/ NEWS: NEWSFLASH: Whittaker Climbs Baron Greenback Direct Start - E10?
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68816
Nice one Pete!
Wonder whats next on his list ?
I'm rather impressed with both these chaps (including Tom), I like the humour they bring to doing very gnarly stuff and the seemingly normalness of them both. I've pre-ordered slender gentlemen.
What's the death fall like? ;)
Not sure I understand your meaning?
Still holding out for 'Appointment with Jeff'...
Very impressive. Good on ya mate.
Time for the ethics question from a dumb American: what's the deal with the bolts? By this I don't mean why are the bolts there; more like, if there are bolts, albeit very dodgy, why not make them better? Put another way; if these bolts pull on a fall do they get replaced of does it then become a proper solo? This is a generally curious question not a proper ethics debate.
I totally get a no bolt ethic thus leading to routes with little or no gear. I have no issue or confusion with bolt free areas. What confuses me is bolts existing but being super sketch. In the States the equivalent would be drilling on a new aid route but putting in bat hook placements rather than bolts. If you're going to drill why not make it safe? I understand that Pete didn't put these bolts in. Just curious. Even though he safely took a fall on the original route in my head these are simply very hard scary highballs with a rope.
Educate a confused dumb American with a staunch trad background.
You're right to be confused, and are not being dumb, it's a good question. The reason these bolts are tolerated is purely and simply because of history. The bolts in this climb are old aid bolts, placed decades ago, back in the day before gritstone's 'clean' ethic became fully established (I'm sure somebody will be along soon with the full history).
In the years since, gritstone climbing has developed an ethic which is free of all bolts, and free of all aid (aid climbing is still possible on the grit of course, but very uncommon, and only tolerated with 'clean' pro i.e. anything involving a hammer is not 'allowed'). As this new route has been climbed in the modern era, it must/should stick to modern ethics.
I guess the argument is that the bolts are there, and they are part of the area's climbing history and culture. Replacing them is a non-starter, so you might as well use them.
My one personal preference would have been to see the route led without using them, and then have them removed. But that is neither here nor there, because I'm not the one out there climbing the thing!
In addition to Alun's good reply, I'd add that renewing the bolts would be similar to abseiling (rapping) down with a power drill and rebolting the Bachar-Yerian. Yes it's just replacing fixed gear but it takes some of the ethos/aura away from the climb.
It's just one of those curious anomalies that is all part of the ethics of climbing. We'll argue about damage to routes and the like while ignoring the fact that those routes lie in a huge man-made quarry.
> Just curious. Even though he safely took a fall on the original route in my head these are simply very hard scary highballs with a rope.
Old caver's bolts 6mm diameter, 10mm into the rock, decades old. How many 25 foot falls would you want take onto these? If any?
Wimberry will never be bolted. It's too much of a walk for most sport climbers to bother anyhow and the top is easily accessbile for toproping if one wants to be safe. The locals wouldn't stand for it and anyone spotted within half a mile of Wimberry (or any of the chew crags) with a drill would be beaten senseless.
On the old cavers bolts. To be honest before Pete's ascent I didn't realise they were there, it just looks impossbile from below. Especially any direct start (the latest ascent).
As Alun said, they were tolerated back then, but they aren't now. These are bolts from the 60's, They are lousy and will fall out eventually, in the mean time if some masochistic sod wants to clip them thats fine by me. Once they're gone it will be a solo apart from some random low gear to stop you bouncing the full 400 metres down the hill. Pete has done everything fine and dandy from the ethics point of view, nothing is preclipped and he's honest about what gear is there and what he has used.
Definitely heavy on the irony :-)
Thanks everyone for the fair and honest replies. Yeah I wasn't questioning the style or ethics of the route as it is; more the general idea of what happens if (when) these bolts rip. Sounds like it just becomes a solo as I had suspected. Thanks for the clarification.
Enty: I wouldn't want to take even a single fall on these bolts. I'd much rather take a whipper on a #1 RP halfway placed than these things; at least then I know what the odds are of the gear holding. I prefer knowing the odds rather than playing roulette with suspect bolts (or pins for that matter)
MaDMAn repeated too - this grit season must be up with the Dawes or Allen Bancroft revolutions!
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