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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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VIC Buffalo The Horn Environs (General) The Horn [ Horn Guide ] 

Topic Date User
Bolting at The Horn, Mount Buffalo 28-Feb-2013 At 3:06:22 PM singersmith
I don't know how this could possibly be construed as an ego issue; I'd maintain it's exactly the opposite - that is, a concern for everybody else and that which can't be known (the future). It would seem then that 90% of climbers who post here are egotistical jerks; I don't get that sense at all, this isn't Supertopo. I think it's a public service issue and that is what concerns me and warrants logging those concerns for the record. I don't really want to chime in much more until I see the bolts first hand but I do have a couple of thoughts.

First, life rule number #6: if I ever find myself saying to essentially everyone else, 'But you don't understand!', its time sit on a log for awhile and consider my position. What's was that about the road being paved with good intentions? Andrew's not the first person ever to take hoods in the woods, teach climbing at Buffalo, or take his parents out climbing and need appropriate routes for those activities.

Second, it's not about the bolts per se, it's about something much harder to put your finger on which is, "Is it a 'line"? How is it different than if I step 5 meters left of the chains to Ali Baba's and bolt a new line for all the same reasons? Or bolt a new 14 next to the descent on Mitre Rock? I would say that the historical record -along with present company- clearly indicates that the great majority of climbers don't see a "line" on those boulders. If that's where the line is for a "line" then I can think of several lines at the Horn 50% bigger than those and probably 6 more at least as long but several things tell me not to put bolts in them. I always thought that an "eye for a line" came from lots of diverse rock and first ascent experience. I devote my time instead to touching up existing classic routes and making them more pleasant to climb by digging out grass, dirt and lichen that might otherwise end up in your eyes. I don't get to name it with some Led Zepplin lyrics and get my name in the guidebook but if Wendy goes and leaves some skin there then it's good enough for me. Yes, you don't need to flame me with how cleaning is like bolting but I did say great routes. Sons of Yesterday was a jungle rivaling anything in the Gorge until 1984 and the cleaning job it took is Valley legend; hummocks of munge that you could stand on tumbling down Serenity Crack. If you have good, fun, clean trade routes then you can climb them as warm-ups rather than longer epics; its a good way to get more mileage out of less rock.

Third, the slippery slope post says it all perfectly. I remember when the fixed anchor ban hit Arches National Park, after DP's mega high profile slacklining above the highway. It was horrific and effectively ended climbing there. It made it against the law to even replace webbing thread-throughs or anchors on trees. The the entire Park Service was looking at making it national policy. Grid bolting everything, especially in a high non-climber traffic area, is exactly what the road to regulation looks like. What's grid bolting? I'd say if your feet are anywhere close to the last bolt when you're clipping the next one that you're in grid territory.

Lastly, I'm not necessarily opposed to good anchors, even if it involves retro-fitting [bolts, pins, fixed passive gear], but I also have no problem simply NOT climbing a route that has a notoriously thin anchor on any terrain my partner and I weren't totally comfortable on. Or, for that matter, not climbing new routes that would require eye-sore bolts in places non-climbers frequent. I do think that bolting for clients is objectionable; as bolting a climb down to your limit is whether you are paying for your climbing partner/driller or not. Why can't people be taught to climb as they always have been without purpose-built routes or just stick to routes they can do like everyone else does? This happened on the East Buttress of El Cap when Walt Shipley ripped out a piton and put a bolt six feet above (that can almost be grabbed from the anchor) from it so that his clients could pull across the 10b move and he could guide the whole route @5.9. The Nutcracker, of all routes, was also retrofitted with a belay that remained for at least 10 years because no one wanted to be the bad guy chopper. That bolt and belay have now been gone for over 10 years without incident.

While long-winded, I'm not actually "up in arms" about these bolts, at least not yet and until I take some measurements, but I certainly wouldn't want to see lots more bolted routes of this length anywhere. I think everyone agrees there the is an important limit somewhere (as to how many bolts over how much rock in what location) and that it should be clarified as best as possible where that line is. I would think that if I drilled a bolt ladder interspersed with one hook and one head placement straight up the Disabled Lookout or the Horn that people would be like, "Uh, dude...."

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