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Author Topic: Ropes on Lions Head  (Read 3375 times)

tinker

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2014, 06:44:06 PM »

Guides have ski bunnies stashed at home?
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strandman

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2014, 06:57:23 PM »

Only ice guides...during summer, rock guides keep water bunnies by the rivers
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DLottmann

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2014, 07:29:02 PM »

I predict this thread will go far... unfortunately.

I’ld ask we try to stay civil and not spread rumors (this rope had nothing to do with the AMC).

Before sharing my opinion let me paint the picture for those of you not familiar with Winter Lion’s Head Route on Mt. Washington.

Both the AMC White Mountain Guidebook and the USFS describe this route as “a steep mountaineering route requiring the use of crampons and ice axe and the knowledge of how to use them”. This description unfortunately, is not respected by a large portion of non-guided groups on Mt. Washington. While I believe in the essence behind the “Freedom of the Hills”, that which everyone has a right to go into the mountains and learn from good & bad experiences yada yada... this particular section of the LHWR is a shit show almost every weekend of the winter.

This section, jokingly called the “Hillary Step” by regulars is only 30 feet in length, is 4th class in nature, and leaves little option for passing parties up or down without halting their progress.

10 years ago guides may short rope a client or two through this section... more recently it’s become common to install a hand line during the ascent that the party can use. This might be because guide services have increased their client/guide ratios for these trips and the fastest way to get 5:1 through that step is a quick hand line. I’ve always cleaned it after the last person in my party, and carried it to the summit, re-installing it on the descent (and maybe teaching an arm wrap rappel on descent).

This season, and perhaps a bit of last season, some guides have left the hand line up for the day. This, IMO, is the reason for conflict. The main argument for it being a “day-fixed” rope is this;

This route sees so much beginner traffic that this bottleneck can add an hour to your descent. This is a common experience for me... I crest Lion’s Head on the descent, still half a mile from tree-line. Sweet, no one in sight, should be a great descent. 20 minutes later enter tree-line. 10 minutes later find people sitting on packs or leaning on trees as 40+ people try to move through this 30 foot 4th class section...

That is the argument. Let me be clear of what side I’m on. I don’t like “day-fixed” ropes for a few reasons;

1) It does detract from the skilled minority of climbers who can waltz through this section in micro-spikes while chewing gum and twiddling their thumbs...

2) It’s quick enough to clean it during ascent/descent

3) Might need that rope higher up (or end up going down another way)

Even though I am against a fixed rope there, I think given the traffic this trail sees there needs to be a better solution. I’m not sure what that is. Not having the rope there will not keep neophytes from crawling there way up there, whether properly equipped or not. I always look forward to the Spring so I can sometimes use Lobster Claw gully as an alternate descent with clients on busy days...

It’s only 30 feet... I actually think a wooden ladder like the one on Summer Lions Head Trail would solve the issue...

And quick question for DaveR, ELM, and JBrochu: You all made anti-step cutting comments on trails, I was curious how you felt about the massive trail work at Rumney to facilitate travel?
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strandman

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2014, 07:35:19 PM »

I'll be civil but;

It's OK if guides fix ropes ?  Reminds me of the "I'm a local" shit in the 80's to justify rap bolting   ::)
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JBrochu

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2014, 07:41:28 PM »

@Dman

In general I'm not opposed to trail work if it's for the purpose of minimizing erosion. They steps that I complained about do absolutely nothing to prevent erosion and were cut 100% for convenience.

Regarding Rumney: I've not been there since all that new work was done. However, it's seems pretty clear to me that work had to be done due to erosion so I suppose I support it despite not having a first hand look at it.

I guess a good example of preventing erosion was the work done by the developers of Echo Crag. Had they not done that work when they put the routes in, that place would be a mess now.

So I'm not opposed to bog bridges, water bars, etc. Cutting steps for no reason or leaving ropes on a walk up route seems like taking things a step too far.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 07:43:08 PM by JBrochu »
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Pete Jackson

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2014, 08:03:35 PM »

Do the ends justify the means, or are the means themselves important? Are you a deontologist, consequentialist, or an etymologist? (I jest)

Seriously, though: if Everest is going to be fixed from the icefall to the summit, Mt Washington can take a handline through a shitshow section, AMC or otherwise.

Washington is far from a wilderness experience. Now, if you were to put a handline in on Owl's Head, we'd have to have nasty words.

If you're really that angry about the fixed line, you carry a knife, right? 
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DaveR

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2014, 08:55:43 PM »

And quick question for DaveR, ELM, and JBrochu: You all made anti-step cutting comments on trails, I was curious how you felt about the massive trail work at Rumney to facilitate travel?

The step cutting done on the FR ridge trail was done for no other reason than to make the trail easier than it already is for idiots! I fought long and hard with the forest circus and the AMC trail people about cutting steps in mountain trails and eventually gave up.

It is Hard to compare Rumney to Mount Washington or Franconia Ridge. Its next to the road and has become a total cluster fuck! Rumney is just the regional office of the New England climbing gyms. The trail work done there was done to prevent the total destruction of the entire area by the masses and to try and prevent some idiot from being killed by a car.

It used to be that Mount Washington was one of the few places that you could go in the winter and have a great experience with a friend and it often felt like a way bigger mountain than it is just because of the conditions. As things like fixed ropes get added it just removes that experience and now there is one less place to go. Having a fixed rope there also IMO encourages stupid people to push on. Instead of putting stairs there lets put in heated stairs so they don't ice up! That will make it even safer.

I am on the western side so I avoid the cluster on Lions Head by going up thru Amonousic ravine. There are some great ways to climb Washington from that side without the crowds.

DMan, I have NP with a guide stringing a rope for his clients if it is immediately removed but to leave it there is wrong IMO and I would likely remove it. Many times on a good day I have stayed on top to watch sunset and have come down that section late at night by headlamp. It is barely 4th class and finding a rope there I would consider it someones trash and remove it if it were not for this thread
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OldEric

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2014, 09:48:44 PM »

I climbed that route in the winter with my Mom when I was 15....

Just saying.   I mean, come on.

Actually you didn't Ward - when you were 15 that route didn't exist - there was a winter route but it was more around to the left.  Where Albert and Michael got hit.
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neiceclimber

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2014, 07:58:14 AM »

No problem here with fixing a line for your clients to use going up and down, I might snicker when passing, but to leave it fixed is BS. I'm all for trail work if it alleviates erosion or spaghetti trails in every direction. Building something for the unprepared and inexperience is just plain wrong. If this is the case you have no basis to complain when rescues happen.

I love the dichotomy of MWV. Guides can justify fixed lines and fixed anchors because it saves time. But try to replace a pin with a bolt and they just go crazy. I'm generalizing, certainly not all guides believe this.
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ELM

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2014, 08:27:59 AM »

And quick question for DaveR, ELM, and JBrochu: You all made anti-step cutting comments on trails, I was curious how you felt about the massive trail work at Rumney to facilitate travel?
First off...I don't climb at Rumney so I have not seen "the massive trail work" you mentioned. I have made my opinion about the fixed line known. But now I'll now expand that to trail managment too...just for you.
  Hiking trails do need to occasionally have structures to keep hikers on the trail and prevent people from stomping off into the woods to avoid a muddy section; in the end making the trail bigger. Plus steps do need to be done occasionally to control erosion and again keep hikers from stomping off the trail etc. Trail management does go amuck at times but I don't need to go into that...or mention "freedom of the hills".
   This was not placed by a trail manager though. It was placed by a guide who did it so his clients could have an easier time. He should have removed it or been shamed by other guides into removing it.
   Never should a fixed line be placed over an exsisting trail to "make it easier" for a few months. It will lead to a guard rail being fixed there eventually. Just because this trail cannot be traversed by "everyone" easily in the winter is not a good enough reason to fix a line. Many people should not be on that trail in the summer let alone the winter.
   
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old_school

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2014, 08:37:16 AM »

LOL....ridiculous
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DGoguen

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2014, 08:56:58 AM »

I don't have a dog in this fight either way, but it is possible to descend the trail while they are screwing around with the fixed ropes.
Granted it's a little downclimbing to stay out of their way, but you just climbed a route in Huntingtons.
I've done it twice this year. Both cases a school outing group. 
I think people are afraid to do it because the "official" will yell at them. I told the leader I was just going to scoot by. He was cool with it.
Another hiker, waiting in a line of maybe 16, not with the group yelled "hey why don't you wait your turn". I said "because it's not bowling"
It wasn't even close to being a problem.

I know it's a philosophical issue, and it's a slippery slope, but 30' of rope on a mountain with a TV station on top is not the end of the world.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 09:00:50 AM by DGoguen »
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frik

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2014, 09:01:54 AM »

I am totally in favor of installing fixed ropes anywhere in the white mountains where someone could possibly slip and get a boo boo, as long as they use 200 ft 8.8mm everdry.  Also they should periodically inspect and replace all fixed lines so they are always in excellent condition.
 
 
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 09:12:26 AM by frik »
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neiceclimber

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2014, 09:06:51 AM »

^^^ there's a road to the top of Cathedral and I can see peoples TV's from the cliff, does that give me the right to build a via Ferratta for Joe Sixpack. But you are correct Washington is hardly pristine. Doesn't it set a precedent for all the new to hiking/climbing people, a little bit of struggle, should fix a rope.  Hunger Mt. in VT has a rope on the slabs maybe 20ft, not really needed but it keeps people from wondering into the woods looking for a workaround, this I'm ok with.
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M_Sprague

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Re: Ropes on Lions Head
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2014, 09:23:09 AM »

They should get it over with and build a high speed tramway from the top of Wildcat and a casino resort in place of the weather station.  Such wasted potential there.   Maybe a vacuum tube train from Brettonwoods too. Tourism could be completely revitalized. And then you folks who actually want to walk up in the cold would be contributing to the economy by acting as zoo animals for the tourists
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