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General Climbing Discussion

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4:32:20 PM
On 15/03/2004 Richard wrote:
>Hey A5, thanks..., but I am not so sure I am quick to agree entirely.
>If a climb is dangerously run out, then do you really have a "choice"
>about climbing it? I think in both cases you are denied the climb.

gfdonc summed it up well
>Yes, if there is a runout you do have a choice to climb or not to, and in this
>context "ability" is measured in the mental as well as physical spheres.

Richard (again);
> it just seems to me, the protest made about chipping this grade
>34 climb is out of proportion when compared to the ease at which the FA's
>control over say, not allowing fixed pro to be placed on a run-out. In
>both cases, the FA is controling how I do the climb - and denying it to
Its just a piece of rock until someone ascends it, then it becomes a climb. Traditionally we respect the style of the 1st ascent and try to emulate it, or do better than it.
By this 'respect' we (in effect) give the First Ascentionist that measure of control over how subsequent ascents are done.
We can get up it by other means of course, but we fall short of the established measure if that is how we choose to 'repeat' the climb.
If these other means (eg aid) change the character of our experience then we sell ourselves short, but the worst offence is to change the character of the climb for all time.

I don't think a FA'cionist is denying you anything if they put up a bold or hard route. On the contrary they are setting an example and giving others an opportunity to emulate or better it.

The removal of holds (by anyone) that others may have been able to use, even if the FA'ist chose not to (or did not for other reasons), is taking away the 'climb opportunity/ies' and setting a bad example.

I would suggest that the respect alluded to earlier is a 2 way street. A FA'ist cannot expect respect for their climb or themselves if it offends the sensibilities of those who follow due to bad style of alteration of the climbing holds.

There is at least another dimension to all this, ... and that is 'vision'.
Mental and physical ability are components but so also is 'seeing' the route / sequencing; having the concept in the 1st place.

There are many routes out there that will 'go', but which are left to others who are more prepared to take the risks, or put in the hard work (training / lifestyle) to turn the line into a climb by equipping it, and physically getting up it, no matter how sparcely they choose to protect it.

5:10:10 PM
Yo ! Swami-Dude-Climbau--- ' IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME '--- This 'forced-sequence' of 2-letter-words, oughta be in here--- it's Ben Cossey's MANTRA !

Luv, HEX
5:30:57 PM
On the issue of the First Ascentionist creating long runouts which are likely to cause repeat ascenscionists to die or seriously injury themselves in the case of a fall (otherwise known as constructing a climb with dangerously long runouts):

I consider this to be a selfish thing to do. Again, rock is a public resource. It is NOT yours. You can certainly claim the first ascent of a route, but make no mistake: the rock is NOT yours. As such, it is my opinion that when you are putting up a new route, it would be highly preferable that you do so in such a way that others (climbing within your grade range??) can safely attempt repeat ascents.

5:57:28 PM
absolutely jac- the FA is acredited with the title 'FA', not 'Owner'. The rock was there long before they were born and will remain till long after they go to dust- when developing a line it is the responsibility of the climber(or bolter) to place them in such a way that they are effective in their purpose and not a danger to others (hey- and yourself). If you're going to put in ground-fallable bolts,dont bother! just solo the route and let someone else bolt it when you're gone. while im a big fan of runouts, (they add a whole new component to the climb) the pro still needs to be placed where its going to do its job.

Phil S
6:00:05 PM
On 13/03/2004 rodw wrote:

>... but if any action taken
>"destroys" a sequence through destruction of solid holds I will always
>consider that narrow minded and self centered, as it takes away any future
>choice of other climbers.

Right on! Say I am an artist, not a climber. What if I came along and poured a load of concrete down Mechanical Animals (or any other route not in a NP), rendered it all nice and smooth and painted a drop-dead beautiful mural there. It would be a travesty to climbers, but it might be recognised as the next great thing within the art community. I might not even use concrete, but carve a really "important" sculpture into the actual wall, using the “rock as my canvas"?

The cliffs we climb on are not "Our" cliffs, they are "The" cliffs. A new route doesn't belong to the first ascensionist (even though we say "my new route"), it belongs to everyone who climbs. The ethical systems we build are all about respect – for our environment and for one another.

6:12:46 PM
On 12/09/2003 Neil posted/pasted a ' Benjamin Cossey' e-mail :

'Did that thing @ Boronia Point, choice ! It's called MECHANICAL ANIMALS and it's great ! I graded it 34 , choice ! '

'choice' ?! --- ' Dude, you have no idea ! ' [of the irony!]

Luv , HEX (and thanks for the quote,Onsight)
1:13:52 PM
Hi WM,

My understanding is that Kevin himself has been retrobolting (ie adding bolts to) some of his climbs (eg Mt Buffalo).

I think it's an incredible achievement to do a climb in "impeccable style". I also disagree with placing bolts where trad gear is on offer. HOWEVER, it really p#sses me off when people - regardless of who they are - create death runouts that are thus inflicted on others. Once they do this, the retrobolting issue comes into play. It's not like someone else can come along and retrobolt a route without the FA's permission. What's wrong with putting sufficient bolts in a route? Skip a couple if you're comfortable, but don't expect others to face groundies. Don't hijack the line such that you're the only person brave enough to tempt fate on it. Others should have the opportunity to try the route out... seeing as rock is a public resource...

There you go. Multiple rants from me on the one thread :-)

2:20:21 PM
When you bolt a route you gotta look at the fall pontential..regardless of the moves and what grade you climb at. A slip is a slip, be it on 12 of 28, and if the pro's not in the right spot, ie bolts placed so potential of grounder, you cant justify it. Im not saying bolt evrything, or retro bolt anything without consultation, but if you put up new routes you gotta think about those who will ascend after you, and if bolts are needed, put them in a useful position rather than thinking...Gee thats bit easy no one will fall there...rock breaks...people stuff up....and any death from bad bolt placement apart from the anguish of family and friends who know the death couldnt been prevented, will affect our access to the routes in the future.
Personally when i put up aroute, Id like to think the people were more appreciative of the line, rather than constantly thinking of the pants filling terror of a death run out. If people want that feeling they can always miss a bolt or two, no one stopping them, but at least it would be there choice.

2:51:26 PM
Hi Jacqui,

Everyone can't do everything. There are thousands of routes. Tens of Thousands! Hijack the line? Will your life really be lacking if you can't attempt a route that was done by someone with a strong mind as well as strong fingers? (Not implying that you are not strong of mind) Nothing is 'inflicted' on others... we chose to climb or not climb a route, so it could hardly be described as 'inflicted'.

Yes, some of Kevin's routes are pretty necky. So what? Nobody is jabbing me in the butt with a pitchfork to get me to do them. The most memorable routes I have done have been the 'exciting' ones. Not necessarily at the top of my ability of body, but at the edge of my ability of my mind. Snake Dyke on Half Dome may only be 14, but it is pitch after pitch of runout climbing in a brilliant setting. Plenty of routes at Girraween and Buffalo also spring to mind.

Why would we want to bolt the challenge out of all routes? Some people thrive on that level of mental challenge. Or should someone slip some bolts in the Bachar Yarrian Route? Or Pyscodrama? Or Flange Desire? Why not have mental challenge available for those that want it?

Not a comment on your ability... hell, flashing Cassandra Direct (22) was a good moment for me, not part of my bumblie days!
2:55:53 PM
Jac - I am aware you are diligent about seeking the FA's approval before adding any fixed pro. Hence your stance on insisting that the FA provides well for those after them is justified. Others would have less reticence in placing extra bolts.
I have, 'tis true, added bolts after the FA without permission (and to some extent regretted it afterwards). My rationale at the time was that the FAer should have placed the second bolt. To my knowledge that bolt was subsequently chopped but now I believe reinstated by someone else (urk .. murky thread about rock damage looms).
Still, it all comes down to what your ability is and what risk you are prepared to take .. I was flabbergasted to hear someone had soloed Kachoong (Tobin Sorenson, long time ago) but when it was pointed out the guy was climbing 27 then soloing 21 seemed reasonable. The point here is that "runout" means a lot of different things depending on your ability and the circumstance. If you can climb 21 it doesn't mean you can climb every 21 in Australia, and if you're pushing grades you need to seek appropriately-protected routes.
I would love to hear from Mikl next re the bolt history of "No Holds Barred" at Eurobin. A formerly intimidating lead that I believe now has an extra bolt.

5:47:52 PM
On 16/03/2004 gfdonc wrote:
>I have, 'tis true, added bolts after the FA without permission (and to
>some extent regretted it afterwards). My rationale at the time was that
>the FAer should have placed the second bolt.

Interesting. But your right, the terms runout and bold are relative.. a climb wants to be chalenging enough to be satisfying when done, yet not dangerous. My impression is that satisfaction can come from doing a climb with hard moves, on the verge of your ability, but which are well protected, or can come from doing something easier, but less protected. Hence, satifaction comes form either the physical challenge, or the mental one.

I've heard that the climbs at Twin Streams in NZ - say a grade 17 route - as soon as the grade is say 15, they stop having bolts ...

OK if you know, but could be a bit of a shock!!


7:59:39 PM
On 06/02/04,HEX wrote : ' Wonderdog---Your ethical drift is the best of both centuries and a great contribution to Australian climbing.'

You continue to impress ! Keep on 'snakin' , dude---you're doin' a great thing by 'educating' the 'Mc Donalds Generation' .

A5---Your Trip-Report (with photos) , would make an excellent contrib' to Rock mag (wider 'audience' ; ' 20th-century-refugees' can 'experience' it in another form,etc,etc,etc)

(Leaving the 'petri-dish' to stack some more wood under the cauldron) Luv, HEX.


9:27:52 PM

>Interesting. But your right, the terms runout and bold are relative..
>a climb wants to be chalenging enough to be satisfying when done, yet not
>dangerous. My impression is that satisfaction can come from doing a climb
>with hard moves, on the verge of your ability, but which are well protected,
>or can come from doing something easier, but less protected.

I Think the issue is run out vs potential grounder. You can still have you run outs, but just make sure the placement of the bolts dont cause a grounder when you fall. you only need a few newbies, young kids decking on a poorly, non bolted 15's before Govt authroties who control the public land start thinking its all a bit unsafe.
11:23:57 PM
Whatever. Yesterday morning I thought I had I a large tumour in my throat that would require major surgery and life-changes. Now I have a deformed wind-pipe that is "not normal but nothing to worry about".
Climbing issues seem so trivial.
11:29:13 PM
Death routes are important to test the minds of climbers (who choose to attempt them). It would totally suck if routes at Arapiles like some on Curtain Wall, Tjuringa Wall, or Starless Buttress (ie. Ride like the wind - 'The definitive mind trip') or Shai Hulud on Taipan wall were safe (ie. more bolts). Training your mind to keep it together on bold routes is something much harder to train than physical strength. To me routes like these are something to aspire to, maybe.... depending on whether you really think the feeling you get when you climb it is worth the risk of getting hurt, and whether you really believe you can do it without falling. Once you believe something you're 90% there. It's cool to scare yourself every now and again as long as you've got the head to keep it together.

7:29:42 AM
Yeah i suppose everybody has an opinion. It has to be remembered though alot of sport "bold" routes would have been inspected by the original bolters, either top ropes or moves played with while bolting so they know the sequence and wether it falls into their strengths or not. The following climbers dont have that info, except the grade, so are at a slight disadvantage. Im not advocating more bolts Im just advocating enough so you wont hit the ground, you can still put in your 6 - 10 metre run out, and make it "bold", but just dont let the person hit the ground which will always result in serious injury.

9:37:45 AM
Would it be a reasonable assumption that someone who is experienced enough to FA and bolt a new route is experienced enough to site their bolts so that there isn't a potential grounder, regardless of how much prior inspection/pratice they've had on the route (they could still have a fall themselves when they lead it)? Or are there a number of dodgey routes out there?

BTW interesting how this has changed from the ethics of chipping to the ethics of bolting, eh = )

9:38:03 AM
Hi Rod... most bumblies can read, and guidebooks always mention if a route is unprotected, so if they launch up unprotected 15's then surely it is their choice. I don't want anyone to protect me from my own stupidity! If the first ascentionist had top rope beta, so what? If the guide says unprotected horrorshow, there is nothing to stop someone from top rope or abseil inspection. The fact that most people don't do that is because they want the challenge of sorting it out with their mind on the sharp end of life! If there was no risk, climbing wouldn't be interesting to me. If that's not your bag, climb something else.

10:08:28 AM
I can see your point, and its true that its always your choice, just dont see the point of bolting something that will involve a grounder..agree to disagree i suppose :)

Take this scenario: If your climbing ability is up in the high 20's and you put in a poorly protected 18, because its well within your ability, its not really that bold because there is a good chance you'll easily do the route, but if the same person always safely bolts a high 20 grade route cause they know they will fall off as it near that limit, isn't that being hypocritical and selfish? It obviously happens, as a percentage, there a lot more run out "bold" in the lower grades than high 20's.

1:13:47 PM
>Take this scenario: If your climbing ability is up in the high 20's and
>you put in a poorly protected 18, because its well within your ability,
>its not really that bold because there is a good chance you'll easily do
>the route, but if the same person always safely bolts a high 20 grade
>route cause they know they will fall off as it near that limit, isn't that
>being hypocritical and selfish?

I'd say it is selfish if it was done on a regular or very regular basis, but now and then is OK, but again, only IF the lack of pro is obvious from the ground, or stated in the climb description.

I think Cordial Kids at Ben Cairn is a good example of a few things that various people above are suggesting. Its grade 18 and has two bolts. You can see from the bottom both bolts, and the fact there is no pro between. So when you go to lead climb it, you know there is a chance that if you can't get to the second bolt safely, you'll have come up with another plan to get off the climb (I called for a top rope!!). Both bolts are well placed in the sense that they are prior to hard moves. The problem with the climb however is that you need grade 17 (maybe 18) moves just before the second bolt, where you are definately facing a grounder (from maybe 8- 10m??). You probalbly wouldn't die, but it certainly wouldn't be nice!! The moves past the second bolt are harder than prior to it, but i would say for the grade the climb is (18), the moves prior to the bolt are too hard to do unprotected, if the grade of the climb is about your limit. Hence, from that point if view, the climb is badly bolted.

Now, I am not suggesting adding a bolt to this climb, you can see what it entails before you go up. But it does illistrate some of the comments people have been making. It is a bit of a pity at this crag, there aren't a lot of other climbs at this grade which are well protected, so your "choice" is a little limited. But that's life...


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