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About soulreaper

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  • Birthday 11/30/1999
  1. Buying hand drill... any advice?

    Though I generally agree with the above, here's some info leaving ethics of where and where not to place bolts aside for the moment: The Petzl Rocpec SDS holder ($70) is a good one. I like it so far and it generally gets pretty good reviews. However, you should look at dammerr.com before purchasing the Petzl or other drill holder. Daniel Merrick makes really high quality climbing hammers and also some nice looking SDS drill holders. I'm really happy with the hammer I bought from him (at $100, comparable in price to other climbing specific hammers available commercially). A climbing hammer may not be strictly necessary, but the rectangular, 'machinist' shaped hammer head, nice weight balance and quality handle really help when drilling by hand. Hilti bits have worked well for me so far ($10 apiece). Make sure the bit is appropriate for the rock type (some cheaper SDS bits won't drill well in harder rock). As far as bolts, 3/8" is the smallest diameter one should consider in any rock type. In soft rock, 1/2" could be mandatory, as could longer bolt lengths. Stainless steel should be the absolute standard these days; that would be one place not to skimp at all. Wedge stud anchors (the threaded ones with a nut) are the cheapest (starting around $2 apiece for 3/8"). You can buy them shorter, but 3" is about the shortest appropriate size (in granite!) because they're also somewhat weaker than other common choices. 'Five piece' bolts (the ones you see around with a hex head instead of a nut) are stronger and generally accepted to be a better choice but are also two or three times as costly (starting around $6 for 3/8"). Again: the shorter 3/8" sizes are appropriate for solid granite; softer rock types will require larger and longer bolts! Whatever bolts you buy, make sure they're purpose-made climbing anchors and absolutely not hardware store bolts. Hardware store concrete anchors often have little to no consistency in strength from bolt to bolt and are thus unsuitable. Also make sure that all components (bolt, nut, washer, hanger) are of the same grade of metal to avoid galvanic corrosion. A nice test tube brush and some type of compressed air, C02 or hand-pumped air blowing tool are key items. Tubing that you blow through to clean the holes out can work but the moisture from your breath really makes rock dust stick and can result in a bolt that doesn't tighten down properly, rendering it unusable. The holes have to be really, really clean, especially for the wedge stud bolt types. I would also highly recommend using a torque wrench, especially at first. Some may argue it's not necessary, but proper tightening torque is the only way to know that the bolt is functioning anywhere near its rated strength. Both wedge and five piece expansion bolts are 'torque actuated' and different sizes have very different necessary values. Both over- and under-tightening can render the bolt uselessly weak and/or broken. I would wager that the bolts we clip are generally over-tightened for lack of said torque wrench. A cheap wrench could be better than nothing and will run you $20-50. Just make sure the tightening torque for your chosen bolt is within the working range of the wrench (values usually given in lb/ft). ClimbTech is a good and reasonably priced website for bolts, hangers, brushes, bits, anchor hardware, etc. The Access Fund website has a great instructional guide for bolting and bolt replacement. It's in 'educate yourself--for advocates' on the menu. The American Safe Climbing Association also has good information. The Supertopo forums have a lot of good info about bolting from people who know their stuff, but it's sometimes necessary to wade through a ton of posts to find it. I'm aware that you clearly stated 'back country', but a battery powered rotohammer, where not prohibited, is a better tool than a hand drill: the holes will generally be cleaner (IE, more consistent in diameter throughout their depth); you can place bigger, longer and therefore stronger bolts; you won't get as much of a 'workout', but your elbows and wrists will thank you! Also, rotohammers are now available with smaller battery sizes than the usual 24v or 36v that are perfect for on-lead bolting and won't set you back $1000. However, there are places where the hand drill is understandably the better (or only) option and with practice, it can be a useful tool. To that end, I would recommend getting a large rock or piece of concrete and doing a few practice placements (including installing an actual bolt) to get the feel for drilling. It's really easy to make mistakes at first and it's better (crucial, in fact!) to make them in your front yard than up on the rock! Proper bolt replacement requires an even larger bevy of tools, the information on which can be found via similar online sources. This long response, by the way, is the result of my having gone through this same process in the last couple of years. Prepare for differing opinions. I'm sure some will dwell on the issue of bolting in general, but here's my two cents: bolts are a generally accepted part of climbing. It's crucial that anyone placing them educates himself or herself as well as possible and places good bolts. Using all the most widely accepted practices (from ASCA and Access Fund) for bolt placement and replacement will minimize the impact of the activity.
  2. Logging at Index Lower Town Wall

    The banal and sophomoric banter on this thread has obfuscated a simple but important consideration: as climbers to what extent is it acceptable to remove vegetation such as trees as a convenience to our user group? This isn't a black and white, yes or no issue; there is a difference between pruning back some branches that have grown towards the wall and topping a tree simply to facilitate climbing a new route. Similarly, there is a difference between removing a dead or dying snag that poses a threat to those below and removing all trees and bushes within a 30 foot radius at the base of a cliff simply so that one doesn't have to belay with vegetation brushing against him. An analogous issue is to be found on trails, where 'sufficient' maintenance means different things to different people and it's not uncommon to see a pair of loppers wielded willy-nilly against any and all vegetation that even considers infringing on the human right-of-way. A similar trend can be found in route development, especially where bolts are used. Index has seen a recent proliferation of development in some zones and the modern bolting aesthetic is sometimes out of proportion to necessity, much like the removal of vegetation. As we know, debating bolting aesthetics on the internet is often an exercise in futility. Many take a hardline, Manichean stance on bolting; either all bolts are bad or no route should be without enough bolts to be accessible to any suitor. As with all polarizing arguments, this too falls well short of an acceptable solution to the question of bolting. The reality of all forms of impact that climbers create, be it bolting crags, cutting trails or removing vegetation for reasons of convenience, is that modern climbers are taking a more and more utilitarian view of the places we climb. Rather than seeing the outdoors as an essential space for adventure and personal development, it becomes another quantifiable resource; ergo, climbing is more about having a well-controlled and curated experience that it is about casting off into the unknown with the goals of gaining personal knowledge and experience. Guidebooks curate the experience while heavy development of the climbing environment is a method of controlling for as many factors as possible to homogenize the experience. Some of the evidence for this mentality includes the typical scene at Index that finds many toproping climbs extensively before attempting a lead, even on climbs that protect as well as climbing possibly can. Rather than consider this tangential to the question of tree removal, to me it's integral to the question of aesthetic and ethics in climbing; if the esprit de corps of the climbing community condenses around the idea that climbing and therefore climbing areas should be as accessible and predictable as possible, then excesses in unnecessary bolting and tree removal are to be expected. Finally, there will never be a hard and fast rule for either practice, especially at Index. However, we need to closely consider the ramifications of our actions. How do bolt lines with ludicrous three foot spacing appear aesthetically? What about lifeless stumps, for instance above Thin Fingers where clipping the anchor used to mean standing among evergreen branches waving in the breeze? If we choose consistently to allow perceived risk to drive us to myopic overprotective tendencies, we enter a dangerous territory that defiles all that climbing has stood for previously.
  3. Rookie Stripes

    Great...now I'll never send my trail-walking project on Mt. Washington. Thanks a lot.
  4. Rookie Stripes

    I've always thought these kinds of posts were rooted in...satire. Spiderman: I don't climb Upper Town Wall routes because I would have to hike and couldn't easily bring two cases of beer and my boombox. But seriously, there are more marks than usual. I'm not opposed to the occasional little dot here or there but the bouldering runway stripes Sol mentions are gaining more traction, it seems. Think Huber brothers and duct tape gear placement indicators. Ground up, onsight only! None of this hangdogging!
  5. Rookie Stripes

    Some 'aspiring hardman' has been hard at work at Index lately. Several of the 'tougher' lines have lots of chalk on them and that's awesome: it's nice to see that all the harder climbs are getting mileage, but the tick marks that have appeared on every foothold, handhold or giant, obvious jug are whack. There's even 'foot dot' marks on Shirley, which is a stemming corner! WTF? Go ahead and dab it up with your rookie stripes if that's what it takes for you to send your proj, but will you at least take the time to brush them off afterwards? Otherwise I'm going to do it and then you won't know where to put your feet the next time you try to go for the redpoint, bro.
  6. I forgot to ask: what is the deal with the direct arete variation of pitch 4? Did you check that out at all? I just went up on Green Drag-on a couple days ago and my psych is building again for Upper Wall routes.
  7. Nice work! I've been rehabbing my finger this summer and have just been ruthlessly lapping the Lower Wall but the Upper Wall free climbs are always on my mind. I have vague memories of doing the first pitch of Technicians years ago. I remember it being really cool and pretty steep for Index. Also, it was extra clean because someone (Ben G.?) had just brushed it. BTW Mikey: that new Swim pitch of yours is quite entertaining. I think I was one thumb press move from a clean lead but it's definitely something worthy of going back for!
  8. Found: Gear at Index (8/2)

    Found a few items "off the deck" at the Lower Town Wall on Thursday. If someone can describe the items to me I would be more than happy to return them. -A
  9. It's an unpopular and all but forgotten style of climbing: smearing with your toes and trying not to tip backwards off the wall.
  10. Tried the (all free) route from ground to summit yesterday. Missed the upsight of the new pitch by one thumbpress. Great pitch; unfortunately I didn't have enough light for another run at it this time. I think keeping with the overall .11d rating will greatly increase the popularity of the climb... ...or something. Nice work Mikey. I'll have to go back for this one sometime soon.
  11. Swim - Upper Wall ???

    As a footnote, I just climbed this pitch in the rain on Monday (with some slipping on wet footholds). I'm starting to believe it's actually .11d.
  12. Possible 5.14 at Index?

    Index occupies a special vortex where 5.14 doesn't exist; I believe the grade you're referring to is: 5.12b/c.
  13. I'm really looking forward to comparing the .11d-ness of the first pitch (off the ground) with the .11d-ness of your new free pitch.
  14. Swim - Upper Wall ???

    The first pitch of Swim (from the ground) is easily as hard as that pitch and the other crux pitches on Rise and Fall...and just as good! But, IMHO, the pitch in your picture is believable at .12b...at Index...on a nice cool day...and whoops, I meant .12a/b!
  15. Swim - Upper Wall ???

    Definitely a reach issue on that one. Not that the climbing getting up to the crux isn't hard enough, but without the reachy part at the end it might be feasible at .11+ (AKA Little Si .12c). The issue is having to do an extra move or two on a blunt feature if you can't reach a juggy hold above from a decent stance. Oh wait. Actually there's a pretty thin move getting over that first little roof too, but I never fell there. Hmm... I would bet that Darryl, Greg et al were/are really, really good at that ultra technical edgy stuff. I still think overhanging 5.13 is easier than some of those hair-under-vertical Index sport routes of lesser grades. Much less mentally taxing, at least and often less physically taxing as well.