/ bolts in the UK .. why not?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .
victim of mathematics - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

0/10

Yawn.
LakesWinter on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: It obviously didn't take you long to go through that brain of yours
deacondeacon - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: there is bolted multipitch in the uk
JLS on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

>"I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical."

There is nothing logical about climbing. It is (generally speaking) a contrived challenge.

Bolts make climbing easier (which for the most part means safer). Easier climbing lessens the challenge, thus defeating the already tenuous point.

I prefer sport climbing, I like the battle to get in shape for a physically hard route, the danger and the mental aspects of trad are of no real intrest to me. However I'm aware sport doesn't provide the same experience that others are after.
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to LakesWinter: it actually did fella... bolt all routes I say
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to JLS: .. point well made JLS
Michael Gordon - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

Get yourself to the Welsh slate quarries.
monkey1 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: well done for coming forward and stating it if that's your view - your entitled to it and its as valid as anyone else's. My view is that the UK's stubborn ethics and close mindedness where bolts are concerned is a hindrance to the sport, but I get it. There's room for both, advantages to both, and I'm sure most folks reading like climbing both. Perhaps if the UK had Europe's huge abundance of rock, already riddled with ski lifts, etc, things would be different. As it happens, our areas are a little more sacred, though there's been times when I've though the absence of the odd belay bolt or abseil point was dangerous and a bit pointless.
Muel - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

I struggle to accept the general attitude towards bolts in Britain. I've heard that in a lot of places in America, they only place them where natural protection isn't available, which makes sense to me.

The bit I really don't get is why people who don't want to use bolts don't just climb past them? Take Masters Edge for example. Why not just put one bolt in at 2/3 height (just within reach of the arete), the route would be far safer then for people who want to use it, but those who want to climb it in the original style can simple ignore the bolt and climb past it?
JLS on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:

>"The bit I really don't get is why people who don't want to use bolts don't just climb past them?"

Troll :-)
deacondeacon - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to snakes77)
>
>
>
> The bit I really don't get is why people who don't want to use bolts don't just climb past them? Take Masters Edge for example. Why not just put one bolt in at 2/3 height (just within reach of the arete), the route would be far safer then for people who want to use it, but those who want to climb it in the original style can simple ignore the bolt and climb past it?

You really cant see that the route is a different proposition with a bolt 2/3rds of the way up it.?

The Pylon King on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

Bolts are Bollox and just because other countries have resorted to using them on virtually every bit of climbable and protectable rock, that doesn't mean we have to.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

We don't have many bolts in the UK for the same reason they don't have many shoplifters in Saudi Arabia.
Hay - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
Whilst we are airing out unsavoury views in public, here's mine.

I think we should have bolted belays and abb points, especially anything that involves a peg or tatty sling.

At no point have I ever arrived at a bolted belay and though 'right, that's it. My day is ruined'.
Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to snakes77)
> The bit I really don't get is why people who don't want to use bolts don't just climb past them? Take Masters Edge for example. Why not just put one bolt in at 2/3 height (just within reach of the arete), the route would be far safer then for people who want to use it, but those who want to climb it in the original style can simple ignore the bolt and climb past it?

Troll

ice.solo - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:
> (In reply to snakes77)
>
> We don't have many bolts in the UK for the same reason they don't have many shoplifters in Saudi Arabia.

possibly the most original thing said about the matter. extra points.
JanBella - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Hay: true! Belays and abseils should be bolted especially on big mountain crags. Two shiny bolts look much better then old rotten ropes and tat with rusty malions or worn out dangerous carabiners.
Andrew Wilson - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
Yes, I know what you mean. We were at gimmer last week and there are 2 abseil points which are both far more "unsightly" than a couple of discreetly placed bolts. Particularly the one at the top of the west face, a huge chain padlocked around a block which has over time mashed up the surrounding rock.
That said, the day bolts start getting placed on multi pitch trad belays which are naturally protectable (you have to assume they all are otherwise they would not be much use?) my rack will get a whole lot heavier as I will be the first to chop the bloody lot off by whatever means necessary.
Andy
Frank the Husky - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: The thing we need to become less closed minded about and reactionary is shoddy belays and abseil points. It is "acceptable" ( to the vocal minority on here particularly) to have shitty lower offs featuring rusty krabs and rotten slings, but not a stainless anchor. There are those on here who shout loudly about the "thin end of the wedge" etc, but their views are in the minority. Safe abseils and belays in many ares would be pragmatic. I could mention the Castell Helen abseil point (rusty stuck wires and manky slings) as a case in point, or the abseil at the top of The Strand (ditto)...but I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to tell me how evil I am.
PopShot on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .

Bolts encourage top-ropers and the route ends up being wrecked for trad climbers. Simple really.
GridNorth - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: Because drilling and bolting permanently alter both the physical and psycological character of a climb permanently and most of the best rock in this country was developed before bolting was ever thought of. That's two reasons off the top of my head.

There is a growing lobby of climbers on the continent who are beginning to regret the damage done in Europe and look on the UK climbing scene with some envy. I believe that this was expressed by many at the recent International meet held in Cornwall and I have heard similar at previous meets.
Frank the Husky - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to PopShot:
> (In reply to snakes77)
> [...]
>
> Bolts encourage top-ropers and the route ends up being wrecked for trad climbers. Simple really.

Which is a great example of the typically blinkered, evidence free, reactionary response that you get on here. PopShot's message was in response to a post about bolted multi pitch routes which our friend says will become top rope venues. This is the sort of nonsense any sensible discussion has to deal with.
Frank the Husky - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

> There is a growing lobby of climbers on the continent who are beginning to regret the damage done in Europe and look on the UK climbing scene with some envy. I believe that this was expressed by many at the recent International meet held in Cornwall and I have heard similar at previous meets.

I was at the International Meet and can report that there was no generally held view that bolts have damaged European climbing. However they did look at the UK scene with some appreciation of what was going on - but they also laughed at the rotten belays and abseil points

mark mcgowan01 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: I always thought that Scottish climbing would have benefited from this. Multi pitch sport routes would be great fun in a mountain environment.
Calder - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to snakes77) ... Safe abseils and belays in many ares would be pragmatic. I could mention the Castell Helen abseil point (rusty stuck wires and manky slings) as a case in point, or the abseil at the top of The Strand (ditto)...but I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to tell me how evil I am.

I like how you've chosen a perfectly safe ab point as your example.

To get the most out of our resources it's better to have challenge that is mental as well as physical. You get more value out of it that way.
Orgsm on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

If you want to climb on bolts go to an indoor wall.
PopShot on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to mark mcgowan01:
> (In reply to snakes77) I always thought that Scottish climbing would have benefited from this. Multi pitch sport routes would be great fun in a mountain environment.
>

Sounds a good compromise. Somewhere unfrequented rather than Swanage or the Peak District that way if people want to do the bolt thing they can go for a weekend in Scotland!
baron - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
The tat at some abseil points is easily remedied by removing the tat and making people walk down which is possible in most but obviously not all places. Abbing off dodgy gear has been a necessary habit in some places for years and is part of the fun/adventure.
I've clipped as many bolts as most on here but it's not the way forward unless you want to alter British climbing.

Pmc
Doghouse - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to snakes77) There are those on here who shout loudly about the "thin end of the wedge" etc, but their views are in the minority.

and you later said..

"Which is a great example of the typically blinkered, evidence free, reactionary response that you get on here"

So we can assume you've evidence to support your comments about anti-biolters being in the minority? Or is it just a case of the kettle calling the pot black?
metal arms on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> ...or the abseil at the top of The Strand...

Is that the one with shiny and bomber pegs that normally has brand new looking static on it with a shiny ab ring?
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Hay:
> (In reply to snakes77)
> Whilst we are airing out unsavoury views in public, here's mine.
>
> I think we should have bolted belays and abb points, especially anything that involves a peg or tatty sling.
>
> At no point have I ever arrived at a bolted belay and though 'right, that's it. My day is ruined'.

great point Hay...
Milesy - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

Ill bite. No it isnt. Bolted belays are a step too far to legitimising it!
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> (In reply to Hay) true! Belays and abseils should be bolted especially on big mountain crags. Two shiny bolts look much better then old rotten ropes and tat with rusty malions or worn out dangerous carabiners.

I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble.. even via ferrata cables would be useful..
In reply to snakes77:
>
> I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble.. even via ferrata cables would be useful..

If you can't handle, it don't go up there.



Chris
itsThere on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: Fisrt bolted multi-pitch then it will be via ferrata. The uk ethic has been to leave minimal/no trace. The same is for camp fires and cleaning up after yourself. I like to leave no trace. There is a place for bolts in the uk, but not the whole of the uk.

Its like leaving a bbq in the park.

There is no need for bolts on idwall. If your having trouble getting off then there is a massive bolder to ab off. If you dont want to ab then you can scramble off next to it.
snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Beat me to it!:
> (In reply to snakes77)
>
> If you want to climb on bolts go to an indoor wall.
LOL!

I do and I climb alot of UK trad, plus a got out into europe,, hence my post.....

Taxi!

snakes77 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs: LOL>>>> taxi
metal arms on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .

All the big rock in this country already has trad routes up it. If you discover an unclimbed, verdon-esque (in style and size) sheet of limestone, I'll help you bolt it.

*Our more eagle-eyed readers may notice that it is extremely unlikely metal arms will be doing any bolting...
Sean Kelly - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> (In reply to JanBella)
> [...]
>
> I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble.. even via ferrata cables would be useful..

What a load of bo**ocks! If you have mountain skills then what is the problem with walking / scrambling off the Slabs. The essence of Trad is adventure, bolts would just kill it!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Andrew Wilson - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to metal arms:
There are 2 shiny ab rings. Possibly one of the most substantially secure looking belays in the UK.
PopShot on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Sean Kelly:
> (In reply to snakes77)
> [...]
>
> What a load of bo**ocks! If you have mountain skills then what is the problem with walking / scrambling off the Slabs. The essence of Trad is adventure, bolts would just kill it!
>

Also it would encourage top-ropers if you place bolts at the top of a route so it's an epic fail!
pec on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:

> The bit I really don't get is why people who don't want to use bolts don't just climb past them? .......... but those who want to climb it in the original style can simple ignore the bolt and climb past it? >

This has been done to death on here, but in case you're not trolling I'll explain.
The presence of bolts totally changes the character of a trad climb. Sport climbing is a physical challenge, trad climbing is both a physical and mental challenge. The bolts remove the mental challenge whether you clip them or not because in the back of your mind you know when things get sticky you only have to make it to the next bolt and you've got the option of clipping it.

pec on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to snakes77) The thing we need to become less closed minded about and reactionary is shoddy belays and abseil points....etc >

There really aren't many shoddy belays on trad routes because on 99.9% of routes you set up your own, unless of course you can't set up a belay which is part of the challenge. Likewise abseil points, on the rare ocassions you need to abseil, if you want a better ab point than is already there carry the wherewithall to make one.

> In reply to no-one in particular>

Its not only trad anchors that can look unsightly. Well used bolt belays also damage the rock.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=195504

Postmanpat on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> (In reply to JanBella)
> [...]
>
> I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble.. ?
>
Why do you think "being the most comfortable scramble" is the gold standard ?
Jon Stewart - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK.

Because we have trad multi-pitch climbing instead, and the community of climbers here broadly agree that this is what we want. For many climbers, trad climbing is a much richer, more rewarding experience that climbing on bolts because of the much more diverse range of skills required (for others, sport climbing is more satisfying as it enables you to push your physical limits more easily than trad).

As for 'why can't trad climbers ignore bolts?', as others have said, if it's a genuine question, just get some more climbing experience until you understand the answer.

My experience in the Ecrins was different to yours. I thought the climbing on the multi-pitch slab routes was wonderful, but they were horribly over-bolted, reducing what could have been really fantastic routes down to something a couple of notches less memorable. I'm not saying I think that they'd be better as trad routes, I just find that having a bolt at face level for every hard move simply removes any commitment, and therefore any real buzz from the routes. A move at your limit with good gear (e.g. a bolt) at your feet provides a rush of adrenaline and satisfying glow of achievement when you manage to commit to it. Doing a hard move which is completely optional because there's a quickdraw in front of your face to pull on if you like feels contrived to me - the illusion that your safety is dependent on your climbing skill is completely shattered and it's just a game.

Everyone is different, but for me climbing is about the buzz. If our crags were bolted - worst of all like the Ecrins - then I'd give up and do something that engaged more of my skills.
rgold - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

As an American, I have tremendous respect for the UK's ability to control bolting. To quote Royal Robbins, "sport climbing is the child who wants to eat its mother," and the only way to preserve the full spectrum of climbing genres is maintain a very bright line between sport and trad, with trad, at the moment and into the foreseeable future, being in the position of an endangered species.

The presence of risk and the way in which it is confronted lies at the heart of what is now referred to as traditional climbing. Sport climbing has banished risk, at least the forms of risk inherent in trad climbing, in favor of other aspects of climbing, and as the sport climbing mentality spreads, it becomes increasingly difficult to even communicate about the distinctions between the genres, not least because of the irrelevant formulations such as bolts vs. gear.

Consider a trad climb with a risky section. It's been done many times, but now there is a contingent of climbers who want to put a bolt there. Why? Because that part of the climb is risky! More people could enjoy it if there was a bolt, and the community has a "right" to the route. But the risk is exactly why the trad climbers don't want the bolt there. Trad climbers see controlling the risk through the use of gear that may not be bomber and the practice of self-control under pressure as one of the intrinsic challenges of the sport.

Putting in that bolt destroys part of the essence of the climb for the trad climber. People may not like this and may not agree with it, but they should at least understand that there is a genuine and irreconcilable conflict between the preservation of risk and the desire for a risk-free environment.

Saying that risk is intrinsic to trad climbing does not mean that trad climbers want arbitrary risks. Trad climbing isn't a collection of stunts like how many cars you can jump your motorcycle over. The risks of trad climbing are the ones intrinsic to the environment: unknown territory ahead, no cracks for pro, and on granite slabs, no stances to drill from. This is why those who say "just don't clip the bolt" are utterly clueless. The bolt modifies the environment and makes a former intrinsic risk into a stupid stunt.

I grew up in a time when all climbing was trad climbing. I have nothing against sport climbing, and because of the decreased risk I find it increasingly attractive as I get older and more brittle. But I also would have found the sheer pursuit of difficulty in sport climbing compelling when I was young, strong, and less likely to snap on impact. I just wish the the practitioners of the two genres would learn to respect the traditions of each (yes, sport climbing is now old enough to have traditions too) and not try to impose their perspectives and preferences on the other styles of climbing. So far, I think the UK is the only country that seem to have managed to do this, and I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to continue to resist drilled "improvements" to trad climbs.



JezH on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble.. even via ferrata cables would be useful..

Maybe you shouldn't be up there then. If you think the friendly slabs of idwal need bolts you are probably not best suited to this sport. Trad climbing is adventurous. Lets leave it that way and not take the enjoyment away.
nniff - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

To quote the average shite TV quiz question 'Using your skill and judgement.....'

If you haven't got enough of both, go somewhere where the requirement for both is reduced but don't complain that the quiz is too hard.
beardy mike - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: its rather ironic that you choose the Ecrins as, currently there is a certain movement developing there to chop some of the bolts, indeed some of the, already HAVE been. http://www.snoopy-libre.com/1.html is evidence that not all think what has happened is kosher. And if you climb there for many years, you will find that most of the long bolted routes in ailefroide will slowly fade into one another as they generally take meaningless direct lines up blank and frankly boring slabs. The best line in Ailefroide is the fissure, which has a much reduced number of bolts. Quite why they needed any is beyond me, and its sad that they were placed in the first place. But I guess im an area like Ailefroide... Snoopy would be a stonking route without the bolts, and if they could get to a position of limited bolting as ler the US I for one would be a fan.

There are many areas in europe which are stanchly antibolt, like the Val di Mello, where other than on Sasso Remeno, the bolts are far and few between, including on slabs. So its simply not true that europeans all like bolting.

As for the points about castell Helen, Martin, you should be ashamed, as part of the BMC you should be taking a reasonably sensible position. How you think bolting the ab point at the top of Castell Helen is a good example is beyond me... There is absolutley not need for bolting here are there is an abundance of decent anchors and the main issue is that the pegs and fixed nuts are left in placements which could be used for placements with nuts etc. If you cant handle putting in an ab point on natural pro at the top of a sea cliff, then really you should be anywhere near a seacliff. FACT. You could have picked many other crags other than that one...
Pekkie - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:
> (In reply to snakes77)
>
> 'As an American, I have tremendous respect for the UK's ability to control bolting. To quote Royal Robbins, "sport climbing is the child who wants to eat its mother," and the only way to preserve the full spectrum of climbing genres is maintain a very bright line between sport and trad'

A well thought through post. Actually, most climbers I know are well aware of your 'bright line' between sport and trad. They climb on and enjoy both. I worry about when the generation of climbers who were active when it first became an issue in the eighties are dead and gone. When bolting first took off in the UK it was basically aimed at providing a safe way to climb unprotectable, desperately hard rock. This has been progressively weakened by bolting easier and easier routes and this trend has been massively strengthened by the proliferation of climbing walls and the understandable desire to extend the easy bolted route idea to outside. And the growth in organised groups and the health and safety mentality hasn't helped. Back in 'the good old days' if you were competent you solo'd easy (ie up to VS) ground without a thought. Call me a grumpy old git but I don't think that these trends are healthy.
Jon Stewart - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:

Great post.
3 Names - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .

Which multi-pitch climbs have you done in the UK, that would be better if bolted?
Jon Stewart - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Pekkie:
> (In reply to rgold)
> [...]
>
> When bolting first took off in the UK it was basically aimed at providing a safe way to climb unprotectable, desperately hard rock. This has been progressively weakened by bolting easier and easier routes...

Is this true?

A trend for bolting nonsense in dangerous ugly holes in the ground perhaps, but not for bolting actual routes. Which areas are you thinking of where this trend has taken place?
mark mcgowan01 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Vince McNally: Shibboleth on Slime Wall in Glen Coe? Its a horrible E2 that would make a great F6b?
Robert Durran - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:

> I just wish the the practitioners of the two genres would learn to respect the traditions of each (yes, sport climbing is now old enough to have traditions too) and not try to impose their perspectives and preferences on the other styles of climbing. So far, I think the UK is the only country that seem to have managed to do this, and I would urge you in the strongest possible terms to continue to resist drilled "improvements" to trad climbs.

You are, as usual, spot on.

3 Names - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to mark mcgowan01:

Sorry I was asking the OP
Robert Durran - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to PopShot:
> (In reply to mark mcgowan01)

> Sounds a good compromise. Somewhere unfrequented rather than Swanage or the Peak District that way if people want to do the bolt thing they can go for a weekend in Scotland!

Just in case you are serious: F*** OFF

3 Names - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to mark mcgowan01:


Out of interest why would it not just be a horrible 6b?
Pekkie - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Pekkie)
> [...]
>
> Which areas are you thinking of where this trend has taken place?

Llanberis slate quarries, Peak district eg Staden Quarry. Portland. Obviously at the moment it is limited but it could be the thin edge of the wedge if it's not carefully controlled.

ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to mark mcgowan01:
> (In reply to Vince McNally) Shibboleth on Slime Wall in Glen Coe? It's a horrible E2 that would make a great F6b?

I shall assume, Mark, that you are not serious.

For those not in a position to know any better, Shibboleth is a brilliant, bold and intimidating but unforgettable route that would make a nondescript and forgettable 6b.

Robert Durran - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> Two shiny bolts look much better then old rotten ropes and tat with rusty malions or worn out dangerous carabiners.

Arguably, but that, as you should know perfectly well is not the point.

Goucho on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to itsThere:
>
> There is no need for bolts on idwall. If your having trouble getting off then there is a massive bolder to ab off. If you dont want to ab then you can scramble off next to it.

I actually think 'Bumbly Hill' is the one mountain crag that should be bolted.

They should be every 3 feet complete with quick draws, and an engraving next to them with instructions how to use them.

There should also be a telephone on every stance, with a direct line to RAF Valley, as well as special 'self inflating' emergency bivi shelter - just in case the wind picks up a bit.

As for bolting other trad crags, as long as the bolts are specially equipped with wiring to a very loud PA system which broadcasts 'Hello mr no bollocks' when you clip them, then it might be worth looking into.
DeanD - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:
You're my hero. Love it
Jon Stewart - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Pekkie:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> Llanberis slate quarries,

I know some rarely climbed bold routes have been retro-bolted, and some 'minor' routes. I don't know the place well, but I would be extremely surprised if the character of slate climbing (developed using bolts in odd places) was significantly changed now that the routes are so established.

Peak district eg Staden Quarry.

Bolted? Was all trad when I went, now it's banned?

Portland.

I don't know the history of Portland. I always considered an isolated success of UK mixed grade sport climbing. A load of routes I have no interest in are bolted for a load of people who enjoy them. Always seemed a great thing to me, even if I personally found the place utterly mediocre (if it was trad I wouldn't go back either).

> Obviously at the moment it is limited but it could be the thin edge of the wedge if it's not carefully controlled.

Is it though? I just don't see any appetite for bolting anything that's a decent trad route. If a few crap trad routes that never get climbed get bolted, who gives a toss? It's not the thin end of the wedge if there is a 'bright line between sport and trad' as there is now - and as far as I can see it is getting brighter, if anything.

Ray Sparks on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: Why on earth would you wont to bolt a route that can be protected especially mountain routes no matter what the grade! don,t normally bother posting as most of it is rambling bollocks!
If you wont to climb a route learn how to place protection its not brain surgery, if you all ready climb trad your reasoning for bolting baffles me.
Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:

nice one Goucho
Pekkie - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Pekkie)
> It's not the thin end of the wedge if there is a 'bright line between sport and trad' as there is now - and as far as I can see it is getting brighter, if anything.

I agree. But things might change over time, as the ratchet moves a notch and then another notch....

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:

> Which is a great example of the typically blinkered, evidence free, reactionary response that you get on here.

Are you sure you mean "reactionary"? It doesn't seem a very appropriate use of the word.
Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> (In reply to Beat me to it!)
> [...]
> LOL!
>
> I do and I climb alot of UK trad, plus a got out into europe,, hence my post.....
>
> Taxi!

I think you are just taking the piss. Maybe a bit more experience on trad would change your attitude what grade do you actually lead??????????????
AlanLittle - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to mike kann:

Excellent! I'm going to Ailefroide next month. If I do Snoopy on natural gear do I get to meet the young lady in the pictures?
Frank the Husky - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Bruce you're right; I didn't mean "reactionary" at all...I meant "out of touch, head in the sand nonsense". Thanks for spotting that.
Lonia - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: Go to Gaillands in Chamonix. That will give you a good reason for not wanting bolts in the UK...
Frank the Husky - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Pekkie:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> Llanberis slate quarries, Peak district eg Staden Quarry. Portland. Obviously at the moment it is limited but it could be the thin edge of the wedge if it's not carefully controlled.

You were involed with the retrobolting of the previously trad/sportingly bolted Frogsmouth Quarry, weren't you? You'll know that the place is very popular, and it hasn't led to a proliferation of bolts elsewhere in Merseyside that you refer to in that meaningless pharse "thin end of the wedge".
In reply to mark mcgowan01:
> (In reply to Vince McNally) Shibboleth on Slime Wall in Glen Coe? Its a horrible E2 that would make a great F6b?

I reckon it would be nearer F5+ if properly bolted!


Chris
rug - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Christheclimber:
> I think you are just taking the piss. Maybe a bit more experience on trad would change your attitude what grade do you actually lead??????????????

You can check his profile. Trad : Mostly seconds, but has lead up to HS. Curiously, he seems to have managed to On-Sight (seconding) Via Media (Stanage) twice, with an interval of a month between the climbs. Sport : Seconds up to 5+.

HTH

Rug

Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to rug:
> (In reply to Christheclimber)
> [...]
>
> You can check his profile. Trad : Mostly seconds, but has lead up to HS. Curiously, he seems to have managed to On-Sight (seconding) Via Media (Stanage) twice, with an interval of a month between the climbs. Sport : Seconds up to 5+.
>
> HTH
>
> Rug

I did look but wanted him to answer, he has done nothing yet hence this is nothing but a piss take as most climbers solo at this level.
rug - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Christheclimber:
> I did look but wanted him to answer, he has done nothing yet hence this is nothing but a piss take as most climbers solo at this level.

I don't know if it is a piss-take, or just total inexperience. It's rather like someone new to wine drinking, who thinks Blue Nun is nice, so why do other people insist on keeping their Barollo ?

It's a bit of a worry.

Rug
Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to rug:
> (In reply to Christheclimber)
> [...]
>
> I don't know if it is a piss-take, or just total inexperience. It's rather like someone new to wine drinking, who thinks Blue Nun is nice, so why do other people insist on keeping their Barollo ?
>
> It's a bit of a worry.
>
> Rug

Very worrying if this the "new breeds" point of view

Lukem6 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: Why Bolt anywhere? just as a counter question. But if we had world wide conformity we'd have a toll booth at stanage.

Personally dont see this as bad,may keep the crowds down a little. I like how at certain crags they have trad routes with single bolt on if to stop you decking out. but each to their own. oh and thats the main reason we dont have bolts on all rock, because each to their own.

Personally I think the first route set on a crag should set the standard for the whole crag and the first ascent should set the standard for that route. I don't disagree with the idea of placing bolted anchors to reduce wear and tear on trees and soft rock at the top of a pitch/route.
ads.ukclimbing.com
monkey1 - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Christheclimber:
> (In reply to rug)
> [...]
>
> I did look but wanted him to answer, he has done nothing yet hence this is nothing but a piss take as most climbers solo at this level.

So the grade he enjoys climbing at affects his entitlement to pass an opinion or ask a question on the matter? What a load of old rubbish. It actually took me a while to muster up the courage to reply to you, after seeing how good you are on your profile ***walks off laughing***

Pekkie - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> (In reply to Pekkie)
> [...]
>
> You were involed with the retrobolting of the previously trad/sportingly bolted Frogsmouth Quarry, weren't you? You'll know that the place is very popular, and it hasn't led to a proliferation of bolts elsewhere in Merseyside that you refer to in that meaningless pharse "thin end of the wedge".

Guilty as charged. But we had an open BMC meeting where it was put to the vote. The new guidebook makes it clear that the consensus is that we have a clear line between sport and trad. That is now. What I was saying in previous posts is that this consensus might not last.
Christheclimber - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to monkey1:
> (In reply to Christheclimber)
> [...]
>
> So the grade he enjoys climbing at affects his entitlement to pass an opinion or ask a question on the matter? What a load of old rubbish. It actually took me a while to muster up the courage to reply to you, after seeing how good you are on your profile ***walks off laughing***

Why did it take courage? I'm an old shit middle grade climber
Muel - on 22 Jun 2013
In reply to pec:
> (In reply to Muel)
>
> [...]
>
> This has been done to death on here, but in case you're not trolling I'll explain.
> The presence of bolts totally changes the character of a trad climb. Sport climbing is a physical challenge, trad climbing is both a physical and mental challenge. The bolts remove the mental challenge whether you clip them or not because in the back of your mind you know when things get sticky you only have to make it to the next bolt and you've got the option of clipping it.

No not trolling at all, genuinely wondering. I understand that, but if you don't carry a QD, then you can't clip it.

In the case of Master's Edge, even another shot hole would do, and if you don't want to use it as it wasn't used on the first ascent, then just don't carry the tri-cam/cam that you need for it, then you won't have the option to use it?

I just think that sort of attitude would make far more routes accessible to people who want to climb hard but aren't willing to face a groundfall for it.

lazzaw - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to pec)
> [...]
>
> No not trolling at all, genuinely wondering. I understand that, but if you don't carry a QD, then you can't clip it.

Errr. Slightly confused. If you don't carry any quickdraws or slingdraws then how are you going to use trad pro then? When I put pro in I tend to clip rope to it with a QD rather than a krab straight onto the nut. Am I doing it wrong?
Jon Stewart - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:

To understand this, you need to do some unprotected or poorly protected trad routes somewhere around your limit.

Doing bold trad requires you to ask questions of yourself, and to have confidence in your answers.

One of those questions should never be

"WHAT THE F^CK AM I DOING UP HERE WITHOUT ANY F^CKING QUICKDRAWS?"

That is just not part of the game.
rgold - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:

> In the case of Master's Edge, even another shot hole would do, and if you don't want to use it as it wasn't used on the first ascent, then just don't carry the tri-cam/cam that you need for it, then you won't have the option to use it?
>
> I just think that sort of attitude would make far more routes accessible to people who want to climb hard but aren't willing to face a groundfall for it.

I anticipated this point and explained what's the matter with this reasoning in my post above. Proposals like this take as a basis a profound misunderstanding of trad climbing and then reach conclusions that are hostile to the continued existence of the genre. The flaws aren't in the logic, they reside in the initial assumptions about what trad climbing is about, assumptions that fail to recognize the fundamental difference between trad and sport. In particular, these assumptions view a route solely in terms of the difficulty of the moves and so considers a route unaltered if the moves are preserved.

As I explained, making routes accessible to people who want to experience difficulty without the risks completely changes the routes, eliminating features that made the challenges what they are. And no, the original character can never be reclaimed by skipping protection opportunities that have been added by drilling or chipping or carving.

The whole idea of making route "accessible" to a wider audience is a new and, I think, extremely unfortunate one, unless you are a travel company bent on running the largest number of people possible up the climbs. Look at what's happened on Everest, and remember that just when you thought the route couldn't be degraded any more, the proposal to put a ladder on the Hillary Step surfaces.

The instant you view "accessibility" as some kind of positive good, you open a pandora's box of unnatural modifications all of which are justified by their ability to enfranchise some new community who are currently unable to do the climb in question. Meanwhile, trad climbing has the simplest of all possible answers: let nature decide how the route will be protected, and let climbers decide whether they wish to embrace the challenges nature provided.
Goucho on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to pec)
> [...]
>
> In the case of Master's Edge, even another shot hole would do, and if you don't want to use it as it wasn't used on the first ascent, then just don't carry the tri-cam/cam that you need for it, then you won't have the option to use it?
>
> I just think that sort of attitude would make far more routes accessible to people who want to climb hard but aren't willing to face a groundfall for it.

In that case do a f*cking route that doesn't have ground fall potential if your balls aren't big enough to take it on - there are loads of safe 'hard' routes, go and do those.

Why does everything have to be dragged down to numpty level!



monkey1 - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Christheclimber:
> (In reply to monkey1)
> [...]
>
> Why did it take courage? I'm an old shit middle grade climber

I just figured you would have had a quick scan of my profile and realised I'd also ''done nothing''. I wasn't sure if my grade allowed me to pass an opinion, and in fact I'm still non the wiser. Anyway I think you're being a tad hard on yourself, it's certainly been an honour for me
JLS on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:

>"In the case of Master's Edge"

The clue is in the name. It's not for everyone.
JIMBO on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:
>
> Why does everything have to be dragged down to numpty level!

That's exactly what I think when I see those numpty fellows at Malham or Raven Tor. The bolts just make it all too easy. You should tell them...
Goucho on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JIMBO: We're talking about bolting trad routes - or haven't you manage to grasp that?
JIMBO on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho: are not all routes traditional until the "hoards come and rape them" of their innocence?
Goucho on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JIMBO:
> (In reply to Goucho) are not all routes traditional until the "hoards come and rape them" of their innocence?

You may understand this comment, but I'm obviously not cerebral enough!
Nordie_matt - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:

A well thought out post, I fully agree with it. As someone who's head can fluctuate between solid and shakes on routes, I have down climbed and avoided routes on the days my head was not suited for the challenge. NEVER once have I thought 'if only someone would bolt that'

I remember a trad route in Bergen that was bolted, a well protected initial bridging corner (which could be laybacked) and swallowed pro, up to a big flake which happil accept he'd big hexes or cams , a short (3m) slab which then leads to a crack system. At N5+ it's hovers around HVS. Now there are a line of bolts less than 2m's apart about 1m from natural protection possibilities.

Has it changed the character of the route? Yes. Was it required? Not at all .

Although this is not a British example, it is an example of where bolts were placed irrespective of the fact a safe challenge in the form of a trad route existed to facilitate the ever increasing social climber who wants a form of 'climbing lite' .

It is upto the trad climbing community to draw a line and ensure it isn't breached with regards to the proliferation of bolts on traditional crags.
stroppygob - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: To paraphrase;

"Traditional protection is like seduction, bolting like rape."
Nordie_matt - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Nordie_matt:

Sorry for typos, using the phone to post.
Duncan Bourne - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .

So that all our climbs arn't reduced to tedious link up exercises. Don't get me wrong I enjoy some of the European bolt trails when I feel like an easy day but nothing comes close to the finding-your-own-way approach. Keep it trad keep it interesting
Duncan Bourne - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:
Fantastic reply. Completely agree
DeanD - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: the uk should be very proud of its climbing ethics and tradition. If you like doing bolted multi pitch routes then go to Europe.
If you can't do hard trad routes then tough get over it and grow a set and stop trying to ruin it for everyone else.
The great thing about hard routes is that not everyone can do them and if you ever manage to achive any of these routes then it is an amazing accomplishment. It shouldn't be dumbed down for the incompetent masses.
There's plenty of lower grade climbs out there to keep people busy for a life time, people need to work there way up the grades and take there time not just expect to climb what ever they want.. They have to earn it.
LakesWinter on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold:

>
> The whole idea of making route "accessible" to a wider audience is a new and, I think, extremely unfortunate one, unless you are a travel company bent on running the largest number of people possible up the climbs. Look at what's happened on Everest, and remember that just when you thought the route couldn't be degraded any more, the proposal to put a ladder on the Hillary Step surfaces.
>
> The instant you view "accessibility" as some kind of positive good, you open a pandora's box of unnatural modifications all of which are justified by their ability to enfranchise some new community who are currently unable to do the climb in question. Meanwhile, trad climbing has the simplest of all possible answers: let nature decide how the route will be protected, and let climbers decide whether they wish to embrace the challenges nature provided.

Exactly what he said!
Spot on.
If you can't see that then join a gym or play 5 a side at the weekend or whatever.
Howard J - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> (In reply to JanBella)
> [...]
>
> the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day...if you want to walk off ...

If you want to "walk off" perhaps you should climb somewhere else. Getting off the slabs is a bit more than a walk, although if you're capable of getting up them then surely you should be able to cope with the descent.

Climbing in the mountains requires mountaineering skills. If you're only interested in technical rock climbing and don't want to acquire those skills that's entirely up to you, but don't then go into a mountain environment and complain that it's too hard. The problem is entirely with you.
Goucho on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to DeanD:
> (In reply to snakes77) the uk should be very proud of its climbing ethics and tradition. If you like doing bolted multi pitch routes then go to Europe.
> If you can't do hard trad routes then tough get over it and grow a set and stop trying to ruin it for everyone else.
> The great thing about hard routes is that not everyone can do them and if you ever manage to achive any of these routes then it is an amazing accomplishment. It shouldn't be dumbed down for the incompetent masses.
> There's plenty of lower grade climbs out there to keep people busy for a life time, people need to work there way up the grades and take there time not just expect to climb what ever they want.. They have to earn it.

Well said!

pec on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Muel:
> (In reply to pec)

> No not trolling at all, genuinely wondering. I understand that, but if you don't carry a QD, then you can't clip it.
>
> In the case of Master's Edge, even another shot hole would do, and if you don't want to use it as it wasn't used on the first ascent, then just don't carry the tri-cam/cam that you need for it, then you won't have the option to use it? >

You're talking about 1 specific route here. I was explaining why we don't generally bolt routes to leave the option of a trad or sport ascent. Clearly on 99.9% of routes, trad climbers would have quickdraws with them to use on their trad pro and hence could use one to clip a bolt.

> I just think that sort of attitude would make far more routes accessible to people who want to climb hard but aren't willing to face a groundfall for it.>

The whole point of hard routes is that they aren't accessible to lots of people otherwise they wouldn't be hard. As for not taking a groundfall, climb existing sport routes, there's plenty to go at. I can't imagine there's many people have climbed out Malham, Kilnsey, Raven Tor, Pen Trwyn etc etc. If you really want to climb a trad route with deck out potential, set up a top rope.

Al Randall on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: The lack of understanding about the character, history and ethics of climbing in the UK is a serious worry and seems to be on the increase especially amongst the younger generation who have been brought up with sport and indoor climbing. It would be nice if the climbing walls tried to get some of the ethos across during their courses. In fact I would go a stage further and make it a mandatory requirement of anyone offering introductory climbing courses. If they can insist on customers using F8's I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to introduce this.
JanBella - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: dont get me wrong I do love trad climbing, but on popular multi pitch routes in lakes you can see how much the rock suffers from constant building of belays at exactly same spots. adding 2 bolts would stop damaging the rock. Not many people mind pegs being placed by top climbers so what is wrong with the odd bolt? you can build a belay station on the top of the crag that can be used for more than just one route... And as it goes for the "ethics" and for those that use it as the answer to everything please put a hobnail boots on get a hemp rope forget the harness or any real protection and off you go... Times change get on with it.
GridNorth - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella: I do have some sympathy for the placing of bolts if it is generally agreed, how that agreement is reached is another discussion (perhaps the BMC could play a role here), that in the longer term it is better for the environment. The danger is that some will take this to be a green light to bolt indescriminately.
Goucho on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:

... Times change get on with it.

Not always for the better...try and understand that.

Tom V - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> (In reply to snakes77) Not many people mind pegs being placed by top climbers ...

Since you are talking mainly about Lakes climbing you might be aware of the history of major routes like "The Cumbrian". I recall the use of pegs to solve that problem being very controversial.

Times change get on with it.

I still set some store by the adage of "Take only photographs..." . The last time I mentioned this in a UKC bolting debate I was told that trad climbers were as bad as bolters in this respect because of the amount of tat they leave behind.
I think there is a fundamental difference between leaving gear behind because it's stuck, or you are in a retreat situation, and deliberately leaving a series of metal objects on a piece of mountainside in the furtherance of an exercise in self gratification.
Climbers who are genuinely environmentally concerned will probably understand this; those who only pay lip service to green issues will no doubt be able to provide an exclusion clause to the "leave only footprints" part of the adage.

kevin stephens - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to JanBella) I do have some sympathy for the placing of bolts ....... that in the longer term it is better for the environment.

What! How exactly? What about all the extra car miles resulting from bolted climbs being apparently more accessible to the unimaginative masses?

Bulls Crack - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:

The actual 'damage' is minuscule though compared to a climb, a cliff, a mountain etc
GridNorth - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to kevin stephens: If you are going to quote me please extend me the courtesy of quoting in full and not selectively as you are misrepresenting what I said. I mean in situations where the alternative is damage to flora and fauna and cliff tops where a well placed couple of bolts could be less obtrusive and in the longer term perhaps preserve the trees etc.
kevin stephens - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to JanBella) I do have some sympathy for the placing of bolts if it is generally agreed, how that agreement is reached is another discussion (perhaps the BMC could play a role here), that in the longer term it is better for the environment. The danger is that some will take this to be a green light to bolt indescriminately.

This is your whole post I was replying to, my reply sill stands. Apart from the very isolated case of St Sunday crag I believe the environmental argument for bolting is totally spurious. Indeed anything that increases the convenience of climbing is bound to be environmentally detrimental simply due to increased human traffic, be it by foot, car or air.

GridNorth - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to kevin stephens: I suspect that is because your experience is limited to the North. In the South West, Wintours Leap for example, the only way that some routes could be maintained in a fit state to be climbed was to provide bolt abseils/belays. There are other venues, some of the coastal cliffs for example, where cliff top damage is significant and getting worse. A bolt belay/lower off point could preserve the flora and fauna in these areas. You are of course correct in your assertion that anything that increases the convenience of climbing is environmentally detrimental so perhaps we should ban UKC and guide books etc, etc.

You seem to be casting me in the role of being pro bolting. I'm not but I can see situations where a sensible compromise needs to be achieved and this will not happen when everyone sees this in black and white and based on what is perhaps limited experience.
JanBella - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: shouldn't we be more worried about protecting whole environment we climb in rather then just discussing bolting vs. no bolting and how is that affecting rock/routes? Let's look at the erosion of land we cause, litter, disturbance of wild life .... If we want to protect mountains we should be definitely looking at the bigger picture...
Robert Durran - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> (In reply to snakes77) shouldn't we be more worried about protecting whole environment we climb in rather then just discussing bolting vs. no bolting and how is that affecting rock/routes?

Of course we should, but this is a bolting thread.
JanBella - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to JanBella)
>
> The actual 'damage' is minuscule though compared to a climb, a cliff, a mountain etc

well yeah. a needle going through my eye is minuscule damage compared to the size of me, but it still gonna hurt... i dont think you can compare the "size of the damage" with the size of a mountain.. damage is damage its always gonna be there..
rgold - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
I think GN is right, there is a role for bolts for certain anchors in trad climbing, but it turns out to be exceptionally difficult to (1) do things "right," and (2) to keep the lid on bolting once you've agreed on some. If there is a moral to the tale, it is beware of the unintended side-effects.

Over the pond here in the Gunks, we've seen some of the issues play out. The Gunks are unique in being on a privately-owned (non-profit) preserve, (the Mohonk Preserve), which can and does make rules about fixed anchors.

It's a little more complicated than I'm making it here, but basically the Preserve bans bolting, except if done by the Preserve itself. That solves problem (2) mentioned above, but not in a way that can be imitated elsewhere.

One area of the Preserve, the Trapps, has substantial crowding issues. Moreover, although walking back down is easy, it also means a long round trip back to the base of the climb where climbers typically leave stuff. So over the years, a plethora of rappel anchors appeared, creating ugly and dangerous situations.

The Preserve decided to intervene and replace some of the highest-traffic anchors with bolts and chains. In retrospect, this was a classic mistake: do not let climbers intent on doing certain routes and descending from them determine the location of anchors by simply replacing the most tat-filled anchors with bolts. What happened is that the Preserve established bolted rap stations that sent descending climbers directly down popular routes, thereby creating more problems than they "solved."

Another aspect of the Preserve's mistakes in the original bolting was that they failed to mitigate environmental impacts. A number of trees on the cliff have been weakened and killed by rappellers, and the Preserve hoped to spare further destruction by getting slings off the trees. But slings on the trees weren't the problem, it was the soil compaction of climbers stomping around the trees while setting up rappels. So, when the Preserve put bolts right next to these trees, the result was to continue the real source of environmental damage rather than mitigate it.

Having learned from the initial missteps, the Preserve established a few more bolted rappel lines that, as much as possible, avoided climbing routes, and certainly the popular ones. The idea, which has not been fully realized, was to create a collection of descent lines for rappellers that would keep walking to a minimum and would not pit descending climbers against ascending climbers.

This idea might eventually work reasonably well, but not without a step the Preserve (perhaps for legal reasons) has not been willing to take, which would be banning climbers from constructing willy-nilly their own rappel anchors wherever they desire. So now we have bolts and pretty much the same plethora of tatty rap stations.

So, what are some of the lessons?

1. If at all possible, do not bolt belay anchors on ascent routes, because it will
(a) create two-way traffic on the route
(b) make it convenient and attractive for climbers to climb the first pitch and then set up a top-rope on it, monopolizing the climb and preventing others from doing the route.

2. If environmental impacts are important, think long and hard about
(a) what new ones the bolts will create
(b) whether the bolts will really solve the original ones.

Good luck, and when in doubt, don't do it.
paul mitchell - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77: yawn.....
r0x0r.wolfo - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to rgold: Hey, really appreciated this open and informative reply. Been to the gunks myself. Great place/great people protecting it.
kevin stephens - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
I have climbed at Wintours Leap a fair bit and get your point. I was riled at the common assertion that bolts are better for the environment, and in terms of runners as well as belays (not your point I know) whereas at Wintours Leap bolt belays are (justifiably) there to avoid scrambling up hundreds of feet of loose and dangerous choss after the good climbing, or to maintain access by avoiding trespassing in the residents' gardens. This is not an "environmental benefit" but a measure to protect access.

I'm not sure which sea cliffs you refer to (I love sea cliffs), but can't see how or where bolt belays and ab points would reduce erosion. or why one would need bolts on the lip where stakes a safe distance from the edge are safer.

Rob Naylor - on 23 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> (In reply to JanBella)
> [...]
>
> I'd 100% go for that.. the top of Idwal slab isn't the best place on a damp day. ~(top of tennis shoe, hope etc etc) and if you want to walk off then it's not the most comfortable scramble...

I'm one of the wimpiest bumbly climbers it's possible to imagine, but not even I think the descent off Idwal Slabs is a problem. It's polished, but if it's wet and slippery and you don't like the look of it there are at least 2 spikes or large boulders up there you can get a rope round.
SteveSBlake - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

My start point would be just to make the bolts we have got halfways decent!

Steve
Bulls Crack - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> (In reply to Bulls Crack)
> [...]
>
> well yeah. a needle going through my eye is minuscule damage compared to the size of me, but it still gonna hurt... i dont think you can compare the "size of the damage" with the size of a mountain.. damage is damage its always gonna be there..

Don't suppose it will hurt the mountain/cliff/climb much but its all relative I suppose and depends on our reaction to a small visual impact. Environmentally it's inconsequential though.
Mike Stretford - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:

In reply to DeanD:
> (In reply to snakes77) the uk should be very proud of its climbing ethics and tradition. If you like doing bolted multi pitch routes then go to Europe.
> If you can't do hard trad routes then tough get over it and grow a set and stop trying to ruin it for everyone else.
> The great thing about hard routes is that not everyone can do them and if you ever manage to achive any of these routes then it is an amazing accomplishment. It shouldn't be dumbed down for the incompetent masses.
> There's plenty of lower grade climbs out there to keep people busy for a life time, people need to work there way up the grades and take there time not just expect to climb what ever they want.. They have to earn it.


>Well said!

What do you mean "well said", it doesn't make sense? Is it because he referenced testicles?

There's some program Channel 4 about a man with enormous spuds.... I only saw the trailer and won't watch it but it is clear that his life is not non-stpo adventure and daredevil escapades, the guy seems pretty unhappy.
Mike Stretford - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK.

It is because we don't have big rock faces throughout the UK. If we did Ron Fawcett probably wouldn't have spent so much time at the Verdon.
Goucho on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Papillon: It makes perfect sense, and I was agreeing with his post, that basically, if you're not good enough to do a particular route, then that's simply a fact of life. Either get good enough, or get over it, don't think you have the right to drag it down to your level.

I know we live in a 'I want it, and I want it now' society these days, but some things in life have to be earned - and that includes certain climbs!

The reality is, that hard 'poorly protected' trad routes, require boldness, courage and commitment, as well as the requisite level of technical ability, strength etc - references to testicles, is simply a short-hand metaphor for these attributes.

But surely you realised that?
tom_in_edinburgh - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Papillon:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> What do you mean "well said", it doesn't make sense? Is it because he referenced testicles?
>
> There's some program Channel 4 about a man with enormous spuds.... I only saw the trailer and won't watch it but it is clear that his life is not non-stpo adventure and daredevil escapades, the guy seems pretty unhappy.

Well, if you have 10kg testicles like the guy on the C4 documentary and you take a lead fall it's going to make you very unhappy.

nz Cragrat on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (
> The reality is, that hard 'poorly protected' trad routes, require boldness, courage and commitment, as well as the requisite level of technical ability, strength etc - references to testicles, is simply a short-hand metaphor for these attributes.
>
So women are precluded by gender?
CurlyStevo - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> (In reply to snakes77) dont get me wrong I do love trad climbing, but on popular multi pitch routes in lakes you can see how much the rock suffers from constant building of belays at exactly same spots. adding 2 bolts would stop damaging the rock. Not many people mind pegs being placed by top climbers so what is wrong with the odd bolt? you can build a belay station on the top of the crag that can be used for more than just one route... And as it goes for the "ethics" and for those that use it as the answer to everything please put a hobnail boots on get a hemp rope forget the harness or any real protection and off you go... Times change get on with it.

You seem to mistakenly think that bolts are permanent, they are not and need replacing every 25 years, each time drilling new holes. In general for belays using bolts creates more damage to the rock than repeated use of natural gear.
CurlyStevo - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to kevin stephens:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
> I'm not sure which sea cliffs you refer to (I love sea cliffs), but can't see how or where bolt belays and ab points would reduce erosion. or why one would need bolts on the lip where stakes a safe distance from the edge are safer.

Its quite common for the flora and forna to be quite unique very close to the cliff edge - especially on sea cliffs. In some cases ab points / lower offs have been provided to stop climbers topping out and damaging / eroding this area..

jkarran - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK

Basically because we don't need them, we've already developed most of our crags following lines of weakness or by stringing together enough natural protection opportunities to make a route. We don't have the huge slabs of protection less limestone or granite that the French have and the few, smaller examples we do have have already been developed with bold or devious routes on them.

The uk has a good mix of crags and ethics. For the vast majority of crags our traditional tools are more than adequate to open up amazing routes that would be in no way enhanced and barely any more accessible were they to be bolted. Any barriers that do exist to participation in traditional climbing come in part at least from the silly pedestal it's put on by many (often themselves beginners). It's not difficult, the 'rules' and tools are simple to learn, they're affordable and there's a path into it for even the greenest of novices. Alas that reality doesn't sound so impressive or sell 500 gear bundles and week long intensive courses.

Where the rock isn't so suited to trad then different styles have gained ground leaving us with a mix of fantastic and frankly dire sport venues and a handful of more niche crags for the dry toolers and aid climbers. More great sport venues would be brilliant but sadly there's not a lot of good unclimbed rock left so we go after the mediocre, the crumbling and the easy when we should probably learn to leave well alone.

The mixed ethic (bolts and gear, not scratching) has superficial charm and where carefully applied with style it has produced some stunning routes. Routes that can happily coexist with their traditional or sporty neighbors. The designer danger slate routes of the 80s are something can inspire even a coward like me. The problem is the designer moves on, the design gets tinkered with and despite the best of intentions what is lost to the improvements is the character and often that of the surrounding routes.

A solitary bolt mid-slab cam make or break a route, working out which it will be requires excellent judgement. Pulling it out or putting it in when you're proven wrong takes more still. Likewise a sport line crossing an existing route could utterly ruin what was once a committing lead or have next to no impact on a safe splitter crack. One things for sure though, once it's there ignoring it is no longer an option, anyone who's ever been scared on a route knows this.

jk
Kemics - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

only if you're using pap bolts. A decent high grade steel bolt with resin is good for way longer.

note: i never thought this would get past 100 posts. I really thought it would flounder before 10.
CurlyStevo - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>
> only if you're using pap bolts. A decent high grade steel bolt with resin is good for way longer.

Can you provide a link for that?

caver - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Bolts can be removed and the holes reused. Harder with the older mechanical expansion units and pretty straight forward with resin anchors.
CurlyStevo - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to caver:
As long as the same/similar bolts are used to replace the existing ones and the person replacing them wants to reuse the holes. I've climbed in a few venues where the bolts have been replaced and always new holes have been drilled.
Rog Wilko on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to kevin stephens)
> [...]
>
> Its quite common for the flora and forna to be quite unique very close to the cliff edge - especially on sea cliffs. In some cases ab points / lower offs have been provided to stop climbers topping out and damaging / eroding this area..

The environmental argument for bolts only rarely makes much sense to me, but your example is a good one. Another good one is the bolt ab station on Sergeant Crag Slabs in Langstrath, of which I was an early supporter. It was a newly discovered crag which (unusually) was destined to become very popular. The likely descent route on foot was a steep slope which was/is very vulnerable to erosion by descending climbers. So the issue was this: do we put in a couple of bolts and chain which only climbers will see or do we allow a big erosion scar to develop which would be seen by hundreds of fell walkers in the vally below and on the ridge walk across the valley. One person summed it up aptly for me -
"use bolts to protect the environment, not climbers".
I appreciate that this doesn't bear much relation to the OP.
Mike Stretford - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Papillon) It makes perfect sense, and I was agreeing with his post, that basically, if you're not good enough to do a particular route, then that's simply a fact of life. Either get good enough, or get over it, don't think you have the right to drag it down to your level.
>

I know what he was trying to say but even that isn't connected to the OP (if he's serious which I doubt). Most lower grade climbers who want more bolts don't want them on 'hard trad' (which I think of as E5 + or something), they want them on easy stuff. We've got bolts on harder climbs.... and the qualities good!

> But surely you realised that?

The 2 veg issue...yeah, it's just funny while this trailer is on.

GrahamD - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:

Apart from all the other reasons its a totally crap idea, When you say you want stuff bolted, who exactly do you want to go and do the bolting and how do you want to pay for it ?
Adam Long - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to caver:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
>
> Bolts can be removed and the holes reused. Harder with the older mechanical expansion units and pretty straight forward with resin anchors.

How do you get the resin bolts out?

ads.ukclimbing.com
pec on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to JanBella:
> ..... on popular multi pitch routes in lakes you can see how much the rock suffers from constant building of belays at exactly same spots. adding 2 bolts would stop damaging the rock. >

Perhaps you didn't click on the link I provided earlier but I think it disproves your point.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=195504

It was taken at a popular sport crag in Spain but could have been at any one of hundreds where this sort of sight is common. Old bolt stubs (no bolts last forever) and massive wear on the rock because Krabs are held close to it in a way they aren't on the end of a wire/friend,sling. Bolt belays do damage the rock.
Goucho on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to Papillon:
> (In reply to Goucho)
> [...]
>
> I know what he was trying to say but even that isn't connected to the OP (if he's serious which I doubt). Most lower grade climbers who want more bolts don't want them on 'hard trad' (which I think of as E5 + or something), they want them on easy stuff. We've got bolts on harder climbs.... and the qualities good!
>
So they want to retro bolt something like Robin Hoods Righthand Buttress Direct then?

This just gets better!

Mind you, if I remember correctly, there is a rather big run-out of around 8 feet on the 2nd pitch of Spiral Stairs, so they could have a point.

Maybe the answer is to just dress them all in those big padded Sumo Wrestling suits, and fire them out of cannons straight to the top of the crag, and get rid of the 'climbing' bit altogether.

Apart from the noise factor, it's probably more environmentally friendly too.
Toerag - on 24 Jun 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Kemics)
> [...]
>
> Can you provide a link for that?

Check out the 'sea series' bolts on the boltproducts site - expected life expectancy 50 years.
Misha - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
I was on this year's BMC international meet in Cornwall and one of the things our international visitors said consistently was that the sea cliff trad climbing experience was unique as "where I come from they would have bolted crags like this". Quality trad climbing outside the high mountain / Alpine environment is pretty rare in Europe and isn't that widespread even in Colorado! What we have is pretty special so let's celebrate and savour it. If someone wants bolted multipitch routes aplenty, they can jump on a plane. Obviously there's no shortage of bolted single pitch in most areas of the country and in fact there's some multipitch as well in places like Wintour's and Cheddar.
Misha - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Frank the Husky:
> Safe abseils and belays in many ares would be pragmatic. I could mention the Castell Helen abseil point (rusty stuck wires and manky slings) as a case in point, or the abseil at the top of The Strand (ditto)...but I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to tell me how evil I am.

No, but I'll mention that the Strand does have a couple of decent bolts in the belay. At least as far as I remember, albeit it was a couple of years back and memory fades... This supports your point of course - and it is a valid point. No need for people to die on popular routes which aren't even that adventurous per se (if the belay is the dodgiest bit of the experience, there's something wrong!).
Dave Garnett - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to Frank the Husky)
> [...]
>
> No, but I'll mention that the Strand does have a couple of decent bolts in the belay. At least as far as I remember, albeit it was a couple of years back and memory fades...

It didn't have bolts when I did it, although that obviously was even longer ago. Then again, we didn't abseil off. As I recall, there's a second pitch, which very much is part of the adventure.
Jon Stewart - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Misha: no it has some nice new pegs, replacing tatty old ones
GridNorth - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to snakes77)
> I was on this year's BMC international meet in Cornwall and one of the things our international visitors said consistently was that the sea cliff trad climbing experience was unique as "where I come from they would have bolted crags like this".

Interesting when I pointed this out on here or a similar thread I was told that I was wrong. The other guy must not have been paying attention or choosing not to hear for his own ends. Typical Pah.
Mike Stretford - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> (In reply to Papillon)
> [...]
> So they want to retro bolt something like Robin Hoods Righthand Buttress Direct then?
>

There does seem to be a demand for easier sport climbing, though it's maybe just a phase newer climbers go through. I think they realise pretty quickly that a strong trad ethic and the geography/geology of this island means that ain't going to happen.

I think the chap higher up added 'hard trad' to big his post up, but if you are at the level were you consider doing 'hard trad', then there's plenty of sport to go at anyway.

The op was obviously dicking about as he included the phrase 'throughout'. France has loads of climbing but also huge areas with nothing.
Dave Garnett - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to snakes77:
> Ive just returned from the Ecrins for the third time and im becoming even more confused as to why we dont have bolted multi pitch routes throughout the UK. . I have racked my brains for reasons but none seem logical. ... time for a re think UK. .

What, about emigrating you mean?

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