/ Old man of Stoer bolted
Make of that what you will... But they're off to Hoy next, on their journey of bagging british stacks for slacklining and climbing
[not that i'm a snitch or owt] ;)
The landward ledge as in the mainland? The one with 300 bomber nuts and cams etc etc?
Not quite sure what to say to that -- something to do with imperialism might be over the top -- but what you report makes me very cross.
But I'm glad you had a good day all the same.
> The landward ledge as in the mainland? The one with 300 bomber nuts and cams etc etc?
Christ! You carry a big rack.
If I lived anywhere near, it'd be a grinder and a cutting disc for me and if I could get to Hoy for their defacement there, I'd do it whilst they were traversing!
Why? Applying our stupid contrived ethics to climbing is bad enough - applying them to other activities is just bollocks.
It's annoying when folk from abroad don't have the courtesy to find out about our ethics. But it happens - Dave McGimpsey and I had to remove some bolts from Coire an Lochain after a French adventure race went there abseiling. So next person there please remove it (or at least the hanger and hammer in the bolt). Sounds like they might put bolt abseils in for the Old Man of Hoy, which would be worse. I'm anything but anti-bolt, since I'm compiling the SMC Sport guide to Scotland, but these stacks are great because of the adventure, which bolts would soon remove.
That's outrageous! How can this be? Somebody stop them!!!
I couldn't say that because Scotland's not my country ;-) but I couldn't agree more. I trust the organisers of the adventure racing event have been put back in their Gallic place.
> It's annoying when folk from abroad don't have the courtesy to find out about our ethics. But it happens - Dave McGimpsey and I had to remove some bolts from Coire an Lochain after a French adventure race went there abseiling. So next person there please remove it (or at least the hanger and hammer in the bolt). Sounds like they might put bolt abseils in for the Old Man of Hoy, which would be worse. I'm anything but anti-bolt, since I'm compiling the SMC Sport guide to Scotland, but these stacks are great because of the adventure, which bolts would soon remove.
Did you remove all the insitu pegs from coire an lochain while you were there too?
I have done various routes on both stacks. I do remember there being a lot of big old bolts on the Old Man of Hoy. All for the TV cameras of passed outside broadcasts I guessed?
No they didnt. Why do you ask?
> I couldn't say that because Scotland's not my country ;-) but I couldn't agree more. I trust the organisers of the adventure racing event have been put back in their Gallic place.
They were apolgetic, but whether they really cared is unknown.
I don't believe you
There was a spell around them when aid climbing was fashionable and a few bolts didn't seem important. There are old bolts on a few routes in Scotland; did Point Five Gully not have some? Bolts on Slochd Wall (Beinn a' Bhuird), bolt belays on Creag Dubh etc.
> No they didnt. Why do you ask?
I find it strange that if I go do a new route using preplaced pegs, it's regarded as fine, but if it's using bolts, which are better long term, it's not.
You're doing your usual thing of arguing a point completely off topic - this thread isn't about new routes, the northern corries or even winter routes. Whilst there may be numerous old pegs in place on the Old Man of Stoer Andy makes it clear that the placing of new bolts would compromise the adventure feel of the stack; surely you can see this?
He then goes on to point out that any pegs/bolts were placed in a bygone era and that ethics have changed since then.
The post has hee-haw to do with any of us. If folk want to place bolts to slackline, abseil or tie their dog to then what business has a distopian climbing forum got to do with that?
> You're doing your usual thing of arguing a point completely off topic - this thread isn't about new routes, the northern corries or even winter routes. Whilst there may be numerous old pegs in place on the Old Man of Stoer Andy makes it clear that the placing of new bolts would compromise the adventure feel of the stack; surely you can see this?
> He then goes on to point out that any pegs/bolts were placed in a bygone era and that ethics have changed since then.
To me, the adventurous part of climbing the old man of stoer would be swimming across to set up the tyrolean, and dodging bird vomit while climbing up.
You find placing a nut while standing on a ledge at the bottom adventurous. Lovely.
What if I bolted the other side and left a nice cable permanently in place? Would it still feel as adventurous to you? Don't you see it's all part of the same thing?
I could tear up your local park on a quad bike but the majority of park users would object and I would respect that wish. The same applies for 4x4s in national parks, littering etc etc.....it all spoils the enjoyment for the majority of people that use the space.
I don't imagine many would object but that's not the argument here, it's about the placing of new bolts (and diluting the experience further) or did you miss that bit again?
So what? bolt it all and be done with it? I don't see your point.
I think you are getting confused between the actual laws of the land and the convoluted whimsy that climber call ethics.
Um, have they thoroughly bolted the underside of that bridge...???
Trip trap trip trap....
Naughty boy Rich, you're supposed to swim across, not just walk under the bridge ;0)
The first rule of trolling, only post once...
Very good Rich!!!!
Goodness. You are so savvy.
If he did say that I hope he was talking about his own scratching efforts too. They pale somewhat beside flying to the moon or Angtharkay, Pasang, Kusang, Shipton and Tilman finding the way into the Nanda Devi Sanctuary. So I'd say he summed it up pretty wittily, but for my part I'd say the 3 novices I took up The Old Man of Stoer 13 years ago considered it an adventure. Just as my 3 year old enjoys bushwalks and campfires on well trodden paths. The adventure is intrinsically linked with the imagination and the spirit (non religious definition). It's pompous to suggest most punters aren't having an adventure when they climb most trad routes. Of course they are. The bolt if it really exists is utterly unnecessary at best.
> Goodness. You are so savvy.
Guys... It's all true btw. Sorry
Darn it, you could have had a 10
Lots of egg heading toward faces.
I expect apologies! :)
In reply to Calum Nicoll:
Yes, we should do that. People are being a bit high and mighty and seem to be saying "if you're so worried about bolts then why aren't you worried about pegs?" Half of the arguments against this viewpoint have been rehashed billions of times and it belongs in the dustbin of idiocy and ignorance along with "you don't have to clip the bolts!" Nonetheless:
1. Pegs require there be a weakness, unlike bolts. They're not clean, but they are trad. That doesn't mean that you can go placing pegs anywhere you like, because most of the UK also has a 'clean' ethic. Scottish winter climbing is a late holdout of non-clean climbing, though it's acknowledged that clean climbing would be nicer.
2. Fixed gear of any kind should probably be removed.
3. We have fixed pegs, and a few bolts, on 'trad' routes in this country. The routes would be purer if the fixed gear was gone, but they're there for a mixture of historical and convenience reasons.
Fussing about new bolts is very different to NOT fussing about old fixed pegs. Placing a new bolt is an ethically backward step, and is an admission that you're not as good as the men and women who came before you. By using fixed gear you are living up to the standards set by your predecessors. Removing that fixed gear would be a step forward.
Further, bolts are exceptional in that they are considered a long term solution. By placing one you are dictating how everyone else experiences the route after you.
I have just come back to reality after a week in Pabbay. The best part of the trip for me was the fact that all the super classic routes we got on were completely tat/bolt/peg free.
It saddens me greatly that people would ruin the experience (I've not climbed the Old Man of Stoer yet) of Scotland's wild places with such nonsense.
Educate the masses.
A melancholy Trist
> In reply to Calum Nicoll:
> Yes, we should do that. People are being a bit high and mighty and seem to be saying "if you're so worried about bolts then why aren't you worried about pegs?" Half of the arguments against this viewpoint have been rehashed billions of times and it belongs in the dustbin of idiocy and ignorance along with "you don't have to clip the bolts!" Nonetheless:
> 1. Pegs require there be a weakness, unlike bolts. They're not clean, but they are trad. That doesn't mean that you can go placing pegs anywhere you like, because most of the UK also has a 'clean' ethic. Scottish winter climbing is a late holdout of non-clean climbing, though it's acknowledged that clean climbing would be nicer.
> 2. Fixed gear of any kind should probably be removed.
> 3. We have fixed pegs, and a few bolts, on 'trad' routes in this country. The routes would be purer if the fixed gear was gone, but they're there for a mixture of historical and convenience reasons.
> Fussing about new bolts is very different to NOT fussing about old fixed pegs. Placing a new bolt is an ethically backward step, and is an admission that you're not as good as the men and women who came before you. By using fixed gear you are living up to the standards set by your predecessors. Removing that fixed gear would be a step forward.
> Further, bolts are exceptional in that they are considered a long term solution. By placing one you are dictating how everyone else experiences the route after you.
Pegs placed short term damage the rock far more than a bolt.
Pegs placed long term just rust slowly away and are less secure than a bolt.
I have an eye on several lines I might bolt that would be more adventurous than most trad routes.
Bolts are preferable to pegs in almost every situation.
Interesting contention. What would make them more adventurous?
Yep, fair enough. But - surely nothing is better than either of them??
Flashy - Nicely put, totally agree.
So what? Are they more adventurous than they would be without the bolts? Indian Face would still be an adventure with a bolt on it 2/3rds of the way up. Luckily you didn't get to it before JD.
Bolts are often better from an environmental point of view, and also for convenience (they last longer for example, requiring less frequent replacement). Bolts can be better than cams too -- look how eroded some of the breaks are on High Neb Nuttress. That doesn't make bolts ok.
My point was that bolts and fixed pegs are both bad. When considered in the light of trad ethics however, bolts are infinitely worse. Not sure if there's any gear up there, and if you've got the balls to go up and find out? Well wonder no more 'cos you've got a drill.
Can everyone stop going off topic in the assumption that the bolt thing is a troll and get back on topic because it isn't. Ta
Traditionally protaganists dont allow minor details like case-specific knowledge to stop them mounting their soapbox. I'd be surprised if Mr Nicoll (or is it Fishy1?) has looked at the base of the Old Man. I have and can confirm that there are a plethora of options for anchoring and tensioning a slackline/tyrolean.
I dont think Calum is particularly strongly anti-peg. The way I read him he is strongly pro-bolt, and is trying to use the peg argument to justify his take on climbing, which would see bolts become more widespread.
Anyone seen Robert's petard??
> I dont think Calum is particularly strongly anti-peg. The way I read him he is strongly pro-bolt, and is trying to use the peg argument to justify his take on climbing, which would see bolts become more widespread.
I think he is pro both but is too confused to see the difference - he would just prefer the dumbed down convenience of bolts.
> Anyone seen Robert's petard??
I am not anti-bolt in a consensus sport climbing situation. I am vehemently anti-bolt in other situations. There is no contradiction.
What if people who *are not* climbers want to arrange a tyrolean or slackline it, you know just for fun? Should climbers dictate how they do it?
Somewhat out of the jurisdiction of even the most vehement/confused anti-bolter.
They can do so with anchors provided by Nature.
> So Jamie....
> What if people who *are not* climbers want to arrange a tyrolean or slackline it
This is an absolutely fair point. Outraged condemnation is probably not appropriate. Better would be persuasion, education and the neat removal of the bolt.
> They can do so with anchors provided by Nature.
They could equalise two limpets with a whelk and get a happy rabbit to hold the other end *reeeaaly tight*.
Uncertainty is the essence of adventure - any kind of adventure.
If you stand under a route and know that there is no fixed gear, that you will have to find placements for your pro, and you don't know where they might be, or if they're any good or maybe if there are any at all, then that is a good deal of uncertainty and thus that is adventurous.
If you stand under a route and can see shiny bolts glinting in the sun, or know that there are bolts in the route (and which are often placed in predictable places ie. just before the crux) then you know that you have protection - the uncertainty of being protected is gone, as are all elements of skill and psychology that go with it. The only uncertainty is if you are strong enough to reach the bolts, the rest of the experience is removed. Only convenience is added. If you crave convenience, why climb at all? Just use a ladder.
Wanting to put in bolts now because climbers used to bang in pitons is an absurdly poor argument. Pins were put in, and left, in a time when the number of climbers and the amount of climbing activity was so small that the idea of environmental impact or undesirable proliferation of fixed gear was not really considered. That time has passed.
If everybody in an area, climbers or not, think it's OK to put bolts in everything, fine. But clearly in places such as the sea stacks and coastal cliffs of Scotland, and other places, this is not the case, and those views should be respected, either by outsiders or otherwise. Of course you don't *have* to respect them. You don't *have* to do anything. It's what we *choose* to do that matters.
It's precisely because climbing is NOT life and death, that it is just a game, that it matters HOW we play it. If it was life and death then, in the end, anything would be justifiable. It's because climbing is not that important that it matters how we do it.
Anyone can get up something with a bolt in it, it takes some actual skill/ability to do it without them.
As with most people trying to push foward a pro-bolt argument you will struggle to do it, however a bolts>peg argument is always a lot more fruitful, end of the day its just a pro-bolt argument and that's why I can't go for that.
> If I lived anywhere near, it'd be a grinder and a cutting disc for me and if I could get to Hoy for their defacement there, I'd do it whilst they were traversing!
If you give me your address i will post a copy of the bible out to you.
Action Directe, anyone?
But bolting the Old Man of Stoer is like bolting Cenotaph Corner. If someone local wants to remove the bolt (someone who knows what they're doing I mean) I'll happily pay towards petrol.
> Pegs placed short term damage the rock far more than a bolt.
Placing a peg placed in a good crack in hard rock does very little damage (trying to remove it may mind).
Placing a bolt requires the drilling of a hole - how is that not 'damaging' the rock?
> Anyone can get up something with a bolt in it, it takes some actual skill/ability to do it without them.
Going to go climb jumbo love this summer then are you?
Why has this turned into a bolt debate of some sort? I think this thread would have a different feel to it if someone put bolt anchors on top of Flying Buttress...
> Traditionally protaganists dont allow minor details like case-specific knowledge to stop them mounting their soapbox. I'd be surprised if Mr Nicoll (or is it Fishy1?) has looked at the base of the Old Man. I have and can confirm that there are a plethora of options for anchoring and tensioning a slackline/tyrolean.
The nature of a tyrolean means that you need to leave gear on the stack when retreating (or swim both there and back).
From speaking to friends who have been on it, there's often lots of tat there for this reason. Why not replace it with a couple of less intrusive bolts?
And no, I haven't done the old man of stoer. I might get on it this summer, I've spotted a nice line on it that I think is unclimbed, might be too hard for me, I'll see.
> Uncertainty is the essence of adventure - any kind of adventure.
> If you stand under a route and know that there is no fixed gear, that you will have to find placements for your pro, and you don't know where they might be, or if they're any good or maybe if there are any at all, then that is a good deal of uncertainty and thus that is adventurous.
> If you stand under a route and can see shiny bolts glinting in the sun, or know that there are bolts in the route (and which are often placed in predictable places ie. just before the crux) then you know that you have protection - the uncertainty of being protected is gone, as are all elements of skill and psychology that go with it. The only uncertainty is if you are strong enough to reach the bolts, the rest of the experience is removed. Only convenience is added. If you crave convenience, why climb at all? Just use a ladder.
> Wanting to put in bolts now because climbers used to bang in pitons is an absurdly poor argument. Pins were put in, and left, in a time when the number of climbers and the amount of climbing activity was so small that the idea of environmental impact or undesirable proliferation of fixed gear was not really considered. That time has passed.
> If everybody in an area, climbers or not, think it's OK to put bolts in everything, fine. But clearly in places such as the sea stacks and coastal cliffs of Scotland, and other places, this is not the case, and those views should be respected, either by outsiders or otherwise. Of course you don't *have* to respect them. You don't *have* to do anything. It's what we *choose* to do that matters.
> It's precisely because climbing is NOT life and death, that it is just a game, that it matters HOW we play it. If it was life and death then, in the end, anything would be justifiable. It's because climbing is not that important that it matters how we do it.
Knowing the grade of the route takes away far more adventure than a few bolts.
Not to be offensve - but that is the biggest load of bollock I have seen on this thread.
For example I have climbed 1 E1, if I was to jump on a sustained 3 pitch E1, knowing the grade, I am CERTAIN that would be more of an adventure that jumping on a sport route near/at my limit and not knowing the grade.
Genuinely astonished by that comment.
I have been going on holiday very near to the Old Man of Stoer for more years than I'd now care to remember and have had the pleasure of setting up the tyrolean traverse at the bottom of the Old Man a number of times.
I have seen the popularity of the climb increase significantly over the years and as a climber have found it interesting to see the changes and implications this has had for the route. It used to be the case that there were no visible signs that the stack was climbed at all, over the last few years though, the amount of climbing paraphernalia left behind has increased significantly. The amount of abseil tat and equipment left on the top as well as the stack side of the tyrolean has become noticeable with the naked eye.
If someone has decided to place a bolt on the landward side, I am extremely disappointed as this continues to increase the impact that climbers have on the area. Not to mention the fact that, depending on what type of bolt it is, I suspect the bolt will be next to useless in a couple of years time considering how quickly things will corrode in that position and that people will choose not to use it and go back to using the abundant natural protection.
My last comment would be about the amount of tat being left. As a climber, I suspect that most people will not rely on existing pieces as they will consider them unsafe and so will place their own. If you do this then why not remove the old tat and help to keep the place a bit cleaner and stop us having such an impact that is noticeable to so many non-climbers.
I guess all these comments come back to having a bit of respect for your environment and minimising the impact we have whilst enjoying our sport.
> I find it strange that if I go do a new route using preplaced pegs, it's regarded as fine, but if it's using bolts, which are better long term, it's not.
Perhaps when you are a bit older you will understand......
Or perhaps people could use a bit of imagination and climb something else. I don't quite get this obsession about ticking these sea stacks. Thankfully there aren't any at Gogarth or Swanage.
Or simply cut away the tat and use your own. I agree that this should also be done with the abseil points as tat can proliferate and be unsightly to non-climbers.
But the OP suggests that they are climbers, on a sea-stack tour. If they have the trad knowledge and rack to lead Stoer and Hoy, why didnt they employ that for the tyrolean? Does seem a bit strange.
I mean generally people who are not climbers.
I saw that they were climbers in the OP - that and the one bolt for a slackline bit seemed fishy to me.
I still think that trying to impose a didactic ethical code, cobbled together by rolly-smoking traddies on other people well, sucks really.
Bad enough that other climbers have to deal with it.
You cant "impose" an ethical code; time and time again we see that people will do their own thing. But if that thing is sufficiently out of step with the majority (and I believe this particular act is), then they will face a slagging and the probable removal of the bolt.
This could be seen as victory for those who shout loudest, or those who care most, but I prefer to think of it as self-regulation.
PS - I dont smoke rollies and I am certainly not anti-bolt.
All well and good but surely the point here, in this specific instance, is that it's not a bolt placed for climbing. I'm falling into the usual troll's trap here of guessing on the basis of scant information but it doesn't sound like this bolt in any way reduces the adventure or commitment of people climbing the stack or swimming the zawn.
> From speaking to friends who have been on it, there's often lots of tat there for this reason. Why not replace it with a couple of less intrusive bolts?
> And no, I haven't done the old man of stoer.
Bolts may be less visible than tat, but as you will see from the responses to this thread, they are far more intrusive. There is a difference. They reduce the adventure while long standing in situ pegs and tat retain it.
In this country the accepted (and correct) policy is to leave existing pegs in place but not place any new ones. Remember we are talking about summer rock routes, not winter routes.
All previous ascents of the Old Man of Stoer, no matter how many pegs were clipped, have been more adventurous than yours.
When you say the "landward ledge", do you mean the one on the stack or the mainland? If you're referring to the stack is it the anchor before the initial 5a traverse, or the one to the left of this which allows you to miss out the traverse?
What sort of bolt is it? An expansion bolt or a resin bolt.
You need a different set of tools to remove them.
I'm pretty sure it was an expansion bolt.
The problem with spouting bollox most of the time is that on the one occasion you post the truth, nobody believes you :-)
> I'm pretty sure it was an expansion bolt.
A photo of it perhaps Rich.......
Come on Rich, something important like that - you must have taken a photo...
I assumed it'd been there a long time until a guy came down the cliff and freaked about it... it was only then I realised the magnitude of the situation.
So, no photo I'm afraid.
Ere, anyway everyone. It doesn't matter a f*ck to me if you all believe me or not does it.
The fact remains that team 'slackline the stacks' have drilled a bolt into the Old Man of Stoer launch platform. End of story!
By which you mean the mainland side of the channel? Sorry to have to badger you again but I suspect the side which it is on will have a major bearing on if/when it gets chopped.
Did you use the bolt for your tyrolean set-up?
Saw you got to Diabaig. Nice one. Hope you enjoyed the Pillar.
The slackline was in place overnight.. so was there when we arrived.
Used that to get across, then aided the slimey cracks across to the corner (two scots dudes didn't wanna do it, too wet) so I took a rope to the corner for them to set up another tyrolean for a party of six to avoid the bottom traverse.
The yanks were going up the stack later to do 'tricks & acrobatics' on top... so there was a general circus atmosphere to the day, with more people arriving later also.
Me and Jen just wanted to get above it all, so to speak.
Bit of a shame. We went expecting a right epic isolated encounter, with swim included etc.
Anyway, ho hum.
I'd like to go back midweek sometime for the harder routes.
Pillar was proper good! Dream realised type stuff.
I've wanted to do that for 6 years!!
Main crag looked top too, but the best routes were well busy...
Can't wait to go back there too!
You still havent said what side of the channel the bolt was on.
Hi Jamie, Re-read the very first sentence in this thread.
I have. In this context "landward" could mean (a) on the stack facing land or (b) on the mainland. I've asked Rich to clarify twice but he seems to be ignoring me.
> The slackline was in place overnight.. so was there when we arrived.
> Used that to get across, then aided the slimey cracks across to the corner (two scots dudes didn't wanna do it, too wet) so I took a rope to the corner for them to set up another tyrolean for a party of six to avoid the bottom traverse.
Jeez...Cragrat "ethics" Rich in bolt, pre-placed tyrolean and aid-climbing shocker :) Sounds like your experience was ruined by the visitors... Not bad avoiding the swim though...take it from me that the water is bloody freezing in May!
> I've wanted to do that for 6 years!!
> Main crag looked top too, but the best routes were well busy...
Yep - the Pillar is great eh!? I think we did that and route 2 when we were there a few years ago, which was equally awesome. Top crag. I'd be up for a trip up that way later in the year if you're about
Jamie. The bolt was placed on the ledge of rock opposite the stack, approx 2ft 2in from the edge and at an angle of roughly 20deg off perpendicular rightwards from the tat anchor opposite, when viewed from the cliff side.
Thanks for the clarification. I'd almost have understood/been supportive of a bolted anchor on the stack side of the tyrolean to replace the manky pegs (which in effect act as a fixed abseil-style anchor). But there are ample natural gear options on the mainland side which by definition can be removed at the end of the day.
In conclusion, this is an utterly unneccessary bolt, placed by people who had the rack and the knowledge to do without (they led the Old Man on trad gear). Bizarre; it makes me wonder what on earth they might do on Hoy and I feel that it is quite important that someone has a word before they get there.
As the bolt is on the more accessible mainland side, I suspect it will not last long.
PS - Rich, if you look at the dictionary definition of landward it means "facing the land". Hence my confusion,
> Jeez...Cragrat "ethics" Rich in bolt, pre-placed tyrolean and aid-climbing shocker :)
I don't do ethics on VS's because I have zero respect for them.
The climbing on the Original Route is just a soloable romp on easy ground and I was only interested in getting up it as fast as possible and then sodding off home again to diss it's reputation on UKC.
Remind you of any other pinnacles of rock?? (over Zermat way?) 8-)
> PS - Rich, if you look at the dictionary definition of landward it means "facing the land". Hence my confusion,
You're quite right mate. Unnecessary sarcasm on my part.
Hopefully everyone realises now that its on the mainland platform of rock, opposite the stack
> I'd almost have understood/been supportive of a bolted anchor on the stack side of the tyrolean to replace the manky pegs (which in effect act as a fixed abseil-style anchor).
The bolt is 5cm (measured on screen) vertically up from the Capitol S of Swimming in the description of this photo.
Just infront of the person in orange's feet, who is standing at forefront of picture.
While you're at it... Check out the bird brain who is being deft enough to dive in the water!!
Now that is retarded. There's a hex/large nut swallowing crack system down and left of the spectator's feet which I for one would definately see as more bomproof than a single bolt.
> I don't do ethics on VS's because I have zero respect for them.
> The climbing on the Original Route is just a soloable romp on easy ground
So easy you felt the need to aid the first pitch :) :) :)
> Remind you of any other pinnacles of rock?? (over Zermat way?) 8-)
Hmmmmm...I can't think of nay decent climbing over that way!
> While you're at it... Check out the bird brain who is being deft enough to dive in the water!!
That's a proper ascent matey - with none of this gaylord aiding and using the yanks pre-placed tyrolean. You gonna go back and do it properly sometime? :)
> Make of that what you will... But they're off to Hoy next, on their journey of bagging british stacks for slacklining and climbing
> [not that i'm a snitch or owt] ;)
just got back from climbing the old man of hoy on saturday, (what an excellent adventure), and had the pleasure of sharing the bothy with this trio from across the pond.
They had already climbed the old man on the friday and were slacklining on the saturday but they didnt manage to set a line to the stack, so no new bolts.
Actually in reply to the whole community.
I am happy to write more on this when I get more internet time, as I am still travelling and return home in a few days.
I take full ethical and decision responsibility for these "choices" as I was the leader of this expedition of sorts.
FYI: I lived in Aberdeen for a year, climbed the sea cliffs, crags and even Stoer 15 years ago. I know the ethics, and repect the community and adventure inherent in this area.
Our goal was to add a new element of adventure, not to dumb down an old one. We placed one bolt on the landward side of stoer to allow a slackline to be tensioned across the gap. The placements used for the tyrol were too far back to allow the possibility of a line. We tried, it was not feasible. We did nothing to the mess of insitu tat and pegs on the stack itself. We went against our better slackline judgement in forgoing a second back up bolt which is the tradition in slackline set-up.
On Ambuchaille, we placed a single bolt on each side of the channel, well below medium tide. These bolts are UNUSEABLE for a tyrolean, as even at low low tide the line is only a foot above the surf.
On Hoy, we placed no bolts on the stack, and did do a slackline over a deep channel, on the southward edge of the stack base. We doubt anyone will ever find those two bolts, unless they scrutinize the forthcoming videos, as this area has no interest to climbers of the stack. We did note an interesting bolt as part of the belay on top of pitch 3. this was in addition to 4 pegs and several intsitu nuts. And what about the HUGE eyebolt just down from the rim of the landward cliff used for a massive tyrol off the stacks summit years ago.
So in short, what I offer (and I am happy to continue this discussion) is that we did not place these bolts without a lot of thought, not in an effort to make anything safer or more comfortable for ourselves. We instead placed these bolts to make possible an attempt to make ourselves far less comfortable in our efforts to slackline across to the stacks.
The Scottish stacks have long inspired crazy people to push the limits of the possible to see what they are made of. If the decision is made I will certainly arrange for the bolts to be removed, especially at Stoer - as the ones at Am Buchaille and Hoy are largely irrelevant unless you are a slackliner.
Maybe the best option would be to go string up your own line and try to walk it.
I will check this thread again once I get home, or you can email email@example.com
It is with humility that we approached this project and I apologize to those that may be angered.
Jason, Chelsey and Dan - Team YogaSlackers
Good on ya, crazy colonial brothers.
> So in short, what I offer (and I am happy to continue this discussion) is that we did not place these bolts without a lot of thought, not in an effort to make anything safer or more comfortable for ourselves. We instead placed these bolts to make possible an attempt to make ourselves far less comfortable in our efforts to slackline across to the stacks.
perhaps i'm just having another of my blonde moments but i'm really quite baffled by your explanation... what on earth are you on about?
I think he is saying that without the bolts they wouldn't have got any good slackline footage for their DVD.
I may be paraphrasing slightly...
In which case you know that the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has a policy on fixed gear, the first point of which states:
"bolts are inappropriate on mountain cliffs and sea cliffs where a spirit of adventure should remain" http://www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/pdfs/policies/bolts_policy.pdf
I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering how you thought you were respecting that?
Can you all of them out please. Now.
I ask this not just as a climber but as someone who has spent most of their free time for the last 30 years in the highlands, not just climbing but walking, fishing, exploring and just experiencing. Your actions are offensive as they show an arrogant disrespect for the environment. Pointing out that vandalism has occurred in the past does not excuse your actions now. Both are wrong.
I suggest that after you remove the bolts you go back to North America and stay there. There are many in Scotland who would not welcome you back.
Exactly right, local (national?) principle completely ignored. The fact nobody bothered to ASK before going ahead is what really gets me. Is this becuase they knew what the answer would be?
Bolts on stacks for slack lining - honestly that is an immensely poor show and a reprehensible action when carried out knowingly against tradition. Stereotype reinforcer right there.....
That about sums it up.
Pretty lame explanation, living in Scotland 15 years ago doesn't really give you the right to declare open season on it's sea-stacks.
Hope you have more respect elsewhere in the world, or better still, just stay at home.
You crazy guys, have you thought about some sponsorship from Red Bull?
wow. you're, like, so cool. Yoga and, like, slackling is, like, so meaningful.
Anyway they will create an unwanted lateral pressure on the stacks and could pull them over if you tension the rope too tightly. Get out of that one on environmental grounds.
I haven't read all the thread but has anybody actually checked out their website? It's clearly, at least in part, a commercial venture. Not just a bunch of guys on a climbing trip. Slack lining and yoga appear to be their preferred activities. Their behaviour was insensitive, perhaps out of simple ignorance rather than malice. The bolts should be removed. I expect they will be. I certainly hope so. Then the apology can be accepted.
A sad tale.
Not malicious no, but not ignorance either, they say they're aware of the ethics, so basically they're just arrogant.
It's not really an apology either is it, it's a lame excuse veiled as an apology.
I tend to agree with you. I was trying to tone down my real feelings and be a little diplomatic. I could have vented much more spleen.
Ironic isn't it that they go under the motto "Extreme Living with Awareness" !
The best way to deal with this is simply to remove the bolts and pretend it never happened. They are likely never to fully understand the depth of feeling as they are way too far up their own "asana"!
Everywhere you look you can see deluded humanity.
This from their website:
"Team YogaSlackers is committed to eco-conscious education, renewable energy promotion, and partnering only with companies who truly share the ideals of positive global change."
Give me strength!
I'm going to stop reading it now. It's winding me up.
Take a deep yogic breath dude. Anger isn't, like, sustainable.
> This from their website:
> "Team YogaSlackers is committed to eco-conscious education, renewable energy promotion, and partnering only with companies who truly share the ideals of positive global change."
It's hard to avoid the conclusion that they don't really have a clue.
I tried to leave a comment but the site wouldn't accept it & I can't be bothered to register
Advice to Karl Bromelow.... Don't watch it!
Jon, the poor guys already wound up.
> I think he is saying that without the bolts they wouldn't have got any good slackline footage for their DVD.
> I may be paraphrasing slightly...
shame- that's what i thought he meant. how disappointing...
what a bizarre attempt at justification, considering he claims to have both a grasp of- and respect for- local ethics.
on the bright side- at least i'm not quite as blonde as i thought...
Personally I think the gist of it is:
Young, talented and free-spirited team who get better-looking birds come over from the States and dodge about on a tight-rope. DVD made, birds impressed. Party on.
Meanwhile...grumpy, beardy men with less attractive birds complain because their wee swim and tyrolean has been trumped.
Quite good though, isn't it...
> Advice to Karl Bromelow.... Don't watch it!
> Jon, the poor guys already wound up.
Too late Mark. I watched it....aaaaaargghhh! I'm off for a surf, no where near as much controversy or as many ethical flashpoints in there : )
Yet another storm in a teacup. I could understand the controversy if someone had bolted a sport route up a stack but the circumstances behind these few bolts were completely different. They were placed not for climbing but for a completely different activity, so why should climbing ethics apply? Some were placed just above low tide, others in an obscure location and another because apparently nothing else was available in the right spot. All seems pretty reasonable and innocuous to me.
fair point (and i share your vibe to a sufficient degree that i've kept my comments on the subject fairly light hearted), but i don't think this is just about climbing ethics... it's about not bolting wild-ish places.
it's about changing the environment i suppose rather than just wether a bolt affects a climb.
plus- the stoer bolt wasn't so innocuous that rich couldn't spot it...
but yes, i agree that folk shouldn't get *too* feverish.
That's one was of looking at it, though small in the grand scheme of things, would you have thought it OK if they'd done some non-climbing related act of petty vandalism, such as chiselling "yogatossers were ere" on the rock? It does seem in conflict somewhat with the enviro-bollocks on their website.
Yes George just imagine.
Meanwhile back on planet earth no harm was done.
No biggy in the grand scheme of things, but a pity nonetheless.
> Yes George just imagine.
> Meanwhile back on planet earth no harm was done.
Meanwhile back on planet earth some harm was done, not much mind, but as Rob says a shame none the less.
Spotting a bolt might be OK. But if there is one on a crucial place, you're hardly going to ignore it. You're going to use it and your experience on the day will be less (not using it wouldn't make your day any better). I don't believe these guys thought about it - they just didn't care and put a bolt in. Later they are trying to justify it, and failing. It was just straight selfish.
Aloha! Mark. Crappy surf today. The wind went wild. Just waist high but offshore at least. However a few weeks back I took these shots at the bottom of our road:
Pretty gnarly hey?
How is it in Cornwall this summer?
Which part of the word 'slack' don't you understand?
Anyway, I find it amazing you're attempting to justify your actions.
Do you know what a slackline is? Have you ever seen on being used? Goof.
Meanwhile, I'm off for a shave : )
And you'd be happy to use a fixed rope also if one was there? And would the route then be much different to a sea-cliff VS? Sorry, don't know anything about an Aberdour bolt.
Looking back at my logbook, the bolt was old looking and at perfect place to bring a second up Flake and Wall or Destiny Groove.
The point is that people are drilling into rock in a protected wilderness area.
Some people seem to imply they think it's ok to put bolts into the rock then take them out at a later point and that everything is fine and dandy because they have been removed. The damage is done when the drill hits the rock, it makes no difference what is done in later years.
> Looking back at my logbook, the bolt was old looking and at perfect place to bring a second up Flake and Wall or Destiny Groove.
There's few old bolts around Scotland. Most inappropriate ones get removed but some are considered harmless and left (or no-one could be bothered). The bolt on the belay on Inbred (Creag Dubh) is another odd one, but very old. In the past non-mountain cliffs were considered as unimportant, not so nowadays of course.
Thank you for posting on UKC.
Unfortunately, your actions have contributed to a certain amount of -- in my view, justified -- recent hostility to Americans in the British climbing scene. Such feelings are not warranted across the board but what you have done runs the risk of adding a general tarnish to the reputation of US climbers.
I am sure you feel embarrassed that your trip over here will have had that effect, so I suggest you can restore your own and your fellow Americans' reputation by getting back up to Scotland and removing all the bolts you placed and then posting a video link to prove it.
Thank you and respect in advance.
> Thank you for posting on UKC.
> Unfortunately, your actions have contributed to a certain amount of -- in my view, justified -- recent hostility to Americans in the British climbing scene. Such feelings are not warranted across the board but what you have done runs the risk of adding a general tarnish to the reputation of US climbers.
Quite right. If he knew the ethic then he knew he was doing something bad. These bolts need to go.
As for the other older bolts mentioned; yeah, they need to go too. Besides, you don't take a crap on a belay ledge just because some other tosser has already.
I tried to chose my words carefully when I said that 'such feelings are not warranted across the board but what you have done runs the risk of adding a general tarnish to the reputation of US climbers'.
I hope that on re-reading my words you will see that I am not treating this particular group of slackliners/climbers as representative nor do I imply that US climbers are a 'homogeneous group'. (Incidentally, I refer to them as climbers since they climbed the Old Man of Stoer and the Old Man of Hoy, or perhaps you didn't read yogaslackers post properly either.) On the contrary, it is precisely because this event and the two David Lama episodes (http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=410733) has tended to lead to just this kind of mistaken lumping together that I suggested the slackliners remove their bolts.
The slackyogis felt they 'needed' to be placed and did so.
The would-be crag police are alive and well. The reason I wrote what I wrote is to keep them at bay! Sorry if I didn't convey that.
How on earth does that follow? The oil leak in the Gulf needs to be stopped; does that mean I 'need' to go and do it myself?
Perhaps need was the wrong word. Should would have been better.
Exactly the kind of thinking I go against. Get a grip!
No body who climbs the old man of stoer, or any route, leaves it exactly as they found it.
How is the magnitude of the affairs relevant to my point?
Perhaps not, but most of us at least try to.
Does this mean its ok to put bolts in then?
How could you *possibly* have thought this was acceptable?? I really just can't understand your thinking at all. You might just as well have gone up there and thrown crisp packets into the water.
And while we're on the subject Brits regard people describing themselves as 'kerazee' as being not quite the thing, don't you know?
I can't really find the words to express my contempt, I'm afraid. But you will certainly save someone a job if you do arrange for these bolts to be properly removed - all of them - and the damage made good.
Well, I never. Eco expeditions, eh?
These people seem to be bent on justifying a good many adverse preconceptions one might have about various things.
Still, looks like emailing Prana suggesting they cut off sponsorship from this crowd until Jason, Dan, and whatever-the-other-feller-was-called learn to approach places with even more humility than they're so proud of having shown on this occasion might be a worthwhile exercise.
What does "kerazee" mean? I've tried googling and the word seems to come up but not the meaning, nothing on wikipedia either.
The usual phrase is "I don't suffer fools", but, like your own version it makes the user look more foolish than the person he is dissing.
> What does "kerazee" mean? I've tried googling and the word seems to come up but not the meaning, nothing on wikipedia either.
Ah! Got it, sorry for being so slow !
The team describe Prana as their main sponsor; per John's example, have emailed Prana to suggest that they stop sponsorship.
Ahh - the truth that we see in hindsight. I apologize for the placement of the bolt(s) that have caused so much debate. I obviously did not realize the depth of this ethical issue, and am very sorry to have angered so many people. To clarify a few things (just so people won't worry about the stacks being pulled over, etc)
1. No bolts were placed on the stacks, the climbs, etc...
2. The slackline was set up at the base of the stacks, over the channel that is crossed via tyrolean. The tensioning in absolutely no way affects the integrity of the stack
3. The bolts used were 5 piece expansion bolts, very easy to remove completely with a 13mm wrench - leaving only the hole and sleeve behind (no stud to bash in or grind off). This still leaves a hole however, so I know it does not fully eradicate the impact.
4. All future ascents will need to do the swim and set up the tyrolean
This debate is heated, and interesting, but I feel that it is not my place to jump in. I honestly did think I had a handle on the local ethics, and was making decisions based on this - I understand now that I was very very wrong.
Much of my experience in the last 5 years has been in the harmonious exploration of the connection between slackline and climbing, but this is not the time or the place for me to try to "justify" my actions, and I am also sorry that my previous post comes off with this tone. Right now is the time to apologize. I am sorry. I am also sorry to those of team YogaSlackers who were not involved and have been vilified by association.
None of our sponsors were actively involved or aware of our specific actions or plans.
Our team and overall ethic is true to the ideas that we present on the website. I (we) made a big mistake. I will keep an eye on this and other threads, if you want a personal response to a question or concern, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honest apology - Jason
Thank you for your apology Jason.
The tricky bit now is how you are going to make that real by restoring what you and your mates have damaged. One way would be to contact the Mountaineering Club of Scotland and pay costs... Oh, and maybe not releasing any vids of slacklining involving the areas you damaged. Cheers.
> Thank you for your apology Jason.
> The tricky bit now is how you are going to make that real by restoring what you and your mates have damaged. One way would be to contact the Mountaineering Club of Scotland and pay costs... Oh, and maybe not releasing any vids of slacklining involving the areas you damaged. Cheers.
To attone for his crimes, I suggest some form of sacrifice, whether human or animal I'm not sure, we should consult the BMC guidelines.
Maybe he can send it some pictures of all his slack line gear after it's been shredded!!
Maybe all that needs to be done now is pop a bit of resin in the bolt-holes (coloured with ground-down local rock-type), and all will disappear. No trace, and no rust seepage from the metal still in the hole.
End of story in my opinion.
Sounds good to me. (Though I wonder at whose expense -- petrol, largely -- this should be.)
I am sure YogaSlackers would not mind making a small donating to Mountain Club of Scotland to help out? OR, if they know somebody living nearby able to do this very small job for them?
here is the bolt
One of the bolts, you mean.
According to their website Team Yogaslackers are still engaged on the Scottish Mission until 12th June. Plenty of time for them to go back and make good the damage themselves. Not that they show the slightest indication of knowing how to do so, judging by the above post. 'You just take the bolt out with a wrench and leave the sleeve and the hole, right?'.
I wonder if Team Yogaslackers would care to share with us why it was that they thought they were acting in an acceptable way? I mean, there must have been some process they went through to arrive at this mistaken conclusion, right? They couldn't just have gone into other people's countries and fired off a bunch of bolts just as if they were at Red Rocks or something, could they?
>End of story in my opinion.
That reminds me, Mark, have you finally completed the task of removing all those absurd bolts you placed on sea cliffs and "popping a bit of resin in the bolt-holes (coloured with ground-down local rock-type)".
Not that that would be the end of the story exactly, but it would be a very welcome stage in a really sad episode.
Presumably they realize bolting wouldn't be allowed around major landmarks in US national parks. Slacklining isn't even allowed in the Arches national park.
I am beginning to suspect this is some sort of advertising stunt.
Rope tensioned directly onto bolt hanger - nice.
OMG. How has this not made the news - or the Daily Mail at least?
'Foreign Weirdos Deface Our Landscape - all grip is lost'
If it was possible I would. The snipped bolts at Carn Vellan are on such steep rock, you would have to put a bolt next to the bolt to work on it! Not possible, sadly.
As for other bolts on granite... remember these where placed pre-agreement.
Most are placed to stop cracks from being widened from repeated peg placement(like Suicide Wall). They where place with the idea that someone would chop them when they climbed them without (not just abseil down and chop them).
Those that where placed for environmental reasons, like lower-offs to protect the delicate crag edge above, they unfortunately (in my opinion) again got chopped by abseil. These I stand by the reasons for still being there (you and others may disagree and I respect that). They have nothing to do with climbing ethics. (Isis lower-off, Flash Control lower-off etc.)
The pure sport-route bolts (Red Rose and Scandals, only two) where place pre-agreement. Red Rose I have re-pared, the chipping and the original bolt holes. I have also re-climbed this route too. Scandals, sadly I have not been back to since my ascent and Andy Pollits ascent.
We all have our points of view on this episode. I personally have respected the masses views. I have gone on to put up many other routes in the area without any fixed gear. Lets just put it behind us and move forward.
> The snipped bolts at Carn Vellan are on such steep rock, you would have to put a bolt next to the bolt to work on it! Not possible, sadly.
So how did you manage to place them?
I don't know if you have equipped any sports routes? But on the steep ones it is generally done via abseil. So you start from the top, place fist bolt, clip in abseil rope, ab down a bit, place bolt and clip again...and so forth. This is how you can keep to the rock.
Once the bolts are chopped and gone (Apparently snipped, leaving 80% of the bolt still showing in some cases, but still un-clippable)... Then you have a problem... How to get into the rock to mend the snipped bolts? Not possible unless you can get a cherry-picker down there!
By the way... The bolt placed at Carn Vellan where Stainless steel resin anchors. This presented a further problem....I had to wait for each bolt to set solid (12hrs) before I could clip it to go to the next drilling below. It took me weeks just to equip one route!
You can imagine how I felt when they got snipped in such a brutal way.
> I don't know if you have equipped any sports routes?
No. I wasn't having a go by the way. Now you've explained it I see what you mean. I've cleaned new lines and retrieved stuck gear on steep rock, I can equate what you're saying to that.
Wasn't thinkingg you were having a go. Just thought I may be explaining to my grandmother how to suck eggs (that's if I had a grandmother).
I have also bolted from below many times too, that's a whole new game. Involves carrying a bolt gun on your back or pulling up one on a spare rope, while hanging a move, exhausting! Check out Grand Diedro (7a+) on Echo Wall, Costa Blanca. This one was done from a wide bridging position, so I could rest my head against the rock and pull up the drill on the spare rope.
Who said Sport climbing is not adventurous! Was fun up there.
Thank you for your reply. I am actually very interested to find out what your views are about this, so I hope you won't mind if I press you a bit.
First, I'm delighted to hear that you have repaired Red Rose. May I ask when you did this? The last time I looked was probably about 2001, but then the holes, the sleeves and of course the rust marks were still plainly visible. And when you say you have reclimbed it, I assume you mean that you top-roped it again after repairing the chipping, rather than leading it without the bolts?
I don't think even now you really understand the horror that what you did inspired in many people. I remember when I first heard that someone had bolted the Red Rose wall I simply couldn't believe it. Literally. I couldn't understand how any climber could look at such a magnificent piece of rock, facing the ocean, and decide that the thing to do was to attack it with a drill. I still can't. I felt exactly like many of the posters above about these slacklining people, only worse - after all these people aren't climbers and in a sense one can't expect any better, but you were a climber. Even now, 20 odd years later, I get a distinct mix of emotions every time I go to Sennen and pass underneath it - sadness, outrage, disbelief, anger, embarrassment that the climbing community couldn't look after its crags better.
As to 'putting it behind us and moving forward', it depends what you want to achieve. If all you mean that is we should all think about other things, then fine. Personally I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about it when I see the bit of rock, but that's my problem. But if you're interested in your legacy, then it's different. You ought to be someone who is seen as somewhere between a minor major figure and a major minor figure in UK climbing history, and a major one in Cornish climbing history. Obviously that means something to you - you're always very interested in threads about your routes, and proud of them, and to a certain extent rightly so. To my mind and that of a lot of other people, though, you're in fact going to be remembered only, or certainly mainly, as the guy whose ambition outran his talent and behaved appallingly. If you want to avoid that, then you need to make your position clearer (and I suspect different).
And the fact is I really don't think you've put it behind you yourself, because you're still fighting the war in the above post, which contains a number of half-truths at best, as it seems to me, and I'm happy to be corrected.
>As for other bolts on granite... remember these where placed pre-agreement.
Obviously all of your bolts were placed "pre-agreement", because before you came along it never occurred to anyone that it might be necessary to agree that bolts shouldn't be placed on the Cornish sea cliffs. There was never anyone to reach an agreement with but you (and your father and perhaps the odd employee), and agreement was only reached when you more or less unilaterally decided to stop placing bolts. But every one of them was placed in the full knowledge that a majority of climbers both locally and nationally thought they shouldn't be.
>Most are placed to stop cracks from being widened from repeated peg placement(like Suicide Wall).
Hmm. I'm not very sure which bit of SW you mean, but in any case this surely isn't true of at least, for example, the Question Mark bolts, or the one on Silence of the Lambs?
>They where place with the idea that someone would chop them when they climbed them without (not just abseil down and chop them).
So if I understand you rightly, you couldn't do these routes yourself without the bolts or pegs in the same position, and you placed bolts rather than either leave the routes for someone who could do them, or placing a peg, the latter because you believed that the peg would rust and need to be replaced? And you believed that sooner or later someone would do the routes without the bolt, and they would then have the trouble of removing the bolts and making good the damage.
Is that right? And if I may ask, does that still strike you today as a good way to have gone about things? It wasn't what you said at the time in your article in which you explained that you had now taken out the bolts from some of your routes on the grounds that 'you'd had your fun', but perhaps that was at a later stage.
I take it also that the answer is that you haven't gone back and repaired the damage where these were placed.
>Those that where placed for environmental reasons, like lower-offs to protect the delicate crag edge above, they unfortunately (in my opinion) again got chopped by abseil. These I stand by the reasons for still being there (you and others may disagree and I respect that). They have nothing to do with climbing ethics. (Isis lower-off, Flash Control lower-off etc.)
I do disagree - the best course if you were concerned about this would have been either not to climb the routes at all or not to record them once you had. But this is obviously where you had the best case; indeed I suspect that had it not been for your other activities these bolts might well still be there and Isis might be a popular classic.
>The pure sport-route bolts (Red Rose and Scandals, only two)
Really? Surely at least 29 Palms (four drilled pegs in, what, 40-50 feet?) was more or less a sport route, and indeed Art of the Slate (five bolts in 70 or so?).
>I personally have respected the masses views.
If I may say so, calling the overwhelming majority of your fellow climbers 'the masses' doesn't sound to me as though you have respected their views. And in any case, you always knew that what you were doing was against the view of the masses. What was it that changed so that you started to respect that view after such a long period of not doing so?
I suppose the big question really is whether you now accept that bolting Red Rose in particular, and/or the whole bolt/drilled peg ethic you sought to introduce, was a huge mistake. Until you do, really you're no better than Yogaslackers, and I fear your niche in British climbing history will reflect that.
On the question of Yogaslackers, by the way, Prana tell me that 'this is a big issue for them (ie YS)', and that using their 'rock solid integrity' they will react appropriately to it, and that before I condemn them I should 'see how this plays out'. And that they themselves (ie Prana) are doing further research before replying substantively.
To be fair, Prana at any rate have behaved a lot better so far than, for example, Mammut and Red Bull did over Lama. Whether they're actually going to do anything effective remains to be seen, of course.
Is this real at all. I've read the hole (sic) thread and still can't quite believe it. Mental.
And your contribution to British and World rock is?
Only the small contribution that everyone makes who loves climbing and climbers and goes out and enjoys it and introduces new people to do it for love and occasionally picks up litter and tries to respect the crags and other climbers and treat them both properly, I suppose. Nothing of any moment. But what was your point?
Don't tell me what I should or should not have done.
I stand by all my actions and routes I have done. All where in-keeping with the ethics of the period, whether you disagree or not now, that's your view and I respect that. Those ethics have changed over time, and I have conformed to those ethics.
As a professional instructor most of my life, I have introduced literally hundreds of people to climbing. I also pick up rubbish, almost every day, because I climb every day.
I love climbing. Its my life.
PS Tramps Overcoat (I did first bolt free ascent) at Sennen had the first bolts on the crag and was placed before I was born! And I can name many more around the area before I even started climbing too!
Or to put it another way, they are a bunch of clothing salespeople and have absolutely no idea what you are talking about going on about expansion bolts and trad ethics, but are prepared to palm you off with some plattitudes while they find out.
> To be fair, Prana at any rate have behaved a lot better so far than, for example, Mammut and Red Bull did over Lama.
Not sure if there is a comparison; Red Bull sound like they were a driving force in the Patagonia farce whereas Prana probably just gave our wacky balance-obsessed friends a few T-shirts...
Is that the same kind of respect you offer to people who use the words "mum", "dad" and "kids"? You know the ones who are "never worth listening to"?
Listen to yourself.
Anyway, I thought you never climbed anymore. Just chess now, isn't it? You must find it hard to finish a game as you appear to live semi-permanently on this website spouting your fatuous nonsense.
> Or to put it another way, they are a bunch of clothing salespeople and have absolutely no idea what you are talking about going on about expansion bolts and trad ethics, but are prepared to palm you off with some plattitudes while they find out.
That is absolutely not the case.
Beaver Theodosakis the owner of prAna, and people at prAna like Jeff Leads and many of the people who work there are climbers and have been climbers for many years. They put up new routes, climb their hearts out and support the Access Fund.
When they heard about what had happened with the Yogaslackers they were very upset and they are doing something about the bolts that were placed.
Ah, OK, I thought maybe you'd changed. Obviously not.
>All where in-keeping with the ethics of the period
Nonsense. This is just a lie.
Do Prana advertise on this site, Mick?
Get a grip. Just because people are climbers, that doesn't mean I have to be nice to all of them every time I interact with them in a non-climbing context.
> Do Prana advertise on this site, Mick?
Yes they do, through Beyond Hope.
I know Beaver and Jeff personally and have talked to them about this. They will do the right thing.
You are on form at the moment jcm. It's quite entertaining.
> Get a grip. Just because people are climbers, that doesn't mean I have to be nice to all of them every time I interact with them in a non-climbing context.
My grip is sure. Would you like to explain where I suggested the above?
A weak riposte, sir.
When I placed bolts on Granite, I had seen bolts on crags like Gogarth, rock types like Limestone, Gritstone, Sandstone and many other British rock types. The ethic of the time was the bolts got chopped if you could climb them without. This was the unwritten ethic of the period. Bolts rarely got placed, and considering the amount of new rock I have climbed, I rarely placed them too.
Bolts had been placed in Cornwall way before I arrived on the scene. Strange really, I even got asked why I did not place more on my harder routes! (Names of these persons shall be withheld obviously)
So, where am I lying? and where is this all nonsense?
I suggest you get off your arse and try some of my routes, then tell me what you think... remember to wear EB's and no chalk for my early routes too.
It's not really, Mick. It's tiresome. I'm joining in no more. It spoils my day, this poncey e-jousting.
Yep! Me too. I'm off to the crag, got a new route waiting 10 minutes from my house.
> Yep! Me too. I'm off to the crag, got a new route waiting 10 minutes from my house.
I can barely read any of the posts; they're obscured by a load of willies waving about.
> Placing a peg placed in a good crack in hard rock does very little damage (trying to remove it may mind).
> Placing a bolt requires the drilling of a hole - how is that not 'damaging' the rock?
Off topic but I'll bite. The damage is done when the peg corrodes, and the results are unpredictable. At least with a bolt the damage to the rock is predictable, and nowadays old bots can be replaced using the same hole. Placing pegs shouldn't be an acceptable alternative to bolts as permanent pro, they're worse. Leave it clean or do a proper job of fixed pro(were local ethics permit obviously), should be the approach IMO.
This is where you're lying. This just isn't true, and you know it isn't true. There was no ethic at the time to the effect that new routers could place bolts anywhere they liked and they'd get chopped once the route had been done free, and there never has been.
This is not just a matter of opinion. An 'ethic' is something that arises out of consensus. If there had been any sort of 'ethic' of this kind, then you would have found some supporters outside your family and employees. As it was there was a firestorm of criticism both locally and nationally, which you chose to ignore, culminating eventually in a BMC meeting at which no-one (including even you, I think) suggested there was an ethic like you now describe, and which resulted in a more or less unanimous resolution that bolts in Cornwall were unacceptable (which you again pretended not to understand and thus ignored in part, but that's another story).
I thought at the time you were showing all the classic symptoms of denial. I was wondering whether 20 years had enabled you to overcome this, but obviously not.
In your words - '..culminating eventually in a BMC meeting..' '..and which resulted in a more or less unanimous resolution that bolts in Cornwall were unacceptable..'
Hmm.. just killing time on a sunday morning got me to reading this thread and it reminded me of a thread over on the sensible channel, about a bolted route on Carn Vellan, there's even a video of Mark climbing it - http://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php/topic,15058.0.html
The thread goes on to give a link to the minutes of the BMC meeting where a vote was held on whether bolts should be allowed on Cornish sea cliffs -
Scroll down the page to the outcome of the vote and it's -
From the UKB thread:
'A quote from one well-known south west climber who was there – 'if the car load from Bristol had broken down the vote would have gone in favour of bolting' – says it all really.'
I don't know Cornwall and don't know the scene, and I don't know if this is the meeting you're referring to jcm, but it's obviously not as clear cut as you're trying to make it out to be is it.
>I don't know Cornwall and don't know the scene
>, and I don't know if this is the meeting you're referring to jcm
It's not, not by some fifteen years and not by a very considerable margin as far as the topic is concerned.
>but it's obviously not as clear cut as you're trying to make it out to be is it.
I'm afraid it is, sonny. This is why it's important that people like Mark E get called out occasionally when they lie about history. Otherwise people like you listen to that they say and get the idea that there must have been some reason for what they did at the time. Still, thanks for your post. I suppose without it other people might have done the same idle internet searching as you and thought 'it's not that clearcut'.
Who are you calling sonny :)) Is that you dad??
'It's not, not by some fifteen years'
So your assertion that 'the overwhelming majority voted against bolts in Cornwall' is based on a meeting which has been superseded by some fifteen years. Since which time, another meeting and another vote has been held which resulted in a very close result. It doesn't look like you're very up to date with your history.
Or let me put that another way, it looks like you're very selective with your history.
No Surely a meeting held at the time of the events had more relevanceŁ
I don't know.
How is this - '...began by welcoming people to the meeting. He proposed the following agenda:
1 Carn Vellan (CV)
3 General policy for Cornwall'
- not relevant?
> Scroll down the page to the outcome of the vote and it's -
> For 16,
> Against 18,
> Abstain 7.
That's pretty much the problem isn't it?
(Tens of?) thousands of climbers in the UK (and in 50 years time a different set); most with a view about bolting; some are members of BMC; many will climb in Cornwall at some point; a few hundred live locally; a handful attend the area meeting; 34 of them vote ..... and a result decided by 2 votes is supposed to be "concensus"??!!
We (climbers) have had to make some assumptions about how decisions can be made - but in the simplification required ("BMC can set policy" or "local ethics are trumps" or "people climbing 9a can comment on steep stuff" or whatever), we lose any meaning or value from it and so the "decision" is worthless.
The fact that it's written up as minutes means nothing - a smallish group of climbers had a discussion about a contentious topic and disagreed is all we learn.
I have no idea what the solution is (and I'm anti-bolt on sea cliff routes), but the issue of how you demonstrate a majority or concensus is going to continue to be an issue.
Throughout most of my time living within "West Penwith" (The area in question) I could count on one hand how many "local" climbers actually where living in the same area as me. The Lands End Climbing Club became extinct because of dwindling members. So you can imagine the surprise when "34" turn up for a vote... where did they come from? I had never seen them before, and I climbed every day on the crags.
Basically, Its like me turning up with all my mates to vote on Yorkshire Grit issues.
Mark - the point I was trying to make (and failed it seems) was that *even if it had been* only the half-dozen who lived nearby, what on earth makes you think that gives the decision any more legitimacy?? The cliffs are for all climbers - near, far, present and future. Just because a handful of people think they'd like some bolts, and they happen to be nearby, doesn't make it ok!
Lets just make it clear that I'm not trying to be pro or anti anything to do with that debate. All I was doing, by linking to that BMC meeting, was pointing out that jcm's quite empassioned views about bolts in Cornwall don't appear to reflect the opinions of many other current climbers who are or have been involved in that scene.
I go to America occasionally, does that give me the right to vote on their issues?
Cornwall for the Cornish I say! I am sure we could have sorted out our own issues without the outside "help" from unknown "emitts" from up country. It wasn't like we wanted it to be a sport climbing area, so far from it! Maybe we should have like Portsmouth... it was a trad area once.
So, Maybe I have issues with my dad's aid route Hangman being retro bolted in Gordale Scar. It was a traditional aid route, climbed from below, now a sport route sprouting many new bolts. Sounds like I have a case? Seems to have stirred a few views on a similar route recently in Italy.
I don't live anywhere near Gordale, I would not dream of attending a vote if there ever was one... and that's my point.
I hope you guys enjoyed your time here and that your sponsors go easy on you. After all, far worse (depending on who you are talking to) has been done by UK climbers on UK soil and as Flashy pointed out, there are real Eco-disasters out there that should occupy our efforts (not just the obvious ones).
Just like I don't have a say on what goes on in the Scottish mountains, North Wales slate quarries, Southern Sandstone, etc.... Simply because I trust the folk that live there will understand what is going on far better than I ever will.
I think we all have an opinion and a 'say' at what goes on throughout the UK and across the wider climbing world. Some folks may have a more valid opinion, for whatever reason, but that doesn't mean I can't put my two pennyworth in as and when I feel the need.
Yes Chris you do. But when your local meeting is swamped by a huge bus load of folks you have never seen before... is that democracy? Do you in your heart think that is just?
Why not have let us locals have our meeting, come to our own conclusions, then put it out to the BMC that this is what we think. Then a civilised debate could have taken place, and not the shambles that happened. It wasn't pleasant, the atmosphere was awful and I really felt for the locals I knew who felt literally drowned out of their own debate. It was not good,
"The Environmental Nut Placement
This is a new protection device that was developed by Rowland Edwards, the man behind the Compass West climbing school. The idea is that it fits into a drilled hole in the rock and can not be seen from the ground. A Wild Country size 3 rock can be fitted into the ENP vertically and then twisted. As it twists a spring locks the nut into the ENP.
Rowland describes these devices as an adventure protection device that is not intended to be as bomb proof as a bolt and adds that each climber should judge the protection for themselves.
Rowland's ethic with these devices is to use them on normal adventure routes but only in sections where natural gear cannot be used. So if you intend to climb any of these routes of Rowland's then bring a full rack plus a few extra size 3 rocks for the ENPs.
I have encountered these devices on the Rowlands Magical Mystery Tour route where they were being used to protect a stance. Unfortunately there was already a rock stuck in one of them. This does not bode well for the future of these devices but we will have to wait and see. Certainly on a route which would normally have been bolted, as routes often are in Spain, then the ENP does appear to be a step forward.
There is now a second version of this device called the Super ENP or SENP for short. The device was redesigned so that the hole that was needed was much smaller. This made it easier for battery powered drills to cope. Just to confuse matters the new SENP requires a size 5 RP so if you intend to do any routes equipped with this device then make sure you have some extra size 5 RPs with you.
The latest RockFax guide details exactly which device is used on which routes and in what numbers, so this is another reason for updating your guide. However for those with an older edition or Chris Craggs' guide, or even one of the local guides then be warned that these routes are common in the Echo Valley. There are also a couple on the Puig de Campana and the Candelabra del Sol area of Toix Sea cliffs."
Just wondering, are there any of these adorning the Cornwall cliffs??
You're right; it's always an issue and will always be difficult. One defining feature of the 2005 meeting, though, was that those who wanted to establish bolt routes were asking public opinion first and agreeing to abide by the result, which is a very rare feature of these debates and greatly to their credit, especially since as far as I know they did abide by it.
In 1990, obviously, the position was entirely different; the Edwardses had asked no-one before placing their bolts and went on doing so even after it had become abundantly clear that virtually no-one else approved. The reason for that, as ME's posts are presently making abundantly clear, was their belief that they owned the place and that the opinions of the little people didn't count.
This device was not accepted by any rock climbing manufacturer, because they although liked the idea could not foremost see a profit from its production. They are a business after all.
So, I personally replaced all my ENP's and Super ENP's with normal through bolts and brackets out here on the Costa Blanca, Spain. One route I eliminated the super ENP (Solstice at Echo 2) and is now a run-out E8.
Hope that helps.
For goodness' sake, man, how can you be such a fool? The vote in 2005 was about treating one single cliff in Cornwall, Carn Vellan, as a sport cliff. The meeting in 1990 was about whether it should be possible (as the Edwardses wished and had been doing) for people who wanted to put up new routes on *any* Cornish sea cliff to place bolts. It resulted in an overwhelming no vote and has not been revisited since, and at the 2005 meeting there was not a single voice in favour of reopening that discussion.
I can't help noticing among Rowland Edwards' submission to that meeting the startling observation that he'd hate to see sport routes appearing in areas suitable for traditional climbing.
>The Lands End Climbing Club became extinct because of dwindling members.
It seems to have recovered from the extinction remarkably well, to judge from its website.
>So you can imagine the surprise when "34" turn up for a vote... where did they come from? I had never seen them before
You didn't see them then either, presumably, since you weren't at the 2005 meeting and had by then lived in Spain for some time, surely? Anyway, you want to know where Frank Cannings and Toni Carver came from, or Pat Littlejohn or Stu Littlefair? Seriously?
Exactly Chris. My "patch" happens to be the Culm and Atlantic Coasts and West Penwith, but the crags themselves belong to all. I have no more right to dictate how they are climbed than any other climber. Anyone who loves Cornish climbing has a right to speak up. However I will fight my corner, just as those who believe that bolts on natural grit are an anathema,.
It is widely acknowledged that the precedent set by Pete Biven and Trevor Peck in 1966 by using bolts on the FA of Beowulf at Bosigran was unacceptable. I also believe that all subsequent bolting compromised the essence of Cornish (as well as Lundy and Pembroke) seacliff climbing and was a mistake: some of those who initiated it have publicly admitted they were wrong.
Hell, we've all made mistakes. I now look back on some of my wholesale "gardening" of mediocre Culm routes in the 70s with regret, and I'm more than happy to see the thrift and sea samphire once again thriving.
Bolting the Old Man was a mis-judgment. If it proves to be the catalyst for the removal of all fixed iron from Cornish seacliffs and a return to a cleaner, more adventurous style of climbing such as Walk of Life at Dyers and some of Mark's and others' routes in West Penwith so much the better.
It seems like it's pretty easy to appear like a fool to you.
I'll do so again - you claimed that there was, in your words, 'a more or less unanimous resolution that bolts in Cornwall were unacceptable'.
Not that I care, but I happened to remember reading something on UKB about a sport route in Cornwall, which contained a link to a closely contested local area vote on creating a sport climbing cliff on the Cornish coast, which proves you are wrong to paint such a black and white picture.
Simple really, but not to you it seems.
Maybe try being more accurate in your wording so fools like me won't be able to point out the holes in your statements.
Without wishing to get drawn into this at all, since most of the real action happened when I was far too young to be involved, I don't think you are right. You said earlier that you had no real knowledge of the scene in Cornwall - I think this may be causing a fatal flaw in your argument.
The meeting many years ago was about bolting on all the cornish cliffs. The first meeting was worded such that the final statement said "no bolting on granite in cornwall". A further meeting clarified this to "no bolts on any cornish seacliffs", in part because the wording of the first meeting had meant that bolts were still being placed on non-granite cliffs in Cornwall.
The meeting of a few years back (2005 people have said) was specifically referring to one area of one killas slate cliff, the main roof at Carn Vallen. I don't know whether you've been there - I went down myself on a wet day a few years ago. If (and I'm still in two minds myself, so no-one should draw any unwarranted conclusions from the following sentences - if I had a view I'd express it) there is a home for sport climbing no cornish seacliffs, the main roof at Carn Vellan is, of the cliffs I've visited, it. Its a very steep (40 degrees perhaps, I don't know - from my memory of it when compared with today's view of the space face at mother careys in pembroke I would say it is significantly steeper than that, which is a cliff more people are likely to have looked at), has only one trad route on it (a trad version of a route originally done on bolts, now an unrepeated E10 with hard climbing with groundfall potential onto house sized boulders) - it looks to all intents and purposes like a cliff well suited to hard steep sport climbs. There's such a difference between a motion to support rebolting of some of the routes here and a motion supporting any wider bolting of cornish cliffs that I don't think any comparison between the two would be fair. Carloads of imported Bristolians (I've heard the stories about the single carful from Bristol who swung the meeting too) or not, I can't believe that any meeting held anywhere would have a close to 50:50 concensus about bolting any other area of the Cornish seacliffs. Carn Vellan is somewhere very different from your average cornish seacliff.
As an aside, the quality of workmanship displayed by the people who chopped the bolts at Carn Vellan is frankly something the people involved should be ashamed of. Whether the bolts should be there or not is a question I don't pretend to know the answer to, but even if they were wrong two wrongs (inappropriate bolting and shoddy chopping) certainly don't make a right.
Thanks AJM that's a reasonable answer. Though I haven't yet been blooded into Cornish sea cliff climbing (Lundy's the furthest south I've got to so far) I sort of already knew from reading between the lines that Carn Vellan wasn't your typical Cornish trad sea cliff and therefore not representative of most of the trad climbing in Cornwall.
So jcm would have been more accurate to say '...and which resulted in a more or less unanimous resolution that bolts in Cornwall were unacceptable, apart from those areas where it's recently been closely contested whether or not to turn them into sport crags'.
As you know I have said to you I believe now placing some of the bolts was a mistake, and I have more than tried to correct that by repeating my routes without (example: Lunatic Owl (one bolt) now E8) This possible largely because cams are smaller today. At the time of the first ascent there was a whole different atmosphere, as I believe, whether folks agree or not, that is how I felt in Cornwall at the time. So that is why I have said above on this thread, I stand by my routes. It does NOT as has been implied, that if I was to do these routes today I would still put bolts in, I would not.
My climbing has been searching for hard routes. The harder granite routes had no protection at the time. This is why Walk of Life (not granite obviously) has taken until now to be climbed without the pegs, because smaller cams are available. Take those cams off the harness and then see if it would get an ascent.
We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Its just a shame that those who go out and actually put new routes up in Britain, are also targets for any criticism.
I really prefer being out there actually doing some climbing. At the end of the day, nobody can stop me doing that.
Oh for God's sake, man.
Before 1990 the Edwardses placed a large number of bolts on the Cornish sea cliffs which had been used by traditional climbers for many years.
In 1990 there was a vote on whether there should be any bolts on Cornish sea cliffs. It was virtually unanimous against.
This proves that ME is not correct when he says that his pre-1990 routes were following an established ethic. They were not, and if they had been he would have received at least some support.
This is my black and white picture, which has nothing whatever to do with events in 1990-2005.
That was the end of the battle over wholesale bolting in Cornwall, insofar as these things are ever over. You are right that subsequently events were much murkier.
Between 1990 and 2005 the Edwardses initially, and I think subsequently other people, bolted a cliff called Carn Vellan, which is not a traditional Cornish climbing cliff, and which was not strictly within the geographical and geological wording of the 1990 resolution. Some people think that the spirit of the 1990 meeting was pretty clearly intended to exclude all Cornish sea cliffs (there was no discussion in 1990 of some cliffs being acceptable and others not), and that consequently the bolters were behaving in bad faith. Other people deny this. I wasn't at the 1990 meeting and don't have an opinion about this.
The Carn Vellan bolts were chopped at least once and became a cause celebre, and in 2005 the meeting you have linked to was held.
For that matter there is at least one other sport climbing area in Cornwall, Cheesewring Quarry.
That's probably a more accurate version, but it might be worth clarifying in the complete version that we are talking about roughly 40 metres square of cliff (not by any means even the whole crag) out of the thousands if not millions of square metres of cliff within 10 miles of it! I think there were perhaps half a dozen, maybe 10 at most, sport routes on the wall...
It's one small exception in a huge area - I think jcm's quote probably gives you the compact version - 99.99% of the cliffs have a firm concensus and the remainder have a narrow majority (depending I suppose on your view of the legitimacy of that vote) concensus against bolts...
>...and which resulted in a more or less unanimous resolution that bolts in Cornwall were unacceptable, apart from those areas where it's recently been closely contested whether or not to turn them into sport crags'.
No, the initial meeting (and its successor) did indeed result in that resolution, as AJM has explained.
15 years later there was indeed a closely contested debate on whether to turn one tiny area into a sport crag. That doesn't alter the truth of what I've said.
>I stand by all my actions and routes I have done.
Well, which is it?
You need to do some more research pal.
> Err, http://www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/pdfs/policies/bolts_policy.pdf
They aren't rules.
Carn Vellan. The policy after the meeting was "no bolts on granite". Carn Vellan is not Granite, and I have been told by a retired ex-tin miner next door neighbour of mine when I lived in St.Just that it is also a man made quarry. He should now he is now a tour guide at Geevor mine.
A rushed meeting was apparently made, I was not notified personally, and the goalpost was conveniently moved to "no bolts in Cornwall" Now, as I am reliably informed by someone who actually saw this, a group of non-locals from up-country abseiled down with 20ft long snips. As a result most of the bolts (Chemical resin bolts that took me weeks to place on such an overhanging crag) have in some cases only been snipped leaving 80% of the bolt showing. Not really bolt removal.
> >I stand by all my actions and routes I have done.
> Well, which is it?
I suggest you re-read my threads as you obviously have not been understanding what I have said.
Solaris: Go and chop the bolt if you must. Don't make out like it's a crime though, as that's not right.
You're right. I don't understand 'I stand by all my actions', and 'some of my bolts were mistakes', as being consistent statements.
Anyone else understand what he means, if ME himself doesn't seem inclined to tell us?
>Carn Vellan. The policy after the meeting was "no bolts on granite". Carn Vellan is not Granite, and I have been told by a retired ex-tin miner next door neighbour of mine when I lived in St.Just that it is also a man made quarry. He should now he is now a tour guide at Geevor mine.
>A rushed meeting was apparently made, I was not notified personally, and the goalpost was conveniently moved to "no bolts in Cornwall".
As I said, I have no opinion about this. CV is certainly not granite and I agree that one wouldn't be surprised if it was to a certain extent man-made, though.
The trouble with bolt removing is that the people who remove them normally have very little experience of bolt placing, for obvious reasons, and thus little experience of how to go about removing them. And the people who do have the relevant experience very seldom remove their own bolts even when they're found to have been inappropriate.
They're the nearest we're going to come to rules. How are you suggesting we should go about deciding what should and shouldn't be done on the crags?
The MCofS guidelines are rather out of date, but still no bolts in the mountains or in remote places. It's down to consensus now and if you are going to put bolts in a pre-existing classic route, then you need a very large percentage of folk to agree. I don't see anything like that here. In fact, apart from the wind-up guys, I don't see any.
> The MCofS guidelines are rather out of date, but still no bolts in the mountains or in remote places.
Disagree. It is selfish for the whole of scotland's mountains to be reserved for trad.
>It's down to consensus now and if you are going to put bolts in a pre-existing classic route, then you need a very large percentage of folk to agree.
Yeah, I agree, but no bolts have been placed in the old man of stoer.
This proves that ME is not correct when he says that his pre-1990 routes were following an established ethic. They were not, and if they had been he would have received at least some support.
It was not just cornwall where bolts where placed in the 80's and before - take north wales. Bolts in the Cad, Equator Walls (the pass), Cloggy, hell there are even old bolts on the right wall of the cromlech...not to mention all the bolts and other fixed gesar appearing on limestone.
It was a confused period for ethics obviously in more than one area...
Having seen the overhang at Carn Vellan I think it looks like a great area for some sport routes....
>Bolts in the Cad,
Placed in 1978 and I think had probably been chopped by 1988, certainly always controversial and only escaping a great deal of criticism because of the respect the first ascentionist was held in. Notice the name of the route and the fact that Fawcett didn't place any more.
>Equator Walls (the pass)
Placed by Stuart Cathcart; widely derided figure and much criticised also. Not sure when these were chopped or whether people just ignored the routes and let them rust away.
Not sure whether you mean the ones placed by, er, Rowland Edwards in the 60s, the one placed by Crew in 1963 which had been chopped by then, Redhead's which had been chopped by then, or Drummond's which had attracted a great deal of criticism and probably survived only because it's some weird sort of object which would be pretty hard to extract, I imagine.
Placed by aid climbers in the 50s. Nothing to do with it.
Nothing remotely resembling an established ethic, in fact quite the reverse, and anyway nothing like on the same scale that ME went in for.
In any case the ethic which ME was contending for was that it was OK to place bolts and when the route had been done free the lucky winner got to remove them. I don't think any of the above were placed on that basis.
> You're right. I don't understand 'I stand by all my actions', and 'some of my bolts were mistakes', as being consistent statements.
> Anyone else understand what he means, if ME himself doesn't seem inclined to tell us?
In those past years and before there was Internet, just a domestic magazine once a month that landed on the door-step. In that magazine was the clear placements of bolts all over the country, from Gogarth to Lundy and Scotland too.
Bolts where being placed as fillers-in on seemingly blank spaces where no alternative protection could be found. This was not a period of sports climbing like we understand today.
Believe me or not, that is your choice, but I simply followed this same pattern of what I saw and read as ethics of the day. I too, place some bolts on Granite routes, most as I have mentioned above as replacements for hard steel pegs that would rot in the salt air of the sea cliffs. I believed then I was doing nothing different than other similar activists of this period. Therefore I do stand by my actions as I saw them then.
Now, I feel this was a mistake; placing the bolts. If I did not feel it was a mistake, then I would not do bolt free ascents of my own routes.
So to clarify: I stand by what I did in the light of the ethics of that period, and that's totally my view of what I read it to be, and now, today and at this moment I think that it was a mistake, and would not repeat due to the clarification of ethics, and more importantly the availability of micro protection.
You can argue I should not have climbed these routes, that's a point of view, but I did want to climb these amazing lines, and I did. I have produced thousands of routes in my life so far, and god willing will continue to enjoy into the future. Life is so short, we should move on and forward.
>and the fact that Fawcett didn't place any more.
Actually I wonder how true that is. Where did Tequila come in relation to the whole Clarion Call explosion, I wonder? I forget.
Is it not 'selfish' at all for the trad ethic to be prevalent in the Scottish Hills- it reflects a long tradition where climbers have had the grace to leave routes too hard or bold for them bolt- free so that better climbers can do them in the future.
You may not like it, but until the majority of climbers decide to go pro bolt that's the way it'll be.
>In those past years and before there was Internet, just a domestic magazine once a month that landed on the door-step. In that magazine was the clear placements of bolts all over the country, from Gogarth to Lundy and Scotland too.
Bolts where being placed as fillers-in on seemingly blank spaces where no alternative protection could be found. This was not a period of sports climbing like we understand today.
Yes, I agree with all that, although one could argue a bit about the timing and the detail - it seems to me that bolting Red Rose in particular went way beyond even what people like Gibson were doing - and mind you those same magazines contained some pretty vehement denunciation of bolting on mountains and/or at all from some fairly leading figures - Johnny Dawes, Jerry Moffatt, Stevie Haston and Pat Littlejohn to name but four I remember. And obviously it's true that you were in a backwater and didn't have much to test your ideas against.
>Believe me or not, that is your choice, but I simply followed this same pattern of what I saw and read as ethics of the day.
I'm quite willing to believe that you thought those were the national ethics of the day if you say so. What I objected to was you saying that your bolting *was* in accordance with the ethics of the day, because I think events demonstrated pretty clearly that you and Gibson were going way beyond the ethics of the day.
>most as I have mentioned above as replacements for hard steel pegs that would rot in the salt air of the sea cliffs.
Actually I think this was a lot of the trouble; this was (to put it kindly) an idea way ahead of its time and caused you to place an awful lot more bolts than necessary, which inflamed people. If you'd stuck to the occasional one to protect the otherwise unprotectable, a la Redhead or Crocker, then while it wouldn't have popular there wouldn't have been nearly the same fuss. That's why I picked this and Red Rose out as 'huge mistakes' in my first post.
>Now, I feel this was a mistake; placing the bolts.
Well, why on earth didn't you say so when I asked you that in the first place??
I still don't quite see what you mean by saying that your actions were a mistake but that you stand by them. If you mean they were an honest mistake then that's fair enough, but that's not quite what most people think when they hear 'stand by my actions'.
>If I did not feel it was a mistake, then I would not do bolt free ascents of my own routes.
I don't know about that. Did Gibson ever say his Black Crag bolts were a mistake before going and reclimbing them all with no bolts and no change in grade, thus very modestly establishing several of Britain's first E10s some years before most people thought that grade had been climbed?
I still do struggle to see how you could possibly have thought bolting Red Rose was going to be accepted. Up to then it had all been on crags where no-one else went, but to bolt the best wall at one of the big two honeypot crags was bound to cause trouble, certainly locally. It's very hard to avoid the conclusion that you thought the opinions of local climbers didn't much matter because they didn't climb as much as you - indeed you made your feelings about that pretty clear earlier on.
It seems to me Red Rose was the defining moment, really, certainly in retrospect. Opposition to bolting is mainly an emotional and aesthetic thing, and that's just such a magnificent, grit-like wall. Everyone goes to Sennen, everybody looks at that wall, everyone with any curiosity looks at that guidebook and sees there used to be a sport route up it but the bolts were removed, and that's what they're going to remember about you, I'm afraid. And with the sport/trad divide that's grown up (witness your father's observation to the 2005 meeting), it's going to be very difficult for the future to understand what on earth you thought you were doing. That's why I picked that one out as a huge mistake; without that I think the history of the whole thing would have been different.
>You can argue I should not have climbed these routes, that's a point of view,
Well presumably it's a point of view you agree with, isn't it, given what you've said about placing the bolts being a mistake? You still don't seem quite to know what you think, to me.
Kind of. One can always just agree not to discuss things, but if you really want to 'move on', it's necessary to understand the other party's point of view, and I don't think you ever did yourself any favours in that area, especially your 'I've had my fun' article.
How hard do you think Red Rose would be as a trad route in its repaired state?
Some people on this website seem to miscomprehend your long winded and often personally abusive diatribe as the ponderings of an intelligent man. If you really are incapable of seeing the consistency in Marks statements then you are either not that, or you are blinded by your anger. It may be helpful for you to attempt to read as though you were impartial, then consider your response with your partiality switched back on and tone down the petty playground name calling. Bingo: constructive criticism.
I reiterate my apology, although it is clear to me that there is a lot more too this issue that first presented in the post - feelings run deep.
I also re-iterate that there were NO BOLTS placed on existing climbs - or any climbs. The sea-stack issue is a complicated one, and we enjoyed climbing the classic routes without leaving anything behind on the routes, and taking tat away with us (although you could fill many a rucksack on Hoy alone....
The cliffs and stacks are unique and special, and I am always impressed by those climbers in history who have pioneered such bold ascents. I am sorry to have tarnished the experience for anyone in the future by leaving the - bolts - although I hope that it is (as Volkman suggested) a minor tempest.
I have contacted the MCoS for their thoughts and offered to have the bolt(s) removed at my expense.
Enjoy the discussion.
And it may be worth opening up a discussion now dealing with slackline ethics - as if the growth of the sport in the US is any indication, there may well be climber/slackliners developing highlines at various places in the UK, and sea stacks have a huge appeal.
In the US there are many at classic crags (Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Squamish, Moab, Paradise forks, Queen Creek, Mt. Lemmon, etc)....
And believe it or not, there are growing numbers of slackliners in the UK keen on ocean lining and highlining....
I hope that they can coexist with the climbers and come to mutual understanding of the necessities of each others sport.....
Red Rose: Had only three bolts in its whole 20m length. I don't think this qualifies as a sports climb as you seem to be implying.
The first bolt is at approx. 10m of climbing... and taking a quick look at my Stanage guide, that would equal to the top and even above many routes. There is hard 6c (British tech) moves just to get to the first bolt and this 6c is unprotected. Then you have the crux: Such a hard sequence of moves on small slippy feldspar crystals above a roof and up a overhanging wall.
My original grade was E8 7c. I was not far off. The E8 stands as it was (if bolted), the tech today I think is 7b now, because there is better friction on the holds due to the resin used. The original Granite was as I have said, slippy and presented harder climbing.
I repaired and re-climbed this route 12 years ago.
Sorry, but by definition the majority can't be selfish, only the minority.
Thank you. Respect.
I wouldnt lose too much sleep over the ones at Am Buachaille and Hoy. The former sound like they're too low for a tyrolean (pretty sure nobody uses one anyway?) and will spend most of their life under the swell, consequently rotting pretty fast. Equally the Hoy ones sould like they're a sideshow to the main event and nobody will see them unless they're looking for them.
The Stoer one definately needs to be chopped, but I'm going to play devil's advocate and suggest there might be an argument for a bolted anchor on the stack side, as the current alternative is manky pegs.
I remember the row that happened when you placed those bolts, it was almost universally condemned as 'thin end of the wedge'.
It did not concern me as not being local but was also annoyed when your dad put the bolts on Cloggy
Why? Did you have me down as a bolt-hating, beardy fundamentalist? Only partly true.
My rationale is that the anchor on the stack side is to all intents and purposes an in-situ retreat point. Just like an abseil, there is no way that it can be retrieved. This is okay for slings and threads, which can be easily replaced, but if they are not available the choice is between nuts and pegs, all of which will degrade. Bolts do too, but more slowly.
Here's a bit more on the Red Rose saga:
I was stood under the line, when there was a (I think it was a Russian) BMC meet, with the then president of the BMC (I'll let you guess who that was). The President of the BMC says to me as we look at the overhanging wall.." ...should take four or five bolts...why don't you give it a go?"
My reply: I pointed at Tears of a Clown (which I had just done) and said that's the climbing for me.
Move forward a few years...
I am stood under the wall again, and this time with a top, if not the most well known climber of the day from the Peak District, and he says... "Mark, four bolts I recon, and your the man to do it"
The seed of the idea had begun to sprout. I managed to reduced the bolt count to three, and I climbed the route... Published my photo on the route with my grade. At the time it would have been the hardest route in Britain. Route gets vandalised and all hell breaks loose.
It sure is. I've nothing against bolts in appropriate places and have been happy to clip them too. But I do think that the bolting issue is a fascinating one, and will always take a close interest. In essence, I do feel that climbing is undergoing a slow but inexorable shift from being the sole preserve of the adventurous and the leftfield, to something more sanitised, quantified and commodified. Do I despise this? Not entirely, but in the wider context it saddens me a little.
Like most people, I'm pretty lazy. So unless you've bolted the Buachaille I think your bolts are pretty safe.
As long as they use natural gear (not bolts) there shouldn't be a problem.
>Red Rose: Had only three bolts in its whole 20m length. I don't think this qualifies as a sports climb as you seem to be implying.
I tend to agree; I was just adopting your own terminology from higher up the thread, where you said this
"The pure sport-route bolts (Red Rose and Scandals, only two) where place pre-agreement."
So you still think it was English 7c? Isn't that harder than any move done before (or pretty much since)?
When you say repaired, are you *sure* you filled in the bolt holes?
I was wondering though what grade you thought it would be without the bolts. I am assuming, though you don't say, that you only top-roped it in 1998.
>Just like an abseil, there is no way that it can be retrieved.
It could be retrieved pretty easily by swimming back.
>> I have contacted the MCoS for their thoughts and offered to have the bolt(s) removed at my expense.
What are you thanking him for? You don't know what he said to the MCofS. My guess is it's more mealy mouthed whingeing in attempt to obfuscate and ultimately, do nothing.
...and this lot shouldn't be expecting any gratitude for clearing up what they should have left in the first place.
I'm not sure how impressive it is saying that anonymous people told you it would be OK, but interesting anyway. The top climber of the day in the Peak was Jerry M. It'd be a bit surprising if he said that. (or arguably Johnny Dawes, but it be even more surprising if he said it!).
>At the time it would have been the hardest route in Britain.
I don't know why you say these things when they're just not true. Indian Face had been done two years before.
I wish you would read what I actually say, and not make up something you would wish you want me to say, for your own seemingly perpetual amusement and self glorifying armchair view-point.
Read: I said...""one" of the top climbers"...and so much more I just can't be bothered.
I feel its like talking to someone who really does not want to listen and not want to take a viewpoint from someone else.
I am going to end this ego trip of yours..
Goodbye and may you find piece in you life.
And that was a perfect slip..."Peace" in your life.
Well, you actually said, "a top, if not the most well known climber of the day from the Peak District"
The only two who could possibly be described as 'the most well-known climber of the day from the Peak District' are JM or JD.
Actually, I would very much like to listen to what you have to say; your two stories were interesting. But you don't help yourself with your habit of stating things that are inconsistent and/or simply not true.
Cubby once told me that he believed the only reason those were accepted was because it was him that had placed them.
Heehee; the minute I typed Buachaille I thought about Tunnel Wall, but I do think that it is very different to any other crag in the Coe and it has my vote to stay (even if I'll never get up any of the routes there).
Couldnt comment without knowing the crag, but sounds like it'll probably be accepted if/when you publicise it. Although it does only take one irate individual to undo all your work, as long as you've not bolted Neilston it wont be me!
That is simply not true from what I can see. They have a loyal following and most of those who avoid them simply do so because they're too 'ard.
Quite possibly; there was a fair bit of shit-slinging in the media at the time but crucially nobody felt move to go as far as chopping them. If they had would it have survived and thrived as the popular venue it is now? Whatever we may say about guidelines and consensus, when push comes to shove it's those who get the finger out that prevail.
Surely someone else went there first - didn't Cubby do a trad route called Romantic Reality and a clip-up called Uncertain Emotions about the same time, and I'm fairly sure the latter was a reply to one that had already been done.
I suspect Cubby is right though that if he hadn't joined in they might well have been chopped.
I'm actually very interested in whats being talked about here and hoping that it doesn't descend into acrimony. Being born and bred in Cornwall and not climbing seriously for that long I've been wanting to hear Marks and others views on these things since I picked up the guide book and saw that Mark was a member on here.
In general I'm strongly against bolting of any kind on Cornish (or any other area) sea cliffs but I'm also aware of how selfish that climbers can be in their reasons for being pro or anti-bolt.
I'm drifting onto the wider subject now but it's very obvious how eroded the cliff tops in the main climbing areas have become and this is the main concern for a lot of the non-climbing organisations. I've spent a lot of time recently going through what I could find for information and in the end I still dont think bolted lower-offs (for instance) are justified because of the amount of extra people that become attracted once you sanitise the area.
Making the areas 'safe' and 'accessible' is something else that's highly undesirable in itself. Although I dont think anyone has the right to say what people can experience, I do think it's very important that people are forced to go through the required steps and commitment of learning before they are let loose at somewhere like a Cornish sea cliff. It's bad enough going down there and having groups of fifteen people hogging a route on a top rope already. They are not a place to tame into a 'training' venue or where people can tick higher and higher grades safetly, they are stunning wild places and should be treated with the utmost respect even IMO when, like Carn Vellen, they've not been created by the elements but by the miner with his explosives as Mark has highlighted. My Uncle used to work in Geevor mine (his locker is still in the museum there!), I keep meaning to ask him about Carn Vellen. Its a shame bolting is such a permanent thing as the routes that Mark has put up look truly amazing.
In the circumstances and after the history of it all I think Mark is commendable for standing by his decisions, stating his reasons and admitting mistakes. I'm certainly in awe at some of the routes he has put up in the area and hope to do many of them in the future. Pulling apart the semantics of his posts on a public forum doesn't achieve anything, but I am very interested in hearing the details from his side as I've only heard it from other views in the media.
I wish Penwith didn't have such a big scar on it's history, but also can't help thinking that perhaps the heavy reaction is needed to stop the creeping sanitisation of wild places as sport climbing becomes more popular in this country?
> Well, you actually said, "a top, if not the most well known climber of the day from the Peak District"
I read that as 'a very good, not very well known climber from the peak'
it seems ambiguous to me but it might crucially depend on a (missing) comma !
Fated Path was the other one, wasn't it? But perhaps that was Cubby as well. Or someone else later. Or something. I'm getting senile. But I'm sure I remember reading his comments that he was responding to something or other.
In reply to royal:
If you can't understand what someone's saying there's not much alternative to asking them to clarify it, whether it's on a public forum or not.
Yes, fair point. Your interpretation hadn't occurred to me but that might have been what he meant.
In that case I bet it was Mark Pretty!
>but it's very obvious how eroded the cliff tops in the main climbing areas have become
Is it? I wouldn't have said this was true at Sennen or Bosigran, or indeed Chair Ladder really. Where did you have in mind?
On the other hand I did notice that the descendents of the Raven wall birds have shacked up just below the Doorpost/Doorway belay and had a bunch of chicks who dont seem to be bothered by the human traffic! I also had a pigeon sitting on my foot for 15mins while I was waiting on the first belay for slow people above to move on haha.
I'm from the North Coast and dont seem to end up at Lands End very often. I'm yet to climb Chairladder so wouldn't like to comment but I'm sure the general popularity of the place would make it at least as bad as Bosigran?
Hmm. I've never noticed Bosigran being too bad at all relative to its popularity.
I'm amazed that ravens would still nest on Bosi! And also pretty surprised they didn't give you a clout as you went past. You're sure they weren't jackdaws, I suppose?!
Ravens are massive - think large bird of prey, which they are - and are genuinely a bit scary, unlike jackdaws which are pretty tame and small as crows go.
Indeed. Jackdaw roughly = pigeon. Raven roughly = buzzard. Jackdaws also have grey on them, if that helps.
If they are ravens then the crag are part of it should be closed, I think - there've been Peak bans for nesting ravens, I think. Although I suspect they have their own ways on enforcing bans.
I'm not getting involved in an argument about the rights or wrongs of placing the bolts. But I am a little confused here - i.e. why sea stacks have such huge appeal.
You mention "highline" in your post above, but didn't you just slack-line across the channel? What's "high" about that? Isn't the line only a few metres above the water?
I'm struggling to see the point really. Why not do it just anywhere? Surely there are plenty of deep(ish) water channels all around the coast where you can rig a line above water? And where there are plenty of available anchors using natural gear, hence removing the need to place bolts.
If it's supposed to be an "adventurous" way of reaching the climb, then why not just have all team chuck their stuff in dry bags and swim instead? As far as I'm concerned, that'd be more adventurous.
I've slack-lined a bit and played around with rigging lines, although I'm no expert. I'm fairly sure I could manage to rig and walk a line across that channel, so I'm also a little confused as to the point of making a video of you "sponsored" guys doing just that?
Maybe I'm missing something though...?
I think Cubby did establish trad routes and then realised how the wall leant itself to sport routes. Then bolted it. I think, though I'm not sure that he retroed his own routes. Could that be right?
Pretty sure it was Cubby and Graeme Livingston who bolted a couple of routes each (Fated Path, Admission, Uncertain Emotions and another one whose name escapes me - I remember a magazine comment about the route names reflecting their thoughts at the time). Cubby also climbed Symbiosis at E8 (ground up?) on the same wall shortly afterwards. Can't remember for sure, but I think Romantic Reality was climbed before the bolted lines.
> I think, though I'm not sure that he retroed his own routes.
Oops, missed out a comma and changed the meaning... should have been:
I think, though I'm not sure, that he retroed his own routes.
Why not let Andy Nisbet know about it? He's in the process of compiling the SMC sports climbs guide.
Excellent post :-)
Yes, that seems to be right from the intro to my Glencoe guide. I always thought Fated Path came first because it's mentioned first in the intro, but on closer examination of the FA list Uncertain Emotions was first. This may be accounted for by the fact that on closer examination the intro was written by DC himself.
Doesn't seem to have been any retroing as such from the guide, but I have an idea that these routes originally used some trad semi-fixed gear and some bolts, and no doubt got fully bolted one day.
Interesting to read his final paragraph, too:
'I firmly believe that there is a place for bolts in Scottish climbing, but only in the right hands and on the right crags. For the majority of us bolt protected climbing is all about pushing oneself to the limit in relative safety. In Glen Coe and the Highlands in general there are simply no accessible crags of the type necessary to produce satisfactory bolted climbs. Elitist? All I'm saying is spare a thought for others and make space for a little fun.'
Not terribly sure what he meant by that exactly, but whatever it was it doesn't seem to have happened, to say the least. Wonder what he'd think of those words now.
Yes, looking at the descriptions in the guide clearly in 1992 at any rate they still used some trad gear and some bolts. I doubt they do any more, though - such a faff, you know?
This trip for us was not highline specific, more a climbing/slackline vacation. There are several top highliners living in the UK who we have conversed with and have mentioned possible highline projects. As highlines take much more work to develop well, it is usually locals who scope the areas, and do the work to rig the lines. I was merely suggesting that an conversation between climbers and slackliners would be useful. I certainly don't envision a rampant bolting of stacks to set up lines, and certainly hope that existing climbs would not be altered in order to create a highline. Any classic climb that involves a mandatory tyrolean is somewhat tantalizing to the slacking climber.....I just honestly want to avoid (and for others to as well) the situation that arose.
As for the why - I am not sure that I can satisfactorily answer that to any specific individual. People ask "why?" of climbers all the time.
Walking a line in a park is very different than a line over a river, or over a bad landing, or over the ocean to a stack. The more wild energy there is about, the more of a struggle the mental focus becomes for me. Very similar to climbing in the head game aspect - again at least to me.
To us, trying to walk across the line felt more adventurous than swimming - I am certainly not suggesting that it should feel that way to anyone else.
Someone in this thread looked up our website and saw that we were sponsored by Prana and a bunch of other companies....but that does not mean they sent us to Scotland to so it. They really knew nothing about it. There was no film crew or photographer. Just us with our little digital camera. In an irony not lost on me, I've recieved all my "sponsorship" if you will, long after my days as a competetive climber and FA expeditions.
Our little group is just that - little. We have an Adventure Racing Team, we teach AcroYoga, Slackline Yoga, Ashtanga...we are all climbers as well, teaching yoga/climbing retreats. We do yearly expeditions exploring our own potentials for multi-sport human powered travel. Mostly we try to inspire ourselves and others to explore and expand as humans.
We're not famous, were not "elite" climbers who get money for mag shots, new FA's or hard repeats. We're just people. We are trying to explore our own passions, so I guess that is the why.
I was drawn to it, and have been wondering about slacklining the gap at Old Man of Stoer for 15 years since I first climbed it. I drew the short straw then and dove into the really cold November sea. Once our Tyrolean was set, it was evident that the tide was so high that we'd all get wet again on the crossing unless timed perfectly. Right before setting off (and getting soaked with a swell) one of the guys said - "Now I wish I'd have learned to slackline when I was in the Valley [Yosemite]" The idea stuck.
Have a great night. Sorry for the long answer to your question.
It's worth taking a step back to remind ourselves that the heated discussions we get into are purely to do with the ethics and aesthetics of our own sport, and must appear totally baffling to outsiders. Other activities have their own ethics and aesthetics. The challenge is where we share the same environment with other activities, including slackliners, abseilers, canyoners and coasteers, among others, where we need to find a way of making sure our actions, which may be ethical in our own eyes, do not infringe on others.
The bolt on Broad Stand is an example, apparently placed by someone with a different ethical view and in ignorance or disregard of the ethics of other users.
I am a little surprised that the Yogaslackers, being climbers themselves, were not more conscious of the ethical issues when they placed the bolt near the Old Man. On the other hand, if it is not affecting a climbing area, should climbers have the right to demand (as opposed to request) its removal?
A few months ago in the UK there was a documentary about Dean Potter on TV. It showed him with a highline set up somwhere on El Capitan.
It was fascinating to watch as you never actually saw the anchors on either end of the line - everytime the camera panned to the end of the line it was cut.
I even posted on here about what anchors Potter had set up but no one seemed to know - it was fairly obvious to me what the anchors were when you consider the stresses involved - I doubt he used a couple of cams and a rock 7!!
It's annoying as I'm quite into my climbing an outdoor stuff and here at our B+B I quite regularly get asked whether I saw that awesome film of that crazy yank tightrope walking in Yosemite. It's very difficult for me to tell our guests what a load of cock I thought it all was ;-)
From an aesthetic point of view, if you are outraged by a small piece of metal on a remote piece of rock, then there isn't really much hope for you. What about the pile of unsightly tat on the top? Probably also not a big deal in the scheme of things, but much more unsightly than a bolt...
Not sure if I unsderstand the appeal of either yoga or slacklining, but that doesn't make either pursuit less valid. I'm sure we all do plenty of things that others don't understand. I certainly do.
Anyway, back to your pointless off-topic bickering about Cornish sea-cliffs.
I read the title of this thread and was disturbed, but didn't read it all the way through. However, the bolts placed at low level off the climb are a nothing, much like the ones used by boatmen for tying their boats up in places, or the metal ladder at Coruisk to disembark.
It's got very little to do with the visual impact. If that was the main reason all the unsightly tat which we've been arguing about for years would have been replaced by bolts already.
Think a little deeper.
In reply to zzz:
I dont agree. To me your missing the (off-topic? ;) ) point. The tat on the top is purely what you say; aesthetic. It's not pretty but it's pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things and can be removed to not leave a trace. A bolt is physically drilling into the rock and leaving a permanent mark. When you leave a permanent mark it effects everyone.
Beat me to it!
Raises a rather depressing prospect, this - does anyone know how Jon Ritson anchored the line for his Gordale walk?
In reply to Howard J:
It's not a question of climbing ethics as such; the entire reason climbers confine themselves (on the whole) to bolts in non-wilderness areas is the feeling that people shouldn't leave things behind in wilderness areas.
Anyway, whether we have the right to demand or request its removal, we certainly have the right to arrange for its removal, and if the placers don't arrange it at least before the end of July then I will. Does anyone know whether '13mm wrench' is the American for '13mm spanner'?
Does anyone know whether '13mm wrench' is the American for '13mm spanner'?
Time to let things lie for a while and see what happens IMO. I don't see what good continual slagging off is going to do.
Here's an interesting link re Jon R.
Rather failing to find any decent pictures of Gordale. Wonder what he's been up to - seems to have gone quiet for a while.
> A few months ago in the UK there was a documentary about Dean Potter on TV. It showed him with a highline set up somwhere on El Capitan.
> It was fascinating to watch as you never actually saw the anchors on either end of the line - everytime the camera panned to the end of the line it was cut.
> I even posted on here about what anchors Potter had set up but no one seemed to know - it was fairly obvious to me what the anchors were when you consider the stresses involved - I doubt he used a couple of cams and a rock 7!!
> It's annoying as I'm quite into my climbing an outdoor stuff and here at our B+B I quite regularly get asked whether I saw that awesome film of that crazy yank tightrope walking in Yosemite. It's very difficult for me to tell our guests what a load of cock I thought it all was ;-)
You don't like slacklining? Or bolts? Or both? I think your post is a load of cock. ;)
Outdated views, or just ones you don't agree with?
In response to a couple of other posts; does UKC have an FAQ type article somewhere that people could read before posting about bolts? For example why unsightly tat is considered different, and better in a trad context, to a less unsightly bolt. And why leaving a bolt is different to leaving polish. Naturally it could also cover why you can't just not clip the bolts. The same arguments come up again and again; it's like listening to Richard Dawkins arguing with a creationist.
Outdated views are good. I like outdated views. If expressed with sufficient vehemence, they prevent dickheads who've been climbing for about five minutes and would be more at home on a squash court (or indoor wall) from wrecking the crags.
I like slacklining - I have one set up between two trees at the back of the house.
I love bolts - I was climbing sport routes yesterday and this morning.
> It was fascinating to watch as you never actually saw the anchors on either end of the line - everytime the camera panned to the end of the line it was cut.
If you're talking about the Lost Arrow walk, there are multiple bolts (with a cable through them) on top of the arrow. On the main cliff side, everyone uses a big gnarly old pine tree for the other end of the usual tyrolean....but Potter may have added bolts that end. The ethic in the valley is improving, but a lot of people still think bolts are ok if there's nothing else and they're hand-drilled.
I've done the Lost Arrow. I'm not talking about that. It was the thing he did on El Cap.
>they prevent dickheads who've been climbing for about five minutes and would be more at home on a squash court (or indoor wall) from wrecking the crags.
Bravo. I'm glad the likes of John Cox can be bothered arguing the point here. He's done a good job on this thread.
Seems to me there are more and more indignant noobs who think because they can do 7a indoors it's time to Hilti feck out the crags.
Fair enough if you have an issue with that (I don't) but it has nothing to do with bolting routes and so-called 'ethics'.
Can't be bothered to argue with you.
Still not got it have you?
How does a newbie differentiate between bolts placed for different uses?
Maybe they will just assume that a bolt for slacklining is a bolt for a tyrollean traverse.
Or assume a bolt is for abbing or, aid or even climbing.
Do you really not understand, or are you just playing thick to wind people up?
> Maybe they will just assume that a bolt for slacklining is a bolt for a tyrollean traverse.
> Or assume a bolt is for abbing or, aid or even climbing.
Too many posts to regurgitate the actual details, but I get the impression that anyone using this bolt for a traverse is going to get very wet, and would probably set up something higher and more sensible.
Not sure why I'm arguing this as it doesn't really bother me that much. I think it is probably the hypocritical and single minded attituide of some on here that makes me do it.
>but I get the impression that anyone using this bolt for a traverse is going to get very wet
I think the OP said that about Am Buachaille. I have the impression the Stoer one is actually convenient for a Tyrolean just as much as for a slackline.
PS - you're the mysterious one.
Well, you've been arguing with me so I'll assume you mean me. How am I Hypocritical and how am I single minded?
>I take it you struggle with your climbing?
Yes. I think most people do. Struggling seems to be inherent!
I'm no spring chicken, but I realise that these 'noobs' and dickheads (squash players??) are also a part of climbing. Anyway what noobs are gonny go out and wreck a crag with bolts? Seems like it's mostly name climbers who get the drills out, correct me with some examples if I'm wrong. I have access to a hilti through my job at the council, so am lucky. I have no plans to bolt anywhere else, least of all established trad climbs. I love mountain trad routes.
It was more the tone set further up (and in the abseiling on climbs of National Importance thread) where some climbers seem to think that they own the cliffs and their 'ethics' should be applied to all other users. Environmental concerns (damaging the rock etc) seem to come into play when it suits, but the same people probably wouldn't think twice about stripping vegetation off a crag to make it into a more suitable trad venue.
As Sutty says above, what is the difference between this and a mooring ring for a boat at Coruisk? Stoer is no urban wasteland, but I'd stop short of calling it wilderness either.
Seems that what we have here is a deliberately alarming headline covering a story of much less excitement. Plenty of people have jumped at the headline without really bothering to check what has actually been done (hende my Daily Mail comment earlier).
I was asking you to explain your post a bit. What it was you thought was crap.
Double negatives are always totally confusing; are we looking down on people for not having Embra accents? Or not looking down on them for having Embra accents? Or...? I'm confused.
That doesn't sound very ein volk, ein Reich etc.
Oh, dear God. If I hear one more person respond to any observation about what should or shouldn't happen on the cliffs with the words 'you don't own the cliffs', I'm going to, I'm going to.....well, probably just point yet again what a pathetic observation this is.
And while I'm on the subject the argument 'humans have an impact on the environment, ......................., and therefore it must be OK to place bolts', embodied in one of your posts higher up, also needs a little development if it's to be truly convincing, you know.
What always gets me about this last one is the way bolters announce it as though this was the first day of creation and they were saying something that no-one had previously discovered. Sort of like the First Joke in the Narnia books, if anyone still reads those.
A proponent of bolting on the internet is usually indistinguishable from a parody of a proponent of bolting (again a bit like creationists). It's always the same old tired arguments that have been trotted out since fixed gear first appeared. The arguments against bolting in this country are the same too, they tend to win over, and that's why we still don't have widespread bolting in this country.
It is in some ways irritating that these same arguments keep coming up over and over and over again. I can't imagine how awful it must be for those who are old enough to have been refuting them for 20+ years. It's frequently someone very young and/or new to the sport who kicks it off, hence the comments about n00bs above.
Bruce Hooker tried that line too. Truth is it's just a name.
I'm glad someone else can differentiate between ironmongery to moor a fishing boat to with ironmongery to piss about on a tightrope (sorry I mean slackline).
> Double negatives are always totally confusing; are we looking down on people for not having Embra accents? Or not looking down on them for having Embra accents? Or...? I'm confused.
You are so witty. Just the kind of guy I was talking about. Thanks for perfectly illustrating my point.
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To some, slacklining is pursuit of balance, focus, personal exploration, etc that is very dynamic and rewarding. We also piss about on yoga mats much of the time, and each other during acroyoga practice. (not literally "pissing about" as I just had a very bizarre mental image on that last one)
The issue is not one of slacklining or any other pursuit, as an argument can be made as to the unnecessary nature of any of these outdoor activities....
I (we) are most concerned with continuing to develop our communication and awareness in regards to this issue, so that we can continue to do the things we love, in the areas we love - and make a minimum negative impact on the environment and the other users of the area.
I (we) do appreciate all the responses, thoughts, criticisms, and discussion to come across this thread. Differing opinions and criticism can be quite hard to listen to, and it is always an effort when faced with it not to get defensive right away and stop listening. But it is a worthy practice I think - and this episode has given us a good opportunity to do just that.
While people may not ultimately come to the same conclusion, and opinions may still differ radically, I certainly have a better understanding of the intensity of the issue and deep feelings involved.
Give me a f*cking break - you come halfway around the world - set up a slackline over a 15ft gap of seawater which just happens to link the main coast of Scotland with a beautiful seastack and you come out with a load of bollocks like that????
You have a good memory... I can't remember if you replied at the time though. Don't you realise the impression it gives?
Mind you saying that most climbers are dickheads fits in well with the image.
> To some, slacklining is pursuit of balance, focus, personal exploration, etc that is very dynamic and rewarding.
This is the problem with the internet - I cannot describe in words on here my reaction when I read that. You'll have to ask my freind Jez who eventually came in and picked me up of the floor and put me back in front of my PC.
Maybe he's pulling your leg?
At least I hope so.
This thread seems to bringing out a variety of weird and wonderful attitudes, from naivety to destructive stroppiness ... it reminds of when I once had the misfortune to make fun of the users of hiking polls on footpaths! People seem to get very upset when you question their toys.. as if you were challenging their virility. It seems to be a male thing all this drilling and bolting and fancy gadgets in general.
I used to come in here and claim that bolts were the way forward when I was new to climbing. What is more ideal than going from climbing on bolted fake rock at the wall to climbing on bolted real rock at a roadside crag? And it is free too!
I would now prefer it if no rock were bolted in Scotland. A bolt does not belong in nature.
What makes you think it is okay to come to my country with a drill in your hand?
Anyone been to the 'secret' harbour near North Berwick? big huge chunk of sandstone has been carved out in order that a couple of manky fishing boats can be tied up, its now a tourist attraction.
lets get some perspective here folks, the old man of stoer has not been touched so take a chill pill, particularly John Cox who has used it as an excuse for some other irrelevant (to this thread) agenda
> Anyone been to the 'secret' harbour near North Berwick? big huge chunk of sandstone has been carved out in order that a couple of manky fishing boats can be tied up, its now a tourist attraction.
Would you care to explain how this is an argument for turning a blind eye to further damage?
Was Red Rose the one with the purple hangers?
Glad to amuse you, although I still have no idea which way round you meant it.
Have you noticed that Volkman and his ilk have no posting history or proper profiles but always jump up on threads like this? Effectively anonymous posters that nobody else knows but shout long and loudly.
I also think Bruce has lost the plot completely going off his latest comments to you, may be better ignored most of the time, unless you are bored.
Have to say I agree with you. The damage to the environment arguement is a red herring as anyone driving there in the first place is causing even more damage.
This is about ethics, not the environment.
Had to laugh when I read something about a "protected wilderness environment" above.
I have been on this forum a long time, did have a full profile that is actually stored but removed it for some reason a couple of years back. Maybe I should reinstall it.
Sometimes that modesty which seems to get instilled in (some) hard climbers who've been there and done that (such as yourself) gets misunderstood and as a consequence, the experience which backs up their contributions to discussions is undervalued by those who might benefit from it most!
I just reinstalled most of my profile so people could not complain any more. Wonder if others will do the same?
Solaris: You hardly cme across as modest, what with accepting an apology not directed at you, demanding that Americans repair their national climbing rep by returning to Scotland to remove a bolt not even on a climb. Seriously, get over yourself. You are not modest.
Maybe Yogaslackers could do something useful and help with this query?
Brittle knees are no laughing matter, I know of someone who had to give up professional climbing and subsequently professional cycling because of them.
What's your problem now? I haven't made any remarks to Toby on this thread - we actually agreed about something! Have you lost your reading glasses again? If not I suggest you re-read what I posted.
Your post on this thread minimising the bolting seems more in line with Volkman and then you slag him off... You haven't "lost the plot" too have you?
PS. You're about due for telling me to "get a life" by the way.
Don't be ageist! Age is only how you feel... I have to force myself to refrain from making "youthist" comments, especially on any threads about bolts as it's often younger climbers who are keen on them... but not only, sad to say.
Yes, a cruel affliction. Do you want to buy a Berghaus jacket, by the way?
I'm not particuarly pro or anti-bolt, haven't ever climbed on any bolted routes or placed any for that matter. I just don't have the same immediate hatred of them as many...
I just think that this is a fairly insignificant issue, and it is equally funny and sad watching people get into a lather about it...for 400 posts.
Bolts may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in terms of climbing in the UK they're an extremely important issue. To some people our lack of them goes some way to defining climbing in this country.
If you don't care then fine, but don't go trying to snidely deride those of us who do.
> Bolts may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in terms of climbing in the UK they're an extremely important issue. To some people our lack of them goes some way to defining climbing in this country.
> If you don't care then fine, but don't go trying to snidely deride those of us who do.
Those who worry about how climbing is defined in this country should try climbing more and worrying less.
> Those who worry about how climbing is defined in this country should try climbing more and worrying less.
How do you know they don't? Do you know the posters on this thread personally? I have absolutely no idea who climbs and who doesn't on these threads... and I suspect you don't either. It could well turn out that some pro-bolters are the "arm-chair" ones :-)
This is a lazy non-argument that is often trotted out on threads like these; that those prepared to argue their point at length must by definition not be getting out much. Mark Edwards (suggest you research his contribution to British climbing) and others will find this contention hilarious.
> This is a lazy non-argument that is often trotted out on threads like these; that those prepared to argue their point at length must by definition not be getting out much.
There's nothing wrong with not getting out climbing if you're happy.
But if you're worrying about something, you are by definition not happy about it. So try being happy for a change.
Too simplistic; there are lots of fundamentally happy people who do however have concerns about specifics and are prepared to express them.
> Those who worry about how climbing is defined in this country should try climbing more and worrying less.
What a ridiculous thing to say.
I climb 4/5 days a week - much of which is on grid bolted French Limestone - That's exactly why I worry more about bolts in the UK.
> What a ridiculous thing to say.
> I climb 4/5 days a week - much of which is on grid bolted French Limestone - That's exactly why I worry more about bolts in the UK.
So you climb grid bolted routes alot, but worry about a bolt in a different country.
> So you climb grid bolted routes alot, but worry about a bolt in a different country.
> Love it.
If you want to climb crags in France you have no choice but to climb on bolts, the whole place has been grid-bolted over the last 20 or 30 years. It needs to be seen to be believed, it went so quickly.
> So you climb grid bolted routes alot, but worry about a bolt in a different country.
> Love it.
Wow - is there an UKC award for missing the point?
I thought Calum had been doing his best over the last few months to be UKC's new iconoclast; the radical 'bolt-it-all' response to JCM-style anti-bolt Wahhabism. But the last few posts just suggest he not very good at ambiguity or complex thoughts.
I don't think climbers brought up on walls and sports climbs have any idea how different trad climbing is. There is no other activity in the world that I can think that is remotely comparable - even motorcycling doesn't require that you make a calm decision in a position of great stress to place yourself in even more danger with uncertain outcome.
Sports climbs, on the other hand, are just another physical activity, like gymnastics (though probably not as bold.)
> I thought Calum had been doing his best over the last few months to be UKC's new iconoclast;
Exactly. His Devils Advocate shtick is wearing a bit thin. Does he actually have any ideas of his own?
If this thread had been about the bolting of the actual normal route on the Old Man, would I have been bothered? Not sure, probably not, but I doubt I would have bothered responding either.
However, we seem to be arguing about an obscure bolt that doesn't greatly affect the experience, and certainly doesn't affect the actual climbing. Seems like a small compromise to make to allow other activities to be carried out at this venue - climbers don't have a monopoly on the remote areas of this country.
You have probably clicked on my profile and seen that I climb at a very low level. I am perfectly aware of the issues climbers have, but possibly I am coming at this from a slightly different angle, as I see climbing as a useful addition to my enjoyment of the outdoors, rather than an attraction in itself.
Therefore some of the attitudes in this thread get my back up as people seem to be approaching the issue from a very narrow viewpoint.
> If this thread had been about the bolting of the actual normal route on the Old Man, would I have been bothered? Not sure, probably not, but I doubt I would have bothered responding either.
> However, we seem to be arguing about an obscure bolt that doesn't greatly affect the experience, and certainly doesn't affect the actual climbing. Seems like a small compromise to make to allow other activities to be carried out at this venue - climbers don't have a monopoly on the remote areas of this country.
> You have probably clicked on my profile and seen that I climb at a very low level. I am perfectly aware of the issues climbers have, but possibly I am coming at this from a slightly different angle, as I see climbing as a useful addition to my enjoyment of the outdoors, rather than an attraction in itself.
> Therefore some of the attitudes in this thread get my back up as people seem to be approaching the issue from a very narrow viewpoint.
Now then - this UKC Missing the Point Award. I'm afraid you and Callum will have to fight over it. Or maybe you could have it for 6 months then give it Callum for six months.
Maybe so, but I don't see how that's relevant. As people have pointed out I do climb, but this doesn't prevent me from engaging my brain and/or caring about my sport. Saying "I just go climbing and that's enough" is tempting, but we have a limited resource in this country. I've seen what people do abroad for the sake of convenience and I dread the thought of our own crags being subjected to the same treatment.
> So you climb grid bolted routes alot, but worry about a bolt in a different country.
> Love it.
I too clip bolts when they're there. That's one of the problems with them -- you don't really have a choice. And when I clip a bolt (and pull on it) on a mountain somewhere I'm often relieved and reassured. But at the end of the day either my partner or myself will express misgivings that the route wasn't what it could have been, that it was a giveaway, because someone had put a bolt in. Climbing isn't about combining hard moves and convenience for all of us you know.
In reply to zzz:
> However, we seem to be arguing about an obscure bolt that doesn't greatly affect the experience, and certainly doesn't affect the actual climbing. Seems like a small compromise to make to allow other activities to be carried out at this venue - climbers don't have a monopoly on the remote areas of this country.
The discussion has largely moved on to bolts in general. In terms of this particular bolt I think that the points about rings for fishing boats etc are worthy and the discussion is well worth having. What exactly IS wrong with it? Unfortunately people keep pulling the conversation back to more general bolting arguments concerning routes that were hashed, rehashed and largely resolved decades ago.
I hadn't. Looking at it now I don't see why the grade you climb is relevant. As I said before, if you don't care then that's fine. However, you should probably accept that lots of us do. And why do we care? Because we climb a lot. We know what trad means in this country and we've seen the alternatives.
Certainly we don't have a monopoly. But we're not applying climbing-only ethics to other countryside activities; in fact, it's almost the other way around. Advocating clean climbing is an extension of the 'take only pictures, leave only footprints' mantra that all users of wild places should adhere to as much as they can. This is the point you're missing - this is not just about the climbing experience, it is about broader countryside ethics.
Also, the fact that other people, such as fishermen, have seen fit to damage the coastline to moor boats does not justify further damage by bolting.
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