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|Noblesse Oblige retro of best easy route @ Buffalo
On 7/03/2008 bomber pro wrote:
>Ado, I don't see what problem you have? there are lots of the type of routes
>that you say are your
>preferred style at Buffalo. you could even put up a whole bunch more for
>others that feel the same way
>you do! just pick a blank face (loads of those up there) and climb it,
>don't worry about the lack of gear if
>there is none! that's the style you love! right! IF YOU"RE ONSIGHTING
>AT THE GRADE AT BUFFALO.
>Personally I think that if there are a few of both types of climbs, the
>run out horror shows, and the easy
>to protect classics...... then everyone will be happy!
That's the thing bomber, there already is plenty of easy to protect classics, and rarely anyone up there climbing them!! I'm not after run-out horror shows, you've misinterpreted me, I just believe the whinging and complaining about the existing routes at Buffalo is unfounded, and that the mix is already right between easy and hard to protect routes. Do you even know the history of the recent un-consented retro bolting I refered to??
Unprotected slabs run-out is not the style I love..wtf?? What I do respect is the style of bolting that exists on the slabs and dykes. I still aspire to lead some of them.
I have to go down to my local crag and watch punters stick clip bolts to protect routes that were once a bit bold, and I have to shake my head and walk away.
I suggest you ask yourself why many of the bold lines have none if any bolts. It's often a simple case that the first ascentionists don't have access to a drill or can't be stuffed with the cost and effort. It takes a lot of time, training, energy and money to equip routes well. Sometimes people go back and retrobolt routes to make them more user friendly. Sometimes they don't. It's always been up to the first ascentionist.
If there is a precedent of bold lines in an area does that mean that there is no room for anything but bold lines? I think not. I think there should be some choice.
Mt Buffalo is a wonderful place, and to have no user friendly easier lines seems like a great tragedy to me.
Ever wondered why the bolts get closer as the grades get harder? i.e "well" bolted 23+ routes? Perhaps Buffalo is not such a great example but I hope you understand my point. There is pretty much no one out there (with access to a drill) willing to invest the time effort and energy to setup good fun climbs (with bolts) for easy and moderate climbers. There are and have been a lot of opportunities which have for the most part ended up with lots of very bold easier lines.
I also ask you this - when you put up a new climb should you consider others, or do it with as little protection as you think is ok for you, and if very few others can repeat the line in that style then so be it?
I certainly try to keep other people in mind and equip the routes I choose to put up accordingly. I've made some mistakes sure, but hey don't we all? I suggest you consider the intention as well as the outcome before going off guns blazing on the attack.
If anyone thinks I am on a single minded mission to make safe every climb there is you are very misguided. I deeply respect those brave souls who are prepared to run it out more than me, I simply choose not to, and try to offer a choice of something other than this, particularly at Buffalo. I do not aspire to do every line there is - far from it. I choose a much higher level of risk protection than many and am willing to defend my choice.
In relation to topos and the recording of first ascents in general I have always strived to try and simply clarify a large number of new routes among various cliffs around Australia. The initial write up is often vague and ambitious and sometimes changes or "clarifications" are made after different photos are shown to the first ascentionist or they make repeated visits to the area to verify it first hand. In short no-one is perfect - not the people writing up new routes, or the people attempting the very difficult task of recording them.
PS I repeated NO on Saturday while Geoff Gledhill put up a stunning ground up 510m new route on the buttress to the left, which goes at grade 14 or thereabouts. Most of the pitches have no gear on route and one of the pitches had to be simulclimbed for 30m (making a 90m pitch). Very impressive. I've got an aerial photo which I hope to turn into a topo to assist in showing where this line goes. The rock quality and climbing from all accounts was pretty good and consistent.
I really enjoyed NO. I think it's always going to need an experienced leader who doesn't mind running it out. We (and another party who did it yesterday) think the track could benefit from some marking as we both got lost and finding the start is a bit tricky. Also - if it helps the starting point (where you leave the lower car) is 7.7km below the signposted Mackey's lookout car park. There are some white boulders on the right (part of the gully) and a bit of orange tape wrapped around a tree about 5-10m to their right - visible from the road. Basically straight up from there.
We (the other party Joe mentioned) did the route on Sunday. A great day out.
Will post more writeup and photos when I have some time, but simple impressions are:
1. It took a lot longer than 15 minutes to bash up from the road, but we think we steered too far to the right, away from the creek. About an hour, but could be done faster by a group less-pregnant than we were (my partner is 7 months).
2. First 2 pitches can be strung together by soloing a few metres up the first to a scoop.
3. Despite implications from the write-up most belays have only one bolt (no criticism intended) and the key steeper pitches have one bolt plus one more bit of gear ..
4. .. however after a pitch or three of this you get used to it and basically the climbing is the same throughout, the angle just varies a little. By the time you get up 5 pitches the lack of gear starts to become a non-issue and even one of my timid seconds led pitch 8 or so, 20m with no runners.
5. Grades are hard to judge, but calling one pitch 13 and another 6 is probably too much of a variation. The harder bits were perhaps grade 10?
6. With 3 in the party (seconding one at a time and me leading every pitch bar one) it took us around 4 hours, including a lunch stop. I calculated that I took in about 1200m of rope, my left shoulder knows it, too!
If it were up to me, I'd double-up the bolts on several belays, and add one or two bolts here and there - which it seems Mikl started to do down lower but ran out of steam higher up.
In reference to some of the belays being only a single bolt (B1, 2, 3, 4 have another bolt, other gear or bushes to use also) the top 3 belays were where we started simi-soloing on the FA, and I thought a single bolt on a good ledge would be enough (particularly as I only took 1 battery with me and was trying to get the basics in). Adding a backup bolt per belay is fine by me (how about you Geoff?), but I would not like extra bolt runners to be placed on the route.
I tend to agree with hipster and Fish Boy recent posts to this thread.
10/03/08 jgoding wrote;
>I suggest you ask yourself why many of the bold lines have none if any bolts
Some leaders don't want bolts so they choose not to place them.
>If there is a precedent of bold lines in an area does that mean that there is no room for anything but bold lines? >I think not. >I think there should be some choice.
Against the established adventure ethic of an area?
>Mt Buffalo is a wonderful place, and to have no user friendly easier lines seems like a great tragedy to me.
I find it tragic that you are missing (messing?), the fundamental experience that is Buffalo to many.
>I also ask you this - when you put up a new climb should you consider others,
Not necessarily. If people want a sanitised experience they can go elsewhere for it. For the same reason that I choose not to go to those places, but prefer Buffalo instead.
>or do it with as little protection as you think is ok for you, and if very few others can repeat the line in that style then so be it?
Yes, and why not? You are free to do what you have done and put up your own route to your own standard; but preferably at areas with similar ethic/precedent.
I would add here that I think that Buffalo is large enough to accomodate your style in other specific(*) areas up there.
(*Possibly not yet developed and hence without quite the same precedent?).
>while Geoff Gledhill put up a stunning ground up 510m new route on the buttress to the left, which goes at grade 14 or thereabouts. (snip) >The rock quality and climbing from all accounts was pretty good and consistent.
Dualism and pun thing happening here? Good consistent climbing without bolts? How could that be!!
>I really enjoyed NO. I think it's always going to need an experienced leader who doesn't mind running it out.
Fair enough, but isn’t that part of the gradual increments of gaining climbing experience ? After all, Buffalo IS granite, and unlike Araps (or a gym?), often does not lend itself to protection at close intervals. It comes with the territory, so why do you feel those (potential-) climbers need treating with kid-gloves?
>orange tape wrapped around a tree
I saw that (and a nearby painted arrow on the road), as I went past on my bike. It is good till the next fires …, but will certainly help in the interim.
... maybe develop Nug Nug more and Mackey’s less? ... Nah, ... beginners might get lost or worse, scratch themselves on too many nasty bushes trying to get there, so better scratch(!) that idea!
On 10/03/2008 jgoding wrote:
>I suggest you ask yourself why many of the bold lines have none if any
>bolts. It's often a simple case that the first ascentionists don't have
>access to a drill or can't be stuffed with the cost and effort. It takes
>a lot of time, training, energy and money to equip routes well. Sometimes
>people go back and retrobolt routes to make them more user friendly. Sometimes
>they don't. It's always been up to the first ascentionist.
Why have you retro-bolted without the first ascentionists approval then?? That's gotta stop.
>If there is a precedent of bold lines in an area does that mean that there
>is no room for anything but bold lines? I think not. I think there should
>be some choice.
Bold,bold,bold...blah blah blah. I've said it before, the mix is fine between bold and well protected. Most people who frequent there like it as it is.There's room for everything up there. What there's not room for is over-bolted lines close to the established ones, or over-bolted "user-friendly" routes. Buffalo is an adventure climbing area, a route bolted to onsight safely is fine by me. Yep, there's been some bad bolting up there, but they're few and far between. The greater problem is lichen and dirt coming back from inactivity, not danger...
>Mt Buffalo is a wonderful place, and to have no user friendly easier lines
>seems like a great tragedy to me.
>Ever wondered why the bolts get closer as the grades get harder? i.e "well"
>bolted 23+ routes? Perhaps Buffalo is not such a great example but I hope
>you understand my point.
Buffalo is a very bad example, they definitely don't get closer
>There are and have been a lot of opportunities which have for the most part ended up with
>lots of very bold easier lines.
Why..because a physically (and/or mentally) stronger climber has put them up ground up...respect the past.
>I also ask you this - when you put up a new climb should you consider
>others, or do it with as little protection as you think is ok for you,
>and if very few others can repeat the line in that style then so be it?
If you go ground up you please yourself. If you rap and bolt then do it responsibly..put in enough in the right places so it can be onsighted. But if it's a 22 slab and there's some run-out grade 19 climbing,well that's fine by me. That's the nature of Buffalo climbing, all through the grades. >
>I certainly try to keep other people in mind and equip the routes I choose
>to put up accordingly. I've made some mistakes sure, but hey don't we all?
>I suggest you consider the intention as well as the outcome before going
>off guns blazing on the attack.
Going off guns blazing I haven't, but will now. Why did you retro bolt Shellshocked without the first ascentionist's approval? It had already been retro bolted and everyone was happy, except you and your partner( who was trying to tick the route)...
I did this route (NO) yesterday.
Some feedback / personal observations which I make from the point of view of being an experienced 'bumbly-grade' climber ...
I did it in two hours and like others before me I ended up in the creek on lower slabs about 150 m too early. I found the climbing on those lower slabs harder (due more water polished), than on N.O. I'd give them a grade of 13.
There are just enough bolts to 'show the line of the climb'. It certainly does not need any more in my opinion.
With a climb description of "Follow the black streak till it fades where the angle eases, then trend right and continue up the steeper slab", one could easily do this route without the bolts.
>5. >Grades are hard to judge, but calling one pitch 13 and another 6 is probably too much of a variation. >The harder bits were perhaps grade 10?
If the initial approach creek slabs are discounted, I’d give the route the over-all grade of 12 for its crux pitch ( with crux being about three consecutive moves totalling about 6m of climbing), and only then if one is deliberately trying to climb its steepest version, otherwise grade 11 if 'avoiding the difficulties'. I also thought the crux pitch was higher up (consisting of negotiating a steepness onto a rib on the right, involving pure smear tactics), instead of the ‘climb description crux pitch’ which consists of following a dyke (huge footholds compared to smearing), rightwards on a rising traverse. The rest I thought was consistent grade 9 but acknowledge that this could easily vary +/- a grade depending on whether the climber is opting for the most direct way up or sidestepping any slightly steeper bits by utilising easier options.
I do not take issue with the single bolt belays due their locations. They are generally located on the upper lip of scoops of great size, such that one could easily camp in them overnight if one wished! The scoops would generally accommodate a party of four persons comfortably sitting while tethered to the belay.
In my opinion these are really the only bolts worth having on the climb for those that may feel the need for them!
JamesMc wrote on 07/03/08:
> Routes that nobody wants to climb because they are so run out don't preserve bravery for the generations of the future. >They're just memorials to the bravery of the first ascentionists. >Mike and Geoff have both climbed slabs at least ten grades harder than Nobless Oblige - they're big enough not to need a run-out grade 13 memorial to their bravery.
I strongly disagree with this comment in relation to preserving ‘bravery’ for the future.
In fact I would not consider this route to fall into the category of ‘bravery’ at all.
Instead it is classic slab climbing* at a modest grade, and for the wily leader it has sufficient (though spaced), protection opportunities such that it really does not need the bolts it now has.
[*Imo classic slab climbing necessarily involves runouts].
... somewhere near the top of pitch 6.
It was a pleasant climb in a pleasant location.
It had an element of adventure and this is what ‘made it’ for me, otherwise I would have considered it to be a 'walk-up' contrived by bolts into being labelled a climb.
In wet conditions the same climb could easily be grade 18+ ... but we don't grade climbs for those conditions do we!, ... & I don't know many who actively seek to climb slabs in the rain !!!
Link to thread containing Noblesse Oblige description and topo
Link to a poll concerning the grade of this climb.
On 11/03/2008 mikl law wrote:
>Adding a backup bolt per
>belay is fine by me (how about you Geoff?), but I would not like extra
>bolt runners to be placed on the route.
(bump) Has anyone got around to backing up the belay bolts, or intending to?
I climbed the route again late last 'season' (ie just before winter), and it wasn't done then.
It doesn't really need it for most of the belays due (imo) the large scoops they are located within, but I can see how it would become even more mass-consumer-friendly if it happens.
just did it (NO) this saturday and no, it hasn't been done.
But I don't think it needs any more bolts though, including the belays- I've been able to back it up with a sling or a bush or a dodgy nut and to be honest, neither of those felt necessary either.
On the difficulty of it- my climbing partner and I felt it difficult to compare to, say the first pitch of Pintle (12) which both of us found considerably harder than NO, including the NO's "crux" (which I got to lead).
my 2 cents worth - I freely admit I'm a chicken and generally am petrified of runouts, neither am I a very confident leader. I DID thoroughly enjoyed looking down at 40m of free rope between me and the belay and if there were bolts added, then that would have detracted from the experience greatly. On the whole climb I only really chucked in a tri-cam (woo hoo, got to use that for the first time!!) on the first pitch and didn't feel any need for any more gear anywhere else. No, 13 isn't my max leading grade, but i've been known to back off pretty low grades for whatever heart wrenching reason I decided to pick at the time. (including the first pitch of the Pintle, for which i'm quite ashamed of myself)
It's fine for the masses as it is- anyone that chooses to go to Buffalo and jump on the pointy end will have led something harder at least once in their lives (hopefully) and is most definitely physically capable of tackling it. Heck, we, like M9, started about 100-150m early and went up that unroped and in runners before "starting the climb" and that section wasn't any more difficult than the "bolted" section.
A great morning out and a really worthwhile experience for all that did it! A practice in scrambling and getting used to the headspace required on longer routes, which seems pretty important to me, anyway.
I would like to do it in winter though =)))) or maybe the myriad of other climbs that are there, any time of the year. preferably most of the year (with a few rest days thrown in for good measure)!
so, thank you mikl and geoff
and thank you jgoding for posting a link to it, and the detailed descriptions on aca website!
Thanks for your feedback on this route russianSpy.
Overall this route has just come back into vogue again. Perhaps you might like to also give your opinion of its grade over in this Link to a poll concerning the grade of this climb for future guidebook revisions.
hehehe... i found that placement where that hex was. so when people say"take a light rack" they mean ONE nut cause thats the only gear on the whole bloody thing..i had to listen to my hex's the whole way up!!! ideal rack for this climb is one locking biner and one draw, biner for belay and if your lucky the draw for the one fixed hanger every couple of pitches..oh and a medium nut but thats optional ; ) great climb though!!!
Did this fun climb last Xmas.
Now we can go for simul-climbing speed ascents.
I am sure M9 has a personal best to beat.
On 21/12/2009 kayakerSteve wrote:
>Did this fun climb last Xmas.
>Now we can go for simul-climbing speed ascents.
>I am sure M9 has a personal best to beat.
~> Reminds me of the following quote.
"Climbing for speed records will probably become more popular, a mania which has just begun. Climbers climb not just to see how fast and efficiently they can do it, but far worse, to see how much faster and more efficiently they are than a party which did the same climb a few days before. The climb becomes secondary, no more important than a racetrack. Man is pitted against man."
... but personally I prefer this quote...
"Remember: if you take bivouac equipment along, you will bivouac..."
It took me a while to work out that this wasnt a joke! From the picture this route looks like you walk most of it...is there any actual climbing on it?
It is a fine climb and a fine way to enjoy a rest day at Buffalo. Yes it is mostly easy ground, but if you screw up on lead you will be loosing a bunch of skin and maybe more.
I had reason to check this old thread to clarify some beta, and I notice that mikltricksterlaw has (inadvertently?) changed a couple of photos he originally published on this thread...
~> It seems that N O is a significantly harder undertaking now!!! ~> caveat emptor?? heh, heh, heh.
~> ... any chance of rectifying them mikl?
On 28/02/2008 mikl law wrote:
>There were rumblings that Joseph “Grollo” Goding , with the best of intentions
>was going to retrobolt Noblesse Oblige, something I’d also been planning
>to do, though probably with many less bolts.
>I drove down to Buffalo Friday night and slept in the pine forest for
>a few hours, and met Geoff Gledhill (the other first ascenionist) at 8am.
>We left one car at Mackey’s Lookout and drove to the gully at the base
>of the route (as was suggested in the VCC update I found). We bashed up
>the gully for 15 minutes (not 45 minutes that the VCC update said) to the
>base of the slab, it would be much better to walk up the ridge about 50m
>further right I think, and avoid all the death scrambling which Geoff oozed
>up in Five-Tennies which I slithered down in my hiking shoes. We got onto
>the slab too high and had to solo down the first pitch back to the belay.
>Geoff soloing back down Pitch 1, the black streak the route follows is
>visible over his shoulder higher up
>The problem with (even well written) route descriptions is evident once
>you’ve used a few topos, we ignored the description for a second and picked
>out the obvious line (the black water streak) after which the description
>made more sense. Imagine if we hadn’t put it up originally! Starting on
>the right edge of the slab, Geoff went up a thin crack to a flake, then
>headed, too fast for me to belay easily, left and up to a big dish, where
>he belayed on a few hexes in a drummy flake.
>I followed the pitch, checking out 2 good runners and placing a bolt runner
>to make it all obvious safe super family fun, about grade 6 or less. OhMyGod!
>these stainless Trubolts are fast and bomber, and expensive too. I also
>added a bolt to the belay and lead another easy pitch with some cams to
>the next big dish at the base of the black streak proper, and placed 2
>bolts on the belay.
>The next pitch is the steepest on the buttress and Geoff ran up it in
>his Five-tennies, there were only 2 slings on this so I added a bolt before
>the hard section. It’s hard to grade, but somewhere between 8 and 12 maybe?
>Geoff had a bush belay and I added a bolt.
>Geoff in sandshoes on the crux pitch 3, heading up to a poor sling then
>towards where I placed a BR
>The next pitch (P4) looks blank but the angle has eased a lot, one bolt
>runner, then up the slab to a traverse right to a big jug and sling belay
>that I added a bolt to also.
>The next pitch (P5) is easy rambling up the groove; Geoff drilled a bolt
>runner and belayed off a bollard and a bolt.
>Geoff drilling on pitch 5, the angle is nowhere as extreme as it appears
>From here pitch 6 followed an easy diagonally traverse across a few cracks
>and flakes leading onto the next buttress and then followed another black
>streak past some more placements to a good ledge and bolt belay (by this
>time the angle is so low that I was happy to hang off a single bolt).
>Geoff seconding P6
>A random hex on pitch 6
>Geoff ran up the next pitch with no gear (though I stopped for a breather
>and found a few placements, on this sort of climbing you don’t need chalk,
>you need an oxygen cylinder) to another scoop and placed another bolt belay.
>From here the climbing angle eases further, I ran diagonally up another
>pitch past a bush and across 2 streaks to a bolt belay and then Geoff and
>I simul-climbed on easy ground with lots of bushes for another 100m till
>we stepped flat-footed onto the Great Walk, about 30m from my car at Mackey’s
>The route is an absolute classic, certainly the best easy route I’ve done
>at Buffalo. I’d like to get a consensus on the grade , I think it’s somewhere
>between 8 and 13, has reasonable gear at the crux, and 10m runouts on climbing
>that is 4 or 5 grades easier than the crux climbing. Any more runners would
>spoil it, but one could equip the top 3 belays with a second bolt. It took
>us 2.5 hours, including a bit of cleaning and placing 13 bolts, so is a
>nice quick route. With sticky sandshoes and in the afternoon (shade), you
>wouldn’t need to carry water or shoes if you were fast. All bolts have
Hmm, for some reason Chockers cut me off easly this year and i can't log in or chnage anything under my old persona.
The offending photos are:-
geoff downsoloing P1
Thanks for that.
There are 69 messages in this topic.
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