/ 17 new bolts on Grandes Jorasses
For me the Grandes Jorasses represents one of the last bastions of adventure climbing in the Mont Blanc massif. I personally find these new bolts completely unneccesary.
As far as I'm aware there does not appear to be a recognised and agreed policy for bolting practice in the Mont Blanc massif, but I think it time for discussion before it's too late.
Surely that discussion should take place initially in Italy and France?
Do I understand that these bolts replace the fixed ropes that have sprung up there?
There was no need for the fixed ropes and there is no need for the bolts!
Absolutely pathetic. Go and chop them!
> For me the Grandes Jorasses represents one of the last bastions of adventure climbing in the Mont Blanc massif. I personally find these new bolts completely unneccesary.
Obviously unnecesary - when was the route first done, FFS?
Although I hope not, it's probably already too late. When Piola started putting bolts on the Freney and Brouillard Pillars in the 80's, the depths had already been plumbed.....
Indeed, but from a quick glance the bolts would be less of an eye sore than fixed ropes.
I don't see how the bolts are replacing the bits of unwarranted fixed ropes that have appeared over the years.
Can't say as I've never been there.
But most likely fixed ropes would appear quite soon if they were simply removed. The bolts might redeem them unnecessary.
Of course, the bolts themselves might be completely unnecessary as well.
> I don't see how the bolts are replacing the bits of unwarranted fixed ropes that have appeared over the years.
I think you misunderstood my post Jon. I was simply wondering if that was their logic - remove the old tattered ropes but replace them with something a bit stronger/more resistant - and as HeMa dared to observe, less obtrusive. I was not agreeing with it in any way.
I love to see Rob with the bit between his teeth!
Agree with every word, but I hope your second-to-last observation isn't true.
Not done it, but the traverse is high on my hit-list. Why does it have to be spoiled for me, both in the anticipation and in the execution?
Doug Scott's essay on bolts in a recent AJ should be compulsory reading for anyone taking a guide's exam, and agreement with it mandatory!
Excuse my ignorance but which side of the frontier are the bolts? Who has a say about what gets put in where?
The bolts certainly are un-necessary, I managed the traverse including the technical pitches above the Canzio bivouac hut several years ago without them and I have never been the world's greatest rock-climber.
Italian guides do do some good things, cleaning up after people who should know better than to leave junk of various sorts around the mountains (like the decaying fixed ropes in this case), but they also seem to be acquiring the bad Swiss habit of regarding the mountains as being their personal possessions, to do what they like with, for slight convenience. Another bad case is the belay hoops on the Dent d'Herens, though very useful, they are all about taming the mountain and domesticating it.
Agree also about the croquet hoops on the the Dent d'Herens - very obtrusive.
Just for the record
1) My current understanding is that this is the independent action of two Courmayeur guides and not in any way something sponsored or endorsed by the Courmayeur guiding community as a whole
2) Also, I infer that the main scope of the operation was to remove all the fixed gear from Young (and there was a lot of it, mostly rotten and dangerous) and to create a quick escape route for those coming DOWN from the ridge, rather than climbing it.
3) The area bolted is definitely in France territory.
Not sure what to make of all this. It's definitively not your average "retrobolting", as the removal of the fixed ropes and the rottin gear as made climbing definitely not easier. On the other hand the rappel anchor have some definite impact on the commitment level of the ridge, particularly coming from the Hirondelles. There's a small rappel line on the lower Hirondelles, put there years ago by French guides (and it's the Italian side!), but it's hardly the same thing.
My own take is that these bolts won't have a long life there, but I may be wrong....
Very interesting. Thanks, Luca.
Yep. It seems to me that anything with a market for guiding gets commercially convenience-bolted by the guiding industry. Switzerland seems to be the worst. A very sad state of affairs.
However they listened to international opinion after proposing the bolts on the zmutt...
Sounds like the guys were trying to improve their mountain as they saw it.
> However they listened to international opinion after proposing the bolts on the zmutt...
I thought that was because the new hut got destroyed, so they didn't bother.
Presumably, but completely misguidedly (as it were).
"IMPROVE"....."THEIR".....Is this what it has come to?
No, not really. It is a climbing venue of internetional standing. And if any Fort william guide decided to put bolts in it on the grounds that it was "theirs", I hope they would be hounded out of the country.
> No, not really. It is a climbing venue of internetional standing. And if any Fort william guide decided to put bolts in it on the grounds that it was "theirs", I hope they would be hounded out of the country.
No, it's an natural environment that should be left as it's found. There is enough legacy of human existence on inhabited areas that we should limit our impact on recreational.
I agree with your aim but I am not sure that Luca's putting pressure on those who placed the bolts is the best way of achieving the desired outcome. What's needed is collective pressure from Guides' organizations, from the UIAA (Ha!), and people like Doug Scott and Piolet d'Or winners who (all due respect to Luca) have outstanding track records in the mountains.
While agreeing with your general sentiment, I do think an element of pragmatism is needed on popular routes. Where people abseil regularly there will be either tat or bolts. Personally I would prefer bolts to piles of rotting tat. For example the Schreckhorn bolts don't make the route any easier or safer but do elminate all the tat that, I understand, festooned every abseil point prior to bolts being placed. I haven't climbed the Grandes Jorasses ridge but the diagrams linked above suggest these bolts serve a similar purpose.
Realistically I don't think lots of people climbing a route and having it in pristine condition is really possible. There are of course plenty of excellent little known routes with neither tat nor bolts nor people.
This isn't about getting up and down safely, it's about not leaving rap anchors consisting of loads of tat.
Nor am I an anti-bolt absolutist, in fact I suspect my views are pretty close to yours.
But I think the Schreckhorn bolts have probably reduced the level of commitment (didn't do it before they were put in) and how many bolts are there? 10, 12? The Schreckhorn is frequently guided, so I suppose punters like me have to put up with guides needing to earn a living. But how many guided parties traverse Pte Young each year; are *17* bolts really needed on such a remote peak?
> The Schreckhorn is frequently guided, so I suppose punters like me have to put up with guides needing to earn a living. But how many guided parties traverse Pte Young each year; are *17* bolts really needed on such a remote peak?
Yes, I would have thought very different.
Though surely on very frequented routes it should not be beyond local guides to set a good example and regularly remove useless tat. Bolting is just lazy.
As for Pointe Young, what were there fixed ropes for? Presumably not for descent. And wouldn't the route be much more frequently ascended anyway?Again, good to tidy things, up but bolting in such a location is totally out of order.
> Though surely on very frequented routes it should not be beyond local guides to set a good example and regularly remove useless tat. Bolting is just lazy.
Good point. I suppose guides would say that bolting is safer for them and their clients... Still doesn't excuse the bolts on PY. And perhaps clients would prefer their hills untarnished by bolts or tat.
What are these bolts for? I thought it was usual to traverse the ridge from Aguille Rochefort, is doing it in the opposite direction also popular?
Or there and back?
Bonington did after doing the Walker!
So did Simon Richardson I think.
Maybe the normal route on the Jorasses can be so nasty that it's an appealing alternative descent?
Still doesn't excuse the bolts of course.
Even safer for the guides to get a desk job and their clients to stay at home.
I was very unimpressed with the rope on SW ridge of Pollux and the one on Dent de Geant but figured out that it meant that the numpties were kept in a few places and not scattered through the Alps. It was my poor route choice and I should have chosen anyone of the many that are less travelled. Guides will continue to offer more to their customers, so the famous routes and peaks will go this way. How long will it be until the 1938 route on the Eiger is a clip-up? Who knows, but they'll want it to happen.
> Or there and back?
Thats what I've been puzzling over. Why put a rap line there ? As far as I know most parties don't reverse the route which would be very time consuming and not very logical given where you end up back at the Canzio bivy, and I don't have the impression that a full traverse after an ascent of the Hirondelles or N. face routes is done very often. And as a bail out its right at the start, so not too much help to assist an escape, say, in bad weather. It would be interesting to hear the rationale as to why the rap line was put in. And for perspective I understand there are already bolts and chained rap anchors for the descent from the Dome du Rochefort, nevermind a b..... great metal bivy hut at the start of the route. I'd argue that the Canzio bivy has a far greater impact on the commitment and wilderness aspects than a few bolts replacing other fixed gear and tat on the first 140m or so of the route.
By the way, when searching for a bit of information about the traverse I came across this snippet from the website of one highly respected British alpinist based in Cham who is a frequent contributor to UKC.
'Thankfully some nice guides have attached fixed ropes for the first two crux pitches of the traverse which was much appreciated as it was pitch black when we started off.'
No criticism intended, if there is fixed gear on an Alpine route I use it myself.
> 'Thankfully some nice guides have attached fixed ropes for the first two crux pitches of the traverse which was much appreciated as it was pitch black when we started off.'
Starting an alpine route in the dark! whatever next?
Incidentally I backed off this because it was verglased and too time consuming with a less than great forecast (intertesting retreat down the Periades Glacier......). If I ever go back, I'd definitely climb Pte Young in the evening sun and have a more relaxed day afterwards.
But the rock section isn't bolted!
nevermind a b..... great metal bivy hut at the start of the route.
There is a bit of perspective problem there isn't there? Is there a logical reason for accepting a hut mid-route but not a bolt? (I want the answer to be yes as I like sleeping comfortably).
> nevermind a b..... great metal bivy hut at the start of the route.
> There is a bit of perspective problem there isn't there? Is there a logical reason for accepting a hut mid-route but not a bolt? (I want the answer to be yes as I like sleeping comfortably).
Though if people are ridiculously going to use its presence as an excuse for bolting then it should be chopped too (just like pegs should be removed if ignorant people are going to say "there's no real difference between a peg and a bolt")
This one? http://www.alpinejournal.org.uk/Contents/Contents_2007_files/AJ%202007%2075-83%20Scott%20Ethics.pdf
I wonder if anyone has ever totted up how many bolts Doug placed on Peak limestone...?
I think it was a more recent article than that, but I'd have to check when I get home.
No need for fixed ropes.
Even so called essential ones on tension/ diagonal abseils can be overcome by modern techniques and equipment (eg. Hinterstrosser Trav Eiger 1938, half way up Walker spur, after 90m diedre American Direct Dru.)
Fixed abseil points are inevitable but Kernmantle rope lasts for years if protected from wear by a krab or maillon. It is just sheer laziness not to use and replace natural gear. (same with outdoor centres bolting anchors in the UK).
If it snows a bolted anchor is hard to find. Solution: tie a bit of bright rope to it.
Of course it shouldn't! They should have asked the great and good on UKC for permission 1st.
No, it is clearly an abseil line down to the snow some way below the start of the GJ day. It does not protect the first relatively tricky leftward traverse pitches - which are the ones that you will be tackling early on (we actually waited till it at least got light, if not warm on the fingers).
I do recall some pretty blank and protectionless slabs toward the top of the Point Young, but you don't get any runners from these bolts anyway.
If so, that certainly makes you wonder what the purpose of it was, as others have observed reversing this route is going to be pretty rare (unless it was just done to annoy British Alpinists).
No, just the great and good of UKC...
But I suspect there will be quite a few Italian and French alpinists who will not look kindly on it either.
Yes, but are they members of the UKC massive? ;-0
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