I Climbed at Avon Gorge on Thursday, whilst climbing on piton route and great central climb I noticed and clipped new pitons. I wondered if anyone knows why this has been done and what peoples thoughts are on it?
If you don't like them, don't clip them. The local ethic has always been to use pegs when needed and occasionally bolts, so there is no ethical debate to be had. They are replacing ancient tat which you wouldn't want to trust your life to, and yes, SOMETIMES the pegs are near cracks which you could place gear in, but to be fair did you really expect to climb a route called Piton route and for there not to be any pitons? The clue is kinda in the name...
I have climbed on trad crags all over the country for years now and have never seen new pegs on routes before. I understand that where there are old pegs its fair to clip them and the grade of the climb will probably reflect this. I wasn't complaining about the pegs, just reflecting on an awesome days climbing of a quality I wasn't expecting at Avon Gorge.
Obviously were not all as clever as Mike Kann and I didn't expect to find any pitons.
Ah - that makes more sense! I'm guessing that were you to ask a bunch of climbers where they would be least surprised to find that like-for-like replacement of pegs - and indeed bolts - took place more or less as a matter of course (funds permitting) you would find Avon somewhere close to the top of the list.
The fact that you've not encountered this state of affairs before is completely understandable. I took the liberty of a quick glance at your logbook and, assuming that it's reasonably definitive, I think it's fair to say that the substantial majority of routes therein are in areas where you wouldn't normally even be expecting to encounter pegs, never mind be debating the merits or otherwise of their eventual replacement. Something over fifty percent are on natural gritstone; no pegs, full stop. Close to another ten percent are on quarried gritstone; very occasional pegs, and generally left to rot when they get old - with odd exceptions subject to debate. Southeast sandstone (no gear at all) seems to make up about another five percent. Traditional and relatively easy routes in Snowdonia and the Lake District account for possibly another fifteen percent; any very occasional pegs would have been placed long before the advent of modern gear - nuts, even - and wouldn't these days be considered in any way crucial. Another five percent (approx) relates to sport climbing in the UK and Spain, which safely lies outwith our sphere of interest. Of the remainder, only eight routes are on the type of rock that one most usually associates with peg protection in the UK - inland limestone; of these, three are on more amenable (and protectable) bits of High Tor, and two out of the remaining five at Avon are the subject of this thread.
A final point to bear in mind about Avon is its status as a city crag; things that happen there tend to get noticed, and decisions made by city officialdom can have a significant impact on climbing access. I'm sure that a principal objective of the ClimbBristol initiative is to make sure that the climbing world has some representation in any such decision-making process. In this context, accidents tend to be bad news - especially serious ones, and not just for the people directly involved; many elder brethren here will remember coroners' calls for a total ban on climbing in The Gorge following bad accidents some decades ago. My view, therefore, is that it makes a lot of sense to maintain in a good condition the traditionally standard fixed gear on all routes, and particularly on the easier/classic/starred routes that tend to be a target for less experienced climbers and/or those new to the area and possibly not yet familiar with the climbing style and nuances of available protection.
I could, of course, be typing a load of rubbish...