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NoahT

Say it isn't so...

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What David Lama did last year, convenience bolting an existing route, can no doubt be considered wrong based North American climbing ethics.

What the Red Bull team did last year pissed off the locals due to what they perceive as local ethics being violated. I can't speak to what abortion they might be or might not be planning this year.

 

Do you recall a couple years back when some Americans went down with the intention of chopping the Compressor Route? It also created a big shitstorm because the locals demanded that the route remain. Which way do they want it? Not to mention it's a bunch of north americans ranting about it right now....

 

Edited by dberdinka

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I'm not great with the Patagonia climbing history, but it would seem that most of the routes down there are put up by visiting climbers so the local ethics are decided by tourists. I'd be curious what the residents of El Chalten have to say, is there an active community of climbers living there year round that has an opinion one way or the other? I ask because it seems like all this name calling is being done by people who don't live there and import whatever ethic they are used to and makes sense to them. Even Garibotti lives in Colorado.

 

We look at historical precedence when thinking about ethics, on this wall historical precedence is a drill and a lot of bolts. So as awful as it sounds, Lama's style is not out of line for what is normal for that particular wall and is very common for big wall free climbing, even it offends just about everyone. (Side note, sort a waste of time. Seems like a really dumb place to establish a hard free climb, lots of hassle and everyone hates you and you get to set around in poor weather etc)

 

Here's a thought. Suppose Lama "creates" a free route up this wall and needs say 50 bolts to do it. With a free route in place the Compressor route gets chopped. We went from 400+bolts to 50, would this be an improvement or still a tragedy? I don't think Lama will do it for a variety of reasons, (weather, too lazy etc) but if he establishes a free route and removes the bolt ladders, I'd say he has improved the condition of this wall and left it better than he found it.

 

Lama clearly isn't making any friends with this nonsense, (although maybe Red Bull is making him rich) but that last bit in Colin's blog post about gym climbers was a little harsh. I hope he was trying to be funny. Many climbers that come from the gym go on to do great things. (Alex Honnald comes to mind)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Many seem to miss the point that objections to Lama's plan (including Colin's) this year relate to his intention to place bolts on rappel rather than ground-up on lead. As Dberdinka points out, rapping in to place protection bolts to create free variations of big walls is standard practice in Yosemite and elsewhere. I won't opine on what's right or wrong, but it seems unlikely El Cap would have so many free routes without this tactic.

 

Gene makes a good point that the ethics of a crag/region should prevail. From a bystander's perspective, it seems that the Cerro Torre area of Patagonia bears similarities to Yosemite and WA pass in our own domain. It's got long granite routes that attract climbers from around the world at certain times of the year. As happened in Yosemite, the major crack systems that mark lines of weakness are being climbed first. The question is whether you stop there or allow bolt-protected free routes on faces, and if so under what style (power vs hand and on lead vs on rappel.

 

In some ways, I'd be more interested to hear Tommy Caldwell's perspective than Colin's on this particular issue, as Caldwell has pioneered routes like this in Yosemite where Colin has not, as far as I am aware.

 

Bolts are now part of climbing, just as pitons and other fixed gear were before them. Vigorous debate and when/where/how to use bolts should definitely happen, preferably in a constructuve way, but we cannot turn back the clock to an era before bolts any more than we can turn back to an era before dynamic ropes or SLCDs or sticky rubber etc etc etc.

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Lama clearly isn't making any friends with this nonsense, (although maybe Red Bull is making him rich) but that last bit in Colin's blog post about gym climbers was a little harsh. I hope he was trying to be funny. Many climbers that come from the gym go on to do great things. (Alex Honnald comes to mind)

 

Bigotry in climbing serves no useful purpose that I can see....

 

I have a dream that one day this community will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all climbers are created equal"...

 

I have a dream that one day the sons and daughters of sport climbers and trad climbers will climb together at the gyms, crags, and mountains of this majestic realm...

 

I have a dream that one day my three children will live in a world where they will not be judged by whether clip bolts or place hexes or carry crashpads but by the content of their character....

 

(adapted from MLKJr).

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Cerro Torre Bolt Count 2011!!!

someone needs to make a blog widget so we can all stay up to date.

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Seems to me that if your ethical standard is dependant on some sort of aesthetic quality of the mountain you're standard has become highly subjective, i.e. meaningless.
:lmao:

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Bolts are now part of climbing, just as pitons and other fixed gear were before them...

 

There was once a noble attempt to seriously limit bolts, but that fell away to the convenience, assured safety, and short learning curve of sport-climbing which has delighted the masses.

 

...we cannot turn back the clock to an era before bolts any more than we can turn back to an era before dynamic ropes or SLCDs or sticky rubber etc etc etc.

 

but...rock climbing can mature and evolve beyond its current primitive reckless and selfish attitude and its participants can practice restraint rather than leaving their metallic trails everywhere, sometimes even festooned with the ever-popular fixed quick-draws. Bolting, as predicted, is being more widely seen as a problem and likewise as predicted, The Man is increasingly stepping in to limit it because many climbers don't seem capable of not creating a mess.

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Good points.

 

One point I did not clearly make is that in the realm of bigwall free climbing, particularly in the alpine, there is no such thing as a ground-up free climbing ethic. No ones pulling their ropes and starting over everytime they whip and no ones onsighting 5.13 (well consistently at least). Rather they are rapping in or if thats not an option aiding climbs then working them for the redpoint (sometimes out of sequence).

 

As Drew points out Kurt Albert and company put up numerous hard routes including Eternal Flame on Nameless Tower where they partially bolted cracks. Presumably those bolts when in before they freed the pitches which means on rappel. Todd Skinner also established a free line on Nameless Tower using similar tactics, aiding to the top first, adding bolts as needed then freeing the line.

 

 

 

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One point I did not clearly make is that in the realm of bigwall free climbing, particularly in the alpine, there is no such thing as a ground-up free climbing ethic.

 

Maybe there should be.

In my opinion, making an extra-big mess (via rap-bolting, bolting near cracks, etc.) to create a "free-climbing" challenge is a seriously dubious practice, no matter where it's practiced or by whom.

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One point I did not clearly make is that in the realm of bigwall free climbing, particularly in the alpine, there is no such thing as a ground-up free climbing ethic.

 

Maybe there should be.

In my opinion, making an extra-big mess (via rap-bolting, bolting near cracks, etc.) to create a "free-climbing" challenge is a seriously dubious practice, no matter where it's practiced or by whom.

 

pretty much!

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do any of you use crampons instead of chopping steps?

 

Dude...you just won The Weakest Analogy of 2011 Award (thus far.)

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hey...didn't you climb El Cap a while ago??

 

 

you know john frieh started that joke, enough said ;)

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do any of you use crampons instead of chopping steps?

 

Dude...you just won The Weakest Analogy of 2011 Award (thus far.)

And you're not winning an argument on the internet :)

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In my opinion, making an extra-big mess (via rap-bolting, bolting near cracks, etc.) to create a "free-climbing" challenge

 

Bolting near cracks yes. Rap-bolting no.

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do any of you use crampons instead of chopping steps?

 

Dude...you just won The Weakest Analogy of 2011 Award (thus far.)

And you're not winning an argument on the internet :)

 

But he's been putting up a damn good fight for a while! Fight the good fight, RD!

Edited by max

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Good points.

 

One point I did not clearly make is that in the realm of bigwall free climbing, particularly in the alpine, there is no such thing as a ground-up free climbing ethic. No ones pulling their ropes and starting over everytime they whip and no ones onsighting 5.13 (well consistently at least). Rather they are rapping in or if thats not an option aiding climbs then working them for the redpoint (sometimes out of sequence).

 

As Drew points out Kurt Albert and company put up numerous hard routes including Eternal Flame on Nameless Tower where they partially bolted cracks. Presumably those bolts when in before they freed the pitches which means on rappel. Todd Skinner also established a free line on Nameless Tower using similar tactics, aiding to the top first, adding bolts as needed then freeing the line.

 

 

 

i cant beleive i got sucked into this one:

 

the finest style

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Hey Sol. No doubt those guys are fully bad-ass and seem to make a greater effort than many to minimize the addition of bolts, but read that TR again

 

while clearly brutally hard and runout...

they still aided an existing route first

they still bolted a free face variation (albeit a single bolt)

they still scoped the top of the route by rapping in

they still worked many pitches to get the redpoint

 

You freed TRL last summer. If David Lama is proposing the same style as was used to establish the free-TRL why is one OK but the other isn't?

 

Being that my bigwall experiences are relegated to standing to aiders I'm pretty luke warm to the whole bolted-face variation. My point is that David Lamas current plan is not outside what seem to be accepted norms for bigwall free climbing, yet he's being held to a different standard than everyone else.

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as opposed to a local dumbass? Don't follow the logic of how you can say one thing and do another...

 

The only thing i can think of is what are the governing local ethics...personally...

 

 

BUT...i don't really care one way or another, i can't seem to get to real rock at all...stuck in the gyms...

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Still Darin, you've got to give them points for not altering the aid climbing experience for others on those routes, isn't that a change in the norm for El Cap free routes?

 

I'd agree that Lama's proposed tactics aren't different, but the area is. Most folks accept that different areas have different rules.

 

You're making some interesting and thoughtful arguments in this thread. :tup:

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