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Why A4 or A5 with drilling?
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nctxcllimer


Jan 6, 2002, 7:01 AM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling?
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If you are going to drill anyway, why not put in a good bolt or two on that pitch? I believe the safety of it will make the climb faster. Is it just the fear of death that makes A4 and A5 worth while or is there some other usefulness to it?


wigglestick


Jan 6, 2002, 1:54 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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Dr. Piton made this point very eloquently before but I will try to paraphrase:

I don't think anybody will argue with the fact that we all climb because it is hard. What we are all talking about on this website is doing things because it is hard and if it were not difficult there would be no other value in the pursuit of this silly sport. So when you ask why somebody will risk their life to climb an A5 pitch I will tell you this: They do it because it is hard. They do it because every joe schmoe couch potato cannot do it and therefore it is worth the effort and the risk. By simply bolting that A5 pitch so people can take there grandma up it kind of defeats the purpose.

Why would anybody want to climb 5.15 when we can just bolt a ladder to the side of the cliff and anybody can get to the top? We want to climb 5.15 because it is hard and it makes us feel good when we do things that we didn't know we could do and few other people can do.


nctxcllimer


Jan 6, 2002, 9:49 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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I understand what you guys are saying about their contoling fear. You could always not clip that bolt if it is personally fun. I don't understand about makeing it harder. Putting 1 good bolt on a pitch that is going to have 30 drilled holes in it anyway doesn't seam to me to make it easier. I just thought the original reason to aid climb was to simply get to the top of something that could you could not free climbed. If you practiced just putting up A3 pitchs, wouldn't you be able to put up new routes faster and then you would be able to put up routes fast and safer in alpine and Himalayan settings? I have not done either so I would like to know.


compclimber


Jan 6, 2002, 11:07 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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I'm not a huge aid climber but I have dabbled in it a bit. The thing about it is style. It's all about doing it in one of the best styles possible. If you can't free climb it, then why not aid it with as few pieces of fixed gear you absolutley can go without? It's like putting a bolt next to a natural pro placement trad climbing, you could do it buy why?

It's an adventure, you like leading runout 5.9's these guys like hooking with no gear below them....it's all just what the person wants to do.


wigglestick


Jan 7, 2002, 7:17 AM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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In terms of style, if you read about some first ascents of aid climbs they typically include how many holes were drilled on the route. For example, Joe Smith and Jane Doe put up a new route on Nameless tower which is rated VII 5.11 A4 with a hole count of 17. This hole count includes bolts, rivets, and other enhanced placements. Most first ascentionists try to minimize how many holes they drill as a matter of style so they don't have to come home and report that they beat the route into submission and it is now a VII 5.5 A1 route with a whole count of 264.
There is very little glory in that.

And please don't use the arguement that people can always just choose to not use the bolts. I hate that. It just doesn't make sense. Should every route be beat into submission so that grandma can do it. I think an escalator should be built to the top of Everest. If you disagree you can always choose not to use it. Just walk along side but don't you dare grab that moving handrail when the altitude sickness sets in. But don't worry grandma will be there with an oxygen tank and a cup of hot cocoa to tuck you in at night.


atg200


Jan 7, 2002, 11:35 AM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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A5 has no drilled holes at all, so shaky bodyweight rivets or trenched heads still lower the grade to A4.

I don't really understand the point of artificial difficulty either. Trenching heads is dumb-the placements blow out and a rivet gets added sooner or later. Drilling bathook holes in blank rock is dumb-they are really hard for repeat parties to see, and end up with rivets on later ascents. There is no difficulty difference between climbing a bolt ladder of good bolts or crappy rivets-it is just scarier and gets worse and worse for each subsequent party.

The main reason why totally bomber bolts aren't used on walls(a totally different issue than trenching heads or artificially difficult placements) is that they take a long time to drill in Yosemite granite with a hand drill. The horror show bolts(i.e. Tangerine Trip) are gradually being replaced by the ASCA-buy those guys a beer if you see them.


passthepitonspete


Jan 9, 2002, 5:37 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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Dr. Piton, like Hanschlorine, Ooze and Uncle Stu, is suffering from an identity crisis of late, and prefers to be known as Dr. Pee'd On, at least until such time as the Powers That Be reinstate his forum.

In the meantime, Dr. P has been caving in Kentucky, which included discovering, exploring and surveying another fourteen hundred feet of passage to establish a New World's Record. [Of course, since we are working in the world's longest cave, every survey station we shoot is by definitiion a new world's record......]

At any rate, virgin cave passage, like other places which share similarity in name to the Swiss mountain Jungfrau, permit the intrepid few to go where no man has gone before.

As for going away caving, evidently the answering of questions has been left in competent hands, the hands of those whom Dr. Pee'd On says "get it."

Climbing is an esoteric avocation whereby difficulty is pursued for its own sake. If you are going to be a Conquistador of the Useless, then why cheat in order to make things easier?

Andrew is perfectly correct when he says that any form of drilling or enhancement lowers the rating of a climb.

There was once a school of thought that considered it sporting to drill bathook holes instead of adding a rivet. I have heard it said that KAOS on El Cap is artificially made harder by drilling bat hook holes rather than placing rivets. This is silly. If you're going to drill, you really should place a rivet. You can go here to read a lot of silly stuff about aid ratings.

This use of bathook holes was carried to the ridiculous in the ascent of a route called Highway to Hell, a wall squeezed in between Iron Hawk and Native Son on the Southeast Face of El Cap.

I actually saw those guys, G. Berecz and T. Tivadar, when I was up on The Reticent Wall, and wondered what the heck they were doing climbing straight up from the Knifeblade Traverse on Iron Hawk!

When I was later fixing ropes down to ground on Native Son, I could see their "handiwork" in their drilled line of bathook holes.

Now, riddle me this:

Is their bathook ladder A5, or is it A0?

In my not-too-humble opinion, this depends on how many duct-taped talon hooks and Screamers you choose to leave behind!

Silly, silly, silly.

It is gratifying, however to see that old dogs like Steve Gerberding can still learn new tricks. Big Wall aficionados will note that Steve made the first ascent of both Kaos and The Reticent Wall. Reticent Wall was climbed in impeccable style, with no silliness.

One time I was speaking with Steve, and asked him why he drilled the single rivet in the New Wave A4 Death Pitch above Wino Towers on Reticent Wall.

"Steve, if you had left that rivet out, the pitch would have been New Wave A5, surely!"

"Yeah, Pete, but the feature I would have had to have nailed instead would have fallen off after a few ascents, anyway, so I just put in the rivet knowing it would be needed eventually. And don't call me 'Shirley.' "

At any rate, my only criticism of the posts above are that Matt and T.J. have confused "style" and "ethics", and that Andrew has confused "grade" with "rating."

But you guys knew that anyway, and didn't need me to crawl out of a cave to point it out, eh?

Cheers,

Dr. Pee'd On


Partner pianomahnn


Jan 9, 2002, 6:32 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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Pete, the Mammoth Cave system, I assume?


wigglestick


Jan 10, 2002, 2:37 PM
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Quote:
At any rate, my only criticism of the posts above are that Matt and T.J. have confused "style" and "ethics", and that Andrew has confused "grade" with "rating."


I have to admit you made me think quite hard with this one. I am not sure what you mean. Maybe I just don't "get it".

Would you agree that when the first acsentionist is deciding whether to place a bolt, it is a matter of style. And when subsequent parties deviate from the style of the first ascentionist it is a question of ethics.


passthepitonspete


Jan 10, 2002, 10:55 PM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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Chris:

Yes, Mammoth Cave, which consists of Flint-Mammoth-Joppa-Roppel and within a few hundred feet - geologically the same cave but not yet physically connected - Fisher Ridge Cave System. You can find the links on my profile. I'm working in the Roppel Cave section.

Matt:

My last post was intended to make you think a bit. Please read the post regarding ethics vs. style which I have linked above.

By "style", I mean how you climb.

By "ethics", I mean how you affect the rock.

Drilling, bolting, chiselling and even nailing are all ethical concerns because they directly harm and alter the rock, a precious non-renewable resource.

Since every ascent of an aid climb which requires nailing will affect the rock, there will come a time some day when there will be no more A5's on the planet because every single one has been hammered down to A4 or less due to repeated ascents. This is the evolution of an aid climb, which Chris Mac talks about so well in his superb Yosemite Big Walls: SuperTopos guidebook.

Matters of "style" are very important in free climbing, but I can't really think of where style fits in with aid climbing! I'm not sure it does.

And in case Andrew is wondering, when I refer to the "rating" of a climb, I would refer to its free climbing rating [for example 5.9] and its aid climbing rating [for].

The "grade" of a climb is expressed first in Roman Numerals whereby Grade IV would be a long day, Grade V would be a very long day or likely two days, Grade VI would be many days, and Grade VII I don't even want to think about cuz it's probably too damn cold!

Brrrrrrrr.....



I am Dr. Pee'd On,

and I believe, "any FOOL can be uncomfortable!"


atg200


Jan 11, 2002, 8:26 AM
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Why A4 or A5 with drilling? [In reply to]
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Yeah Pete, you are right. An important distinction.


apollodorus


Feb 18, 2002, 9:05 PM
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The reason you don't drill rivets and bolts on A4 and A5 is the same reason you don't drill bolts on established routes: out of respect for the rock and the first ascent parties' integrity of artistic creation.

NOT!

IT'S TO KEEP THE KOOKS OFF THE WALL!

A4/5 with no holes is nature's own Gumby Filter. The same thing happens in Sport Climbing.

How many people are going to go climb Goldfinger in Tuoloumne the way it is now (very hard and runout)? Maybe 10 parties a season, at MOST. If you put one bolt every twenty feet? A thousand Gumbies would line up. Every ten feet? Ten thousand Gumbies, with their pony pal Pokies, too. Every five feet? Nobody would show up. It would be just another wasted A1 line.

Climbing isn't the only sport to utilize Nature's Gumby Filter Process (NGFP). Big wave surfing on the North shore of Oahu, for example, is notorious for locals enforcing the YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH TO SURF HERE, GUMBY code of honor.

Even the ostensibly family-oriented ski resorts have patrol staff, signs and fenced off areas that politely, but firmly assert, "NO GUMBIES ALLOWED!"

Even the GOLFERS have a Qualifying School to keep the less-than competent off their turf ("NO GUMBIES ALLOWED ON PGA TV...")

Is this discriminatory? Sure. Is it prejudicial? Not really. Is it fair? Probably not. Is it the other climbers' fault that Gumby is discriminated against unfairly, and isn't allowed to know what it's like to have a refrigerator-sized block groan under the load of an alien after pasting 20 heads? No.

All men in life are Gumby in some aspect or another. The key is to find that aspect where you're NOT Gumby, and then enforce your best aspect against the intrusion of Gumbies who want to spoil it.

This is, surely, the One and True Path to Happiness.


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