> Yep. I can get sweaty palms just thinking about scary routes I'd like to lead. Good thing is I'm often pretty relaxed by the first belay.
I've got 10 days to sort it then.
> Looks an amazing route you've got planned. Very jealous.
It's a really good route apparently, and I'll be using the next 10 days to loads more good routes in preparation. It's all happening so fast - I wasn't planning on it, but just got asked and decided that the time is now.
> At least it's in North America. What to us is an ascent voiding pull on gear gets rebranded as speed climbing over there ;).
I have noticed none of my partners give a monkeys about onsighting.
> Are you there at the moment? I've always wanted to climb at Sqaumish, would you recommend it?
Yep - moved over temporarily. I would recommend it yes, although I've still got a lot more routes to climb. It's very accessible, and if you enjoy granite you'll really get on well. There are lots of other climbing areas nearby-ish too. The weather has been dry for weeks now, and it's not too hot either. Many of the other places are simply too hot to climb during the day at this time of year. Probably the only thing I don't like is the bolted anchors (everyone just lowers off of trad routes and the 'second' climbs on a bottom rope - nobody belays at the top or walks off. It makes me feel like I'm crazy for wanting to belay up high, in the sun, with a view - instead of back down in the dark forest!), and the odd bolts when a route gets runout / hard to protect (especially on more modern climbs) - to me it just makes it a less memorable experience. I have pretty much only been cragging though, so it's not a "full opinion"
In reply to SenzuBean: Are you seriously saying that you think NA trad climbers have much worse ethics than UK trad climbers? We have plenty of abuses of onsights here from the minor (eg the semantics of headpointers saying I've just climbed an E whatever) through heavy beta onsight claims, a good bit of dogging and I'm sure plain dishonest claims (say bypassing a crux) to accusations a climber hasn't even climbed the route at all.
I'd agree the obsession with onsight isn't what it is in the UK but most climbers seem to honestly climb and record (as per the UK)
I'd agree. I'm honest with my logging but I've seen some dubious logbook entries such as "small rest but I still l had most of my weight" - Lead Onsight!!!!
Another questionable onsight was in a video I watched of James Pearson onsighting My Piano (E8 6c) at Nesscliffe. The holds were all chalked up like someone had abbed in an painted them up, it was like an indoor wall! Then he got to the crux and placed four identical cams in the break before committing. He must have had great judgement to have worked out he needed four identical cams, let alone working out the exact size, all from a cursory glance up from the ground.
To me it would be a criminal act to bolt all those NA trad lines as sports climbs just because they have bolt belays and the odd bolt to prevent really serious falls (usually replacing old hand drilled bolts). Its hardly like the UK doesn't have its own examples like quite a bit of stuff on slate.
> To me it would be a criminal act to bolt all those NA trad lines as sports climbs just because they have bolt belays and the odd bolt to prevent really serious falls.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that! I agree that trad routes with the odd bolt can feel unsatisfactorily "manufactured". And I'd definitely prefer those odd bolts chopped to seeing the routes fully bolted in most cases. Nothing to do with ignorance of evolution of climbing.
Looked through a mates logbook on here, had Pretzl Logic (E2 5c) logged as O/S....strangly I seem to remember him taking a whipper on lead and crashing through the branches of an Oak tree! Perhaps onsight is different for some than for others?
In reply to Robert Durran: Its absolutely to do with the evolution of the route if a FA hand drilled a bolt at that point and that has now been replaced. The experience you get is the one the FA broadly intended. Placing such bolts was hard work and the climbers were bold. Increasing risk on a climb by suggesting removal of such bolts for the sake of ethics that never applied in the first place seems crazy to me. Those saying "I prefer routes properly bolted or not at all" seem plain ignorant., My argument is not pro bolt it's respect for the historical context. In contrast, at Red Rocks, where I've climbed a lot, too many routes with lesser run-outs are getting sanitised by adding new bolts ... that's something I very much oppose. Some practice is plain terrible: a f4 sports lower off added at the crux of the 5.6 trad route next door.... the wedge is getting pretty thick there.
In reply to Michael Gordon: So why not explained what exactly would you like for those NA lines... super bold trad routes hardly ever climbed (and possibly with no viable belays) or sports climbs.? What exactly is wrong with the compromise set originally by hand drilled gear that you don't like.... world class trad according to many?
> In contrast, at Red Rocks, where I've climbed a lot, too many routes with lesser run-outs are getting sanitised by adding new bolts ... that's something I very much oppose. Some practice is plain terrible: a f4 sports lower off added at the crux of the 5.6 trad route next door.... the wedge is getting pretty thick there.
That's also what I'm opposed to. Recently I did a route (it is a brand new route, it doesn't even have a name yet) where I had a bomber red cam in a pocket at about knee level with a bolt at chin level. There was about 2-3 moves until you reached a juggy crack. I felt a bit robbed after climbing it, because it turned a 5.10b trad lead (something I would've been proud of) into a sport climb.
Well firstly I was speaking generally rather than about a specific area. But yes, personally I prefer fully trad routes. If there's no gear within, say, 60m then yes, perhaps bolt belays make good sense.
In reply to Michael Gordon: Thats a cop out, we were clearly talking about part-bolted NA trad routes. Big run-outs on what the NA climbers call 'moderates' (below 5.10) would nearly always kill you if you fell (as you will hit things). Snake Dike is a 5.7 mega-classic which has unprotected 5.4 climbing in multiple stretches of around 40m between bolt belays and that's pretty wonderful and scary at the same time: I cant think of anything remotely close to this in UK trad. One of the top pitches of Royal Arches is near HS 3b in my view... a pitch on The Magician might be VS 3c. These run-outs to bolts are not uncommon. Either you have climbed nothing like this or you completely lack imagination if you think this is distorting a trad experinece.
Yes, the likes of Snake Dike was not quite what I had in mind (OK, 60m was perhaps exaggerating the point). As for nothing remotely close to UK trad (and feel free to argue otherwise), what about, say, Etive Slabs? Quite a number of completely unprotected pitches there.
Why this religious demand for purity? To most US and European climbers, a mix of trad protection where possible, bolts where nothing can be placed, and bolted belays for safety on trade routes (after all, most if us are climbing for fun, not because we are suicidal) seems like the obvious and hence generally accepted solution.
My suspicion is that most UK routes are just too short, making such a fundamentalist approach just about viable. However, the same approach would fail in any regions where most climbs are multi pitch or alpine in nature. At the ultra extreme end (say, in Patagonia) purism may work out again, but otherwise styles should cater to the needs of the average climber.
You can find similar routes in Saxon or Czech sandstone: No credible pro between ring bolt belays, any mistake can give you a 20m factor 2 fall. If it is easy enough, it can be an exhilarating but bloody scary experience close to soloing (e.g., the slab pitch on Schusterweg on Falkenstein, 20m from a bolt to a bomber sling at about UIAA III). I like the hybrid US routes a lot, and again, I suspect that the bolting purism pushed on these pages comes from most UK climbs being single pitch.
It's a nice long day out and the hardest parts are mostly low down. Do not climb the last pitch wearing a pack, I tried, but the squeeze chimney is too narrow. Eventually I did it with my pack dangling below me on a sling.
Regarding the bolts topic: Multi-pitch climbs in North America often have bolted belays, I think it's mostly to provide reliable abseil anchors in case the route is retreated from. Really popular routes sometimes have a separate bolted decent route.
> It's a nice long day out and the hardest parts are mostly low down. Do not climb the last pitch wearing a pack, I tried, but the squeeze chimney is too narrow. Eventually I did it with my pack dangling below me on a sling.
Thanks - that's good to know!
I think I'm on the hook for Angel Crack, which I'm quite worried about.
Edit: Just had a look at a photo of it, and read that it's hand/finger - that makes me feel a lot better. I thought it was a diagonal finger crack with no feet the whole way.
I think that's the money pitch though. Stick a nut at the very top of the crack to protect your second, otherwise they might have an unpleasant pendulum if they come off. I was pretty tired at the end of it --- must be getting old! You'll enjoy it, I'm sure.
I'm going down to Washington Pass next week. There's a few peaks I have yet to climb: Cutthroat, Big Kangaroo, Chianti Spire. We're probably going to be doing the easier routes on those.
I guess it often comes down to the particular route in question. At the start of the discussion I had in mind long pitches where there are a few bits of decent trad gear available (so factor 2 falls hopefully unlikely) with bolts 'sportingly' spaced inbetween.
I agree, there will be bolts on protectable routes or pitches that will feel unnecessary, but overall I quite like the "hybrid" approach, with a few bolts giving added security (and especially, bolted belays!).
For me, the objective danger of falling is not really an essential part of the climbing experience, but a price you pay for performing a technically and athletically challenging sports activity in beautiful and dramatic surroundings.
I definitely do not want every route turned into a bolt ladder or via ferrata, but neither do I enjoy being forced taking unnecessary risks because of other climbers' dogmatic stance on protection styles (which e.g. prevents me from attempting maybe half of the routes at my technical level here in Saxony. Leaves more than enough, though, so no big deal).
+1 for bolted belays - who wants to die when your mate falls off and takes a factor 2 onto the belay? Or who wants to get to the belay to discover you've already used the nuts you'd need to make it safe?
Unfortunately not; a visit to the US is high on the list but I'm not currently able to take long holidays. When I first got in this discussion of routes bolted on lead I was thinking of some of the Piola routes in the Alps; unlike some of the stuff you mention these didn't feel like bona fide trad routes and personally weren't my thing.
> Or who wants to get to the belay to discover you've already used the nuts you'd need to make it safe?
For whatever reason, this has never happened to me. I suppose with a double set of nuts and a good range of cams nowadays you have more options on reaching belays, and if specific gear is required for a belay this is hopefully mentioned in the description?
> +1 for bolted belays - who wants to die when your mate falls off and takes a factor 2 onto the belay? Or who wants to get to the belay to discover you've already used the nuts you'd need to make it safe?
+1 for competence. Bolted belays have no place in the UK except in very exceptional circumstances. Learn to look after yourself - sounds like you need a bigger rack or more cunning/judgement.