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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 6 of 7. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 80 | 81 to 100 | 101 to 120 | 121 to 126
Author
New pitons on Watch Tower
simey
10/02/2005
12:15:15 PM
Okay BA, I'm finally back at the computer...

Firstly, I was surprised to read that there was another guide to Arapiles... really? Shepherd who?!!

I gotta admit, that after reading your tally of climbs I was disappointed that our guide didn't have a bigger percentage of the lower grade routes as listed in Louise's guide. Glenn and I were far more interested in writing up the easier routes. I can only assume that the routes we left out were pretty uninspiring.

Which brings me to Campbells Kingdom! No, I'm afraid I haven't done Softcentre (15) at that crag. In fact I haven't done any routes at Campbells Kingdom. Glenn and I went there with great expectations of finding some little gems at the lower grades which we could include in our Select guide. But what a huge disappointment. What a pile of broken-up choss! Nothing inspired us to even pull the gear out of our packs. The descent looked like a pain. And the routes looked a far cry from those on the main section of Arapiles. So we left it out.

But getting back to your concerns about the bolt on Bygone (11). Should it have been left as a plaything for people climbing 13/14? I would argue that the vast majority of people climbing in the lower and intermediate grades are not looking for serious undertakings. Otherwise they wouldn't be climbing the lower grades! If you are serious about your climbing and wanting to push your boundaries, you will generally be climbing slightly higher grades.

As a result Bygone has never achieved the status of a bold climb worth aspiring too. This is unlike say Missing Link (17) or XI (18) which are well known in the climbing community for being demanding leads, but which don't suffer from a lack of climbers willing to commit to their seriousness.

An interesting comparison would be when Claw added bolts to the start of XI (18) many years after he did the first ascent. These bolts we subsequently chopped (by Kieran I think) which was a fair call when you look at the history of that climb. XI had build up a reputation for being an exhilarating climb requiring committing moves on small but adequate wires down low. It had not only received hundreds of repeat ascents but also numerous retreats from climbers who had started up the climb and then decided to back off and leave it for another day. Bygone never received that sort of attention even though it is just around the corner from XI.

Experienced climbers like yourself BA probably relish testing leads on more moderate terrain, but I also feel you have a vast array of such routes in the Grampians where remoteness, route-finding, poor pro, dodgy grading and loose rock all add to the experience. However when it comes to recommending well-protected easier routes for the masses... they are surprisingly few and far between!

Glenn and I look forward to recommendations on easier grade climbs that we haven't acknowledged. I couldn't give a rat's arse about someone's latest grade 25 or 30, but if anyone establishes a quality easier route or rediscovers an old forgotten route (a good example was Kieran singing the praises of Trident 13 or 14? at Stapylton), we will be genuinely excited and most likely include it in our next guide to that area.

PS. What we really want are some cliffs in the Gramps with a collection of good climbs at grades 6-16 on solid rock with good pro.

gordoste
10/02/2005
12:23:18 PM
that was a very entertaining read :P
WM
10/02/2005
12:41:22 PM
Trident: 13!?!? Noooo, the start is a sandbag at 14! (Kieran you'll be happy to know I have revised my opinion of it). I was surprised to find good pro in the first 6m (#4Fr, #1Fr).

Bygone: I climb in the 20s and there's no way I'd do it without the bolt. But then again I might have a greater than average aversion to ledge fall situations. It's a great route with the bolt in place.

Watchtower Crack: I'm not exactly a romantic, but I don't buy 'nostalgia' as a reason for keeping pins in the cliff - stick 'em in a climbing artefacts museum, put a photo in the guide. Bolts, pins, imaginative fixed pieces, wads of slingage, chalk, cigarette butts - it's all rubbish/pollution. Most of us accept minimal bolts/chalk/etc as a necessary evil of the sport, but IMO they should be minimised to preserve 'nature' as much as possible. My 2c is that if the Watchtower Crack belay is bomber with big gear - great. Say so in the guide. Climbers spend thousands on their gym memberships/harness/rope/rack/car/petrol/camping gear/etc so can hardly moan about the last hurdle of ~$200 (less at the moment on special at Rock Hardware - plug) for a big cam/tube or the 15 minutes to ask around to borrow some big gear. When heading off to do wide cracks I've been amazed by how easy it is to collect an enormous rack of big cams from people you don't know.

Now, about that bolt on Sultan's first pitch....and the mound of slings on Sirocco's first belay....etc
simey
10/02/2005
1:12:03 PM
On 10/02/2005 WM wrote:
>Watchtower Crack: I'm not exactly a romantic, but I don't buy 'nostalgia' as a reason for keeping pins in the cliff - stick 'em in a climbing artefacts museum, put a photo in the guide.

You obviously aren't a romantic. But pins in the right placements are bloody solid and can be replaced. Bolts don't last forever. I would rather see the natural features of the rock used to provide the protection where possible. I've been surprised at the recent trend of whacking in ring bolts right next to fantastic bollards or threads. Why not thread a neat length of chain around such features to make for a more permanent fixture? Seeing two ring bolts as a lower-off at the top of Scorpion Corner (22) at Arapiles just doesn't look right in my opinion, especially when there was a bomber thread next door.

And regarding big gear... I must be out of touch, but are No 5 Camalots really becoming accepted as normal compliment to a rack? I so rarely use my #4 Camalot at Arapiles, that even that that piece seems like a novelty. Given that Watchtower Crack already has bolts and pins in it (making big gear redundant) it sounds silly to start recommending in the guidebook that you need to carry a No 5 Camalot just to rig the belay.
richie cunningham
10/02/2005
1:34:09 PM
On 10/02/2005 simey wrote:
>Why not thread a neat length of chain around such features to make for a more permanent fixture?

in most cases ive seen the chain/tat looks much worse than 2 recessed ringbolts. Only my opinion though...!

cheers
rc
simey
10/02/2005
2:00:37 PM
On 10/02/2005 richie cunningham wrote:
>in most cases ive seen the chain/tat looks much worse than 2 recessed ringbolts.

Like any piece of fixed protection, it depends how well the job is carried out.

My main problem with the bolts above Scorpion Corner is that it a beautiful line which is a testing lead on just enough natural protection. You now have two highly visible lower-off bolts just before you top out. They seem incongruous to that particular climb.

Mike TS
10/02/2005
4:27:37 PM
This getting to look like a UK Climbing thread about whether to put a chockstone in some some obscure gritsone problem.
simey
10/02/2005
4:32:27 PM
You wouldn't exactly call Watchtower Crack or Scorpion Corner obscure. They are classic routes in every sense of the word, at one of the world's best crags. I can't even believe you made that comparison. I think you should wash your mouth out with soap.

shaggy
10/02/2005
4:48:06 PM
Wow, I didn't realise the can of worms I was opening when I started this thread, Not only has the discussion contiued for ages, but Simey has, not only signed up, but stayed logged on 24/7! ; )
simey
10/02/2005
4:51:44 PM
No, I did go to footy training somewhere in all that. But I am thinking of ripping out my modem and hurling it off the top of Watchtower Crack.

runnit
10/02/2005
4:54:28 PM
These ethics worms always get out of control here. It's great. Work would be so boring without them.
dalai
10/02/2005
5:04:30 PM
On 10/02/2005 simey wrote:
>No, I did go to footy training somewhere in all that. But I am thinking
>of ripping out my modem and hurling it off the top of Watchtower Crack.

fine as long as the modem doesn't wedge itself in the crack and is slingable...

Rupert
10/02/2005
5:06:43 PM
On 10/02/2005 dalai wrote:
>fine as long as the modem doesn't wedge itself in the crack and is slingable...

Now that is funny :)
simey
10/02/2005
5:07:31 PM
Yeah, if that happened I would probably be castrated.
One Day Hero
10/02/2005
5:28:27 PM
Actually Simey, I'm with you on the whole W.C. thing. Up in the good old A.C.T. I'd just glue a couple of stainless bolts in and be done with it for a loooong time (tell me again how cro-mo knifeblades last nearly as long, ha ha, it is an R.P. seam isn't it? if you got lost arrows in please ignore preceding dig)
Of course, the powers that be saw fit to locate the best crag in the world down there in Mexico so you will soon have a queue of puritanical f---sticks lining up to chop your new belay. Ergo, better to place pins which cause less mess when chopped.

As to Euro climbing/route character etc.; I have never found that protection style totally makes or breaks a route. True, limestone can get a bit samey, but so can araps (oh look, another sidepull to jug move, oh look, another sinker nut)
If you want to try some bolt routes with character, go to Porters Pass in the Blueys or even Thompsons down at Nowra (be selective, some of the routes are really good...and don't go on a weekend)

And on to Scorpion Corner, it's kinda short and greasy to be a classic. Also Simey, if the protection is "just adequate" rather than "shit and dangerous", how about you put your money where your mouth is, place that flary nut (the one above the good placements behind the loose flake), run it down to your feet, then jump off!
Give me Scorpion any day, now there is a classic!
simey
10/02/2005
6:29:49 PM
On 10/02/2005 One Day Hero wrote:
>I have never found that protection style totally makes or breaks a route.

Have you ever climbed any of Claw's routes on the Sydney Sea Cliffs? Or his 'I Must Go Down to the Sea Again' (24) in the Blueys? Maybe they have all been re-equipped in a souless fashion, but when I climbed them, the characterful protection really added to the routes. They weren't dangerous, they were interesting. Usually there was some form of back-up on the funkier pieces which allowed you to go for it without feeling like you were taking silly risks.


> And on to Scorpion Corner, it's kinda short and greasy to be a classic. Also Simey, if the protection is "just adequate" rather than "shit and dangerous", how about you put your money where your mouth is, place that flary nut (the one above the good placements behind the loose flake), run it down to your feet, then jump off!

The protection that you described is shit, but you would have to be a bozo to fall off that section of the climb. There is a really good wire just above all that crap gear and its where you need it most (ie. where the climbing gets tricky again). Nevertheless I wouldn't feel comfortable lobbing onto it. I always feel nervous when I am relying on just one piece of gear.

Richard
11/02/2005
1:14:00 PM
BA said:
>> I think I can remember clipping the fixed gear... [I also found the last pitch to >>be "easy" as I was seconding and had led the previous pitch. Maybe it was because >>I'd already clipped the bolts that I found the last pitch easy, I dunno.]

It's possible the 4,500 pairs of climbing shoes have worn the rock a little since then .. I dunno, I reckon all climbs relying on friction should automaticaly go up 1 grade ever ten years!!

Simey:
>>PS. What we really want are some cliffs in the Gramps with a
>>collection of good climbs at grades 6-16 on solid rock with good pro.

I am all for changing the angle of taipan wall a bit to make the routes easier!!

As for the bolt on bygone, you don't have to clip it if you don't want to...

Cheers

Robb
11/02/2005
2:26:14 PM
respect to simey for identifying the situation and remedying it with a thoughtful solution and owning up to it.
to the critics - he didnt place a bolt or retro any of the pitches (only the belay with some pins).
when i did the route about 10 years ago, i skipped the 3rd belay and did the route in 2 rope stretching pitches. probably why i didnt notice the belay anchors.
if people want to complain about the placement of solid belay anchors - let them. if anything needs to be bombproof on a route it is the anchors.
well done bolting fairies, neil and simey.
id be interested to hear if people's experience on watchtower crack (or any of the other classics) is significantly altered by the placement of solid belay anchors or better rings or bolts where there was mank or shit gear. surely it doesnt make that much of a difference. much better than a trip to hospital or a flight out in a body bag!
One Day Hero
11/02/2005
2:33:59 PM
Yep, I've done "The Sea", and did get a chuckle from the gear but the route would still be a corker with normal bolts owing to moves, position, view, blah blah blah. The crap gear will eventually rust out and someone will have to decide to either put long term replacements in or maintain the "style" of the first ascent. Also, the top rap station is now really dangerous, can I borrow somebody's drill?
simey
11/02/2005
3:12:58 PM
On 11/02/2005 One Day Hero wrote:
>Also, the top rap station is now really dangerous, can I borrow somebody's drill?

I thought that top rap station on I Must Go Down to the Sea Again was a work of art! Only Mikl could place 6 bolts and 8 feet of chain and still create a dodgy looking rap-anchor! I remember examining it pretty closely before committing to it. I concluded that should that piece of fencing wire, or modified tent peg, or whatever it is, which connects the majority of bolts to the shackle, failed, you still have the back-up of one last bolt (which is attached separately).

I'm not encouraging other people to equip routes like this, but Claw is a bit of an exception. As for re-equipping that route, well I'm sure it could still be done in a way that retains some of that flavour.

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There are 126 messages in this topic.

 

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