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stonewall

Clip up on Concord Tower

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Perhaps this is the place to get some feed back on the recent bolt assisted exploits that have gone on in the Cascades. A clip-up has been established on Concord Tower. How do folks feel about Washington Pass becoming a sport climbing area?

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Stoney

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even though it seems to dodge the issue, i don't mind if it is well bolted-- not too many bolts and no bolts where there is gear. i don't know if the place should be rap bolted, though. climbed on lead and then bolted- ok. but working from the top down on a mountain route sounds kinda fishy.

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good, now that my church has been accosted i will start blowing up little si. whillans you want to help?

concord or s. early either way i am appauled. especially if it is rap bolted.

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Tooth and Claw on Lexington is a bolt protected route. No one has complained yet about 'clip ups' at Washington Pass.

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For those of us not as fully informed, can you give us more information? What was done? how many bolts? in what style were they placed? have bolts been placed where gear could be used? is it a classic, otherwise unprotectable line?

While I like clipping big fat bolts as much as the next, the idea of Washington Pass as a sport climbing area makes me start digging around in the garage for a crowbar.

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I'm told (by a third party) that Bryan Burdo has put up some "Alpine Sport" routes in that area. Maybe he can shed some more light on this. Before anyone dashes up there to chop them, or ranting needlessly on this site, maybe they/we should find out exactly who did what, where and why.

The Access Fund's position would also be worth a read. As would the delicate state of the fixed anchor negotiation with the USFS. Maybe a happy medium can be found.

Ade

BTW: I've taken the liberty of mailing Andy Fitz, the local Access Fund representitive about this so we might get some input from him.

[This message has been edited by Ade (edited 04-12-2001).]

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Does it matter that only part of the route is bolt protected? East Buttress direct has a couple of bolt protected pitches. Is that a problem? Or are only routes that are bolt protected from top to bottom the bee in your bonnet? I don't see the problem. Bolt protected climbs have been at the Pass for a very long time, even if only a couple of pitches are bolted. From what I have seen, bolts are the only way to reasonably protect some pitches of established routes (aside from duct taped hooks. If the entire route is devoid of cracks, why the problem with the bolts? I don't see this as a huge departure from the way things have always been.

Perhaps bolts are a slippery slope? If any bolts are allowed what is to keep Liberty Crack from being completely bolted?

If the bolts are on a new climb and not one that previously existed, no one's climbing experience is really being altered, to my way of thinking.

[This message has been edited by danielpatricksmith (edited 04-12-2001).]

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Dodging the whole "sport climbing" issue for a moment, I'd have to ask who thinks Washington Pass really is that much of an adventure area? I mean really, you drive to within a half hour of your climb, you see tons of people, you have fifty seven topos at your disposal, and the approaches are really a discrase to the cascade tradition. So all you "I hate sport climbers" out there, I think Washington Pass already has made the slide towards sport climbing. I mean, isn't what I've described a better definition of sport climbing rather than bolts?

 

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If the Washington Pass area has some characteristics of sport climbing areas, that doesn't mean we have to it push over the edge and turn it into one completely. There are plenty of places in Washington that are thoroughly bolted where you can go if that's your pleasure. I'm curious, isn't there an issue of it being within a National Park. Wouldn't placing permanent pro be less than kosher in the eyes of the Park Service? Or maybe it's outside of the Park, if so my bad. But just my personal opinion, I'd rather there not be anymore added. This isn't Yosemite Valley.

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Climbing in Washington has been deeply influenced by the ethics established in Yosemite. The community has long self governed the rock formations that go un-noticed by the rest of the world, but times are changing and the sport is evolving into a more fashionable pursuit. So how will this resource be managed in the future? We play a delicate game, often in "wilderness" areas. As we've seen recently in Joshua Tree, agencies are embarking in a full-on bolt removal campaign to protect the natural quality of that new National Park and long time crag.

And the Bosch drill is becoming the norm at places like Index and Leavenworth, I know.

So where is the line to be drawn? Do we need a governmental agency to draw it for us?

Washington Pass is in a vulnerable position; it's next to a road that was built just over thirty years ago. There is no doubt that locals are paving the way for others to bosch sport routes into what I see as a monument to the wildness of the Cascades.

So regardless of whether the route would have gone without bolts, rap-bolting with a power drill will change the nature of the places we share at Washington Pass for better or worse; It depends on why you climb.

The fact of the matter is Prusik Peak would make an amazing sport crag....So where is the line to be drawn folks? You will decide, until the decision is made for you.

So consider playing the game by the rules that are American in character: Ground up or leave it for someone who can.

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Stoney

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I heard about the Concord endeavor also, but have no details other than I was told by someone last year there is a bolt ladder(s?)and I was told that it was put up by someone that established the Condomorphine Addiction route in Leavenworth(often referred to as the "Bolt Spray Buttress" route). Based on what I know about BSB, the Concord endeavor worries me. I'm not anti-bolt or anti-safe climbing, but certain ethical criteria need to be adhered to when placing them.

 

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Last year I climbed the East Face of Lexington Tower and was disturbed to find that the 5.9 offwidth crack is now protected by 2 new bolts and a slung 2 x 4 piece of plywood, wedged in the crack. The run out 5.8 chimney above it is still preserved, but I wonder for how long.

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mneagle,

You were so disturbed by the bolts and the 2x4 that you refused to clip them, right?

I am friends with the fellows who did the route on Condor Buttress and I know for a fact that they are putting in a route on the east face of South Early Winter Spire. I have heard neither of them mention Concorde Tower.

Blight, have you climbed the Condormorphine route? If not, perhaps you should not post your opinions about a route you are not actually familar with.

BTW, the fellow that is responsible for the routes mentioned above is also responsible for many of the routes at Exit 38, Little Si and Vantage. If you have climbed there you have likely silently praised the thoughtful positioning of the bolts, the well cleaned rock and the safe climbing experience. He spends all his free time and money nstalling safe routes that have been enjoyed by many, many people with no personal gain.

 

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Serpentine crack on Liberty Bell was first climbed by Fred Becky. He used chunks of wood to protect the 2nd pitch. Does that make wood a traditional wide crack anchor at Washington Pass?

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Ok, while I'm still not sure exactly what we're talking about I'd like to think that a majority of climbers who are active in the Cascades would agree that a rap bolted multi pitch sport climb off a summit is really, really poor style.

Trying to compare it to the East Buttress of S Early is apples and oranges. There 2 bolt ladders were constructed by hand, on lead to connect crack systems on a super classic line. I'm not sure how the new bolts were installed on the East Buttress, but I think a distinction between upgrading old, dangerous hardware and rapping your new greatest route exists.

The bolting in the mountains is a slippery slope for sure but actions like those seem to form a point where the slope ends and a cliff begins.

Considering how many good, boltless climbs exist in the area, much less all the other areas we could go visit (Enchantments,Chehalis,Anderson River) on a weekend, that route will do little to enhance the climbing experiences of anyone but the first ascentionists.

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Dan, I have climbed the route on Condor Buttress, so I am speaking from experience. Even though you are friends with those that established it, I'm certain that you will agree with my opinion once you climb it. I appreciate the hard work that all of theses individuals are doing so that I can enjoy the routes. However, I don't believe that because someone is establishing a route, they have the right to re-define existing ethical considerations (yes, it's subjective to a degree). I thought the Condor route was the perfect example of the need for a "wake up" call. My goal was not to reflect negatively on your friends (or anyone). Hopefully, those who continue to establish routes will consider the different views and opinions of our climbing community and make prudent decisions. On another note, Tooth and Claw can't be considered anything close to a "clip up" or a sport route.

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What is the deal with people getting all up in arms, ready to go out and chop bolts? If the thing is there, LEAVE IT. you scar the climb more by chopping bolts off (and perhaps eventually the cycle will repeat later). I in no way support adding bolts to existing routes w/o the First's permission for a nasty runout or such, but going to chop on someone's project just because you don't like their style? That's wayyyy lamer than the boch-wielding bolter.

As for the sport-in-the-mountaineering-area debate: get over it. If you don't like the style of a total clip up, don't climb it. Don't go to exit 38, don't climb all bolt lines, and don't bitch at the people who do. We're all having fun in the mountains, and I doubt that those bolts are degrading your experience when you're not even on the route! If mad-bolters want to "murder the impossible", that's their perogative. What are you going to do? Pick em off the wall with a .22? Exactly... we have to find a middle ground where the two equally valid groups can co-exits, and this does not include chopping!

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Is this the "Murder of the Impossible" that an Alpinist warned us of in the 1960's?

I posted this topic in hopes of bringing light to an old debate that is unresolved and clearly needs to be revisited. I'm a sport climber and have nothing against Rap-Bolting with a power drill, but I do think problems arise with this technology. The problem I would like to address is where should rap-bolting take place? I don't think Washington rock should be a free-for-all to anyone with enough doe to buy a Bosch.

Routes are established by people with a combination of imagination and skill and climbing areas are established by a community of climbers that cultivate an area into a place that reflects the climbing style of the community. There is also a temporal component to this style.

Routes that were established in different time periods have a cultural history....Have you ever clipped Fred's Ring angle on the West Ridge of Prusik?

So how will the current climbing culture impact the Cascades? All ascents leave there mark, but how much of a mark can we justify leaving? I'm not comfortable going down in history as the generation that beat the cascades into submission by way of motorized technology. It's anti-wilderness. Simmilarly, I feel the same way about logging in the Cascades; Clearcutting is anti-wilderness, select cutting is arguably wise-use.

Since I'm a sport climber who likes doing hard clip-ups on granite, but also think it's important to preserve the cultural history and natural history of the Cascades, I suggest we re-evaluate where we use power tools for climbing.

Little Si would not have been developed without Rap-bolting. Washington pass was developed without Rap-bolting; that should establish the ethics right there.

So how has the bolting problem been addressed in the past? The ethic, that was once firmly established in American climbing, is climb it from the ground up without power tools.

Now this is a good rule to live by for several reasons. First and foremost, it inhibits what is possible and creates a whole host of problems for the climber; how to engineer a safe route into uncharted vertical territory without buying the farm.

I use the word problem...Sound familiar. Can you think of any other reasons??

So in a place like Washington pass where the natural character of the formations lends natural routes, one should play by the rules of the environment and established ethics aggreed apon by the community that uses that place for climbing.

So the questions I'm bring to this forum are:

What defines the character of the roadside places you like to climb?

How are these places different and how do they compare to the places you consider boring or less challenging?

Finally, How would you feel if all roadside crags became sport climbing areas?

 

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It is not a rumor. The route on the SE Face of S Early Winter Spire is more half done. No cracks on the entire route.

Why is making the comparison to the E Buttress a lame argument? BTW, the Huber brothers have put up exactly the same types of routes, in the same style, as those that you are decrying-huge bolt protected routes in the high mountains.

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Too bad Mark Twight doesn't put in his two cents here about bolting in the mountains. We'd get a real earful.

I think we have to be real careful about indiscriminate bolting, particularly in wilderness areas. the USFS is just itching to throw more restrictions and regulations and fees at us, and if people have an open-season attitude about every crackless piece of rock out there, we could be headed for trouble.

So where do we draw the line? Who decides what is classic enough to bolt and what is not? I've also heard numerous arguments about bolting old aid lines that have poor and/or hard to place pro, so that "we can try to free it". Someone once asked Jim Bridwell if the Pacific Ocean Wall on el cap might go free; the Bird saw this for what it was: as a roundabout request to add bolts to a line that includes tons of copperheads and thin nailing and is unacceptably runout for free climbing. His response was non-confrontational yet was direct and left no option for the suitor: "maybe, but the protection would be very very bad...".

Establishing new bolted lines of course is quite a different matter from adding bolts to established routes, but in this modern day and age with so many people climbing, and so many people watching us, I think in mountain/wilderness areas particularly there needs to be some restraint, some self-soul-searching by all of us about what is really needed. what is it about this ravenous appetite we have for "first ascents" anyway? This isn't like the old days when new ridges and crack systems await everywhere. So we're increasingly turning to the mountains, or wherever possible, to contrive any new route we can so we can satisfy our urge to claim an "FA". Getting a first ascent may have some special significance for each of us, but what is really behind this urge for it, everyone? Put the question to yourselves. You can come up with just about any reason, but for all of us I think the ego is involved at least in some capacity. If we can put the ego away for a minute, perhaps we will see clearer about what is really necessary; perhaps we will be content to just CLIMB, regardless of whether someone has been there before. perhaps then the mountains will remain, at least in some places, pristine and wild.

Establishing a set of rules for everyone to follow is not the answer. I think the answer is to look at ourselves and ask these questions.

 

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I pray the rumors are not true about several individuals wanting to or in process of rap bolting a new sport route top to bottom on the magnificent face on the southeast side of South Early winter spire. It is an awesome face that already sports several routes including much free climbing. Cracks are found all over the place. And don't use the comparison of the Direct East Butress Route. That's a pretty lame argument. The Huber brother sure wouldn't do it! Bolts OK- but keep those top to bottom clip up routes with a bolt at your ankles, waist, and eyes routes (North Bend Style) out of the mountains. (The kind that have more clips than moves). You don't need to rap bolt in the high mountains to be cool.

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