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dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Convince me to do the "Right Thing."
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OK, here's an interesting, real situation in the making. Thought it might make an interesting discussion topic.

I'm working on new routes at a new area. By new I mean new, no known previous routes in an area where that probably means no routes atall. I'm very familiar with the local scene, players and style preferences.

OK, this crag has a trad route on it (by trad I mean traditional - as in led ground up without preinspection or cleaning), 7-Up Crack, led by my friend Brutus of Wyde (it was mildly wide).

Right next to it, on the left hand wall, is a face climb, to date only dogged on TR. It 'suffers' an amazing stretch of knobs, dead vert, black water streak Tuolumne-style knobs, near the outter edge of an arete in a most exposed situation.

OK, framework, then the question.

Framework - I come at this area (its not just a new crag, its a new area with several crags) with a pragmatic view in keeping with local tradition, going back to 91 in my case.

My ideal would be a blend of styles and techniques. I'm all for trad and sport coexisting and since I'm thus far the primary (read - only) 'developer' (I use that term very loosely), that will be the starting precedent for the area... respect for most styles of climbing and climbers.

One climbing ethic so far greatly respected in the general area is respect for the FA - and that is the ideal I hope gopes forward too.

OK, to the route development question:

This route, this fantastic face climb, *could be* led ground up, ala Bachar Yerian. The result (for someone capable that is) would be a scary, perhaps dangerous and very difficult face climb prolly mid to upper 11 range. It might see a repeat or two over the years, at the most.

I see little use for another Tuolumne in these parts, or another BY.

My personal goals for the routes I do there can be summed up like this... I want to open up new routes, in part to contribute back to the same local community that has been so free with new beta to me, AND more importantly, to create routes I want to climb.

In other words, I'm not out to create testpieces or routes I cannot climb. That's a younger man's game. I want to open climbs I can go back and repeat from time to time, and I hope that others might enjoy them too.

So I intend to take a sport climbing approach to many of the unprotectable face climbs, as opposed to ground up hook protected drilling (that's another local crag area). I want the routes to offer a sport climbing level of safety too.

And my will be done - as I'm doing it!

So here's my dilemma - the first 10-15 feet of this proposed sport route is a thin crack. It will take tiny gear, lowballs, tiny aliens or pins. None of them would foster a great deal of confidence and the chances of falling hard on the top piece are pretty much guaranteed, its the crux to get out of the crack and established on the face.

Remember, the crack is 15 feet tall at the most but it is also absolutely critical to climb the route. No crack, no route.

One of my partners has forcefully suggested I should protect it with gear or a pin or two.

I'm not inclined. I don't think pins are superior to bolts in a sport climbing arena, I think they are definitely inferior and for sport climbing, a bad idea.

And I don't trust the gear pro, that would eat up two critical jams and still might not offer adequate protection.

But let's assume that solid wiggle in gear is to be had... I STILL don't want to go that route.

I want to add two bolts next to this crack and one above it protecting the egress. Its pretty much what I plan to do. I'm not in a huge rush to git R done and intend to TR it a few more times before drilling - I really REALLY want to get this one right. As a sport climb.

So (the reason I posted it to this subforum), for those tradsters who are adamant that scuh a proposal is wrong, convince me to do the right thing. I'll consider (and probably argue against, lol) any view point, even the fanatical psudeo-religious ones, LNT, whatever you got. Convince me to Do the Right Thing!

This is a real route and a real situaiton, not hypothetical which we debate all the time. This is a chance (however slight) to influence reality.

What say you?

DMT


caughtinside


Aug 3, 2006, 10:57 AM
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The "right thing."

You're too much milktoast! Bolt it, and make it a rad climb!

You know how many routes at ORG I've done that say 'bring a couple small cams' in the route description? Zero.


csproul


Aug 3, 2006, 11:02 AM
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I consider myself mostly a traditional climber, although I do sport climb now and then. Here's my take on the situation...You are developing the area and route, and so there really is no established area ethic; you are creating it. You view the route to be poorly protected using traditional means. Even if you could get poor gear before the crux, you are still likely to bolt it after the crux. So bolt it, and do it right! I think you got it right: if it can be adequately protected traditionally, use traditional methods. If not go ahead and bolt it.


dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 11:03 AM
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I hear ya caughtinzipper (I had to laugh at that one bro!). Great point.

But... this isn't Owens. This is solid 10k Sierra granite. And there are a LOT of cracks to be done. So it won't be like humping gear down into the hole for one or two placements and I can't use bad rock as an excuse. Many parties would likely want to climb both cracks and faces and would likely have gear with them anyway.

Just to lay the cards on the table..

DMT


csproul


Aug 3, 2006, 11:07 AM
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The "right thing."

You're too much milktoast! Bolt it, and make it a rad climb!

You know how many routes at ORG I've done that say 'bring a couple small cams' in the route description? Zero.

I agree with you, but it doesn't sound like using ORG as a model for ethics is what he has in mind. It is entirely up to the FA of course, but I don't see anything wrong with having a climb be mixed so that some parts of it need gear and the unprotectable parts have bolts. In fact it is fairly common in the southeast.


dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 11:19 AM
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.but I don't see anything wrong with having a climb be mixed so that some parts of it need gear and the unprotectable parts have bolts. In fact it is fairly common in the southeast.

I don't either and it is common enough in these parts too. What I consider my best sport climb (I've only done a few, don't get me wrong) is a climb that needs one or two pieces to get to the first bolt.

What's different is the quality and the size of the gear. Don't know about you guys but I'm sort of Whillanesque and I don't salivate over the prospect of short hard falls onto blue aliens.

If I did it that way I would likely wire the opening moves into submission on TR,. lead it once and walk away.

Its the walk away part I'm trying to avoid. And no, I'm not after another Owens per se.

Cheers
DMT


caughtinside


Aug 3, 2006, 11:24 AM
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Well Dingus,

You are in luck. I happen to have some free time this weekend. I'll check it out with you and tell you what I think. you can pick me up at 6 and we'll get down there and have at it.

But seriously, it sounds like you know that it would be a better climb with bolts. 15' of crack? And it isn't a handcrack, but a thin sub-tips kind of thing? And it's right off the ground?

Fifteen feet of thin crack right off the ground. Are we concerned about that? Sounds like one bolt ten feet up to me.

Now, where is healyje?


notch


Aug 3, 2006, 11:42 AM
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I'm inclined to lean towards bolting it, but one thing is sticking for me. What precedent does this set for other developers in the area? Will others understand the "local ethic" to be that bolting cracks is fine without understanding the nuance of the arguement you bring up here? I suppose it's possible that one bolted crack today could equal a crag of foolishly bolted routes 10-20 years down the road. Just something to consider.


Partner sevrdhed


Aug 3, 2006, 11:55 AM
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If it's got a crack on it, then it must be protected by gear. The whole thing. Face and all. If people are willing to lead with hooks placed on crimps as pro, then they shouldn't be climbing.

Steve

P.S. In all honesty, with a delicate issue like this, the first thing I would do, is get in touch with local climbers I know who would potentially be climbing the route, both trad and sport climbers, and ask them to look at it. If the majority of 'em think it should stay clean, and would climb it with gear, I say leave it. If they all think that slapping in a bolt is the way to go, crank out that bolt gun. And if you don't get a consensus, then do whatever the hell you want to do; someone'll get pissed anyway! Good luck!


Partner j_ung


Aug 3, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Good on ya, for placing this out there, but considering the type of route you want to create -- and considering that we're talking about 15 feet of marginally protected crack low to the ground, not 40' of splitter -- I say bolt it.

BUT, it really sounds like this route falls squarely in the middle of the ethics debate. IMO, you're justified in either course of action.

Question: can you get away with one bolt 15 feet up, meant to be stick clipped, instead of three bolts?


the_climber


Aug 3, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Can't really say which side of the fence I sit on this one. Like it's been said... Sounds like it's on the fine line between the two ethics. I've been on some routes in my neck of the woods that, although at a lower standard, have bolts beside a marginal placement (think shallow #3 smiley and smaller in limestone) and similar heights. Some of them I have led on gear and scared the living piss out of myself, others I felt a freedom that I had never had on that specific climb before.

It sounds like the placements are marginal at best, but my trad ethic screams NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! On the other hand, my drill and bag of bolts are clinking together with a definite YES: go with safety of the other climbers that will follow. J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo. My question would be, as we are talking 15', is it feasible to clip a bolt at the top of the crack (stance, clipping hold, reach,...) and supplement it with a marginal piece and a good spot? Might maintain the integrity of both sides of the ethics debate.


Just my thoughts,
B


kman


Aug 3, 2006, 12:35 PM
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:lol: welcome to the grey area.

The crux is where the crack turns to face at 15 feet? What about putting a bolt just below the crux and leaving the bottom portion of the crack? How's the landing if you blow the clip and pull the mank gear?

You have obviously put a lot of thought into it and you are the only one out of us all that has actually seen it in person. You gonna do whatchu gonna do :wink:


bones


Aug 3, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Have you considered leaving it as a TR? I mean, assuming local ego can handle that.

If you want it as a lead climb though, my preference would be to just put a bolt at the top of the crack where the crux is. I can think of lots of good routes that are mixed like this.


kman


Aug 3, 2006, 12:39 PM
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In reply to:
J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo.

That's a really good idea and a good compromise.


redlegrangerone


Aug 3, 2006, 12:52 PM
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While I am not old and crusty with experience, I have been blessed to learn from some developers. I would suggest a bolt at the top of the crack. Anything below that is your choice. Mixed routes are not a bad thing.


Partner cracklover


Aug 3, 2006, 1:12 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo.

That's a really good idea and a good compromise.

I second (third, fourth?) that view.

I have some other thoughts on the matter, but I need to clarify a few points first:

1 - how tall is the route, and is there easy TR access?

2 - You've spent some time at this crag. You've looked over some of the potential lines. Does it "feel" like a mostly bolt protected area?

These are not rhetorical questions, I'd really like to know the answers. But just for clarity's sake, I'll explain what I'm thinking:

The reason for my Q1 is pretty obvious. Not every line needs to be led.

Here's what I'm getting at with Q2 - if you bolt this line "sport style" and many of the other lines are of the same character as this one, you are essentially guaranteeing that the original line done on this crag will wind up a sport climb sooner or later. Mark my words. Is that something you're okay with?

Also, there are plenty of good trad climbs I know that require a bo(u)ldery start with little to no gear. Two that come to mind in the Gunks are Maria Direct at 5.9 and Son of Easy O at 5.8. Now I realize that it's a long way from 5.9 to 5.11. But you know the only thing that keeps bolts off the beginnings of these climbs? The fact that there aren't bolts next to them.

GO


csproul


Aug 3, 2006, 1:16 PM
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In reply to:
J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo.

That's a really good idea and a good compromise.

I am going to have to disagree with the stick clip. It's not that I have a problem with stick clipping, it's just that Dingus has already said that this is a Sierra granite area that has lots of trad (and cracks). Not exactly the type of area that I'd envision lots of people bringing stick clips to.


dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 1:34 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo.

That's a really good idea and a good compromise.

I second (third, fourth?) that view.

With whom am I compromising?

In reply to:
1 - how tall is the route, and is there easy TR access?

Sport route heightish. It is patently easy to TR this line using the anchors I placed for that purpose.

In reply to:
2 - You've spent some time at this crag. You've looked over some of the potential lines. Does it "feel" like a mostly bolt protected area?
Mostly? No. Mostly cracks I think, good ones. Some faces yes, unprotectable without bolts. Knobs to write home to Mom about though, I mean the real deal stuff.

In reply to:
The reason for my Q1 is pretty obvious. Not every line needs to be led.
True, but this one begs for it.

In reply to:
Here's what I'm getting at with Q2 - if you bolt this line "sport style" and many of the other lines are of the same character as this one, you are essentially guaranteeing that the original line done on this crag will wind up a sport climb sooner or later. Mark my words.
There is absolutely no precedence in the entire area to base this conclusion upon. I understand the slippery slope argument and I do not think it applies here.

In reply to:
Is that something you're okay with?
Someone bolting Brutus's route? Hellno. Local ethic here respects the FA. I have no reason to distrust its application.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Aug 3, 2006, 1:36 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
J_ung brings up a good point with suggesting a stick clip option. It's not uncommon up here to have a sport guidebook state "stick clip" on the topo.

That's a really good idea and a good compromise.

I am going to have to disagree with the stick clip. It's not that I have a problem with stick clipping, it's just that Dingus has already said that this is a Sierra granite area that has lots of trad (and cracks). Not exactly the type of area that I'd envision lots of people bringing stick clips to.

I don't even own a stick clip rig and I find this the least attractive of the proposed solutions.

DMT


Partner j_ung


Aug 3, 2006, 1:48 PM
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Stick clips are easily improvised from the materials on hand. One doesn't need to carry them along from home. And, I'm merely offering up a third option. This doesn't have to be an overbolt-or-underprotect dichotemy. You can make it relatively safe AND lessen the overall number of bolts in the rock. 8^)


sbaclimber


Aug 3, 2006, 2:31 PM
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I personally would probably go with j_ung's 'solution' as well (I have a project that has a very similar description). Not because of the stick clip idea (I have yet to have actually 'stick-clipped' anything), but because I see it covering a couple of issues:
1) no bolted crack
2) well protected crux
3) if the sporties want to climb it, they *can* stick clip it/prehang the first draw

One question though (purely curiousity, I wouldn't use the answer as a reason bolt or not to bolt):
You say the potential gear would fill some of the better holds. By doing so, do you think this would increase the overall grade of the route?
I guess I am just trying to say, if you want to create a 'good' route that is of consistent quality, then having a really hard badly protected start that leads to considerably easier well protected climbing above, you may have just defeated the purpose.....


sidepull


Aug 3, 2006, 2:42 PM
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First off, kudos for a great thread - this is both forward thinking on your part and thought provoking.

Here are a few of my thoughts.

1) take a bit more time to consider the stick clipping option, I'm not saying it's THE right thing to do, but it is A right thing to do.

2) it's not uncommon to have a trad area with one or sport climbs, however those climbs usually represent a trad ethic (think Joshua Tree or Paradise Forks - runouts, sketch-factor, etc.). These areas seem to eliminate any kind of a slippery slope because the sport climbs don't attract sport climbers they attract tradsters that enjoy the pucker factor. So, the more you do to attract sport climbers the more slippery your slope.

3) I enjoy the fact that you're being thoughtful and trying to lay down area ethics but my reading of your posts hints at the fact that you already see these ideas as de facto rules. If this is the case (and I may be misreading things) it leads to the thought that rules are made by social construction and consensus not by the dictates of the FA. That is, the people that follow either choose to agree or disagree, change or not change, the given ideas until they become accepted and diffused (and this generally entails some degree of change). Until this diffusion and acceptance occurs they are not rules.

4) I'm not sure if "cowardly," "tired," or just "lame" are the right descriptors, I'll use weak. It's pretty weak that many of the people who have responded have abdicated their opinions with the "you're going to do what you want anyway" line. Here's an opportunity to provide input, but, like an good american in november, that's precisely the time to walk away.


Partner cracklover


Aug 3, 2006, 2:51 PM
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With whom am I compromising?

I thought that was obvious - the little white fella with the wings on one shoulder and the little red dude with the tail on your other one. Isn't that why you're here?

In reply to:
In reply to:
2 - You've spent some time at this crag. You've looked over some of the potential lines. Does it "feel" like a mostly bolt protected area?
Mostly? No. Mostly cracks I think, good ones. Some faces yes, unprotectable without bolts. Knobs to write home to Mom about though, I mean the real deal stuff.

Hmm, okay, so there's strong potential for most of the lines on the crag to be good trad routes, well protected by cracks and slung horns, right? Am I understanding you correctly?

In reply to:
There is absolutely no precedence in the entire area to base this conclusion upon. I understand the slippery slope argument and I do not think it applies here.

I believe you. I was simply saying that if it turns into a full on sport crag, the one trad line *will* get bolted someday. But it sounds like the crag is not in any danger of that happening.

So before I tell you what I think, I'm going to apologize. I know that you're looking for fun off-the-cuff battles between sport wankers and trad turds. I'm sorry that I can't contribute to that, but I look forward to watching, I'm sure you'll get plenty of that. Instead, I'll tell you what I really think:

I think you should do what you please. And I say that as a dyed in the wool trad climber. I think you're well aware of the fact that you're setting a precedent for future climbers at this crag by how you establish this route. They will follow your lead, if you pardon the pun. You've got a good head on your shoulders. I'd bet dollars to donuts that you'll make the right call.

With that said, here's what I think I'd do: I'd look for another appealing line. One that followed a set of weaknesses and solid slingable features. Keep the "Potential Future Sport Route" in your pocket for later. After that, the next time the desire came upon me to do another FA, I'd look for another classic line on the rock that didn't require much fixed gear. I'd continue to gobble up the best trad lines the crag has to offer. And when I needed a fix of the "PFSR", I'd play on it on TR. Only when I thought I'd used up all the best trad lines on the face would I come back to this question. At that point, if no-one else had done it, and I still wanted to make a nice sport line out of it, I'd know I'd have insured by the other good routes I'd done in good style that the right precedent was set for the cliff. I'd also know that I'd sat on the decision long enough to have really worked it out in my head. At that point, I'd flick the little guys off both shoulders, and just do the right thing as I saw it then. I'm pretty sure that by that point, I'd have no problem with dealing with the consequences.

Cheers!

GO


sidepull


Aug 3, 2006, 3:04 PM
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With that said, here's what I think I'd do: I'd look for another appealing line. One that followed a set of weaknesses and solid slingable features. Keep the "Potential Future Sport Route" in your pocket for later. After that, the next time the desire came upon me to do another FA, I'd look for another classic line on the rock that didn't require much fixed gear. I'd continue to gobble up the best trad lines the crag has to offer. And when I needed a fix of the "PFSR", I'd play on it on TR. Only when I thought I'd used up all the best trad lines on the face would I come back to this question. At that point, if no-one else had done it, and I still wanted to make a nice sport line out of it, I'd know I'd have insured by the other good routes I'd done in good style that the right precedent was set for the cliff. I'd also know that I'd sat on the decision long enough to have really worked it out in my head. At that point, I'd flick the little guys off both shoulders, and just do the right thing as I saw it then. I'm pretty sure that by that point, I'd have no problem with dealing with the consequences.

Trophy.


toejam


Aug 3, 2006, 3:07 PM
Post #25 of 117 (10569 views)
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Registered: Sep 24, 2002
Posts: 358

Re: Convince me to do the "Right Thing." [In reply to]
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With whom am I compromising?
Your forceful partner? Personal demons? The good will of posterity?

I love mixed trad/sport routes, heck I love any chance to place good gear because it keeps me sharp and in practice for getting "out there". I'm one of those that sees a bolt next to a protectable crack as a defacement, something like a guard railing on a beautiful overlook. But I'm also a total coward, with no interest in accelerating my bodies already rapid decline. I kind of enjoy routes where the cruxes are well protected, but the easy stuff is a little runout. I completely despise the reverse, when the crux is unprotected, and the easier stuff is rock solid. Its not just about the safety, it alsofeels stupid when I'm climbing it, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So for me the question really hinges on how safe it is without the questionable bolts. The start of a climb is really a time to sew it up, and it doesn't sound like that is possible here. If you think there are really people who would want to lead it with gear, and you can bolt it such that a stick clip can be readily improvised for this section (without tearing up the local flora), great. Otherwise, I'd say bolt away.

Hope to move to the Sacramento area one of these days. Maybe I'll climb it someday.

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