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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
The Eyrie, Mt Boyce retrobolted! Badly... 30-Dec-2016 At 11:42:55 PM timfreddo
It was me! Get a cuppa.

Before I start on my thoughts, a couple of points for this post..
1. Can we make this a non-Safer cliffs discussion mods? as it's a closed group, it'd be great to get more then the closed group peoples' thoughts...
2. Andy P, You might get your chockstone anti-boredom solved with the discussion that is sure to follow...
3. To reply to Macciza's hanger orientation issue. The brand of fixed hanger used are designed to be loaded vertically, and are strongest in this orientation.
4. The comparison to the organ pipes is incorrect, It's one of the most visited sections of cliff at Araps. The Abseil gully probably see's 2 parties of climbers per week... if that... More akin to somewhere with easy climbs in the far northern group if we're comparing to Arapiles.

So my thoughts for what I did..

- The Abseil Gully wall could be one of the best introduction to multi-pitch mixed climbing walls in the Blue Mountains.
Of the 7 routes on the wall, there are only 2 routes with no bolts to supplement gear, and they see waaaaay less repeats due to their serious nature. All the rest are mixed climbs with cams and bolts for pro. Even the "classic" 2 star climbs here see less repeats than they deserve.

- At current there is a very limited range of places for climbers to go and climb well protected (and pleasant) grade 10-15 mixed multi-pitch routes.

- Modernising this cliff will divert some traffic away from other overpopulated areas in the Mountains, and minimise the amount of people getting in above their head e.g. Sweet Dreams, Bell Bird wall etc..

- The climb in question is poorly protected by modern standards.
It's a ledgy slab with numerous 5-10m runnouts. With the amount of new climbers coming out of the Gyms, it's only a matter of time until people start falling off and breaking bones. Each time you get to a crack to place gear on this route, you've just done a run out, hard (at the grade) move. Then you place a cam, do numerous easy moves to become run out again and then do another hard, un protected move. I put some extra bolts in (3 from memory) to protect these run out moves and avoid ledge falls.

- The climb in question appeared to have been already retro-bolted. The mild steel carrot before the cave, the anchor in the cave, and the two carrots on the top pitch are all glued in with Araldite... I'm not sure if these were from the first ascentionists, but they looked after market.

- Why should easy climbs be more poorly protected?
For me, I see the worst potential for injury when climbing at the limit of your grade, in under vertical terrain... Why should harder mixed routes have well protected (by bolts if necessary) moves than easier climbs? It seems that the harder the grade, the more well protected a route is (a popular route that is, not alive in the bitter sea and co.)

Most of the people who object to the Eyrie being re-bolted climb this grade extremely comfortably. What if this climb was closer to your limit? Would you accept the risks, or not climb it as it's not well enough protected for where your climbing is at? Now imagine you had no other similar places to go to "work up" to this route...

- Why should old climbs be stuck in the past? times change...
As one climber put it, "Seatbelts were introduced to make crashes safer and you wear that on a daily basis. So maybe should all get in a car crash with no seatbelt because that's what grandpa did."
For climbing, everything leads towards safety, Why wear a helmet? The climbers of the past didn't... until a rock hit someone in the head. Do we need to wait until someone has an accident before progression can take place?

-This works into Fixed hangers instead of Stainless Glue in Machine bolts. Get with the times! Machine bolts are for bolting stuff together. Ringbolts are specifically for Climbing. There are numerous reports of climbers (who placed carrots) saying they used the best available at the time... the best available now is rings with EN standard. I wish I had placed rated rings on this route instead of the un-tested Glue in Machine bolts that hold the hangers. I made do with the best I had available at the time.

- The first ascentionist should have say over 'their' routes..
Why don't we all climb Janicepts with a rest at 21M0 like the first ascentionist did? I can't believe we dis-respect the first ascentionist by not following the method of their ascent and blatantly climbing past the rest spot used on the first ascent...
Times change, move with it.

- In summary, I'd welcome your thoughts, positive or negative.
If the majority vote is to remove the extra bolts, we don't need someone hacking the rock away with an angle grinder..
If you are going to remove these, you'll likely need to heat up the bolt/hanger with a blowtorch to melt the epoxy, then pull the bolt out of it's hole and patch the hole with similar covered gluedirt.

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