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Chopped bolts

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Bill Coe. Do you know anything about this?


Yes I do: a very good friend of mine did it.


I wasn't there when it happened although I think others were, but he has been very well spoken and constant on his position on this issue, and about everyone else is in agreement. He will tell you that he doesn't own it either, but that these things are for future generations. One of the things I really appreciate about him is that more than almost any other person I know, he'll do things for future generations, and make those considerations on even little things and small choices. Very unselfish and not a self-serving person. VERY. As far as bolts go, he does want a aid line up the center, where bolts would intersperse hook moves, again this is for others: so that the next generation of climbers have a place to train for aid and try and get tuned for Yosemite while Beacon is closed. This stuff isn't about "Him and his trip" as he'd say, or "me and my trip", but about all of us, and especially those who will come later when we are gone.


Those who know me well know a few things as it relates to this discussion very clearly Kevin.


1st) I am pretty damn lackadaisical about bolts for the most part. LINK Maybe you recognize your words?


2nd) I'm not perfect, sooo far from it in fact.


3nd) I am a fiercely loyal person to my friends. Especially good friends.


You might read #3 again as it takes precedence over all else for me in this instance. The fella who chopped them turned me on to that place. I am very appreciative of that. At that time he was very specific of what he wanted for the area and he asked me to buy in. Much of what I put in the opening paragraphs to the route list to the place was either a word for word echo or verbatim from him, and this is what that says:


" This place is unique and different from The Ozone. One thing which differentiates it is the restraint of bolts. Although there are a few bolted routes here and there, it could have been possible to put in a bolted route every few feet. Yet it was desired that this area remain like a more traditional climbing area, where folks could learn and practice with gear. This gives the place a different feel than a bolted area, and it's good spot to develop a "lead head" and learn real technical rock climbing. Please help keep it this way for future climbers and restrict the use of bolts.



As of today, all the routes on the main cliff to the right of Dwarf Toss to the Eastern trail have been done. Blank faces between the cracks were left as toprope climbs on purpose. There are multiple top ropes and route variations throughout the area, some of which are described and some of which are not.



Although this area should not have any “Do Nots”, please DO NOT think that just because there are no bolts stuck in a face, that by putting in bolts you are doing a first ascent and a new route. You are not. It's a small area and nearly every inch that does not have loose rock has been climbed. What you are doing is sticking bolts into an area that was looked at, climbed on, and left alone intentionally (it did not have bolts installed on purpose) by earlier climbers. It was left that way for a specific reason by those many climbers who were here first, often after extensive discussion amongst themselves about it. That means it was left as a toprope climb, on purpose, to try and avoid the gym climbing mentality. If you have just come of of the gym and don't know your head from your ass, here is an ancient, involatile rule to get you started and which all climbers should follow: NEVER PUT BOLTS IN SOMEONE ELSE'S ROUTE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION FIRST!



If you plan on putting in bolts in opposition and disagreement to what all the previous climbers who have and continue to climb here, despite what they all thought and/or think, then plan on having your “new” bolts quickly removed and your alleged route erased. You may want it to look like the climbing gym, but those who came here before you do not. If the static and unchanging nature of this bothers you, dear reader, the suggestion is that you head back to the nearest gym, where you can screw in new holds and bolts and change the routes to your liking and feelings of the day without bothering others. This place can remain for those who appreciate the deeper and different challenge of natural gear lines, and Ozone for those who seek out bolt clip ups.



The one piece of kit all climbers will benefit from carrying here is a small whisk broom. These can often be had for a buck at the dollar tree stores, so get some for you buddies when you're there. If everyone just whisked a bit here and a bit there pretty soon the entire area would be as clean as your kitchen counter....perhaps cleaner."



Did you read it all? ...hope that helps you. Remember that although I'm nowhere close to perfect I am one loyal son-of-a-bitch. The text seems clear to me and although some of it doesn't apply, the desire to leave it as a primarily natural gear area does stick out does it not? Again, this was and is my friends most deepest wish for the area. One he is not alone in wishing. Black and white, cut and dried. Know also that my friend is pretty specific that he thinks this internet stuff is total bullshit, and that sitting down and having a fair fist fight (OK, I think he means talk eye to eye: just like we all did on this very issue, the chopper, choppee and myself all did just that yesterday as we were all out there at the same time) is the way to solve these things. So he feels bad that he had to do this - but saw no other alternative. I know everyone wishes that the communication had been better, I sure do, but that's the hand that was dealt. Either what he and others have always wanted for the place remains there - or it wouldn't and a bolted line would get squeeze jobbed in where it shouldn't be. Frankly, I'm doing some new bolted routes at another area that has no cracks and where bolted squeeze jobs will be welcomed. But that a long way away, radically different rock, and necessarily a totally different vibe. I think it's important to recognize that here we are talking only about preserving this location for mostly gear climbs. Plenty of places to bolt routes in the gorge elsewhere, I've enjoyed climbing at some of them myself.


So in respect to my old buddy, this is all I have to say on this subject on the internets.


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kevin, i am not going to get in the middle of this except to say that i, personally, do not do anything such as what you are alluding to, without consulting with as many people as i can. that being said, i can tell you that i had nothing to do with the bolts being chopped, though i was aware that there were bolts that MANY felt should not have been set.


my personal opinion on bolts is that they are a necessary piece of gear - when they are actually necessary. sport routes that are entirely bolted are not really a problem, either, as far as i see it, but i do not think that a face blank of cracks for gear is automatically a candidate for a rap-bolted sport climb. i could be convinced that drilling on lead (with either a hammer or a lil dawg) in such a situation is acceptable, however.


my personal opinion on bolting at farside (dropzone, or whatever we are going to officially call the place) is that there is already one outdoor rock gym, that being the ozone. ozone is the place where rap bolting became the rule and as a result there is a climb almost every five feet. fine. i have no problem with it, but it doesn't belong everywhere and the farside is a place where i would like to NOT see climbs every five feet just because it becomes an eyesore to see ten climbs in a span of 50 feet of rock wall with twelve bolts each. farside is not ozone, nor should it become its little brother. some have tried to pick up at farside where they left off at ozone thinking that no one else would mind. at ozone it was ok since the only climbers that were going there (for the most part) could agree to this kind of strategy. but now, with farside, there are many other climber's who have opinions that must be taken in to account and respected. in this case my opinion is keep yer bolted sport climbs off this rock! keep it the way it is. if you need to put in a bolt, fine-put in the bolt, but don't turn it into the ozone just because there are edgy faces with tons of face holds reminiscent of ozone or PRG. if you want to climb those blank faces then get yerself down to one of the trees at the edge of the top of the wall, sling one of said trees with some webbing, rap down, and top rope. or - and this would be rock-on, kick-ass - lead bolt a few and leave it at that...


you should not misunderstand me here: you and the rest of the ozone developers did a fabulous job putting up climbs that are great to get on - both bolted and gear routes - and you should be proud of the job you did. but my belief with respect to farside, and that of many of my regular climbing partners, is the opposite of the ozone ethic. bolts belong where nuts, cams, hexes, etc will not work but not every blank face needs to be bolted. nor should they... perfect example of bolting gone totally wrong is here:


bolted anchors where they absolutely are not needed






close-up of the gear used



another close-up of the gear used



kevin, i tell you this because you are my friend and i respect your work, time, money, and effort put into this community. i should hope that you can respect my opinion for this place, and understand why i want the place left the way it is. :)


cheers, bruddah :brew:

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Whoa, heavy. Some places, the bolts chop themselves. Just saying, this sounds like one of those places.
perhaps... but i wouldn't let someone chop bolts just because they said they didn't like them where they were - they'd have to convince me with good, logical reasons why they should disappear...

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I climb mainly at Index and Leavenworth (both pretty bolt free). It seems we put up bolt stations where there are no alternatives or where you need to rap and don't want to leave gear. My 2 cents.

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Well, I'm in Maui and have been so you can't pin it on me. That said, if bolts were put in on the corner between the Gold Wall and The Oracle I would have chopped them.


That's been a free project for a long time before some folks decided it would be a good place for a bolt ladder. The bottom half of the route on the right side of the Gold Wall that Bill and Bryan (Powderhound) put up was originally cleaned for the direct ascent to the upper roof left of The Oracle. Shane and I have taken several goes at the lower, mid, and upper sections of the line (feel free.... It isn't, and should never be a bolt ladder for aid practice - there is endless rock for such activities - plenty of bolt ladder appropriate off vert stuff at the East end of Ozone.


Love the recent aid revival to a point, but when it starts restoring unnecessary angles in rock that takes pro just fine or putting up practice aid ladders then someone is either over-enthusiastic, inappropriately nostalgic, or otherwise slipped a gear. From Tunnel Vision to Freely Freaking at DZ/FS is a stretch of solid free climbs and an entirely inappropriate place for a bolt ladder for aid practice.



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The Land Lord has spoken.....chop, chop, whiz, whiz, oh what a relief it is.....

yeah sure you're in Maui Joseph, I've never seen you with a tan, in fact I always thought you were a cave dwelling albino creature that lived in the tunnel near the base of Free for All?

actually I don't know why I am posting this, I have never been to The Far Side, Im always on the Near Side, its cleaner and better bolted...hey, just trying to make light of the situation. Sounds like Kev has a valid point, and Bill has a valid point and its to bad they didn't discuss this before it all went down. Now Bills favorite route will get chopped and then there will be a fist fight, and Bill's to old for that crap, so he'll use his rock hammer, Kev will sue, they'll close the place. Can't we all just get along and discuss this before beforehand? All we need is love....remember?

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This is bryan Smith.

the 2 bolts chopped were mine.

They are the only 2 bolts on a 55 foot route.

They are 25 feet apart and not near cracks.


i went to Drop Zone in 2007 after mark and stewart found the crag.

opdycke had been there in 1985 but had not been back since.


i started putting up routes in 2007 and THEN jim and bill started showing up in 2008. bill's guide reflects this


it is important to note i was not brought there by Bill or Jim.


this point, since they feel it is significant, has to be made.


they seem to have confused their memories and believe they showed me and mark and stewart and arent and ryan this place.


they did not.

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perhaps... but i wouldn't let someone chop bolts just because they said they didn't like them where they were -


Really, better re-think that and go get mad at (you know who), because he did just that.

i am not getting mad at anyone - yourself included, kev!


"chopper" asked me what i thought about the bolts you speak of i said to him that i didn't want the farside to become the ozone (not that there is anything wrong with the ozone, as i alluded to in a previous post). the said line that you are talking about was a line that would mimic all the others at ozone, and what's to say that it would stop with that line, huh?


forget about "chopper," kev, and think about people other than john, or mark, or bryan, who, i might add, may be in the minority as far as this sort of bolt strategy goes. i can think of at least a half dozen people who have put up climbs at farside/dropzone, and climb there regularly, that don't approve of this style. do their opinions matter or are they just being forgotten in all this mess?


and even if john and mark were climbing there in 2006 and no one else had been there since "chopper" 25 years earlier, why does that make them the "owners" of the farside. you're right, kev... this is a very slippery slope and you're on it just as much as bill or me or anyone. choose your words very carefully my friend.



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so, i've established jim - and especially bill - did not show me this place, and bill came later.


moving on, i toproped the route in question last november.




"hey bill. i went to drop zone yesterday and led your route boo coup.


> anyway, while lowering off i then toproped the line to the left, and just to the right of the dihedral arent led (he named it "good vibrations")


> have you toproped this chunk of stone? i threw off several fist and football sized blocks on the lower, and saw no hint of chalk, but that doesn't mean you or someone else han't toproped it before. it seemed like 5.9/10a for the first 3/4 of the route, then a hard 10plus/11minus section on the upper slab. it also in no way touches either boo coup or good vibrations. i know this because i followed it while my gear was still in boo coup, and i never even saw my pieces, let alone had the chance to touch them.


> i value your opionion, as you of course know any and all history about this potential line, and i am thinking of leading the route after i add between 1 and 3 bolts. the first bolt would be pretty high, like 18-20 feet, and the next bolt will be up like 35-40 feet up, so it will hardly be a sport climb, and more in the spirit of boo coup. so, what do you think? take care, bryan."

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ok, so i'm trying to be a good guy, asking the history of the route and assuming nothing. HERE IS BILL'S REPLY:


"At the Far Side, I've tried to adopt the style that Jim wanted since he turned me onto the spot and it's his dream. He wanted a place near town with opportunities for climbers to climb cracks and learn climbing that isn't like inside of a gym. As part of that, anytime a route could get toproped from a crack, we were toproping it, writing it as a TR FA and just leaving it. Specifically NOT putting in bolts, which would change the character of the place. If you name it and write up a description, I'll put it in the guide as it hasn't been toproped till you did it (or that anyone has claimed). What you do of course, may not be what I do. I've been trying to follow Jims lead and avoid gratuitous bolting. For myself, I think if anyone does find that they must put in bolts, put in enough to keep folks off the deck."


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so, bill tells me the route hasn't been done as far as he knows.


i go talk to stewart, as it's his anchor, and he says he and ryan might have toproped it, but ryan won't care, and he tells me to go do it.


so i decide to do it.


weeks later, opdycke calls me to ask me to wait so he can see the rock, but when i ask him if he really wants to be the rock police he says "i trust you man, go do it."


a few weeks later, tyler kamm leads it for the FA (i let him get it, it was nice to share) and i get the second ascent, jim shows up.


we show him our new line and he says "Congratulations, nice job!!!!"

hardly what you would hear from someone who in march 2010 claims he warned you not to do the line!!!

Edited by crimper

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so, i go to the crag on saturday and i see my bolts are chopped.


i see bill drilling bolts above and he tells me he has no idea who chopped my line but he wishes he had chopped it. he repeats it for effect.


jim shows up, and bill tells me jim chopped them.


maybe bill didn't know until that moment who chopped thm


i walk over to jim and say, you know my number, why didn't you call me?


you were at my bachelor party, i invited you to my wedding, etc. i thought we were friends.


bill mutters some stuff like "we warned you."


you know, the rock police thing.

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so what do i do now?


my elders never toproped this route.

bill told me he in writing he never toproped it, and didn't know anyone who had.

they didn't install the anchor. (stewart did, and he told me to do it, even if he thinks he and ryan toproped parts of it)

the route doesn't squeeze bill's route to the right - and even if it did, isn't that a subject for discussion, not chopping immediately?


bill and jim freely admit they have not even climbed the route, even on TR.


i have 5 routes with 12 bolts at drop zone. that's 2-3 bolts per route, and only where there are no cracks. every route requires 5.9 or 5.10 climbing on gear.



i am hardly turning this place into ozone! ;)



i stand by that track record. anybody who leads my routes is free to skip the few bolts they will find. but i doubt you will.

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again, i look up to bill and jim as mentors of a style i want to emulate, and i feel pretty mindfuc% that jim felt strongly enough that he would chop my bolts without even calling me first.


i mean, on the phone he told me to do it.

20 minutes after i got the route's second scent he congratulted me and tyler.


again, what do i do now?


where is the high road?


has any bolt war ever ended well for either party?

i have called jim and he won't call me back.

i gave bill my phone number yesterday but he hasn't called me.





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final thought: i am not blameless here. as bill rightly points out to me in private emails. he says i have a listening problem. i think he's partially right.


bill and jim both say that they "warned me" not to do it.


let's assume they did, and that somehow i misunderstood.


let's assume that my act of 2 bolts in 55 feet on a spicy route offended their notion that they own the crag and are keeping it safe for future generations.


in that case, they saw my 2 bolts as an act of aggression.


in that case, were they right to chop my 2 bolts even if we are friends?


and when did i become the enemy?

i put up 5 routes in 3 years at the drop zone.

i keep my mouth shut and bring very few people there.

but my 2 bolts are the problem, and i'm not even worth calling first?

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