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Trad climb? (2)
12:08:52 PM
I am moving this discusion here from the 'Accident' forum. I stuffed up in my haste last night to go out and put it there incorrectly.

I was wondering what the deal is with fixed gear I am finding on routes in Araps...

I climbed Trojan the other day and found that this 'trad' route had 4 pieces of fixed gear in it (one bolt and three other pieces that all looked good). I only needed to place two pieces on lead.

I found this a little suprising. Inappropriate bolts get chopped. What about inappropriate fixed gear? I don't have a good enough grasp of the history of this particular route and the reasons the gear is there to decide if I should remove it. I'd rather leave it to the knowledgeable Natimuk Faries.

The last fixed piece (a small hex) was equiped with a shackle. I couldn't work out why at first but then figured perhaps it was there to allow people to clean the route themselves. Don't know - just guessing. It would be a nasty pendulum if it pulled though.

Does anyone else have any experience with this route or similar ones? I thought this might make for an interesting discusion for those of you trying to avoid working...

12:32:19 PM
I have climbed the route so have seen/used the 'fixed protection' .Trust me - some of it is old dating back from the aiding days. The bolt is especially bad. Fixed wires and hexes can fail. In my many years of aid clibming I have had numeorus 'bomber' looking bits of gear strip from cracks or break. The swage on fixed wires can get bent and weaken which then breaks. If there is good gear near the fixed stuff I would be placing some backup betwen you and the ground. This route does not need retrobolting if other gear is good. It just needs the fixed mank to be removed and the bolt replaced with a glue in ring. The fixed hex does sound useful to help clean the route when rapping down.

Oh Eddy f you are going to ask for advice then at least apprciate the effort of someones responses!
12:56:25 PM

I wasn't asking for advice. I appreciate people's burning need to give it but if you re-read my notes I was trying to initiate an interesting discusion about the subject. But hey! Whatever! Thanks for the advice! Some fixed gear is shit and does break. Good, I think we can all agree on this. Like a lot of things in climbing we need to use our experience to decide for ourselves what is a safe path of action.

Now, what about the question of removing fixed gear? What are people's ethics on this? I would like to move the discusion further down this path. Has anyone removed fixed gear? On a regular basis? On what grounds? I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on THIS...

I see nmonteith (thanks for continuing the discusion) is of the opinion that fixed 'mank' should be removed. Good. How do you decide on this? Do you have some examples of where you have removed fixed gear on routes of a similar type as 'Trojan' to share?


1:34:20 PM
Get a hammer - rap down the route and whack it out. Simple. No-one will argue with you unless they are to stupid to place their own gear - which means they shouldn't be at Arapiles. The bolt needs to be replaced by someone who knows what they are doing. NBF or a Re-Botl Victoria guy coudl do the job sometime in the future using the right equipment.

In the rebolting section of this forum is a heated long discussion about this topic. Look under the very big Technogoly/Ethics thread.

1:43:50 PM
The VCC has a bolting policy which states that fixed pins/wires should be replaced by bolts only if the route has no other gear nearby. That seems fair to me as a guide - and it is what I have been using when rebolting routes around Victoria over the last few months.

Donut King
5:03:08 PM

Go for removing crap gear, fixed or otherwise. I have removed a few peices on the odd occasion where just looking at made the legs tremble (that could have been my climbing) hAving said that, i did remove it only after i had clipped it (better than nothing) then rested a placed other gear. it took a bit of bashing about but not too much the wires on the nut( all 3 wires) were looking thin and the thing was bent at 90 deg, not sure it would have held me (i'm really FAT) but my community service message was that at least other wont be mislead into thinking it was good.

have doe the same with at least 2 pitons but that was when i was clipping them and the sotra fell out into my hand..nice suvionerr but.

Havent climbed the route in question though

5:14:39 PM
In the 'grey area' of ethics of removing fixed pro, I once removed a fixed piton on a retreat from a long climb in the Warrumbungles. I did this for re-use of it lower down as we abseiled into 'unchartered territory' and felt we would have needed it for part of an anchor in the ensueing abseils.

I had earlier led the section that contained the fixed pin and found it do-able without the pin which was a thin blade and not solid in its placement, (though originally it was probably quite good).

After getting off the climb I found myself lambasted a fortnight later by a 'local' who did the climb a week after my 1st attempt and with my original partner, so they knew I had removed the pin. That party successfully finished the route.

I also later finished the route (with another partner) and replaced the pin in the subsequent ascent. I further noted that in the intervening time that yet another party had completed the climb and commented about the runout section in the vicinity of (for them), the missing pin, in their topout notes in the 'visitors book' on the peak.

This highlights a few points.
1. The climb is obviously do-able without the pin.
2. The original placement was manky by the time I removed it, so was more cosmetic than functional.
3. When I replaced it the act was done more to keep the peace than one of 'real need' for a pin at that spot.
4 The replaced pin was once again good at time of placement, but is probably manky again by now ...

If I was to redo this climb again now, I would probably not clip the pin on (silly) principles sake, however if I find myself in a similar situation again (as on my 1st attempt), I will not hesitate to remove fixed gear if it is easy to do so and I have a valid reason for doing it.
Being a little over-sensitised by the experience I would probably also put any verbal detractors in their place fairly quickly rather than 'keeping the peace', as that is how I feel now as a result of the negativeness I received.

I doubt this helps your discussion other than to highlight how diverse the opinions can be ...
5:34:55 PM
Thanks for your input Donut King.

I certainly can understand your comment about removing obviously dubious gear.

I'm a little concerned with removing stuff from a big name route like Trojan that has a long and rich history behind it. I look at the gear and figure it shouldn't be there (whether it is safe or not) as you can quite comfortable place the gear yourself. But I don't feel I have enough knowledge on why the stuff is there. The last thing I want to do is kick up a stink for removing fixed wires or whatever when there are possibly legitimate reasons behind them being there that I haven't picked up on.

When in the past I have come across gear that has been left behind in the middle of some route I have removed it if I could. But this is not 'fixed gear' as such it's stuff that a second has been unable to remove. Some of the fixed gear in the harder trad routes I am guessing has been placed there in-lieu of a bolt. Hence my concern. I don't go around chopping bolts off Watchtower crack because I think they shouldn't be there and I'm also by the same argument not going to remove 'fixed gear' that may have a legitimate reason for being there.

Focusing on Trojan again for a moment (though I don't want this discusion to be solely about that route only) I would think that of the three fixed pieces in it (ignoring the bolt - I just don't want to go there) all or certainly at least two do not need to be there. They could be placed by a leader. Perhaps the crux fixed wire is impossible to place on lead - I don't know, I didn't get a good look at that one.

I don't know, it's a tough one... Hence my desire to open up the discusion.


6:45:17 PM
Eddy. didn't you just say that you personally checked all the gear and it was bomber!? Then you say you didn't inspect the crux piece! jez - scary.

I did a multiptich free route in Yosemite where one picth was basicly a clip-up even though it was a splitter hand crack. There were at least 10 cams which had worked themselves deep inside the crack and hadn't been retrieved. Some of them were so beaton that people tied slings around the whole unit! It was a very sad thing to see and ruined a classic crack route.

Its funny when you look closely at any of the old 'classic' lines at places like Arapiles you will notice old bolt scars, pin scars, bathook holes and bits of tat sticking out of random flakes. I guess the routes have had so many ascents over the last 40 years that it is basicly just litter on the vertical plain! In the glory days of aiding it seemed any trick in the book was allowed to get up the route!

Donut King
11:01:56 PM
yo Eddddddie

i heres what youse saying bout 'dem old school climbs...wicked!

So you see a bit of (in your opinion) shite "fixed" gear and you think it looks outa place on the route...if in doubt i, dont fix it.

I feels thatif there is good placements near by and they are easy to get to then pull that stuck mumma out baby! But most of the guide books have some explinatioshhhuns of fixed gear of some sort. uSe this as a guide perhps?

if you find fixed gear on hard (subjective!) trad routes then just leave it there if it looks ok.
That obvios peice jammned by my mate on Death Row at Araps just wasnt ment to be there and was removed by some one a week confusion as to wether is was fixed or not.

Use your best judgement given the circumstances...i dont think that there can be any one perfect rule to fit all situations (not unless you count what i just said i guess.....)

Dont try and play they game of route police and try to execute judgement what should or should not be there if you dont really have to...we all know how to deal with the obvious stuff (booty, crap gear etc) but with the rest...well dont rip it out without expecting some sort of bullshit climbing ethics debate about what should and what should does not constiute fixed protection, faxing the first ascentionist to get their innermost thoughts, conducting a poll of internataionl climbers..blah blah..youre always gonna piss someone off

keep it real my man
11:32:32 PM
Eddy, I'm sorry that my opinions on the fixed gear on Trojan don't meet with your approval. Tough. It is true that I haven't managed to haul my body up the climb but I have tried. I have also looked at this climb for more than 25 years and there are two types of fixed gear on it: first, gear placed during the first ascent, over thirty years ago, second, gear left by people trying the route.
You made it clear that you don't appreciate a lecture, especially by some gumby who couldn't tie his own shoe-laces after thirty years of climbing, so I won't give you one.
P.S. As for shitty fixed gear, if it's not in the route description, get rid of it. No ethical dilemmas as far as I can see.
12:00:07 AM
Whoa Kieren!

I didn't make a single comment about your climbing talent. How would I know how you climb and why would I care? I was making fun of your ability to detect the quality of fixed gear from the ground. Take a chill pill. Sorry about the ego.

I didn't inspect the crux fixed wire closely nmonteith as I had placed a bomber nut about a foot below it and it's difficult when you're trying to pull through that crux to stop and look at it (as you may remember). But thanks for your concern. I guess I am pretty scary.

Interesting what you had to say about the stuff you saw at Yosemite though. And the stuff about Araps. What do you think about fixed gear (again irespective of their safety) on these routes? Should most of it be removed? What would you do with the gear I've mentioned on Trojan? How about the piton up at the start of Kachoong's roof? There's good gear around it. Should it theoretically be removed?

Anyone else have an opinion?

P.S. Check the egos guys and please, be nice. I was hoping this would make for interesting discusion...

9:36:08 AM
I belayed a euro friend of mine on Kachoong a few years back. He sportclimbed grade 29 but had no concept on how to place gear. He only clipped the two fixed pins on the route and topped out! He tried placing gear but just had no idea. The piton in the roof has taken plenty of falls during its time but like all pitons is very hard to judge its actual worth if you pulled out on it. I guess if someone really cared they would remove it. Personally I can't be bothered.

Trojans fixed gear looks ugly and detracts from a classic trad line which has a lot of history (Louise Shepard onsigthing it back in 1981 from memory!). That means it should be cleaned of the fixed gear if possible.
9:59:51 AM
I think it does help the discusion A5...

I can certainly understand your thoughts on a number of points there.

With respect to your specific incidence, I guess you felt removing the pin still maintained the 'original' nature of the route (particularily it's boldness). Whereas the following parties disagreed. This may lead to questions of the integrity of the 'original' nature of the route I guess.

I think it's difficult to determine the boldness of a route in some respects. A well protected 15 for someone who comfortable onsights 22s may be terrifying for someone at their lead limit on 15. They could climb run out ground through a crux and not actually notice it I guess. I know that if I am climbing at a grade well beneath my onsight level and I'm asked about the boldness of the climb I am sometimes reluctant to comment because of this reason. Could this scenario be playing a part in the saga you had with the pin? What do you think?

Thanks for the interesting input A5...
10:20:46 AM
Hey nmonteith,

Do you know if that fixed gear was used on the FFA and by Louise? From what kierenl is suggesting he has seen fixed gear on it forever.

One of the things that started me on this discusion was having a beer with an English guy who was at Araps climbing. He scoffed at the idea that Araps was a bastion of good ethics. He mentioned the amount of fixed gear around and particularily was scathing about the bolts on Watchtower Crack.

I hope we do not go down the route of consumerising the climbing at Araps. I'd hate to see routes I am currently trying to build up the nerve to do (deservedly or not!) get protected to suit all (even the likes of me!). I have faith that the climbing community would not allow that to happen.
10:31:24 AM
Hi Eddym,

I assume by the bolts on Watchtower crack, you are refering to the rusting relics from the first ascent? These deserve to be removed before someone gets hurt by being silly enough to trust them. With modern gear, they should just be passed and ignored.

Cheers Martin

I have enjoyed 'watching' everyone get caught up in the moment and displaying their passion for climbing through the responses given.

11:33:28 AM
Personally I love seeing the old bolts and the pitons on the old routes done by Peter Jackson & Co, eg Watchtower Crack, Euridysis etc. I regard those that are not required for protection (i.e. where there is good natural pro nearby) as being a part of our climbing history that it would be a shame to lose. Everytime I see a shonky old bolt right next to a bommer natural pro placement it reminds me how ballsy those early climbers were to set sail up routes with crap ropes, waist belays and a couple of slings! That being said, I also shudder at the thought of anybody choosing to rely on those bolts for protection.

In my opinion any fixed pro that you have to rely on should be a nice shiny bolt.

11:37:34 AM
Getting back to eddy's question.. IMO if the fixed(?) gear in question meets the following points then if you have the motivation - rip it!
- it is not mentioned on the route description (this may not really matter if the following apply),
- appears to be quite deteriorated/marginal
- is taking up space on an otherwise good pro placement or alternatively there is good placements near it

Hey if its meant to be trad then that means placing gear right? ;-) If there's gear there to be placed then why should you have to clip some manky bit of pro from who knows how long ago that may or may not hold your fall when you may be counting your life on it?

Anyway thats my opinion, I'm sure others differ as always ;)
3:25:17 PM
Sounds good Rich.

Do you have any examples of where you have done this?
3:28:49 PM
I agree with you Oweng. I do find it facinating to think of what these guys did in the past, and from that point I would find it sad for this gear to be removed. The issue though is the people who put blind faith in all fixed gear and who will trust this gear.

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