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Larry Goldie

West Face NEWS rappel route

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A new rappel route was established down the West face of North Early Winter Spire. It follows the clean, steep face in between the West face route and "Labor pains". It is a safer, faster and generally more pleasant way to descend the spire, than the Chockstone gully. Five 30 meter raps on bolts and chains take you right back to the base of the spire. One of the raps is a FULL 30m, so knots in the ends of your ropes is a good idea. From the first rappel on the normal descent, head down the West face instead of into the gully. The old rap route remains intact for those of you who prefer that descent.

W_face_rap_route.jpghttp:/

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Awesome! I wish somebody would do that to the South Early, before the last few white bark pine are dead. Not to mention rapping through the constant cattle train, with 5 people at every station.

Rapping off the chockstone was cool, but something that lost it's charm after the first time.

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Didn't the standard descent anchors to the south just get rebolted as well? They are certainly in excellent shape. It's only 3 rappels that way, already the easiest descent off of NEWS, SEWS, or Lib Bell.

 

Those 5 new sets of chains are going to rust and bleed down, visible from much of the hike in.

 

It seems like the past few years have seen an explosion in the number of chains hanging from the Lib Bell Group.

 

The climbing "rules" around adding bolts to routes are pretty clear. The subject of adding bolted descent anchors is a grayer area.

 

There is often tat with rings all over the S. Arete on SEWS - would those bonsai trees that people rappel off each be an acceptable spot to bolt on some chains? What about above the 5.7 slab on Liberty Bell?

 

I'm not trying to be a jerk, just wondering: 1.To what extent you feel justified in adding rappel lines where none exist, and 2. To what extent you feel justified in replacing a slung tree with a chain anchor.

 

 

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The bottom rappel on SEWS is definitely a bolted anchor now. The tree(s) used in the past will be spared. Most folks only do one other rappel above the chimney and I think that's still a tree. I have no idea who put it in.

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Well, you mentioned the S. Arete. Am I the only person to notice all the carnage on that route? Dozens of WB Pine trees gone or just a dried up husk of what once was. Oh and the 5.7 slab on the Lib bell too, wasn't there at least 3 trees up there? Not that long ago? Less than 5 years I'd say. Granted the rapid decline of the WB pine is due to many environmental factors. I can't help but think the added stress of dozens of climbers hanging from them is exponentially speeding this process. Oh I see though, Once they're all dead, as the case with the first pitch of the S. Arete. Then it's ok to drill anchors?

I respect all that you guys have done, and continue to do. And I'm also a fan of keeping the wild, wild. But some of these places are no longer wild. The human presence has exponentially increased there in a few short years. Spur trails spiderweb the landscape. Trees are vanishing faster than I've ever seen before.

Yes, bolts and anchors are also a huge, ugly impact. I just think any effort to corral the herd into a singular, less impactful, flow is slightly less harmful.

Not trying to start a spray fest. Everyone has the point of view. Perhaps if I'd visited as many truly wild places as you have. And been the first and only person to leave a footprint there. I'd share the view you have. I'm just a mere mortal though, and most of the "wild" places I go see so much traffic that I can visually log the erosion and impact there.

Cheers man! Keep up the awesome inspiring sends!

 

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Well, you mentioned the S. Arete. Am I the only person to notice all the carnage on that route? Dozens of WB Pine trees gone or just a dried up husk of what once was. Oh and the 5.7 slab on the Lib bell too, wasn't there at least 3 trees up there? Not that long ago? Less than 5 years I'd say. Granted the rapid decline of the WB pine is due to many environmental factors. I can't help but think the added stress of dozens of climbers hanging from them is exponentially speeding this process. Oh I see though, Once they're all dead, as the case with the first pitch of the S. Arete. Then it's ok to drill anchors?

I respect all that you guys have done, and continue to do. And I'm also a fan of keeping the wild, wild. But some of these places are no longer wild. The human presence has exponentially increased there in a few short years. Spur trails spiderweb the landscape. Trees are vanishing faster than I've ever seen before.

Yes, bolts and anchors are also a huge, ugly impact. I just think any effort to corral the herd into a singular, less impactful, flow is slightly less harmful.

Not trying to start a spray fest. Everyone has the point of view. Perhaps if I'd visited as many truly wild places as you have. And been the first and only person to leave a footprint there. I'd share the view you have. I'm just a mere mortal though, and most of the "wild" places I go see so much traffic that I can visually log the erosion and impact there.

Cheers man! Keep up the awesome inspiring sends!

 

Everyone: stop climbing at WA pass! You are ruining my own personal wilderness experience. Stay home so I can enjoy it all to myself!

 

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It is not clear to me why this rappel route is necessary and it makes me question it's validity (see Sol's response). Adding bolts to save a tree is one thing, that is not the case here. It seems all of the spires have established descents and none of them have a high level of objective hazard for the range and style of climbing, heck this descent adds two rappels. It wouldn't be appropriate to add a rappel line down the east face of liberty bell because I don't like walking down the scree gulley currently used on the descent.

 

I realize this is sort of a no good deed goes unpunished thing but the work Kurt Hicks is doing to upgrade old hardware up there seems like a much better use of a drill.

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like most people here, i don't understand your reasoning for bolting a rappel route down the west face of news. the preexisting descent route is easy and safe, but may be hazardous for guided clients with minimal mountain experience. i'm sure the rap route is a good business move for ncmg.

 

why should the challenge of a climb end at the summit? isn't how we get down just as important as how we go up?

 

 

Edited by cam yarder

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I realize this is sort of a no good deed goes unpunished thing but the work Kurt Hicks is doing to upgrade old hardware up there seems like a much better use of a drill.

 

Agreed!

 

 

This would be like bolting 5-anchor rappel line left of The Passenger to prevent the need to use the existing 2 or 3 rappels from anchor on the S. Arete in order to get off SEWS. It'd be a steeper and cleaner rap line, avoiding a gully, and would deposit you about the same distance from your pack.

 

It is just hard to conceive of all this NEWS hardware getting drilled if it were not to facilitate guiding the NW Corner Route.

 

What would the response be if chain anchors were drilled every 30m coming down the E. Face of Lib Bell?

 

In the larger picture, I'd be genuinely curious to know what anyone thinks a standard should be (Larry included of course! I don't mean to be attacking you...) regarding adding bolts for off-route rappel lines.

 

Should there even be any standard, or is any bolted rap anchor ok when not clippable on a route?

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Just to play devil's advocate, how much do a few bolts detract from the wilderness experience compared with the highway which allows a 30 minute approach?

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An agreed-upon single rap line with good hardware for popular areas is less unsightly, safer, and more pleasurable to tat all over the place with people wandering about.

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The continued comfortization of Washington Pass is weak sauce.

 

Bolts added to 4th class climbs, top-down power-drilled sport climbs on the east faces of Liberty Bell and South Early. Now convenience rap stations where 1000's managed without.

 

Yeah sure it's next to a highway blah-blah-blah. But they are still some of our more outstanding mountains and the continual need to keep dumbing down the climbing experience in the alpine is sad. All the more so in that it's being done for a profit motive (So what Sol said!).

 

So y'all have fun with their handy work! I'm super glad you're all going to be able to get home now 5 minutes quicker.

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An agreed-upon single rap line with good hardware for popular areas is less unsightly, safer, and more pleasurable to tat all over the place with people wandering about.

 

Yes that would be the standard rap route off North Early. So nice point

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OMG, a civilized bolting discussion thread!

 

WA Pass is pretty close to a roadside crag at this point.

 

Sure would be nice to have a gondola to the top of Liberty Bell, or should I call it a telepherique to sound swiss? At minimum a Via Ferrata next to the Beckey route...

Edited by Rad

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Sure would be nice to have a to the top of Liberty Bell, or should I call it a telepherique to sound swiss? At minimum a Via Ferrata next to the Beckey route...

How did I know this thread would end up with a Via Ferrata on Liberty Bell?

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Re: safety - how many injuries occurred on the old rap route? Re: speed - How much faster is this rap route for a skilled party?

 

I'm very interested in these questions too. I've never felt the chockstone rap route was unsafe; probably slower than a direct line down the face, but never any more unsafe than most other trade route raps in the alpine.

 

i'm sure the rap route is a good business move for ncmg.

 

This would be a poor reason to have added another rap line when one already exists.

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Having recently descended the S Arete on SEWS, we made two half rope rappels off trees with tat & rings in decent shape, and just when I looked down the last half rope length and thought I really didn't care to scramble that, I noticed the new stainless chain anchor on the wall. It was a pro installation, including stainless chain and stainless rawl 5 piece bolts, with hangers & quick links. My first thought was, "hmmm, guide service put that in." My second thought was "great." Given all the traffic, it wouldn't be a bad thing to do that on the other two tree rappels, perhaps sparing the scenic vegetation.

 

The west face of NEWS seems less like it needs a rap line, especially since few people climb the route that the standard descent goes down. I'll wager the new anchors are stainless also, so on the plus side rust trails won't be an issue, but I'm in the "didn't seem necessary" camp but without any particular ire over it either.

 

I would suggest that there should not be a new rap route down the west/southwest face of SEWS. Please no.

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Just to play devil's advocate, how much do a few bolts detract from the wilderness experience compared with the highway which allows a 30 minute approach?

 

30 minutes? I envy your fitness.

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I don't get the comments about guiding. First of all, I don't think Mr. Goldie sought only to benefit his private business or he certainly would not have posted anything about it here.

 

Second of all, I don't see anything wrong with it even if the new anchors make his job a little easier. To me the important questions concern issues related to how many, where, why and who we think may be "qualified" to place bolts on NEWS.

 

Lastly, I don't get the derisive use of the term "convenience anchors." After Fred and Helmey, who managed to get to the top of at least SEWS and Liberty Bell without any bolts (and to survive the descent), couldn't we call any bolts on any of the descent routes "convenience anchors?" What about fixed slings with rappel rings?" Most or all of those posting here can climb down the standard descent on SEWS without any slings or bolts but probably are going to find it convenient to do one or two rappels.

 

 

As far as the rap route itself, I personally agree with Off White. I don't think the new descent route was "necessary," but I'm not incensed about it. Next time there I'll bring a single rope and rap that way.

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This seems to be a superior way to descend NEWS, which I'll use in the future. Perhaps the old anchors in the gully should just be removed to allay the concerns over the proliferation of fixed hardware.

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Agree with Matt P. and Offwhite. Would something like this make sense on snow cr. wall?

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