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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
New pitons on Watch Tower 5-Feb-2005 At 2:03:12 PM simey
I've just read this thread and I am amazed to see that people have found this act so despicable. Firstly, I placed those fixed pins in the third belay of Watchtower Crack. Having done the route at least ten times, I feel the anchors in that belay are pretty average. Not only that, but you do some pretty insecure climbing straight off the belay before you clip the bolt. That means you are facing a factor two fall onto a very ordinary belay.

The reason I placed pitons and not bolts is purely to stay in keeping with the historic element of route. Pitons utilise natural features (unlike bolts) and when well-placed are very good anchors. The horizontal crack on that belay is tailor made for pitons, but not so accomodating for wires. Although you can place small RPs or equivalent, it is not the sort of gear that I would like to belaying from should the leader be whistling past me. Add a few more climbers perched on that belay and the whole situation starts to look even more unappealing. The piton placements don't affect the wire placements.

The situation would be different if the bolt on that final pitch was one move lower. But as Kieran pointed out, the bolts were placed on lead. Replacing bolts on this route is one thing, but repositioning them tampers signficantly with the history. I love doing Watchtower Crack and wondering what it must have been like for the first ascenionists to be drilling on lead in the places they did.

I feel my actions are very considered and don't alter the climb in any significant way. I would argue that the Arapiles Bolting Fairies and others have destroyed a lot more of the history and character inherent in many of the Arapiles classics. For example, Cassandra (18) could have had just a few bolts replaced and the old aid bolts left as testament to a bygone era. Have A Good Flight (25) should have been re-equipped with glue-in stainless carrots and become a heritage-listed route as a symbol of early Australian sport climbing! (Carrots are to Australian climbing what knot protection is to Eastern Europe).

I'm getting sidetracked. Back to the pegs on Watchtower Crack... Maybe think twice before removing them.

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