UKC

/ Bolted Gritstone Anchors

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JoeFoster59 - on 09 Sep 2018

I know this is a bit of controversial idea so lets keep this debate lighthearted and open.

Why don't we add bolted anchors to gritstone crags such as Stanage or stakes if possible.  I understand its an important skill to be able construct an anchor out of gear. However when you spend way to much time building a nest of cams on a bald bit of gritstone it seems a little silly. Especially on the top of popular gritstone routes where you see worn gear placements that scar the rock a lot more than a couple of bolts would. 

So imagine this you climb your route at Stanage and use a stake or brown coloured bolts as your anchor, detracting nothing from your experiance of the route, reducing the damage to the rock and minimising faff. This leaves you more time to enjoy more brilliant routes, and you are no longer hit with the feeling of topping a route out elated until you realise the anchor is really awkward to build and takes you twice as long as the 12mt route you just climbed.

Thoughts and opinions welcome

a crap climber - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Let me just get some popcorn...

Bulls Crack - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Okay I'll  bite!  

Why not give people more time to enjoy the brilliant moves on the route itself by doing away with all that trad gear faff and just stick 3 or 4 bolts in.?

dunnyg - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Imagine this: you are one of the thousands of people who walk across the top of stanage who isn't a climbrr. Along it's 4 mile length you see thousands of chunks of metal sticking out of the ground. 

 

Also placing gear is a bit of a faff, why don't we just stick some bots in the routes, we can then climb more routes faster as you don't need to faff fiddling those wires in.

I hope for your sake you are trolling  

Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

If you want to minimise faff, don't go trad climbing. 

DerwentDiluted - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

I think I've climbed about 80% of Stanage upto HVS. I don't recall ever having a problem that wasn't fixed by a bit of thought - skills learnt, honed and put to good use elsewhere,  and belaying is part of "enjoying the brilliant climbing".  

Trangia on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to DerwentDiluted:

> I don't recall ever having a problem that wasn't fixed by a bit of thought 

Auto-belays would be better. Would save having to think or walk down. 

 

Post edited at 08:10
gravy - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Trangia:

That's a great idea - they could be disguised as a gritstone boulder or tussock and use camo webbing.  I think a hidden gopro at the top of each route to relay crux gurning to a large wide screen at the new costa by the popular end car park would save people a walk and reduce erosion (as would an escalator up plantation).

GravitySucks - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to dunnyg

> I hope for your sake you are trolling  

 

Well duh !,  1/10 feeble.

 

JoshOvki on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

I like faff.

jon on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

This faff is the highlight of the day for some.

mrphilipoldham - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

There are places where you can climb to bolted anchors on gritstone. But I’m not going to tell you where.

gravy - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Berdof?

JLS on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

>"Why don't we add bolted anchors to gritstone crags such as Stanage"

Ha! Obviously you aren't very observant.... Haven’t you noticed there are two 12mm dia. holes at the top of EVERY route on Stanage, for Climb-Tech removable bolts? Personally, I’m against such nonsense and have no-idea how the BMC technical committee managed to sneak the proposal through the 2016 AGM without anyone noticing.  I guess it was just hidden behind the “Climb Britain” rebrand smokescreen.

https://rockandice.com/gear-reviews/bolting/climb-tech-removable-bolt-2/

jkarran - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> Why don't we add bolted anchors to gritstone crags such as Stanage or stakes if possible.

Because it's totally unnecessary. Get quicker or learn the joy of a thing done well, either option works.

jk

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Because the placing of gear on route is part of the character of the climb and you want your experience to be similar to that of the first ascent. But what character building or shared experience do you gain from building your own anchor?

The nature of trad climbing is that you are playing a game of chess whilst in a bareknuckle boxing match. The reason people enjoy it is the mix of the cerebral and the physical adding a bolted anchor takes nothing away from this form of challenge. 

In short placing gear on route adds to the experience, building an anchor on top doesn't for me. Like bolting 3 Pebble Slab would make it a super safe and probably dull 5 sport route that no one would bother with its the element of danger that makes it attractive. Having a bolted anchor at the top would take nothing from this route but bolting the route would.

Post edited at 09:07
JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to dunnyg:

In indian creek the current trend is to paint lower offs the colour of the rock. This could work here, and I'm sure two inconspicuous brown bolts here amd there would provide less of an eyesore than a sandy worn out cam slot or a stuck nylon sling.

mrphilipoldham - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to gravy:

Sandstone isn’t it?

..but no, in the Peak District (or at least, very close).

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JLS:

That is an interesting idea it would be faff to bring your own bolts. But it would be interesting. It would require more research into the availability and suitability of removable bolts. But I like your thinking.

ianstevens - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> Because the placing of gear on route is part of the character of the climb and you want your experience to be similar to that of the first ascent.

Should probably do away with a) all your gear b) a rope that actually works and c) your climbing shoes in that case.

To the OP: I think there is a case for discreet bolts in some cases/places - especially those with disproportionately dodgy belays, or ab stations that are currently a load of manky tat/rusty pegs. The top of Stanage isn't really that (and I know you're on a wind up) 

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to gravy:

I think lumping this in with the notion of this generations laziness isn't my main point here. I understand that there is an element of laziness that is inherent in such a post but it as also about the wear and tear to the rock. I understand your point but I think you misunderstood the full nature of mine.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to ianstevens:

Exactly if we are willing to evolve to the stage of cams and sticky rubber why not take the step with bolted anchors. I agree there is a lot of places where anchors made of rusted pegs and tat should be replaced as well.

Also this isn't a wind up I was hoping for a healthy lighthearted debate on the pros and cons of applying bolted anchors to gritstone routes.

Fredt on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

The thing is, Stanage doesn't belong to climbers. There are thousands of people who visit Stanage and don't climb. How about the paragliders install take off ramps? The walkers add handrails for the tricky bits, or maybe steps at intervals to save walking along to an easy bit; how about the twitchers install hides? Poo bins for the dogwalkers? 

Its not about the ethics of bolting and climbing, its about keeping a beautiful, 'relatively' unspoilt place as beautiful and unspoilt as possible.

 

Andy Johnson on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

To me, building anchors is part of trad climbing, not some annoyance that gets in the way.

Post edited at 09:43
Dave Garnett - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

I don't see much difference between the satisfaction of figuring out adequate protection for a lead and doing the same for a problematic belay.  It's not like there's ever any real difficulty on a one pitch gritstone edge anyway; a little ingenuity is all it takes.  You don't even really need to put any gear in given a little helpful geography.

Running out 60m without finding a viable belay on a big trad crag is a whole different situation. 

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Fredt:

That's something I didn't fully take into account thanks for bringing it up. But what about Malham and other places where bolts have been added to areas of natural beauty? I like you response however would dog poo bins be the worst idea?

Fredt on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> ... however would dog poo bins be the worst idea?

Yes, for the same reason as bolts is. Why are we intent on taking away people's responsibility for themselves and their actions?

 

Dave Garnett - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> But what about Malham and other places where bolts have been added to areas of natural beauty?

That's a good question.  Still not quite sure myself how that happened.

 

 

planetmarshall on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> I know this is a bit of controversial idea so lets keep this debate lighthearted and open.

Good luck with that.

Bulls Crack - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

err (maybe I should have put one of these in: ;-) !

Post edited at 10:43
TomatoPro - on 10 Sep 2018

One would still have the option of building anchors if you wanted to, like at Wilton 1 on the prow - a challenging but possible place to build a perfectly good anchor if you enjoy doing that (which I do, if it's a challenge).

As many have said, stanage is a very un-challenging crag to build an anchor on, so no props for problem solving, and it still takes 20 minutes to construct and take down an anchor on the fly. Getting good mileage on gritstone is a non-starter when an anchor is needed every 12m...mileage on this unique rock is really only possible if you're willing to free solo, or drive 2 hours to Wilton. It's little wonder British climbers are on average so far behind the Americans (remember the Honnold/Jorgeson invasion?)

Building anchors, then sitting at the top belaying is also a great way to lose your warm up. You then have three options, spend another 15 minutes warming up before your next 12m climb, risk injury, or climb something easier and don't improve at trad climbing. Yet another option - climb with a belay jacket strapped to your harness instead of being able to lower off and put your jacket back on.

Tat left in the rocks is also far more unsightly than a gritstone-coloured bolt.

All that being said, the argument about leaving the crag in its natural state is very persuasive. In theory it'll be the same now as it is in 100 years, and I dislike the idea that climbers would get preferential treatment over walkers, in being allowed to modify the crag to suit our activity when they weren't. 

It's a tough question.

 

 

teh_mark on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TomatoPro:

> stanage is a very un-challenging crag to build an anchor on, so no props for problem solving, and it still takes 20 minutes to construct and take down an anchor on the fly.

Come off it. Even the most awkward of awkward belays on the gritstone edges shouldn't take more than ten minutes to arrange, and on the vast majority of grit crags you should be able to concoct something in well under five minutes. When you top out to a featured crag-top, how hard is it to go 'ah, sling that bomber thread/block, bomber cam in this crack...clip, clip, tie, tie, fiddle the slack out of the system, aha, belay sorted'.

Getting quick at building good belays will serve you well on bigger routes or in the mountains. If it takes you twenty minutes to construct a belay at the top of every route then you're going wrong somewhere.

Fredt on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> ... If it takes you twenty minutes to construct a belay at the top of every route then you're going wrong somewhere.

Agreed. On Stanage, always my first choice on topping out is to find a rock I can wrap the rope round, and tie it back to my harness. No gear involved, about 1 minute to do and bombproof. 

C Witter on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

If there are no anchors, then, given we're talking about a grit edge, follow these simple steps...

1. shout down to your partner that there are no anchors, and explain steps 2 - 5 to them
2. walk away from the edge (preferably downhill)
3. when you're a sufficient distance to introduce friction into the system (e.g. 8-12m), sit down
4. If possible, dig your feet into the ground or brace yourself against an object, e.g. a small boulder.
5. belay as normal, or use a waist belay if you prefer, keeping the rope nice and snug

Problem solved - and without all the faff of having to completely alter the consensus among climbers, walkers, and land managers.

C

teh_mark on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Fredt:

Ditto, though I usually untie and tie the rope around the massive boulder in question. Always seems easier than trying to get the length of rope just right when you can't easily pull it around the block from your belay position.

Paul Hy - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

If you don't want the faff, just stay indoors.

 

deepsoup - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to C Witter:

A simpler version:

> 2. walk away from the edge (preferably downhill)

3. keep going until you run out of rope

4. keep going until your second tops out

;-)

ChrisBrooke - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TomatoPro:

> It's a tough question.

In terms of putting bolted belays at Stanage, no, it's really not. It's one of the easiest questions I've seen on UKC. 

No, by the way....the answer is: no.

Post edited at 12:16
Andy Johnson on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to C Witter:

In can see how being downhill of the edge helps but, in step 3, how does distance on its own introduce friction?

Post edited at 12:20
sn - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

I note from your logbook entries you mostly sport climb or boulder - so if you want to improve the speed of constructing a trad belay, I suggest you'd be better off practicing more trad climbing. The top of Stanage is by a long distance NOT the most difficult place to set up a belay. If you want to get the 'mileage' in and your ropework is too slow, try soloing..

 

Graeme Hammond - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Still not sure you are trolling but anyway here are several reasons why NO!

1: The land owners: The Peak Park who own the north lees estate (causeway to popular) and the moscar estate (private ownership) (everything left of the causeway) are very unlikely to give permission to have your unnecessary bolts. 

2: Who is going to fund, place and maintain the hundreds of bolts needed?

3: having climbed nearly 1000 different rock climbs on the edge there are plentiful natural anchors on almost all and only a handful where making a belay requires some more thought but I have never failed to make a belay. If you don't learn the skills here you are going to struggle on almost every other cliff in the country. If you struggle to make belays quickly at at a crag were in general they are easy and quick to make perhaps you need to go on a course or stick to bouldering and sport at road side only venues where things are more convenient.

4: there must be very few places if any? (Please name some if back up your claim as i can't think of any) where the belay slots are worn or unsightly or where stuck slings are such a problem that they are an eyesore compared to the hundreds of bolts needed. 

5: the trip hazard all these bolts would present would be a pain, i know i would be forever tripping over, particularly if they are not obviously as they have been disguise with paint, though with use this will soon flake off.

6: They will quickly get removed by locals like myself should you manage to place any and I for one would be making sure if there was any way criminal proceedings could be brought they would. Other locals might dish out justice in their own way...

Howard J - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TomatoPro:

> it still takes 20 minutes to construct and take down an anchor on the fly.

You cannot be serious! What on earth are you doing for all that time? I'm fairly paranoid about taking time to be sure my anchors are good and even so I can't imagine spending more than 5 minutes tops.  

If you're having a problem fixing anchors at Stanage the answer is not bolts but better skills.

Baron Weasel - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

What about digging a moat along the bottom of grit stone crags to turn them into a DWS location. Obviously it would need to be heated in winter, but we could pay for it with a splash down charge. Problem solved;-) 

paul mitchell - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Time the BMC put in about a dozen  stainless steel  belay stakes at Stanage and another dozen at Millstone.Poxy  rusted 500 kg strain maillons should be upgraded to at least 700 kg on lower offs elsewhere.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Baron Weasel:

That's the best idea yet

Post edited at 13:05
kevin stephens - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to teh_mark:

> Come off it. Even the most awkward of awkward belays on the gritstone edges shouldn't take more than ten minutes to arrange, and on the vast majority of grit crags you should be able to concoct something in well under five minutes. When you top out to a featured crag-top, how hard is it to go 'ah, sling that bomber thread/block, bomber cam in this crack...clip, clip, tie, tie, fiddle the slack out of the system, aha, belay sorted'.

> Getting quick at building good belays will serve you well on bigger routes or in the mountains. If it takes you twenty minutes to construct a belay at the top of every route then you're going wrong somewhere.

So is the belay bolt on top of the Valkyrie pinnacle at Froggat still there?

fred99 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Fredt:

> Agreed. On Stanage, always my first choice on topping out is to find a rock I can wrap the rope round, and tie it back to my harness. No gear involved, about 1 minute to do and bombproof. 


Similar for me - I always carry a looooong sling for the job. Lob it over a bolulder or thread it - screwgate to the correct point.

The number of times I've watched some plonker trying to arrange small wires or cams around a perfectly good boulder is incredible. Seems that too many of them have been on a course and are trying to find 2 or 3 belay points, when a single bomber one - such as a boulder (or massive tree at other locations) is enough to hold an elephant.

gravy - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Yes - nice idea and a series of gazebos for keep the rain off the crag.

I think it would be a good idea to add some bolt on holds to Stanage as well so that the average punter can enjoy and tick hard classics.  Furthermore, we should paint critical holds in bright colours so that indoor climbers don't have to work out where the holds are and surely it's time to paint the names on the bottom of the routes?

Anyone know when the Costa and Premier inn are opening in Robin Hood's cave?

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to sn:

I started out trad climbing and soloing the first two years of my climbing I was entrenched in the world of trad. However I got sick of the faff of setting up anchors so started bouldering and sport climbing. Soloing was a thing I did for a while until a friend had quite a serious accident. 

C Witter on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Andy Johnson:

You're right: distance doesn't create friction "on its own". However, think about what happens to the rope as it travels over that distance!

As the rope runs over the ground, friction is created; so, the more ground the rope has to pass over, the more friction is created. In addition, if the belayer did get dragged toward the edge (!!!), being dragged over that ground would create friction.

Don't take my word for it, though - if this is an unfamiliar idea, read up on it, e.g. in Libby Peters' Rock Climbing: Essential Skills & Techniques. Also: this technique is for those situations where there is no better alternative. It obviously has problems, not least that it is hard to communicate with the second and that the rope is potentially being dragged over ground/a grit edge, which could damage it. So, it's better if used in situations where the second is unlikely want to downclimb or dog the route.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> That is an interesting idea it would be faff to bring your own bolts. But it would be interesting. It would require more research into the availability and suitability of removable bolts. But I like your thinking.

So placing gear is such a faff but drilling a hole and placing a removable bolt is easy(???)

You prefer stakes to large boulders???

 

 

Jimbo C - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

You could climb to the top of Rivelin Needle and enjoy the completely faff free belay up there.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Graeme Hammond:

This is a hypothetical scenario. Its just an idea the belay point at the top of the right unconquerable was pretty worn last time I checked. 

gravy - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Which does not justify a bolt...

 

This is a stale debate JF59 isn't listening or interested in listening - time to stop feeding

French Erick - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Indian Creek isn't comparable. They do it, and well IMHO, because, the crack lines often do not go to the top, at the top the quality of the rock is rubbish, many routes do not "top-out".

Stanage, you climb to the top and you top out. At the top there is adequate belays.

We should raise our game to meet the requirements the routes and belays through at us and not lower them to us. This, I accept, is partly a lie since we have improved the gear possibilities tremendously since FAs. I often think that the pioneers were much better climbers than me- not necessarily physically but more rounded and rugged individuals.

Trad climbing is not convenience climbing and it is part of the appeal. 

You are asking a question in earnest and I am answering like for like but I will also add that I would ferociously opposed any moves to bolt were ther isn't any need. What they do in other places like IC or indeed Annot is uniquely suited to ethics and rock quality and features. It is my view that Stanage does NOT need that kind of equipment- or almost any crag in the UK.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to gravy:

I was hoping to create a lively and creative discussion on the pros and cons of bolted anchors and their suitability for gritstone routes. I'm reading every comment and replying to as many as I can

Post edited at 16:36
JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to French Erick:

Thanks for your earnest response. I agree that we should try and rise to the challenge a route throws at us. I don't however personally think that assembling the anchor is essential to this challenge.

HarrisonConnie1996 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> I don't however personally think that assembling the anchor is essential to this challenge.

You are obviously not familiar with UK climbing ethics then... 

GrahamD - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Put a bolted anchor anywhere near the top of RU and I bet that (suspend belief at it staying there for a moment) that there are rope grooves over the edge within a few months with people top roping and lowering off.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to HarrisonConnie1996:

I'm almost too familiar with UK trad ethics but just because its tradition doesn't mean its sensible

Post edited at 16:45
Duncan Bourne - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Bulls Crack:

To be honest the whole walking up to the crag thing is abit of a faff. If we put a road up to the base of the crag and turned some of that usless moor land into parking maybe.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

This is an issue I had thought of but can  be prevented with adequate rope protection or extendable slings. Its not an issue that we don't already have I do understand that it may increase this problem but nothing that good practice can't eliminate. 

HarrisonConnie1996 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

>  just because its tradition doesn't mean its sensible

Ethics have developed over the years alongside the development of climbing.

People have been climbing at Stanage and other crags throughout the UK keeping to the pure ethics of using trad gear for years with no problems. 

Laziness and lack of ability isn't a sufficient reason to deem something not sensible. 

 

GrahamD - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

People don't use rope protectors for lowering off.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Sorry that was in response to top roping. I've never lowered off a grit route but extending the anchor with a sling would be an appropriate way to reduce rope wear.

JoeFoster59 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to HarrisonConnie1996:

It's not through lack of ability that I think it would be a good idea its through enthusiasm for efficiency. 

GridNorth - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> It's not through lack of ability that I think it would be a good idea its through enthusiasm for my own personal convenience. 

There fixed that for you

Al

 

GrahamD - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Put lower off bolts at the top of a route and that is what people will do with them

HarrisonConnie1996 - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> It's not through lack of ability that I think it would be a good idea its through enthusiasm for efficiency. 

People have done enough damage to the landscape over the years, hence the strict and pure ethics. 

Why desicrate such a beautiful place with bolts and stakes for the sake of a few minutes setting up a trad anchor.

I agree that bolts are more efficient in the short term but the are also so unnecessary. 

Post edited at 17:27
dunnyg - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

If you have been to Indian creek you will know why they have a greater need for bolts. They tend to be a long way from a footpath too. 

IJL99 on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> It's not through lack of ability that I think it would be a good idea its through enthusiasm for efficiency. 

It would be more efficient to walk to the top and not bother with the whole rope malarkey (walkers sometimes point this out).  Efficiency seems an odd term to use in relation to Stanage, you need to be efficient at some multi-pitch crags or you end up finishing in the dark.  This hardly applies to Stanage. 

kevin stephens - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

> So is the belay bolt on top of the Valkyrie pinnacle at Froggat still there?

No comments so I guess folk are happy with it?

Double standards? Thin end of the wedge?  Just a little too inconvenient to do without?

 

 

Misha - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to TomatoPro:

> As many have said, stanage is a very un-challenging crag to build an anchor on, so no props for problem solving, and it still takes 20 minutes to construct and take down an anchor on the fly.

20 minutes to construct and take down a belay at Stanage? I think you might need a bit more practice to get faster - should be more like 5 minutes! 

Misha - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> It's not through lack of ability that I think it would be a good idea its through enthusiasm for efficiency. 

Then you need to get efficient at building belays. It really shouldn't take longer than a few minutes at Stanage.

Misha - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Besides, if you don’t learn the skills to set up a trad belay quickly somewhere friendly like the gritstone edges, you aren’t going to be skilled up for mountain or sea cliff multi pitch routes. It’s an essential skill and part of trad climbing. 

Bolts in gritstone would also become unsafe over time due to the rock being relatively soft. It’s an issue with some of the Indian Creek lower offs (I’ve seen some wobbly ones and they get replaced but the reason they’re there in the first place is most of the routes don’t even top out, as noted above).

Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to kevin stephens:

> No comments so I guess folk are happy with it?

> Double standards? Thin end of the wedge?  Just a little too inconvenient to do without?

Justified use of fixed gear.

There are loads of trad crags where fixed gear is used at the belay. In general, we do without it because it isn't needed and we value the more self-sufficient experience of using leader-placed gear. In lots of places there are good reasons to go with fixed gear instead.

Stanage Edge is not one of these places. I have climbed hundreds of routes on Stanage and have never felt that it would benefit from fixed gear for belays. On the other hand, the top of Froggatt Pinnacle, Chee Tor, and many other places have good justification for fixed gear and guess what: it gets placed and then it gets left.

mrphilipoldham - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Misha:

30 seconds at Stanage..

Alkis - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to C Witter:

I did that on all routes on the VS challenge other than First Sister and Fairy Steps. My second even took a fall at some point and I barely noticed.

Bulls Crack - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Misha:

> 20 minutes to construct and take down a belay at Stanage? I think you might need a bit more practice to get faster - should be more like 5 minutes! 

Well it does take a while for the resin to set......

stp - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

> the anchor is really awkward to build and takes you twice as long as the 12mt route you just climbed.

So true. Adam Ondra actually made the same suggestion about having bolted belays. I haven't climbed with a rope on gritstone for many, many years now because of this reason. With roped climbing on short routes you can go out for hours and come back not having climbed much footage at all. So for me gritstone is about soloing. Go out soloing and you can get loads done with minimal faff and you don't even need a partner. The small size of the cliffs means you can scope out routes really well before you start and much of the time there are ways to escape off too if you get into difficulty.

I definitely have sympathy with the idea of reducing the time to set up belays. The main issue though would be the aesthetic intrusion. Unlike most other rock types the small size of the cliffs combined with the smoothness of the rock would make bolts highly visible and detract from their natural beauty in a pretty big way I think.

 

TobyA on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

I read your blog and came across this "Once Eric had gone through the classic British struggle of finding an anchor", I think that was in reference to the Nameless Stream coming out of Cwn Cneifion. I did that a couple of days before you guys by the sounds of it, and I remember when you're not on the ice you're on a boulder strewn hillside covered in potential belays.

It's odd you mention Stanage, because Stanage is on the whole an incredibly easy place to find belays. Now if you had said Millstone on the other hand...

Jon Stewart - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

> I haven't climbed with a rope on gritstone for many, many years now because of this reason.

I find this really weird. I agree with you totally about not bothering leading on grit (it was totally different when I hadn't bee climbing long and all the classics were there to be picked off), but it's not setting up the anchors that I find the problem, it's the whole shebang. I just can't be arsed with any of it, it pretty much always ends up with me stood on a ledge unable to commit to moves that have a nasty prang potential. But if I can be arsed to go out with a partner, haul gear up to the crag, put a harness on, rack up, flake out two ropes, climb a really short route on which the rope doesn't help that much anyway, then by that time putting a sling round a boulder doesn't stick out as being a particularly onerous task. In fact I hardly even notice it. It's the grind of climbing the bloody routes that puts me off leading on grit, I'd much rather just solo the old classics and then go to the pub.

Misha - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

Surely most of the time spent on a trad route is spent placing gear on the route, fretting about that gear and then trying to onsight the moves. Headpoints take notably less time than onsights. Solos, even onsight, will generally be on easier routes so again will take less time. Suggesting that setting up belays is wait takes the time, even on shorter routes, is ridiculous - unless the person in question is inexperienced and taking much longer to set up belays.

C Witter on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Alkis:

Nice! I hope you ensured it took you at least 20 mins to walk down the hill, though - otherwise you're breaking the rules stipulating at least 20 minutes per route must be spent building belays! No wonder you got through 36 VSs in a day with those kind of cheating tactics... tut tut.

JackM92 - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Pointless at Stanage when it’s about the easiest crag in the UK to set up anchors on.

Perhaps relevant to some routes where the belay is already fixed gear e.g The Strand at Gogarth has 3 very new looking silver pegs as well as abseil rings in place. If you’re going to have all that then a couple of nice glue in bolts might be a better option.

GrahamD - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JackM92:

> Pointless at Stanage when it’s about the easiest crag in the UK to set up anchors on.

> Perhaps relevant to some routes where the belay is already fixed gear e.g The Strand at Gogarth has 3 very new looking silver pegs as well as abseil rings in place. If you’re going to have all that then a couple of nice glue in bolts might be a better option.

Or finish the route.

Dave Garnett - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> Or finish the route.

Indeed.  The cruxes of all those routes on that wall are on the second pitch!

JoeFoster59 - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Thanks everyone for contributing to the debate around this hypothetical scenario. I now realise Stanage wasn't the best example to illustrate my idea. I have enjoyed reading everyone's comments so thanks and I'll start embracing the faff.

TobyA on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

>  I now realise Stanage wasn't the best example to illustrate my idea.

No it isn't. But like I said, when it comes to Millstone... ;-)

McHeath - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

Maybe there's something to be said for the idea - we'd have a magnificent 3 1/2 mile long bolt protected hand traverse, unique in the world!

I like the way you've handled your thread, and wish you much joy with coping with the faff!

Red Rover - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

How about this?

The leader set off up a route while being belayed but when they get to the top they just walk of accross the moor until the rope comes tight, then the second climbs up. Unless the second is much heavier you should be OK if they fall, OK as in maybe not dead. If the moor slopes down a bit away from the crag then your odds get much better.

 

Or if you really want to get the mileage, you set off leading but only on a single 30 m rope. When you get to the top you place a bombproof anchor at the top but just clip it as a runner. Then you start downclmbing an adjacent route, placing gear as you go. At some point the rope comes tight and your second sets off up. Once youve downclimbed you start going up another route and this way you snake your way along the crag in no time at all, swapping ends when the leader runs out of gear. basically alpine style along a crag.

deepsoup - on 11 Sep 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I don't think bolts are very effective in wheetabix..  ;-)

wemo785 on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to JoeFoster59:

"Bolts are the murder of the impossible."

REINHOLD MESSNER

McHeath - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to wemo785:

I think he meant aid climbing.

I don't think he meant that it is impossible to set up a normal belay at the top of Stanage.

atthedropofahat on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Red Rover:

Good idea. Let's do this on a busy bank holiday at the popular end.

paul__in_sheffield - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

That’s a great post about preferring to solo/boulder on grit. It’s now gone one stage further with me, and I haven’t climbed outside in the Peak even after work, since July when I got back from the Alps/Font. My only motivation at the moment is to get to The Pass or the Lakes. Maybe I’ve just climbed here too long, but I hope I get over it, otherwise we’ll be selling up....

stp - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Misha:

> Suggesting that setting up belays is wait takes the time, even on shorter routes, is ridiculous

I take it you don't go sport climbing or climb indoors. Compared to these where there are fixed anchors then yes, it really is a lot longer than simply clipping an anchor and lowering off. It would also make it a simple task to strip the route too rather than obligating someone to second it when they'd probably prefer to lead it or another route.

GrahamD - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

Its a point I was trying to make higher up: there are very few gritstone crags where you could position anchors in a suitable place to lower off - but their presence wouldn't stop people trying anyway.

Jon Stewart - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

What takes the time in trad climbing is getting up the route. You must climbing well, well, within your comfort zone if you're zipping up trad routes as if you were down the wall, and then spending a comparably significant amount of time setting up a belay. In which case, why don't you just solo the route to avoid the belay faff?

> It would also make it a simple task to strip the route too rather than obligating someone to second it when they'd probably prefer to lead it or another route.

It certainly would, completely changing the nature of climbing on grit to make it much more like sport climbing. I'm not hearing a great deal of support for that, because it would make the experience much closer to climbing indoors, when trad climbers tend to value an experience that's closer to climbing on a more adventurous crag.

Obviously there are some people who would rather grit was more like indoors - it's not wrong, just unpopular.

Post edited at 13:02
stp - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I think natural grit is different to most trad in this respect though. Often there's not that much gear to place because the placements are limited and the routes are short. Also it's often pretty obvious where and how to place: eg shove some cams in that horizontal break then run it out. In addition to that a fair proportion of grit routes are quite cruxy. So whilst you might spend some time on a perplexing crux move, the rest of the route can go by pretty quickly.

stp - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Yeah I agree, on all those rounded top outs it wouldn't really work well.

deepsoup - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

Besides which the top out is part of the route, sometimes it's the crux.  (Especially those rounded ones.)

On the majority of natural grit if you could, hypothetically, clip a chain and lower off you would be lowering off before completing the climb.  No top-out, no tick.

Misha - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

Of course it takes longer to set up a trad belay than a bolted one (incidentally, I don’t think you’d want to rethread and lower off from the top of Stanage, the rope would get trashed). But it’s only a matter of a few minutes. Much less time than it takes to lead an average route for the average person and a tiny proportion of a day out. Anyone spending 20 minutes building a belay at the top of Stanage really needs to get more experience and perhaps professional instruction. 

Fredt on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Don't sell up.

I'm Sheffield based, and I've had a 2 and a half year enforced layoff from climbing and walking.

My heart aches every time I have to drive through the Peak scenery for work. When I'm able to climb and walk again, I shall retire and devote the rest of my years to the Peak.

stp - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

I agree about the top outs being the crux on some routes. Hypothetically you could still climb past the anchor until you're sitting on top then jump or slither back down. But then another problem is you'd have the option to clip the anchor first thus using the bolts for protecting  the last move. So yeah another reason it probably wouldn't work very well.

Misha - on 12 Sep 2018
In reply to stp:

Jump off onto a bolt placed in gritstone? You’re a brave person...


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