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On 7/08/2012 dhunchak wrote:
>Having bold routes at all grades is very important motivator for some people (like myself), who will stay up at night dreaming about the day they'll be fit enough to find themselves standing at the base with a rope coiled at their feet. It's not just ego involved in establishing a bold route - as some say "a testament to themselves and how great they are" - I see bold routes as an invitation to join the first ascentionist at their level.
Firstly we don't need too many bold routes in the easier grades. There aren't that many quality easy routes around, so advocating death leads on grade 10 terrain seems pretty silly. Who aspires to lead bold grade 10s and 12s (apart from places like the Warrumbungles)?
Climbs have a first ascent history which should be acknowledged, but they also have a repeat ascent history which should be given due respect too.
The only times that the first ascenionist should really command full respect is when they have gone ground-up to establish a new route. I reckon as soon as you opt to rap-inspect a line you have started taking the soft option. If you choose to bolt a line in a bold way after pre-inspecting all the climbing and working out what placements go where, you are basically being lazy or an egotistical wanker. Personally I don't think you can claim complete ownership of the line given that you have already forfeited your opportunity to meet the cliff head-on by opting for abseil pre-inspection. In fact I hate it when great lines have been hijacked in this way. And I would argue that Warwick Baird's routes on Echo Point are a case in point.
But once a route is established (in whatever fashion), the ensuing years should determine whether it stands or falls. I reckon that in many instances the first repeat ascent of a line can be just as significant as the first ascent depending on the circumstances.
A route certainly doesn't need to receive a lot of ascents to be considered worthwhile. But it should be on climber's radars - either you aspire to climb it, or you accept the fact that it is out of your league. Whether you reckon particular routes are out of your league because the bolting sounds like it was done in a pain in the arse fashion is another matter (ie Echo Point routes).
Most of the retro-bolting I have done is on routes that climbers have completely forgotten about. They simply don't get climbed and climbers don't aspire to climb them. I am well aware of the debate you create if you start retro-bolting well-known routes.
Because I am not that familiar with Return of the Toe Cutter Gang and it's first ascent history, it's repeat ascent history, it's overall quality and how it is viewed by the general climbing community, means I can't comment specifically, although Macca's interest in the climb as it stood certainly means it was on his radar and that should be given due consideration.