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Pegbolts

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 Tom Ripley 25 Nov 2022
We've split this thread from the previous Tremadog thread to focus on pegbolts

In reply to Si Witcher:

What I don’t understand about the much derided peg bolts, is, if they’re so bad, why no one has been and chopped them. 

On the face of things (looking at logbook numbers) the silent majority seems to quite like them. 

I mean who goes trad climbing to clip shit pegs, and potentially hurt themselves when they snap when fallen on? I know trad climbing is all about judgement and risk management, but there’s not much judgement involved in clipping a junk peg. At least first ascensionist was able to gauge its quality, as they knew both how long the peg was, and what it sounded like when they placed it. 

There is no logic to the attitude towards fixed gear in the UK. We’re happy to have lots fixed, wet minging ropes and fixed rusty pegs and wires that folk rap on. But two little stainless steel bolts is sacrilege. 

It’s as bad as Brexit (almost). 


 

31
 Hardonicus 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Bit what of the wedge? See, it is thin but thence, if care hath not been taken, it is thick.

4
 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I think the conversation should begin from an honest acknowledgment that fixed gear (pitons or misc equipment, e.g. homemade bolts, old quarry ironwork, etc.) has always been a part of trad.

I think, second to that, that upholding democracy within the community rather than acting unilaterally, is something everyone should be able to get on board with. The best forums for democracy that we currently have are the area meets, though I do think these meets should engage with other forums, e.g. written submissions, the tone of debates on UKC, other community media etc.

Finally, I would think that a pragmatic approach can be taken on a route by route basis. Some may feel this is slow, but sometimes it is good to go slowly to create the opportunity for debate. Where a route used to have a piton and advances in protection mean that the route is adequately protectable without this at roughly the same grade (give or take a couple of grades), then there is no need to replace the piton. Where a route does not have other protection and replacing the peg is approved by the community in order to preserve the style/grade/character of the route, then a safely installed and longlasting glued peg could be placed in the place of the old piton. "Retro-pegging" of established lines, however, should not be allowed... the point should be to replace no longer usable fixed gear where this is deemed desirable, not to undermine the ethic of trad climbing.

Where people just unilaterally act without going through the democratic process, they should not be given community funds (e.g. BMC funds or bolt fund money) to continue doing so, unless they make a credible apology and refrain from doing the same in future.

Post edited at 11:51
2
 LakesWinter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I think no new pegs at all and let the route get bolder is the way to go. Adding p bolts is just underhand, non transparent nonsense. Not every piece of rock needs to be climbed and if something gets too hard/bold then it can be left for future generations/not climbed at all.

18
 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to LakesWinter:

How much of Hell Wall will be climbable if we just let the pegs rot? Were people wrong to replace pegs on Das Kapital? Personally, I don't think so...

On the other hand, the recent replacement of a peg with a bolt on Shiver's Arete has just turned it into Disneyland Arete... It would only have been max E2 without the bolt. Would have been better to let it get bolder. Though... it was democratically decided, at least, so!

Post edited at 11:58
1
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Ahh the great pegbolt debate again, I'll get my popcorn 

 LakesWinter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

These are all good points - and after all, a peg does take advantage of a natural weakness as opposed to a bolt. I think drilling pegbolts is not acceptable though as it really amounts to just adding bolts to trad routes. 

1
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Just make an ultra-hard peg, bang it in and extract it repeatedly in the correct manner to create a nut slot. Job done.

 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to LakesWinter:

> These are all good points - and after all, a peg does take advantage of a natural weakness as opposed to a bolt. I think drilling pegbolts is not acceptable though as it really amounts to just adding bolts to trad routes. 

I agree with the principle of what your saying, but practically I wonder if it's possible to remove peg stumps and place pegs in the same place without mechanical assistance? I can't claim any knowledge on that front. My impression, however, is that the laughably named "ecopegs" were generally being placed in the same spot as the original peg? Perhaps I'm wrong on that front...

In reply to Tom Ripley:

> There is no logic to the attitude towards fixed gear in the UK. We’re happy to have lots fixed, wet minging ropes and fixed rusty pegs and wires that folk rap on. But two little stainless steel bolts is sacrilege. 

Drilled=sport. Not drilled=trad. Slate=don't ask don't tell.

✓ Logic

Post edited at 13:45
 seankenny 25 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> Finally, I would think that a pragmatic approach can be taken on a route by route basis. Some may feel this is slow, but sometimes it is good to go slowly to create the opportunity for debate. Where a route used to have a piton and advances in protection mean that the route is adequately protectable without this at roughly the same grade (give or take a couple of grades), then there is no need to replace the piton. Where a route does not have other protection and replacing the peg is approved by the community in order to preserve the style/grade/character of the route, then a safely installed and longlasting glued peg could be placed in the place of the old piton. "Retro-pegging" of established lines, however, should not be allowed... the point should be to replace no longer usable fixed gear where this is deemed desirable, not to undermine the ethic of trad climbing.

Just to be clear, this is an argument for bolts on Gogarth. 

3
 Jim blackford 25 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

There are currently quite a few bolts or "peg bolts" at gogarth. including a couple that have been added where there was never a peg previously. I think the following was created to summarise the situation across north.wales:  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bjkz6TIMXeLIAJoCCzLRJMKhYx3Gn1hykb8AmT9L028/edit?usp=sharing

 Michael Gordon 25 Nov 2022
In reply to LakesWinter:

> These are all good points - and after all, a peg does take advantage of a natural weakness as opposed to a bolt. I think drilling pegbolts is not acceptable though as it really amounts to just adding bolts to trad routes. 

+1 

If you're drilling then it's a bolt regardless of outer appearance; seems like a clear demarcation line to me. And I agree it seems underhand.

 Ed Booth 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I can see why a minority have logged , and enjoyed these routes. I would probably prefer all of them more in their new states. This is more linked with the wider question of whether we want routes that are accessible for more people to enjoy rather than an elite few? I can think of a good number of occasions where on the first ascent or historically fixed bits of gear or bolts have been added which have massively changed the nature of that route. The first pitch of midsummer night's dream on Clog is a good example. A very popular pitch which basically relies on a bolt and a peg. Everybody quietly goes and enjoys the route and clips the bolt. Without this I doubt it would get done very much. It would be very bold relative to the difficulty. I'm sure there would be uproar if any other bolts were place on that hallowed wall.

I do find it curious that it is the first ascensionist's

right or prerogative to decide if a route can have any fixed gear or not, and if so how many pieces etc. I can see how it just evolved and happened over time. But, as a future stance point I think it would be clearer to just not replace any old stuff and on new routes not place any new stuff. I appreciate this would result in many routes changing, and a fair few would probably become pretty rubbish and not get done much, but there are plenty of routes around to do. 

As has probably been mentioned previously, the problem I see with the situation is the way in which the matter hasn't been discussed. Individuals have just taken it on themselves to decide that it is o.k and placed the bolts in place of old pegs (don't know if any have been placed where there weren't any pegs).

You mention chopping them Tom, this has potential to knacker the surrounding rock, this is why it would be better for it to be discussed in the first place rather than have to react to it.

 Fellover 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I'll add my 2p because why not.

I think pegs should never have been used in UK trad climbing (though obviously there are historical reasons why they were used and I'm not blaming anyone who did). They start off good and rot away, so by the time a climber these days comes to clip them they're an unknown quantity, probably rubbish. That said, obviously they were used in UK trad and they're still around today (and I clip them when I find them because I'm weak willed). However, just because they were placed bitd and the routes are now graded taking the pegs into account it does not mean we need to replace them! I'm all for the removal of old pegs and the subsequent regrading of routes. This will mostly mean upgrading and maybe I won't be able to do some routes I really want to do - that's ok. Maybe some will even be downgraded because the peg scar is a good hold, that'd be nice

The new 'ecopegs'/'pegbolts' are imo a bad thing. It is clear from posts on ukb from witnesses to the placing of the pegbolts that they require a drill to place and are glued in, to me that makes them bolts. The moniker 'ecopegs' is disingenuous at best. Some (most?) of the pegbolts are placed in the place of old pegs, but some are placed in placements that haven't ever had a peg in and that a normal non-drilled peg couldn't be placed in. The former I can sort of understand, replacing an aging peg with a longer lasting replacement seems like a good thing on the surface of it, though for me the the drilling makes it unacceptable, and even if there were no drilling, just a peg replacement, I'd rather it didn't happen. The latter is clearly just placing a bolt, which is obviously completely at odds with the way trad routes are in the UK (some places like the slate being an odd exception) and is in my view totally unacceptable.

Fwiw, I'm a relatively young trad climber, 28, started climbing 10 years ago at uni. I do climb indoors (more than I do trad), boulder outdoors and go on sport/boulder trips abroad, but the bulk of my outdoor climbing is trad and I think of myself as a trad climber for whatever reason. When I started climbing (my first time was trad in the UK) I was really impressed with the leave no trace ethic the uni freshers meet leader I was with explained and the way that trad didn't give you anything except what the rock gave you. After I'd been climbing for a little while I really felt it was something special and that I'd be first in line to stop someone bolting on UK trad. Since then, the general view I encounter seems to be constantly moving towards the idea that climbs should be bolted, regardless of whether they're trad or not, or that bold sections should be bolted, or that bolted ab stations to avoid a walk off are fine (yes I use them when I find them because I'm spineless). As a result I've basically given up protesting against the inexorable progress of the erosion of UK trad ethics as I see them, it seems inevitable that by the time I try and take my grandkids out climbing the only thing left will be sport climbing. These pegbolts aren't the thin end of the wedge, they're slap bang in the middle of the wedge.

3
In reply to Fellover:

Frankly imo this is a small group of climbers bringing the routes down to their level because they aren't bold enough to climb them any more.

Trad climbing isnt "plasir" climbing, yes some routes were opened in such a way where pegs were the only way to make them safe, but this doesn't need to be the future of trad climbing, especially as many of these routes are able to be protected with modern gear.

Post edited at 15:21
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 George_Surf 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Ill put my head above the parapet and say we’ve enjoyed loads of routes this year that have had new glued steel pegs in. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think they’re all necessary but most of the ones I’ve seen have been fine. Much better than bashing in another crap peg that rusts to death and blocks the placement. There’s an argument for saying if you can’t do the route without the peg then you shouldn’t be on it but the FA had the peg (or multiple?!). Sympathetic replacements where the fixed gear is pretty crucial for safety I’m generally fine with. I don’t like fixed gear / pegs. As far as I’m concerned the majority of the ones I come across are crap and basically are only good for marking the way. You could say it’s the thin end of the wedge but I don’t thing so so long as you’re only replacing pegs that are crucial and no other gear will go in 
 

6
 George_Surf 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Ed Booth:

I’m fully with you; just going out and chopping them is not the answer. Makes a right mess. If the community as a whole decides the peg shouldn’t be there then fine, get rid, but after that it needs to stay that way. There’s no point having that rubbish situation of peg /chop / peg malarkey 

 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

> Fwiw, I'm a relatively young trad climber, 28, started climbing 10 years ago at uni. I do climb indoors (more than I do trad), boulder outdoors and go on sport/boulder trips abroad, but the bulk of my outdoor climbing is trad and I think of myself as a trad climber for whatever reason. When I started climbing (my first time was trad in the UK) I was really impressed with the leave no trace ethic the uni freshers meet leader I was with explained and the way that trad didn't give you anything except what the rock gave you. After I'd been climbing for a little while I really felt it was something special and that I'd be first in line to stop someone bolting on UK trad. Since then, the general view I encounter seems to be constantly moving towards the idea that climbs should be bolted, regardless of whether they're trad or not, or that bold sections should be bolted, or that bolted ab stations to avoid a walk off are fine (yes I use them when I find them because I'm spineless). As a result I've basically given up protesting against the inexorable progress of the erosion of UK trad ethics as I see them, it seems inevitable that by the time I try and take my grandkids out climbing the only thing left will be sport climbing. These pegbolts aren't the thin end of the wedge, they're slap bang in the middle of the wedge.

I see your point and agree with the spirit of it, but it's historically inaccurate. Fixed gear has always been a part of trad and pitons were a part of (trad) climbing long before nuts and cams. What we call "the traditional ethics" are actually quite modern, and are in part predicated on old fixed gear existing - e.g. go look at the slate quarries, or the Lancashire quarries, or sea cliffs, or limestone, or many really hard routes.

We're in the novel generational position where much of this fixed gear has become rotting crap. Some of it, we can be quite happy to disregard, e.g. I think of the peg on North West Passage (E1 5b): without it the grade would be exactly the same. When it goes, no one will weep. Likewise, I was climbing with a friend recently on Median (HVS 5a) and Revolver (E1 5b) and we found gear that was better than all the pegs, some of which were still ok but most of which were laughable. There's no need to replace these pegs.

But, what about the pegs on A Sense of Doubt (E4 6b)? It's 25m of 5c climbing with no gear at all for the first 18m except 4 old pegs. Being a massive soft touch (at E4 6a), it regularly sees ascents by Lancaster University lads keen for an E4 tick, many of whom take massive whips onto the already dodgy pegs, egged on by an irresponsible guidebook description of it as "practically a sport route". No pegs and you're looking at something silly like E7 5c... or however you grade 18m unprotected, thin 5c above a catastrophic landing (don't ask me). In my view, when they go, they should be replaced as far as possible in a manner that is safe, sustainable and in-keeping with the spirit of the route. Otherwise, there just won't be a route, despite it being a line up the middle of a very popular wall on a very popular crag (don't imagine nature will somehow have a renaissance on this line).

Now... of course there are some new people mouthing off "why don't we bolt the mountain crags cos I like clipping bolts sometimes", but they're a minority and no one cares about their stupid opinions and this is not that debate, as far as I see it. It's instead the debate of how to protect the tradition whilst dealing with FA pegs that are now knackered.

Post edited at 16:22
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 Fellover 25 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> I see your point and agree with the spirit of it,

> but it's historically inaccurate. Fixed gear has always been a part of trad and pitons were a part of (trad) climbing long before nuts and cams. What we call "the traditional ethics" are actually quite modern, and are in part predicated on old fixed gear existing - e.g. go look at the slate quarries, or the Lancashire quarries, or sea cliffs, or limestone, or many really hard routes.

I don't think I've been historically inaccurate, or at least I hope not too much. I acknowledge that pegs exist for historical reasons. I have said that there's a leave no trace ethic, which I think there is in general, though fixed gear obviously contravenes this, so I suppose that's a bit inaccurate. I did carefully say 'UK trad ethics as I see them' and I'd rather there wasn't any fixed gear which would fit in with a leave no trace ethic, I didn't make that very clear in the post. As a trad climber in the UK I strive for a leave no trace ethic when I go out climbing anyway.

> We're in the novel generational position where much of this fixed gear has become rotting crap. Some of it, we can be quite happy to disregard, e.g. I think of the peg on North West Passage (E1 5b): without it the grade would be exactly the same. When it goes, no one will weep. Likewise, I was climbing with a friend recently on Median (HVS 5a) and Revolver (E1 5b) and we found gear that was better than all the pegs, some of which were still ok but most of which were laughable. There's no need to replace these pegs.

Yes, these are the easy cases where 99% of people are going to agree that the pegs should be removed or at least can be removed without complaint.

> But, what about the pegs on A Sense of Doubt (E4 6b)? It's 25m of 5c climbing with no gear at all for the first 18m except 4 old pegs. Being a massive soft touch (at E4 6a), it regularly sees ascents by Lancaster University lads keen for an E4 tick, many of whom take massive whips onto the already dodgy pegs, egged on by an irresponsible guidebook description of it as "practically a sport route". No pegs and you're looking at something silly like E7 5c... or however you grade 18m unprotected, thin 5c above a catastrophic landing (don't ask me). In my view, when they go, they should be replaced as far as possible in a manner that is safe, sustainable and in-keeping with the spirit of the route. Otherwise, there just won't be a route, despite it being a line up the middle of a very popular wall on a very popular crag (don't imagine nature will somehow have a renaissance on this line).

This is where we disagree. I think that the pegs should be removed and not replaced. That does mean that the routes will need to be upgraded and will become less accessible, so I can see why people would rather replace them. However, I view pegs as a historical relic, which we shouldn't be replacing because we've seen where it leads - a bunch of rotting metal waiting to break on someone. The consequence of that (that routes will in most cases become bolder) is one that I'm prepared to accept and I think other trad climbers should be as well.

> Now... of course there are some new people mouthing off "why don't we bolt the mountain crags cos I like clipping bolts sometimes", but they're a minority and no one cares about their stupid opinions and this is not that debate, as far as I see it. It's instead the debate of how to protect the tradition whilst dealing with FA pegs that are now knackered.

I'm not a believer in the idea that the FA style is sacrosanct (don't know if you are or not). Just because the FA placed a bunch of pegs I don't feel the need to replace them in order to preserve the route in the FA's style.

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 kevin stephens 25 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Many peg runners are relics from when nuts weren’t as versatile and cams weren’t as good or hadn’t been invented. Some pegs crucial to the nature or grade of a route have been replaced periodically as they have corroded or fallen out. Sometimes resin or cement has been used due to the placements being worn. I’d be happy for all those pegs to go even at the expense of losing some routes or with grade increases; like was the case with Eroica.


Calling peg protected clip ups “trad” on otherwise sport crags is a joke; a clip up is a sport route. Those routes should be bolted.

Peg belays are a different matter. Should the peg belay on Dinosaur at Gogarth be allowed to deteriorate ?

 Fellover 25 Nov 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

> Ill put my head above the parapet and say we’ve enjoyed loads of routes this year that have had new glued steel pegs in.

I'm sure they're loads of fun - after all sport climbing is loads of fun! I just can't get on board with them in trad venues. I know that calling the routes with the pegbolts in sport is probably overstating it for lots of the routes, I'm sure they still feel traddy. I've done lots of hybrid routes abroad with a traddy feel (whatever that means) and had lots of fun, but that doesn't mean I want that in the UK.

> Don’t get me wrong I don’t think they’re all necessary but most of the ones I’ve seen have been fine. Much better than bashing in another crap peg that rusts to death and blocks the placement.

I think that bashing in another peg of any form is a bad idea.

> There’s an argument for saying if you can’t do the route without the peg then you shouldn’t be on it but the FA had the peg (or multiple?!).

I don't really care if the FA had a peg or not. They got to do the route with the safety of the peg, good for them, I think that they shouldn't have placed the peg in the first place so I'm not going to insist that the peg is replaced just so I can have the same experience. I'd rather there weren't pegs (cos they rust away and I'm also not thrilled with the idea of essentially taking a hammer and chisel to the rock) and I'm happy to accept the consequences of that choice.

> Sympathetic replacements where the fixed gear is pretty crucial for safety I’m generally fine with. I don’t like fixed gear / pegs. As far as I’m concerned the majority of the ones I come across are crap and basically are only good for marking the way. You could say it’s the thin end of the wedge but I don’t thing so so long as you’re only replacing pegs that are crucial and no other gear will go in 

As I've said in an above post, I think that replacing pegs with (peg)bolts and adding (peg)bolts in trad routes is well past the thin end of the wedge.

I don't mean to criticise you for clipping the pegbolts btw, if I lived near the routes in question I'd probably be clipping them as well.

10
In reply to George_Surf:

Do we know for sure whether the Adar pegbolts are drilled? And glued?

They're the only example of the species I've seen and it wasn't obvious to me. I could believe they're just weird homebrew pegs, but would also believe anyone who claims to know better.

 George_Surf 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

yeah fair enough. I’m not really that interested in keeping the debate going, I’ve sort of said roughly what I think. I will say though; I was under the impression that the new pegs are stainless steel so they don’t rot. Because they’re not malleable the placement needs some glue for the to really hold. I only thought a drill was involved if the old peg was so rusty that excavating it proved not possible. In this case the old peg stub is basically carefully drilled out and then glue gets put in the hole and a new stainless peg is whacked in. Maybe I’m naive? I wasn’t under the impression that existing shallow / normal peg placements were not majorly drilled long holes? I didn’t think drilling was even necessary all the time if the old peg gets excavated ok? Are people saying that every stainless peg has been drilled in like 4-6” like your standard petzl glue in / eco bolt? Obviously some placements might facilitate a long stainless peg

2
 john arran 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

I think there's a huge difference between pegbolts and most sportclimbing bolts. Even though we wouldn't be happy to drive pegs in nowadays, such routes were the trad routes of their day and they were protectable by acceptable means at the time, within the spirit of trad climbing. Their use was limited - often severely - by opportunities the rock provided, in much the same way as for all other trad protection, and in hardly any cases do they make a whole route potentially safe, so the trad risk and judgement requirement is still very much required.

I also agree that wherever pegs do not constitute a fairly critical part of the protectability of a route, given modern alternatives, they should not be replaced. There's even a good argument that in such cases they should be removed, to make sure nobody relies too heavily on something that may no longer be worth clipping.

But there are good routes that are only reasonably protectable by clipping one or more pegs, which would become no go zones were they to be removed as there simply wouldn't be much interest in doing the then chop-routes without. Hypothetically, the pegs could be replaced like for like to sustain the route in its original state (though I'm very aware of the practical difficulties in doing so) but surely it's a far better and more sustainable solution to remove the need for such temporary botches and to implement an effectively permanent solution to maintaining the climbability of existing, often classic routes. I don't think anybody is talking about replacing anything other than well established existing pegs, so I'm struggling to see how the the end of a wedge argument really applies in practice.

2
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

There was a thread on the other channel recently claiming that adars pegs are drilled and glued, I could dig it up and share the link, the title is something about bolt chopping. It's a meaty read now 

In reply to john arran:

The problem is that it's being taken to the extreme in certain cases. Bloodbank at Adar for example has 3 pegs in the first few meters of the route.

The Adar are glued, hard to say if they are drilled but this is likely knowing how long the peg bolts are.

There is a balance to be struck, but at the moment I feel like the replacement is not being done sensitively.

 mrjonathanr 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

Exactly.

1
In reply to Alex Riley:

The problem is that this is an interminable debate. There's literally not a way to nail it shut that someone won't start another thread reopening it. Doesn't matter if we reach agreement on the answer, one person will still come by and go "yeah but....." then round we go again.....

 Si Witcher 25 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran: 
>... I don't think anybody is talking about replacing anything other than well established existing pegs, so I'm struggling to see how the the end of a wedge argument really applies in practice.<<

In most cases, the glued bolts are replacing previous hammered pegs on existing routes, but there's at least one example now of one being placed on a project i.e. the top bolt of what is now Painted Groove Direct at Rhoscolyn (reported as f8a).

Painted Groove Direct (E7 6c)

 Brown 25 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

I've got great respect for much of the trad climbing that took place in the 1970s and 1980s when most of these pegs were placed.

Placing pegs on trad routes was however a mistake and the replacement of these pegs is just doubling down on the mistake made previously. I understand why people of the generation who placed these pegs are reluctant to accept they stole these routes from future generations, but as shown by younger better climbers, these pegs should never have been placed.

So what if we end up with more nasty, bold, dangerous routes. 

13
 CurlyStevo 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Brown:

Its not really and A or B scenario. Take wintours leap for example. Personally I'd just replace the cemented in drilled pegs with bolts.

4
 Si Witcher 25 Nov 2022
In reply to George_Surf:

Hi George, there's actually a BMC Cymru video here that gives a guide to pegs and pegbolts. This is what your Friday night needs! This covers your questions re drilling. 

Skip to 4m 20s for the pegbolts bit:  youtube.com/watch?v=yX0apNzic0E&

TL: DR: the 316 bolts are 90mm or 120mm long, so if the old peg hole is not deep enough or straight enough, then a drill (or "rotary chisel") may be used to deepen/straighten the hole, so that the new bolt can be placed in resin glue using only a rubber or wooden mallet, and not a hard steel hammer, so as to not contaminate or cause micro fractures within the bolt.

Post edited at 20:30
 Phil Kelly 25 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> On the other hand, the recent replacement of a peg with a bolt on Shiver's Arete has just turned it into Disneyland Arete... It would only have been max E2 without the bolt. Would have been better to let it get bolder. Though... it was democratically decided, at least, so!

No, it wasn’t democratically decided at all.

it was decided to test. It was tested by a member of the Wilton management committee, and it was said to be fine.

Others then decided it should be retested, so it was tested (to destruction this time) by a different person and was replaced immediately with hardware that the tester had brought with them, ready to place.

Post edited at 21:10
2
 AJM 25 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

> I think there's a huge difference between pegbolts and most sportclimbing bolts

What is that difference? 

Genuine question btw.

From posts on the other channel from people who have seen them (the modern pegbolts/ecopegs/whatever it is we are pretending they are) being placed, you drill a hold, not necessarily in the original fracture, fill it with glue, and then tap a pegbolt into it. I've placed glue in bolts and at a high level that description would also work.

I dont know what the right or wrong answer to each particular placement is, but from all I've seen and heard we ought to have an honest conversation about replacing pegs with bolts and where that's acceptable, because that's what's happening, even if we make the bolt look a bit like a peg in shape and tell people a bit of a story round it because it's easier to avoid tackling the question head on.

1
 jezb1 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

I was told the pegs at Adar were a condition of maintaining access. May or may not be reliable info.

1
In reply to Tom Ripley:

What about winter climbing? 

 GrahamD 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Ed Booth:

What is "elite" about climbing without bolts ??

If you're going down that sort of line, most climbing needs car transport and money and so is "elitist "

2
 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Phil Kelly:

> No, it wasn’t democratically decided at all.

> it was decided to test. It was tested by a member of the Wilton management committee, and it was said to be fine.

> Others then decided it should be retested, so it was tested (to destruction this time) by a different person and was replaced immediately with hardware that the tester had brought with them, ready to place.

That's very interesting... and if that's the case it completely changes my position on the bolt placed on Shivers Arete, which I already felt underminded the route.

 C Witter 25 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> Many peg runners are relics from when nuts weren’t as versatile and cams weren’t as good or hadn’t been invented. Some pegs crucial to the nature or grade of a route have been replaced periodically as they have corroded or fallen out. Sometimes resin or cement has been used due to the placements being worn. I’d be happy for all those pegs to go even at the expense of losing some routes or with grade increases; like was the case with Eroica.

Some routes don't have any gear opportunities at all, even with sliders, micronuts/cams and skyhooks.

> Calling peg protected clip ups “trad” on otherwise sport crags is a joke; a clip up is a sport route. Those routes should be bolted.

A Sense of Doubt is not a sport route on a sport crag... It's a run frightener with 4 dodgy pegs on a trad only crag in a nature reserve where bolts are banned by landowner (and possibly pegbolts, though this could possibly be negotiated)

> Peg belays are a different matter. Should the peg belay on Dinosaur at Gogarth be allowed to deteriorate ?

How is this in anyway different to repegging an E4 with no gear? By your logic you should just get longer ropes and climb on or not climb it.

Not trying to antagonise, just to tease out some assumptions.

In reply to jezb1:

Someone mentioned that to me but I've heard otherwise since.

 C Witter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

> This is where we disagree. I think that the pegs should be removed and not replaced. That does mean that the routes will need to be upgraded and will become less accessible, so I can see why people would rather replace them. However, I view pegs as a historical relic, which we shouldn't be replacing because we've seen where it leads - a bunch of rotting metal waiting to break on someone. The consequence of that (that routes will in most cases become bolder) is one that I'm prepared to accept and I think other trad climbers should be as well.

When you climb A Sense of Doubt without clipping the pegs (after all, it's very soft at E4 6a, so hardly cutting edge stuff) I will believe that you are sincere in being prepared to accept the boldness that comes with removing pegs. But, I don't think you are sincere. What I think you actually mean is: I'm ok with the abstract idea that no one will get to climb this route that I've no personal investment in climbing.

Personally, I sincerely doubt we will find a consensus if we take a dogmatic position that effectively rules out people continuing to climb routes in the established way. Effectively, this would mean the climbing community closing and banning routes, as no one is going to accept certain degrees of severity involved in reclimbing technically insignificant routes with no protection. It would be staggering if the climbing community decided not climbing established lines is the best way forward.

7
 kevin stephens 26 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> How is this in anyway different to repegging an E4 with no gear? By your logic you should just get longer ropes and climb on or not climb it.

> Not trying to antagonise, just to tease out some assumptions.

Yes. The suggestion was that we lose a few routes for a greater good of certainty, purity and non-ambiguity of the UK trad climbing ethic.

Of course even this breaks down for bolted slate routes where the only difference between trad and sport is the number and spacing of the bolts

RE peg belays eg Dinosaur, it was a normal question rather than a Rhetorical one to which I don’t know the answer. However to me, climbing a pitch at Gogarth with only leader placed protection has obvious greater ethical purity than relying on a pre-existing recent or 316 stainless peg runner(s). Whether the peg placement is drilled and/or glued wouldn’t change this. Arriving at the belay after your heroic lead to play Russian roulette with manky pegs/placement and/or body braces to bring up your second may be taking ethical purity too far? Discuss…..

Post edited at 03:09
1
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Might we nonetheless all agree on the following, which is not (I don’t think?) any end of a wedge:

one unambiguously acceptable use of stainless steel peg bolts is belays on sea cliffs where natural protection is not adequate. Earlier in the year i climbed Britomartis (HVS 4c) and the belay after the first pitch was terrifying. The peg had rusted almost all the way through and the best I could back it up with was shallow micros. The leader slipping on the second pitch early on and stressing the belay would likely lead to disaster. Unlikely anyone *would* slip there, but my sense is that belay points should be points of refuge and if a peg has traditionally been in place to make them so there is nothing wrong with replacing an old rotten peg with something that won’t be eaten by the sea and made little more than psychological protection alone. 

10
 PaulJepson 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

Would routes like Dalriada and Bleed in Hell get climbed much if not for the pegs? They're fathoms above my pay grade so that's a genuine question. 

Crags of super compact limestone like Wintours and Avon likely wouldn't get climbed at all. Protection is usually only available in the horizontal breaks, and a lot of them wont take anything gearwise. If you let the existing pegs rot or remove them, I guarantee there will only be one of two outcomes:

A) nothing except the corners and cracks get climbed and the vast swathes of rock in between fall into ivy-clad obscurity. 

B) scenario A for a while, followed by another generation bolting the lot because "no one ever climbs it".

There is definitely a place for pegs in UK trad but it needs to be carefully managed on a crag-by-crag basis. Are you going to go tell Mr Birkett that he's a shower of shite and go chop all the pegs on his E9s? 

2
OP Tom Ripley 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

That belay on Britomartis can be made better with a bit of cunning - there is more gear to the left - but I could imagine many fledgling Hard VS leader making a hash of it. God knows what I built when I first climbing in 2007!

I’d be totally in favour with that peg being replace a peg bolt.
 

14
OP Tom Ripley 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

To the dislikers: what is it you specifically dislike about poor belays on popular mid grade routes?

6
 Andy Moles 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Might we nonetheless all agree on the following, which is not (I don’t think?) any end of a wedge:

> one unambiguously acceptable use of stainless steel peg bolts is belays on sea cliffs where natural protection is not adequate. 

If you think any manner of fixed gear on a trad route is beyond dispute you haven't been in the weeds of this debate for long enough!

In the case of Britomartis, personally I don't have strong feelings either way, but you can just not belay and climb it in a single pitch. Maybe that's how it should be described.

In reply to C Witter:

> When you climb A Sense of Doubt without clipping the pegs (after all, it's very soft at E4 6a, so hardly cutting edge stuff) I will believe that you are sincere in being prepared to accept the boldness that comes with removing pegs. But, I don't think you are sincere. What I think you actually mean is: I'm ok with the abstract idea that no one will get to climb this route that I've no personal investment in climbing.

This is an excellent point that I think a lot of people miss. It's easy to spray ethical values on the internet, but when you're strung out looking at losing your life above pish or non existent runners, do you decline the help of a top rope rescue simply because it would be unethical as the rock never provided you with that assitance?

I've never understood the argument of "if you can't climb it without pegs then leave it alone" as if having pegs in removes any of the enjoyment or risk of climbing the line, given that they're not completely fail safe options that have seen plenty of mishaps of their own over the years. If someone is willing to run with the "leave it alone" ethical standpoint then they really ought to be able or willing to climb the route in the first place.

11
 Brown 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Climbing Dinosaur as a 60 m rope stretcher sounds excellent tbh and would in my mind represent a clear improvement over bolting it's belay or even splitting it into two.

I think everyone appreciates that putting in hanging belays mid pitch is less good/cheating and in 2022 it's not like we don't have long ropes.

Yes it would clearly be a harder route but so what? Just because the old boys climbed with 45 m ropes doesn't mean we are compelled to continue their mistakes.

We can do better.

1
 Offwidth 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Brown:

Is there anyone who seriously regards an intermediate belay (hanging or not) as cheating?

4
 Brown 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

I think when the pitch is doable in one and you introduce an artificial rest point it is clearly cheating.

I pointed to the Salathe wall as being a clear example of this. The FA(?) arbitrarily split the pitch with a hanging belay. Since then it's become established that it's climbed in one. The only reason to split it is because you can't climb it properly.

I think you would get short shrift if you split many long stamina routes now. You clearly can't claim Left Wall on the Cromlech if you stick in a hanging belay below the crux.

The historical president from a time of short climbing ropes should not be used to lock us into short pitches. Nobody would climb Five Pitch Route (S 4b) in five pitches just because it was climbed in five pitches in the 1930s.

Edited date.

Post edited at 11:30
3
In reply to Brown:

The belay on Britomartis is in part there because of the awkwardness of doing it as one pitch - you have to traverse in from the right to get onto the route, then traverse back out right to top out higher up. As per the logbooks, this makes for appalling rope drag according to people who have done it in one pitch. So it's not just about not having long enough ropes or something, and it's hardly more pleasant to climb with horrible rope drag than to take a hanging stance. 

Anyway Britomartis was just one example. I'm not saying every sea cliff should get peg bolts, just that there is a time and a place where they seem sensible and in keeping with the spirit of adventurous trad climbing: sea cliffs where there have been peg belays for years already because natural protection is lacking, but those pegs are now completely rotten.

Post edited at 11:34
5
 Michael Gordon 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Nathan Adam:

> If someone is willing to run with the "leave it alone" ethical standpoint then they really ought to be able or willing to climb the route in the first place.

Well that argument hardly stands in the context of new cutting edge routes. I don't think there's anything unreasonable about taking a "no pegs on new routes" stance regardless of grade.

In reply to Nathan Adam:

I've some sympathy with this argument. I never trust pegs, even though I'll gladly clip them. The other week I climbed Tearg Wall (E2 5c), which has a peg protecting the crux. Did it feel like sport climbing? Hell no. The peg looked fine but for all I knew it was ready to ping out. I committed but it felt a lot more serious (if the peg blew, a ground fall was likely as runners below were far off and behind rather thin bits of rock) than say a 6b/+ sport route. Pegs aren't bolts, and I think anyone who climbs on them as if they are is silly.

That said, it sounds like peg bolts are a lot more like bolts...so I guess that does change things...

 Rick Graham 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Grumpy old man/ experienced climber post, delete as you wish.

I hate the term "build a belay", it implies that several good placements and a stance to stand on are all conveniently close to link with slings to a single point. 

As you suggest a bit of cunning might be needed on Britomartis but should safe belaying be linked to the climbing ability of the leader?

If arriving at a "stance " an adequate belay is not obvious within arms reach,  options are invariably  available.

Climb up and down  to incorporate some runners on the next pitch into the belay.

Climb down and incorporate some runners on the previous pitch , this may mean having a hanging stance .

There is also the current fixation with equalising everything to a single point. Using the climbing rope(s) enables widely spaced anchor points to be linked , ideally equalised but if necessary just clipped. Safety, hopefully,  in numbers.

Regarding pegbolts.

Personally,  I have placed two pegs on trad routes in the last forty years, I agonised over both, I might go and take both out now. So I guess I am not in favour of pegbolts.

Simplest option would be for local or national agreement on a crag to be either trad or bolted .

Any middle ground is just murky water.

6
 Alex the Alex 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Its possible to appreciate the historic context of past pegs placed and argue that its desirable to improve on that and move beyond the need for fixed gear (in most cases). The feeling of self-reliance is one of the greatest enjoyments of trad, even if its an illusion a lot of the time (guidebooks, cleaning etc). PegBolts break that illusion. More so than pegs placed by some ancient hand in the past. You're relying on some other party to come and install them. Sanitising the process in a totally artificial manner. It breaks the rules of the game! Problem solving and risk management should be part of the game. If a belay is poor, climb through, belay before it, climb in tandem, find a solution that doesnt rely on someone else coming to fix the problem for you. Rescue is different, in that it affects the individuals experience (plus the few involved), but not the next party trying. PegBolts impose on everyones experience of climbing the route from then on. Similarly with pegbolts on the route. Find a solution yourself, rather than relying on someone to come and deal with the risk for you (and everyone else). If the risk feels too much, the moves and line can still be enjoyed on a top rope (granted, trickier for some routes)?

Risk is one of the last wilderness's of the mind and trad climbing is an amazing game for exploring it. Sacrificing one or two routes for the sake of keeping that element of trad seems worthwhile. I climbed to the belay on Eroica years back and looked up and couldnt imagine climbing up into that groove knowing the state of the peg. But I'd much rather have to retreat, and come back fitter and wiser, than someone go and drill a bolt in to make it accessible. It's still climbable, I just 
need to up my game. Yes its hypothetical, I might never get back! But ethics and style are built on theory and principle, as well as practice. But thats just like, my opinion man.

3
 Andy Moles 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Nathan Adam:

> If someone is willing to run with the "leave it alone" ethical standpoint then they really ought to be able or willing to climb the route in the first place.

Problem here is that you're effectively saying the stronger and bolder you are, the more valid your point of view. If someone who's happy soloing E4 wants all pegs up to that grade out, is that the final word?

But I agree there's something to be said about the discrepancy between what people say and what they do. It's simple and attractive to hop on a purist high-horse and say trad climbs should be as free of fixed gear as possible, but does that really reflect what the majority of climbers want, as evidenced by their real-world activities? The number of routes that would be significantly affected by a moratorium on fixed gear is not huge but it's not insignificant. Is it worth denying a lot of us the realistic opportunity to have a crack at once-popular routes just to comply with an arbitrary principle?

There's a pretty reasonable counter-argument to this, that any muddying of the water only leads to more muddying. I suspect we're never going to achieve clarity that satisfies everyone.

5
 john arran 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

While I'm sure that the clear majority of pegs could be removed without significant change in grade or route character, and I'd be in favour of that , I think it would be awful if an absolutist stance were to be taken against all pegs and pegbolts, regardless of circumstance or history. Would Green Death (E5 5c) be a better route without its only piece of pro? Would it be worth sacrificing this and other classic routes in pursuit of a principle?

1
In reply to Andy Moles:

I think we're on the same page here.

My point was more meaning that if someone is willing to say that pegs on any given route shouldn't be replaced to be suitable for actually clipping/trusting then they should be at a level where they can back that up with their actions. 

One thing for sure is that we'll never have a satisfactory outcome for everyone with an opinion on it.

 Neil Foster Global Crag Moderator  UKH Supporter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

> Would Green Death (E5 5c) be a better route without its only piece of pro?

No

> Would it be worth sacrificing this and other classic routes in pursuit of a principle?

No

Post edited at 12:41
In reply to Michael Gordon:

If a first ascenionist goes to the trouble of cleaning and climbing a route and a peg is the difference between being seriously injured/dying or not, then who is anyone else to say that they shouldn't be allowed to place that peg?

Is it simply the argument that the route needs to be left to someone better in the future? If so, then let that person take the peg out and regrade appropriately. That said, chances are that they'll quite happily clip the peg and continue on and enjoy the route regardless. 

11
 Ed Booth 26 Nov 2022
In reply to GrahamD:

Indeed, but particular bold trad routes are only viable leads to an elite few as opposed to if they were bolted. E.g a route like Indian Face.

I personally think there could be a wider acceptenance of 'clean top roped' as a form of "valid" ascent. Obviouly this sort of thing only matters for people who care about what their ascent means to anybody else.

 Offwidth 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Brown:

Sorry I should have been clearer. I was referring to an alternative middle belay on such a 60m route.

I climbed 5 pitch route in 5 pitches for the fun of it, was I cheating? I have split pitches many times (sometimes hanging belays) due to things like: incorrect pitch lengths, a poor quality defined belay position nearby a better alternative, maximising rope for a long grassy top, or just to better protect or communicate with my partner.

If someone climbed Salathe using the FA belay I'd regard it as ridiculous if someone else felt such a thing invalidated the ascent. Left Wall just before the stamina kicked in fair enough as a cheat, but I still wouldn't be especially concerned with such a cheat if the climbers were honest about their style.

In ethical contrast I see so called drilled eco pegs as what they are: effectively a slightly less reliable bolt, that permanently alters the rock. I can see they might be a solution on some specific routes but the biggest problem highlighted on the other channel was unilateral retro bolting of protectable trad lines, rather than a very route specific need for a replacement of a rotted peg(s) with the agreement of the local community.

Post edited at 13:04
3
 Brown 26 Nov 2022
In reply to john arran:

I personally think that it is worth sacrificing the tiny number of routes which are only high quality with crucial fixed gear in the interests of a broader goal.

It's also clear from looking at the peg-bolt spreadsheet that these are not only being placed in the edge cases where mega-classics are being lost to history.

The bolt on The Cruise (E5 6b) and the bolt on Central Wall (E3 6a) are examples of convenience bolting.

(not sure if the Central wall pegbolts are only on the crux or also the belay, but you can 100% climb that safety with no fixed gear in a single pitch)

7
 Andy Moles 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Nathan Adam:

The problem with pegs though is lifespan. They're a short-term solution (in the case of sea-cliffs, very short-term). Yes, they can be replaced and occasionally they are, but far more often in reality they are left to decay to the point that removal is no longer an option.

Stainless glue-in bolts, on the other hand (whether or not they're designed to look like pegs...) will be good for decades. The question then is whether you can cope with an occasional bit of drilling on trad routes.

Post edited at 13:08
 Pedro50 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

> Is there anyone who seriously regards an intermediate belay (hanging or not) as cheating?

In the case of two famous brothers taking an intermediate belay on Cemetery Gates during an early ascent of Right Wall the I think the answer is probably yes.

 Si Witcher 26 Nov 2022
In reply to jezb1:

> I was told the pegs at Adar were a condition of maintaining access. May or may not be reliable info.

I asked Steve Long and Pete Johnson (CC guidebook author) about the Adar equipping with glued bolts. The gist is that the previous landowner became concerned about climbers activities on his land back in the '90s and required visitors to ask permission to climb in small groups. Access wasn't withdrawn though. Over time the original pegs aged and the crag became less popular. More recently the farm has passed to his son and now as of the 2021 guidebook, permission no longer needs to be requested.

Exactly what the link is between the re-cleaning and equipping the crag for the 2021 Climbers Club guidebook and any conversations with the current landowner remain unclear. I did ask Pete but he wasn't able to confirm who did the equipping (it remains a secret, possibly due to liability concerns). Certainly the BMC was not involved in any discussions in advance re possible access agreements or re-equipping.

We know there's only one source of the 316 pegbolts (Bolt-Products) and that the NWBF holds the stock, but as to who transferred the bolts to the crag and installed, this remains a black box. Make of that what you will.

 jimtitt 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Si Witcher:

I am not the source of "pegbolts".

1
 Offwidth 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Pedro50:

I'm not so sure... if the use of that belay was dishonestly hidden maybe, but.... there are all sorts of grey scale factors sometimes claimed as cheating, from practice on a rope (headpoints) though the 50s pre-placement of chocks, peg use, chalk use, ground up above mats, to modern sky hook pro. Climbing is a collection of games with rules and a game that splits stamina pitches seems valid to me, as long as that is honest (just as Tom and Pete recently climbed that 800m M5 bridge roof crack in 10m sections): improved styles are possible but that doesn't invalidate the lesser style (Alex has soloed previously freed big wall routes, yet other climbers still aid some sections and different climbers again aid almost every move). A big problem to me is where style damages natural rock. It's sad so many of the Peak boulder problems are seriously damaged though bad style; and in the last two decades softer grit/sandstone cruxy routes (especially HS to E1 at Birchen) have gained horrendous cam damage and yet 'going for it' on cams is still encouraged.

Fixed gear damages the rock and we need careful debate and preferably a sizable consensus about when and where that can happen. I took some pals to Wingather for their first visit a couple of weeks back and to show a thicker end of Ken's wedge on a natural grit crag we counted near 50 bolt holes and a short stake, in rock along the crag top, where none were really needed.

Post edited at 15:40
3
 Rick Graham 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Simplest option would be for local or national agreement on a crag to be either trad or bolted .

> Any middle ground is just murky water.

To keep the water as clear as possible, I finished the post .

However, the possibility exists  " in exceptional cases" to have individually agreed exceptions for single placements or even whole crags.

The most likely acceptable process is through the local area BMC meetings.

 jezb1 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Si Witcher:

> I asked Steve Long and Pete Johnson (CC guidebook author) about the Adar equipping with glued bolts....

Good info, thanks for sharing!

 mrjonathanr 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

> to show a thicker end of Ken's wedge on a natural grit crag we counted near 50 bolt holes and a short stake, in rock along the crag top, where none were really needed.

Wow. There is no need for a single bolt at this crag. I wonder who drilled them? Was it for organised instruction? Having instructed groups there off perfectly serviceable natural belays, I know that no competent person needs to drill bolts at Windgather to safely belay  there.

It encapsulates the problem- an erosion of an established consensus as people quietly start to add fixed gear for their own convenience.  
 

I find it extraordinary how people try to justify breaking that consensus, like the poster up thread who wrote about bolted belays on sea cliffs being ‘in keeping with the spirit of adventurous trad’, when it’s exactly the opposite.
 

 mrjonathanr 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

> The question then is whether you can cope with an occasional bit of drilling on trad routes.

The next question is whether, that taboo being broken, it will remain occasional. I suspect not.

1
 C Witter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

> Would routes like Dalriada and Bleed in Hell get climbed much if not for the pegs? They're fathoms above my pay grade so that's a genuine question. 

> Crags of super compact limestone like Wintours and Avon likely wouldn't get climbed at all. Protection is usually only available in the horizontal breaks, and a lot of them wont take anything gearwise. If you let the existing pegs rot or remove them, I guarantee there will only be one of two outcomes:

> A) nothing except the corners and cracks get climbed and the vast swathes of rock in between fall into ivy-clad obscurity. 

> B) scenario A for a while, followed by another generation bolting the lot because "no one ever climbs it".

> There is definitely a place for pegs in UK trad but it needs to be carefully managed on a crag-by-crag basis. Are you going to go tell Mr Birkett that he's a shower of shite and go chop all the pegs on his E9s? 

This is a follow through point that occured to me too: banning peg replacement is likely to give ammo to retrobolters, if pegless climbs are no longer climbable.

1
 C Witter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Any middle ground is just murky water.

Personally, I struggle to understand why people have so much fear of ambiguity or, even, nuance? Is it that we think we're all too thick to appreciate context or is it simply that some sort of residual Christianity has people trying to evade temptation? Personally, I trust myself to cope with the "murky" middle ground and wonder how anyone expects to find a workable compromise otherwise... Although, maybe a working consensus is not what some people actually want - simply to distinguish themselves with their piety.

4
 Rick Graham 26 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Have you read my later post at 16.04 ?

 C Witter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Rick Graham:

No, I hadn't seen it, but now I have and I more or less agree.

I think we should be reluctant to simply replace pegs where they're not needed and extremely cautious about fixed gear on new routes, but there needs to be some space for compromise. It seems we're in agreement to some extent after all

 Rick Graham 26 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> No, I hadn't seen it, but now I have and I more or less agree.

> I think we should be reluctant to simply replace pegs where they're not needed and extremely cautious about fixed gear on new routes, but there needs to be some space for compromise. It seems we're in agreement to some extent after all

That's a shame

Fwiw I quite liked the bolted line on red wall at trowbarrow  (mid 90s?), as expected it lasted about a week.

1
 Si Witcher 26 Nov 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

Thanks Jim for correcting me, and apologies for my mistake in linking you to the pegbolts.

This raises more questions and concerns (not for you to answer) on who then has designed, manufactured and tested the pegbolts.

I also noticed on your website general information page here, in the pitons section:

http://www.bolt-products.com/Glue-inBoltDesign.htm

that you looked into options for stainless steel pitons for uk sea-cliffs and that you concluded:

"The result of producing nice corrosion resistant pitons is that climbers may blindly trust them with potentially fatal result and my feeling is that to put them on the market for permanent placements would be irresponsible and other solutions need to be found."

Sobering indeed.

 Andy Reeve 26 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> Personally, I struggle to understand why people have so much fear of ambiguity or, even, nuance?

For me, it's because that ambiguity is already being exploited by the bolter taking unilateral action.

Having said that, I'd prefer the nuance of previously mentioned edge-cases being debated and possibly agreed for drilled pegs in some cases. But I can see why some people may be fearful that any kind of ambiguity will only lead to more inappropriate bolting of trad routes. 

OP Tom Ripley 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Reeve:

> For me, it's because that ambiguity is already being exploited by the bolter taking unilateral action.

What’s the other option? A BMC committee will just tie itself in knots and nothing will happen.

Much better for someone to just get on with it, as long as they do the right thing. 

22
 Andy Reeve 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> Much better for someone to just get on with it, as long as they do the right thing. 

That's the current situation. I don't think it's working out very well so far. 

1
 C Witter 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Reeve:

I see that... But, is that taking advantage of the ambiguity or acting unilaterally in the absence of any communal consensus?

 Mick Ward 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> Much better for someone to just get on with it, as long as they do the right thing. 

Tom, but isn't 'the right thing' the crux of the problem? 

One person's 'right thing' may not be another's. Agree about committees. But the few BMC area meetings to which I've been have been filled with local activists, most of whom know the problems/possibilities intimately. 

Doesn't guarantee getting things right; that I fully accept. But surely a much greater chance of getting things right??

Mick 

In reply to Paul Sagar: I found good gear for a belay on Britomartis, pegs are not really necessary.

 Andy Reeve 26 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> I see that... But, is that taking advantage of the ambiguity or acting unilaterally in the absence of any communal consensus?

Good question. I suspect that the reason the protagonist has avoided asking for consensus is that if they had gone to their local BMC meeting and asked "does anyone mind if I drill some holes in trad crags then glue some bolts that I've had manufactured to look like pegs (which I have named "eco-pegs" to make them sound... what, zero-carbon?)", then they would have got a consensus that they didn't want. So I'll give them the benefit of the doubt go with acting unilaterally in the absence of consensus.

In reply to Brown:

As another example, from memory the second belay on Red Wall (E2 5b) is crap and it’s best to just carry on to the top in a 50m pitch. 

 seankenny 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> one unambiguously acceptable use of stainless steel peg bolts is belays on sea cliffs where natural protection is not adequate. Earlier in the year i climbed Britomartis (HVS 4c) and the belay after the first pitch was terrifying. The peg had rusted almost all the way through and the best I could back it up with was shallow micros. The leader slipping on the second pitch early on and stressing the belay would likely lead to disaster. Unlikely anyone *would* slip there, but my sense is that belay points should be points of refuge and if a peg has traditionally been in place to make them so there is nothing wrong with replacing an old rotten peg with something that won’t be eaten by the sea and made little more than psychological protection alone. 

If the guide said something like: “Poor intermediate belay which requires some searching for placements, otherwise continue to the top with a great deal of potential for rope drag,” would you have done the route? (Not got my guide to hand atm so excuse me if it does say something like this.) 

1
 Michael Gordon 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Nathan Adam:

> If a first ascenionist goes to the trouble of cleaning and climbing a route and a peg is the difference between being seriously injured/dying or not, then who is anyone else to say that they shouldn't be allowed to place that peg?

There is always the option of not climbing the route.

> Is it simply the argument that the route needs to be left to someone better in the future? 

In a word, yes. Not all rock needs to be climbed. That seems preferable to me than a choice between pegs which will rot and become unreliable and the grade change anyway, or bolts drilled in masquerading as pegs which totally goes against British trad ethics.

4
In reply to Si Witcher:

Its not a secret who is making them, there was a presentation video at the BMC meeting that happened in lockdown about it.

Post edited at 21:03
 jimtitt 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

Indeed, I was at a meeting about ten or fifteen years ago when they first appeared.

1
 Si Witcher 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

Hi, this video?:  youtube.com/watch?v=yX0apNzic0E& 

I've seen this one, but note it doesn't specify who is manufacturing them. It hints on who has provided input on the design. I'm wondering if they've been homemade in someone's garage, or commissioned from an established manufacturer. As an experimental design, it seems important to know how they've been tested and who is vouching for their quality. These are being placed and fallen on assuming they're as good as a sport bolt. Jim T's website advice seems to recommend avoiding use of such experiments.

In reply to Si Witcher:

The newer ones are laser cut so I doubt they are being made in someone's garage.

We can go on about this all day long, but it's pretty clear who the people who are putting them in are and they aren't interested in stopping.

2
 mrjonathanr 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

It would be interesting to hear the bolters’ thoughts.

 Webster 26 Nov 2022
In reply to Fellover:

> I'll add my 2p because why not.

> I think pegs should never have been used in UK trad climbing (though obviously there are historical reasons why they were used and I'm not blaming anyone who did).

the rest of your post is all fair (though i have only skim read it...) but this line is utter nonsense! the notion of 'trad' and 'sport' climbing didnt exist when most pegs in the UK were first being placed. there was just climbing, and pegs are what they had. sure they continued to be placed after the advent of bolts, but by thatpoint they were very much 'traditional' tools of the trade.

2
 Offwidth 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Reeve:

I agree with your broader view but isn’t that 'fear' similar to the fear of the pro-bolter... that there is a risk they won't get their own way. We have a pretty good history in the Peak area of debating edge cases and those climbers that won't debate seem to me too often to be unhelpful ideologues. Yet, if nothing is done about blatant abuses of consensus then the Wingather example shows bolts could start springing up almost anywhere, and in response rock damaging bolt chopping could also ensue. Nobody wins in such a circumstance and the rock certainly loses.

I do wonder how many BMC area committees Tom has actually attended during such debates with his 'knot tying' comment and I worry about his seemingly blind ignorance that 'the right thing' is really just an opinion that can sadly sometimes be pretty extreme. I've been to maybe approaching a hundred area meetings (including at least one visit to about half of the other areas) and I certainty don't feel cynical. I've supported bolts in some cases, especially so for unusual risk or ecological reasons, on a case by case consensus basis, and nearly always as part of a significant meeting majority. BMC local areas may sometimes be flawed but they are the best route we currently have. I'd add that I've raised points from both sides of the debates on UKC and UKB at area meetings.

1
 Andy Moles 27 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> The next question is whether, that taboo being broken, it will remain occasional. I suspect not.

That taboo has been broken for a long time though.

There's been a bolt on Space Case at Forwyn since 1983. Midsummer Night's Dream since 1973. The Boldest had a bolt in 1963.

So it's not a new thing. I don't see anyone wanting the floodgates to open (though I understand the worry, and agree that some of these recent additions are an overstep).

1
In reply to seankenny:

Probably, because it’s convenient to do it the same day as Dream or Concrete Chimney (or the link up, as we did that day), and it’s a 3 star route. The Rockfax guidebook description actually says “From the belay, move down and left to gain a steep but juggy flake/crack-line. Storm up this on ample holds to reach a small stance on rotten pegs and small wires.” I’m not sure why rotten pegs is better than replaced pegs made of stainless steel, but there we go. 

9
 Offwidth 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

The reason for the fuss is simple: 'eco pegs' are not simple like-for-like peg replacements: if the placement is drilled the peg is effectively a bolt. The fundamental ethical/risk question is does Britomatis need a bolt belay there? Several experienced climbers here are pretty clear that in their view it doesn't. A secondary ethical issue is if a peg bolt was placed on a three star HVS with a consensus that it didn't need it how long would it last before it was chopped?

1
 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

You wrote that ‘one unambiguously acceptable use of peg bolts is on belays on sea cliffs where natural protection is not adequate’.

This is obviously false: you are writing this in the same thread where many posters are against their proliferation. Do you mean you like the idea, so will disregard other opinions?

Whatever, the idea that there is a consensus approving their use is demonstrably false. You see it here, on Ukb, and just about anywhere you find 2 or more climbers to discuss the issue with. Unilateralism is the very core of the problem and pretending otherwise is going to make the issue more contentious rather help progress towards a settled solution.

We are in this situation:

Bolts are being placed in routes that historically had pegs on crags which are regarded as the preserve of trad, such as Gogarth. There are also completely new bolt placements too eg Forwyn.

As you will see from reading the thread, a lot of posters are not comfortable with placing new bolts on trad cliffs. That is obvious. What is best to be done next, is not.

 Mick Ward 27 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> As you will see from reading the thread, a lot of posters are not comfortable with placing new bolts on trad cliffs. That is obvious. What is best to be done next, is not.

That's the nub of it. 

Mick 

 jezb1 27 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> Unilateralism is the very core of the problem and pretending otherwise is going to make the issue more contentious rather help progress towards a settled solution.

This. Some people are expecting a black and white answer. It doesn't exist.

1
In reply to jezb1:

A black and white answer does exist, it's just that some people find it unpalatable!

2
 Ciro 27 Nov 2022
In reply to jezb1:

> This. Some people are expecting a black and white answer. It doesn't exist.

Cordless angle grinder becoming a standard rack item seems fairly black and white to me...

4
 C Witter 27 Nov 2022
In reply to jezb1:

I agree. I think if there is an answer it will not be about whether or not to place pegs, but about some principles that can underpin decisions, e.g.:

1. The unilateralism of the past should finish; it's not ok to just install or remove fixed gear because you personally think it's ok.

2. Area meets, though not perfect, are the best forum we have for democratic decision making and should host these discussions.

3. Protecting the crag environments, the rock and the tradition are vitally important.

4. Climbing, as an end in itself, is inherently valuable.

This latter point, I think, is worth emphasising against those who would prefer us not to climb established lines rather than repeg them.

Even if we can't easily agree on whether re-pegging/glued pegs/other fixed gear is ok, at least we should be able to agree a framework for making such decisions.

1
 Ciro 27 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> it's not ok to [...] remove fixed gear because you personally think it's ok.

I hope we all carry a knife to remove old tat, and a bag for collecting litter, and do our best to clean away stuck wires and cams... why should bolt litter be any different?

7
 Andy Reeve 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Ciro:

> I hope we all carry a knife to remove old tat, and a bag for collecting litter, and do our best to clean away stuck wires and cams... why should bolt litter be any different?

Because the only one of those which can damage the rock permanently is taking a crowbar or angle grinder to a bolt. If, as a community, we wish to discourage unilateral action then we all need to lead by example by discussing specific case issues before acting. People not doing so is what has led to the current situation being out of hand (in my view, at least). Further unilateral action (i.e. bolt removal) isn't likely to discourage future unilateral action (i.e. inappropriate bolt placement)

 seankenny 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Probably, because it’s convenient to do it the same day as Dream or Concrete Chimney (or the link up, as we did that day), and it’s a 3 star route. The Rockfax guidebook description actually says “From the belay, move down and left to gain a steep but juggy flake/crack-line. Storm up this on ample holds to reach a small stance on rotten pegs and small wires.” I’m not sure why rotten pegs is better than replaced pegs made of stainless steel, but there we go. 

My guide doesn’t even mention any pegs, I did the route years ago and don’t remember an “exciting” belay and if repeating it I’d just… expect to build a belay like normal. 

The point about the guidebook potentially warning you is this: it’s okay not to do three star routes if an aspect of them is too scary for you or is beyond your skill level! This is just part of UK trad climbing. The rusty stumps are a sunk cost, almost a distraction - the result of history that we can’t do anything about. The question is, what do we want looking forward? It’s quite clear, from posts by climbers who I suspect are more experienced, that the Britomartis belay is just fine. Perhaps a little awkward. So do we want Gogarth and other U.K. trad crags to be places where making a solid belay is a core skill that one needs to do climbs comfortably, or do we sink a pair of bolts in at the first hint of awkwardness? 

To be honest, I’m surprised we are even having this conversation.

In reply to Tom Ripley:

I should probably just disengage at this point as I think this is causing more heat than light but 

1) I also built an adequate belay on Britomartis but my sense was it demanded skills beyond what many HVS leaders may yet have acquired and if there are pegs there anyway why not just have pegs that might actually prevent a disaster

2) Britomartis was only supposed to be a potential example. Maybe it was a bad one. My suggestion was only that *if* there is a sea cliff situation where pegs are required because natural protection is absent and *if* pegs are already there but are rotten *then* there is a case for replacing with pegs that won’t rot within months. 
 

but clearly others don’t agree so I’ll leave it there…

8
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> 2) Britomartis was only supposed to be a potential example. Maybe it was a bad one. My suggestion was only that *if* there is a sea cliff situation where pegs are required because natural protection is absent and *if* pegs are already there but are rotten *then* there is a case for replacing with pegs that won’t rot within months. 

As you say, maybe Britomartis wasn’t the best example, but on the other hand maybe it works as an example of a route where after discussion the consensus might be it doesn’t need replacement fixed protection. 
The main point you are trying to get across, that there may be instances where the replacement of rotten fixed protection might be acceptable to the majority, is a sentiment that many people agree with including me. I think, as others have said, it needs discussing on a case by case basis at an agreed forum and is probably only going to apply to a very limited number of routes. Most routes will have alternative protection, or belays can be missed, or the grade might only change a grade or two, so are fine left as they are. 

 seankenny 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Martin Haworth:

> As you say, maybe Britomartis wasn’t the best example, but on the other hand maybe it works as an example of a route where after discussion the consensus might be it doesn’t need replacement fixed protection. 

> The main point you are trying to get across, that there may be instances where the replacement of rotten fixed protection might be acceptable to the majority, is a sentiment that many people agree with including me. I think, as others have said, it needs discussing on a case by case basis at an agreed forum and is probably only going to apply to a very limited number of routes. Most routes will have alternative protection, or belays can be missed, or the grade might only change a grade or two, so are fine left as they are. 

I think the advantage of this particular example is it shows that there will be calls for bolt belays even on very regularly done trade routes, ie that the number of cases is potentially much higher than we might have thought. The proponents of the peg/bolts on this thread have been wary of stating outright the logical endpoint of their proposals: that some formerly trad cliffs should have many bolted belays. This seems to be to be a more important question than should Green Death have its cemented in peg (yes, it’s a total edge case) or Barbarossa (not sure on this one).

2
 Offwidth 27 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

I agree Britomartis is a brilliant example for those reasons and because it's no place for anyone inexperienced on adventure HVS.... just as a walk along the top of Windgather shows the real risks of where things might end up.

 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> *then* there is a case for replacing with pegs that won’t rot within months. 

Hi Paul, you are entitled to your opinion, no question. It would be a shame if you withdrew from a discussion because others strongly held a different view.

The key point here is that these items are bolts. They aren’t pegs, they are drilled and glued bolts.

Their resemblance to pegs is clouding the issue and is, in my view, intended to do so.  Nevertheless, the debate has to be about whether we feel it is acceptable to place bolts on trad routes and cliffs.

Do we want bolts on Gogarth?

3
In reply to mrjonathanr:

This is a strawman oversimplification.

They are pegbolts, not bolts, not pegs.

Very similar to bolts, but designed solely to be placed to replace rotted out pegs, in a way that was presumably hoped to be acceptable alternative.

The question is, do we want peg-bolts at Gogarth. 

23
 seankenny 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> This is a strawman oversimplification.

> They are pegbolts, not bolts, not pegs.

> Very similar to bolts, but designed solely to be placed to replace rotted out pegs, in a way that was presumably hoped to be acceptable alternative.

> The question is, do we want peg-bolts at Gogarth. 

The question is, can we clip them with complete confidence, possibly years after they were placed, as we could a bolt? Because if so, then regardless of the intention behind them, they are de facto bolts. 

3
 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Hi Dan, I am pretty sure these things are placed into a hole in the rock, drilled with a battery powered drill. Glue is placed in the hole and the stem of the bolt inserted.

This is how bolts are placed in countless sport routes I've done in this country and abroad. 

Pegs are hand placed in natural features. These things are drilled.

As I said upthread, obfuscating what they are does a disservice to the debate.

8
 C Witter 27 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

> I think the advantage of this particular example is it shows that there will be calls for bolt belays even on very regularly done trade routes, ie that the number of cases is potentially much higher than we might have thought. The proponents of the peg/bolts on this thread have been wary of stating outright the logical endpoint of their proposals: that some formerly trad cliffs should have many bolted belays. This seems to be to be a more important question than should Green Death have its cemented in peg (yes, it’s a total edge case) or Barbarossa (not sure on this one).

That's a misrepresentation of most people's position. The logical endpoint, for me, at least, is that we should have less fixed gear on routes overall but without ruling out replacing a peg on, say, Green Death... and, equally, without guaranteeing that it should be replaced.

5
 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> Very similar to bolts, but designed solely to be placed to replace rotted out pegs, 

Sorry to repeatedly post (and I am bowing out now) but there is a factual inaccuracy here.

In any case, the designer's good intentions are not relevant to the reality of how they are used.

These are bolts, because they are drilled and glued. They are not just strong pegs. I have seen them obviously not in pre-existing placements and natural features. Others have too.

I think that deserves honest debate.

2
In reply to mrjonathan

I've seen quite a few immediately next to natural gear placements.

 seankenny 27 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> That's a misrepresentation of most people's position. The logical endpoint, for me, at least, is that we should have less fixed gear on routes overall but without ruling out replacing a peg on, say, Green Death... and, equally, without guaranteeing that it should be replaced.

Interesting that you take an extreme case (Green Death), which no one is arguing should be changed, and use that as an example to inform the entire debate. But we see a couple of posters above suggesting a mid grade classic at Gogarth be given a de facto double bolt belay getting plenty of likes. If you want to argue for pegbolts but not in certain places, then you need to make those places absolutely clear. 

 C Witter 27 Nov 2022
In reply to seankenny:

Well, my personal criteria are clear, for the little that they are worth: where existing pegs are integral to a line and alternative gear is not available, i.e. not Britomartis since plenty of alternatives seem to be available. Also, I wouldn't support retropegging of lines to "make things safer"... Nor bolt belays at the top simply "because they're convenient"... Nor pegging projects...etc.

Green Death wasn't my example  but I don't see why is an "extreme case"... What precisely makes it so? Apparently the cemented peg can be backed up by a cam, but if people like Neil Foster (up thread) suggest the peg is integral to the route then I would certainly think it worth listening rather than dismissing it out of hand by saying that this inevitably will lead to bolted belays on Gogarth... something which is clearly an overstatement. It seems your own responses lack clarity, not mine.

Post edited at 18:47
8
 seankenny 27 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

For clarity I’m absolutely *not* saying the peg on Green Death leads to bolt belays on Gogarth, rather the opposite: that it sits outside this debate as it’s existed for years and clearly hasn’t led on to anything else. It’s just its own thing.
 

I would also have agreed with you that the argument “placing some pegbolts will lead to effectively bolted belays at Gogarth” was a ridiculous overstatement. But then I read this thread in which several keen climbers proposed exactly this, so I’ve changed my mind. 

 Andy Moles 27 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> Pegs are hammered in natural features. These things are drilled.

FTFY

But yes, no one should be in any doubt that these things are bolts. For a clear and accessible demonstration of this, anyone can go and look at Oochya (6b+) at Tramstation Crag, which is equipped entirely with these, all placed in blank bits of rock that clearly wouldn't accept a peg.

I've referred to them as P bolts only to differentiate them from other types of bolt, and because that is their shape.

P.S. I'm not totally convinced that all of them are drilled - some of the Forwyn ones look like they've been tapped into deep cracks or pockets with a ton of glue, but once that's in of course it's impossible to tell.

Post edited at 19:46
 Jack 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Has anyone got a picture of one of these peg bolts so I know not to clip one when I see it?

2
 rocky crag 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

For me it is about preserving the character of the climb. If an old peg is providing the only means of protection then it should be replaced, (with another peg or bolt makes no difference). It would be a bit of a shame to say loose a classic E2 to say  a very bold E3 or E4 grade, pushing it out of the reach of most people, when many had enjoyed it as an E2 for many years. I climbed a lot in the 70s and 80s, in those days plenty of the trad routes had the odd peg in them, either left over from an aid move or to provide protection of a tricky section. Did clipping such pegs ruin the experience of the climbs for us, certainly not, it is absurd to think it would. If old pegs are not replaced, where no other protection is available, one day they will fail on someone (seen this happen once and wouldn't wish the consequences on anyone ), also a once popular climb can end up being no longer climbed and gets overgrown. Easy for some say let the route get boulder but in reality it means the climbs don't get done. What is the point in having climbs that no one wants to climb .

2
 john arran 27 Nov 2022
In reply to rocky crag:

I'd agree with much of that, but I think it's critically important that the pegbolt ends up looking like it was placed in a crack and therefore may be seen as appropriate in situation and historical context. I don't know anything about more recently placed examples but if they're drilled into blank rock, even some inches away from the crack, they're just going to look like badly sited bolts and people are understandably going to be wondering why they weren't placed in the best location.

Drilled gear may well be dismissed as being a bolt by another name, but if the drilled gear is in a crack, it certainly distinguishes it clearly from any bolt placed for sport climbing.

7
 Si Witcher 27 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> It would be interesting to hear the bolters’ thoughts.

For Rhoscolyn, see the UKB thread here on the Painted Wall pegbolts including James Taylor’s summary:

https://ukbouldering.com/board/index.php?topic=31528.msg660298#msg660298

Credit to James for stepping forward and giving a clear account of the equipping here.

This relates to the re-equipped route Easel-EE and the new alternative finish project later climbed by Caff as Painted Groove Direct.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/rhoscolyn-617/easel-ee-415619

https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/rhoscolyn-617/painted_groove_direct-654968

Post edited at 20:29
 mrphilipoldham 27 Nov 2022
In reply to rocky crag:

But a peg or bolt does make a difference. I can't say I've ever clipped a peg no matter how new it looks and thought to myself "yep, I trust that close to 100%". They should still be approached with the trad it-might-fail mindset. Bolts on the other hand..?

1
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

I've clipped plenty of bad bolts and good pegs, both require judgement.

 mrphilipoldham 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

Exactly. Bolts though, does anyone give it a second thought? In my (limited) experience the only concerns I've had with bolts is where they've been badly placed, never their structural integrity.

Post edited at 20:52
2
 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Si Witcher:

Thank you; I left that thread before James posted, I'll read what he says. It would be helpful if pjh posted here imo.

1
 mrjonathanr 27 Nov 2022
In reply to rocky crag:

>Easy for some say let the route get boulder but in reality it means the climbs don't get done. What is the point in having climbs that no one wants to climb

There's a lot of routes that are terrifying and don't get done for that reason. I watched Johnny lower off the rurp on Indian Face and that route really doesn't see the traffic it deserves. A bolt that looks like a peg there would make it a lot more popular.

However, most climbers are okay with the idea that some routes are too dangerous for them.

Consider the Bells: Redhead had a good peg. Mike Owen lobbed onto it; I believe it's rubbish now. A bolt that looks like a peg would restore the route to something like its original state. The arguments I have read on the thread point in this direction, so why not bolt it?

Unless people feel we should be improving ethics where possible, such as eliminating aid points, for example...

4
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I’m late to the post, but for what it’s worth, I have enjoyed climbing the newly pegbolted routes. I agree in some places weren’t necessary to replace like for like, like Fifteen Men or Genericon Limits, but for things like Barbarossa and Horrowshow I think the have brought the routes back to live, and just looking at the logbooks I’m not the only one glad for the pegbolts. On the surreal Appeal wall I’m with James Taylor, replacing the 18 rotting pegs (which makes it a sport route by the FA) for 4 stainless I would argue that the pegbolts have brought back the route to being more trad feel. 

3
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

The limited experience bit is what I'm talking about, just because you haven't encountered many bad bolts or good pegs doesn't mean they don't exist.

 mrphilipoldham 27 Nov 2022
In reply to Alex Riley:

No I'm well aware, I saw some of what the BMC pulled out of Horseshoe when they did all the work there. But it's not the prevailing mindset to worry about what's hiding beneath the rock. Unlike with pegs. 100% of pegs are treated with caution, 1% of bolts are.. perhaps

1
In reply to C Witter:

> 3. Protecting the crag environments, the rock and the tradition are vitally important.

Although these can and regularly do conflict. Hence we would never leave litter, unless it's our type of litter such as tat for abbing off.

3
In reply to mrjonathanr:

> Do we want bolts on Gogarth?

I thought there were already bolts at Gogarth? It's just you have to be in with cool kids to know where they are...

3
 mrphilipoldham 28 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

It’s no more litter than a farmers barbed wire fence. It’s there to serve a purpose and can be removed at any point in time by any one therefore restoring the environment to its natural state. If it was a strangle hazard or otherwise for wildlife then perhaps there’d be a point for ceasing its use. But it’s certainly not an argument for putting in bolts.

3
 C Witter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

I wouldn't call it a conflict, but rather a productive tension. Yes, we need to protect the environment, but yes we still want to climb and that will have impacts. To an certain extent, trad climbing ethics are animated by this tension.

1
 Mike Stretford 28 Nov 2022
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> It’s no more litter than a farmers barbed wire fence. It’s there to serve a purpose and can be removed at any point in time by any one therefore restoring the environment to its natural state. If it was a strangle hazard or otherwise for wildlife then perhaps there’d be a point for ceasing its use. But it’s certainly not an argument for putting in bolts.

It's basically plastic rubbish. On sea cliffs it will eventually end up in the sea on on mountains birds will pick at it as it rots.

If we are going to have fixed protection we should use the well engineered solution, so on 'pegbolts' I agree with Jim Titt's conclusion from years ago. Normal bolts are more discrete than pegs and threads and are more sustainable.

If the climbing community doesn't want fixed protection, fine... I think C. Witter has articulated this side of things well on this thread.

5
 dr evil 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I don't know the answer to this and there won't be a solution that everyone agrees on. I agree that in order to move forward in a way that is acceptable to most we should try to devise a framework for making decisions on this issue. Andrew Bisharat raised this in his recent excellent essay about principles for bolting when it comes to routes like Snake Dike in the wake of the recent accident on that route and the ensuing knee-jerk reactions. Of course, the situation is different in the UK due to the different between 'trad' in the UK and 'trad' in the US.

When bolts were first introduced in Scotland in the 80s the governing climbing body at the time did devise a set of guidelines which although vague did appear to stem the flood. Nevertheless bolting has continued in Scotland but mostly occurs on designated sport crags or sport areas on sections of crag eg Loch Maree Crag. Convenience bolts have appeared eg Diabaig and no doubt bolts will continue to proliferate in Scotland.

This contrasts with the situation in Pembroke and Cornwall where a clear line was drawn: no bolts. This was at the expense of exisiting bolted routes eg Carn Vellan that were therefore 'sacrificed' to the greater good of preserving the trad ethic. This position, of drawing a clear line, has been successful in that these areas remain unambiguously trad with pretty much no sport routes or bolts appearing on trad routes for various reasons.

Regarding those reasons, or principles, for when bolts are argued as being justified in specific cases on trad cliffs eg Gogarth, the arguments logically fall into various categories:

1. Historical - eg using pre-existing cases.

2. Convenience - eg trad belays are time-consuming to build or it saves walking off.

3. Safety - eg bolts are safer than trad gear.

4. Aesthetic - eg tat looks unsightly compared to bolts which are harder to spot.

5. Environmental - eg saves trees.

6. Popularity - eg routes not getting traffic and returning to nature.

When you read internet threads like this one people are often rehashing arguments which fall into one of these categories or they are attempting to rebut an argument from one category with an answer from a different category. These threads are interminable and not a pleasure to read.

For me, the biggest issue with making exceptional case-by-case arguments for when bolts are justified in trad areas is where does it stop? As someone said in a previous thread - look down the road, not just at what is in front of you. When you make a case for placing bolts in a certain route or belay on the basis of one of the categories above it may seem logical, and you might be convinced that it is the right thing to do for that route. But it only strengthens the case for more bolting, or sanitisation, of the crag further down the road.

It would be nice to retain those exceptional routes where bolts seem justified such as on the Painted Wall if it stopped there. But I suspect it won't stop there and cases will continue to be made for more and more bolts on Gogarth. The position taken in Cornwall is clear and has been successful so far in preserving the adventurous nature of trad climbing there. 

I, personally, would much prefer to see Gogarth remain the wild, adventurous place that it is without having that adventurous nature diluted and sanitised by bolting which is what is happening now. Regardless of my personal opinion on the matter, devising an accepted ethical framework to guide decision-making on this matter would be welcome.

 Max factor 28 Nov 2022
In reply to rocky crag:

> For me it is about preserving the character of the climb. If an old peg is providing the only means of protection then it should be replaced, (with another peg or bolt makes no difference). It would be a bit of a shame to say loose a classic E2 to say  a very bold E3 or E4 grade, pushing it out of the reach of most people, when many had enjoyed it as an E2 for many years. 

Thank you for sharing, it's helpful to hear a range of perpspectives on this debate and your view is aligned to mine.  Would I quite like the Eroica peg to have been replaced with a bomber peg-bolt so that I can have a go at a classic and still adventurous E2 rather than an unbalanced E4 (as I now perceive it to be)?  Yes, although I acknowlege this is a poor example if the peg was being used for aid.

Can I and others differnentiate between this and and bolts at Windgather? Yes. 

Should the peg on Little Brown Jug on Bosigran? No becuase it makes no difference to the boldness/grade. 

 Michael Gordon 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil:

7. Climbing/mountaineering ethics of self reliance

and related to that

8. To what extent do these affect the trad 'feel' of the route in question?

Where the route ends up sitting on the spectrum of "gear on the crux" to "sport clip-up" obviously depends on how many there are on the route.

I suspect the above, along with historical precedents, are the nub of the issue for many. Environmental and Aesthetic factors are tricky as they tend to come down to opinion formed on the basis of other factors. A 'pro-trad' stance could be that the taming of nature represented in the form of bolts has both negative environmental (how we feel about the environment) and aesthetic implications.

 mrphilipoldham 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Or use a chain instead of plastic based slings/rope. Still no drilling required, and can still be removed without trace. I don’t get what the fascination is with going in and drilling everywhere. It’s sad, and ironically over engineering a solution.

Post edited at 12:09
3
In reply to C Witter:

> I wouldn't call it a conflict, but rather a productive tension. 

I wouldn't call it austerity, just a tightening of the national fiscal environment...

There seems nothing productive about the tension at all - we just continue muddling through in the grey zone (I wrote this over 15 years ago in response to a discussion like this on UKC: https://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.com/2007/07/superior-ethics-or-littering.html and after my first visit to Gogarth). Every so often there is a new eruption like this one, where someone goes further than normal towards either the black or white. Perhaps muddling through is the only possibility, but I don't see anything productive about it. 

 dr evil 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Thanks Michael, I only listed the arguments advanced for bolting which, in my opinion, are easily rebutted, not the arguments against which include the points you have raised, and which are, in my opinion, far more compelling and not so easily rebutted. If the bolters want to change the rules of the game then surely the onus is on them to make their case accordingly. Those arguments tend to fall into one of the categories above and ignore the bigger picture which is that the logical conclusion of those arguments is the ongoing proliferation of bolts at the expense of the wild character that makes UK trad climbing so special.

1
 Mike Stretford 28 Nov 2022
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

> Or use a chain instead of plastic based slings/rope. Still no drilling required, and can still be removed without trace. I don’t get what the fascination is with going in and drilling everywhere. It’s sad, and ironically over engineering a solution.

I made it quite clear I wasn't in favour of 'drilling everywhere', I said if people want fixed protection. If not... leave no trace.

 northern yob 28 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

“Unless people feel we should be improving ethics where possible, such as eliminating aid points, for example...”

Exactly….. banging bits of metal into trad sea cliffs is something we should be moving away from! Drilling holes in trad sea cliffs is a step backward and even worse than banging bits of metal in with a hammer. 
 

We should be trying to move forward, trying to be better!! Shoes are better, protection is better. Why can’t we be better,and step up to the amazing natural challenges these areas present! They are wilderness not a building site, hopefully we can start to treat them in the manner they deserve. 
 

A big fat no to bolts( that’s what these things are) on trad sea cliffs for me. No to replacing fixed gear. Yes to rewilding. Either step up and do the route without or walk away, either way leaving as little trace as possible. 

4
 muppetfilter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil:

How  wild is character of the most popular routes where they have perfect cam lobe grooves carved into the rock and the rock matches the curve of wired nuts perfectly and the lichen killed off by chalk runoff ?

Post edited at 16:20
10
 Andy Moles 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil:

> devising an accepted ethical framework to guide decision-making on this matter would be welcome.

The aim of the spreadsheet linked somewhere above is to support this.

To stop the wedge effect that justifiably concerns you and many others, I would propose that if it's not a Yes in both columns it should be off the table for bolting.

You might want to bring in further considerations such as rocktype and location, but I think that as a framework that would be a good start.

OP Tom Ripley 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

> A secondary ethical issue is if a peg bolt was placed on a three star HVS with a consensus that it didn't need it how long would it last before it was chopped?

There’s been one on the Strand for a decade…

6
 kevin stephens 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Thread:

Interesting that this discussion was started about Tremadog but seems to have migrated to Gogarth.

A big difference is that Pegs at Tremadog seem less prone to corrosion and placement erosion so that the issue of what to do about whether and how to replace them comes up far less often than at Gogarth and other sea cliffs.  Also pegs appear much more acceptable at Tremadog for historical and quality reasons, for example it would seem heartless to deprive Meshach of its peg runner!  I would be happy to lose all of the peg runners at Gogarth; the uncertain corrosion risk trumps any historical merit or relevance.

Maybe it's my age but I don't accept the proposition up thread that setting up a belay with difficult, or inconvenient placements is beyond the capability of a (aspirant?) HVS leader. To climb HVS at Gogarth you always used to need the skills of a well-rounded cragsman or cragswoman supported by a fair bit of experience - is this no longer the case?

However I do think there's a big difference with setting up an ab point for Castell Helen to access Lighthouse Arete or similar where bolts would be preferable to a nest of deteriorating pegs and a nut slot that may have already been taken, after all you are next to the bird watchers/tourists' path not actually on the route.  To my mind a bolt or two here would be no different to the abseil stakes at Pembroke.  People who have disagreed with me in the past on this seem quite content with leaving the mass of tatt at the top of the Strand because their toes are too sore for the walk round, or the finishing slope is too intimidating for an E2 leader.

Post edited at 17:17
OP Tom Ripley 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

Interestingly there is now only two pegs left at the Castell Helen rap. Last year there were five or six. 

To the best of my knowledge these have snapped rather than being deliberately removed, thankfully not while I’ve been hanging off them. 
 

5
 C Witter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil:

A long post that has many likes, but you don't adequately address the main argument that has been made for glued pegbolts, which is that if they are not allowed on some routes as a replacement for existing pegs, the only options are to bang in a new peg or not to climb the route at all, even though it may be a celebrated established line.

Meanwhile, your entire arugment against pegbolts is that we cannot be trusted to resist the temptation to destroy our tradition and beloved environments by going on a pegbolting spree.

This is in complete contradiction to your suggestion that, either way, we need a democratic forum and framework for deciding where fixed gear is or isn't appropriate, since you are acknowledging that such a forum could offer a means of regulating when fixed gear is and isn't appropriate.

Anyway, I think I'm finally (over)done with this thread. There is a lack of clear thinking, so it's not going to be productive to continue.

Post edited at 18:15
11
 mrjonathanr 28 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> if they are not allowed on some routes as a replacement for existing pegs, the only options are to bang in a new peg or not to climb the route at all

 

Or you climb it without the pegs.

1
 Michael Gordon 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> However I do think there's a big difference with setting up an ab point for Castell Helen to access Lighthouse Arete or similar where bolts would be preferable to a nest of deteriorating pegs and a nut slot that may have already been taken, after all you are next to the bird watchers/tourists' path not actually on the route.  To my mind a bolt or two here would be no different to the abseil stakes at Pembroke.  People who have disagreed with me in the past on this seem quite content with leaving the mass of tatt at the top of the Strand because their toes are too sore for the walk round, or the finishing slope is too intimidating for an E2 leader.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but this illustrates nicely Dr Evil's point about arguments for/against being made in reference to different issues. Your points above relate to safety and tidiness, while arguments against would include reference to trad ethics, self reliance and importantly, a concern about further proliferation (thin end of the wedge).

1
 C Witter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

Yes... but at, say, E7 instead of E4...

Actually... on reflection, you're right and your enormous balls have inspired me. As noted by many, all metal gear (nuts, cams) is damaging the rock and our crags. I think it's time we banned metal gear on grit, as the Czechs do...

And, in fact, is it not the expectation that we might mitigate risk that is the real problem here? Why stop at grit? Let's ban gear on all crags: that's the only way to head off the otherwise inevitable arms race... Menlove was right! Gear is cheating.

Post edited at 19:13
11
 mrjonathanr 28 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Let’s suppose that is true. Why is it a problem?

I don’t believe I have an entitlement to place bolts to ensure a route stays within my grade range.  I’ll get better, or do a different route. 

1
 C Witter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to mrjonathanr:

You've convinced me, don't worry. I'm currently burning my rack as we speak.

10
 kevin stephens 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Michael Gordon: Nope , my stance is as much ethics as environmental impact. The question is where do the ethical constraints start to apply;  at the carpark, approach path, gearing up spot? The ab point for Castell Helen is clearly not part of the climbing, so nothing to do with your “importantly thin end of the wedge”. Does removing a peg runner of unknown condition as I advocated enhance or reduce safety? What it does do is enhance self reliance rather than trusting to a roll of the dice.

Post edited at 19:24
 mrjonathanr 28 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Sure the phrase isn’t ‘burning my bridges’?

1
 Offwidth 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Tom Ripley:

So what? I'm arguing for a case by case local area debate on such routes of national importance and although Im certain there would be some strong opposite opinions on both sides for both routes (as per area and forum debates at the time), I suspect a debate outcome would be the opposite for The Strand (which is nearly always climbed as a single pitch route these days) and the mid-way belay on Britomartis. Technology is making this debate easier as the trend is for these meetings to be mixed (physical meetings with online participants).

1
 Offwidth 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

I think there is a separate ethical argument around if perfect bolt abseil anchors encourage people on the crag who don't have the experience to be there. I've certainly seen too much dangerous practice with abseils there, irrespective of the belay quality. I'd argue most climbers should drop at least a grade on a first visit to any crag but above the sea at Gogarth maybe drop three or more. Lighthouse Arete as my first climb there felt very much a solid VS to me on unfamiliar weird rock, where I had to think hard for the best protection; and if things went wrong I was clear it would leave me and my second in a very serious situation.  I was glad to be experienced, fit and have grades in hand.

2
In reply to Offwidth:

> I think there is a separate ethical argument around if perfect bolt abseil anchors encourage people on the crag who don't have the experience to be there. ... I'd argue most climbers should drop at least a grade on a first visit to any crag but above the sea at Gogarth maybe drop three or more. Lighthouse Arete as my first climb there felt very much a solid VS to me on unfamiliar weird

Dropping three grades doesn't make you any lighter on those potentially dodgy pegs as you ab in though. Funnily enough I thought Lighthouse Arete felt very easy for the grade, it was the first time I had been to Gogarth, the abseil down was the most worrying thing about the route. Unless experienced climbers are driving all the way out there, going and seeing the abseil point, then saying "no, I'm not abbing off that" before retiring to the cafe, I can't see how it keeps anyone off the route.

I don't remember having any concerns about abbing in to do DOTWH because the anchor was obviously solid and we left our own sling up there while on the route so weren't relying on insitu stuff. Although unlike Lighthouse, I found the climbing on Dream completely terrifying!

 dr evil 28 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

The reason why this thread exists is because a bolting spree on Gogarth is already underway. I, personally, don't agree with your argument (on historical grounds) that ancient metalwork on seacliffs should be maintained. But, my own personal opinion about where to draw the line – no bolts on Gogarth – does not contradict my suggestion that a consensus framework for guiding future decisions about where and what fixed gear should be placed on Gogarth is desirable.

 kevin stephens 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil: what crags and routes are subject to the bolting spree?

Are some of the bolts related to the boom in guided coasteering and similar over which climbers unfortunately have no influence?

1
 Si Witcher 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

Hi Kevin, here’s the link to the current list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bjkz6TIMXeLIAJoCCzLRJMKhYx3Gn1hykb8AmT9L028/htmlview#gid=0

Citadel etc, these aren’t for coasteering

 Michael Gordon 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

> The question is where do the ethical constraints start to apply;  at the carpark, approach path, gearing up spot? The ab point for Castell Helen is clearly not part of the climbing, so nothing to do with your “importantly thin end of the wedge”. 

You may be right. Bolted ab points at Diabaig and Staffin haven't so far led to further bolts. One can hope. But it introduces the tricky issue of where one draws the line - a lot of isolated 'one-off' cases eventually become no longer thus.  

 dr evil 28 Nov 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

The spreadsheet somewhere in the thread above gives a good indication of the state of play when it was created but it’s mainly Main Cliff and Upper Tier so far.

I could have added a ‘commercial’ category but that boils down to convenience and there are exceptional cases such as the bolt ladder in the sea cave at Rhoscolyn.

 kevin stephens 28 Nov 2022
In reply to dr evil: thanks and to Si for the link. I’ve climbed a lot at Gogarth, over 100 routes but nothing over E4, and my aspirations for harder routes are receding faster than my hairline. However I can’t see any need for any of the Gogarth fixed protection or LO listed; surely there’s more than enough clean climbing to go at for anyone! More recently I’ve spent a lot more time sea kayaking beneath the crags than climbing on them so I’ve been acutely aware of the growth of coasteering; I’m not sure if this has has led to any additional fixed anchors.

 mrjonathanr 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Si Witcher:

Does Katie's Delight at Forwyn not have a separate bolt after it leaves Manhattan?

 Jon Read 28 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

> You've convinced me, don't worry. I'm currently burning my rack as we speak.

I'll have your WC superlights, please.

In reply to Pedro50:

> In the case of two famous brothers taking an intermediate belay on Cemetery Gates during an early ascent of Right Wall the I think the answer is probably yes.

I'd just done Ivy Sepulchre and was abseiling down the Corner, genuinely asked them if they were doing the Girdle (didn't realise they were doing Right Wall).

It was a very early ascent (3rd, 4th?) and the style wasn't hidden so it wasn't cheating but IIRC it was pretty quickly (probably after the next couple of ascents) considered less worthy.

 C Witter 28 Nov 2022
In reply to Jon Read:

Gone... sorry... in the flames of piety, along with Joan of Arc.


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