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korrigan

Bolt Nazis

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Selkirk, why are being such an antagonist about a route older than you (assumption)?

 

The route has been climbed hundreds or thousands of times just the way it was after FB et al. aided the climb and then Burgner and Marts freed it in 1966.

 

Are the bolt hangers that sketchy (ie thin metal with cracks in them)?????

 

Why do you care so much?

 

I am being mouthy about this route because during my first attempt at this climb 15yrs ago, my dad went the wrong way up Lost Planet Airmen, took the whipper and came flying down upside down by the bush/giant flake belay above the finger crack. We assessed that he was off route and rapelled to the ground with our tails between are legs. We returned a week or so later with the topo fresh in our heads and I climbed up the ramp past the bush/giant flake belay. I had only been climbing two years (I think) and remember belaying on the O-so scary bolts. The fear was omnipresent yet I managed to bring my dad up and pass on the lead rack. We didn't die, the bolts held and I think I even backed up the bolt anchor with a piece or 2.

 

SO in summary, the route is not a roadside sport climb. It is a large crag 2.5 miles from the trailhead and in the wilderness. It should continue (imHo) reflect the pioneer effort and keep the 1/4 bolts. Really perhaps adding One bolt, will suffice the concern and keep it "really safe." Remember climbing is dangerous and climbers of the old days were/are much bolder and safer than modern climbers.... the unwritten rule was the leader was not to fall cuz the team would die.

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2006(today) -1962 (FA) ==>??yrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44yrs old

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2006(today) -1962 (FA) ==>??yrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

44yrs old

 

first attempt at this climb 15yrs ago

We returned a week or so later with the topo fresh in our heads

 

2006-15 years + 1 week = 1991

 

I was following your topo, not the FA

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Huh? smoke another one girl. I never drew a topo, but I am sure FB drew several 44 years ago (on napkins, etc.)

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BovineWart... by your logic we should be climbing in hobnailed boots with hemp lines...

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How are you screwed if you belay from the bush just above the 5.9 finger crack?

 

It's a bit uncomfortable but that's been my belay of choice for the last couple of times I've climbed Orbit. I think it's worked out quite well.

 

This seemed a logical place to stop the times I've been up there...

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Stands up on soap box.

ahem, ahem.

 

Why do I think they should be replaced?

 

Are they trustworthy? No

Were the bolts good, when they were first placed? Yes

Do we all pretty much agree that preserving the first ascentionists style is worthwhile? Yes

 

So if the early ascent had good bolts for a belay there, then what is the hangup with replacing two existing bad bolts with two new good bolts? If anything it returns the route to an experience that is closer to the early ascents. In my opinion this alone is enough justification to update the bolts. For the hell of it, lets keep going though.

 

Is it a logical place to stop and belay from? Yes

Is it the "BEST" place to belay from? in retrospect, now.

Do people belay from there on a regular basis? Yes

Will people continue to belay from there on a regular basis? Yes

Is there sufficiently good gear at that stance such that the bolts aren't needed for a belay there? No

If the bolts are pulled, will people expect them to be there? Yes

 

Will experienced climbers be ok without them? Experienced climbers should be on more challenging routes, but yes. Then again, experienced climbers should be fine regardless. I know I was nearing the end of my rope when I hit those bolts. Does someone want to measure how far it is from the bush above the 5.9 up to those bolts?

 

Does this route attract inexperienced leaders? Yes

Will newbies be ok without them? Depends on the beta they happend to get, the length of their rope and their remaining rack. Let's all hope so though.

 

Do people always know the "Optimal" break up of the pitches on a climb? No

So were back to

Is this a logical place to stop and belay from? Yes

 

Has anyone died there because the bolts failed failed? No.

Would the bolts sustain a high factor fall? Anyone want to go tie into one of those and take a factor two getting off the anchor? I remember one micro nut in the crack above so it might slow you down a bit. So keep your fingers crossed it doesn't happen.

 

Have inexperienced climbers died on Snow Creek Wall? Yes.

Is it just about a roadside crag that attracts crowds of inexperienced leaders? Yep, alpine climb my ass.

 

My beef is that a completely reasonable set of decisions, beta, and skillset appropriate to the climb leads to people who haven't climbed the route before to finding it reasonable to belay from those bolts, and those bolts are shitty. (And apparently I'm neither the only one who thinks the bolts are shitty, or that it's reasonable to end up belaying there.)

 

Is that a good enough explanation of why I think they should be replaced?

Well that and for some reason it gets under my skin that experienced climbers feel the need to inflict shitty bolts on inexperienced climbers. Your all right, experienced climbers don't need these. Nobody has died yet because those bolts pulled. Climbers who have done the route before don't need them, yada, yada, yada. Bully for you for being an experienced climber who's already done it and now knows the optimum way to break up the pitches. That did me a load of good last year. Maybe I should have hired one of you as a guide to show me the "proper way" to climb orbit. I'm alos sure your collected wisdom has done more than a few folks who climbed it for their first time this year a whole load of good.

 

I also don't understand why thought of REPLACING shitty bolts gets people panties in a twist. Were not talking retrobolting pithces or adding new fixed gear where none currently exists. Were not talking about opening the door to grid bolting, or power drills in the wilderness. Were talking about replacing shitty fixed gear, likely from the first ascent (which was good fixed gear then), with good fixed gear now. In general I'm big fan of replacing shitty fixed gear that already has tradition on a given route with good fixed gear. I don't really care if it's belay anchor, rappel stations (Thanks to whomever replaced the shitty bolts on top of Kangaroo Temple.) fixed pins, you name it.

 

The fact that Pope came out on the side of replacing them speaks volumes in my opinion.

 

steps off soap box.

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If you're talking about the bolts in the corner just above the finger crack and bush/block then I believe they are quite good. I was just there about two weeks ago and my memory is that at least one of them is bomber. Maybe it's been replaced since you were last there. I wouldn't call those shitty bolts.

 

But then maybe my memory is fuzzy. I wasn't belaying off of them but I remember feeling very secure after clipping them which means they must have been good since I'm not known for the hardness or size of my sack.

 

I do have to disagree with your assesment that belaying there makes sense. It doesn't. There should be one protection bolt there but no belay.

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Leaving the bolts as is does seem to be the worst possible choice. Unfortunately, it is the default crazy.gif.

 

Noone really has any good basis for being upset over replacing existing bolts that the high lord Fred Beckey placed on the first ascent.

 

However, it has merely been posed that there are other good belay spots, better ones, nearby, that a first time climber would probably choose, if not drawn in by those time bombs. Thus another good choice would be to do as was done to another first ascent Beckey bolt which used to adorn the Outer Space handcrack and erase them.

 

Either way is cool though.

 

Replacing those bolts will draw people to what sounds like a shitty belay, but it will probably speed up the conga line a bit.

 

Erasing the station will improve the aesthetics of the climb. Leaders can belay on gear very near there in a better stance if they choose (I'm not sure exactly where those bolts even are, but I know when I first climbed Orbit, when I was much less of a seasoned hardman smirk.gif, we belayed on a small stance in that general area using nuts, cams and tricams [that's right 3 independent pieces even!]). I seriously doubt an erasure would lead to anybody getting hurt.

 

I do agree with Korrigan that the highest of the protection bolts in that area (just below that wide dirty groove that lacks giant holds) would be an excellent choice for replacement.

 

Man, doing all this thinking about Orbit gives me the hunger to climb that thing! fruit.gif

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Korrigan,

I think those are a different set of bolts. There used to be a single protection bolt there. When some good soul upgraded it ('97 or '98), they didn't finish the job by removing the old one. Now it's sprouted tat because it looks like a belay anchor. Probably is useful though for when people get over their heads or get rained on and need to retreat.

 

If I recall correctly, there is a very secure wire placement near those bolts. But the wire that fits is sorta small (and thus less comforting than a big bolt).

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This is getting confusing. Chuck I think you and I agree about the first double set just above the finger crack, in the corner.

 

The next double set that I recall must be the ones selkirk is refering too and they are indeed shitty and about 50 meters above the good set in the corner. Oddly they are about 5 feet apart so they don't look like a belay to me and I didn't have any good gear there backing them up. It's a death belay IMO. But it still doesn't make sense to belay there even if the bolts are replaced because there is a good ledge about 6 feet above. I think that shitty set should have one good one there. Maybe something down below on that pitch should be replaced as well? I just remember it being a bit spooky. A 60 does in fact reach from the bush all the way up past the two antiques to the ledge just above. If you're not sure or don't have a sixty then belay on the small stance as you exit the corner as was described by someone above. There is good gear there for a belay. That makes sense to me and if there were a topo it should say to do that.

 

I've never seen so much confusion over where to belay on a route in my life and I think the bolts contribute to it. There shouldn't be any hanging belays on Orbit. The worst cases would be the belay part away accross the ramp and the tiny stance above the corner.

 

In general though I agree with the sentiments of selkirks rant. Orbit needs a few protection bolts and has some, they should be good. But the 'belay's' should not be on bolted anchors.

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i think we should let all the sportos bolt everything willy nilly. let's just grid bolt everything. sportclimber's are a user group to. who are we to say they can't. it's all about getting yours before someone else gets it right. climbing should be really safe. right.

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Okay, here's the beta for the belay. You should only climb this route if you have a yellow C3 Camalot, yellow/green hybrid alien, and a green alien. Place the C3 further left in the crack, then the hybrid and then the green alien next to each other. Equalize the BOMBER aliens, and tie off to the BOMBER C3 camalot. Finally, admire the bolt in front of you and wonder about the hardmen who used to place these on lead then climb oh so far above them.

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Here's a relevant story. Back in the day on my first trip up the mighty Orbit climb, back when ANY 5.8 climb was an adventure, I climbed that pitch and found it REALLY interesting, with entertaining climbing and gear that was just barely adequate for a novice 5.8 climber. I climbed it with a 45m rope (in vogue back then and destined to cycle back into popularity). Anyway, I arrived at those manky 1/4" bolts, with no hangers or nuts, and looped a couple of wired pieces over them. I could tell that additional gear was available at the belay but nothing remaining on my rack happened to fit. And so, I yelled to my partner, "You've got the best damn belay in the state, but don't fall!" He couldn't hear me, of course, and pitched off in that initial cruxy dihedral. As you can imagine, that scared the snot out of me, especially since other than those two looped 1/4" studs for the belay, the only other gear nearby was a dubious cam 20' below. Anyway, with rope drag diminishing the impact, and knowing I could absorb much of the load with my standing-belay stance (according to Freedom of the Hills), we avoided disaster.

 

The next time I climbed the route, with a 50m rope and a modern rack, I belayed 15' above using extremely secure 2-1/2" cam placements in a horizontal crack.

 

I don't have a reputation for advocating bolts, but in this case, I think it may be prudent to replace the bolts with 1/2" equipment. Today's climbers can pass this stance with ease (with 50m and 60m ropes), and the stance I mentioned above offers a great anchor provided the leader has saved enough gear (especially 2" to 3" cams) after that long pitch. But what if the leader arrives without the necessary gear? I think belaying off of whatever is left on the rack which kind of sort of fits is BS. A belay anchor needs to be bombproof. Anything less is an invitation for a tragedy.

 

Yes, occasionally bolts are appropriate and since there is already a stance at about 50m that has two bolts (or studs), I don't see the harm in replacing them with modern gear.

OMFG...Pope you are HUMAN after all! Nice post!!! thumbs_up.gif

wave.gif

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...I can only assume the reason people don't succeed on it if it's only 10a is because of dirt and a lack of bolts...

Regarding this issue I recall a short essay by Reinhold Messner entitled "The Murder of the Impossible", but I don't remember just where or when I saw it.

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I thought I'd reiterate a key concept from this mess: boldness notwithstanding, bad hardware is bad hardware. 1/4 inchers, pre-rust and other assorted metal fatigues, were pretty strong. Those button-heads weren't pounded in as antiques--they were placed shiny and new on lead using hand-drilling technology of the day. If those same people were placing lead bolts today, even with a hand drill, they would likely be placing 3/8" stainless.

As a side note, the only bolt I've removed from any cliff was a rusty old button head--with a light tap of my foot on the hanger. I found the old Leeper hanger that flew off on the ground and kept it as a memento of that experience. It was not at all surprising, given the rust. Clipping bad bolts does not make you a bad-ass; a runout is still a runout with reliable protection.

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The next double set that I recall must be the ones selkirk is refering too and they are indeed shitty and about 50 meters above the good set in the corner. Oddly they are about 5 feet apart so they don't look like a belay to me and I didn't have any good gear there backing them up. It's a death belay IMO.

 

Yep, those are the ones, not the ones that are only 25 m or so above the bush. Those ones are still at least silver colored. And with a 50m meter rope you either get CBS's much maligned 1/2 pitch to the end of dihedrals, or up into the neighbourhood of the shitty bolts.

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Selkirk, why don't you just go remove your bolts and chain them together and keep them. You obviously want them real bad cuz they are sooo shitty.

 

I forgot (reminded by above post) that they are not next to each other like a belay. but actually probably were placed for moving upwards. Bolt or not to bolt, the question. A new anchor is not placed, so then if a nonexpecting party goes up the route (thinking there is NO anchor from book updates, sign on the trailhead board, this website, rockclimbing.com, etc) then they will find a natural anchor and belay where comfortable. Nothing changes in the .com world. A new anchor is placed. Pope and selkirk dance together in the streets of Leavenworth singing KumbyaH my lord, Kumby-YaH....peace is restored to the .com world.

 

Rock climbing up on Snow Creek Wall is not connecting the dots nor a roadside crag and do not try and convince me otherwise (let alone the many people who have gone up the route over the years). Furthermore, this route should not be thought as a ideal newbie climb, it is WAAAAY more sustained then its cousin Outerspace and has way more seriousness involvement, approach and routefinding. Obviously, by your soapbox description, you feel that as rock climbers we all need a highway map and the only true way up a cliff is to connect the dots via shiney 3/8" bolt anchors.

 

Try this, next time you go up the Snow Creek Trail look up (around a mile and 1/2--long straight section) from the ditch and read the big sign that says Wilderness. Hard to miss unless your staring at the trail on the way up. Which may explain why you only found micro nut placements around said "shitty" bolts," looking at trail and not surroundings.

Frankly, I do not care if you replace the bolts but they better go in the old holes, otherwise you are retrobolting a route that was completely fine the way it is now. Snow creek wall is not metrosexual and do not attempt to make it that way.

 

 

 

Edit: rudy give me a break, hobnobs... hahaha.gif

Edited by bwrts

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It seems to me that few and maybe even nobody is/are arguing that this bolt belay on Orbit is in a good location. Pope has stated that it might be good to maintain a bolted belay there just in case somebody is in the area and has run out of gear, but I think that is the closest anybody has come to saying “we actually want bolts right there.” I think Brwts is probably correct in stating that the only reason there are bolts in that location is because two guys ran out of rope there fifty years ago.

 

I understand and generally agree with the arguments against adding bolts to the climb, but if there is in fact a better location fifteen feet or fifteen meters above, it might actually be better to move them. Wouldn’t leaving them as they are or removing them be preferable to replacing them with new hardware that is expected to last thirty years or more?

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Leave the route as it is.

The bolts are a part of the route.

It has been successfully climbed the way it is countless times.

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What are you wankers doing in front of a computer on a nice day like this? I have little personal interest in what happens to those bolts. MattP has a pretty good idea..to remove the bolts, but to place a new bolted anchor at the stance 15' above doesn't make too much sense because there is a great horizontal that takes #2 Camalots (and probably other gear too but I can't remember). There is a solid belay there if you have the gear. I always carry 3 gold camalots on that climb (one for the pitch and two for the belay) but that's from previous experience. Hindsight is 20/20. I already told you about my first experience on the route and reflecting on that, I could easily be dead right now. I just read the latest Leavenworth guide and information about that pitch and that belay is of course incredibly vague. My thought is that after a long pitch, serious by 5.8 standards, where the average climber is likely to have a depleted rack, pulling onto that tiny stance and anchoring into twin 1/2" bolts would be quite a relief. The bolts have been there for decades, so upgrading them shouldn't offend too many people.

 

On the other hand, I can also see simply removing them, especially if the next edition of the Leavenworth guide gave specific information about what gear would be ideal at the belay 15' above the stance in question.

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Huh? smoke another one girl. I never drew a topo, but I am sure FB drew several 44 years ago (on napkins, etc.)

I don't smoke.

I never assumed you were even capable of drawing a topo.

Now go to the Social Security office, pick up your check, and let the kids argue about bolts. hahaha.gif

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