NEClimbs.com forum

General => Rock Climbing: Trad => Topic started by: plan_b on October 05, 2003, 06:19:26 PM

Title: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: plan_b on October 05, 2003, 06:19:26 PM
Today I removed four bolts from Thin Air on Cathedral Ledge; two from the second pitch traverse and the two bolt anchor at the top of the third pitch, all retrobolts.  There is still a two bolt rappel anchor at the end of the second pitch traverse.

The consensus reached last night by an almost unamimous vote at the bolting meeting/slide show dubbed "The Age Before Beauty Tour" was to "maintain the charactor and integrity of established routes".  I hope the removal of bolts from Thin Air is accepted by this community as an example of our commitment to the stewardship of Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges, and their history.  I encourage this community to stand behind further such action as it agreed upon in an open forum.

Bayard Russell
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: stonearc on October 05, 2003, 09:11:11 PM
I happen to be out guiding thin air today with two clients as Bayard was debolting. I approached the traverse pitch from a more natural perspective and found the low line one takes more enjoyable, very well protected, and safer for seconds  This classic line is a far better line without the bolts.Thanks Bayard for taking the initiative.
Alain Comeau
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DH on October 06, 2003, 08:01:56 AM
Good for you Bayard.  Eliminating the exceptions gets rid of the grey area surrounding the bolting thing.  Restoring all climbs (not including Rumney) to their FA character will clearify what the ethics really are.  Good to see that someone is taking the initiative, and has the sack to stand behind their actions.  

I learned a lot from Saturday night and now understand better what the hell the 'rules' are in the valley.  North Conway should be restored to a place that challenges climbers who are dedicated and prepared to climb routes in clean style.  

I like the notion brought up by Henry Barber of adopting an ethic similar to that on Gritstone in the North of England.  Even on mixed routes like Josh said, no bolts.  This is exciting stuff.  Maybe if more people start restoring routes like this, we won't need to talk about a committee again.  We can settle these disputes in a pub over a few pints.  

This will also address the overcrowding trend at the crag. Not that it has affected me lately, I've been bouldering at Pawtuckaway for the last few months, kind of sad not to be on the long classics up there but climbing is climbing and I'm still sore today, woohooo.  
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: rpdoucette on October 06, 2003, 09:29:17 AM
Never liked the bolts on the thin air traverse anyway.

I didnt make the meeting on friday, but look forward to someone putting together some notes on what was discussed.  

I am all for avoiding/eliminating unnecessary bolts.  But if first ascent style is all that matters, then I think that is a bit narrow-minded.  There is more to a good route than doing it in the style of the first ascentionist.  Maybe the first ascentionist ran it out because it was raining, or dark, or he had to take a sh--t, not because it was the thing to do...but we could argue about this all day.  Ever see a bunch of hard climbing french guys sitting around arguing about such things?  Never happens.  They just go out and outclimb us...
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: SCUD on October 06, 2003, 10:54:28 AM
Bayard: You are to be commended for your actions. Ideally, all climbers should leave no trace of their path either ascending or descending. Those doing FA's should aspire to that same goal as well. Since I am the founding member, I am proud to confer upon you honorable membership in The Society for the Protection of **THIN AIR** together with all rights, privileges, etc..
    +++  Off Belay -  Joe Cote +++
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair on October 06, 2003, 05:02:40 PM
Removal of these bolts will undoubtedly piss a few people off, but here's how I see it: If Ray D'Arcy could do this route in the 1950s with goldline rope, soft iron pitons, and stiff boots, modern climbers with dynamic ropes, camming devices and sticky rubber ought to have no problems.

Taking out the fixed belay will certainly cut down on the more recent phenomenon of rapping the route.

I think it's very impressive that young climbers like Bayard & Dana Drummond have the conviction to take this issue into their own hands. I was appalled at the news that someone added a bolt to the 4th pitch of the Direct-Direct. That WAS one of the airiest moves on the cliff and it's a bummer that someone couldn't deal with it (as Steve Arsenault did in 1967 and countless others since then).

Rob Adair
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity on October 06, 2003, 06:33:34 PM
Well, I don't think the "concensus" was "unanimous", but barring the endless rathole of arguements, I guess this was (and always has been) the prevalent thinking. Perahps if that was the case, we should have just had a longer slide show.

Really, anyone who brought up any dissenting opinion at that forum was doomed from the start. So hearing alternate opinions was interseting, showed diversity but in the end it was really windowdressing.

Anyway, it's good to see people with conviction. Unecessary bolts are just that. I have enough high-tech gear, so I shouldn't bitch. For the most part, if they're classic routes they still suck-up pro and have good anchors.

On one hand you have the Rifles and the Rumneys of the world and then on the other you have the Needles and North Conways.

So I guess all us weekend posers better start bouldering more to raise ourselves to the appropriate levels

Fred Keith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 06, 2003, 06:44:47 PM
One needs to be carefull that when one sets out to hunt monsters that one does not turn into one. I  am all for leaving rts as they are and not adding bolts but I don't see the point in chopping every belay and running arround like a bunch of funamentalist  fanatics. Have towle and explosives will travel may soon translate into have chisle will travel. next thing you know some kid that is a wannabe oldtimer is going to be out there at the crag handing out citations for useing sticky rubber and cams.  On that note maby next time I head over to NC I will bring my aid rack and hammer and do a little bit of traditional nailing on the prow. Those dam newcomers are are a bunch of punks for free climbing that thang without  using pins :P take a look at the history of the sport and you will see that most often, massive bolt choppings and spanish inquisitions cause more harm than good to the area that they occure in. As for gritstone climbing. the weather over there sucks, it is a stinking little island with a bunch of crazey bleeding buggers and if thats what you want, be my guest,buy a fu@$ing plane ticket   8)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 06, 2003, 08:01:30 PM
well a lot of us, who went to 8+ meetings on the topic as well as Saturday nite, thought that the understanding was that routes that are in the guidebook(s) were going to be left alone - for obvious reasons. Brad White and I went over & climbed the 1st 2 pitches of T/A this afternoon. I have no real problem with there being no bolts on the traverse. that said, when it's wet, as it was today, it's definitely trickier going low than going high. of course you can get in lots of good gear as you go, and the second has lots of protection. however, I think that taking down the belay is a bit over the top and's gonna cause some real problems in the summer when there are multiple parties on the route (guided or otherwise).

I would also hope that if people are going to chop bolts, they woud do a better job of covering it up. when I replace bolts I go to a lot of trouble to bring up some rock chips that I use to blend with the epoxy to make it look like it was always there.

Al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 07, 2003, 04:59:35 AM
If you guys are going to start a mass bolt chopping frenzey you just better get used to the idea of some scarred rock. Once the chisels start making their holy presence known it usualy gets ugly in a big way.  Should be pretty interesting up there the next sunny weekend  when 3 different guide services are stacked up on thin air with their clients while some gumby takes an hour to put together a belay. Oh well, i guess you reap what you sowe. ::)  As for over crowding at the craggs, the bolts don't cause the crowds. the crowds are a direct result of the commericialization of the sport.   The gyms and climbing schools are pumping out new climbers at a record pace. The inevitable result of many people in the north conway area as well as the rest of the world makeing their living off of the sport is overcrowding at the craggs and all the enviornmental and access issues that go allong with overcrowding.  Maby you should start a witch hunt for the guides, Burn a few of them for corrupting your sacred clifs with newbies ::) Chopping rap stations  and belays is not a very productive method of preserving your local resorce.  The added traffic on the north end decent trail will certainly make an allready serious erosion issue critical :o You guys get together in a bar, tip a few back and cry about the good old days and now we have a freaking unregulated crusade of vigilante walk on water bolt choppers to deal with.  Nice fu$#ing work ::)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: 5.9+ on October 07, 2003, 05:13:12 AM
Congratulations to Bayard, you have a lot of support in the community.
When the first of the two bolts on the traverse was drilled it was totally self-serving... to make guiding the traverse easier. It removed some of the intimidating exposure for the second and the guide didn't have to deal with stuck nuts. The second bolt was the "insidious creep" that's been much discussed.These two bolts were the best examples of what we don't want to see in the future. Thin Air is a great climb and better now that it's been cleaned up.

Chris Noonan
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 07, 2003, 06:47:26 AM
Let the games begin.

So Thin Air and its re-retro-unbolting is fine and dandy, and perhaps shouldn't cause too much consternation.  A line in the sand, if you will, or a message, or an example.  Of what?  Exactly what was the non-unanimous (and argued) "consensus" the other night?  

It was my impression --inform me if I have it wrong-- that 'we' want to keep the routes as they are.  Great.  But the model for that tradition hs been bastardized each and every way possible for going on four generations of climbers.  Some bolts we don't seem to mind, and for sometimes good reasons other bolts make us seethe.  

Certain bolts next to cracks... go chop.  Some immediately, and others twenty years after they were drilled (...and then re-drilled.  oy vey).  Other bolts next to cracks, well let 'em be.  Old pins in scars, well let's leave these ones, they're still good gear.  Other old pins, well lets take these out and leave nice wee pinkie jams.  

You name it, we have an example and a precedent that you can go take to justify whatever it is you want to do.

This will just be a debacle, without any decorum, very quickly.  The meeting the other night could have been a discussion... but it was not.  It was all about stumping and volume, and that's why I did not feel comfortable "voting."  The voices courageous enough to stand up and suggest something different were very quickly silenced by loud, angry, drunken ones.  Great.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 07, 2003, 06:52:33 AM
I'm very pleased to hear that some form of concensus has been reached among the North country's influential climbers to clean up the cliffs and hopefully reverse this tide of thoughtless bolting.

adam t
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair on October 07, 2003, 06:57:31 AM
Quote
Let the games begin.

... The meeting the other night could have been a discussion... but it was not.  It was all about stumping and volume, and that's why I did not feel comfortable "voting."  The voices courageous enough to stand up and suggest something different were very quickly silenced by loud, angry, drunken ones.  Great.


Hmm, what meeting did you attend? It was not a discussion? Loud, angry, drunken voices? Your perspective is far different from mine - sure, there were some differing opinions, but I don't believe your version is what most people who were there will remember. In fact, I think it was a very good discussion that will have people thinking about the issues for some time.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: A_Manning on October 07, 2003, 07:31:09 AM
A line in the sand has been drawn, but where is it exaclty. The un-unanimous opinion in the room Saturday night was rather dubious, as Fred and slobmonster point out. Instead of a discussion you saw a presentation on why all the "new" bolts should be removed from the old climbs (my viewpoint from the back of the room). And on day-one we see bolts being chopped.

Great, now someone please go back and remove all the new anchor bolts placed in the last year by MSR, which were not installed by the first ascensionist. Oh, wait, those are good bolts-don't replace those-they were put in to protect trees and increase safety on the cliff. Then what were the anchor bolts on Thin Air?

Conclusion - don't confuse self-rule with no-rule! The meeting was lopsided to say the least, but some good points were brought up by "outsiders" and should be pondered by the powers-that-be. What is wrong with a "committee" to oversee the re-placement or removal of bolts on the existing climbs?

Example - I am new to the valley, I go up to an obscure crag in the woods, spot a dirty line, clean the lichen and spider webs, throw in a couple of bolts to span the face between cracks, and call it a day. A week later I hear that someone is pissed off that I bolted their "old" climb. Now, someone goes out and chops my bolts without a discussion just because they can...

Some ood for thought, just keep it clean...by the way, that was a true story  :o
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: drb1215 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Tinman 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.

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: A_Manning 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!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bobwallstrom 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DH 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.
:)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Schandy 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz 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  
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: drb1215 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave 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!  ::)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al 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

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: xmikeyx 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: kthor_8711 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


Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Will_Mayo 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!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: xmikeyx 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.
Title: Pins required for Turner's Flake and Recluse?
Post by: Broken_Spectre 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bumpkin 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.
Title: Re: Pins required for Turner's Flake and Recluse?
Post by: kthor_8711 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al 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
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 09, 2003, 10:43:52 AM
re haircity's comments above...
right on.  
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz 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.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair 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).
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz 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

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 09, 2003, 06:01:07 PM
Quote


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).


good point Rob. I've since adjusted it to "new/old" traverse. <grin>

Al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity on October 09, 2003, 07:09:45 PM
Also...good last point by tradman.

If we all can't resolve this sensibly and amicably within the MWV climbing community, you can bet the gov'mnt boys will be looking for a way to justify thier jobs....

An that'll be a bad thing.

Rob: don't you think that the NEMBA / IMBA model is a good one???? You've succeeded well with respect to that.

-Fred
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: mona on October 10, 2003, 06:21:04 PM
I am hearing much discussion about climbing ethics.  I propose we adopt a postmodern form of utilitarianism regarding the dilemma of when to place fixed protection on existing routes.
   In keeping with postmodernism I think every route should be considered as an individual case (there can be no general rule made that would fit every situation).
  In keeping with being a form of utilitarian ethics, I think ethical judgements must be made from a universal point of view, that is, my interests cannot count more than the interests of anyone else, just because they are my interests.  Decisions about fixed protection should take into account the interests of all those affected by my decision.  I must choose the course of action that has the best consequences , on balance, for all affected when deciding on placing (or removing) fixed protection on existing routes.
   I believe the way to understanding what is in the common good is through compassionate dialogue among all those affected.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 11, 2003, 09:54:00 PM
I feel a need to point out to you purists out there that there are a lot of bolts and pins on a wide variety of routes on these cliffs that aren't part of the "original route." the more I poke around, the more I find out. I suggest that if all of the routes here were restored to their original states, many might find themselves not quite as happy climbing on some of these as you might be.

be careful what you wish for...

Al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: rustyrat on October 13, 2003, 11:15:12 AM
Climbing has become more popular in recent years – we all agree. Is that a bad thing? It,s not up to us to decide that. It,s a free world and if someone is bright enough to share the passion that we do for the rock so be it. As with any sport from golf on up there are esthetic guidelines that define what makes that sport what it is. Climbing rock on Cathedral and Whitehorse is a game of body and mind, not just body. The pleasure of climbing on Cathedral isn,t just pulling down on the crimps and cranking up. Climbing here is about a complete emersion of body and mind to solve the situation a head.

Climbing is dangerous, people die and get hurt all the time, let,s not kid ourselves and pretend the sport is something it,s not. Know what you,re getting into when you start. If a person decides to climb that,s great, but it,s important to appreciate and respect the guidelines that guide our sport. I no longer live in the valley, but I long for those granite walls I return when ever I can to climb the areas classic lines.

Cathedral and Whitehorse are special places and as individuals we owe it to ourselves to rise to challenges presented by them and not drag them down to our own level. I love clipping bolts at Rumney as much as the next person – but the MWV offers something very different, something that is very special to me, something that feeds the soul in a way that Rumney never can.

To me, the chopping of the bolts on Thin Air makes sense. I,ve climbed it many times prior to the bolts being placed and apart from the  convenience factor it makes little difference to the grade, safety or enjoyment of the route to have the bolts there. Sure people will now have to tinker with establishing a real anchor but unless I,m forgetting something, that,s a fundamental skill requirement for anyone undertaking a multipitch climb. I,m sorry if people are miffed that they have to learn the basics, but that,s the way it is, climbing is an apprenticeship were step one leads to step two. Start skipping the steps and you end up with a very bad product (your all round climbing ability) and dangerously little knowledge.

Climbing in North Conway is special also for the community that exists there and the friendliness of that community. The so called NC Taliban, are the people that have the excellent relationship with the land managers so we can have the luxury of this debate and  not have a government office jock do it for us. They are also the people who come out and pick up injured climbers when they get into trouble. The local community of any area doesn,t own the cliffs they climb on, but they do know the full history of that area. The North Conway community has done a great job over the years of respecting and maintaining what is so special about climbing in the area. That dialog has generally been open and friendly.

Nobody is seriously talking about removing every bolt and pin from the cliffs. Wave Length, Camber, Last Unicorn and the Prow are all examples of area classics that are unlikely to have been climbed without the use of fixed gear. Today they are regarded as some of the best routes on the East coast.

It is the inappropriate use of fixed gear because we can,t be bothered to set an anchor or place a nut that is at issue. This whole idea of using convenient bolts because it,s easier to do so, rather than having to fuss with setting a traditional anchor at the third belay on Thin Air (or the top of Childs Play) simply cheapens the experience for everyone. Again the whole idea of rapping down Thin Air on a busy Saturday instead of walking down the road is nuts. Erosion of the North End trail? Give me a break, walk down the road!

There is no need for a committee, a tribe or a board of bolt or not to bolt directors. We just need common sense and a respect for what the climbing at Cathedral and Whitehorse is all about. Grow to the challenge and accept that challenge for what it is and you,ll get more out of the whole experience. It doesn,t matter what grade you climb at 5.6 or 5.13, it,s the process of mind and body joining to solve the problem that makes this area so special.

There is no need to go on a chopping spree, the point has been made it,s time to sit back respect the cliff and respect the tradition. Appreciate what we have for what it is and be proud of living up to that tradition.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Tinman on October 13, 2003, 06:01:00 PM
From a touron: I climbed Thin Air in August, clipped the bolts on the traverse and at the 3rd belay station. Climbed it this weekend, Columbus Day/Thanksgiving without the bolts. I really didn't notice a difference. In fact, it was more enjoyable looking for placements than anything else.
There really was, IMO, no need for bolts at the 3rd belay, there's a beautiful crack on the left. Then again, a new leader might feel really uncomfortable with the traverse.
How's that for fence-sitting?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: brett on October 14, 2003, 03:19:54 PM
bayard good job!!! it seems pretty simple... no need for bolts at, next to, or near good trad gear.  There seems to be so much talk now adays but in the end no one does anything about it.  I am glad to see you had the courage to stand up and do something.  As to whether this was a good idea (who gives a sh##) Lets leave it, we choose to leave it when the bolts went in.....how about we leave it now that the bolts came out. And to the people who say it is dangerous because we are making people place gear....come on... what the hell are u doing there if you can't place gear.  AS far as guideing, build a damn anchor isn't that what your client is paying for.    
here is an idea... lets form a committe to get rid of the hotel, golf course, and the road up cathedral.  You think people are pissed about a couple bolts what about the hotel getting axed (just a dream) well you have to admit people would stop talking about thin air.
brett taylor (no need for reply, i can't read)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: MT on October 14, 2003, 03:49:02 PM
I read all of the posts on this issue, as well as the array of comments on the bolts on BPG this winter. I thought I'd ask a question to clarify the issue at hand:

How many new bolts have been added to Cathedral in the last--I don't know--5 years on already established routes (i.e., convenience bolts)?

In the same period, how many of these same bolts have been chopped?

I'm really not trying to make any point here for either side of the argument, I was just curious as to the severity of this problem.

MT
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 14, 2003, 06:28:24 PM
I stand by my argument that chopping belay and rap stations is counter productive and a waste of the rock. It is the highest traffic tourist rt up the cliff and slowing the traffic down on that rt dosen't accomplish anything. as much as you fantasize about it, it will never be  1955 again. so get used to it. I am totaly against adding bolts to any existing rt's but the bolts that are there should be left in place. We shoud realy be expending some of this bolt chopping energy in the direction of building some Crappers at the cathedral and white horse parking areas. there was a porta john at cathedral for awhile but haven't seen it the last few times i was there.  Looked down the crapper at rumny today and was amazed at the sheer volume of crap. there is at least that much crap if not more scattered arround the base of the clifs in NC. Just a reguler old crap farm. Not too suprising considering all the crap that has been flying through the air arround here. 8)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: John Jackson on October 14, 2003, 11:46:31 PM
Quote

Looked down the crapper at rumny today and was amazed at the sheer volume of crap. there is at least that much crap if not more scattered arround the base of the clifs in NC. Just a regular old crap farm. Not too suprising considering all the crap that has been flying through the air arround here. 8)


Yeeeeeeeeeeeehaaa!!!  Priceless!!!!!     :P

For everything else there's MasterCard.

-toad
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Edge on October 15, 2003, 12:25:09 PM
With the recent incarnation of the bolt wars stirring up emotions in the Valley, I would applaud everyone for voicing their opinions so passionately.  I say recent because this same thing has happened every 10 years since the 70's, and sadly I could not attend the recent discussion.  However, this resource is obviously a matter which everyone cares very deeply about, and that is where we all share common ground.  

My own thoughts on the situation have been voiced very eloquently in this thread, not by any one person, but in bits and pieces by many, sometimes even those who have polarized themselves to the extremes.  Having said that, I would like to share a route description from the first guidebook that I ever bought, "A Climber's Guide to Mt. Washington Valley" by Joseph Cote, 1972.

Thin Air
1, 5.5.  Begin at the first substantial broken-up area of rock to the left of Standard route.  Climb up right approximately 40 feet to a small belay stance.  The second pitch traverses right on the uppermost ledge system until directly below a chimney.  Belay at a large ledge above the chimney.  The last pitch goes straight up passing behind a flake to a large pine tree.  Walk off to the right on the ledge above.

It goes on to describe a paragraph of variations, climbs like Airation (a fine direct finish... 5.7 A1) and others.  The beauty of this was that you knew where the route went without move by move beta, or mentioning fixed gear which may or may not be present.  The climber was responsible for his/her own safety, and experience was gained by slowly learning the traditions and pushing oneself at your own pace.

Just because modern climbers can safely climb 5.8 in the gym or at Rumney, shouldn't mean that they can do the same at Cathedral.  These ledges have long been a training ground for some of the world's best climbers, and to sanitize them removes much of what makes them so special.

I believe that equipping routes for the least common denominator robs everyone of the thrill of conquering a climb on it's own terms.  I first climbed Thin Air, using the Cote description, in 1974 with a 3/8" goldline rope, too few steel carabiners, and maybe 10 stoppers and hexes.  I repeated it many times since, but when I noticed the insidious creep of preplaced hardware on a route with a tradition of adventure, I stopped.  I think the last time that I climbed Thin Air was in the mid-eighties; I prefer to remember it the way that I first climbed it, heart in throat, sweaty palms, and all.  Only now do I consider sharing that experience with my daughter, teaching her that this is not another sport climb, but a wonderful route with a tradition to be held as an ideal.

As the amount of unclimbed lines shrinks in numbers, future generations have pushed the standards and found newer, harder lines.  To my mind, the best of these test the mind as well as the body, with generous runouts and thought provoking placements.  No one is going to find a new, trad protected, undiscovered classic 5.5 route on Cathedral, but for those who wish to climb at that or any grade, there is a lifetime of rock to climb with ample and safe protection.

Let's remember where we came from, and where we need to proceed to keep the Mt Washington Valley special.  Let's keep bolts away from protectable cracks and belays, but by the same token, let's make sure that the bolts that are part of our tradition (Ventilator, Children's Crusade, etc.) are well maintained and as safe as the first ascentionists intended them to be.

Loran Smith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: jseaver on October 15, 2003, 01:29:00 PM
Hey Bayard-
I don't know you, and you don't know me, but I'm dying to ask you a question. I've gathered that your motivation in chopping the bolts on Thin Air was to return the route to its original state. That makes sense to me. I also gathered that your actions, and intentions, were part of a larger goal of promoting "stewardship" of our cliffs in order to protect their history and our access. My question, therefore, is how, exactly, leaving a beer keg wedged in a crack on Cannon cliff fits into this ethically pure stance you've taken?
Jason Seaver
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 15, 2003, 02:10:10 PM
 post deleted due to shamelessly comenting on heresay. I for one definatly live in a glass house.  Nick goldsmith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Tinman on October 15, 2003, 03:15:49 PM
Wait, I thought the MG keg was chopped.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Mad_Dog on October 15, 2003, 06:38:52 PM
Bayard ought to be spared the blame for things that he did not do. Users would do well to make sure their facts are right. The keg fixing on Moby Grape was the work of myself and Freddie Wilkinson. He did help to empty it, though a poor turnout that night left a lot of beer to drink; not even with our swilling prowess could it be kicked. The keg was chopped this past summer after serving a more prolonged term in the chimney than it was meant to.

The keg aside, lets talk Thin Air bolts. I think that Jasons comments about Bayards motivations are right on, having spent the better part of this past summer and fall discussing and debating the bolting issue with him. Each and every one of the bolts chopped on thin air a couple weeks ago supplemented ideal gear placements and to the best of my knowledge, were not placed on the original ascent(s). They may have been accepted by many as 'grandfathered,' to remain because they were more convenient, safer or because of a grudging tolerance. None of these reasons really justified their presence in my mind when I got to thinking about it and I think Bayard took action based upon this idea. Thin air was the route that kept coming up as an example of how many local climbers did not want the rest of the cliff to end up, so it seemed logical to return that one route to its original state as a statement that retrobolting really would not be tolerated. The character and integrity of the original ascent were not being maintained, so he did some maintenance.

I'll stop speaking for Bayard now, he may in fact have different reasons, I don't want to put words in  his mouth that aren't there. Before I go, I'll express one more opinion of mine. I feel that peoples' posts and opinions carry a bit more weight when there are names attatched to them. Good night,

Dana Drummond
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity on October 15, 2003, 10:32:16 PM
Listen to this..it's classic!

Let me see.

If I'm going to devote some time and effort to keeping White Mountain Granite pristine, it's better to chop a few inocuous bolts on a crag trade route than to removing a keg from a big wall.

And your motivations are??????

Fred Keith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 16, 2003, 05:32:37 AM
Seeing how some of the N. Country elite want to return routes to thier FFA condition how would you feel if I chopped all the bolts on Science Friction Wall this weekend and put the pins and dowells back. Also the bolts at the belay at the top of the first pitch of Recompense should be chopped along with the bolts that have been added to the Prow.  ;D Also, seeing how pissed some people were about Arete-e-vous being bolted is the plastic hold still in place at sundown. (I havn't been to Sundown in a long time) Talk about inconsistent bullshit. Chop bolts but leave a plastic hold on the rock! If it is still there it won't be by the end of the month. It sure always looked pretty stupid there anyway. ;)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 16, 2003, 08:03:41 AM
I've been out of the valley for a few weeks climbing elsewhere, so here goes:

Asinine, egotistical, high-handed, elitist, counter-productive, one-sided, unsanctioned, inane, indefensible, damaging to the rock, hypocritical...am I missing anything?

I can easily climb the traverse without the bolts...but that's not the point.  The bolts should have stayed...and the fact that someone who was born after the bolts were drilled decided he was the keeper of Cathedral's flame is asinine to say the least.

Watch it Bayard...someone may take it upon themselves to follow your example and chop bolts off of climbs that you find difficult...wouldn't that be a hoot?  I'm also now much less likely to spend my money at Ragged Mountain as long as Bayard is working there...public actions have public consequences.

Jeff Cavicchi, North Conway
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 16, 2003, 08:23:59 AM
regarding dave's complaint about inconsistency, i would say that everything can't be done at once.  it's not a matter of cleaning up one route while ignoring others, it's a matter of one step at a time, and i'm glad to see we are headed toward a positive direction.

regarding dogboy's boycott of ragged mountain, i would like to counter this by letting you know that ragged mountain will now receive more of my business.  thanks bayard, see you soon for some new ice tools :)

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Edge on October 16, 2003, 09:14:19 AM
Quote

Asinine, egotistical, high-handed, elitist, counter-productive, one-sided, unsanctioned, inane, indefensible, damaging to the rock, hypocritical...am I missing anything?


You could apply each of those terms to the person or people who placed the bolts in the first place.  

The route is better now.

Loran Smith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 16, 2003, 09:17:35 AM
On a more coherent note (I'm a little calmer than when I wrote the first post):

I thought the point of all the meetings and discussion was to foster a consensus and reasonable middle ground between interested parties with differing opinions.  Having been involved in the discussion, all I can say is that Bayard's actions make it clear to me that those who spoke loudest heard only their own voices and, under the guise of consensus, sanctioned taking extreme action that has nothing to do with compromise and common ground.  Any sense that I had that all voices were being heard and respected is gone...chopping Thin Air to me is simply unilateral action and a declaration of war.  I will not be participating in any more "meetings"...apparently they are a smoke and mirror show that serve only to cover the asses of those who intended all along to follow their own course, and can now turn around and point to their farcical "consensus building" as justification for their own selfish actions.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: jseaver on October 16, 2003, 09:46:53 AM
My facts are plenty "right" to make my point, although the Mad Dog still seems to have missed it. Leaving a big metal piece of garbage on one of New England's finest cliffs is just not right and is NOT the way to be a steward of our resources. Your attempt to make it sound like no big deal, and perhaps even commonplace, is downright funny. "Well, um, we went up and got it down from there this summer." Gee, thanks buddy, that was awful nice of you to go clean up your trash. Obviously Bayard was a part of the littering team, and obviously he knew the keg stayed there for however long you guys chose to leave it. Meanwhile, he was over in North Conway deciding how to make his big ethical statement. Are you people starting to see the ridiculous hypocrisy going on here. Are those of you applauding Bayard's chopping just pretending not to see his inability to apply his bullshit purism to his own life. Of all the times I've climbed Thin Air I never lamented the existence of the bolts, but you can be sure that if I found a beer keg on Moby Grape, I'd be pretty fucking pissed.
Is my point getting clearer? If you're going to impose your ethics on the rest of us, you better be living up to them yourself.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 16, 2003, 10:13:32 AM
the keg was on moby grape for at least 9 months and was visible from rt 93 without binoculears if you knew were to look. I find it ironic that while many areas are fighting to keep their fixed anchors, you tools are fighting to chop yours regardlesss of how much dammage it causes. I personaly don't care one way or the other about thin air as I only climb it as a finish to Turners. The implications however of those actions by a young impressionable climber who was apparently inspired by a witch hunt atmosphere, could be far reaching and devestating to the climbing experience in north conway.  There obviously needed to be a firm stand made to stop the  creep of bolts being added to existing climbs but chopping with no athority or real consensus is so dangerous (as in contagious) and narrowminded.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 16, 2003, 10:39:53 AM
Seems to me that the next logical step to all this is to organize a group who will be charged with the "cleaning of routes". This will help prevent just random crews heading off in vigilante mode. If this is truly the consensus of Valley climbers and the motivation is to clean up and restore routes, then it should be done in such a way as to really protect the resource. It appears that the current actions are opposite of this ideal.

Lizz Bartlett
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Jeff on October 16, 2003, 11:02:23 AM
I agree with Dana Drummond that people who want to state opinions should use their real names. I admire Bayard for being willing to identify himself when he took his recent controversial action of removing the thin Air bolts. I disagree that his action truly answered the consensus expressed by the vote at the Age Before Beauty slideshow meeting or at either of the 2 (out of many) meetings which I was able to attend this summer.  That's the trouble with consensus votes as was quite strongly pointed out at the slide show. We differ as to what it meant. I don't think the bolts on the traverse should have remained; they served no need since the pitons driven and removed for years by me and other dinosaurs of the late 60s and early 70s left pin scars which take modern camming units and nuts beautifully (has the rock been altered? of course! it has also been polished and de-lichened; we can't go back). The bolts were unnecessary and should have been removed . I don't feel the same about the belay bolts at the top of the 'chimney pitch' . My copy of Joe Cote's original green guide published in 1969 reads for THIN AIR Pitch 3 : "70 ft. F6 Ascend straight up through the chimney, the top of which is an ideal belay platform (four bolts at the back of the platform used for the rescue demonstration by the AMC)." Perhaps Bayard would have left them had he bought the Cote guide in the silent auction, although I doubt it. I first climbed the route before the publication of this guide, with a friend who had done it before-- we wore Kronhoffer kletterschues, tied in around the waist with 7/16 goldline, drove pegs and used a waist/hip belay technique. The bolts were there. Were we "pure"? No !! We were just going climbing, and we looked at the two other parties on the cliff that weekend as kindred spirits.  We scared ourselves a bit on the traverse (after all we were on the "Big Cliff" and felt committed to get up somehow), and again on the 4th pitch above the platform because we found loose flakes up there where the route moves left and over the bulging flake (traffic has since removed more than one). Anyone who leads this route should be able to construct a safe anchor, especially on the 3rd belay platform. However, I  would have argued for preserving the excellent 2 bolt anchor which had been installed to replace the historic 4 old quarter inchers, not because I'm in favor of "insidious creeping protectionism", but because I felt and still do that they served a good purpose considering the traffic on this one route. I will always argue for decisions on a case by case basis because I fear the excesses of the self appointed morality police as much as those of the "unwashed outsiders"( there has been far too much spraying about "locals" in this forum by many who are only recently arrived on the scene). I'll remain tolerant in my views and hope to continue to climb in this beautiful valley for another 30+ years, although that probably condemns me to at least 2-3 more rounds of this discussion (about every 10 years).  Can't we just go climbing and get along?     Jeff Lea  ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 16, 2003, 11:04:04 AM
How long have the bolts been on thin air? When were they placed? I just want to see if those claiming they are a new thing actually know when they were placed!

Loran, here is a hint-you are about my age and they were there long before you and I were climbing!

Unless some-one can give me a good reason not to the plastic hold WILL be removed from "Banana head (13b)", talk about damage to the rock. That hold has pissed me off for years! In December of 1991 a meeting was held and that action at Sundown was condemed along with the drilling of the pocket on the crux of "totally savage (12d)" but nothing was ever done about it. Many of the same people who are screaming about bolts now i'm sure were at that meeting. Did they not do anything because the offenders were friends of thiers? Was the hold ok because it opened up a hard route for thier egos?


Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 16, 2003, 11:07:05 AM
I truely hope that you folks don't think that establishing an official chopping crew and sugarcoating it by calling it a cleaning commity is going to inprove the climbing recorce. I do think that it may be time for a commity to oversee the  the fixed anchor scene at cathedral and whitehorse but their duties should be focused on preserving the resorce and not on chopping rt's. Do you realy think it is wise to return climbs to their origional state even if that is an a2 nail up? Even an obvious  move like removeing the bolt from the mantle move on siagon may have greater implications such as increasing the traffic(If that is possible) on T.A. funhouse, refuse,  bombardment etc. like it or not we no longer live in the good old days and our biggest challenge is dealing with ever increasing hoards of climbers and all the enviornmental issues that come with them. Nick goldsmith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 16, 2003, 11:09:45 AM
In the time it took me to type my post Jeff got the answer right. He knows his history of the area! ;)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: drb1215 on October 16, 2003, 11:16:44 AM
If the bolts / anchors have been around long enough to make it in to one of the guide books, shouldn't they be left in place?  The anchors that were removed from Thin Air are described in Webster's 3rd Edition...So why now the chopping??

I'm a firm believer in you, as the climber, have the choice of whether or not you wish to use the bolts.  If you feel that the FA didn't place the bolts, and you want to follow their example...don't use the fucking bolts!  

So, when are the anchors going to be replaced?  We could use a counter topic "Bolting Thin Air"

Dan
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 16, 2003, 11:26:05 AM
The term "cleaning committee" was a bit of sarcasm that appears to have been lost. However, in my mind the real issue is not so much returning the route to it's historic past, but in managing fixed anchors and preventing the sprouting of new fixed gear where previously there was none.

In order to protect the resource there's going to have to be some sort of organization or there's going to be a number of vigilantes, all thinking they have THE mandate, taking it upon themselves. Something a bit more than a few folks sitting around a pub reminiscing what needs to happen is a real plan to address everyone's concerns and needs. Face it, if you don't, as Al put it, the rock is going to suffer.

Lizz

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 16, 2003, 12:12:19 PM
I think Liz pretty much nailed it. Nick
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 16, 2003, 12:54:52 PM
So how do we go about forming a *fair* committee?  I'm all for it, but only if both sides are going to be represented, and only if there is some sort of fair deliberative procedure to ensure that action is taken only after fair consideration and warning.

I'm willing to hold off on reinstalling the anchor at the top of the 3rd pitch until such a committee is formed, if that's what we really want...and then we'd all have to abide by the committee rule.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 16, 2003, 01:11:58 PM
That is an extremly tough question. My opinion would be that you would have to join an orginazation, pay a small yearly fee which would help  run the thing as well as go in the general fund for anchor,trail and crapper maitenence. Once a member of the orginazation you could vote. We would then have the members vote in a commite and take it from there. Sounds complicated and we allways run the risk of voteing in people that may not accuratly represent their constituants. Jut like with the govt we will bitch a lot but is the alternative any better?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 16, 2003, 01:17:40 PM
I havn't climbed the route in 10 years but under the circumstances I say put the anchor back dogboy. I do agree with the chopping of the anchor on Pendulum roof though. It is not a trade route travelled by newbies in the hundreds and the guidebook doesn't lead you to believe there is an anchor there. If you can get that far on that route you should be able to build an anchor!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 16, 2003, 01:22:32 PM
Quote
So how do we go about forming a *fair* committee?  I'm all for it, but only if both sides are going to be represented, and only if there is some sort of fair deliberative procedure to ensure that action is taken only after fair consideration and warning.

I'm willing to hold off on reinstalling the anchor at the top of the 3rd pitch until such a committee is formed, if that's what we really want...and then we'd all have to abide by the committee rule.


First of all you set up another meeting, w/o slideshow and definitely w/o alcohol, with the intention of establishing a committee or whatever you want to call it for the express purpose of managing fixed anchors. Have an agenda, stick to it. The one thing you don't want to have on the agenda is answering the question of fixed anchors. The purpose of this meeting is to establish the group so that the group can work on the issues. The ultimate goal is to reach a compromise that both sides can live with and spare the crags the potential abuse a bolt war will cause.

I'd also suggest a moratorium on chopping until this committee is set up. With the current season winding down, this shouldn't be to hard to do. This way you have the winter to get setup.

Lizz

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity on October 16, 2003, 01:24:35 PM
Please don't chop the mantle-move bolt on Saigon. :-/

I've done it w/o thought it too "exciting".

In 2003, some of the other bolt locations there are kind of redundant to Alien placements but that one is key and makes the route solid.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair on October 17, 2003, 06:39:46 PM
Quote
Please don't chop the mantle-move bolt on Saigon. :-/

I've done it w/o thought it too "exciting".

In 2003, some of the other bolt locations there are kind of redundant to Alien placements but that one is key and makes the route solid.


Wimp! Thread hijacker! My wife & I climbed Saigon when it had rusty 1/4"ers hidden in fields of cornflake lichen (that's why they call this place North Cornflake, you know). At the time we thought it should be called "Salad Climbing". This route must be returned to its original condition!!

Rob (tongue firmly in cheek)

p.s. Kudos to Brad & Ian for unearthing this gem.


Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 17, 2003, 10:09:57 PM
Rob, So you climbed "Still in Saigon" in it's old condition. Big deal! So have I. Big deal! Does anyone really care? It is a far more enjoyable climb the way it is now. It is a "gem" and that is why I would say leave it the way it is. A far more enjoyable route at a moderate grade. What would Brad say? Would he, as one of the first ascentionists want to see it changed back? Have you even asked him? You say "it must be returned to the original condition!!" Does your oppinion count over the first ascentionist? Maybe you should form a committee of 1 and you can decide for everyone how we should climb. If the first ascentionists want it returned to the original condition I would agree with you but untill that time it should be left the way it is. How about routes like "Science friction wall". Would you also demand it be returned to the 1980 condition with the dowells? I will quote from the 1982 revised edition of Paul Ross's guide. P4 "Bring wired stoppers to place protection on the dowells" I have also done this route both ways and sure don't mind the bolts that are there now. The bolts have not changed the climbing but they sure have changed a scary venture into a fun classic. I would argue that "Still in Saigon" is the same way. The climb is still the same only it is more fun now than in the old days. Should it become a sport climb? Absolutly not! Should it be changed back? Absolutely not!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Jeff on October 18, 2003, 10:25:04 AM
Dave: please reread Rob's post where he says " (tongue firmly in cheek)" and understand that he DOESN'T WANT  Still in Saigon returned to its "original condition". Careful reading could have saved you some energy and had you out climbing instead of typing.  My excuse is I'm rehabbing from surgery and can't get on the rock. Cheers, Jeff Lea, who also prefers it in its current state to the climb as it was when I first did it (and I echo "big deal").
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Dave on October 18, 2003, 12:08:52 PM
If I spend any more days per week climbing my wife is going to throw my ass out of the house!  ;D Sorry I read his post wrong!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on October 18, 2003, 04:26:16 PM
THIS IS BULLSHIT!

I go out to Boulder for a few weeks....Where EVERYONE and Their brother is a "HardCore" this and "HardCore" that....

I come back and now you Valley FREAKS are chopping bolts on one of the classic guide routes in the valley....The route was fine with the bolts...It is all about the Climbing anyway....
I think you are putting people lives in jeopardy by doing this returning climbs to their natural state crusade....Are you guys that bored up there....There is plenty of other crap going on in the world than you folks needing to be so EGOTISTICAL that you have to set some "Rules" for climbing in the valley....
WHO DIED AND PUT YOU ALL IN CHARGE!!!!!


I'm going out tomorrow or the next day sometime soon
to CHOP all the bolts on Hotter Than Hell.......
NOT!





Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 19, 2003, 10:01:41 AM
Quote
...It is all about the Climbing anyway....
I think you are putting people lives in jeopardy by doing this returning climbs to their natural state crusade....

I'm going out tomorrow or the next day sometime soon
to CHOP all the bolts on Hotter Than Hell.......
NOT!


You're right, it is about the climbing, and the preservation of a very limited resource, the rock!  So you agree with bolts placed next to cracks long after the first ascent?  That's what got chopped on Thin Air... so called "convience bolts".  This is the only climb I have heard of being chopped, and it's a positive strong statement that should dissuade future climbers from making "our" past mistakes again.  As for Hotter Than Hell, all but the last bolt was placed on lead... how does you compare that to Thin Air's bolts?  Would you like to give me a hand retro-bolting Upper Refuse?  That 5.3 1st pitch would be much more fun with a few bolts.

David Lottmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: haircity on October 19, 2003, 07:06:57 PM
Quote


Wimp! Thread hijacker! My wife & I climbed Saigon when it had rusty 1/4"ers




Yeah...yeah...well, I am an old-wimp...

I think we've all clipped enough of those 1/4" spinners in our lifetime.  ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 20, 2003, 07:31:05 AM
So, is anyone else willing to set an actual date for a meeting aimed at forming a committee?  I think Lizzy's suggestions were all quite good....

I'm particularly interested in pursuing the idea of a committee because I intend to replace the two bolt anchor at the top of the third pitch of Thin Air, and I'd rather take the idea to a committee than try to put together an ad hoc consensus that would be easy to challenge later....

I had considered simply replacing the anchor without any comment, but was convinced by my wife that I had to play by the same rules I expect everyone else to play by...i.e. I had to invite public comment, listen to all sides, get as many opinions as possible, etc.

So--I propose replacing the two bolt anchor at the top of the third pitch because:

1) No consensus existed in regards to removing the bolts on Thin Air, and no public debate was conducted prior to the chopping.

2) While I agree that the traverse bolts are unnecessary and add little, or nothing, to the safety of the route, the two bolt anchor is essential in facilitating traffic flow on a very heavily used route, in allowing inexperienced climbers to set up an anchor quickly and efficiently, in adding another possible anchor at the belay, giving the possibilty for three or even four parties to belay on the ledge at one time, in allowing *easy* retreat from the ledge in the case of a freaked-out party or bad weather, and in preserving the route as a beginner-friendly climb with all fixed-anchor belays.

3) The double bolt anchor is in at least 3 guidebooks--nothing is more surprising and dangerous for beginners than when fixed gear described in guidebooks is found to be missing from climbs.

4) I believe that Valley climbers need to make a statement that lone ranger-style bolt chopping is as unacceptable as renegade retro-bolting.  I think a reasonable compromise would be to leave the traverse without bolts, but to replace the double bolt anchor.

5) Finally, I think the removal of that single anchor was inconsistent.  The bongs could be removed...that crack is huge, and I actually usually build my own anchor there when we do Rapid Transit.  An anchor can be built at the end of the second pitch...anyone who thinks differently should go take another look.  Three out of the four pitches have fixed anchors, only one of which--the tree--is natural, and none of which is absolutely necessary.  It is my belief, therefore, that all pitches should have fixed anchors, giving inexperienced climbers an excellent, moderate climb without the added stress of building gear anchors.

Like I said, I'm really pushing for the formation of a committee, so that I can present all of this to a representative group of climbers with some sort of invested authority....Let's get together, and do it.  And please, comment on the above...let's try to do it correctly this time.

Jeff Cavicchi
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 20, 2003, 10:07:24 PM
First off, Jeff, I thank you for seeking other opinions before replacing the bolts at the top of the 3rd pitch of Thin Air.  That said I would strongly vote against it for these reasons.

1) There is a readily available gear anchor on that ledge, and 20 feet higher if need be, that can still accommodate multiple parties.

2) Adding the bolts brings the climb down to the level of the climber instead of allowing the climber to rise to the competence needed to ascend Thin Air successfully and safetly.  In my opinion, inexperienced climbers should seek instruction in building gear anchors prior to climbing multi-pitch traditional routes.  Adding bolt anchors where they are not needed could actually hinder a climbers learning.

3) Just because this has been a "beginner friendly" climb for so long does not mean it should still be.  What I see is the community realizing they made some errors in the past, and are now taking steps to correct it.  Climbing IS dangerous.  Possible bad weather and fear of freaked out parties does not jusify our actions to make climbing overly safe.  For those two reasons I say LEAVE GEAR!  This is not a climbing gym, or Rumney.  Climbers can still bail off that ledge by leaving gear, and learn to get weather forecasts prior to heading out.

All right, I really could rant about this for awhile, but I will leave it at this.  One of the first things I remember learning about climbing early on was, you never place fixed gear, especially bolts, were natural gear is available.  This is for respect for the limited resouce.

The bolts have been removed.  Perhaps there should have been more discussion and a commitee, but what is done is done.  We could be on the edge of a chop/bolt/chop war.  I hope it doesn't degrade to that.

David Lottmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Erik_N on October 21, 2003, 05:39:36 AM
Just some thoughts about bolting meetings:
First, after attending several meetings from this last ethical debate and having optimistic hopes for a reasonable consensus I don't think it can be done in this valley.  No matter who is around the water cooler talking even if your on the same page you will never get on the same paragraph or same sentence.
Second, climbing has no mandatory laws and the State Park system doesn't regulate climbing.  The climbing community and more realistically a few locals have become the stewards of the cliff.  The closest thing we have to a climbing committee is the Mountain Rescue Service which is the group that has by default started the meetings. With out the higher power saying,"no bolts" bolts will always be added.
Third, This is just another bubble in the history of MWV climbing ethics. Look back, read the guide books, talk to  locals.  This stuff has been going on for years and seems to settle for awhile and then resurface.  
Go climb and only read this drivel on rain days.
Erik Nelson
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 21, 2003, 07:15:13 AM
First, thanks David for the comments, I appreciate it.

Second, I don't want my post to disappear into the thread without others having the chance to comment, so please go back and read it...I'm proposing to replace the anchor at the top of the third pitch of Thin Air and am looking for input....

Finally, I would ask that Bayard step up and respond to some of the criticisms/support/comments here.  I think his initial post is a bit limited on details, and, since he started this whole fiasco, I feel he should be a little more forthcoming with his own explanations and opinions....
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Wally on October 21, 2003, 07:53:54 AM
The valley does not need a consensus.

The obvious stewards of the cliff are those that climb there everyday, whether they be paid by sponsors, clients, or no one.

Irresponsible vandalism to any natural resourse related to the climbing scene in the valley will be corrected/cleaned up by the cliff stewards. This includes spray paint, obnoxious slings, and superfluous bolts.

The greater climbing community supports the actions of the cliff stewards, and are 'grateful' for their efforts.

The stewards of the cliff would never consider removing bolts or anchors described in a GUIDE BOOK from a route.

Visitors and irregular users should not alter the cliffs.

Just some thoughts...

Chris Walton
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 21, 2003, 10:00:27 AM
Thanks for the input, Chris...let's keep it coming.  For all the furor generated on this thread initially, not too many people seem interested in expressing an opinion regarding replacing the anchor...

Let's get a good conversation going here, so that whatever action is taken folks feel like they had a chance to express their opinion....
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: BrianP on October 21, 2003, 10:09:21 AM
Ditto what DMan said a few posts ago...there is plenty of gear available where the bolts were chopped...inexperienced climbers should know how to build anchors before climbing multipitch-we shouldn't bolt gear anchors to make it easy...bolts shouldn't be put in for traffic control.

Committee won't work, don't replace the Thin Air bolts.

Brian Post
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Edge on October 21, 2003, 11:13:23 AM
Cast my vote for not replacing the anchors.  

By the way, has anyone placed a notice about the missing bolts on the kiosk?  I would do it, but I live an hour away.  Not everyone would see it, but it seems like the smart/responsible thing to do if one of the locals could swing by.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: drb1215 on October 21, 2003, 11:44:36 AM
dogboy...replace the anchors!  They appear in various versions of guide books and should never have been removed in the first place.  Looking at a guide book and finding a bolt missing is one thing...but anchors should be fairly accurate.

Dan
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 21, 2003, 11:46:27 AM
So far the vote for replacing the anchor is tied...Keep the comments coming.....

I of course vote to replace it....
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 21, 2003, 11:50:51 AM
DB -- we can make it a party.
My 'vote' is FOR the re-establishment of a fixed anchor atop P3 of Thin Air.  After some thought and having climbed the route, the absence of the traverse bolts is not a big problem to me.
We ~could~ all wait till the spring/summer, when it gets crowded, to see if such action is truly necessary (I suspect it will be).  
Regards.  Hope your travels went swimmingly, btw.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 21, 2003, 12:09:37 PM
I'll cast my vote for leaving them off. The deed is done.

The guidebook argument is bogus. On a route that is also publicized in guidebooks as needing "a standard rack", a leader should be able to build themselves an anchor out of the gear they have if the bolts are gone. So, they're surprised, it shouldn't stop them. If you want to get around the guideboook issue then post the notice about the missing bolts on the tree at the base, not just the kiosk.


On the topic of traffic control, maybe having to build a gear anchor will curb some of the traffic on TA and bring back a little politeness that is sorely lacking. Maybe if there isn't a cluster of bolts up there, folks will be a bit more patient and wait their turn instead of charging on up there and clogging the ledge.

If there's a good argument for using them as rap anchors, I haven't heard it. One of the major problems on crags with fixed anchors is that people use them as rap anchors and end up clogging the route with climbers going up and down. The walk off from Cathedral is not a long one and even an old fart like me can walk off and be to my next climb before a team can rap TA.

Again, I'll also cast a vote for a complete moratorium on placing and removing bolts.

Lizz
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bumpkin on October 21, 2003, 02:07:52 PM
I don't believe the belay anchors should have been removed but I am pretty agnostic about whether they should now be replaced.

I disagree with Lizz's contention that the removal of the anchors will decrease traffic on that route, or decrease multiple parties crowding each other's stances, or increase politeness.

The lack of a fixed anchor there will only marginally slow down the time it takes to climb the route. Since this route is a non-stop conga-line that moves at the speed of the slowest climber, it is going to be slow one way or another. (That, and the polishing and the fact that it isn't all that great a route is why I have avoided the route for 7+ years.)

But although the arguments *for* establishing a fixed anchor there aren't extremely compelling, there are few good reasons not to have an anchor there either. I don't buy the slippery slope to Rumney argument: a solid anchor on the most utilized moderate line on the cliff will not lead us spiralling into a grid bolted hell where all the values of trad climbing are cast aside and no bold climbs will be left. C'mon people this is THIN AIR we're talking about, not Stage Fright!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 21, 2003, 02:26:51 PM
Quote
They appear in various versions of guide books and should never have been removed in the first place.  Looking at a guide book and finding a bolt missing is one thing...but anchors should be fairly accurate.

Dan


They should have never been put there in the first place, but they were.  Now they are gone, and it should stay that way.  Replacing them would simply be making the same mistake over.  Every guidebook states fixed gear may not be there and as the above posted mentioned the route description states "standard rack".  This climb is now more fun, adventurous, challenging, demanding, and rewarding.  This is what climbing is about!  If it is less safe it will only serve to help newer climbers seek the knowledge they need to climb multi-pitch trad routes.  And I would argue it is not "less" safe for a climber that is prepared for multi-pitch trad.  TA is NOT a sport route.  Trad = traditional... why is this so hard for people to understand?  In some cases I would not want to see retro-bolts removed... like Wanderlust, I guess because it would make it an R or X rated climb... but TA is still by far PG...

Bottom line: Replacing those bolts cheapens the climb.

Also consider this.  There are many people who vote against replacing them, enough perhaps that if they are replaced on Wednesday, they may be gone by Thursday.  You could cry you had a "popular vote", but someone with a different opinion may feel they have the popular vote... Let it be.

David Lottmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 21, 2003, 03:00:39 PM
To clarify a few points:

First, I do not think it is fair to assume that someone capable of leading 5.6 trad is also comfortable building a gear anchor.  Maybe I'm an anomaly, but when I began leading trad I consciously avoided routes that required gear anchors.  It is one thing to risk a fall on gear that you are not entirely confident with, but another to know that the entire climbing system, including both yourself and your second, is dependent on your gear anchor.  Building gear anchors can be very scary and intimidating, and I think having Thin Air in the guidebook as having all fixed anchors may lure folks onto it who do not know how to or want to build gear anchors.

Second, I think that some compromise needs to be reached over the chopping of Thin Air, and I think that replacing the anchor, while leaving the traverse bolts chopped, is reasonable.

Add these to all of my previous reasons, and I still feel it is reasonable to replace the anchor.

Please keep the feedback coming!

Slobmonster--we had a great time on our trip...got in some excellent climbing!  Send me your email address or phone number via Private Message, and I'll be in touch...we should definitely get out and do some rock or ice climbing sometime!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bumpkin on October 21, 2003, 03:53:48 PM
Quote



Bottom line: Replacing those bolts cheapens the climb.
David Lottmann



I disagree, but remain agnostic about the rebolting thing. Where I am coming from is that although the most memorable climbs I have done were in the mountains, where guidebook descriptions were limited to "climb NE ridge to summit then descend SW slopes", I pretty much cut my teeth at Val-David. VD has beautiful crack lines, really good steep sport face and a refreshing lack of the elitism that seems to characterise the fuss over belay bolts on a beginner route here. Sure, its heavily bolted, its still an awesome place to climb.

Similarly, in the Cdn Rockies, you will find that a large number of the moderate classics will have bolted belays... even if gear is available. Part of the issue is the nature of the limestone, but mostly, people are just not so small minded that they get all hot and bothered about making the high traffic easy routes safe(r).

Again: this is Thin Air we're talking about, not some high-commitment mental testpiece. There is no value gained in removing belay anchors.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 21, 2003, 04:24:49 PM
I second Bumpkins last post. Pretty much perfectly explains my feelings on the issue. Often times you find that bolt choppers don't get out much.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 21, 2003, 06:10:45 PM
Quote

this is Thin Air we're talking about, not some high-commitment mental testpiece. There is no value gained in removing belay anchors.


I know this is "just" Thin Air.  But does that matter?  Why should this one climb have a bolted anchor where a gear anchor is readily available?  I think Bayard made a strong statement here, and this is the route that needed chopping the most.  I may be over idealistic about the whole thing, but the answer still seems simple to me.  No bolts where gear is available.  Ever.  End of story.  This is a way to draw a line about where and where not to bolt.  It may not work in all cases, i.e. the Limestone scenario mentioned, but it would work well on NH Granite.  We have made Thin Air less of a commitment mental testpiece by adding fixed anchors where none are needed.  High-traffic just seems like a weak excuse to make a climb "convinient".  For every reason to replace the anchor there is a great reason not to.

David Lottmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on October 21, 2003, 06:53:16 PM
REPLACE THE ANCHOR BOLTS!!!! Form The committe!!!
Thanks to the "Cliff Stewards" True locals...
You know who you are....
To not replace the anchor could lead to further chopping practices where other bolts are not necessary...
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 22, 2003, 06:30:36 AM
While we ARE talking about New Hampshire and the whole Live Free or Die mantra, we may wish to set up something similar to what has been established in Eldorado. Their process for fixed gear addition/removal has been used for more than 10 years with great success. The trick is always to get evryone to buy into the process and live by it.

Check it out http://www.aceeldo.org/fhrc/

Lizz
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 22, 2003, 07:33:21 AM
Thanks Lizz-

Here to me is the  most pertinent part of the group's charter:

"FHRC members are elected annually by ACE based upon several criteria. The purpose of the FHRC is to allow the thoughtful development of new routes in Eldorado per community consensus. An open mind, the ability to consider each application on its merits, and the ability to vote against one's own personal opinions when the climbing community's opinion differs are among the most important criteria for FHRC members. In addition, years of climbing experience in Eldorado, awareness of Eldorado's history and traditions, willingness to devote a substantial amount of time working on the FHRC, and the ability to discuss applications with other climbers while out climbing are also considered."

I am all for this sort of thing, and would absolutely be willing to abide by decisions made by such a group.  Of course, in Eldo the park service has the last say, which gives the process some teeth...

Let's keep talking about the anchors...the pros and cons on replacing the anchor are pretty much tied right now, at least on this thread.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Wally on October 22, 2003, 08:06:42 AM
Good idea - Fixed Anchor Review Team (F.A.R.T.)

All kidding aside, I do agree that we need a "committee" of some sort. otherwise, we may repeat this Thin Air disaster on every classic route in the valley before its over.

Btw, my vote on Thin Air is "leave it alone already - no more chopping or bolting!" The cliff stewards (farts) won't remove any more belay anchors!

Also, where is Cathedral Ledge State Park on this issue? Isn't the park ranger a climber? Is you here?

Finally, whatever we decide, I nominate LizzyB to be in charge.

Chris Walton

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: fabraham on October 22, 2003, 09:12:05 AM
Here's an interesting take on things:

I think it's Moderater Al who is doing both the placing and the chopping.  Look at all the traffic his site has seen since this topic came up.  Can you say "cha-ching" because his sponsorship rates increase as his readership increases.  Think about it - he lives at the base of the cliff, AND he owns a flashlight.

It's not the first conspiracy theory with some teeth to it.....
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 22, 2003, 09:19:06 AM
now there's a good theory. let's start another rumor here...  

;D

almost as good a one as the guy who lives in the valley here & thinks he is seeing UFO's all the time.
al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 22, 2003, 09:21:17 AM
Al,
How do you know he DOESN'T see them? :o
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 23, 2003, 08:08:57 AM
Quote
To not replace the anchor could lead to further chopping practices where other bolts are not necessary...


I had to read this a few times and I think I understand it but would like you to clarify.  Not replacing the anchor would lead to further chopping?  I don't see that connection.  Replacing the anchor would probably lead to it being chopped again.  Then "chopping practices where other bolts are not necessary..."  Not necessary?  Then why are they there???  Are you kidding me?  You are saying it is ok to have bolts where they are not necessary.  I need to stop reading this shit.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on October 23, 2003, 08:23:12 AM
Quote


I had to read this a few times and I think I understand it but would like you to clarify.  Not replacing the anchor would lead to further chopping?  I don't see that connection.  Replacing the anchor would probably lead to it being chopped again.  Then "chopping practices where other bolts are not necessary..."  Not necessary?  Then why are they there???  Are you kidding me?  You are saying it is ok to have bolts where they are not necessary.  I need to stop reading this shit.


What I mean is...The bolts formerly on TA 3rd pitch belay are similar to other climbs in that there is a fixed anchor and natural gear available in the same spot.
The fate TA has suffered could be repeated on those other climbs....Let the BOLT WAR begin.....
I don't think that bolts are necessary where trad gear is readily available.
However this is probably on of the most popular routes in North Conway...

Steve Jacques
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 23, 2003, 12:35:02 PM
Dogboy,

I really do not understand why you are so upset about the bolts on TA being removed.  Your attitude as reflected by your posts in this thread is completely foreign to my personal views of rock climbing.  How do you view the sport of rock climbing?  Does your view include the taming of wild cliffs to make them climbable through rap bolting?  Does your view include the wilderness spirit, where one attempts to not disrupt nature's wonder and beauty?  Do you want all established climbs to be made as safe as possible by bolting sections that are difficult and unprotected?  Do you support bolting sections of climbs that are protectable with passive gear just because the route is popular and you want to keep the traffic flowing?  How do you view the cliffs?  Do you view them as natural treasures to be preserved?  How do you view your personal relationship with the cliffs?  Do you feel privileged to climb them?  Do you feel a responsibility to preserve them because you are someone who spends considerable time on them?  Do you feel that you are ethically obligated to leave the cliffs the way you find them so that future generations long after you have passed can experience them in their natural state?  I just don't understand why you are so ready to rap down Cathedral and start drilling holes into the rock.  

I'm going to get a bit preachy now, but I mean it in a friendly way.  There is no need to permanently damage the cliffs to get what you want out of climbing.  Rap bolting is short-sighted and selfish.  If climbers can't ascend a route without permanently harming the cliff then they should go find something else to do that day.  Climbers should be the caretakers of cliffs, not the abusers of cliffs.  My advice, try to pass over the rock unnoticed.

Adam T.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 23, 2003, 12:57:39 PM
Adam T. hate to burst your bubble here but in this day and age passing over the clifs without leaveing a trace is pretty much a thing of the past. there are just too many of us climbers for that to be possible. In many instances bolted rap stations actualy are a bit more enviornmentaly friendly than traditional tree killing. I do not advocate rap bolting ( except rap stations) or bolting cracks but neither do I advocate chopping bolts from existing belays. Bolt chopping allmost allways causes access problems as well as leaving a scar on the rock.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 23, 2003, 01:39:28 PM
Quote
in this day and age passing over the clifs without leaveing a trace is pretty much a thing of the past... In many instances bolted rap stations actualy are a bit more enviornmentaly friendly than traditional tree killing.


So we should give up on the whole "Leave No Trace" ethic?  Other than some chalk, which is gone after a rain or two I see little evidence of the people who climb routes before me.  I personally use chalk sparringly, and leave nothing behind.  I think thousands of climbers adhere to the Leave No Trace approach.  As far as bolted rap stations being enviromentally friendly I agree, depending on the situation.  Thin Air?  No, walk off or leave gear.  Echo Crag?  Yes, they have done a great job at preserving the fragile vegetation at the top of that cliff with bolted rap anchors.  This conversation goes round and round.  But the simple truth is the bolts at the top of Thin Air should never have been put there in the first place.  That statement should be undeniable.  Now that they are gone, they should stay gone.  They are NOT needed.  Excellent questions by the above poster.  *Looking forward to Dogboy's resposnse*
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 23, 2003, 01:41:20 PM
notreallytradmanclimbz,

fear not, there is no bubble for you to burst.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 23, 2003, 03:35:58 PM
I've only got a few minutes here, so I'll try to be short and to the point:

The Leave No Trace ethic is admirable, but totally skewed by folks like Adam and DMan.  Walk around Cathedral for a few minutes.  What is most noticable?  Chalk?  The bolts formerly on Thin Air?  No Way.  The shitty trail at the bottom of the cliff is by far the most noticable thing left behind by climbers.  So...do you propose that climbers learn how to fly so that they don't have to go trapsing through the woods in order to get to the base of climbs?  And how about at the top of the cliff?  Is a single rappel station serving all of the Thin Air face more objectionable than the makeshift, unplanned, and eroding climbers' trail leading down from the top?  I often feel that oposition to fixed gear in the name of environmentalism amounts to little more than a way to couch the anti-bolt argument in terms much less easier to argue against than the sort of macho posturing that usually accompanies these conversations.  If Bayard (or anyone else in favor of the chopping) really wanted to help preserve the envirnmental integrity of Cathedral, he should have spent his time doing the hard work of fixing up the trail at the base of the Thin Air face rather than whacking away at the rock with a chisel.

At any rate, I am much more pragmatic, and less idealistic.  We all damage the cliff and surrounding landscape simply by being climbers.  Even if you soloed everything, your being on the rock contributes to the polishing visible all over Cathedral and Whitehorse.  With a few exceptions, all the climbs on both cliffs have been cleaned of their resident lichen, and stay clean only through repeat ascents.  None of this means that all attempts to preserve the cliffs should be abandoned...but I fail to see how Bayard's chopping of the two bolts at the top of TA's third pitch is in any way environmentally responsible.  Now, instead of two long-term safe and servicable bolts, we have two scars in the rock, two broken off nubs of stainless steel, and a crack which is going to get bashed apart as beginners repeatedly use it for anchors.  For the mountainbikers and hikers in the audience, Adam and Dman's arguments amount to the same thing as saying that bridges should not be built over muddy/eroded sections of trails, because they are not natural structures.  What's the alternative?  Continuing to ride/walk through the mud, damaging the trail further, contributing to erosion, and disrupting the streambed?  All in the name of some mythical wilderness experience?

Moreover, Cathedral and Whitehorse hardly offer a wilderness experience.  Approaches are never longer than 10 minutes, there's a road to the top of Cathedral, and there's a giant hotel and golf course at the base of Whitehorse.  We're not talking about installing bolted belay stations in the mountains of Greenland, here.  We are an ever-expanding user group, one which CANNOT help but leave our mark on the cliffs where we climb.  At heavily used crags like Cathedral and Whitehorse, we have to be able to balance environmental responsibility with safety, the demands of an ever expanding user base, and a pragmatic control of traffic flow (both up and down the cliff).  We do the best we can...but all Bayard managed to do was remove an already existing anchor, with all of the safety and pragmatic problems that entails, while leaving only ugly holes in the rock...

Where is the spirit of stewardship and environmental responsibility in that?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 23, 2003, 03:41:56 PM
Just look arround you the next time you are at the crag.  The most dammage that we cause is our foot traffic to and arround the base of the clifs as well as traffic arround the top and sides of whichever cliff we frequent. Non climbers rarely see the bolts on the cliff, they do however see the erosion dammage. The trail system at both cathedral and whitehorse is pretty good thanks to a lot of work by you guys but the fight to keep climbers on the trails and to keep the trails in good condition is an ongoing thing. I have not said anything about replaceing the bolted belay on TA but do belive that since it has been there for the last 20+ years that chopping it was pretty lame. If any chopping was done it should have been the most recent retro bolts  not a belay/rap station that was older than the person who chopped it.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 23, 2003, 03:49:19 PM
Quote
At heavily used crags like Cathedral and Whitehorse, we have to be able to balance environmental responsibility with safety, the demands of an ever expanding user base, and a pragmatic control of traffic flow (both up and down the cliff).


I agree with alot of what you said so I only quote what I want to contest.  Putting the bolts in was enviromentally irresponsible and was done to make the climb more convient, not safe.  The climb is no less safer for anyone who should be up there.  Traffic following down the route was a problem.  TA should not be rapped since it is heavily traveled (except in emergency).  Lack of a bolted anchor will at least stop people from rapping the route because they couldn't climb 5.6 with their sneakers clipped to their harness.

Maybe Bayard shouldn't have clipped the bolts.  I could even agree with that on the grounds the damage was done already (even though I like it better without them).  But now that they are gone they should stay gone since a gear anchor is available and all the other reasons to not replace them.  At any rate, what say we drop this drawn out topic and start thinking ice?  Let's deal with it in the Spring AFTER we see what kind of effect it really has on the route.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 23, 2003, 08:36:59 PM
No, this topic won't just get dropped.  Unfortunately, I think we're only getting started.

Regarding a wilderness ethic and LNT...
This is a whole big can of nasty worms.  Wilderness is a cultural designation, a legislated definition that is meant to restrict behavior.  In the context of rock climbing, the USFS ban on fixed anchors in wilderness (still unresolved, federal beauracracy) took on anchors as permanent installations, evidence of our passing.  From a purist standpoint, fixed gear of any nature is not LNT, as it is left there for others to find.

Which bring us to good old Cathedral Ledge.  NOT wilderness, and certainly not wild.  Cultural context: road to the top, traffic and parking problems, generations of broken glass bottles spat out the Big Flush.  Climbing context: almost a century's history of climbing, several generations of gear (no need to belabor it here, but everyone up to the mid-7-s had pins and a hammer), zillions of climbers, guides, newbies, well-travelled pros.  

For ME, my experience on the Thin Air face is significantly better when there aren't people allm over it.  This is why we have discouraged people from rapping over Onion Head, and continue to chop slings around the trees there.  As for Thin Air itself, the P3 belay bolts had been there SINCE THE SIXTIES, and yes there is a good crack right there.  The point right now in our history is that now the bolts aren't there, having been chopped.  NOTE, please, that there is far more argument over this fixed belay anchor than the running pro on P2, there IS a difference.  The historical presence of the belay anchor provided for faster parties to pass slower ones, for several to share the same spot, for a 60m rap in case of rain... yes, Virginia, they are (sorry, were) there for convenience.  I don't need them either.  

But they should be reinstalled.

LNT?  Don't drive either of the two vehicles you own to the cliff.  Be quiet, don't shout.  Don't burn propane to heat your house.  I am all for preserving the potentially wild experience of people climbing on the cliffs in this valley.  This will happen by careful stewardship, not a chopping spree.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Erik_N on October 24, 2003, 04:55:43 AM
Dogboy,
I couldn't let this slide.  The Sh##ty trail at the bottom of the cliff? Here's one good example in my opinion where the climber's impact has been reduced. 6 years ago when I became manager of Echo Lake State Park, Cathedral Ledge had a spiders web of trails that wandered all over the place.  We have reduced the number of trails and stabalized the reamaining ones. Many of the areas that were once heavily impacted are now grown in.
 In many ways the environment can recover.  Trees could grow back, lichen can cover forgotten routes, and unused trails can dissapear.  Bolts however, are permenent.
  With that said what has more of an impact 2 small holes that can only be seen from a distance of a few feet or dead or gone trees and lichen free faces that can be seen from town?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 24, 2003, 06:44:34 AM
first of all, i'm glad we're keeping the tone civil.

dogboy, you should note that you repeatedly used examples of environmental destruction in and around the Cathedral area to justify bolting.  the attitude i sense coming from you is, 'hey, if climbers have been harming the environment by creating a myriad of impromptu trails, and there is even a hotel and parking lot at the base of Whitehorse, then what's the big deal about drilling holes into the rock?'  My point would be, two wrongs do not make a right.  

climbers should set the example and take the lead in preserving the environment.  we should not give up on being environmentally friendly just because there is a long history of environmental ignorance, of which we currently live with the destructive consequences.  we can turn this trend around if we put our minds to it.  the Hudson River in NY is a good analogy...  at one point the river was in a terribly unhealthy condition, and it appeared that no amount of environmental action could restore it.  the tendancy was to say, 'hey, it's already polluted beyond measure, why shouldn't we dump our chemical waste into it?'  This sounds like the same argument dogboy is making with Cathedral and Whitehorse.  But beginning with the river watch program, both the health of the river, and people's attitudes toward it were completely turned around.  fortunately there were people who never gave up on restoring the river to a healthy state.  it CAN be done.

Adam T.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 24, 2003, 06:56:36 AM
Eric. You are contradicting yourself. In one sentance you mention bolt chopping scars as being visible from only a few feet but then you proclaim the bolts as being evil permanant scars. I think you are more on track when you mention the dead trees and erosion  issues. You guys have done a great job on the trails but it is an ongoing battle as stairs fall apart and groups of kids ignore the trails. seems to me we neeed to keep up the trail work, education efforts and MAINTAIN fixed anchors/belays not CHOP them.  Eric, remember Seneca, hardly any bolts on the climbs, a strong anti bolting ethic. all bolts on the climbs were placed on lead yet the place has many bolted rap stations That were not being chopped. they also have a great trail system. What are your feelings on the north end trail. It is very steep and in bad shape. IMO there should be a bolted rap station somewere in that area. Many newbies in that area do not know they can decend on the road. If you guys with the enviornmental spray patern  put your money were your keyboards are you would instal and maintain a bolted rap station in that section of the cliff ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 24, 2003, 07:19:38 AM
Erik--I think you took my comments wrong.  I know that the trail system is a lot better than it was, and I feel real gratitude for the work you and the trail crew have put into the maintenance and improvement of trails at both Whitehorse and Cathedral.  My point was simply that the trails are still in less-than-ideal condition, and that if someone like Bayard wanted to help clean up the environmental damage climbers cause to the cliffs, he should have taken on some trail work rather than whacking away at the rock with a chisel.

Adam and DMan--I need to point out strongly here once again that I am not (in thise context, at least) advocating adding bolts to climbs.  Adam, you in particular seem determined to misconstrue my position in order to turn the debate away from the specifics of Bayard's actions and towards a general debate on the merits of bolting.  My point specifically is that chopping the bolts on Thin Air IN NO WAY promoted environmental stewardship, and instead left ugly bolt studs and scarred rock on a heavily traveled and historic route.  Whether or not the bolts should have been added 20+ years ago is not the point.  Paul Ross is long gone from the valley.  The AMC has moved from adding bolts on climbs to building an enormous hotel at the top of Crawford Notch--maybe we should take that up with them, rather than fruitlessly removing established fixed gear on Thin Air.

The anchor should have stayed.  The bolts existed, and their continued existence did not cause ongoing environmental damage.  To me, the real motivation behind Bayard's actions seem to be a desire by a young climber to establish a name for himself as a hard-climbing ethical purist (at the expensive of all those slovenly 5.6 leaders at there), fueled by the from-the-sidelines encouragement of a few older climbers' nostalgia for the "good old days," when Cathedral was an unexplored territory and climbing was a sport for the hard few.  Environmental responsibility had nothing to do with this specific incident...and it is this specific incident that we are discussing here.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 24, 2003, 07:24:37 AM
one more important point...  

regarding making routes safe...  as a trad climber, i don't need anyone taking the responsibilty for making a route safe for me.  i assume that responsibilty myself, and so should all climbers.  so don't place bolts thinking that you are providing a service to subsequent climbers, you are actually providing a disservice.  thanks, but no thanks.  i'll take care of myself, and i won't damage the cliff in the process.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 24, 2003, 08:01:32 AM
land managers and self-professed stewards take note:
Proactive or reactive?  Would you rather prevent damage from being done, or try and fix it once already there?  I can extend this argument to pretty much any little facet of Cathedral and Whitehorse ledges... not just the climbing bits.  Lots of people, trails all around, roads and traffic, trash, permanent fencing, erosion problems, noise, you neame it.  These are all problems associated with use, really OVERuse.  As climbers we are not external to this debacle, and to be 'responsible stewards' I think we need to stop thinking so simplistically, in deference to an FA of two generations ago.  Respect the tradition and technique and boldness, yes, and continue to tell the stories, but things have changed.  Every moderate on a nice weekend day has more than several parties on it.  How can we balance tradition and current problems?

Perhaps the best way to keep visits down to cathedral would be to continue developing Rumney... that's where most everyone seems to go these days.

Regards all.  
AdminAl: perhaps you/we could collate a nonredundant collection of posts on this topic?  A synopsis if you will.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Erik_N on October 24, 2003, 09:04:28 AM
Tradman,
My statement earlier was posed more as a question.  Bolted anchors on the cliff don't bother me as much as colored webbing and other visual scars.  That said my vote would be to not replace the anchor on Thin Air.  My vote also would be not to remove any more bolted anchors.
The descent trail from the top of Thin Air is .5miles which is 1/2 the distance of the road.  I would bet that it's just as fast if not faster to walk off than rap.
 Why rap a route when you haven't finished it, especially Thin Air that should take most folks less than a few hours.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 24, 2003, 09:08:42 AM
dogboy,

how were the bolts removed from TA?  were they actually chopped?

contrary to what you say, i think removing the bolts on TA does go to the issue of being environmentally sensitive for two primary reasons.  1.  it begins the cleanup process of unnecessary bolts, and 2.  it sets a standard that says, don't place unnecessary bolts to begin with.

slobmonster,

when you asked, "Would you rather prevent damage from being done, or try and fix it once already there?", of course most would answer by saying it is not a matter of either-or, because we should do both.  heal the damage, and prevent it from reoccuring.  

how do we prevent overcrowding at the cliffs?  simple, (tongue in cheek)  ban climbing gyms, and more seriously, stop setting up routes with fixed gear which transforms them into super-highways.  if climbers adhered to more traditional ethics, many would be dissuaded from climbing altogether due to the filter of the additional commitment necessary to climb safely while placing one's own passive gear.  i'm not being an elitist, i'm just pointing out that if climbers took the responsibilty of safety themselves, instead of relying on others to pre-place fixed gear for them, then i predict that the crowds would quickly thin out.

there are many parallel levels to being environmentally responsible as users of a sensitive resource.  they range from not placing bolts and fixed gear if at all possible, to not trampling over sensitive vegetation, and striving to leave no trace.  of course we can never achieve this 'leave no trace' ideal, but we should strive for it, and let it guide our actions, then let this serve as a good example for others to follow.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 24, 2003, 09:16:52 AM
T-rad. you are stubornly hideing your head in the sand and repeteing yourself. The topic has moved on from the bolt issue to the trail issue. Slob. we could only hope that everyone would go to rumny. unfourtunatly that is not the case. i was on cannon monday and there were  4 parties up there on a pretty brisk day with ice forming in the dike and fafiner.  A week day late in the season when you would have thought we would have the place to ourselfs. Pretty much any climbing area trad or sport that has decent climbing in the east has, trail erosion and over use issues. Some places have dealt with it very well others have not.  Interesting to note that  over in the daks, Hurricane crag which is a bushwack and not   high traffic is in way worse shape trail wise than the beer walls which are mobbed.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 24, 2003, 09:30:07 AM
T-rad You are dreaming of a long lost era if you think that overcrouding is the result of bolted belays. get a grip.  the people come to cathedral because it is great climbing 100 ft from the parking area. try and get on Moby grape  or whitny G. both climbs were you have to build all your own anchors (except for P1 of Moby) Both climbs are stacked up even on weekdays. You are on track however when you  blame the gyms but don't forget to include the climbing schools that pump out huge #'s of new climber every year.   Eric. I don't rap from there either and yes walking off is faster. the North end decent trail is steep and erosion prone though and a fixed rap station somewere in that vicinity would help take some of the stress off of that trail. nick
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bumpkin on October 24, 2003, 10:05:38 AM
Wow.... back on page two or three of this, I thought I was joining a dead horse beating party... and here I am again. Sigh.

1) Removing belay anchors isn't going to thin the crowds. Don't fool yourself. Slow them down a little, perhaps. Definetly not thin them.

2) And, yes, removing belay anchor bolts on a beginner climb due to some dogmatic conviction is elitism.

3) The wilderness/leave no trace is a total non-sequitur. I wrote a post proposing removal of old rusty pins on Cannon a while back. My motivation was aesthetic: since I like to think that routes on Cannon have a bit of a mountain feel, I thought the heavy and ugly marks of a beaten out cliff detracted from the cliff. Cathedral is rather different: it isn't wilderness, it isn't the mountains. It is rather more like a city park (maybe like an Olmsted park).

The challenge at Cathedral is to be able to manage the crowds of climbers, none of whom deserves to be on the cliff any more or any less than anyone else, in a way that minimizes the adverse impacts on other's experience (roundabout way of saying maximizing fun without bumming other folk's rides), and doesn't get us into trouble with land managers.

Finally, absolutism sucks. People who dogmatically want to apply some rule (eg. "no bolts ever" or "always super safe pon all routes") are not helping us get to a reasonable outcome.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 24, 2003, 11:08:47 AM
Anyone who thinks they can slow the growth in popularity of our sport by removing anchors and other fixed gear is deluded.  When I started climbing I had no idea what fixed gear even was.  The sport will continue to get more popular...let's deal with increased use in a pragmatic and realistic way, rather than turning our heads constantly toward the past and simply saying: "Things were so much better back then..."

Bearing this in mind, I simply refuse to accept that chopping established fixed gear is environmentally responsible...to me Bayard's actions amount to no more than vandalism, and should be treated as such.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 24, 2003, 03:04:22 PM
Quote
Cathedral is rather different: it isn't wilderness, it isn't the mountains. It is rather more like a city park (maybe like an Olmsted park).


It is in Echo Lake State Park, a preservation for nature, that borders closely the White Mountain National Forest.  Hearing it compared to a "city park" pisses me off, but I want to stay civil in this discussion so I will bite my tongue there.  I will say, despite it's easy access, I have had many "wilderness" experiences and feelings while climbing there.  It is a tremendous piece of rock, originally called Hart's Ledge.  I was wondering today how many involved in these debates have even read the history of the cliff in Webster's guidebook?  Or anything by Laura and Guy Waterman?  If there is a commitee formed, I sure hope it is made of people that really know the history of the cliff.  People who do not have enough interest in the cliff to know it's history, or climbing's for that matter, should take an observation seat to these debates.  To think the cliff could have been completely quarried years before the first ascent of Standard Route.  Sorry if this sounds sentimental, or "idealistic", but the thought of how many of you want to put these bolts back sickens me.  I second everything T-rad said in his above post.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bumpkin on October 24, 2003, 03:42:33 PM
Dman

I really didn't mean to get anyone upset over this. Cathedral Ledge is a very special place for me... the first place I ever did a multipitch climb (ironically enough, on Thin Air)... the first multipitch lead (can't remember, probably Three Birches)... first 'real' 5.9... a place I've always come back to again and again over the last 15 years or so. I have always come as a guest and never thought myself a "local" even now, when its only 2.5 hours away.

But its nowhere close to being a wilderness! Please be serious: an autoroad to the top, a big tacky hotel and golf course between Whitehorse and Echo Lake. The whole place teams with crowds: climbers, gawkers, walkers, bikers on Harleys, kids with waterwings churning up Echo Lake etc etc. Would it be better if it were a wilderness? No doubt, but you would have to get rid of the highway, and the town, and all the houses in the valley ...

All of which is besides the point. The following argument:
1)Echo Lake State Park is wilderness (or whatever)
2)You shouldn't have fixed climbing anchors in wilderness (or whatever)
Therefore
3) You shouldn't have fixed climbing anchors in Echo Lake State park

is weak. Premise one is laughable, the second premise is dubious at best. Regardless, "leave no trace" / quasi-religious adherence to vaguely defined wilderness ethics is a non-sequitur in this case, because we are dealing with one of the most heavily used cliffs in North America which is located on managed public land.

There *is* a worthy discussion about how we choose to impact the rock so as to foster a certain kind of climbing experience. This discussion will be informed by a sense of tradition and respect for the history of the area (after all one of the first places where rock climbing was developed in North America) but it will also be informed by current realities and future impacts. Hopefully, it won't be tainted by anger, pettiness and elitism. (So far so good, nice discussion here....)

Finally, perhaps -- since I have clearly admitted to not being a local (hell, I am not even a citizen of this country)-- I should hold my peace and just "observe from the sidelines". Well, everyone is free to ignore my posts. Al is free to block me from the site. I suspect that this narrowness would be totally counterproductive to the purpose of this discussion.


Once again, I intended no offense. I hold the granite outcrops of New Hampshire in extremely high regard (though I did leave a piton in a cliff in these parts some six years ago...) And now, off to jump into a car and make the northward commute to some fine stone....

Regards,
Christopher
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 24, 2003, 03:56:52 PM
Extremly well said and writen by bumpkin. From another non local who  loves the place and was sickened by both the chopping and the bolts that were added to mines of moria. Nick
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 24, 2003, 04:32:02 PM
Quote
since I have clearly admitted to not being a local (hell, I am not even a citizen of this country)-- I should hold my peace and just "observe from the sidelines". Well, everyone is free to ignore my posts. Al is free to block me from the site. I suspect that this narrowness would be totally counterproductive to the purpose of this discussion.


I never said non-locals should "observe from the sidelines".  My statement was implying that I felt (perhaps for no reason) that there are alot of people getting passionate about this issue that don't know the history of Cathedral or even climbing in general.  Those who work the trails, pick up the trash, volunteer to rescue those climbers who "have every right to be up there" (not if they can't build a simple 3-point gear anchor!) should have the most say in regulating bolting, chopping, etc.  Someone who climbs at Cathedral less than a dozen times a year, hasn't volunteered a day to trail maintenance, or learned why the Barber Wall isn't called the Upper Left Wall, or given one damn thing back to the sport (not pointing any fingers), should observe from the sidelines.  Maybe my fears are unjust and there is no one here saying "put bolts back!" or "no more bolts" that isn't that uninvolved.  The ones that climb there the most, know the cliff the most, and volunteer the most, probably have the most insight into what is right.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: radair on October 24, 2003, 04:47:54 PM
Quote

To me, the real motivation behind Bayard's actions seem to be a desire by a young climber to establish a name for himself as a hard-climbing ethical purist (at the expensive of all those slovenly 5.6 leaders at there), fueled by the from-the-sidelines encouragement of a few older climbers' nostalgia for the "good old days," when Cathedral was an unexplored territory and climbing was a sport for the hard few...


Quote
...let's deal with increased use in a pragmatic and realistic way, rather than turning our heads constantly toward the past and simply saying: "Things were so much better back then..."


Jeff, I think you're misunderstanding the issue.

This is not about a few older climbers wishing for the good old days. The "future of existing climbs" slideshow and discussion involved young and old. After significant discussion, people were asked to vote on the consensus statement that the original character & integrity of existing climbs be maintained (paraphrasing slightly). An overwhelming majority agreed, NO ONE disagreed, and a few people did not vote.

There was no discussion on Thin Air, and I believe people would NOT have been in favor of removing the anchor. There was certainly no encouragement from anyone (that I'm aware of) to remove any of these bolts.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 24, 2003, 05:05:02 PM
DMan
You are _exactly_ demanding that nonlocals and outsiders --interested and caring about this enough to get involved in the discussion-- stand by the sidelines and watch.  You, or I, have no greater privevlege in this debate just because we happen to live there.  The corollary to your argument is that as a climber visiting anywhere OUTSIDE her home area, she would have no gravity behind her opinion.  Lame.  Many folks who will read this care enough to _read_ about it, let alone getting involved at any higher level.  They care enough to care.  And your attitude excludes them; this I have major problems with.
Slobmonster
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on October 24, 2003, 05:51:50 PM
I'm from southern Maine/New Hampshire....I have been climbing routes on Cathederal and in the whites for 15 years....I'm obviously not a local. However, I take this issue with great concern....
My first route on Cathederal was Thin Air 14 years ago...There were bolts on the Ledge then....Why not now....
Regardless of what happens from here on out...Either they get replaced or not....I can build 3 pt anchors so this will not keep me away from the route...Though I do strongly advocate their replacement. I Also I feel my opinion is valid in this discussion.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 24, 2003, 08:49:28 PM
Al,

The new poll still allows multiple votes.  For this matter I think it would be best to turn the poll off until such time as we can assure no multiple votes.

Dave L.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 24, 2003, 08:58:58 PM
Quote
The new poll still allows multiple votes. ÊFor this matter I think it would be best to turn the poll off until such time as we can assure no multiple votes.
Dave L.


actually it always has, but I'm working on it...

Al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Edge on October 24, 2003, 09:52:16 PM
Quote
Al,

The new poll still allows multiple votes.  For this matter I think it would be best to turn the poll off until such time as we can assure no multiple votes.

Dave L.

Well although the poll is mildly interesting, I certainly hope no one takes this decidedly non scientific, demographically skewed poll as a consensus of all North Conway climber's opinions.  Before anyone takes any further actions to replace those bolts, I personally think they need to examine their own reasons for doing so and balance them against the greater good.

Given the current climate, I feel certain that any anchor replacement there would result in swift and sure reprisal, leaving the rock even more battered and abused than it is already.  Let's give it time in it's new incarnation, we may all even decide that it is indeed better this way.  If not, at least you can know that you have caused no further harm.

Loran
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on October 24, 2003, 10:39:34 PM
you should only be able to vote once now. I've actually changed a number of things, implementing the site in PHP & mySQL now.

Al
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 25, 2003, 09:25:07 AM
DMan-I think what's important here is to listen to as many users of the cliffs as possible--young and old, beginners and old salts, trad and sport (and aid), etc.  If we decide to listen only to trad climbers over 50 who have at least 20 years in on Cathedral and Whitehorse, or conversely only to guys under 30 who spend their days clipping bolts in the Cathedral Cave, we'll end up with an ethic that satisfies the fewest number of people...

The reality too is that a large chunk of users come from out of town...and they do have as much right to be on the cliff as those of us who live in North Conway.  The cliffs are on State Land...not North Conway land or even North Conway Local Climbers' land.  As a local, rather than a sense of entitlement, I feel a responsibility to do my part in maintaining the cliffs and keeping the whole thing fun and reasonably safe for everyone.

Rob--
Just to clarify, when I said that older climbers were fueling Bayard's puritan attitude from the sidelines, I wasn't really refering to anyone at the meetings, or to anything that happened at the meetings.  Rather, having talked to folks in and around town, I know of at least 3 old schoolers who, behind the scenes, really encouraged Bayard (either directly or indirectly) and his actions.  To me this really undercuts the entire meeting/consensus building process...which is particularly frustrating because it was done by guys who have considerable influence in the Valley and choose to use that influence behind the scenes rather than in an open discussion.  And again: if these guys felt so strongly about the issue, why didn't they take it upon themselves to do the chopping 10 or 15 years ago?  Because they felt they had too much at stake as guides, etc., and were willing to wait until someone with less to lose was ready to take a stand?  I don't mean this as any sort of personal attack...I'm mostly just frustrated that the meeting process was totally thrown out the window by a small few who felt that they had a mandate which, in my mind, clearly did not exist.

I'm committed to keeping the tone civil here...the last thing we need is more name calling and vigilanty-ism.

Happy Climbing to All--
Jeff Cavicchi
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: jeremy on October 27, 2003, 04:34:05 PM
I wish I was a NC local ... locals are the life of a crag no matter how often the rest of us pay the Hampton toll and spend weekends crashing on our friends' floors.

Saturday I took my girlfriend out for her first multipitch climb, Thin Air, of course. I read about the debolting the other day here on neclimbs.com. The P2 traverse was soaked. I would have been placing gear with or without bolts. When my gf fell while seconding the pitch, the cam I'd placed restricted her pendulum to a few inches.  Whether or not I agree with the chopping, I like the pitch better now.

But when I reached the big ledge above P3, it was annoying not having the bolts there. It's obviously not difficult to build a bomber gear anchor there, but it made me think back to the first time I climbed the route.

On a busy day in early August, some sort of clusterf with a guide and an older client was causing a bottleneck at the P3 ledge. After a short eternity watching a couple friends of mine scale ozone bypass, we bailed off of the P2/3 anchor bolts. It turned out that there were three parties on that ledge.

Clusterf's are going to happen on such a popular climb. And I believe the guidebooks lead you to believe that there are bolts up there. I tend to be anti-bolt, but these anchor bolts have got to be replaced.

The reasons are obvious and plentiful. And as tradmanclimz has been asserting, pandora's box is now wide open on this one. I find it hard to believe that everybody is going to wait for concensus to reinstate this protection.

Does anyone know the first ascent style of Thin Air? Could you please tell us?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 27, 2003, 04:48:15 PM
If you don't bring a hammer and etriers you are a heathen blasphmer and will be publickly beaten and stoned by the purist  elite (in their own narrow minds) gaurdians of north conway.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 27, 2003, 07:04:27 PM
Quote
Does anyone know the first ascent style of Thin Air? Could you please tell us?


"1956... they found no bolts any where on the route, nor did they place any bolts themselves. (Turner himself never carried a bolt kit.)" - Rock Climbs in the White Mountains by Ed Webster.

The last few years I have been getting much more out of the routes I climb by learning their history, even if it is just the year the route was climbed.  Knowing a certain climb was done by some Joe with a rope tied around his waist, without C4 stealth rubber and chalk, helps me pull through a difficult crux and have huge amounts of respect for the brave and bold few that paved the way for this sport.  If you don't have a copy of Webster's guide, I would pick one up.  You would be amazed how long ago people were running it out in a sense of adventure, commitment, and ethics.

This route is better without the bolts, but that is just my opinion, and I am starting to see I may be the minority, at least on this forum.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 27, 2003, 07:05:10 PM
Quote
Does anyone know the first ascent style of Thin Air? Could you please tell us?


"1956... they found no bolts any where on the route, nor did they place any bolts themselves. (Turner himself never carried a bolt kit.)" - Rock Climbs in the White Mountains by Ed Webster.

The last few years I have been getting much more out of the routes I climb by learning their history, even if it is just the year the route was climbed.  Knowing a certain climb was done by some Joe with a rope tied around his waist, without C4 stealth rubber and chalk, helps me pull through a difficult crux and have huge amounts of respect for the brave and bold few that paved the way for this sport.  If you don't have a copy of Webster's guide, I would pick one up.  You would be amazed how long ago people were running it out in a sense of adventure, commitment, and ethics.

This route is better without the bolts, but that is just my opinion, and I am starting to see I may be the minority, at least on this forum.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 27, 2003, 10:29:39 PM
The reason that Turner did not find any bolts is because he was off rt ;D See the picture of  Ray darcy on the upper part of thin air ( now the darcy rt) complete with bolt and etrier. the darcy Rt is now rated 5.6R. maby someone should go up there and hammer in a nice Phat bolt to replace the one that used to be there, bringing the rt  a bit closer to it's origional  state and possibly reduceing some of the traffic on TA 8)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 27, 2003, 11:35:02 PM
I often wonder how many of these so called purists have ever drilled a bolt by hand way the Fu$k out there from a crappy hook or thin stance. The cool thing about hanging on a poor #2 micro wire or a scetch hook that keeps shifting for 40 min while you drill is knowing that when that sucker blows you are going for a huge ride with your feet tangled in the etries so you have no control over the fall :o When you are drilling off of a thin stance your calfs cramp up so bad that you can't walk right for a week.   Going back up there to finish drilling the bolt that you didn't get in last week cause you popped off and took a 20 ft ground fall right at dusk and decided to call it a day, so you have to think about that crap hook all week knowing that you are going to go back up there and finish it on your next day off. You know that it is only sh#t luck that you are not in intensive care, the rope strech kept you from getting all messed up but if you come off again and your belayer dosen't yard the rope in fast enough it could get ugly but you know you have to finish this thing cause you have allready drilled a bolt on this climb and it just wouldn't be right to leave it  unfinished. So you sleep bad all week. The visuals of decking out on that ledge keep popping into your head at the worst times, Neither one of you can think of anything other than this climb all week.  (CELIBACY)  For some crazy reason beyond your control, you get shattered the night before you have to go back up there. Your head is swimming and you could hurl at any moment but there is work to be done so you head up. The rock is dirty and holds break because this is virgin territory. You settle in on that hook and back it up with a crappy copper head.   30 min. later the the bolt is in and you have to climb again. Your head is  Pounding from the hangover  but who gives a sh#t. Gravity don't care, You start climbing and after as few hard moves it eases off a bit so you keep going and now you are back in ground fall territory but now you are 40 ft off the deck and the landing sucks. A piss poor pink tri cam in rotten rock and then a stance for another drilling session. Your calfs are screaming after this one and you are shaking like a dog sh#tting razorblades so you lower off and Wild Woman heads up there to work her majic. She goes arround a dirty corner and runs it out to a good gold camalot. Brave climbing considering how dirty the rock is and the layback way off to the side of that bolt.  no more gear after that for a ways so she comes back down and you are on again.  You are up there  fishing arround, not getting much done and she yells up "you know you are going to climb this thing so just do it"  She has a point so you cowboy up and get 2 more bolts in, the first from a shallow blade and the last from a talon hook on a thin quartz cristal. You are totaly spent  as you lower off and pull the ropes.  Wild Woman has been a geat sport holding the ropes for the last 8 hours so now it is her turn to shine. She losens up a bit and then fires off the repoint. You are totaly spent but wouldn't miss this for the world so you suck it up and somhow follow.  The result is CELIBACY 5.9+.  YAH HOO WEE MOTHERF#$KING DOGGI ;D   We are both so freaking stoked that we don't touch down for at least a week.   A couple of hard respected climbers do the 2nd accent and say holy shit!! you put that up on lead  :o   Then  some tool who can't even clip the first bolt but just read Bonnatis or Messners book about fair play in the mountains rips your head off and starts talking smack about your rt.   The long version of why I  hate bolt choppers. Nick Goldsmith
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 28, 2003, 05:52:09 AM
Quote
The reason that Turner did not find any bolts is because he was off rt ;D See the picture of  Ray darcy on the upper part of thin air ( now the darcy rt) complete with bolt and etrier. the darcy Rt is now rated 5.6R. maby someone should go up there and hammer in a nice Phat bolt to replace the one that used to be there, bringing the rt  a bit closer to it's origional  state and possibly reduceing some of the traffic on TA 8)


I've climbed the Darcy Route and it is a great route if you don't mind running out 5.5 terrian.  The 5.6 crux is the same as the 4th pitch of TA, near where TA first ascentionists found some pins.  This climb joins with Thin Air 20ft above the P3 Belay ledge.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 28, 2003, 06:19:15 AM
Great story, Nick...it was like I was there!  It's easy to criticize someone's style if you weren't the one pounding on a drill, scrubbing lichen with a wire brush, bushwacking through thick brush where no trail yet exists, and heading off into no man's land on lead hoping to get some gear or at least a decent stance from which to asses the situation.

At any rate, the poll (now a little more accurate) is starting to show that a majority of the folks at this site favor replacing the anchor...maybe we are starting to get a sense of what the wider climbing community (rather than just the loudest among us) really wants?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 28, 2003, 06:32:49 AM
Quote

At any rate, the poll (now a little more accurate) is starting to show that a majority of the folks at this site favor replacing the anchor...maybe we are starting to get a sense of what the wider climbing community (rather than just the loudest among us) really wants?


There are only 68 votes so far, 3 of which were mine testing the poll since Al changed it.  Somehow it lets you vote again sometimes, another day or something.  Anyways, 68 votes, with a large margin for error might not be the best way to find out what the wider climbing community wants.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 28, 2003, 09:10:06 AM
Please take note of the question mark at the end of my statement...I haven't broken out the drill just yet  ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: LizzyBee on October 28, 2003, 09:27:21 AM
Quote

...maybe we are starting to get a sense of what the wider climbing community (rather than just the loudest among us) really wants?


No, the only way you're going to get a broader viewpoint is to ask a wider audience than those who happen to log on here. If you don't, and you replace the anchors based on this poll, you'll get another set of bolts chopped and will have fanned the flames of the bolt war.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Edge on October 28, 2003, 09:33:44 AM
Quote


No, the only way you're going to get a broader viewpoint is to ask a wider audience than those who happen to log on here. If you don't, and you replace the anchors based on this poll, you'll get another set of bolts chopped and will have fanned the flames of the bolt war.


Exactly!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 28, 2003, 11:08:02 AM
Settle down, everyone, settle down.  I talk to climbers in the Valley everyday, and spend more time in the shops here than I should...and I've had plenty of conversations/arguments with locals both young and old(er).  Here's what I've gathered so far:

There is no consensus--neither about the chopping nor about what was decided at the meetings.

Many folks most closely associated with the local climbing community favor leaving all the bolts chopped.

Many folks most closely associated with the local climbing community favor replacing some or all of the bolts (yes, I do notice the contradiction between this point and the last  ;D)

Some people who support Bayard's actions in principle feel that he went about the whole thing the wrong way.

A few people (although not that many who I've talked to) support both the chopping and the way the entire episode was handled

Some people who are sympathetic with the chopping still feel the belay should be replaced.

Significantly, many locals--guides and non-guides--feel that the reappearance of the belay bolts is inevitable.

In general, it seems to me that most people are fine with the traverse bolts being chopped, but feel, for various reasons, that the belay bolts either should be replaced or simply will inevitably be replaced.  I haven't heard much support for the way Bayard went about the chopping.  I've heard a few folks make the reasonable suggestion that the belay be replaced with bolts without rings, to discourage unnecessary rapping...

If others feel I've misrepresented any of the sentiment around town, please correct me.  I certainly don't speak for anyone but myself...Mostly I think it's important to keep the conversation going, so that, whatever happens, folks feel like they've had a chance to be heard...

As far as I msyelf am concerned, I believe that, since Bayard acted without a clear consensus, and since many people seem OK with the idea of replacing the belay (and many people seem to feel that this is inevitable), the belay should be replaced.

Ready, aim, fire!   ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Erik_N on October 29, 2003, 02:42:40 AM
Dogboy,
Help me out.  Why do you think the anchor bolts on Thin Air should be replaced?
1. Is it for the need to make a quick escape?
2. Is it to help traffic flow?
3. Is it not possible to build an anchor there with all those cracks?
4. Or, is it based on principle on the way they were removed?

I think the 1st 3 questions don't hold much weight but you could argue the last question but I'm not sure if that's even worth pursuing.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 29, 2003, 06:08:42 AM
I agree--reason #1 is weak, and #3 totally untenable.  I do, however, believe reason #2 provides the pragmatic argument for replacing the anchor, and #4 the ethical/philosophical argument...together I feel they give sufficient weight to the issue that it should be considered seriously.

(For the record, I personally am particularly pissed about the way the whole thing was handled.)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on October 29, 2003, 06:18:49 AM
re "I'm not sure whether that's even worth pursuing."

Erik, there are eleven pages of comments (many redundant, granted) on this topic.  Obviously, some people think this is definitely a topic worth pursuing.

I'm with dogboy here.  

But we'll never get a consensus. Ever.  I wouldn't be surprised if the belay bolts were re-re-replaced, to serve a fine and noble purpose for many years to come.  As for reasons (I forget which numbers these are on your list), traffic flow, historical context, and This Whole Community Mess are all good enough reasons to me.

Few heroes, big chorus.  Greek tragedy.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Wally on October 29, 2003, 07:15:19 AM
dogboy, i say go ahead and put the belay bolts back - hopefully, people will leave them there for a while.

IMO, building your own anchor on trade routes is not an important rite of passage for climbers, in fact, most of the time it means you are off-route!  

the logical extension of the recent action on T/A includes Dierdre, Recompense, and many others. The thought of such destruction is not pleasant.

My suggestion to the community - agree that retro-double-bolt-belay-anchors are inevitable on popular routes and focus on keeping the "running" belays 'ethically pure', whatever that means (established ground up on lead?).

Chris Walton
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Wally on October 29, 2003, 07:16:29 AM
Nick -

where is celibacy?

Wally
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Jeff on October 29, 2003, 07:58:54 AM
Wally: you must be luckier than most dirt bag climbers who have little trouble finding celibacy on a regular basis. ;D  Jeff
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 29, 2003, 09:10:32 AM
Quote
IMO, building your own anchor on trade routes is not an important rite of passage for climbers, in fact, most of the time it means you are off-route!  

the logical extension of the recent action on T/A includes Dierdre, Recompense, and many others. The thought of such destruction is not pleasant.


If you can place adequete pro on a trad route like TA, you should have the knowledge to be able to make a gear anchor.  Anchor building is a required skill to climb out side of gyms and sport routes.  If you think ending a pitch at a gear anchor means you are off-route you must be talking of somewhere other than Cathedral.  Diedre doesn't have a bolt on it so that is an odd "logical extension".  Actually Diedre is a good example for a different reason.  I remember showing a leader at the 1st belay how to equalize his anchor (2 pins and a cam).  He clipped to 2 seperate slings to the two pins with out equalization or redundancy, then prepared to belay his second re-directed through the cam.  Very weak setup!  Perhaps making such beginner "trade" routes like Thin Air overly friendly, we are allowing climbers to pass through the technical grades without having to learn the technical systems to do so safely?

Put the bolts back = rob future climbers the perfect oppurtunity to practice making another gear anchor safely and efficiently.

Dave Lottmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 29, 2003, 09:50:18 AM
dogboy, why don't you just put this behind you?  the bolts were not necessary, therefore they were justifiably removed.  it's just as simple as that.   the bolts should never have been placed to begin with.  stop trying to justify compromising the traditional ethic, you have failed in this effort as evidenced by your posts.  i know you're angry, but open your mind and see that removing these bolts was right and good.

hopefully in the future, climbers will be knowledgable enough to not place similarly unnecessary bolts.  

Adam T.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 29, 2003, 11:13:40 AM
Jeez Adam, you really have a hard time discussing the issue rather than turning to personal attacks...

It's not about failure or success, but rather about whether folks have had a chance to express their opinion...a chance they didn't get before the bolts were chopped...

If the debate annoys you so much, don't participate.  But don't attack others for expressing their opinion.

Jeff
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 29, 2003, 11:21:34 AM
Jeff, (dogboy)

I don't think I attacked you on a personal level.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 29, 2003, 11:37:01 AM
Adam is discussing, not attacking.  Very valid points.  You may feel personally attacked because you seem to be the top candidate for replacing them.  Here is Adam's post minus anything "personal".

Quote
the bolts were not necessary, therefore they were justifiably removed.  it's just as simple as that.   the bolts should never have been placed to begin with. open your mind and see that removing these bolts was right and good.

hopefully in the future, climbers will be knowledgable enough to not place similarly unnecessary bolts.  

Adam T.


Can the same idea be stated more times by more people with slightly different wording?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Wally on October 29, 2003, 12:13:45 PM
sorry, my bad on dierdre. after the crux on the big ledge, its two pins for the belay? for some reason i remember bolts there. (not much of a huge ethical difference there, anyway, heh?)

what about the belay at the end of the traverse on T/A? arent those retro bolts? why hasnt bayard removed those? - i think you can rig an acceptable anchor in the pin scars...who removed the pins!?

anyway, regarding bolted belay creep, i was talking about everywhere - includ the 'real' valley on the other coast. the belay stations on super popular routes are inevitably made more convenient/safe, whatever you chose to call it. why worry? go out and climb.

finally, i am trad, never placed a bolt, and don't clip fixed gear unless i can't back it up. i believe that anchor building is a very important skill, but I dont think people should learn it on routes with so much traffic. be real.

again, i suggest we forget about the ethical considerations and/or impact of bolted belays, and concentrate on the leads.
the retro bolts vmc and saigons come to mind...that is the stuff that is really harmful to our local ethic...

chris walton

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: lynniefish on October 29, 2003, 12:37:04 PM
i think so much of what has been said over the last 4 pages (i stopped reading for a couple days only to come back to about 100 new posts!) are thoughtful, valid points.

i have only one thing to add:
while i agree that new leaders may sometimes rig SLOW anchors that create traffic on "trade" routes like T/A, it makes me nervous to send a message to these leaders that its ok for them to lead, and they can consider themselves trad leaders, without the ability to creat safe gear anchors.

in general,  i think that it is especially the new trad leader who may sometime find himself unexpectedly off route (not necessarily on T/A), and may need to build a gear anchor for a number of reasons. i think its important that as a climbing community we send the message that leading trad includes safe anchor building, not only gear placement.

lynnie
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Schandy on October 29, 2003, 01:03:45 PM
     Here is something I was thinking about.  If I were to put up thin air in this day and age of cams and all sorts of other shinny gear, would I put a bolt anchor at the top of the 3rd pitch.  I would say no.  There is ample gear and trad leaders, experienced or not, should know how to make a gear anchor. period.  
     Have you ever seen anyone bail from those anchors?  is it a very common occurrence?  Worst case scenario is you leave some gear.  That,s climbing.  Its not like its a remote peak where it is difficult to retrieve said gear.  Just go back up and get it.  Maybe people will have the common sense to leave someones bail anchor instead of bootying it.
      I agree that it might make the crowding issues a little better to have the bolts, but it is a huge ledge and there is room for lots of parties.  If there are already 3 parties up there, don't leave the bolts at the top of the second pitch.  It's simple.  If people are backed up at the second pitch, go climb something else.  Maybe a flashing neon sign at the bottom would help relieve the crowds: "Now serving rope team 836, have a nice day That would be convenient, but it's unnecessary, and so are the bolts atop the third pitch.  
   I agree that the vigilante style of chopping was abrupt and left little room for debate.  Shit happens, we can't do anything about it, move on people.  Someone needs to give me a better reason to replace those bolts before I can support it.  It just doesn't add up to me.  Anyhow, I'll shut up now.  

--Andy Schannen    
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: dogboy on October 29, 2003, 01:25:49 PM
I should probably make something clear--If I seem to be the top candidate for replacing the 3rd pitch anchor, is it is only because, after hearing 4 or 5 people say that they were simply going to go out and replace the anchor without letting anyone know (something I supported at first), I decided that I would advocate the idea publicly so that we might get some discussion in first before any action was taken.  After thinking about it for a while, I felt that it would be as unproductive for someone to go replace the bolts vigilante style as it was to chop them....

For those who feel that this conversation is useless, please consider: if Bayard had started a discussion about the chopping and asked folks to express their opinion, maybe we could have reached an actual consensus (either for or against) and none of this nonsense would have occured.

Question:  since the posts seem divided equally between replacing/not replacing, why does the poll show replacing to be in the lead almost 2 to 1?  It seems that now folks can only vote once...

Anyway, I feel the conversation has been exhausted, and I've stated the argument in favor of replacement as I see it a few times...so I think I'll stop posting on this topic now.  Thanks everyone for the (mostly) civil discussion...I feel that it's been valuable, anyway.  I don't know whether the anchor will be replaced, by me or anyone else...I don't think it's clear yet how this will all play out.  I only hope that, in the future, if one of us feels the need to go chop or drill, he or she will discuss the action first, and give all a chance to weigh in...none of us own the cliffs, and none of us should act as though we do.

Jeff Cavicchi
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 29, 2003, 02:06:41 PM
Bail off gear is booty ;D and comon sense dictates that you add it to your rack 8)   Ps I am not talking about back up gear on established tat messes/rap stations.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: the_other_andy on October 29, 2003, 04:16:35 PM
Finally!!, I have something of note to put forward on this engrossing subject, I was starting to feel all left out.
I spoke with Paul Ross and he does not know how the slanderous quote of him putting a bolt in TA ever got started.
He added that he felt terrible to have his name mentioned on such a desicration and was thinking of taking legal action. (So Noonan look out !!).
He was also wondering whats with the bolts added to Mines, that route is 30 yrs old and you would think with modern gear you could get by without resorting to that.

For your general information he is still climbing and putting up new routes  at an alarming pace in the deserts of CO and UT.

As usual excuse the spelling. Later.

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 30, 2003, 06:44:34 AM
Wally,

I'ld be willing to bet the pins at Diedre's 1st and 2nd anchors were placed on the 1st ascent therefore they are not subject to this ethical debate.

Dogboy,

You know, I feel all though this thread you have pushed for open discussion, but I don't think anyone could have said anything that would have changed your mind.  I also think the poll is inaccurate for many reasons.

"We are entering a new era of climbing, an era that may well be characterized by incredible advances in equipment, by the overcoming of great difficulties, with even greater technical wizardry, and by the rendering of the mountains to a low, though democratic, mean.

Or it could be the start of more spiritual climbing, where we assault the mountains with less equipment and with more awareness, more experience and more courage."

- Yvon Chouinard 1972

I second everything Lynnfish said above.

It is ethically wrong to replace the bolts... I sound like a broken record...
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 30, 2003, 08:37:54 AM
Al, since 'PoodleBoy' and 'NotActuallyTradManClimbz' are willing to do anything the poll recommends, can you set up the next poll question to be, 'who wants Poodleboy and NotActuallyTradManClimbz to go take a hike'?  

nothing personal, except for the fact that i resent it when people bolt up cliffs to make climbing more convenient and less committing for themselves.

T1?

-a
 
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 30, 2003, 09:19:11 AM
T-rad  I see we are grumpy this morning.  I belive that i stated earlier in the post that I lean more twords the Batso ethic of climbing than the Rolyal Robins mindset  (RR drilled a crapload of bolts himself) although I am  not, nor ever will be as good a climber as either of them. You should read the verticle world of yosemite.  It is a very cool compilation of articles written by the different partys involved in many of the classic first accents in the valley. Compiled and edited by Galen Rowel. It contains  an interesting interview with RR about his experiences and feelings about his attempt to chop the Dawn wall which I belive is now called the wall of the early morning light. A week or so in the needles of south dakota might also be good for your obviously tourtured sole.  I do not advocate useing bolts when not nessicary but I also  feel that vigilanty bolt chopping is a dangerous president to set and the chopping of fixed belays that have been there for 40 years is freaking stupid. If you have a problem with that stance to the point that you have to start name calling that is pretty sad. nick
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 30, 2003, 10:09:32 AM
oh, get over yourself PretendsToBeButIsNotTradManClimbz...  why don't you take a few moments away from your busy schedule of misspelling words and mauling the English vocabulary, to glance back at your previous posts in this thread, so you can be reminded of all the insults you've tossed around.  your thin skin is a clear indication that you are actually a bolt loving, fair weathered, sport 'climber'.

T2?

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 30, 2003, 10:32:50 AM
 :o yea you are right. i did toss out some pretty hot spray on the first page or 2 but that was weeks ago and after the flames setteled down  the name calling fizzeled out and was replaced by nice boring polite debate.   seems like you are still all hot and bothered after 12 pages of this crap ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 30, 2003, 05:38:25 PM
Furthurmore. I have not said anything about replaceing the bely, only that I strongly disaprove of it being chopped.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on October 31, 2003, 06:21:49 AM
OK, OK...  my bad.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 31, 2003, 10:09:14 AM
Quote
I do not advocate useing bolts when not nessicary but I also  feel that vigilanty bolt chopping is a dangerous president to set and the chopping of fixed belays that have been there for 40 years is freaking stupid.


The only dangerous president I am worried about is the one in the White House.

Putting these bolts back, after they are gone, is freaking stupid since you "do not advocate useing bolts when not nessicary..."
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on October 31, 2003, 10:11:06 AM
Not saying you would be them putting back, just that it is clear you support their replacement.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on October 31, 2003, 05:11:15 PM
In all honesty I just enjoy a good debate. I would be the last one you would see up there putting that belay back in. i avoid that section of the cliff like the plague :o  Also i am not a local so it is not my place to get phisicaly involved in the situation. I do feel obviously strongly that chopping belays is bad juju. It will probobly be replaced at some point and then chopped again all of which is pretty fu$king stupid since it was there for 30-40 years without bothering anyone  or causing any mass murders etc.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 13, 2003, 12:54:50 PM
I have been climbing now since the early 80's...much as changed in the sport of climbing as you know. I am writing in response to the bolt chopping issue on Thin Air. It has been years since I have been up there, but remember when they were placed and also remember breathing a sigh of relief as I clipped into those shiny little things as I pondered the struggles that the beginning climbers behind me were going to have in that little chimney. Needless to say, that anchor has been weighted several times as my students scratched their way up over the chimney overhang. I too am old enough to remember the sketchy anchor that I used to have to build before the bolts were placed, and I was never completely comfortable with the configurations that I had to create.

After climbing routes like Funhouse and some of the other easier classics, it is sad to see the belay trees slowly dying as we have seen all too often at Cathedral Ledge over the past 20 years (Funhouse, top of the 2nd pitch included). I don't really have an opinion one way or the other, but as long as people continue to climb these areas, it would be nice to protect the environment around it, and that is where bolting seems to be the practical solution. Two bolts to the right of the belay stance (tree) on funhouse would protect the trees on that ledge and provide a safe anchor for climbers. I have actually seen people sling trees the size of pool cues because there was not ample protection around, or it was the quickest anchor (potential anchor) in sight. True there is something to be said about the art of anchor building, and it certainly has its place (I am not arguing that), but I believe as climbers, we are stewards of our environment and owe it to the natural surroundings to protect its beauty and its health in whatever way possible. If bolting is the only viable answer for the time being, then so be it...it will be worth it to future generations of climbers to enjoy the tree ledges as they were intended long before men in spandex journeyed to their heights!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on November 13, 2003, 03:02:59 PM
Nice Grammy Nice!! 8)

BRING BACK THE BOLTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:P
:P
:P
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2003, 03:49:00 PM
Grammy's really dateing herself with that spandex line ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 13, 2003, 05:36:42 PM
yah, I am old....and I'm a guy. My last name is Graham and I still watch "Moving Over Stone"  ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 13, 2003, 05:41:11 PM
Just changed it from Grammy to my old name "Hangdog".  Yah, that's better 8)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2003, 06:24:06 PM
funny how in the old days hagdogging was a  crime ;D now it's standard procedure for a hard climb ;D
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 13, 2003, 06:35:42 PM
Quote
I too am old enough to remember the sketchy anchor that I used to have to build before the bolts were placed, and I was never completely comfortable with the configurations that I had to create.


Sounds like you need practice making gear anchors.  There is a great spot at the top of the 3rd pitch of Thin Air were you can set up a bomber gear anchor!  It does not include any trees, so is really enviromentally ok.  Sarcasm aside, you bring up valid points for the top of the 2nd pitch of Funhouse.  It is possible to break up the 2nd pitch, or lengthen the 1st pitch, so that you can easily reach the traverse ledge, especially with a 60m rope.  A cordelette doubled, or better yet tripled, tied around a tree snugly so it does not shift left to right when weighted can do a minimum amount of damage to a tree... you could even pad the back of it with a pack or jacket if you really want to be sensitive (I don't do this).  These are trad routes, and lead climbers who attempt them should be able to make safe gear anchors.  If you can place trad pro to protect yourself, you should know the methods for connecting a few to make an anchor.  Adding bolts would eliminate having to learn a skill that may save you when you get off route, find out bolts are removed, or have to bail off a route for any number of reasons.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: tradmanclimbz on November 13, 2003, 06:49:32 PM
Trees don't get killed so much from the  pressure or abrasion of being slung. they get killed from the traffic arround their root system. All the dirt gets eroded arround the roots of a tree from climbers kneeling and reaching arround the tree. the tree dies and then is pulled off after it's root system has allready been destroyed. I have seen this many many times.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 05:46:23 AM
Quote


Sounds like you need practice making gear anchors.  There is a great spot at the top of the 3rd pitch of Thin Air were you can set up a bomber gear anchor!

I think I have had enough practice building anchors, but thanks for the advice. I am speaking about the top of the second pitch. That rock is sketchy, and the ledge is detached. Just a matter of time before ice and rain send it to the bottom.

I really could care less about the bolts there, I was simply commenting on the fact that it was convenient having them there. The real purists should be climbing barefoot, no chock and tying knots in chord to stuff into little pockets and cracks like they did in Germany. Now that is Trad (pretty Rad too)  ;)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 05:48:37 AM
Whoops! Freudian slip there. I spelled chalk (chock) wrong. Still a traditionalist at heart I suppose.  ::)
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 09:02:46 AM
Hey,

I am new to the Forum. How does one go about creating the boxes around the quotes?  ??? Nice effect!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 09:32:38 AM
Hangdog,

The bolts of the top of the 2nd pitch of Thin Air are still there.  The ledge belay, after the chimney, is the top of the 3rd pitch, as mentioned in Webster's guidebook and Rockfax.  Most people run the 1st two pitches together, but for discussion sake you should refer to actual pitches.

It's not about being a "purist".  It is about preserving the rock and preserving the adventure of climbing a multi-pitch trad route.  It's about not lowering a climb to meet the climbers level.  You would think I was a broken record if you took the time to read through this whole thread.

To quote someone click on "Quote" located at the top right of whoever's post you want to quote.  Delete what you don't care for leaving the [/quote] at the end.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 09:34:53 AM
Quote
I was simply commenting on the fact that it was convenient having them there.


Bolts should not be used to make a climb "more convenient".  This is not a traditional ethic.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 09:43:04 AM
 It's about not lowering a climb to meet the climbers level.  You would think I was a broken record if you took the time to read through this whole thread.

Since when does bolting lower a climb to meet one's level? Chipping holds, glueing holds, etc...that might be a different story. We are talking about protection. Sorry for joining the thread so late, but I have read through the rest of the responses. All very good points!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 09:47:48 AM
Quote


Bolts should not be used to make a climb "more convenient".  This is not a traditional ethic.


I would agree with that statement, but aren't all the new advances in climbing made to make climbing safer, more enjoyable and comfortable? One would be hard pressed to see people climbing in Sitz Harnesses with steele carabiners and a hemp rope coiled around their necks. Progress is a dangerous thing!!!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 09:59:14 AM
Hangdog,

These were bolts placed next to cracks, long after the 1st ascent, and for the purpose of making the route more beginner friendly, and more guided client friendly.  Do you agree with placing bolts next to a crack that accept gear?

Dave
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 10:02:01 AM
Quote
Since when does bolting lower a climb to meet one's level?


When the bolts are not needed for safety?
When the bolts weren't put there do to lack of natural pro?
When too many bolts are placed on a climb allowing people to "top-rope" their way up a route?
Part of climbing multi-pitch trad routes is having the mental mindset to feel comfortable above gear.

When quoting don't erase the long line of crap in the [] at the beginning.

Dave
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 10:06:31 AM
Quote
One would be hard pressed to see people climbing in Sitz Harnesses with steele carabiners and a hemp rope coiled around their necks.


Traditional doesn't neccessarily mean climbing a route like it was done in 1943.  It typically is defined as climbing a route from the ground up, placing protection as the leader climbs that the second removes.  Of course there are mixed sport/trad routes.  Thin Air is NOT one of them.  Some would also argue that traditional climbers (now-a-days) have some conservative eviromental practices.  They try and impact the rock as least as possible when climbing to leave it for the next person to have the same experience.

Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Grammy on November 14, 2003, 10:41:14 AM
Hey,

I am with ya on this one. I guess we have to figure out a way to make way for progress. I have climbed Thin Air many, many times and I remember talk in the Valley about the pins that were there (on the traverse). People were thinking about popping them out due to modern pieces of equipment that could now be placed. This debate of modern protection started in the 40's. I hope that we can all work on finding some common ground on this one. I am still having trouble clipping bolts, but understand their usefulness and realize that there is a whole generation of new climbers out there that think a "nut" is someone who skips bolts.

We are all climbers and for whatever reason, found our way into the outdoors and at the foot of these great stone monoliths. The dualistic "us" vs "them" has not worked so we need to look at the bigger picture and make decisions with that in mind. Our first obligation is to protect and preserve those areas that we frequent so that others may enjoy the routes and environment as much as those before them.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Jim_Ewing on November 14, 2003, 10:47:27 AM
Quote


Some would also argue that traditional climbers (now-a-days) have some conservative eviromental practices.  They try and impact the rock as least as possible when climbing to leave it for the next person to have the same experience.



I'm curious when this new deffinition went into affect?  I'd also like to know why it is you think "traditional" climbers have cornered the market on environmentalism?  Maybe I read too much into your post but judging from your previous posts I think not.  Also I challenge you to guess what brand of climber I am.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 11:47:53 AM
Quote
I'm curious when this new deffinition went into affect?  I'd also like to know why it is you think "traditional" climbers have cornered the market on environmentalism?  Maybe I read too much into your post but judging from your previous posts I think not.  Also I challenge you to guess what brand of climber I am.

"Traditional Climbing- Climbing that puts emphasis on traditional values.  This mainly centres on climbing a route using leader-placed protection, which is removed by the second climber without rehearsing or pre-inspecting a route."- The Complete Rock Climber copyright 1999.
Not to say there isn't many variations of this and that this is the only definition, just one of them.  I also never said "traditional climbers cornered the market in enviromentalism".  I said enviromentalism usually a big part of traditional ethics.  I am not excluding or implying that other types of climber, sport, gym, etc. are not enviromentally conscience.  Please be careful when quoting someone.  As for what type of climber you are, I doubt any of us fit neatly into one label, and I doubt I could really get to see you motives and ideals through this board.  I won't take a guess.

Regards,
David Lotttmann
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 11:51:13 AM
A quote I would like to share:

"We are entering a new era of climbing, an era that may well be characterized by incredible advances in equipment, by the overcoming of great difficulties, with even greater technological wizardry, and by the rendering of the mountains to a low, though democratic, mean.

Or it could be the start of more spiritual climbing, where we assualt the mountains with less equipment and with more awareness, more experience and more courage."

- Yvon Chouinard,  1972
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Jim_Ewing on November 14, 2003, 12:26:13 PM
Geez!  I guess since it's the "COMPLETE Rock Climber" and it's actually written in a book then it must be so.  And to think I've been doing it wrong all these years.

The funny thing about these bulletin boards is you guys make up rules faster than I can break them.  Fortunately I had a good head start; I've been climbing long enough that I've broken most of the rules before they were made.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: t-rad on November 14, 2003, 12:49:19 PM
'The Crystal Horizon', by Rheinhold Messner is his account of being the first person to solo Everest, alpine style, without Sherpa support or oxygen, and by a new route on the Chinese side.  There isn't anything about rock climbing in it, but the ethic he adhered to during (and leading up to) that ascent is universal enough to inspire me to climb clean at all times.

Jim, I don't think DMan is making up rules for you to follow or break, just expressing his views on what traditional climbing is all about.  There is plenty of room for discussion in the issue without getting offended.

-a
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: DLottmann on November 14, 2003, 01:58:06 PM
Alright Jim, I said in my post that was only one definition of traditional climbing, and that there were many variations of that.  Judging by your response and attitude I think I will take a guess as to what type of climber you are.  Asshole right?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: sparky on November 14, 2003, 04:47:56 PM
Quote
Geez!  I guess since it's the "COMPLETE Rock Climber" and it's actually written in a book then it must be so.  And to think I've been doing it wrong all these years.

The funny thing about these bulletin boards is you guys make up rules faster than I can break them.  Fortunately I had a good head start; I've been climbing long enough that I've broken most of the rules before they were made.



Wow, off like a prom dress...15 pages ;D

Right ON Jimmy.....School em'

A local legend! :)
How do you feel about the bolts on TA 3rd pitch??
We need more "legends" and "cliff stewards"
"old schoolers" speaking up about this topic...
Where is Hurley, Chauvin, Ritchey, Wilcox, Surette, Bouchard, Dunn, Barber, Parrot, Larson?? So many to include...... ::)
You guys should voice concern...
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: redpoint73 on July 24, 2007, 11:15:40 AM
I climbed Thin Air this past Sunday, and one of the hangers is missing from the 2-bolt anchor after pitch 2 (the traverse).  Based on this thread, it seems to me this hanger was not removed in the 2003 debolting.  The bolt is still there and looks great, just the hanger and nut are missing.  The other bolt is fine.

My question is:  was the hanger damaged, or was it removed for aesthetic/ethics reasons like the bolts in 2003?

This belay is not exactly festooned with bomber cracks to place gear, such as at the top of pitch 3 (on top of the tree/chimney).  There is a spot to place a cam under the bolts, but thats about it.  You can also climb up a move or so, and there is another cam placement that you can also use to backup the bolt.  Aside from that, I think thats all.  Of course, you can sling a nut over the bolt w. the missing hanger, but this is obviously less bomber than a bolt hanger.  And belaying from a bolt and a nut-slung bolt hardly seems any more natural or traditional than 2 bomber bolts.

The missing hanger seemed to cause a good amount of cluster-f_ck on Sunday.  I saw at least 2 parties (which both seemed a bit inexperienced) climb down to the Turners Flake anchor and belay from there.  Mind you, these moves are much harder than 5.6.  And one girl actually fell/slid down to the Turners' Flake anchor while downclimbing, after clipping the bolt on the "regular" anchor.  Using the Turner's Flake anchor is less than ideal, b/c it interferes with the traffic on that route.

I would be curious to hear why the hanger was removed.

Any comments or thoughts?
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: Admin Al on July 24, 2007, 11:28:49 AM
oh not again, please!!!!!
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: CTCLMBR on July 24, 2007, 08:48:44 PM
The hanger was loose about a month ago. I finger tightened it but had nothing to snug it up.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: chazrock on July 24, 2007, 11:04:41 PM
I am planning on climbing Thin Air later this week. I will bring a hanger and a nut and install it if need be.

Charlieb
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: slobmonster on July 26, 2007, 01:23:47 AM
The hanger was loose about a month ago. I finger tightened it but had nothing to snug it up.
FWIW a #13 Stopper can be used as a wrench... in a pinch.

Also, the #9 (I think, whatever's the smallest one with a hole) can be utilized as an emergency smoking device.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: CTCLMBR on July 26, 2007, 08:51:05 AM
I searched my rack over and over for a makeshift wrench. Thanks for the tip(s).
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: JBro on July 30, 2007, 01:52:13 PM
I searched my rack over and over for a makeshift wrench. Thanks for the tip(s).

More importantly, you can use a biner to open a beer bottle. 
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: frik on July 30, 2007, 02:01:44 PM
I can open a beer with a stopper as well
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bmiller on September 06, 2007, 09:27:04 PM
I can open a beer with a stopper as well

You can use most climbing gear to open a beer.  Reversos, Biners, Stoppers, Rigid Cams, Nut Tools, even ATCs.

(http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/554/atcjh6.th.jpg) (http://img401.imageshack.us/my.php?image=atcjh6.jpg)

The only thing I don't think will open a beer is a GriGri.
Title: Re: Debolting Thin Air
Post by: bikewrench on September 12, 2007, 09:23:19 PM
A Gri Gri will open a beer bottle but you have to do it they way they show in the Petzl catalog.