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Author Topic: Debolting Thin Air  (Read 2192 times)

kthor_8711

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2003, 08:32:49 AM »

Quote

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?
:)


1) I'm not a "local".  I live in Boston, though I do enjoy climbing in the N. Conway area

2) I'm not a "hardman".  I lead trad up to about 5.8. Always working on improving, but at the same time enjoying climbing for the sake of climbing.

Now, for those of you who think those two points make my opinion invalid, feel free to stop reading.  For the rest however, the quote above by DH seems a bit extreme.  Are we saying that new leaders who wish to climb slabs must do so on totally runout routes with R or X ratings?  Yet those who have the ability to climb 5.10 should be allowed to have adequate protection?  Was this a joke, or is it totally elitist?  

After a rather scary first lead fall on Whitehorse's Standard Route on Sunday (pitch 4 was soaked... learned my lesson), I was asking an EMS guide about Sea of Holes, specifically the pro on it.  He said there were not many bolts or pitons (not a problem), so I asked about pockets or flakes for tricams or nuts.  His response was "Well, its only like 5.5."   Does this matter?  A 50 foot fall from 5.5 is no different than a 50 foot fall from 5.10.  The ground isn't any softer under the 5.5 climb.  

If its decided to chop retro-bolts, fine.  If its decide that all future FA's should be done clean, fine.  If we say no bolts within X feet of a protectable feature, fine.  But lets hold the same standards for all grades.  

And if DH's quote was a joke or troll, my apologies for ranting

Kevin Thorley


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Will_Mayo

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2003, 10:42:36 AM »

Radair stated:
"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."

It is interesting to note that some of these very same individuals that were "Vulgarians" (who have my utmost respect - as do some appies like Boyd Everett, Jr.) are now major proponents of self-regulation by climbers in the Shawangunks.  In essence, there is now a promotion by some of the very notions against which they were once rebelling.  Oh what a wonderful world!
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LizzyBee

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2003, 11:58:26 AM »

Of course, once you lose access to a crag like Sky Top rebellion against everything becomes less useful.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2003, 12:00:02 PM by LizzyBee »
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xmikeyx

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2003, 12:50:01 PM »

Very good point Lizzy Bee. I totally agree with you. that's the point i was making at the tail end of my overly long post above.
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Broken_Spectre

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Pins required for Turner's Flake and Recluse?
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2003, 01:00:54 PM »

How large a bong piton should I bring to nail turner's flake and how many should I bring?  Also I'm interested in knowing what sized knifeblades I should bring to nail Recluse, seeing as how henry barber used a pin on the first ascent.  

Humor aside, the ethics for a particular route seem to depend upon a number of issues, namely rock quality difficulty of a given pitch vs. difficulty of the climb in general and the style of the first ascent.  

In vermont for instance, the rock is generally quite crappy and loose and you have to make due with what you have so that generally means big fat bolts to make any climb reasonably safe.  Additionally, if one were to lead these climbs with no gear, the large amounts of loose rock would make this a dangerous proposition.  However,  a nice face climb on granite could have reasonable trad gear and should go in that fashion.  

A poster previously mentioned sea of holes as a route where you have large fall potential (50-90') on 5.5 or lower terrain.  The route's grade is 5.7, so if you can't climb the runout 5.5 terrain below the 5.7 move (which is well protected by the way), STAY OFF THE ROUTE.  With thin air, the crux moves are on pitch 4 and the traverse is only 5.5, so you should be able to run it out a bit.   HOWEVER, it was unecessary, in my opinion, to remove the bolted belay on top of pitch 3.  There are great gear placements there, but the damage was already done and the route is also the most popular on the cliff.  Additionally, the argument about putting the route back into the form experienced by the first ascensionists holds no water.  First of all on thin air you would have to remove ALL the fixed protection including the pins and somehow put all the lichen back in place.  Take it from me, cleaning heavy lichen sucks, even on rappel.  

First ascent style is important, but you must consider all factors.  A poster earlier said that maybe the first ascensionist was getting rained on at the time and would have put a bolt in if they had the time etc.  That must be considered as well.  

That's my opinion.  Take it or leave it.
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bumpkin

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2003, 03:15:12 PM »

I see we have a dead horse here, may I?

1) As much as it pains me to say it, the debolting of Thin Air was not a good move. Thin Air is an over-rated route that, by virtue of it being the easiest way up the cliff, getting three stars in the guidebook and having abundant fixed gear meant that, on weekends at least, it is the site of a dawn to dusk conga line of muddling leaders, four person parties and guided groups. The holds on the traverse were polished the last time I climbed that thing (1995 I think) and are doubtlessly no better now. But in a way, you have to appreciate Thin Air since it was a bit of a sacrificial lamb. The more crowds on that route means lesser crowds on others. What does debolting accomplish? The route is still going to be a polished junkyard teeming with slow parties.

2) "Respecting the style of the FA" does not mean pounding in pins. It means using no more fixed gear than the F.A. party, and preferrably less. Why less? Because pins damage rock and bolts are permanent features that significantly change the character of a route. Doing the route in better style is a commendable thing. This doesn't need to be elitist: I might hang on gear or french free a move or two and that's my problem. The problem arises when my actions impact those that will come after me. No doubt I could nail my way up Stage Fright. This would be an unbelievably selfish and short-sighted way to destroy one of the most storied climbs in the valley.


3) I am not at all rabidly against, or always for there being fixed gear. The fact, however, is this: putting in fixed gear changes the character of a climb, and often that of climbs around it. There is too little good rock around to go ahead and bolt indiscriminately.

In this regard, Rumney is an interesting case. You can look on it as a sacrificial lamb, which by virtue of soft grades and fat bolts, soaks up the crowds. Moreover, its good to sacrifice the ugly runt with chossy sharp unaesthetic rock. More charitably, that pile of schist would be an utterly non-rewarding venue for trad climbing. It was pretty much screaming to be turned into a sport climbing venue, and mirabilis dei, the end result is a place where you can have a great deal of fun climbing.

The basic, fundamental fact is this: the resource we have is extremely limited and we have to share it among larger and larger numbers. All our ethical principles must be grounded in this reality.



that's it from me,
chris s-g

Ps: except for the bit about nailing Turner's Flake. John Turner was a bad dude, he climbed that thing with no pro you weak-kneed nancy.
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kthor_8711

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Re: Pins required for Turner's Flake and Recluse?
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2003, 03:49:44 PM »

Quote
A poster previously mentioned sea of holes as a route where you have large fall potential (50-90') on 5.5 or lower terrain.  The route's grade is 5.7, so if you can't climb the runout 5.5 terrain below the 5.7 move (which is well protected by the way), STAY OFF THE ROUTE.  


I may have been taken out of context.  I am in no way advocating the retro-bolting of established routes.  If I want to climb Sea of Holes (a great climb from what I've heard), then I'll climb it if and when I'm ready to deal with the runout.  My only point was that to make the blanket statements that "in the future, bolts should only be placed on routes 5.10 and higher" is elitist and holds no water

Kevin
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2003, 06:05:46 PM »

 Bumper sticker and T shirt idea.  
 NOTH CONWAY CLIMBING TALIBAN
 RATIONAL MINDS NEED NOT APPLY
       HAVE CHISLE WILL TRAVEL
« Last Edit: October 08, 2003, 06:08:40 PM by tradmanclimbz »
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2003, 07:45:08 PM »

 8) In case you haven't figured it out yet, this old tradman has  a whole lot more in common with Batso than Rolyal R.
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haircity

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2003, 05:27:11 AM »

re: Al's posting of Mike's 2-cents, Thin Air IS a bad example.

In the major cragging-areas of the country, overtraveled route-highways always deserve special consideration.

It is totally beside the point bemoaning that they ARE highways. That is no one-person's fault. Guide services, guidebook authors, climbing rags and local-lore all have contributed to the existance of "Thin Airs" and "Bastille Cracks" of the world. Is that bad?

If you chop anchors on trade-rotues because you want to "thin-out the posers", then you ARE the elitist "climbing-Taliban" and you should prove your puity by just NOT CLIPPING THE BOLTS. Better still, leave the rope at home and fire-it-off in Tevas while quaffing a Tooth-Sheaf. And by the way, if you make your daily-bread from those posers cluttering-up YOUR personal klettergarden, you're even MORE of a hypocrite.

Although this overcrowding is unfortunate, it DOES make sense to have some infrastucture like double-bolt belays for retreat, etc. Using some common sense as to their placement is obvious but it could prevent mass rope-and-gear fiascos.

Ask anyone, trade-routes are always the cause of clusterf*&ks on a crag and can very much effect neighboring parties on other routes that aren't well traveled.

This way, all the hardmen out there won't be inconvienenced by huge rescue parties helping the gapers get off the clif.

I (also) find it amusing that those pining for the days of purist-yore are the very ones whose livlihoods have greatly benefitted from the sport being so popular.

It's like reading the article about Choinard bitching about the capitalist-pig commercialization of the sport from his ranch in Moose.
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Admin Al

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2003, 05:39:47 AM »

so Alain, I'm curious...

when you were out on Sunday were there any other parties guiding or climbing TA when you were on it, or were you on your own? did you have to share the belay at the top of the 3rd pitch, as is very often the case in the summer months? were there 2 parties of 3 on that section of the climb simultaneously? I remember half dozen times where there were 4 parties on the route and 5 climbers at that belay last summer! if so, how do you plan on sharing the cracks for your anchors? have you considered how that is going to play out in the future between guides and nervous inexperienced leaders? what are your plans for the situation next summer when a thunderstorm rolls quickly in, as it occasionally does? are you prepared to leave gear to get your client and you off?

inquiring minds...

Al
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slobmonster

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2003, 10:43:52 AM »

re haircity's comments above...
right on.  
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2003, 03:48:05 PM »

Note page 119 of the ed webster book. Photo of Ray Darcy on upper thin air with etrier clipped to expansion bolt that is no longer there. i wonder if the NC taliban plans on going up there to do a little traditional restoration with a drill ::) Radair take note!!!! I belive you posted earlier about darcy not needing bolts to do thin air. Typical of right wing conservitive fanatics to omit the facts that don't support their actions and beliefs.
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radair

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2003, 05:04:27 PM »

Quote
Note page 119 of the ed webster book. Photo of Ray Darcy on upper thin air with etrier clipped to expansion bolt that is no longer there. i wonder if the NC taliban plans on going up there to do a little traditional restoration with a drill ::) Radair take note!!!! I belive you posted earlier about darcy not needing bolts to do thin air. Typical of right wing conservitive fanatics to omit the facts that don't support their actions and beliefs.


You should read a little more carefully. The route CURRENTLY known as Thin Air had no bolts placed by Darcy. The photo you refer to is on what is known as the "Darcy Route", near the current Rapid Transit.

"Right wing conservitive [sic] fanatics"? Jeez, I'm a liberal if anything. Calling people names will not help make your point (especially when you're wrong).

FWIW, I believe the belay bolts on TA should not have been removed. I think they should be replaced, but WITHOUT rap chains. If someone needs to get down in a thunderstorm, etc., they can leave a sling. Equipping the anchor with rap hardware will encourage people to rap the route, which I believe should be discouraged in consideration of others on the route.

Al, I had to laugh at your caption for the photo of Brad on the "new" Thin Air traverse. That is the original traverse that was done for 20+ years, until Paul Ross (according to Chris Noonan) added the first bolt to make guiding it easier (and made the high line protectable).
« Last Edit: October 09, 2003, 05:16:27 PM by radair »
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tradmanclimbz

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Re: Debolting Thin Air
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2003, 05:50:09 PM »

Ok. I know that i have ranted and raved, spouted of at the mouth  and opened my pie hole in a big way on this issue but I feel strongly that the wrong approach is being taken here and the future of one of my favorite crags is at stake.   Rather than spout more negative  spray here are my sugestions for dealing with the problem.  

#1. form an elected commite to oversee all  fixed anchors, new rt's, trail work, human waste disposal, Guideing regulations,fees? parking and access issues.  I am not sure who would do the voteing> maby you would have to join a Freinds of cathedral and whitehorse association to be able to vote?  many will oppose this but it is painfully obvious that there is a limited resorce and way too many climberz to allow it to contine to be  a free for all.
#2 the commity would decide which bolts should be replaced and which bolts  if any should be chopped. the commity would  also decide the fate of new rt proposals. You have an idea for a new accent and it would go to vote before the commity. This would give the elected commity the opertunity of insureing that the rt is not a squeeze job or an existing rt.  My personal opinion is that chopping ANY BELAYS OR RAP STATIONS at an area as crowded as north conway is ignorance at it's worst.
#3 All new rt's must be put up on lead and any bolts drilled by hand. All new bolts placed in this fassion must be 3/8ths stainless. this accomplishes several good things. Drilling by hand on lead is scary and HARD WORK so you don't do the rt unless it realy is going to be a good one and you tend to think long and hard before you place each bolt. This helps slow down new developement as well as  helping to insure that the new climbs follow natural lines. There is a long history of these kinds of accents in the area. See Last unicorn, ladyslipper  the prow, Hotter than hell. Etc. The Commity would be able to use power drill for anchor replacement.
#4  If the commity does not do a fair and good job they will get voted out or the climbers will revolt and we will be back at square one.  The present course  will only hurt our cliffs and threaten our access. Obviously the commity would need to be approved by  and work with the state dept of parks.
#5 As is usualy the case. Any time the climbing community has  an internal conflict to the point of getting the athority's involved, bad things happen to our access and freedom.  Nick Goldsmith

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