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BradP


Oct 2, 2007, 8:28 PM
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Dear Gunks climbers
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The Gunks is supposedly a climbing destination ensconced in traditional ethics. That is, a climbing area where routes are led from the ground up and ideally without permanently placed protection. In fact, many routes have been put up in the Gunks in impeccable style; hundreds of fine examples abound. Jacob's Ladder is quintessential. In 1960 Phil Jacobus on-sight led the first ascent of the Gunks' first 5.10. Jacob's Ladder is now rated 10b X. The 1970s saw the firm establishment of 5.12 in the Gunks, routes such as The Throne, Kama Sutra and Kansas City were established - the first ascentionists adhering to a staunch traditional ethic. Meanwhile Rich Romano developed Millbrook in the purest of style, forcing the creation of many R and X rated testpieces. In 1975 Creature Features saw its FA, only to have its first first ascentionists berated by Henry Barber as they had "Violated the high stylistic standards of the day by previewing the route... [on] toprope" (Dick Williams). Mark Robinson of Creature Features' FA party repented after Barber's chastising. The 80's saw a cadre of hard climbers out to demonstrate that difficult routes could be climbed ground up and without the use of pre-placed protection.

This past weekend I saw countless top-ropes obscuring the rock at the Nears and Trapps alike. Routes with proud histories are now being top-roped by 5.8 climbers (just because you can top-rope 5.11 or 5.12 does not mean you are a 5.11 or 5.12 climber). This undermines the potential for a 5.11 or 5.12 leader to repeat a route in the style of the FA. A progressive mindset dictates that one repeat the past with the minimum being the manner of the first ascent. No reversionism please. Worse than top-roping routes into submission however is the unnecessary clutter of flashy nylon adorning the gray quartzite as fixed top-rope anchors.

With the dictums established by past generations of Gunks climbers and leave no trace ethics in mind, I chose to begin the task of eliminating unnecessary clutter from the rock. I took a first step by removing years of slings off of the classic Bonnie's Roof. Many arbitrary anchors as these abound throughout the Gunks which serve no purpose other than to facilitate the ease of a top-rope ascent of a nearby route.

Most of all climb safe. I'll see you out there,
Brad


moose_droppings


Oct 2, 2007, 8:48 PM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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BradP wrote:
The Gunks is supposedly a climbing destination ensconced in traditional ethics. That is, a climbing area where routes are led from the ground up and ideally without permanently placed protection. In fact, many routes have been put up in the Gunks in impeccable style; hundreds of fine examples abound. Jacob's Ladder is quintessential. In 1960 Phil Jacobus on-sight led the first ascent of the Gunks' first 5.10. Jacob's Ladder is now rated 10b X. The 1970s saw the firm establishment of 5.12 in the Gunks, routes such as The Throne, Kama Sutra and Kansas City were established - the first ascentionists adhering to a staunch traditional ethic. Meanwhile Rich Romano developed Millbrook in the purest of style, forcing the creation of many R and X rated testpieces. In 1975 Creature Features saw its FA, only to have its first first ascentionists berated by Henry Barber as they had "Violated the high stylistic standards of the day by previewing the route... [on] toprope" (Dick Williams). Mark Robinson of Creature Features' FA party repented after Barber's chastising. The 80's saw a cadre of hard climbers out to demonstrate that difficult routes could be climbed ground up and without the use of pre-placed protection.

This past weekend I saw countless top-ropes obscuring the rock at the Nears and Trapps alike. Routes with proud histories are now being top-roped by 5.8 climbers (just because you can top-rope 5.11 or 5.12 does not mean you are a 5.11 or 5.12 climber). This undermines the potential for a 5.11 or 5.12 leader to repeat a route in the style of the FA. A progressive mindset dictates that one repeat the past with the minimum being the manner of the first ascent. No reversionism please. Worse than top-roping routes into submission however is the unnecessary clutter of flashy nylon adorning the gray quartzite as fixed top-rope anchors.

With the dictums established by past generations of Gunks climbers and leave no trace ethics in mind, I chose to begin the task of eliminating unnecessary clutter from the rock. I took a first step by removing years of slings off of the classic Bonnie's Roof. Many arbitrary anchors as these abound throughout the Gunks which serve no purpose other than to facilitate the ease of a top-rope ascent of a nearby route.

Most of all climb safe. I'll see you out there,
Brad

Good luck thru life.


armsrforclimbing


Oct 2, 2007, 9:06 PM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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You try telling a New Yorker of questionable sobriety he has to get off a top rope on the carriage path (5 mins away from the cars) because its unethical.

Seriously, I can sympathize, but I think that time has passed for the Gunks. The top ropes have been there for years. I saw someone rope solo a sick overhang with a self belay device 2 weekends ago near Alfonse in the Nears. Much more bad ass, but also not the FA technique. It just so happens that its not as popular or accessable to use that technique. If it was, we'd be seeing similar posts about all those damn antisocial rope soloers taking up the good multipitch on a single line.

Short of banning TR's I don't see any way of stopping it, and I am not advocating that at all. Short of that the rats nest will be back in a week or two. Good for top ropers, bad for crowd control.

(Sidebbar) You do bring up an interesting point though. Is it wrong to cut the slings?


grinspoon


Oct 2, 2007, 9:13 PM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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While you may have a case for removing "unnecessary clutter" I disagree with some of your other statements. I don't see anything wrong with somebody TRing a route they aren't capable of leading. They aren't interfering with your opportunity to experience the climb as the FA did by adding bolts or anything of that matter, we're talking about setting up a TR. How does that "undermine" your lead of the climb? While they may be TRing a route when you want to lead it..tough shit! First come, first serve, if you don't like crowds..don't climb at the Gunks. Your position that a 5.8 climber should not be TRing something harder bares a striking resemblance to the Appalachian Mountain Club's early policy that climbers had to be certified route by route...

On a less articulate note..drop the fucking ego. WAHHHH! Some 5.8 climber is TRing the line I want to lead! How dare they! That rock is reserved for elite douches such as myself!


armsrforclimbing


Oct 2, 2007, 9:14 PM
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I submit no it is not, its just a bit neurotic.


paintrain


Oct 2, 2007, 9:32 PM
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Re: [grinspoon] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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grinspoon wrote:
On a less articulate note..drop the fucking ego. WAHHHH! Some 5.8 climber is TRing the line I want to lead! How dare they! That rock is reserved for elite douches such as myself!

I find these days it isn't the fact they are toproping, it is the fact that they set up camp on a route that others might want to enjoy that day as well.

In the past there was etiquette to climbing. Climb a route, get done, take it down, or offer it to everyone (its called sharing). The mentoring process is pretty well gone, so folks just treat it like a picnic spot. First come first serve is fine, but don't be a pig either.

I cut away trash anchors all the time. They shouldn't be left and can be misleading to people climbing from the ground up. If it is the common belay spot or part of the route I will rethink it, but often times it gets folks into trouble.

PT


climbsomething


Oct 2, 2007, 9:37 PM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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BradP wrote:
Routes with proud histories are now being top-roped by 5.8 climbers (just because you can top-rope 5.11 or 5.12 does not mean you are a 5.11 or 5.12 climber). This undermines the potential for a 5.11 or 5.12 leader to repeat a route in the style of the FA. A progressive mindset dictates that one repeat the past with the minimum being the manner of the first ascent. No reversionism please.
T4-

The above nugget is like a 5.9 handcrack. Just because jamming trips up a lot of people doesn't mean it's not the same mindless move over and over again.

Try harder next time. Maybe throw in something sexist, or a dig at Pennsylvanians.


(This post was edited by climbsomething on Oct 2, 2007, 9:40 PM)


armsrforclimbing


Oct 2, 2007, 9:40 PM
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Re: [paintrain] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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I tend to agree with you, you should be prepared to set up some sort of rap anchor. The thing is at the Gunks its more or less expected that there will be a multiple old slings/rings at a popular locations. In my mind if they are cut, the next logical step is put one back up (or walk off Shocked).


BradP


Oct 3, 2007, 4:06 AM
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grinspoon wrote:
They aren't interfering with your opportunity to experience the climb as the FA did by adding bolts or anything of that matter, we're talking about setting up a TR. How does that "undermine" your lead of the climb?

10 climbers will top rope the same route (or two) all day long, tying up a classic route all day. See the Mac wall on a weekend for example.

grinspoon wrote:
Your position that a 5.8 climber should not be TRing something harder bares a striking resemblance to the Appalachian Mountain Club's early policy that climbers had to be certified route by route...

No it does not. You can lead whatever the hell you like. Perhaps you should speak with a Vulgarian regarding the ethics of top-rope ascents. I know what Dick Williams' stance is.



grinspoon wrote:
On a less articulate note..drop the fucking ego. WAHHHH! Some 5.8 climber is TRing the line I want to lead! How dare they! That rock is reserved for elite douches such as myself!

The rock is reserved for no one. I am against unsightly clutter on the rock which I am seeing in two forms: that of an absurd quantity of nylon litter and the people hanging from that nylon litter all day long


BradP


Oct 3, 2007, 4:09 AM
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Re: [armsrforclimbing] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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armsrforclimbing wrote:
(Sidebbar) You do bring up an interesting point though. Is it wrong to cut the slings?

I don't think so. The slings I am cutting were not put up on the FAs, ergo I can (and will) argue that you or I have just as much right to remove them as did the individual had to put them up in the first place.


shear


Oct 3, 2007, 4:43 AM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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....and dick williams is just another person like you and like me. leading 5.12 is nothing new and at the end of the day, it has just as much impact on the cimbing world as TR'ing a 5.5. drop the ego and just be psyched that people are getting out there and loving the routes.


however, i do understand your stance on tying up the same route with top ropes all day long....that is an entirely different scenario.


wanderlustmd


Oct 3, 2007, 4:47 AM
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Re: [shear] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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There is nothing wrong with TRing a route....hogging them is one thing. But a person can climb in whatever style they choose, as long as they aren't altering the rock, etc.

This also might be a witty troll


LostinMaine


Oct 3, 2007, 5:44 AM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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BradP wrote:
The Gunks is supposedly a climbing destination ensconced in traditional ethics.

change "is" to "was" and I agree with you. Like many other things in the world, it became too popular for its own good (assuming that this ethic was "good").

There is no way that you can expect the masses of people to have the same climbing ethic as you do. It's too hard for weekend warriors too keep up with... unless they are content to never climbing something harder than the first pitch of Hawk.

Peace can be had by walking down past Roger's Escape Hatch and into the land of the alligators. I'm not saying it's right that one should be forced to walk the full mile down the carriage road to find fewer crowds, but standing at the uberpooper spouting off about historical ethics to someone setting up camp on Laurel (who most likely wouldn't know who Fritz and Hans were) seems like pissing into the wind.


kimsismour


Oct 3, 2007, 5:47 AM
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Re: [wanderlustmd] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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So basically you are saying you would rather have a bunch of climbing injuries that will definitly effect access issues, as opposed to people who are learning, and keeping our sport alive, being able to practice and enjoy the sport???? that makes absolutly no sence to me. Everyone has to start somewhere. I am sure if you really wanted to climb a certian line, if you ask, most people will allow you to jump on that section. Expecially if they have been camped out there for a while.

The problem is the lack of communication, the basis of assumptions, and the EGO of some people. I don't care if you are leading 5.12 trad, rockin' sport routes, bouldering, or top roping. We are all on the rock because we love some part of the sport. Wheather it be the personal or physical challenge, or the satisfaction of making it to the top. We all have our own reasons. These arguments are getting just as bad as "skiers vs. snowboarders". If you have a problem dealing with people, then maybe you should consider climbing somewhere other than the Gunks. How many times have you asked to climb a route that someone is TRing? I know if I was on a TR that someone wanted to lead I would be more than happy to let them run up the route, because then I get to watch :-)

As for cutting down the anchors, they were put there for the convience and sharing of all climbers. Yes there are some that need to be cut down due to natural wear and tear, but they were put there for a purpose. By removing them you are going to make everyone elses lives more difficult.

Just my $0.02 --


moss1956


Oct 3, 2007, 6:09 AM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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What an attitude.

Hardly anybody climbs. If you went and quizzed a random selection of people you would find that less than 10 percent of the population has even tried roped climbing.

So you climbed and climbed and climbed and got to know the sport. (Just like me.) Big Whoop.

Let other people enjoy the sport on their own terms. Bring beginners along with you so that they can learn to climb safely. Be nice to people you meet.
Explain what is going on to curious onlookers. Pick up trash, clear blocked trails, shore up erosion, and enjoy one of the simplest, purest pleasures there is... climbing.


freedan


Oct 3, 2007, 6:52 AM
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Re: [moss1956] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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Crowds, fees, garbage, holier than thou climbers that look down upon others in the guise of "ethics" and self appointed arbiters of good climbing style. Yet another reason the Gunks holds no appeal. I'll stick to the peace and quiet of the free endless possibilities of wilderness climbing in the Adks where arbiters of style don't play because it might actually take a few hours of shwacking with a map and compass to get to.


shockabuku


Oct 3, 2007, 7:13 AM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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You sir, are nearly completely out of touch with the larger commumity that uses that climbing resource. As a genuinely intended suggestion, move somewhere that the climbing community is more aligned with your beliefs.


jgloporto


Oct 3, 2007, 7:32 AM
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Re: [grinspoon] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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grinspoon wrote:
First come, first serve, if you don't like crowds..don't climb at the Gunks.

Actually the traditional etiquette was lead climbers get priority and actually lead climbers should be given some birth if someone is TR'ing an adjacent line by either moving or pulling the rope.

Unfortunately the mob scene has all but eliminated this practice... oh, well.

I have one word for the OP: MILLBROOK!

Good ole gumby free Millbrook. At this point, I've all but decided to spend the rest of the season there.

If the three or four parties that are down there are too many for you, then I have another word: DAKS!


Partner rgold


Oct 3, 2007, 7:34 AM
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Re: [freedan] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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The fact of the matter is that style eroded slowly over a long period of time, and there is no going back to the old ethics, if that means getting the general climbing population to embrace seventies climbing style. Top-roping has become a fact of life and the general lack of consideration of top-ropers is, I suppose, just an aspect of me-first, me-only human behavior in crowded conditions.

But slings added for the convenience of individual climbers? Nowhere that I know has it ever been a feature of climbing practice that such things become somehow inviolate once placed. Climbers have always placed and removed gear, and no one has a "right" to expect to find a pile of slings somewhere. The sling messes in the Gunks and elsewhere are ugly and fundamentally a source of danger. Cleaning them up is appropriate and, in my opinion, a public service, but that is beside the point. Removeable gear left in place has been, well, removeable for as long as there has been climbing.

Personally, I think folks who create a top-rope anchor ought to do it with their own gear and remove the anchor when they are finished, and anything they leave out of laziness is totally fair game for cleaning; no one should expect to find such anchors in place any more than they should expect to find a stuck nut or cam to be in place forever. And if, in some places, slings appear and disappear and reappear, so be it. This is still better than ratty old litter nests of dubious safety and execrable esthetics.


Partner cracklover


Oct 3, 2007, 7:48 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
You sir, are nearly completely out of touch with the larger commumity that uses that climbing resource. As a genuinely intended suggestion, move somewhere that the climbing community is more aligned with your beliefs.

I don't think so.

In reply to:
I took a first step by removing years of slings off of the classic Bonnie's Roof.

Thanks. Those *were* an eyesore, and completely unnecessary. And good for you for putting your name to your action.

So here's a question for you: how do you want to deal with the issue that the worst offenders are not groups of yahoos with no traditional ethic (yes, these folks are there too), but guides who perhaps know better, but it is their livelihood on the line? Granted, most of the guides have a good attitude and are fairly apologetic about it, but they're still tying up beautiful multipitch lines like Hawk for half the day.

I really don't see any solution to this issue, short of limiting the number of guides/clients, which I believe the Mohonk Preserve does already. Or the removal of all the bolt anchors, which would, I think, be unwarranted.

GO


paulraphael


Oct 3, 2007, 7:56 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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it' not in the spirit of the place to tell people what to do. that said, i think it's a matter of courtesy to not hog a route, particularly a classic route. there are routes at the gunks that people travel long distances to lead. it's one thing to wait in line because three parties are ahead of you; it's another to wait all day because because someone's set up a toprope and moved in with all their friends.

i wish the mohonk preserve would post suggestions about this (it's not their style, though). go ahead and toprope, but avoid classic routes if possible, avoid camping out in the same place for more than half an hour or so, and offer to let others use your rope or lead through. better yet, drive another 10 minutes to peterskill where the rock is just as good and there are topropes a go-go.


wanderlustmd


Oct 3, 2007, 8:00 AM
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^ I agree, but the OP seems to be drawing a weird relationship between the act of TRing with ethics. He starts off with a rant about old school ground up (which I perfectly respect, btw) then goes on to saying that people have no buisness TRing routes because they "prevent" ascents in a similar style.

BS. First come, first serve. That said, one shouldn't hog route. It happens and can lead to frustration...we've all been there, but saying that TRing is "bad" goes a bit too far; "Top roping into submission..." give me a break! Get over yourself. Style is a personal thing, and if you climb in style that justifies your own point of view, who cares what someone else is doing as long as they aren't having a negative effect on the enviroment ( chipping and/or bolting like crazy) or jeopradizing access. The OPs post makes it seem like he feels threatened by TR climbers, which is an ego problem and not a ethics problem.

"With the dictums established by past generations of Gunks climbers and leave no trace ethics in mind, I chose to begin the task of eliminating unnecessary clutter from the rock. I took a first step by removing years of slings off of the classic Bonnie's Roof. Many arbitrary anchors as these abound throughout the Gunks which serve no purpose other than to facilitate the ease of a top-rope ascent of a nearby route."

I completely agree that excess webbing is unecessary/unsafe, and if people are leaving their TR rigs up then they should be removed, but to equate the practice TRing itself as bad ethics is wrong. It may be bad style in your opinion, but your style may be bad in someone elses. As long as they respect others (not hogging routes, etc.) and the environment (no excess webbing, bolting, and all that crap), people can climb in whatever style they want.


(This post was edited by wanderlustmd on Oct 3, 2007, 8:01 AM)


rhythm164


Oct 3, 2007, 8:03 AM
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Re: [BradP] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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BradP wrote:
The Gunks is supposedly a climbing destination ensconced in traditional ethics. That is, a climbing area where routes are led from the ground up and ideally without permanently placed protection. In fact, many routes have been put up in the Gunks in impeccable style; hundreds of fine examples abound. Jacob's Ladder is quintessential. In 1960 Phil Jacobus on-sight led the first ascent of the Gunks' first 5.10. Jacob's Ladder is now rated 10b X. The 1970s saw the firm establishment of 5.12 in the Gunks, routes such as The Throne, Kama Sutra and Kansas City were established - the first ascentionists adhering to a staunch traditional ethic. Meanwhile Rich Romano developed Millbrook in the purest of style, forcing the creation of many R and X rated testpieces. In 1975 Creature Features saw its FA, only to have its first first ascentionists berated by Henry Barber as they had "Violated the high stylistic standards of the day by previewing the route... [on] toprope" (Dick Williams). Mark Robinson of Creature Features' FA party repented after Barber's chastising. The 80's saw a cadre of hard climbers out to demonstrate that difficult routes could be climbed ground up and without the use of pre-placed protection.

This past weekend I saw countless top-ropes obscuring the rock at the Nears and Trapps alike. Routes with proud histories are now being top-roped by 5.8 climbers (just because you can top-rope 5.11 or 5.12 does not mean you are a 5.11 or 5.12 climber). This undermines the potential for a 5.11 or 5.12 leader to repeat a route in the style of the FA. A progressive mindset dictates that one repeat the past with the minimum being the manner of the first ascent. No reversionism please. Worse than top-roping routes into submission however is the unnecessary clutter of flashy nylon adorning the gray quartzite as fixed top-rope anchors.

With the dictums established by past generations of Gunks climbers and leave no trace ethics in mind, I chose to begin the task of eliminating unnecessary clutter from the rock. I took a first step by removing years of slings off of the classic Bonnie's Roof. Many arbitrary anchors as these abound throughout the Gunks which serve no purpose other than to facilitate the ease of a top-rope ascent of a nearby route.

Most of all climb safe. I'll see you out there,
Brad

I don't think I've ever stumbled across a more whiney, snivilling wad of trash on this website than your post, and this is rockclimbing.com we're talking about here. True, the Gunks have seen thier fair share of ballsey FA's and repeats, but that's no reason to get on your soapbox and start pissing and moaning about toprope usage. One of the things that draws people to the Gunks is the ease in which things can be toproped, so what if you see someone toproping, who cares? People like toproping. Just because they aren't doing it in hobnail boots with a rack of 3 pins on a goldline doesn't mean they have no right to get on the route. And how does toperoping undermine anyone's potential to do anything? If you feel as though topropes get in the way of your flailing up a 5.12, get there ealier and quit bitching. Do whatever you want, just don't use cams on older routes, since by your logic, that undermines the validity of the FA. And it seems to me that someone like yourself who thinks they have the authority to tell people whether or not they're a 5.11 climber, has no business telling people whether or not they're a 5.11 climber.

Sweet jesus, I just took a minute to reread your posting, and honestly, a more putrid wad of elitist bullshit I have never heard. Congratulations, you're the reason people talk shit about the Gunks.

That being said, there is one point I will agree with you on concerning toprope usage, it's not cool if there's a party camped out on a classic route that someone will surely want to lead that day, but I don't think it's a question of ethics, more just a question of manners. They have as much right to toprope it as I would to lead it, but good manners would dictate that they let the leading party climb through, espeically if a request is made.


(This post was edited by rhythm164 on Oct 3, 2007, 8:10 AM)


tomcat


Oct 3, 2007, 8:04 AM
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Re: [rgold] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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The amount of toproping that goes on in the Gunks is out of control.I spent a lot of time there in the eighties and rarely did anyone toprope right of the Uberfall,period.A simple rule is that if the climb is more than the height of your rope bent in half,it's a lead climb.

There is no place safer to lead than the Gunks.Most of the time you can place more frequent gear than you get bolts at a sport area.The pitches are short and end on ledges.Many idiot proof anchors.Greatest selection of easy leads in the world.If you can't lead there....give up!!!

I've seen people that could not get up Thin Slabs Direct("it's these shoes")move over and start toproping Sente....WTF.

The OP isn't being elitist,climbing is about leading.Toproping is for the gym.


socialist1


Oct 3, 2007, 8:07 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] Dear Gunks climbers [In reply to]
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Cheers to BradP for putting it out there. While I may not agree with all of his statements, the top-roping craze has reached epic proportions. For example, the past three weekends in a row I have walked by the seasons area to see 3 to 5 ropes setup for tr. There have been groups of people coming by, hoping to lead said routes only to discover an unused tr over the route with people just standing around.

If you are going to toprope a super classic route, be quick! If people are waiting to lead, take one burn each (without excessive dogging) and leave. If there is only one leader in a group of 3 or more, consider toproping something where leaders wont be queueing up or go to Peterskill.

For those who think this is an ego thing, think again. This is a regular occurance on routes of all grades: Uberfall - Rodo, Laurel, Kens,... Frogs Head area- City Lights, Frogs Head, ... Drunkards ... Snookeys ... The list goes on and on. I just ask people to be respectful of a leader at any grade and be quick on TRs.

Also, those who havent climbed at the Gunks on a busy fall weekend may want to stay out of the conversation. Consensus has it that few other places can compare in terms of crowding and unless you have seen it, you may not realize how bad it can be...

Ross

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