UKC

/ Dalriada

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irdial2001 - on 10 Jun 2018

I was up the Cobbler today and and saw two guys cruise Dalriada. It looks as if there is two in situ pieces/ pegs with slings/ tat as you go over onto the top slabby bit. Is this correct?

Post edited at 20:50
Dan Arkle - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001: 

Now six pegs on it, we did break one on Sat. Two are on the headwall, other gear available. 

Post edited at 22:07
irdial2001 - on 10 Jun 2018
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Thanks for the reply. Silly question i know - are those parts not protectable with gear?

Post edited at 22:19
tintinandpip - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Many thanks for your comments "saw two guys cruise Dalriada" . I guess you are the guys we met on the top ? Possibly the best single pitch route in the country ? Yes, two pegs before the headwall and then two further pegs at the bottom of the headwall. I was aware that a peg had broken on Saturday but we could not work out which one ? Great day.

Ramon Marin - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

I "irresponsibly" left two slings to tie-off the pegs on my attempt last year when I lead it using some pre-placed gear from my partner. I wanted to lead it with placing the gear the following weekend so left the slings in place. When I came back it was pissing wet and then winter came in, so I bowed I'll go back this spring but alas got a really bad elbow. Apologies everyone for the eye-sore of the slings

irdial2001 - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to tintinandpip:

Hey, no i never met you but watched intently from a distance. My mate has a few pics as well if you want them. Not taking anything away from your ascent, this is a more general comment. Would it not be better to place bolts on these parts that require pegs and are in situ. Surely less damage may be incurred on the rock?

27
Dave Kerr - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> Would it not be better to place bolts on these parts that require pegs and are in situ. Surely less damage may be incurred on the rock?

You're not from round these parts are you?

2
el diablo - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:The L plate is a clue!

 

petegunn on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Did have 9 pegs originally and the thread runner.

Ed Booth - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

The pegs probably don’t need replacing. It will become a bit bolder but there is other kit about to back them up. 

irdial2001 - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Thanks for the comments above and for those trying to belittle me, thanks. Could someone though please explain to me with that much in situ gear why you wouldn't just bolt these sections? Again this isn't a criticism on this style of ascent but pre placed in situ gear (pegs/ slings) in my mind is borderline sport climbing, no??

15
Chris Sansum - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to tintinandpip:

Hi Andy and Dan,

It was myself and my friend Colin you met on the top. Great to watch and it made me feel a bit guilty for being on a V-diff! I'll drop you the pics when I get a sec. As expected they aren't amazing as I only had my wide angle lens with me and the angle wasn't great, but I'll get them to you anyway.

Cheers,

Chris

Dangerous Dave - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Have a read of this post and see if it answers any of your bolting questions.

https://www.facebook.com/robbieclimbs/posts/857859524401230

subtle on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Well done, a slow burner - but a bit too obvious

> Again this isn't a criticism on this style of ascent but pre placed in situ gear (pegs/ slings) in my mind is borderline sport climbing, no??

To many people mind your view is heresy

Andy Nisbet - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> Thanks for the comments above and for those trying to belittle me, thanks. Could someone though please explain to me with that much in situ gear why you wouldn't just bolt these sections? Again this isn't a criticism on this style of ascent but pre placed in situ gear (pegs/ slings) in my mind is borderline sport climbing, no??


The route used to be very controversial for that very reason. It was close to a sport route without bolts. But the criticisms have mellowed. So you have a point, but the rule in Scotland is no bolts in the mountains, even replacing manky pegs and abseil tat when that would appear sensible.

1
irdial2001 - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

Cheers Andy. There's a strange logic to that perhaps but hey ho.

GrahamD - on 12 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> Could someone though please explain to me with that much in situ gear why you wouldn't just bolt these sections?

The question isn't "should we be increasing the amount of fixed gear", its "should we be gradually reducing it". 

Robert Durran - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> The question isn't "should we be increasing the amount of fixed gear", its "should we be gradually reducing it". 

Brilliant comment.

spidermonkey09 - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Agree. I'm of the view now that new routes in the UK should not have pegs put in, and old pegs should be left to rot. If this bumps the grade up, then so be it in my view. Witch Hunt in Hunstmans Leap is a good example, probably not too bad at E4 when the peg was new, probably E5 now its old and shit, and quite possibly E6 when it goes. This is ok with me.

Post edited at 16:33
1
subtle on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to spidermonkey09:

> Agree. I'm of the view now that new routes in the UK should not have pegs put in, and old pegs should be left to rot. If this bumps the grade up, then so be it in my view. Witch Hunt in Hunstmans Leap is a good example, probably not too bad at E4 when the peg was new, probably E5 now its old and shit, and quite possibly E6 when it goes. This is ok with me.

Off on a slight tangent here but are pegs still to be allowed in winter climbing?

In reply to irdial2001:

Dave MacLeod reckoned it would be about E8 skipping the pegs.

1
spidermonkey09 - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

No idea; I have never swung an axe in anger so not for me to comment!

Andy Nisbet - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to spidermonkey09:

Personally I think it would be a shame if many of Scotland's best hard routes were only available to those with a death wish, or those willing to practise endlessly. No-one would bother. 

1
Michael Gordon - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

> Off on a slight tangent here but are pegs still to be allowed in winter climbing?

Yes. Very useful, if not mandatory, on certain routes. 

1
Dan Arkle - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

Quite.  In its current state, the route is aspirational and attainable for a reasonable number of climbers, and a viable onsight prospect for some.

As a dangerous E8 without pegs, we wouldn't have bothered driving up for it.  It would then also be filthy as nobody would have done it for 5 years.

I'm personally in favour of selectively replacing pegs, as necessary.

 

1
irdial2001 - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

So with in situ pegs etc and climbed using these, this is basically a Sport Route?

As i said earlier, there is a strange logic to all this no bolts thingy. Surely bolts would be better than pegs that are fallen on and which probably damage the rock more?

Post edited at 23:30
8
Paz - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Fine.  Don't do this particular route then.  There are loads of awesome 3 * (and this being Scotland, 4*) classics for you to spend an entire climbing career on.  There's also enough sport climbing in the country for anyone to spend an entire climbing career on, without using a drill to bring a trad route down to their level

The thinking was always that pegs give the rock a chance, where as bolts just over engineer the wilderness into submission, and destroy the precious few adventurous experiences we have left in this country.  There're plenty of cliffs where reliable pegs don't go in very easily, anywhere you want one.

We've had these bolts vs pegs discussions on and off for 40 years.  Citation:  The entire history of  climbing, since the comical Compressor Route to the present day.   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/16/climbers-italians-bolt-ladder-cerro-torre

But whether you are pro bolts or against bolts, the fact is that there are still plenty of people who don't want to see bolts anywhere, let alone in the Scottish mountains.  So even if some imbecile did put bolts in on the Cobbler, I wouldn't be surprised if someone had removed the hangers by the end of the week.

Bolting these classic trad routes would just be a waste of time - if you're going to abseil down something anyway, there are plenty of new venues which need work putting in to clean up which will yield acceptable sport routes, that people will really thank you for and appreciate.

Post edited at 00:03
1
Paz - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Good effort Dan! 

Have you been breaking pegs for over 20 years now ;-) , or is it another few years yet since Orangutan Out Of Jungle Book spat you off while in the BUMC?

irdial2001 - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Paz:

Thanks for your comments. I think there is a reason this debate endures and in my mind it's the strange logic behind these ethics.

Dalriada with the pegs in it, is fundamentally a sport route in the mountains. That is the truth of it and if that's an accepted way of equipping a route with multiple pegs, you might as well bolt it. Bolts are cleaner and safer and damage the rock less. That's logical? Bolts and pegs are no different, that's logical?

As for removing bolts in your comment, why aren't the purists not removing the pegs from Dalriada and others? that's logical? No?

 

 

Post edited at 00:48
18
Paz - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

You're assuming pegs are always bomber, even though Dan just said he broke one.  (Not another one Dan ;-) ... ) Also climbing's not necessarily logical. 

Pegs have been part of climbing for far longer than bolts, and are still acceptable to place (if a PITA) to do so on winter climbs.

In general climbing is about improvoiements in style.  Even when climbing on bolts, an onsight ascent, is better than a flash, is better than a redpoint, is better than a pink point, is better than a 1st grade pink point, is better than a Barker point (n-1 pre clipped) is better than top roping something clean in one go (lower off preclipped).  Is better than doing it in overlapping sections, is better than doing every move, is better than working out where the holds are, is better than even working out if you reckon if the dang thing's possible.  In the UK we just need to physically be able to climb harder than the base instinct gutter level french grade, because we put gear in too, and didn't always abseil down our routes first.

I think if someone does achieve a peg free headpint of Dalriada, then f*ck yes it's game on, about time too, if it's possible to get them out without messing the rock up, then strip the last of those f*cking pegs out.  IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!

Dalriada's such a good line for people wanting to do it in better style and gear's so good now, there'll be something there or other.  It's not a chop route once people work out what the deal is with a modern rack.

Post edited at 00:47
4
Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Climbing rock faces is not really a logical activity. Climbing styles and ethics even less so.

You can of course find reasons and understanding of why certain things in climbing are so but logic, nope.

Paz - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Look at what's happened in Pembroke over the last 10 years.  The context is that there was a flurry of first ascents by damn good climbers in the 80s and possibly a bit later. but a lot of these routes relied on pegs, sometimes even drilled pegs.  There was the publicity stunt called the big issue, but eliminating bolts using in situ jammed wires and pegs that've now gone rusty after awkward top rope practise doesn't really make a very effective long term statement in my opinion (especially when shortly afterwards in Pembroke, E8s were being done after minimal inspection, or even onsight) .

These former peg equipped routes are now anachronistic, and are ripe targets for being climbed peg free.  Personally I think they should be renamed.

The strange thing is, that there are still that many amazing blank walls to climb at E8 and E9, and there's that much DWS to find, that the hardcore local activists haven't gotten round to eliminating the pegs on these former routes that rely on pegs.  And why blame them.  When it's a choice between your own new line up unclimbed rock or cleaning up "someone else's shit old E6 on rusty pegs that noone does anymore", what would you choose?  You can usually only climb at weekends in Range East too, unless they're not firing.

Some would even say by pegging them, (they weren't former aid routes) these routes were stolen from the next generation, which is now active, and burning off the old guard, but who have different priorities and goals to theirs.

4
thommi - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Pegs and bolts are very different no?

planetmarshall on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> As i said earlier, there is a strange logic to all this no bolts thingy.

It's not about logic. It's about emotion, tradition and culture. Recreational climbing is not a logical activity, there's no codified set of rules. If there were, there'd be exceptions to every one of them.

Michael Gordon - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Paz:

> Fine.  Don't do this particular route then.  There are loads of awesome 3 * (and this being Scotland, 4*) classics for you to spend an entire climbing career on.  There's also enough sport climbing in the country for anyone to spend an entire climbing career on, without using a drill to bring a trad route down to their level

> The thinking was always that pegs give the rock a chance, where as bolts just over engineer the wilderness into submission, and destroy the precious few adventurous experiences we have left in this country.  There're plenty of cliffs where reliable pegs don't go in very easily, anywhere you want one.

> We've had these bolts vs pegs discussions on and off for 40 years.  Citation:  The entire history of  climbing, since the comical Compressor Route to the present day.   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/16/climbers-italians-bolt-ladder-cerro-torre

> But whether you are pro bolts or against bolts, the fact is that there are still plenty of people who don't want to see bolts anywhere, let alone in the Scottish mountains.  So even if some imbecile did put bolts in on the Cobbler, I wouldn't be surprised if someone had removed the hangers by the end of the week.

> Bolting these classic trad routes would just be a waste of time - if you're going to abseil down something anyway, there are plenty of new venues which need work putting in to clean up which will yield acceptable sport routes, that people will really thank you for and appreciate.

Great post!

1
Michael Gordon - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> Bolts... damage the rock less. > 

Not sure how you work that one out.

"Bolts and pegs are no different"

People have explained above (including the very post you replied to!) exactly why they are different. Please don't just ignore what people write so you can continue the same argument.

1
GrahamD - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

> So with in situ pegs etc and climbed using these, this is basically a Sport Route?

I don't know about this route - its 7 grades past what I climb - but if it seems like a sport route on pegs, IMO it sounds as if there are too many pegs, not that there are not enough bolts.

There is a compromise as to how many pegs are currently appropriate for a route and how many might be appropriate in future.

I always think of Walk of Life as bing what we should aspire to.  And (regretably because it was on my wish list when I could contemplate the grade) Eroica.

tintinandpip - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

I actually think that peg replacement (or not) is a little more organic then people seem to assume. If the peg or pegs are  critical to the route, i.e. if they were removed it would significantly change the grade then generally these pegs are checked regularly or replaced. Local activists are knowledgeable of the condition of critical pegs and quietly get on and replace them if need be. ( I find it amazing how long they last).  If new gear is found that can replace the peg then that becomes the new norm and the pegs get removed (or not replaced) or the grade increases. I have never known of extra pegs being added to an existing route ( but I am sure there are examples) nor have there been many attempts to bolt mountain routes. The only exception ( I can think of ) to this would be Tunnel Walls in Glen Coe back in the late 90's. ( After much consultation). I really don't think that there is an army of Hilti armed people revved up to bolt trad classics nor a band of climbers ready to strip routes of their pegs.

As for Dalriada, it is not a sport route and much of the route relies on cams and wires. The final two pegs on the overhang are OK, and the two at the bottom of the head wall are also OK, if you fell off the final move the possibility that the pegs would hold is not a given. I think you would be very unlucky for all four to rip / break but who knows ???  

 

Stuart en Écosse - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

I have a suspicion that you are a very well versed climber and are trolling, for what purpose who knows, but in case you aren't: no matter how many pegs get hammered into Dalriada it's essence  will never, ever approximate that of a sport route. The key difference, which someone may have already pointed out above because it's both fundamental and blindingly obvious, is that to place pegs the rock has to accommodate them. With bolts, you place them where you want them, fundamentally changing the nature of your relationship with the line. 

Has anyone done the not clipping the bolts bingo winner suggestion yet? 

 

1
GrahamD - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Paz:

I think Big Issue is a bit more than a publicity stunt, given the momentum that was gathering round bolting routes at Pembroke at the time, even if the style of ascent at the time left a bit to be desired.  As it stands, Big Issue is a line that can be (and is) aspired to in better trad style - something that couldn't have happened as a bolted line.

baron - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Steve McClure's thoughts - from a UKC article, following his onsight of Strawberries. With the caveat that this was in 2014 so his thoughts (and the state/number of the pegs) might now be different.

 

You recently made an onsight ascent of Dalriada, also E7 6b on the Cobbler. How do the routes compare?

Dalriada was easier for sure. But it relies on pegs a lot, and some look sketchy, one had gone, and another you can't clip as its in a strange position. So it leaves just a few to trust your life to. Though pegs have become an integral part of UK climbing they have also become one of our biggest problems. They will eventually snap. They are kind of unfair, as only the first ascentionist knows the score. It could be a total sport route, but then 20 years later is about to become E9, but you only find out when you fall off. Someone is gonna get really hurt...

subtle on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> Yes. Very useful, if not mandatory, on certain routes. 

So pegs are useful, if not mandatory, on certain winter routes? Which routes?

Yet consensus is now pegs not to be used in summer.

Hmmm.

Mind you, all the pegs I've placed in winter have been removed by the seconder, and have never placed any in the summer. Don't see many pegs in people winter racks nowadays though, perhaps "modern" tools are helping to phase them out 

Max factor - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to tintinandpip:

> I actually think that peg replacement (or not) is a little more organic then people seem to assume. If the peg or pegs are  critical to the route, i.e. if they were removed it would significantly change the grade then generally these pegs are checked regularly or replaced. Local activists are knowledgeable of the condition of critical pegs and quietly get on and replace them if need be.

As ever with UK ethics, it's just not that black and white.  See Eroica, iconic route is now sadly out of the reach of a punter like me. 

Eroica (E4 6a) 

Michael Gordon - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

> So pegs are useful, if not mandatory, on certain winter routes.

> Yet consensus is now pegs not to be used in summer.>

Yes, that has been the accepted consensus for a couple of decades now, recognising that winter climbing is different to rock climbing where the gear or lack thereof is more easily seen (due to lack of snow), where cracks tend to be clean not choked with ice/dirt/vegetation, and where there's the option of fiddling in RPs (I can't imagine anyone doing this in winter!). Perhaps fewer climbers are taking them in winter now due to the development of bulldogs and terriers, but there are still times when pegs are preferable e.g. thin horizontal breaks where the angle of pull on the terrier is not going to be great.

As for which routes, there's no shortage of venues around the country where I've found pegs invaluable. Remembering them is more difficult, but Creag Meagaidh springs to mind as an obvious example. The Cairngorms are often cited (correctly) as somewhere where pegs are generally less required, but I do recall the only gear I could find for the belay below the crux pitch of Western Route was pegs. Even a lowly III like Foxes Rake on Skye gave only peg protection for a couple of belays as I recall. 

Michael Gordon - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to baron:

Steve's thoughts on the problems with pegs are understandable, though it would have been interesting if he'd continued to say whether he thought a like for like replacement was a good idea, or whether the pegs just should not have been there in the first place (though in the latter case he probably would have not done the route, and certainly not onsight!).

baron - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I came across Mr McClure's comments by accident while reading about his onsight of Strawberries and it was just a coincidence that this thread was running.

I thought his opinions would be much more valuable than mine as despite them being 4 years old he had actually done the route while I'd struggle on the walk in.

Roger Vickers - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Andy Nisbet:

Sorry you can't say that. What about the bolt routes on tunnel wall in Glen Coe. They are classics. Originally some had peg lower offs and the odd peg and the run outs were just a bit scary but they have been re bolted. Then there are the new ones by Dave Mac and others or are you being a bit elitist here.  

 

1
smally - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Roger Vickers:

Tunnel Wall is a poor example to cite, the routes in their original state were a hybrid mix of fixed gear, both pegs and bolts, and natural placements. Their retro-bolting did not lead to further bolts being placed on any other crags,even lower ones, in the Coe or any other mountain crags in Scotland. 

It's a unique crag where trad and sport sit happily together, albeit that the trad does require a bloody good clean. Personally I don't really see Tunnel Wall as a mountain crag, it's only a 20minute walk.

1
irdial2001 - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to smally:

This a great civilised and developing discussion. 9 pegs on Dalriarda in my mind is now a de facto sport route. Is this why there is such an increase in traffic on this route and should the pegs be removed?

1
Michael Gordon - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

Dalriada in its original state was a safe route with lots of new pegs on it. However, it was originally given E8 (Dave MacLeod reckoned E6, then as the pegs have got worse this has crept up again slightly). It did see sporadic repeats over the years. I think the increase in traffic is more to do with a general increase in ability amongst non-cutting edge climbers, perhaps the route being publicised in things like the Transition film and cover of the Great Mountain Crags book, and generally repeats breeding repeats as other climbers realise the route isn't death on a stick and perhaps within their range after all. 

Post edited at 07:29
In reply to irdial2001:

> This a great civilised and developing discussion. 9 pegs on Dalriarda in my mind is now a de facto sport route. Is this why there is such an increase in traffic on this route and should the pegs be removed?

I too appreciate the the civilised discussion, but irrespective of everything that has been said you are still pushing the agenda of it being a sport route, which it really isn't. In fact, I'd actually suggest it's misleading and dangerous to suggest such a thing.

Having seen the pegs - and having done the route - I can assure you it is not in any way, shape, or form a sport route. There's a whole lot of difference between clipping a bolt and clipping the remnants of ironmongery left in that route, which all need backing up anyway. Climbing it on the pegs alone would be tantamount to suicide, but the blend works, and as the pegs come out in time I'm pretty sure a balance will be found (there's no denying it is peg heavy currently, but that's very different from saying it's a sport route).

The increase of traffic + interest doesn't have anything to do with the fixed gear either, it's to do with the fact it's one of the best lines in the country. 

irdial2001 - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Good reply and now clarified the pegs situation, thank you.

Robert Durran - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to spidermonkey09:

> Witch Hunt in Hunstmans Leap is a good example, probably not too bad at E4 when the peg was new, probably E5 now its old and shit, and quite possibly E6 when it goes. This is ok with me.

Fine with me too. But it won't be E5 the whole time it the peg is old and shit - it will be E6 as soon as the peg is old and shit enough to break, not from the time it does actually break - best just to treat it as E6 as soon as there is doubt. A lot of routes are E(n) if you trusty a peg but E(n+1) if you don't trust it!

 

Robert Durran - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to subtle:

> Off on a slight tangent here but are pegs still to be allowed in winter climbing?

Yes, but it is different because they are almost always removed by the second. The ones in situ left are usually the ones the second failed to get out. I don't think there is any tradition of deliberately in situ pegs in winter.

Post edited at 16:58
JSTaylor - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to irdial2001:

It’s a trad route.  Pegs were placed in natural weaknesses in the rock*  because these were not suitable for nuts or cams.  They were left in situ because to remove and replace them every time would cause what is considered to be unacceptable damage to the rock.  However, it would seem logical and sensible that these pegs be replaced as and when they are judged to have reached the end of their useful life.  In time these cracks might become large enough for nuts or cams. 

* as bolts require no natural weaknesses there exist no limits to their use, unlike pegs.

2
irdial2001 - on 16 Jun 2018
In reply to JSTaylor:

Yeah cheers. My question has been answered now previously. I was just concerned about an over proliferation of pegs but i get it now.


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