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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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

Topic Date User
Bolting at The Horn, Mount Buffalo Sunday, 17 February 2013 At 10:46:46 PM kevinl
Message
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.

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