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Everything posted by soulreaper

  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

    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.
  4. Rookie Stripes

    Great...now I'll never send my trail-walking project on Mt. Washington. Thanks a lot.
  5. 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!
  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.
  16. Little Si Fixed Draws

    A couple of important points have been made on this thread. One that stands out to me is that access and land use 'rights' are quite subjective. The tolerance of land management entities for bolts, fixed quickdraws, even climbing itself changes over time. Even if these threads are nauseatingly repetitious at times (to wit, I'm reiterating what Kimmo said earlier), they still represent a form of interaction between different 'camps' of climbers and enthusiasts and as such hold some value. We must remember that we absolutely have bearing on access issues, even via the sometimes inane chatter on internet forums. The Raindawgs and the 'anti-Raindawgs' offer little insight with their vitriol. Bandying epithets cliched through dogged repetition, these characters quickly devolve any interaction into a game of throwing feces. My own participation in these games in the past has always had the expected result of being covered in mud. When the same thing is repeated ad nauseum with little variation, especially when the one repeating considers it 'universally applicable', it suggests a refusal to assimilate new information and as such precludes any meaningful discussion. As has been stated, there are valid points to both sides of this argument. Although inevitable, the perennial churlishness does nothing to elucidate any of these points. More care in crafting a compelling argument, as well as prudence in what one posts publicly on the internet to begin with, might both go far in improving the politics of a forum like this. If Supertopo is any indication, however, the challenge is formidable.
  17. memorize this face!!!

    Those parables speak volumes and are well placed here.
  18. smith theif

    Frankazoid: I would argue that it's far more naive to think that violence is somehow indicated in a situation like this. The naivete you allege in me is simply faith that humans can actually communicate with one another if effective methods are used. If the man taking the draws observes that his accusers can be reasonable even while confronting him, there is a chance that it might illuminate his own actions and give him a fresh perspective. If they had attacked, it would have illuminated nothing for him that wasn't expected. The unexpected (reasonable) response of the accusers was far more valuable for provoking thought. Your assertion that his only possible response will be to become a better thief because he escaped bodily harm is based on a common oversimplification of human morality. An eye for an eye? A beating for some quickdraws?
  19. smith theif

    Agreed. A teachable moment like this would only be irreparably damaged if the situation devolved into violence. It's far more effective to speak to some one clearly and calmly, much like one would address a child (and the thief's conduct surely legitimized this approach). Bravo. -A
  20. Trip: Index Town Walls: Upper Town Wall - Rise and Fall Date: 8/29/2010 Trip Report: On the heels of other recent activity, I finally climbed this rediscovered gem of a route with my ladyfriend, Jeanna. We had a great time up there and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys that type of (tricky) face climbing. A full report can be found here at my blog . Cheers! -A
  21. I wasn't trying to point the finger Mikey: there's been some other folks on it recently as well and there's actually a surprising amount of chalk on the holds right now! Although probably not after this weekend...looks like you timed your escape perfectly! Hope Cali treats you well. And Kimmo: Coincidentally, I DID opt for the steeps this afternoon and fired the linkup! Disco Baby? Fight Club Baby Boarder? Board Fight Baby Club? Baby on Club Board Fight? Hmmm...I kind of like Disco Baby.
  22. Trip: Colchuck Balanced Rock - The Tempest Wall (III 5.12d): team free ascent Date: 8/15/2010 Trip Report: Ben Gilkison and I made a team free ascent of this route this past Sunday. Rock/Paper/Scissors determined who got the roof pitch and it was Ben! We swapped leads the whole way and neither of us fell all day. My full report w/pictures can be found here at my blog. Unfortunately, my carefully crafted post failed the .html error check so it's a bit wonky looking (thanks Blogspot and my lack of .html coding knowledge!), but it's still readable and I hope it's enjoyable nonetheless. I should add that the YDS grade is an estimate based on my somewhat limited 20-foot-roof-crack-free-climbing experience (including Separate Reality in Yosemite and More Monkey Than Funky in Joshua Tree, which are both shorter and much easier than this one), so take it with a grain of salt if you're a seasoned veteran of this style of climbing. Gear Notes: We found the following rack to be adequate: -Single set of nuts to #9 Black Diamond -Cams with double .3, .4, and .5 BD equivalent, single .75 C4, double #1, triple #2 and a single #3 C4. -12 quickdraws, with at least 4 slings (ideally 6, including a couple 1.5 or double length). One could perhaps double up in a few of the medium stopper sizes and/or the green camalot range, and possible bring triples in the finger sizes for the long 5.11 pitch, but many gear options exist. You could leave behind the third #2 C4 but I think it's handy for the roof pitch. Approach Notes: Approach as for Colchuck Lake, then around the north side of the lake to Aasgard pass. Hopefully find a decent path through the slide alder to a gully. There seem to be a couple of good options for this, both of which exit the Aasgard trail somewhat early on and have cairns. Climb the gully through steep scree and some talus. The best way seems to be to move right before a section of bushes, hugging a cliff until a path can be found left across a creek, coming out above the bushes. Several short, exposed third class scrambles are present higher up. The final approach to the climb is through talus. It begins below the obvious roof on the second pitch with somewhat circuitous climbing on the first. Someone else might have better beta for the gully, so chime on in.
  23. Amandla

    As temperature and relative humidity increase, performance on Amandla decreases. The comparison of the two routes is one of apples and pygmy marmocettes; regardless, my experience with the routes is certainly the opposite to Hawk's. The Amandla requires technical wizardry while Chronic requires requisite power endurance. Each route was certainly a challenge for me. Hawk sometimes has strange adhesive powers over small granite footholds.
  24. Adding a bolt at Midnight Rock

    Just don't break a handhold on the run-out like I did the last time I led it. That situation made me briefly consider additional fixed gear on that part of the route but I came back to-as you said-the fact that climbs needn't all be well-protected. If they were we would lose the smidgen of real adventure that we get from cragging as it is.
  25. Adding a bolt at Midnight Rock

    I think you're right that (occasionally) the inviolability of the F.A. style must be reconsidered; however, this is probably not one of those cases: on SPM there is a good piece of gear protecting the climbing to the first bolt. I remember the climbing being exciting but reasonable. I think most (but not all) first ascentionists are open to suggestions concerning routes they did twenty odd years ago, especially if some condition has changed. This interaction (with the first ascentionist) remains important because if nothing else it helps to preserve the history of the climb. Also, on this climb no condition has changed significantly to warrant additional fixed gear.