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johnhemlock


Oct 4, 2005, 8:37 AM
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Equipping Rappel Stations on Wilderness Routes?
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Sensible idea or totally counter to the nature of adventure climbing?

On Sunday, I climbed the East Ridge of Wolf’s Head with another RC.Commie. It was my second climb of this route, which I enjoy immensely for the position and exposure as well as the awesome cracks. We had a great climb in wintry conditions, didn’t see anyone else, the crux cracks were thrillingly packed with snow, etc. After the climb we packed camp and hiked back to the car in the dark in a snow and rain storm - the essence of alpinism.

The descent requires several rappels - I believe we did 5 single rope rappels and one double rope rappel. All of the stations were the usual tangle of mil spec webbing pinched in between rock features, sunbaked and of varying vintage. The first rappel is a short diagonal, and the position of the top anchor lends itself to a stuck rope when you go to pull your cord. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the rappel slings at the final station weren’t actually attached to anything - a nasty surprise for anyone who puts blind faith in rap anchors.

This is a wilderness climb in a wilderness area, and I know the rules that govern fixed hardware in such areas. However, since it is a 50 classic climbs sort of route, and rightly popular, it occured to us that equipping the descent route with bolted anchors might make sense. Certainly easier on the eyes than rats nests of slings ever 150 feet, and much more secure. There are poot slings draped all over the south face of the ridge, testimony to various epics that have happened here.

I understand that adventure climbs quit being adventure when you manage all the risk out of them. I also understand that part of the “fun” is manky anchors and stuck ropes. But as someone who prefers to climb in a wilderness setting and also admires common sense, it seems okay with me to equip rappel stations on this particular route. Why are festoons of nylon okay but 2 camouflaged bolts are not?

I am not advocating we go a-bolting on wilderness classics. I don‘t care for fast-food alpinism and I understand bolting anywhere on a wilderness climb puts us on a slippery slope. Maybe people could care less. Thoughts?


mother_sheep


Oct 4, 2005, 9:01 AM
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Sensible idea or totally counter to the nature of adventure climbing?

On Sunday, I climbed the East Ridge of Wolfs Head with another RC.Commie. It was my second climb of this route, which I enjoy immensely for the position and exposure as well as the awesome cracks. We had a great climb in wintry conditions, didnt see anyone else, the crux cracks were thrillingly packed with snow, etc. After the climb we packed camp and hiked back to the car in the dark in a snow and rain storm - the essence of alpinism.

The descent requires several rappels - I believe we did 5 single rope rappels and one double rope rappel. All of the stations were the usual tangle of mil spec webbing pinched in between rock features, sunbaked and of varying vintage. The first rappel is a short diagonal, and the position of the top anchor lends itself to a stuck rope when you go to pull your cord. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the rappel slings at the final station werent actually attached to anything - a nasty surprise for anyone who puts blind faith in rap anchors.

This is a wilderness climb in a wilderness area, and I know the rules that govern fixed hardware in such areas. However, since it is a 50 classic climbs sort of route, and rightly popular, it occured to us that equipping the descent route with bolted anchors might make sense. Certainly easier on the eyes than rats nests of slings ever 150 feet, and much more secure. There are poot slings draped all over the south face of the ridge, testimony to various epics that have happened here.

I understand that adventure climbs quit being adventure when you manage all the risk out of them. I also understand that part of the fun is manky anchors and stuck ropes. But as someone who prefers to climb in a wilderness setting and also admires common sense, it seems okay with me to equip rappel stations on this particular route. Why are festoons of nylon okay but 2 camouflaged bolts are not?

I am not advocating we go a-bolting on wilderness classics. I dont care for fast-food alpinism and I understand bolting anywhere on a wilderness climb puts us on a slippery slope. Maybe people could care less. Thoughts?

Funny that you ask this. I posed a similar question in another forum. Here is the reply:

http://www.summitpost.org/...pl?f_id=5&t_id=32478

I'd be interested to see what type of feedback you get here.


dingus


Oct 4, 2005, 9:06 AM
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Sounds OK to me.

DMT


grayhghost


Oct 4, 2005, 10:12 AM
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I agree. Go for it.


alpnclmbr1


Oct 4, 2005, 10:36 AM
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You might get a clue after a couple of thousand ascents that they are not neccessary....


Dingus sure talks like a sport climber.

There arew lot's of reasons to minimize the use of fixed anchor's in the wilderness.

No, I am not going to explain the reasons. But I/we will be happy to chop any unnecessary bolts that you place.

I guess climbers on the internet are special.


takeme


Oct 4, 2005, 10:46 AM
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I've done Wolf's Head and I personally would not be in favor of adding bolted anchors. Another thing to consider is that there are so many ways to get lost on that descent that wads of slings will continue to appear everywhere--perhaps even more so given how difficult it can be to spot camoflauged bolts.

I understand where you're coming from though, I have the same issue when it comes to climbing on the Diamond on Long's Peak. Currently there is one rappel route that utilizes bolts; however, every even somewhat popular route from the Obelisk over to Casual Rt. is generally festooned with slings throughout most of it's length. Yet, even though it would be less of an eyesore simply to replace all these wads of slings with new, camo'd bolts, it still seems wrong to me! It's hard to articulate exactly why.


p.s. this descent (off Wolf's Tooth) does not "require several rappels", it is actually fairly reasonable to downclimb the whole thing at about 5.0


agrauch


Oct 4, 2005, 10:48 AM
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But I/we will be happy to chop any unnecessary bolts that you place.

While you're chopping the bolts, will you remove and replace the 20 pounds of old tat that decorate Wolf Head's descent route?


healyje


Oct 4, 2005, 10:52 AM
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I am not advocating we go a-bolting on wilderness classics. I dont care for fast-food alpinism and I understand bolting anywhere on a wilderness climb puts us on a slippery slope. Maybe people could care less. Thoughts?

Unfortunately this does amount to "a-bolting on wilderness classics" and "bolting anywhere on a wilderness climb puts us on a slippery slope" is correct. First it will just be the descents, then more Ignorant Bliss' will start appearing - you can count on it once we start.


grayhghost


Oct 4, 2005, 11:01 AM
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Another slippery slope is the dogma that bolts are the root of all evil. Climber impact is measured more in visual impact than a tiny hole in the rock.
Do you think hikers in Yosemite spot the bolt anchors of a climb or the white "trails" of lichen-less rock on each side of a popular crack? What about the rainbow of nasty webbing wrapped around a tree?
Think impact, not dogma.


sspssp


Oct 4, 2005, 11:03 AM
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There are lots of places where bolted raps might make sense. But whether or not most climbers agree, it only takes one person who thinks otherwise to chop them. Any place where the bolts are going to be contraversial, its going to be a waste of time and effort.


johnhemlock


Oct 4, 2005, 11:08 AM
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You might get a clue after a couple of thousand ascents that they are not neccessary....

There arew lot's of reasons to minimize the use of fixed anchor's in the wilderness.

No, I am not going to explain the reasons. But I/we will be happy to chop any unnecessary bolts that you place.

I guess climbers on the internet are special.

I never suggested bolts are necessary for the rappels, nor do I think that the rappel is particularly sketchy compared to many others I've seen or used. I'm just curious as to what makes piles of webbing okay but carefully placed bolts verboten.

I am not necessarily advocating for bolts - as I said, they might make sense. I was just hoping for some intelligent debate. But posts like yours are okay, too.


johnhemlock


Oct 4, 2005, 11:17 AM
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I've done Wolf's Head and I personally would not be in favor of adding bolted anchors. Another thing to consider is that there are so many ways to get lost on that descent that wads of slings will continue to appear everywhere--perhaps even more so given how difficult it can be to spot camoflauged bolts.

This is a good point. There was tat all over that mountain if you actually took a few minutes to look carefully - including a length of fixed rope hanging from high on the ridge that someone apparently abandoned. That was undoubtedly a good barstool story.

My indoctrination in the ethos of "leave no trace" is as strong as anybody. I have drank the Kool Aid that regards bolting as a degradation. But I don't think it hurts to occasionally reexamine the stone tablets handed to us by the Gods.


murf


Oct 4, 2005, 11:21 AM
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The descent requires several rappels - I believe we did 5 single rope rappels and one double rope rappel.

Didn't do any doubles rope raps on this route.

In reply to:
All of the stations were the usual tangle of mil spec webbing pinched in between rock features, sunbaked and of varying vintage. The first rappel is a short diagonal, and the position of the top anchor lends itself to a stuck rope when you go to pull your cord.

I thought the stations were fairly well equiped.

In reply to:
Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the rappel slings at the final station werent actually attached to anything - a nasty surprise for anyone who puts blind faith in rap anchors.

There's usually a nasty surprise somewhere for folks who put blind faith in things. Rap surprises just tend to be nastier than most.

In reply to:
This is a wilderness climb in a wilderness area, and I know the rules that govern fixed hardware in such areas. However, since it is a 50 classic climbs sort of route, and rightly popular, it occured to us that equipping the descent route with bolted anchors might make sense.

If you read the Kelsey guide, he speaks to self reliance. Getting yourself off the most well travelled route in the region is a good first step.

In reply to:
There are poot slings draped all over the south face of the ridge, testimony to various epics that have happened here.
What these epics have to do with the rap line escapes me.
In reply to:
I understand that adventure climbs quit being adventure when you manage all the risk out of them. I also understand that part of the fun is manky anchors and stuck ropes.
I missed the manky anchors and the stuck ropes. If you like, next time take a knife and clean up the worst of the tat.
In reply to:
I am not advocating we go a-bolting on wilderness classics.
You aren't? I must have missed the whole point then.
In reply to:
I dont care for fast-food alpinism and I understand bolting anywhere on a wilderness climb puts us on a slippery slope.
You seem to already know the right answer, so what's the point of the post?

Murf


healyje


Oct 4, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Another slippery slope is the dogma that bolts are the root of all evil. Climber impact is measured more in visual impact than a tiny hole in the rock.
Do you think hikers in Yosemite spot the bolt anchors of a climb or the white "trails" of lichen-less rock on each side of a popular crack? What about the rainbow of nasty webbing wrapped around a tree?
Think impact, not dogma.

There's nothing slippery slope about it - bolts are evil. Judicious use of bolts is one thing - unfortunately humans suck at the judicious use of anything, particularly bolts. Do you think hikers spot the draws and polka dots on the walls at the New, the Red, and other Eastern sandstone crags? We're talking wilderness here, though, and it isn't about what people see, it's about whether we give ourselves license "comfortize" that wilderness. Once you start, it is indeed a slippery slope no different than running fixed lines up every 7000+m peak in the world, selling tickets, and turning them into garbage dumps.


dingus


Oct 4, 2005, 11:25 AM
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I'm just curious as to what makes piles of webbing okay but carefully placed bolts verboten.

Unthinking gospel, pretty much the extent of it.

DMT


takeme


Oct 4, 2005, 11:25 AM
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Another slippery slope is the dogma that bolts are the root of all evil. Climber impact is measured more in visual impact than a tiny hole in the rock.
Do you think hikers in Yosemite spot the bolt anchors of a climb or the white "trails" of lichen-less rock on each side of a popular crack? What about the rainbow of nasty webbing wrapped around a tree?
Think impact, not dogma.

Tough call, if we're trying to keep wilderness values in mind. No question, bolts are less of an eyesore--from that standpoint, more in keeping with the wilderness setting.

On the other hand, bolts, in my opinion, tend to 'civilize' wilderness climbs--effectively, to an extent (I'm not trying to say the sky is falling!) taming them. I imagine Wolf's Head would see a significant increase in traffic if it was widely known that the standard descent had been bolt-sanitized.

I wonder if this is all a moot point though, as I've heard that there is a newish, bolted rappel route on the opposite side of the mountain! Does anyone know more about that?

I do think that given the complicated nature of the standard descent, nests of slings would continue to appear, even if the most commonly used rappel stations were bolted.


dingus


Oct 4, 2005, 11:30 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Another slippery slope is the dogma that bolts are the root of all evil. Climber impact is measured more in visual impact than a tiny hole in the rock.
Do you think hikers in Yosemite spot the bolt anchors of a climb or the white "trails" of lichen-less rock on each side of a popular crack? What about the rainbow of nasty webbing wrapped around a tree?
Think impact, not dogma.

There's nothing slippery slope about it - bolts are evil. Judicious use of bolts is one thing - unfortunately humans suck at the judicious use of anything, particularly bolts. Do you think hikers spot the draws and polka dots on the walls at the New, the Red, and other Eastern sandstone crags? We're talking wilderness here, though, and it isn't about what people see, it's about whether we give ourselves license "comfortize" that wilderness. Once you start, it is indeed a slippery slope no different than running fixed lines up every 7000+m peak in the world, selling tickets, and turning them into garbage dumps.

Well then I guess you can hang it all on the broad shoulders of David Brower.

If its good enough for the high priest of the Sierra Club, its good enough for me.

DMT


dingus


Oct 4, 2005, 11:34 AM
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In reply to:
This is a wilderness climb in a wilderness area, and I know the rules that govern fixed hardware in such areas. However, since it is a 50 classic climbs sort of route, and rightly popular, it occured to us that equipping the descent route with bolted anchors might make sense.

If you read the Kelsey guide, he speaks to self reliance. Getting yourself off the most well travelled route in the region is a good first step.

Yeah John Hemlock, damn you for climbing a popular route. Whathefuck is wrong with you man? If you followed Murf's guidelines you would never have climbed it to begin with. Which of course begs the following question... why'd you climb it Murf?

Cheers
DMT

ps. While I do agree with some of your points Murf, telling the dude he is off route for doing the most popular route in the range is sorta like blaming him for the sins of Steck and Roper. Not fair.


oldrnotboldr


Oct 4, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Why not remove the old and rotted stuff in lieu of placing bolts?


grayhghost


Oct 4, 2005, 11:52 AM
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turning them into garbage dumps

They are garbage dumps NOW!

In reply to:
We're talking wilderness here, though, and it isn't about what people see,

That is exactly what we are talking about. I see about 10 times the amount of hikers in the Cirqye as I do climbers.
It's this kind of myopic, climbing-is-the-only-thing-worth-doing attitude that gets us (as a climbing community) into trouble.
We worry about a quarter-inch hole in a 2000 foot face while the world passes us by.


iceisnice


Oct 4, 2005, 11:55 AM
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NO BOLTS!! Its alpine. Lets stop making it easier for ourselves. I also think a lot of that webbing needs to come down. I'm tired of seeing rap stations where downclimbing was feasible. (i'm sure you were expecting that response from me Kirk, hehe). Who said it?.......Bolting is the murder of the impossible. i think we need to stop being a bunch of pansies.


saxonyclimber


Oct 4, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Put the bolts in, they will not get chopped. People like healyje and alpine climber will complain, but probably use them. They will not cause any more of an access problem than rotted nests of sling, trash, trail damage, overuse of Lizard Head Meadows, Big Sandy or the beyond allowable concentrations of human fecal material in Lonesome Lake. Would adding a few rap stations that would never be noticed by anyone but climbers, really cause much of a problem.


murf


Oct 4, 2005, 12:29 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In reply to:
This is a wilderness climb in a wilderness area, and I know the rules that govern fixed hardware in such areas. However, since it is a 50 classic climbs sort of route, and rightly popular, it occured to us that equipping the descent route with bolted anchors might make sense.

If you read the Kelsey guide, he speaks to self reliance. Getting yourself off the most well travelled route in the region is a good first step.

Yeah John Hemlock, damn you for climbing a popular route. f--- is wrong with you man? If you followed Murf's guidelines you would never have climbed it to begin with. Which of course begs the following question... why'd you climb it Murf?

DMT -

Perhaps I wasn't clear, and I don't know that I listed any guidelines. When I say get off I mean descend ( at least in this instance ).

I think Wolf's Head is a excellent route ( and you thought I didn't have a sense of "whimsy" ). My impression is that the gets more traffic than any other in that vicinity, with the exception of SF of Pingora. It is technically easy, and well travelled. The Winds seem to be one of the last "popular" areas that have a dearth of information and a true sense of adventure. What does a series of bolted anchors bring to the table? Is there a problem waiting to be solved?

If you can't get yourself on and off WH w/o a bolted rap line, your climbing possibilities in the range are going to be very limited.

Murf


crotch


Oct 4, 2005, 12:41 PM
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Sounds OK to me.

Would you stand for them on Cathedral Peak?


iceisnice


Oct 4, 2005, 12:42 PM
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can we really play the "you can bolt this climb cuz its popular....but not this other climb cuz it doesn't see a lot of traffic"? once it starts, it doesn't stop. each step towards a "compromise" is actually a loss. its like wilderness areas......a certain area is to be a wilderness....someone says they want to log some of it.......a "compromise" is made and some is set for wilderness and some for logging.......that was no compromise, some of the wilderness was lost.....period. same goes with bolting. each time it is done we loss a little of ourselves and our potential. we bring the mountains down lower and lower each time. people say that we can climb better, harder routes because of the bolt........exactly......BECAUSE of the bolts. NOT because of US rising to the challenge. I'll hold firm.......alpine+bolts=pansies. (yeah, yeah. go ahead and make the hippy comment "Why don't we all just do what we want and have fun". Fuck that.....lets start risng to the challenge.)

i'm sure someone is thinking..."oh brother, not the bolting issue again". yes, the bolting issue again. we need to discuss this issue. as many times as it takes so that we don't become complacent. changes are only made by active participation. so i say, argue away. its kinda fun anyway.

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