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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

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Snow Flurries @ Asses Ear
richie cunningham
2:09:02 PM
gone to the wind

2:26:19 PM
Well perhaps I shouldnt comment, having not done the route. But then, 'Justin Thyme' was happy enough to criticise the rap route, without having used it, so what the hell.

I like the fact that guys like Kent and Neil, who can climb routes six or seven grades harder than 'snow flurries' are prepared to take the effort to put up a route that us mere mortals have a shot at doing.

I look forward to doing the route myself, and drawing my own conclusions.

As 'Justin Thyme' obviously reads this website, he obviously has access to Neil and Kents email addresses, which is perhaps where his letter would have been better served to be sent.

That said, I enjoyed reading the letter in Argus, it was well written and entertaining (if you dont have your VCC membership, get on board if you dont want to miss out on gems like that)!
4:14:56 PM
>That said, I enjoyed reading the letter in Argus, it was well written
>and entertaining (if you dont have your VCC membership, get on board if
>you dont want to miss out on gems like that)!

And you'll have to wait until the next issue to see the solitary (so far) response, not including Kent's response that is.
4:43:17 PM
someone going to type up the letter so us non vccers can know whats goin on?

5:10:35 PM
send one my way, super stylin'

5:13:55 PM
What's all this fuss over Kent? Throw a copy my way..

5:51:19 PM
Kent needs a hug....

7:09:01 PM
group hug peoples...
7:12:28 PM
if you really feel the need to bag out a new route, there's a good way to do it & bad way to do it. There are a number of blaring holes that can be picked in the letter... Its irrelevant if SF has too many bolts or not - 'Justin Thyme' chose the bad way & sounds like a right tosser.

7:30:48 PM
can i get an email copy kent?

having assisted kent in one of his rebolting epics, i now know exactly how much ( A LOT!!) of time and energy is spent making routes safer. if this guy wants to complain over 3 carrots at a cliff which i would guess see's very little traffic, then he can just get back in his car and drive to summerday, or even better (and further) to araps!
8:22:00 PM
BA can clock up a 2nd letter to Argus. I don't have a lot of respect for anonymous writers opinions - none in fact. I wouldn't imagine anyone here has noticed that.
The letter should have been thrown in the bin. If you want to criticise someone, put your name to it.

8:46:06 PM
On 4/10/2004 kent wrote:

>Dude, don't you see the irony in complaining about how "we should grow
>some balls" and then....

...not having the balls to put his own name on the letter?? Who is the coward here??!!

The unwritten assumption is that since the 2nd pitch is grade 20, only grade 20 climbers will be leading the first not very sound. If you swung leads with some friends, both pitches may be at the leaders limit...

If some one has a legitimate point of view, there is no reason I can see they should have agianst putting their name on it. Hence, anon (non-legitimate) stuff should not be published, IMHO..

mikl law
12:22:50 AM
The ethics in Vic have always been, well, Victorian.
1) Bolts are evil, but putting in bad bolts is "less evil"
2) Bolts under grade 20 are evil.
3) Toprope inspection is more convenient than bolting on easy routes
4) Hard routes magically sprout bolts
5) Lower offs are much worse than cutting trails along the top ofcliffs and down gullies.

Many who ascribe to these views will put up undergarded, underbolted 18's to compensate for the overgraded, overbolted 24's they do.

4:10:44 AM
To save you a lot of dorkmailing, can you post the letter here, Kent?

I do love sitting around the campfire with a torch under my chin and telling my northern hemisphere buddies about carrot bolts. They don't believe me about hoopsnakes and dropbears either
Dave C
5:13:38 AM
On 5/10/2004 mikl law wrote:
>The ethics in Vic have always been, well, Victorian.
You may have a point Michael but this all seems a bit troll-like to me.

>1) Bolts are evil, but putting in bad bolts is "less evil"
You may have had a point at one time on this one but most of the crap bolts (indeed at one time most of the bolts, period) appear to have been put in by climbers originally from interstate (no names, no pack-drill) so blaming Victorians for this makes me think of black pots and kettles!

>2) Bolts under grade 20 are evil.
Who are you having a dig at with this one Michael? I never came across this attitude particularly, although I admit you could get that impression at Arapiles. The You-Yangs for one (admittedly a pretty crappy little area but very convenient for Melbourne) has bolts on routes at almost all grades from about 13 upwards. People like Russell Crow and myself certainly didn't get any stick over putting them in either (well not to our faces anyway.) I never saw much sign that bolts were needed on easier routes on Grampians sandstone or at Arapiles by the way, there seemed to be adequate natural pro in most cases.

>3) Toprope inspection is more convenient than bolting on easy routes
Sounds like 'headpointing' as they call it here. Don't remember anyone doing this particularly. Another recent development?

>4) Hard routes magically sprout bolts
Which ones? I presume this must be on more recent routes as I don't remember seeing it happen in the 80s. Seems to be a rampant problem on limestone here in the UK as well.

>5) Lower offs are much worse than cutting trails along the top ofcliffs
>and down gullies.
Have to agree with you here. Came across this at Arapiles when an abseil station was put above Grotto Wall by a visiting climber back in 1988. Sounds like things haven't changed much then. Even the Brits have accepted that lower-offs and rap stations are essential to protect cliff-tops from deterioration.

>Many who ascribe to these views will put up undergarded, underbolted 18's
>to compensate for the overgraded, overbolted 24's they do.

The persistent sniping at Victorian grades and ethics both on websites like this and in certain climbing publications all has a rather petty and childish feel to it (this is not aimed at you specifically Michael but you do seem to like Vic baiting at times.)

10:12:48 AM
Sorry David, but I have to agree with Claws comments about Victorian climbing... and granite boulders don't count!

Talking about ethics and the You Yangs, was it your 'creation' at the Overlap?

11:45:08 AM
Here's a copy of the letter:

I want my feet to just touch the ground and be popular.

Recently I read with concern the new route description of Snow Flurries (20) at the Asses Ears. Since we were intending to climb there we decided to check the climb out.

On the first pitch 3 carrot bolts lead the way that a blind man wouldn’t get lost on. Between the 3 of us we couldn’t find the grade 16 move, we all thought the grade was more like 14 and were amazed at the array of excellent wire and cam placements all the way up the slab. Certainly a person leading 20-23 wouldn’t have any difficulties on this little warm up approach ramp.
From the belay you amble up the wall with good protection to get you to another glued-in carrot bolt, after clipping this I spotted next to my left shoulder a bomber 3 RP. “What’s going on” I thought, don’t these first ascensionists inspect their project prior to going ballistic with the drill, or is it simply they don’t own any small wires? I moved up to the small rooflet, placed a couple of small cams, viewed the way ahead and moved up on small positive holds. Standing upright in a good position I dropped in a 4 Rock. As I grabbed the rope to clip the runner there to my right was a glued in carrot, now this was getting ridiculous. From this point the terrain steepens as you pass 4 fixed hangers, while climbing on big holds, to finish up a little headwall with one or two wires to reach the belay/rappel.

The anchors I have to say are in a very silly position, half a move from the big ledge and very uncomfortable to belay from. My two colleagues duly came up, climbed over me, sat on the ledge, made themselves safe and put me on belay to make the half move. Now you say why didn’t he set up the rappel to head down the cliff. First of all there was a stiff breeze blowing and the possibility of the ropes getting caught on chicken heads was high, and why do two rappels when you can do one if you have two ropes? Twenty-five metres to our right, a forty metre safe and sheltered rappel gets you back to the base of the cliff. The description of the rappels worries me as there is a huge chance that subsequent ascents/descents may come a cropper. Quote, (1) rap will JUST (capital letters) reach the belay on a 60m rope (belay being an assortment of tat). (2) A 60m rope will only just make it to the ground from the slings if you swing to the right. I looked up “just” in the dictionary and two descriptions of the word are “barely” and “not quite”. Firstly 35-40m off the deck while rappelling should not involve “just” reaching a belay/rappel point. Secondly I prefer to do my swinging on the dance floor in the company of a beautiful woman. Rappelling (always with caution) follows gravity i.e. DOWN. Not to the left or right. Our ascensionists need to appraise their bolting effort, route description, acquire a good selection of small wires and grow some balls!

May I suggest a few climbs to develop the skills of placing this equipment and enlarging their genitalia. 20th Century Black Feral Cat (18), Take Five (20) and the absolutely mega classic Missing (23). Then go back to Snow Flurries and climb it again - accept that all the carrot bolts are not required and possibly the first fixed hanger i.e. the one on the glued in carrot (naughty boys). Remove them along with the silly DRB. If you, the readers, feel offended by this article and want to cut me down, go and climb the route first. The second pitch is very steep, exposed and exciting. You will need, cams 1/2 to 3 1/2 Friends, Rocks, small wires i.e. (RPs. Peenuts) 8-10 quickdraws. 2-4 long slings AND 2 ropes, 3 bolt brackets are optional. In fact leave them at home, or better still, donate them to a museum where relics from the past are kept. Snow Flurries is a good climb that has been tainted with over zealous bolting, especially considerating its superlative neighbour, Le Petite Mort, has non! and the general overall lack of in situ protection on the whole cliff. One of our ascensionists needs to re-read his own words/draft on the Chockstone web site. Under the heading Tech tips (Replacing bolts), sub-title “Route bolting ethics”.
Yours Safely,
Justin Thyme.
11:50:06 AM
Bill, you can put me down for a brief letter too, I wrote it last night. I was hoping to climb Snow Flurries last week but the weather got the better of us. As such I can't comment on the bolting for that climb. As a general comment I have found Neils & Kents bolting to be thoughtful and ethical. In most cases good natural gear is used in trad areas. Bolting is minimalist but safe. The fact that carrots were used instead of rings illustrates this point.

As for Justin Thyme, well I think all credibility goes out of his(?) argument by failing to give his(?) identity. I also think that the letter should have with-held from publication and the author given the opportunity to identify himself(?) before the letter was published.

3:11:39 PM
I haven't climbed the route and don't know anything about the climb, so I don't think I can form an opinion, but I reckon whoever wrote the letter should have identified themselves.

On 4/10/2004 kent wrote:
>Yet another reason why publishing your routes is a waste of time.

After watching Kent bolting a new route on The Tower in the Grampians last week (it was a fun time, ay?!), I've realised the HUGE amount of work it takes to put up a new route. Full respect to new routers - and don't let a few people's comments get ya down - I'm sure most people really appreciate the work you guys do!

3:50:32 PM
>After watching Kent bolting a new route ....I've realised the HUGE amount of work it takes

Especially if you over bolt it... :-P

(what's that? Now's not the time for jokes, you say?)

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There are 89 messages in this topic.


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