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slavetogravity


Apr 20, 2008, 11:48 AM
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Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route
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With all the hullabalu about that new route on Half Dome I thought I'd share some perspective and show what's occuring in North Americas other granite climbing mecca Squamish.

Recently the University of British Columbia's Varcity Outdoors Culb has been at work developing a new route in Squamish. In recent years climbers realized that the development of climbing routes here demands the removal of soil and vegetation from the rock to ensure a quality route. A few years back a friend and I cleaned an old, long established, long overgrown route over two day. In total it took us 20 man hours to clean a crack that was about 100m long. We spent about 20 bucks on a broom and a couple of BB-Q brushes. Today that route now enjoys a reasonable amount of popularity.

In a similar effort the VOC has decided to tackle the seamingly impossible and establish a new route in one of the most heavily vegitated sections of the Chief. Crap Crags is a 5.7 and is the easiest line that gets you to the top of the Chief. This line is so vegitated that any would be accentionist is more likely to be pulling on tree then rock. Undetured by this the VOC has laid down over $10,000 dollars to finance their efforts, and are working at cleaning this line.


I haven't found a shoping list, but I have found a few photos of their efforts on line.

I'm sure this air compressor cost a few bucks.




As did that brand new rope


No Idea what you call this thing but it looks expensive. They weren't giving those coveralls away either.
[/



10,000 bucks for one route!! Can you believe that? This effort -what ever you wan't to call it- has got to be a worlds first.


(This post was edited by slavetogravity on Apr 20, 2008, 11:50 AM)


thomasribiere


Apr 20, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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In reply to:
10,000 bucks for one route!! Can you believe that?
No, I have hard times believing it. Is a single route really worth that much money? Is the equipment of a single crag really worth that much money?

Just to remove vegItation...


irregularpanda


Apr 20, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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wow.

Um, I know that those trees are slowly and steadily removing climbable lines from the chief, but wow.

I guess they got a huge pile of money from the olympic committee and want to spend it making sure that any trad climber can get to the top of the rock.... I have mixed feelings. On one hand, this will increase access to the gumbies. On the other hand, all the gumbies will be in one place.

I'm surprised they didn't spend their money on building a free campground on the queens land..... (joking) Seriously though, they probably could have spent the money in a thousand other ways.


giza


Apr 20, 2008, 1:20 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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slavetogravity wrote:
Recently the University of British Columbia's Varcity Outdoors Culb has been at work developing a new route in Squamish......Crap Crags is a 5.7 and is the easiest line that gets you to the top of the Chief.

The route that the VOC has opened up is called Europa and, although it crosses the line of Crap Crags several times, is an entirely new route. These guys have faced a lot of criticism for supposedly spending $10,000 to put up a new route but the point is that they have established a moderate multipitch route that tops out near Bellygood ledge. Kudos to the VOC for providing an opportunity for less experienced climbers to experience this area of the chief.


Moline


Apr 20, 2008, 1:28 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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  On a good note.....

Once you buy the equipment it can be reused over and over and over up to 4 times. Ater 4 times the equipment is used and who wants to use used equipment (sarcasm).


potreroed


Apr 20, 2008, 1:53 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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I have cleaned thousands of feet of dirty, vegetated cracks here in El Potrero Chico with nothing but a pruning saw, a crow bar, some brushes and lots of elbow grease. Methinks that 10,000 bucks could have been better spent elsewhere.


gunkiemike


Apr 20, 2008, 2:18 PM
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Re: [potreroed] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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I'll think of this route, especially the shot of the guy pulling (or is it lowering) the sawed off tree stump, next time I hear some ecologist bemoaning the effect climbing has on moss and lichen. The "lichen takes 100 years to grow back" lie being a favorite moan.


slavetogravity


Apr 20, 2008, 9:55 PM
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Re: [giza] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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giza wrote:
These guys have faced a lot of criticism for supposedly spending $10,000 to put up a new route.

Supposedly!??? I've got their donation spread sheet right here.

The following organizations and people have help to fund the project:

In reply to:
Varsity Outdoors Club--$2000
Jeff Mottershead (VOC)--$2000
Mountain Equipment Co-Op--$2000
Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Chapter--$500
Scott Nelson and Sandra Nicol (VOC)--$300
Christian Veenstra (VOC)--$100
Piotr Forysinski (VOC)--$100
Peter and Silke Gumplinger (BCMC)--$100
Matthew Carroll (VOC)--$100
Neil Beattie--$100
Bob Woodhouse (BCMC)--$80
Margaret Hanson (BCMC)--$60
Brian Wood (BCMC)--$60
Steve Mullen (VOC)--$50
Rob Brusse (ACC)--$35
Joanna Kolakowska (VOC)--$20
Bruce Cassels (BCMC)--$20
Urszula Paleczek (VOC)-$20
Other BCMC members--$300
Other VOC members--$24
Squamish Mountain Festival participants--$70
Raphael Tsen and Cathy Choiniki--$10
Climb-On customers--$40
Donations can also be given at Climb-On in Squamish.

If you wish to donate to the project by mail, please send a cheque to........

Personally, I'd like to have a look at their spread sheet, to see where the money went.

I coul'd see it all now. Tongue
"OK, so it says here that you've spent 600 dollars on rope, bolts, brooms and shovels, but is also shows that you've spent over 9000 dollars on snacks?"


getsomeethics


Apr 21, 2008, 5:59 AM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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money well wasted.


clintcummins


Apr 21, 2008, 12:18 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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Wow, this is different. In many places in the US, removing vegetation in a park is illegal, so it has become nearly a taboo subject to discuss.

Here's an (extreme?) example of what can happen when people discuss cleaning in the US:

http://www.mountainproject.com/...der_canyon/105746916

I hope they have a plan for maintaining the route. In my experience, vegetation comes back to places that have been cleaned - dirt accumulates from washing off ledges above, and from new accumulations of leaves and pine needles.

(This post was edited by clintcummins on Apr 21, 2008, 5:27 PM)


matthewc


Apr 25, 2008, 12:57 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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Nobody was paid to go cleaning, nor was gas, the van Jeff bought to work on the project, or anybody's personal gear (coveralls, or snacks) covered. The air compressor was $400 second hand, used to blow dirt out of cracks and off the climb in huge quantities (saving hundreds of hours of scrubbing), and is being donated to the access society.

What cost lots of money was the heavy lifting hardware (some of which you can being operated in that photo), four rap racks which all had the sets of bars replaced numerous times due to abrasion wear, and rope, of which the project went through far more than was expected due to damage in the process of cleaning. There is also a series of 7 rap stations from the top of pitch 4 to the ground (away from the route), so that the first 4 pitches can still be climbed all season, during the falcon closures.

As for the funding, it's worth noting first that Jeff is entitled to spend his own money as he sees fit - which is what he did, and where the vast majority of the money came from. Some people spend $100,000 on a car, which is of no benefit to anybody. Others, for whatever reason, spend money on something which will be of a lot of benefit to beginner climbers. The rest of the donations were given by people or organisations specifically to the Europa project, because they supported the idea. No money came from the olympic committee, and the money that was donated couldn't really have been better used elsewhere, because it was donated specifically by people and organisations who thought the project was a good idea, and wanted to see it done.

Hamish Mutch, one of the first ascensionists, who was a VOC member in the '60s, has now given his blessing to the renaming of the modern line. My understanding is that the new Climbers Guide to Squamish will still credit the first ascent to Hamish and Dick Culbert for the original "Crap crags" line, but also include a mention of how the modern line came to be developed. Personally, I think that's exactly how it should be.

I think Europa is a fantastic project. I have yet to climb it bottom-to-top but I've been on the route dozens of times, and climbed parts of it. I put in a significant number of cleaning trips over the last year. Probably 200+ hours work, although still far, far less than Jeff. Some of the climbing that was hiding beneath the vegetation and debris is great for the grade, in a wonderful location. Don't take my word for it though, please, climb it and decide for yourselves. A topo and full route description are now available on the updated page on the VOC wiki:

http://www.ubc-voc.com/wiki/Europa

Matthew


(This post was edited by matthewc on Apr 25, 2008, 1:00 PM)


snowey


Apr 25, 2008, 1:41 PM
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Shame on the VOC [In reply to]
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I don't like it.

Its one thing to remove some lichen with a brush but if they are actually removing large pieces of vegetation then maybe this route shouldn't be climbed.

How would you feel if mountain bikers started yanking out trees from the forest in order to make an easy trail?

Dare I say that forcing a line by significantly modifying the vegetation on the route might be worse than chipping a route. When you chip a route only the climbers notice, when you yank out trees EVERYONE notices. If this is whats going on then shame on the VOC.

Please tell me that I misunderstood the magnitude of cleaning.


matthewc


Apr 25, 2008, 1:56 PM
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Re: [snowey] Shame on the VOC [In reply to]
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Squamish is rather different to many climbing areas (where vegetation is slow-growing and fragile, and "gardening" to clean routes damages the ecosystem). If you look at old photos of the chief from the '50s compared to today, it is fairly obvious that the vegetation is taking over once-bare rock much much faster than routes are being cleaned.


irregularpanda


Apr 25, 2008, 2:04 PM
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Re: [matthewc] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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matthewc wrote:
The rest of the donations were given by people or organisations specifically to the Europa project, because they supported the idea. No money came from the olympic committee, and the money that was donated couldn't really have been better used elsewhere, because it was donated specifically by people and organisations who thought the project was a good idea, and wanted to see it done.

Well, I'm glad that locals are making squamish into the place they want it to be. You mentioned a new climbers guide....will it be the selected type or the comprehensive type?

The reason I ask is that I've used both, and the selected has much better route descriptions, approaches, and topos, while the comprehensive guide had probably 900+ more routes than the selected guide. I love my copy of the selected guide, and my only gripe with it is that it doesn't need to have any bouldering in there, at all.


matthewc


Apr 25, 2008, 2:42 PM
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Re: [irregularpanda] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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From what I've been told, Kevin Mclane is working on a new edition of the comprehensive guide, "The Climbers Guide to Squamish", and also a select guide but for a much wider region, called something like "Select Climbs in Western Canada".


applewood


Apr 25, 2008, 2:59 PM
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Re: [matthewc] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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Thanks for the detailed breakdown. I look forward to making the road trip and trying it... People don't often realize how much work goes into making a good route, sometimes just the passage of a lot of people over time, sometimes alot of gardening before any ascent is possible. Sometimes it it ruins it, sometimes it's great...., but it is a creative act, and a reward in itself.

I'm a bit uncertain about removing the trees though... I like having them on trad routes, to put runners on, and belay to, rap from and even pull up on. They add a destinctive quality (like the grand old things in the gunks). I'll have to see for myself if the gardening here was more like clearcutting.


maracas


Apr 26, 2008, 12:00 AM
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Re: [applewood] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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People's "volunteering work" here is quite expensive in Canada!

I once funded a 10 pitch plus fully bolted route for about a 1/30 of that!

No one funds places like Peter's Cat Lake's cimbs. Or the ton of draws/chains deposited at a well known crag at the island close to a lake. Or the beautiful routes at the cube in Kelowna.

Seriously, US 10,000????? amazing!!! for 1 route????? Ask PotreroEd what 100,000 pesos could have done to Time Wave Zero.

If I was any kind of realistic organization head and was asked for US10,000 for one route, I would laugh so hard on your face.

I guess that is how the developed first world countries work.


(This post was edited by maracas on Apr 26, 2008, 12:15 AM)


uhoh


Apr 26, 2008, 7:36 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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The standard ethic of today suggests that we minimize our impact on the environment around us, not tear it apart. That route is an abomination as far as I'm concerned and I will not climb it in protest of the massive breach of established ethics, not that I'll be in Squamish anytime soon.

What are they going to do when rain and melting snow carry new dirt onto the route?


creemore


Apr 26, 2008, 10:26 PM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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I also think this is terrible.

I have climbed in Squamish and understand the vegetation issue but I don't think it is a valuable reason. "Gardening" on routes is usually limited to simple tools. Not compressors and other power tools.

This is a very strange project to include University people in. I thought we were moving towards less impact. I really feel disappointed that this technique was taught and a reasonable thing to do if mother nature takes over. Great values to teach growing climbers!!!

Really strange project.


scrapedape


Apr 27, 2008, 9:36 AM
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Re: [uhoh] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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uhoh wrote:
The standard ethic of today suggests that we minimize our impact on the environment around us, not tear it apart. That route is an abomination as far as I'm concerned and I will not climb it in protest of the massive breach of established ethics

Whose ethics? Has it occurred to you that "established ethics" are established locally? Would you refuse to go sport climbing in France, because they've bolted the hell out of everything?

uhoh wrote:
not that I'll be in Squamish anytime soon.

Well then that's a pretty empty statement then, isn't it?


jefffski


Apr 27, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Re: [scrapedape] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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the squamish climbing community has an excellent relationship with the surrounding community.

both the squamish access society and the climbers access society of bc have worked very hard to make that happen. with their help, the stawamus chief is now a provincial park and the smoke bluffs are a municipal park and may soon be a provincial park too.

as the number of climbers has increased, these groups and various individuals and corporate sponsors have helped reduce climbers' impacts on the environment.

there is a nice campground, good parking, and improved trails and stairs. second (or third) growth trees that blocked sunlight have been removed, thus allowing climbs to stay moss free.

what has changed for the worse is traffic noise, urban development and road construction. thankfully, climbers and boulderers have helped keep most of the climbing areas open and beautiful. Europa is one more route that will showcase squamish as the jewel of canadian rock climbing.

so, please, my good american friends, keep your wars to yourself and just come visit the best place to live and play.


roughster


Apr 27, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Re: [slavetogravity] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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Meanwhile everyone who goes to the Chief drives through blasted bluffs, logged/clear-cut forests, and miles of freeway to climb or not climb this "abomination".

People need to get some perspective. What we are doing on the cliffs is a smidge of doo doo in the whole scope of "impact" or even lasting effects. The world loses more rock via natural weathering in one day then probably all of the impact combined from all rock climbers in the world for all time and including the future.

I am not advocating full-siege / lets do what we want, but it is a FA, if they want to put $10,000 into it to make sure it is a great route that will last for the ages, good for them. If the route is not trafficked, trust me, nature will return it to its natural state.


(This post was edited by roughster on Apr 27, 2008, 7:16 PM)


chossmonkey


Apr 28, 2008, 6:07 AM
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Re: [roughster] Squamish's new 10,000 dollar route [In reply to]
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Oh noes!!!!


They're clear cutting the Chief!!!





Here in Onterible they cry when you pull weeds out of the cliff.



$10k for one route seems way excessive. They could have gridbolted the whole cliff for that.


uhoh


Apr 28, 2008, 7:20 AM
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scrapedape wrote:
uhoh wrote:
The standard ethic of today suggests that we minimize our impact on the environment around us, not tear it apart. That route is an abomination as far as I'm concerned and I will not climb it in protest of the massive breach of established ethics

Whose ethics? Has it occurred to you that "established ethics" are established locally? Would you refuse to go sport climbing in France, because they've bolted the hell out of everything?

uhoh wrote:
not that I'll be in Squamish anytime soon.

Well then that's a pretty empty statement then, isn't it?

Of course it has occurred to me that ethics are established locally. Did you really think that would be an adequate argument to defend what's happened? Or that people would not condemn this even though they're not from the area?

roughster wrote:
Meanwhile everyone who goes to the Chief drives through blasted bluffs, logged/clear-cut forests, and miles of freeway to climb or not climb this "abomination".

People need to get some perspective. What we are doing on the cliffs is a smidge of doo doo in the whole scope of "impact" or even lasting effects. The world loses more rock via natural weathering in one day then probably all of the impact combined from all rock climbers in the world for all time and including the future.

I am not advocating full-siege / lets do what we want, but it is a FA, if they want to put $10,000 into it to make sure it is a great route that will last for the ages, good for them. If the route is not trafficked, trust me, nature will return it to its natural state.

When you put it that way, I suppose you're right. It really is just a smidge compared to all the other devastation that occurred in the development of the area, not unlike throwing trash out the window of my car is really just a smidge compared to the pollution my car emits when I drive it. So long as it's just a smidge relative to other damages, it's acceptable, right?

Just out of curiosity, how would you quantify a smidge? And when does a smidge become a smudge or something more than a smidge?


matthewc


Apr 28, 2008, 1:11 PM
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Clearly the scale of cleaning used to develop Europa is new, and therefore controversial. Most likely some people will always think it was a bad idea. Hopefully most, once they've climbed it, will agree that it's a fantastic route and was worth the effort.

We recently received a photo from one of the FAists of the original Crap Crags line from the '60s. It's worth looking at closely, because of the stark absence of as many trees and vegetation on the chief. If anything, we created a modern line by a process of restoring the area to more like how it was when the FAists climbed the original line. Most of the vegetation that was removed by us simply wasn't there 50 years ago when Dick Culbert and Hamish Mutch made the first ascent of Crap Crags.

1960's:



Today:



Also of note is that we found pitons in cracks buried under vegetation and numerous feet of dirt, which is part of the reason why we're not trying to claim any "first ascents" here, just that a modern line has been developed.

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