/ Bolts on SOME trad crags - for belays

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
Am seriously thinking about updating some of the current belays at places like chee tor and high tor, as the belays are looking right ropey (knackered pegs and tat or trashed trees) but before I set off into the world with drill in hand I'd like to canvas some opinion. Based on the bolt belays above original route (H. Tor) I thihk it would be better than leavin tat round trees or relying on poor belays (the small stance on Laurin is trash, and some of the tat at the top of chee tor is shot, would be better and lobnger lasting with bolts)

Objections??
In reply to phatlad:

>Objections??

Yes.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

elaborate
nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

In an enlighted world it would be a good idea however there are elements of the UK climbing scene enterenched in history to the point that it is ridiculous. In many places it is often encouraged by conservation bodies eg National Park type bodies to have lower offs that are fixed rather than have people stomping all over the vegetation at the top of crags. They are usually less visible than tat so that is another benefit.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to nz Cragrat:
My point exactly, plus the poor tree at high tor is getting mangled and every time I leave a sling and 'beener there some bugger pinches it!
In reply to phatlad:

Sorry, every time a bolt debate appears here I feel the need to contribute then instantly regret it as the will to live is sucked out me.
Crags are either trad or sport in my book, simple as that.
nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

You are in big trouble then when you go to trad places like Arapiles or Yosemite or Tuoloumne and there may be fixed anchors.... what ya gonna do?
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

Why bother then, I was trying to get people's objections who climb regularly around the area and either think it's a crap idea coz they feel it would interfere with the experience or agree coz they feel it'll cut down on the pressure on an already over trampled area and prevent further damage.
It's not a bolt vs trad debate
In reply to nz Cragrat:

I've been to the US and France, and their trad crags are a bastardised version, mixing a lot of fixed gear with bits in between. I hypocritically clip all their fixed gear.
I am glad however, that when you set out to do a UK trad route, it is truly adventurous in comparison and a far richer experience for that....
ChrisC 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

High Tor - no real need, though agree about the tree getting knackered. A glued up biner and a chain would be a valuable addition that only climbers could see if placed round the base of the trunk.

Chee Tor - Definitely. Replacing some of those nasty old threads with either good metal chain's / bolt belays as and when appropriate is a great idea. Much less unsightly than the current decaying mess found half way up the crag, and far safer. The only route it would really affect is the girdle, and even then not really.

I was talking about this with some one from the BMC who I bumped into at Gogarth, and was all set to get things moving on this this year. Sadly, the next day I decked out from 70ft and have had to take some months out with a few broken bones. I'm still planning on getting on with this next year though.

It won't lead to the bolting of the whole crag as someone will no doubt say, the great british trad sense of adventure etc etc. Its a crap argument, it'll just make things safer and less unsightly, and no less convenient than they are at the moment.


The tree at the top of Quality Control on Two Tier could do with a pair of bolts too for much the same reasons.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

That was basically my point not whole sale going for it, but the tidying up of the mess that climbers leave around and generally protecting the environment that we play in.
Steve Parker 22 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC: Is there nothing better than chain available for protecting trees? Whatever it is needs to be a lot wider to spread the load, as chain will only bite in and do further damage, even in a plastic sheath. Someone should be manufacturing dedicated gear for this purpose. Maybe they already are. There are plenty of suitable wide slings available for use in lifting etc. You can get straps wide and thick enough for lifting yachts! Gotta be better than yet more bolts.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Parker:

True but they are all webbing/material and will end up being rotten and unsightly. A chain or metal sling in sheathing will do a lot less damage than people top roping or abbing off the tree itself.
Or less damage still the bolts would be hidden from all but climbers anyway
ChrisC 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Parker:

Chain in plastic will do no more damage than the rope / tat used at present surely? More sling style stuff is just going to end up where we are now, decaying and looking unsightly as more and more gets added with the unfortunate posibility of someone coming unstuck.


Whats wrong with more bolts, placed with care and thought at the top of some routes where they are the best alternative? I struggle to see why the word 'bolt' is such a naughty word - its not about bolting the crag, just making getting off it safer, which given my experience of hitting the ground at speed I'm all in favour of.
John Lisle 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Hello Phat

Assuming you're not a troll...

...I think that the replies here will say "yes" and "no", and it's only a small, self-selecting community anyway - and those who shout loudest aren't always right.

You probably should talk to the BMC and to the access reps for the crags in question, to get the views of the landowner.

Personally I think a few, carefully positioned and expertly placed top belay bolts are *not* the thin end of a wedge, and would be a lesser evil than loads of decaying tat and trashed trees.

If I was a landowner I'd likely have the same view, plus a marginal reduction in my insurance worries.

Good luck, I fear you'll be needing it.

John

nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Plus the fact that what look like perfectly good monster trees frequently choose to part company with the cliff when least expected.
Alun 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
If putting in the bolts saves a couple of trees falling down, and people are clipping shitty old peg/tat belays anyway, then I think it's a good idea - as long as it's done only where necessary.

It's not as if either of these places has ever been 'fixed gear free' anyway, and like ChrisC I don't buy the 'thin end of the wedge' argument about bolt belays either. Neither do I buy the 'ruining the adventure' argument - a couple of bolts at the top of a route to save a tree taketh not away the jitters on having led some tenuous route at either of these crags.
sutty 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

As John said, talk to the BMC at a meeting about it. There is also the people who own the crag and conserve it to be considered, Isn't it an sssi?

Personally I have no objection to sensitively placed bolts for belays, we tried to keep the IOM bolt free but ended up placing two for belays on one crag and one for a runner where there was no protection from a groundfall before the real climbing started.
Just do not do it without consulting the BMC though.
Hotbad Peteel 22 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

I'm very much against fixed gear on any route in the uk but a fixed chain to save a tree is definitely worthwhile anywhere since trees are so much more fragile than rock
p
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to John Lisle and Alun:

Nope not a troll (not that I have any idea what one is but it seems to crop up often enough for me to hazard a guess), a genuine climber. And as I say only for belay areas, not to protect the routes themselves. I just think it's be better to not trash the trees, not trample over the top and add further pressures, and there are some bolt belays/bolt/knackered pegs/old tatty threads already on these crags. The addition of bolt belays - only - could help a lot. just look at original route on the tor and tell me it's not a good idea.
BMC is the next port of call, but would actually like genuine peoples opinions first. so thanks for yours
JDDD 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: I don't have a problem with it. If bolt belays are a total no no, why not get a piece of plastic coated wire and put that around the tree instead of a sling and crab. A bit like that on Strip Tease at Tremadog. It might help the tree and save you slings and krabs.
Paul T22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
Agree a couple of well placed bolts for belaying would be a good idea. The route would still be a trad route, it would just enable safe return to the ground. These are replacing pegs/tat, not trad placements.

The bolts on original route are very welcome, as it removes the loose horrid last pitch, which serves no purpose and distracts from the excellent climbing below.

Places like Wintours Leap, have numerous belay bolts on them and IMHO are a welcome sight, rather than having a loose top out and walk back round.
In reply to ChrisC:

>The tree at the top of Quality Control on Two Tier could do with a pair of bolts too for much the same reasons.

You can't bolt a tree, in the same way as you can't give a baby booze.
TobyA 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

> Crags are either trad or sport in my book, simple as that.

But in many places around the world, it really isn't as simple as that.

phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

Doh!
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Jon Dittman:

I've got a sling and maillon set aside for just such a purpose, but still it sits in the boot of my car as I forget to take it to the crag!!! planned to put it on and araldite it shut - but again really should get opinions
nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

You need to be able to replace it in the future as it will wear.
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I'd agree with most of the above, decent belays don't need to be the thin end of any wedge and make a lot of sense.

What *might* happen though is that the routes with decent belays will be top-roped and worn a lot more, as warm-ups or trade routes.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to nz Cragrat:

Nah it's a steel sling, with plastic sheath. only worry is rust really!!!!
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I really don't see the need. I don't think a tree that you'd be happy abseiling off would be harmed if it's got tat round it. The High Tor tree is massive and last time I climbed there (June), it had a double rope sling around it.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to richardh:

Maybe but I think you'd need a long rope for that on H Tor, and as for Chee dale I think you'd still have to climb it 1st. But it's a good point
ChrisC 22 Aug 2005
In reply to richardh:

> What *might* happen though is that the routes with decent belays will be top-roped and worn a lot more, as warm-ups or trade routes.

On Chee Tor?

Your lucky to see more than another team there these days. 3* classics like Queer Street covered in cobwebs and dust. Only the classic E1's and a selection of the E2's remain clean. I don't reckon it would be a problem.

Although this year has been more popular than most with the new book, having said that it seems quieter now.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

tat's gone and numpties were lowering off round tree again at wk end. And relying on a tree isn't a winner I feel. Still if that's the general consensus then . . . .
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:
Yeah it's awful neglected, pretty much cleaning as I was climbing on all the routes I did. even meditation was a bit scruffy
In reply to phatlad:

It is a fixed anchor and 'convenience culture' debate though.

I object to the spread of 'I can't be arsed to walk off so let's abseil' on several grounds (some of which are perhaps irrational but that doesn't make them unsound).

1: In most instances, walking off is as quick. Folk just don't like walking off in rock shoes. The answer is to carry trainers or sandals (or get the second too) but most find this 'too inconvenient'.

2: On multi pitch (I'm thinking of the chain on Gimmer but there are other examples) it spawns multi-ab anchors which then get used as fixed belays (again by the lazy- and aren't we all?).

3: There are loads of places (Shepherds springs to mind) where the descents are often slightly awkward. Are we to equip them all? If not, why not?

4: But the main reason is that I just feel it's wrong. It takes away self reliance. It smacks of the actual climbing being the only part of the day that is valued. It's climbing wall mentality transposed outside. It kills the soul of the sport (in a way that real sport climbing does not but bolt clipping certainly does, pleasant though it might be).
John Lisle 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

With respect to Tom, I'd find it hard to draw the conclusion from this thread that the concensus was against.

John
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
I suppose you then would ignore the constant pressure of hundreds of climbers feet adding to the environmental pressure and erosion around the crags. Limiting this is surely another reason to improve the top anchors at some crags to allow abbing rather than walking. Besides, who walks off chee tor or for that matter high tor, everybody abs so they can get back to the ground quick for another route. I'm not talking about wide scale retro- bolting, but quite specific lowering anchors at these crags
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

blimey, it used to be packed when I went regularly about ten years ago. are people just concentrating on the bolted stuff these days then?
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:


Agree with you totally. Convenience culture. If I wan't fixed anchors I can go to a sport crag.
It's good practice to be self- reliant.
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to TobyA:

> But in many places around the world, it really isn't as simple as that.

Don't be ridiculous. I am the Whatever has climbed abroad twice and therefore has a fully-formed perspective on the world's crags' constraints and ethics ...
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:


but the routes he's on about already have fixed anchors and have done for ages, the fact these are now rotten is the issue, so it's not putting in fixed belays where there were none before, it's replacing bad fixed belays with good, although not quite like for like.
In reply to phatlad:

Except you then create more pressure on the crag because it is convenient to abseil and the anchors are bolts (encouraging the belief that it's 'safe').

Why not set your own rap anchor and then remove it at the end of the day?

I know you're not talking about wide-scale retro bolting (you seem too sensible). But why not? Most folk seem to ab off trees at Shepherds now. So why not there too?
In reply to tobyfk:

Oh Toby, how often do I have to climb abroad before I can have a valid viewpoint?

!
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

For a start, how about going to, say, an obscure part of Tuolomne Meadows, and trying a ground up first ascent of a 200' granite dome? Without bolts.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
I don't think we'll ever get masses of people heading to high tor because there is a bolt belay at the top just over the edge instead of the tree. It'd just cut down pressure on the tree (which is kinda holding the top of the crag on) and as for chee tor the amount of mildewed rotting tat that's there round trees eeuch. also the crag is lilttered with the odd bolt and old tatty thread and peg. all I'm saying is it'd make it a bit safer for finishing off, not that it would pull hoards more down to the crags. I mean you'd still have to do the routes to get up there anyway
In reply to tobyfk:

Listen you, these things are either possible physically or not. If they are possible physically there's nothing that can objectively stop an ascent, except mental approach.
Look at routes bold routes like Braille Trail, or the harder Etive Slabs routes. These are uk routes that might have been bolted if they were transplanted to another country.
I wish I'd had the time and the money (and the talent) to have done what you suggest Toby, but I'm glad I can still appreciate a distinction between good style and self sufficiency at whatever meagre level of skill and experience I possess. Amen.
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:


That should have read 'a distinction between good style/ self sufficiency and having it for you on a plate'.
ickleiz 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: I am totally in favour of bolted belay points at some areas in the UK. There would definatly be less impact on the environment and less reason to leave bits of tats and slings around trees that nobody but the person who put it there trusts. I have counted 8 slings around 1 tree before. Is this really necessary when a bolt and chain could eliminate all that?
In reply to phatlad:

I do see your point. I just think that folk should sort their act out. There wouldn't be rotten tat if everyone set up their anchors themselves and took them out at the end of the day.

Why should it be safer to finish the routes anyway?

Ian Patterson 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>
> It is a fixed anchor and 'convenience culture' debate though.
>
> I object to the spread of 'I can't be arsed to walk off so let's abseil' on several grounds (some of which are perhaps irrational but that doesn't make them unsound).
>
> 1: In most instances, walking off is as quick. Folk just don't like walking off in rock shoes. The answer is to carry trainers or sandals (or get the second too) but most find this 'too inconvenient'.
>

Would it be charitable to assume you've never climbed at Chee Tor - walking off is simply not a possible. Many routes finish at the main break at 2 thirds, even those that go to the top the crag then finish at the trees and vegatation. In fact has anyone ever actually tried to walk off the top of Chee Tor? - it would be an interesting expedition!

The op asked very specific questions about Chee Tor and High Tor. I'm not sure about High Tor (the consensus here seems against) but for Chee Tor people have been lowering off slings and tat for 20 years or more and replacing this with some tidy bolt lower offs seems to make a lot of sense.



phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>
> I do see your point. I just think that folk should sort their act out. There wouldn't be rotten tat if everyone set up their anchors themselves and took them out at the end of the day.
>
> Why should it be safer to finish the routes anyway?

True but they do in an effort to be helpful, leave tat. also they do ab directly off the tree or lower off the tree. so all I'm sayin is protect the tree and environment, not the route itself, by the time you've got there the route is over and you are safe
JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

i never climb there, and know no relevant details, so i guess it doesn't really matter what i think. however, just so you know, i object on principle (much like Dave Hunter's principle).


ChrisC 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

> I do see your point. I just think that folk should sort their act out. There wouldn't be rotten tat if everyone set up their anchors themselves and took them out at the end of the day.

Doesn't work at Chee Tor though - which is where this thread was initially talking about...

You climb to the break. Either Lower, or bring up a second, then go down. Above you are bulging head walls with a handfull of hard routes on. You can't have one ancho for the day you take town at the end, as you need about 4 of them throughout the day and they are all in different places.

To use your solution here, we'd have one anchor that we all scurried along the Gridle break to and spend most of the day doing that.

In general I agree with you, but Chee Tor is not your normal crag ini that sense.
ickleiz 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run: I think the reason people dont remove tat is often because they cant. If that is the thing they are abseiling off then its a little difficult to remove. I would remove the other slings that i find around trees but some people do choose to ab off these, plus i dont carry a knife around with me to get them off anyhow. Seems to me that a bolt which is not part of the route anyhow cant hurt.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to JJJJ:
well that's helpful and informed then
In reply to Ian Patterson:

Why not bolt it up? It's like a euro-crag (like Malham etc) than a 'trad' crag.

I know he was asking about two specific crags. The wider debate includes others though. Having a half way house where trad routes -with loads of fixed gear- end up at brand new bolts is anomalous I think.
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

anomalous? not really.

take Kilnsey for example, plenty of that in evidence there, with trad routes ending in fixed belays. Happily sitting next door to full sport routes, sometimes even ending at the same belay, and not resulting in them being retroed either.
JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

i gave you the information you asked for in a completely honest form: you are therefore in a position do to with it what you will.

just in case your sarcastic response has blinded you to the point of my post i'll re-iterate: i know nothing in particular, but have an opinion in general. you would be a fool to think that the general does not apply at some level in every instance of the particular.
Ian Patterson 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to Ian Patterson)
>
> Why not bolt it up? It's like a euro-crag (like Malham etc) than a 'trad' crag.
>

What has that got to do with anything!! I asked whether anyone had walked off Chee Tor - as far as I am aware this is basically impossible. Chee Tor is one of the best trad limestone venues in the Peak but to get down from the routes you have ab / lower and the question is what is the best way of achieving this.

phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to JJJJ:

don't mistake exasperation for sarcasm my friend. I was not canvassing for everyone in the world's opinion, just people that know the crag and have an issue with my query. I've got no intention of sparking the debate on a wider note. these are specific cases and crags for people to just jump in and say "I've never climbed there and don't know it but I'm against it" doesn't really help the situation. After all I'm not gonna criticise/malaign crags I have not been to or question the local ethics
In reply to richardh:

But why not retro them? Why not retro bolt routes that are climbed largely on fixed gear (pegs, threads etc). The same logic applies to lower offs.

Note, I don't mind if they're retro bolted or not. I just think its inconsistent to moan about tatty rap stations and not tatty fixed gear.
In reply to Ian Patterson:

Undoubtedly its fixed anchors. And logically that means bolts. Will you also be replacing the fixed gear with bolts?
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>
> I really don't see the need. I don't think a tree that you'd be happy abseiling off would be harmed if it's got tat round it.

You just don't really care about trees. Think of this, some gritstone routes like Flying Buttress at Stanage can have some amazingly polished holds. Gritstone is a very compact and hard wearing rock. Yet because of the traffic, holds are polished.

Wood (trees) is a much softer natural material by comparison. Don't you think that tree in question will not be killed over time? If I have another option such as bolt, I'd not use the tree.
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

I was ( and shall be ) avoiding that can of worms on this thread ! , so that hopefully phatlad can just get a consensus on his Chee/High tor question.

but yes, it is inconsistent.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Not really, I am not attempting to interfere with the climb itself, merely the method of exit. if people exit prematurely then that's surely their own tough cheddar. but maintaining a better standard of belay would also protect the second and allow a relieved exit from some routes following a harrowing lead.
But ok if you're against bolt belays, what about Stakes at the top of high tor since the BMC has stuck signs on all the handy posts that you shouldn't use 'em
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
> [...]
> Wood (trees) is a much softer natural material by comparison. Don't you think that tree in question will not be killed over time?

No, I don't. Not if it has a sling around it.

Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
> anomalous? not really.

Trad routes have been retroed at Kilnsey, or extra bolts added. Or sport routes put up so that the bolts are clippable from trad classics. You can't pretend that the tide is against the trad on crags where both exist.

Gordale. Cave Route Right Hand.
Blue Scar. Professor of Desire.

Bolts are creeping in on these crags because a small number of influential characters happen to want them now.

But climbers in 100 years might not.

Bring on the can of worms. It needs debated as it feels like the bolting is going unnoticed.
GrahamD 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:

Surely trees is not the issue at Chee Tor ? Most of the easier lines (which have the traffic) finish at the break, where there are plenty of in situ chains round massive threads (with the scope for more, if needed). Easier routes that go to the top tend to have lose rock near the top so not so safe for bolting. Harder routes don't seem to get enough traffic to worry about.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

What's your issue then if you don't like "unsightly bolts" but prefer tatty slings round trees?? The bolts would be hidden off the edge and would be near the tree itself. protects the tree, bolts don't get nicked, you get a safe ab point and belay point. and the problem is????
In reply to richardh:

Wise. ;-)

And because of that inconsistency, folk will tend to take the attitude elsewhere. Not in an obvious way, clearly nobody's going to turn round and say 'Chee Tor's got bolt rap stations' so Welsh/Lakeland crag Y needs them too. But the trend is that way. Far more folk abseil off crags now than even ten years ago and far more fixed stations proliferate. Climbing wall and euro cragging mentality.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:


woa there hoss. I am not going down that road. Retroing is wrong I want trad routes to remain trad routes. This is a specific case where I feel a bolted belay would be a good addition and wouldn't interfere with the trad nature of the crags/routes.
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
>
> What's your issue then if you don't like "unsightly bolts" but prefer tatty slings round trees??

When did I say the bolts were "unsightly" on Chee Tor? Of course you can't see them, as you can't see the tat.

My feeling is that more bolts are appearing on primarily trad crags, when we should be trying to reduce the amount of fixed gear.



JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

three points.

1) your thread title bolts on SOME trad crags, heralds what you may not have meant, but what may in fact happen: namely a spate of people "tidying up" their local crags for their own individual reasons. some of these local crags may be my local crags. so, even on your own terms, i do have an issue with your query.

2) how "local" should ethics be? the most local 'ethics', whereby only the 'crag guardian' has a say, are not ethics at all, just some one who bolts or chops as they will because it's their territory. ethics are a general set of rules which are applied to case-by-case decisions. who are you to say when/where people's input stops being relevant?

3) you wouldn't have felt exasperation with someone who'd said 'i don't climb there, but i think it sounds like a good idea' would you? Are you sure you're not seeking a rubber stamp rather than consensus?
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

Yes. And though Phatlad's bolting suggestion is quite 'logical' (I think) once you replace fixed belays with bolts, logically you should do the same with fixed protection.

How about bolting the belay/rap anchors but as part of the deal removing all other fixed protection on the crag?
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
> How about bolting the belay/rap anchors but as part of the deal removing all other fixed protection on the crag?

The opposite seems to be happening actually.

I did some routes at Blue Scar the other week. Nice bolt belays at the top and a good argument for it (nothing to belay on, steep grass).

The 'hard' routes are getting a lot of traffic as they're easily top-roped and then led. Which you could say is good because they're clean. Lots of wires are fixed in place though. It feels like a sport crag.
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

So it should be bolted really...

Do you think the routes would be led much if there was no fixed gear?
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to JJJJ:
That's a bit harsh, I can give your first 2 points some time but my exasperation would have been levelled equally at someone who said yes but didn't climb there. If not more so as I am not a bolt hound looking to over throw the trad ethos. Nor am I looking for a "rubberstamp"

what is the issue with tidying up crags (I know I really shouldn't have opened the can of worms but I have so . . .) stopping trees from decaying and removing the mish mash on the trees at chee tor (which incidentally does include some of the easier routes but I forget who said it didn't)

But I'll go back to the specifics, the tree at high tor does get trashed and will knacker the crag if it dies 2 bolts would protect the tree and in no way interfere with the routes below it (and to top rope off 'em you'd need a 100m rope so you'd deck out on stretch from about 15m up anyway so top roping is never likely to be a problem)

And some of the routes like Absent Friend and 2 sunspots would benefit from bolt belays, and since there are already bolt belays on other routes at the crag e.g. Nostradamus, then what is peoples issue, and why
In reply to phatlad:

How about cleaning up the fixed gear too?
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Dave, I don't think it follows that bolting the top implies that all fixed gear should be removed in this case, since the OP argues his actions are to save the tree at the top.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
That's a trickier issue, many routes have been reliant on pegs for years (some pegs have been replaced even on grit) and much of the tat that's in the threads has seen better days. But I feel in general, replacing tat in threads (preferably on lead if you can) would be a good thing. As for pegs hmmm trickier, some of the pegs were <are?> essential should they be replaced with other pegs? or simply left to rot. they shoudl NOT be replaced with bolts if that is what you are asking
In reply to phatlad:

But you take Tom's (and my) point that there is a tendency for 'trad' routes with bolt stations and fixed pro to become more like sport routes. In which case why not retro?

And isn't the cleaning up of the fixed gear (be it removal or replacement or retroing) as important as the anchors?
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

I don't know that I agree there is a "tendency" for this to happen. I think there is pressure for this to happen on some occasions (Gary's jubious bolting of some lines would be uppermost in my mind esp. @ chee dale) but that doesn't mean we can't all keep the sport we love (trad) and yet be sympathetic with it as well. I don't think that it would increase the pressure on HT if I bolted a belay by the tree (we all ab off it anyway) and I don't think it would encourage widescale replacement of fixed gear (though some of the shoelaces really do need looking at)
Similarly at Chee tor where it would remove the pressure from the top of the crag (which as I am led to believe the landowner would prefer anyway)
and both crags do already have a number of bolted routes hand in glove with the trad routes.

I do agree on the pressure to bolt though. even reading the guide book it's there. Insidious but there

CF Eyes of fire (a Nadin classic and well worth it) E6 6c

"FA. S.Nadin, R.Davies 3.7.84. It was bolted in 1988 and received many ascents. These were removed later. " I read it as a tacit agreement that retro bolting encourages climbing on the route. Maybe I am paranoid
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
>
> Agree with you totally. Convenience culture. If I wan't fixed anchors I can go to a sport crag.
> It's good practice to be self- reliant.
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
>
> Agree with you totally. Convenience culture. If I wan't fixed anchors I can go to a sport crag.
> It's good practice to be self- reliant.

Though I've never been to either crags, I have been to Sherperd's however. The descents at Sherperd's definitely have something to desire for.
It's not all about convenience culture like you and Dave H. suggested. I clearly remember on a good number of occassions on a 'mountain crag', maybe half a dozen times, that I wished there was an easier decent down that didn't take half an hour, 45 minutes in my rock boots, which could be slippery, dangerous and painful. By the way, carrying a pair of spared shoes is a method but not always practical. Heavy enough as it is with a big rack on a steep route without a pair of trainers! There are more important things to take on a long route such as water and food than trainers.

What's the definition of fixed anchors? Everyone seems to concentrate on bolts and chains. To me, any gear left in situ is fixed gear, such as jammed nuts, cams, abseil tats, pegs. They're all 'fixed' there for considerable amount of time until they rot away, aren't they? What's the difference between abseil tats and purposedly placed bolts? They both are fixed there anyway. Ok bolts may be more 'fixed' than tats. I reckon it's just as easy to remove a bolt or chain as dirty old tats if it needs to be removed. Just take a wire cutter or spanner. I don't see a problem with a lowering off bolt.

Self-reliant? Funny you guys pointed that out. Using nuts, cams, ropes is NOT self reliant. You ARE relying on the gear to save you in case of a fall. To be totally self-reliant, one should try climbing without rock boots, chalk, any trad gear. That's what I call 'self-reliant'. Smart boys! Walking down after a trad climb or abbing down on bolts doesn't make no difference on the process of self-reliance. Either way, one still relies on something at the end of the day. Soloing is the purest form, man (without shoes and chalk that is). Not that, I do that form of climbing very often. However, I did do some of that only with my underpants on, bare hand and foot on some easy stuff down in Cornwall 2 weeks ago. Great fun.


Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
>
> So it should be bolted really...
>
> Do you think the routes would be led much if there was no fixed gear?

This year. 2005? Maybe, no. But in 100 years from now, who knows? They're certainly getting a lot of traffic at the moment because they've got fixed wires all over them.
In reply to Skinny Kin:
> (In reply to I am the God of Strathyre)
> [...]
>
>
> It's not all about convenience culture like you and Dave H. suggested. I clearly remember on a good number of occassions on a 'mountain crag', maybe half a dozen times, that I wished there was an easier decent down that didn't take half an hour, 45 minutes in my rock boots, which could be slippery, dangerous and painful.

Contradiction here? No? Not even a little?

By the way, carrying a pair of spared shoes is a method but not always practical. Heavy enough as it is with a big rack on a steep route without a pair of trainers! There are more important things to take on a long route such as water and food than trainers.

Cobblers.
>
> What's the definition of fixed anchors? Everyone seems to concentrate on bolts and chains. To me, any gear left in situ is fixed gear, such as jammed nuts, cams, abseil tats, pegs. They're all 'fixed' there for considerable amount of time until they rot away, aren't they? What's the difference between abseil tats and purposedly placed bolts? They both are fixed there anyway.

I agree.
>
> Self-reliant? Funny you guys pointed that out. Using nuts, cams, ropes is NOT self reliant. You ARE relying on the gear to save you in case of a fall. To be totally self-reliant, one should try climbing without rock boots, chalk, any trad gear. That's what I call 'self-reliant'. Smart boys! Walking down after a trad climb or abbing down on bolts doesn't make no difference on the process of self-reliance. Either way, one still relies on something at the end of the day. Soloing is the purest form, man (without shoes and chalk that is). Not that, I do that form of climbing very often. However, I did do some of that only with my underpants on, bare hand and foot on some easy stuff down in Cornwall 2 weeks ago. Great fun.

There are levels of self reliance. I would suggest that setting up one's own belay/rap anchors is a damn site more self reliant than clipping an insitu anchor.

JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

ok. my issues are very simple. i don't like fixed protection, but i am weak and will use it if i come across some that feels friendly. however, like a fat lad on a diet, i do not want temptation put my way. fixed protection always spoils a route for me to some extent. i will not bore you with old arguments and platitudes.

you seem reasonably sensible, and on the whole i'm content that you are taking charge. as i say, i know nothing about the specifics, i'm just keen that this general principle (of mine) is not overlooked by those likely to take control of decision-making in the particular instance.

In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
> [...]
>
> They're certainly getting a lot of traffic at the moment because they've got fixed wires all over them.


And are therefore bastardised pseudo-sport routes.

Better to leave them for the next generation (or the very talented now) then you think? I do.
AJM 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad, Steve Parker, Chris C:

The point about better things than chain, wider things to spread the load for chains around trees...... (a while ago, but this is the first time I've seen the thread)

At Bowles, on Southern Sandstone, they have bolts at the top of routes, at the top of others they have wire cables around the trees to provide fixed anchor points near the edge. To stop the wires damaging the trees, they have a wooden block around the back of the tree, so that the wire cuts into a wooden block, which then passes the load onto the tree in a less damaging way since the block of wood is about a foot high rather than a inch thick wire. The wires are pretty well embedded in the blocks by now, but the blocks themselves aren't damaging the tree, and a block of wood is fairly easy to replace when it eventually gets cut through.................

AJM
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to JJJJ:

as I said I will not be(and do not wish to see) retrobolting of routes. It's something I am dead against. the whole issue of fixed protection is a very broad one (there have been times, out of my skull on Pembroke 4 instance when I have wished that the decaying peg in front of me was shall we say a little more robust) however I would not want them replaced with a bolt (I'd prefer it reflected in the grade of the route). insitu tat?? well replace it on the lead if you can or failing that and you know of it's existence, then ab off B4 hand and replace it yourself.
I'll reiterate it's only (ONLY) about installing abseil anchors to cut down on pressures on the tops of the crags we love and their vegetation. Top roping is unlikely to become an issue as already indicated, and it would in no way interfere with the trad nature of any of the routes
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
> [...]
> Better to leave them for the next generation (or the very talented now) then you think? I do.

Well, at least you can take the wires out. The same can't be said of bolts. My worry is that (not so much on Blue Scar), some of these great challenges will not be there for the taking as the routes will have been retro-bolted. Wise Blood at Kilnsey is a superb E6 with two pegs. It will be an even better E7 (and not silly death or anything) for the fitter climber. But it seems more likely that it will be retro-bolted, as that is the current trend on these crags.


Steve Parker 22 Aug 2005
In reply to AJM: Wooden blocks good point. I'd forgotten as long time since I ventured that far South except in a plane. Get sawing!
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to AJM:

It's a good point but might be considered by some as a little unsightly at the top of HT as a national beauty spot.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

But it's not the current trend on the crags I have just indicated. and i do not think that it ever will become that sort of an issue when it's the belay I am talking about bolting not widespread retro bolting.
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor
> No, I don't. Not if it has a sling around it.

I've never been to the crag but from what I gathered in between the threads here. Even with slings and tats around the tree, damage is still being done on the tree. How come? Hence, the slings do damage the trees over time. So your justification is not valid. I've seen loads of tats around trees for abseils before. The bark of the tree is clearly stripped off around where the tats are because of the re-adjusting the tats. Not everyone uses flat tapes to ab off. Some use round static cords which cuts deeper into the bark. Without the protection of the bark, trees are more susceptible to infections and fungi growth, which in turn eventually kills the tree. I think you don't know about trees then.
Why use the tree when you can avoid it?
Steve Crowe 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Sergeant Crag Slabs is a good example that has enjoyed a bolt ab. station since it was originally developed and the bolts have never crept down the routes.

Blue Scar is another venue that had bolt lower offs installed and there has not been a need or desire to replace the insitu gear with bolts.

Goat Grag, Borrowdale has one of those chains around a tree, unfortunatly the tree is compleatly dead and rotten. There are slings around an adjacent tree now. Climbers do not and will not walk off here!

South Africa has implemented a policy of discreet bolted belays/ab stations and these do not impact on the adventure of the ascent.

I am in favour of bolted ab stations on the top of the crag. I would not object to bolt belays at stances where they are deemed appropriate. I can not see that this need mean that the routes would end up becoming retro bolted.

There is however an increasing trend of retro bolting on the Yorkshire Limestone which is currently being tolerated? These bolts should be requisitioned and put to better use creating subtantial ab stations elsewhere... in my opinion.






phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Crowe:

Now that's what I call sense
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>

> Crags are either trad or sport in my book, simple as that.

There's lots of examples out opf your book that have a mix of trad and sport.......Kilnsey, Malham................................

Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Crowe:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
> There is however an increasing trend of retro bolting on the Yorkshire Limestone which is currently being tolerated?

Whose doing the tolerating?


> These bolts should be requisitioned and put to better use creating subtantial ab stations elsewhere... in my opinion.

Requisitioned. I like that one Steve.

M

In reply to Steve Crowe:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
> Sergeant Crag Slabs is a good example that has enjoyed a bolt ab. station since it was originally developed and the bolts have never crept down the routes.
>


There's no room between the routes for anything as large as a bolt.
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
See you in your shop if you want to argue. I like convenience and I like the convenience to argue face to face as well. It's so much easier than typing.
Alun 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> There are levels of self reliance. I would suggest that setting up one's own belay/rap anchors is a damn site more self reliant than clipping an insitu anchor.

So what, prey, do you suggest people do for a belay when the tree at high tor is pulled off, along with several tons of rock, leaving a vast area of chossy rubbish behind it? They can't use the fence posts behind it because there are big official BMC signs saying don't. There'll be no tree to belay off anymore. There'll be no decent rock to place a belay. How will they safely belay their second up? Perhaps they should dig holes in the ground as good 'foot-anchors'? And what happens to the person, on that fateful day, when the tree does come down, after several decades of climbers gradually wearing it down? Will two climbers die in a hail of wood and rock, just because people were so scared of a 'bolt'?

BOLT! There! I said it! See people recoil in fear at the horrid word! Why is it that people accept that fixed gear, whether it's rotten tat, a tree (not part of the rock after all) or permanent stakes, are used regularly, but are so against putting a small bit of metal into the rock? Don't give the me 'self reliance' argument - people are going to use that tree, or that tat, for belays and abseiling anyway. You might not like it, it might not be 'a real adventure!' but that's just the way it is - if you really object to it, go and chope down the tree, and damage all the tat threads - nobody can do it then!

If we accept that people are going to do it (belay/ab off fixed gear) then I think it is the responsility of the climbing community to ensure that it is done in a way to minimise the damage to environment. Drilling two little holes will have significantly less impact on the crag than a whole tree ripping out. Nobody here is suggesting retro bolting of the entire crags, and I don't think anybody is seriously going to suggest anything of the sort.

Apologies for the rant, and the sarcasm. But sometimes I feel people are against bolts just because they have become so entrenched and happy in their views that they refuse to accept valid arguments, and as such it puts lives (not to mention trees, and the crag environment) at risk.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
so what's the general vote then??
In reply to Alun:

You're perpetuating the fallacy that bolts = safe, self reliance = danger.
In reply to Rid Skwerr:

To be fair, I think he's appealing to the common sense of 'new bolt = much safer than dying tree'
Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Crowe:

> I am in favour of bolted ab stations on the top of the crag. I would not object to bolt belays at stances where they are deemed appropriate. I can not see that this need mean that the routes would end up becoming retro bolted.

Steve - I'm intrigued that you haven't mentioned specifically the new bolt belay half way up Dove Crag's North Buttress?

I'm not suggesting that it means the routes will be retroed, but you've got to admit, it's pretty controversial to have new bolts placed on a high Lakeland crag. I haven't seen it, what fixed gear was there before?
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to crossdressingrodney:

that and if can stop the tree dying and trashing the top of the crag then that has go to be a good thing!
Tonyh22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: I think it's time that such actions were taken seriously and that we have the care to protect the tress that have managed to survive abseil assaults and the judicious placing of necessary bolts. I think though that the only real way to progress this is via BMC local area committess so that a process of discussion leading to a generally agreed action is the only real way forward. I can quote an example of what happens otherwise - Sergeant Crag slabs had a couple of quite discreet abseil / anchor points installed a year or so ago (I know not by whom) which have been recently removed - BUT the act of removal has not only left the bolt stubs but has seriously scarred the surrounding rock!

Without some agreement and compromise then such actions will just make things worse. I have talked to quite a number of people recently on this topic and find so far general agreement that such placements have a valid place in the UK. I have to admit to being very impressed with example I have seen in the states which to me showed common sense and a real care for the environment. How many more tress will we kill needlessly in the UK?
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:
I'd go with Alun. People (the 'traditional' school of climbers) are so afraid of the word 'bolt' and so entrenced in their old way of thinking, never accepting anything valid.

By the way, Steve, bolt doesn't only mean = safety. It means environmental concern. Self reliance (using tree belay) is not environmental friendly. The arguement here is about environmental issue, then safety.
In reply to Steve Crowe:

Sergeant crag Slabs did not have bolt anchors when it was originally developed. The walk off is easy. There are plenty of trees for the lazy. One even has a chain.

Should not the in situ gear on Blue scar be removed. Tom Briggs points out that the routes have a sport flavour now that they're 'fully wired'. That isn't 'trad' climbing.

One could walk off from Goat (though it would not be pleasant). Maybe it 'needs' fixed rap stations. ('Needs' in inverted commas as crags don't actually need to be climbed on).

We are not South Africa. We have different traditions and ethics. Perhaps emigrate? [goak here]

Yes, get the Yorks bolts out. Or keep them in and put more in. Decide. Do you want a given crag to be a sport crag or not. Don't haver.
Eric9Points 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:

Can you remind me of the last time a tree was pulled off the top of a crag in Britain by an abseiler?

In reply to Tonyh:
> (Sergeant Crag slabs had a couple of quite discreet abseil / anchor points installed a year or so ago (I know not by whom) which have been recently removed - BUT the act of removal has not only left the bolt stubs but has seriously scarred the surrounding rock!

And drilling 'harmed' the rock not at all. Only a bit of one bolt is still in because it broke. Long nosed pliers will do the job.
>
> Without some agreement and compromise then such actions will just make things worse.

I agree. It's sad that such agreement was reached on Serfeant Crag (no bolts) and then bolts were placed.

How many more tress will we kill needlessly in the UK?

We could actually plant some trees at the tops of crags?

phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:


and herein lies the problem, I am against random acts of senseless bolting but the situations I have detailed I (personally) feel warrant the placing of bolt anchors. However quelling peoples fears regarding bolts and they're encroachment on to trad areas seems to be tricky
Steve Crowe 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

> Steve - I'm intrigued that you haven't mentioned specifically the new bolt belay half way up Dove Crag's North Buttress?

The original gear is still there Tom. An ancient drilled peg belay that was in excellent condition when it was first installed in 1960s but has deteriated somewhat over the years.

None of the drilled gear on the routes has been touched although a few of the ordinary pegs have been replaced from time to time. Thats why I feel Fear and Fascination ought to be E6 now, there is no natural runner placements for a significant section on that route, only ancient drilled gear dating back to when these lines were first attempted as aid routes. Talking to the first ascentionist the drilled gear was already insitu even then, thats over 45 years ago!

I mentioned Sgt Crag Slabs because more people will have come across those.

I also failed to mention the Lakeland Bolts on Dangler, Falcon Crag and on Footless Crow, Goat Crag to mention two that spring to mind. Dusk til Dawn has a jammed wire and tat belay stance/lower off as does the Flying Fissure Finish... not bolts.
In reply to phatlad:

It is tricky. Hence my first post.

As Mr Crowe has brought up Sergeant Crag slabs, I'll use that as example.

Tree was dying.
Big debate what to do.
Internet fury.
National Trust consulted on environmental impact.
Special meeting.
Resolution: no bolts.
Bolts then placed by persons unknown.
Tacit acceptance by a few/some/many/most local climbers
Bolts removed by myself and a friend after some canvassing amongst locals and non locals.
Disgruntlement from aforesaid few/some/many/most local climbers.

Lesson: once bolts go in it becomes somehow morally wrong to remove them even when the placement is against both local ethics and specific discussion and meetings about the crag in question.
Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Absolutely not. If people want to save the tree at the top of HIgh Tor - an excellent notion - then the traditional method of walking round would be the best method.

jcm
In reply to Anonymous:
> n - then the traditional method of walking round would be the best method.


Good lord. You'll be wanting them to tidy their bedrooms and turn the Linkin Park down next.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:

have you read the earlier posts? I have no objection to trekking round, however people WILL still ab off the tree. people walking round has already resulted in some new and exciting footpaths and damage to the local area.
dominic_s 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: not had time to read all the above... but has anyone mentioned the rather large lower off on valkyrie pinnacle or the eco bolts in hoghton quarry yet?
belmonkey22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I am surprised that the general consensus seems to be pro bolting lower offs. I know everyone fashionably lambasts the 'slippery slope' or 'thin end of the wedge' debate, but I don't think it can be so easily forgotten. I believe there is a risk that bolted lower offs could lead to more widespread fixed gear.

for example, if you bolt lower offs on one crag, why not another, and if you bolt lower offs to avoid an inconvenient top pitch, why not bolt belays on multipitches as well. (i think Dave Hunter R&R makes a similar point above, which I agree with)

secondly, one of the principles of traditional climbing is that the ascentionist climbs the rock as it is, leaving it the way he found it (reasonable wear and tear/cleaning excepted). Once you put a bolt lower off on, the route is changed forever. There will always be a permanent hole in the rock where you drilled.

Tat is unsightly, and ruining the tree/environment is undesirable. It seems to me that the specific solution in this case is a plastic covered chain/sling around the tree with a fixed crab on it.
phatlad 22 Aug 2005
In reply to belmonkey:

well as I said earlier I have some gear set aside for that and plan to go sort it. shall simply do it this way and see how that settles for now. However I think you are ignoring the point that there is already a bolt belay on HT at the top of original route. it's not young and it hasn't reulted in bolts swarming down the crag.
I still think it would be a good idea at chee dale coz again there are already some bolted routes and some bolt belays and I believe the landowner would love folk to stay off the top
belmonkey22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I'm not ignoring the point that there is a bolt at the top of HT. In a sense, pointing to other bolted lower offs etc as justification for future bolted lower offs, supports the the 'thin end of the wedge' argument.

If this lower off is bolted then next time someone wants to bolt a lower off they will point to this one as justification.

Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:

>Don't you think that tree in question will not be killed over time? If I have another option such as bolt, I'd not use the tree.

You do. Walking. The High Tor tree is being killed because idle arseholes abseil off it when there's no need. The question is whether we should deal with this problem by making life still easier for them, or not. Personally I say we shouldn't for the reasons Dave Hunter has expressed rather well.

jcm
Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:

>To be totally self-reliant, one should try climbing without rock boots, chalk, any trad gear

Thank God for that. I knew we couldn't have a bolts thread without someone suggesting that clothing constituted aid and therefore it's OK to drill all over the place.

jcm
Alun 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:
> You do. Walking. The High Tor tree is being killed because idle arseholes abseil off it when there's no need.

John you have a valid point that many people agree with, and yet you are failing to address the issue at stake, which is to say that people are going to ab off that tree, whether you like it or not. You can't really stop them - although a little BMC-logoed sign saying 'Please do not ab off this tree' might help a little.

Furthermore I seem to recall the tree being the most solid anchor to belay off once you've reached the top of that area of the cliff. Is there not a case, at this location at least, to put a couple of big fat stakes in the turf behind the tree? Though that wouldn't help with the situation at Chee Dale.
Alun 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:
> I knew we couldn't have a bolts thread without someone suggesting that clothing constituted aid and therefore it's OK to drill all over the place.

And I knew we couldn't have a bolts thread (even a relatively serious one) without the same old thin-end-of-the-wedge and anti-adventure arguments. You just have to ask yourself who are the ones stuck in their ways here? It's nothing to do with progress, it's all to do with recognising that people use the crag in certain ways, and so we have to attempt to find a way to minimise the environmental impact without compromising safety.
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to Anonymous)
> [...]
>
> John you have a valid point that many people agree with, and yet you are failing to address the issue at stake, which is to say that people are going to ab off that tree, whether you like it or not. You can't really stop them - although a little BMC-logoed sign saying 'Please do not ab off this tree' might help a little.
>


You're quite right.

I probably sound like some hideous reactionary but in most cases this is because of a corruption in climbing values. It's become more of a soft option leisure activity and folk don't want 'the hassle' of walking off/dealing with dodgy gear etc etc. So folk will abseil off the tree, convinced that they're not part of any problem. It doesn't mean that John, myself and others can't carp about it. If more folk carped and heckled (ie if we had stronger ethics) then it'd be different. Sadly we now prefer convenience.

In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to Anonymous)
> [...]
>
it's all to do with recognising that people use the crag in certain ways, and so we have to attempt to find a way to minimise the environmental impact without compromising safety.


Who says climbing needs to be safe? And at what stage is environmental impact deemed to be more important that climbing ethics?
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

> Listen you, these things are either possible physically or not. If they are possible physically there's nothing that can objectively stop an ascent, except mental approach.

You're changing the topic. You wrote earlier that:

Crags are either trad or sport in my book, simple as that.

To which TobyA (no relation) correctly pointed out that things aren't so simple. I put forward the Tuolomne example because the large granite domes there are predominantly crack free and only protectable by bolts. However the routes that have been created, typically by ground-up bolting, are scary as cr*p. No one who's climbed there would characterise those routes as sport. That's an extreme end of the spectrum - the climbs at Toulomne would be multi-pitch solos without bolts - but the world is full of climbs that represent graduations on the spectrum. Particularly when you specifically consider bolt anchors at belays: suggesting that those are 'wrong' or part of a 'sport' mentality at somewhere like Yosemite is just nonsensical.
In reply to tobyfk:

Just because the rest of the world is an ethical mess doesn't mean we should copy them [goak here]

Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:

>And I knew we couldn't have a bolts thread (even a relatively serious one) without the same old thin-end-of-the-wedge and anti-adventure arguments

Well, of course not, what with them being the crux of the matter an' all. It's like saying you just can't get a decent thread about the Nazis without some idiot mentioning the gaschambers. The clothing argument's a bit less pointed, though.

I can never be bothered discussing thin-end-of-the-wedge. If people like Steve C think that drilling a new bolt belay halfway up a Lakes mountain crag is normal, but that there hasn't been any thin-end-of-the-wedgery going on, then we have passed beyond rational discussion.

jcm
Mark Stevenson 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> Yes. And though Phatlad's bolting suggestion is quite 'logical' (I think) once you replace fixed belays with bolts, logically you should do the same with fixed protection.

I'm afraid I can't follow that one Dave.

You HAVE TO trust some fixed belays that you lower from, if they fail you die. No questions.

With fixed protection, firstly it is only an issue if you fail to climb the route and even if it is only marginally and rips it has still served its purpose, slowed your fall and perhaps saved your life.

I believe there is no confusion the issues between where you have a belay from which the only option is to lower from compared with a marginal peg on route. Admittedly not all belays fall into this category (e.g. many intermediate stances) but the logic that applies to a lower off cannot (and should not) be applied to other fixed protection.

If you MUST lower off from Chee Tor then I cannot see any plausible arguements about not using the safest and most durable form of protection, be that bolts or chains. In the case of High Tor if there is an acceptable walk off, then that should probably be considered the prefered option first.

I can appreciate the thin end of the wedge arguement but I cannot see any benefit to UK climbing of having abseil stations that put the fear of god into you!

Mark
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Just to be clear: you think there should be no bolts in Yosemite, even at belay anchors on a 30-pitch route?

I'd pay good money to watch you or that 'Gob of ...' moron putting forward that argument in Camp 4 ...
anonymous1 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

yes i totally object , replace the old tat by all means .

However if a tree is f*cked then walk off/scramble off . But no to bolt lower offs on trad cliffs.
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

> Yes, get the Yorks bolts out. Or keep them in and put more in. Decide. Do you want a given crag to be a sport crag or not. Don't haver.

I have to take issue with this really, there is no rule that a given crag has to be either sport or trad.

Yorkshire is currently hovering over the decision line, but places like Malham, Blue, Kilnsey, Gig South, Gordale demonstrate that ( with some notable exceptions ) there can be both at the same venue, which can co-exist.
In reply to tobyfk:

OK, I was wrong to say CRAGS are either sport or trad as even here some crags have co- existing sport and trad lines.
I admit that.

BUT, I like the fact that our trad routes generally have an air of 'nothing guaranteed' about them.

It's up to Americans if they want to place bolt belays/lower offs/ runners on their trad route.
I note that you can actually record a route as a 1st top rope ascent in the US (if it's bold- i.e. nobody actually has to lead it to claim it), so things are obviously a bit different there.


It makes things much more interesting if you have to think about how you are going to set up belay rather than have a couple of nice bolts to clip.
Did you and the other Toby not put up a big E2 on Lofoten? Did that have fixed anchors? Would that have diluted the experience if it did.

Tom Briggs 22 Aug 2005
In reply to richardh:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
> [...]
> Yorkshire is currently hovering over the decision line, but places like Malham, Blue, Kilnsey, Gig South, Gordale demonstrate that ( with some notable exceptions ) there can be both at the same venue, which can co-exist.

You keep hearing that but it seems like every time I visit a Yorkshire limestone crag there are more bolts than there were before. Overall, the retro-bolters are more motivated to put bolts in than people are to remove them after the event. Though I've heard the ones on The Professor of Desire at Blue Scar will be chopped.

In reply to tobyfk:

Firstly, this is the UK, not Yosemite.

Secondly, the Yosemites have a history of IMPROVING style (elimination of aid, bolts, pins etc).

Thirdly, I'm sure you've read 'The Murder of the Impossible'.

Fourthly, I repeat: this is the UK, NOT Yosemite. But to be clear, yes that's what I'd like. History is against it there though. But some (many) of the Camp 4 regulars seem to be set on improving the local style/ethic not degrading it...
martin k22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: personally, i think that it's a good idea. it's no thin end of any wedge, and should only be done after local and/or national consultation. people talk of visual intrusion...next time anyone's up on cloggy, check out the first pitch belay on great wall. i counted three wires, three pegs and a load of slings...not very appealing on such a great and glorious route. the locals in my area have agreed on the need for a very few, very discreet bolt belays on a certain gritstone quarry to keep the locals alive...horses for courses, i think. it should be more a case of common sense than reactionary ranting.
cheers!
ChrisC 22 Aug 2005
In reply to martin k:
> it should be more a case of common sense than reactionary ranting.

Quite...

In reply to martin k:

Can anyone imagine that even five years ago, certainly ten, folk would have been demanding bolted lower offs on 'trad' crags?
richardh 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

you're right, it is creeping, and I've done a bit of asking around about "Professor" after you mentioned it a bit back. I think establishing a consensus may have to involve a bit of chopping/wrong bolting. The current scenario of discussing it at BMC meets is getting nowhere.

I can say that it wasn't the main people who are involved in re-equipping who were involved in retro-ing Professor. I think professor is a good example of a mixed-gear route ( that always went up a bolt ladder to start as i understand it) then relied on tat/pegs that needs to be discussed / argued over.
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:

> Did you and the other Toby not put up a big E2 on Lofoten?

Not quite. We did the n'th ascent of Vestpillaren, a classic 12 pitch E1/E2 (which I'd recommend to anyone).

> Did that have fixed anchors?

Interestingly it has only one fixed piece - a drilled peg or bolt protecting on pitch 11. I was surprised that there weren't fixed anchors. However it isn't a steep climb and follows cracks, so getting off in a thunderstorm or similar would just be a question of sacrificing cams.

> Would that have diluted the experience if it did?

No. In fact there are bolts elsewhere on Lofoten, like on this Tuolomnesque slab http://www.gcx94.dial.pipex.com/solson.jpg ....
In reply to tobyfk:

I'll need to cut down on the drink, my memory is fcuked.
Simon 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:


sorry - haven't got time to read this whole thread - but this has been discussed at the last BMC Peak area.

I don't think we came to a consensus - in fact the waters got very muddy on what should constitute bolting grit etc.

As for Chee Tor High Tor - it may be valid - but come along to the next meeting & discuss.

Si
tobyfk 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

> Firstly, this is the UK, not Yosemite.

Er yes .. so why make sweeping comments like: Just because the rest of the world is an ethical mess doesn't mean we should copy them ?
Matrixboy22 Aug 2005
In reply to tobyfk:

Like out in Korea. Mixture of trad routes with the odd bolt and bolt belays.

One 5.10 route at Bukasan (sp?) is virtually impossible without the use of a bolt/sling aid point.
Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Returning for one moment to your original point, I must be misremembering Chee Tor. When I last went the lower-off points were threads in the break and there seemed to be loads of convenient ones. I don't recall any trees at all. What's the problem here?

As to High Tor, I think someone else's idea of a notice is a good one. I suggest it reads:

'We are killing this tree by abseiling off it. When it dies the stability of the crag will be compromised and someone may die when the tree pulls out unexpectedly. We are also spoiling the route on the abseil route. Please walk down the convenient path which is fifty yards that way and runs over solid rock with no conceivable environmental issues. Thank you. Love, the BMC.'

in reply to the last poster: who the hell cares what they do in Korea? Or indeed, Yosemite. In France they bolt cracks. So what?

jcm
In reply to tobyfk:

OK, most of the rest of the world.

But do you like ethical mess. Or would you rather see some clarity? I would.
Matrixboy22 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous: Oh grow up. I was just trying to give a sense of 'global' perspective that's all.
Ian Patterson 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

Haven't been to Blue Scar in years but sounds like they should be chopped - it would seem pretty simple to me that the Central Wall there should remain a trad venue. Though what you do with rotting pegs remains a question I guess (I've only done Central Wall itself an remember quite a bit of fixed gear).

What are the other places / routes that are bothering you.

I've had a couple of visits to Trow Gill and to honest it seems eminently sensible that the routes there are bolted up - if I was doing much trad climbing (sometime it will happen again!) then I would see no attraction in in given the nature of the rock and availability of protection, and the best routes routes on the south wall were always basically sport routes weren't they.

I was on Cave Route Right at the weekend - of the bolts leading into the start of Defcon one has been smashed flat very messily. These make no difference to the route - iirc there used to be a big thread at the start and the climbing is pretty steady anyway. The move over the first hard bulge can now be protected via a new bolt over to the right but this is right next to an old bolt, or by good wires under the roof and a stuck rock 1 in the roof. Then its pegs in various states into the niche where is a newish bolt. More pegs then get to the bottom of the groove from where a couple of wires lead up to another newish bolt (next to other stuff I think including huge thread on CRL a bit below), finishing hard moves on peg pockets and then easy climbing with rusting relics with tat attatched to the to.

Not sure what all the waffling means but in general seemed very similar to my last attempt about 8 years ago. Only other comment I would make is CRL does look a bit of a mess with all the bright coloured threads (again not necessarily drawing any conclusions about what should be done).

BTW it still kicked my ass - one redpoint attempt failed at the peg pockets getting near the top and had nothing left for the rest of the day (and felt as stiff as hell the next morning)!
Marts22 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Parker: We have loads of kit in the tree surgery business for protecting trees when we use them as anchors. Huge strops, elasticated margin slings alsorts of stuff. Unfortunately this tree seems to be getting a constant hammering and will not get the chance to recover. If it is getting bitten the only way to save it is to leave it alone, get some preserver on it, have some kind of cylinder put round it so people will know. The only real solution I can think of is drilling it. When supporting a tree that is failing and needs a lift we drill it and screw huge suppoprts between the branched to take the weight off. It sound major and aweful but in my experience will do less harm than stops, slings etc. Realy depends on the size if the tree if you can get a bolt through.
Good luck
M
In reply to the OP and jcm:

I got the impression from the first few posts that only way off this crag (Chee Tor) was to ab. Is this wrong?

Secondly, well done phatlad for bothering to canvas some views before acting.
Ian Patterson 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>
> Returning for one moment to your original point, I must be misremembering Chee Tor. When I last went the lower-off points were threads in the break and there seemed to be loads of convenient ones. I don't recall any trees at all. What's the problem here?
>

Not true for lots of the routes - absent friends and everything left, mortlocks arete etc probably lots more as well. And as I said before you cannot walk off as far as I know - somebody may yet pop up to say its only a bushwack through a hundred foot of vegetation followed by a two mile stroll!
In reply to Alun:

Suppose the following:

Lower offs are from threads.
Every leader carries some tat and a knife.
They remove the old tat and replace with new.
Then rap.

Any problem?

Remember, these are 'trad' routes. Belays shouldn't necessarily be easy or safe to arrange.
djviper22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run: dave what have i told you about thinking logicaly!
Alun 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
Dave I agree with you entirely, this is the correct method of doing things - however, unfortunately many people don't do this, not even our mysterious mr cox: "When I last went the lower-off points were threads in the break and there seemed to be loads of convenient ones"!

Anonymous22 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:

I don't see the problem. There were various threads with old slings: if I didn't like one I'd have traversed and used the next. We don't need renew them every time.

This idea we should bolt crags because tat's unsightly is just nonsense, isn't it? Someone please reassure me people only say that as a wind-up?

jcm
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
> Dave I agree with you entirely, this is the correct method of doing things - however, unfortunately many people don't do this, not even our mysterious mr cox: "When I last went the lower-off points were threads in the break and there seemed to be loads of convenient ones"!


So why must we pander to the lazy?
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

> So why must we pander to the lazy?

Because otherwise they'll sulk.

TobyA 22 Aug 2005
In reply to tobyfk:

> Not quite. We did the n'th ascent of Vestpillaren, a classic 12 pitch E1/E2 (which I'd recommend to anyone).

Ascent 754 at a rough guess.

> Interestingly it has only one fixed piece - a drilled peg or bolt protecting on pitch 11. I was surprised that there weren't fixed anchors. However it isn't a steep climb and follows cracks, so getting off in a thunderstorm or similar would just be a question of sacrificing cams.

Was that peg drilled? Are you sure? And weren't any of the fixed anchors on the 4 pitches of the direct start bolts? I remember some were nut/peg combos but I thought there were a few bolts as well?
Skinny Kin 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> I probably sound like some hideous reactionary but in most cases this is because of a corruption in climbing values.

Corruption in climbing values? I remember some friend talking about grades creeping up a few weeks ago. He talked about the advance of climbing gear technology and sticky rubber. Shouldn't all grades be downed for those advantages we get?
Same argument goes to why your or other gear shops sell bouldering mats. That's corruption in climbing values too! Where's self reliant value if you're so fond of that? Just use the landing nature provides. Why bother with 100 quid mattress? Your shop should take a stand to stop selling them then. It's corrupting the adventure spirit of bouldering; not 'hard' enough.

The world is evolving each day. You can't stop changes.
JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to Skinny Kin:

poor argument. the individual boulderer chooses whether or not they want an 'adventure', and takes the boulder mat away with them afterwards.

i'm sure you can see how this doesn't apply to bolted belays.
In reply to JJJJ:

But change is always good. Apparently.
JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:

and always unstoppable too, don't forget that.
In reply to JJJJ:

Grinding onwards and upwards toward an effort free, fully installed utopia.
JJJJ22 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:
that's a depressingly good summary
UKB Shark 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Ian Patterson:


When new route prospecting I was surprised how easy it was to access the top of Chee Tor. Head up by dogs dinner buttress and the wood at the top is relatively vegetation free (or was). Similarly the top of the Cornice is easy to access.
Tyler 22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Well I've read the whole thread and am also in what seems to be the minority position of actually having climbed at the crags you mentioned! I'm certainly in favour of bolted lower offs at Chee Tor, I'd prefer that to lowering off dangerous old tat. From a visual point of view and a safty point of view this would appear to be a no-brainer. Which leaves historical and ethical arguments.

The main ethical argument being that lowering off panders to the lazy and is a promotion of fast food climbing. Obviously it is more convenient to lower off the top of 42nd Street than "scramble" down (that I'd like to see!) but it was always thus and lowering off at Chee Tor (or abbing of High Tor) is nothing new, the only difference between what is being proposed and what has happened before is bolted lower offs are safer, if there is an ethic that says when faced with two options climbers should choose the least safe I don't subscribe to it. Climbing at Chee Tor will be no more convenient with bolt belays instead of thread other than you might not suffer the inconvenience of a failing lower off and have to deal with that inconvenient death stuff that I guess, as trad climbers, we're expected to embrace as "one of those things"

This leaves the old thin end of the wedge argument which is being wheeled out, but lets face it this is bollocks. Anyone wishing to retrobolt does so because they want to and feel justified in doing so, they don't wait for bolt belays to appear and then pounce, they do it whether or not a lower off is there or not, q.v. Eyes of Fire, there are already bolts on Chee Tor and it didn't lead to widespread bolting on the rest of the crag. Bolters and retro bolters are invariably experienced climbers and know where the line is, if they choose to cross it it won't be because they see bolted lower offs as a green light, they will know as well as anyone on this thread the falicy of that argument.

My final point about the thin end of the wedge argument is that we've heard it all before and we're still waiting for the bolting apocalypse. After the initial wave of bolting (which included some retro bolting) at Pen Trwyn and Harpur Hill the classic trad lines are still classic trad lines ten years later and let's face it the mountain crags and sea cliffs are safer than ever from bolts, a few bolted lower offs on specific inland limestone crags are not going to change that.

Although I've been speaking of Chee Tor my opininons and arguments largely apply to High Tor as well.
The Crow 22 Aug 2005
In reply to I am the God of Strathyre:
> Agree with you totally. Convenience culture. If I wan't fixed anchors I can go to a sport crag. It's good practice to be self-reliant.

I don't like this argument, because it implies that taking some action to protect the environment of a crag is less important than some intangible 'self-reliance'.

In this example this is clearly rubbish. The crag is a trad crag and any climber who has summitted has already done so on lead, which already requires IMO more self-reliance than setting up a belay, so your premise is self-defeating.

Other factors, environmental impacts, visual intrusion, history, volume of traffic, convenience etc. should decide the appropriate action. (And convenience is not always an evil).

I don't know this crag so I'm not going to venture what course is the correct one, but some evangelical self-reliance argument shouldn't feature... please?
nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

American Safe Climbing Assn ?

http://www.safeclimbing.org/
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to nz Cragrat:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
>
> American Safe Climbing Assn ?
>
> http://www.safeclimbing.org/

Top organisation, Chris Mac, and Greg Barnes (he be the main man) have done thousands of hours of sterling work and they are both well-rounded climbers who love trad, sport, bouldering, big wall et al...equally.....but at the same time they are not weighed down by dogma that inhibits action in the UK.

Mick

Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to tobyfk)

> Fourthly, I repeat: this is the UK, NOT Yosemite.

Settle down donkey, we'll have waffles in the morning and everything will be OK.
nz Cragrat 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Mick Ryan:

Phatlad seems to have been logical and reasoned in his argument and looking from the outside in I think he has valid points and he is talking about very specific situations on specific crags and that is what his OP was about. It seems to me that there are few reasons (in the case in question) why he should not go ahead. It is not the advocacy of wholesale bolting of crags in the UK. I think some of you might need to step back a little from, as mick says, your entrenched dogma, and be open to new approaches thinking which are not necessarily bad.
Climbing a lot in the US I run into unsightly tat all over the place - including places where I have easily down climbed without it ( but would have if the afternoon thunderstorm had arrived) - there is a lot of value in having good fixed stations environmentally and for safety reasons. I have lived in the UK and understand the "history' but the old ways are not always the only ways that things can be done.
> Am seriously thinking about updating some of the current belays at places like chee tor and high tor, as the belays are looking right ropey (knackered pegs and tat or trashed trees) but before I set off into the world with drill in hand I'd like to canvas some opinion. Based on the bolt belays above original route (H. Tor) I thihk it would be better than leavin tat round trees or relying on poor belays (the small stance on Laurin is trash, and some of the tat at the top of chee tor is shot, would be better and lobnger lasting with bolts)




Let's look at the first posting:

It says 'crags like', not just those two. Now one might interpret that as meaning 'only limestone crags with a tradition of abseil descent' which is what the OP means 'or as 'crags which are difficult to desent from' where 'difficult' is a relative concept. Can the pro bolting lobby (and I omit Phatlad from this as he seems quite reasonable) not see that this sends a potentially mixed message?

Now let's consider the 'environmental' aspect. There are two things the bolters consider bad:

First, damage to trees caused by abseiling. This certainly happens. Were climbers to help plant trees at the top of popular crags, perhaps they might represent a 'renewable resource'. Or is harm to an individual tree not counterbalanced by putting something back (literally in the case of planting trees)? I'm not saying this should happen, but if you're a climbing tree lover then why not?

Second, erosion. This often isn't such an issue to environmentalists as climbers like to think. So perhaps it's just an aesthetics thing? Again, I don't say it is but it's something to consider.





Bob 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Mick Ryan:

There is a difference though: they are replacing bolts with bolts. I have seen and used (and somewhere in my boxes of old kit actually posess some) those 1/4" excuses of bolts. Placed on the lead, by hand, by a leader either stood on a small ledge or hanging from a skyhook, they make the Troll bolts used here in the 1980s look like something you'd tie the Queen Mary to! Have to take issue with the name - there is no safe climbing, only low risk climbing

As for other points raised on this thread, I have never seen, and indeed never heard of anyone walking down from Chee Tor. Hang on! There was someone who headed off from the top of the crag the last time I was there but like I said, never heard of (again). As for replacing the threads at the girdle break with bolts: this is contrary to the guidelines that bolts should not be reachable from existing routes, so really is a non-starter. Like others have said, take some tat of your own and replace what's there if you don't trust it.

High Tor, well the times that I have climbed there, I've walked down. Hardly ruined my day or used up extra time.

The real question though is: why?

For a start there are many more climbers around nowadays than say twenty years ago when bolted free routes first appeared in the UK. Greater numbers brings greater pressures on the limited resources that are UK crags. It's worth noting that most of the crags under pressure are in the Peak or Yorkshire, possibly indicating a lack of initiative on the part of the Gadarene Hordes.

Secondly, it seems that more climbers are coming into the sport via indoor walls as opposed to the "traditional" way of learning the ropes that was common in the 1980s and before. There is less acceptance that "this is how things are". Whether this older view is "dogma" probably depends which side of the fence you are looking from, there is much empty rhetoric on both sides.

The pressures are best seen in the announcement of a new climbing venue. This has always led to an increase in visits while people try on the Emperor's new clothes. But this usually settles down once the true quality or otherwise of the climbing becomes apparent. This surge has caused problems in the past with landowners (Grange Crags, Borrowdale) or statutary bodies (Chapel Head Scar) when patience and/or compromise has eased the day.

I started climbing in 1980, and started climbing bolted routes in 1981 so I am hardly anti-bolt. Climbing has changed in that time, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But until recently the changes were on new ground, not existing lines. Now it seems that this is not enough and the standards of yesterday must be pulled down and rewoven in the new colours. Without its past, climbing will be as empty as the next sponsor's energy drinks can.

Bob
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan)
>
> There is a difference though: they are replacing bolts with bolts. I have seen and used (and somewhere in my boxes of old kit actually posess some) those 1/4" excuses of bolts. Placed on the lead, by hand, by a leader either stood on a small ledge or hanging from a skyhook, they make the Troll bolts used here in the 1980s look like something you'd tie the Queen Mary to! Have to take issue with the name - there is no safe climbing, only low risk climbing


Not sure what point you are trying to make Bob. Yosemite has seen some of the most extreme and dangerous ground-up bolting anywhere, particulary in Tuoumne and some of Bachar's unsung gems...I don't mean the Bachar-Yerian...... but even bolder. Despite the name, the ASCA, are not trying to make climbing safer or elimate risk. What they are trying to do is replace old like with new like......old gear deteriates as you know, they replace it with new.
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

And to finish, a heartwarming (or not) tale from the Lake District.

There was once a little crag in the woods. Covered with vegetation (though not completely) and surrounded by trees. It stayed ignored by climbers for years and years until one day, not too long ago it was 'discovered'.
Now, as we know, climbers like to climb nice clean rock. So, like busy little bees they beavered away at the crag, and cleared most of the vegetation off. It was pronounced a 'classic find' and behold! there were uncovered a fine collection of low-mid grade classic routes. Nice and soft touch too with plenty of gear and a handy tree at the top (because the only thing wrong with the crag was that the descent was just a teensy difficult, and took five minutes).

Not surprisingly our crag grew in popularity very quickly. Sadly the tree died. Perhaps because of the climbers. Perhaps it might have died anyway. But the climbers certainly didn't help it. Now the tree dying caused agreat fuss. What was to do? The walk off was clearly unthinkable for those who wanted to do as many routes on a sunny June evening as possible and the tree had been so handy.

But somebody had a bright idea! If a bolt anchor were placed then everyone could abseil off and be happy. There was just a leetle problem. The pesky local ethics were quite clear. NO BOLTS ON LAKELAND MOUNTAIN CRAGS they said. Very clear (though not always in capitals like that). So there was a big argument. Well quite a big argument for the Lake District. Lots of people got very shouty. Those that didn't like to shout in public shouted on t'interweb instead. And the shouting went like this:
Bolts are good: we need the anchor because walking off damages the environment!
Bolts are bad: Cobblers!
Bolts are good: Tis so!
Bolts are bad: Tis not!
(this went on like that for a little while).

Then one of the bolts-are-good-gang had a brainwave. He'd ask an expert. The National Trust no less! They owned the crag. And they were undoutedly environmental experts. And do you know what they said? That's right they said, 'Walking off this crag won't cause any harm but we'd like you to stay away from that wet gully on the other side (silly them, imagine a modern climber in a wet gully!). Further,' they added, 'we've had to cut down that damned tree now you've told us it's dangerous and furthermore it's cost us quite a bit to chop it down and get someone to do an environmental survey done. So if you could just get on with things sensibly in future, we'd appreciate it. Oh, and don't place none of them bolt things on that crag neither'.

This was a sad thing for the bolts are good gang. And even sadder, when there was a big shouting match about bolting the crag in Keswick, the bolts are bad gang shouted louder and longer. So they won.

And you know what happened next? Everyone sat down and became friends again and everything was lovely. Except somebody put a bolt lower off in the crag anyway. And it stayed there for a bit. And then some of the bolts are bad gang took them out (which was VERY NAUGHTY). And now everyone's cross again. But not in a shouty way this time, just gentle seething so far.

All this might not be strictly relevant to Chee and High but there is no doubt that things are changing. In truth I don't give a stuff about limestone or grit. Bolt the lot if you want. But I do care that the erosion of ethics is affecting places that I do care about. I'm sure most folk on this thread are very reasonable folk. I think there needs to be a balance. If fixed anchors are necessary then by all means let them be bolts. But balance it by making the 'trad' routes 'proper' trad. remove the tatty threads and in situ wires, maybe even the in situ pegs (and if you recoil from that, ask yourself why exactly that is). That'd be compromise. And isn't that fair?
Tony Holdsworth 22 Aug 2005
In reply to all: Surely the real point of this thread needs to be two fold-

1/ how to releiably arrive at a consensus for (tediously but necesarrily - sorry but spelling is poor now - a PRocess for agreement) as otherwise we just go around for ever (however amusingly) in these forums without any real reliable result.

2/ how to inform the climbing population in the future of what the consensus hase agreed?

My solutions are -

to 1/ the BMC local commitees probably represent the best and most comprehensive official (God I don't reeally ,mean that - I ascribe to climbings fundamental anarchy) method to arrive at a decision.

and to 2/ an online database of accepted bolt (on trad crags a reason for each and every bolt on Portaland might be tedious reading!).

I just think that although the discussion is interesting we are not addressing the real point which is how to arrive at a correct, acceptade and sustainable decision - eg the cock up at Seargeant Crag Slabs.

Tony
Bob 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Mick Ryan:

Didn't realise there was an echo in here!

Miss the smiley Michael?

Bob
In reply to chosfel:
>
>
> I just think that although the discussion is interesting we are not addressing the real point which is how to arrive at a correct, acceptade and sustainable decision - eg the cock up at Seargeant Crag Slabs.
>
>

I completely agree. I'd also like to point out that if the Sergeant Crag meeting had been in favour of bolts, I'd have been mightily pissed of but I would have (reluctantly) abided by the 'consensus'.

Tony Holdsworth 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run: Dave - I climbed on SC slabs recently and found the walk off both simple and atractive (like the climbing there really) but how do we convert the need for sustasinable consensus to reality? I'm sort of new to getting involved (probably comes from a combination living in Hull and being lazy).

More seriously I feel that we are at an important point in the development of climbing in the UK (at least in this respect with bolt placements) and that a real PROCESS (not comfortable with that as an idea but what alternative is there?) is required.

Tony
In reply to chosfel:

The problem is insufficient (and possibly biased) canvassing. On both sides. A BMC local area meeting isn't a sufficiently large number of climbers. Neither is an internet site like this. Nor is asking your mates. Not even all three. But canvassing takes time.

Suppose Needlesports, Ultimate Outdoors, The Climbers Shop, Rock+Run, the BMC site, the FRCC, Kendal, Keswick and Penrith Walls, anyone else whoo could be arsed collected names and addresses of all those willing to express a preference for bolt stations (in a variety of locations) over the course of a year? That'd allow time for reflrction and argument.

If that happens I'll join the Tory party.
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:

Sorry Bob...yes my reply was an echo of yours.
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

My last reply was specifically Lakes based. Other areas could cover similarly.
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to chosfel)
>
> The problem is insufficient (and possibly biased) canvassing. On both sides. A BMC local area meeting isn't a sufficiently large number of climbers. Neither is an internet site like this. Nor is asking your mates. Not even all three. But canvassing takes time.

Hmmmm, I'm not so sure about that Dave Hunter. With 0ver 16,000 registered users and over 100,000 individuals using UKClimbing each month, and with 8% of the users answering the UKC readership survey which is statistically significant, you would end up with a fairly sound consensus from UKC.com....if you did combine that with say a response from the BMC's Summit magazine, although that response would be significantly less as snail mail responese are....you would end up with an sounder response.

But would that make any difference?
In reply to Mick Ryan:

Nice plug. I think though you'd need folk's attention drawn to the debate through more than one medium. Interweb, press, walls and gear shops will catch more folk than one alone.

Would it make a difference?

I doubt it. But it might. Look at this thread though. How many of the 16 000 have expressed an opinion? Less than 30 I'd guess.
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Oh, and you can call me Dave if you like, Michael Ryan.
Tony Holdsworth 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter:

Dave - you've been in the front line herebut really it sounds like the infrastructure is pretty much in place giving the willingness of the parties that you propose.

Here's a process which I propose for ciriticism and improvements'

A bolt placement (ab or belay) is proposed for a UK crag (trad and new or replacement of existing bolt or peg etc etc it's the general principle thats being proposed here).

Whoever happens to get hold of this informs the approparaiet BMC committee.

The infrastrucure of web sites, shops etc are informed (electronicalyy or they actively monitor the appropriate sitesand place comment slips in the shops and return to BMC)

Everyone argues for a period which is given a necessarily arbitary end date.

Votes (opinions) are counted and considered.

A (God help me) ruling made.

The result recorded on the national bolt placement database (will I be lynched?).

Bob's your uncle everyone's happy!

Easy! Any more questions?

Seriously though I can't see another way but for us all to submit ourselves to a process - the thing is that we can argue like hell to form it properly!

Tony



In reply to chosfel:

Pretty much that happened regarding Sergeant Crag Slabs. BUT there was insufficient canvassing and insufficient time taken to canvass.
The other part of the problem is that I suspect the crag would have got a bolt anchor by stealth even if wider and lengthier consultation had been done.

But I'd like to think that it'd work. I suspect most folk don't give a toss or (worse) think that their opinions don't matter or aren't worth considering
djviper22 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: been thinking about this a lot as its a very hard debate to have but my personal ethic is to make each acent as clean and free from artificial aid as posible, pitching one man aginst the rock, bolts whilst being safer and posible cleaner arnt needed if those who climb a)know what there doing and b)if you find a bit of useless tat at a safe place cut it and take it

obviously before i get slated those climbs that are only posible to attain without artificial aid are a different rule, but if the pioneering climbers managed these route in crap kit by todays standards why are we simplafying and removing there hard fort routes
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan)
>
> Nice plug. I think though you'd need folk's attention drawn to the debate through more than one medium. Interweb, press, walls and gear shops will catch more folk than one alone.


Of course you would. I'm glad you came round to my way of thinking.

But if you were to put your money in one media, it's no contest.
In reply to Mick Ryan:
> (In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run)
> [...]
>
>

>
> But if you were to put your money in one media, it's no contest.


You're so right. Pursued with vigour, face to face canvassing of opinion will beat all the others hollow.

I'm glad you take that point.
Tony Holdsworth 22 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run: I think, sadly, that you are probably right and that arrogant action without reference to consensus is likely to increase in the future.

However perhaps an approach to the BMC to create a process which is wide and inclusive could improve the statistics overall if not in particular instances?

I'm going to put myself up for no end of hassle here and speak to the BMC.

It's late - I must be drunk, time for bed!

Tony
Michael Ryan 22 Aug 2005
In reply to djviper:
> (In reply to phatlad) been thinking about this a lot as its a very hard debate to have but my personal ethic is to make each acent as clean and free from artificial aid as posible, pitching one man aginst the rock, bolts whilst being safer and posible cleaner arnt needed if those who climb a)know what there doing and b)if you find a bit of useless tat at a safe place cut it and take it
>
> obviously before i get slated those climbs that are only posible to attain without artificial aid are a different rule, but if the pioneering climbers managed these route in crap kit by todays standards why are we simplafying and removing there hard fort routes

You make a very valid point DJ. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm sure you will explain further.

djviper22 Aug 2005
In reply to Mick Ryan: no futher point to it realy, its just my whole take on the bolt debate
sutty 23 Aug 2005
In reply to djviper:

Nice of you to take an interest as a none climber, perhaps you could tell us your views on which is the best way to test for avalanche slopes while you are at it? ;-p
Michael Ryan 23 Aug 2005
In reply to djviper:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan) no futher point to it realy, its just my whole take on the bolt debate

Would you mind repeating it in English?

tobyfk 23 Aug 2005
In reply to TobyA:

> Was that peg drilled? Are you sure? And weren't any of the fixed anchors on the 4 pitches of the direct start bolts? I remember some were nut/peg combos but I thought there were a few bolts as well?

Actually I can't entirely remember. Low down I think there are some tat clusters but not bolts? Haven't you done the direct twice now? You probably know better than me.

tobyfk 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler:
>
> My final point about the thin end of the wedge argument is that we've heard it all before and we're still waiting for the bolting apocalypse. After the initial wave of bolting (which included some retro bolting) at Pen Trwyn and Harpur Hill the classic trad lines are still classic trad lines ten years later and let's face it the mountain crags and sea cliffs are safer than ever from bolts, a few bolted lower offs on specific inland limestone crags are not going to change that.

Amen. Nicely put.
tobyfk 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:
>> in reply to the last poster: who the hell cares what they do in Korea? Or indeed, Yosemite. In France they bolt cracks. So what?

Actually John, if you read the thread, it was one of you jihadi dogmatists who first threw in the 'global perspective'.
djviper23 Aug 2005
In reply to sutty: perhaps you could tell us your views on which is the best way to test for avalanche slopes while you are at it? ;-p

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
yes indeed sutty , you need a trained monkey who can summit and then ski down if you still have an intact monkey when he reaches you its safe
Steve Parker 23 Aug 2005
In reply to djviper: Can I volunteer for the job of trained monkey? I have all the right credentials. And I can ski.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
Good God this is still going on! I left for the crags at 1:00 yesterday and come back to work this morning and it's still here, thought this would have faded by now.
OK hands up who's actually been to Htor and Ctor? (as these are the 2 crags I thought would benefit from some "sympathetically placed bolt anchors" at the top)
Why hasn't anyone replied to a few folks mentionings (inc. me) of stakes at the top
djviper23 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Parker: only if you provide the chocky hob nobs ;-)
Steve Parker 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: I think most of the above have ignored your VERY specific points and used your thread as a vehicle to re-open their own favourite topics about the sanitizing of the climbing environment etc. If there is room for stakes, then that might be a solution. Other than that, a couple more discreet bolts placed to protect a tree or rationalize a dodgy belay is hardly the assassination of British climbing. The problem is not you or your attitude, it's the people who might take your actions as a precedent. But, if it's done appropriately and sensitively in a little-used area, it probably doesn't have much knock-on effect.

When in doubt, however, I would suggest you always err on the side of no-bolting, just because there is always a good reason for a few more bolts. In 50 years time, that will add up to a lot of bolts. The tree, however, is certainly more important than the purist predilections of a few transient climbers. If it is protected from our abuses (as it should be), it will be there long after we and our petty debates have disappeared.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Steve Parker:

It's a good point, steve, I'd just like to see the tree happily outliving me. and i'd like to see some of the "less experienced" climbers who make it to Ctor, making it out alive. There have been occasions in the past when I have known people to rest on tat (at the top or in the middle) and take huge lobs now if you're gonna trust tat in the middle, well I feel that's your own look out, but who among us has not clipped the top and felt a sense of relief then looked to see a complete mish mash of nonsense that you wouldn't even hang your washing on. It's all very well for people to preach about walking off but there's no way it's gonna happen at Ctor and the land owners DO NOT WANT IT - ask Gaz Gibbo about it. So people do clip the tat. Constant turnover over tat would be a solution but surely a bolt belay would abrogate the need for this and be far more sustainable. Now at Ctor there are good thread belays - above Mortlocks, above ceramic etc but there are poor ones - above 2 sunspots and absent friends and you're on scruffy rock that is not improving bolts'd be a welcome addition. IMO
helix 23 Aug 2005
can I just ask Dave Hunter - and I am not meaning to sound like a smart-&rse, I just am genuinely interested to know - why the chains are still at Gimmer when the bolts were chopped at Sergeant Crag Slabs?
In reply to helix:

Because there is no anti chain policy (sadly in my view) in the Lake District.

Phatlad:

I'm sorry if you feel that I've hijacked your thread. As I've said, you seem very reasonable. But I do think that wider consultation is needed (in general). And both your initial post and the thread title did not confine the crags to Chee and High. Those were merely the examples you gave.
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

I'm cragging today so I shan't be replying to any postings until this evening or tomorrow am.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
I'm working today so I shall be mostly replying to this thread and being jealous of Dave going craggin
sutty 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

ok, now we have Steve Parker saying use a stake instead of a bolt. Why? More obtrusive, more likely to get removed and less long lasting. Worst solution to the problem at High Tor.
Best solution would probably be chain with protection round the tree, glued up Maillon. If that is not acceptable take it to the area meeting next month.
Same with Chee Tor, only done one route apart from the girdle, so not sure where all the routes join it. My solution there would be to put chains round some of the natural threads on the traverse and get people to traverse the odd half pitch to them to descend. The alternative is to put some hard routes up to the top or put even more bolts in and make the finishes aid routes.;-)
In reply to sutty:

>
> ok, now we have Steve Parker saying use a stake instead of a bolt. Why?

Handy if topping out at dusk. Vampires.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to sutty:

go on son, get in there! More bolts, now that's gonna make me real popular! ;o)
Am planning to stick summat round the tree, probably tonight. If that gets nicked.. . . . well. I do partially agree with a stake on top (yea I know it's obtrusive) but it would give better top belays, also you could then ab down to the Original route stance then ab from there
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:

cue Vincent Price
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to sutty:

>...Worst solution to the problem at High Tor. Best solution would probably be chain with protection round the tree, glued up Maillon.

There is no problem at High Tor except for people who are being too selfish to walk off.

> Same with Chee Tor, only done one route apart from the girdle, so not sure where all the routes join it. My solution there would be to put chains round some of the natural threads on the traverse and get people to traverse the odd half pitch to them to descend.

For routes that finish at the break (which is most of the popular ones), you don't have to traverse that far to find good natural threads, several of which have in situ chains.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:
So every time you do a route you walk back down to the bottom do you?
And as for Chee perhaps the reason some routes are neglected is the difficulty in returning to the ground????
Steve Parker 23 Aug 2005
In reply to sutty:
> (In reply to phatlad)
>
> ok, now we have Steve Parker saying use a stake instead of a bolt.

Whooah there boy, I never suggested using a stake - someone else did. I agreed with them that it might be a solution. It's not one that I favour. Read the posts before you start barking!
Alun 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
I agree that this thread has degenerated, unfortunately inevitably, into wider discussions about bolts in general. This is shame because the original thread talks about the possibility of bolt stations at certain locations at two limestone crags in the peak district, both of which already have several bolted lines on them anyway - it's not as the proposed stations would be 'the first bolts' in the area or even either of the two crags.

I think it has been rather pointless to start discussing the merits (or lack of them) of bolt stations on any other crag ergo mountain crags in the Lakes or Wales (I'm quite relieved we haven't seen mention of Clogwyn y Grochan - yet!) because these are quite clearly very different situations. I don't think you can apply arguments used for/against bolt stations in other locations to those used for bolts in Chee Tor and High Tor. They are very very different places, and ethics regarding bolting there have quite obviously been very different there in the past, and continue to be so now.

I have climbed at both HT and CT and I support discreet bolt belays at certain locations. Tyler summed up the 'for' arguments very eloquently. Phatlad should take much credit for a) proposing to undertake the work himself, but importantly b) starting a process of consulation first. However one thing I would like to see is that you get the BMCs approval before the bolts are installed. Other than that, good luck and well done.
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:


As for High Tor, yes.

As for Chee Tor, admittedly my experience is limited to classic HVS/E1/odd E2 but from those which finish at the break, there certainly appear to be plenty of descent points all along the break. Which routes at Chee Tor do you think are neglected because of the lack of lower off ? or are we talking lack of practice anchor ?
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:
Thanks for that Alun. As I said, this is my first port of call then the BMC, and I plan to sling the tree for now with a metal sheathed sling and araldite a lower off on there as well (I take no responsibility for anybody elses safety if the sling fails or the tree it's your own look out!) and we'll see how that works out.
As for C Tor there doesn't seem to be a consensus. perhaps (after chatting with the BMC) I'll bolt a couple of belays where it's needed and we'll see how the situation changes. with luck a bit more traffic will improve the neglected routes
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:
2 sunspots, midsummers dream, absent friends there are a couple that would benefit from the removal of moulding belays and addition of summat a bit more durable
ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

> As for C Tor there doesn't seem to be a consensus.

Not so sure reading through the thread. Ignoring those who obviously don't/haven't climb/ed there and have just used the thread to rant about their own insecurities concerning bolts, there seems to be a fiarly strong agreement with your initial suggestion.


> perhaps (after chatting with the BMC) I'll bolt a couple of belays where it's needed and we'll see how the situation changes.

I'll gladly give you a hand next year with cleaning / loweroffs depending on what is decided. I've already spoken with someone from the BMC who thought it was a good idea a couple of months ago, while not an oficial/concensus opinion he was going to speak with Henry Folkard and Derbs Wildlife Trust to find out thier views and opinions. I've mailed to find out if anything was discovered.


> with luck a bit more traffic will improve the neglected routes

Hopefully, it would be good to see this crag in good shape again, certainly one of the top 3 Peak trad lime clifs, and there seems to be at least a few people keen to do clean it up abit at the least.

sutty 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:

Thanks Graham, did not know of the in situ chains, after all it was prebolting days we did the routes. No need for more bolts then?

Steve Parker, must have misread your comments on stakes. If so I am sorry. Not wading all the way through the thread to check up.;-(
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

exactly, one of the gems of the peak and now in tatters for quite a few of the routes (did the golden mile a couple of weeks ago, one of the best routes around and was cleaning it gound up all the way, similar on absent friends and 2 sunspots, and as for Mortlocks . . ) well you get the idea. Would be good to see it improve with some traffic.

though perhaps it is simply indicative of trad falling out of favour?
Bob 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

The more cynical among us would perhaps view the situation as:

1. "Let's ignore Chee Tor while there are bolted routes to do elsewhere"
2. "Chee Tor is getting overgrown, no point in going there"
3. "Chee Tor needs cleaning up and sorting out"
4. "Let's replace the old lower offs with bolts to encourage people to go to Chee Tor"

They might then wonder what steps 5 & 6 might be.

That'd be the cynics though and I don't believe there are that many around.

Bob


phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:
A valid point as people are so terrified of encroachment and a deterioration of ethics but these are mixed crags anyway so to argue about retro bolting is one thing (I am dead against) to argue about tidying up, improving access and improving safety when there are bolted and mixed lines all over the shop seems a bit double standards
Tyler 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:

Let's just assume for a moment that steps 5 and 6 are a bit of retro bolting of some routes isn't that better than:

1. "Chee Tor is getting overgrown, no point in going there"
2. "Chee Tor needs cleaning up and sorting out"
3. "Chee Tor becomes progressivley less popular so that no one ever climbs there"
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler:
surely it would be better to raise the proflie of the crag and improve access and see if that has a beneficial effect before opening the retro bolting flood gates. I'd hate to see classic lines getting retroed
Tyler 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler:

That was a bit tounge in cheek BTW I'm just sick of al these people obscuring the argument with talk of retro bolting of routes, this isn't what is being proposed. What we have are a few self appointed moral guardians using the argument that everyone else is not to be trusted, it's for our own good you don't want us to have bolted lower offs becuase we are not capable of self control, the same arguments used through history to maintain a status quo (qv. cannabis, pub opening hours, slavery, imperialism).
ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I'm pretty sure thats not what he's suggesting, an I don't think anyone that actually climbs at Chee Tor (the main group of people who's opinions count) would stand for it either.

A clean up coinciding with a magazine article may do some good. Its got to be better than "classic grit somethings"...
Bob 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler (and Phatlad):

But the proposed replacement of threads with bolts *is* retrobolting. In this case, the Chee Tor girdle. Standards have obviously improved in the last twenty years when a VS needs bolts in it.

Anything wrong with replacing the threads with threads? Or aren't they sexy and cool enough?

Bob
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler:

apologies for not spotting tongue in cheek was involved elsewhere at same time <work>

but you are right there is a tendency for some just just see the word BOLT and say no, without actually looking at what is being proposed
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:

Bob look at the earlier posts, people keep banging on about the girdle route, I am not suggesting bolt belays along here, but off to the left of this on the more untrafficed routes where mingin tat round trees (or just rope looped around trees as a lower off) in fact just around some of the dodgier belays in general. The routes around Ceramic well you can traverse to the big thread there so I'm not talking about these
ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Having said that then the trees and threads at the top of Queer Street / 42nd Street and other areas could have a chain and tube put round them as a better alternative to the mass of decaying tat thats there at the moment. It wouldn't alter the much talked about girdle in any way at all and may just save a life...
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

true they were in a ropey looking state 10 years ago and things have not improved since
In reply to phatlad:

I'm not so certain one way or another about the Chee Tor thing. It's been a while. I don't remember any bother getting down (easier routes, rh end). It's a bit unusual with the absence of a descent path anyway.

But having encountered more and more tw@ts wanting to abseil on me while I'm climbing my general take is that where a walk-down option exists it should be used unless there are very specific ecological/environmental factors dictating otherwise.

In most cases abbing on people is only irritating, but it is potentially dangerous. I don't see the need for any kind of installation merely to pamper the lazy and inconsiderate. This is the problem, not the type of drive-through climbing they want. If they can't be arsed getting down afterwards they should accept their self-imposed limitations and go somewhere else.
sticks 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: A sensible idea that does not change the ethics of a trad crag. The idea that misguided ethics of climbers is more important than the protection of our valuable and scarse natural environment is proposterous. You have mu full support, provided the process is done sympathetically and with minimal visual impact.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:
True we hate being abbed on top of, which is why I'd rather people abbed off bolts (or the tree) above Castellan, quite a few lower off the Original route stance knackin up Original route, debauchery, flaky wall and tales of yankee. would be better if everyone lowered off by the tree (bolts if I could get my way) and be out of everyone's way

in reply to sticks> cheers mate like I said I'm not chasing a rubber stamp to bolt, but some honest feedback and indeed limitations (sympathetic, carefully placed bolts) are welcome
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to sutty:

Personally, I would have said there was definately no case for lower offs at the break. For routes which top out, I've only done 2 sun spots and can't remember there being an issue rigging a retrieveable abseil sling from a tree there.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:
2 suspots has a knackered pieces of old tat there with an insitu beener, absent friends has a load of mingin tat round a tree, with a beener.
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I can only comment on 2 sunspots as its the only one I've climbed (well, seconded). I just can't see where you would place a bolt near the top of that route that would make any difference to the quality of the climb.
phatlad 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:

that's what I'm saying none of the belays I am thinking of would affect the quality of the climb
Simon 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler:
> (In reply to Tyler)
>
> I'm just sick of al these people obscuring the argument with talk of retro bolting of routes, this isn't what is being proposed. ).



Sounds like a normal BMC meeting this!

Your right though - when someone proposes something - the matter should be discussed properly & not moving onto bolting grit etc.

I have always said that bolted lower off are needed in places where tad & fixed gear is not adequate - including some grit quarries.

Problem is - people see that as the thin end of the wedge argument & then apparently bolts will be all over our crags...

This isssue will not go away & needs clarifying via the BMC. It was raised last time & I will raise the issue under the minutes of the last meeting.

Cheers

Si
AndyJug 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
Why not ask this to be put on the agenda for the next BMC Peak area meeting on 6 october?
Either contact BMC direct or mail John Horscroft (peak area bmc chairman who posts on here)
Simon 23 Aug 2005
In reply to AndyJug:

As I said above - it was an item last meeting & will be on the minutes.

Probably when going through the minutes is the best time for anyone to say something as the agenda this time round is going to be huge as it is - with mainly lots of Access issues going on in the Peak - and some pretty big ones at that.

Not seen an agenda yet though...watch this space

Si
AndyJug 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Simon:
Oh yeah. we posted at the same time
Tom Briggs 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Phatlad:

If you take the example of Blue Scar, I can see the sense of some bolted lower offs there as the top of the crag is steep grass with very little to belay on.

I just don't see a real need at Chee Tor. Replace the tat. Leave a biner. I've got loads of bag off biners at home if you're short!

You don't need lower-offs to make trad routes more popular. You just need to publicise your cleaning efforts (this is what has happened successfully in the Lakes. Crags that were neglected a few years ago are now clean and getting a lot of traffic again).

Bolts lead to more bolts. If you don't believe the Wedge Argument (Tyler), you should check out the Yorkshire Limestone trad and 'mixed' crags. Or Two Tier Buttress - Darl and Countdown - quality 3-star E5s no longer. Would they have been retro-bolted if the (poxy) routes on the right-hand side hadn't been?

If you add lower offs to Chee Tor it will begin to feel like more of a sport climbing experience. So someone will think "Gosh it's a long way to the first bolt on Tequila, my clip stick just won't reach. I know, another bolt won't do any harm". And then it will be chopped. And we'll have more of a mess.
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
>
> that's what I'm saying none of the belays I am thinking of would affect the quality of the climb

So placing a bolt wouldn't increase traffic, which was one of your justifications.

Alun 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> Bolts lead to more bolts. If you don't believe the Wedge Argument (Tyler), you should check out the Yorkshire Limestone trad and 'mixed' crags. Or Two Tier Buttress - Darl and Countdown - quality 3-star E5s no longer. Would they have been retro-bolted if the (poxy) routes on the right-hand side hadn't been?

I don't believe the thin-end-wedge argument either, because notwithstanding the Yorkshire Limestone bolting situation which is the same argument wheeled out every single time (and which if anything, has actually made bolts less likely everywhere else - not that that's such a bad thing) then Tyler's initial comments are worth reiterating:

" My final point about the thin end of the wedge argument is that we've heard it all before and we're still waiting for the bolting apocalypse. After the initial wave of bolting (which included some retro bolting) at Pen Trwyn and Harpur Hill the classic trad lines are still classic trad lines ten years later and let's face it the mountain crags and sea cliffs are safer than ever from bolts, a few bolted lower offs on specific inland limestone crags are not going to change that."

And here's my translation of his comments:

Nobody is going to bloody retrobolt Robert bloody Brown or Flaky bloody Wall or any other bloody route just because there are a couple of bloody bolts next to the bloody tree at the top of the bloody crag!
belmonkey23 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:

Everyone dismisses the 'thin end of the wedge' argument so easily. In this thread alone, at least 5 examples of previous boltings have been used to justify installing further bolted lower offs.

Maybe we should be arguing that we are now seeing the 'slightly thicker bit of wedge just after the thin bit'

One other point...not in reply to you Alun, but people have been making much of the fact that bolted lower offs be allowed in specific crags in specific locations for specific reasons. Clearly this will present a problem. Who will decide the criteria for which ones, and who will police it and how? Isn't it easier to just have a general 'no bolted lower offs' policy?

And before someone points it out, I am aware that there are other bolted lower offs in trad areas.
Alun 23 Aug 2005
In reply to belmonkey:

> Maybe we should be arguing that we are now seeing the 'slightly thicker bit of wedge just after the thin bit'

A very good point - my argument is that if the wedge has at all moved, it has moved backwards in the last few years. I say again - not that this is a particularly bad thing - I would hope in the future perhaps it means we can discuss sensible bolting without all this silly wedge arguing.

> Who will decide the criteria for which ones, and who will police it and how?

Funnily enough, this is why phatlad has proposed his plans on here first, and is talking to the BMC before he gets out his drill...
ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to belmonkey:

> One other point... who will police it and how? Isn't it easier to just have a general 'no bolted lower offs' policy?

Hypothetically, I reckon if I were to quietly place a lower off at the top of some route on Chee Tor then no one would even notice.

I'm sure most climbers decending would be happy to see it, and use it. Not because it makes it any easier, or because their lazy, but because its safer.

The only time this hypothetical lower off would become an issue is when someone posted its presence on here, and then started banging on about sodding wedges.

My point being that it is the climbers who use the crag that ultimately police the crag. How many of those against the odd carefully though out loweroff have actually climbed at Chee Tor in the last 5 years? The impression I get from the thread is not many...
Anonymous23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

I have, for a start. And in my opinion these proposed bolts are completely unnecessary.

jcm
Tom Briggs 23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:
> (In reply to belmonkey)
> How many of those against the odd carefully though out loweroff have actually climbed at Chee Tor in the last 5 years? The impression I get from the thread is not many...

I have. And I've climbed at High Tor, Gordale, Kilnsey, Blue Scar...and seen new bolts on all of these crags this year. Replacing pegs and threads with bolts. Or extra bolts put in. We're not making it up you know! I get the feeling that it's the people posting who say "chill out, no-one will ever retro-bolt Flakey Wall" who aren't out on the crags. Maybe not Flakey Wall, but it wouldn't surprise me if an extra bolt appeared on Bastille.

Andy2 23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:
> (In reply to belmonkey)
> How many of those against the odd carefully though out loweroff have actually climbed at Chee Tor in the last 5 years? ...

I have too.

ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor / jcm:

Fair enough, I'm well aware your not making it up, but i really do fail to see how putting in the odd lower off will lead to the bolting of Mortlocks Arete, an extra bolt on Tequila etc.

The knee jerk reaction to bolts jsut seems totally ott in my eyes - in the case of Chee Tor any case, where the only effect it would have is to increase saftey and ease of decent.


Besides, I'm of the opinion that most loweroffs can be made 'modern' and long lasting with the replacement of tat with chain and tubing. I can't think of many places where a bolt loweroff would actually be necessary.
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Alun:

The wedge doesn't move backwards - bolts more bolts appear than disappear every year.

Yes, I climbed at Chee Tor three or four weekends ago.
GrahamD 23 Aug 2005
In reply to ChrisC:

> The knee jerk reaction to bolts jsut seems totally ott in my eyes - in the case of Chee Tor any case, where the only effect it would have is to increase saftey and ease of decent.

Possibly, but I'm not convinced a) it makes things safer - how many incidents involving descents have there been at Chee Tor where bolts would help ? b) it makes it a bit too easy for centres/groups to put ropes down all the classic E1s
Alun 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> I get the feeling that it's the people posting who say "chill out, no-one will ever retro-bolt Flakey Wall" who aren't out on the crags

That's funny - because on re-reading the entire thread I get the opposite feeling.
Alun 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:
> The wedge doesn't move backwards - bolts more bolts appear than disappear every year

I disagree - the bolting situation in sports areas on Gower, for example, has moved very firmly against bolts in the last decade. And as many have stated above, mountain crags, grit, and the vast majority of other trad-only areas are even safer from bolts than they ever have been (to which I say, for the third time, this is a good thing!).

This argument arises over crags where bolts are already present: where, as belmonkey puts it, the wedge is already in. Perhaps permanent chains with tubing really is the best idea all round - not that it will affect the opinions of our esteemed 'climbing is becoming too convenient' brigade...
ChrisC 23 Aug 2005
In reply to GrahamD:

> Possibly, but I'm not convinced a) it makes things safer - how many incidents involving descents have there been at Chee Tor where bolts would help ?

Maybe not at Chee Tor, but it happens. Tat snaps, trees come out - natrual selection you can say, should check it etc., but it would be shit if it happend to you or someone you knew... Do we have to wait till someone comes unstuck before we can prevent another? It all just seems abit like the macho trad ethic.


> b) it makes it a bit too easy for centres/groups to put ropes down all the classic E1s

No chance. They could be doing that at the moment if they wanted backing up the threads etc Way too much effort for a top roping youth group...

As I said before I cant see many (if any) actually being placed, just the threads making sound for the most part.

In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> and the vast majority of other trad-only areas are even safer from bolts than they ever have been
>

Really?

I can think of several purely traditional crags, in areas with a strong and well estabished anti-bolt ethic that have had bolts placed on them within the last twelve months.
Ian Patterson 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> (In reply to Phatlad)
>

> Bolts lead to more bolts. If you don't believe the Wedge Argument (Tyler), you should check out the Yorkshire Limestone trad and 'mixed' crags. Or Two Tier Buttress - Darl and Countdown - quality 3-star E5s no longer. Would they have been retro-bolted if the (poxy) routes on the right-hand side hadn't been?

Not the greatest example I would think - Countdown has always been a basically sport route, never really E5 as such except maybe for the period when the first peg was missing (can't imagine it got many ascents then) - I remember trying it 8 to 10 years ago and don't remember any signicant gear. Did it properly a couple of years ago and as far as I recall the gear exactly matches some the original placements - giving entertaining sport climbing. Darl is very similar - again unless you think that the first peg shouldn't have been replaced then its pretty similar to what it was - I think when I did there was still tat on one of the higher pegs which hung directly level with the bolt.

I don't think these routes are lost classic E5's in the true sense - certainly not anything like Flaky Wall, Supersonic or Central Wall at blue.

Due to family and work commiments I mostly sport climb these days but hope I can still remember what trad climbing is about - what I don't believe is that every route is automatically better as a trad route. Chee Dale is a classic example - the nature of the rock, gear and style of climbing makes Chee Tor a great trad venue while Max Buttress with its slopey holds and poor opportunities for gear is imo a much better sport venue. Two Tier seems to me mostly suitable for sport climbing with some notable exception such as Mad Dogs.. and Spizz Energy (and I guess 9th Life, not that I know anything about it) - even on these routes there is a serious question of what to do about old gear. Will Spizz Energy be a better route without the first bolt for example.

So where are the really all these great trad routes lost to the bolts ? I think we do need to be aware of the need to protect UK tradition but we have got huge numbers a quality traditional routes and exageratting the problem may only help to entrench attitudes.
Bob 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Ian Patterson:

By and large most people on threads such as this are arguing about (discussing?) small points in the general scheme of things. Probably 90% (made up figure) of each posting is agreed with by "the other side" of the debate. In the end we just end up going round in ever decreasing circles.

I agree that not every route is better without bolts, and it may be that the "best" way is for some replacement of pegs/threads by bolts. But equally routes that can be protected by less intrusive means do not need, and should not have, bolts anywhere near them.

The danger (as I see it) is not from people like Phatlad stepping forward and seeking opinion before taking action but from those who see that bolts have been placed at crag X and then assume, either through naivety, ignorance or worse - they don't care, that it is OK to place bolts at that crag or elsewhere. If you think that this is far fetched then think again because those pressures are here.

At the moment the only good quality routes that I can think of that have been retrobolted (or had a number of bolts placed) are Cave Route RH at Goredale and Directissima at Kilnsey. Both were reasonably popular beforehand and both take natural gear - so why the bolts? How long before the refusals to have Face Route at Goredale bolted are ignored and someone does it anyway?

Bob


Michael Ryan 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:
> (In reply to Ian Patterson)
>
> How long before the refusals to have Face Route at Goredale bolted are ignored and someone does it anyway?


Nay Bob that will never happen, will it?
Simon 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:
> (In reply to Phatlad)
>

> If you add lower offs to Chee Tor it will begin to feel like more of a sport climbing experience. So someone will think "Gosh it's a long way to the first bolt on Tequila, my clip stick just won't reach. I know, another bolt won't do any harm". And then it will be chopped. And we'll have more of a mess.



Thats been one of the arguments thats been quite strong at the BMC meets. if we set precedents & then people start doing silly things & we then have to go chopping - was it worth it?

Perhaps a crag clean up may be the way - re-equipping routes & a bit of carefull managed gardening...

Would be a big project... any takers Tom?!

;0)

Si
John2 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run: 'damage to trees caused by abseiling. This certainly happens'

This is a point that I have raised before, but can you tell me how a tree is damaged by people abseiling from a sling loosely tied around it? The normal wy of damaging a tree by abseiling is by the bark being cut through by repeated pulling of abseil ropes.
Marts23 Aug 2005
In reply to John2: Repeated use even of slings around a tree will eventually damage the bark and in due time break up/come off and usually become infected.
John2 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Marts: 'Repeated use even of slings around a tree will eventually damage the bark and in due time break up/come off and usually become infected'

What is the mechanism by which it will damage the bark? Honestly, I'm interested.
Ian Patterson 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Bob:

It seems in general we do agree, particularly about the ever decreasing circles!

In terms of the 2 routes you mentioned, even these are complex examples - Directissima always had quite a lot of fixed gear. CRRH, as I said above I was on at the weekend - after the first couple of new bolts (which could be removed and replaced by the threads as before, whichever I don't the character of the route is effected), I placed I think 13 pieces of gear in the remaining 80 or 90 foot, comprising 2 stuck wires (1 backed up), 2 placed wires, 2 newish bolts and 7 pegs (in various states) so it's a long way from being retro bolted.
Simon 23 Aug 2005
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to Marts) 'Repeated use even of slings around a tree will eventually damage the bark and in due time break up/come off and usually become infected'
>
> What is the mechanism by which it will damage the bark? Honestly, I'm interested.



what he said - wearing over time i guess. Same as rock will wear from lots of sticky rubber...

Si
Marts23 Aug 2005
In reply to John2: I wish I could give you a good scientific answer to this but its wear and tear. For instance when we brace a tree even if for a week the slight movement in the tree with the pressure will leave a slight scar. You could reverse this and say the sight movement of the sling with the slight pressure will leave a scar. Damage is different in all tree though. It depends on the architecture from tree to tree. Obviously some barks are more likely to suffer than others. Some tree's fight decay better than others. Its also depending on the time of year the tree becomes wounded as to the severity of the damage done.
John2 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Marts: Do you have some special expertise in this subject?

Some 10 to 15 years ago the BMC asked climbers not to abseil from trees in the Llanberis Pass directly, but to make use of the slings which had been provided. As far as I know the slings have now been there for the whole of that period, yet I can see no damage to the bark other than the obviously old damage caused when people used to pull ropes around the trees.

The trees in question are too substantial to actually move with the weight of an abseiling climber - I'm sorry, but I still struggle to see how a healthy tree is damaged by the constant presence of a loosely tied sling which people abseil from at intervals.
Marts23 Aug 2005
In reply to John2: I'm a tree surgeon, I can only give you info on the techniques we use to stop damage to trees. We used to use strops to support trees but as I stated before they were scaring and infecting the trees. So we now drill and use cables and braces to stop this. I know it seems a bit severe but its been looked into at great depth and it has proven to do less damage. The damage to this tree will depend on how often it is used.
Marts23 Aug 2005
In reply to John2: obviously if it is only used occasionally as an abb then not alot of damage will be done. I am looking at this example as if it as a tree getting a hell of a hammering all the time.
Tyler 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

> Bolts lead to more bolts. If you don't believe the Wedge Argument (Tyler), you should check out the Yorkshire Limestone trad and 'mixed' crags. Or Two Tier Buttress - Darl and Countdown - quality 3-star E5s no longer. Would they have been retro-bolted if the (poxy) routes on the right-hand side hadn't been?

Possibly not, but then if they hadn't been climbed on almost entirely fixed gear in the first place they would not have been bolted either. The two routes you mentioned were not created as bold trad routes but safe physical challenges. That they originally used pegs, in situ wires etc and not bolts was not the result of an ethical statment but just expediency, they are now back to their original state in that they now have safe in situ gear, the differnece being that it will be safe in situ gear for all ascentionists for years to come.

> If you add lower offs to Chee Tor it will begin to feel like more of a sport climbing experience.

Do you honestly think that? If you didn't know what was up there to lower off the experience of climbing the route would be the same as always. When I climbed Central Wall at Blue I was pleased to see a lower off at the top but it certainly didn't diminish the "tradness" the route and I can't imagine feeling any differently at the top of a route at the Chee Tor.
Tyler 23 Aug 2005
In reply to Anonymous:

> I have, for a start. And in my opinion these proposed bolts are completely unnecessary.

Me too, every year for the past 5 years possibly. I also agree that the bolts are uneccessary but the same could be said for most of fixed gear on the crag and for climbing itself.
Marts23 Aug 2005
In reply to Tyler: This debate seems easy to sort out. I think I read somewhere above that you can walk back down from this route. Well.........
I agree with you and it shouldn't take anything away from the climb, how you get down.
Tom Briggs 24 Aug 2005
In reply to Simon:
> (In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor)
> [...]
>
> [...]

> Perhaps a crag clean up may be the way - re-equipping routes & a bit of carefull managed gardening...
>
> Would be a big project... any takers Tom?!

There are people cleaning routes. Phatlad said he cleaned Golden Mile (climbing ground up). I cleaned a route the other week on another limestone crag before doing it. Graham Hoey did loads on High Tor last year...

> In reply to Ian Patterson:
> Due to family and work commiments I mostly sport climb these days but hope I can still remember what trad climbing is about - what I don't believe is that every route is automatically better as a trad route.

But who decides what is 'better'. Personally, I think Darl was 'better' without the bolts and felt trad. As I keep saying, we have Aliens...we have sticky rubber etc etc...we could always reduce the amount of fixed gear and make the routes more traditional?

> In reply to Tyler:
> Two-tier/Pre-placed wires/Lowering off

I'm not a fan of pre-placed wires and would have preferred the pegs to be replaced like for like or removed altogether. I've done a lot in the Lakes this summer, where there are a lot of pegs. Many of these don't need replacing because they were put in 20 years ago and you can get micro wires/aliens in or there's other stuff and the routes will just be a little bolder/harder. As for lowering off. I prefer the summit experience. It gives you time to take in the view.
Ian Patterson 24 Aug 2005
In reply to Tom, UKC News Editor:

>
> But who decides what is 'better'. Personally, I think Darl was 'better' without the bolts and felt trad. As I keep saying, we have Aliens...we have sticky rubber etc etc...we could always reduce the amount of fixed gear and make the routes more traditional?

I guess the answer is some sort of consensus - if you believe that we should always be trying to reduce aid and fixed gear then the logical conclusion would be to start removing bolts from things like Yosemite Wall, New Dawn etc which I sure could be climbed mostly on gear by plenty of people.

I believe there is room for sport and trad climbing in this country and and to make a big deal about something like Darl does give me the impression that your view is sport routes are generally to be always considered inferior. As I said I've only done Darl as a sport route - as which its pretty good - one of the better 7a's in Cheedale, it seem like there was a classic trad route underneath to compete with the likes of Mortlocks Arete or Apocalypse.
Ian Patterson 24 Aug 2005
In reply to Ian Patterson:

> .... As I said I've only done Darl as a sport route - as which its pretty good - one of the better 7a's in Cheedale, it seem like there was a classic trad route underneath to compete with the likes of Mortlocks Arete or Apocalypse.

Obviosly that should say it 'DIDN'T seem' !

In reply to Ian Patterson:

I agree with you to an extent.

If a route is largely climbed on in situ gear, then there's a good case for making it a sport route. Or removing the fixed gear. Which will depend on area/rock type etc. On limestone the sport route would nowadays seem the more obvious choice.
boss555 24 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: I've got nothing against trees, but the crag was there first, and will probably be there long after the tree and us are gone, I don't exactly know what I'm getting at, but theres somthing in what I've said!!!
neilh 24 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

The isues imho revolve around : safety,environment, tradition,people's memories of crags like Chee tor and High tor when they were busy and the growth of sport climbing.

My fear, if that is the right word, is in transplanting the "bolt" ethic to these places.But I have consigned this to the bin when looking at the state of tat and pegs etc , they are just plain dangerous. That bolt on Lyme cryme was bad twenty years ago for example.

So like all good things in life you need a compromise - get the BMC involved
In reply to neilh:

Chee Tor, fine. There may be a question since you have to lower off anyway.
But High Tor has a very straightforward walk off (certainly by Peak Limestone standards). Why encourage folk to ab off anything?
Jamie B 24 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

My tuppence-ha'pennys worth: Apologies for not having waded through the entire thread and if I therefore duplicate anything already stated.

Somebody mentioned that it was a fallacy to maintain that Bolts equalled safety and self-reliance equalled danger. Agreed. It is equally so to claim that bolt-free climbing equals self-reliance. Many climbers will clip into or abseil off any old crap without really questioning its integrity; I was amazed to see the amount of old tat around a dubious block at the top of Main Wall at Diabaig recently. This can be a busy crag, and it might not just be yourself that you wipe out if you commit to it and it fails. I couldn't help thinking that a bolted ab-point away from the line of the climbs would be an improvement.

I am and always will be a trad climber. But I believe in climber-lead ethics, not ethic-lead climbers. If climbers persist in using poor-quality, unsafe, visually intrusive or environmentaly destructive fixed gear in a particular site then surely there is a case for bolting ab-points. As environmental vandalism goes it's hardly the Exxon Valdez.
gbuchanan24 Aug 2005
In reply to John2:
To put it simply, the abseil places (compression) weight on one side of the tree, and applies a sideways pull. That's just physics. This compresses the bark, and just as freeze and thaw slowly destroys rock, compression and pulling followed by release slowly 'wobble' the protective bark and compress and chaffe the inner trunk.

Frankly, I find the question so naive as to honestly believe that it is the question of belligerent ignorance than a genuine question.

IMHO, bolts or sound pegs or anything are better than abusing the local flora. Large trees take years to grow, particularly at the exposed position at the top of crags. We do ourselves a great disservice by assuming that they're bombproof and will be there for ever. Even more ideal, though, is of course the option of using sound removable (trad) gear for fixing the ab point which can be retrieved later.
neilh 24 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:

replacing the bolt on lyme cryme for example hardly encourages people to abb off.

these days less people seem to climb on high tor than chee tor.
In reply to neilh:

> replacing the bolt on lyme cryme for example hardly encourages people to abb off.
>

Doesn't take long for 'safe abseil stations' to get round to upgrading fixed gear on routes. Just as well there's no wedge or I'd think it was getting thicker.
In reply to phatlad:

Although Im not sure how far i agree, surely the key concern should be the environment in which we climb. Some seem to see the code of ethics we impose upon ourselves (although i agreee is important) as being of greater importance to climbing than the environment we climb in. These people i am sure would be the most upset by the destruction of the home of their adventurous spirit.

I for one couldnt place anti-bolting ethics above the beauty of the places i climb in (even when viewing nature purely anthropocentically)
LakesWinter 28 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Don't know about Chee Tor but High Tor the walk off option should be more strongly encouraged, perhaps a sign asking not to ab off the tree?

I do know this though, recently I have been climbing in chamonix. Coz of the crap weather I have done quite a few rock routes in the aiguilles rouges. My climbing partner and I tried some bolted and chained and some trad protected routes. The trad routes were far more memorable and involving whereas the bolted routes, whilst containing some fine climbing were much less memorable and engaging.

Therefore my view is that increasing bolting in general, whether in the form of lower offs or fixed protection reduces the quality of the overall climbing experience.

We have an excellent history of self reliance in this country. (reliance on your own actions and judgement for the nob above who suggested climbing naked!) Lets keep it that way. If someone is concerned about a tat lower off then do what I do in the alps when abseiling and replace it with your own taking the old tat away with you.
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
you know sometimes this place gets frustrating - ask about placing bolt belays at the TOP of the crags in question people start harping on about top roping and a degradtaion of ethics and then move on to retro bolting and finally question the existence of sport climbing itself. Sheesh!


PS for all those who harp on about top roping, please demonstrate at High tor, I'd love to see someone top rope off the tree at the top, I really would . . . .where did I put that 300ft dynamic rope, the extra stretchy one!
neilh 30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Whilst I respect what you say, you can easily do darius flakey wall, bastille etc on a "top rope". Just rig up the belay at the top and lower 50 metres of rope down - not that hard to do.Granted it 'd be a bit strecthy and with no runners to clip in it would be very entertaining.
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
In reply to neilh:
Darius would be a good one! the rest you could top rope off the Original route belay (with a side deviation) but I'd be impressed to see someone doing Robert Brown on a top rope, or Castellan
neilh 30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:

why on earth would you want to top rope robert brown or castellan?

Darius is feasiable with a 60/70 metre rope, again why do you need to top rope it?
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
In reply to neilh:

Doh! it was sarcasm, people earlier on in the thread had said they were worried about top roping. I wanted to put bolts up by the tree above Castellan. Hence my sarcastic post about top roping the route, as from the ground you'd need a 300ft rope and you'd deck out on stretch anyway for about the first 30ft.
If people wanted to top rope (really) they'd rig and belay at the top.
The idea of bolts by the tree was to allow people to abseil (as they do all the time anyway) and stop damage to the tree.
Incidentally I was there this wkend, and there was an In situ ab rope! Who rigged that???? Not very friendly really!
In reply to phatlad:
> (In reply to neilh)
>
>
> Incidentally I was there this wkend, and there was an In situ ab rope! Who rigged that???? Not very friendly really!

Not very friendly at all really, especially if ir runs down a route.

In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:

Will apparently happen less if the anchors are better.
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
In reply to Rid Skwerr:
well it's not gonna happen less if the anchors are worse as is current situation (why they couldn't have rigged a retrievable I do not know)
In reply to phatlad:
> (In reply to Rid Skwerr)
> (why they couldn't have rigged a retrievable I do not know)


Idleness I suspect.
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
In reply to Dave Hunter, Rock + Run:
I did feel like offering encouraging comments, but refrained due to the presence of children.
Also avoided the temptation to detach (unweighted and abandoned rope) from the top of the crag. but cannot deny, was tempted
gjw5670 30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: you can do leviathan on the dewerstone while your at it.that poor old oak tree cant take much more.
phatlad 30 Aug 2005
In reply to gjw5670:
Woa there hoss, that's not my patch!
Alun 30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
> Woa there hoss, that's not my patch!

Phatlad - I suggest you ignore the All-Bolts-Are-Evil crew's sarcastic jibes (or at least the ones that come from those who've never climbed at the crags in question).

In the meantime I'm off to top rope all those big overhanging routes underneath that tree at High Tor, before driving up to the Lakes and installing bolted abseil belays on all the routes at Gimmer. See ya!
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to phatlad)
> [...]
>
>
>
before driving up to the Lakes and installing bolted abseil belays on all the routes at Gimmer. See ya!


You don't need to do that. There are plenty of chains and tat in place there already. Sadly, a couple of decent lower offs (better placed than the chain etc) would actually improve the current state of Gimmer.
paul mitchell 30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad: How about chains around trees so that the bark is not stripped? Walking down muddy gullies is a real knee wrecker and tight boots are just excruciating with repeated down climbing.Tremadog comes to mind.Of course,doing more routes because of quicker descents means that they will just get even more polished,resulting in more strain injuries and feet slipping off holds.

I'll get me coat...

Mitch
Jungle30 Aug 2005
In reply to paul mitchell:

Preventing the inevitable, now that is an interesting concept. Perhaps delaying the inevitable would be a better way of looking at it. Hey perhaps if we are so concerned with the environment we shouldn't climb..... then the holds wouldn't polish..... you think?
Jungle30 Aug 2005
In reply to phatlad:
Ha ha, my good friend welcome back to the world where, people use the most high-tech gear, ropes, rubber, etc in the WORLD! Harp on about ethics and then object to placing A (the A - meaning single or maybe TWO) bolt/s to make things ---- mmm "more sensible" (one could say that it) and you would think that you had committed treason!!!

Man when will UK climbers got off their high horse. Do any UK climbers think that they are actually beneficial in some way to the crag, cragside and crag top environment in the first place? I guess many of them don't realise that a LOT of sh1t used to live on MANY crags before climbers came along and "cleaned" them. And if more UK climbers had actually cleaned routes and put them up they would no that, but unfortunately that ain't much undeveloped crags left in the UK to do that easily.

But make no mistake people, just think about it..... compared to what we have done to crag ecosystems, saving a tattered old tree with a bolt is the LEAST we should do.

Open your minds and let in light.

Jungle

(going into hiding) ;)

PS - Phatlad - still going to aid Cenotaph ;)
phatlad 31 Aug 2005
In reply to Jungle:

You and your bloody aiding!! I've seen you free climb (so maybe you should stick to aiding come to think of it) even trying 8a in Thailand as I remember, come on Gaz leave the dark world of aiding behind and come into the light
spider_girlie01 Sep 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I haven't climbed at the two crags you mention but read most of the thread so I hope my opinion is work reading at least.

I find the whole debate really difficult, I hate to see any fixed gear on routes or belays/abs but I would be in favour of putting a bolt to protect the abseil if the descent is impossible or causing bad erosion or damage to trees.

The damage to trees on routes is always very sad to see. I climbed at Tremadog the other day and couldn't believe the deterioation of some of the trees in the last 3 years since I was there last. I also couldn't believe the aweful erosion to the descent. Something needs doing to keep descents viable and trees protected.

I feel like we are all making a mess of the lovely areas we have the privilidge to climb in. People who put ropes, or even slings around trees when there is an alternative or who leave behind crap on routes when there second could easily take it off with them need shooting!

I say putting a few discrete bolts for abseils to protect the trees is OK as long as it is the last resort.

People who can't be arsed to walk down in climbing shoes or say it is too hard to carry their trainers/sandles up are talking complete arse! Don't give me that heavy rack ball! Your second doesn't have a heavy rack so if you really can't manage it then swap the shoes when you swap leads. Or get back to the climbing wall! Don't you like the outdoors?
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to spider_girlie:

an interesting point of view, thank you for your considered opinion. It's nice to see some common sense applied to the debate.

UKB Shark 02 Sep 2005
In reply to paul mitchell:

Agreed. A chain around a tree with a big fat glued up mailon that makes it hard to steal seems a non-contentious solution which would probably work for most of the thread belays at Chee Tor as well.

Anyone know a specification suitable for long term use as an abseil chain ?
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Simon Lee:

have to be stainless, and at the least a sheathed chain/strop.
UKB Shark 02 Sep 2005
In reply to phatlad:

Sounds technical ? Or can you get them from builders merchants ?
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Simon Lee:
Possibly, though engineering works and lift and shift companies should do them. I have some from rope access companies, but they are not Stainless
Anonymous02 Sep 2005
In reply to phatlad:

there are no bolts required at high tor. there are pleanty of trees and fenceposts to belay off at the top and you can walk back round to the bottom again in 5 minutes. Yeah trees commonly used to ab off are getting trashed a bit - but the solution is to address the behavior that causes it, not to submit the lazyness of people who don't want to walk round and taking out our lazyness on the crag. yes it might be "safer" to ab off bolts, but its safer still to walk round. As for convenience, high tor is not a convenience crag, its an adventure crag. OK in the grand scheme of things its not the north face of the eiger, but as far as the peak goes its an outstanding and unique adventure crag. If you want guaranteed safety and convenience for a nice workout then don't go there, stick to lowball roadside bouldering, do sport routes, or better still give up climbing totally and go to the gym or buy a treadmill. Once people get used to bolt belayts they will come to expect them. Then whats to say someone won't come along in 5 or 10 years time and say "whats the point in having to climb debauchery on a load of dangerous nut and friends and have to carry up all this gear when we've got bolts to lower off - why not just bolt the route, it will be safer and more convenient cos then you could do it just with a rack of draws, it won't wear your shoes out walking down".

Climbing in the UK survived the 80s bolt boom by having the lines drawn and with the few obvious well-publicised exceptions we were in a state where everyone knew where that stood in the main. Now all the dust has settled and lazyness rears its ugly head again. Why not just push shit through the letterboxes of those early pioneers? Every argument that comes refering to "safety", "convenience" and "making XXX route mor accessable" could be used to grid-bolt every crag in the country. Climbing is a potentially dangerous activity, yes some routes will have dodgy descents, but thats all part of the game - if you can't accept that then don't do the route. You have no right to make a particular route safe, you have no right to a safe descent - its up to you to make that for yourself and your partner however you accept the risk, the same as on a route. Mallory and irvine didn't just tag the top of everest and the slump onto the loweroff, they had to get back down again.

bolt loweroffs have their place on sport crags or soemtimes hybrid crags, not trad crags. especially not high tor, the top of high tor is flat grass with a path down that you could push a pram down. its simply lazyness. get a grip. as for chee tor are most of the belays not just massive threads? In which case why not use replacable threads and chains, not permanently impacting on the the rock with unnecessary bolts? again just lazyness. we should be ashamed of ourselves. why do we always seek to bring down the crag to our level?
Alun 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Anonymous:
> Then whats to say someone won't come along in 5 or 10 years time and say "whats the point in having to climb debauchery on a load of dangerous nut and friends and have to carry up all this gear when we've got bolts to lower off - why not just bolt the route

<Sighs in exasperation> You really haven't read or listened to any of the arguments, have you?

> Mallory and irvine didn't just tag the top of everest and the slump onto the loweroff, they had to get back down again

<ruffles brow in bewilderment> errr.....okay...

> soemtimes hybrid crags, not trad crags. especially not high tor

<snorts in derision> You have climbed there, right? You've seen the fixed gear, bolts and pitons, the old and new, that covers it?

> not permanently impacting on the the rock

<Sighs in exasperation again> You really haven't read or listened to any of the arguments, have you?


I was supposed to have given up posting about this matter - but I can't resist!

phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Anonymous:

You mentioned Hybrid crags - High Tor is one. From squeezin out the sparks to road runner to Bastille bolts are there already.
DO NOT AB / BELAY OFF FENCE POSTS AT HIGH TOR they are not there for that and there are clear signs from the BMC about this (have you really been to the crag?)
You mentioned address the behaviour. Feel free as I walk past you after a route I hope to see you lecturing the other teams on the virtues of a walk over an abseil. And hopefully they will listen.
A path down that you could push a pram down! BMC clearly states - these paths are unmaintained and are not suitable for members of the public - besides which it'd be a 4x4 pram!
What Mallory and Irvine did has no relevance to this discussion so I'll just gloss over that.
As for lazyness - read what I have written before
You don't even mention your name so perhaps you should if you are to get involved in the debate.
Also feel free to ignore the safety issue. It'll rear it's ugly head again, perhaps when the council again bans climbing here (it did so for a while following the death of the belay at the crag last time)

and as for Chee Tor, I also mentioned that it was the routes WITHOUT thread belays that I was looking at. Did you really read the posts or were you just too busy galloping round on your high horse?
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Alun:
me neither
UKB Shark 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Anonymous:


Uggghhh ! ...brain vomit - I'll get a cloth
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Alun:

me neither.
PS Alun, have you been there recently, I met a guy called Nick the other day fairly quiet and unassuming bloke. seemed a cgood crack, then casually dropped in he was off to do Mad Max same day. wondered if anyone knew how he got on. oh and did Graham Hoey get all this hassle when he cleaned up the route, Or Andy when he sorted the Bolts on squeezin out the sparks
UKB Shark 02 Sep 2005
In reply to phatlad:

I don't think you have anything to complain about.

After all you did ask for 'objections' in the original post and you got them ! (without personal abuse)
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Simon Lee:
Objections are fine, but recommending use of fence posts at the top of the crag when they're a) dodgy, and b) recommended to be avoided by the BMC
Alun 02 Sep 2005
In reply to phatlad:
I haven't been there for a good few months, though there exists the possibility of a lightening visit at the end of this month, I have had my eyes on Flaky Wall for while - though it's pushing my grade and my fingertips are sweating just thinking about it!

> oh and did Graham Hoey get all this hassle when he cleaned up the route, Or Andy when he sorted the Bolts on squeezin out the sparks

I'm no expert on the history of the crag so not the right one to ask about whether other people got so much grief when they cleaned/geared their lines - however for whatever reason, they didn't publish their intentions on here first.
phatlad 02 Sep 2005
In reply to Alun:

You'll be fine on Flaky, one wire for the traverse and plenty of confidence. That's as much beta as you'll need ;o)

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.