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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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Area Location Sub Location Crag Links
VIC Buffalo The Horn Environs (General) The Horn [ Horn Guide ] 

Author
Bolting at The Horn, Mount Buffalo
crazyjohn
16/02/2013
1:05:40 PM
One HUGE problem with this retrobolting that has not been addressed much is the fact that many of the bolters and supporters of the retro bolts are professional guides. Recently, there have been questionable anchors installed on trad routes on Mt. Wellington by guides. Initially the bolters just stated proudly that the new bolts "makes it a more suitable climb for guiding clients."(Doug Bruce) I imagine Doug crawled back in his hole when someone told him that retro bolting trad routes for commercial reasons is NOT acceptable. Then the guides threw up the old safety safety safety rant coupled with the "beginners need climbs too" line of BS which seem to be the fall back cover excuses commercial guides are giving these days.

Look people, YOU HAVE BEEN DUPED.

The argument has been obfuscated by this Andrew character who is a classic BS artist using bogus reasons of safety, beginner climbers, the existing ethics of the cliff, etc. Its no coincidence that Andrew and his bolting mates are paid guides. The bolts need to be chopped and the culprits need to F off.

The next time someone retro bolts a route and starts wanking on about safety, history, etc. Just ask them if they are a guide. If so, take all there reasons with a mighty grain of salt.

Wendy made a very good point. Andrew: Take your "kids" to one of dozens of easy slab routes and top rope them.

I also want to say that I agree with Simon's argument that forgotten poorly protected routes rarely but sometimes can be justified to be retro-bolted. Many different reasons apply for bolting both hard and easy routes all of which have been brought up in this thread. I am pointing out here that I KNOW a lot of the retro bolting is being done by dudes effectively getting paid for it and this is utter BS.


The following links are the recent threads about some of the same shit occurring in tassie.


http://www.thesarvo.com/confluence/display/thesarvo/2012/10/29/DBB+1st+pitch+Nefertiti%2C+Organ+Pipes

http://www.thesarvo.com/confluence/display/thesarvo/2012/11/29/Bolts+on+Lassies+Wall


lacto
16/02/2013
4:01:47 PM
If you are being paid to take people climbing then surely you fall under the gentle rules of WORKCOVER . You are in serious breach of the law if you expose anyone to more than a 2 metre fall and place yourself and the company you work for in line for hefty fines and or a prison term . To comply with this would require 2m grid bolting of any line envisaged which I believe is totally unacceptable on developed climbing areas . By the same rules anyone placing bolts would need to certified by an "approved" course and comply with standards . Is there an Australian Standard for Bolting if not be very careful if placing bolts for commercial gain . We have someone claiming to be taking clients etc in what appears to be a commercial enterprise so he is deliberately flouting the law He needs to get away from existing climbing areas and not expose himself scrutiny of climbers , there are untold amounts of sloping rock that would provide a climbing experience without impinging on traditional climbing areas

ajfclark
16/02/2013
8:27:06 PM
If you're trying to avoid 2m falls, wouldn't you need 1m spacing And never let anyone clip high?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
16/02/2013
10:00:29 PM
Today I climbed Easter Island boulder (or whatever it is called), entirely in trad style, and I also climbed Profanities (but as a 2nd, not a leader), amongst other things done with 6 other climbers.

The following are my 'fresh off the memory' impressions and observations.

Easter Island only had one bolt in it, though I found where the other two bolts it had, had been patched, but this only after a bit of searching. It appears that only the first bolt in it remains to protect a groundfall (though a bounce off the approach 'arete' is still possible). My experience of it (beware beta alert here...), is that it is entirely protectable above the first bolt on cams of various sizes from BD blue colour through to green colour.
There are three good cam placement locations.
The top, although not having belay bolts, has a bollard that takes a large sling, and a crack down behind the top that takes yellow size BD cams, and also a couple of cracks on the lookout side that take natural gear; ... so plenty of opportunities exist for constructing a belay.

All up I give it grade 11 as a trad climb if the one remaining bolt is used, and grade 12 if it isn't used.

(I note on The Crag, that it is given grade 9 with the three bolts it originally had, though in my opinion, the bolting of boulders to turn them into 'climbs' is disrespectful to more than one section of the climbing community).

Getting off that boulder requires a short chimney style downclimb.

If this climb had been set up to instruct TAFE students, I find it an intrigueing thing that they are expected to set up a natural belay at the top, after clipping bolts all the way up it as originally set up. If those students were not expected to set up a belay, then it begs the question why was it not done as a toprope? ... or indeed a boulder problem?




Profanities.
Hmm.
Although the guide says GG and CH originally did this route with three equally spaced knots on a rope hung down the first pitch, and the route now has 11 bolts in 40 metres, I am (like JMK I suppose), a bit ambivalent about chopping any bolts on it.
My personal opinion is that the spacing could have been greater, to make it more in keeping with the original ascent, however when I looked at what bolts on it could be chopped (assuming one was inclined to do so), I decided that if this was done then the remaining bolt sequence would be mucked up, ie need repositioning to suit any chopping.

I am not a bolter, but this strikes me as being more work than it is worth, because to do a good job on it in keeping with the original ascent, would require pulling many bolts and placing new ones.
At present the bolts are placed in keeping with downgrading the route from 17 to 16 in my opinion.
It is a pleasant climb at grade 16.

On it's upper reaches it has some natural pro opportunities, but there is also a flake involved that 'drums significantly', and is far less secure (by comparison), than the flake on Pintle LHV. The top of this flake already appears to have had a couple of inches of friable edge broken off...

I would value GG's opinion about the retro bolting of the route he put up, before getting worked up over the issue; as it is certainly more runout in nature (actually tends to fit the grade), than the routes recently added to /buffalo by JG for example...




Change topic.
As a side note, there was also found to be a two bolt belay, on a lowly inclined slab about 30 or 40 metres east (away from), the base of Pintle.
There are no protection (bolts or otherwise trad opportunities), on the 20 m 'walk up*' slab that this belay setup is located on.
I assume it is there for top-roping purposes.
(*Two different four year old kids, managed to easily climb it today)!




These are only my personal opinions and others may differ, however those that I climbed with today seemed to agree with these observations at the time.
~> If they don't, then they are aware of this thread and frequent Chockstone enough to voice their own opinions... ☺

Sooner or later I will lead Crowlands again, and give feedback on the retrobolting of it.


On 14/02/2013 JMK wrote:
>Ps I did have issues getting bolt plates on which added extra challenge.

True!
... and I found that the same applies to getting them off!!
kevinl
17/02/2013
10:46:46 PM
I've read this thread with interest. I note that the desciption for The Pintle Left Hand finish in my 2006 guidebook reads as follows:
25m 16 *** .....yadda, yadda, yadda .".. up the thinning flake to the top".
There was no bolt to protect the finish (from memory - and my memory of that 1982 first ascent could be flawed - my ascent was ground up onsight and the gear was perfectly adequate). The route was certainly not a run-out horrow show.

Now I can hear some cynics say , "yeah, alright for you, but what about others only just leading at that sort of grade?" Well, as has been mentioned earlier in this thread, if you could get up the earlier stuff you wouldn't be likely to fall off the top. Hundreds of climbers, many of modest abilities, have climbed the LHV over the last few decades and loved the experience before someone took it on himself or herself to add a bolt.

Many (most?) climbers who have climbed this route over the years wouldn't have bothered putting gear in the top 1/2 metre of the very top/thinnest section of the flake-as-was, but it was not necessary to do so. There was good gear close enough to the top of the flake to more than adequately protect a slide off the slab above.

I think the top (as it was) did add some frisson to the experience (without it being paticularly dangerous) and no doubt to the consideration to give it two or three stars. I would have thought that taming the climbing past the top of the flake with a bolt would have emasculated it somewhat and resulted in the loss of a star (though these things are subjective). Medusa at the nearby Dreamworld is a case where, IMO, this has happened.

However, far, far more upsetting to me are the photos showing the appalling defacement of the top of the flake. The flake was a little thin right near the top and the odd crystal may have been crumbly (after all, this is Buffalo right? Some features can be crumbly and climbers know to climb accordingly - cautiously but lightly - without destroying the very resource they are priveleged to be experiencing). I'd imagine that the veritable cavalcade of ascentionists, in the years before the 'enhancement', would have resulted in the flake not having much crumble-prone stuff left, even for someone at their limit clinging on for dear life. Certainly nothing anyone needed to lever off with a crow-bar or even a nut-peg.

Neal is correct that I have been happy enough to retro a few of my own routes at Buffalo (Hair Trigger, Llafnwod and the top pitch of Beg, Borrow or Steal are three examples that come to mind) but these routes were generally extremely serious ground-up leads (certainly, in regard to two out of three of these routes,a fall would very probably have resulted in a fatality) - they have been retroed in reasonably restrained/minimalist manner.

Pintle LHV definitely wasn't in the same league as these.

The route to the right of Maharajah (originally reasonably serious with no bolts) had two bolts added by a climber with my permission, before another climber took it on himself to add two or three more and only let me know of his actions after the event.

Bolts might be added (then pulled, then added, then pulled ... ) but that original top bit of the Pintle LHV flake will never be replaced. That original experience is irrevocably changed (for better or worse). As has already been noted in this thread, the rock is a finite resource and should be treated with some respect.

Miguel75
17/02/2013
11:09:14 PM
On 6/02/2013 kieranl wrote:
>The suggestion by M9 that the top of flake on The Pintle might have been
>deliberately chopped off is fairly disturbing. I hope it's not correct.
>I have been surprised in the past at how some people break off large chunks
>of the cliff by yarding thoughtlessly on them and hope this is what happened
>here.

>I haven't done Profanities. The idea of the knots in the fixed rope never
>appealed, it's neither leading or top-roping, somewhere between the 2.
>But that was only for the first 20 metres. The second pitch was supposed
>to be jugs, no mention of gear - was there any?

I climbed Profanities with M9 and the gang this weekend and quite enjoyed it. The rock on the second pitch was pretty funky; The flakes were nice and hollow sounding and a good portion of one horn/flake has already been snapped off, much like the Pintle LHV...

>Now 11 bolts all up?
Yup but I reckon it could have done without the 2nd bolt above the P1 rap chains. It's a bolt above a solid small horizontal crack...

The Easter Island boulder was easy to protect with only the one bolt below the first horizontal. I was able to protect it easily enough with a #3 C4, though chose to whip out and slot my #6 in the larger vertical crack, mainly because he rarely gets out;)

We had a fun weekend climbing with the kids, even if two parties had their own epics on 'The Initiation' today though that's a story for someone else to tell...

EDIT: Whoever placed the carrots, please file down the corners a little next time as it was a little hard getting the bolt plates on and off;)

shortman
18/02/2013
8:08:02 AM
On 17/02/2013 Miguel75 wrote:
>
>EDIT: Whoever placed the carrots, please file down the corners a little
>next time as it was a little hard getting the bolt plates on and off;)

PFH 90 degree plates by chance?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
18/02/2013
8:20:37 AM
On 17/02/2013 kevinl wrote:
>>I've read this thread with interest.

Thanks heaps for taking the time to do that, and replying to it, kevinl.


>However, far, far more upsetting to me are the photos showing the appalling
>defacement of the top of the flake.

It is far worse than that. The photo that simey posted on this thread is before the top of that flake was broken off, and what you are seeing is the first round of damage to it that is relatively light weight compared to subsequent damage.
>

>The route to the right of Maharajah (originally reasonably serious with
>no bolts) had two bolts added by a climber with my permission, before another
>climber took it on himself to add two or three more and only let me know
>of his actions after the event.

I can imagine that was rather disappointing for you, as this sort of action has that effect on others too (including myself).

>
>Bolts might be added (then pulled, then added, then pulled ... ) but that
>original top bit of the Pintle LHV flake will never be replaced. That original
>experience is irrevocably changed (for better or worse). As has already
>been noted in this thread, the rock is a finite resource and should be
>treated with some respect.

+1












On 18/02/2013 shortman wrote:
>On 17/02/2013 Miguel75 wrote:
>>
>>EDIT: Whoever placed the carrots, please file down the corners a little
>>next time as it was a little hard getting the bolt plates on and off;)
>
>PFH 90 degree plates by chance?

There was a mixture of plate styles/brands. They were all harder than usually necessary to get on and off.

shortman
18/02/2013
8:25:17 AM
On 18/02/2013 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>On 18/02/2013 shortman wrote:
>>On 17/02/2013 Miguel75 wrote:
>>>
>>>EDIT: Whoever placed the carrots, please file down the corners a little
>>>next time as it was a little hard getting the bolt plates on and off;)
>>
>>PFH 90 degree plates by chance?
>
>There was a mixture of plate styles/brands. They were all harder than
>usually necessary to get on and off.

I would have thought that a wiggle and fiddle would have been right down your alley Rod?
anthonycuskelly
18/02/2013
9:07:00 AM
Good response Kevin.

There's a couple of points on Pintle LHV that may spit off a grade 16 leader. Around the bolt is not one I would expect.

What really concerned me looking at it on the weekend was the damage to the flake, and based on Andrew's comments this was deliberate (though not by him). Climbing with some thought for the conditions seems a useful skill, rather than battering off a section because it's a bit hollow. There's hanging and detached flakes aplenty at Buffalo (Banana Blase has a good one as well), and climbing them delicately is part of the experience to me (despite the fear it gives me!).
simey
18/02/2013
9:16:24 AM
Just out of interest, is there any chance that the top of the flake on Pintle LHV could have broken away due to the effects of contraction/expansion of the rock or freeze/thaw? I've got no idea and it seems unlikely, but it seems just as unusual why someone would break the top of the flake too.

pecheur
18/02/2013
10:08:17 AM
On 18/02/2013 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>
>On 18/02/2013 shortman wrote:
>>On 17/02/2013 Miguel75 wrote:
>>>
>>>EDIT: Whoever placed the carrots, please file down the corners a little
>>>next time as it was a little hard getting the bolt plates on and off;)
>>
>>PFH 90 degree plates by chance?
>
>There was a mixture of plate styles/brands. They were all harder than
>usually necessary to get on and off.

I'm glad someone else found that. My RP hangers weren't too bad, but the PFH ones were annoying. Then again I suppose it's a little ironic we're complaining about there being bolts, and now we're whinging about the bolts being too hard to put hangers on ;p

Maybe fumbling bolt plates whilst gripped adds to the experience? ;)

nmonteith
18/02/2013
10:14:55 AM
On 18/02/2013 simey wrote:
>Just out of interest, is there any chance that the top of the flake on
>Pintle LHV could have broken away due to the effects of contraction/expansion
>of the rock or freeze/thaw? I've got no idea and it seems unlikely, but
>it seems just as unusual why someone would break the top of the flake too.

If there was anywhere in Australia that would get freeze thaw that would be the spot! I've been ice climbing at the Horn in winter........

IdratherbeclimbingM9
18/02/2013
10:15:27 AM
On 18/02/2013 simey wrote:
>Just out of interest, is there any chance that the top of the flake on
>Pintle LHV could have broken away due to the effects of contraction/expansion
>of the rock or freeze/thaw? I've got no idea and it seems unlikely, but
>it seems just as unusual why someone would break the top of the flake too.
>
The Good Dr got a reply to the same question on P4 of this thread.

I would bet money that it is not a freeze thaw event, based on what I mentioned earlier;
On 5/02/2013 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>The top of the flake appears to have been broken with a hammer and/or
>or levered off in my opinion.
>The flake used to have a flat top about 250 mm x 30 mm, now it is approx
>1 m x 60 mm, and is a ledge by comparison.
>The new break is not one continuous line but is in two parts. Hard to
>describe, but what I am saying is that it is not a single clean break.
>There was no previous hairline fracture in it, (snip)

i.e. the new top of flake is kind of in two parts, and I would expect that a freeze thaw break would have been one continuous snap-line.





On 18/02/2013 pecheur wrote:
>I suppose it's a little ironic we're complaining about there being bolts, and now we're whinging about the bolts being too hard to put hangers on ;p
>
>Maybe fumbling bolt plates whilst gripped adds to the experience? ;)

The climb isn't that scary anymore ;-)
Nah, we're just squaring away all the little details forrolsen1 those who need them!
If yagunnaretro, then sheesh, at least do a professional job! *
Heh, heh, heh.

(*This is sarcasm for those that don't recognise it, and who may also construe this comment as condoning indiscriminate retro'ing).
anthonycuskelly
18/02/2013
10:30:35 AM
Simey, given the flex in the remaining flake, I would expect it to break much lower if it was from freeze/thaw.

Ben_E
18/02/2013
10:38:23 AM
On 18/02/2013 simey wrote:
>Just out of interest, is there any chance that the top of the flake on
>Pintle LHV could have broken away due to the effects of contraction/expansion
>of the rock or freeze/thaw?

Not in this case, I don't think. The (admittedly slightly rotten) flake near the top of Profanities also showed signs of having been deliberately snapped off (either that or someone had a real adventure!), so I assume it's part of a broader "clean-up" effort.

Having played about up at the horn on Saturday, my impressions were:

Profanities has been relatively "well" retro-bolted (if there can be such a thing), and is a great climb which I otherwise probably would not have done. The anchors 2/3 of the way up seem unnecessary (why not just go straight to the top and trail a second rope, as we did?), but that's a fairly minor point.

Overall however, there seem to be carrots popping up like mushrooms in the horn area, including on some "climbs" that I'm not even sure would warrant bolts in a day trip area like Black Hill, let alone at Buffalo. Bolting next to protectable cracks is a clear no-go in my book, even if it does make for a friendly beginner's lead for the local scout or TAFE group.

There was even a 2-carrot anchor in the low angle slab below the Pintle. Admittedly, Mike and I had a great time belaying our 4 and 5 year old daughters up the slab from them, but I'm not really sure that developing the area for 4-year olds is the way to go (talk about bolting for the lowest common denominator!).

All in all it just seems over the top. Any chance of the bolter(s) taking a well deserved holiday and leaving their drill at home for a while, or at least having a chat with other users to come up with a consensus vision for the area?

ajfclark
18/02/2013
10:44:03 AM
> There was even a 2-carrot anchor in the low angle slab below the Pintle. Admittedly, Mike and I had a great time belaying our 4 and 5 year old daughters up the slab from them, but I'm not really sure that developing the area for 4-year olds is the way to go (talk about bolting for the lowest common denominator!).

The tennis court slabs (located kind of behind the toilets when you park near the south side lookout, besides the asphalt tennis courts not the ones behind the chalet) are already an excellent place for that kind of thing. Probably a good deal longer and closer to the car too.

They could use a few lead bolts maybe...

IdratherbeclimbingM9
18/02/2013
10:46:21 AM
On 18/02/2013 Ben_E wrote:
>at least having a chat with other users to come up with a consensus vision for the area?

PVic already has one, that may not include us in future if we don't self police within our community?

ajfclark
18/02/2013
10:49:44 AM
On 18/02/2013 Ben_E wrote:
> The anchors 2/3 of the way up seem unnecessary (why not just go straight to the top and trail a second rope, as we did?), but that's a fairly minor point.

Are you talking about to the right the rap chains above Dick Selector or that they bolted a belay where the first pitch originally finished?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
18/02/2013
10:54:58 AM
On 18/02/2013 ajfclark wrote:
>On 18/02/2013 Ben_E wrote:
>> The anchors 2/3 of the way up seem unnecessary (why not just go straight
>to the top and trail a second rope, as we did?), but that's a fairly minor
>point.
>
>Are you talking about to the right the rap chains above Dick Selector
>or that they bolted a belay where the first pitch originally finished?

Ben_E is referring to the abseil chains above Dick Selector, and it also services Crowlands too.
Getting off Profanities if one was climbing on a single 50 m rope, is still easily done by abseiling to that intermediate (DS/C) anchor, pull your rope to there and then doing a second abseil to ground.

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