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Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress
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buckhowdy


Sep 19, 2005, 8:34 PM
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Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress
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I heard that the retro bolts had been chopped on Hair Raiser Buttress in the Granite Basin East of Lee Vining. I was in the area and thought I would take a look. At the base of the climb there was a 8.5X11 note in a plastic bag. The note claimed to be from "The Run-out Climbing Association". It read (from my not so good memory)"... the retro bolts have been chopped, have a nice day." It looked like some one else added to the note "the route is now x rated...please wait for the bolts to be replaced...and they will be replaced." In addition someone admonished "You have poor ethics as well."

Please note the quotes are from memory and may not be completely accurate. This is my first post.


healyje


Sep 19, 2005, 8:52 PM
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I heard that the retro bolts had been chopped on Hair Raiser Buttress in the Granite Basin East of Lee Vining. I was in the area and thought I would take a look. At the base of the climb there was a 8.5X11 note in a plastic bag. The note claimed to be from "The Run-out Climbing Association". It read (from my not so good memory)"... the retro bolts have been chopped, have a nice day." It looked like some one else added to the note "the route is now x rated...please wait for the bolts to be replaced...and they will be replaced." In addition someone admonished "You have poor ethics as well."

Please note the quotes are from memory and may not be completely accurate. This is my first post.

I have been climbing on a rope for about a year. If this route was well bolted, I would love to lead it some day.

No doubt, but if every route were [retro] bolted to everyones' varying definition of "well bolted" (i.e. lowest common denominator) there would be four foot bolt ladder up every route. Folks should leave existing routes alone and climb something else if they aren't up to what's in front of them. You don't mean "better" - you actually mean "safer". It's not a technical question but one of an assumed entitlement [to "safe" climbing].


snoopy138


Sep 19, 2005, 8:53 PM
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you should at least edit your post so that it no longer contains a subjective judgement.

edited to add ... and what healyje said.


dingus


Sep 19, 2005, 8:57 PM
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Re: Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress [In reply to]
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It should never have been retroed in the first place.

DMT


iceisnice


Sep 19, 2005, 9:08 PM
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Re: Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress [In reply to]
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its a sport route.....who the hell cares. the whole idea behind bolts is to take the fear and committment out of climbing so who the hell cares if someone wants to add/subtract. i guess in the end, respect the first ascentionists' way of doing it.......unless they were pansies too and bolted it on rappel.


buckhowdy


Sep 19, 2005, 9:23 PM
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I have edited my post, but I don't think I can edit the poll. Sorry!


crazyscuba


Sep 19, 2005, 9:30 PM
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hopefully this will help a little.

i've had the joy of climbing this route both ways. using only the original bolts and using all of the bolts. while i was climbing the first time, with the originals only, i noticed that the climb wasn't bolted that well. the stances to clip from were very poor and not well thought out. above almost every bolt there was a much better stance. one of the first ascensionists, vern, agrees on this point and has said that he will not climb it again in its current state.

on the second time around we both had a much more enjoyable experience. the bolts that were put in later were well thought out and solid. they were also put in with the consent of vern, 1 of the 2 people on the fa.

while the person who retrobolted should have contacted both parties on the fa, they didnt. this all stems from a letter in climbing magazine from ton higgins. the first part of the letter he talked about respect for a first ascent. he was very irked by the retrobolts and that came out in his letter. while its very understandable, he must realize that hundreds of people are very happy and thankful that him and vern put the route up.

sometimes we have to realize that an fa is not our property. it is not a piece of art that we can throw away if we dont like how it turned out. it isnt something that we can sell at a gallery. it is, however, something that other people can go and sample. its something that route developers put out there for others to enjoy.

i obviously understand if you disagree. thats the beauty of climbing. if i dont like a route or a bolt, i can chop it. there is nothing saying i cant. it might not be the ethical thing to do but i can still do it. i plead to you all for us to not have another bolt war. it separates a community that is already divided enough. hopefully this stays somewhat civilized and we can all start to see eye to eye.

steve


jerrygarcia


Sep 19, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Re: Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress [In reply to]
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i plead to you all for us to not have another bolt war. it separates a community that is already divided enough. hopefully this stays somewhat civilized and we can all start to see eye to eye.

steve


healyje


Sep 19, 2005, 10:33 PM
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its something that route developers put out there for others to enjoy. i obviously understand if you disagree.

One can only hope that the FA team did it solely for their own pleasure but also weren't trying to be jerks in process of doing the route. But the concept of "route developers" doing what they do for others sucks and is basically [pandering, ego-driven] course setting escaped from gyms.

In reply to:
thats the beauty of climbing. if i dont like a route or a bolt, i can chop it. there is nothing saying i cant. it might not be the ethical thing to do but i can still do it. i plead to you all for us to not have another bolt war. it separates a community that is already divided enough. hopefully this stays somewhat civilized and we can all start to see eye to eye.

In this case they should have gotten the permission of both FA's and if there is a disagreement between FA's then it should probably stay the way it was. One might argue that in on multi-pitch route, the FA of each pitch has sway on that pitch, but better to not get into a pitch-by-pitch cat fight.


rocknroll


Sep 22, 2005, 1:55 PM
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Re: Retro bolts chopped at Hair Raiser Buttress [In reply to]
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I take some of the blame for the retro bolts. Alan Hirahara asked me if I thought it should be retro bolted. I said that was up to the first ascentionist, Vern Clevenger. I spoke to Vern who said, yeah, a few more could be added to make it safer. (Like right off the ground!?!). I relayed this info to Alan and admonished him to talk to Vern first. He did it with my blessing, but never did talk to Vern. The next time I saw Vern he had that hulking countenance. He was not happy. Too many bolts.

As it is, on the first pitch, Alan actually retro bolted a line I had worked on that had one bolt about fifty feet off the ground, left of the actual Hairaiser. The actual route Hairaiser Buttress traverses out to the center of the face to take advantage of some slung chickenheads. So they actually chopped a different route for the first pitch.

Chopping bolts is never justified unless it is done by or with the approval of the first ascensionist. Was it?

In its retro-bolted state, Hairaiser was hardly a sport climb. There were still 20 -30 foot run-outs and that scary opening move. It still was a hairariser any way you look at it.

I think you must weigh the bold achievements of a few against the greater good. It is a beautiful stretch of rock that is moderate in difficulty and has provided thousands with pure enjoyment in its retro bolted state. I am not for a bolt ladder on Hairraiser, but a relatively safe route (R not X) should be on that face to provide enjoyment for the masses.

But believe me, I think we should respect the history of the past. I am not for retro bolting the Bachar-Yerrian, but only because Medlicott has plenty of safe routes near that one. So if it was the only line up the face...would it be a candidate for retro bolting? You know what John and Dave's answer would be...NO!

If you want run-out, try Spuds Gurgling Cock Holster on the dome left of Hairaiser. It was John Sherman's first ground up route with a Bosch. Better talk to Verm if you are thinking of retroing that one! (He's already told me No).

No retro unless the F.A says so;
And Stop! don't chop to be a cop
Don't have hostility,
Communication is the key
for climber harmony.

Let's see the last hostile bolt chopping in the Eastern Sierra was Bill Russel chopping Macho Homo in the Buttermilks because he didn't like the way it finished. Or was it Marty Lewis rearranging the bolts on Environmental Terrorist in the Gorge and then putting his name in on the first ascent for his efforts?

Chopping bolts. Pretty silly when you think about it..


healyje


Sep 22, 2005, 2:39 PM
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Chopping bolts is never justified unless it is done by or with the approval of the first ascensionist.

I would have to disagree completely. Maybe it isn't so in this particular case, but there are routes that go up that should be chopped. Would it be best if the FA did it. Sure. But if they don't or won't, and the line is particularly agregious, then talk with the local community and if the consensus is for it to go, then I would say suck it up, take a little responsibility, and chop it. A very real threat, however, is collective/political paralysis where everyone disagrees with a route but no one is willing to take on the responsibility of chopping it. When that happens things can spiral out of control and then you'll have another Ken Nichols acting as a vigilante in a prelude to another bolt war.


lazyjammin


Sep 22, 2005, 2:47 PM
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Thats too bad about the bolt chopping. Its a fun climb and was still plenty run out even with the few retro bolts. In my opinion the new bolts let more people enjoy the climb, and since the guidebook for the area says which bolts to skip if one wished to do it in the original style even people unfamiliar with the area could do it as such.

Also this seems like a poor route to make a bolt stand on, there are plenty of other climbs which have been either greatly overbolted or retrobolted to a much greater degree. Although this is a classic runout climb, changing it from what was still, after the retrobolting a classic, to something more dangerous seems like a waste of everybodies resources as I imagine it will once again be bolted. The "The Run-out Climbing Association" should choose its routes better to ones that at least a majority could agree should be fixed.


asandh


Sep 22, 2005, 2:55 PM
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:)


healyje


Sep 22, 2005, 4:41 PM
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Nothing ticks me off more about FA's than when 2 guys runnout a new FA that's significantly below their grade level just so they can pretend their balls are big. That kind of action ruins a lot of perfectly good climbing real estate. Runnout an FA at your limit and I'll have a lot of respect for you whatever that limit is.

I'm not into sport climbing or bolted routes but if someone is going to go through the exercise, then I would have to agree that, on bolted routes, if you are running it out on easy stuff for your abilities you're posing.


buckhowdy


Sep 22, 2005, 5:45 PM
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I must admit I'm not skilled enough to lead this route. I'm not even sure if I can follow it. A very good climber has offered to lead me. I've only top roped 5.9 a couple of times, and followed a 3 pitch 5.9 once. Since this route has a five ***** star rating in the guide books, does that suggest that maybe a marginally competent follower should go for it?

Many folks have rated this climb five ***** star. Was it due to it's unique characteristics, or the fact that nothing in the vicinity even comes close? Did this highest rating come due to the FA? Essentially, is it a five ***** star climb because of the buttress or the FA?


moose_droppings


Sep 22, 2005, 7:46 PM
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Could you imagine if people climbed trees instead of rocks:

OK, I retro routed Old Leaning Pine route today. There was a bad stance at the chicken head knot so I chopped 2 branches there out of the way for more room. The dyno move to the rough knob above the 5th limb has been sanded, no more fingernails breaking on that one. Between the 9th and 10th branches was to much of a runout, a step has now been bolted in for everyones saftey. The rap station has also been retro'ed with 2, 3/4", bolts drilled all the way thru and doubled nuted with washers. We still need more funds to build a tower next to Leaning Pine to run a cable over to the top of it and pull it over and striaghten it up.
Have fun and safe climbing out there.


rocknroll


Sep 22, 2005, 8:04 PM
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Agreed. Ultimately the consensus of the climbing community should be the final arbitrator. But if the route really is that offensive, what does that say for the first ascentionist? Shouldn't embarrassment be enough to keep the drill tucked away and not create a bosch(botch) job in the first place. But if a route is in and is obviously being enjoyed by people, why chop it? Chopping bolts IS silly. This is supposed to be recreation, remember?

I think it is time to hear from Vern and Tom Higgins.

(By the way, these guys were the Tuolumne run-out masters at the time of the ascent.)

( And yes, it is an exceptional route on beautiful case hardened granite in an area that is notoriously pretty grainy rock)


healyje


Sep 22, 2005, 9:19 PM
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In reply to:
I think it is time to hear from Vern and Tom Higgins.

I would agree, maybe even talk them into to going out and revisiting it themselves to do it up whatever they would consider "right".


chateaurico


Sep 22, 2005, 9:42 PM
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Like Buckhowdy, this is my first post.

I visited Hairraiser Buttress on Sept 6, 2005, the last day of a four day road trip on awesome, new (for me) crags east of Mammoth. The first pitch was to be my lead, that being the "money" pitch. Background: I am an intermediate climber, and have led similar 5.9 slab, such as Dike Route and Crest Jewel, but I was having head problems having sustained a 25 foot trad fall a couple weeks previous. Nonetheless, the previous days sharpened me and I was (marginally) ready so I roped up, hopped onto the boulder from which you start and spotted that note. Buckhowdy had it about right. It said that bolts were removed to "restore routes to their original glory" or something like that. It said it was an X rated route now and to "have a nice rest of your day!". So I untied and my partner led and I followed. Here's my experience, as the 2nd (imagining I was leading). The 5.9 move is off the deck, and you clip the first bolt after you make it, about 10 feet up. It was actually not bad. Then you climb 5.7 and 5.8 slab for another 40 feet or so (guessing). You do the math: you are decking if you fall for most of the way to that next clip. The first clip seemed barely worth it. The climbing stays sustained and committing all the way to the first anchor, about 140 feet up, 3 bolts total. My partner said he felt no fear, but it was one of the only times I've seen him grab a draw prior to clipping! The next two pitches did not feel particularly runout to us, and there were more bolts and slightly easier climbing. The climbing, great, in a gorgeous setting. The bolt removal was puzzling: I found removed bolts elsewhere, but the one that was really needed to make the route reasonably safe was removed, bolt number 2. I have a thing about decking, having broken my leg and now into my 50's.
So, I kind of wish the Runout Climbing Association would have chosen different bolts to remove SO PEOPLE DON'T DIE BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS (just in case a member of the "Association" is reading...)


crazyscuba


Sep 22, 2005, 9:53 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I think it is time to hear from Vern and Tom Higgins.

I would agree, maybe even talk them into to going out and revisiting it themselves to do it up whatever they would consider "right".

vern has revisited it and has said he will not climb it in its current state. tom has, to my knowledge, not revisited it. he wrote a letter to climbing noting that he was very displeased. that is what sparked this in the first place

steve


healyje


Sep 23, 2005, 9:13 PM
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I meant they should go out and fix it to their liking and that should resolve the matter I should think...


lensign


Nov 22, 2005, 5:29 AM
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Ok, so 2 days ago my wife and I finished up work, drove like crazy, and got to Hair Raiser with barely just enough daylight left to climb, perhaps with a headlamp descent... only to find it chopped. Thanks, ROCA! We really appreciate your efforts to protect the quality of our climbing experience and the "pride" of the first ascent party's scare-fest. What makes you think it is your place to impose your "ethics" on the rest of us? Why couldn't you just skip the bolts you don't like as suggested in the guidebook and let the rest of us make up our own minds? Better yet, why not just solo everything so you can feel like you are even more superior to the rest of us?

You know, if you value boldness so much, how come you don't put your name on your "work" so we can all let you know how much we appreciate you?

Not wanting to die but seriously itching to climb after a 3 hour drive, I climbed a (protected) route immediately to the left of HRB, traversed over to the first pitch anchor, and toproped. While the climbing is not particularly hard, the route is indistinct, in places insecure and sustained, resulting in an extremely dangerous runout to the second bolt. You would definitely not survive the fall.

I think this concept of "ownership" of routes by the first ascent party has to be reconsidered. Do we never revise/improve a trail or road after it is built? Even the Bible has been revised, and I doubt seriously that it detracts from the underlying value of it's message. I don't disagree with trying to get permission of the first ascentionists, but how can someone get permission from the first ascentionists after they are dead? What, exactly is a "consensus of the climbing community" and how do you go about obtaining a consensus? What climbers consider consensus is typically the opinion of a few voiciferous/famous climbers who are usually a lot more sklled than the rest of us. How well does a consensus of the elite work for you? Is their opinion somehow more "right" because they climb hard or have put up some routes? How about changing the concept of a first ascent as a gift, not a posession?

I agree whole heartedly with the person who said poorly protected routes put up by elites climbing well below their abilities is a shameful waste of scarce high quality climbing real estate.

I climbed HRB last year and it certianly didn't seem over bolted then. Now I wouldn't touch the thing. I think the climbing community would be well served if Hair Raiser was simply converted to an R-rated route by adding sufficient protection between the first and second bolt such that you won't hit the ground if you fall. How about it?

Lars


healyje


Nov 22, 2005, 8:46 AM
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chateaurico and Lars,

Sounds like you did the right thing in turning over the lead to someone else. And even though your friend "grabbed a draw" he sounds like he made it up alright. Ditto, Lars, to your decision to do the route next to it and top rope the pitch. Just because you, me or anyone else might not want that particular sharp end doesn't mean we should be tossing one of the bedrocks of climbing out. Once you do that it becomes an even messier discussion of what is the right bolt spacing. One more bolt might do it for you, but someone else might want two or three. You open up a pandora's box of who "sets" the standard for bolt spacing and if ever there was a context where "lowest common denominator" ruling an argument you can bet this is one. This route is a bit of anomolly relative to the disagreement by the FA's over what is appropriate, this is unfortunate as the best solution would still be for them to go out and fix it to their liking. As it is, it's one route - I'd say climb something else until this finds a resolution.,


dingus


Nov 22, 2005, 9:10 AM
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I have a sincere question for you Lars... who owes you a protected ascent of Hair Raiser Buttress again?

I think the FA party has primary decision rights concerning their ascents. I think the community also has a say.

But this is western America and things never got done through committee out here. Justice in the west is one climber at a time, one route at a time.

Crying out to the gods about such injustice is 'so east coast.' We just ain't got the rock cops out here to ride in on the white horse and arrest the vigilantes. And WE LIKE IT THAT WAY.

I suggest to the folks who went out there and turned bitterly away...

if it means so much to YOU, then head on out there again with your hammer and drill, and fix the route to your satisfaction.

The chopper exercised her 'right' to chop. You can also exercise your 'right' to drill.

Vigilante justice, that's how we roll. If you involve the authorities, we all lose. Revel in our 'system' as its chaos is quite beautiful if you stand back and consider the whole picture.

Sucks though, to get shut down like that.

DMT


dingus


Nov 22, 2005, 9:11 AM
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I have a sincere question for you Lars... who owes you a protected ascent of Hair Raiser Buttress again?

I think the FA party has primary decision rights concerning their ascents. I think the community also has a say.

But this is western America and things never got done through committee out here. Justice in the west is one climber at a time, one route at a time.

Crying out to the gods about such injustice is 'so east coast.' We just ain't got the rock cops out here to ride in on the white horse and arrest the vigilantes. And WE LIKE IT THAT WAY.

I suggest to the folks who went out there and turned bitterly away...

if it means so much to YOU, then head on out there again with your hammer and drill, and fix the route to your satisfaction.

The chopper exercised her 'right' to chop. You can also exercise your 'right' to drill.

Vigilante justice, that's how we roll. If you involve the authorities, we all lose. Revel in our 'system' as its chaos is quite beautiful if you stand back and consider the whole picture.

Sucks though, to get shut down like that.

DMT

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