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General Climbing Discussion

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9:35:10 PM
The other day i bolted a new crag in the grampians (still a secret) And several of the routes i put bolts in had several metres of blank rock so I Drilled a series of pockets. My friends have almost chosen to disown me. But I just don't understand where their coming from. I have left several natural placements on these routes and only dug out as many pockets as bolt holes i saved. So i'm doing just as much drilling as would someone who grid bolted the area. I've chosen to stand up and take the public blows and ask the genral public to get off their bloody high horse. What leg do you stand on. Are you opposed environmentally or opposed to the taking of something from the future of rockclimbing. I drilled no more than what someone else could have just bolting the area and the sections were impossible and if some young punk figures out how to do it with out these holds i'll fill them back in. Please explain this stupid moral ground.
9:52:04 PM
T1 on the troll meter Robbo- only T1 instead of T0 because you will still get people responding thinking you are serious.

9:59:30 PM
I am serious dalai. Does it not appear to you i have a sound argument. Please tell me what the actual other side of the story is. What is the difference between drilling holes to put bolts in and drilling holes to pull on. These holds a quite hidden from the ground and are entirly in nature with the style of climbing.
10:52:37 PM
Why don't you just pull on the bolts? Why have you bothered drilling holds? Pulling on the bolts will get you up the rock more easily than pulling on the drilled holes.

9:59:22 AM
Ill bite:)
Just because your not good enough dosnt mean someone in the furture wont be able to do it...bringing any climbing down to your level is pretty lame.

Also if said actions are done you now have a contrived piece of rubish, not a natural line. Why not save yourself the trouble and travel time by drilling holes up a man made structure like a bridge pylon, that way you can design your "climbs" to your hearts content and get the same result

And finally bolts are not used to climb a route but merely to protect you will doing so, your enhanced man made holes have an entirely different function of creating a line that wasn't there.

I still think its gotta be a troll, but if its not, enjoy your new wonder route cause it is doubtful anyone else will be bothered to climb it.

10:37:13 AM
This sounds very familiar Robbo! Several years ago I started developing Centurion Walls in the Grampians. Many of the routes we did were bolted but we left natural gear when it was available. For many we 'ruined' a perfectly good sport crag as you need to bring trad on almost every route - including the desperates. I spent many weekends out there over a couple of years labourishly hand-drilling the bolts on many of the routes. One day when climbing with a German friend Thomas Wimmer I noticed a really nice roof flake and a bunch of heuco pockets in a big cave on the left side of the cliff. The rock quality looked great and the line really drew me in. The first 5m of the climb was a juggy, sandy wall which abruptly turned into a 3m of very overhung blank rock. The upper 10m looked amazing and I really wanted to climb it. I spent two full days by myself down-aiding and handrilling the roof. I positioned the first bolt at the end of the blank steep section so you could stickclip and 'batman' up to the first hold from the ground and climb the roof flake from there. This batman technique is very common in the Blue Mtns and enables nice routes to be done when they have chossy/vegetated or impossible starts. I worked the route in 1999 with many partners but never ticked it. I left for a 6 months American climbing trip later that year. During this trip I spent considerable time on western Limestone/Sandstone belt crags including Wild Iris, Mt Charleston, Owens River Gorge, Red Rocks and Jacks Canyon. I was amazed to see at every one of these crags the evidence of hold comfortising and re-enforcment. Some had large sections of glue on almost every hold. It became common to experience the joys of ‘perfect’ manufactured climbing. I returned to Australia with a whole new perspective on sport climbing. I returned to my project (Winged Corpse) at Centurion and continued working it with the batman start. In one day of effort I ticked the redpoint and was very happy. The gymnastic and sustained nature of the roof climbing suited my style and I thought it was one of the best new routes I had done. I tried to get others interested in the line but everyone thought the batman start was a little weird. You had to climb 5m of the route, then pull up the stick to clip the first bolt, then batman up and then continue climbing. It wasn’t exactly a natural smooth climbing experience. A few months elapsed and the route continued to bug me. I began to think about manufacturing a start to the climb so it was a full free climb. I went back by myself and examined the line to make sure it really was impossible. The natural free move would involve a fully fledged super dyno from a good incut hold to a very average pinch edge. The distance to dyno would be 2.5m at least. I went home and discussed with friends the option of adding a chipped hold to make the start doable. No one was keen on my idea so I left it alone for a few months. It continued to bug me and my thoughts went back to the perfect limestone pocket pulling in the USA. I had never chipped a route before – in fact I was usually very anti-chipping. I guess the eye-opening route modifications in the USA had changed my view. I returned once again to Winged Corpse and this time I was determined to add the free start – by any means possible. I drilled two small finger pockets and an edge on the blank rock and climbed the route that afternoon. The new start was one grade harder then the rest of the route and made the entire climb very sustained. It was now 15m of sport climbing in a rain-proof cave within 35minutes of Halls Gap. At first I didn’t care about what others thought. I believed I had made a good climb even better. I made sure I told others who tried the route that the first hold were drilled. In fact the updated description of the route was “a dubious start to an otherwise excellent climb”. Most climbers didn’t seem to greatly care – they could see the holds were not ugly and that the start was impossible without the pockets. Several years elapsed and I didn’t give it much thought. I never chipped anything again as I had made my ‘statement’ as such. I wanted to wait for the long term effects of my actions. The route has had several repeats in the last few years and the only criticism I have had is that the pockets are too small for big fingers! I was surprised that even die-hard ethical climbers seem to enjoy the route and didn’t come running at me with a machete the next time they saw me. I do not plan to chip anything again – the climb is a moment in my climbing history which came about after spending half a year in America. Feel free to try and do the opening move without the pockets. I am more than happy to fill them in if it gets done naturally free. In fact I should offer a cash reward for this - $200 is all yours if you climb it free. Phew – was that the response you wanted ‘Robbo’?

10:46:50 AM
That was exactly the response I wanted. I knew there was people out there doing it as well. And again I agree. If someone does the 3m dino to a small edge on my route i to will fill in the pockets. However to have a grade 26 turn into some thing ridiculusly hard becouse of one hard move would be not a pleasant route at the grade anyway. And rodw the moves are absolutly wonderful. They are not just straight up and down ladder pulling.

10:51:46 AM
Robbo - i can't help but think you are having a go at me?!

10:52:58 AM
Not at all.

10:56:21 AM
as an after thought... one of the reasons I have never chipped again is because it has tainted what others think about other new routes I have done. Nick McKinnon who shared the development of Centurion was always very anti-chipping and he was annoyed that I had 'tarnished' Centurion Walls with the one chipped route. To him it put a question mark on what others might think of the other climbs. I will make it clear - no others routes have been chipped in the Grampians by myself. Nick was not involved in chipping - ever. Chipping is bad - okay!

11:04:13 AM
I guess it comes down to why we bolt routes then nmonteith. People will probably try to claim i chipped so i can get up a route and get my name in a book. But i didn't do it for other people. Unless i'm just after the age old 'any publisity is good publisity.' i'll get a heap of shit for it and yet the same people will probably repeat the route and love it. I am sincere nmonteith and respect your views especially as you have done a large amount of new routeing.

phil box
11:05:02 AM
Take yourself out the back and give yourself a good thrashing Neil. I`ll agree, chipping is bad, mkay.

11:17:16 AM
I think the whole chipping debate is quite regionally specific. It is obviously quite common and accepted on European limestone. My German friend Thomas Wimmer would decribe to me how i should visit his 'natural climbs' - which I thougth meant natural pro but to him meant un-chipped. In the USA chipping is shunned on by the media and most climbers - but it is happening at most 'soft rock' crags. World famous place like Mt Charlseton is very very chipped. Back in Australia places like Nowra have very obvious chipping - the first hold on Cheesemonster anyone? The Blue Mtsn get a bad rap as they usually have quite a bit of hold re-enforcment and the occasional chipped hold. This has been going on in the Bluies for decades. At Australia's 'premier' crag Arapiles literally hundreds of climbs have chipped edges and 'enchament'. Classics such as Punks in the Gym are well known manufactered routes. The Grampians however does NOT have a big history of dubious manufacturing. The only one that really comes to mind is Claw's Dive Dive Dive at Bundaleer. Maybe the Grampians should have better ethics - it is more a trad crag than a sport crag. There is a lot of un-climbed rock which should be left un-climbed. I realize I am being totally hypocritical!

11:22:30 AM
On 10/08/2004 robbo wrote:
>I've chosen to stand up and take the public blows
>and ask the genral public to get off their bloody high horse. What leg
>do you stand on.

I think owning up to your real name would be a good start to 'standing up and taking the public blows'!

11:36:13 AM
My name is robbo tant. I origanally came from sydney but have work on in victoria for a month and a half with lots spare hours to attend to a new crag i discovered whil;e going over the grampians in a chopper. I've climbed a lot and done a bit of new routing in the blue mountains and nowra. I like long walks on the beach.

11:41:08 AM
My main concern is were does it stop, why cant someone else come along and enhance them furthur, whats stopping them. As you said there is plenty of unused rock out there, we dont need to start changing stuff by enhancing/chipping etc.

If you cant do it walk away or leave it as an aid move like you originally had. By not puttuing up the ruote you really wony have any impact on climbign as a whole but once you start modifying one route it can havea cascade effect and people start to believe its more the norm.

If you start changing the nature of the climb becuase you cant climb it, a can of worms is opened. Just because it was done in the past , or elsewhere dosn't make it right. Im not being alamrist , just looking at the big picture, or we may go down that germany road and start calling natural routes because of no modification or enhancement on the route....surely no one wants that.

Yeah sure its just one route, but Im sure thats has said everytime its done.

"just one more fix...never trust a junkie":)

11:50:57 AM
On 11/08/2004 robbo wrote:
>My name is robbo tant.

hmm - how suprising. Your email adress bounces.

12:07:39 PM
As far as the rock itself is concerned, I don't see any difference between chipping holds and inserting bolts.

But as far as the people (us) are concerned, chipping is completely different from bolting, at least I think so, because the issue of chipping or not chipping is purely philosophical and esoteric. Bolting has the practicality and solid reasoning of safety. I don't think the argument used by Robbo, that the drill holes in the rock are cancelled out by the holes he didn't drill by way of leaving using trad placements, is valid.

Chipping comes around because the moves are deemed too hard or 'impossible' by someone, this is a very subjective decision.

Rod's comments bring up an interesting point as far as I am concerned.

Chipping by the first ascentionist versus chipping on an existing route. He suggests chipping is opening a can of worms. Maybe no more so than bolting. I think that most of the chipping is done by first ascentionists but very rarely (correct me if I'm wrong) are these given refinement by later ascentionists - if this was to occur we would be in the same moral territory as retro-bolting - retro-chipping?

Neilo: as much as the mono-doigt at the start of cheesemonster is sinker, I don't think it is drilled - I thought the same thing initially but there are no rock scars, the pocket is asymmetric and flares inwards. Maybe ask Andrew Bull. My point is mooot though because half the rest of the area has enhaced holds

I think that chipping should be frowned upon in principle - with the vagueries and peculiarities of each area taken into considerastion, peer pressure (the law of climbing) should be applied - as we hear about Neilo and Robbo being shunned - but if it happens, well it's unfortunate but I'm not going to lose sleep over it, aspecially if it happens at Nowra (you can't even hear the drill over the speedboats any way)

12:11:44 PM
On 11/08/2004 Damietta wrote:
>Neilo: as much as the mono-doigt at the start of cheesemonster is sinker,
>I don't think it is chipped. Maybe ask Andrew Bull.

I could be wrong - but the fact that the bouldering area directly left of Cheesemonster was literally grid-chipped in the 'olden days' says a lot about the ethics of those guys! I believe much of the old chipping on the boudler problems has been filled these days.

12:22:37 PM

>hmm - how suprising. Your email adress bounces.
Try again. I had it entered wrong on my profile.

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