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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

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Author
Tiger Wall - Dribble Bolting?

Sabu
12/08/2009
11:46:07 PM
While this example seems to have been shot down in flames, i don't doubt the benefit of
questioning bolting practices at Araps.

Better to ask the question and have a community stand/argue for or against than have no
one really take notice, or have people just accept everything that happens regardless of the
circumstances.

The good Dr
13/08/2009
8:19:50 AM
Ethical debates are worth having, even though ethics are a human construct designed to defend a predetermined stance. Personally I find any ethic difficult to defend as I have been close to a number of tragedies and terrible accidents involving people I knew/know and others that I didn't know.

In the mid 90's I was climbing at Bon Echo Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Not a world class crag, but a very nice place to climb. The cliff rises directly out of the water with a boat from the Canadian Alpine Club taking you to the various rock platforms to start your climbs. It is a mixed gear crag like Arapiles. We were climbing with a group from Montreal, mostly in their 20's with a mid level of experience.

Two of the guys headed off to do one of the classic 5.8 multi pitch routes. On the second pitch, the leader fell off. He pulled the piton below him (the only available gear on this part of the pitch) and fell past the belay. The belay pulled (2 hexes that were not brilliant but reasonable). They fell directly into the lake with the leader being pulled to the bottom by his gear. The belayer managed to make it to the surface and shore. When the boat collected us they told us what had happened. On getting back to camp at the CAC hut we spent some time with the Montreal crew. You can Imagine how they were all feeling. We could analyse the accident endlessly and make all sorts of proclamations but they really do not help much.

Each time there is an accident I ask myself what is the worth of ethics in the face of a tragedy. These guys were of intermediate experience. They made some errors (as we all do, even the chest beating ethical purists), but it was still tragic to lose a really great, young guy.

This does not mean I wish to see everything gridbolted and made 'safe'. It just means that I consider my own viewpoints and actions in terms of the potential consequences. These tragedies don't just go away for those directly affected and it is too easy for those unaffected to pass judgement and pretend it cannot happen to anyone they know, or even themselves. I am with Simey on this one.
robertsonja
13/08/2009
9:56:55 AM
Granted - they maybe a case for bolting when there are safety issues, marginal placements, suspect rock, environmental issues etc.

This is about CONVENIENCE and dumbing it down.

We built TWO SERENE ANCHORS and placed the gear for 4 MORE ANCHORS all at the back of the ledge and within 3m radius of the bolts.

This is the same as the new bolted anchors placed in the Northern group, convenience and nothing else.

This is just a debate, and in my opinion, if a person can build half a dozen strong anchors on a ledge that has been recently bolted, the bolts should at least be questioned.
mikepatt
13/08/2009
10:39:06 AM
On 11/08/2009 robertsonja wrote:
>Dribble is a 4 pitch trad climb on the far right of Tiger wall. On the
>third belay there are bolts on the back wall of the spacious ledge. My
>partner and I managed to simply build two solid adjacent SERENE anchors
>plus place over a dozen placements that could be further used.
>
>(I couldn't upload a pic over 42KB, but we managed to surround the two
>bolts with gear)
>
>What are the bolts for?
>What consultation process did person(s) who placed the two bolts go through?
>Is this another example of a degraded trad climb?
>
>

Just so we can have all the facts please;

a) Did you clip the bolts to use for a belay before building the trad anchors?
b) Had you read the guidebook that mentions the belay bolts and decided to climb the route anyway?
c) Would you have bothered to even look at the route before it got two stars and a positive write up?
d) What grade do you normally lead on trad?

Having lead a few 50m pitches at Araps such as Kestrel I'd certainly gratetful for the bolts as I've usually place nearly all my rack on the route.
widewetandslippery
13/08/2009
11:39:24 AM
I know its my bad but I get lost when people put in anacronyms such as SERENE.

How about you can get a good belay?
Wendy
13/08/2009
11:49:14 AM
On 13/08/2009 widewetandslippery wrote:
>I know its my bad but I get lost when people put in anacronyms such as
>SERENE.
>
>How about you can get a good belay?

I think SERENE's a bloody silly acronym - surely equalised and non extending amount to the same thing?

On topic again ... I did the route before the bolts went in, and no I didn't have a problem setting a belay, but still, I was experienced climber on a route way below my grade, so I had plenty of gear to spare and the nouse to use it. Sure, you could put a mention in the guidebook about needing extra gear, fiddly belay, bodgy rock etc etc, but really, they are totally out of sight and miles off the deck and I haven't heard anyone else complain about them. The idea was to open up another quality beginner route, which it certainly is.
egosan
13/08/2009
12:09:53 PM
On 13/08/2009 mikepatt wrote:
>>Just so we can have all the facts please;
>>
>>a) Did you clip the bolts to use for a belay before building the trad anchors?

This is a discussion on: one, the specific merit of the two bolts on the third belay of Dribble and two, what might
be considered an acceptable reason to place a bolt at Mt. Arapiles. These are both worthy topics for discussion.
What is the value of knowing "all the facts," other than to prepare a personal criticism of the person who brought
the discussion forward?

There is not much in the way of consensus on the topic of bolting at Mt. Arapiles judging from threads like this
one. I like that we are talking about it.

>>Having lead a few 50m pitches at Araps such as Kestrel I'd certainly gratetful for the bolts as I've usually place
>>nearly all my rack on the route.

My question is to the nature of gratitude. There is no question that a pair of nice shiny bolts can make us feel
safe in the face of exposure to the risks of climbing. That is however only a feeling and has little to do with how
safe we really are. The question is not whether what we do is absolutely safe or can be made absolutely safe.
I hope we all agree that this is pipe dream. I would like to know what you all feel is safe enough? And what do we
do when it does not feel safe enough to us, but other people seem to find safe?

Personally, I find my own tolerance for exposure is higher than the norm. That probably has something to do
with my careers in skiing and tree felling. I find a great deal of satisfaction in the focus and calmness I feel when
on the sharp end. I find the gymnastic challenges of bolted sport climbing unfulfilling. At the same time I am a
pragmatist and I climb as safely as a route will allow. It would be impossible to not clip a bolt that was there for
my use. It would be asking for it not to. However, I would find my experience diminished. Not only is my subject
feeling of exposure changed by the intrusion of the bolt, the mental challenges of mastering my fear and problem
solving aspect of the climb are reduced. Thus I find any argument that I am free to skip the bolts specious.

I am also not so attached to my shiny toys that they would not be sacrificed without thought to retreat from a
route that pushes me to the place where I no longer feel safe. Further, climbing routes where I have access to
the route description, I am sure that I am bringing enough gear to finish the longest pitches. I find arguments that
involve the gear requirements of a climb as a reason to bolt weak as well.

Unprotectable is the next argument for placing a bolt. History has shown us that many "unprotectable" climbs
have become protectable with the advance of skill, boldness or technology. There are is lots of currently
protectable rock out there. Is there anything wrong with leaving a route unclimbed for our children to discover a
way to climb that they find safe enough?

I will be looking forward to your responses,
Sol

P.S. I will be climbing Dribble this weekend.




jkane
13/08/2009
12:44:29 PM
On 13/08/2009 Wendy wrote:
>I think SERENE's a bloody silly acronym - surely equalised and non extending
>amount to the same thing?
>
Not necessarily no. Equalised means equal force on each anchor. No extension means that if one of the pieces fails, the result should not be that the central tie in point moves.

With a normal cordallette set up both are generally true. With a sliding X, its equalised but if one piece fails the whole thing extends.
Dave J
13/08/2009
1:02:06 PM
I think its a fair call about the bolts in this case (regardless of what Simon says).

Yes arapiles is a mixed crag. Plenty of routes there have bolts and plenty dont. Maybe it should be
looked at on a route by route basis. Once a bolt or pin added then you might as well have 2 if thats going
to make a big difference but, if a route can be done without fixed gear at all (and it sounds like this one
can), then that is worth aspiring to. I actually think the bolt at the bottom of surface to air is a better case
for bolting than it sounds like this is.

And what is a route with scrappy rock at arapiles doing getting 2 stars? Why would you even climb a
route at arapiles with scrappy rock?...unless it had something to do with adventure...in which case surely
you would have more of that without the bolts.
Tlockwood
13/08/2009
1:06:34 PM
since when has surface to air had a bolt? is it on the climb or something to belay off?
Wendy
13/08/2009
1:06:35 PM
On 13/08/2009 jkane wrote:

>
>With a normal cordallette set up both are generally true. With a sliding
>X, its equalised but if one piece fails the whole thing extends.



I wouldn't call it normal, nor reccomended, practice to belay off a sliding x.

ajfclark
13/08/2009
1:11:54 PM
On 13/08/2009 Wendy wrote:
>I wouldn't call it normal, nor recommended, practice to belay off a sliding

John Long's latest book doesn't recommend cordelettes either as the equalisation properties don't seem to be good as previously thought. It's an interesting read.
robertsonja
13/08/2009
1:14:20 PM
>Just so we can have all the facts please;

THE FACT: there are 2 bolts and enough placements for SIX ANCHORS using natural placements.

>a) Did you clip the bolts to use for a belay before building the trad
>anchors?

Irrelevant to the topic. My partner lead the pitch and slung two solid horns and placed a 0.75 BD Cam. Even if we had clipped the bolts for convenience that fact still remains.

>b) Had you read the guidebook that mentions the belay bolts and decided
>to climb the route anyway?

Irrelevant to the topic. I can't remember if the guidebook mentions the bolts or not, but would of climbed it anyway. If there was graffiti on the climb, probably would of climbed it anyway.

>c) Would you have bothered to even look at the route before it got two
>stars and a positive write up?

Irrelevant to the topic. The route wasn't in my old Selected climbs guidebook so was unaware of the route. It has been included in the new guidebook so now I am aware of the climb. Yes, I would of bothered to look at the route regardless of the stars or someones write up.

>d) What grade do you normally lead on trad?

Irrelevant to the topic. It doesn't matter what grade I lead or what grade the person I belay leads. I make sure that all leaders I belay know how to make a SERENE anchor, selfishly because I usually follow and don't want to fall on anything less than an appropriate anchor. I realise that with experience usually comes an increase in grades and an increase in more appropriate anchors and safety, but if anyone steps off the ground with a rack - they better know how to make a appropriate anchor, whether they lead grade 3 or lead grade 33.

>Having lead a few 50m pitches at Araps such as Kestrel I'd certainly gratetful
>for the bolts as I've usually place nearly all my rack on the route.

What would happen if you inspected the bolts and were a bit suspect of them? Or got off route and missed them? Or they had been chopped. Or they were missing the hangers. Or they needed tightening. If you climb with a rack, make sure you have some spare kit. If your running out of gear mid pitch, probably start looking for three placements you can belay from. Or start downclimbing. Self reliance my friend!
robertsonja
13/08/2009
1:29:25 PM

>I think SERENE's a bloody silly acronym - surely equalised and non extending
>amount to the same thing?

No it is not a silly acronym! You obviously don't understand the acronym! Equalised has absolutely nothing to do with non extending. The acronym can mean slightly different things to people but the concepts are the same. I would suggest researching "SERENE anchors" if you have any doubts.
robertsonja
13/08/2009
1:33:53 PM
On 13/08/2009 egosan wrote:
> I find arguments that involve the gear requirements of a climb as a reason to bolt weak as well.

Very true.

>Unprotectable is the next argument for placing a bolt. History has shown
>us that many "unprotectable" climbs
>have become protectable with the advance of skill, boldness or technology.
>There are is lots of currently protectable rock out there. Is there anything wrong with leaving a route unclimbed for our children to discover a way to climb that they find safe enough?

Exactly!

Sonic
13/08/2009
1:38:31 PM
Here's a new thought from a sport climber who frequents Araps.

Robertsonja, it seems to me that your problem lies in the fact that your notion of what climbing is really about is different to others. What a revelation! I love clipping ring bolts and face climbing, so does that make me a bad person? Does it mean everytime a bolt is placed that you don't think is necessary, it is wrongly placed? Can you see your own short-sightedness? You strike me as one of those annoying idiots who would walk up, see me on a route and hurl beta at me I probably don't want or need because I'm climbing it different to how you would.

Everyone will have different views on ethics, bolting and the 'purity' of climbing, especially in an area like Arapiles. I really think if you don't like a route, including bolt or gear issues relating to it, don't go back to it. Say its crap and move on. There is hundreds of classic lines there that I'm certain you've never touched that you would love with your views on gearand climbing. Go climb and appreciate them.

widewetandslippery
13/08/2009
1:38:59 PM
Does anyone have a photo topo of the lichenous blight that is Tiger Wall to find the Dribble?

..::- Chris -::..
13/08/2009
1:46:40 PM
On 13/08/2009 robertsonja wrote:
>>Just so we can have all the facts please;
>THE FACT: there are 2 bolts and enough placements for SIX ANCHORS using
>natural placements.
>>a) Did you clip the bolts to use for a belay before building the trad
>>anchors?
>Irrelevant to the topic. My partner lead the pitch and slung two solid
>horns and placed a 0.75 BD Cam. Even if we had clipped the bolts for convenience
>that fact still remains.

Do you and or your partner use chalk ?
Did you walk around the ledge to find all these pieces of gear ?
Did you disturb any Moss or Lichen whilst walking around that ledge ?
Did you disturb any rocks whilst walking around the ledge ?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions.... how do you sleep at night.... ; )

It's 2 bolts on the 3rd pitch of a dodgy climb on a dodgy part of tiger wall.... I don't think anyone really deep down cares if the bolts are ripped or not...

My personal opinion is keep them there.... But i think a POLL is in order.... : )



widewetandslippery
13/08/2009
1:53:32 PM
I just read Sonics reply.

Sonic you don't get RS. I think he does have valid point but is carrrying on like a chook. Retro bolting is a valid topic to question and there is a history of generally modest bolting at the crag.
simey
13/08/2009
2:06:03 PM
On 13/08/2009 Dave J wrote:
>... but, if a route can be done without fixed gear at all (and it sounds like this one can), then that is worth aspiring to.
I agree that a bolt belay seems a little out of place on a naturally protected 120m route. But having done a fair bit of work in checking out and cleaning this route, it became apparent that this was an exceptionally good climb at the grade offering excellent natural protection for the entire length... apart from a shitty third belay. Sure you can faff around and equalise 5 or 6 pieces in shitty rock and create a safe belay, but it just seemed out of character compared to the rest of the route.

And Dave... for you to talk about aspiring to create climbs without fixed gear and then retro-bolt a naturally protected two-star route (Strolling RHV) so you could establish Ergonomics, well I would call that hypocritical.

>And what is a route with scrappy rock at arapiles doing getting 2 stars?
The Dribble doesn't have scrappy rock until the final belay and short final pitch. Up until that point you have over 100 metres of quality climbing on good rock with excellent protection.


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