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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Manufacturing 13-Aug-2004 At 4:52:33 PM M
I have found this thread quite interesting and I thought I would add my opinions.

I am not setting out to judge or criticise others only to voice my opinion.

I am completely against chipping particuarly in a national park such as the grampians.
My objections are from both an enviromental and climbing point of view.

For me a big part of climbing is using only my own skill, strength and sticky rubber shoes to get to the top of a piece of rock using only the natural features of the rock. I don’t really see the difference between drilling a pocket, series of jugs, bolting on a plastic hold or a ladder for that matter. Its not natural and the climb is a least partly designed. (For me cleaning is a bit of a grey area.)
In my experience most climbers feel that gym grades are fairly meaningless. This may be getting a bit of topic but at what point does a gym route become realistic enough to deserve a grade and conversely when does an outdoor route become so artificial that it is treated with the same contempt as a gym route? I enjoy gym climbing and would probably enjoy doing the moves on a chipped route but its not the same as climbing a real outdoor feature; at least for me. I would even go so far as to make the probably unpopular suggestion that chipped routes should have a grade which reflects this ie grade 28 A as in 28 artificial.
I also don’t agree with bringing a route down to you level, leave it for someone who can do it or if its impossible then its impossible.

For me the environmental considerations are probably more important than climbing side of the issue, particuarly in a national park. Climbers are just one of many special interest groups that use our parks. We like to think that we have a very low environmental impact but at least in some places that certainly isnt true. I understand that in some respects drilling a bolt hole is no better than drilling a small pocket but you need to draw a line somewhere and for me the line is between the two. I also understand that almost everything we do has an impact on our environment but I believe we should do everything we can to minimise this while still enjoying a full life.
Phil Neville made a point about admiring the blank walls near VD land. For me this is an important point, if a wall is unclimable it is protected at least to some extent from a line of bolts, chalk and access tracks. As another aside I would like to think that there are some areas of the grampians that are always left in their natural state.

The arguments that this has been done for a long time or many others have done it don’t sit very well with me. If someone has chipped at a time or place where/when it was widespead then I certainly wouldn’t criticise them for doing it. However I have heard the argument that “everyone was doing it” or “that’s what we have always done” to excuse many wrongs (mostly in regard to activities outside of climbing) but I believe we should look at our own actions and make up our own minds whether its right or wrong.

I understand that many significant climbers and climbs have chipped or been chipped and I don’t believe this diminishes their part in our climbing history. I do believe that we should look at our current and future actions and decide how they will affect our environment and everyone in it, not just climbers.

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