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Author Topic: Debolting Thin Air  (Read 2780 times)

drb1215

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2003, 08:54:25 AM »

I can see removing the bolts on the traverse of thin air, since there is good pro available, but why remove the anchor?  Was it because of the style in which the FA did it in?  I agree with Al that this is going to cause problems when there gets to be traffic on the route...especially with such a popular climb.

Mass restoring the routes to the state of the FA is a bit too general and could have some dangerous outcomes. And there are cases where a route will never be climbed in the same style as the FA...For example, Tom Callaghan did a FA over at Band-M, where he had to untie from the rope and solo to the top (how many people do you know that followed this style?).  And the FA's that Bridwell did on El Cap have never been repeated in the same style...bolts have been added to all of them.
Even though routes may have changed over time from what the FA did...does not mean that the route does not have value to it, and is fun to climb.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2003, 08:13:14 PM by drb1215 »
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radair

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2003, 09:22:47 AM »

Quote
...What is wrong with a "committee" to oversee the re-placement or removal of bolts on the existing climbs?



Being a rebel is, and has always been, cool. Put together a committee to tell people what to do and they will do the opposite. The VMC, for example, was a group of 'Vulgarians' who did not want the AMC to tell them how or what to climb. There's no doubt in my mind that a similar 'Action Committee' (to quote the gentleman from Boulder) would be ineffective and open yet another can of worms.

'Un-unanimous' vote was 'dubious'? I don't understand this. There was a overwhelming majority of people that agreed with the consensus statement, none who disagreed (or had the balls to do so), and a few who abstained. Where's the dubious part?

FYI: the MRS policy is, and has always been, that bolts and drill will be provided to replace existing bolts in their existing holes. Anything else is not authorized or sanctioned by MRS. If any new anchors were added they were the actions of the individuals using the gun and NOT MRS.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2003, 09:24:23 AM by radair »
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Tinman

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2003, 10:48:32 AM »

Quote


Being a rebel is, and has always been, cool. Put together a committee to tell people what to do and they will do the opposite. The VMC, for example, was a group of 'Vulgarians' who did not want the AMC to tell them how or what to climb. There's no doubt in my mind that a similar 'Action Committee' (to quote the gentleman from Boulder) would be ineffective and open yet another can of worms.

FYI: the MRS policy is, and has always been, that bolts and drill will be provided to replace existing bolts in their existing holes. Anything else is not authorized or sanctioned by MRS. If any new anchors were added they were the actions of the individuals using the gun and NOT MRS.


Aren't you contradicting yourself? Will one set of "rebels" go and replace the anchors, and another gang of rebels will chop them."
FWIW, it seemed to me that several climbs on the TA face were over-bolted, one that comes to mind being Still In Saigon.

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A_Manning

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2003, 10:59:10 AM »

Don't get me wrong, I am not in favor of retro-bolting old lines. If you do not have the gumption to climb an existing route as it has always been done, go find something else. That is one reason I have not climbed many routes in the area, I do not enjoy it  :-[!

But does that mean people have the right to remove all the bolts not placed during the first ascent? Is there a master list I can consult describing what bolts/fixed pro are acceptable? If I look in the original guidebooks, or review the history of a climb, and find bolts not placed during the first ascent...are they removed? I think you open up a much larger problem when people aggrieved by this decision start removing all bolts...PERIOD.

I can only speak from my limited experience...be careful what you ask for, you may actually be surprised by the result!
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LizzyBee

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2003, 12:28:51 PM »

I wasn't at the meeting on Saturday, so I don't know first hand what was discussed. I'm wondering if the "mandate" is to restore to FA status or just to remove "convenience" bolts that may have been added to routes recently? Many of the routes like Thin Air have a long history of ascents w/o these bolts and the placing of them have been for convenience more than anything else.

I was wondering if this meant the Still in Saigon bolt. I almost cried when I heard that bolt was placed.

Lizz
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t-rad

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2003, 12:35:32 PM »

Contrary to creating additional problems, I believe cleaning up unnecessary bolts is in fact solving several problems.  It sets precedence and leads by example, showing future climbers that these cliffs should remain in as pristine state as possible.  It helps solve the problem of bolting without limit by forcing those climbers who consider placing bolts to reconsider what they are about to do.  When respected climbers clean up the cliffs this example should make future climbers think twice about placing that next bolt, make them ask themselves questions like, 'will this be accepted, am I doing the right thing, what are the consequences for future climbers and their desire to have their own adventures in the hills?'  There are far more problems for climbers when bolts are placed without limit or considered thought, than any problems that might arise from removing them.  Removing unnecessary bolts is part of the solution, not the problem.
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bobwallstrom

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2003, 01:06:04 PM »

i attended the slide presentation and then left before the crap began to get too deep on Saturday. the level of elitist arrogance was staggering. has anyone considered that those lamenting the loss of ethical purity in the valley are at the root of the loss of that purity. the first guide book author, the first guides, the first gear retailers all contributed  to the volume of climbing that lead to the retro bolting of Thin Air. it is the height of hypocrisy to usher in change and then lament its process. The bolts really should be replaced until real polling reveals the consensus of the valley.Then and only after making reasonable accomodation for those coming here expecting bolts (as described in various guidebooks) should the bolts be removed. This debolting action does not speak for me and I have the sack to say so. Bob Wallstrom, Brownfield, Maine.
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DH

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2003, 02:08:48 PM »

In keeping with the rebellious nature of the climbing people of this area, how about a tribal approach to solving these issues rather than a committee?  Meetings taking place outside, say at Cathedral cave, or Sundown.  There is shelter there and it is where we are most comfortable.  BYOB would be cheaper too.  Meetings would be more fun and I think there would be some memorable antics and such.  Trying to boil climbing down to a civil, domesticated ‘committee, insults the raw, free nature of the pursuit itself.  In a tribe, all work together for the good of the tribe, there is no governing body; the elders may guide the young ones who conversely show the progression of the tribe.  One thing that human tribes don,t do is to try and take control of their environment, and it works, death is more prevalent but I wonder why this is a bad thing?  We,re taught all our lives that human life is sacred but we,re all made up of atoms like everything else.  

So to the pro-bolters, why must we try to prevent deaths and accidents in rock climbing?  Rock climbing is a very dangerous activity and if you don,t realize this then hopefully experience will be kind to you.  I don,t wish harm on anyone but if you want to avoid getting hurt, don,t climb, or stay in the gym, don,t drive there though because you might get hit by a truck, better yet play video games and stay inside until you slowly go insane or die, hopefully the latter will come first.    

So the problem appears to be that there are those who like to bolt the rock to make it safer.  They may not think it wrong, and may actually believe that it is a service to the community; it is really a slap in the face though.  Those opposed to bolts stick to the ‘respect for the first accensionist and their style, mantra that makes the FA,er into some sort of god-like figure with authoritative power over a particular line up a rock face.

We should shift our focus to respecting the rock, the cliffs that give us the playground and proving ground for this mad pursuit, respect for the environment that surrounds the cliff and makes it beautiful.  Why do we feel the need to conquer, claim, and control all the time, I thought climbing was one of the few pursuits that makes us realize that we can,t control the earth and to do so will prove disastrous.  Do sailors try to control the ocean?  Why should we alter the cliff to make it more safe?  I say, remove all fixed gear, starting with bolts on Cathedral and Cannon.  Let the civilized, rad-climbers have Rumney and other sport climbing areas and leave the big cliffs alone.  

I realize that removing all bolts from these cliffs is unrealistic but how about a rule of thumb.  No bolts on climbs easier than 5.10 or something?  Like a tribe, the locals will welcome outsiders who respect the land but those who do not will be driven off, in as discrete a fashion as possible, or by public humiliation.  Hang em by their undies from their own bolts (wedgie-style), heh heh..  

The progression of most climbers will be slowed by this approach to restoring the cliffs but better this than Cathedral and Whitehorse and Cannon becoming multi-pitch sport climbing areas.  That being said, I clip bolts, and commend the people who have worked so hard at Rumney.  For the big cliffs, let,s leave the land alone and appreciate it how it is, it was perfect before humans came to the valley.  

Clean climbing is pure, all else is somewhat domesticated or tamed down, but I do not want to detract from the FA,ers whom have used bolts on very hard and committing routes, they are visionaries.  We need to establish the ‘character, of the Mt Washington Valley and what exactly we want it to be.  

Do the shops in N.Conway sell bolts?  If they do, maybe they shouldn,t so that there is no double standard.

This is just my thoughts but it means dick because I havn't removed or placed a bolt in rock ever.
:)
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Schandy

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2003, 02:18:54 PM »

Maybe I am oversimplifying the issue, but:
  Bolts next to bomber cracks = bad.
To fix:
 1) remove UNECCISARY bolts
 2) place gear
 3) clip

FA or not, if the bolts don't need to be there, they shouldn't be maintained.  I'm not talking about run out slab or crazy X- routes.  There is ample gear on this route, especially where the bolts are placed, thus these bolts are not needed and should be removed.  Don't like it, go to rumney.
Andy
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Admin Al

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2003, 05:27:24 PM »

I am posting the following from local guide Mike Jewell because he was having problems registering...

---------------------------

   Our local climbing community has always tended toward conservatism in regard to tampering with our cliffs. I think that an aspect of that conservatism has been that unilateralist action to place bolts (or holds, or pins, or anchors) is inappropriate partially because such actions ignore the voice of the community.  I cannot see how a unilateralist decision to remove bolts is any different.  
   Recent community consensus has been that routes should remain in first-ascent condition. Although there has  been a creeping advance toward more bolts on our clliffs, I think this consensus is consistent with our history.  However, general principles never pertain universally to specific situations (if anyone knows this it should be climbers). And if there is ever a case to be made that a poll should have been taken that addressed the chopping of a specific route, Thin Air is that case.  
   Frankly, my aesthetics would dictate that there would be no bolts on our cliffs -- FA bolts or otherwise.  However, in the case of Thin Air -- now, in 2003 -- I would have probably voted that the bolts be left in place. I would have had many reasons for such a vote (although many arguments for chopping them are valid), one of which is that some tentative leaders and their seconds will be in greater danger because of the misrepresentation in JerryÕs guidebook.  Not everyone reads the posts at the cliff or on the web. I wonder if Bayard considered his potential complicity if the absence of those bolts to any degree contributes to an accident.    
   Judging from the responses already received by Al, BayardÕs action has great significance to our climbing community.  Apparently Thin Air was chosen for just that reason.  It would have taken only a couple of days to conduct a poll regarding specifically  the chopping of Thin AirÕs bolts. Certainly the importance of Thin Air to our cliff deserved at least that effort.
I wonder if Bayard would have chopped them if after asking 100 people about Thin Air, the votes came down to about 50-50, or 60-40.  
   Having said all of that, we are lucky to have a community that cares enough to offer so much feedback.

Mike Jewell
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Al Hospers
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2003, 06:46:19 PM »

I don't have  a problem with the local comunity decideing to remove specific retro bolts from specific rt's but chopping  belays and rap stations from the highest traffic area of the clif is just plain STUPID ::)  My biggest issue is the apparent religious frenzy that seems to surround this  topic. WITCH HUNTS ARE NEVER GOOD.   Maby you should take a hint from rumny which is one of the highest traffic climbing areas in the country. They have the RCA which decides what should be bolted or chopped, which trail projects  have priority etc.  From MY understanding the rca has a good working relationship with the forest service.  Obviously the north conway climbing ass. would have a different agenda than the RCA but a lesson could be learned here from their ability to manage their resorce in a way that keeps a good working relationship with the athoritys as well as most of the climbers while doing a good job of maintaining the trail system, controling erosion and dealing with human waste/excrement in an extremly high traffic area. Encourageing vigilanty  bolt chopping is just plain insane and will only lead to bad juju while neglecting real issues like waste disposal, parking and trail maitenence :o  
« Last Edit: October 07, 2003, 06:57:13 PM by tradmanclimbz »
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drb1215

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2003, 08:10:48 PM »

DH says "Do sailors try to control the ocean?  Why should we alter the cliff to make it more safe?"

Are you saying that there should be a "leave no trace" ethic in regard to the cliffs?  What are you? Soft or something!  Do you think that one day some people walked up to the cliff and said "Look...there's a pristine cliff that requires no cleaning, no removal of dirt and growth from the cracks, no loose rock to remove, no lichen to scrub!"  The fact is, as soon as climbs started to be established...the rock has been changed, all in the name of making the climb more safe and enjoyable.

If a bolt has been added to a climb during, or after the FA, should there be this conflict of chop it, leave it or maintain it?  You as a climber always have the choice of not using the bolt if you so decide.
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Dave

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2003, 10:17:53 PM »

Seeing how so many people want to return climbs to thier original state I hope you guys plan on chopping all bolts on science Friction wall and restoring the route to it's first ascent condition.  ;) There were only a few bolts on the first ascent. (5 total if my memory is correct.) I want to see the "piton Ladder" and "dowels" put back! (Ref. Cannon, Cathedral, Humphrey's and Whitehorse by Ross and Elms 1982) Nothing much more exciting than hanging a wire over a dowell and hoping it stays there! Just because we have better gear now why should i use it. I think I will also start nailing some of the classic routes from now on in honor of the first ascent party. I'm sure that seeing how we all want to return to our climbing roots that will not be a problem.  ;D Can't wait to hear about the cluster-f**k when there are 3 incompetent leaders on that thin air belay ledge all trying to figure out how to build an anchor!  ::)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2003, 07:18:14 AM by Dave »
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Admin Al

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2003, 05:22:54 AM »

seems to me as how there are at least 2 possible "slippery slopes" here:

1)  some bolts go in where they "don't belong" and that begats more and more & the next thing we know the Valley is a grid bolt clippers delight,

2) a few bolts get chopped on classic routes in the name of "purism" to make a point, that gets someone else wired and they chop some more, that pisses somebody else off and they put 'em back & maybe add some more, and pretty soon the whole place starts looking like the Thin Air traverse used to. (ever noticed all the old chopped bolt holes and rusted studs?)

any way you cut it (pun intended), it's the rock, and everyone who comes here to climb, that pays the price. look, I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm pretty certain it ain't one man-one chisel OR one man-one drill.

Al

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xmikeyx

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2003, 08:01:59 AM »

even though i'm not a local to north conway i feel like i should chime in at least a bit seeing as i climb at cathedral a lot.

al i totally respect your opinion in the last post but you make it sound like no matter what happens the cliff will end up as a hopelessly grid bolted pile of granite. i really don't think that is even remotely the case. if anything, the damn near rabid opinons of the bolt chopping/bolt placing locals will most likely end up balancing each other out and everyone will hopefully figure out how futile the whole affair is before the cliff turns into a swiss cheese of chopped bolts and drilled out holes.

personally i think that the routes should be left in the style of the FA. yes, that does give the FA'er some form of 'authority' over that chunk of rock, but hey they had the balls and the vision to go up it first, they may have - or may not have - cleaned it, bolted it, scrubbed it, whatever. they did it first and it should be left at that. hopefully people will have the brains and respect to not put up "squeeze job" routes and place bolts next to bomber cracks. but some things have to be left to the responsibility of the FA'er. i disagree with the "rock police" mentality that seems to be prevailing.

if a 5.11 leader puts up a 5.6X route, then dammit leave it as 5.6X rather than retro-bolting it to make it safe. just the same if a 5.5 leader bolts a 5.6 slab project he's working on, it shouldn't be chopped simply because there's bolts on something that has the "pedestrian" grade of 5.6.

to me chopping bolts that were already noted in a guidebook is irresponsible and potentially dangerous. because like someone said, not everyone reads these forums and not every will know that the bolts are missing. i've gone up a route only to find chopped bolts the guidbook said were there and had the choice of retreating or looking at a 60 foot fall. it is a grey area to say the least. i disagree with modifying a route from it's FA style, but i also disagree with chopping the bolts (especially the belay bolts) that are logged into a guidebook and have been routinely used for years. two wrongs don't exactly make a right.

if some shmucks just start randomly chopping bolts and climbers start to get hurt more often as a result of insufficient protection, and likewise if other shmucks just start randomly adding bolts and defacing the rock - it will do nothing but jeopardize the access of the cliffs in north conway. and all the climbers involved will be shooting themselves in the foot.
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