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pope

Boycott "Smith Rock 1986" documentary

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pope, you are free to demonstrate, kick, cry and scream peacefully. its all good.

 

personally i like all kinds of climbing. if you limit yourself to one, well, you are limiting yourself. doesnt bother me.

 

as an old timer (learned in the 70's) i did find it strange at smith about 10 years ago to be near guys that were on their second time outside trying an 11a. seemed to play with my senses. last year i chose to belay my gf at the top of a climb to snap some pics. some dudes there had never heard of that, you'd of thought a freak show was going on). surely these were things one would not have had to put up with back in the golden years.

 

smith is like an outside climbing gym. sure their are negatives associated with that. i dont really like the thought, but the movement is fun and tons of rock was opened up because of the advent of sport climbing. routes that would not be there are there. personally, when i have put up sport routes it seems like a construction project until the send.

 

and you may disagree, and it is not my objective, but it is hard to fight that the limited rock resource may be best utilized when climbers start from the top down. not in all places, but certainly at a place like smith.

 

i've spent my time on the sharp end with X rated runouts on ground up FA's. those are times that were spiritual moments for me. and ive done it on some of the classic run out routes like in the Needles of South Dakota. but the fact is, there is room and almost a necessity for places like smith where it was once thought of as a veritable choss pile.

 

as far as wanting to progress the sport back to either no bolts or bolting on lead, you got an uphill battle. aint gonna happen. i suggest you talk to this man

 

 

 

GWB.jpg

 

 

about how bad wrongful wars can go. the political fallout is terrible, just terrible.

 

The Global War on Sport Climbing (BWOSC)

 

GWOB does have a better ring to it,

Global War on Bolts.

 

have at it, wage your war. albiet peacefully. and if you decide to get serious, well, there are alot of bolts out there to pull. just dont be surprised when some folks get pissed about it...

Edited by hawkeye69

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for the tenth time, pope, aborigine is 11a not 11d...

 

Is that at Smith? I thought I was on Ring of Fire but I can't remember much except that after doing the crux, I looked down and the first thing I noticed was my girlfriend's cleavage. Now that can be a dangerous distraction, but next I noticed about eight feet of slack sitting on the ground between me and the belay device. Then I remember some guys in lycra who had been "working" the route all day. They shouted up some encouragement about how I was "home free" and could probably find a rest about 10 feet higher at some "bomber jugs". I arrived at the rest to find hand jams....a REAL rest... but no jugs. The only jugs I remember seeing were back at the belay. Wink wink.

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Hey Hawkeye, with your utilitarian approach to rock climbing ("I don't really like the thought, but the movement is fun"), and considering his environmental record, I'm amazed you're not already in GWB's corner!

 

GWB.jpg

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I looked down and the first thing I noticed was my girlfriend's cleavage. .... I arrived at the rest to find hand jams....a REAL rest... but no jugs. The only jugs I remember seeing were back at the belay. Wink wink.

 

now the truth comes out! there really was cause for a stiff rope that day!

 

 

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What's the occasion? A celebration of the castration of America's proud rock climbing traditions? What's being documented? The history of our slide down the slippery slope to climbing without courage? The abandon of the "leave no trace" ethic in favor of manufactured bolt trails? The narcissism of pretending to climb grades that you can't really handle without an obnoxious, rap-placed bolt every six feet? Bad hair styles, lycra and the invitation of multitudes of gumbies who would rather alter the vertical environment than seek a true adventure?

 

Join me in missing this one.

 

actually pope, your call to arms is closer to bushes vitriol than i could ever hope to acheive.

 

and i take the utilitarian comment as a compliment. i think utilitarian is good.

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Although I have never found all that much interest in sport climbing, I think it is very important training for more advanced forms of the sport. I think it is funny that Europeans seem to understand this, yet so many Americans still don't get it. We're not talking about bolted cracks (Eternal Flame, Royal Flush, etc, are a different arguement), we're talking about proper sport climbs at the training crags.

 

I know 5.13 trad climbers who train by going sport climbing. Jim Donini once said to me something along the lines of "rock climbing is the basic skill-set of the super-alpinist," and this is absolutely the truth, especially as alpinism evolves towards ever-increasing difficulty, even on the highest mountains. This is the reason why most of the world's best alpinists sport climb regularly - people like Rolando Garibotti, Ueli Steck, Steve House, Silvo Karo, etc. You can bet that Rolo was appreciative of his face-climbing skills while onsighting runout, 5.11+ face climbing on Cerro Torre's North Face.

 

Sport climbing isn't for everyone, and if you find it boring you don't have to do it. But it is a valuable addition to the sport of climbing, and if done in a sensible manner is not a violation to trad climbing.

 

Nicely summed up. Too much negative energy on this post over the weekend, geez. I tried to bring something positive to the table with a pretty nice article but alas the ever common "bolt war" began. Just as sport climbing and bouldering may not be your cup of tea, all you arm chair "hardmen" can probably appreciate somebody pushing the envelope with ground up ascents with gear placed on lead on 5.14's!!! Now if somebody told you they first bouldered hard then did hard sport which helped them to do those ungodly 5.14 trad lines in great style would you belittle them b/c of their past?

 

I say just get over it and quit making mountains out of mole hills. Sport climbing and bolts helped advance all climbing to a new and different level, it was obvious progression whether you like it or not. You can say it was good or bad but I would bet if it didn't happen you wouldn't see those same guys cranking down on 5.14's with gear.

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5200280_large_d87cb7.jpg

Look close, you can see where they chopped the two bolts.

Horray for ethics!!

 

Wow. Could somebody please go chop that webbing and add some bolts :)

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5200280_large_d87cb7.jpg

Look close, you can see where they chopped the two bolts.

Horray for ethics!!

 

Wow. Could somebody please go chop that webbing and add some bolts :)

 

As I noted earlier, I believe bolts have a very LIMITED place in the climbing environment. Exceptions would include fixed rappel/belay anchors as a compromise to messes such as the above. In short, bolts should be VERY RARE and SAFE. Sport-climbing is by definition BOLT-DEPENDENT and therefore perpetually requires the permanent alteration of rock environment, thus violating the "leave little trace" ethic.

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I agree with low impact Raindawg, its a good thing to practice in life and not just climbing but... How much impact do bolts really leave when you think about them on a large scale.

 

Think about this if you will...

 

Years from now (maybe hundreds of years) we get some new magical climbing protection which makes bolts irrelevant. What can we do??? Remove the bolts and fill the holes and voila, most of the impact is gone. Yes, maybe a scar here and there but for the most part the route has retained its original flavor.

 

Now consider pins used by us old guys. Ever do Serenity Crack? That sucker is permanently damaged for good.

 

I just say that while bolts are an eyesore they are lower impact than many other items and I don't really think they are that "permanent" although we surely set them to be so.

 

Just something to contemplate on this rainy monday morning. :)

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VW4EVER SAY:

 

I'm pretty sure that your ethics/standards aren't shared at Smith.

 

Therefore?????? They must be right and I'm wrong?

 

So go somewhere else.

 

No. I like the Smith Rocks. It's a beautiful place, and it was even prettier before it became a bolted circus with its crowd-attracting metallic highways. Smith Rock, sad to say, was an incubator for the continent-wide abuse that followed.

 

Everyone has the right to their opinions.

 

No one's opinion is being denied here. In fact, it's to cc.com's credit that they aren't shutting me down, which has happened several times in the past on just such topics.

 

Above and beyond that, if you're concerned about "permanently altering the environment", there's certainly more pressing issues you could be involved with, or concerned about.

 

There are thousands of issues to be involved with, and I have my own causes, and if you are a climber, you should be concerned with related issues, and this is one of them. If you've read the discussion up to this point, you may have noticed many people trying to smokescreen or trivialize the issue by pointing to issues of relative scale. Sure, it's not on the scale of global warming, genocide in Africa or the tearing up of mountainsides for ski areas, but if YOU are a climber, the impact of YOUR behavior in the environment of YOUR recreation should be of PERSONAL concern, no matter how small. You could bitch about a pile of beer cans left by hikers on the side of the trail, but at least the cans can be picked up and removed. Bolts are PERMANENT alterations, and like chipping holds, might at best be restored after chopping/mending.

Think about what you're doing before you place or clip that bolt. Are you contributing to, or endorsing, this sort of alteration?

 

And then there are those who say, "Get over it...it's here to stay." Not necessarily. Rampant bolt-use IS being curtailed here and there and hopefully this will become widespread.

 

My prediction for the future: sport-climbing will be seen by future generations as a selfish, careless, gratuitous degradation of the rock environment. Its stylistic practices (e.g. siege-climbing until unlimited rehearsals provide the desired result) might also be looked down upon with disdain.

In the future, I'd hope to see widespread restoration programs to erase and repair the ugly deeds of the last 20 years and hopefully, there will be new kinds of gear that will render bolts obsolete, so there will be no more justification for rampant drilling.

 

And another thing....all this talk about how useful sport-climbing is in upping the difficulty standards of trad-climbing or rock climbing in general: Clipping bolts to improve your trad climbing???? My opinion: the end doesn't justify the means. Better the numbers stayed lower than contribute to the mess. (And although I've for the most part stayed away from the dubious stylistic aspects of sport-climbing, consider how most of those "cutting edge" climbs are being "accomplished": days, if not weeks, of siege climbing.)

There are other ways to get stronger than clipping bolts....try doing it the old-fashion way...push your limits on trad-climbs or with a top-rope. Or, try working out in a climbing gym....unappealing to me:sick:....but there's plenty of them out there!

 

And one more thing: another common theme thrown out here is the worn cliché, "it's all good!".

My response...."no it ain't".

 

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Although I have never found all that much interest in sport climbing, I think it is very important training for more advanced forms of the sport. I think it is funny that Europeans seem to understand this, yet so many Americans still don't get it. We're not talking about bolted cracks (Eternal Flame, Royal Flush, etc, are a different arguement), we're talking about proper sport climbs at the training crags.

 

I know 5.13 trad climbers who train by going sport climbing. Jim Donini once said to me something along the lines of "rock climbing is the basic skill-set of the super-alpinist," and this is absolutely the truth, especially as alpinism evolves towards ever-increasing difficulty, even on the highest mountains. This is the reason why most of the world's best alpinists sport climb regularly - people like Rolando Garibotti, Ueli Steck, Steve House, Silvo Karo, etc. You can bet that Rolo was appreciative of his face-climbing skills while onsighting runout, 5.11+ face climbing on Cerro Torre's North Face.

 

Sport climbing isn't for everyone, and if you find it boring you don't have to do it. But it is a valuable addition to the sport of climbing, and if done in a sensible manner is not a violation to trad climbing.

 

Nicely summed up. Too much negative energy on this post over the weekend, geez. I tried to bring something positive to the table with a pretty nice article but alas the ever common "bolt war" began. Just as sport climbing and bouldering may not be your cup of tea, all you arm chair "hardmen" can probably appreciate somebody pushing the envelope with ground up ascents with gear placed on lead on 5.14's!!! Now if somebody told you they first bouldered hard then did hard sport which helped them to do those ungodly 5.14 trad lines in great style would you belittle them b/c of their past?

 

I say just get over it and quit making mountains out of mole hills. Sport climbing and bolts helped advance all climbing to a new and different level, it was obvious progression whether you like it or not. You can say it was good or bad but I would bet if it didn't happen you wouldn't see those same guys cranking down on 5.14's with gear.

I don't think poop and dwanus care about the envelope...they'd prefer that the envelope stay stationary to having the experience and mini environment around the crag degraded...they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

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It's pretty simple, keeping technical standards low allows has-beens to feel like their accomplishments are somehow significant. If your max is gear 5.11+ when the hardest climbs are gear 5.12, you're not far from the best. But if your max stays gear 5.11+ when the testpieces of the day are gear 5.14 and sport 5.15, you're just another has-been.

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they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

 

Maybe, but think of yr favorite trad route. Now what if the next time you get on it you find bolts all over it? Could happen. But maybe yd just ignore them, fine, but theres no denying that the "bolt/sport" mentality has "re-visioned" what climbing is. Imagine House landing a chopper on top out of NP Rupal Face over a couple years time and buliding way staions, putting in bolts fixing cables, and then climbing it and claiming a "First Ascent". I know thats an extreme analogy, but thats one thing that "sport" climbing has brought with it, an distorted view of what it means to "climb". Things change, thats true, but some effects of the "anything goes" attitude are fucked up.

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RUMR say:

 

I don't think poop and dwanus care about the envelope...they'd prefer that the envelope stay stationary to having the experience and mini environment around the crag degraded...they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

 

Dude...leave your worn-out, childish "poop and dwanus" routine for spray. This has turned out to be a remarkably civil expression of views so how about keeping it above the spray-level?

 

You're right: Speaking for myself (pope can speak for himself), I don't care about the "envelope" and I would "prefer that the envelope stay stationary to having the experience and mini environment around the crag degraded..."

 

I'll take it one step further: as a climber myself, I wouldn't mind if certain areas were shut down to climbing if climbers can't restrain themselves from rampant permanent alteration of the environment.

 

"G-spotter" say:

 

It's pretty simple, keeping technical standards low allows has-beens to feel like their accomplishments are somehow significant. If your max is gear 5.11+ when the hardest climbs are gear 5.12, you're not far from the best. But if your max stays gear 5.11+ when the testpieces of the day are gear 5.14 and sport 5.15, you're just another has-been.

 

Save the "has-been" pseudo-psychological speculation for the spray-pile. Do you really think that's what motivates my perspectives? You don't have a clue. Some of us actually care about the environment and are embarrassed by some of the trends of modern climbing.

 

 

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they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

 

Maybe, but think of yr favorite trad route. Now what if the next time you get on it you find bolts all over it? Could happen. But maybe yd just ignore them, fine, but theres no denying that the "bolt/sport" mentality has "re-visioned" what climbing is. Imagine House landing a chopper on top out of NP Rupal Face over a couple years time and buliding way staions, putting in bolts fixing cables, and then climbing it and claiming a "First Ascent". I know thats an extreme analogy, but thats one thing that "sport" climbing has brought with it, an distorted view of what it means to "climb". Things change, thats true, but some effects of the "anything goes" attitude are fucked up.

 

hmmm...what's that word i'm searching for???? ahhh yes, here it is...HYPERBOLE...

 

Get real...it is possible that they both coexist...

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RUMR say:

 

I don't think poop and dwanus care about the envelope...they'd prefer that the envelope stay stationary to having the experience and mini environment around the crag degraded...they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

 

Dude...leave your worn-out, childish "poop and dwanus" routine for spray. This has turned out to be a remarkably civil expression of views so how about keeping it above the spray-level?

 

You're right: Speaking for myself (pope can speak for himself), I don't care about the "envelope" and I would "prefer that the envelope stay stationary to having the experience and mini environment around the crag degraded..."

 

I'll take it one step further: as a climber myself, I wouldn't mind if certain areas were shut down to climbing if climbers can't restrain themselves from rampant permanent alteration of the environment.

 

"G-spotter" say:

 

It's pretty simple, keeping technical standards low allows has-beens to feel like their accomplishments are somehow significant. If your max is gear 5.11+ when the hardest climbs are gear 5.12, you're not far from the best. But if your max stays gear 5.11+ when the testpieces of the day are gear 5.14 and sport 5.15, you're just another has-been.

 

Save the "has-been" pseudo-psychological speculation for the spray-pile. Do you really think that's what motivates my perspectives? You don't have a clue. Some of us actually care about the environment and are embarrassed by some of the trends of modern climbing.

 

 

no "sparky" comments then...

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5200280_large_d87cb7.jpg

Look close, you can see where they chopped the two bolts.

Horray for ethics!!

 

Red Rocks: but LG, I can't see the bolts.

 

What route?

 

BTW, I really appreciate RD and Pope's views. Gyms are bringing in a new "ethic" and attitude, it's nice to put the old info out there for people who don't know a damn thing otherwise. But their views would have been extreeme to even Robbins when he started up to chop Dawn Wall IMO.

 

Different areas have different ethics. Touleme and JT are different than Smith.

 

I like it that way, and I like all of those places. Theres plenty of cracks available to climb at Smith, and the bolts have not ruined it for me as I do not climb bolted routes often, prefering cracks. The rangers put in a road to access the area, that did not ruin it either for me. Nor did having some outhouses.

 

The bridge is what brought the crowds of people IMO, but feel free to boycott Volks show, more beer for us.

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RUMR say:

 

no "sparky" comments then...

 

"Sparky", is a friendly term...a dictionary definition has it as "animated; lively". It's a positive thing:

 

Like, "Sparky the Firedog":

Sparky.gif

 

or baseball legend "Sparky Anderson":

sparky-anderson-bk.jpg

 

You don't like us calling you "sparky"? I can live with that request.

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The bolts and trails are nothing in comparison to say, the emissions each of you waste just driving down there from Seattle 10 times a year.

 

Pope can be against sport climbers just as easily as I can be against some the same people for the standard in which they live. Their affluensic need to own brand new SUV's and brand new climbing gear and technical clothing is a far greater threat to our society than the bolts in which they clip or the holds in which they glue.

 

What about the same people's lack of involvement in protecting these same lands? How many people that climb at Smith Rocks actually give something back to the environment?

 

Perfectly said.

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they have some merits to their argument, but they go too far, in my very humble opinion...

 

Maybe, but think of yr favorite trad route. Now what if the next time you get on it you find bolts all over it? Could happen. But maybe yd just ignore them, fine, but theres no denying that the "bolt/sport" mentality has "re-visioned" what climbing is. Imagine House landing a chopper on top out of NP Rupal Face over a couple years time and buliding way staions, putting in bolts fixing cables, and then climbing it and claiming a "First Ascent". I know thats an extreme analogy, but thats one thing that "sport" climbing has brought with it, an distorted view of what it means to "climb". Things change, thats true, but some effects of the "anything goes" attitude are fucked up.

 

But that's not the trend in North American climbing - in fact just the opposite. Lines that were once considered impossible to protect, and therefore bolted, are being climbed trad and the bolts are getting the chop. "Mixed" routes - lines that utilize natural protection, with sparingly used bolts to protects "X" runouts, are being established. There is one sport route over in Leavenworth that I'd like to open a discussion about "rehabilitating" to this standard.

 

In fact, your Rupal Face analogy is an example of the old mentality - to use hardware to beat a route into submission, leave behind fixed lines and fixed anchors. Just look at the debate sparked when the Russian team won the Piolet d'Or for their Himalayan FA using refined 40 year-old big wall strategies.

 

More evidence? I just finished reading The End of the Beginning, Alpinist Iss. 18 pg. 50-57, a shining example of how hard sport and gym climbing, mixed with the demanding trad ethic that Pope and Raindawg talk of, is pushing another generation further.

 

Would anyone argue that Joshua Tree is over-bolted?

 

The despite the presence of sport climbing venues across the country, from Rumney to Smith, the trend is not to bolt everything into submission. The few examples of this distorted using of technology are decried, argued about, and more often than not chopped. Grid bolting and squueze jobs are almost universally frowned upon. I'd argue that bolting next to natural protection is almost never accepted. There are examples out there of lines first bolted because they were "unprotectable", then freed trad, and the bolts subsequently removed. I agree with that standard - if the bolt can be proven to be unnecessary, then take it out (better yet, don't put it in).

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Raindawg, you know perfectly well that when you refer to a debate opponent as "Sparky" you're engaging in diminution of that person's opinion. On the other hand, you haven't done that in this thread, and I appreciate the efforts to leave that stuff behind.

 

Actually, neither RD or Pope have engaged in insults in this conversation, with the exception of a couple of responses to incivility on other's parts. This is the best advancement of their individual but related philosophies that I can recall.

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As far as chopping lots of bolts at established areas like Vantage, Deception crags, Mt Erie, Darrington I don't see that ever happening. The first 3 areas at least are often training areas and just because some climbers can lead routes without bolts isn't going to mean that lots of others are going to want to stop doing them with bolts.

If anyone wants to petition public agencies to stop bolting in mostly trad areas, particularly in alpine environments, I would support it.

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I don't think you're going to find many rangers interested in adding bolt policing to their list of law enforcement duties, Roboboy, though I am sure there are a few who might take an interest in such a program. As climbers, however, we have somewhat accomplished the same thing on our own.

 

While Pope and Raindog complain that we are seeing a slow but ongoing slide toward greater acceptance of bolts where they were not used much in the past, and perhaps rightfully so at least in some cases, all of us recognize that there is a different standard or ethic in place at Exit 38 as opposed to Castle Rock. At the former, closely spaced bolts are expected, and most climbers who go there would actually complain if any were removed, whereas there are few bolts on most of the routes at Castle Rock and most climbers who go there are happy with it in that state. And, at the far end of the spectrum at, say, Forbidden Peak or Mount Stuart, entire peaks have almost none of them.

 

We will continue to discuss whether Vantage is over developed or whether bolted rappel stations really are needed in a place like the Bugaboos or Darrington, or whether Washington Pass should be viewed as a wilderness climbing area or a roadside crag, but RainDog would be overstating his case if he argued that nobody is talking about these issues anymore. I'm not sure if he actually suggested that, but I'd say that really there are fewer people taking the stance that Chouinard and Doug Robinson urged thirty years ago, but there are certainly plenty of climbers out there who think about what they are doing.

 

Here's a history piece I wrote: http://www.mountaineers.org/nwmj/05/051_Ethics.html

 

Note: I agree with Off White that this has been one of our best discussions of these points in a long time around here. My hat is off to the participants for keeping it more or less on track.

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