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stonewall

Clip up on Concord Tower

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A couple of responses to previous posts. Firstly, now that I know who Retrosaurus is, I think it's unfortunate that a number of responders haven't met him...I think they'd realize he's not arrogant or excessively macho. He simply understands respect: respect for wilderness, respect for those who climb in an attempt to leave the rock the way they found it, even when adopting this style of ascent requires risk and enormous energy.

Retrosaurus has certainly seen a few seasons go by, and, as has been previously suggested, he remembers what climbing was like before Vantage and the Icicle Canyon acquired their bolt grids. I remember it too. It was f#%king beautiful. I could never understand why people would want to litter these fifty-foot top-rope cliffs to produce contrived "leads". Many of the climbers responsible for this mess have moved on to other pursuits like wind surfing, and after only a decade or so, the adventure and mystery have been engineered out of the canyons and buried in memory.

And yet, I don't think Retrosaurus is some bitter old trad climber living on a memory. If anything, guys like Retro are looking forward to a future in which generations of climbers can experience wilderness, a future in which virgin and crackless granite walls still wait for climbers brave enough to start from the bottom and take their chances.

Finally, let me add that most "trad" climbers are not entirely against bolts. Everybody loves face climbing and this requires either bolt protection or reckless abandon. And it's true that once a bolt is placed, it might be difficult for subsequent climbers to tell whether it was placed on lead. So, what's the diffence? Basically, lead bolting is what I would call real sport climbing. You're giving the rock a chance, allowing for the possibility that the mountain is bigger than you are. And if you succeed, then your route and the bolts you placed represent an investment that can't be measured in dollars or letter grades: you've invested a piece of your ass, you've drilled bolts to save your life. Nobody is going to chop your route, because you've shown respect for the rock.

 

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I tend to see things in black and white. Bolting routes that would go free without adding an X to the grade is wrong. Roadside crag or not there is very little adventure left out there that you don't have to go to Alaska or somewheres to find. As the local frontier of climbing is further tamed, the adventurous will go to more difficult and more distant places to get their kicks. Some people might say that the Cirque of the Unclimbables will never be as developed as Yosemite and that we don't have to worry about imposing an ethic on development there. Crap, I say! They'll get thier super-lightweight geodesic domes in there, fly the rich in by luxury helicopter, etc. The place will not be a wilderness if we don't use ethics in development (route development or "accomodations" or whatever). My point is this; If we don't leave adventure nearby it will be destroyed in concentric circles outwardly until there is none left. Trad routes are adventurous but not balls-out dangerous and we should avoid getting to the point where every mountain and crag is so tacked up that the only way to get a thrill is to risk one's life.

I want to hear people say in their TRs that they didn't clip a bolt b/c there was pro nearby. Same as picking up someone else's trash. You may be the only one to see it but it matters immensly nonetheless. Ethics are in the heart.

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I want to clarify a few things about the S. Early Winters route that is murdering the impossible;

1. Washington Pass is neither in the National Park or the Paseyten Wilderness area

2. One route with bolts does not make W. Pass a Sport climbing ares,

3. Yosemite has plenty of fixed protection as well as bolts that are maintain ed and some are even approved and placed by Royal Robbins,

4. The route in question will not have bolts the entire way, there are a number of moderate crack pitches and the bolted pitches will go at hard 5.12 or 5.13 in a featureless section of the SE face.

5. Remember that climbing is a narcissistic, useless activity in the greater scheme of things so if honest, responsible people are out there,putting up a route on a unclimbed piece of rock, not manufacturing a route, but putting a few bolts, I suggest not raising your blood pressure, enjoy your beer and work on your own projects, cheers.

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Mattski,

This sounds like a great route, on a great section of rock. Keep up the good work. Jim

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Hey,

Thanks everyone, for contributing to this thread! Let's keep up the dialogue and take responsibility for protecting access and quality of wilderness in the Cascades.

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