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How long should someone keep their project closed?? Quick Survey

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 Davidpaul17 10 Nov 2022
Thread moved from Rockfax to Rocktalk

Ran into a climber at a crag today (not in the UK) who has a private project.  I politely asked him if I could give it a try since I have climbed every other route at the crag.  He said no, it's closed.  So I  asked how long do people usually keep projects here? His response -  "As long as they want...they can keep it closed their whole life?"

Survey - How long should someone keep their project closed?

A. 1 year

B.  Indefinitely

C. Private projects are stupid and should be opened to everyone shortly after bolting.

7
 Andypeak 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

C. No climber owns the crag or a route. 

12
In reply to Davidpaul17:

Oh hai

3
 C Witter 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

I've no firsthand experience of this, but my impression is that there are no firm rules. It's just etiquette that if someone goes to the trouble of bolting a route and they want to get the FA, you try to respect that. But, if they're not good enough to send the route within the limits of your patience, then you get on it.

(Indeed, if the other person isn't around and you don't report your ascent, then who's to know and who's harmed?)

As with most things in life, you should do what you think is justifiable and what you wouldn't mind being done to you.

5
 Moacs 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

Honest question.  Why don't folk, that really, really want the FA of a line, work it on TR until they're ready to redpoint, and then put the bolts in?

15
In reply to Moacs:

> Honest question.  Why don't folk, that really, really want the FA of a line, work it on TR until they're ready to redpoint, and then put the bolts in?

It might be too steep to make top roping it a realistic proposition. 
They might have also had a play on a rope to see if it was possible, put the bolts in and then found that it needed more working than originally thought.
They also might just want a hard project to work for the next few months.
As for how long it should stay closed, no hard and fast rule and probably down to local ethics/opinion.

 Moacs 10 Nov 2022
In reply to FactorXXX:

> It might be too steep to make top roping it a realistic proposition. 

Ok, put a couple of teeny directionals in; not strong enough for the lead and upgrade to bolts later

> They might have also had a play on a rope to see if it was possible, put the bolts in and then found that it needed more working than originally thought.

Their mistake.  Be sure you're ready before you bolt

> They also might just want a hard project to work for the next few months.

Sure.  But no need to bolt first

> As for how long it should stay closed, no hard and fast rule and probably down to local ethics/opinion.

38
 Mick Ward 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

B.  Indefinitely

I can recall a local project which was closed for 10 years. After that, the equipper gave it to his mate. It probably lasted another 10 minutes. As the equipper could do it with a rest, I was pretty confident that I could do it, period. 

But that's not the point. I never went on it. To keep climbing as a game worth playing and to be civilised, we have etiquette (which may vary, from place to place). And if we want to remain civilised, etiquette (which may change) matters. 

The longest I've had a FA project was just short of a year. Pretty much everything possible got in the way of redpoints (it went on the third). But if I'd got bogged down, I'd have given it to more talented people - plenty of them about. 

So there's a converse etiquette too. 

Mick 

14
 deepsoup 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Mick Ward:

I think you've raised a separate question in your post:
If the person who equipped the route can't do it themselves, can they 'give it' to a mate to then keep to themselves instead?

Flat no from me.  I'm willing to wait to give the person who bolted the line time to do the first ascent, an 'indefinite' period of time up to a point.  (10 years is taking the piss, assuming they don't actually own the crag.  1 year is pushing it too imo.  It's measured in months I reckon.)

But once they've conceded they can't do it, it's fair game for anyone who can.

2
In reply to Moacs:

> Ok, put a couple of teeny directionals in; not strong enough for the lead and upgrade to bolts later
> Their mistake.  Be sure you're ready before you bolt
> Sure.  But no need to bolt first

That was the sort of attitude that UK climbers took until they realised that their arses were getting well and truly kicked by their French counterparts. 

 alan moore 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

C.

2
In reply to Davidpaul17:

Indefinitely: the time and effort that goes into developing routes, as well as the effort that goes into a long project, mean that the route probably means a lot more to them than you. 

17
 Jon Read 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

Trad: no such thing as a closed project (although, if you're thinking of whacking/drilling pegs in and the competition wasn't considering that, think again).

Sport: depends, see thread.

Bouldering: dunno, presumably same as trad?

1
 PaulW 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

I'd never even considered this, I'm not really a sport climber and in no way talented to be climbing routes that others can't.

But if I turned up at a crag and saw an unoccupied line of bolts not in a guidebook that i thought i might be able to do i would have a go without hesitation. Would never give a thought that it might be someone's project.

6
 Pedro50 10 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulW:

There used to be a convention that finger tape around the first bolt hanger indicated a closed project and was widely respected. Allegedly a well known climber once padlocked a saucepan to the first bolt hanger on his Kilnsey project to deter others.

Post edited at 21:22
 AJM 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Moacs:

Putting aside the other points, once it gets beyond a given angle then it becomes easier logistically to work the route on lead, even compared to a top rope set up running through the bolts to keep it somewhat on line.

Slightly as an aside, in many places the equipper might be equipping a whole crag - the 1:1 link between equipper and FA we usually have in the U.K. often isn’t there in the same way, often the equipper bolts and names a bunch of routes but may not get the FA. So they may well be bolting a number of routes which they can or can’t climb, and then figuring out afterwards whether there’s one they particularly want to project themselves. Which means that “work out if you can do it before you bolt it” thing doesn’t really make sense in that context.

 Moacs 10 Nov 2022
In reply to AJM:

ok.  Thanks

 henwardian 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

How long is a piece of string?

If you bolted a new 7something graded project on the right side of El Pati at Siurana I'd say odds are you wouldn't get very long at all before someone climbed it. It's a great quality, crowded, popular, very well known location and most everyone there is capable of climbing your project should they so try.

If you put your project on an unpopular/unknown location, make it 9wtf difficulty and don't tell anyone about it till you've done it, chances are it would never even be discovered by someone capable of climbing it, let alone sent. I think you could reasonably expect it to remain yours for life. Especially if it's mediocre quality rock.

It's all about being realistic, isn't it?

1
 C Witter 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Mick Ward:

I think the point about converse etiquette is on the money: it's good to respect the bolter's desire for the FA, but they should show respect in return - for the rock and for other climbers - and trying to keep a bit of rock off limits to suit your ego is, eventually, not within "the spirit of things".

1
 JLS 10 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

B.  Indefinitely
 

Surely you can have climbed every other route in the country and are sitting waiting on this one route? Even if that was the case you could always go and bolt some new ones yourself…

15
In reply to Davidpaul17:

As long as the project's "owner" is trying the route (reasonable gaps allowed especially if recovering from injury) then it's reasonable for it to remain closed.

But you could always climb/work the route but grab the chain to invalidate any redpoint - there is historical precedent for this.

15
 Michael Gordon 11 Nov 2022
In reply to henwardian:

> If you bolted a new 7something graded project on the right side of El Pati at Siurana I'd say odds are you wouldn't get very long at all before someone climbed it. It's a great quality, crowded, popular, very well known location and most everyone there is capable of climbing your project should they so try.

> If you put your project on an unpopular/unknown location, make it 9wtf difficulty and don't tell anyone about it till you've done it, chances are it would never even be discovered by someone capable of climbing it, let alone sent. I think you could reasonably expect it to remain yours for life. Especially if it's mediocre quality rock.

> It's all about being realistic, isn't it?

Well yes, the above is true in terms of probability of your route being climbed, but the OP was asking about etiquette.

 Mick Ward 11 Nov 2022
In reply to deepsoup:

It's a separate question but, in my experience, a hypothetical one. 

>1 year is pushing it too imo.  It's measured in months I reckon.)

Measured by whom? Not you and not me, that's for sure. 

I confess to being deeply embarrassed about that nearly one year project. But I've done nearly 250 first ascents in the area. No other route lasted more than a few days/weeks from bolting (it can be hard to get belayers). Although the second ascent was onsighted by a very talented guy, a ton of much better people than me have ground to a halt on that route. So, though I kind of sinned, maybe it wasn't a moral sin?

But that's just my sense of etiquette on me and my little struggles. With others, I'd take a more lenient view. 

I can think of a very talented climber who spent several years on a project on a much travelled crag in the Peak. After he did it, I heard it had several repeats within a week or two by much stronger climbers. But, out of respect to him and his struggle, they wouldn't do it before him. Etiquette. 

If you're really busting a gut, then weigh the first quickdraw or jump off before the anchors. Etiquette. 

I lived through the late 1960s/'70s when competition for new routes was vicious. I far prefer things the way they are now. 

Mick 

2
 Michael Gordon 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

Fair difference between trad and sport here. If you've gone to the trouble of putting the bolts in then it would seem pretty off for someone to climb your line without asking or to ignore your wishes. Then again, as time goes on and they seem to be getting no-where you could try and persuade them to open it up.

If someone has bolted it specifically for their mate / top climber / daughter etc? Hmmm, not sure if that's fair, particularly once they've had some time to try it and haven't got it.

For trad I'm tempted to agree about there being no such thing as a closed project, with one or two caveats. If someone's gone to a huge effort cleaning a line then again it seems a bit out of order to step in and do it without giving them a good bit of time to try and get it done. 

Of course the above is dependent on the climber actually being aware that a line was meant to be closed.

In reply to Michael Hood:

>..... there is historical precedent for this.

This is perhaps a different thread, but do tell more! 

 wbo2 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> If someone has bolted it specifically for their mate / top climber / daughter etc? Hmmm, not sure if that's fair, particularly once they've had some time to try it and haven't got it.

I don't think this is so off,   I could sympathise with the position that I haven't bolted it for any old random to try first.

In reply to Davidpaul17:

As Mick mentions, Etiquette is key. Am I right in saying that in Kalymnos the guide book credits the bolter? They may add the FA as well now??

I climbed a FA on Portland after the guy who cleaned and bolted it was injured,  he welcomed me to have a go I joked that I could claim naming rights as I got the FA. He went on to climb it and name it and is credited in the guide accordingly. All good

The above example was graded well below the capabilities of the equipper, so perhaps the FA was less precious to him than if it was a major project?

On Sandstone there was strong competition historically with first ascentionists going to great lengths to conceal projects including climbing alone and actively covering the line with dirt after attempts to hide signs of any new routing. Just a few examples I've encountered.

Post edited at 09:27
 john arran 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Sandstone Stickman:

In sport climbing, the emphasis is on the climb/product, whereas in trad it's all about the ascent/event. Accordingly, the person who created a sport climbing product is usually a lot more meaningful than the first one to climb it. Of course, this all changes a lot at the very highest levels, but the proportion of sport climbs for which that is the case is very small.

I've equipped plenty of sport routes that others have ended up climbing first and it really doesn't bother me at all.

 deepsoup 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Mick Ward:

> I confess to being deeply embarrassed about that nearly one year project.

Sounds like you basically agree with me then, that nearly a year is probably a bit too long.

Bit academic really from my pov - I'm a punter, so it's highly unlikely I'd be swooping in to flash anybody's project even if I wanted to.

1
 Cobra_Head 11 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

> I've equipped plenty of sport routes that others have ended up climbing first and it really doesn't bother me at all.

It seems to me to be a vanity thing. Most bolters put up routes for others, not for themselves.

3
 Carless 11 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

I was at Balogeri when they were still developing it. Aris, Katie and their mates were there (in fact Aris had told me about it the previous evening)

The guys equipping and cleaning told us which areas we could climb on so I picked a likely looking route and asked the grade. The equipper said I don't know, I haven't climbed it! 

So I got the FAs of some fine routes that day but the idea that I could be able to name or claim them is incomprehensible. They were rightly named by and credited to the equippers

In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:

I can't remember the details but it wasn't from personal knowledge. So, either was reported in one of the magazines at the time or it's in a guidebook, history or first ascent list.

For some reason I'm now thinking it was a route on the Cornice in Water-Cum-Jolly, possibly involving a foreign climber, possibly mentioned in the 1987 Peak Limestone Cheedale guide. This "memory" may of course be complete b*****ks 😁, can't check that old guide until Sunday night.

 Fraser 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Sandstone Stickman:

> As Mick mentions, Etiquette is key. Am I right in saying that in Kalymnos the guide book credits the bolter? They may add the FA as well now?

I note in recent years that for certain areas of France, the topos sometimes record the route as being '... opened by X' and also the F.A.

To answer the OP, for sport routes I'd probably go for option B. A year isn't that long a period IMO.

 stubbed 11 Nov 2022
In reply to Moacs:

> Honest question.  Why don't folk, that really, really want the FA of a line, work it on TR until they're ready to redpoint, and then put the bolts in?

This is what I thought always happens and in the case of the FA I was involved in, that's what he (who equipped it) did - I seconded. For info it was a 5+ or something

 Michael Gordon 11 Nov 2022
In reply to stubbed:

As noted above though, this could be practically impossible for a lot of very overhanging sport routes.

In reply to Davidpaul17:

Given that local etiquette is well.. local   and that  you think it's not appropriate to name the crag in a forum, it's going to be pretty hard for many people to give useful answers

 top cat 11 Nov 2022

You get ten attempts , then I can dry tool it .....

1
 wbo2 11 Nov 2022
In reply to top cat: But that will only be the first aid ascent, free will still be there to go

1
 FBSF 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

bolts at a £5 per piece, belay lower offs,multiple cleaning days, petrol cost of getting to cliff etc etc etc. The original equipper has put money and time to prep the route, takes the piss to just roll up and think that its of little consequence if you climb it with absolutely no input. 

Post edited at 07:22
4
In reply to CantClimbTom:

The OP isn't after answers. I bet 50p this account will be antivax shitposting in a couple of weeks.

And before you all start with the "that's not very welcoming to newcomers" and "benefit of the doubt, innocent until ...", I have a George Bush quote for you.

4
 timjones 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

Look on the bright side, they have started an interesting debate which is more than you have achieved here!

1
 althesin 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

39 responses, that little AI is laughing it's bits off!

🤖🤖🤖

 timjones 12 Nov 2022
In reply to henwardian:

> How long is a piece of string?

> If you bolted a new 7something graded project on the right side of El Pati at Siurana I'd say odds are you wouldn't get very long at all before someone climbed it. It's a great quality, crowded, popular, very well known location and most everyone there is capable of climbing your project should they so try.

The grade of the route is probably highly relevant, the FA of a  7something route in 2022 is never likely to be historically significant and therefore probably doesn't have enough value to be worth squabbling over.

 Holdtickler 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

I reckon you can justify stealing any sport project with a clean ascent on trad gear  

In reply to FBSF:

> bolts at a £5 per piece, belay lower offs,multiple cleaning days, petrol cost of getting to cliff etc etc etc. The original equipper has put money and time to prep the route, takes the piss to just roll up and think that its of little consequence if you climb it with absolutely no input. 

What if I put my own bolts in as well and led it on them? Would it then be ok? Or are bolts like towels on the sunlounger? If so how many bolts is the minimum you need to put in to claim ownership of a bit of rock? Asking for a friend....

8
 Brass Nipples 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

You could always solo it, bypassing the saucepan

In reply to althesin:

> that little AI is laughing it's bits off!

Where did the bot get its OP from? It's a lot better than last night's coated steel bot post...

 wbo2 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Holdtickler: See you at Ceuse then - bring your tricams !

 Jim B 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

I don't think Fawcett or Livesey respected other peoples projects too much....times have changed

In reply to althesin:

> 39 responses, that little AI is laughing it's bits off!

A quick Google of 'Davidpaul17' gives this:
https://www.reddit.com/r/climbing/comments/7qx0rh/mammut_smart_belay_a_second_guide_mode_for_mammut/

Post edited at 15:11
 kingholmesy 12 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

B.  Indefinitely.  A lot of time and effort (and some money) goes into equipping a line, plus the person who has bolted it had the vision to see the line, and I think it’s a bit rum to nick the FA if you know it’s a closed project.

Obviously some of those factors don’t apply to trad routes, but there are still instances where I will stay off something if I know a friend is trying it.  For example a bunch of mates have been developing a new DWS cave over the last few summers.  There was a particular line that one of the guys had been trying for 3 or 4 summers before finally getting it done this year.  No-one else tried it, and it wouldn’t have sat right with me to do it knowing how much effort he had put into it.

Having said all that, indefinitely doesn’t mean infinitely.  There is a limit - probably if it becomes obvious that the person trying it is never realistically going to do it.

Post edited at 19:19
3
In reply to Davidpaul17:

he bolted it he can take as long as he likes. If we don’t respect the first ascensionist wishes then they don’t have incentive to bolt in first place. If you ran out of routes to climb go and buy your own bolts and bolt your route, easy peasy. 

9
Message Removed 12 Nov 2022
Reason: Unnecessarily aggressive
 Andy Moles 13 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

The answer to this question, bot or not, hasn't really got much to do with climbing 'ethics' - it's about common courtesy.

If someone has invested time and effort into creating something, and they have specific designs on it, it would be a dick move to knowingly take that from them.

As pointed out though, the courtesy goes the other way too - if it turns out to be unlikely that the equipper can ever/within a realistic timeframe do the route, at that point they should let others have a go. This might be more than a year but some undefined point the 'prize' of the FA is not worth keeping a piece of rock (which ultimately belongs to no one) off limits.

 Cobra_Head 14 Nov 2022
In reply to Ramon Marin:

> he bolted it he can take as long as he likes. If we don’t respect the first ascensionist wishes then they don’t have incentive to bolt in first place. If you ran out of routes to climb go and buy your own bolts and bolt your route, easy peasy. 

ha ha don't the hills and cliffs belong to everyone?

4
In reply to Cobra_Head:

Obviously there is no enforceable law about respecting someone's project; it's a question of ethics and etiquette, which is the same system we rely on to prevent things like chipping holds or bolting trad crags. Most climber's pride themselves on their ethics, so I'm surprised that so many people are ridiculing the idea that some courtesy might be extended in the case of someone expending significant personal time and money developing a route. The exact limits of that courtesy are up for debate, but dismissing it out of hand seems odd to me.

In reply to Cobra_Head:

Yes they do, but not the bolts and anchors you put in, those are paid by the equipper. On average I spend about £100 per route when I bolt, that's not all the other ancillary equipment like the drill (£300). If you so desperately can't wait for the guys who's clean it, paid for bolts and drill and put the work in to take his time to climb it, then go buy yourself a drill and bolts and put the route up yourself. It's a huge job and thankless task to bolt routes, the least we can do is wait for whoever is put the effort to do the route. I'm sure he wouldn't be a dick a hog it for 10 years! If I was him reading this thread I would do what's been done down at the Cornice but two prominent bolters, which is to take the hangers off after every session. 

Yes the crag belong to everybody but without bolters there's no crag to actually climb on. 

 MischaHY 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

In my local area here in Germany (Swabian Alb, Ostalb) there are projects which have been bolted over 15 years ago and are still fiercely defended by the route developer who is convinced they will still 'make the ascent' despite the fact that they're clearly not stong enough. 

In some situations this is the hardest and best line at the crag and it's an open secret that everybody knows the route developer will never climb the route - but he lives in his own delusion. 

In a different situation on another local crag I climbed a line that was marked as a project but bolted in 2002. I deliberately dropped off without clipping the chains and informed the route developer of this. He was similarly convinced that he would tick the route in due course. It was around 7c/7c+ and not very hard, but good quality. The holds obviously hadn't been cleaned in at least 5 years. 

As others have mentioned, it's perfectly possible to bolt and name a route even if you never climb it. I personally believe the shared joy of climbing is more valuable than a few seconds of personal glory which will probably never arrive. 

That being said, this is an extreme example and for me a year or three is fairly fine. 

2
In reply to Ramon Marin:

What about where the equipment and drills have been paid for by a bolt fund? 

1
 Cobra_Head 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Stuart Williams:

> The exact limits of that courtesy are up for debate, but dismissing it out of hand seems odd to me.

I wasn't dismissing it out of hand, but questioning how long people could hold onto something, they think is theirs.

It seems hyper selfish to believe just because you've drilled some holes and hung some hangers, you have the sole rights to a piece of rock.

I was questioning the balance between altruism and selfishness. I think most route equipers do it for everyone, with a dash of wanting to make their mark at the same time.

1
 Cobra_Head 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Ramon Marin:

>  I'm sure he wouldn't be a dick a hog it for 10 years! If I was him reading this thread .....

So this doesn't enter into it then? "As long as they want...they can keep it closed their whole life?"

If you were reading this thread, you might have picked up on this, which is what I was questioning!!

In reply to Cobra_Head:

Fair enough. It came across to me as a dismissal rather than a question.

> It seems hyper selfish to believe just because you've drilled some holes and hung some hangers, you have the sole rights to a piece of rock.

Equally, it would be pretty selfish for anyone who climbs sport routes to believe they have a right to benefit from someone else's hard work and money without offering a bit of courtesy in return. There isn't going to be a black-and-white universal answer to where the balance lies though and my opinion on it would probably depend on the specific example.

 Cobra_Head 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Stuart Williams:

> Fair enough. It came across to me as a dismissal rather than a question.

> Equally, it would be pretty selfish for anyone who climbs sport routes to believe they have a right to benefit from someone else's hard work and money without offering a bit of courtesy in return.

Isn't that what bolt funds are for, in part at least?

>There isn't going to be a black-and-white universal answer to where the balance lies though and my opinion on it would probably depend on the specific example.

Agreed but the specific example given in the OP was, how long can it be a project, "As long as they want...they can keep it closed their whole life?". So this seems to be someone who believes if they've put bolts in a piece of rock, they can decide when someone else can climb it, it at all.

Post edited at 12:59
 sheppy 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Davidpaul17:

B was a bit much but maybe 5 years max.

It costs a lot of dosh to bolt a line these days. Not every crag/line is funded by a bolt fund.

As for those that say climb first on top rope and bolt later they obviously haven't developed very much new rock. Much of the new sport climbing is on mega steep but less desirable rock and getting in to clean it properly requires bolts. Sometimes two sets, a first set for working (and by that I mean working to clean the rock/find best placements for the proper bolts, not "work the moves") Then a permanent high quality set which are the protection.

In reply to Alex Riley:

And would it be reasonable for a bolt fund to impose ethics including exclusivity time limits on those using the fund? Do they already do this?

3
In reply to Cobra_Head:

We don’t actually know anything about the example in question. For all we know the project is in the bloke’s own garden, had been bolted the day before, and they climbed the FA 20 minutes later.

 Cobra_Head 15 Nov 2022
In reply to Stuart Williams:

> We don’t actually know anything about the example in question. For all we know the project is in the bloke’s own garden, had been bolted the day before, and they climbed the FA 20 minutes later.

That's true, and yet his attitude was, it was his forever or maybe until he'd died!! So while you are correct we don't know how long it had been up, it's pretty obvious who he thinks it "belongs" to and for how long. I'd say he's wrong and selfish, but that's just me.


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