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Repeat and retrobolt best easy route at Buffalo 6-Mar-2008 At 8:05:20 AM jgoding
Just for the record I'd like to point out that

1: Neil is quite right - after some preliminary discussions with Geoff and follow up ones (with a much wider group) where we discussed what was considered appropriate decided to steer well clear of trying to get involved in re(or retro) bolting any established lines and I'm very happy that this has been done by the FA team (only took them 30 years to get back to it, but hell - at least it's done and now it can be enjoyed by the masses, and clearly is being enjoyed by the masses).

2: Before we went establishing any new routes (i.e. A Fundamental Difference of opinion & No Ego) at Mackeys lookout we (3 of us) carefully sussed out the (very clear) topo and route descriptions which I verified had been written up by Geoff in the first place, and translated into the topo in the current guide. Hence we had a high degree of confidence that we were safely well clear of the established routes. Sadly this was not the case.

It turned out after much investigation (after the routes went up) that we shared part of Stiletto's 1st pitch and have hence added some fixed gear to this pitch, as well as the very last bit before you top out. To the best of my knowledge Geoff does not have a major issue with the additional bolts in the 1st pitch of Stilettom however he is more than capable of making his opinions made public or not. I have discussed / offered to remove these bolts and he let me know he is happy for them to stay. He acknowledged that we did our best to establish the location of the established lines before establishing what we believed were independent lines.

I have attempted to correct the route lines accurately in the topo I've made and posted on the VCC website.

Geoff has said that the yellow dotted line I marked as a potential new route on the RHS of the waterfall is in fact High Heels, but from the distinct lack of gear (literally nothing in about 50m and from what I could see nowhere to place a belay below, with the very real possibility of a horrible fall about 20-30m down a steep chasm) I have my reservations about this being correct and hope that I will be able to verify this with Geoff and subsequently update the topo and re-post.

So the point I would like to make is that we were dilligent and did take due care with establishing the position of the existing routes. The info was verified to the best of my knowledge by the first ascentionist team and hence as far as we knew we had the best information available. In short if we had any inkling that we were retrobolting any existing lines we would have steered well clear and gone elsewhere.

All that being said the new routes offer good climbing on good rock, and are well protected and I would have no reservations in reccomending them to anyone. The intention was to provide another option for climbing at this lovely venue that does not require huge run-outs, but is in fact quite reasonable in our opinions (which clearly are very different to a bunch of others - but being the first ascentionists we can establish what we consider to be well protected routes).

I would still offer a warning on all other routes at Mackey's lookout (with the exception of the recently retrobolted route Mike & Geoff have sorted out). I clearly don't agree with the style in which they were established, and think that like a lot of the other poorly protected routes at Buffalo this style is elitist and not worth the time of day (for me). While I choose this I would also like to point out that I do respect that it takes a lot of skill and willpower to establish routes in this manner, however it's a style that I'm simply not that interested in. I choose a lower level of risk.

At least there is now a little more choice so people are free to choose what experience they want, rather than it being dictated to them by a distinct lack of well protected routes at Buffalo.

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