Posted this as a seperate thread as it's worthy of (hopefully intelligent) debate. Some of the threads highlighting recent sport climbs in the Llanberis slate quarries have had some exchange of views but there seems to be too much of the "sport climbing is for pussies" / "you have no idea about the slate quarries" reactionary bullshit clouding the issue.
I too have concerns about the current trend in the slate quarries for solely sport climbing new routes. Whilst I appreciate and respect the efforts put into like-for-like bolting and rationalising some of the more abstract bolting choices of the past, I've always valued all aspects of slate climbing: Trad, Minimalist Bolted, and Sport.
Although a man-made hole in the ground (blah whatever), they have never struck me as a proper sport climbing arena, nor even a predominantly sport climbing arena. They've struck me as a weird but characterful mis-mash of all sorts of styles, with a fairly clear emphasis on psychologically stimulating climbing.
With the current trend to putting up just sport routes, I see the balance tipping towards a more sanitised and less distinctive experience - and I don't see exactly how the decisions whether to bolt a route or not are arrived at. There are people prepared to put their names to the climbs and the bolting, but bearing in mind their actions affect a national climbing area, who should they be accountable to??
Considering one of the recent routes, a F5 (ish) up an unprotected slab. How was this decided to be put up as a F5, and not, say, an HVS 4c solo, or - perhaps more pertinently to the slate quarries - a VS 4c minimally bolted route??
Hopefully the way they always have been (to the best of my knowledge) - in the style desired by the first ascentionist, whether that means no bolts, some bolts or fully bolted.
Having said that, I also hope that this trend of indiscriminately putting up sport routes in the quarries dies an early death. It would be good if whoever is putting up these new routes recognised the minimalist bolting style of the quarries and respected it. The idea of 'sport for all' has its place but I'm not sure this is it.
In reply to Fiend: A good post Fiend. The rebolting is replacing and regrading as a sport grade but the routes are not typically sport. Example from a climb I recently went up was launching pad (2 bolts). People that climbed it after me placed gear on Holy Holy Holy to protect themselves before reaching the first bolt.
I agree it's a mis-mash and not totally sport. I would appreciate people saying me wrong but the experience of bolt routes other than slate that I've had (Thailand, Morroco, Portland) all have many bolts almost like indoor route in that there are many bolts. Slate is the opposite and is good for it.
As to it being a sport venue - when they bolt Seamstress then I'll cry out loud and take a hammer to the said bolts.
Obviously there are a number of lines whihc are natural, well protected lines and we can leave them out of any debate.
I'm usually dead against minimalist bolting but in the case of slate it seems to work. The reason, I think, is because the minimalist bolted routes are mainly on slabs, for some reason run outs on slabs seem to work better than run outs on steep stuff, I guess the reason is that you can hang around on slabs without getting pumped working out the moves. I'd also guess that the majority of decent slab lines have all been done and the lines that are getting bolted up now are quite steep (for slate) so lend themselves to being 'proper' sport routes (with some exceptions you have pointed out). After all there have been well bolted slate routes being developed for almost as long as there have been scary slab routes e.g. Geordie War Cry
In reply to Fiend: Really good post Fiend. I too have noticed the rather uncomfotable trend of all the new slate routes being sports routes as opposed to the mix of sport, trad and 'sportingly bolted' routes that I've come to love about the quarries.
I'd certainly like to see a bit more thought put into new routes into keeping the character of the slate quarries the same. If people don't speak out now I think there's a very real chance that in 20 years time (when sport and bouldering rule the world perhaps) that the slate quarries will have been turned into a sport crag with the classic bold trad routes replaced by lines of bolts.
Although there have been sports routes in the quarries for years I think it's probably fair to say that they were in the minority and the pseudo-sport routes like Gnat Attack, Looning The Tube, Launching Pad (bad example as it was chipped and retro'd IIRC), Heading The Shot (another bad example as it's now a sport route), Khubla Khan etc. etc. work as just that - not sport routes.
I also think there are probably loads of climbers who appreciate what the slate quarries are about and would be more than happy to pick up a hacksaw when things start going OTT Glyn (which might not be too far away??)
> Hopefully the way they always have been (to the best of my knowledge) - in the style desired by the first ascentionist, whether that means no bolts, some bolts or fully bolted.
Fair point - the mish-mash has come about pretty much at random, I doubt it was planned back in the 70s & 80s - and the result is a good and characterful balance. Not through planning but just through chance. However given that mish-mash has worked (I would guess almost all slate climbers appreciate all aspects of slate climbing??), I think it would be good to maintain it.
> (In reply to Fiend)
> I also think there are probably loads of climbers who appreciate what the slate quarries are about and would be more than happy to pick up a hacksaw when things start going OTT Glyn (which might not be too far away??)
glad I'm not the only one but would say Mark Reeves et al believe the same too and good on them.
Fiend, not to hijack your thread but would like to remind people to donate to the rebolting fund - they are now also replacing the old bolts on North Wales Limestone too and need all the help we can give them.
> (In reply to Andy Hobson)
> Fair point - the mish-mash has come about pretty much at random, I doubt it was planned back in the 70s & 80s - and the result is a good and characterful balance.
My understanding of the bolt placement was due to a lack of money - just think what might have happened if the climbers back then had had cash!
In reply to Fiend: One quetion for you - met cidernut at portland and she said you didn't like it too much (presume you prefer trad - but tell me wrong if this is the case) so how do you feel climbing slate bolt routes?
Off topic: I'm not keen on Portland because it's characterless lineless bollox with cheesey rock and all the atmosphere of a cement factory perched above vegetated slopes or greasy boulders that's vastly overrated because hordes of tarted-up Londoners read about climbing in Style magazine, go down the Castle for a month, take a weekend trip down to Portland to go up a conveyor belt of polished choss at the Fallen Blocks or Cuttings and think they are actually climbers as if a bland outdoor climbing wall like Portland is at all representative of what this glorious country has to offer.
I like sport climbing - good sport climbing. I haven't done much on slate, a few things in Parrock, and Colossus definitely is a sport route, but I've enjoyed it on that too. It has it's place, that's for sure.
> My understanding of the bolt placement was due to a lack of money - just think what might have happened if the climbers back then had had cash!
Although this may have been the case they happened to create a style of climbing which many other climbers have really enjoyed in the time since. Whether they would have fully bolted the routes had the had money shouldn't mean that they should be retro'd. It's not as if the FA 'owns' the route or the style in which it is done and enjoyed by many.
I must admit that I don't really enjoy sport climbing much at all but the sport routes in the quarries are certainly a lot more enjoyable than most sport routes I've done. I don't know if this is because I really like the rock type, and also because the style of climbing is a bit more slabby meaning my weak excuses for arms don't have to work too hard. Also, I think the sports routes tend to have a bit more spice to them and climb a bit more like trad routes (Colossus, for example) compared to the usual limestone bore-fests.
> (In reply to Glyn Jones)
> Although this may have been the case they happened to create a style of climbing which many other climbers have really enjoyed in the time since. Whether they would have fully bolted the routes had the had money shouldn't mean that they should be retro'd. It's not as if the FA 'owns' the route or the style in which it is done and enjoyed by many.
I know Portland has been retroed and stuff - there may be an issue there in itself, but it's very much a done deed now. I don't think you can really compare the areas for climbing nor for ethical issues.
In reply to Fiend: The reason I brought Portland to attention is that it could be what slate could become as an example of your OP. I believe that there could be some good trad climbing there (Portland) but it has gone the european way of bolted and it has made it popular and that was the choice of the original climbers to retrobolt it. I do think slate can survive without that attention and still be popular (or at least I hope so).
In reply to Fiend:
I am still trying to get my head around why people have a problem with a handful of easier graded sport routes.
In answer to you question of how the recent f5 up an unprotected slab was chosen to be a sport route, then I helped put up this one. Bearing in mind the guidebook for this slab describes it as not being worth bothering with. The other reason it was not done as a solo was that the climbing was close to the first ascentionists leading grade (not far off 70 yrs old!!).
Just for some info on the sport routes here in my backyard have a look at the graded sport list for Dinorwic Slate:
The Very Big and the Very Small
Cwms the Dogfish
The Master Craftsman (Il Miglior Fabbro)
Windows of Perception
The Mu Mu
The Dark Destroyer
The Dark Half
Wish you Were Here
The Wall Within
Sucked Away with the Scum
Two Bolts or Not to Be
Pas de Chevre
Song of the Minerals
Race Against the Pump
Con Quista Dors
Vermin on the Ridiculous
Nick the Chisel
Geordie War Cry
My Secret Garden
Heading the Shot
Where are my Sensible Shoes
Full Metal Jack Off
The Rock Dancer's Daughter
The Dragon Slayer
The Stream of Obscenity
Suspension of Disbelief
Taken Over by Department ‘C’
The Spleenal Flick
The Carbon Stage
The Porphyry Chair
Slight of Hand
My Hovercraft is full of Eels
The Drowning Man
Nick the Chisel (Right-hand Start) This might be 6b in't Peak
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Alive and Kicking
Mini Bus Stop
The Full Monty
The Deceptive Dyke
Easy Routes Can Have Bolts
If we are in danger of too many sport routes then it is at the higher graded stuff. So shall we suggest that the first acsent is a minimal bolting or solo for everything above 7b?
The other point is that for the average weekend climber who climbs around vs, there were only a handful of routes and these are getting hammered - Seamstress for example. The introduction of bolting for all has helped the quarries to spread the traffic, as most of the trad lines have been done already (leaving the "crap" left to bolt).
One last point, the quarries have had some bold climbing done in the past but its history is quarrying the best slate in the world not climbing.
Bryn, I really liked the little 5 route. It was a great warm up for me, and a lovely little route in itself. I like to warm up on stuff like that, helps prevent injury and get my auld body working, imho.
I saw the bolts were new, and thought it was great that there was an easier route. It's good for people learning to lead, or who enjoy leading 5's! Thanks.
> Off topic: I'm not keen on Portland because it's characterless lineless bollox with cheesey rock and all the atmosphere of a cement factory perched above vegetated slopes or greasy boulders that's vastly overrated because hordes of tarted-up Londoners read about climbing in Style magazine, go down the Castle for a month, take a weekend trip down to Portland to go up a conveyor belt of polished choss at the Fallen Blocks or Cuttings and think they are actually climbers as if a bland outdoor climbing wall like Portland is at all representative of what this glorious country has to offer.
Fiend, despite whatever else you have written or will write on these forums, this paragraph is superb. Even if (or, perhaps, because) it isn't entirely true.
All this hoo-hah about bolting new routes is a flash in the pan. It's a good post and people are obviously worried about the subject, and this is a good thing, becuase it means that the quarries won't be bolted in their entirety.
But consider this: the quarries were all but climbed out several years (if not decades!) ago. What remains is the odd chossy unprotected slab that was ignored by the previous generation, probably because there were much riper pickings to be had elsewhere.
If people want to go and bolt up these last dribbles, then I say let them. As long as the quarries aren't being bolted wholesale then the occasional new 10m clip-up up some chossy slab is not going to do anybody any harm and even benefit some people.
And the first person to mention a bloody wedge gets shot.
In reply to Fiend: From my very infrequent chats with HoseyB and other Llanberis locals over the last few years and more recently my impression was that the balance of new routing was very much across all three style - trad, sport and minimalist bolting.
Whilst this is a worthwhile debate I think there is a far chance that the reason we are having it is that new fr5 sports lines are more newsworthy than obsure new E3 wide cracks, or bold mild extremes in less frequented areas.
I would be very very surprised if more new sport routes were being developed than trad. Equally I wouldn't be surprised if the bolts routes got dozens of repeats and some of the new trad lines very few.
I await a reply from someone who actually knows the situation with interest.
> The other point is that for the average weekend climber who climbs around vs, there were only a handful of routes and these are getting hammered - Seamstress for example. The introduction of bolting for all has helped the quarries to spread the traffic, as most of the trad lines have been done already (leaving the "crap" left to bolt).
That is a fair point although I'm not sure it justifies bolting every potential new easier route. Safe-but-scary minimalist bolted routes could also spread the load. I get the impression plenty of people climb Massambula...
By the way - Horse Latitudes, the arete left of Bella Lugosi, is that right?? Used to be a bold E2 5b, now retro-bolted to make it a sport route?? Why did that happen??
I would not be happy at all with someone bolting original lines like seamstress, and knowing how difficult it is to bolt a line then no one will bother!
The suggestion that new sport routes are the thin end of the wedge leading to the bolting of protectable trad lines is just scaremongering to maybe backup a poor argument.
My point about the history of the quarries is relevant as all of the slabs and crags have already had ascents before the recording of rock climbs, and most by generations of my family who lost their lives there. Really none of us have any rights to dictate what happens there.
> I am still trying to get my head around why people have a problem with a handful of easier graded sport routes.
Because a lot of us are very fond of the quarries' distinctive style, and don't want to see a trend towards a prominently sport-climbing arena.
Say you've got 3 easy-ish lines up an indistinct but reasonable slab, with very little protection. You could bolt the whole lot to give 3 F5s. Or you could leave one, minimally bolt one, and fully bolt one, to give an HVS 4c, a VS 4c, and a F5. Yes it's an arbitrary line, but it would be an arbitrary line that's consistent with the status quo of the quarries. What I want to know is how you lot go about drawing that arbitrary line.
I do take Mark S's point that we don't know what trad stuff is getting put up, and I don't think Hosey's chossy car-jack chimneys really count. All I know is what little I read on here.
Slate is a pretty flakey rock....you would only need a thin wedge to do plenty of damage...
I also enjoy the distinctive style, but not all climbers do. There is plenty of room for all, and if you choose to you can avoid the sport routes as there is PLENTY of trad lines to do.
I like the fact now that over the last few months I have seen more families, new climbers, old climbers and young climbers enjoying the unique texture of this amazing, fast drying rock, and why should it be elitist?
Well we get into the whole argument about what right the FA has to dictate the lifetime of a route and whether they own that bit of rock etc etc etc.
Whilst I respect the FA of a route, I would prefer what happened to the route to be decided by the general "theme" of the crag, the relative value of the route in various states, and what is best (NOT necessarily most popular) for the climbing community who value that particular crag.
In reply to Andy Hobson: It was recently bolted when I was there sometime in April I think, along with the bold E3 just right of Bella... and a new sport route squeezed in just right again.
The new sport routes were obvioulsy getting more traffic than they ever would as trad routes but I can't see that as an excuse for retro'ing stuff. Horse Latitudes is now a pretty bland F5/5+ whereas if a single bolt had been added it could have made a really good E1/2. There is natrual pro on it. If stuff is going to get retro'd, especially on what (as far as I know) was a bolt-free slab until a couple of months ago, wouldn't a more minimalist bolting ethic be the least that could be done??
> (In reply to Fiend)
> I also enjoy the distinctive style, but not all climbers do. There is plenty of room for all, and if you choose to you can avoid the sport routes as there is PLENTY of trad lines to do.
With respect, if some climbers don't like the slate style should they maybe go and find something else to climb, rather than using it as an excuse to start adding bolts to things?
> Try not to confuse 2 seperate issues. ie what happens to existing lines (basically up to the first ascensionists), and new routing.
I'm concerned about both!
If the FA couldn't remember the route, then surely it was up to you activists (can you give yourselves some sort of snappy name or acronym please!) to decide what was best for that route - particularly given the factors mentioned above e.g. crag theme.
In reply to Fiend:
I wish I had seen this post earlier. Although I should really Im not going to read the past posts on this thread and shall just put forth my opinions.
The vast majority of bolted slate routes, in my opinion, are NOT sport routes. Bolts are spaced very widely and are only often there to protect the crux moves. Exceptions include Peter Pan where the bolts are spaced as I imagine they would be on a sport route.
In relation to who is responsible for bolting and the spacing of bolting then I would say that Mark Reeves and Co have done an excellent job. Old, skanky and quite frankly dangerous bolts and loweroffs have been replaced. The manner of the replacing has been such that no extra bolts have been added, only old ones replaced and new bolts have been placed alongside old ones so runouts are also unchanged. This has been done by a group of people who are very active in the area, are well known on the North Wales scene and who respect and care for the quarries and the ethics there.
As for new routes going up then I have no problem with whats happening at the moment. The bolting of a route is up to the first ascender and if you want to see it being done your way then you should get climbing the routes so you can bolt (or not) them your way. I personally would like to see the current ethic of bolts for the crux moves and few elsewhere continue but seeing as ive never done a new route on slate then I shall not complain about changing trends. Perhaps when I get a drill, some bolts, some knowhow on bolt placing and some more climbing skillz then I will make my own routes and bolt them the way I like.
Oh, and I also disagree with the ethic of "Its man made so anything goes". Dont talk rubbish! The slate quarries are currently my favourite place to climb and I would be mighty pissed off if people started chipping or dry tooling or excreting all over what is some amazing climbing.
Good morning cynics!
I am not continuing with this thread now since all the negative and elitist comments are coming from people who don't climb there regularly, don't contribute towards the re-equiping of dangerous routes, have no respect for people who go out of their way to make it safe for others or put up new routes.
From the profiles of those with the negative comments it looks like you are happy to clip bolts when it suits. Just think to yourself if a new 7b sport route gets put up no one bats an eyelid, but when an easier grade sport route gets put up there's an outcry by narrow-minded negative climbers.
Put your hands in your pockets, get down here and help out - then you can have your say.
In reply to Will Hunt:
>The manner of the replacing has been such that no extra bolts have been added, only old ones replaced and new bolts have been placed alongside old ones so runouts are also unchanged.
This isn't actually true. Routes have been retro-bolted into sports routes and this is one of the issues. Read the posts r.e. Horse Latitudes.
> (In reply to Glyn Jones)
> Off topic: I'm not keen on Portland because it's characterless lineless bollox with cheesey rock and all the atmosphere of a cement factory perched above vegetated slopes or greasy boulders that's vastly overrated...
In reply to Glyn Jones: The retrobolting ethic at Portland is that it is only OK if sanctioned by the first ascensionist. I think that this is the same as what is happening on slate. Perhaps the first ascensionist would have bolted these routes if he had had the necessary equipment / cash / knowledge at the time.
Personally I think the bolting of Portland has been very successful in turning a rarely visited backwater with a few mainly serious trad routes into a really popular area. If you don't like it then don't go there.
And Consomme would get a bit more than E1 5A as a trad route - the crux move on the initial wall would not be that easy to protect.
Do you really want to give the impression that you activists are prepared to go ahead and dictate what happens to the quarries but are not prepared to justify your actions in the face of unsurprising questions and criticism?? Do you want to give the impression that you are not accountable to the climbing community in general??
If you're not able to take the criticism and explain the reasoning behind the bolting, could you please get someone who is able to do that, and point them at this thread.
> since all the negative and elitist comments are
I think most of us are positive about like-for-like rebolting. You can't dismiss the comments like that.
> coming from people who don't climb there regularly
I have done, for someone who lives 3 hours away, anyway.
> don't contribute towards the re-equiping of dangerous routes
I sent a cheque off to the bolt fund for re-bolting last year.
> have no respect for people who go out of their way to make it safe for others or put up new routes.
I've already made it clear I respect the effort put into re-bolting.
> From the profiles of those with the negative comments it looks like you are happy to clip bolts when it suits.
Of course we all sport climb, and most of us in the slate quarries too. We enjoy all aspects of climbing, and want to see all aspects continuing in the slate quarries.
> Just think to yourself if a new 7b sport route gets put up no one bats an eyelid, but when an easier grade sport route gets put up there's an outcry by narrow-minded negative climbers.
It's not just easier sport routes, it's the general trend (which you haven't done anything to refute) of JUST putting up sport routes, AND retro-bolting established routes.
Besides, easier routes are of more interest - as trad, minimally bolted OR sport - to the general community. A new 7b is irrelevant to most of us whether it would be an E8 6b, an E6 6b or a F7Bb. A new easier route is relevant.
You are dismissing people who have valid concerns as "narrow-minded negative climbers", instead of answering our questions. That does not put you, nor the actions of the people you're defending on here, in a good light.
P.S. Here's a suggestion for you. Next time you want to retro-bolt an established route, or put up a new route - put a poll up online, link it on all the places you can find, and see what the general consensus is after a couple of weeks. Then do something taking into account that public view.
Unless we instill and inspire the next generation with a sense of sustainable ethics and a respect for our climbing traditions and history, I fear that Pandora's Box has been well and truely opened and the lid thrown away.
Everything everwhere will eventually be bolted Climbing will no longer be "Adventurous".
Cheers for posting this thread, it has definitely voiced a growing sense of unease I have had over the bolting following recent discussions on this thread.
I think the most worrying thing at this stage is the shutting down discussion on the issue. If this process is being funded by charity, basically, (as that is what the bolt fund is) then some attempt should be made to justify what the funds are being used for and whether it is appropriate. At the very least, some attempt to address very genuine concerns from the climbing community.
Are bolt-fund purchased bolts being used to equip the new easier sport routes? While I have contributed to the bolt fund on the basis of like-for-like bolt replacement, I would now be quite opposed to that fund being used to bolt new easy sport lines at the rate they appear to be going up, without some discussion on what is being done to preserve the mixed ethic of the quarry.
Leaving aside the question of whether the current bolting ethic on the easier sport lines is appropriate (which Fiend addresses very well further up the thread IMHO - I am quite ambivalent on this point myself but feel it should be discussed) it seems reasonable any bolting should be done at the FA's expense if the argument is going to be made that ethic of the route is the sole decision of the FA.
> (In reply to Fiend)
> Unless we instill and inspire the next generation with a sense of sustainable ethics and a respect for our climbing traditions and history, I fear that Pandora's Box has been well and truely opened and the lid thrown away.
> Everything everwhere will eventually be bolted Climbing will no longer be "Adventurous".
That's total bollocks. Fifteen years ago you could have said that and been taken seriously by some people (although you'd still have been wrong!). When sport climbing took off in this country some predicted the end of traditional climbing. Look what happened........
In reply to bryn: That wasn't a very constructive post.
Assuming that you do know actually know what you're talkiing about, all that was really needed is an informed comment along the lines of.
..I can think of around AA new routes over the last year that I'm aware of, BB are trad, mostly grades CC to DD, of them EE might have bolts, the other FF are sport mostly grades GG to HH.
At the moment the public perception is the new routing is centred around easier sport routes. I doubt that this is actually the case, but until someone actually makes an effort to put things into their proper context, potentially ill-informed debate will continue.
In reply to Mark Stevenson: There's a fair chance Bryn knows what he is talking about.
Illformed debate will continue I think it's fair to say.
I don't think the onus is on Bryn or any of the local activists to put things into a proper context. New routes are put onto the slate wiki, what else should they do.
Even in the year I've lived back in the Llanberis area the popularity of the quarries seems to have increased quite considerably, which I think reflects well on the work done by the locals. I remember being out for a run in the quarries last year on a stunning day and the quarries being empty, yet most nights now you see and hear loads of people up there.
> The ones I see practicing this art have gear above their heads, every 2 feet. Climbing 30 feet of rock with more hardware that a B+Q superstore...
Don't worry.....carry on climbing with me and you'll have no rack left!
ps anyone got a spare WC Nut 5?
Simon Panton06 Jun 2007
In reply to Fiend: Firstly, I would just like to thank once again the people who have helped to re-generate the quarries from a cobweb ghostly state of neglect to a buzzing and energetic scene. Everybody I have met in the last 6 months thinks the re-equipping and the new wave of routes are extremely welcome. So if you gave money, well done; keep giving, there is more work to do. And if you have given time and effort to get up there and carry out the arduous bolting work, then a very big thank you, and please don't lose faith in the face of what often seems like petty and ungrateful armchair sniping. The vast majority of climbers are backing you all the way.
Fiend, the reality is that the obvious trad lines were done a long time ago, what remains are compact protectionless features. These have been ignored by generations of climbers because, I suspect, firstly they knew how much effort would be required to equip them, and secondly they were not deemed (in general, and there are some notable exceptions) to be of high enough quality.
A new generation (well not exactly new if you consider the age of Colin Goodey) comes along with a fresh set of eyes and decides to make use of these neglected pieces of rock. yet suddenly, despite the fact that no-one has ever bothered to show any interest in said pieces of rock before now, folk are complaining - I just don't get it? Surely if these lines were such coveted trad gems, they would have been snatched up by now, no?
I think the first ascencionists involved in the new wave of routes have made good decisions - e.g. Jon Ratcliffe put a slightly spicy runout at the top of his new route Wish You Were Here at the top of Australia. It fits the route perfectly. Maybe there aren't that many designer danger routes getting put up, but remember, any of you nay sayers are entirely free to come and solo or minimal bolt some of the unclimbed lines, and believe me there are stacks left to do. Action always speaks louder than words.
And for all you thin-end-of-the-wedge doom merchants, routes like Seamstress will never get retroed. It is an insult to all involved to suggest that it might.
My final point relates to the character of climbing in the quarries - it appears to be accepted by some that great slate is exclusively about 'designer danger' routes. This is a misrepresentation of the truth. Nick Harms (for example) contributed a collection of simply stunning sport routes to the quarries - these are just as important or impressive (or whatever notion of value you wish to attach) as any of the run out slabs. Go and get on them and you will realise the genius of his contribution.
At the other end of the scale, I know that Colin's new routes will become popular. I hope he does some more, and if he chooses to bolt them fully, or minimally, or not at all, then so be it. He is a very experienced climber, I trust him to make good decisons about what suites the line best.
> (In reply to Fiend) The reason I brought Portland to attention is that it could be what slate could become as an example of your OP. I believe that there could be some good trad climbing there (Portland) but it has gone the european way of bolted and it has made it popular and that was the choice of the original climbers to retrobolt it. I do think slate can survive without that attention and still be popular (or at least I hope so).
they both have very different histories. Portland was a back-water at which hardly anyone climbed. I do not believe Slate has ever been that?
> and please don't lose faith in the face of what often seems like petty and ungrateful armchair sniping.
Oh come on, this is no longer the bad old days where the internet was strange and weird and full of people you could dismiss as non-climbing geeks waiting to spew their bile on anyone who dared step into their virtual realm. We are all climbers who like slate climbing. Sure there might be some comments you can dismiss, but not all of them by a long way.
> The vast majority of climbers are backing you all the way.
Would the vast majority of climbers, other than IainRUK and Rock Waif, like to speak up in this thread then, please??
If you've been canvassing opinions elsewhere that are contrary to the general view in this thread (a view expressing clear concerns about a trend towards retro-bolting and mostly new sport climbs), then please tell us. Saying something like "We sent a poll in a BMC newsletter and the majority of responses supported retrobolting and new sport climbing solely at the local activists discretion" would be a lot more useful and pacifying than dismissing our views.
> Fiend, the reality is that the obvious trad lines were done a long time ago, what remains are compact protectionless features.
Like the Bus Stop Quarry slab??
If you guys discovered a new slab like that these days, what would happen to it??
> A new generation (well not exactly new if you consider the age of Colin Goodey) comes along with a fresh set of eyes and decides to make use of these neglected pieces of rock. yet suddenly, despite the fact that no-one has ever bothered to show any interest in said pieces of rock before now, folk are complaining - I just don't get it? Surely if these lines were such coveted trad gems, they would have been snatched up by now, no?
I don't know everything that goes on in the quarries, nor every bit of rock that is available. But I would like to think that those who do know, and are doing stuff in the quarries are doing so with a strong awareness of the general theme of the quarries, and an equally strong awareness of how non-local slate enthusiasts might view their actions.
> I think the first ascencionists involved in the new wave of routes have made good decisions - e.g. Jon Ratcliffe put a slightly spicy runout at the top of his new route Wish You Were Here at the top of Australia. It fits the route perfectly. Maybe there aren't that many designer danger routes getting put up, but remember, any of you nay sayers are entirely free to come and solo or minimal bolt some of the unclimbed lines, and believe me there are stacks left to do. Action always speaks louder than words.
That seems to be saying that as long as one is involved, one can do whatever one likes?? I'm sure some people would like to be involved but it's not a practical situation if they live some hours away.
> And for all you thin-end-of-the-wedge doom merchants, routes like Seamstress will never get retroed. It is an insult to all involved to suggest that it might.
So the wedge stops at Horse Latitudes but not at Seamstress?? Maybe that is a fair line to draw but you are asking for a fair amount of faith in you lot making the right decisions on the rest of the community's behalf.
> My final point relates to the character of climbing in the quarries - it appears to be accepted by some that great slate is exclusively about 'designer danger' routes. This is a misrepresentation of the truth.
As I said before, my view is that the slate quarries are about all 3 aspects of slate climbing: Trad, Minimal Bolting, and Sport. No-one is complaining about the presence of sport, but about the increasing predominance of sport.
> What do you want, a detailed essay on every route that gets done?
Close enough - I would ideally want a consensus, and a justification, on every route that gets done.
You could put polls up, as suggested before. You could also have justifications posted on the Wiki.
It might seem excessive talking about justifications and consensuses but we're talking about the overall character of the quarries, which is pretty unique. Someone already posted that they'd intended to climb Horse Latitudes in it's original state, which they can no longer do.
This isn't a pile of homogenous toss like Portland, this is far more important, it's slate and it has a lot of character that means something to those that climb on it.
Now, if you start canvassing for opinions, and the consensus is to retro-bolt stuff and just put up new sport routes, and people expressing those opinions justify that, sobeit - that's fine!! This isn't about a small group dictating what should happen - not the small group of activists NOR the small group of concerned climbers like myself. I'm not saying "Do what Fiend and his fellow UKC slate enthusiasts say". I'm saying "Talk to the climbing community, get more of a consensus, and do whatever you do with the slate with a clear rationale behind it".
I agree - some sort of 'official' (or however close we could come to that) consensus needs to be reached - rather than 'I just spoke to a few of my mates and they all liked the idea'.
I'm not completely against the new sport routes - I do however agree that slate's future direction and possible 're-branding' needs to be examined and agreement reached.
Just (as it appears to me) randomly bolting sports routes seems wrong.
By way of history - what happened with Portland - did they ever reach a consensus or did a lot of new sport routes just appear cauusing the watershed effect of 'no one would really care about one more sport route' - just wondering.
> Would the vast majority of climbers, other than IainRUK and Rock Waif, like to speak up in this thread then, please??
OK, seeing as you explicitly asked:
1. I haven't climbed on slate, so I don't think my opinion counts at all. So if you agree it doesn't, ignore rest of post.
2.When I do, it'll be on easy bolted routes so thanks very much to the people who're putting the work in there.
3. I believe in local people having the main say on what happens on 'their' rock, and I believe that what FAs think is hugely important because if it wasn't for FAs there'd be no routes, the rest of us are in a sense just consumers.
4. I liked Simon Panton's response to the thread, it made sense to me.
5. If you want some new trad lines on slate, go put them up.
Simon Panton06 Jun 2007
In reply to Fiend: Horse Latitudes is, as I've previously said in thread on UKC, controversial, but that route aside, where is this great wave of retrobolted classics. It doesn't exist and it won't exist, because myself and everyone else in the N Wales scene values the designer danger routes just as much as we value the classic clip ups. Basically, I object to scaremongering, especially when it is based on such a flimsy premise as is being presented here.
If you detect a general level of exasperation from the locals that is because people are just dismayed at the lack of gratitude for their efforts. And lest you forget, those efforts have been considerable, sustained and done selflessly, despite the unneccessary acid comment from Paz (and various nonsense from John Cox). And on that subject, if a professional instructor or guide did bolt up a load of easy routes in order that he could have a fast drying venue to take his clients, I wouldn't object if it didn't affect existing routes. Guiding companies and freelance instructors are part of the Llanberis community; they make a significant contribution to the local economy - I don't see how that can have a negative impact upon you. Got any answers Paz? Or perhaps some more ill thought rumours to spread?
Fiend, I never said that people whom I'd spoken to had backed retro-bolting - those are your words. People are , in my experience, very much in favour of re-equipping and new routes, be they sport routes or trad.
You seem to be shocked that first ascencionists are making unilateral decisions about how to equip their routes - I'm sorry to burst the bubble, but this is how it has always been, at least everywhere I've climbed for the last 25 years.
If you want to see more bold routes done in the quarries, go and do them yourself. It really is that simple. You can't start dictating to others how they climb on a crag with a mixed trad/sport ethic. It seems that the remaining virgin rock is best suited to sport climbs - why is that such a problem to you? These developments don't have any impact upon the existing routes.
On my only visit to the slate i did one lead - solstice, which i really enjoyed..
There were people leading and falling onto bolts on Gnat attack (not far above the bolt) and people top-roping Fool's gold.
Is Fool's gold the chalkstorm of the slate? It certainly seems so..
* If the First ascenionist of a route wants to retro a route AND it sees no traffic what-so-ever then that is fine.
* I do think that they should only place bolts where absolutely necessary though. Not make them into clip-ups as this would detract from the character of routes like Gnat attack.. if this had 7 bolts instead of 2 would it become a F5+/6a?! and surely this would take away a lot from this route and what slate is about in general?
* Maybe the BMC shld issue guidelines along the lines of the above?
> (In reply to Fiend)
> 5. If you want some new trad lines on slate, go put them up.
What about saving stuff for future generations who can climb it in a better style. Eg. if no one around can climb a boulder problem, the ethic isn't to chip it - it is to wait and see if someone comes along who can.
BTW - I do agree with the rebolting and gave money to it, however - I thought that they were replacing like for like - I didn't realise they were changing the slate quarries??
> (In reply to Fiend)
> 5. If you want some new trad lines on slate, go put them up.
this is very much the point... the trad lines are getting converted to bolt lines... what used to be a slightly necky E1 full of feeling and satisfaction - a route to be remembered and cherished suddenly becomes another souless F5. don't rebolt what already exists. respect the ethic of the quarries. i had my first day in the quarries a few weeks ago, the best routes were the likes of looning the tube and gnat attack. yes, occasional bolts. yes, proper climbing. gnat attack with even 4 bolts would NOT have been worth climbing. looning the tube wouldn't make sense. routes like gadaffi duck are just clip ups by comparison.
> 2.When I do, it'll be on easy bolted routes so thanks very much to the people who're putting the work in there.
In that case you'll be totally missing out on the style of climbing that makes the slate experience unique. Your loss I guess but wouldn't it be better to wait until you're good enough to enjoy the quarries as everyone else does?
> 3. I believe in local people having the main say on what happens on 'their' rock,
Balls. It affects far more than just the locals, it affects climbers from all over the country who climb there and they all have a right to defend what makes slate special.
The majority of the poulation of the UK does not reside in Snowdonia and therefore would need some form of transport. I've heard that it is near impossible to travel via train to the area - so most would be coming by car. Probably less pollution than a one off plane ride, but done more frequently it would start to add up as well.
As far as I can tell you seem to be saying that currently there is carte blanche for anyone to grid bolt any bit slate that isn't recorded as having been climbed previously in either the last guide or on the wiki if they feel like it.
There seems to be in place a clear policy with regard to the replacement of existing fixed protection and that any retro-bolting is done with the FA's approval. Most people fully support and agree with everything that is happening with that project.
However, what this thread is highlighting to me is there are absolutely no guidelines/ethos/policy in place with regard to 'new routing' other than 'do as you see fit'.
I'm reasonably confident that those involved in FAs are making acceptable decisions in the main and this is re-inforced by many of your comments. However, I'm less content than I was having studied the wiki and found that over 80% of new routes are pure sport lines. Given that and the fact that no publicly agreed guidleines/ethos/policy is in place with regrad to the new routing it's not unsurprising that many people are concerned. Just saying 'They're local and know what they're doing' is not really enough to resolve this one.
You might know all the people that are new routing but most of us don't. A wider debate and the establishment of some sort of 'bolting agreement' to guide and inspire future developement would appear very desirable. It might not change what is happening but it would at least make it both 'legitimate' and 'accountable' to the wider climbing community.
I thought the original policy of replacing like for like was valid. However, it now seems as though I have contributed funds for someone to put up a slew of brand new F5's and change the area.
I feel that a consensus needs to be reached.
Simon Panton06 Jun 2007
In reply to Dom Whillans: Which trad routes are you referring to? Making ridiculous blanket statements like: "the trad lines are getting converted to bolt lines." is bordering upon the comical. This is not happening and it won't be happening. Please stick to the facts.
Get out of your armchair, get down to the slate armed with a crowbar, a big lump hammer and some spanners.....and take those bolts out which offend you.
Before you do that though, it maybe a good idea to meet up with the crew at Pete's or V12 and have a chat with Mark Reeves and Simon Panton.
This is as it always has been, there's no grand plan.
Thing that pisses me off about some of the above ill-informed comment is that it does have an effect, and make no mistake about this, on the motivation of some of the hard-working North Wales locals, like Mark, Bryn, Simon, Veronica and many more who have been working their socks off at access and conservation work, as well as re-equipping.
> * Maybe the BMC shld issue guidelines along the lines of the above?
You completely miss the point. WE are the BMC. I am a BMC member as will be a good fraction of those posting on this thread.
Any guidelines, if that is the route adopted, will be decided upon by US the climbers (whether BMC members or not). The BMC local area committee might be the organisation that facilitates the debate and records it's outcome but the BMC doesn't 'issue guidelines' and never will.
In reply to Simon Panton: sorry simon, didn't mean it to sound like a blanket statement of fact... was just being hyperbolic as to the current situation's possible future (which i don't think a lot of people would speak out about). the post which i responded to was as comical as my reaction! climbing walls have a lot to answer for as to current climbing ethics imho...
I think Fiend is making a very valid contribution in raising the issue now. After all, bolting tends (in general - Pembroke and Lundy aside) to be a one way process. Having the debate before the bolts are placed is healthy.
If you say that Horse Latitudes is a one off abberration (which will be debolted or not ?) then at least that has increased the general knowledge level of most of the climbing community and that alone is worth the debate.
> What about saving stuff for future generations who can climb it in a better style. Eg. if no one around can climb a boulder problem, the ethic isn't to chip it - it is to wait and see if someone comes along who can.
The problem is this argument doesn't really work for easier sport routes. These routes can be climbed "In better style" today. I doubt if there are any routes of f5/f6 that could not be climbed by a "good climber" without the need for bolts (or possibly any pro). The issue with these routes is does this make sense for the route in question. If FA decides to solo it then fine but that means that only good/brave climbers will ever climb it. This may make sense for a particular line but probably not for all of these lines. If you take the argument to an extreme then any route that has been soloed should only be climbed that way (since using any gear is clearly a poorer style of ascent and placing any sort of gear will do some sort of damage...).
Some sort of balance needs to be found... I'm happy to trust the FA to make that choice...
> (In reply to Simon Panton)
> As far as I can tell you seem to be saying that currently there is carte blanche for anyone to grid bolt any bit slate that isn't recorded as having been climbed previously in either the last guide or on the wiki if they feel like it.
If it suits the new route to be a clip up, then so be it. What is wrong with that? Why are you so against sport routes?
> However, what this thread is highlighting to me is there are absolutely no guidelines/ethos/policy in place with regard to 'new routing' other than 'do as you see fit'.
Where on earth do you get these assumptions from? Of course there are common sense guidelines. Everybody knows that you should not place bolts in positions that affect the character of existing trad routes. That is a given.
> (In reply to Mark Stevenson)
> However, it now seems as though I have contributed funds for someone to put up a slew of brand new F5's and change the area.
It's very clear that out donations are only funding the re-equipping prohject. (May 07 news article)
The issue is whether we just sit back and let the 'activists' get on an do whatever they want in establishing new routes (as Simon quite rightly points out has happened for the last 25 years in the quarries) or whether a wider debate is needed.
Speaking hypothetically I don't think 100 new easy sport routes would detract in the slightest from the existing classics. However it would have the potential to subtly change the character of the area, so a debate is worthwhile even if ultimately it doesn't change what's happening on the ground that much.
In reply to Mark Stevenson:
It's quite simple, you climb hard so seems fair to assume you could climb many of these bold lines that are getting bolted up without the bolts or with minimal bolts, why not go and get the first ascent of them if you care that much?
There's lots of new crags in Scotland being discovered all the time, and the general rule here is if it isn't sea cliff of mountains you can bolt the crag if your the first to find it. Which to me seems perfectly reasonable!
I note in the old guide the disdain heaped on the single bolt on one of the climbs in Dali's hole area, zig zagging the slab to the right of Harvey's Brassed of Team and Zambeisi. Its one of my faves in fact, and was previously E4 or something like it before the single reckless bolt.
Says something about the old school slate ethics!
I think my view is that anything that makes the climbing easier is a bit rubbish. That's it really. Replacing bolts as a safety issue makes common sense, but where will be be 100 years down the line where there are ten mangy bolts or new finger holes at every crux?
> (In reply to Wilbur)
> You completely miss the point. WE are the BMC. I am a BMC member as will be a good fraction of those posting on this thread.
> Any guidelines, if that is the route adopted, will be decided upon by US the climbers (whether BMC members or not). The BMC local area committee might be the organisation that facilitates the debate and records it's outcome but the BMC doesn't 'issue guidelines' and never will.
Ok then, why don't we suggest some guidelines to the BMC.
In reply to Simon Panton: I think you misunderstand slightly where I'm coming from.
I really don't think there is actually a major issue here, and in my first paragraph I was really playing devil's advocate. However the arguements 'it's always been done this way' or 'it doesn't effect existing routes' as far as activists deciding what they think is appropriate is unfortunately not acceptable to many people in climbing. Scott Muir and many others will happily tell you about that.
It certainly wouldn't harm the area to have some sort of 'slate new routing policy' in place.
I can't see any debate actually changing the price of fish, in that as you have alreay pointed out, most of the obvious trad lines have already been climbed. I haven't heard anyone want to ban the establishment of new sport routes but there is certainly room for a discussion about where/when/if minimalist bolting should take precedence over fully bolting a route or vice versa.
In reply to Fiend: I can't actually be arsed to read this thread, as I have come across several like them in the recent past, and i am quite sick of armchair critics, who simply don't know what is going on or at worst have been to the quarries once and think they know the ethical answers. Instead I have taken Bryn's list from earlier and added the words NEW or OLD. NEW being it has been put up or retro bolted since the Bolt Fund Movement, OLD meaning it has been around for ages without anyone giving a shit!
The Very Big and the Very Small OLD
Serpent Vein NEW
Bungles Arête OLD
Misogynist Discharge OLD
Bobby’s Groove OLD
The Medium OLD
The Untouchables OLD
Manic Strain OLD
Cwms the Dogfish OLD
Tambourine Man NEW
Concorde Dawn NEW
The Master Craftsman (Il Miglior Fabbro) OLD
Windows of Perception OLD
The Mu Mu OLD
The Dark Destroyer OLD
The Dark Half OLD
Wish you Were Here NEW
The Wall Within OLD
Gin Palace OLD - but a lower bolt added
Forsinain Motspur OLD
Sucked Away with the Scum OLD
Le Voleur OLD
Heatseeker OLD but was retro bolted - replacing lots of old peggs and bolts
Two Bolts or Not to Be OLD
Pas de Chevre OLD
True Clip OLD
Artichokes, Artichokes OLD
Song of the Minerals OLD
Raisin Frumpsnoot NEW
Race Against the Pump OLD
Con Quista Dors OLD
Vermin on the Ridiculous OLD - lower bolt added
Unpaid Bills OLD
Childs Play OLD
Nick the Chisel OLD
Geordie War Cry OLD
My Secret Garden OLD
Psychdelicate OLD but newly retro bolted start after rockfall
Menai Vice OLD
Heading the Shot OLD
Where are my Sensible Shoes OLD but retro bolted
Full Metal Jack Off OLD
The Rock Dancer's Daughter OLD
The Dragon Slayer OLD
Smokeless Zone OLD
The Stream of Obscenity NEW
Gerbil Abuse OLD
Diagonal Dilemma OLD
Suspension of Disbelief OLD
Taken Over by Department ‘C’ OLD but retro bolted
The Spleenal Flick OLD
The Carbon Stage OLD
The Porphyry Chair OLD
Donald Duck OLD but retro bolted
The Manimal OLD
Wizz Bang OLD
Slight of Hand OLD but retro bolted
G'Day Arete OLD but retro bolted replacing pegs and bolt combo
Y Gwaedlyd OLD
Gadaffi Duck OLD but retro bolted
Mister Mister NEW
My Hovercraft is full of Eels New
The Drowning Man OLD retro bolted
The Burning OLD
Nick the Chisel (Right-hand Start) This might be 6b in't Peak NEW
Journey to the Centre of the Earth OLD
Horse Latitudes RETRO bolted.
Le Gendre OLD
Peter Pan OLD but retro bolted
Alive and Kicking OLD but retro bolted
Gwion's Groove NEW
Mini Bus Stop NEW
The Full Monty NEW
The Deceptive Dyke NEW
Le Grandpere NEW
La Grandmere NEW
Easy Routes Can Have Bolts NEW
> Not wanting to risk your life is also a rather spurious arguement that could be applied to bolting every route in the UK.
Quite. Why don't we put some p1ss easy bolted routes up at Gogarth too? Then people who don't want to risk themselves can experience that facet of climbing too. I don't fancy hurting myself on the easy runout on Massambula - why not stick a couple of bolts in it? You've done the hard climbing by then anyway etc etc.
Just like there are routes you'll never be able to climb, there may also be areas you may not be able to climb in without improving. The quarries are one of those areas - live with it.
In reply to Fiend:
Dear oh dear. There is a lot rubbish written on this thread, isn't there? What I find particularly interesting is that most of the dissenting voices come from people who don't live anywhere near Llanberis. Those who live, work and climb in the area seem to be in favour. Perhaps this is because they are judging what is happening with their own eyes, and not relying on gossip and hearsay on the internet.
The two keys points are
1) The new easy sport routes are only new because nobody has been bothered to climb them before, viz: they are not gems of routes.
2) If you really want to make sure they're not bolted then go and solo the line, claim it as your own trad route and say you'd frown upon being retro'd. At least you'd be being pro-active, rather than sitting on your arse and being a whinger. Of course, if you're an E3 leader who goes along and solos a bunch of chossy VS for this express purpose, then you're a class A tosser, and that's a fact.
In reply to Aly:
LOL, wouldn't know, as I said I've not climbed there! And as I said, I think that means my opinion does not count. I only posted because Mr Fiend seemed to be assuming that the lack of voices supporting Simon Panton meant that somehow some majority view was getting aired here, rather than it being just the usual cabin fever UKC hot air.
> Quite. Why don't we put some p1ss easy bolted routes up at Gogarth too? Then people who don't want to risk themselves can experience that facet of climbing too. I don't fancy hurting myself on the easy runout on Massambula - why not stick a couple of bolts in it? You've done the hard climbing by then anyway etc etc.
Dear or dear oh dearie me. Sure you don't want to add anything about wedges?
In reply to SimonPanton, CurlyStevo and others: People seem to think I'm against the new easy sports routes. I'm not. What I'm against is the stance that no debate is needed and that all that matters is getting out and either 'soloing' routes or 'bolting' them.
I've know and I've climbed with one of the locals involved in the re-equipping. He has put up a fair number of new routes split between trad nad sport. At the start of this thread I thought Fiend was stirring things up unneccessarily, however the facts soon emerged:
- Far less trad routes had been climbed than I first thought. Nearly all the new routes are fully bolted, very few are trad and only a small number of bold bolted lines.
- No previous public debate has been mentioned with regard to the local BMC area meeting or any other fourm about the ethos of new routing.
In many parts of the country there is some official stance on bolting (e.g. Dorset Bolt Agreement) and everyone knows where they stand. If something was in place for slate, either officially through the BMC local area committee or unofficially through the Wiki people would have something to refer to, discuss and argue about.
Fiend and others might not fully argee with it, but at least those Activists would be albe to point to it and justifiy their actions as being fully inline with it.
From a personal point of view I'd like to see a few more routes like Mental Lentils, bolted and safe but committing enough to feel memorable. That might not be feasible but I'm certainly not going to get upset if more fully bolted sport lines do appear.
In reply to Alun: I'd like to think that I'm not an armchair whinger who talks rubbish just because I don't live in Llanberis and I have witnessed the changes in the quarries over the last 6 months or so. The three and a half hour drive puts me off popping over to see if the weathers good. Just because a proactive group of local climbers are happy with what they or their mates are doing doesn't necessarily mean it is the best interests of climbers on the whole, nor is it necessarily preserving the character of the quarries which many visiting climbers enjoyed immensly.
On one hand you're telling people to get off their arses and go and climb new routes if they don't want them bolted, and then telling them they'll be tossers if they do just that. Why exactly? Would I also be a tosser if I went and put up a load of bolted F5's when I can actually climb 6b?
>Where on earth do you get these assumptions from? Of course there are common sense guidelines. Everybody knows that you should not place bolts in positions that affect the character of existing trad routes. That is a given.
I think it would help reassure that bolting concerns are being addressed if the Wiki (which is the main source of info for many of us who don't live in the area - and credit to local activists for maintaining this resource) carried some sort of justification for the bolting ethic of the new route. There doesn't appear to be any sort consistent means of entering info on this - as is the way with open-access projects.
i.e. the sound of the following entries into the wiki make it sound like the area is being grid-bolted at an alarming rate.
>Le Gendre F6a+. New route starts right of At the Cost Of a Rope. 5 bolt runners to lower off. FA Rob Spencer, Colin Goodey, Kath Goodey 01/06/07
>Le Grandpere F5cNew route to left of Emerald Dyke.4 bolts to LO FA Colin Goodey, Sue Goodey 31/5/07
>Emerald Dyke F3 20 m. Right of Holy, Holy, Holy . New Bolts and Lower off. 10/06
>La Grandmere F5a New route to right of Emerald Dyke -3 bolts to lower off FA. Sue Goodey,Colin Goodey. 23/5/07.Quality route - popular already!
All apologies to the FA's if this is not the case (and everyone who has commented about these routes specifically, has said there are good reasons for bolting this area which are almost certainly fair) but why not provide some reasoning where bolts have been placed either minimally or a line has been fully bolted? It seems to me like a large amount of the concern by non-local climbers could be cleared up with a bit of reassurance as to what the thinking behind the placing of bolts has been, and that some thought has gone into what the appropriate ethic for the route should be, as opposed to bolting being the path of least resistance.
i.e. the following seems entirely reasonable; bolt protecting loose chossy top out or knackered gear placement- fair enough.
>Her Indoors E3. New bolts one replacing a peg and another to protect loose easy ground at the top and Lower off. 10/06
>Is it a crime? E3 5c. new bolts and lower off. 1 extra bolt by an old worn out RP placement.
IMO recording the bolting ethic of each new route in the database/guidebook could go a way toward arriving at a general bolting consensus, as new routers would have a precedent to refer to when deciding whether or not to place bolts.
I haven't read this thread either - it's too long already and I found it too late.
But if anybody has any questions about the motive behind some of the re-bolting, Mark Reeves (the boss man!) has already answered some of them here so to save him the effort of going into it again, have a skim through his posts:
I'm not saying I agree with it all as I have my own (mixed) views on this, but have seen that Mark takes reactions to the bolting personally which he shouldn't, so just want to ease any offense! :S
Bolt the lot! is a manmade scar on the landscape anyway ! - as for knowing about slate my extended faimly have worked in it in Blanau Ffestiniog and still do work in production in USA Hilltop - huge potental new routes on Slate.
Owners have a responsibility towards trespassers - and well either deny access or make safe to satisfy their insurance companies...
I'm sure the subject will be talked about at the next area meeting.
I remember retro bolting some routes on slate in 1993/4 with a few other so its not new ....
Can't add the item to the next agenda as it's next week, but happy to do so for the September Meeting.
I would need a succint idea of what the deabate is about though. I doubt anyone who can be bothered to attend will be worried about the developemnt of easy sport climbs on chossy slate such as the Dali's Hole Slab. There will be no wholsale retrobolting. It's been tried to general aclaim on Horse Latitudues but spoken reaction seems to be against it.
I did two new routes in Vivian intending them to be sport routes but having re climbed them Britsh grades fit best and they definately have 'slate bolted feel'.
MOst of the areas where new sport routes are going up have been ignored previously for a very good reason, i.e. they're crap and a few bolts has made them into worthwhile (an popular) climbs.
In reply to Fiend: Having read Mark Reeve's post, and consulted the old guide, I can say I'm happy with what they are doing, and am glad I contributed to the bolt fund. I must say some of the alarmist comment on this thread don't seem to correspond with what is going on. I say that after waiting to check to guide and wiki before I posted. The vast majority of the WORK seems to involve like for like replacement on trad and sport, with the 'rationalising some of the more abstract bolting choices of the past' as you put it, which I agree with.
The issue of the new easy sports routes is another issue, as I understand the bolt fund is not paying for these. Like others have said, if you feel that strongly about the remaining lines (or non-lines as the case may be), go and claim them as trad. Bolts are accepted on slate so if FA chooses to use them so be it. The fact that these routes haven't been done till now speaks volumes.
In reply to Alun:
Not quite true. The last slate guide says 'A number of routes have been done on the friable slab to the right (of At the Cost of a Rope) However, even by slate standards, they are disgusting and as such are best left unrecorded'.
This is where some of the routes under discussion are located. So they WERE done before as trad routes, not recorded by the guide team(?)because they did not meet the 'criteria', and have been subsequently bolted and claimed as new. And appeared on graded lists as NEW.
Isn't historical research interesting!
In reply to Fiend: There is underlying assumption in British climbing circles that bolting some routes is a trend towards bolting all routes. I was very influenced by this for many years, but having climbed in Finland for the last 7 years I can see that its not true.
Finnish granite tends to get bolted if there is no gear and left trad if there is. Cost and effort of bolting almost ensures this. There have been some notable exceptions to this, but they are rare and sometime bolts are removed when someone has been over enthusiastic with a drill.
It doesn't mean that this isn't a valid discussion, but the trend is almost certainly towards SOME sport climbs, not ALL sport climbs because there is 150 years of tradition buttressing the trad tradition.
> It doesn't mean that this isn't a valid discussion, but the trend is almost certainly towards SOME sport climbs, not ALL sport climbs because there is 150 years of tradition buttressing the trad tradition.
But only if threads like this keep the 'tradition' flag flying. Its important to air all the issues as bolting a crag tends to be an irreversible step.
Simon Panton07 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD: But bolted routes are, as I, and others, keep having to explain a legitimate part of the slate tradition.
All first ascents on all crags are potentially controversial. On a sea cliff or a mountain crag someone might place pegs that will rust and clog placements or holds. On a grit or sandstone route someone might be over zealous in their cleaning and create a new hold or improve existing ones. On limestone routes there is a fine line between hold creation and hold stabilisation with glue. etc, etc, etc.
If you want to start slagging people like Colin Goodey, you'd better be consistent and cast the net a bit wider. There are far more suspect things happening out there than somebody bolting up a neglected slab in a quarry.
Slate has its own mixed/experimental ethic (similar to Gordale for example) and those involved think just as carefully about what they do as any other FAs operating elsewhere in the UK. in fact I would say that the current generation of slate new routers are more ethical than the 80s crew that Fiend selectively hero worships. Chipping was a widespread phenomena in those days - although to be fair those boys did a good job, and we all enjoy the fruits of their labour, don't we.
> However, even by slate standards, they are disgusting and as such are best left unrecorded'.
And you are complaining that such routes are now cleaned up and being used? YOu don't like the fact that are giving people pleasure and enjoyment whereas before they were ignored? Whatever for?
I just don't understand this holier-than-though bee-in-bonnet attitude regarding this issue. You've never climbed the lines in question, you were never going to. Nobody was ever going to repeat them because even the guidebook admits that 'they are digusting'. So why are you so bothered?
The slate quarries already have loads of fully bolted sport routes - I'm not talking about the existing semi-bolted lines, which should be (and, by and large, are being) re-geared like for like. I'm talking about the sport routes i.e. full clip ups. See Mark's list with OLD or NEW. Did people complain so voraciously when these went up over the last twenty years? The wedge argument is null and void - there already are loads of sport routes and I don't see anybody advocating debolting The Very Big and The Very Small.
This whole thread smacks of barely hidden elitism to me.
> And you are complaining that such routes are now cleaned up and being used? YOu don't like the fact that are giving people pleasure and enjoyment whereas before they were ignored? Whatever for?
Calm down. I did not make a complaint. I posted what I thought was some relevant information that might inform the debate
You've never climbed the lines in question, you were never going to. Nobody was ever going to repeat them because even the guidebook admits that 'they are digusting'. So why are you so bothered?
No. Nobody was going to 'repeat' them because they were not included in the last guide. Those routes, apparently, have now ceased to be disgusting. Is this because they have been cleaned or because they have been bolted? If its just the former then they didn't need bolting; if its the latter its an indication that bolted routes are seen as 'better' or more popular. Or both.
See Mark's list with OLD or NEW.
All I pointed out was that four of the NEW routes are proably not really that at all having likely been done before as trad. Its a bit like Launching Pad being renamed and claimed by the people that bolted that existing line.
> This whole thread smacks of barely hidden elitism to me.
That lets me off the hook then as I've only posted on this thread twice now and I ain't part of no elite.
I'm not after slagging anyone off, nor am I in any sense an avid 'anti boltist' - there is a balance. Where I am agreeing with Fiend is that it is important to recognise, explore and discuss this balance in order to protect our rare range of climbing styles. This is not just NW slate specific.
People say that its not the thin end of the wedge - just look at the recent history of crags around the UK, they will say. I would say its not allowed to become the thin end of the wedge precisely because we had the the likes of Ken Wilson and Gary Gibson constantly bringing the opposing points of view into open forums. Ken didn't get his no bolts anywhere and Gary didn't get to bolt Lundy and Pembroke. We need to keep the debate running and the balance maintained.
Because bolting tends to be a one way process, its not a debate to have after the event.
> This whole thread smacks of barely hidden elitism to me.
Comments like seem seem to be quite a useful way of simply dismissing people who are just interested in seeing justification for the style of new routes being put up. Nobody is saying that the quarries have never had sport routes, and nobody is saying the shouldn't have any more but a bit of thought, and justification to why routes are being bolted (or retro-bolted as it seems may be case) would make a lot of people feel a bit better about what is going on in Wales.
Also, out of interest, would one of the slate locals posting on here be able to post the descriptions of old trad routes on the Dali's Hole wall (Pete's new route book?)? Were the FA's consulted before the bolting if the lines do overlap?
but a bit of thought, and justification to why routes are being bolted (or retro-bolted as it seems may be case) would make a lot of people feel a bit better about what is going on in Wales.
Apart from a few people on here I've not heard of much concern about what is going on. I think you are asking too much that the local activists should have to justify each route.
They put the time effort and money into re-equipping old and developing new routes. Their general view has been made clear. But their does seem to be scare-mongering going on, like the comments about seamstress, classic trad lines like that won't be bolted. Their maybe a few lower grade sport routes going up, but they are still very few in number.
The general popularity of the quarries now compared with 2-5 years ago is proof that they have got their plans right.
> Also, out of interest, would one of the slate locals posting on here be able to post the descriptions of old trad routes on the Dali's Hole wall (Pete's new route book?)? Were the FA's consulted before the bolting if the lines do overlap?
I don't understand the concern. Well I do to a point but I think it is ungrounded now. How many people who have actualy visited the quarries since the redevelopments are concerned?
Not those who have in the past, but havn't been since.
It seems to me the locals should be congratulated. With the slate quarries, the new (ish) bouldering guide and the new climbing guide there seems to be a real buzz about North Wales climbing again. This is largely due to local climbers like Simon and Mark getting out and getting things done.
> People say that its not the thin end of the wedge - just look at the recent history of crags around the UK, they will say. I would say its not allowed to become the thin end of the wedge precisely because we had the the likes of Ken Wilson and Gary Gibson constantly bringing the opposing points of view into open forums.
I'm pretty sceptical about this, rather I think that around 95% of British climb are trad climbs because 95% of British climbers are trad climbers first and foremost.
That people discuss this is fine and natural though. But illogical alarmism, which has always been Wilson standard debating tactic, doesn't add much to the discussion.
> I'm pretty sceptical about this, rather I think that around 95% of British climb are trad climbs because 95% of British climbers are trad climbers first and foremost.
I'm not convinced that the proportion is constant - or at least is destined to remain constant. People aren't born 'trad' or 'sports' or whatever, they tend to pick up on the prevailing style of the area and time.
Ken Wilson, is, of course at one extreme of the spectrum. You need one or two people like that to keep the balance somewhere in the middle.
> Apart from a few people on here I've not heard of much concern about what is going on.
Thinking about it, the majority of the climbers that I know who climb on slate have farily serious reservations about what is happening with the regearing and new-routing operations.
How unjustified is thie "scaremongering" as you put it? I can recall having a conversation with some mates just after the regearing project was announced and I remember saying that the like-for-like replacement of fixed gear was probably not a bad idea but I hoped that they didn't alter certain routes which always had some character about them. It appears that quite a few of these routes that I really hoped wouldn't be changed have now been altered by the addition of bolts. As was said above - why draw the line at Horse Latitudes but not Seamstress?
That seems a bit touchy considering I just stated what I'd heard and what I thought about it. I think it's far better to get rumours out in the open where they can be refuted (which incidentally you haven't done) and hence stopped.
The equipping of routes by mountain guides for their clients was a highly relevant issue in any case, which noone else brought up. Personally I think that professional guides and climbing walls have such a blatant vested interest that they're the last people we should be trusting ethical decisions let alone handing over a drill and carte blanche to them, so no wonder we want to call them (or the equippers and retro bolters) to account. Such routes do affect other trad routes if they change the character of the area.
Even putting in bolt lower offs affects other routes. What happened down here (when this was done by instructors) was effectively a sacrifice of a whole sector of routes to group activities due to the polish they created, and it looks like another slab at Portishead may go the same way, which I hope to look in to. I do not know why some people have a problem belaying to a forest, but there you go.
This has been a good thread, with thankfully few 80s anti bolt arguments, but I still want to junk the `if making it easier is what you're opposed to then youmay as well solo' one. It's got absolutley nothing to do with that, the oppositino is twofold: Trad climbing is a natural activity that on occasion does leave litter, (but on many other occasions this is picked up by someone else (which is why I have so many Rock 8s)) but broadly respects the countryside code. Sport climbing though rotary chipping deliberately and permanently damages the rock.
Secondly, you're taking away the future challenge for someone else, by making it in to something you think you can do, which in a way is no challenge at all. Do we really have to bolt up all the remaining new routes in the country? Is our country's or even Wales's climbing the better for your new easy sport route? Does it mean that much to anyone, as much as a trad route would to someone else?
The elitism argument is nonsense. The point was best summed up by Midgets OTWU ages ago - as soon as anyone climbs ANY sport route without using the bolts (or top ropes) as part of the process they have the right to remove them if they want. As climbers you don't have a god given right to a good bit of gear every 4m, let alone a bolt.
And can everyone stop bleating on about the local band of dedicated enthusiasts being dictated to by outsiders who've not been there as much and have no right. I believe Llanberis is fairly dependent on Tourism, and a DMM factory, which we all use and support.
> (In reply to Simon Panton)
> The elitism argument is nonsense. The point was best summed up by Midgets OTWU ages ago - as soon as anyone climbs ANY sport route without using the bolts (or top ropes) as part of the process they have the right to remove them if they want. As climbers you don't have a god given right to a good bit of gear every 4m, let alone a bolt.
> And can everyone stop bleating on about the local band of dedicated enthusiasts being dictated to by outsiders who've not been there as much and have no right. I believe Llanberis is fairly dependent on Tourism, and a DMM factory, which we all use and support.
In reply to John2:
Horse Latitudes and Alive and Kicking were two routes I'd had a look at with an intention to do.
I had really hoped Heading The Shot wasn't going to get retro'd as that had always to me really summed up the adventure 'sport' style climbing in the quarries without being a clip up. It had character.
I had hoped that the two inital bolts on Poetry Pink would stay as two older bolts made the mantle quite exciting.
The conciensce slab routes, Is it a crime??
Railtrack slab routes (Red throated diver, off the beaten track etc)
were the one that I knew about when I had this conversation as I hadn't explored the quarries as well as I have now. I also saw that on Looning the Tube the bottom bolt is new. Had I known that when I climbed it I would have thought that a shame as well.
In reply to Aly:
Over lunch I was cogitating over a possible distinction between 'sport' routes and routes with bolts in them. Can't decide if this is relevant or not but I often tend to stereotype 'true sport' routes as being equipped with disregard for naturally occurring protection opportunities (like wot you got in various continental countries). Routes with bolts in have always struck me as different. Either the bolts are there to 'plug the gap' where placements don't occur or they are there to keep you alive but not neccessarily comfortable. I guess that's similar to your distinction between 'adventure sport' and 'clip-ups'. There seems to be a general acceptance on this thread that the 'adventure sport/routes with bolts in' are generally OK and in keeping with the quarries and their development. The general concern voiced on this thread seems to be with 'pure sport'? I'm not too sure that anyone has a problem at all with the use of bolts to protect new routes (those that haven't been done before!) where there are no other pro opportunities. The concerns would seem to be with the 'conversion' of routes from one style to another or the development of routes that simply use bolts instead of leader placed gear?
I have recently been climbing in the quarries alot and would class myself as semi local. I think the new easy sport routes in Dali's Hole actually provide a great new asset to the quarries as they provide climbable lines on a blank protectionless dirty slab (yes i have climbed the routes and never even looked at them before). Also to add a sligt slant to this debate there are more often groups in the quarries with top ropes on easier grade climbes like UBL and Sad Man Who's Sane, shurly adding more sport routes which can be used for top ropes is better than these groups going off and using classics such as equinox and seamstress.
I meant normal sport routes as in not adventure sport routes.
shadrachyrci07 Jun 2007
In reply to Fiend:
" sport climbing is frowned upon because many climbers believe that the permanent placing of bolts in mountainous and sea-cliff areas detracts from the wilderness experience, damages the rock, and devalues the achievements of the first ascensionist who climbed in traditional style, placing their own protection."
In reply to shadrachyrci: 'sport climbing is frowned upon because many climbers believe that the permanent placing of bolts in mountainous and sea-cliff areas detracts from the wilderness experience, damages the rock, and devalues the achievements of the first ascensionist who climbed in traditional style, placing their own protection'
That's a nonsensical quote. Sport climbing involves bolting a line which has never before been climbed - there never was a first ascensionist who climbed the line in traditional style.
Of course it was a touchy reaction: you were trying to smear the reputation of someone who has put in endless hours re-equipping routes for the benefit of others. What did you expect, a pat on the back?
You say how glad you are that there hasn't been much in the way of cliched 80s anti bolt nonsense in this thread, then you go on to spout exactly that. Very strange.
All climbing damages rock or has some sort of environmental impact. If you find sport climbing so 'un-natural' and abhorrent then why haven't you been leading a campaign to de-bolt the quarries, or anywhere else come to think of it?
Do you really believe that soloing Colin's routes in Dali's Hole and then de-gearing them would be a positive action, something that is justified or would be welcomed? Surely you haven't lost the plot that much?
And what is that last paragraph all about? Of course people outside of N Wales can have their say, but I do expect them to be speaking from direct and recent experience, rather than pontificating from a distance. Have you even climbed in the quarries in the last 6 months? I might not agree with Aly, but at least he has been there and seen it with his own eyes.
The 80s non points needed the 80s responses. You're attacking the arguments I was using to attack other people's, and have missed the points at which they were aimed, which after the first paragraph weren't posted by you.
I don't read what I said so simplistically, I don't think I'm trying to smear Mark's reputation. Like I said, rumours're better out in the open, especially when they're an obvisou undercurrent to the feeling behind the thread (and you've still not defended him anyway). If people were saying anything about me I'd rather hear about it and put and end to it openly. Tact? F*ck tact.
In reply to Andy Say: I think the concern isn't just about the generation of new sport climbs but that pure sport routes seem to be by far the dominant style that new routes are being put up in. If this continues it will certainly change the character of the quarries, moving towards a more sport-based ethic rather than the mix that exists at the moment.
The changing of routes form one style to another (bold trad to clip-up e.g. Horse Latitues or the addition of bolts to the 'adventure sport' as I called it to make them more like clip-ups e.g. Heading The Shot) is another argument really.
The fact remains that Heading The Shot was E5 but is now definately a F7-something.
I think both need to be discussed as both issues are currently going on the quarries (new routing and altering existing routes).
I was walking form Crag Arthur and World's End crags back towards the Trevor Quarries just outside Llangollen and noticed loads of shiny bolts appearing every metre or so in lines on the quarried limestone walls. They looked like nice routes and quite fancied a go as the sun was out.
I wondered if there would be any classic routes that would have the sting taken out of them with a few extra bolts in this area.
I always thought that bolting was for technical climbs of E2 and upwards. The more easier routes that get bolted the more pressure there will be to bolt more and more climbs as trad becomes less popular.
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> I'm pretty sceptical about this, rather I think that around 95% of British climb are trad climbs because 95% of British climbers are trad climbers first and foremost.
While it remains true that UK climbers learn to climb trad first and then cross into sport this will remain true. It is still the case for most climbers and in most areas of the country the only way into outdoor climbing is to learn to place gear and climb trad at least enough to set a top rope.
The retro-bolting of easy "traditional" (i.e. known to have been climbed but no recorded FA) lines to create easy sports routes (which apears to be the case in the slate quarries) does nothing to enhance this situation. Preserving the UK's trad ethos will become very much harder when/if a large body of sports routes at <=F6a exists in most areas.
I agree with Graham that a major reason that bolting has not been the "thin end of the wedge" is that Ken Willson et al have kept banging on about it.
> The retro-bolting of easy "traditional" (i.e. known to have been climbed but no recorded FA) lines to create easy sports routes (which apears to be the case in the slate quarries) does nothing to enhance this situation. Preserving the UK's trad ethos will become very much harder when/if a large body of sports routes at <=F6a exists in most areas.
I thought most of the new bolted routes in the quarries were 'new' lines, or at least no traditional gear on blank slabs?
In reply to Aly: Many moons ago I did Launching Pad and did an E1. I didn't then know that it had originally been an E4 until 'cleaned and bolted in ignorance'; a bit like seems to have happened to the slab just to the right. I got a route done whereas I probably would not have been able to do it in its original state. But if it hadn't been bolted I wouldn't have felt that I was loosing out; just that it was to hard for me. And if someone had offered to bolt it so that I and others like me could do it I'd have thought they were weird. That's a personal reaction; not a policy statement!
As I suggested earlier if someone does a route that has no protection possibilities I can leave it up to them whether they want to use 6 bolts or 2; their decision. If they do a route that has adequate gear placements on it I would far rather that they didn't bolt it.
In reply to IainRUK:
Le Grandpere; La Grandmere; Emerald Dyke and Mon Ami are on a slab which had routes on before the last guide was printed but the writers omitted them because they were 'disgusting'. That's the only example I know of.
> (In reply to Andy Say)
> I think people have issues with low grade sport routes. Which does smack of elitism.
Genuinely low grade sports routes <= F5c/6a raise concerns beyond the future development of the quarries. Most climbers who have been climbing a year or two on real rock will be able to tackle a F6a-6c clip up. To complain about routes in this range could be called "elitism". To keep the number of routes bellow this level small helps ensure that most climbers learn the skills to tackle trad routes during an "aprentiship". This is not elitism but ensuring that the tradition remains in tact. To create a set of low grade conveniance venues and then to keep the high mountain routes trad would be to create a real problem of elitism with a very high entry barier to high moutain routes and areas.
Simon Panton07 Jun 2007
In reply to Paz: Wow, that really is a head spinning non-answer! You should be a politician.
I did understand the second paragraph, although I was under the impression that I had been defending Mark. What do I need to do to convince you that this is so? You tried to undermine/smear Mark by saying that he'd carried out all that re-equipping work, not because he was good public spirited chap, but because he had a dodgy ulterior motive of providing easy clip ups for his clients. I refute that, but as a caveat would point out that even in the hypothetical case that somebody else might do such a thing I wouldn't mind because guides and instructors (and their clients) are important for the economy of Llanberis. And if someone wants to bolt up an un-used section of rock in the quarries, I welcome it, as long as they do a good job and don't mess up any neighbouring classics.
The classic designer danger routes will still be there, people can still do them. Everyone can get along just fine and really there is no need for all this huffing and puffing about the erosion of trad values.
> (In reply to IainRUK)
> Le Grandpere; La Grandmere; Emerald Dyke and Mon Ami are on a slab which had routes on before the last guide was printed but the writers omitted them because they were 'disgusting'. That's the only example I know of.
That is more than 1/2 the routes we are talking off and to say that these are "new" rather than "retro-bolted" is misleading.
> (In reply to Fex Wazner) Is there any evidence for this:
> 'trad becomes less popular'?
15 years ago you would not have come across a UK trained climber who had done sports routes but had never climbed trad. There are now a few on this board who started that way and I have come across 8-10 in the london area for who this is true. what has changed is that portland got retro-bolted and a few old quarrys in the dorset area have been converted into sports climbing areas. The question is in 2023 are we going to see the slate quarrys as a sports venue and bolted climbs on some of the currently "unclimbed" snowdonia outcrops.
In reply to IainRUK: I think David is probably right with his estimation of climbers 15 years ago and would agree that trad is becoming less popular, certainly over the 5 years or so I've been climbing (at least that's the impression I get).
The principle of asking the FA before retrobolting their lines shows that there is at least some thought going into the bolting. Once this is lost can you blame people for thinking this is the thin end of the wedge? You keep denying that it is but there doesn't seem to be much transparency in the reasoning behind bolting things.
> Genuinely low grade sports routes <= F5c/6a raise concerns beyond the future development of the quarries. Most climbers who have been climbing a year or two on real rock will be able to tackle a F6a-6c clip up.
I've been climbing for 16 or so years and regularly fall of 6as in my local area. I hope this is because they are undergraded on a world scale, but they probably aren't.
> To keep the number of routes bellow this level small helps ensure that most climbers learn the skills to tackle trad routes during an "aprentiship".
It doesn't "help", it "forces". You can argue whether people should have the choice or not to just become sports climbers, but don't try and spin what is basically some of us telling others that their choices aren't valid.
> This is not elitism but ensuring that the tradition remains in tact.
That is just your elitism. Again - I actually agree with you, but don't try to spin it into something more noble.
> To create a set of low grade conveniance venues and then to keep the high mountain routes trad would be to create a real problem of elitism with a very high entry barier to high moutain routes and areas.
This is just fallacious. The UK due to its rock types and traditions has more easy trad routes then any other area of the world in which I have climbed. A few F4s in Llanberis is not going to remove the hundreds of diffs and vdiffs from the guidebooks of Snowdonia.
In reply to the "anti easy sport routes" brigade:
Hmmm, I notice that most people who are vehemently opposed to bolts in the quarries share some commonalities.... from their profiles they seem to enjoy sport climbing and indeed have sport climbs on their wish list, live nowhere near the area, and have been climbing for a fraction of the time that legends like Colin Goodey have been climbing. They also seem to enjoy hyperbole and exaggeration and extrapolating wildly from 4 'new' routes to a whole plague of bolts....
Rebecca (Bryn's wife)
> (In reply to IainRUK) I think David is probably right with his estimation of climbers 15 years ago and would agree that trad is becoming less popular,
I do disgaree here.
Numbers climbing are increasing all the time. I don't doubt the relative numbers of sport to trad may be changing but the absolute number of trad climbers would not have decreased. I'd be very suprised if it has.
In 100 years time every nut placement on every classic route in the country will be pulled through while all the scabby esoteric climbs will be bolted for health and safety reasons so there will be nothing left worth trad climbing in England.
> (In reply to the "anti easy sport routes" brigade)
> Hmmm, I notice that most people who are vehemently opposed to bolts in the quarries share some commonalities.... from their profiles they seem to enjoy sport climbing and indeed have sport climbs on their wish list, live nowhere near the area, and have been climbing for a fraction of the time that legends like Colin Goodey have been climbing. They also seem to enjoy hyperbole and exaggeration and extrapolating wildly from 4 'new' routes to a whole plague of bolts....
What an insightful post.
I take it I am included in this 'anti-easy sport route brigade'?
If you actually read the thread I think you'll find that nobody is "vehemently opposed" to having bolts in the slate quarries. I think you'll also find that they are not opposed to sport routes, either in the quarries or all over the UK/world and no doubt enjoy sport climbing some of the time. I think you'll also find that they on the whole, they have climbed on slate and enjoy it for what it is, just because they're not part of the Llanberis clique that doesn't mean their opinion with regards to the future of slate climbing isn't valid.
Have the rebolters (Bryn, Mark etc.) been climbing as long as Colin Goodey? If not does that mean that they are not fit to be replacing bolts or putting up new routes until they've served a further 30 year apprenticeship?
I certainly believe that this 'wild extrapolation' could turn into reality if people don't actually bring the issues into the open and try to agree on the way they want the quarries to go.
Or would you prefer we just shut up and let you do what you want?
In reply to IainRUK:
>I don't doubt the relative numbers of sport to trad may be changing but the absolute number of trad climbers would not have decreased. I'd be very suprised if it has.
Got our wires a bit crossed here.
OK, yes this is probably right but if there are relatively fewer trad climbers compared to sport climbers I think it is fair to say that trad climbing is becoming less popular amoungst (sp?) climbers compared to sport climbing which is the point ian was trying to make.
In reply to Aly: We'll see. I think trad is well protected in the UK. Evidenced by these arguments, which are healthy to a point, but at times I just think the anti-bolting ethic can be thrown at situations without seeing what's been done (which to be faor to you, you seem to have been and seen). Almost as an instinctive reaction.
> I'm not keen on Portland because it's characterless lineless bollox with cheesey rock and all the atmosphere of a cement factory perched above vegetated slopes or greasy boulders that's vastly overrated because hordes of tarted-up Londoners read about climbing in Style magazine, go down the Castle for a month, take a weekend trip down to Portland to go up a conveyor belt of polished choss at the Fallen Blocks or Cuttings and think they are actually climbers as if a bland outdoor climbing wall like Portland is at all representative of what this glorious country has to offer.
Nice rant. Oddly enough I have climbed a reasonable amount with a Londoner who was once the 'model' for a sunday supplement fashion spread, shot at the Castle, in his youth. But he's also led E6 at Gogarth and been electrocuted during a bivvy on the Bonatti Pillar. But do carry on with your stereotypes ...
at the BMC international meet last year (I think, could have been three years ago), held coincidentally at Plas-y-brenin, there was a debate on exactly this issue.
The long-time staff at the Brenin, Louise Thomas in particular, were very concerned about the very real drop in numbers of climbers trad climbing in North Wales. Various theories were put forward for this, however despite a forum of very experienced and travelled climbers, it seemed the dcline itself was not in question.
I for one was fairly cynical of the issue at the start, particularly the older folk bemoaning the 'loss' of once popular routes to vegetation, however by the end I had plenty of food for thought.
In reply to Aly:
Well I definitely detected plenty of vehemence in most of the posts!
My point is there seems to be a lot of double standards in operation here, coupled with people getting hot under the collar about what, four, five routes no one has bothered with for the last 20 years, with a lot of libelous, personal sniping going on. Any of you who are members of the BMC will see that bolting was discussed at a recent meeting, by reading your BMC Cymru newsletter (May 2007).
How anyone can think that they know better than a 71 year old veteran of the climbing scene who is famous for many classic first ascents is beyond me. Personally, I wouldnt have the arrogance to question Col's decision (nor his 4 days of hard work cleaning loose rock and vegetation as well as placing a handful of bolts - definitely not clip ups unless you have an ape index of 10ft+) and I dont believe anyone else on here should.
> I always thought that bolting was for technical climbs of E2 and upwards.
I like your work! (Utter bollox that it is).
nionyn07 Jun 2007
The classic designer danger routes will still be there, people can still do them. Everyone can get along just fine and really there is no need for all this huffing and puffing about the erosion of trad values.
Like Alive and Kicking and Horse Latitudes for example? Doh!
OK fine as you say the bold routes, the E5s anyway seem to still be there.
Mark has done other reequipping I believe, and has bolted easy routes for everyone's benefit. But he does then get a personal advantage -an extra option for his clients, having done so.
These pretty much seem like facts to me. I don't speculate on his motives, and I could easily believe he's done it for altruistic reasons, it's a thankless hard task afterall. But can't you see how the facts look to other people, it's easy to see why they've have put two and tow together and come up with the cynical answer. We should have faith in humanity, but it's not quite straightforward instant halo charity work, if you're a trad climber who's uneasy about the spread of bolts.
Equipping for clients could still be an issue at some point, but you can't say that about Colin and the others.
I take it you don't share my concerns about the destruction of trad potential, as people will alwyas be able to test themselves against new ground as there's stacks still to do, as you say?
I have a different opinion that mixing sport and trad routes of a single party can mean that you only end up with trad routes of a certain 'user freindly' type.
In reply to Paz: I've got no problem with a few sport routes getting put up even though I'm unlikely to climb them. Each to their own. I'd rather some chossy bit of the quarries was put to some use rather than lie neglected, in the same way that bolting Portland and places like Horseshoe Quarry has turned unused scrotholes into well, popular scrotholes! It means we have a more diverse mixture of climbing to go at in the UK, which is fine by me.
Its also obvious that the classic frighteners aren't being retro'd, its just the odd route here and there, big deal. And the argument about a few new sport routes changing the character of the quarries doesn't hold water. Most decent climbable stuff has already been done, setting the general ambience. Its now just a case of filling in the odd gap. The quarries are and always will be a place of mixed routes, the hard, the bold, the choss and the sublime. What would you prefer, all the fixed gear left to rot, till routes are unclimbable except as solos, or rejuvenated as they are now, with the odd bit of retroing? Cos unless your planning on heading down there for a month with a couple of grands worth of bolts and a drill, I know who's side I'm on....
In reply to danm:
I had a stroll up there to have a look. We are talking about a slabby wall about 13/15 meters high and about 20 meters in length. I don't think that the easy 'sport routes' here are a big deal. Sure; there used to be some older routes here but they would effectively have been solos (a few mini wire placements but that all and only on one or two lines). A shame they weren't ever written up so that folks knew about them. The Holy, Holy area has always been one of the more popular, quick walk-in, spots and this particular slab is no big deal. Its cleaned up nice!
When development is finished (there's about 9 more holes on two lines currently waiting for bolts) we'll have an easily accessed slab with about 8 low-mid grade sport routes sportingly bolted (average of 4 bolts per route I think).
In terms of the suggestions that this is the work of those wanting routes for their clients are you sure you know just who did the drilling; the names of the first ascentionists would tend to give the lie to that suggestion.
In reply to GrahamD: It has also been sullied by completely unjustified insinuations about the motives of some of the bolters and by factual inaccuracy (claiming that replacing a bolt and a peg with two bolts on Heading the Shot and installing a new ab station has converted it from a trad route into a sport route).
In reply to GrahamD: To be fair questioning the motives of the locals who have put time and effort into further developing slate climbing is quite insulting (i.e. easy routes for clients) and I can see why it could be taken personally.
Its funny but I must haved introduced and guided at least twenty friends through the stages of climbing from toproping to leading and the quarries have always been one of my favourite locations.
Most of the beginners I have taken there have seen the lines of bolts up some very tough looking climbs and asked me if there are any entirely bolted climbs they could do rather than doing trad or mixed climbing. Those lines of bolts offered the simplicity and security the new climbers wanted whereas to me they looked like sharp nasty little things and far away from the man v nature approach I take to climbing. Yeah, so what you are in a quarry, but you are looking at the mountains and I think the abuses the landscape has been subject too over the years still needs to be limited somewhat. But hey, a lot of people think it is OK to throw litter in an already dirty street so I will shut up about that now.
Bar a few exceptions in the UK there I have explained that there isn't really that many easy bolted lines, yet relatively few traditional routes in the quarries that they will be able to do. 'Why not bolt more easy climbs so people like me can do them?' I have been asked. To which I have always replied that the quarries have a tradition of tough, dangerous esoteric climbs, it's not really a place for us!
I welcome the bolting of low grade protectionless climbs for the fact that there maybe something new for me to do there, but at the same time it is always a place I thought I would return to when I am a lot better anyway! New sports routes with care taken to opportunities for natural protection and re-securing the classic 'nails' climbs seems fair play to me as danger and death should not be exactly the same thing!
Anyway, I have climbed at the quarries for nearly ten years now and will be interested to see if the new developments will open the place up or make it so popular that there will be more profile accidents and access will be restricted.
Considering the costs of bolts, I really can't see how you could spin much profit!
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD: If only it was that simple and harmless. Threads like this might help to explain what is going on and force those prone to making scaremongering or inaccurate statements to deal with the facts, but on the down side they wind up the local activists and make any further re-equipping work less likely. Mark Reeves for example has effectively downed tools because of the amount of negative nonsense that has appeared on UKC. I think he is owed an apology by various people. Just put yourself in his shoes for a second - you carry out a load of public spirited work (and it is hard work) and you face constant sniping, often from people who haven't even visited the quarries in the last 6 months.
And to all of you 'demise of trad' alarmists, take a look through the following list of re-equippers: Adam Wainwright, Pete Robins, Jon Ratcliffe, Neil Dyer, Mark Dicken.
None of these people can be dismissed as one dimensional sport climbers, in fact at least two of them could be accurately described as the best and most experienced trad climbers of their generation. Doesn't really fit with the lazy stereotype of a reckless and trigger happy sport for all loon, does it?
What do you two do for a living then if you don't depend on visitors for your income? "
Bryn does rely on visitors to the area, but I dont being as I work for the NHS. But as a matter of fact, most of Bryn's clients (and other local instructors) come to the area to go on his courses, they are not here already and then decide to go on a course, ie most of the instructors are generating income for this once very deprived area. But this is not the point, as a general rule its important to get your facts straight (Mark Reeves was in fact not responsible for bolting the easy lines in Dali's Hole) and make sure you are not insulting or slandering people, it will help people take you more seriously.
In reply to Simon Panton: I'm disappointed to hear that Mark takes the negative insinuations seriously. It's easy enough to point out that they are simply untrue, and that the poster who made them has also made other untrue assertions in this thread.
The climbers of North Wales are currently doing a really good job in maintaining the climbs of the area and bringing out new guides - the sad story of the CC's attempts to bring out a Gogarth guide shows how much the efforts of the locals are needed.
> (In reply to Papillon)
> I am not criticising what has been doen, but I am interested about what the new wave of slate climbers have planned for the area.
I think many of the 'new wave' are in fact quite experienced slate climbers.
martin k08 Jun 2007
In reply to all and sundry: not having the time to read through all the posts, here's my contribution. no doubt i will be repeating what some have already said. I've been 'lightly' involved with the rebolting. I've removed and replaced the bolts in about eight routes. some are hard classics, whilst others are HVS. i've placed a bolt where previously there was a rotten peg, and i have eyed up some new lines. the new lines are in previously ignored areas of the quarries and on less than imposing bits of rock (well, all except for one, that is...mwahahahahaha!)
these new routes will most likely be fully bolted because there's no chance of gear being placed. perhaps there might be a sporting placement or two but, as the first ascentionist that's up to me. if i want a bolt every three feet, or just three in 120 then so be it.
i think this is a useful debate and one that should avoid personal insults (as much as any debate on 'cocktalk' ever can!)
even on the off chance that mark *has* bolted routes purely for the benefit of his clients, then he also benefits the local economy, so more power to his elbow for that! (by the way, don't mistake his sheer enthusiasm for commercial 'greed'. if you've ever been in llanberis between november and march you'll realise that the village needs all the incomers it can get. he could have built a three lane motorway along the north wales coast to help his clients, but he didn't. a sense of perspective is handy.
so to mr reeves, rob, the other mark, simon and all the other bolt monkeys: well done! (but only if you don't steal my lines)
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Come on Mick, that's not what has been said. It's pretty bad that people are just wanting to snipe at these guys going out putting a lot of effort in to further develop these quarries. Much of this debate has been of quite a sensible standard but their have still been a few barbed comments.
I am suprised Mark took it all so seriously as to down tools, he must be wise enough to realise UKC is full of holier than thou snipers behind computer screens.
You think I have something against these people and what tehy are doing, I don't at all. In fact the lady friend and I have discussed paying for some tuition in the place by certain people mentioned on this thread. Please don't bundle me up with those who are making personal attacks.
Am I wrong in calling it the new wave of climbers to approach the area though? Is it just a new wave of activity? Seems like the place had suffered a relative lull in activity from what I could see until the bolt fund started, but then again I don't climb at a grade that would notice much of it anyway!
Also, what was the old wave if there was one? Was everyone standing across the twyll watching Johnny Dawes climb Quarryman for the video camera all discussing how a Frank Zappa tune had to accompany it on the video?
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Come on Mick, that's not what has been said. It's pretty bad that people are just wanting to snipe at these guys going out putting a lot of effort in to further develop these quarries. Much of this debate has been of quite a sensible standard but their have still been a few barbed comments.
As per usual, and you will never get rid of that, whether on here or in person. It's a fact of life.
As I did warn higher up this thread, and as Simon told me, even a small amount of criticism can effect motivation, when in reality the majority of us support the hard work that Mark et al have done, especially those of us who have experienced bolting.
Many benefit from this re-equipping; climbers from all over the UK who visit the slate quarries primarily. If some instructors use the easier bolt routes to teach I see no problem whatsoever.
I hope that all the good things that are happening down North Wales help the local economy: mountain guides and instructors, climbing shops, guidebook sales, campsites, pubs and cafes, b and b's
I was part of a similar movement in Bishop. We developed areas, produced guidebooks and articles and as a result thousands upon thousands of climbers visited and visist Bishop. They already did but there was a huge increase, with no I might add, dire environmental impact, in fact we prempted impacts by working closely with land managers.
The end results was that local businesses benefitted, new jobs were created and climbers had a bloody great time.
> (In reply to GrahamD) Mark Reeves for example has effectively downed tools because of the amount of negative nonsense that has appeared on UKC. I think he is owed an apology by various people.
I never said that I was against bolting the slate quarries. What I am against is grid style bolting of the rock 'just because it is there'. I not believe this is currently going on, however I do feel that discussion is good and that some sort of agreement (e.g. the Dorset Bolt agreement) needs to be reached.
In reply to Jenn: Having a quick look back up the thread there really doesn't seem to be very much 'sniping' involved. This seems to be the standard response from people who know those involved with the regearing and is being used as an excuse for not getting involved in discussion. People appreciate the work it takes to replace bolts on all these routes, don't take things so personally!
I think I may have in advertantly belittled the current group of active local slate climbers by terming this new organised activity as a 'new wave'. I may wrongly have assumed that they were not bolting routes in the 80's, which I always considered to be an earlier 'wave' of interest and activity in the area.
In reply to Fex Wazner:
They put bolts in in the 80's but very sparingly. Cost has been mentioned but a real demotivator is the effort of hand drilling as was largely the practice then. The 'new wave' of activity is split into the sheer effort of replacing ancient gear; putting up new, 'trad sport/routes with bolts in' (see above in thread for definition if you can be bothered) routes, here the 'old wave' is still rolling with gathered momentum!; and a fairly limited development of short, accessible 'sport routes' (and the main protagonist here is not exactly a young punk).
So its probably a 'new wave' of activity rather than a 'new wave' of activists.
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to Aly: Go and check John Cox's comments in one of the previous threads for just one example of offensive sniping.
I'm not making any excuses, I'm here discussing the issue/s with you and anybody else for that matter.
You have one view of how the quarries should be developed or maintained, I and many others have a slightly different view. I believe what is being done is in keeping with the mixed/experimental ethic which has prevailed in the quarries for the last 25 years. Check your history and you'll find that I'm right.
Well aware of the style of routes as I have amazingly read the entire thred.
Thanks for clearing up the 'wave' definition for me though. I think with online media it is very easy to assume that a group suddenly being put in the spotlight is 'new'.
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: I wasn't tarring UKC with anything, just stating a specific fact. There have been plenty of sensible and constructive comments made on these various slate threads, but there have also been some very damaging and ill thought comments.
You also have to take the rough with the smooth; UKC is just as open to criticism as anything or anybody else.
I believe what is being done is in keeping with the mixed/experimental ethic which has prevailed in the quarries for the last 25 years. Check your history and you'll find that I'm right.
I think one problem here, Simon, is that a lot of folks are just very unclear about what it is that is being done. That leads to questions and that, in turn, leads to a lot of defensiveness. Maybe more 'I've done x because...' might allay a lot of fears and defuse a lot of this mutual suspicion?
Dogmatism doesn't help. I don't think the current development of the Holy, Holy... slab does have a historical precendent*; but I'm not going to assert that if you check your history you'll find I'm right.
*Please see my post earlier today. That comment's not an attack, or sniping, or anything other than a statement of my interpretation of the eight (?) new routes with around 35 bolts on this minor wall.
> (In reply to Fiend)
> Hopefully the way they always have been (to the best of my knowledge) - in the style desired by the first ascentionist, whether that means no bolts, some bolts or fully bolted.
> Having said that, I also hope that this trend of indiscriminately putting up sport routes in the quarries dies an early death. It would be good if whoever is putting up these new routes recognised the minimalist bolting style of the quarries and respected it. The idea of 'sport for all' has its place but I'm not sure this is it.
I'm going with Andy on this, it's down to the decision of the first ascensionist. I hope this "new slate sports climb" fetish dies an early death though because over bolting them is just goin to destroy them. Fair enough, natural pro is few and far between on slate and the odd bolt here and there is acceptable (the quarries being man-made an all) but there's such a thing as taking it to extremes. I don't consider slate quarries as sport climbing, nor do I consider it trad climbing because well...it's not is it. It's just slate, like a hybrid style, and don't ask me how I'd grade it because you don't even want to get me started on that topic.
> You have one view of how the quarries should be developed or maintained, I and many others have a slightly different view. I believe what is being done is in keeping with the mixed/experimental ethic which has prevailed in the quarries for the last 25 years. Check your history and you'll find that I'm right.
Like you say, we may both have slightly different views of what should be done in the quarries but to say that history shows that you are right sounds a bit arrogant to be honest.
I remember jcm's posts on that thread but he was just airing his views. Were you really not expecting any negative response at all to your work in the quarries bearing in the mind the huge range of ethical opinions found in british climbers? There just doesn't seem much point moaning about it.
In reply to Mike Hartley: I'm not so sure the FA should really have the right to do what they want with 'their' route just like they shouldn't have the only say in whether it subsequently gets debolted, retro'd, chipped or whatever.
Surely the FA has a responsibility to respect the tradition and consensus already established at that crag or that bit of crag (e.g. the bolt-free slabs like Dervish). As I'm sure someone will point out, sport routes are an established ethic on slate but not soley, there is a balance of routes which should really be represented in the new routing.
Also, the FA should respect future generations of climbers. Bolting is permanent and it does deny other climbers to climb the route trad, adventure sport or whatever in the future. Not that this should stop people from bolting routes but it should at least be a consideration.
Surely you can't be suggesting that this sort of activity shouldn't be discussed on an open forum because it might hurt someone's feelings ? Surely anyone who places a bolt in a popular and well known location realises they are going to be under the spotlight - however noble their motivation ?
> I don't consider slate quarries as sport climbing, nor do I consider it trad climbing because well...it's not is it.
Unfortunately, it is ignorant comments like this that tarnish the debate. Look again at the list of 'pure sport' routes (i.e. full clip ups) that existed in the quarries before the handful of new routes went up. Also look at the number of lines that don't use a single bolt.
Then read again the description of Andy Say above, who last night actually went and looked at the new routes!!!:
"I had a stroll up there to have a look. We are talking about a slabby wall about 13/15 meters high and about 20 meters in length. I don't think that the easy 'sport routes' here are a big deal. Sure; there used to be some older routes here but they would effectively have been solos (a few mini wire placements but that all and only on one or two lines). A shame they weren't ever written up so that folks knew about them. The Holy, Holy area has always been one of the more popular, quick walk-in, spots and this particular slab is no big deal. Its cleaned up nice!"
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to Aly: The FA has a responsibility to produce the best route that they can from a given piece of rock. If they think a compact neglected section of the crag (this being the typical scenario these days) suits a sport route, then so be it. You cannot go round demanding that people make dangerous routes just because that's what you want to climb. If you want to see those sort of routes put up, then go and do them yourself. Nobody is stopping you.
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD: What I am suggesting is that people should be more respectful of the selfless work carried out by a few extremely decent people, and that there is a negative side to these threads (as witnessed by the very real example I gave).
Also, as I've already pointed out, I find it strange that so much attention is being given to a few bolts in an area where bolting is the established norm. Bolting in the quarries is not automatically a controversial event. The existing ethic has always been experimental and mixed trad/bolts.
If somebody placed a bolt in the Pass I'd be the first person to question its existence, but in the slate quarries? I really don't understand the basis for all this righteous huffing and puffing.
Ron James08 Jun 2007
In reply to Fiend:
I have been lucky enough to enjoy mountains and wild places for over 60 years in many different ways.
As a trad rock-climber I share the hills with walkers and tourists.
As a hard climber I share the crags with novices and those enjoying a lower standard.
As a piste skier I share the mountains with lifts, snow-cats, snowboarders and sometimes sledges and polybaggers.
As a canoeist I tried to share the rivers with fishermen.
As a mountain-biker I share the forests with ramblers.
As a Dolomite climber I share the mountains with those preferring Via ferrata.
As a traditional climber I have to share the hills with sport-climbers and boulderers.
In many of cases I tried the alternative activity as well and adopted it.
Yesterday I climbed the new sport routes at “Costa Dali” and enjoyed them.
At 74 I was delighted to share this once unattractive wall with those who, like me, do not now want to wind it out on big walls with minimalist protection but still want to enjoy the technical thrill of movement on steep rock.
We all must learn to be tolerant of others using our environment and be happy to share it with them.
This isn’t the thin end of anything; it is just the other side of the coin.
As an aside and not directly related to the thread.
I was reading a bit in Joe Brown's 'the hard years' where he was contemplating Cenotaph Corner. It was assumed that the route would require too many pegs to be climbed in any respectable manner so was left until someone with his balls/talent climbed it in style!
I think you may also have to take into account what makes 'the best climb'. Is it the safest or the purist? What do you want from a climb, a thrill, excercise, the greatest sense of achievement? It was interestingly pointed out that the earlier bolted climbs in the quarries may have been as much to do with the awkwardness of bolting as the balls of the AF.
With the modern techniques and equipment there is no reason why a new climb should be put up with anything like the levels of risk involved in some of the other climbs.
"Because grid bolting hasn't been the norm* - and no agreement seems to have been reached.
*Again - I do not think that this is currently going on - just worried about the possibility.:
Sounds like she wants some reassurance that "grid-bolting" isn't or won't occur?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
x x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x xx x xx x x xx x x
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
So you don't get climbing experiences like the above where you can link 1 with 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 , 2 with 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Some Southern California cliffs are grid-bolted.
Indeed, some Yorkshire Limestone ones are getting close!
> (In reply to GrahamD) What I am suggesting is that people should be more respectful of the selfless work carried out by a few extremely decent people,
If, once the dust settles, people come to recognise the work as selfless and for the benefit of the whole climbing community, I'm sure they will be.
Remember, though, that for many climbers (I 'm sure I'm pretty typical of many weekend climbers), threads like this are the first exposure we get to any new bolting in a region. I am unlikely to give unreserved support (vocal or financial) or conversely condemnation for something that irreversibly changes the venue without understanding all the issues.
> Also, as I've already pointed out, I find it strange that so much attention is being given to a few bolts in an area where bolting is the established norm. Bolting in the quarries is not automatically a controversial event. The existing ethic has always been experimental and mixed trad/bolts.
I'm surprised that you don't expect this level of interest in such a popular area. Its healthy, surely ? If, as you and others say, the facts bare out the reasonableness of the actions then surely we are all better off with a wider concensus reached across the board.
> If somebody placed a bolt in the Pass I'd be the first person to question its existence, but in the slate quarries? I really don't understand the basis for all this righteous huffing and puffing.
Because it represents change and its not always clear at first that change is good for the long term.
> (In reply to Jenn) At the risk of stating the extremely obvious once again: fully bolted clip ups have always been part of the slate ethic.
Agreed - and it looks like there is scope for new good 'clip ups'.
> Are you selectively reading this thread? Surely you saw Mark's list of old/new sport routes and the various other posts pointing out the history of sport climbing in the quarries?
I have seen Mark's post and as I said - I do not believe that grid bolting is occurring at the moment. What is currently happening seems in keeping with the tradition of the slate quarries - however what I am worried about is this changing in the future.
Slate seems to be taking on a new direction - surely some agreement needs to be reached about this new direction?.
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com: Are you, Jenn or Aly suggesting that we should leave 'trad' gaps (or perhaps just unclimbed gaps) on all sport crags to avoid 'grid bolting' - even when the gap would be far better as a bolted up route? Surely not?
I've climbed a lot of sport routes in Yorkshire (including many of your excellent routes Mick) and I've never felt the need to mix and match routes, even though I could have done.
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) Are you, Jenn or Aly suggesting that we should leave 'trad' gaps (or perhaps just unclimbed gaps) on all sport crags to avoid 'grid bolting' - even when the gap would be far better as a bolted up route? Surely not?
A reasonable distance I would have thought. In some spots I've climbed at it is that bad that you can clip bolts on the routes either side of you.
> (In reply to Mike Hartley)
> Unfortunately, it is ignorant comments like this that tarnish the debate.
I don't consider it an ignorant comment at all...it's the way I view it. You may not agree with what I say but you can't deny my right to say it. I have read and taken in all of the other posts on this thread, I have not agreed with them all and I have strongly agreed with others. I do hope that over bolting the quarries dies an early death but in the same instance I'm not against bolting in them, on some routes it's the only protection there is.
In reply to Simon Panton: I think you might have the wrong end of the stick here. I'm not quite sure where this came from or where it's going but your talking about 'sport crags' which the quarries are not (I hope you realise this). What to do on sport crags is a different debate entirely and one which I haven't got much interest in to be honest.
Jenn is merely looking for assurance that 'grid bolting' is not going to happen on the slate and is (quite sensibly) saying that some consensus should be reached before the number of bolt lines gets out of hand (towards a grid bolting arrangement).
It is also worth remembering that people have different opinons on what would be 'better' for a certain line. You may think gap x would be far better as a bolted-up route yet I (or others) may not. There needs to be a bit of give as well as take.
In reply to Ian McNeill:
Carefull. we might have to put sticky labels on our computer screens........
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to Aly: I'm well aware of what the quarries are, or are not. I'm editing the new definitive North Wales Slate guide right now, and consequently spending a good deal of my waking time thinking about the place.
Despite your stated indifference to what happens on sport crags (especially UK ones) they are of relevance to discussions. In Yorkshire, for example, trad and bolted routes often sit adjacent to each other, the same way they do in the Dinorwig quarries.
I don't like closely packed routes that lack individual character, but equally I have no problem with having an entirely bolted wall, if that is what suits the rock best. I can assure Jenn that 'grid bolting' is not likely (who would want that?), but I cannot assure her that there will be no more sport routes. However, these are most likely to be on entirely unclimbed sections of the crag (such is the nature of the remaining virgin rock). In fact I've got a few potential clip ups lined up myself, if I can find the time to sort them out.
In reply to all and sundry
I am worried that amongst all the hot air the actual facts have got lost. So here they are, as I see them (facts always being open to interpretation!)
1. There is no new trend for just putting up clip up/ grid style sport routes in the quarry. Slate is friable so grids/ clipups would likely cause it to disintegrate further, bolting is hard work, the number of trad routes far outweigh the number of sport etc etc
2. Most of the trad lines have already been climbed in the quarry, but there are some left open to new ascents, which I guess can be done in whatever style the FA chooses. Most of the new bolting has been done on compact protectionless slabs where noone has bothered climbing for donkeys years because they were dirty (very) and loose (very). This in fact is only a handful of routes, with bolts at appropriate places to protect the crux of the route, to prevent ground falls, or loose parts.
3. Mark Reeves (nor any other instructor) has not bolted the easy lines in question for their clients nor for any other selfish reason. Colin Goodey bolted the routes in Dali's hole. They are not over bolted, they are good little routes and have had lots of traffic already with positive responses from local and visitors.
4. Bolting continues to be discussed at various BMC/ other meetings, so rest assured that this issue has been debated (endlessly to my mind)
5. the people doing the bolting are experienced local climbers who are sensitive to the history, ethics and views of people who climb there.
Dont think there's much else to say really.
I'm reluctant to weigh in really, but hey-ho. I've never (yet) climbed on slate, although I am keen next itme I can get to Wales. I have no particular axe to grind simply because of this lack of experience.
There is another side of your coin to your facts. There are some experienced climbers contributing on this thread, as well presumably others elsewhere, who are uncomfortable with what is happening.
Replacing old bolts like for like is somehting which very few people have problems with. I've seen very little criticism, if any, of that on here. It is generally appreciated by the climbing community.
Where some people feel disquiet, however, is when these actions have spread beyond that. It has been said that the rebolting of Heading the Shot, for example, has changed the character of the route. There have been "indiscretions" (as they were referred to earlier - Horse Latitudes for example) where routes have been retro-bolted and that has met with disapproval.
Obviously things have got a bit inflamed on this thread of late. But those doing the rebolting have to realise that on occasions like this, where people are genuinely concerned that some people may be taking the requipping process beyond the sensible, adopting a bunker mentality and a "these people are putting in lots of work and they are sensitive and historically minded and local" doesn't help anyone. Almost everyone is very appreciative of the main rebolting work. But when actions are taken which are seen by many as debatable, you can't hide behind the "look at the other work thats been done, how can you criticise" line, or accuse people of sniping at the hard work, because it avoids the concerns that people have. Its not fair, in a way, to accuse people of making light of the hard work the reqippers have done, when actually they have issues with specific actions which they are trying to raise. Smearing them, so to speak, as unappreciative of the main body of the work being done, rather than trying to allay their concerns, will only cause them to form the opinion that theres no listening being done to the thoughts of a wider community.
Anyone who thought that anyhting apart from a bolt for bolt replacement program would pass without any negative comment is deluding themselves. Its a sign of a robust climbing community who actually care about the quarries the fact that people are standing up and speaking out where they feel a line has been crossed, despite the fact that they may be in favour of 99% of the other work.
In reply to AJM:
"some people may be taking the requipping process beyond the sensible" This isnt happening and I dont know where anyone got this idea from, other than panicky knee jerk reactions from things they see on UKC or on the slate wiki.
My point was, people THINK that this (your quote above) is happening, its actually not. Alot of the arguments are based on the premise that what they think is happening is objective truth. It isnt. Unfortunately there is then a chain reaction where people turn rumour into fact, and it becomes very difficult to quash those rumours regardless of what people say.
In reply to bryn:
I also meant to say that maybe if this thread had started with a genuine interested question of "whats happening in the slate quarries with bolting?" rather than "oh my god its terrible whats happening in the quarries" we might have had a more sensible debate and offended less people.
A fair post in general, except you fail to mention that the majority of negative comments are being made from ignorant standpoints e.g.
a) accusations that the new routes are 'out of character' with the existing nature of climbing in the quarry.
b) accusations of the new easy routes being put up by instructors for clients when the work was actually done by somebody who has no such vested interest.
The latter is perhaps understandable and can be corrected by a bit of clarification about exactly what is being and what has been done - maybe Simon could write a short article for UKC to clarify the situation? It would take less time than you've already put into your responses on this thread!
The latter is a very cynical and bitter libel and should have been apologised for several days ago.
> (In reply to AJM)
> "some people may be taking the requipping process beyond the sensible" This isnt happening and I dont know where anyone got this idea from, other than panicky knee jerk reactions from things they see on UKC or on the slate wiki.
> My point was, people THINK that this (your quote above) is happening, its actually not.
I don't think this is fact is it? There is definately more than just like-for-like replacement going on. Some people may conclude that retro-bolting routes (sorry to bring it up again but e.g. Bella Lugosi slab), rebolting things like HTS and adding bolts next to old peg or RP placements (they're not the same, are they?) is "taking the re-equiping beyond sensible"
It's all a matter of opinion as to what is sensible and what isn't. I think AJM sums it up very well when he says that there is going to be a certain amount of discussion over anything beyond re-gearing where bolts already exist.
In reply to alex:
Check out the Slate Wiki http://slate.wetpaint.com/ (sorry dont know how to make it a direct link) for more details; you can donate in V12, Rock Bottom (betws) or can send it by post (details on the Wiki) (like your strategy!)
In reply to Aly:
"It's all a matter of opinion as to what is sensible and what isn't. I think AJM sums it up very well when he says that there is going to be a certain amount of discussion over anything beyond re-gearing where bolts already exist. "
Discussion as to what to do in the quarries has gone on endlessly whilst bolts rot and people no longer stop in the shop in Deiniolen on their way up to the quarry. There comes a point where someone has to make a decision and do something. I dont think any of the points raised are new, and have all been considered already, and the people involved in this project are well aware of the arguments for and against whats happening. The debate has been had; just because people on here didnt contribute to it doesnt mean they have anything new to add.
Rebecca, surely you can see that your statement comes from your perspective though? "This isn't happening" in relation to "reequipping going beyond the sensible" is a personal opinion.
From this wiki: "Horse Latitudes F6a+***. Re-Equipped as a sports route with lower off.02/07"
Thats undeniable fact. To Aly, and others, that is taking requipping beyond the sensible. Thats his opinion, no more or less valid than yours.
The response "this is all hot air and none of you know whats actually happening because its all inflated rumour", which is an approximate summary of the second paragraph of your post, avoids the issue. It is impossible to deny that Aly is concerned by this action, but your response is not to try and explain and hence perhaps allay his concerns, but instead to say that he is wrong to think its beyond sensible - surely thats not the best attitude, since its a clash of personal opinions and so will never get to a sensible resolution that way.......
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com) I wasn't tarring UKC with anything, just stating a specific fact.
In that case mention positive facts as well as negative facts.
I have one positive and one negative fact about UKC. These forums helped emmensely with the promotion of the bolt fund and still does, keeping things fresh in peoples minds, even this peurile thread helps in a way!
Whereas comments made on this forum have lead to me totally abandoning doing any form of re-bolting anywhere. My freetime is now mine again. I wish everyone luck with the ormes and other venues, but many people who use this forum need to get up off there fat arses, and actually look with their own eyes before putting down volunteers who are doing a very extraordinary job within the quarries.
You'll probably never see them doing anything other than for themselves, putting down others and generally trying to make everyone as miserable as they are.
In reply to AJM:
I did say at the beginning of my post that facts are always open to interpretation !
I just think that one swallow doesnt make a summer.
The thing thats most bothered me about this thread is actually the character defamation thats been going on, which is why I wanted to post the "facts" as I saw them. That has been far more damaging to the people involved than the should we shouldnt we have bolts debate which I remember going on about the quarries when I moved back home here some 5 years ago.
In reply to alex:
how much do you want to annoy people?! Seriously there are an awful lot of routes on slate, the orme and clwyd to rebolt, so whatever you can afford will I am sure be gratefully received even if the result isnt.
Alun, I deliberately didn't deal with those parts of this thread in my post.
Ignorance is something that the slate guys should be trying to clarify wherever possible since it will stop rumours getting out of hand. It would have made this thread a lot shorter if everyone had known the score - obviously it would be nice if everyone informed themselves before contributing, but in the real world that never happens and so more of the onus is on the reequippers simply out of necessity rather than any real obligation.
I have no idea about the character of the quarries. But again, as with the 'beyond sensible rebolting', its a personal opinion, and noone is going to resolve it unless they listen to each other and try and reach middle ground.
As for the second point, why would I deal with it? I know Paz, but I'm not going to defend him or apologise for him, thats his job not mine. I said "most" and "often" and words like that in my post to describe those raising concerns. Whether I think Paz is justified or not to raise the information he has heard, and whether he raised it in the right way, is irrelevant. Noone should use that comment, no matter how much they dislike it, as a slur on everyone else who has a concern to raise.
> (In reply to bryn)
> I'm reluctant to weigh in really, but hey-ho. I've never (yet) climbed on slate, although I am keen next itme I can get to Wales. I have no particular axe to grind simply because of this lack of experience.
So Your actually clueless then.
> There is another side of your coin to your facts. There are some experienced climbers contributing on this thread, as well presumably others elsewhere, who are uncomfortable with what is happening.
There are many experienced climbers who established many of the routes that are not uncomfortable with retro bolting there lines, sport climbing or re-equipping.
> Replacing old bolts like for like is somehting which very few people have problems with. I've seen very little criticism, if any, of that on here. It is generally appreciated by the climbing community.
> Where some people feel disquiet, however, is when these actions have spread beyond that. It has been said that the rebolting of Heading the Shot, for example, has changed the character of the route. There have been "indiscretions" (as they were referred to earlier - Horse Latitudes for example) where routes have been retro-bolted and that has met with disapproval.
Heading the shot??? - If you had climbed it before and after then you could pass commment, but again you are going on Heresay! Just because an old bolt that was on the first ascent good, has been replaced by other good ones, visually they look better.
Horse Latitudes wasn't that controversial with locals or others that flooded in to climb it, after it was retro bolted with the first ascentionists permission.
> Obviously things have got a bit inflamed on this thread of late. But those doing the rebolting have to realise that on occasions like this, where people are genuinely concerned that some people may be taking the requipping process beyond the sensible, adopting a bunker mentality and a "these people are putting in lots of work and they are sensitive and historically minded and local" doesn't help anyone. Almost everyone is very appreciative of the main rebolting work. But when actions are taken which are seen by many as debatable, you can't hide behind the "look at the other work thats been done, how can you criticise" line, or accuse people of sniping at the hard work, because it avoids the concerns that people have. Its not fair, in a way, to accuse people of making light of the hard work the reqippers have done, when actually they have issues with specific actions which they are trying to raise. Smearing them, so to speak, as unappreciative of the main body of the work being done, rather than trying to allay their concerns, will only cause them to form the opinion that theres no listening being done to the thoughts of a wider community.
Well put, but there has been a lot of thought locally by the people who actually know the quarries extreemly well! Should we actually listen to people like yourself who have never actually climbed in the quarries?
> Anyone who thought that anyhting apart from a bolt for bolt replacement program would pass without any negative comment is deluding themselves. Its a sign of a robust climbing community who actually care about the quarries the fact that people are standing up and speaking out where they feel a line has been crossed, despite the fact that they may be in favour of 99% of the other work.
You really can't have your cake and eat it. You can't ask the wider climbing comunity (which includes me, AJM and many others) for contribution to a bolt fund but not expect those people to want a say in how the money is spent - or at least transparency in how its spent. At the moment it sounds like "this is a local crag for local people".
I've never said I had an opinion. My post contains not one opinion of my own. Yes, I'm clueless, but on the other hand I am looking in from the eyes of someone with no emotional attachment to either camp.
Of course many climbers, locals and otherwise, are perfectly happy with the entire rebolting project. I wouldn't and didn't try and deny that. But the other side of the coin is that there are people who aren't happy, and the best way to stop arguments like this thread is to reach some sort of compromise where both sides listen to each other and hear the others' concerns. I do mean both sides by this, the "its upsetting me" camp should listen to you and you should listen to them in equal measure. As I've said, my reading of this site would indicate that at least 95% of the rebolting work has recieved widespread acclaim, but some parts of it have worried people and they are entitled to their opinions on the matter. It is possible to support 95% of what you've been doing whilst still disagreeing about a few cases.
I didn't pass a comment on HtS. Read what I said. "it has been said", not "I think". Some people think it has changed the character of the route. I'm using it as an example of a route where some people (not me, some people) feel that the work done to the route has changed its character in a detreimental way. Similarly some people have expressed disquiet at the rebolting of Horse Latitudes. Some people approve, some don't. The whole point of that paragraph was that different people have different interpretations of where the line between unacceptable and aceceptable lies. All I was trying to say was that maybe the best long term solution would be if both sides listen to each other and talk to each other about cases like this.
As for your last paragraph, obviously there has been discussion about this. But there are some people who have thought about it and aren't happy, and I think that they should be entitled to express their views. I won't try to defend unjustified attacks, theres no defence that I can come up with even if I wanted to, but there is a difference between the two types of comment - some people have genuine issues which they want to raise where they think a line has been crossed, and thats a very different comment from "your rebolting campaign sucks and I hate you".
My only opinion in this post, which you think we shouldn't listen to, was an opinion that if both sides started listening to each other more it would lead to the most harmonious long-term solution. Whats wrong with that as an opinion?
Mark, you've always come across previous to this as a nice guy, and I have a huge amount of respect for the work you and others have put into the re-equipping of the quarries. None of the points you are accusing me of in your post are particularly true - I don't currently have a problem with the idea of climbing Horse Latitudes in its new form, and I have no objection to the fact it has been rebolted, and the merits of the different styles of equipping on HtS are not something which I'm concerned about either way. I was trying to say was that from an outsiders "clueless" perspective more listening would be good from both sides.
All I can hope is that you misunderstood me somewhere along the way.
> (In reply to Fiend)
> I can't read the whole thing right now, but I hear you brother.
> The word on the street is Mark whatshisface is bolting easy routes for his clients to do on a rainy day.
> Someone had to say it.
> This obviously sucks, even F5 leaders always say how shit most of the F5s are in the UK.
So what if I had been bolting easy routes for my clients! I have probably done my fair share of re-equipping in the quarries, including many routes and slabs that are for the time being beyond my and most definitiely my clients ability!
Inparticular are you accusing me of re-equipping Rainbow slab and California Wall for my clients! Which BTW I don't have that many of, as I rely on freelance work around north wales, my own business is far from successful as the marketplace is crowded in North Wales.
The easy route i bolted were a direct way to help make the quarries more accessible for lower grade climbers, and get more people to come to wales, llanberis, as well as make some nice routes to warm up on. The routes climbed previously overlooked pieces of rock.
An apology for your slanderous comments would be greatly appreciated!
I am actually well aware of what your saying in terms of groups, I have seen many centres using the routes that have been equipped through the bolt fund. Some of these centres have made no contribution to the fund, which in my mind is a real crime, they after all make money from the business, so making a small donation would seem the least they can do. Other centres that have never taken a group to these venues have even contributed!
in reply to noone in particular but using AJM's quote (sorry AJM!) "It is possible to support 95% of what you've been doing whilst still disagreeing about a few cases"
The percentage of "cases" people are not happy about it less that 5 %. Horse Latitudes plus maybe 5 of Colin's new routes out of what, well over a thousand routes in the quarry. I'm not that good at maths but I would say thats a pretty good consensus, hence my earlier comments that people are wildly extrapolating from a couple of things they misinterpreted from somewhere.
Simon Panton08 Jun 2007
In reply to GrahamD: He's not saying that, no-one is, but don't you think that someone who has actually been and experienced the revamped quarries (with its new found lease of life) will have more to contribute to a debate, than someone pontificating from afar, and thus from a position of inevitable ignorance?
In reply to AJM:
>None of the points you are accusing me of in your post are particularly true.
None of the points that I have been accused of on this forum are particularly true, in fact they are down right wrong. Hopefully you can see how easy it is to flame someone on here, times that by numerous threads on this and similar subjects and you might see why I will have nothing more to do with the project.
They were just numbers. I made them up. I'm sure you are probably right, but that seemed like a sensible set of numbers to put up.
As a pedantic point, nowhere near the full 1000 routes have been touched by the reequiping project have they? I'd have said as a mental guestimate that we are talking 5 routes out of a few hundred, not 1000, aren't we? Before anyone calls me up as being an ungrateful git or whatever, I'm no less impressed by and grateful for the efforts, I just didn't think that anyhting like that number of routes have been requipped (as yet? How much more is left to be done?). And routes which haven't been touched by the project yet don't really feature as a relevant part of this discussion.
I believe there is an extremely good consensus of support for almost all of these routes that have been requipping. The "sensibility line" so to speak comes nowhere near most of the routes which have been done, which is why I think there is so much general support for the project. Its routes which drop into the slightly greyer area at the fringes that have got people bothered, and I think its very very important to recognise that so much of the work that has been done has recieved so much support, but also to recognise that there are some places in which a few isolated cases have recieved notably less support. I'm not sure that we should be lumping them together, I think it would be better to say "all of this stuff over here is brilliant, but some people don't like these routes over here, maybe we should talk to them and find out why and try and come to a compromise". It just seems to me the most sensible option.
Whats that got to do with it? - I have never tried to and am not going to try and defend those who are accusing you of things which are untrue. I've had nothing to do with wronging you. Its just plain unreasonable, and in flaming me for no good reason you are sinking to the same levels your accusers are.
All I've tried to do was put across an outsiders view and a plea for some sort of dialogue. I didn't deserve being told I had no worthy opinion on how to solve an argument simply because the nearest I've been to climbing slate is walking round the bottom of Vivian on a wet day.
In reply to All: How many here have actually looked at the routes in question or have spoken to people who have seen them?
I'm not meaning to use the 'I'm a local' argument there, ut just want to explain the actual situation where the climbs are. It may be worth uploading a picture of these to show people what the slabs look like.
I went out and ran past them tonight so stopped for a good look and climbed up to the first bolt on most, we are talking about 10 m of a scrappy slab, half of which is vegetated. The routes have almost no trad gear placements. I reckon on one was it Grandmere? there may be some micro wires about 3/4s of the way up the route in a fine crack, apart from that there was nothing. All in all we are talking of 10 m in 100's of metres of crag if not km's and 5 or so routes of what must be near 1000.
I think the amount of easy sport routes put up causing such a commotion should be put into some perspective. I actually thought they looked nice little climbs. Anyway these 'easy' sport routes are actually a good challenge for punters like me, normally in spain 5+ easy - 6a is my limit.
The slab has cleaned up quite nicely and looks a nice potter but I don't think any of the climbs will exactly be classics.
Re the bolt agreement, I see the merits of course, but i'm not sure that's needed. I think what has been done so far shows the consideration being taken.
> (In reply to GrahamD) He's not saying that, no-one is, but don't you think that someone who has actually been and experienced the revamped quarries (with its new found lease of life) will have more to contribute to a debate, than someone pontificating from afar, and thus from a position of inevitable ignorance?
I have not climbed on the slate quarries in questions since 1972, so I have no views on what routes should or not be bolted there or how many bolts should be used.
Simon Panton10 Jun 2007
In reply to Norrie Muir: I'm not sure my statement tallies with your subsequent assessment at all. Surely what I said is just common sense.
Also, if you look through my posts on this thread you will see that I gave credit to Aly for basing his opinion on direct and recent experience.
Perhaps I shouldn't go sticking my nose into Scottish affairs (it obviously upset you that I dared to do so), but I felt moved to stick up for Scott because I felt he was getting unfairly crucified, and I saw an underlying element of hypocrisy (Why was Cubby allowed to break the rules, but not Scott?) in those who were attacking him. I met him a few times in Cogne and he struck me as just a very enthusiastic climber; I've also been to Glencoe a lot more times than you might assume.
> (In reply to GrahamD) He's not saying that, no-one is, but don't you think that someone who has actually been and experienced the revamped quarries (with its new found lease of life) will have more to contribute to a debate, than someone pontificating from afar, and thus from a position of inevitable ignorance?
Of course. But that still doesn't make the opinions of us 'armchair critics' totally invalid either - especially when being asked to put my hand in my pocket for bolt wonga!
> (In reply to Aly) If you want to see those sort of routes put up, then go and do them yourself. Nobody is stopping you.
This is a fair point but isn't always particularly easy if you don't live in the area or want to spend your weekend doing new routes instead of enjoying the re-equipped classics. Having said that I think the Dali's Hole slab might have some trad routes on it now too.
Since the rebolting started there has been
126 routes rebolted, of that only 11 have been retro'd after proper discussion as sport routes.
There has been 70 new routes using bolts. I can only think of 2 with sporting placements, altho' mostly NW rules are appied (spacey)
We have about 130 routes left to rebolt, about half of these are recognised as 'good' routes. a subtantial amount of these (the quarryman, wall within, le voleour) are sport routes, at least in the NW idiom.
THe balance will always remain, I've been putting up offwidths, sparsely bolted routes and trad cracks alongside my sports routes (sometimes literally) and altho I'm laying off exploring for a bit to get some classics done, I'm sure it will continue.
In reply to mark reeves: I thought that there were essentially two stages in agreeing what should and should not be re-equipped, and that as well as consulting the first ascentionist, that an area meeting had discussed the general approach to the work in the slate quarries.
I thought I remembered an advert on this site inviting people to attend the meeting and contribute their views.
Can anyone confirm or deny this?
If that meeting took place, surely Fiend et al should have attended and put across their views then rather than discussing it after the fact...
> If that meeting took place, surely Fiend et al should have attended and put across their views then rather than discussing it after the fact...
Not everyone who loves climbing in the quarries can get to meetings even if they wanted to. 'Discussions' like this allow people to express their views though as often happens they turn ugly. Also, as I understand it, the process of re-equiping is ongoing, why should pople not speak out now while they still can having seen how it's gone so far?
For what it's worth I fully support the like for like bolting (Many thanks guys/girls) and understand thier justification for some of the additional bolts. However, I would prefer to see the quarries developed as they always have been, as a mixed venue with emphasis on bold climbing rather than a gradual drift toward an 'all sport' new route ethic. Retrobolting to create 'sport for all', would not generally have my support (an thankfully it appears to have been limited so far).
To put my comments in context: I'm not local. I have climbed in the quarries on several occasions and enjoyed every visit. I don't climb hard enough to be elietist, I have the same lack of routes in the quarries as many others, it doesn't put me off. I dislike sport climbing, I find it dry and forgettable. Feel free to flame/ignore as you will.
> (In reply to John2)
> Horse Latitudes and Alive and Kicking were two routes I'd had a look at with an intention to do.
Ok, don't clip the bolts. I did horse latitudes twice before it was bolted, and once after. I enjoyed all three experiences. Yes it could have been left as a bold near solo (E3+ in my opinion) for the committed few. As it is, however, its still very enjoyable, and those wanting to replicate the bold feel, go and do Little Ern round the corner.
> I had really hoped Heading The Shot wasn't going to get retro'd as that had always to me really summed up the adventure 'sport' style climbing in the quarries without being a clip up. It had character.
For flip sake! It has not been retro'd! there is no extra pro added and the new bolts are as close to the originals as the bolter felt he could go at the time! It has been given a sport grade several times in the past and by NW standards it has always been so. The same way many routes in the quarries were only given technical grades because the 1st assentionists, didn't consider the odd mashed ankle worth giving something an E grade!
> I had hoped that the two inital bolts on Poetry Pink would stay as two older bolts made the mantle quite exciting.
Sorry it was this statement that caused me to reply and I'm afraid I lost my usually cool calm exterior. It was my privalege to rebolt Poetry Pink. Privalege as JR is a close friend and we've had many late night discussions on slate climbing and the mythology of the quarries. He can't place bolts for Sht. the Reason there were 2 bolts at the bottom was that his 1st attempt was pityful, and the other's complained. He placed them as a painter dabbs his canvas, to create a feel and justifiably a classic. he was never intended to fall on them (and didn't)
When I removed one of the old bolts on this route it sheared off under body weight, the metal was so compromised.
So if you don't want to clip the new bolts I placed (2, as close to the originalls as is safe structurally), pop into V12 and request a couple of the old bolts from the bin, take up a spanner and you can relive the old days..
> I also saw that on Looning the Tube the bottom bolt is new. Had I known that when I climbed it I would have thought that a shame as well.
placed before the current guide came out, in responce to the end of the tube being 5ft lower than it was previously.
Please ask questions rather than producing factoid statements, then someone can help you produce more meaningfull arguements.
In reply to rehab21: Yes their was a meeting about bolting in the qurries the consensus at that meeting was that what is being done was a good proactive step to make. Whilst some thier expressed concerns over retro boting they did see that in the 99% of cases that any retro bolting or adding an extra bolt here or there with the FA permission was a good thing for the area asa whole.
In fact I remember very little tension or fuss in the meeting over the issue, but you'd have to get hold of the minutes from the meeting for a fuller picture!
The main bolt debate at a later meeting was for bolt lower offs in the Pass, unsurprisingly the vote was against installing them.
In reply to Fiend: given that the intro line to the thread is true: I am at first worried, as change worries me, then I consider..then I have a feeling of losing out on doing some hard trad routes on slate, then Im pissed off because sport climbing is a bit boring in comparison to Trad, then I get over it and really want to try a hard sport route on slate.
In reply to tonanf: No one is bolting existing trad routes bar the exception all ready mentioned. No one is putting up new sports routes/bolted routes up possible trad lines. New sports routes are going up where trad lines are not feasible. Old, damaged and crappily placed bolts from old sport routes/minimal bolted routes are being replaced in a way that mimics as close as possible the original placements.
I read this entire thread today (boy did that take a long time). As I was going through I made notes on stuff I felt like saying, but at the end I decided not to post any of it, as the whole thing seems to be going round in circles, with both 'sides' repeating the same things. So cheers and well done for coming up with some figures, in my opinion they're much needed!
While you're here -
You say there's been 70 new routes using bolts. So if 2 of those are sportingly bolted, does that mean there's 68 new pure sport routes (albeit more NW spacing)? (Sorry if I misunderstood that)
Also, you don't say how many pure trad routes have been put up since the rebolting started (as a comparison). Do you have those figures too?
In reply to cider nut: Looking at the FA history for the new guide, there is a round 24 new routes on trad gear, not including some more recent ones that haven't gone in yet! Some of these were before the rebolting started. Many of which are more likely to get repeated if they weren't in the guide, and some of which have already fallen down!
I agree with you Miss C Nut. I feel that the debate is stale it seems to be over the choice being made within the new guide and the wiki to give sports routes sports grades.
If people researched they would be aware that the Nick Harms guide a long time ago, gave all routes with bolts (run out or not) and some trad lines sports grades in the graded list.
If people had given the routes a english grade, most of the people on this thread would be blissfully unaware. It seems the F grade is raising hell.
I'm not sure if the debate is stale, it just needs a kick up the bum! AJM tried valiantly and fairly, but unfortunately it didn't appear work, he just got dragged in. I think there's been some really interesting views, and in the whole well put (too much time has been spend discussing the less informed comments IMO, rather than the issue in hand). I was dubious about the initial discussion because, as we all know, it's come up before, but this is a request for information to allow the public to fully understand and make informed opinions on the issue, and _not_ on hearsay, which I think is a great idea.
I'll leave it to Fiend et al to turn the facts into further comments, and just continue to read from the sidelines.
So let the facts continue! (By the way, asked after you in the Vaynol the other week in case you were in to get you that drink, but alas you weren't, next time perhaps)
(In reply to your final comments, my personal worries on this whole thing, that I haven't mentioned, centre around the overlap between trad routes and sport routes, with the presence of lowers off, like in mental lentils, but I suppose that's off topic).
> (In reply to your final comments, my personal worries on this whole thing, that I haven't mentioned, centre around the overlap between trad routes and sport routes, with the presence of lowers off, like in mental lentils, but I suppose that's off topic).
It had to come up I suppose! I put the lower off anchors in Mental Lentils in 2001? During Foot and Mouth. The goats were wandering up on the higher levels and climbing was completely banned because of this - it was interesting that many discussions were had at this point about permanently shutting down Vivian to climbers due to scree being disturbed as people topped out (rather than pulling holds off) and the general instability of the rock on most ledges. After some discussion with Padarn Country Park (who were supportive of climbing) and some locals, I put belays at the top of a handful of routes to allow access to climbing there (it also meant all the goats weren't culled). So during that woeful time, we were allowed to climb a few routes and hopefully I did my bit to safeguard climbing in the quarry for the future.
I wont apologise for not consulting you lot on our decision as locals, because I dont feel that, given the circumstances, any other course of action would have been positive (The longer the quarries lay empty, the more the 'management' may have noticed how little climbers contribute to their resources, whilst giving potential headaches in cases of accidents, etc)
As far as I am concerned, 'informed' pontificating from afar is ok and even welcome, but to belittle Mark's (Pete's, Hosey's, Colin's, Veronica's, Niel's, Mill's, Ioan's, Adam's, Martin's and anyone else I've forgotten) achievements and enthusiasm and to even suggest that he may be able to earn money from his 'voluntary' work is 'Virgin on the ridiculous'. Remember that the quarries have been quiet back waters in the last few years (due in some part to the quirkyness of some of the insitu gear) and are now enjoying a little popularity again. If you dont like it or slate in general - you can always be thankful it's taking some people away from other areas you may deem worthy of your presence(s)
My other take on this is that the first ascensionists are historically important and should be consulted, but are not always right (Oxo and Bovine anyone? Dare I open the Left Wall debate again) In fact in the case of slate, lots of First ascensionists admit that they would have liked to have made the routes safer, but couldn't afford the hardware or the time. If that hadn't been such an issue, we may have had many more fully bolted routes.
As it is, Slate is special because you can climb sports routes and trad routes and some hybrid ones in between. Some average trad routes may have made great sports routes and some average sports routes may have made great trad routes. The first ascensionist made his or her decision and in general (exceptions have been covered above), the rebolting has conformed with the original routes original forms.
Time for bed
Ps if anyone wants to contribute to the fund or replace some bolts, get in touch through V12 on the High Street (Llanberis High Street that is)
In reply to Robert Wilson and other locals: I haven't done much in the quarries but one of the few routes I did years ago was Combat Rock. Is there still just one bolt at the top? I remember thinking at the time that being able to ab back down seemed infinitely preferable to topping out, but it would have been nice to have two bolts as the belay - as is the worldwide norm. I'm interested in whether the reason for just one bolt originally was simply money as you suggest. We are preparing some sports routes where I now climb and I hadn't realised how bloody expensive it is! I'd be happy to chip in to the NW bolt fund to get the top of Combat Rock another bolt and maybe a chain! Perhaps in another decade or so I get the chance to do it again.
This seems like another defensive reply (although you did give the information I was after, so thank you), since I didn't actually say what I felt about the presence of lowers offs, or whether I support them or not. My actually 'worries' (on the thread I linked to earlier on in the article), as that when the quarries are in a state so different to the last guide book, that when a lower off is on a route with bolts, it's hard to tell if it's a sport route or a trad route. That's not a complaint, but I like to be able to prepare myself for a particular style of route. It all work out fine when the new guide book comes out though, so then it'll all be fine. I'm perfectly happy for lower offs to be used on a case by case basis, especially if, as this case was, it's for the good of climbing.
Don't forget this thread was a request for clarification, not a complaint, and the OP did say: "I appreciate and respect the efforts put into like-for-like bolting and rationalising some of the more abstract bolting choices of the past"
Regarding first ascentionist - some areas (not slate) have agreed bolting agreement. Like I believe that in Swanage you're allowed to bolt some areas, and not other. If a FA decided to bolt Finale Groove, for example, the would be way more uproad then. So sure, FA's are important, but so is the style of the area (I think I'm agreeing with you here?). I don't know the Left Wall debate - I only tend to know stuff about areas I've climbed at or like to climb at, and routes that are within my grades, and I'm definitely not an armchair pontificator! (I do know a bit of additional history on top of routes in my interest area of course, but have only been climbing 3 years so I'm lacking history beyond that).
One final comment - perhaps the slate quarries are not so much of a backwater as people think judging by the amount of opinions on here (which actually are, mostly, from people that have climbed there and still do, when in the area. I've climbed in the quarries more times than any other single venue in North Wales, even Tremadog) I love slate!
I don't understand you, even though I posted at one in the morning it's perfectly obvious I was saying what some rumours were, and I didn't say they were my opinion (apart from what I think about F5s). I stated the fact "This rumour says such and such" and excluded nothing.
I didn't say you weren't doing any other work and didn't say you were only doing such routes and didn't say such routes you had done were only for your clients.
For something to be slanderous it has to cause offence (look at me, I looked it up!).
But then you say "so what" if the rumour I brought to your attention was true. So which is it, water off a duck's back, or outright defamtory slander?
Pond's Forge, Sheffield Arena, and Don Valley Stadium were built for the 1990(?) World Student games, but they weren't just built for the World Student games.
Subject: FAO: the tool who calls himself PAZ
Date: 11 Jun 2007 18:38:28 +0100
Firstly you strike me as a bit a of a tool, and an ill informed one at that!
Secondly if I had bolted the route for my clients then what exactly is the problem with it. Everybody has to start climbing somewhere and why not on an easy and neglect slab. For the record though I equipped the easy routes for moderate grade climbers to come and enjoy. I did not retro bolt an exsisting route, I choose a piece of rock previously unrecorded, so it was my decision on the style I wished to equip that as.
Most easy routes in the quarries were first ascended by E6 leaders as solo's, as such a VS climber would undoubtable have an epic or even worse on these lines. If you actually climbed any of the routes I bolted you would realise that
they are only just sports routes, most have two bolts, although seeing their popularity I have encourage others to add bolts to them.
As for your comment "..to climb them in the rain" you have obvious never climbed on slate, especially in the rain! As a professional mountaineering instructor I would actually not have my clients leading in the rain, it is just
way too risky, bolted or otherwise!
I personally took great exception to you post, it being aimed directly at me.
Would you have said that to my face in a pub or at a crag? If you had you might well have found out how angry you made me.
Seeing that you are not man enough to apologise for your gross mis-statement and slanderous accusations I can only wish you the best of luck in your climbing and social skills, they probably both need some work!
Everyone is entitled to an opinion with regards to the work going on in the quarries, you seemed to totally missed the point of the debate, in the fact that in climbing a new route it is up to the person who does the FA what style
it is. Simply turning it into a personal attack just shows me what kind of a person you are.
I'm not posting the above to get sympathy, but there was an undercurrent of `sniping and backbiting' mentioned earlier in the thread which I'd just like to show goes both ways before anyone claims or presumes a `holier than thou' stance.
In any case I'm sure Mark felt better after writing it. I can't even be arsed to respond to it's point they're that lame, except to say that if you've been inspired to put down your drill Mark then I wish you well with your climbing too.
So can someone please help me out here and explain to me exactly what I should be apologising for? Were my other posts even worse?
In reply to Paz: I'd apologise for reposting his private email to you on here, that's bad form.
Robert Wilson14 Jun 2007
In reply to whoever wants to read it (and not just to you CiderNut - even though I'm using your quotes):
> (In reply to Robert Wilson)
> This seems like another defensive reply
There is no choice but to be defensive on UKC as if you are offensive (as in the opposite of defensive as opposed to causing offence - had to clarify that as people read a lot of different meanings into very simple sentences on here) you end up in a tit for tat battle like poor Mark is with Paz (Guess who I think is in the right)!
If I was to be offensive in this thread it would be to throw down the guantlet to all the people giving Mark a knocking and ask the question (to "The Mark Reeves Fanclub" in particular):
What was the last thing you did to contribute to climbing in the greater scheme of things rather than just for your own personal gain? (It could be cleaning a route, clipping some brambles on a walk in, replacing a 'Tat' station at the top of a route, Going to a Local area access forum meeting, Checked routes for a guidebook, etc, something a little more altruistic than driving to an area, climbing and then driving home again)
> Don't forget this thread was a request for clarification,
And look how it's developed!
> One final comment - perhaps the slate quarries are not so much of a backwater as people think judging by the amount of opinions on here (which actually are, mostly, from people that have climbed there and still do, when in the area. I've climbed in the quarries more times than any other single venue in North Wales, even Tremadog) I love slate!
If I was being offensive again, I would have said to you that I bet all of the routes you've done in the quarries would have almost all been from about 50 popular routes that get done all the time. Due to the work of many people, that list of popular routes has increased dramatically and I bet next time you visit slate you'll do plenty of routes that you hadn't even heard of until recently - and it'll mostly be Mark's work that has caused this.
In reply to Simon Panton: Is Never Never Land still protected by the spike. This route seemed to sum up designer run outs and the whole slatehead thing. I'd be very disappointed if this had been retro'd although I would have been grateful for a bolt at the time!
> (In reply to Simon Panton) Is Never Never Land still protected by the spike.
Yes, as is Stack of Nudebooks, etc....
'Designer' Slate is still alive and kicking, it's the 'Sorry-it's-a-bit-shit-cos-it's-only-got-4-bolts-and-no-lower-off-as-I-couldn't-afford-any-more-until-I-cashed-my-GIRO' type routes that have been under close scrutiny recently.
I'm not asking you to be offensive either, they're two ends of the spectrum and there's plenty in the middle. I'm aiming for productive...
Also, there's bits in the middle between 'right' and 'wrong' - I'm not saying anyone should be either.
Hmmm... the last things I did for climbing. Well while you wrote your post I was at a local area meeting (true!), I've also organised several meets over the last three years, had my photos in the guide books (ok, so that allows me to be vain too, but I was asked if I could donate my time), went to a cleaning day at Egerton last year, donated to the bolt fund, etc.etc.
When I last went the slate quarries, I did some of the new routes in Australia, which is what caused me to post my thread a couple of months ago (linked further up). Proof that my opinions and thoughts are based on experience, not reading. I agree that most (all?) of the routes I've done have no doubt been popular ones, but that's because nearly all the ones in my grade range that I'm aware of that aren't death routes, are popular.
Now look, you've got *me* all defensive now! Or was that your aim? But you did ask specific questions, which is why I've answered.
So, back on topic - I think we need to turn back to the OP to ask how many of his fears have been answered, quashed and/or substantiated!
Simon Panton15 Jun 2007
In reply to Paz: I wonder how cool, calm and collected you'd be if you found yourself in Mark's situation? Not very, I'm guessing?
Well it seems I've spawned a monster here. Not, for a change, my actual intention.
There's too much for me to reply to in depth. Suffice to say that it's been good to get some debate going. I haven't welcomed some of the reactionary tarring from some of the activists, nor some of the inflammatory comments from others on this thread. I've noticed enough of both, neither are useful.
On the other hand it needs to be clarified that: I am grateful for the efforts put into re-bolting, I am not condemning sport-climbing at all nor sport-climbing in the quarries, and I have respect for some of the activists, which I had before the slate revival even started.
As to whether my concerns have been dealt with - from a quick perusal, I am not sure. There seems to be a lot of arguing and defensiveness, which sometimes indicates my concerns are being rejected rather than acknowledged. However, Mark and Hosey's brief stats on the number of trad routes being done shows that someone at least is keeping track of what is going on.
Perhaps the most useful thing to come out is to see that my concerns are shared and the whole issue is worthy of debate by others too.
julieandlen16 Jun 2007
Hi Andy,I put up the sport routes at Dalis hole on an area of totally neglected rock which I had looked at for some five years and described in the current guide as :'a disgusting wall-not suitable for climbing by any standard'
Well Andy my vision has born fruit-for after days cleaning loose rubble and vegitation of the wall I have created a venue of value to so many people who I promise you are voting with their feet.Before the dust blows away people are queuing to do them and I am inundated with thanks and praise from low to middle grade climbers and children who have felt there is nothing for them on llanberis slate only possible death!I called at the crag a couple of days ago to see to my astonishment 26 people on the site whilst other ares lay dormant-what does this tell us?
Some great names in British climeing have visited and climed the routeson Roscoe,Ron James and Libby Peter-and George Smith feels its going to be good for kids which is so true.I feel times are changing and young people need a place to go after the confines of the indoor climbing walls prior to coming to terms with 'real climbing'.
I dont like this idea of strict traditionilism where we feel we must stay in the same estabished rut-rather we should embrace change and learn to be more tolerant of all aspects of our sport-there has to be room for all tastes
and like it or like it not a great number of folk love sport climbing-thats why Calpe is so popular,so why not a little here? My case rests with the laughing, happy enthusiastic climbers enyoying this tiny site.
Very best Wishes.
> Hi Andy,I put up the sport routes at Dalis hole on an area of totally neglected rock which I had looked at for some five years and described in the current guide as :'a disgusting wall-not suitable for climbing by any standard'
If you read the guide I think you'll find it actually says:
"A number of routes have been done on the friable slab to the right. However, even by slate standards, these are disgusting and as such are best left unrecorded."
There is a difference between these two statements.