click to enlarge Whilst the debate continues about the top down prepared route on Half Dome and for some its too many bolts (UKC news item) an ex-pat Brit called Paul Ross is getting some stick for too few bolts on his routes.
Many readers will be familiar with Paul Ross (age unspecified) and will have done some of his routes in Lakes such as Troutdale Pinnacle Direct, Paul's first ever new route, Post Mortem, Adam, Hyperspace and Swan Song, to name a handful. Then when he moved to North Conway, New Hampshire his stage was Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges, and Cannon Cliff where he was very active climbing new routes.
Paul now lives in Palisade, Colorado next to Grand Junction and has never stopped new routing. Paul's latest creations, about 80 routes so far, are in a relatively new area in the Southwest desert of Utah at the Reefs of the San Rafael Swell.
Paul has established these routes from the ground up and they are protected by natural gear and bolts. The bolts are placed on the lead; when Paul gets to a good toe ledge he takes his Bosch off his back and drills, then inserts the bolt, hammers it home and attaches the hanger and clips his rope in. The grades go from about 5.5 to 5.12, and the length of the climbs range from 400' to 2000'.
Paul has uploaded all the route information to the Mountain Project a huge online database where people can comment about the routes after they have done them.
About one route, Runout Ridge a 5 pitch, 700' 5.7+ that Paul climbed with Layne Potter, one repeat ascensionist said, "The first pitch scared the shit out of me!", to which another responded,
"No shit, the first pitch is an X rating all the way, not R!!! It may be moderate climbing but the sandstone here is far from bomber. I have to be honest, I was a little pissed after this climb. I understand that this is a run-out area and came here for some adventure but I had avoided the X rated climbs on purpose and still found myself in a situation where a broken hold(very likely in this friable sandstone) would mean a 90 foot ground fall onto rock."
One of Paul's partners last October was Sir Chris Bonington, also climbing with Paul's regular partner Layne Potter, on a new route they called Knights-Errant a 870 feet five pitch 5.8 (around VS/HVS) on which they all shared leads; although it seems this route hasn't yet had complaints about long run outs. You can view full details of this route with photographs HERE
You can see a list and details of all Paul's routes (and his interest in Parson Jack Russell Terriers) at his own page at the Mountain Project HERE which includes his latest route, Act of Contrition C1.5.8 climbed on April 23 which has had no complaints so far!