Forums: Climbing Information: Regional Discussions: Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin: Edit Log


Mar 13, 2009, 8:18 AM

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Registered: Apr 17, 2002
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Re: [notapplicable] Route closures at Franklin
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I ‘ll add my 2 cents. Get ready for a ramble... I’ve been going to Franklin for about 8 years, however I usually only hit it up once in the spring and once in the fall. The whole sport scene is not my thing. There seems to be a whole different mind set that goes along with the testosterone driven, gym climbing, group social atmosphere that is more common in the sport world. I climb, in part, to get away from that whole scene. So, given that’s my bias…read on.

1) I don’t agree with partially altering a route. If a route is going to be altered/chopped, do it in a way that it’s clear from the bottom of the climb. I agree with Bryan that if a person gets on a route, they should be ready for whatever, including missing top anchors. HOWEVER, it only leads to more contention and disharmony within the climbing community to do it in a way that not obvious. If an accident happens it threatens the access of the whole community. If it's going to be done, then make it clear from the get go. In my way of viewing things it is ethically wrong/”dishonest” to remove top anchors with no indication that they are missing.

2) There are lots of different angles to consider in the ethics of a “public” climbing area in relation to altering routes, even if one feels they have the “right” to do so because they were partly or solely responsible for putting it up. My question would be "What leads to the desired long term end result and the most harmony within the community?" This may yield a different answer than just saying, “F#$k’m, I put it up, I have the right to do whatever I want with it.” In our highly individualistic society (especially climbers), trying to promote group ethos and harmony is a challenge, to say the least. Climbers by nature are highly individualistic people. I know Mike has tried, but sometimes it has been a very a mis-directed very individualistic approach to trying to promote group responsibility and harmony. There are better ways…

3) I sympathize with Mike’s sentiments (and his work) in relation to tying keep up the place and preserve it. I disagree with his methods - both attitudes/words and actions. We need to work at finding a way to promote group consensus and responsibility. Easily stated, hard to do in the real world and maybe "consensus" is an oxymoron in the climbing world... However, maybe there are also approaches that haven't been tried and need to be.

4) I happened to be there Sunday climbing with one of my occasional climbing partners. I just happened to have picked the one wrong “pre-Spring” day to be there. There were tons of people. I didn’t see Mike (Gray) but did meet his climbing partner Mike Fisher for the first time and had a great discussion with him about the area, new routes, etc. I was shocked to find out yesterday that Gray had chopped/altered the routes as he mentioned above. There has got to be a new group awareness, responsibility, etc. if Franklin is going to continue to be a viable place to climb. This means some letting go on Mike’s part instead of “ruling” over the area like a dictator, as well as much more awareness by the general climbing public regarding upkeep, climbing ethic, and issues. I can imagine Mike maybe saying, “Yeah, right!? Been there, done that…” However, I don’t see the current way working and it is probably more of a detriment in the long run than just a hands off approach.

5) I am totally against large groups using the area. The Syracuse group needs to tread lightly and be informed of the issues and impact they have and re-think their approach (as well as other groups - i.e. DC, Pittsburgh, Richmond, etc.) . I would suggest that people not show up in groups larger than 4. Can’t be reinforced, but it could become a stated “rule” that it’s uncool to “gang-bang” the place as Mike put it. If that’s what groups want, stay in the gym. That goes for Seneca as well. Yes, it's cool to be a part of a large group that goes and does things together, but that mindset (to me) is totally against a responsible outdoor preservation ethic. No it’s not a wilderness area, but large groups certainly don’t help create an atmosphere that is conducive to enjoying nature.

6) I guess all this has reinforced even more why I prefer trad even though some of the same type issues can plague it also. Maybe next time I show up at Franklin it will be with my full trad rack looking for lines not normally climbed and if wanting to do a route beyond my trad ability then set a natural and/or gear TR if the anchors have been chopped/removed. I have done that in the past and if top anchors are being removed that may be the only alternative. There's also ways to get to the top of most climbs without climbing if you're creative.

7) It’s probably totally impossible to get away from all the issues because of the nature of the place and the type of climbers that frequent it. I enjoy climbing in all its forms, however I have to say that I have less in common with the attitudes and egos that I see displayed more in the bouldering and sport climbing worlds. I would highly recommend that people read and take to heart some of the attitudes and philosophy of climbing from old timers such as Pat Ament who have learned through a life-time of climbing. Any of his writings, but especially "Everything That Matters: remembering Rock Climbing" (especially the following two chapters: Humility and the Still Moment: The Magic of Baker Armstrong" and "A Soul is the Song of its Own Time: On the Individual and Competition"). We have much to learn from the wisdom of those who have gone before us. If we don't learn from history we're bound to repeat it...


Craig Spaulding

(This post was edited by naitch on Mar 14, 2009, 7:56 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by naitch () on Mar 13, 2009, 2:37 PM: typos and clarity
Post edited by naitch () on Mar 14, 2009, 7:56 AM: Edited book suggestion

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