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karlbaba


May 21, 2003, 1:21 PM
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First Ascender Registry Proposal
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NOTE: The First Ascender Registry is meant to be a people's history of rocklimbing. The original proposal included gathering information that included FA recommendations for anchor replacement and bolt addition/removal. The original post remains below to add context to the replies. The input that we got from folks suggested that soliciting bolt info was too sensitive and controversial.

Since a big part of our sport involves the consensus of the climbing community, we listened to that input from fellow climbers. We are moving forward with collecting history and perspective from first ascenders without asking about route change/bolts/chopping/retro/ and so on. (so don't get yur panties in a bunch!) so here goes! I'm sure if we can get the history of our sport from it's pioneers before it's too late, that our sport will be richer because of it. Here's the original post, be sure to read the edits.

++++++++++++++++++++++

The opinions of the first ascent party have always been given serious consideration by the climbing community. When it comes to adding bolted anchors or additional protection bolts to routes, we ask the first ascent party's opinion.

Some first ascents were put up in a bold style and were intended to stay that way. Other first ascents were put up in a bold style because the party ran out of time or bolts. Some first ascensionists have changed their outlook on protection with the advent of sport climbing or because of family responsibilities, and others feel the same way that they did when they put up the route.

One problem we have as a climbing community is that we really donít know what the feelings of many first ascensionists are. We tend to assume they all sit around wearing wool underwear with a sense of indigence that people are putting up well protected routes in modern times. Maybe yes, maybe no.

I have talked to a number of first ascenders who say that they intend to go back to some of their dangerous routes and add anchors or protection bolts so more people could enjoy the routes. On the other hand, Iím sure just many first ascenders would like their routes left alone. They want their bold statement to stand untouched.

I just saw the movie about Yosemite Climbing history called Vertical Frontier. Itís a good history. It was shocking to see how many of the pioneers of our sport died in the past few years. Itís important to record the views of those who forged our climbing heritage before they pass from the scene.

I have a proposal that Iím putting out there in case somebody has the inspiration, energy, and webspace to take action on it. It is to offer climbers who put up new routes a place to register their stories, preferences and intentions regarding their creations. Volunteers could contact veteran first ascenders from the past and record their views for the consideration of future climbing communities. The first ascenders themselves could post information about their creations.

They could ask that their routes remain unchanged. They could relate how the route came about. They could give their view of local ethics. They could stipulate that they think adding anchors or bolts in certain places would be appropriate. They could advocate retrobolting by anyone, or established locals, or no one. They could state an intention to work on the route themselves. They could put the evolution of their route into the hands of future climbers based on local consensus. We don't know how climbing will change in the next 300 years, but those future generations won't understand each area's historical ethics and culture unless we them tell. Harding would have something different to say than Robbins. Bachar might have a different view than Kauk.

Rockclimbing.com has an extensive worldwide route database that can be edited and expanded by users. A workable registry can be worked into the database with the support of the owners of Rockclimbing.com

I am not proposing a tool to promote retrobolting or to ensure routes remain unchanged. I am merely offering a tool to promote communication and self regulation by the climbing community. Itís better for everyone if we can minimize bolt wars and stress among each other. There should still be climbers 300 years from now enjoying the routes that were put up in the past 60 years. They wonít know what the first ascenders intended for those routes unless we ask. If the popularity of climbing sustains, the pressure to change routes will increase. Letís do something to help those future generations of climbers come to agreement.

I intend to post this on a number of internet forums but am posting it here first to await feedback since I cited rockclimbing.com as a place where a first ascender registry might be located. Wouldn't want to make assumptions. Feedback? Conerns? Support?

Peace
Karl Baba

Edit: Rockclimbing.com is now behind us. I'm posting this info gradually on other forums to create a period of public comment. This is a community project, not "my baby" I repeat, this is not a dating service for retrobolters but a record of individual histories and view that come together to make our collective climbing awareness. The future will undoubtedly bring change though, and consideration of future route change/protection should be a part of the dialog.

Second Edit:
After reading many comments during this "Public Comment Period" it is obvious that concerns about retrobolting are foremost in people's minds, and the advantages of knowing the FA party's opinion about the any potential route changes in the future are not particularly valued.

Folks seem to want the FA party's take on history and the local area, and some interesting stories about their routes.

Personally, it seems to me like parents telling the school, please don't give our teenage daughter any sex education! It will just make her want to go get drilled!

It is true, though, that information has consequences. Obscure Routes that get "supertopoed" skyrocket in popularlity and big wall routes that get "ASCA'ed" are morelikely to become trade routes.

But this isn't about me so...

I think it would be wise to get first ascender's general comments under the listing of their name, and anecdotes about their specific routes can go under the "FA notes" for each route if they care to share stories.

No enouragement should be given to comment on bolting issues particular to the route and hopefully each general area can have a link to a local ethics summary, reprinted with permission if possible, from the local guidebook or paraphrased by a local. No blanket "will or intent about my routes in general" should be asked for either.

I wouldn't prohibit talk of bolting or chopping cause I think free speech is critical, but the introduction to the registry can shape how it is used. If we don't make it about bolting, it won't tend to be. I think the concerns expressed over retrobolting issues should be respected.

The issues and problems that arise from bolting issues still be with us though. Perhaps a better understanding of the past will help. Even if it doesn't, we will have a better history than just the polished accounts of the sponsored folks detailing their cutting edge climbs.

Peace

Karl


misha


May 21, 2003, 1:48 PM
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It's simple: If you don't know what the first ascentionist thinks, don't alter the route in any way. Even if the FA wanted something retrobolted, i wouldn't reccomend doing it because it takes away from the character and adventure of the climb. Anyone who thinks otherwise is disrespectful and selfish.


mesomorf


May 21, 2003, 2:34 PM
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In reply to:
[Retrobolting] takes away from the character and adventure of the climb. Anyone who thinks otherwise is disrespectful and selfish.
Even if it's the first ascentionist him- or herself doing the retrobolting?

Karl, what if one of the FA wants retrobolts and the other does not?


misha


May 21, 2003, 2:43 PM
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I can see times when retrobolting might me in order. For instance, replacing rusting bolts is always accpetable. If the FA had soloed or toproped the route, that too would be OK.

However, just because somebody climbs something first, that gives them no right to desecratea route. The element of risk should be kept for those who enjoy the added danger. If you aren't up to creating a new route in good style, then let somebody else have the enjoyment of being the first.


atg200


May 21, 2003, 2:47 PM
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that is irrelevant to karl's post misha.

i think this is a great idea karl.


crazywacky


May 21, 2003, 2:56 PM
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I think it's a great idea, and a great project.

It would certainly be a good tool for future climbers, as well as the current generations of climbers.

Especially if we were able to get a feel for what the First Ascent party thought as they were putting up the route, as well as maybe what drove them to put it up in the first place...

Some fields could be what they would grade it, equipment used, how many original bolts and then all the good stuff about the experience of putting the route up (short story time?)

I would certainly be interested in helping you out with this.


karlbaba


May 21, 2003, 2:57 PM
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I don't think it's that simple at all. First ascenders don't always finish their routes.

When I did the second ascent of Galactic Hitchhiker, I contacted the first ascent party for a topo. They said the planned to return to add a few bolts to Olympic wall section of the climb. They haven't been back. Would it be wrong if they stated that it was their intention to finish bolting that part of the climb, or to allow somebody else to do it.

Scott Burke told me that his route "Pieces of Eight" on Cathedral was a good route and that he thought about going back and adding some bolts and good anchors so folks could enjoy it. It's not adventurous if nobody climbs it. It's just a few feet right of a climb, central pillar, that has huge long waits to start, and yet try to find one anybody who has done it. Would you tell Scott to leave his route alone because "it's there"?

Space Babble is another Cathedral route that Kauk would consider letting bolts be added to. I rappeled it once, toproping the pitches. Some of the best 5.9 face climbing in the valley, but has bad anchors and sometimes zero pro on a pitch. The route is so seldom done that we could rip the 1 inch webbing at the anchors with our bare hands. If Ron wanted to let one of his buddies fix up the route, what would you say?

On the other hand, I would tend to assume the John Bachar doesn't want anyone bolting his 5 star death route "solitary confinement" His opinion might carry more weight 120 years from now if future climbers could look it up

Routes in Tuolumne and even the Valley have been put up with single 1/4 inch anchors. Some have been upgraded. Leave the rest alone?

Naturally, the climbing community over all might not approve of some first ascender's vision, but that's part of the dynamic anyway. They had to face that when they put up the route and they will have to face it if they change the route.

Anyway, it just one of the considerations to be noted as climbers self regulate their sport. If only one first ascender can be located, we just have to use our best judgement in view of all the factors.

There used to be a fixed pin at the crux of East Butt of El Cap. The pin pulled and somebody bolted it. Al Steck even approved of the bolt. It was still chopped. It's possible to get gear to protect this crux anyway. Right, wrong, neither? Who knows, at least the first ascent party can't be completely cited to justify that bit of self regulation.

It's a complicated issue. That's why we fight about it. I just suggesting a communication tool to help keep the rock from being the battleground. I think insisting on your view alone is possibly a more selfish act than being willing to work as a comunity.

Peace

karl


brianinslc


May 21, 2003, 3:09 PM
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In reply to:
It's simple: If you don't know what the first ascentionist thinks, don't alter the route in any way. Even if the FA wanted something retrobolted, i wouldn't reccomend doing it because it takes away from the character and adventure of the climb. Anyone who thinks otherwise is disrespectful and selfish.

I guess I could also make the arguement, that a first ascensionist could put up an X or R rated route in a manner that would be considered disrespectful and selfish. If an area has fun, well protected moderate face climbs, and a hardman climber comes in and puts up a horror show with minimal pro and deathly runouts, maybe on some of the nicer good rock in the area, then wouldn't that be considered not so good?

Chatted with an old time climber friend recently especially about runout Tuolumne routes. He thought some of the poorly protected routes there were "BS", and a monument to someone's ego rather than a gift of a decent climb to the community. Interesting for someone who spent time in yosemite since the early 60's. Recently retired from around here...some folks will know who this is.... Anyhoo, I thought an interesting comment. Snake Dike was one example we talked about. What a "gift" to moderate climbers that route is.

On one side, the rock belongs to everyone. On the other, is tradition and local ethics.

I respect especially ground up stuff (I don't mean hamburger, although, I like hamburger, har har). No excuse for an R or X rated rappel placed sports route. But, I also recognize that some FA folk will skip adding pro on sporty runouts because they don't want to take the time to do it (and are strong enough mentally and physically to not as well).

Karl, I think your's is a good idea. Get the FA thoughts documented. Then take the arguement from there. Nice.

Brian in SLC


misha


May 21, 2003, 3:19 PM
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I agree, if a climb has certain death fall potential (80 foot route w/ one rp 30 ft up), it is acceptable to bolt it. However if there is a risky climb that can be climbed using natural pro, it's stupid for someone to come along and add 20 pounds of bolts.


karlbaba


May 21, 2003, 3:36 PM
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Hereís what Iíd like to see if Rockclimbing.com would like to host this. The comments of a first ascender regarding a specific route could go into the info on that route in the RC.com database. Shouldnít be much muss or fuss about that.

The extra that would be great would be a alphabetized list of first ascenders with opinions on record. So folks could look up a climberís overall attitude and comments.

This is not about advocating for or against bolts or permission to alter the ethics of whole areas. It about knowing what the first ascent party feels before we canít reach them anymore. The rest is up to the climbing community. This way issues can get ironed out before the vigilantes need to get involved.

Peace

Karl


jhwnewengland


May 21, 2003, 3:49 PM
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misha wrote:
"I agree, if a climb has certain death fall potential (80 foot route w/ one rp 30 ft up), it is acceptable to bolt it."

Actually, often times it is not acceptable to bolt it. I like Karl's idea, because he advocates working as a community. He doesn't presume that his views on the subject are the correct views - he knows that if a decision is to be made, it must be made together. And even then (as in the case of the Steck-approved bolt on the East Buttress) bolts will get chopped.

Unfortuantely, the credibility of information posted to a website is suspect. How is the climbing community to know that the FA'ists views are being correctly represented on the net? That shouldn't dissuade the community from trying, but it will always be a relevant issue. Even views expressed in printed books aren't necessarily accurate...


karlbaba


May 21, 2003, 4:13 PM
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The previous poster is correct. Website information is vulnerable to fraud and trolls. The system will always be flawed, but some system is better than none. Perhaps certain priveleges for posting this kind of info will have to be granted or earned or identity authenticated. It can't be too rigorous or we won't get the imput. The true first ascent party might find out about any erroneous attribution and correct it. Valid points though.

My feeling is it would be better than nothing. It would create a dialog with the past as we communicate with those retired from climbing or those who influenced climbing's evolution.

Peace

Karl


roninthorne


May 21, 2003, 4:43 PM
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In reply to:

I guess I could also make the arguement, that a first ascensionist could put up an X or R rated route in a manner that would be considered disrespectful and selfish. If an area has fun, well protected moderate face climbs, and a hardman climber comes in and puts up a horror show with minimal pro and deathly runouts, maybe on some of the nicer good rock in the area, then wouldn't that be considered not so good?

Depends on whether you're trying to justify your point of view and pet project, or trying to see things from the POV of said horrorshow hardperson; someone willing to put a few more of their chips on the line to do something no one else has done.

If no one else has previously developed this piece of rock, where does anyone who did not contribute to and/or participate in the FA suddenly acquire the right/authority to judge their efforts as "disrespectful or selfish"?

If the hardware used is bogus, or the bolts placed in an improper manner, then there is cause for discussion. If the climb is a horrorshow simply because that is not the way you, the judge (who never had the time/motivation/ability to develop the route in the first place) would have done it, well... sorry, charlie... but that is the price of following, instead of leading.

In reply to:
Chatted with an old time climber friend recently especially about runout Tuolumne routes. He thought some of the poorly protected routes there were "BS", and a monument to someone's ego rather than a gift of a decent climb to the community.

Possibly, but until proven, that is simply one climber's opinion, and in no way justifies retrobolting/altering those routes without the FA's permission. I've been accused of creating R/X routes just to feed my ego, by a member of RC.com, and, as I explained (repeatedly) to that entity, I had no such intention... it just worked out that way, and that's where my head and focus level was, at the time. To be honest, I was so thrilled to be climbing at the technical level involved that I assigned the risk only minimal attention; enough to deal with it realistically and get out alive. Not bragging or anything of the kind, just the way I'm wired, and how many of those horrorshows you fret about probably came into existance.

In reply to:
No excuse for an R or X rated rappel placed sports route. But, I also recognize that some FA folk will skip adding pro on sporty runouts because they don't want to take the time to do it (and are strong enough mentally and physically to not as well).

How about the idea that some of us will not put a bolt every three feet just to meet some arbitrary safety standard of yours/the great anonymous, clueless mass of the climbing community- neither of whom is paying a dime for our gas, hardware, gear, or time?

And just for the record, I, Mike Gray, am completely happy with the way all my routes are bolted/protected, save two, and 99.999999% of you reading here will never, ever even see those. ANY of my lines that are too bold/visionary/dangerous for the general public are obviously the product of harder training, years of drug abuse, my taste for heavy metal rock and roll, and the effect of superior genetics.... sorry, but them's the breaks....


kindredlion


May 21, 2003, 4:59 PM
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Karl Baba breaks history!

So much of our history had to be dug up after the fact. So much of our history is lost, or innacurate simply because nobody had the forethought that Karl is displaying.

Karl this is great!

I am willing and excited to help.

I really wish that this trend was started 20 years ago.

Wow! I need more time to reflect on this ingeniously simple idea.

Way to think for the community Karl.


Take Air,

Adam

Giddyup!


ps.. is misha for real? or could he just be trolling... (he seems to have completely missed the point)


karlbaba


May 21, 2003, 5:22 PM
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Thanks for the kind words Adam.

Don't be too hard on Misha. It's an easy point to miss since we're often so opinionated on the subject of bolts that we go off half-cocked when we discuss the issues.

This isn't about yes bolts or no bolts. It's about taking action on the priniciple that we so often give lip service to, that the opinions of the first ascent party are to be given due consideration. Period!

What we need first is to get some input from the owners of Rockclimbing.com and those who do the programming. Then we'll establish some structure or procedure for inputting the information.

Then, we'll need some volunteers to input to the databases.

Then we'll get the word out with some postings to other forums, short articles to the mags, and some friends contacting friends to get the info.

I'll be happy to do my part but it's climbing season and my plan is to get the thing so it works by itself as much as possible. There maybe some who enjoy working at talking with FA parties and their efforts will be welcome.

Peace

karl


misha


May 22, 2003, 6:50 AM
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Sounds like a lofty plan. Didn't somebody post a link to a similar database a while back?


brianinslc


May 22, 2003, 9:17 AM
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In reply to:
If no one else has previously developed this piece of rock, where does anyone who did not contribute to and/or participate in the FA suddenly acquire the right/authority to judge their efforts as "disrespectful or selfish"?

"Suddenly"? We all have the "right" to judge, fairly or not. Climber or not.

I mean, how many times have folk's criticized other folks FAs? Tons. Comes with the turf. And...that's ok.

And, some over grid bolted crags are bad examples as some folk think they ugly.

In reply to:
If the climb is a horrorshow simply because that is not the way you, the judge (who never had the time/motivation/ability to develop the route in the first place) would have done it, well... sorry, charlie... but that is the price of following, instead of leading.

Unfortunatly, when folks lead up blank rock, and don't leave any evidence of their passing, then the routes are prone to sprout new bolts.

Finders keeper losers weepers.

But, if the FA creates a pile of crap, it will be judged as one.

And, some folks will "lead" the charge to "correct" a poorly done route. I just hope they contact the FA first, beforehand. Rather than some lone ranger type stuff.

In reply to:
Possibly, but until proven, that is simply one climber's opinion, and in no way justifies retrobolting/altering those routes without the FA's permission.

Opinions aren't really "provable". I think it can kinda depend if the FA'er is a "local" or not too and respected or not the local ethics.

In reply to:
I've been accused of creating R/X routes just to feed my ego, by a member of RC.com, and, as I explained (repeatedly) to that entity, I had no such intention... it just worked out that way, and that's where my head and focus level was, at the time. To be honest, I was so thrilled to be climbing at the technical level involved that I assigned the risk only minimal attention; enough to deal with it realistically and get out alive. Not bragging or anything of the kind, just the way I'm wired, and how many of those horrorshows you fret about probably came into existance.

Not fretting about them, m'self. Great explanation though!

In reply to:
How about the idea that some of us will not put a bolt every three feet just to meet some arbitrary safety standard of yours/the great anonymous, clueless mass of the climbing community- neither of whom is paying a dime for our gas, hardware, gear, or time?

How 'bout we take up a collection to help you out? Har har.

Actually, some of us give to the ASCA as well as contribute our own "stuff" for anchor maintanence, etc. Replaced a rats nest of old climbing ropes and slings with a nice chain anchor last night, in fact...

It is arbitrary. And up to the FA folk. But, if done poorly or well, will be judged as such. And should be.

Then some folks will take it upon themselves to "fix" it, perhaps. With or without the FA permission. And, back on topic, that is where a dialog via a first ascent registry comes in handy. As well as gives us more fodder to argue about.

Brian in SLC


hugepedro


May 22, 2003, 9:44 AM
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I like this idea Karl. I have some doubts about its feasibility. Not technical doubts, but process doubts. I think it will be difficult to get a significant number of FAist to record their data on a web site, keep it up to date, and you will need some sort of validation/authentication process. Having said that, I think it's a really innovative idea, and worth a shot.

To everyone else: how about if we try not to get into arguments about first ascent style? Let's not argue the validity of death routes vs. retro-bolting, that been beat to death before. Karl is offering an idea for how such controversies can be handled within our community. I think we should focus on the idea.

Peter


dingus


May 22, 2003, 10:04 AM
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I'm not sure of the long term viability or usefulness of basing such a registry on a privately held web site. That would be my first observation. I think the AAJ or some other more formal organization would be a better keeper of such info.

2ndly, I'd go on to state that any well crafted guidebook of a given area should contain this sort of info, in the route biography section. Some do, the vast majority do not. Publishers and editors should encourage this practice.

I think of Moynier and Fiddler's guides to the High Sierra... they are at once incredibly useful guide books AND historical treasure troves. Those books could serve as a model for how it could be done.

An additional point is that some portion of FA parties will of course not wish to participate in the wide distribution of information about their climbs, for whatever reasons. Their wishes should be respected too. In other words, if the FA party does not want registry info recorded about their route, subsequent climbers and historians should respect that.

Caveats noted, I think it's a great idea.

DMT


bhudda


May 22, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Karl, great idea and I applaud you for coming up with a very productive way of creating a forum for route maintenance based on the first ascencionists intent. I think it is a great starting point and I think the d-base will evolve with the needs of the climbing community. I think we should support this idea or if any of you think it is a bad idea at least try to be constructive by giving other solutions. Nothing is worse than reading all the negative posts that say do nothing, leave it as it is, nothing will ever work or criticize with no offer of solution.


roninthorne


May 22, 2003, 3:12 PM
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Re: First Ascender Registry Proposal [In reply to]
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Before I go any further, I want to say that I actually think the idea is good, at least in intent. But then there is that old saying about the road to Hell...

As noted by dingus, among others, there are some pretty important caveats as far as difficulties of implementation.

What if the FA doesn't like you're retro job and chops?

What if they change their mind and chop?

What if there are two of them and they disagree (think someone already said that one)?

I think all of us who ask these questions are simply trying to see if the Registry's supporters really thought this through, and are questioning the way in which you state some aspects of your position and perspectives.

Look at it this way... better to debate with a friendly adversary who would like to be convinced, than charge the walls against a staunch opponent who desires nothing but to prove you wrong.....


In reply to:
In reply to:
If no one else has previously developed this piece of rock, where does anyone who did not contribute to and/or participate in the FA suddenly acquire the right/authority to judge their efforts as "disrespectful or selfish"?

"Suddenly"? We all have the "right" to judge, fairly or not. Climber or not.

"Right", as in "Bill of Rights", as in "right to an opinion and to express same"? Granted.

But a "right" to judge (def: a weighing of merits based on superior knowledge of and experience in the field involved)? Climber or not!?! When that judgement could mean changing the manner in which the original ascent party protected the line and in whcih it will subsequently be ascended... I don't think so, Spanky. Judging means you know what you're talking about. How the heck is a non-climber gonna judge my line... on aesthetics?

In reply to:
I mean, how many times have folk's criticized other folks FAs? Tons. Comes with the turf. And...that's ok.

We aren't talking about some poser spouting schmack on the front porch of the Genderme after a day of tensioned ascents... we're talking about you, or someone with NO CLIMBING EXPERIENCE AT ALL, changing routes because you don't approve of them.

(Don't think it could come to that? How many non-climbers are already making decisions about your use of the vertical world and the backcountry in Washington, D.C. and in Land Manager's offices around the nation? And a Registry provides a record of all the new areas they can come out and regulate, as well as the responsible parties, if they decide to litigate. Paranoid? Go back to Yosemite in the 70's and ask them if they ever thought anyone would try to pave over Camp 4, or regulate placing bolts, or make you register to climb.... Hueco Tanks, circa 1981... how many folks thought wonderland would ever end?)

In reply to:
And, some over grid bolted crags are bad examples as some folk think they ugly.

Paradox... first you want to add bolts because there aren't enough... then you decide there are too many. You're missing the point: one climber's runout is another climber's cruise, and one climber's gridbolting is another's "safely bolted and thoroughly developed crag."


In reply to:
If the climb is a horrorshow simply because that is not the way you, the judge (who never had the time/motivation/ability to develop the route in the first place) would have done it, well... sorry, charlie... but that is the price of following, instead of leading.

In reply to:
Unfortunatly, when folks lead up blank rock, and don't leave any evidence of their passing, then the routes are prone to sprout new bolts.

And sometimes those bolts evaporate as silently and magically as they appeared. Minimal gear doesn't always mean minimal attention to the route once completed.

In reply to:
But, if the FA creates a pile of crap, it will be judged as one.

Again, judged by who? A jury of climbers doing routes at the same grade of technical difficulty and risk? Or a group of BLM Land Mangers and public safety bureaucrats with Ralph Nader's "Protect them from themselves, they know not what they do" syndrome?

In reply to:
And, some folks will "lead" the charge to "correct" a poorly done route. I just hope they contact the FA first, beforehand.

Yep... always a good idea to contact the creator when you decide that Picasso really did a poor job on that portrait and you'll just touch it up a bit... after all, that woman couldn't really have a guitar in her stomach, could she?

In reply to:
In reply to:
How about the idea that some of us will not put a bolt every three feet just to meet some arbitrary safety standard of yours/the great anonymous, clueless mass of the climbing community- neither of whom is paying a dime for our gas, hardware, gear, or time?

How 'bout we take up a collection to help you out? Har har.

Actually, some of us give to the ASCA as well as contribute our own "stuff" for anchor maintanence, etc. Replaced a rats nest of old climbing ropes and slings with a nice chain anchor last night, in fact...

Bravo, and I really mean that. I've replaced a few cubic yard of webbing myself, over the years, with both new 1" and rings as well as ring anchors and/or chains. But all that is done to routes already in existance, which supports the original developer not one whit. Therefore, although it walked like an answer, and quacked like an answer, it really wasn't an answer, was it?


In reply to:
Then some folks will take it upon themselves to "fix" it, perhaps. With or without the FA permission.


Which, I will point out, could and will happen just as easily with an FA's Preference Registry. And, of course, the FA always has the "right" to come back and "un-fix" it, don't they?

In reply to:
And, back on topic...

Another nice rhetorical manuever... I thought we were on topic; discussing what I see as some assumptions and misperceptions on your part, and what you see as obstructionism and lone-rangering on mine. It's called debate.

Mike, in Madison, VA


dingus


May 22, 2003, 3:50 PM
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Re: First Ascender Registry Proposal [In reply to]
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In reply to:
As noted by dingus, among others, there are some pretty important caveats as far as difficulties of implementation.

I think it's a great idea, as long as it's voluntary and the info is not entrusted to the government or a privately held business that advocates, among other things, censorship.

DMT


karlbaba


May 22, 2003, 9:11 PM
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Re: First Ascender Registry Proposal [In reply to]
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I think the concerns about the registry being located in a privately held website are valid. I would hope the owners would waive copyright protection of information regarding first ascent parties and their opinions so that more local sites could copy that information for their users.

The huge advantage that RC.Com has over other solutions is this: They have a massive database in place that would be monumental to try to recreate. They are already staffed with volunteers and their system is designed for users to expand the database and contribute.

That makes this idea relatively easy to implement and won't rely on the efforts (or one-sided view) of any one person. As for me, I would probably do a little networking to help things get set up, write a few posts and articles to get the word out, and move on with my life. If it's a good thing, it wil evolve and it's shortcomings will work out. If it sucks, it will just die.

It will probably change very little on the ground since overall concensus ethics tend to rule climbing areas. I'm just hoping it will:

1. Prevent bolt wars by getting the subjects and routes discussed before they get drilled and then chopped and then drilled, and...

We need to be effective at self-regulating so the authorities don't increasingly step in to do it themselves.

2. Give climbers some perspective 100 years from now when we are all dead. Even now, the supreme court always tries to divine the intent of the framers of the constitution. Why not write down some intent while the culprits are still alive?

Who knows what the ethical issues will be 200 years from now, if we are still on this planet. Folks will be arguing about retexturizing routes that have been smoothed by many ascents! What seems obvious now, might not be then.

It doesn't have to be a perfect system or get perfect participation in order to be somewhat useful.

PS I don't mind the debate. That's the idea for posting in this one spot before taking action. Get some ideas and criticism. On the other hand, overly debating chopping or retrobolting here will just be a distraction. What we are talking about it recording the feelings of FA Parties. Is there a reason to do so and how can we do it in a way that's fair, open and honest without somebody having to dedicate their lives to the dang project.

Peace

Karl


boltdude


May 24, 2003, 9:27 AM
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Re: First Ascender Registry Proposal [In reply to]
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Hey Karl,

I really like the idea at first - recording first ascent teams' views for posterity.

I have one big problem with it.

Namely, a fair number of first ascent folks will say that they don't mind if someone adds bolts to certain of their FAs. I've had FA folks ask me personally to add bolts to their climbs. BUT, now that info is out in the public realm of rockclimbing.com (or wherever the registry ended up). Now, climbers new to the sport with little experience, seeing this on the web, and seeing the wide array of bolting gear advertised in catalogs and REI and shops (much to the dismay of many of us), will conclude that 1) such bolting gear is widely available and they should buy it, 2) the FA wants bolts added, 3) "I'll do a service to the climbing community by adding bolts."

As anyone who replaces a lot of bolts finds out pretty quick, a LOT of bad bolts are out there, and I'm not just talking about 20 year old 1/4" bolts, I'm talking about new bolts. Installing bolts well is a hard-earned skill. Choosing the proper bolt for the rock is not obvious. Nearly all the catalogs and shops, even ones which I've personally been badgering for years, STILL carry and advertise non-stainless bolts, sometimes not even carrying good stainless bolts. It's irresponsible of them, since if they are advertising any bolting gear at all, they should ONLY advertise good stainless bolts. Maybe it'll cut into their sales, but how can we really point the finger at people doing new routes with bolts that will need to be replaced in 20 years instead of 50 when the catalogs and shops won't even carry good bolts?

And it goes both ways. For an example, Dale Bard very explicitly asked us to remove all the added bolted anchors on OZ in Tuolumne. There are currently 4 bolted anchors, only one was original. I emailed him back and forth for a while, trying to figure out exactly which anchor of the 4 was original, and which should be removed, and he eventually realized that suddenly erasing 3 anchors on a vertical multipitch climb with anchors shown in all the guidebooks would be a big change to what the route is now, and a safety hazard. He ended up asking us to clean up anything that we thought was excessive, but not to chop all 3 added anchors, because the climb would forever remain in his mind what it was on the FA. Issues like that are a tough call, I'd personally prefer to chop all the added anchors, but that would really change the current route, and most people I've talked to (Tuolumne locals) say it would be a bad idea (except the one old anchor in the middle of the dihedral which pretty much everyone says ought to go). Now let's say we had called Dale up before any discussion and asked him about the route. We put his response on the public database. Now, people have "authorization from the first ascensionist" to go chopping anchors, even if they're not local and haven't talked to people, etc. And after a lot of back and forth I STILL never figured out for sure which of the 4 anchors had been original...(supposedly the top of the crux pitch, but those 1/4" were newer looking and supposedly Walt Shipley put those in, so unless he replaced them in the original holes, that wasn't the original anchor). To figure out where the original anchor was I'd have to separately grill long-time locals, then compare what everyone said (memory isn't exactly accurate...).

I like the idea of recording FA thoughts for posterity (and climbers & climbing historians of the future will love it). However, a lot of FA folks just don't care one way or another about whether anyone adds bolts or would invite people to add bolts to their climbs, and if that info is out in the "public" realm, I don't like the likely results.

I should note that the ASCA has a LOT of exactly this sort of info already, which we freely share with other experienced bolt replacement folks, but we don't have it on the website. I think it shouldn't be on public websites, but I could be out-voted within the ASCA (not sure of Chris Mac's views, and others).

However, I don't think we should lose the opportunity to preserve the history of our community. There should be some way to record and preserve the anchor info without inviting people to add bolts. Maybe the best would be for someone to simply try to record the history of their local area, and while they were at it they could get this info (as well as cool stories on the FA, etc). Chris McNamara called tons of folks up to get history on his Valley big wall guide. Someone will need to do that to get bolting info, and the usually-much-more-entertaining history of the FA...

Even for people who don't mind adding bolts to stuff, consider this: for the last 6 months and for who knows how much longer ("interim"), it's been ILLEGAL to REPLACE a 1/4" bolt in the canyons of Red Rocks with a hand drill!!! Full bolt bans may well be implemented by national land management agencies in the near future. Having a ton of bolts appear on old climbs, even if the FA invited them, is not in our collective self-interest if we want to keep climbing...

Greg (Director, ASCA)


renobdarb


May 24, 2003, 9:56 AM
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Re: First Ascender Registry Proposal [In reply to]
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About a month ago, I actually posted an idea of a slot in the routes database that would include the first ascensionist of a route (i also doubt i'm the first to do so)... i think it would serve as a cool historical reference as well, but i also like your idea of being able to know who the person is for contact purposes...

-brad

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