/ Oi! stop bolting High Tor
A lot of short bolted routes had sprung up on the walls before you get to the main crag but more worryingly there was a newish bolted line to the left of Bastille, as well as Sportlight to the left of Highlight.
I think we need to get the battle lines clear here and recognise that High Tor is a trad crag - it is not acceptable for every last bit of rock not climbed on trad crags is now a target for filler in bolt routes
Pls stay on the numerous limestone crags where bolts are well accepted.
By the way what is the easiest way of removing bolts as when I go to High Tor next I will certainly be chopping the bolt route next to Bastille - an outrage!!
Just to be clear; is the route left of Bastille Malc Taylor's "My New Hat", or a new addition?
Unless new bolts have gone in VERY recently then the ones to the left of Bastille are indeed Malc Taylor's "My New Hat", I was over there a few months back and there certainly weren't any others.
Hi Simon, it shouldn't be too difficult to distinguish Malc Taylor's route (My New Hat) from a new bolt line. Malc's route has only two well-spaced bolts (after leaving Bastille) which were put in in 1994. Are these new bolts that may be just replacements for Malc's, or has a new line been added?
Alas this could be viewed as a senior moment as yes the bolts were My New Hat - but even though this was put up in 1994 (I think) - are they valid? Does anyone ever do the route? I worry that it is a worrying precident!
I personally think that the idea that any remaining spaces on trad crags can now be bolted is the point to be debated... cleary my view as a grumpy old git is that they shouldn't be allowed to stand.
THIN END OF THE WEDGE!
Did I say that right?
I think, Simon, if it takes you twenty years to notice it then you almost certainly forfeit the right to complain about it!
You old dinosaur
Poor high tor
High Tors doing fine.. A good example of the evolution of British climbing in microcosm.
>"this was put up in 1994... I worry that it is a worrying precident!"
BDWL (bent double with laughter)
I saw bolts on the lower and central wall at Malham - they'll be creeping on to the Right wing before you know it.
Well first of all I'm not sure what defines a trad crag. Many/most limestone crags have a mix of trad and sport climbs.
As as always been the way the first ascentionist of a new route decides how their route is to be equipped: just nuts, some pegs, bolts or a mixture of all three. With bolted routes they might choose to put the bolts close together or make it quite run out. The general etiquette though is to make the route reasonable for ground up ascents.
I don't see why people not involved in trying the first ascent should have any say. It's not their business. If they don't like a particular new route or the way its equipped then they don't have to try it.
> Well first of all I'm not sure what defines a trad crag. Many/most limestone crags have a mix of trad and sport climbs.
> As as always been the way the first ascentionist of a new route decides how their route is to be equipped: just nuts, some pegs, bolts or a mixture of all three. With bolted routes they might choose to put the bolts close together or make it quite run out. The general etiquette though is to make the route reasonable for ground up ascents.
> I don't see why people not involved in trying the first ascent should have any say. It's not their business. If they don't like a particular new route or the way its equipped then they don't have to try it.
Unless they can do it without the bolts. In which case they can chop them.
> business. If they don't like a particular new route or the way its equipped then they don't have to try it.
Come on, that's silly: all climbers have a legitimate interest in what is fair game for bolting and what is not.
Do they? Do climbers who only climb Severe really have a legitimate interest in what happens on Walls where the easiest line is 7c?
The problem with this kind of thinking is this: who constitutes the 'we' you refer to? If you think you you've got an answer I suggest you haven't really thought about the problem. 'We' could refer to any number of different discreet groups of people. So then you have to justify your 'we' against the other possibilities. And what if my 'we' is different to your 'we'? Who then decides which 'we' is the right one?
If you get past that problem then there is likely to be a second problem. That is what if 'we' doesn't reach a consensus? What happens then? Do we go with the majority? What is the majority, 50/50 or something else like two-thirds? And who decides that. How are votes counted? Who's going to ensure fair play in counting the votes, stopping people voting twice under pseudnyms etc. And what about those, like myself, who thinks that trying to decide things in such a way is futile and pointless waste of time? Do their opinions not count? And who is to decide?
Like it or not the climbing community is nebulous, anarchic and always changing. There are no authorities and no fixed rules. Anything can happen and things change. Ed Drummond place a bolt on Cloggy and its been there ever since. John Redhead placed another on the same bit of rock and it was chopped a short while later by discarding the ethic of a ground-up ascent. Was Drummond's ascent ethically better than Redhead's? Of course not. What happens is down to the random actions of individual climbers and what's acceptable is often just what best suits climbers needs.
Yes of course they do. Climbers are a community and not just a collection of self-interested individuals. Don't confuse having a legitimate interest with having a right to dictate. A first ascentionist may have a greater voice but cannot own a route. In the same way, climbers unlikely to try a particular route should still be heard and their views taken into account.
'Do climbers who only climb Severe really have a legitimate interest in what happens on Walls where the easiest line is 7c?'
By your logic, Adam Ondra can do what the hell he likes.
> Well first of all I'm not sure what defines a trad crag. Many/most limestone crags have a mix of trad and sport climbs.
That's why we try to come to a censensus on what's acceptable. Sometimes there's a long history and pretty much universal consensus, sometimes (generally more recently developed crags) we need to have a bit of a discussion about it.
In case you're wondering, High Tor is in the first category.
> As as always been the way the first ascentionist of a new route decides how their route is to be equipped: just nuts, some pegs, bolts or a mixture of all three.
But unless the first ascentionist is a compete prick, they will conform to the accepted ethos of the crag concerned. Where it's a grey area they will consult with others before doing anything involving a drill.
> I don't see why people not involved in trying the first ascent should have any say. It's not their business. If they don't like a particular new route or the way its equipped then they don't have to try it.
So you wouldn't have any objection if I came and chipped a line of buckets up your local crag then?
Are you calling Gary Gibson a prick ? ;-)
Customs and traditions aren't set in stone (do you see what I did there?) and change. Often it is somebody not conforming that promotes a sea change - sometimes for the better depending on your viewpoint. Clarion Call for example at the Cornice.
As stp brilliantly points out above the response to trangressions/change is typically not consistent or planned or a consensus decision.
I wouldnt go so far to say as he does that it is 'random' though.
Or Ron Fawcett (The Cad, Tequila Mockingbird etc.) or John Redhead for the Tormented Ejaculation or Manic Strain?
> Unless they can do it without the bolts. In which case they can chop them.
No they cant, unless you can point to a piece of UK law that says otherwise. A consensus may arrive at a particular decision, but doing a bolted line without clipping the bolts can't give one the right to chop them.
> Or Ron Fawcett (The Cad, Tequila Mockingbird etc.) or John Redhead for the Tormented Ejaculation or Manic Strain?
To me, there's a world of difference between the occasional provocative compromise on a cutting edge trad route (self-consciously controversial and inviting subsequent ascents in better style) and the unexamined encroachment of bolted lines onto trad crags.
The bolts on say Raven Tor have absolutely zero effect on the lives of low grade trad climbers at Stanage. So what is their interest in what goes on there? I also think the vast majority understand that and thus don't voice their opinions on such matters.
I would certainly not want to tell Steve McClure where the bolts on his 9a routes should go or how many to use. I'm never going to climb those routes, and voicing my opinion would be probably be seen as a kind of mental disorder.
The first ascentionist is not the greater voice but the only voice in how his/her route is equipped. They may ask the opinions of their friends, but in my experience even that is extremely rare and its still their decision at the end of the day.
I agree that they don't own the route forever and usually when routes get retrobolted people can do a better a job because the route and its line is more clear from all the preceding ascents. Currently I think the opinion the first ascentionist is given a bit too much weight, sometimes even after they've given up climbing.
Same right someone had to place 'em in the first place. More actually.
> No they cant, unless you can point to a piece of UK law that says otherwise.
Depends on the view of the landowner doesn't it? If the bolts were put in without permission they might constitute criminal damage in themselves. In which case, removing them might be the moral equivalent of removing graffiti.
Of course, if it's a brilliant route it might be the moral equivalent of erasing a Banksy!
Bury the hatchet Simon.
Despite his failings, and who doesn't have them, Peak limestone would be a lot poorer if it weren't for GG's hard work.
I think Ron's routes (and others) were the beginning of the sport climbing era from the influence of climbers travelling overseas more. His later routes were fully bolted lines.
As soon as you place just one bolt the idea of the rock defining the seriousness of a route is completely gone. You can tailor the protection to precisely what YOU feel comfortable with - and on many such routes the advantage of pre-inspection for gear placements is considerable.
and the legal basis is?
Thats right as far as I can tell, it all comes down to what the land owner thinks, but then it would be for them to remove the bolts wouldnt it?
Me neither, but if anyone came along and bolted the wall right of Ulysses I would expect climbers of all grades to be outraged and vociferous in their condemnation.
You can't take one extreme and uncontroversial example and use it to justify an entire argument. The fact remains that we as climbers have a collective responsibility for the development of our sport and rampant self-interest by some against the wishes of many others without good consultation will never be a good way forward in general. Thankfully we have just this kind of wide consultation most of the time and as a result we have an incredibly healthy balance of climbing styles.
Seems a bit odd that having argued that elticism is all in how a route should evolve, for YOU to then argue against John Arran.
Yes, I think they do. But they certainly have an interest in crags where there are some trad lines of around VS and some blank bits which would make high-grade sports climbs.
> Are you calling Gary Gibson a prick ? ;-)
Not at all. I'm relying on the rules as I undertand them now, not as they were thirty years ago - and Gary was instrumental in helping define the consensus, mostly by exploring its boundaries! Gary was mostly operating on new crags with no established ethic, with the occasional lapse due to over-enthusiasm.
But, equally, I think Gary would accept that while he was pushing in one direction many others were, quite rightly, exerting a healthy moderating influence in the other.
I am struggling to reconcile your statements:
There were plenty of established crags where he went radically against the prevailing ethos - Pembroke and Lundy for example.
Similar to the argument for placing bolts where no one asked for them I should think.
As I said, the occasional lapse... and lots of people made it clear where the limits were.
That was then, this is now. I have a feeling that we may need another round of pushing back so it's clear where the limits are.
or alternatively where the bolts are chopped ie. The Big Issue
Interesting thought that people can do a "better" job bolting a route after a trad ascent has sorted out the line ;-)
It's not trad ascents, it's generally subsequent sport ascents. Look at the current state of bolts on lots of peak lime routes that need moving here and there to make the route better - there are 100s.
My main contribution to this debate is that I think the idea of first ascentionists having all the say (or indeed any increased say at all, once they are no longer active) is archaic and ridiculous. We should be doing what is best for climbers of the crag in question as a whole.
Ps. Bolting clarion call and much of cheedale was and is a GOOD THING.
Pps. There are some other established sport routes on High Tor already. Some of which are Shark's I think. They have co-existed with the trad for (25?) years. Some of the trad routes at High Tor are maybe the best of their type in the country - I'll never forget doing Darius and wouldn't tolerate it being bolted. But that doesn't mean sport routes can't exist on the same crag. Any more than it stops some trad routes existing at a predominantly sport crag in cheedale.
Darius - home of an infamous bolt.
I should have clarified - 'fully bolted'!
I once took a big whipper on to that bolt (and the thread next to it.) It doesn't feel like a sport route :)
One is frequently compelled to question the IQ of the climbing community. This thread began with a complaint about bolts to the left of, not on, a classic trad route.
That was what most of my post dealt with. It was you who nit-picked on the only bit of it that mentioned a current route...
Spoken like someone who hasn't put up a new route in their life. The time and emotional investment that comes from spying out and cleaning and/or equipping a route can be considerable.
What would it take to make you admit that you're talking bollocks? You said, 'I'll never forget doing Darius and wouldn't tolerate it being bolted'. Darius has a bolt in it. I have no doubt that you will be back to justify yourself, but I will not be replying.
> Spoken like someone who hasn't put up a new route in their life. The time and emotional investment that comes from spying out and cleaning and/or equipping a route can be considerable.
Well, I agree with him and I've put up a couple. Seems to me John Arran was saying something similar and he's put up a whole lot more.
Of course there's 'emotional investment' required in putting up a route but that still doesn't mean you can do what you like.
One is requently compelled to question the IQ of an individual who thinks that a thread with few contributors represents the climbing community.
It's OK John2, you and others have been making this mistake for over 15 years and many will continue to do so.
Yes you will, maybe not this week, but soon.
And you will most certainly read this and you will 'think' about it.
There's a bit of a difference between one historic crappy old bolt which is on one of two alternative finishes and a line do shiny new bolts all the way up the route, don't you think?
That attitude completely misses the point. We aren't here to say thanks or give an ego boost to someone who put a route up 20 years ago. We are here to make the best of the crags we have for the climbing community. If that means someone's old route being superseded, then tough luck.
Plenty of people put a lot of time and emotional investment in to hard redpoints whether they are new routes or not. And some people spend a lot of time cleaning and re equipping routes. Buy neither generally expect any sort of greater say than other people in what happens in future. The reward for this time and emotional investment comes with the satisfaction of successfully doing the route, and watching others do the same.
What a curious comment. I meant that there is no point debating with someone who will not admit to having written self-evident nonsense, therefore I would not be replying to him.
You didn't say that.
You said the First Ascentionist shouldn't have any increased say compared to any other climber which is disrespectful and rude.
I think where possible or practicable the FA should be consulted and heard out because their views do matter. It may be that they are overruled but to completely ignore their input and contribution is pig ignorant.
I think elitism is the wrong word. Climbing a new route is a creative and very individualistic thing to do. The climbing community don't take credit for new routes, individuals do.
Neighbourhoods are communities with shared interests. Perhaps they work together to save the local Post Office or stop a mobile phone mast being erected. However the local community does not try to impose its views on what kind of garden an individual should have or what colour they should paint their bedroom. It's not elitist to say those decisions should be left up to the people who's house it is.
And it works both ways. If say there was a proposal to retrobolt Darius for instance its not something that's going to affect climbers who climb much harder. For me I wouldn't really care that much whether it was or wasn't retrobolted because I've already done the route and I'm unlikely to want to do it again, whether bolted or not. Since the consequences won't affect me why should I be involved?
Quite. But it's not your private crag is it? At most it's more like a shared amenity, and sometimes it's someone else's garden.
> affect climbers who climb much harder.
Hard-grade climbers can enjoy doing easier-grade classics.
> already done the route and I'm unlikely to want to do it again, whether bolted or not.
I'm amazed at this. The attitude is similar to that a tourist who drops litter in a beautiful place, because he's unlikely to ever go back.
Because of caring about climbing, about the next generation of climbers?
A crag like Raven Tor is not shared with climbers who climb Severe for the simple reason that there is nothing there for them to climb. What happens there is as relevant as the colour my bedroom is to my neighbours.
There are plenty of small, low quality crags that are not worth travelling to and only of interest to the locals. Should people who have never visited these crags and are never likely to have a say in what in goes on there? I would say not.
Another example: there are now some climbers who only climb on indoor climbing walls and some climbers who only go bouldering and don't even own a rope or harness. Should their opinions be considered when say bolting a line at High Tor? I would again say no. That's not to be elitist but simply because it doesn't affect them any more than it affects a tennis player or footballer.
The term for people who try to involve themselves in things that don't affect them is a 'busybody'.
What's the litter I have dropped? I left the route as I found it. Its not my responsibility to care and look after every route I've ever climbed. I've done thousands all over the world.
I take the view that the next generation of climbers will be perfectly capable of taking care of things for themselves and to think that they require advice from me would be somewhat arrogant.
I didn't say they should be ignored - I said they should have the same say as everyone else (or meant to). I also stated this 'if they are no longer active.' I would still support them having more influence (but not absolute) if it was a recent ascent done within the current prevailing crag ethics.
I think at least part of this argument is an interpretation thing on the Internet so I'll retire now...
Without getting into arguments about particular venues or adopting any fundamentalist positions about bolting in general, I think you are missing some basic principles.
Climbers pride themselves (sometimes a little unrealistically) on being free spirits and nonconformists. One of the reasons we've managed to escape a lot of rules and restrictions is that, for many years, we adopted a minimal impact, 'leave no trace' attitude that made it difficult for landowners and legislators to make a convincing case for restricting us. The trespass laws help too, as long as we do no damage. I can feel comfortable climbing somewhere where I'm probably trespassing, without worrying about who the landowner is (by and large!), knowing that almost always I've done nothing that won't be erased by the next rain.
Now, this is going to sound terribly old-fashioned in the context of a popular sport crag but I still think this is a useful attitude in minimising our impact. Once you convert an esentially natural crag into an artificial amenity you are no different to a shooting club using a quarry or a syndicate managing a grouse moor. All sorts of issues arise; access, ownership, public liability, maintenance, visual and environmental impact, conflict with other users, Wildlife Trusts and RSPB... in short, responsibilities.
I don't know about you, but this exactly the sort of thing I climb to avoid. More importantly, bolting rock that you don't own and with no consideration of the impact on other people is monumentally selfish. I think I can make a defensible philosophical argument that, as long I leave no trace, I can climb where I like. I don't think the same can be said of your right to place bolts. To be absolutely clear; I'm not saying that there shouldn't be sport routes, of course not. I've clipped plenty of bolts and I've even argued for discreet bolting of the occasional belay on trad crags for safety or environmental reasons. But I do think that the level of consensus, agreement and permission required is of a different order.
I guess my position is basically that we have something approaching a right to climb without fixed gear, but this isn't true for bolting.
> The term for people who try to involve themselves in things that don't affect them is a 'busybody'.
Depends on the context, doesn't it? They might also be called 'public spirited', 'good Samaritans', 'passionate about the environment' or just 'giving a f**k'.
Whether a crag is bolted to not, especially the popular crags like Stanage, are as you call them, an 'artificial amenity'.
They have car parks sometimes especially set up for climbers, access regulations, lots of people visiting en masse for the rides on the attractions (routes). They have guidebooks (the admission fee) that show you where the rides are and how scary they are - the popular rides get real busy often with queue to get on them.
They even have medics at hand if anyone gets hurt on one of the rides: mountain rescue of course.
Not all crags of course - but most know where the solitude and adventure is....the untamed.
Child rape, war in the Middle East & famine in Africa have absolutely zero effect on the lives of 99.9% of the British public. So what is their interest in what goes on there? I also think the vast majority understand that and thus don't voice their opinions on such matters.
Sometimes it's good to take an interest in things that don't impact you directly.......
I agree with you in principle. Your examples of child rape, war, famine that have horrendous consequences for people and our common humanity makes us feel for them. It's natural to want to help people in need, stop bad things happening.
But whether a route has bolts on it or not cannot be viewed as positive or negative though since its down to individual preference. I don't see these two things as comparable.
I think all of these arise once you start climbing somewhere whatever kind of gear protects the routes.
The concept of ownership is fraught with difficulties but the first ascentionist probably has a stronger case than anyone else. I often think the opposite. Not bolting routes where its very hard to see and place gear is selfish. Its easy when you've abbed the line and checked out all the gear placements but the same route can a lot harder for repeat ascents which are made from the ground up. I've done several trad first ascents that looking back I now think would have been better as sport routes. That's not selfish that's thinking of climbers repeating a route without the luxury of pre-inspection that I had.
Bolts on limestone are usually very difficult to see. Even when you know where a route goes, have the line on a topo, and stare at the rock for 5 minutes you can still sometimes not see all of the bolts.
The main impacts are: actually being at the crag and climbing (that's very visible), continued access creates paths through vegetation, and chalk which again is far more visible than bolts. Slings and threads are also more obvious to passers by.
Bolt belays also mean that the top section of a crag is usually left untouched so no paths to get back down are necessary, no cleaning vegetation at the top is necessary.
Of course if no bolts at crag means no one climbs there then all of the above problems go away. But from the climbers' point of view that's a complete loss anyway.
> I think all of these arise once you start climbing somewhere whatever kind of gear protects the routes.
Not for the climber. I don't have any responsibility for anyone failing to get the gear in on any of my routes. I make no guarantee that they are safe or even that they have the right grade. That's your problem.
Unless you are of the "all property is theft" persuasion the concept of ownership is pretty simple. I mean the crag, not the route. In almost every case it's clear who the owner is.
>Not bolting routes where its very hard to see and place gear is selfish.
Now I know you are trolling.
> Bolt belays also mean that the top section of a crag is usually left untouched so no paths to get back down are necessary, no cleaning vegetation at the top is necessary.
I've already said that I agree with this in some cases. It's not an argument for bolting the whole route.
Not from this climber's point of view. There's nothing to stop you toproping, or running it out if you are good enough. It's a cliche to say that even if no-one is up it now one day they might be, but it's nonetheless true. Even if they never are, that doesn't give you carte blanche to bolt everything.
As as always been the way the first ascentionist of a new route decides how their route is to be equipped: just nuts, some pegs, bolts or a mixture of all three.
Well, steady on, that's just total bollocks. No-one gets to decide it'd be good to have a few low-grade sports route on Stanage.
Well you seemed to be talking about the impact for non-climbers. For climbers I don't think there's any implied responsibility that fixed gear is safe. Just think of all the dodgy old peg runners that have been knocking around for decades. The climber uses his/her judgement on how good they're likely to be. Having said that I've never heard of bolts placed for sport climbing failing. And a few climbers do a great job by rebolting areas when the first generation of bolts start getting old. German climbers reckon the stainless steel staples could well have a lifespan of fifty or more years.
The problem is the concept of common land or the commons or countryside in general which most people think should be upheld. Land (inc. crags) is not like any other kind of property in that no one created it. Many people climb on so called banned cliffs regardless which has the effect of undermining the status of such bans.
Not trolling at all. There are different approaches to new routing. In sport climbing and especially in Europe the approach is much more about creating a good new route for the climbing community that everyone can enjoy. This is different to Britain where sometimes its seems more ego driven: "who cares if no one ever repeats this route" kind of view. Not saying one is right or wrong but certainly the former is a less selfish approach.
Nothing to stop you doing those if the route is bolted either.
First ascentionists do have carte blanche on their routes. The equipping of unclimbed lines on limestone is totally down to their discretion. And its been that way for at least 3 decades. There is no alternative way of doing it.
Context: this whole thread has been out limestone.
> And its been that way for at least 3 decades. There is no alternative way of doing it.
This is simply not true. There are many limestone crags with a trad ethic where bolting is not accepted. Pembroke being an obvious and major example.
Well spoken (and your previous post). This issue used to come up again and again at local BMC meetings (I say used to, because I no longer take an active part), and in some cases local climbers, with the backing of the BMC, remove bolts. IMHO Dave Garnett sums up the whole issue succinctly.
>Having said that I've never heard of bolts placed for sport climbing failing.
Good grief. Tell me, how was Mars?!
I sense that the gentleman is about to say that sea cliffs don't count either.
What he says is still, however, total bollocks, but I fear it's not worth arguing with him.
> This is simply not true. There are many limestone crags with a trad ethic where bolting is not accepted. Pembroke being an obvious and major example.
And there are many limestone crags in the Peak where there is a no bolting ethic, not to mention agreed rules. What worries me most is that this seems to be being repidly forgotten (or maybe increasingly ignored). I'm not prepared to withdraw to (so far) almost unchallenged trad areas like Pembroke. Is it just inevitable that the whole of Cheedale will be bolted? What about Dovedale? Indeed, what about High Tor?
I'm fairly sure stp is stirring (and doing it quite well) but I suspect there's quite a constituency out there who would happily take him at his word.
Then I thank God that there are some selfish people in the world so that I can work out the problem of the route for myself and not have it spoon fed me by a line of bolts. I will say here that I am not decrying bolts where they are used. Some very hard routes (thinking of Hubble here) would be even more difficult without bolts and their presence has given us a great route but would the Big Issue have been as awesome if it were bolted or Walk of Life (not limestone but hey!) it is chalk and cheese
How so? May be some climbers prefer to pre-inspect a hard route or may be some climbers prefer to explore as they go.
True but you can usually see enough of them to work out where the route goes.
I question the view that unclimbed rock is a waste. It is great for wild life and such and for the people who enjoy unspoilt places (I appreciate the paradox in that).
There is a place for bolts and a place for trad
I can imagine this as a fiendishly difficult exam question in some modern paper (that probably doesn't exist) on environmental and sporting ethics:
'"Not bolting routes where its very hard to see and place gear is selfish." Discuss.'
Fiendish, because it's just such a nonsensical statement, with that heedless insertion of the term 'selfish'. Possibly the daftest thing I've ever seen on the UKC forums.
Do you think that counts for Great Slab at Froggat? After all it is very easy to see that there is no gear to place ;-)
Yes, I'm starting to see that Joe Brown was a very selfish man indeed. He was wicked from the day he was born - because he happened to be unfairly better at climbing than almost all of his contemporaries. And he never showed any signs of guilt !! I mean, it was just appalling the way he climbed up all those things, without every being altruistic enough to put in bolts so that others could follow him. It really was most disgusting the way he couldn't see that everyone has a right to climb up Great Slab, from the bottom to the top, by whatever means (as long as they're safe). And he probably still doesn't !!!
He definitely still doesn't!
It's very easy to create a pretty unpleasant route where finding the gear placements is the hardest part about it. This doesn't tend to happen on easier routes because there tend to be more cracks and the terrain is less steep with more rests. As routes become harder, on more compact rock, gear placements become less obvious, fewer and its much harder hang around and look for them. Sometimes they might even require one to move off the main climbing line to find them. What's even worse is that when there is the odd pocket or slot it might well only take one specific piece of gear really well, one kind of cam or a sliding nut etc..
None of these factors matter too much if you've abbed and pre-inspected a route first. You know the exact piece you need, and can run it out safe in the knowledge you've got a bomber runner coming up in just a few moves away. You'll probably even know the hold you're going to place it from. Routes like this can be a total nightmare for those trying ground up ascents and can easily be a grade or more harder. What's can be a safe route when you know what goes where can become a death route for those who don't. Experienced first ascentionists understand that and so rather than create a nightmare of route that no one wants to repeat they might well choose to bolt it instead.
If that still sounds daft, rather than scoff with insulting snide remarks please explain why. If you can't discuss things respectfully then, for the health of the these forums, please don't bother at all.
Pre-inspecting has always been considered frigging on trad routes, except for the first ascentionist. Routes are graded for ground up ascents. Apart the newer headpointed routes, no one does it. Routes should be made so that they can be climbed from the ground up. You shouldn't need to ab down a route first. On many crags that might be totally impractical and besides who wants to a waste all that valuable climbing time?
As for exploring I'm really thinking of harder, steeper routes here, and probably E5 and up. Not the kind of ground you can casually wander up one way and then another without being totally pumped and coming off.
Well that really depends on the grade doesn't it. Very few of the harder routes have been on sighted and that seems to be very much the exception than the rule. Indeed your two statements seem to contradict each other. On the one hand you say routes are graded for ground up ascents then you say that no one expects to get up E5 + in one go. For some routes it is evidently not practical to on sight them, be it sport or trad, in fact in sport climbing it is very much the expectation that the hardest routes will be worked (as it is for trad). I don,t see the difference in abbing down a route to work the moves (and let,s face it that is the way ALL the hardest trad routes were done) and playing yo-yo's on a sport route. Climbing isn't just about how hard you can climb it is also a head game
Or equally the joy of it. I have climbed plenty of routes with little or no gear and accepted that as part of the challenge. If you know that the FA worked the route for months before leading it then to my mind you are perfectly entitled to top rope it too, saying it is a nightmare for those wanting to climb it ground up is disingenuous, that is their choice, that is the nature of the beast, accept it or top rope it. Or climb it ground up and give it a harder grade or make a value judgement and say "I am not ready to do that" and come back when you are.
I certainly didn't mean to suggest that no one expects to get up E5+ in one go. People can and do all the time. More that certain walls are really not very good for a trad routes. Those that have zero gear are obviously only good for sport routes. But sometimes there are routes like I've described. If you have to pre-inspect a route to check out the gear then is that really any better ethically than simply making it a sport route? In both cases you've chucked out a cornerstone of trad ethics: ground up or no bolts. Which is worse? Which is better? There's no way to say.
But I'd say the bolted version is the better route because ground up is not only an ethic but because its just more practical. You can just start climbing from the beginning, without any jiggery pokery, which is what most of us want to do.
There may come a time when even you will see the damage that your raft of ideas (not really yours, of course) is doing to these forums - in driving people away in droves - and to the sport in general.
Not entirely obviously it depends on they route. But I do take your point that somewhere like the cornice would be hard to climb trad and seems well suited to bolts.
Each on its own merits. Something like Walk of Life would probably need pre inspection but then the exposure is part of the merit of the route. In some cases it is indeed a fine line of ethics
Practical doesn't always equate with enjoyment if that were the case John Dunne wouldn't have bothered freeing The Big Issue. For some, myself included, the jiggery pokery is part of the appeal
Ok, I'll bite as well.
Bolt protecting a route changes that piece of rock forever. Pre-inspecting a trad route doesn't.
Also Oi Stop bolting Stoney
> . More that certain walls are really not very good for a trad routes. Those that have zero gear are obviously only good for sport routes.
Any kind of climbing changes the rock and the cliff environment forever.
No they don't. Are you really saying that to avoid creating a route that is easier to lead with foreknowledge of a crucial placement (that would be all of them then) 'experienced first ascensionists' sometimes place a bolt? Can you think of even one example?
There are loads of such routes. That's why we have guidebooks and beta. It's why they are graded for on sight ascents. Putting a bolt in Master's Edge because someone might not know that a specific piece fits in a certain shot hole wouldn't improve it.
> Any kind of climbing changes the rock and the cliff environment forever.
Well, every breath changes the future of the universe, Mick, but I've done routes I bet you couldn't even find if I pointed you at the right buttress!
> Pre-inspecting has always been considered frigging on trad routes, except for the first ascentionist.
There are diehards who would say that it's frigging even for the first ascensionist!
For someone who cares about the enviroment thats pretty crass. Some changes are clearly much bigger than others and in that there are much bigger changes that could be made than bolting (say a complete disregard for rare flora to dig a route out of an overgrown cliff). Equally bolts can help reduce impact: a lower-off to protect the enviroment of the exit.
Any kind of climbing changes the rock and the cliff environment forever.
Class maybe. But you hit the nail on the head when you said, 'a complete disregard for rare flora to dig a route out of an overgrown cliff'
Us climbers have quite a history of doing that - usually on the qt. Some cliffs at Tremadoc for example. Isn't there before and after photographs of what went on there?
David Craig in his book Native Stones (1987) has some fairly strong words about us climbers vacuuming cliffs for our own climbing pleasure with no regard for the rare rendzina soil of cliff ledges and oribatid mites that play on them.
Bolts are nothing compared to our repeated passage to and up rocks.
The bits of Borrowdale that we're cleaned insensitively 30 years ago have largely revegetated haven't they? Not condoning the cleaning but the effect wasn't permanent or irreversible - unlike a bolt. I'm not anti-bolt, I just think climbers should be absolutely sure that they're doing the right thing when they place a bolt. And, by and large, in this country they generally do, and I'd like it to stay that way.
I agree Sam - we have an impact, but it isn't that significant.
Again vacuuming isn't the issue it's the flora involved in any removal (and at times the access implications of that) . The removal of most ivy on limestone, or most heather and bracken on grit is normally no loss. Even then there is a buttress on Stanage with a bunch of mediocre easy climbs where industrial removal of common flora only led to clean rock for a couple of years and my view was, rather than re-clean, why not leave it to nature.
And fauna - I'm using vacuuming as a euphemism for the 'rape' of the original ancient soils, plants, and fauna.
Cliff environments - especially those untouched often have very ancient biotic communities - sometimes home to undiscovered species.
Not good to broadcast Steve - and often this 'leave it to nature' never returns the cliff to its original state.
Don't get that. It had returned to nature and I didn't see the sense of a re clean.
Just to get back on topic (yawn), is this what we're talking (disgregarding My New Hat, obv):
So, some new sports routes (Gary's?) mixed in with established trad routes?
The topo lists Zed Legs, but the 'classic' Wezzy Wonks and MUGS Route seem to have disappeared, I've got something called Cathy Come Home listed also having been climbed in 1981/2. Must have climbed them for a reason, but can't remember why, nobody really climbed on that wing then, it was pretty dirty, I think the furthest we went otherwise was The Pillar, and Pillar Direct. I was working on my limestone apprenticeship, and the game then was to do all the 'D' routes, which controversially included Nightmare of Brown Donkeys as a D route!
I think it's my favourite crag anywhere, and my fave climbing, the routes on that wing aren't exactly classics but it doesn't seem right if the bolts encroach the trad routes.
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