soon be out of business. I have to ask. You are not trying to deal with the issues I, and a whole lot of others are raising. Is it because no money is involved? That is the only thing that separates us from your customers, is it not?
At the time of the Gunks meetings one of the people very honestly and forthrightly stood up and said his climbing was not as much fun now that he was making it partly his livelihood. Since that time he has become a well-known professional and has conducted himself admirably IMO. It is a very tough job combining these things and doing it while treating everyone the way they have every right to be treated. It is many times harder than is this business of actually scrambling around on the rock, again IMO.
In these discussions we, myself included, need to do much much better than we have been doing. By two or three grades, at least.
John wrote: Bob:
Csdude writes the San Luis that you initially developed "is now an overbolted mess." This is exactly the point I was raising when discussing a developer's responsibility to look ahead. Are you or will you be looking ahead in your future activities?
John...csdude is wrong. His statement is vague at best and does not address what the mess is!! There has only been a handful of new routes in Penitente in the last 10-15 years... Access areas have been limited and maintained trails now exist where hunters and four-wheelers use to romp through. Maintained campsites and bathrooms have been put in where people (not just climbers) used to camp and sh#t all over the place.
My using GWB & WMD was not an attack on you...you still haven't given me a example of grid-bolted area that you have been too.
Is your opinion base on hearsay or fact???
You are taking one person word because it supports your agenda.
Mimi wrote: Not wanting to siege and hangdog a route into submission is IMO, protecting an area's integrity, not stagnating in it. That the scene didn't stay in Yosemite and moved elsewhere as it always does, doesn't by itself invalidate the past standards and accomplishments in Yosemite. There was a point to it all.
So sieging and hang dogging are bad but beating big walls into submission on daily basis with rivet, bashie's and pins is ok and upholds the integrity of the Valley.
Jstan. you keep bringing up the gunks bolt ban and I have to tell you that is one of my all time ethics pet peeves. The Gunks are graced with well over a thousand climbs that are well protected with horozontal cracks which readily accept pitons, nuts, cams, tricams etc. So here we have a bunch of guys sitting on a gold mine of naturaly protectable climbs and they decide on a bolt ban. Fine, go for it. You still have over 1,000 well protected climbs in your back yard. The real CRAPPY part is when you then think that you can tell other climbing areas that they can't have bolts. THAT SUCKS!! Your sittining there fat and happy with all your climbs telling some poor sod with a crackless cliff that they shouldn't bolt it. Thats kind of like a farmer from the northeast trying to tell a farmer from the southwest how to manage their water...My thought has allways been BUGGER off and manage your own damn cliff and leave mine alone.
PS Only climbed Pennitente once about 10 yrs ago but it seemed like a nice place. didn't see that there grid boltin I was warned about.....
"John...csdude is wrong. His statement is vague at best and does not address what the mess is!! There has only been a handful of new routes in Penitente in the last 10-15 years... "
Well you can see were this becomes a matter of subjective
opinion. I think it is....
Mission in the rain gets put up...
Mission in the sun gets put up 10 ft away..
Mission in the snow gets put up between the two.
Thats what some call "grid bolting" and several other
walls are just about as bad.
Someone also went and added bolts to established routes
such as "not my cross to bear" -got 2 added.
There is a bolted 2" crack in rock canyon.
Then someone (alex) retro bolted several easy things we've each
soloed, I mean c'mon...this is what top ropes are for, they
don't need all those feakin' bolts.
And lastly there is a chiseled hold on "virgin no more"
Your route I believe.
The improvements you mention are good, but what was once a nice pristine canyon (with a huge Virgin painted on a rock) is
now basicaly a climbing gym on a nice day.
When you do new routes , here is what you get to hear;
Too many bolts
Not enough bolts
Man, that rock is choss
You ruined that route
Why did you climb THAT?
Isn't that illigal?
You put the bolts in the wrong spots.
You put the bolt too high
You put the bolt too low
You should have put in a pin instead of a bolt.
You should have put in a bolt instead of a pin.
You went the wrong way
The first bolt is too high
The first bolt is too low.
You didn't rap bolt did you?
You didn't put that up on the lead, did you?
You didn't hand drill , did you...(You idiot)
YOu didn't use a power drill did you ( You idiot)
That route will Never get done again.
You stole that route from me.
There are already too many climbs on that wall.
Your bolts ruined my wilderness experience.\
Those bolts suck
Why didn't you use stainless steel?
You put the anchor in the wrong place.
Those hangers suck.
That route should never have been done
You only climb for your ego.
That route name sucks.
That is a serious waste of bolts.
Why didn't you just top rope the climb?
All your routes are choss.
You pulled the rope and went for the red point, didn't you?
You didn't hang on hooks, did you? (That's cheating)
You didn't clean the route enough.
You cleaned the route too much
I can't ever find your climbs.
I soloed that years ago with Matt Cox.
If you bolt that route, I will chop it, (And kick your ass).
You are going to get someone killed.
Why didn't you put in a sport anchor?
Why did you put in a sport anchor?
All you really need to say is thank you. That works for me....what do you think, Bob D'Antonio?
fatty, Just trying to point out that what works for one area may not work for annother area with diferent rock/features etc. On a broader scale its like the pickel that farmers and country folk in NY sate find themself in. There is a problem in NYC so the state legislature passes a law to fix that problem yet the farmer in the northcountry has to abide by the same law regardless of the fact that his/her situation could not be any more different from that of NYC if he was on the moon.
How come those guys in Elbsandstein still stick to the ground up thing?
How do they do it?
Why do they care?
In 2002, I gave a slide show in Bratislava and talked to some climbers from that area. I asked them what they do when Euro dudes come up and try to rap bolt something. One of them said, " While rap bolter is still finishing the last bolts we are hiking to base with crow bars. The bolts are gone in fifteen minutes."
Then someone (alex) retro bolted several easy things we've each
soloed, I mean c'mon...this is what top ropes are for, they
don't need all those feakin' bolts.
This refers to Mr.Breeze, a truely fantastic place for children. My youngest daughter led it when she was 9 (14 years ago). There are pictures of 4 year olds leading it. Penitente is one of the most child friendly areas. Families are there with strollers and playpens. We went camping and climbing there last year with our grandchildren. There is always a line at these climbs. Do the bolts on this route really bother you that much?
Ok...I'll accept the user friendlyness of the area
and some safe easy routes etc.
I was there from the beginning when there were only a
few routes and it was a wild and beautiful place.
That quality is now lost as row after row of shinny bolts
glisten in the sunlight.
Anyway thats not Bobs fault and I just thought it wasn't
the greatest example for his original point which I forgot
what was anyway.
What I would really like to ask Bob is if he is familiar with the sports park in Boulder canyon and his thoughts on it.
For those not familiar with that, it was a somewhat chossy
crag just a few miles from the Castle and it's famous trad routes.
Rolofson showed me this place, apparently this area was
completley contrived for sport climbing with high density
bolting and chiseled routes. A few people went up there with
compressors, chisels, bars, generators, lighting and even
kerosean heaters and made their own little climbing gym.
Certainly the Sport Park is a low point in how to bolt, and that is putting it mildly. That said, it was also one of the most crowded areas. I have not been there in a few years, but it is a good place to take beginners because of lots of easy routes. I hear some like to dry tool there.
Your point about the differences between areas is entirely correct. In a nutshell here is what I have been saying.
1. When the first bolt goes in you create a huge management problem.
2. When you put a bolt in you have to take responsibility for the problem you are creating.
3. You take that problem into consideration when you listen to others BEFORE you put the bolt in.
4. If the problem is taken into consideration in this way you will not end up with boltless areas. You will end up with areas that the people in general feel is a reasonable compromise. That is where we are trying to go.
5. That is why I have long argued once in, a bolt needs to stay till there is agreement it has to go.
None of this resembles a jolly good time where you go out and have lots of fun. A question. If one is primarily interested in avoiding difficulty, isn't going climbing an oxymoron? Going climbing just for the exercise isn't smart either. It is a really poor way to get exercise. It generates adrenaline not endorphins. If people are arguing about bolts it isn't even a pleasant way to hang with friends.
So why do I not argue for going to areas just to bitch in front of people about the bolts? Because them I may go to areas where people have come to an accommodation and bitching then is destructive.
Have you noticed that the problem nearly always erupts
when the rate at which bolts are going in is high?
That is the characteristic that crops up again and again. And it does so because no attempt at accommodation is being made. Accommodation takes time. So finally we have come to the real reason for this fight.
People are being denied a say in the way a shared resource is being used.
When bolts are being pulled out to make way for via ferratas we will still have the same argument and for the same reason. The technology will just be different.
About the gunks. Do me a favor. Pretend for a moment you have responsibility for managing that place and stand in front of a mirror and read your posts. Nobody listening, eh?
I will never understand how such intelligent, energetic, and wonderfully talented people have sunk this low in this stupid problem. I have seen what you people can do. You can be so awesome it is almost scary.
Each area evolves it's own nuance, and ethics
there is no 'one size fits all'
I've climbed at Penitente. It's a fragile place, I'm glad for the campground, and the portapotties. The sport nature seems to compliment the area. Great for families, though if you have kids be alert for buzz worms.
I have never climbed in Dresden, but I admire the hell out of their ethic! Keep crowbars at the ready.
A great side by side scenario is in South Dakota. the runout Needles and the top down Rushmore area. Spend a day in each and savor the disparate zen... two different disciplines.
Here's another twist on the "locals" issue, the beating death of surfer Emery Kauanui Jr. in La Jolla, allegedly by 5 other surfers, members of a "group" calling itself the Bird Rock Bandits, BRB. Apparently the BRB enforced "local rights" to the Windansea break off La Jolla, using physical intimidation to keep non-locals out of "their" territory.
'"We are a community of well-educated, family-oriented people," the local paper, La Jolla Light said in an editorial. "How can it happen here?"'
Surf break is spatial-temporal construct which depends on many natural conditions to conspire to create a surfable area. These areas can sustain only a limited number of surfers during ideal conditions.
Who decides which surfers get to surf? Who should decide?
Bob, I don't agree with your assertion that "bolts are a very small part of the equation," they are some of the most apparent alterations that climbers make of the rock which are noticed by non-climbers.
My wife, who doesn't climb but has been around climbing nearly as long as I have, doesn't understand why we are allowed to bolt in wilderness areas (or any area) and continually asks me why we bolt at all. To her, it is an unnecessary alteration which should not be tolerated. Second only to "gardening" lines on FAs, it is the quickest way to a heated debate in my household.
Since pin scaring was eliminated by "new" equipment and the transformation of the community to it's use, bolts have been the last sanctioned, intentional modification of the natural landscape climbers have tolerated. The whole issue has revolved around where to draw the line, just how many bolts are acceptable? How easy should it be to put them in? Should they be allowed at all? Land use managers have meetings over this...
Ed...it 's the human equation. chalk parking, trail erosion etc...are way bigger issues in Eldo, the Gunks and Yosemite than bolts. A lot of sling anchors in Eldo have been replaced by....bolt anchors which have a less visual impact that slings.
It really the human equation and how we deal with issues when they arise. Cars driving to and from the Gunks and the Valley on a weekly basis would seem to be a bigger environmental issue than bolts on a wall.
Ed...what does your wife like to do for recreation??
Bob, you can't define the issue away. Read the comments.
Conservation efforts exist in almost all areas and deserve everyone's support. In order for these to exist people have to work together and compromise. Which poses a huge question. Since people are so able to work together and compromise
Hold it there Ed,
pin scarring eliminated? Since when?
Hammering on aid routes is far more insidious than bolting, generally a one time alteration, because of its progressive and cumulative nature. In the end it could alter more rock than drills.
It seems to be Jump on Bob Time right now.
I guess you've been here before.
I have one to add to your growing list of questions.
I could be wrong, but places like Shelf Road, seem fairly focused in terms of appetite to sport climbers and sport bolting. So that appears to be, for the most part, appropriately a designated sport area in terms of terrain and inclination. (Perhaps someone like John Bachar would have preferred to do those routes ground up, but I'm thinking that's the outside case). I'm sure nobody is stopping anybody from bolting ground up at Shelf Road, so an even more strict example to top down only is the Flatirons of Boulder.
As an example to the opposite, is the Pinnacles of California, which is subject to trad bolting only. Also currently on that side of the fence, the trad fence, even though its private property, is the Gunks, with no new bolting whatsoever.
My question(s) Bob:
Some areas are currently mixed sport and trad; while other areas are distinctly one or the other.
Can you see leaving areas as limited to strictly trad bolting or even no bolts? As a sport bolter, do you believe that is a fair concession in certain instances? Or do you believe that there is no area which should be closed to sport bolting? (leaving the private property situation out for the moment).
John wrote: how is it we even have a bolting problem?
We have climbing issues John...and bolts are a part of them.
Sorry you can't see that.
Funny that I am getting interrogated by John when in the last 25 years I been a pro-active climber when it came to access, trail work, bolt and anchor replacement and other issues dealing with the climbing community. I was the first coordinator for Celebrate Eldorado, serve on ACE, volunteer of the year for the state of Colorado for the BLM in 1992 and to this day continue to do real world work on climbing issues.
John...I asked you a number of questions that you will not respond to.
What sport and trad-climbing areas have you been too in the last 15 years and what have you done to help access and climbing issues?
Tar wrote: It seems to be Jump on Bob Time right now.
I guess you've been here before.
Yes I have and it is usually the arm chair quarterbacks who make the biggest noise.
No Bob. If people took into consideration the opinions of others before placing bolts we would have bolts, but no bolting problem.
I will repeat what I said above. Through their support of conservation efforts climbers generally have shown their willingness to compromise and to work together.
So why is there a bolting problem?
Your point is entirely valid IMO. Where pinning has continued, for whatever reason, the climbers in an area have a choice to make. They should include bolts as one candidate technology, if technology is thought to be the answer. As always, the specific situation which the people will take into consideration, should guide their choice. But that decision needs to be broadly based.
In the early seventies before improved nuts came out I was so bold as to ASK if it were possible we needed to redefine where on the rock it might be necessary for us not to go any longer. The times were so painful I sensed the question was actually being asked. Better equipment then came out and later even better new kinds came out, thereby relieving us of the necessity to choose such a thing. No one was more relieved than myself.
But people did begin to ask this question. Asking it required both courage and discipline.
Clean up of points.
Go back up to my edit on the point raised by Ed. That's what I think grid bolting is.
What have I done:
After my efforts on the east coast during the sixties and the seventies I retired.
Do you require some sort of status in the climbing world before you will listen to someone? Examine yourself. If so this is a deadly failing.
Why do I pick on you:
Bob you are presenting yourself as a leader in the climbing world. Read above. At the same time you persist in saying there is no problem where you are getting a lot of comments insisting there is a problem. Are we to presume this is the behavior characteristic of a leader?
I am suggesting the primary characteristic of a leader should be their willingness to follow. A leader who does not listen is entirely limited by their personal weaknesses and may well lead to failure. Just look about you to see the evidence for this.
Our task here is to make you a better leader. You can do it, if you will but listen.
Tomcat, Even the bolted anchors in the Gunks have created problems. There is an epidemic of toproping at what is arguably the most trad friendly crag imaginable.
Your choice of the word "epidemic" is peculiar. It does not help to answer any questions because it connotes a disease.
FWIW. The Gunks are crowded. Yesterday - (Sunday, if you frequent the area, you know what that means), I was able to lead Jackie and Classic. (Bolts to preserve the tree there.)
We first did Jackie (actually, after Horseman), even though we went there for Classic, because it became free while a second took a very long time following her leader on Classic. My partner was able to dispatch Jackie, cleaning my gear, quickly as we hoped to do Classic as soon as they finished. In the mean time, a party showed up and jumped on Classic as she was climbing Jackie. So instead of rapping off, she lowered and quickly climbed a variation of Jasmine/Jackie (to avoid conflict with the new Classic leader). I then TR'ed Jasmine and rapped off.
We returned and got Classic a bit later.
All of this occurred on a Sunday (think really busy), precisely because those bolts made it fairly simple to coexist happily there. Certainly the Classic tree is better off.
Most of the true top-roping routes have no bolts - At this time I can't even think of one - but there might be some.
So maybe "cure" is better description than "epidemic"!
Consider also the reduction in time spent building anchors. I think many trad climbers would actually like to see more bolted anchors, if for no other reason than being able to speed up the process, effectively getting more climbing traffic (less waiting time) on a limited resource.
So, Wes, it's your idea that a 'tyranny of democracy' - made up almost entirely of people who are only able to define themselves as 'climbers' because of wholly bolted lines - should be able to define climbing? And that new definition should be risk-free entertainment at the expense of rock?
Because that is what you claiming and it will be the exact same argument used down the road to install via ferratas in climbing areas so everyone can be a 'climber'.
Personally, I consider it pandering, not leadership.
TIG.Most of my Gunks climbing took place in the eighties.I've been there once,twice or three times each year of late.I would have to stand by my statement,an epidemic of toproping.
Used to be(I know,I know)just about no one toproped right of the Uberfall.Now people camp on everything.We actually come to see the show as much as climb.I will cite the following recent incidents and try to do so without prejudice.
We start up Frogs Head,after waiting for the second of two Canadians to get to the ledge.They are maxxed,so I step left and make a gear anchor to stay out of their hair.The leader is sketching on those first moves off the ledge and the belayer has the rope wrapped all around himself.We wait.I tell Tradchick we will just slide onto the bolt anchor after they leave,so she can sit back.Not so fast.A guide,complete with monogrammed polo shirt has been toproping City Lights,yep,on Sunday,and decided to move his anchor over to the right of us.He states he is planning to construct an independant gear anchor.He climbs behind us,can't make an anchor and leashes into the bolt anchor instead while explaining how we are not affected.Good of him,he then pulls all his rope across us.Now he has one of those u shaped constructs going.We are outta there.
We trudge down to Never Never Land.A threesome has a toprope going,five hours later we return,they are still on it.One person led one route here.Three in party.
We'll just finish our day on Sente.There is a party toproping Thin Slabs Direct.They are unable to do the route.The guy is basically just burning rubber while mumbling about his shoes.Upon discovering they can not climb this 5.7,they slide over onto Sente as soon as we pass.They can't climb that either.
We climb City Lights and finish up Pas de Deux.The anchor is taken so I just belay off gear,but would like to rap when they are through.Before they clear that anchor a guy all full of bristle thrashes in from another climb and starts threading the anchor,which is again,in use,and we are pretty clearly next on.Some words ensue.
One thing I have learned TiG.Gunkies tend to view climbing in the Gunks perspective.You are accustomed to this sort of thing.We found that it was impossible to plan a day of climbing there anymore,as people get on routes routinely for half a day.That only happens with toproping.We spent twenty minutes doing Sente,maybe forty on NNL.
Appears that the big thing with the bolt anchors are those two route loops.Used to be you could go all weekend and not see a toprope right of Ken's Crack.
John wrote: Why do I pick on you:
Bob you are presenting yourself as a leader in the climbing world. Read above. At the same time you persist in saying there is no problem where you are getting a lot of comments insisting there is a problem. Are we to presume this is the behavior characteristic of a leader?
What are you eight years old?? I didn't say you picked on me.
And can you read what I write?? I said there was CLIMBING ISSUES and bolting is one of the issues.
You have no ideas what the real issues are sport areas as you have been so far out the loop for so long. Even back in the day you were against bolts...nothing has change in your world of climbing but much has in mine. You have done nothing to address these problems other than wank on the internet.
To me John...Actions in the climbing world speak louder than words.
Jstan, you say that as soon as you place the first bolt that's when the problems start. What a load of Crap!
Change that to as soon as the word gets arround that there is good climbing to be had, Now that is when the problems start. The bolts have very little to do with it. I have been to pleanty of trad areas that are trashed with social trails and human caused erosion that is 100 times more noticeable than any bolts... I have been to sport areas that have decent trail systems and erosion control.The bolts are more of a clash of styles problem than an enviro problem....
dateMon, May 12, 2008 at 11:12 AM
subjectRe: Trad climb?'s
hide details 11:12 AM (2 hours ago) Reply
Maybe. The ST is a big mess most of the time but there might
come something one of these days.
On May 12, 2008, at 8:33 AM, * wrote:
What about posting this in a relevant thread when found?
On Sat, May 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM, John Bachar wrote:
On May 10, 2008, at 10:51 AM, * email@example.com wrote:
Good morning John,
came across this. Looks like TBY on Medlicott? Who's having fun (falling)?
/*Edited to reduce redundancy. */
Do you know the name of the 5.10(b) equivalent? I forgot the
name though I think the route is also on Medlicott? Another Ron
not Kauk wrote a article about the 2 routes that was published
in the late 80's in R&I or another magazine I purchased. I think
his name was Ron Olevesky? I can't remember if you put up the
Not Ron Olevsky. Alan Nelson did, Kurt Smith, Steve
Schneider...I can't remember.
Bryce wrote: I think the article was about Ron O doing the route
(s)...I can't either.
"You Asked for It" is 10b/c X. Three pitches, not many people do
this route - a fall on the last move (10b) of the second pitch
would equal a 140 feet screamer into a big ledge and sure death.
Thank's, that's it now I remember the route name and.
It was late afternoon when I On-Sight Red Pointed the Dike
Route. It was my partners choice to pick the climb. I thought
he was going to choose the one I asked about above.
This is my interpretation of Red Point.
Lead from the ground up and leader leads every pitch without
a fall with full completion of the climb.
You got it - he places all gear as well (unless it's been bolted).
This is my interpretation of On Sight. You have never attempted
or pre-rehearsed the route prior to climbing it. It's probably
not fair to say never seen the route prior to climbing it.
You got that as well.
This email transmission may consist of
privileged attorney client work and or non
communicative privileged information.
If you have received this email in error,
translating to your email address is not
included in the message, immediately
forward to the sender and delete any
copies of the transmission.
"We may, finally, have reached the heart of the bolting problem."
Your right John. We should let the "extreme" top ropers from out of state, and climbers from prior generations sitting in their armchairs tell those folks lacing up and getting ready to drill right now how, where and what to bolt.
The issue, (not "problem"), is geographical. Rock type, and local say determines how it is handled.
Atc wrote:Your right John. We should let the "extreme" top ropers from out of state, and climbers from prior generations sitting in their armchairs tell those folks lacing up and getting ready to drill right now how, where and what to bolt.
The issue, (not "problem"), is geographical. Rock type, and local say determines how it is handled.
Correct and to the point.
It is also about control...I didn't do it in the Gunks so no one should be doing it anywhere else.
John wrote: Bob you are presenting yourself as a leader in the climbing world.
No John...I am presenting myself as a rock climber who has been ACTIVE in climbing issues for the last 30 years.
It is not the 80's any more. I wasn't climbing back then. But for what you want, to plan to climb route x, y, and z, you will have to go there during the week. Even then it may not happen. It is just too busy. Giving exceptional examples of "bad" behavior does not bolster your "epidemic of top-roping" argument.
But you do point out a problem. It is busy. Consider it a road. There are two ways to get more traffic on a busy road. Build more lanes or raise the speed limit.
Adding bolts could do both.
Increase the average speed
I could have climbed Classic significantly faster if all I needed were a few quick-draws and the bolts were close enough that gear issues and falling weren't part of the lead equation. In a sense that roughly 90 foot climb already has 3 bolts - fixed pins. But the gear opportunities are spread out. There are a couple spots were not only is the gear well below, but the moves are thin. Protect those moves with a bolt, and I climb that almost as fast as a TR. Seconds climb faster as well. When I climbed Classic, I actually had to stop for about 5 minutes to clean a nut that some guide had left behind - his client could not clean. My follower had to clean gear - though my nut in the same place was easy, I can't claim that all of my gear ever cleans as fast as a quick-draw.
Some routes share anchor locations. Bolting could not only eliminate this, but even allow for anchors where there are no gear placements. Again, this wall is a good example. Jasmine and Classy share the wall, but are almost never done.
Top-roping is really part of the solution
To the extent that demand has increased, easy TR's can put people on stuff that other-wise would not be acceptable, e.g. climbs that are just plain X other-wise. Even Williams points out climbs that are only recommended as TR routes.
In that category, you have perfect examples of routes that really demand TRs. Sure Boston is 5.4G, except that nobody carries 5 and 6 inch cams on a Gunks rack. So it is really a TR (X) route. Somebody died the day before I backed off that route when I found out the 4 inch cam - most don't have that size either - could not be placed at all in there.
Finally, of course, there is that inescapable and paradoxical truth, that the more accessible something is the more it is accessed. It holds true for roads as well.
The problem with Tar's attempt at breaching the divide is the issue is not at all unlike nutrionists trying to control America's taste for junk food by attempting to halt the construction of McDonalds. The taste has been acquired and enough fast food joints have been built to be the norm rather than the exception when it comes to dining. Folks brought up on that diet wonder what the problem is and what all the squawking is all about - and why would anyone dream of opposing the convenience of a nearby McDonalds.
That 'new normal' that Wes is pushing and Bob appears to be leading is no different. Sport climbing has successfully redefined climbing in a slightly shorter time frame than McDonalds took to redefine dining out. Who knows, maybe Wes is right - look what junk food has done for our country. And when the red and yellow arches outside the crag says 'Two Billion Bolts Sold' who's to argue with such success?
Wes wrote:f people took into consideration the opinions of others before placing bolts we would have bolts, but no bolting problem.
I think people do take into consideration the opinions of others... just not the few who oppose. The majority should not be overpowered by the vocal minority.
The ratio is at 10 to 1 in favor of areas that I have helped developed and new routes that I have climbed. I get e-mails and personal thanks all the time from complete strangers about my efforts on new routes and what I have done to help create a better climbing community.
I agree Bob, it's no different than my attempt to eat a healthy diet makes me an extremist consumer; but the question of how I ended up an extremist is very much at issue here. Part of the reason I'm an extremist is the sheer numbers of 'climbers' who are only climbers by virtue of wholly bolted routes. The idea that this highly dependent demographic has grown apace by such artificial means and the leveraging of 'climbing' to serve as risk-free entertainment is very much at the heart of the contention in this and other threads.
Again, the reality is that the only rocks being protected from bolting are in private hands or under active management by concerned land managers. I asked you before how many bolts do you suppose will be sunk this weekend up the I-25 corridor between Taos and Denver? It's a pretty straightforward question and it would seem to me with your background you ought to have a handle on it or at least a good guess. How about Red Rock? The idea that the bolting going on is constrained, temperate, and well considered is ludicrious on the face of it.
The extremists have redefined 'normal' for climbing in exactly the way the far right redefined 'normal' for the Republican party (and over the exact same time frame). Moderate Republicans are now extremists in their own party and how I became an 'extremist' is no different than a moderate Eisenhower Republican who woke up to find their party had been hijacked.
Edit: So will you be adding Via Ferratas to that happy mix? Seems like they would be a natural addition to that line up when presented in such a wholistic manner.
OK Guys I give up. You are right. i just need a little information though. How many big walls should I have done in the last five years to qualify me for:
1. Writing my Senators
2. Writing my Congressman
3. Writing the NFS and NPS
4. Joining organizations which I think are helpful
From the start my point has been that we are dealing with the issue of the uses special user groups make of taxpayer funded public lands. I have to deal with this four times a year so I am rather intimately concerned. That is why I selected the above four questions.
John wrote:OK Guys I give up. You are right. i just need a little information though. How many big walls should I have done in the last five years to qualify me for:
1. Writing my Senators
2. Writing my Congressman
3. Writing the NFS and NPS
3. Posting to ST
4. Joining organizations which I think are helpful
I think that about does it.
John..don't be a as#@&%e.
Joe tried to label me as a certain type of climber which I'm not!! I retorted by asking him certain questions on his climbing and really how well rounded it is.
Unlike you who makes assumptions based on little or no knowledge of the subject...(sport climbing areas) and accusing me of being responsible for the bolt ban in the Gunks when I haven't climbed there in several years prior years to the bolt ban.
Joe wrote:I'll take that question as a thumbs up on via ferratas...
Well-roundedness has nothing to do with resource exploitation. Clearly we differ on what limits should be placed around permanently altering rock for human entertainment.
Climbs are vertical trails....all types of trails exist for what you call human entertainment in local, state and federal parks. They exist to allow everyone the opportunity for a varied human experience from easy to the most difficult and everything in between. People have a right to recreate on public lands...just because they don't do it the same way as you doesn't make it wrong.
Also...thanks for answering my question with a question and assumption.
Jstan, do you really feel that the climbing community needs a grumpy ex climber writeing The NPS system and complaing that we arn't climbing the way YOU think we should? Often when the powers that be are bothered with this sort of thing climbing access is negativly affected. Perhaps you would rather not have climbers enjoying the great outdoors and would prefer that only fat lazy people in RV's get to experience our parks??
No guys, you're the ones having the lovefest. Bob places plenty of bolts so the Weakness can climb, Bob is happy believing he's making climbing safe for the masses. Perfect harmony. True love and admiration.
Edit: Tradman, you too, are way off the mark. It's about sensible resource usage. Why is that so hard for some of you clowns to get? I bet you're in full support of global warming policy though. LOL!
"Climbs are vertical trails....all types of trails exist for what you call human entertainment in local, state and federal parks. They exist to allow everyone the opportunity for a varied human experience from easy to the most difficult and everything in between."
I would beg to disagree. And the disagreement centers around 'construction'. Trad climbs are not vertical trails and only a very small percentage are constructed, they are rather 'found'. Sport climbs on the other hand are wholly constructed - they do not exist without construction. Trails, sidewalks, or roads - it makes not difference to me what you label constructed human paths. You're indifference to, and / or denial of, this key difference between the two is at the heart of your rationale - as is you're 'well-rounded' argument which seeks to further gloss over this essential difference between natural and constructed routes.
By your own argument there is virtually no difference between a via ferrata and sport climb. And why not a via ferrata with wrungs on every sport route? 'Just don't use the wrungs and cable if you don't like it' could be the new mantra of such an equal access utopia.
Mimi wrote:No guys, you're the ones having the lovefest. Bob places plenty of bolts so the Weakness can climb, Bob is happy believing he's making climbing safe for the masses. Perfect harmony. True love and admiration.
Edit: Tradman, you too, are way off the mark. It's about sensible resource usage. Why is that so hard for some of you clowns to get? I bet you're in full support of global warming policy though. LOL!
Yes Mimi and you are known around the climbing world for your boldness and leading ability.
Joe wrote:By your own argument there is virtually no difference between a via ferrata and sport climb. And why not a via ferrata with wrungs on every sport route? 'Just don't use the wrungs and cable if you don't like it' could be the new mantra of such an equal access utopia.
No Joe that is your argument and you are pushing it from the start. Good try through.
You guys clearly watched too much television as children...
"Happy Trails" by Dale Evans Rogers
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Ron wrote:This is like a re-running episode of the Twilight Zone where people are trapped in 1987.
Yes Ron you are right and until the other side can somehow get over the "style thing" it will remain that way.
Thanks for the discussion folks...even the clowns (lovely and bold Mimi words) have a right to express their opinions.
Mimi wrote: Not so fast, Bobbo. The way of the clipjockey affects the resource. End of story. You can't attribute the objections to a disagreement about style. Sport bolting crosses over to ethics at the point of impact. It becomes an ethical consideration.
Are you that myopic to think that so called trad areas don't similar issues??? Ms. way of the 5 rp!
Mimi wrote: Style is about making climbing as challenging for yourself as possible. Are you really doing that with all that dangling and drilling about?
Thanks for telling me what climbing is for me and the rest of the climbing population...you are not only extremely bold but extremely wise too You are also welcome to come follow me around the Black Canyon next weekend. I know it not as wild, bold and untamed as JT...but what the hell...even you might like it.
Werner wrote: Bob got mad....
I'm happy as can be...thanks for caring.
Mimi wrote: You're off the mark on two points IMO. 1) Being rude to Mr. Stannard. He's been a champion of thoughtful recreational landuse policy his entire career. I suppose you don't know that. He's a Gunk's pioneer. 2) Bolts are more problematic than natural gear climbing; they both impact an area, but bolts impact moreso.
But since sweet little MImi is a trad dog her sins are no where as bad as those wimps sport wankers.
Not so fast, Bobbo. The way of the clipjockey affects the resource. End of story. You can't attribute the objections to a disagreement about style. Sport bolting crosses over to ethics at the point of impact. It becomes an ethical consideration.
Style is about making climbing as challenging for yourself as possible. Are you really doing that with all that dangling and drilling about?
Mimi. Please explain to me how I am so far off base when I point out that climbers both trad and sport tend to wreck the crap out of a climbing area unless someone steps up to the plate and builds trails, brushes out other trails, negotiates with landowners for parking and access, etc, etc, etc. Then you get a few grumpy anti bolt folks making a bunch of noise over a few bolts and those guys usually do not contribute anything positive to the situation. You really want to help the situation STOP HAVEING BABIES!!
Not a problem, tradman. I'm currently childless and plan on staying that way. Carbon footprint and all.
You're off the mark on two points IMO. 1) Being rude to Mr. Stannard. He's been a champion of thoughtful recreational landuse policy his entire career. I suppose you don't know that. He's a Gunk's pioneer. 2) Bolts are more problematic than natural gear climbing; they both impact an area, but bolts impact moreso.
Certainly do not mean any disrespect to anyone for haveing children and do not mean the no child thing literaly. I do however point out that crouding at the crags and eveywhere else is a result of too many people in the world. I also am well aware of who Jstan is and respect him as a climber but I do NOT respect the Gunks mentality that just because we have all these nice crack protected climbs it gives us the right to ban bolts and you guys with out the cracks are just going to have to live with it. It does piss me off when John tries to shove his gunks management plan down the throat of the rest of the climbing community regardless of what their regional issues and resorces may be..
The impact and access issues generated by the 60-80% of people who wouldn't be 'climbers' were it not for your artificially constructed 'trails' are a high price to pay to bringing this risk-free version of climbing to the masses. That they then require ever more new climbs simply keeps a steady hum of drills going around the country. The fact this 'climbing' demographic is a done deal doesn't make it right, good, or correct - if it did then the fact McDonalds is everywhere would have made their food good for you.
And yes, Melvin - the broad I-25 corridor down to to Taos - but we could make that Sante Fe or Las Vegas if you need it to be more precise. Or even within a 30 mile radius of Taos if that makes it all the more familar. But how many bolts will go in this weekend in either? I would guess a veritable symphony of precussion if it could all be heard at the same time.
Oh, and that was Red Rock, NV - not Red Rocks, CO...
I know there will be no sound of bolts going in this weekend in Las Vegas despite the mass quantities of granite there; I have put up routes there ground-up and nobody climbs in the area. I understand your point, although lumping NM into the Front Range does not serve your argument as NM experiences way less development than CO.
So Tom, what does that do for the lines on Bombardment, Recompense, The Book, Thin Air, WG, Moby etc.??? Seneca is a annother good example. Verey few bolts, Total trad area and there are climber crawling all over it like ants. They do have very good trail system and bathrooms though.
The Gunks is just too close to NYC so so matter what, you are going to have congestion and and the A hole factor. Many of those first pitch bolted belays were bundles of tat arround trees in the old days. I remember being told to only do the first pitch of Roseland way back when and it was just a bundle of tat arround a dead stump to get down. The second pitch of Roseland is actually pretty good and the crux INMOP The old pin should be replaced though. It was sketch in 85 and even more sketch in 2002
If you removed the bolted belays then bundles of tat would most likly sprout in the same places.. just too many people down there.....
Speaking of Ant's, have you tried to park at Pinkam Notch on a weekend recently? It is amazeing how full it gets with the lots overflowing and cars up and down the side of the road. No bolts up there just a whole crapload of people out enjoying the outdoors... The climbers are here to stay barring a serious plauge ,famin or war and bolts are just a tool to help mannage the trafic flow. They are not the driveing force that created the crowds as much as some would like to believe... Just sit in traffic in the middle of N, Conway on a summer weekend and try to blame all those cars and people on bolts........
Trad.Agree both Roseland and Birdland haver excellent second pitches.Have you been to the Gunks recently?The toproping is unbelievable.And the camping out with posse's.
Someone added a bolt anchor to Bombardment,the usual well intended soul armed with the MRS drill.It lasted about 24 hours...lol.
The bolt anchor on the Book causes OPAR.One pitch and rap.There is no need of it,as you can place your whole rack in the corner.But you will have to lead the second pitch.
I have never once seen a toprope set on Bombardment.The difference is that when kept as lead climbs,although a line may exist,it is all moving upwards.Someone can start up Recompense every thirty minutes,all those routes really.On Thin Air you take some chance the party ahead will epic.
Sorry we disagree Trad and TIG.I think if you start out climbing at the Gunks,by the time you toprope what is left of Ken's crack,if you are not ready to lead,climbing may not be for you.Leading at the Gunks is much easier than most places.
Tom I totally agree with you that there are places where bolts are not needed but there are pleanty of places where the climbing wouldn't even exist without the bolts. blameing the overcrouding on the bolts justs does not cut it INMOP Certainly the gunks would be a mess regardless of the bolts. I simply don't go there anymore. Too many people, too dirty, too city........
Joe wrote:nd yes, Melvin - the broad I-25 corridor down to to Taos - but we could make that Sante Fe or Las Vegas if you need it to be more precise. Or even within a 30 mile radius of Taos if that makes it all the more familar. But how many bolts will go in this weekend in either? I would guess a veritable symphony of precussion if it could all be heard at the same time.
There a lot of speculation and very little proof in your post Joe. What was happening along the Front Range was a lot of different people enjoying a lot different climbs in a lot different areas.
Not all of us our limited by some choss pile near a railroad track as our home crag.
Tomcat wrote; Bob has decided his opinion matters more because he put up a slew of bolted routes...wow again.
Not only are you a whiner...you have no idea what you are talking about....I done over 400 to 500 FA of trad routes.
Tomcat wrote:As far apart as when we started.Trad climbers will eventually have to decide if we are just going to lay down and let the pro bolt crowd steal your sport.
They haven't stole anything...your just to lazy to get off your ass and do new routes.
Please underwhelm me with your impressive list of new routes in the Gunks and North Conway,
You think this all started with the Kennedys.....smoking pot in the White House, sleeping with movie stars, and driving drunk off of bridges........the REAL trouble started with those damn Anasazi Native Americas WAY before that.........chipping holds, using ladders as aid.......this crap has been going on for a long time......It aint' the Kennedy's or Bob D'Antonio's fault...........really isn't....
I'm all for painting the route name at the bottom of climbs too.....not everyone can afford a guidebook, and we don't want anyone getting lost or on the wrong climb and hurt.....It's only a little paint;...if you use the right type, it won't hurt the environment at all, and it will , in the long run, save lives........the pad people with their plant-crushing pads........now THERE is a REAL problem that must be stopped......
CSdude...it really is a horrible thing those bolts on Mr. Breeze...we should just shoot Alex for doing something like this to somebody. Look at that...families hanging out, camping, sitting around a campfire bonding and climbing together. WTF is climbing coming too!!!
On any given weekend from spring to late fall you can see this type of bizarre behavior by climbers and families camping, climbing, talking and enjoying themselves in the San Luis Valley and Shelf Rd.
What have I done???
Then we have folks like Mr. Stannard ( who has never even been to said areas) passing judgement on me because I placed bolts, worked on trails, installed bathrooms, campsites, gave slideshows, organized cleanups, collected donated gear to give to volunteers and worked with land managers, Access Fund, IMBA and the American Mountain Foundation to find a common ground for people to enjoy their time in the outdoor.
it is really horrible when I go to the SLV and see non-climbing families picnicking and walking on the trail watching climbers and asking questions and enjoying a beautiful day in a beautiful little canyon in southern Colorado and to see climbers with their mountain bikes going for a ride after a beautiful day of climbing and then going back to well kept camping site and watching a amazing sunset over the Sangre de Christo mountains.
I also can't believe I written 14 hiking, mountain biking and climbing guides to several different areas and giving people the opportunity to explore new trails and climbs and getting them in the outdoors for a welcome break from their lives. Also can't understand why I donated some of my royalties to different outdoor group to help with access issues.
I'm so sorry Mr. Stannard (and the others) for doing so little while you John have done so much in the last 25 years. You keep pushing that pen and sending your $25 memberships fees in while I'll continue to sit around and pick my nose.
Really...there must be something extremely sour in my head for doing such things.
I have done plenty to highlight that notion Ron.
You are correct; the majority of what we see on this thread is a lot of direct opposition.
So whatever might be happening out on the crags,
Side-by-side ethics certainly aren't enjoying a lot of accommodation here on the Internet.
Bob,I only have one route in the North Conway area,Groovedogs,10d.I put the bolt in on lead,from a hook.I have two other 10d's in Penna at Stover,which I believe I have read you refer to as a chosspile.I am OK with that.Also put up the popular 10a there,Tales from the Crypt.In addition about another 15 routes,trad,ground up.Most are 65 feet or less,sorry,it's all we had.I've placed four bolts,all on lead,all on hooks.Never rap inspected any routes prior to attempts.Cleared plenty of choss,up to briefcase size,holding same in lap while belayer took cover.Most of these routes are short and intense,no standing around placing gear.On quite a few,we risked decking to abide our standards.Some we added fixed gear to later.
We had bolts,inclination,time and devotion.We operated on a belief that if we could create a route with one bolt,a good route,on lead,that was OK.I had the skills and tools to put up many more,but did not believe that the time had come for anyone to use up the medium that way.I had two 5.11's wired on toprope but did not feel that,since I had toproped them,bolting them was called for.
I thought I read somewhere that you had authored something like 1500 routes in the Boulder area.You stated above 400-500 are trad.That's about the ratio I would have guessed.I can't imagine I'm the only one that thinks what I posted above,that you think that your opinion matters more.
My opinion Bob,is that perhaps you might have left some things undone for those who come later.That said there is a juxtaposition(sp?)that occurs when someone,or group of people,love a particular climbing area and develop it rapidly.Sometimes another such group does not come along for decades.Perhaps that is you in Boulder.
Odd though,and dissapointing the superior attitude you display toward me.I like to think of myself as a climber with valid viewpoints,have new routed some,climb ice,have climbed in Yosemite to 5.11,Josh too,Red Rocks,Adirondacks,Gunks,Acadia,plenty of routes up to 5.11 at Cannon.Have authored a guidebook.Makes me wonder,where you are dissing Mr.Stannard and I,what the criteria are,though I am certainly not in his league.
I took a trip to climb in Great Britain,and was inspired by their approach.Upon return I led another route there at the Edge,what we called Great Wall.We did not have any small cams back then,so the first real gear was pretty well up,maybe forty feet.I just read on rc.that someone has bolted the whole wall.Two other tens that I did there have had bolts added,and they were not even scary.
I'm aware 5.11 is pretty paltry nowadays,it was fun back then though,in EB's and a swami.Nowadays I climb 10d and occasionally get lucky on 11 a or b.
I'll bow out of this discussion now,carry on.
P.S. Nick,I am not opposed,as you know,to the use of bolts.I am opposed to bolted anchors that facilitate toproping,rap bolting,grid bolting.
Many of my earliest climbing partners now do quite a bit of sport climbing.
We all started out as dyed in the wool trad climbers, so times and people's inclinations definitely change.
Sport climbing is not going anywhere.
There are those of us, Healyje, Mimi, for instance, who staunchly oppose it.
Wes sees that as ludicrous in light of broad spread acceptance.
We definitely see strong opinions and firm stances here; some people hold hard and fast positions and if that is really what they feel, then that is appropriate for them.
Bob takes lots of hits and generally defends himself as a sport climber, but has as much said that he entertains both modes.
It seems that you might have interpreted some of my comments and direct questions as an affront to your bolting habits. That is not my intent. I am more interested in opening up perspectives and generating understanding.
It would seem that within your own activities, you in fact embrace both styles side-by-side. So a question for you (not looking for a yes or no answer):
Currently, how much ground up bolting are you doing and what sort of circumstances inform your decision on which mode to choose?
Tomcat wrote: I thought I read somewhere that you had authored something like 1500 routes in the Boulder area.You stated above 400-500 are trad.That's about the ratio I would have guessed.I can't imagine I'm the only one that thinks what I posted above,that you think that your opinion matters more.
My opinion Bob,is that perhaps you might have left some things undone for those who come later.That said there is a juxtaposition(sp?)that occurs when someone,or group of people,love a particular climbing area and develop it rapidly.Sometimes another such group does not come along for decades.Perhaps that is you in Boulder.
Wrong on a number of points. I have done 1500 FA's from New York to Texas and in between...not just Boulder, my opinions are based on my real world experiences about climbing in the last 35 years....period! I have never stopped you or anyone else from doing new routes. Just get off your ass and stop blaming others for what you neither want to do or can't do. Mr. Stannard started the dissing on me...I have only responded to his mis-information on me for which in a e-mail wanted to blame me for the bolt ban in the Gunks when I wasn't in the area for at least 5-7 years.
I can play hard ball or take the gloves off once the personal attacks start. You and a fews others want it like the old days...that is gone and it almost shameful to me see the old crew attack the new for changing the way climbing has gone. No one is stopping you from climbing in any style you prefer...one of my examples would be Todd Gordon who I have the upmost respect for...married, children and working on almost a thousand new routes and I think all hand drilled and on the lead.
Leading by example and not wanking on the internet. Also not bitter or cynical...just out there doing it.
Roy wrote:Currently, how much ground up bolting are you doing and what sort of circumstances inform your decision on which mode to choose?
Do you really think my answer will change anything??
I bolted on lead up to 5.12 and maybe harder...that was a personal decision. I bolted on lead routes in Boulder Canyon and the South Platte in the last years and few in the Splatte got chopped buy a chicken sh#t AC.
The pure hate spew by the trad-crowd is really disturbing to me...one fellow when so far as to cut hangers on sport routes in Boulder Canyon and left them in place so someone would clip them, fall and maybe died...they were replaced before that happened.
I am embarrassed by this behavior and really much rather be associated with sport-climbers than the cynical-hateful trad group.
Do I think open dialogue will change anything Bob?
It has a better chance of doing so than straight out argumentation.
Perhaps we have people reading our comments who might find the nuanced responses elicited through inquiry informative to their appreciation of the situation. It isn't all about, or limited to, open battle with our adversaries who step forward and post.
How these styles exist side by side, and how they might contiue to, this can be better understood by those not in the know, if we as experts are perhaps willing to entertain some detail. You and I, through benefit of our direct experience, may have some insight to share here.
Ahhhhhh, I do so love rainy days. I've now had the time to catch up on most of the posts on this thread and I'll try and organize my own opinions on the subject. If I can't go outside and climb I may as well jump into the pool and see if I can swim among the starfish and the sharks.............
One of the interesting things about being an older active climber in Boulder is that there are so many different styles of climbers here. Sport, trad, boulderers, big wall, alpine, ice, alpine rock, rock&ice alpine, high altitude etc AND the indoor recreationists who climb indoors but have not had any outdoor climbing experience. This last group probably impacts the sport more adversly than any other group because the reason they got into rock climbing may be so different from the rest who started outdoors or so it seems to me.
In the Boulder area there are only rules for establishing first ascents in Eldorado State Park and in the Flatirons. In the other outlaying areas such as Boulder Canyon or Table Mountain it's really an "anything goes" atmosphere. No rules no restrictions. I think primarily Boulder Canyon is so free of rules because it's too difficult of an area to manage (many different land agencies) and also because of its accessability. There are just too many climbers going in there and too many little crags. It was easier to control climbing styles when there was a smaller circle of climbers, when we all knew each other and we all pretty much shared the same reasons for climbing.
Back in the day (I'm going back now about 40 years) Most people came into the sport of rock climbing via some previous outdoor activity. Backpacking, camping, scrambling etc. Most of us saw climbing as another way to experience the great outdoors and appreciated climbing as another way to experience being outide. It wasn't just about the movement on rock but also about other less tangible values. I think that has dfinately changed. What I'm seeing now is that many of the people who climb the routes in Boulder Canyon or in some of the other "unrestricted" areas began their climbing careers indoors and hence do not necessary climb for the same aesthetic reasons .........
They seem to be concerned more with difficulty and the grade at which they "climb". Sunlight, fresh air etc are secondary to the climbing. Nothing wrong with that but it's different and sometimes clash with my and other people's reasons for being out there on the crags.
There are more climbers than ever before and we don't all share the same values so conflict of how our resources (the rock) should be used arises. In areas where there are rules or standards governing the establishment of FAs (Eldorado State Park, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks), we don't seem to have such severe disagreements within the climbing community. Maybe that's because another govening body is in charge of making those decisions for us. It does seem that as climbers trying to represent ourselves we can be our own worst enemies.
Having so many different styles of climbing in an area that has limited resources but where the numbers of climbers is growing more each year does create an interesting situation. How can we coexist and not use up the rock too soon. How do we leave some unclimbed rock for future generations but still accommodate the numbers of climbers?
In Boulder Canyon it does seem that by and large sport climbs and trad routes do co-exist well together. There for sure have been turf wars in the past but things seem pretty calm and everyone (I think) is getting along fine at the moment.
At Sleeping Beauty Rock there are trad routes next to sport routes and both have remained unchanged since they were established over five years ago. There are trad routes and sport routes next to each other on Blob Rock. There are more examples.........Maybe the best example of co-existence is the establishment of a new crag last year. Tonneque Tower was established with 35 routes last year. Probably about 20% of those routes were intentionally left as trad routes to appease the climbing community.
For me it was the first time watching someone develop an entire cliff in a way that hopefully would satisfy everyone. It didn't work of course but the main develper, Ron came mightly close. More rock could have been left untravelled or unbolted (conceively all of it)of course, but that would have been too elitist.
At this point in time it doesn't work trying to be elite. There are too many ordinary people on the rock and the sport is mainstream. More than ever before the elite of this sport are in the minority and there are too many other people who all climb for different reasons, have different asthetic values and have nothing in common with the party climbing the rock next to them. Their reasons for climbing have nothing in common with me or you and because this sport was based on anarchy they feel they can do what they want.
As I see it sport climbing is a tool that can be used and is useful in raising the standards of traditional climbing. I feel that the true benefits of of what climbing has to offer can best be experienced at the sharp end of a traditionally equipted route but the skills that allow for the development of harder trad routes have been honed through sport climbing. Lynn Hill has always maintained that were it not for her background in competitive sport climbing she would not have been able to free climb the Nose on El Cap. The Huber brothers use sport climbing in reaching higher standards and faster times in ascending big walls free. Sharma has done the same.
Most climbers though don't have such lofty goals. They just wanna have fun and sport climbing gives them that. That's the problem. Rock climbing was never supposed to be "just fun'. It was more than that.............
The question as I see the situation is not can sport climbing co-exist alongside traditional routes because it can and does but rather can we as a climbing community, with many different attitudes, styles, values come together and agree on how best to use our limited resources.
Many divergent style of routes can co-exist but I can't say the same about climbers who have diferent styles and climb for reasons which conlict with others. Maybe we'll come together as a community and work towards a common goal with mutual respect for each other diferences.
Meanwhile I'm going to stand on the sidelines and see what happens to the routes on the south side of Half Dome and wait and see what happens next.