/ Highway One, Portishead

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
bpmclimb - on 04 May 2013
This climb is a three-star classic, but still languishes in an incompletely bolted state. I know there's partially bolted routes which should probably retain some of their semi-trad character (see recent Cocytus thread, for example), but IMO Highway One isn't one of them. I see it as an out-and-out sport route which happens to be missing a bolt at the start, another near the finish, and a proper lower-off. It should be a sport 7a, not a trad/sport hybrid E4 6a.

Would anyone disagree?
John Mcshea - on 04 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
I would disagree as I would have done with the Cocytus bolting, do you not think a little psychological dynamic can add to a routes experience? I think I did Highway one on the old bolts (I think they are staples now) which were apparently removed with teaspoon! I remember enjoying the route and the little spice was part of the fulfilment. If a couple of extra bolts are placed then so be it, there's plenty more climbing to be done....

Jb.
John Mcshea - on 04 May 2013
In reply to John Mcshea:
Nice profile pic by the way :-)
GridNorth - on 04 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: When I did this there were only two manky old bolts protecting the crux traverse and I considered it a superb E4. I take it there are now more bolts? This sounds like a case of "the thin end of the wedge" syndrome coming into play so I would disagree and vote to restore it to it's original condition.
bpmclimb - on 04 May 2013
In reply to both:

It's bolted (with staples) for most of its length, and has been that way for quite a while. If there were a consensus to restore it to a trad route (which happens to have a bit of fixed gear), I'd probably support that. But in its current state it's so close to being a complete sport route that it just seems a bit silly not to complete the job. At the very least the old single bolt at the top needs replacing with a proper twin-bolt lower-off.
GridNorth - on 04 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: I wonder who bolted it and if Nipper Harrison was aware/approved? Personally I think it would not be as good a route bolted.
The Pylon King on 04 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

but it is bolted.
Cheese Monkey - on 04 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: The start is protected by wires? Dont know about the finish but as a 40m route maybe just a long run out? I'm looking forward to having a go at it in its current incarnation one day, not as a sport route and would be dissapointed to see it fully bolted
GridNorth - on 04 May 2013
In reply to The Pylon King: What is your point? Would you have been happier if I had said "fully" bolted? To be clear what I am saying is that as a full on sports route, in my opinion, it would not be as good. Hows that?
The Pylon King on 04 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

My point is that it is virtually a full on sports route with all the hard climbing'sport'bolted with just the easier start and finish not bolted.
Hows that?
GridNorth - on 04 May 2013
In reply to The Pylon King: I think we are experiencing a communication problem. Well I am at least. :-)
bpmclimb - on 06 May 2013
In reply to Cheese Monkey:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) The start is protected by wires? Dont know about the finish but as a 40m route maybe just a long run out?

Yes, a bold start and then leftwards to reach a good wire placement. Trouble is, there's a low bolt left of the start which belongs to a different route, but which could possibly be used, and which seems to cause confusion about the exact line. Part of the character of the route? Maybe. I tend to think it's a bit messy and unsatisfactory.

The bolts run out as you near the top, but there's a crack which takes good wires. I've no real problem with carrying a couple of wires for this, but as you've just climbed what is in essence (apart from one "missing" bolt at the start) a long sport route, it definitely feels like there's a bolt missing. Did to me, anyway.
Ally Smith on 06 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

It's been in it's current semi-bolted condition for at least 12years (when i first did it) and even back then i was surprised to fins a sketchy single bolt lower-off/ab-point. That is definitely something that needs sorting.

As to the other sections? I think it adds character and stops it being "just another sport route". I wouldn't vote to add bolts to the start.

As an aside, and probably not well known, but the whole route has been done on trad gear only at E6 6a, using aforementioned wires and some sketchy slings on blunt spikes as well as skyhooks for psychological protection.
bpmclimb - on 06 May 2013
In reply to ally smith:

Thanks for the info. Didn't know about the trad ascent.

"Semi-bolted" is a potentially misleading phrase, IMO - makes it sound like it's 50/50. Actually it's mostly bolted - 80% at least. All it would need to make it a fully bolted route is one additional bolt at the start and one at the finish (and as you say, an improved lower off).

I'm in a bit of a false position here, because 9 times out of 10 I'd be all for preserving the hybrid nature of a route. I just wouldn't put this particular route in that category - to me it doesn't feel like a "true" hybrid, more like a "close but no cigar" sport route. But that's a subjective, personal view, of course.

Dave Garnett - on 07 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to ally smith)
>
> Thanks for the info. Didn't know about the trad ascent.
>
> "Semi-bolted" is a potentially misleading phrase, IMO - makes it sound like it's 50/50. Actually it's mostly bolted - 80% at least.

I recall (late 80s) the bolts being really bad, with a 50% chance they would come out - maybe maybe 40% bolted!
johncoxmysteriously - on 07 May 2013
In reply to ally smith:

> was surprised to fins a sketchy single bolt lower-off/ab-point. That is definitely something that needs sorting.

I'm not even sure it needs that. It's easy enough to belay, bring the second up, and walk round.

jcm
Ally Smith on 07 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Really?

The last time i was up there it was a massive bramble/scrub nightamre at the top of that wall. You could barely walk 5m let alone access the descent path that is at the top of the main slab.
SGD - on 07 May 2013
In reply to ally smith: I thought that too, but not having actually done that route I wasn't sure?

I have looked at Highway One a few times and one of the things that has put me off is the belay. (I think the Avon guide has it as a small tree in amongst all the nasty stuff at the top??) with this in mind it could well be sensible to install a proper lower off in line with some of the other routes on the main slab. I think it would be a shame to fully bolt the route though but I am aware that this essentially would mean adding only 2 more bolts in 40m.
bpmclimb - on 08 May 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to ally smith)
>
> [...]
> I'm not even sure it needs that. It's easy enough to belay, bring the second up, and walk round.
>
You have a rather unpleasant scramble upslope to find anchors, then you have to fight through foliage to get to the path. That's my memory of it, anyway.
Bristoldave - on 08 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
When I did this a couple of years ago the rock was pretty loose- everything that wasn't a proper hold would come off at the slightest touch. It added something to the route imo. I think that there's more to this route than a typical sport route so would vote against more bolts- reckon the start adds something. Wouldn't mind a proper lower off tho.
Matt Clifton - on 09 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
madness, where would you stop? Them should have those rusty pegs replaced, start's a bit run out; think pink - tricky friend placements in the middle and an inconvenient belay.
As many have said it was a great classic with the old bolts and a pokey E3/4 then that many aspired to. It's now prob 6c/ 6c+ (French rather than English French grades)with a spicy start that most sport climbers (looking at cheddar) would overcome with a stick clip. So no need for another bolt.
As for the top: clippers for the brambles or more ascents?
bpmclimb - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Matt Clifton:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
It's now prob 6c/ 6c+ (French rather than English French grades)with a spicy start that most sport climbers (looking at cheddar) would overcome with a stick clip.

The only bolt you could clip with a stick is low and to the left, and belongs to another route. If you then climb the proper start you're looking at a fall and big pendulum. You can't stick clip anything at the start of Highway One - unless you have a stick that either extends to nearly 15 metres or can place nuts!
bpmclimb - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Matt Clifton:

BTW I think "madness" is a bit strong. You seem to have leapt to the conclusion that I want to render everything safe to the point of sterility. Actually it's the opposite - in general I'm all for keeping routes as they are and not being too hasty with installing or replacing fixed gear. All the routes you mention I wouldn't interfere with. So I know where I would stop. It happens to be my opinion that Highway One isn't in the same category at all - in its present state it's very close to being a fully bolted sport route.
Stone Muppet - on 10 May 2013
No don't change it, I want to lead what sounds like mostly a sport route and get an E4 tick! Egoegoego
hms - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Stone Muppet: well you won't get an E4 tick on UKC, because it is in the logbooks as sport anyway!
bpmclimb - on 10 May 2013
In reply to hms:

Probably should change to E4 6a on here, if it's staying as it is.
And it should probably stay as it is (assuming the replies on here are representative).
I'd still like to see a proper lower-off installed, though.
GridNorth - on 10 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: Does that mean it was E5 when I climbed it in it's original condition then? :-)
bpmclimb - on 10 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

If you like :)
wolverine - on 10 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: I liked the hybrid trad/sport feel to it even withthe additional bolts. It definitely felt e4 to me and fr7a if there was a bolt at the start. It would be full on at e6 IMO.

One thing though - When I climbed I had expected to be able to lower off at the top easily (GF cant climb this hard). One bolt belay isn't cool especially as stripping gear is a mission as the route overhangs and traverses quite a way right.

M
GridNorth - on 10 May 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: E4 was fair IMO although I've done very, very few E5's so it would have been nice to be able to add one. But then you are only fooling yourself aren't you?
The Pylon King on 10 May 2013
In reply to wolverine:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) I liked the hybrid trad/sport feel to it even withthe additional bolts. It definitely felt e4 to me and fr7a if there was a bolt at the start. It would be full on at e6 IMO.
>
So adding a bolt at the relatively easier start would turn an E4 into a F7a?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.