/ The Great Yorkshire Bolt Debate
For more details, including directions to the venue and background information about the meeting, go to http://www.thebmc.co.uk/thebmc/org/state_debate.htm
Turn up, listen to the arguments, and have your say.
A free buffet will be provided, and there's a bar in the meeting room.
Mark Radtke will chair the meeting, and also provide some audio-visual nourishment.
Thank you very much, stirling job! To everyone involved in the Yorkshire bolt fund and the replacement of the old bolts.
Second - Concerns of mine in regard to the retro bolting that has been happening are:
Third - ideas for future retro bolting in Yorkshire:
Above all else, I would like to point out that there are young traditional climbers in Yorkshire who aspire to do many of the lesser known trad classics. We do go out and climb these routes.
Slightly short notice for me to cancel my two other engagements but personally I think we could do with some bolts on New Statesman because it's not very popular and it's too f*cking dangerous without. And then there's that line just to the left which is totally unused and would undoubtedly become a popular trade route with a few bolts.
All good points Crippin and certainly worthy of airing at the meeting but as those attending the meeting will no longer be able to hide behind the annonymity of Pseudonyms it would be good to have some real names behind all the views expressed. Some of us may know who you are but most will not. These are important issues and surely time to stand up be formally counted.
Yorkspud, et al. also please note.
The only part of my name that is not in my profile is my surname - hardly hiding behind a pseudonym.
but how would I recognise you when you've got a dog sat on your face on your profile!
mind you, I don't have a profile photo so I guess that's kettle/pot!
Remember The Hood from Thunderbirds? (But without the bushy eyebrows!)
I would like to send my apologies as I can't attend tonights meeting. (Too busy fixing the central heating if you need to know).
As I see it since the main activists are blatently ignoring the existing agreed guidelines there is little point making the effort to be there, I will just continue to do what I think is right anyway.
You know my views anyway. Vote NO to retrobolting. Vote YES to bolt replacement. Like for like. Otherwise discuss each route on its merits. No more blanket bolting like Nober Scar, Dib Scar, Blue Scar etc.... And no more Sudo new routes two feet away from existing traditional climbs.
OK, I have found an image on ( maybe appropriately ) monstersinmotion.com :) and will keep an eye out for you!
> All good points Crippin and certainly worthy of airing at the meeting but as those attending the meeting will no longer be able to hide behind the annonymity of Pseudonyms it would be good to have some real names behind all the views expressed. Some of us may know who you are but most will not. These are important issues and surely time to stand up be formally counted.
> Yorkspud, et al. also please note.
Avoiding the issues. Nice one Dave. Very political.
Should be fun tonight.
Junior is far too busy (sensible?) to avoid getting involved in chit-chat on forums like this.
Dave (old man) Musgrove
And who is going?
I'll be going, if only to keep Rad company!
> Junior is far too busy (sensible?) to avoid getting involved in chit-chat on forums like this.
Classic Dave. You've used "avoidance" now you denigrate the medium.
You'll be advocating small government and cutting taxes next?
I will look out for a man without bushy eyebrows.....
With Dave exhibiting hubris what do you expect.
Whatever happens tonight, people will go there own way.
The guidelines were drawn up by Yorkshire Bolt Fund, of which Dave is secretary.
Dave then ignored these guidelines.
Personality? Yes and ego and hubris. Some think that they own the rock and that because they have been climbing on YL a long time, write guidebooks to it, and do lots of good things as regards climbing on YL, that they can do what they want with no regard to anyone else.
I think they call that arrogance.
(formely the idiot known as Mick - Rockfax USA)
> I'll be going, if only to keep Rad company!
Get the boy a pint from me Bob.
Blimey Mick can you see the ground from that high horse.....
Some may not like what's been done, but judging by the number of people climbing these routes lots of people do.....
Strikes me that there is a touch of arrogance in the attitude that says you only need bolts on really hard lines. After all if you aren't good enough/brave enough to climb these lines then you're not really very important are you.
Oh and talking of arrogance... assuming that one style of climbing is so much better than another means that any line climbed in it takes priority over all other styles... seems just a bit arrogant.
I agree. Bolts are great in lower grade climbs as well as harder ones.
All styles are equal as far as I'm concerened. I do 'em all.
The scenario here is that a few individuals have bolted up some classic trad lines at minor crags that previously didn't have bolts. They did this without consoltation with anyone but themselves.
The same individuals have also done some great work putting up many lower grade bolt routes and making some crags into great sport climbing venues.
The point is, they got carried away a little and didn't know where to draw the line.
Now this debate has a wider audience, on the web, at the meeting tonight, at the crags and in the pubs.
That's good don't you think?
Mick I agree that it's good to have a wider audience. Though I'm not sure how many of those climbers that have enjoyed climbing on those easier lines this summer are or will ever be involved.
As to lines that have been crossed well that depends on you believing that the "lines" have any justification. I'm not sure that the current heavy bias towards one style of climbing is correct.
Aid lines have been replaced by "free" versions to much cheering from the crowds, bolted routes have been "improved" by a free ascent and the bolts chopped (thus limiting the people that can now climb that line). But add bolts to a little used route that was protected by dodgy gear behind very suspect rock and the ethics police are out in force. I'm just not convinced that one style should have such a strong advantage in our comminity.
When do we stop? If a route is soloed or climbed as a high ball boulder problem; should anyone considering using trad gear on it be looked down upon in the same way that some would look on a climber using a top rope? Read some of the mags these days (and some of the postings here) and maybe this is already the case. Sure trad is special but is it really that special?
The reality is that many lines that could make good lower grade sports routes already have some sort of trad routes on them. Should this mean that they can never be considered for bolting? Some of these routes are good but are they all? Some get climbed but many just sit there a not very interesting entry in a guide book.
Maybe we should adopt a rule like that used for footpaths if they are not used for a period of time then they just cease to be (and so are available for a new use).. If people want them, climb them.... After all in some cases they may well fall down soon anyway....
It's about diversity.
Blanket bolting is bad, period.
It's bad for diversity, it's bad for the crag (metal, chalk and polish everywhere).
I learnt after my own bolting frenzy to show restraint. You've got to know where to draw the line. The Trow Ghyll is a great example of going too far over that line. There's lots of great new bolt routes there I'm sure. But then they went and erased some great trad routes.
The British climbing public is diverse, and so are the crags, people should respect that.
It's all too easy to get carried away and say that I am justified to do this or that because I you have a consensus when the consensus is your own circle-jerk of friends.
So the blanket bolting of the Malham catwalk is bad as well I take it. There plenty of great sport climbing areas ar- I don't believe that there bolting is bad (period or no period).
I've climbed a couple of times a Trow Ghyll this year - the routes I did on the both faces seemed to be good quality sport routes. I'm not good on the history of the area but I think the south wall routes were always basically sport routes. I also climbed a couple of the new sport routes (not retrobolted) on the North wing which were good and wouldn't have made good trade routes as far as I could see. Of the retrobolted routes I did Pimp with a Limp which was excellent - this was bolted with the first ascentionists blessing I believe. The bolting was nicely done, you have to climb the route not just pull from bolt to bolt. I've only done one of the easier retrobolted routes, Freak Out which was very worthwhile, a good line with some spaced bolts and not perfect rock. Given that there is a real shortage of quality (or even half decent) sub 7a sport routes in Yorkshire, as against loads of hard sports routes, there does appear to a least be some argument for bolting such things.
Looking at the crag as a whole I don't see the same picture as some of the posters. I can see that you might disagree with the bolting of a few of the trad routes but I didn't get the impression of crag chock full of high quality trad routes which have be wrecked. In general the rock quality is a bit iffy and there's plenty of dust and lichen - it certainly isn't a Malham right wing or a Blue Scar. Neither do I believe that this is some sort of first front to the bolting of classic trad lines and to try and pretend it is seems to me to be a bit of purposful blurring of discussion.
Seemed to have gone on a bit there so I'll finish now. I can't make the meeting but would be interested to hear any outcome.
For those who did not make it to the Yorkshire meeting last night, here is a general summing up of what went on.
As expected the debate was passioned, also as expected, no real consensus was reached either as to what has already been done and how things might proceed in the future.
For me the biggest disappointment was the lack of representation of the younger end of the climbing community, in particular those who are either just starting climbing or are just moving or have moved from climbing indoors to climbing outside. Mark (Radke, the chair) took a show of hands at the start of the proceedings as to who was 40 or over: at a rough guess 2/3rds of those present were over 40.
The format was different to a normal debate with Mark throwing questions to the floor which were then discussed amongst small groups with those groups then summarising their views to the rest of the meeting. This gave everyone a chance to air their views without having to deal with hecklers etc, but did mean that there were ten or so arguments going on at once rather than one!
Most of the points raised and covered have been discussed both in the climbing press and in many threads here on Rocktalk so I won't reiterate them.
What was surprising was that the most impassioned and vociferous views came not from the younger attendees but from amongst the oldest. These were from both ends of the spectrum of opinion, not just the anti-bolting lobby.
Also interesting were the views of the members of the cutting edge who were present. To me at least, they appeared to aspire to the hard, naturally protected routes rather than ignore them. This made the lack of views of the next generation even more apparent.
Overall, Mark did a good job of keeping order though things did become less organised and focused towards the end. Someone criticised Mark for sitting on the fence about his views but the job of the chair is to facilitate discussion not to impose his views on that discussion and in that he did a fine job even though he did make it clear he had strong personal views.
This was the first BMC meeting I have been to - I suspect that this was the case for many others of those present. I'll go again, even for less emotive subjects, it just needs some young blood there as well.
I'm not at all disagreeing with you about wanting more young people along, but just as a point of information wrt age, compared to many BMC meetings that one had a lot bigger % of younger climbers. But yes, you know it's a fairly aged group of people when the question asked is 'who is under 40?' rather than, say, 'who is under 30?'
Btw I'm still a beginner outside. And yes, if there was a nice easy sports crag just down the road from me I'd doubtless be clipping away like mad. But it doesn't follow that I want routes bolting, because climbing isn't just about what you do yourself, it's also about what you dream about, what inspires you, and what turns you on.
> All good points Crippin and certainly worthy of airing at the meeting but as those attending the meeting will no longer be able to hide behind the annonymity of Pseudonyms it would be good to have some real names behind all the views expressed. Some of us may know who you are but most will not. These are important issues and surely time to stand up be formally counted.
> Yorkspud, et al. also please note.
Dave, as I said I emailed Tony with my comments and this had my full name/details etc.
My name is available on this site (in the boot review I wrote). Sorry if it seems like I am hiding, I never even considered the above point.
Jack Geldard (In the Middle East)
and I hope the debate went well and was a good laugh too!
Seems to me what Mark did was first off remind us with his nice pics that we are all climbers, together... a diverse bunch but _all climbers_.
Then, by getting us talking in little groups he made people far more likely to listen well to each other.... on my table people were definitely listening, respecting and taking note of each other.... maybe this didn't happen everywhere but that meeting was a hell of a lot more amiable than it could have been, and I think that was due to the structure.
As for the arguments.... as was said, there can be no consensus. And everyone will doubtless continue to go their own sweet way.
I found it really interesting... I know what I think about the issues now, having heard so many different points of view, and I didn't before.
And cheers for the food BMC... that's two nights running you've fed me ;o)
And thankyou... on behalf, I am sure, of all present... for taking the minutes, Tony. What a job!
Can they please be posted here as well as on the BMC site?
Just to present another point of view on the night (I sat on the same table as Kate so we both had the same view!).
I thought that changing the format was a little unfair both on people attending and on the people that had put some effort in to preparing for the debate. The original BMC description of the meeting said:
"Paul Clarke will make a case for limited retro-bolting in certain agreed circumstances , Andy Cave will make a case against retro-bolting"
I was rather looking forward to that. I know that there may have been some logistical issues but even so.
I also thought that Mark added a little bias (towards the no bolting side) in some of his introductions to the topics and into his summing up of the results. In particular I think that inviting Andy Cave to speak at the end of the meeting was a little out of order (He didn't offer the same option to Paul), I'm glad to say that Andy did the "right thing" and declined the offer. Must say though that Mark did a good job of controlling things.
Also if I'd been sat on some of the other tables I think I would have been a little p***ed off at the people that took the opportunity to "sum up the groups discussion" to make a speech!
Still an intresting evening.....
I think it was the fact that Andy did not arrive at the meeting until later that caused Mark to offer him his chance to speak. Paul had made several interesting points throughout the evening.
I know what you mean about the "summaries" extending to mini-speaches. I think most, it not all of my summaries were a couple of sentences and then had to sit back to listen to a diatribe or two!
As I said in my previous post, Mark does hold strong beliefs on this subject and I think he did very well in trying to be balanced. It really is not very easy to remain a neutral party in such situations.
Hi Andy, at long last I know who you are. I think :o)
Yes, I missed the proposed speakers for and against thing, it would have been good, especially for those of us who aren't familiar with all the issues.
My vote for a format would have been to let the speakers do their bit (Hi Bob! Yeah - Andy not turning up was my "logistical difficulty"!) then switch to the table format with a little less time for each topic and maybe slightly smaller groups.....
Anyway as I said it was an interesting night
I don't tend to look at people's clothes... well apart from naomi's because she looked so stunning in that top... but are you the guy I see down leeds wall lunchtimes sometimes?
He he, logistics: I'm not too sure anyone actually told andy he was billed as a main attraction... and I may be talking bollocks here because my memory is hazy, but I'm also not too sure anyone told mark about the paul/andy format...
BMC=climbers' organisation.... perhaps an oxymoron? <grin>
That seems very probable.... :o)
It says on your profile you are 43?! You bloody well don't look it, I'd have put you 35 max.
So back on topic anyone else go last night or are you all
A big thank you to all who took the trouble to turn out last night. And an even bigger vote of thanks to Rad for the unenviable task of trying to control and keep focussed such a divergent group of very em-passioned climbers.
Its almost impossible to make any decisions on future action in such a large forum and I think it was unrealistic of some people to think that that would be the case. However, those of us who have been actively involved in new-routing, re-equipping and retro-bolting had the opportunity to listen to a wide range of views which will all play a part in any decisions we make as individual in the future.
I still believe that Climbing on Yorkshire Limestone is in a healthier and more vibrant state at the moment than it has been for many years. I hope the debate stimulates more people to get out onto some of the lesser known crags in the future and think about some of the issues of cleaning and replacing threads and pegs in a more pro-active way.
How about 'Ten of the Best' Retrobolted Yorkshire Classics!
You could call it "Climbs of Quality" :-)
Or "Delusions de Grimpeur"
Bye for now,
Have a nice holiday.
I think the comment about climbing being an elitist sport and indoor climbers needed to be encouraged to climb outside got me more wound up than any of the comments on bolting!
I walked past Trollers Gill today. Any comment about bolting being an eyesore is ridiculous, I was stood 2 metres from the crag looking at the rock and I couldn't see the bolts that were right in front of me!
Hey Dave that's a great idea. Don't forget to include details of flights into Yeadon (Leeds/ Bradford) airport for Newcastle and Stanstead car hire etc...
Karin and I were disappointed not to make the meeting.
Is that the same Bernard who watched Any Pollitt bolt to bolt a route at Pen Trewyn then said well done?
> For me the biggest disappointment was the lack of representation of the younger end of the climbing community, in particular those who are either just starting climbing or are just moving or have moved from climbing indoors to climbing outside. Mark (Radke, the chair) took a show of hands at the start of the proceedings as to who was 40 or over: at a rough guess 2/3rds of those present were over 40.
Thing was, at the meeting there were suggestions that these routes were getting retrobolted for the benefit of emergent wall bunnies? So I expect Bob in part means it'd have been nice to have more emergent wall bunnies along, to hear their thoughts rather than assuming them?
BTW any chance of any really easy new lines being put up? I suppose not, because the easiest lines were long ago climbed trad? And which of the yorkshire limestone venues now has the most of the lines that are 6a, 6a+ (or below)? Trow? And if it's Trow, how does Trow rate for not having rocks fall on your head?
In part, yes, though I was more concerned about the general lack of participants under the ages of say 20 or 25. Most of the speakers were well into their forties or even fifties and that in itself is not altogether healthy for the future of the sport - you need a mix and range of both ages and opinions. Most of the intransigent comments on both sides of the debate came from some of the oldest present - a bit like the Daily Mail campaigning against metrification when the kids are taught in metric.
Of the new generation present - it appeared from the comments that came from that direction that in general, the majority of the natural routes were respected for what they are and that there was no desire to retro-bolt them. The attitude towards the semi-fixed routes was probably in line with the rest of those present in that they should be taken on a case by case basis.
Helen Taylor mentions above about being annoyed about the assumption that everyone wishes to move from climbing indoors to climbing outside. I don't remember that being said though I may have just not heard it. The thing is that some people just want to climb indoors, some wish to make the change to climbing bolted routes outdoors; some wish to climb naturally protected routes outdoors; others have no real desire to climb indoors.
As for easy bolted lines being done - well as you say, the easier stuff was done long ago before bolts were even a glint in Ken Wilson's eye and retro-bolting them creates as many, if not more, problems than it solves. Most limestone in this country is of pretty poor quality, especially at lower grades, and bolting up existing lines is not going to change that.
One of the arguments/excuses for retro-bolting was that "no-one does them anymore". The bolting of places like Norber raises a further point related to this: when somewhere is developed and publicised it creates a temporary honeypot effect so that the other crags become quiet for a while. Then there is another development so the hordes descend on that. The cumulitive effect is that once popular areas and crags descend into disuse leading to the claim that "no-one is doing them anymore" so providing an excuse to go back and bolt up those lines as well.
To answer your question specifically - Trow has about 12 routes at F6a+ and below and is reasonably solid in areas, not so in others; Norber also has 12 F6a+'s and below but is quite serious, especially to belay; Giggleswick South - lower has 18 and again some sectors are good others poor.
Solutions? Well, none are easy or indeed palatable to some people: Get good enough indoors so that the move outdoor occurs at a higher grade; Not make the move outdoors; drop several grades and learn to place gear; bolt everything.
What was not mentioned is that the bolting in France (possibly other places as well) is often done either on the behalf of or at the behest of the local councils who see it as a way of increasing tourism. Someone mentioned commercial pressures but was talked/shouted down though the point is valid. If outside concerns (usually commercial) see climbing as a way to make money then that brings in the lawyers etc, who tend to create self-serving rules and potential threats.
Personally, I don't think people like Dave Musgrove will retro-bolt existing, clean naturally protected routes but I do think that his actions and those of people like him will create an environment where someone who does not have a sense of understanding about climbing will assume that they can do so.
I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, but I think that experienced climbers would bolt these routes. I don't recall ever being told that The Marshall Plan was dirty?
Can you tell me where things are going now? Is there a follow up meeting or is that everything?
Are we/they/whoever going to draw up an unofficial set of guidelines or something?
To anyone that advocates retro-bolting can you explain what criteria you would use as to which routes can be retro-bolted and what gives you the right to take such action.
Hang on a mo, you seem to be making a whole lot of assumptions about what I think on the basis of my question about areas!
I don't want easy stuff retrobolted... I'm not asking for anything to be retrobolted! I was just wondering what crags might be good for me to do some bolt clipping on.
BTW I don't think you're right about the intransigence being mainly the older people, I didn't get that impression. You have to remember that, as you have already pointed out, most of the people there were 40 plus, so inevitably most of the intransigent comments will have come from older people even if intransigence is evenly distributed across the age range.
I didn't say that you did want stuff retro-bolted and I am glad that you don't. The above posting was in reply to several postings by people including yourself so things may have become intertwined, in fact a couple of paragraphs are in the wrong order. There is a paragraph there that gives you the info you desire. Here it is again....
"To answer your question specifically - Trow has about 12 routes at F6a+ and below and is reasonably solid in areas, not so in others; Norber also has 12 F6a+'s and below but is quite serious, especially to belay; Giggleswick South - lower has 18 and again some sectors are good others poor. "
As for the intransigence, I was referring to two blokes sat near me who, whenever a statement was made against retro-bolting, would basically shout out "bollocks" or similar. Nothing positive, just "We want to have our way, whatever". They were in their late 50's or early 60's.
Hope that this clears things up.
Yes, as Helen says, Jenny reckoned that it was difficult for indoor climbers to make the transition to outdoor because of elitism.... hard to find people to learn from. Which goes totally contary to all my experience.
Right, I follow you. Yes, cheers for info, sounds like Trow and Gigglsewick South are where I should be heading :o)
Yeah, I think you were sat near the stroppiest person in the meeting!
The justification of retrobolting to provide easy sport routes for beginners doesn't hold much water and is an argument brought up after the fact to justify what Dave M and Paul C are doing. I may get to Dave's and Paul actual reasons for doing what they are doing sometime in the future.
The same goes for the environmental argument which you alluded to above.
Bolts on limestone are hard to see that is true. This isn't so on other types of rock where they can be an eyesore if they are placed on a cliff with a hikers path next to them.. In this case, on Yorkshire Limestone, what we are seeing at Trow, and at places like Malham Lower Wall and to a certain extent at Kilnsey is blanket or grid bolting. This where the whole cliff is peppered with bolts. This can gave have detrimental effect on the cliff ecology and the climbing experience.
Where you have grid-bolting every inch of the cliff gets traffic on a regular basis: holds become polished, lichen and mosses are stripped off by the passage of many feet and hands. The cliff becomes plastered with chalk, the cliff bottom experiences more and heavier erosion. Routes lose there independent nature.
A more restrained approach of not bolting existing routes (retrobolting) lessens these detrimental effects.
One positive effect however is bolt anchors at the end of a climb, this does conserve delicate cliff top vegetation and has been quite successful at many cliffs including Pen Tryn, Portland, the Peakss Limestone and Portland.
No follow up meeting, yes that is everything (and nothing).
If you don't agree with the retrobolting of certain routes drive to these routes, abseil down them and take the bolts out.
If you need any advice on how to remove bolts ask around or even ask me as I have some experience of this (Deja Vu at Kilnsey for example where I pulled out retrobolts many years ago).
I know that I am partly deaf but I'm not that deaf!
Just like Kate did in response to Jennys comments.
I don't think Jenny has thought this through (and I'm not sure what she actually said) but.....she seems to have done pretty well under the current so-called "elite conditions".
Was she inferring that more lower grade bolted routes are needed for beginners to climb so that they can get better, faster?
Speaking as someone who had been climbing for 6 or 7 years before I ever visited a climbing wall, I think that that is a fatuous remark. Outdoor climbs exist from the grade of moderate upwards - most complete beginners start on routes around the V diff level. Did the girl really imagine that if she went outdoors 'elite' climbers would be hogging all the V diffs so that she couldn't get on them? The sooner she stops complaining about elitism and starts trying to climb outdoor routes at a suitable grade the better.
So Mick you must have some cool technology available to you:
Remote viewing capabilities to see the grid bolting on crags...
Mind reading equipment to be able to know Paul and Dave's reasons....
and the ability to comment on a meeting you didn't attend....
Never mind about bolts get out and sell that stuff....
First, apologies for not attending the meeting.
Second, for me, retrobolting is generally not a good idea.
I say generally, because there are one or two Yorkshire limestone crags on which it might be appropriate. An example would be Norber Scar, which is intrinsically loose and personally I don't have a problem with whats been done there.
However, what I've loved about the ethos of our sport/game for all the years that I've been doing it is the desire to "improve" on earlier ascents of a route, So, if a new route was led with aid, the next climbers would try and reduce that aid and so on.
And if a route was put up using leader placed pro, then thats how future ascents should be done, in my view.
The idea of putting bolts on lines that have already been led with natural gear seems very unworthy.
I do appreciate the appeal though of sports climbing. I've benefited from great trips to the Costa Blanca over the last few years and enjoyed sport and traditional routes there.
I respect the Spanish ethos there, because I'm a visitor. But here,our traditional ethos is for leader placed pro-the result of climbing like that is a tremendous satisfaction when you get up that testpiece that youv'e been thinking about trying for ages. Much more satisfying than clipping bolts- and long may it stay that way.
The girl in question is Jenny Woodward and she's climbed 8a+. She knows a thing a two about climbing outside.
Sorry for the highjack but where is this;
I did a quick search on the database and the descriptions didn't sound anything like this place.
It is on the hillside opposite Widdop I believe. Mark Radtke used a similar shot in his pre debate slideshow.
If she is coming out with statements like the one listed on here then she clearly is not that clued up about climbing outside and how easy it is to learn. In 20 years of climbing I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I have seen overt 'elitism' at the crag. 99% of climbers I have met have been very friendly and willing to give advice and help should you need it.
But perhaps banging in a few bolts on trad lines will remove this percieved elitism that is causing the masses to stay indoors............
Cheers guys, I'll look it up in the guide.
> If she is coming out with statements like the one listed on here then she clearly is not that clued up about climbing outside and how easy it is to learn. In 20 years of climbing I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I have seen overt 'elitism' at the crag. 99% of climbers I have met have been very friendly and willing to give advice and help should you need it.
You weren't there, you don't know what she said, you probably don't know her so prehaps you shouldn't be be commenting on how clued up she is when you are obviously so clueless about her views.
Which comment exactly? So far no one has said what was said exactly or even whether or not it was her own views or thoise of her group. Pehaps you have a transcript of the evening, but I doubt it.
I did NOT shout out bollocks!
I put my hand up, waited my turn, and then said Jenny was talking bollocks.
As I believe she was.
Perhaps not the most PC language to use, but stuff that for a game of soldiers.
There was no transcript - Tony Ryan was making notes of each tables conclusions but little beyond that.
The comment is mentioned by Helen Taylor some way previous in the thread. I didn't hear it myself or at least it didn't register with my brain so cannot comment on its appropriateness or lack thereof.
When Jenny said it we'd moved past the reporting back from our tables stage, also she said 'I' when making it. I'm sure it was her own comment. Though from what she said after I wonder if it was based not on her own experience, but that of a friend.
Come on Enty,
Retro bolt them and the next generation will never have the opportunity to climb these great trad climbs EVER.
There are many great routes at Kilnsey in the E4-E6 range and thats how they should stay and not become Just Another Clip up the Wall.
This had worked very well at Blue Scar with no urge for Retrobolting of the existing routes... well until this year!
That was tongue in cheek Steve and I totally agree with you.
>The sooner she stops complaining about elitism and starts >trying to climb outdoor routes at a suitable grade the >better.
Hear Hear. When I started out I was leading VD and struggling up Severe. Now I am capable of climbing off the Cat Walk at Malham without feeling that everyone is looking at me although I have had to go through that stage as well!
I just got the irony in your post too regarding the capital letters ;0)
> So Mick you must have some cool technology available to you
Indeed I do. It's called my brain and also communicating with people.
I know the crags in question, including the exact distance between routes and even holds on some of the routes. Now isn't that sad.
Trust me (snigger). I've read some of the reasons they have given. Others have reported what they have said and I have some knowledge of the two personalities involved and their past "form". It ain't rocket science.
I'm super brain.
Come on Enty man...
My knee is sorted and my croppers are sharpened...
Let the debate commence...
So will you be starting by removing ALL of the bolts (and other fixed gear) on Cave route right? I seem to remember that one of the (few) conclusions from the meeting was that pegs etc. should not be replaced, the routes should be left to just get harder.....
> So will you be starting by removing ALL of the bolts (and other fixed gear) on Cave route right? I seem to remember that one of the (few) conclusions from the meeting was that pegs etc. should not be replaced, the routes should be left to just get harder.....
I am happy to do that. I will wait until the spring to ensure that, that is the consencous.
I am looking forward to see the new "BMC guidelines"
that will follow from the meeting.
Is that right, are some new guidelines going to come out of the meeting?
Are there some existing guidelines then? Written down ones I mean, rather than just assumption and word of mouth? If written down, have they been breached by the recent retro bolting? Also, if written down, does anyone know where are they available to read.... are they in the guides to the area?
Well done for your common sense reply Kate!
Interesting meeting which I don't think went as some hoped it might. I still got the feeling that despite all the various reasons/justification the retro-bolting so far has been a bit of a wheeze, by a bunch of mates, looking for something to do. I did get a bit put out after the meeting by being very politely questioned as to how often I get out climbing in Yorkshire and 'Haven't seen you around before' type comments i.e. felt a bit like a "what right have you etc" inference despite the answer being 'A lot' and 'recently'.
As to the age make-up of the meeting - that's democracy - more participation would have been good.
> I walked past Trollers Gill today. Any comment about bolting being an eyesore is ridiculous, I was stood 2
Helen is it still dry?
Anyway, I enjoyed a good rant on the night good to meet some new folk and some I've met at the crag. I particularly liked the dichotomy of "the bolting at Trow and Norber (some of it retro most of it new route)" was generally viewed as positive (when you look at the answers given to question 1) but we don't want to see any more of it.....
> I did get a bit put out after the meeting by being very politely questioned as to how often I get out climbing in Yorkshire and 'Haven't seen you around before' type comments i.e. felt a bit like a "what right have you etc" inference despite the answer being 'A lot' and 'recently'.
The notion that if you climb a lot on a particular crag gives you the authority to change the nature of an established route is wrong. "Locals" should be guardians of a cliff, looking after it for all, by replacing fixed gear, making sure the crag is litter free, doing path work.
Comments like the above just reinforce the notion that some see Yorkshire Limestone as their own personal empire. An artifact to feed their ego and cement their legacy. In short, quite selfish behaviour.
Ummm did you mean locals should or should not be guardians? Seems a bit contradictory after your previous statement. Plus its not me that was doing any retro-bolting etc the questions were to me/us from someone who is.
> Ummm did you mean locals should or should not be guardians?
They should be.
It should be their responsibility to be at the vanguard of crag protection and access efforts, and indeed in YL they are. BUT that doesn't give them any authority or rights or justification to retrobolt existing routes.
If they do that they are just expressing arrogance and a disregard for the wider climbing community.
> You weren't there, you don't know what she said, you probably don't know her so prehaps you shouldn't be be commenting on how clued up she is when you are obviously so clueless about her views.
So did she or did she not make that statement as quoted by others who were there? If she didn't then fair enough, but I don't think you can argue that the statement 'attributed' to have left her lips is absolute bollocks.............
This whole debate is ludicrous. I cannot see ANY justification for retro-bolting any lines. The actions of those that have carried out this policy is scandalous. What if me and a few of my mates follow their lead and want a few easier bolted lines at Malham and bang a few in on the right wing classics. What is there to stop us, we’re only doing what others are practising at other crags. You can set out guidelines but they will be abused. Place bolts in new lines by all means, bolt a new V Diff if you want, but to start slapping bolts in established trad lines is the thin end of a very big wedge……………….
I was one of the main speakers AGAINST retro-bolting on Friday evening though I must admit that some of the arguments for retro-bolting some lines could stand up. These are those lines that were more-or-less climbed on fixed gear (pegs, threads, hammered wires) on the first ascent. These lines were usually climbed in the period just before bolting became acceptable at the particular crag and not everyone was willing to test the water as it were. In the vast majority of cases however, I see no reason, other than convenience, for retro-bolting existing routes.
In fact, Paul Clarke on occasion made a good argument for not bolting some existing routes - Valdez is Coming on Blue was one as it seems as if it is so loose and dirty that it is not worth retro-bolting.
I still don't see why, in the case of some routes, that isn't sufficient grounds. I'm not talking about all routes but there are routes that are never climbed because there is not a sufficient enjoyment dividend (other than to the FA) which if retro bolted end up being climbed and enjoyed by many. The way I see it is trad climbers have thrown lots of routes in a skip and it's only when sport climbers have come along taken them out again and said "I'll have that since no one else wants it" that people suddenly decide they do want them after all.
The thing is that some of the routes stated as not being climbed by the retro-bolting side of the argument turned out to have been climbed recently by some of those present. The convenience therefore appears to be for a small coterie of climbers in the area.
The "that route isn't climbed anymore" argument often turns out to be a self-fulfilling statement: people hear this so stay away so the route doesn't get climbed.
So if it is a solid and clean trad route it is worth retrobolting.
Didn't Paul also say, "Trust Us" on Friday night?
I do believe that I detect a hint of sarcasm there Mick. Obviously the americans haven't converted you totally yet then :-)
He did say that, and I probably do trust messrs Baker, Musgrove and Clarke, there was another table of pro-bolting people though, with one chap whose solution was to shout things out, who I don't trust at all.
He is the chap whom gingerKate and I were referring to earlier in this thread. Nice to know that there is a broad range of opinions isn't it?
and another, come to think of it, same table, whose logic seemed to be that "because no-one had come up to him and complained, therefore what had been bolted must be OK".
didn't get chance to catch him afterwards but he didn't seem to get my objection of "how are people supposed to hold you to account ? catch you at the right crag on the right day and then object ?"
> He did say that, and I probably do trust messrs Baker, Musgrove and Clarke
Trust them to do what?
trust them to make the "right"/responsible decisions about bolting and not retroing, and to leave aspirational trad as it is. I can't remember his exact words.
> I was one of the main speakers AGAINST retro-bolting on Friday evening though I must admit that some of the arguments for retro-bolting some lines could stand up. These are those lines that were more-or-less climbed on fixed gear (pegs, threads, hammered wires) on the first ascent. These lines were usually climbed in the period just before bolting became acceptable at the particular crag and not everyone was willing to test the water as it were. In the vast majority of cases however, I see no reason, other than convenience, for retro-bolting existing routes.
I agree that a discreet bolt is better in some respects that an old rusty peg hanging out of a crack or a tape thread and can see an argument for replacing established fixed gear with a bolt but this is a whole different argument to placing bolts on established trad lines where no fixed gear has been established. This is unacceptable and set a very dangerous precedent.
> trust them to make the "right"/responsible decisions about bolting and not retroing, and to leave aspirational trad as it is. I can't remember his exact words.
They have made a decision to retrobolt traditional routes and have already done so.
What is next? Perhaps the Overlap at Kilnsey? I do know at least two people, one who has moved over to the Dark Side with Mussy, Clark and Baker, who have expressed an interest in retrobolting this traditional classic.
Anyone any idea what they want to be trusted for?
Something that hasn't been said above (I don't think) and which probably lies at least partially behind Paul Clarke's 'trust us' remark..... Rad put up a list of routes and asked us to discuss which we'd want/not mind retrobolted if any, and... as I remember, and my memory is not perfect!... there was just one of them that someone thought might be considered a candidate for retroing.
So I assume Pauls comment meant "we're not daft and we're not going to retro anything anyone cares about".... but it still doesn't make sense, because they already have (as I understand it) retroed some routes that some people _do_ care about.
Yes they have retro'ed routes that people care about.
But more than that, their actions give a greenlight to others to retro what they see fit.
That's the problem. Once you step over the line, you move the line, and then someone else steps over it and it moves again.
Yes, I understand that's the big problem, I just didn't mention that in that post because I was purely commenting on what Paul might have meant.
But yes... 'trust us'....maybe ok when said by paul.... but what about the really raging pro-bolter, guy called John was it? Sorry, don't know his full name.... who said it'd be fair to stop retroing when half the routes in the uk were bolted, half trad, because that'd be fair....
.... was he joking? I guess so. Maybe. Not sure. He didn't look jolly when he said it... not entirely joking, that was clear, in the sense that he would like to see many more lines retroed.
Just out of interest can we have a list of retroed routes which people care about.
Then these can be discussed individually.
The 2 routes which I retroed are now extremely popular by all accounts but i will gladly chop them this winter if the consensus changes. I still have the manky pegs which would probably go back in.
I've had two mentioned to me by people cross about it, one was Directissima?
> Just out of interest can we have a list of retroed routes which people care about.
> Then these can be discussed individually.
> The 2 routes which I retroed are now extremely popular by all accounts but i will gladly chop them this winter if the consensus changes. I still have the manky pegs which would probably go back in.
You are falling into the "popularity" argument....meaning if I retrobolt a route and the route becomes popular that justifys my actions.
Someone could retrobolt White Rushin at Kilnsey and it would become popular (well the first pitch at least). Does that make it right?
The same with Deja Vu, or the Superdirectissima. Bolt 'em and the people will climb them.....often.
And again you are talking about a "consensus" in non-specific terms. A consensus of sixty climbers in a pub, a consensus of ten climbers at a cliff, or a consensus of 725 climbers who live within 40 miles of Skipton?
Agreed, the 'popularity' thing is a total red herring.... like if you shove a railway line up a mountain, more people will go to the top than before. So, whe hey, let's get trains up every monroe. You know it makes sense....
The fact that a route is more popular when bolted does not mean the bolting of it was a popular thing to do.
> .... was he joking?
Let's take his comments at face value (that's not bolted yet is it Ents?).
Just for one moment lets presume he was being serious. This John and his attitude is becoming more common, "we need more bolted routes, it's only fair."
The amount of available rock in the UK for bolted routes is small.
Take Yorkshire Limestone as an example. New routers haven't got much to go at, so what are they doing to satisfy their urge for creativity on the rock?
They are looking at already climbed, established routes and BOLTING them.
People like John are very happy about this.
Now Dave, and Nigel and Paul and Ents and Micky say TRUST US...we know what they are doing, we will draw the line.
They have control over their actions, but not so over the actions of John and his ever-pulsating and growing cohort of rabid sport climbers.
Dave and Nigel and Paul and Ents and Micky will one day have to be driven out to Kilsney and wheeled out in their wheelchairs colostomy bags in tow.
And what do they see? John and his mates have bolted up the entire cliff.
What kind of legacy is that for someone like Dave Musgrove, someone who has given much public service to the climbing community with his guidebook work, his access work, and his efforts with the BMC.
Not a pretty one. He got carried away with his desire to put up new routes but went to far and pissed all over established routes with his bolt gun.
Yeah Dave was great, but he made a bad decision in 2003/4 and it opened up the floodgates for the wholesale bolting of Yorkshire Limestone.
Poor Dave, he didn't die a happy man.
I sincerely hope, and I'm hoping Steve Crowe and Bob and Radster, will take the bull by the horns this winter and take those retrobolts out at Trow, at Norber, at Kilnsey and anywhere else.
Dave Mussy will thank them for it in time.
> Just out of interest can we have a list of retroed routes which people care about.
> Then these can be discussed individually.
> The 2 routes which I retroed are now extremely popular by all accounts but i will gladly chop them this winter if the consensus changes. I still have the manky pegs which would probably go back in.
> The Ent
If we built a 6 lane highway through the Yorkshire Dales it would be popular, would it be the right thing to do though?
thanks BMC and Rad for an informative evening.As a generalisation I agree a route should not be retrobolted just because its not climbed, its dirty, loose etc, As I was, unlike a lot of you armchair critics, climbing on Blue Scar Central the other week, I would not be happy to see it bolted etc.As I stated on the night I did not BLANKET RETRO bolt Norber, but put up 15 new routes between 5+ and 7a+, very low for soom people and I retro bolted 3 other routes, Dave Cronshaw asked me to, as the first ascentionist And has been back since to climb them again.
The crag is a pretty crap for natural gear and was overlooked by the top boys(as its not going to have 15 8as), so I thought I was fortunate to do so many new routes, now its not the golden 1970s.
How Bernard Newman can can shout he is against the bolt at Malham, Kilnsey and now against the "popularisation" of Norber is baffiling,when he ran an article in Climber about Norber and promotes the activities of top sport climbers.Still he has a mag to sell so it tough !!
My old pal Mark Glaister(rockfax Northern Limestone) sat on his hands and said nothing to the meeting at large, but was very keen to get Norber in his book, because there are more people climbing 6b than 8b, they will sell more books and might even forward some of the profit across the Atlantic to Mick, or even put something into the bolt fund instead of talking about it.
And if Steve Crowe is against retro bolting how come he put 2 bolts in Cave route rh, is it differant, if its an old peg protected E6. than an old peg protected E4.
If anyone wants to strip the bolts from Marshall Plan then crack on with it, I for one will not replace them. BUT, if they do, then they should lead it as a trad climb, putting friends up the back of the expanding creaking flake ( the one I pulled 2 pegs out of by hand)lets hope the flake does not pop off to, or tey will be in deep shit.
And for the trad climber who does not climb what might be realistically E5/6 5c ( Nez Herberts estimate), they can still do 2 of the old E1s ?? and the HVS, but they will have to top out onto the screeslope and I have witnessed one fatal accident from there.
And finally for all you armchair critics and magazine editors, I bet I am climbing a couple of days a week, nearly every week, and doing sheds more trad than sports routes, either way I am climbing, not talking and living in 1970. Always prepared to put my name on it Alan Steele
So because you get out twice a week, your views are more valid than others who are not so fortunate to have as much free time. Get real!
As I couldn't make the debate it's interesting to read an argument from the 'opposing side'. It's also nice to read a passionate statement, be it from either view point.
It's also good to hear the opinion of someone actively involved in the bolting and also someone who has climbed most of the routes.
I for one won't be removing any retro bolts from Norber or Trow. I also really hope that none go in to Blue Scar.
Is the Marshall Plan good? I heard it was cracking. I would say that I understand about the crag being in a dangerous state but you agreed earlier in your post that loose crags don't always need to be bolted. My view is - some people like loose horror show bags of shit with death potential and there aren't many starred ones of those on YL!
So my worries are (as I have accepted the bolting at Norber and Trow as fulfilling a need etc.) which routes are next? There has been talk of routes at Kilnsey, Blue scar, Dib Scar, Malham left wing etc.
Did the people at the meeting agree to not bolt anything else? Or are we choosing some more routes? Or did we go for total open season?(Genuine questions by the way, all my postings are pretty straight down the line as I'm not bright enough for any sarcasm or double meanings).
Do you Alan intend to clean up and bolt up any more crags (or maybe you don't know - just wondered)? How about Paul Clarke and Dave Musgrove (are you out there?!)? Does anyone out there know of any possible plans?
If there are any more plans, how are they going to be made public? Or is the whole thing a big conspiracy from Rockfax and Inglesport to make loads more cash out of all us super rich climbers.... I've seen your big mansions with swimming pools!
Jack 'arm chair critic' Geldard aka Crippin.
> You are falling into the "popularity" argument....meaning if I retrobolt a route and the route becomes popular that justifys my actions.
> Someone could retrobolt White Rushin at Kilnsey and it would become popular (well the first pitch at least). Does that make it right?
> The same with Deja Vu, or the Superdirectissima. Bolt 'em and the people will climb them.....often.
You're right popularity is not a good reason for retrobolting something but what nobody seems to be interested in is the aesthetics of the route. Some may think a trad route is always better than a bolt route but I wouldn't agree with that. Give that we accept bolts in some places on inland limestone the I think some routes do make a better sport route than trad routes and certainly plenty of the routes at Trow Gill are in this class imo.
Some of the examples mentioned here also seem a bit strange - people talking about stripping Cave Route Right buts has it ever been anything other than a semi-sport route. When I failed to do it years ago I only used a couple of easy to place wires, it was a bit airy but you're never going to hit anything. Would it really be a better route if it was completely stripped of fixed gear - I wouldn't think so (btw nor would I support it be completely bolted up). Similarly Deja Vu has always been a bold Yorkshire sport route (and a superb one at that) not a trad classic and I hope nobody is thinking of changing it either way.
I gave up trying to read all the posts but feel a bit of common sense would help.
My points are:
(1) If all the routes on limestone were first climbed today they would all be bolted. Nobody would bother with trying to put up trad lines that wouldn’t get repeated.
(2) Back in the past I couldn't afford bolts so I didn’t use them, or used very few. The reason I have done new climbs is to have people repeat them (and also for the name in the mag.). If I had the time and inclination today I would go back and bolt all the climbs I’ve done. What's the point of having dirty (loose?) climbs that nobody does? And if you tried you may kill yourself on.
(3) If the first ascentionist is ok for their routes to be reto-bolted then do it and do it properly. Bolts can fail and I feel that it's very stupid to have a route that you could deck out on if any bolt failed - numerous ones come to mind. How would you feel if somebody dies on a route you bolted?
I just mentioned that the two routes I retroed are now more popular.That just happened because one of the routes is 6c, a grade which there is not alot of at Kilnsey. I am not falling into the popularity trap.
After all I am the one who has done a U turn on guide books, especially Bouldering guides.
I cant understand why a climber with the love of the outdoors would want to attract more people to it anyway.
I just wanted to know how many classic trad routes have been retroed on Yorkshire Limestone.
> ... Once you step over the line, you move the line, and then someone else steps over it and it moves again.
I wonder if anyone mentioned the 'Thin End of the Wedge'?
The "outdated" guidelines are here:
Thank you, Steve.
I'm quite amazed seeing that in black and white... I had assumed the wording must be wooly or something, but no.
I remember that one, when was it first out... was it 1986?
Old joke Dingo. Doug Laurence, head of biology at South CRaven (Crosshills) school drew a cartoon expressing the same joke in the early 90's.....
It was a profile of Kilnsey Crag with a load of climbers in a car flying past.....a sign with BOLTS IN FRANKIE or OUT, written on it.
Hey, but still relevent.
> Thank you, Steve.
> I'm quite amazed seeing that in black and white... I had assumed the wording must be wooly or something, but no.
The wording is actually quite wooly, but the meaning quite clear.
Action is where it is at though chickadee !
It's always important to remember that words can indeed be mightier than the sword, or they can mean jackshit.
Depends who is saying them I suppose.
I am totally against the retrobolting of classic trad routes on the wings at Malham, Blue Scar, Kilnsey or any other crag in the Dales as this would destroy the character of these places. It's great to go to say Kilnsey and have the option of classic trad lines (such as Balas, Central Wall or Claws) or classic sports routes. Long may that variety continue.
Bolting the classic trad routes is not the same asa converting a little used, unstable backwater crag (such as Trow) into a class sports venue. Lets be honest, id Trow hadn't been retroed then it'd be hidden under greenery by now as no-one would go there.
A line must be drawn as to where retro bolting is acceptable and one where it is inappropriate.
Also I do not live in a mansion and yes just cos I get out a lot etc does not make the less fortunates opinions invalid. I was trying to stir up those who, like me make money from the outdoors, but claim climbers are arrogant for bolting crags and yet they publish books and articles about those subjects and promote it. When I sell walking boots, I do not complain about the ever large path over Ingleboro.
The YL bolting is not the end of the world or even the end of trad climbing as we know it, but just like when the young Mick Ryan was bolting, at my favourite trad ground Gordale, maybe soome have gone to the edge of what is exceptable.
Just to clarify a few points that Alan seems to be a bit mis-informed on -
Mick Ryan has no stake, financial or otherwise, in Northern Limestone, just as I had no financial stake in his 1990 Yorkshire Limestone book. Hence Mick is currently not making any money from Yorkshire Limestone and so far neither am I, nor have I ever. The good news is that I have just paid the printers and we are now close to covering our costs but actually making any money is still a few months away. Also, it is a point that I have made repeatedly but I have already made a contributions to bolting in both the Peak and Yorkshire as Steve Crowe and Gary Gibson can vouch for.
On the issue of bolting, I do have concerns that the recent bolting activities seem to have reached a level that would not have been acceptable 10 or even 5 years ago. To me this would indicate a slightly thicker section of the thin end of the wedge. However I also realise that the popularity of crags like Norber and Trow has contributed to excellent initial sales of NL.
> Agreed, the 'popularity' thing is a total red herring.... like if you shove a railway line up a mountain, more people will go to the top than before. So, whe hey, let's get trains up every monroe. You know it makes sense....
> The fact that a route is more popular when bolted does not mean the bolting of it was a popular thing to do.
One thing that annoyed me about the meeting (really annoyed actually, I have been fuming about it for days now and whilst I feel passionately about subjects I don't normally dwell on them) was the unnecessary abuse of Bernard Newman by a small section of those present. Fair enough, to disagree with what he said but some of the comments were simply out of order. It is perhaps fortunate that Bernard did not hear some of the comments as they were uttered "sotto voce" but they were quite unpleasant.
I may have disagreed (and still do disagree) with some of the comments and sentiments made by the pro-bolting contingent but I, and others, allowed the speakers to make their case. Simply shouting over and abusing those who hold views not in keeping with your own is not part of the democractic process however passionate the feelings.
Mark Radtke did well to control the meeting for as long as he did in the circumstances, if there had been any more of the abusive contingent then I doubt that any views would have been heard at all.
Like Andy Farnell I also believe that what has happened at places like Norber, Trow and Giggleswick is very positive.
I applaud the efforts and hard work of people like yourself and Dave Mussy and others.....BUT
They just went a few routes too far in retrobolting established routes, I refer to routes like Marshal Plan, Ash Tree Groove, Clink, Freak Out, Boogie Wonderland and others.
These routes should have been left alone. They aren't just relics of a bygone era but are a living testament to how we were in the past and what we have gone through to get where we are now.
They should have been left, side by side with the modern bolt routes, so that those who are interested (and there always will be those who are interested) can have the opportunity to experience a different time. And even if you choose not to climb them you can look at them and maybe reflect on climbers past and how they did things.
I do know how this retrobolting happened, I to, like Mussy and co, was at one time seduced by the power of the drill, like you say at Gordale. It is hard to draw the line when you have a powerful tool in your hands and are surrounded by mates (your own private consensus) egging you on. And especially so when you have a passion for new routing and the rock real estate for new routes has all been used up. It's so easy to turn your attention to bolting up already climbed lines and pointless one bolt variations.
Now they are trying to justify their actions by any means possible by the usual arguments of we need more bolted routes, it's good for the environment, it'll make the routes popular.
They completely sidestep the issues because they know they've been caught doing bad things.
All these arguments, as you can read above, can be firmly refuted. Then they try to denigrate the medium and the messages of dissent.
"Oh you don't count because you don't climb and sit in an armchair all day, or your opinion doesn't count as you aren't local and we are. Or you can't say that Bernard Newman because you have a commercial interest in climbing, or it's only those ukclimbing people what do they know? Or even worse they bray and shout at meetings in pubs."
I wonder what Dave Mussy thought when the rabid pro-bolt-everything brigade at Skipton cheered him. He's now a poster-child and hero to those who have no sense and respect of climbing history and tradition. He's the "it-boy" bolter of the 21st century, deciding for everyone else "when the time is right" (his own words) for the wholesale bolting of our crags. And make no mistake it will happen, the messages Dave and his small cohort are sending to young climbers aren't good. It may not be Dave who bolts up Face Route but it will certainly be someone who was inspired by his actions. And what will happen to Dave's legacy, his sterling record of advocacy for the climbing community? He may be carried on a sedan chair into Leeds Wall and surrounded by an adoring crowd of black-eyed virgins, but the pleasures of the flesh are short lived, and he won't be remembered for his excellent guidebooks or access work but for letting British climbing down.
And I'm not just conjuring my assumptions of what might happen out of thin air, we only need to look at some other climbing areas. Why do you think there are no bolts on Pembroke limestone. It's not because there is a consensus not to bolt, it's because the moment a bolt is placed in that sacred stone, someone takes it out. The message sent is crystal clear, it isn't fuzzy and gray, it isn't open to interpratation. It's black and white, and so it should be on Yorkshire Limestone.
Let's face it, the retrobolters are on the retreat, they are either silent or have run off to Kalymnos!
You live and work and love in the Yorkshire Dales National Park Alan. It's a wonderful living landscape, full of diversity and beauty, a balance of the old and the new. It stays that way partly because there is a planning authority that trys to maintain that beauty and diversity by limiting crass development. And the same goes for the climbing community and its legacy of routes, if we are to stop us sliding down the slippery slope to fast-food-climbing-for-all those who care must make a stand, just not by words but by actions, and that is why when I come to the UK soon I will personally take all those retrobolts out (trust me I know what I'm doing and how to do it well).
Just think if McDonalds took over all the curry houses in Bradford: "McKorma to go sir?"
Authentic desire? Not a chance too much like dangerous non-conformism.
If the bolt-hungry fools roaming Yorkshire had as much sense and foresight as you show in that post they may have thought twice before banging bolts in established trad lines.
Question is, who is going to hammer the wedge even further into Yorkshire limestone? I hope is doesn't happen, but like you say what is there to stop sometime banging bolts in Face Route. The arguments that certain crags are ok but others aren't are very subjective and open to abuse. The only policy should be:
'No bolts in existing trad lines where no fixed gear is in place.'
This leaves no one in doubt as to what is and isn't ok. A further debate can be had on bolts in new lines (personally I would have no problem if every new route on Yorks limestone was bolted, providing the bolt cannot be clipped from a trad route) and replacing existing fixed gear i.e. pegs and threads with bolts, again I wouldn't have much of an issue with this.
Good luck with removing the bolts, lets hope they stay out.
How about if we all just forgot about the limestone and just bolted Guisecliff?
There is no easy sport at Almscliff either!
I've produced a summary of last week's meeting in Skipton, which can be viewed on the BMC website at http://www.thebmc.co.uk/thebmc/download/state04_yorkshire.pdf
Nice write up.
> How about if we all just forgot about the limestone and just bolted Guisecliff?
You can quarry that cliff for all I care!
The Marshall Plan 22M E4
Starting as for Central Gully. Climb directly up to a small overlap and flake. Continue past a peg runner and onto a ledge. Move right and climb the groove past several pegs.
*Is this really a good example of a trad route?
*Is the current (bolted) state really that different?
*How many bolts are in it now?
*What was the state of the pegs?
*What should have been done with it?
*If you get rid of the pegs is it still protectable? What grade?
*Who did decide to bolt it? Why?
Before the bolts are all pulled out maybe we could have some sort of discussion about an actual route....
"These routes should have been left alone. They aren't just relics of a bygone era but are a living testament to how we were in the past and what we have gone through to get where we are now."
What about all of those old aid routes? Don't they have a place in our history? But didn't the cutting edge trad climbers just rip out the pegs and erase even the names from the crags....
Anyone got a peg hammer and pegs to lend Mick when he visits....
I am still waiting to see if anyone can help me with the list of classic retro bolted trad-lines on YL.
Directissima is part of another thread, other than that I am struggling a bit.
Also what about the rockfax mansion in Monacco? Come on Alan (James this time - not Steele), we all know that these small climbing companies are run by big fat cats who have so much money they are funding the current growth in India and China. Why don't rockfax just buy Spain and claim it as the new Yorkshire - then we'll have loads of easier Sport routes.
In all seriousness, I am glad that you don't have any plans to bolt anymore YL. I don't want to get to a pathetic state of bolts being put in, then chopped, then put back in etc.
Tony - I read the review, it gave me an idea about the evening, thanks. I may be a bit naive (as I thought we might reach a consensus and have some sort of agreement) but I was hoping for something a little more solid. Can we have some bolting guidelines?
Dave (Musgrove) if you're out there - would you be willing to write a set of guidelines for bolting in Yorkshire (not just for the bolt fund). I am willing to do it, but I fear my view may be too radical to actually be possible! I think you would be a good person to put these guidelines together as you are pretty well known around these parts. If we talk nicely to Bernard he may print it and Alan may put it up in his cafe (and on the side of the jet?!)? Alan J may even put it on the rockfax website in the YL section?
How's that for an idea? Or would it be too difficult?
Define classic, and why should a route being a classic make a difference? What is classic for one person can be a bag of shit for another.............
Can I add (very little) to this 'debate'?
I've never climbed on limestone in Yorkshire, but have sent money to the bolt fund. I'm not sure I will again.
Would it be easier if everyone that had retro bolted a route just posted which route?
If you really want I'll start you off:
All these routes have stars in the guide book. 2 have fluttery heart symbols in the Rockfax (another attraction in some peoples minds). 1 is described as something like the best crack on limestone in Extreme rock and has 3 stars.
1 single flake for both holds and runners.
Huge fall potential on to this flake.
Flake very loose.
Gear usually preplaced and multiple falls taken on to gear before a clean ascent (a very sporty redpoint style).
Extremely unpositive climbing above the gear meaning falls are frequent.
Very small number of ascents.
I wouldn't be first in line to bolt it (as John Dunne could snap me like a match!)
If the marshall plan was undergraded then it should be upgraded not retrobolted IMO. However, I am not suggesting removing those bolts now. Just hoping no more will go in any other similar routes.
Do you have any of the information about Marshall Plan (I'm genually interested here not trying to be funny). I think it would be really good to take a look at an actual example and perhaps get the thoughts from whoever (I think I know but I'm not 100% sure), bolted it as to why and what they considered before doing it. From the desciprion it sounds like it had a lot of fixed gear on it. But I've no idea how much was actually needed or what condition it was in. Nor do I know if it was possible to replace this gear with trad placements...... It would also be good to get an opionion from anyone that has climbed it before and after the bolts went in...
That's the trouble with all this: no-one seems to know exactly what's been done and why and by whom etc... like at the meeting, sat next to someone involved in the retroing, and I asked him if any trad routes that didn't have any fixed gear at all had been bolted and he didn't know. And of course why should he? Because everyone just knows about their own bit.
There used to be an E2 at Kilnsey called No Through Road.It needed a wire to protect the start then 3 pegs in a corner system led to a bolt belay just to the right of China Crisis. It was called No Through Road because it finished at an overlap halfway up the wall.
Mick Ryan and Greg Rimmer added a bolted righthand finish called Open Road (late 80's I think)
I was exploring in 2002 and found a better more direct finish almost straight up from the original finish.
I bolted it and it was good, however consensus, (at the crag over a couple of weeks not on RT) was that the pegs should be replaced by bolts to make a good 6c+.
So I did.
The route is called Highway 395, named after the road to all the good crags on The East Side of the Sierras and obviously keeping with the road theme.
No Through Road can still be done but with a bolt instead of the first wire.
Mickfax thought it sounded a good route at the time and also liked the name.
I haven't done the route in either condition (but hey this is UKC, so that means I can comment with authority on subjects that I know nothing about ;-] ).
It has a loose flake that held some pegs. The pegs were shitty. It is [was] generally considered to be E5, easy but scary - from friends who have done it. I have never been told it was dirty.
That's all I know (or think I know!). What I'm really interested in (and this is also genuine) is which other routes are going to be bolted? I think none should be! Not being good friends with anyone that is involved in bolting, and not going on YL since June, I hear lots of rumours about Malham RW, Blue etc, but I know nothing!
Any clues? (Thanks Alan for answering my earlier post)
The thing is - we won't know about it until it has been done. Nothing is above board, a route (or crag) gets retro-bolted and the first that is known about it by the majority of climbers is an article in one of the mags.
I don't remember the meeting on Friday discussing this point other than Paul Clarke stating that we should trust people to do the right thing.
Sounds like something a politician would come out with. 'Trust us' they say........and who does?
retro'ed routes *that I can think of*, whether people care about them I'm not sure.
Clink E4 6a
Pimp with a Limp E5 6a
Ash Tree Groove E1 5b
Black Swan Rising? not sure if this was trad
the counter diagonal of Man who fell to earth is a much better route all round
Jim Grin, yonks ago by all accounts.
The BMC list of the current state of play was alarmist, and just plain wrong:
Gig South : Retroed.
Since when? I was there a week ago, the upper crag is still purely trad, a lot of the routes at the lower crag were never even trad routes, so that's not retroing, it's new routing. some have been retroed at the lower crag.
> Since when? I was there a week ago, the upper crag is still purely trad, a lot of the routes at the lower crag were never even trad routes, so that's not retroing, it's new routing. some have been retroed at the lower crag.
What does seem to have happened on the Lower Tier is that new bolted routes have been put up 1m to the left or right of existing trad routes. This is probably the worst of both worlds since, by doing this, you usually end up with one crap climb that follows the line of the holds of the trad route while using the bolts to the side for gear. That certainly seems to be the case on Sector Bonhomie.
Here's one: Tremelo at Malham, it now has six bolts instead of three. Since it has been ruined by these bolts it gets regular attempts on sight and is regularly climbed. Some one really should remove the extra bolts so that it can go back to being a route hardly anyone attempted and no one onsighted.
Modifying initial bad bolting is another issue
Ground Effect E5 6b at Kilnsey
Smooth Torquer E4 6b at Kilnsey
A place in a guidebook surely.
Free climbing aid routes, and utilizing less protection points was a move forward.
Bolting existing trad routes is several steps backwards.
So at the moment we are up to about a dozen out of what? a couple of thousand?
Some more please.
Quite a few at Dib Scar.
see Dib Scar Mini Guide PDF
An reasonably up to date (July 2004) and definitive guide to Dib Scar which includes the recent bolting activities.
Good, at least we can now try to put things into perspective.
Norber - some routes retroed, mostly new routes by A Steele, a crag which before 2004 no one had ever heard of never mind planned a weekend there.
Trow - Lets be generous and call it Esoterica before the
bolting. I went there twice during the 90's and carried on walking to look at Gaping Ghyll, far more impressive. Now I might spend an hour there. If I wanted Trow type trad routes I'll go to Troy quarry, 10 minutes from my Dads house.
Dib Scar - Probably slightly better than Trow.
The Jim Grin - Make your mind up Jim! What kind of route are you?
4 Routes at Kilnsey
2 routes at Malham
Nothing at Blue
1 route at Gordale which has been sensibly de-bolted
If things stay like this I reckon YL is probably a better place to climb than it was a decade ago.
Looks a bit different than the image painted by the people who would have you beleive the Right Wing at Malham was next on the list.
Are you not missing the point Ents?
There is no list, isn't doesn't work like that.
The point is that certain routes that have been climbed and didn't rely totally on fixed gear have been bolted.
What happens next?
The next generation emerges and sees the example set by the previous one and decides to take the next step.
That next step is the bolting of routes such as Face Route, Deja Vu, Superdirectissima, Stairway to Heaven etc.
You are thinking too much of the here and now, and of today or are people quite happy to see a gradual bolting of YL and other places?
One day, you won't be here or will the other retrobolters of today, but their legacy will be.
> What happens next?
> The next generation emerges and sees the example set by the previous one and decides to take the next step.
> That next step is the bolting of routes such as Face Route, Deja Vu, Superdirectissima, Stairway to Heaven etc.
This argument is nonsense, and always has been. It's tantamount to refusing to give your child any ice creams, on the off-chance that he will become ice-cream addicted and will only ever eat ice creams ever again.
People know, more or less, where to draw the line. That will be communicated to younger members of the clan. Enty knows it's wrong to bolt Face Route, I know it's wrong to bolt Face Route, my girlfriend who only sport climbs knows its wrong, and the next generation of climbers will know its wrong as well...
And we all know it's wrong to bolt Cave Route....
which is an unfair comparison. Cave Route is not as clear cut as most routes as it's always relied heavily on in-situ gear.
However, even here, I'd say the community is doing a good job of self correction. I imagine the bolt situation in cave route will be resolved fairly soon..
It may well be wrong to bolt Cave Route but I fail to understand why it comes up so often as a trad route at risk - as far as I know it's basically been a bold sport route since it was first climbed free, just with the gear quality varying. I haven't seen the new bolts and would probably support the removal of most of them but I assume at least some are replacing the threads etc in the lower section (for which there may at least be an argument).
Does anyone who knows the route think it should be completely stripped and if it was would it make a one of the great trad routes in the country - it's certainly one of the great sport(ish) routes in the country.
actually, I can see an argument for stripping cave route entirely. It would be a cool lead on gear....
However, there are probably too many aspirants who would be cheesed off if all the gear was stripped. It IS clear that Cave route is a bit of a red herring as far as bolt debates are compared, as it is one of the few routes whose "appropriate" state is difficult to decide upon, even for people firmly in one camp or the other.
To quote someone at the meeting last Friday (this was said directly to me rather than at the floor): "I'm having to go round repeating routes. I want things bolted so that I have something new to do".
I think that Dave Musgrove, Paul Clarke and Alan Steele are sincere in what they are doing but there will come a time when the group stood at the foot of a crag, armed to the Hilti, do not.
Paul Clarke asked that we trust them, as the climbing community has traditionally been based on trust. The flaw in this is that a small group make a decision and the rest have to place their trust after the fact. Each route should be considered on merit by as wide a section of the climbing community as possible. This will mean that there is a delay until a consensus is reached, but so what: the route is still going to be there. It is not going to get appreciably dirtier or less popular whilst we chew the fat. It's not a potential first ascent where you are trying to keep the competition away, it's a modification of an existing route.
Retro-bolting any route should be very carefully considered before the rock is permamently altered.
agreed whole-heartedly. There may well come a time when
there is a real threat to trad climbing on limestone in
this country. I just dont think that time is now.
Me for one. Interestingly there was someone present on Friday who might be considered in the pro-bolt camp who also felt that it would be.
I can't really see the difference between this route and the two E5's that got retro bolted at Dib Scar this year. All have gear of some description, maybe a bit of dodgy rock but not too much, if there is any insitu gear on them it's in a poor state and they all get stars in the guidebook (as if that has ever been a good indicator of a routes quality). So what is the difference?
Personally I would rather climb at Dib than at Goredale because you don't get crowds of people to drop rocks on and I like the secluded nature of the crag.
I'm not being funny or anything but I really can't see that much difference, all are awesome routes in my mind, admittedly Face Route is more famous, but that isn't really an argument is it? Or is it?
Crippin (piss*d off with the log in system!)
I used the Cave Route example because it is a route that personally I would never dream of bolting (however many bolts and for whatever reason). In my mind it is quite different to routes like New Dawn (that had drilled threads etc) because CR is a god damned crack line! ;-]
Jack - Crippin
> This argument is nonsense, and always has been. It's tantamount to refusing to give your child any ice creams, on the off-chance that he will become ice-cream addicted and will only ever eat ice creams ever again.
Bad analogy and just plain wrong Stuart. You only need to look at what has actually happened to realise that. First we have routes protected with mainly insitu gear retro-bolted, done it myself, then routes with less and less insitu gear get retroed, then we have routes with natural gear (or one or two fixed non-cruicial points) only bolted up.
It's always dangerous to talk about the collective "people" as if you were some kind of spokesperson for them and to second guess what they say and believe. Some people know where to draw the line, and others don't.
They will only know that if the line is drawn and held firm, if it creeps foreward in small increments it will always creep foreward.
Your girlfriend and Enty are two bad examples of who we are talking about, both have excellent mentors who keep them on the straight and narrow; o )
> To quote someone at the meeting last Friday (this was said directly to me rather than at the floor): "I'm having to go round repeating routes. I want things bolted so that I have something new to do".
That is one of the most selfish reasons for putting bolts in a non-bolted established route.
It cries of this is my area, I can do what I want, at my conveniance, with no respect for the rock, tradition, the environment, with no reference to anybody else but me and my mates.
I think you've summed it up nicely there
I was at the meeting, am in the trad camp and have some thoughts:
1: There is a problem with underused crags becoming overgrown.
2: There are a limited number of low grade bolt routes, despite bolted climbing being an accepted part of current climbing. A problem for those graduating from climbing walls in the current idiom.
3: For some, like myself, who have been climbing in the area for more than 30 years, there is frustration at having done everthing you can do.
4: The bolting of new routes and retro bolting overcome these three problems. Therefore there is case for bolting, it's just where.
It seems to me that the only justification for bolting and retro bolting is to make a poor route/crag worth climbing on. it does not follow from that that all routes on the crag can be bolted. I think that presence of bolted climbs will encourage traffic onto the quality trad climbs on the crag so keeping them clean. Therefore Marshall Plan, Alick, Clink etc. should be debolted. If they become overgrown again then I am wrong, no problem.
Similarly I believe that because a route has been done as a bolted first ascent, does not render it immune from debolting eg Black Swan Rising. It is a superb find but wud only get E2/3 as a Trad route. Plenty of people would do it because there are plenty of other routes to do on the crag. For quality routes the tradional ethic should take precadence.
The only way forward that I can see is for every crag to be discussed individualy under a set of broad guidelines. Such as
1. Only bolt crap
2. If in doubt don't bolt
3. Don't put a bolt within 3 metres of a good trad route.
Asking the first ascensionist is laughable. Traditionally it wasn't the custom to ask permission to chop bolt runners ( Not pegs), eg Cad, Boldest. But now have to ask to put them in. Or as was said to me on the night re:Clink "We asked the first ascenionist" I said "he was dead" to be told "We asked his Brother"!!!!
a) Keep on replacing the pegs etc. until the scars are big enough to make great holds and/or gear placements (Chipping anyone).
b) Take out all of the fixed gear and create much bolder routes that perhaps nobody wants to climb (can't beat a bit of elitism) and if people do climb them watch as friends explode dodgy flakes etc. changing the route forever
c) Replace some/all of the fixed gear with different placements (including possibly bolts).
d) Do nothing and leave these routes as an example of how we climbed in the past (and mark them in the guide book as historical routes not to be changed in any way).
OK so maybe my tongue is in my cheek on some of these. But what should we do with em. The meeting the other night I think seemed to fall sort of between b and d. But I'm not sure. For instance what should be done about routes like Carnage that peg makes a big difference to the grade (and hence the number of people that can climb it). Would any sort of remove everything stance really work for a route like that?
Think these might b issues in the higher grades but certainly not at my level (Up to E3). The peg on Carnage is not a problem. The move is a little undergraded at 6B from those I know who have done it. They both repeatedly fell on it, and that in recent years.
If it pops I'm sure a wire and sling could be put there, to retain the "Not sure about this" feel.
The discussion on...Dishman 2004.
I think, judging by the silence, all the retro gang have booked their tickets and are heading your way!
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