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Sinks Canyon Ethics- Drilling
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gnarled_hands


Jul 21, 2004, 4:51 PM
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Sinks Canyon Ethics- Drilling
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I was in Sinks Canyon in late May on a really great sport climbing trip. I was amazed like most people at Killer Cave and the routes it has on it.

One day, I saw a fixed rope on the right side of Killer Cave, to the left of Bloodline. I figured it was a project of some sort (someone was working it or placing bolts or something). However, I was appalled two days later to find this guy hanging on his rope drilling the hell out of a pocket! I just stood there and watched him....what could I say? It was my first trip to the area.

He looked down and stopped drilling until my friends caught up with me and we continued down the hill to the trailhead.

Am I wrong to be appalled at what he was doing? I should have screamed at him (and beat him senseless) but I didn't know what the ethics of the area are.

I have heard Wild Iris has some sort of 'filing' technique to smooth the razor pockets ...but drilling??? C'mon.

Any wise words of those who know the area would be nice...thanks.


photon


Jul 22, 2004, 6:52 AM
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The rock at sinks requires quite a lot of work before a good route is birthed from the choss. Here's an idea, since heis up there doing all the work, cleaning, comfortizing, prying off loose stuff and spending his money on bolts/drill ,maybe you shouldn't beat him senseless just yet, you could thank him for taking the time and money to put up routes for thankless idiots like yourself.


petsfed


Jul 22, 2004, 7:48 AM
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Sad to say, some of the best routes at Sinks are chipped. The reasoning is sound, you just have to get past the whole chipping issue. Picture, if you will, the most perfect 5.10 in the universe, sustained difficulty, intelligent rests, pumpy but not too pumpy, interesting and puzzling movement, with some straight up thuggery thrown in for good measure. Now picture that same 5.10 with a stopper 2 move V16 crux. Very simply put, if it weren't for chipping, Sinks wouldn't be a destination (not on par with the Wild Iris, but still good) because there'd be be less than 30 people in the country who could come for a week and enjoy themselves. Doesn't make it right, and nobody's forcing you to climb there, but bear in mind that very little chipping in that canyon occurred for small scale egotistical reasons. Most of it was large scale "I had a hand in developing a sport climbing destination" egotistical reasons.

As far as chipping in Wild Iris goes, some was comfortizing, some was chipping. I can't claim to know which. All I know is that the climbing there is excellent regardless. And I need to go back.


therealdeal


Jul 22, 2004, 7:53 AM
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blah,blah,blah,blah,blah,.......etc.

Sinks has maufactured holds...lots of them. Take it or leave it.

Personally, I'll take it.


colqueerio


Jul 22, 2004, 7:57 AM
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Also, picture if you can, not chipping holds in the godamn rock anymore. What a lame-ass justification.


therealdeal


Jul 22, 2004, 8:11 AM
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That is a lame justification...

on the other hand,

picture, if you will, 45% of the existing limestone 12's and 13's in America all being 5.14 or projects...

just a thought, although I am firmly against chipping.....as a first ascensionist....I can see the allure. I have at least 3 things bolted right now that I will never be able to do.

I'm ok with that, hopefully somebody someday will care enough to hike them...but my biggest worry is that someone else will chip them!


fredrogers


Jul 22, 2004, 8:42 AM
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Sinks is one of those "gray area" cliffs where some chipping could be justified. I'm not saying it should be, but it could be. There are some blank walls there that would never go free without a drilled hold. You're not robbing Sharma of a 5.15c by drilling the hole. BUT I still never understood why these folks would bother. The drilled climbs never climb as well as a natural route...and if they really are hungry for route development they could find another wall or head to Ten Sleep to put up routes.

The Lander area is home to NOLS and a lot of hardcore traditional types. I always figured they keep an eye on things and make sure nothing outlandish happens...I guess it would be best if everyone was honest with the drilling. On a case by case basis, you could probably deem at least some of the chipping OK, but instead it's done without much advertisement. The guides to the area never mention which routes are chipped or not, for example.

P.S. is it possible to link this thread to Sinks Canyon in the database?


tetonalpinist


May 10, 2005, 10:55 PM
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Go to both... It will be a blast!!! I lived in Lander for eight months and loved both areas. It may be worth your while to check out some really great granite climbs out in Jeffery City; the area is called Sweetwater Rocks. Please make your own judgments when it comes to drilling in Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon. A large majority of the climbs are not drilled or manufactured, however there may be some. For example the route the Urchin has glue holding on a a flake that could kill you since the holds you are pulling on are directly in your face. Having put up routes in the area limestone is a peculiar type of rock. Some of the holds (monos, two fingers) may looked drilled but are actually not drilled. If the route developer were to not smooth out the rough, razor like pockets found in limestone the area would no doubt be a choss pile. Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon are they way they are for a reason. They are products of limestone climbing. Routes found at both areas are amazing and wonderful outings. Ask me for some route recommendations. I love to talk about my experiences in Lander. If you choose to go have fun, enjoy yourself and you must get a Bob Burger from the Gannet Grill!!! Peace,
Kyle

P.S. Open comment: Please do not bash great route developers like: Todd Skinner, Paul Piana, and Gregg Collins and many, many others that contribute to our sport. Think of the time and money that is spent to develop a route for the good of the sport. It costs a lot of money to develop routes so give them some slack. Thanks...


sonso45


May 10, 2005, 11:11 PM
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I've climbed at Sinks and enjoyed it as much as I did Jack's Canyon in AZ. Both have been comfortized and are fun places to hang. Personally, I would like to avoid outright drilling of holds but, if that's what it takes to make a sensible enjoyable route, then go for it. I'll follow your lead.


golsen


May 12, 2005, 9:58 AM
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I first climbed in Sinks in about 1977 when I was 16. I was a 5.8 leader just starting out. Keep in mind that there was no “Sport” climbing nor “Trad” climbing, it was called Rock Climbing. I didn’t have anyone to climb with in Lander so I enlisted my brothers. I taught them the trusty hip belay and proceeded to do a few routes in Sinks. They were on the sandstone walls and followed major crack systems. I had no idea of the ratings, hell, I had no idea they even were climbable. I took my assorted rack of about 14 stoppers and hexes and a Titon thrown in for good measure and went climbing. We managed a few of those climbs all of them near 5.8 in difficulty and about 3 pitches in length. We never left any sign of our passing save a bit of chalk that got washed off. The rock was left in the same state as I found it so that future generations could have the same adventure that I did.

I have a few questions for you guys that think chipping is OK.
Are you able to determine what future generations are going to be able to climb?
Are you able to determine what new technologies and techniques may be available to future climbers?
Are you able to judge the boldness of future climbers?
Who the hell do you guys think you are if you think you know the answers to these questions?

To you guys that chip: Who the hell do you think you are to alter a natural resource so that you may get your jollys off? Is it your god given right to make the resource fit your needs? If it is OK to chip a route into being 5.10, 5.11, or 5.12, why the hell isn’t it OK to make a 5.14 into a 5.7? Who the hell decides?

I totally get the thing about cleaning loose rock from the choss. But drilling holds is unacceptable. Go to a freaking gym, don’t alter the rock to fit your needs. PS – I do appreciate the time and money spent in putting in routes, I myself have done routes in all manners of style and have spent some time and money putting in routes. But to those of you who chip, you are screwing future generations from the chance to rise to the challenge. I recently attempted a 5.12a in Eastern Oregon and damned if it didn’t go pretty easily. Well, some asshole had chipped a hold into the crux. At the time I climbed it, I thought it looked fishy and after talking to others I learned that it was chipped. Those assholes prevented me from experiencing the rock in a natural state. They took something away from me and all other climbers attempting that route.

As far as I am concerned those of you that chip regularly should be reported to land managers and if climbing is banned from those cliffs because of chipping then I say good, let it be. The rock on federal and state lands belongs to all of us (climbers and non-climbers). While I have climbed for almost 30 years and I hate to see great cliffs closed, I believe that preservation is more important than someone getting their rocks off by chipping. The chippers of the world are selfishly taking something away from future generations. Don’t try and justify it by the time or the money you spend on a route. Nobody is forcing you to do that and I doubt anyone asked you to do that. At some point the Rockclimbing community needs to police itself and determine what is acceptable.

30 years ago nobody would have been able to predict what difficulty people were climbing and I doubt that any of you can predict what is doable 30 years from now. Nor are we able to predict what “games” climbers will be playing in the future in order to challenge themselves. The key here is that the rock is a finite natural resource. Those that chip are altering that resource and making judgements that affect future generations. Don’t do it.


ben87


May 12, 2005, 10:54 AM
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Greg Collins was my climbing instructor at Red Rocks on a NOLS semester in the Spring of 2000. Great guy, great teacher and superb climber. I knew (as someone mentioned above) that he was one of the main developers up at Sinks.

He also told good stories about being a young teenager in the DC area who did nothing but climb, and found every bit of climbable rock in the whole region...cool little spots on the islands in the potomac around carderock that I've since gone trying to find.


kyote321


May 12, 2005, 11:02 AM
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In reply to:
The drilled climbs never climb as well as a natural route...and if they really are hungry for route development they could find another wall or head to Ten Sleep to put up routes.

The Lander area is home to NOLS and a lot of hardcore traditional types. I always figured they keep an eye on things and make sure nothing outlandish happens...

P.S. is it possible to link this thread to Sinks Canyon in the database?

you are making a huge assumption that comfortized routes don't climb as well as clean ones. done properly, and in lander it is because there is huge pool of people who know what they re doing, a route will climb much better when comfortized.

that a good look and untouched rock around lander. it is gnarly like most pocketed limestone. what is the difference in using a drill to comfortize as opposed to a file? what about the line of bolts you are climbing and their impact? the road you drove up on and the new road cut next to the popo agie?

you would be surprised how many NOLS instructors are involved with comfortizing.


kyote321


May 12, 2005, 11:13 AM
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In reply to:
P.S. Open comment: Please do not bash great route developers like: Todd Skinner, Paul Piana, and Gregg Collins and many, many others that contribute to our sport. Think of the time and money that is spent to develop a route for the good of the sport. It costs a lot of money to develop routes so give them some slack. Thanks...

exactly. until you have spent the time cleaning, figuring out clipping stances for bolts, drilling, and paying for it all, don't go dissin people. these limestone areas are as good as they are because the get worked. not comfortizing is looked down upon in lander, as it should be. i wish that were the case where i am from.

what we have is a situation were the rock is sharper than lander, and could climb as well in some bits, but it doesn't get cleaned properly andno one climbs it! so yes, i guess the non-comfortized people have won, we have cliff that could be great, has bolts in place, but the rock sucks a$$! congratulations. a pristine piece of crappy limestone preserved for future generations of lizards and rodents, who will e the only ones to climb it!


b-radh
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May 12, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Im willing to bet that most who stand on an ethical podium about comfortizing/enhancing sport routes DONT HAVE A FU#CKING CLUE WHAT ESTABLISHING A NEW ROUTE MEANS!!!! Im not justifying anything- Im agains chipping- its just you bitches are out of your fu#king element


cfnubbler


May 12, 2005, 11:59 AM
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In reply to:
Im willing to bet that most who stand on an ethical podium about comfortizing/enhancing sport routes DONT HAVE A FU#CKING CLUE WHAT ESTABLISHING A NEW ROUTE MEANS!!!!

Well you'd be wrong in my case...I lost count of the routes I've developed a long tim ago, and I'm still at it.

I admit there is a gray area between cleaning and chipping, but out and out drilled and manufactured holds are a travesty, and that's what the OP was talking about. I also know all about comfortizing holds, and that's another gray area. Certainly you could make a strong argument for it in Sinks. That stuff is definitely prickly and sharp. But full-on manufactured holds? That's bullsh#t.

In reply to:
picture, if you will, 45% of the existing limestone 12's and 13's in America all being 5.14 or projects...

And your point is?????


-Nubbler


kyote321


May 12, 2005, 12:34 PM
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[quote="cfnubbler"]
In reply to:

I admit there is a gray area between cleaning and chipping, but out and out drilled and manufactured holds are a travesty, and that's what the OP was talking about. I also know all about comfortizing holds, and that's another gray area. Certainly you could make a strong argument for it in Sinks. That stuff is definitely prickly and sharp. But full-on manufactured holds? That's bullsh#t.

back to the original question...

did the route-opener at sinks have the right use drill on the rock? why not use a drill to comfortize a hold? as far as out and out manufactured routes go, yes they do suck because the human mind will inevitability make a route like a gym, which isn't interesting. the odd hold here and there that is enlarged, or made smaller or non-existent (which is something that hasn't been touched on), why not use a drill?

In reply to:
picture, if you will, 45% of the existing limestone 12's and 13's in America all being 5.14 or projects...

And your point is?????

jack's canyon was over-drilled. no question. they couldn't climb 13c, so they chipped things to 12a-13a. that is a shame cuz a variety of routes would have been better, and people climbing 13c would go there.

but, areas need a variety of routes. heck, many climbers couldn't go to areas unless there are a variety of climbs for their easier-grade-climbing-partners.


-Nubbler


cfnubbler


May 12, 2005, 12:42 PM
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so they chipped things to 12a-13a.

In many cases they chipped things to 5.X and called them 5.X+1 or 2!

Jacks is a fairly fun little crag- I actually enjoyed the day I spent there. It was a nice change from fiddling TCUs at the Forks.

But it is without a doubt the softest, most grade-inflated crag I've ever climbed at. It makes the Black Corridor seem stout by comparison!

Sorry for the thread hijack. Back on point:

Cleaning of dangerous and obviously loose rock: Sure.
Comfortizing sharp holds: If you most, but try to avoid.
wholesale manufacturing holds: Never.

YMMV (but I hope not).

-Nubbler


johnhennings


May 12, 2005, 1:24 PM
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I believe that the route in question is Ring of Fire (.12c) I have done this route, and there is no evidence of any chipping whatsoever. In fact, the comfortising is very modest. This route was put in in the summer of 2004 by a Lander local who does not favor any kind of chipping. I do not know exactly what tools were used for preparing the route, perhaps the OP confused the use of a power drill for equiping purposes as hold manufacturing.
The route is a worthy contribution to Sinks, and the epitomy of the hardwork and dedication that so many route developers have brought to our sport.


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