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Sport in the UK

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A well debated topic but I think the UK needs a deep think about the place sport climbing has here. I appreciate both styles but ultimately I think sport is shunned too often and can many benefits. 
 

welcome to hear points from both sides in a productive discussion.  

102
In reply to dking02:

Lack of good rock with bolts in makes Sport Climbing in the UK a bit tricky to grow! Admittedly that is a flippant comment as we have many amazing crags but - Margalef.

I would argue that sport climbing isnt shunned as apart from bouldering it's the easiest to transition to outdoors. Bar the lowering off malarky it's really very simple. Indeed the best lower grade crags in the UK have had a huge amount of traffic over the last few years. Masson Lee's for instance.

We do, and I'm very happy to be proved wrong,  have a high concentration of truly amazing 7s and 8s in this country and some rather average 5s and 6s so anyone progressing outdoors will find it either easy but run out with spaced bolts or fighting for their life unable to clip, an exaggeration of course but hopefully people can relate.

Post edited at 23:24
In reply to Euan McKendrick:

In case it's not obvious, the basic reason that there's little easier sport climbing in the UK on decent rock is because trad got there first, often by 100 years.

Countries with little trad tradition, or a surfeit of decent rock, tend to have more good easier sport climbing.

2
In reply to dking02:

There is a absolute shed ton of good sport in the UK. I think you just need to get out more. 

I hate these generic comments on sport vs trad. They are totally meaningless without context, what crags do you actually want bolted? Almost all trad crags I can think of would make rubbish sport venues.

5
In reply to dking02:

We have loads of good sport in the UK! We do lack multi pitch sport (perhaps largely due to suitable venues - most big cliffs are quite remote, and putting a sport route up a big mountain cliff is a contentious point, I think we should try to leave minimal trace in the mountains, and that does extend to bolting for me). 
I don’t think there is even much of a divide. Most people climb both, most people enjoy both. I’ve had great days out in Portland and on Stanage too! 

2
 DaveHK 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Trolling bollocks.

2
In reply to DaveHK:

how so? 

18
In reply to ebdon:

Yeah there is a decent amount of sport but there is markedly more trad and much of the sport is restricted to quarries. I think its actually adventurous sport that I think there should be more of. And again I appreciate the adventure of trad, I enjoy both. One reason, which certainly has a modern relevance, why should I have to go to the alps to climb mountain sport, when theres plenty of great uk mountain rock, in the context of reducing emissions for example. And ao this is where some may say- just do trad. And yes I do trad, and have done adventurous trad but some times i simply dont want to and maybe want to do a nice fun mountain sport route. 

66
In reply to dking02:

Regardless of the outcry about ethics and preserving our trad resource, how many people could be bothered to go up into our mountains and bolt an easy line that they can easily climb trad, thereby either wasting some glorious mountain days when they could be climbing or doing the bolting in rubbish weather.

I don't see you jumping up to put in the effort, just moaning that nobody else has.

3
In reply to dking02:

To be honest there's not that much mountain rock in England and wales particularly when you are comparing to the alps!. Snowdonia has a high concentration of mountain rock but is geographically super compact. The lakes probably has as many high mountain crags but more spread out. All of our significant mountain crags have a long heritage of being adventurous trad venues and that's why people go there.

 LakesWinter 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Adventurous sport route - oxymoron??

14
In reply to dking02:

Depends on where you live, but there IS adventurous sport in Cheddar and the Wye Valley, dare I say it even in Avon. But honestly, up in the mountains? Why? Easy mountain bolted routes in the alps tend to be pretty boring slabby clip ups, with no stand out moves or actual interest. I mean look at routes like Snoopy in Ailefroide, purportedly some of the very best bolted sport you can lay your hands on. Flipping 8 pitches of 5+ to 6b+ up interminable slabs with a couple of tricky rock overs. Why on earth would you want to invest near on 1000 quid to bolt something like that?

2
In reply to dking02:

The reason we don't have routes similar to the Alps in the UK is very basically we dont have any Alpine mountain ranges or alpine type rock. I would love it if you dumped the Ecrins in the Midlands, but I think it unlikely.  British mountain routes  are really very different affairs in terms of lengh and climbing style, ethics aside, and would be crap with bolts in. 

Post edited at 09:17
1
In reply to ebdon:

Im not to sure about this. I think the key point is that within the main climbing bodies adventure bolting is forbidden and so potential there are great bolted mountain routes that are undiscovered or with consensus having selected routes bolted. And even then bolts don’t mean you cant trad climb it if you still want to. Bolt don't go in the cracks and to those that then say they want to the mental aspect of being completely alone, surely if you really want to test yourself ur mind then climb it as trad but under no circumstances clip the bolts. Surely that is even greater mental resilience when the option ti back out is right in ones face but not taking that opportunity. 

96
In reply to dking02:
Bolts take away the element of commitment from a trad climb - if you can bail by clipping a bolt, it’s kind of ruined. Trad routes are graded based on (at least in part) how serious they are. If there is a line of bolts - a route can’t be serious because you am always clip a bolt and bail! It doesn’t matter if u don’t, the fact is you could! Added to the fact they trad is slower than sport you’d get silly queues if a route had people doing both. 

3
 LakesWinter 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> Im not to sure about this. I think the key point is that within the main climbing bodies adventure bolting is forbidden and so potential there are great bolted mountain routes that are undiscovered or with consensus having selected routes bolted. And even then bolts don’t mean you cant trad climb it if you still want to. Bolt don't go in the cracks and to those that then say they want to the mental aspect of being completely alone, surely if you really want to test yourself ur mind then climb it as trad but under no circumstances clip the bolts. Surely that is even greater mental resilience when the option ti back out is right in ones face but not taking that opportunity. 

That line of reasoning basically shows you've not understood trad climbing properly - trad climbing is about making your own decisions and relying on your climbing and safety ability to get up the route safely. Putting a line of bolts in a route completely removes this element as you can bail when you like. Dealing with a scary run out is sometimes a part of adventurous climbing and if you personally don't like this then there are plenty of well protected crack pitches around too.

In Europe there are lots of mixed trad/sport routes that have the odd bolt in or bolted belays but no/few pieces in the pitches. If you're worried about your carbon emissions then you can take the train to many venues like this with ease. 

3
 Rob Exile Ward 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

'potential[ly] there are great bolted mountain routes' - No, that's pretty much another oxymoron. This thread is nonsense, so I shan't be contributing any more.

7
In reply to LakesWinter:

and so by the same regard the ultimate purest form of climbing is soloing. Its the truest test of decision making and relying on ones climbing ability. And so this essentially means trad and sport are the same and that everything should he soloed with no rock shoes, no chalk. And again a much purported point for trad used against sport can be used against trad too. Ut just makes no sense to have a polarised style of climbing in the uk when both can mutually coexist with great benefits. And again im not slating trad. I absolutely love it, its great fun and testing that the other skills that it brings into climbing is great but I think there should be more sport too, particularly mountain sport. 

48
In reply to dking02:

I'm sorry but your missing the point. 
Trad is the compromise between minimal impact and a good degree of safety. If we started bolting mountain crags it would be really detrimental.

First and foremost, realistically, only a handful of routes would be bolted (assuming you don't want to start retro bolting routes!?) These routes would get a silly amount of traffic compared to others. Regardless of if bolting damages the mountain, a route with a shitload of traffic definitely will! And if the route won't get traffic - then is it worth someone putting in the time and effort to bolt it? 

Because there is so much trad in the UK, it is much easier to get into trad. Mountaineering clubs offer a great way to learn how to trad climb for cheap. If there was multi-pitch sport in the mountains, fewer people would trad climb, so less people to teach others to trad climb, so it would become even more exclusive? Not ideal is it! 

Finally, at the risk of sounding like an old man, the style of climbing in the UK has always been trad. To start covering crags in bolts would be really damaging to the discipline, and hurt a subsection of the sport which is already dying in a lot of other countries. It would be such a shame to see trad routes spread few and far between across the world in 100 years time. The fact that certain routes carry a degree of danger and commitment is what makes them worthwhile - if you chose to do them. There are loads of mega-safe routes that punters like myself can enjoy too! Look at the Indian Face, if it were a sport route, it would be just another 7c+/8a ish climb that loads of people can run up, not requiring the true mastery that it does to do now! If we were having this conversation 50 years ago, perhaps you'd have been pushing to bolt that unclimbable line at cloggy, and thus deny us from being able to witness some of the most spectacular feats of climbing! 

Another issue is that perhaps one of the most dangerous parts of a mountain cragging day isn't the climbing itself, but the sketchy downclimb, nav-ing of the top once it's gotten dark, being conscious of loose rock, and all the other general mountainy stuff. Would putting a line of bolts up a face give people a false sense of security? I know I've seen far more really sketchy things during 1 day at a given sport crag than all my time at a trad crags! If a mountain route is a trad route, it is more clear that it is a serious undertaking.

 

Post edited at 11:04
4
 Webster 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> some times i simply dont want to and maybe want to do a nice fun mountain sport route. 

tough shit.

the mountains dont give you bolts.

some times (often) i want to ski chest deep champaign powder, but the UK mountains dont give you that either!

3
In reply to Webster:

And the mountains dont give you tat to ab off of either or ropes or gears or cams. So by the same respect only soling goes with no shoes, chalk or rock shoes.

Post edited at 11:08
52
In reply to dking02:

Bolts and trad really cant coexist on the same line, it removes any commitment. It removes many elements of the unknown. When was the last time you saw climbers heading off to climb sport routes on trad gear, regardless of how many stars that route gets in the guidebook. there's a reason for that.

But fundamentally bolting a historic trad route is bringing the climbing down to a level to suit you rather than bringing yourself up to the level needed to climb the route. and there's 10 lifetimes of sub severe mountain routes in the UK to keep busy and build the skills on.

I'd love to climb White Wizard but its beyond by ability at the moment, maybe in the next few years I'll be able to do it. But it had any bolts in I'd be completely dis-interested, the magic would be gone. 

2
In reply to dking02:

In the style of the Brexit, we had a vote, we won, now get over it

More seriously, why is it you think this would actually be a good idea? As I said, there are some places you can have "adventures" on sport routes, although I would question how much adventure you can really have on a bolted route when you can back off whenever the heck you want. The only mildly valid reason you've made is because it cuts down on emissions caused by you travelling to the south of France. I can make an equally valid point, climb trad, don't go to the south of France, have an actual adventure and don't spend 1000's of quid on bolts, and weeks of someone elses time. 

In reply to dking02:

> I think there should be more sport too, particularly mountain sport. 

Right fine, where exactly you you like these routes? Why do you want them, I.e safety, convenience, lowering entrance barriers to the mountains etc... why will they be better than what we have? and are you willing to pay to equip them? 

Allthough to be honest I don't know why I'm replying as I cant believe anyone who trots out the 'just don't clip the bolts' bizzarness has actual been climbing for more than about 10 minutes.

In reply to paul_the_northerner:

> Bolts and trad really cant coexist on the same line...

Slate quarries? 

4
In reply to LakesWinter:

I’ve climbed some bolted slab routes on Chamonix granite that I noted E6 in my guide. 30ft between bolts at sustained trad. 6a/b.

In reply to paul_the_northerner:

Somthing like white wizard is a great example, an absolutely stunning trad climb (by all accounts, I haven't done it but would love to) but would make a pretty bland 6bish sport route with bolts next to obvious cracks. Not to mention it would be very short (2 pitches on bolts?) so not fitting at all into the request for alpine style bolting routes by the OP.

In reply to Wide_Mouth_Frog:

ooh that's a fair comment, I have been known to lurk in Hodge close. Its its own brand of scary and but i'd be hard pushed to class it as ether sport climbing or trad.

But the Op is suggesting sport bolting trad lines to obtain a perceived *best of both worlds*. my experiences of slate is that its the absolute worst of both worlds. but this somehow works!

 Holdtickler 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

We are a small country with a limited amount of rock so most of us are happy operate a "leave no trace" ethic when it comes to our natural beauty spots. If you are going to bolt a protectable trad route purely for lazy convenience then you might as well leave a trail of litter behind you as well for all the respect you are paying to our limited resource. When you climb a trad route, even if you are not the first ascensionist, you can still get that feeling that you are and that you are putting your skills to the test against a mountain sculpted by millions of years of nature.

As soon as you sanitise it with man-made objects, each with limited useful lifespan before it becomes just an eye sore, then it just starts to feel like a well trodden path and even more like a commercial climbing wall and all off a sudden you've lost all that adventure, the timeless feeling, that place where you can get away from the human impact of the modern world. All those downsides are just not worth it because someone can't be bothered to rack a set of nuts or learn some trad skills. You earn your place in the mountains by learning those skills and that's all part of the adventure journey for me and many others I'm sure.

1
In reply to Holdtickler:

Your missing my well mentioned point that its not I dont like trad, its great but there should be a more equal balance of mountain trad and sport

43
 Derry 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

stop feeding the troll everyone. User profile says climbing less than a year, and is aged 14. If either of these are true, they don't have the maturity or authority to comment.

End of convo, go watch the football.

3
 Holdtickler 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Not missing your point, just not agreeing that retrobolting mountain trad routes has a place in UK climbing. The balance is just fine as it is.

 Petrafied 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> And the mountains dont give you tat to ab off of either or ropes or gears or cams. So by the same respect only soling goes with no shoes, chalk or rock shoes.

You're ignoring that the decision to use ropes, shoes, chalk only affects the individual using them.  If I decide to solo a route or to use rope and nuts, it has no impact on others who come after me.  If I decide to put bolts into the rock, then I potentially ruin the experience for everyone who comes after me.  The idea that others can simply "not clip" the bolts is, as others have pointed out, simply nonsense.  Your arguments are simplistic and facile and the idea of bolting routes up easy mountain routes in the UK a bit silly.

 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Have you climbed on slate? It sounds like that might be what you're looking for. There are big long sport pitches and it sounds quite adventurous. 

It might be a bit elitist but I like how trad works as a gatekeeper to the mountains. You need a decent amount of knowledge and experience (not to mention equipment, which usually ads to the time-investment) to venture into that realm. If the remote mountain crags were as busy with the same clientele as you often come across at sport venues, it would ruin the experience for me. 

Bro, did you just send Troutdale Pinnacle? Sick!

3
In reply to paul_the_northerner:

> But the Op is suggesting sport bolting trad lines to obtain a perceived *best of both worlds*. my experiences of slate is that its the absolute worst of both worlds. but this somehow works!

That's harsh 😂

FWIW I really like the uniqueness of a slate experience, but it does tend to occupy a strange area between sport and trad.

Anyway, back to the OP - bolting mountain trad would totally change the experience for me. There is an argument for bolted belays, but even that would be a step too far for me 

In reply to dking02:

> and so by the same regard the ultimate purest form of climbing is soloing.

I think most would agree. Doesn’t mean that trad and sport don’t have their place though.

> And so this essentially means trad and sport are the same and that everything should he soloed with no rock shoes, no chalk.

Just because A≠B or C, it doesn’t logically follow that B=C.

Go climb something like Elegy and see if it’s the same as climbing a grid bolted 6a+ (well, wait until you’ve a lot more trad experience under your belt first).

Soloing is neither here nor there in the debate since the level of commitment isn’t altered by the presence or absence of gear, fixed or otherwise.

> And again a much purported point for trad used against sport can be used against trad too.

Placing and removing trad gear doesn’t change the character of the route for the next person who climbs it. Placing bolts does. I’m not really sure what equivalence you think you are drawing. 

 Holdtickler 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Derry:

That's a bit harsh to be fair. I think anyone has a right to comment their thoughts and and opinions regardless of age and experience. You can't just shut someone down based on either. Better to use your words...

3
In reply to Petrafied:

I would argue it does, chalk is probably the worst of them all in the chemical weathering it causes. Rubber from shoes polished routes and the constant placing and removing gear will erode the rock more than a bolt ever could. 

31
 Derry 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Holdtickler:

Its more the fact that anyone with such a profile is most likely a fake account, and thus trolling, and thus not better to use your words, but to ignore, as I will be doing henceforth. 

4
In reply to Derry:

what do you count as a troll? 
 

someone that disagrees with your point of view so instead you decide to be ignorant 

16
In reply to dking02:

Say waaaa? Chalk causes chemical weathering?? Really? You might have to explain that one.

 Andy Moles 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

You've pivoted a little from your OP to asking why we don't have multi-pitch sport routes in the mountains specifically, so addressing that...

It's not such a stupid question as a lot of the answers here make out (though your suggestion of 'just don't clip the bolts'isn't doing you any favours, it's a total clanger of an argument and if you don't believe me, go run the experiment yourself on something you find hard).

"it would make the routes less good" - very subjective

"leave no trace" - please not that one, compared to the swathes of human infrastructure that you can see from virtually every crag in the country, even in the mountains, a few tiny bits of metal are not even worth mentioning

"it would be a lot of effort to bolt them" - never stopped Michel Piola, Beat Kammerlander or the Remy bros

"trad is the cleaner challenge, demanding self reliance and judgement etc" true, but it's still a value judgement that this particular type of challenge is better, and that in the particular environment of UK hills it should have exclusive sway

"we don't have as much rock as other places" no, but you can flip this argument both ways

You could argue most of these replies are iterations of status quo bias.

So why is our status quo of not having bolted mountain routes better? Mainly because it's how the majority of people who are passionate about climbing in the mountains feel. It's part of a cultural narrative that we enjoy. None of the above arguments is very strong on its own, but taken collectively they express the way the climbing community feels about something it holds dear.

If you want to climb multi-pitch sport, as someone else said, you can - just get on a train to France!

2
In reply to dking02:

Well I guess mining rock for chalk causes physical erosion in a way, I'll give you that one, I hadn't thought laterally enough there. But as the thread you linked to says theres is no mechanism weakly alkali MgCO3 can chemically erode rocks. 

Its absolutely not a thing. Much like pretty much all your arguments on this thread

1
 wbo2 21 Nov 2022

In reply to bananafingers55: But then it helps to separate out the arguments, as this is jumping around some

1. I'd like more sport

2. Id like more decent quality lower grade sport 

3. I'd like more mountain sport routes - 

I suspect there are less of 3 worldwide than the OP might think there is. 

In reply to Andy Moles:

Great reply covering many points in a logical manner. You provides the pros and cons and I largely agree with everything you say! The main point is why do ALL mountain routes have to be trad. Then it simply is the best of both worlds and neither can detract from each other that way. But in the main climbing bodies in the UK this is a big no no. U love trad climbing its great fun but it can seem all aspects of what sport could also be, ALONGSIDE trad, is often neglected namely mountain and adventurous sport. 

28
 Holdtickler 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Moles

> "leave no trace" - please not that one, compared to the swathes of human infrastructure that you can see from virtually every crag in the country, even in the mountains, a few tiny bits of metal are not even worth mentioning

Clearly a lot of us think that this form of irreparable damage is actually worth mentioning... The "something else is worse so it doesn't matter" augment is the fast track to trashing everything...

As climbers we can get to the few inaccessible places beyond the reach of human destruction. All the more reason to keep it that way in my book. I think you are downplaying a lot of very valid augments in your summary. 

1
 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022

In reply to bananafingers55:

Climbing and styles comes in and out of fashion. Trad is getting a bit of a resurgence at the minute with some young crushers and an increased social-media presence. If anything, I think sport is dropping in popularity (though it might not seem that way, as there are generally more people climbing across the whole spectrum). Bouldering is obviously bigger than ever, due to the increasing number of dedicated walls, it's accessibility, and lots of stuff on Youtube & IG. 

There's not been many films about UK sport climbing in the past few years. Big Bang is the only one I can think of, and even though it's about a sport route it follows a well-established trad climber. International films like Reel Rock, where they feature films about sport climbing (aside from those at the absolute cutting edge, e.g. Le Dura Dura, Silence, etc), are usually pretty uninteresting. 

Trad is alive and well, and the adventure-appeal of it will always mean it will be in films and across social media. And because of that, it will always have a draw. I don't think we will be short of young tradders in the coming years. Tom Pearce, Mat Wright, Anna Hazelnutt, Anna Taylor, Jim Pope, etc., all crushing. 

In reply to Holdtickler:

I would disagree as the whole basis of your point is the level of damgage trad climbing incurs is okay but the level (minimal) of damage sport could do is worse. If you really want to be true to you own point as a reason for trad over sport then no one should be in the mountains at all. 

20
In reply to PaulJepson:

Yep you make good points. I was mistaken!

 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

>what sport could also be, ALONGSIDE trad, is often neglected namely mountain and adventurous sport. 

To entertain the notion for a moment - where are you going to put this hypothetical sport climb(s)? Propose a venue. If there is a suitable one, I'm sure people would be open to it. Without an actual example of what you want, all you're proposing is a loose ideology which goes against the established climbing ethic. No one will agree with you. 

If you want to retro-bolt existing trad lines, you won't find many in favour. Why should you ruin already established climbs for past and future generations? If you want to bolt un-climbed routes on decent rock, good luck finding any.  

In reply to PaulJepson:

Yeah I completely agree. I think there has been a great resurgence in trad. And ultimately it is great fun, the adventure the self reliance are all aspects I enjoy, but again a little love ALSO to sport particularly mountain sport would be good, and currently thats a big no no from the major climbing bodies. There is also a level of irony in their viewpoint: taken from Mountaineering Scotland: 

W H Murray, second president of the MCofS (1972-1974) and world renowned mountaineer, conservationist and author, said: 

“Here is a field of free action in which nothing is organised, or made safe or easy or uniform by regulation: a kingdom where no laws run and no useful ends fetter the heart.”

yet later on they then go on to state laws and rules about where can and cant be bolted. 
 

“Mountain and sea cliffs with a wild, remote character (also reflected in their surrounding environment) and adventurous nature are not suitable locations for bolts, either for the development of routes or their limited use in order to facilitate easy retreat: self-rescue and descent without fixed equipment are all part of the adventurous nature of traditional climbs”

7
 Andy Moles 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> Great reply covering many points in a logical manner. You provides the pros and cons and I largely agree with everything you say! The main point is why do ALL mountain routes have to be trad. Then it simply is the best of both worlds and neither can detract from each other that way. But in the main climbing bodies in the UK this is a big no no. U love trad climbing its great fun but it can seem all aspects of what sport could also be, ALONGSIDE trad, is often neglected namely mountain and adventurous sport. 

Ah, well here we meet the fabled Thin End of the Wedge (which may be a cliché but it does exist).

People worry, not unreasonably, that if you allow a few concessions, these would be taken as precedent and prise open the floodgates to all kinds of rogue activity.

Also, which routes would you bolt? Not shit ones presumably, because that wouldn't be worth the effort. And for any decent route, there would be a load of people strongly opposed to it.

I personally don't see why some routes in the British mountains wouldn't make good sport routes, but we all have lines we wouldn't want to see crossed, and it's hard to see a way forward with bolting the mountains that wouldn't cross lines for a lot of people.

In reply to LakesWinter:

> Adventurous sport route - oxymoron??

Most places yes, some places definitely not. The Lighthouse Crags on the Orme are a case in point. Try Red Sentinel at 6a+ and tell me you weren't frightened the whole way up!

2
In reply to dking02:

> I would argue it does, chalk is probably the worst of them all in the chemical weathering it causes. Rubber from shoes polished routes and the constant placing and removing gear will erode the rock more than a bolt ever could. 

Hang on a second. This is a non-argument - are you suggesting sport climbers don't use chalk? Or wear rock boots because otherwise the damage caused is the same. Placing trad gear causes polish, undeniably. But then so does a quickdraw swinging from a bolt as it moves over the same patch of rock everytime someone places it. And undeniably bolts wear themselves and corrode until they need replacing in 25 years or so. Bolts on road side crags is one thing, where they are easily replaced. Bolts in the mountains where the effort of putting them in is huge, is another. In my view bolted routes are slowly becoming a time bomb as at some point they need inspecting and replacing. Who does that work, how is it overseen, who pays for it, how is it completed etc are all extremely important questions. Not so with trad placements which rely on the owner of the kit to select, place and recover. And I would argue that if you are concerned about erosion, you should probably think more about the footpaths and mode of transport you use to get to these routes more than some polish on the rock as they are both a far greater impact on the environment.

 Holdtickler 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Now you really are talking nonsense! Bolting is not minimal damage, it's obvious and irreversible. Trad isn't perfect, but nor is anything... You are always going to step on an ant or have some other impact on the world with whatever you do. Most of us try to minimise that impact where we can whilst still living our lives. It's not an all or nothing. That's just extreme crazy talk!

In reply to Andy Moles:

Yeah I think you’re right here and ultimately it brings my own views to the same conclusion, into the grey area, seeing the appreciation for both. And thats why I proposed the original post as sport climbing being neglected in a mountainous environment, yes there would be impacts that come with that but I think overall it really gives a disservice to uk rock. 

13

> “Mountain and sea cliffs with a wild, remote character (also reflected in their surrounding environment) and adventurous nature are not suitable locations for bolts, either for the development of routes or their limited use in order to facilitate easy retreat: self-rescue and descent without fixed equipment are all part of the adventurous nature of traditional climbs”

Again - think about the nature of seacliffs. Take a look at the effort which has to go into maintaining bolts in that environment. It's plainly true that they are not well adapted to the environment unless you are placing the very best quality bolts or have an extremely active and regulated rebolting and maintenance regime in place. I know that is not the point they are making but it's a valid one.

I do lots of climbing in the Dolomites where there is a huge variety of fixed equipment, ranging from soft steel pegs, to drilled threads, to plate bolts, glue ins (although less so), to enormous long belay rings, to home made bolts. It's quite frankly a nightmare. In the valley where I have a business there are whole bolted crags which have been lost to corrosion which no one is prepared to reequip due to the finances required, the work involved etc. It's simply not quite as easy as you're making out. 

In reply to beardy mike:

It's a non argument as it bollox! Chalk does not cause chemical weathering. The OP put up 2 links that seemed to confirm this rather bizarrely.

Post edited at 13:57
 Andy Moles 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Holdtickler:

> In reply to Andy Moles

> Clearly a lot of us think that this form of irreparable damage is actually worth mentioning... The "something else is worse so it doesn't matter" augment is the fast track to trashing everything...

It's not simply that the impact is less than something worse, it's the order of magnitude less. Yes, it's an impact on the environment, but it's absolutely miniscule.

You could grid bolt the whole of Cloggy and the effect on the landscape would be so negligible that someone swimming in Llyn d'ur Arddu couldn't even see it.

The only thing it could be reasonably said to be 'trashing' is climbing ethics, and climbers' aesthetic sensibilities.

2
In reply to beardy mike:

Yes, you make valid points. Above when I mentioned these about chalk or rock boots wasn’t as its what I believed in, it was more to point out the absurdity that one level of impact is better than another.The scale here being (least, soloing barefoot no chalk-soloing, trad/sport, most)  And also the conception that there can only be one style within the mountain/ adventure environment when we have both styles across all other types of venues.

11
 peppermill 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

What, in your view, would bolting existing mountain trad routes (unfortunately that is what would have to be done for the most part in the UK, rather than new routes) add to the experience? How would retro-bolting the routes on Rannoch Wall or whatever improve things?

Lower grades IMO absolutely nothing, and likely detract from from the adventure (horribly overused word in 2022 but seems appropriate) without really improving safety. By this I mean they're probably well protected anyway and even with bolts there will be big ledges everywhere to bounce off and mess yourself up on. Plus I think this would be more "Leading on bolts" rather than actual sport climbing and working a route etc.

I think it would make harder routes more accessible but........is that a good thing? If most of us mere mortals want to climb multi-pitch E5 (way out of my price range!) or whatever we would have to work damn hard to get to that level both physically and mentally. I think that's a good thing.

Oh, and who would foot the bill! Bolts ain't cheap!

Post edited at 14:05
 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> And also the conception that there can only be one style within the mountain/ adventure environment when we have both styles across all other types of venues.

Therein lies the problem. Is falling off between well-spaced bolts adventurous? Is following a line of bolts rather than your route-reading skill adventurous? Is being able to lower off safely and easily when you can't do a move adventurous? One would argue that they're at the lower end of the adventure scale in climbing, but you're wanting to put that into the most adventurous environments. 

Sport climbing is about doing hard climbing in relative safety. Why do that at the expense of someone else's pleasure when you don't have to?

1
 GrahamD 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

I think the moral aspects of bolting hitherto natural venues has been well covered.  One thing that nearly always gets forgotten is how you expect this idea to be funded, implemented and maintained ? 

In reply to dking02:

> And also the conception that there can only be one style within the mountain/ adventure environment when we have both styles across all other types of venues.

Quite honestly just because it's done elsewhere does not make it something we should do here. Get on any trade route in the Dolomites and you will see what I mean. If you want to come up with a suggestion about how you would even begin to moderate, requip, designate funds, find funds, find willing volunteers, navigate the access and landowner issues etc. etc. then you might start to have a valid set of arguements. 

In reply to dking02:

You've still not said where, how and by who, any such mountain sport route would be established.

Either it's retro-bolting an existing trad route which to put it mildly, would generate a bit of opposition.

Or it's a new route. Chances of finding such a worthwhile lower grade line on an existing crag are rather slim, which means it would have to be on an undeveloped crag.

Go find one, try and find someone willing to equip it, or bolt it yourself (after learning how to do so safely), regardless of the keyboard "mountain" outcry, I doubt there would be many who would actually be bothered enough to visit this previously undiscovered crag that you've found to remove the bolts.

In reply to Michael Hood:

Yes you make a good point. 
 

Ultimately I don't have that experience but that doesn't mean we cant debate such topics? 
 

the same applies to many other areas of debate in society.

the core thing is that as a rule from uk climbing bodies, new sport bolting on adventurous routes is NOT allowed. So why would I invest time when then there would be a high likelihood of bolts being ripped out lack of support etc. 

and given the outpouring of downvotes and angry people branding myself a ‘troll’ I can assure you people would go out and rip out the bolts. And this here is that toxicity in a perfect example that largely permeates the climbing conservatives so to say. the notion that ahh all the good stuff is trad and nothing is left to be found and if anything is found it should be trad is a load of bs. 

25
 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Do you understand that there are no suitable venues for what you are proposing? That's why people are disagreeing with you. It's not a subject for debate, you're trying to tell people that red is blue without providing any examples or evidence as to why it is. 

In reply to dking02:

To back up Michaels comments (I was going to say something very similar earlier) if you were to find a remote Scottish mountain crag (just look in a comprehensive guidebook there are lots of very sparsely developed ones) and bolt it I very much doubt most people would give a crap. You probably also wouldn't get a second ascent. You would get a slagging on social media, but who cares about social media. It's not like mcofs have a roving band of militant pro bolt choppers. In fact in many places in Scotland bolting on single pitch crags is not uncommon and accepted.

You seem to have this rather naive stereotype view that theres some form of old guard inhibiting progress for UK sport, when infact in the real world its the 'old guard' who are quietly getting on actively bolting and retro bolting (occasionally not without controversy), at least certainly in the Peak, The Dales and N Wales. 

Bolts dont appear magically from nowhere (well perhaps unless GG is about). A reason mountain crags don't have bolts is local activists in the UK don't view bolting them as a worthwhile endeavor. I've yet to hear a convincing argument (or indeed any argument) on this thread why bolting mountain crags would actually be better.

1
In reply to PaulJepson:

Funnily enough there have only been a few who have alluded to there not being suitable venues, and some who have said there are, I wouldn’t kid myself in that I wouldnt really know all too much in this area. 
 

but linking back to you point, many of the reasons put forward have been relating to a Sustenance of conserving trad climbing and in to some extent very farcical points being used to support it pretty poorly. 
 

the notable ones being “trad is better as its more of an adventure” 

but this argument in itself is flawed when you then compare trad to soloing. And so then why cant the same apply that we have people that want to solo, people that want to trad and people that want to sport, in all types of environments and most people dabble in all 3, and the key point being that each doesn't have to detract from the other, it’s simply different aspects that you want to enjoy, the same as I like wine but i dont drink red all my life as sometimes I want a white. We can maintain adventure trad but also have an equal balance of adventure sport. 

23
 C Witter 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

If you travel around, you realise that there are different ethics and styles of climbing in different places and this is part of the diversity of climbing and part of its rich tapestry. Appreciating this diversity, rather than trying to homogenise it, is a worthwhile rationale in itself for not bolting more UK mountain rock. Even trad in the UK is not homogenous, with nuanced differences in approaches to fixed gear and protection between the mountains, the seacliffs, the inland edges and tors, the quarries, grit and limestone, Scotland and the south coast, etc.

In the UK there isn't a lot of rock and we don't have enomous mountains. But, what keeps mountaineering/climbing here unique and special is the tradition we have built up around freeclimbing without (much) fixed gear. This teaches UK climbers to move on rock and in the mountains in particular ways that are empowering and valuable within the context of global mountaineering. And it creates a "game" that is exciting, risky and novel; one that, I feel, is distinctly modern and provides particular challenges that have been lost within the game of "sport" climbing.

Beyond this, whilst others in the thread have dismissed the environmental aspect, I do actually think that the lack of fixed gear has an important role in conserving these places. First, it simply means that our rock faces are not bristling with metal work. Second, rather than domesticating spaces, it maintains certain barriers to access: there are some places you cannot go unless you are prepared to deal with significant risk. Third, it helps maintain the ethos of minimising impact on these spaces. Of course, trad climbing creates impacts, but think of all that we try to avoid: drilling rock, excessive cleaning, chipping holds, glueing holds on... not to mention the footfall. Obviously, people who think of Burbage when they think of trad will think I'm talking bollocks, because of the absolute depravity of the Peak District, but I'm actually thinking of somewhere like Langdale and the destitution and poverty that bolting Raven and White Ghyll and Gimmer and Pavey would wreak (i.e. turn it into Burbage... a threat that is already there). The only places biodiversity clings on in Cumbria are the crags and gullies. With the urge to domesticate the faces comes the urge to domesticate the approaches, the descents; more footfall; more waste and impact. Beyond that, all of those precious climbs would be transformed into something lesser.

Yes, yes, yes: but can't we just bolt a few mountain crags? No. Because each mountain crag is precious and what you are talking about is painting mickey mouse ears on the Mona Lisa or burning Shakespeare's folios "because we already have loads of copies"... it's literally about destroying a heritage that is precious to many people, including me.

 

Post edited at 15:46
7
 GrahamD 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> the notable ones being “trad is better as its more of an adventure” 

> but this argument in itself is flawed when you then compare trad to soloing. And so then why cant the same apply that we have people that want to solo, people that want to trad and people that want to sport..

Well obviously soloing is just a form of trad climbing.  Someone soloing a route doesn't change the route for anyone climbing it with a rope.

 Webster 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

all those things you carry in and carry back out with you again...

 wbo2 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02: Can you define sport?  Are we talking routes that are bolted, or routes that are safe to fall off.  There's a very big difference

 PaulJepson 21 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

No, one does detract from the other. If you bolted a trad line, you have ruined it as a trad climb. You've taken something that already existed, and turned it into something else. There arent big blank swathes of unclimbed granite just waiting to be sport routes, you know.

1
In reply to wbo2:

Why are people (including me) indulging with replies to this post? Clearly sport involves bolts. So called trad. involves mainly hand placed protection and is not just a physical test, but an all round physical and mental ability examination, with more or less danger which you can assess from the guide.. wbo2 has no inkling of the heritage and history of the genre and the worrying part is this possibly represents the future from wall trained climbers with no knowledge or respect for what went before. Convenience, instant gratification and risk aversion is now a large part of modern life. People should accept humility and understand they can’t have everything they want here and now. Not too long ago anyone bolting mountain crags could face physical retribution , whereas now the only certainty is that any bolts will be removed.

3
 Andy Moles 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Philb1950:

> Why are people (including me) indulging with replies to this post?

I can't speak for you, but for me it's rainy AF outside and I quite like blethering about climbing.

Plus, we'd be in real trouble if we didn't have old climbers telling young climbers how they should be doing it.

 wbo2 21 Nov 2022
In reply to Philb1950: oddly enough Phil I've got plenty of ideas on what I mean..  youre not the only person here who's climbed something run out as heck on very space bolts,  but im curious if the OP has experience this . 

In reply to dking02:

> Yeah I completely agree. I think there has been a great resurgence in trad.

I was going to ask Paul how long he has been climbing, but I can ask you at the same time - how long have you been climbing? I've got no idea about what this "great resurgence" is? UK trad climbing seems to have been doing rather well for the last 25 years since hard grit made climbing in your jeans fashionable again after the dubious lycra of the 80s and 90s.

I'm unsure where you think there are big mountain cliffs in the UK where you could go and put up a bunch of adventurous multipitch sport routes that don't interfere with pre existing traditional lines?

In reply to C Witter:

> Obviously, people who think of Burbage when they think of trad will think I'm talking bollocks, because of the absolute depravity of the Peak District,

The "absolute depravity of the Peak District"?! You what? Take a few deep breaths and step away from the keyboard Chris. Or did something very upsetting happen to you at Burbage that accounts for the extremity of your hyperbolic verbiage?

Go more than about 200 mtrs past the first bits of Burbage North and you can fall down bracken covered holes between moss covered gritstone boulders, while clocking your head on the low branches of beautiful gnarled dwarf oaks, while trying to find some obscure little route, to your hearts content. 

 Petrafied 22 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> I would argue it does, chalk is probably the worst of them all in the chemical weathering it causes. Rubber from shoes polished routes and the constant placing and removing gear will erode the rock more than a bolt ever could. 

So how were intending to ascend these bolted mountain routes of yours - fly up them like Peter Pan?

 Petrafied 22 Nov 2022
In reply to ebdon:

> It's a non argument as it bollox! Chalk does not cause chemical weathering. The OP put up 2 links that seemed to confirm this rather bizarrely.

It's almost as if they'd simply searched for things that might support their point of view, thought from their titles that those links did, couldn't be bothered to actually read them, assumed everyone was as lazy as them and wouldn't dig into the links either and simply nod their heads in agreement and awe at the higher intelligence that walks amongst them. 

From the responses and idiotic line of (I want to say "reasoning") it's pretty clear that "derryclimbs" is correct - trolling.  Shame really, as there's no reason not to debate the actual topic - but not with a dishonest actor.

1
 GrahamD 22 Nov 2022
In reply to Petrafied:

If they're profile is correct, I doubt they're trying to troll.  More frustration that their current country can't support their climbing wishes.  Personally I'd like world class skiing in Cambridgeshire but I'm old enough not to rail against lack of ski lifts here !

 Lankyman 22 Nov 2022
In reply to GrahamD:

> Personally I'd like world class skiing in Cambridgeshire but I'm old enough not to rail against lack of ski lifts here

But why can't you have these things? Stop being so lazy and get onto your local downhill skiing forum.

1
 Mark Haward 22 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

You are right, we can and should debate such topics.

    The rules you refer to, (eg; 'bolts are forbidden' - which by the way is not accurate )  have not been  created by 'old timers'. The rules you refer to have been reached by consensus through, for example, B.M.C. area meets. This is where specific local and national issues are debated, a concensus is reached and 'rules' are created, and also changed, through agreement. This includes whether bolts / stakes etc. should or could be placed.

    I recommend you attend an area meeting and put forward your suggestions...

 C Witter 22 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Ha! Ok, I'm being provocative... but, I do find places like Burbage and Stanage Plantation are really dense with people and all the wear and signs of people. Even past the first 500m. It's ok, as far as it goes, but I dread the Lakes becoming like that.

2
 GrahamD 22 Nov 2022
In reply to Mark Haward:

>     I recommend you attend an area meeting and put forward your suggestions...

Possibly asking a bit much of a 14 year old !

In reply to GrahamD:

If he's going to play with the big boys, he might have to act like one too. At 14 you have ideas, enthusiasm, and energy, all in abundance. If you want to change the world, you've got to start young. Besides which, pontificating on an Internet is all well and good, but actually getting to speak to the local activists who do the work might actually help him understand the problems with what he is suggesting.

Post edited at 11:38
1
 OCDClimber 22 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

When someone suggests that climbers could just ignore the bolts you know that they have no idea about trad. It's hard to believe this still gets wheeled out.

1
In reply to C Witter:

> Ha! Ok, I'm being provocative... but, I do find places like Burbage and Stanage Plantation are really dense with people and all the wear and signs of people. Even past the first 500m. It's ok, as far as it goes, but I dread the Lakes becoming like that.

Don’t worry, Chris, the weather and the walk-ins will sort that.

 Andrew Wells 22 Nov 2022

This seems to be one of the inherent tensions apparently across UK climbing and indeed across the world, but with local characteristics;

Preservation of a valuable trad ethos vs wider geographical access to quality sport venues, I think we can all agree that trad and sport are both good, lots of people like both, lots of people like neither, lots of people like one or the other, and all of these are legitimate positions to take.

The benefits of a growing sport (better physios, stronger arguments for access, superior facilities, improved training, higher standards) vs the downside (erosion of rock, potential issues if overcrowding outdoors, difficulty in maintaining traditional ethos although some of the old ways of doing things aren't the best). 

UKC by its nature swings to trad as its most popular discipline but UKC is not necessarily representative of the views of all UK climbers.

Elitism vs all-comer-ism (both of which have various issues imo, not least that a lot of elitism is tied into other problems with the attitudes of climbers, and yet preservation of crags and strong ethics in terms of protecting rock and the environment is also heavily defended by the more elitist crowd).

I don't know the solution. I sympathise with a desire to climb in the manner one wishes, but also at the same time, no man is an island. Personally I am very glad bouldering is what I love, I don't have to worry about bolts or not!

In reply to C Witter:

I think the Lakes is great (beyond the obvious rock-being-a-bit-rubbish-at-offering-plentiful-secure-gear-placements thing) but I don't really see it being hugely different from the Peak in terms of popularity. 

I did Eliminate A two summers back and it was great, but we were laughing at how on all the tricky bits the gear placements were so cleaned out, polished and obvious all that was missing was little signs saying "no.2 nut here", "smallest cam you have here"! A day out in winter on Helvellyn isn't complete without some poor punter in a North Face Jacket and fabric walking boots lumbering through the mist and snow up to you holding a phone with google maps open but showing nothing helpful but a blue dot on a featureless page, and saying "is that the way back to the carpark mate?" 

Of course there are quiet bits, but there are that in the Peak too.

 mutt 22 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

The thing is tho that there are new mountain routes being put up with bolt runners. There is certainly one in ogwen as my son's climbing squad all went up in the rain last summer. There is also a via ferrata on anglesea sea cliff traverse. And if it's new sport climbing venues catering for the mid grade climbers there are new galleries in the llanberis slate quarries.

It's note-able that the heirarchy of qualifications needed to get children climbing outdoors precludes Trad (I.e. most coaches can only teach sport) So these sport routes are pretty much the easiest place for climbing wall development squads to develop their skills outdoors. 

We clearly all want to retain the Trad tradition but a bit of realism about how we convert indoor climbers into outdoor climbers is needed. There just aren't enough Trad leaders wanting to take on apprentices. 

7
 C Witter 22 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Eliminate A is well travelled, but more likely to be busy in the holiday months of July and August. I've had Dow to myself many times... and many other major crags, even in high summer. But, you're right, it also suffers, like Wales, from footfall, especially in popular spots. I've also had all of Blackstone Edge to myself... but never been to a crag in the Peak without at least a few other teams about, even in Dec/Jan. Many places feel like shopping malls.

Anyway: I didn't mean to make it a Peak vs Lakes thing, sorry. The common problem is a lack of green space for all.

Btw, what lack of gear? I always think of mountain rock as giving good gear compared to, say, grit slabs!

1
In reply to mutt:

Can't comment on any bolts in ogwen, i don't know it well enough, or via ferrata ether. There is via ferrata at honister slate mine but that's very much a commercial venture on private property. 

"a bit of realism about how we convert indoor climbers into outdoor climbers is needed"

I think you are looking at that problem wrong way around.

Why does this realism have to come from changing the environment we climb in? These crags and buttresses have stood for thousands of years and for the past 120 years or so climbers have been learning lessons, developing and refining their ability and style in order to climb them as they are. 

The realism of the problem is that it appears that some people (not all) are coming out of climbing walls with alternate ideas on how we should treat premier trad venues (aka mountain crags) to make it more like their local wall. I'm not opposed to bolting appropriate venues and there's been some fantastic areas developed from this but any worthwhile mountain crag is a whole different proposition. 

I don't know exactly what the answer is. Its a new problem and I am sure the industry will adapt to accommodate (more learn to trad climb courses, better education in climbing walls etc). 

1
In reply to mutt:

> It's note-able that the heirarchy of qualifications needed to get children climbing outdoors precludes Trad

RCI/SPA doesn't preclude trad, quite the opposite. That's the minimum relevant qualification for teach outside in the UK.

> There just aren't enough Trad leaders wanting to take on apprentices. 

Actually I'm finding quite the opposite. In the last year I've started climbing at Frome Boulder Rooms regularly and I have actually been trying to get strong climbers I meet involved in outdoor climbing to help them transition onto something a bit more than plastic. So far I've not found it very easy despite offering to take quite a few people out. Maybe it's my rugged good looks or obvious intellect which is putting them off?

 Iamgregp 22 Nov 2022
In reply to OCDClimber:

This is true, but then every now and then along comes a news article detailing about somebody doing just that https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2022/06/connor_herson_climbs_empath_9a+_on_trad_gear-73074

So whilst you're not wrong, it's not entirely bizarre that people who aren't familiar with trad should suggest such a thing is possible as, evidently, it is.

7
In reply to C Witter:

> Btw, what lack of gear? I always think of mountain rock as giving good gear compared to, say, grit slabs!

"We head up into the Nameless Cwm full of hope. Tower Gully is full of water ice, there is some snow but not much. Far more importantly, the steep rock is doing its best impression of Coire an Lochain. Enthusiasm gets the better of us. We fail to read the guidebook description carefully and solo the first guidebook pitch up the ice-filled Tower Gully. The meat of the route itself is just wonderful – positive, steep, well protected hooks and torques. Much more fun than Lakes teetering-about-with-poor-protection. I decide I love Wales."

From: https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/features/chasing_the_very_bloody_ephemeral_scottish_winter_climbing-11510

😉

In reply to Andy Moles:

As an old climber I’m not telling him how to do it, but how not to do it!

 Andy Moles 22 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm unsure where you think there are big mountain cliffs in the UK where you could go and put up a bunch of adventurous multipitch sport routes that don't interfere with pre existing traditional lines?

Not a serious suggestion and I'm speculating because I haven't been, but... Creag Dhubh Dhiobadail?

In reply to paul_the_northerner:

> Why does this realism have to come from changing the environment we climb in? These crags and buttresses have stood for thousands of years and for the past 120 years or so climbers have been learning lessons, developing and refining their ability and style in order to climb them as they are.

I agree with most of what you're saying but you're argument falls down when you consider the amount of cleaning that's gone on at trad venues. I'd guess pretty much every mountain route has had a great deal of rock and vegetation pulled off it intentionally or not. When you visit somewhere like Cwm Cywarch, Craig Cau or Gist Ddu you get an idea what some of the crags in Ogwen or the pass were like 120 years ago. When we look at popular crags it's a bit like looking at the grazed hills in Snowdonia or the Lakes - yes, they're pretty and it's fun to climb them but we shouldn't kid ourselves that it's a natural landscape.

At places like Tremadog organised cleaning happens which is ecologically far more damaging than placing bolts. Not that I'm arguing against cleaning, or for placing bolts, I'm just saying that trad isn't necessarily the low impact activity some in this thread have been making it out to be.

Saying that, the crags I mentioned above are great examples of what will happen to any mountain route that falls out of fashion. The vegetation creeps back deceptively fast and in those places hundreds of routes have been reclaimed by nature. If they'd been bolted the stainless steel would still be there.

1
In reply to dking02:

Something that's clear from reading this thread is that most climbers don't want bolted sport routes in the mountains. Admittedly UKC is probably a little biased, but it rings true with my own personal experience too - people that are psyched exclusively for sport climbing don't tend to be keen on long walk-ins for damp and often chossy mountain routes, thus still wouldn't be keen if they were bolted. Those of us that enjoy it tend to also really enjoy the extra challenge of trad.

Something that I'd be curious to know people's thoughts on is if there was a shift in that in the future, where the majority of climbers in the UK were keen for mountain crags to be bolted,for sake of argument, lets specify retro bolted, would it be more valuable to preserve the history of the sport or do what these hypothetical future climbers want? To clarify, I'm not suggesting this will happen, but curious to know people's thoughts if it did.

 Misha 22 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

An interesting debate to have had about 30-40 years ago. 

 OCDClimber 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Misha:

But one, it seems, that we need to keep having

3
 gooberman-hill 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Oscar Dodd:

I've climbed a lot of UK trad in the mountains, and also a lot of bolted mountain sport in the Alps (comes with having kids getting into climbing).

I think one point in the debate that hasn't come out so far is the concept of line. I'm trying to think of how many really memorable mountain sport routes I have done. And the answer is very few. A couple that I would pick out are Frison-Roche (TD- 6a) on the Brevant, Voie Jaune (4c) at Les Cheserys, and Bon Voyage (7a) at Barberine. They are all somewhat "trad" in nature - as they tend to link features to give climbing at a reasonable grade through harder territory - and as such they are quite memorable.

I'm afraid to say that while many mountain sport routes give good climbing, they don't have that sense of line which makes a route truly great. There is a tendency to blast straight up at whatever grade and damn the torpedoes! By contrast the great trad routes tend to link features and find areas of weakness. Think of many Robin Smith or Joe Brown Routes (for example The Big Top (E1 5a), or Dragon (E1 5b) - picking subtle lines through uncompromising territory. 

Maybe the best example in  Kenidjack Cliffs - a sea cliff rather than a mountain crag. If it was grid bolted it would be climbable anywhere at about 6a/6b sport - but the routes would be pretty anonymous. But we instead we have Saxon (HVS 5a) - a subtle line line of weakness tracing a link between gear placements - truly memorable and one of the finest routes in the area.

It's not just about the way the climb is protected - the limitations of protection make you look at the cliff in a different way, and that in turn gives different sorts of line.

Would Troutdale Pinnacle (S) exist as a sport route - would chose such a meandering line to bolt. I don't think so

 Andy Moles 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Oscar Dodd:

> Something that I'd be curious to know people's thoughts on is if there was a shift in that in the future, where the majority of climbers in the UK were keen for mountain crags to be bolted,for sake of argument, lets specify retro bolted, would it be more valuable to preserve the history of the sport or do what these hypothetical future climbers want? 

Depends on the majority. If it was overwhelming, the question answers itself.

60-40, not so clear. You can't undrill a hole. What do the people with grinders and motivation think?

 Sacha_North 23 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

The other problem is the UK is quite weak as a climbing nation for example during the Munich games and the highest place we gained was 13th place and that was in the lead climbing so I think it would be amazing to have more support for climbers.

37
 Lankyman 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Sacha_North:

> The other problem is the UK is quite weak as a climbing nation for example during the Munich games and the highest place we gained was 13th place and that was in the lead climbing so I think it would be amazing to have more support for climbers.

I'm totally convinced. I'll begin bolting Scafell tomorrow.

1
 Rob Exile Ward 23 Nov 2022
In reply to gooberman-hill:

'I think one point in the debate that hasn't come out so far is the concept of line. I'm trying to think of how many really memorable mountain sport routes I have done. And the answer is very few. '

I've done 2 of these three and I'd put it another way - they would be much better routes if they'd been left as trad! And I thought the same in Kalymnos last month - some/many of the routes (easier grades admittedly, 6s rather than above) would have been great trad routes.

I wonder whether it's a bit comparable to skiing, resorts have got used to bolting or pisteing every possible line for punters, while there's a significant demand for trad lines and off piste.

(For those who haven't seen it, there's a modest proposal that relates to this topic on the off belay forum, very well done it is too.  Though the OP/Troll seems to have finally disappeared and wouldn't appreciate it anyway; his work is done.)

2
 OCDClimber 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Sacha_North:

What kind of support, moral, financial?  From whom?  

 GrahamD 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Sacha_North:

> The other problem is the UK is quite weak as a climbing nation for example during the Munich games and the highest place we gained was 13th place and that was in the lead climbing so I think it would be amazing to have more support for climbers.

The issue isn't really bolts.  Its lack of suitable rock compared with say, France, and lack of decent climate - especially since a high proportion of our rock is in the the worst weather parts of the UK.

We do quite well at rowing.

 C Witter 23 Nov 2022
In reply to OCDClimber:

> But one, it seems, that we need to keep having

Only because new people come, with little understanding of climbing heritage, and a minority of these, rather than approaching with the humility of a novice, instead are perplexed as to why everything doesn't fit within the narrow scope of their underdeveloped knowledge.

3
 Andy Moles 23 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

It's a debate we keep having because it's not a given that things should stay forever the way they've always been. Edward Colston's statue is heritage: the status of heritage alone does not entail everlasting respect.

Most of the people I know who court controversy with bolting practices are not novices - they're extremely experienced climbers.

3
 fred99 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Sport Climbers:

Let's say you do bolt mountain routes, and you do also bolt sea cliffs as well - I say you do because there's no way that Trad climbers are going to spend their time and money doing something they don't want.

Roll forward a couple of winters, and what is the situation then ?

I'll tell you - the freeze/thaw effect has made numerous bolts in the mountains unsafe, and they need re-bolting. Who does it ? In the Alps it's done by Guides, who use these routes professionally and so it's in their interests to maintain them. Here ? - I don't see the Sport climber who did the original bolting do it, they've moved on.

Then there's the sea cliffs - how many bolts have corroded due to the salt, particularly with the high waves prevalent in winter. Who re-bolts these ? Same answer as above.

If bolting did take place on mountain and sea cliff routes then within 2 years both would start to become unsafe - who would be responsible for the deaths that stack up when bolts - particularly bolted belays - fall apart under stress.

In both these areas placing your own protection - and then removing it - is the only really safe option. Individuals can take home, clean, and then safely store their kit, and this kit is then in working order the next time it is used - not rotten and completely useless.

9
 Andrew Wells 23 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Well hey now, I mean yes novice climbers could stand to be more open to learning. At the same time, they are climbers. They get an opinion too, and often older climbers could stand to be more open to change and indeed if they aren't they'll be left behind. There was a time when the old guard said no bolting of any crag ever, clearly that wasn't what they got.

3
 Andy Moles 23 Nov 2022
In reply to fred99:

> If bolting did take place on mountain and sea cliff routes then within 2 years both would start to become unsafe - who would be responsible for the deaths that stack up when bolts - particularly bolted belays - fall apart under stress.

This is absolute, categorical nonsense.

Read this website: http://www.bolt-products.com/

Even in the most corrosive environment of sea-cliffs, you can place bolts for which a conservative estimate of lifespan is 50 years.

2
 mik82 23 Nov 2022
In reply to fred99:

> Let's say you do bolt mountain routes, and you do also bolt sea cliffs as well -..

> Then there's the sea cliffs - how many bolts have corroded due to the salt, particularly with the high waves prevalent in winter. Who re-bolts these ? Same answer as above.

> If bolting did take place on mountain and sea cliff routes then within 2 years both would start to become unsafe - who would be responsible for the deaths that stack up when bolts - particularly bolted belays - fall apart under stress.

There's plenty of bolted routes near me ( S Wales) on tidal sea cliffs where some of the bolts spend a significant amount of time underwater. No issues if the correct materials are used. 

 Michael Gordon 23 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> A well debated topic but I think the UK needs a deep think about the place sport climbing has here. I appreciate both styles but ultimately I think sport is shunned too often and can many benefits. >  

Not sure where you get that impression from? When I go to the sport crags in Angus/Aberdeenshire they're often considerably more busy than the trad ones. So I disagree with your premise about sport climbing being 'shunned'. 

In reply to dking02:

I only got halfway through the thread before giving up, but:

> Above when I mentioned these about chalk or rock boots wasn’t as its what I believed in, it was more to point out the absurdity that one level of impact is better than another.

So a motorway passing over the summit of Ben Nevis is no worse than a footpath? 2C of global warming is just as bad as 1C? Come off it - that makes no sense. And that's ignoring the obvious flaw in your argument that all climbing has this base level of impact - unless you're proposing adventurous mountain sport routes climbed barefoot? Bolting has significantly greater impact than traditional climbing even before you consider the potential secondary impact of attracting more people into sensitive environments.

 PaulJepson 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Sacha_North:

> The other problem is the UK is quite weak as a climbing nation for example during the Munich games and the highest place we gained was 13th place and that was in the lead climbing so I think it would be amazing to have more support for climbers.

Quite a laughable comment considering 2 UK climbers have just repeated the hardest bouldering grade recorded.

In reply to mik82:

> There's plenty of bolted routes near me ( S Wales) on tidal sea cliffs where some of the bolts spend a significant amount of time underwater. No issues if the correct materials are used. 

My impression is though that 1) that kit is really expensive and 2) it's taken many many years and lots of trial and error to find good long lasting methods and equipment for bolting in marine environments. Is that actually the case?

Does anyone know if they have been able to sort out safe long lasting bolting on Thai sea cliffs yet? I remember reading that environment seemed to corrode everything!

 biggianthead 23 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Perhaps you just need to find a new pastime. Mountain biking with stabilisers? Canoeing in swimming pools? Orienteering in parks?

1
 jimtitt 23 Nov 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Buy cheap, buy twice.

1
 Iamgregp 23 Nov 2022
In reply to biggianthead:

I have done 2 of the three activities you've just listed.

 biggianthead 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

I've done one for an hour to get the hang of it. Then in the afternoon we canoed across the Menai Strait

 Rob Exile Ward 23 Nov 2022
In reply to biggianthead:

From the OP:

'And again im not slating trad. I absolutely love it, its great fun ...'

That's where he's going wrong, right there. Like Woody Allen said about sex ('It's only dirty if you're doing it right') if you think trad is fun you aren't.

Post edited at 16:24
1
 Iamgregp 23 Nov 2022
In reply to biggianthead:

Have canoed in a pool many times to try and get the hang of rolls. Can’t say I ever did however!

 C Witter 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

I agree with you. But, it depends exactly what we're debating... "is a bit of retrobolting ok" or "how should we replace rotten pegs" is a nuanced debate. "Why not bolt Gimmer?" is not a sensible debate.

 C Witter 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Andrew Wells:

Yes and no. You don't start learning English and expect to be consulted on how the grammar operates; but you can't expect to teach someone English by telling them: why don't you speak properly already?

Yes, it's good to be open minded - it's just that being open to change is not the same as allowing something you know and love to be ruined by people who don't understand or appreciate it.

In reply to dking02:

One thing I would argue is that bolted lower-offs would beat tat any day! Getting tired of seeing a mess of tat, often of dubious quality, on abseils on busier crags. Surely a couple of bolts are less visually intrusive, safer, and in the long run probably cheaper (I know bugger all about bolting, but I'd assume a couple of bolts wouldn't cost all that much to install and would last many years, whilst replacing tat pretty often adds up!)

Post edited at 18:15
11
 Rob Exile Ward 23 Nov 2022
In reply to Oscar Dodd:

Er no. You can't  just thread bolts, as I'm sure you know; you'd still either need tat through the bolts, or use maillons which wear out after multiple abseils.

I can tolerate strops round trees and spikes, they're probably environmentally better than scrambling down gullies which is what we used to do.

11
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Yes, I do mean bolts with mallions attached. They'd still last a reasonably long time, certainly longer than tat, and replacing a mallion is no biggie. Also, to clarify, I'm talking about the pretty much permanent, in-situ tat that's left on the abseil off idwal slabs etc. To be safe to use for multiple climbers, you need to thread the rope through a mallion anyway!

A lot of the time, the tat is a bit of a mess, and it's just a bit grim and not all that safe. I stand by the fact that a bolted lower-off is just the way to go on popular routes. It doesn't take away from the spirit of adventure (if the route/crag is popular enough to justify bolting the lower off, how adventurous is it anyway?), adds to the safety of the user, and imo means there isn't a mess of ugly tat. 

Post edited at 22:53
5
 Andrew Wells 23 Nov 2022
In reply to C Witter:

Sure, and as I originally said it goes both ways, but it is worth remembering that there are going to be varied and changing attitudes towards what counts as good and what counts as ruining things. Chalk. Pads. Bolting anything at all. Once all considered wrong by some!

In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Nope, chain can link the two bolts. As is commonplace to link bolts at anchor points on sport routes 

16
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

BS. This quite frankly reinforces the miserable old git vibes quite commonplace. Its not saying it’s trad is easy but the challenge it provides is fun. Trad is fun. And if you dont think it is and still actively choose to do it, well thats says a lot really. 

18
In reply to biggianthead:

Perhaps trad climbers would grow a pair and just solo it. Stop leaving all their crappy tat all over the place. 

27
In reply to tehmarks:

Please explain in terms of the direct impact of bolting, aside from very minor visually. 
 

also your last point then reaffirms the elitist nature of being able to climb a mountain routes, ‘other people cant go here but I can’. Its a crap point and you can never get anyone to respect nature if they cant experience it and connect with it themselves, and ultimately as part of this not everyone is gonna be able to climb trad mountain routes Not all will turn to sport but some mountain routes as sport would be good 

23
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Trad is fun (perhaps type two at times :P), otherwise why do we all go and do it

In reply to dking02:

You're still refusing to answer where these mountain sport routes might be going to be situated (I'm assuming you're not suggesting retro bolting) and who's going to equip them.

Without those two you're basically having a meaningless hypothetical argument with no chance of it coming to fruition.

In reply to Michael Hood:

I think it's a case of covering every bit of crag we see with a grid of bolts every meter to ensure that no one ever has to experience a runout again!
We'll start this project on the Cromlech, then move to Gogarth. Head up North to Diabeg, and finish it off on Stanage. Sure the trad climbers won't mind :P

Jokes aside, I do think it's a valid point that we just don't have a suitable venue. That being said, there is a load of reasonably adventurous sport on the South Coast I think (I remember seeing a 7a route above a Zorn that looked ace, and one where a fall would result in a faff with prussiks), and we have some big stuff on the slate, which once again, is adventurous in its own way! Maybe instead of trying to replicate the adventurous sport stuff in the alps, spain etc, we should enjoy the fact that our sport routes are unique in their own way. 

One argument against the whole accessibility point is that if we really cared about making mountains accessible, we'd cover the whole of the Cairngorms with signposts, paint on the rock, have staff in bothies all the time etc. Saying "you need to trad if you want to climb in the mountains" is just like saying "you need to be able to use a map if you want to walk in the mountains". Maybe a few lose out, but it's how the majority want it, and there are plenty of people willing to help people skill up!

Post edited at 00:27
 GrahamD 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

There is nothing elitist about trad climbing.  Anyone can do it. The majority don't leave tat, either.

 JCurrie 24 Nov 2022
In reply to PaulJepson:

> Quite a laughable comment considering 2 UK climbers have just repeated the hardest bouldering grade recorded.


Ah yes, but what have they ever done on plastic?

(No need to tell me, I know, and it spoils my already weak joke.)

1
 Rob Exile Ward 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

To be fair, if your log book is anything to go by, you haven't done much trad, and very little above VS. 

Get out on some mountain crags or sea cliffs, find the approaches for yourself, identify the lines, keep on route (or not), decide what gear to take and where to place it, choose your own belays and commit you and your mate to them... And of course find your way off them afterwards. Not much abseil tat on Cloggy, Gogarth, Esk Buttress or Slime Wall.

You'll find a qualitatively different experience from the 'reach up, clip, move up, repeat' 'fun' of sport. (Granted I don't climb at high levels of sport, which I understand is different, but neither do you.) And just maybe you'll get a glimpse of, to borrow a phrase, the 'profundity trail.'

Or not.

 OCDClimber 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

What makes you think "sport is shunned"?  Perhaps you could explain.

 C Witter 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> Please explain in terms of the direct impact of bolting, aside from very minor visually. 

>  

> also your last point then reaffirms the elitist nature of being able to climb a mountain routes, ‘other people cant go here but I can’. Its a crap point and you can never get anyone to respect nature if they cant experience it and connect with it themselves, and ultimately as part of this not everyone is gonna be able to climb trad mountain routes Not all will turn to sport but some mountain routes as sport would be good 

The fact that you need skill to do something does not make it elitist. Golf is elitist; grouse shooting is elitist; Oxford University is elitist. But, despite the skill involved, no one sensible thinks learning to play guitar or speak French or understand maths is elitist - at least not these activities in themselves. This despite the fact that there are additional barriers to engaging in these activities for the economically exploited and racialised subaltern. 

(Trad) climbing has strong working-class heritage, particularly obviously crystallised in figures like Joe Brown, Don Whillans, Andy Cave, 1980s climbers on the dole - but actually far more extensive and diffuse than these brief reference points. Moreover, the best UK climbing tends to be regionally concentrated in areas of very low economic investment (NW, NE, Yorkshire, Cumbria, North Wales, Highlands, etc.), consistently overlooked by the politics and culture of the metropole. There are good reasons to argue that trad is in fact not elitist - even as barriers to participation remain.

Anyway... Everyone being able to go everywhere is not actually desired by anyone. Most people appreciate "the outdoors" in part because of its relative inaccessibility and all that brings (e.g. peace and quiet).

In reply to C Witter:

Well said! And there are plenty of outdoor spaces on the UK that are made accessible (relatively speaking). There are whopping great big paths up Snowdon and a Starbucks at the top, but I’m sure everyone on here would agree that building a huge path across knoydart and putting a Starbucks in the middle would ruin it!!!

There are plenty of sport routes across the country to keep those who don’t want to trad occupied, but mountain trad just isn’t needed/wanted by most. There are plenty of routes in the diff-s range for people to hone their skills on if they want to start! And once again, I think you’d struggle to find a climber who wouldn’t be happy to teach a mate how to trad climb!

In essance, the whole accessibility argument is bs. It’s fair enough that you want sport, but you can’t claim it’s gonna make climbing super accessible all of a sudden. Plus (and I’m open to being disagreed with here ), realistically I don’t see anything easier than 6b-7a ish being bolted because anything easier is cruisy on trad or would follow an existing line, and I’d be willing to bet an awful lot more climbers can do a vdiff than a 7a…

In reply to Oscar Dodd:

As if by magic.... I thought this recent article about what a lot of alpine style bolted climbs actually involve was really good. https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/ukc/soul_and_sea_on_the_eiger-754261

I.e. bolts dont  necessarily make things safe and isnt for the faint hearted or inexperienced! Also the Alps is a significantly different environment to the UK. Saying that over 100 posts in I still dont really understand what the OP wants and why, beyond the rather nebulous more bolts in the mountains placed by imaginary organisations or individuals somehow making climbing inexplicably 'better'

In reply to dking02:

I think you are misusing the term elitist.

Ok lets say you have only ever been skiing on piste, getting onto the black runs now so feeling fairly good. But there's this ski line on a big mountain up that valley and you aren't sure how to approach... what would you do?

Would you contract someone with a piste basher to go and prepare the line to make it accessible for you? would that be appropriate? Alternatively you could get out and spend a season or two doing some super easy backcountry stuff that feels way below your level but hey slowly and surely you are building the skills and eventually you can ski that line you had your eye on.  Or maybe you accept that you can't be bothered to do all that because you are having loads of fun skiing on piste at the ski centre, maybe one day you'll have another think about putting the time in, but who cares your having fun right?

So as with any skill sport there's some minimum level of skill required to participate and I would argue that trad climbing is one of the most accessible forms of climbing. The difference between a grade 3 scramble and a Diff trad route is a very small jump. If you do not have the skills to keep yourself safe on a scramble you definitely should not be getting lured on to big mountain routes... bolted or not. That's not elitist its just common sense!

1
 Howard J 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

I'm unclear what these proposed mountain sport routes are for. The point of sport climbing, if I understand correctly, is to strip out the risk and other elements in order to concentrate on the pure climbing. To me, that is stripping out much of what makes climbing interesting, but each to their own.

However in the mountains you cannot simply ignore these other elements. You are going into an environment which potentially could kill you even without setting foot on a climb. You need the mountain skills to get to the route and get yourself off it afterwards. You need route-finding skills - weathered bolts can be very difficult to spot, and if you get off-route without the gear to get you out of trouble you are in deep shit.  

So what benefits do bolts bring? Make it safer? Perhaps, but most trad routes are fairly well protected, and where they are not this is reflected in the grade and is part of the challenge, which you can choose to accept or not. Sometimes accepting the runout is the point of the climb.

Cost then? A trad rack is expensive, but most people start trad with more experienced partners and build up their own rack slowly.  For £50 each you and your partner could equip yourselves with a couple of sets of nuts which would be adequate for a large number of easier but worthwhile trad routes. You don't need cams, many of these routes were climbed for decades before cams were invented (or nuts, for that matter).  Of course, there is also a cost to equipping a sport route, but the OP is apparently happy for that to be borne by someone else.

 peppermill 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Howard J:

Agreed. And good points regarding the weather, we don't live in El Chorro.

I said it up thread but I don't think bolting easier trad lines would add much to safety, especially well protected trad routes as there's likely to be big ledges everywhere to bounce off if you do take a big fall.

In reply to Howard J:

> I'm unclear what these proposed mountain sport routes are for. The point of sport climbing, if I understand correctly, is to strip out the risk and other elements in order to concentrate on the pure climbing.

I think the word used in Switzerland is "plaisir" which I believe translates roughly as "dumbed down".

1
 Davy Gunn 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

An interesting topic at a time of year when summer routes get gardened, torqued and scratched up. Salvationist or Ultramontane, like all sports climbing has some hypocrisy. A bit like the UK with its missing constitution there are just conventions.  I would agree no bolting on mountain crags but please don't torque up 1,2 and 3 star summer classics either. Otherwise drill away and give us old geezers some fun routes to go at.

4
 bpmclimb 24 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

> A well debated topic but I think the UK needs a deep think about the place sport climbing has here. I appreciate both styles but ultimately I think sport is shunned too often and can many benefits. 

Your post is too vague to be useful in any meaningful sense, I think.

When you say "the UK" you mean climbers in the UK, which is a large collection of individuals, who vary in their opinions, inevitably. Suggesting that any/all of them need "a deep think" won't serve any useful purpose (and many will find it annoying, probably). If you think certain trad crags/routes should be bolted, and want a realistic path to that actually happening, you'll have to put it on the agenda at a BMC meeting, and see how many agree with you - but it will have to be a clear consensus to merit changing the current crag/route status.

Post edited at 14:36
 Max factor 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Howard J:

> I'm unclear what these proposed mountain sport routes are for.

let's face it, the Cromlech would make a flippin' awesome sports crag. 

9
In reply to Max factor:

What grade would lord of the flies be on bolts?

 Max factor 24 Nov 2022
In reply to pancakeandchips:

Don't know about the grade but it would be gridbolted (obvs.) so all natural variation in line woud be eliminated and there would be loads of new routes for everyone to do.  

3
 Rob Exile Ward 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Max factor:

'A boring, easy, outdated crag.'

J  Moffat, 1985 (or something like that!)

In reply to pancakeandchips:

6C/6C+. Right wall 6C.

In reply to Philb1950:

It kills the appeal somewhat, doesn't it? I'd rather never actually be able to climb it but have it as something to aspire to than bring it down to my level. If I want to climb a 6c I might as well just go to the beacon, the walk-in is easier.

1
 UKB Shark 24 Nov 2022
In reply to pancakeandchips:

> What grade would lord of the flies be on bolts?

7a+/b

2
In reply to dking02:

> also your last point then reaffirms the elitist nature of being able to climb a mountain routes, ‘other people cant go here but I can’. Its a crap point and you can never get anyone to respect nature if they cant experience it and connect with it themselves, and ultimately as part of this not everyone is gonna be able to climb trad mountain routes Not all will turn to sport but some mountain routes as sport would be good 

"I don't have the enthusiasm or the commitment or the temerity to arm myself with the skills to do what I want - therefore it should be brought down to my level."

Or, more succinctly, entitlement. No one is stopping you from going and climbing a mountain route - but unfortunately you will have to arm yourself with the requisite skill to do so. Or do you aspire merely to be a nature tourist, going nowhere that hasn't been facilitated by others? It's not like the skills required to climb routes in a traditional manner are particularly complex or difficult to attain - all I hear, to be frank, is that you don't have the bottle to match your aspirations.

Maybe climbing isn't for you?

3
 peppermill 24 Nov 2022
In reply to pancakeandchips:

> It kills the appeal somewhat, doesn't it? I'd rather never actually be able to climb it but have it as something to aspire to than bring it down to my level. If I want to climb a 6c I might as well just go to the beacon, the walk-in is easier.

Quite. Mega classic route and a huge milestone (which most will never reach) in any climber's career becomes a generic clip up...

On one of my favourite routes Hammer - Direct Start (HVS 5a) a bolt would be most welcome when halfway through psychological crux but would kinda make it a bit sh*t......

 peppermill 24 Nov 2022
In reply to tehmarks:

>all I hear, to be frank, is that you don't have the bottle to match your aspirations.

> Maybe climbing isn't for you?

Hahahahaha sounds like you're about to challenge the OP to a duel ;p

"Pistols at Dawn! I demand satisfaction, Sir!"

 mutt 24 Nov 2022
In reply to UKB Shark:

All this talk of bolting has made me look again at my Dorset guide, and found a reason to upgrade to the new rockfax and then leaf through the exactly 459 pages of sport/dws routes. I hope no one decides to bolt the remaining 140pages of Trad. But let's face it. There is enough there for all. I am even tempted to climb some of those routes on pages 190 through 297 and 515 to527 which I incorrectly identified as Trad pages. They are infact also sport. The OP may wish to join me and when we have climbed through to page 527 we could get together and bolt some more new routes to make Dorset accessible to all.

Post edited at 20:25
In reply to peppermill:

I think you've misunderstood the popular use of 'quickdraw'.

 Iamgregp 24 Nov 2022
In reply to tehmarks:

By all means argue with people on here, tell them they’re wrong, tell them they don’t understand your point. I’ve done the same many times.

But telling someone climbing isn’t for them because they don’t see things the same way you do?

That’s not on. This is all of our passion. You have no right to tell someone that it’s not for them. Climbing is for anyone who wants to do it.

2
 Rob Exile Ward 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

'Climbing is for anyone who wants to do it.'

Maybe. But it's a bit more complicated than that, isn't it? 

If we change climbing to accommodate the lowest common denominator, then it will cease to be what is important to so many of us.

I'm not sure that you've thought this through.

Post edited at 21:49
3
In reply to Iamgregp:

I think you've missed the point that I was trying to make; climbing is a risky hobby, and one has to engage with the risks that it presents. Climbing probably isn't for someone who needs someone else to come and render the crag safe for them. The arguments for why we don't have bolted mountain routes have been done to death already, but I think we can all agree that there is no shortage of well-protected traditional rock climbing of all grades in our mountains. I don't think you could get bored, whatever grade you climb, in a single lifetime, without having to scare oneself senseless on unprotectable rock.

If the OP needs someone else to stick some bolts in an 'adventurous' climb in order to feel happy climbing it, what are they going to do when they discover the terrifying loose block on pitch 3? What are they going to do when they discover that their bolted belay is no longer attached to the crag?

Climbing is for everyone who wants to go and equip themselves with the skills to practise it, or those who want to pay someone to deal with that aspect on their behalf. I don't personally feel that it's for people who neither want to engage with the reality of the vertical environment nor want to delegate the responsibility to someone who can. 

Post edited at 22:20
2
 Iamgregp 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Didn’t say we had to change climbing to accommodate anyone. Actually I made no comment on the debate in question.

I said telling someone that climbing isn’t for them is out of order. And it is.

I think you’ve overthought this.

3
 Iamgregp 24 Nov 2022
In reply to tehmarks:

See my last post. 

1
 Rob Exile Ward 24 Nov 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

OK - who's done that?

In reply to tehmarks:

You have all missed the points when I have said I enjoy trad in itself and will still do adventurous trad but i also think adventurous sport would be good. Hence ur point is invalid having the general message of me feeling i cant do trad and want everything bolted 😂 thats not what I hve said. Jeeee

14
In reply to tehmarks:

Or another way of putting it, making assumptions about my climbing ability to somehow create a crappy counter-argument that really fall through. Also known as ‘ad hominem’ it a pretty poor way to approach a debate really. Search it up.
You get a zero. 

15
In reply to tehmarks:

A great example is italy that has a mixture of great adventurous sport AND trad crags. 
 

i think we can all agree there a different aspects to sport and trad that we enjoy. And simply wanting to do a different style in a mountainous environment isnt a terrible think to ask, much to the uproar of the pure trad people. I also agree that in bolting doesn’t inherently make a climb safe either and knowing the skills to be in the mountains is essential. Again an often touted point which hasnt related to my core point. These all still stand. For me however and certainly for others, multipitch sport is a lot more faff and stress free, depending on the climb i.e not run out etc, but as ive said these are given points if your gonna be going onto a sport multipitch. There would still need to be a level of risk assessment with adventure sport, the same as adventure trad, im not saying there shpuldnt be. But having adventure sport where you can appreciate the other aspects that sport brings wpuld be good. 

7
 GrahamD 25 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

You still haven't said where this "adventurous sport"  would work.  Pretty much any easier grade options would have plenty of natural protection options and "adventurous sport" is a total oxymoron. 

In reply to GrahamD:

Yeah, its a valid point. Im not at the level yet of bolting or setting up new routes. So i cant answer this question. Doesnt mean that this becomes a point not to have adventure sport. Yes it helps my case but it doesnt mean this discussion is then invalid. The same as its not totally futile to have discussions around reducing emissions. Yes the alternatives are not all there yet and certainly having the alternatives there helps the argument but it doesnt mean it makes the whole debate not worthwhile 

14
 Iamgregp 25 Nov 2022
In reply to dking02:

Although I don't want to get involved in the debate as it's been done to death, having read the thread I think there is some points that need clearing up.

There's been talk here about what Sport climbing is - safe (sanitised?) climbing with close bolts reducing much of the danger of climbing and allowing the climbers to concentrate on climbing right at their limit, knowing they'll be safe if and when they fall.  And that's absolutely right, that's what sport climbing is, and I've done plenty of it it's a lot of fun too.

Then there's multi pitch sport routes as above but running to several pitches rather than just one.

Then there what the OP is talking about, bolted mountain routes, and as they use in situ protection  we Brits loosely categorise this as sport climbing.  I've done plenty of these on the continent too in places like Finale.  But it's really different to what most people would recognise as sport climbing.  It's sparsely bolted, and often those "bolts" are rusty old pegs, bits of tat, threads and all sorts of cr@p.  You're going to need to bring a small rack with you, or be fine with some monster run outs.  In fact in the guidebook often describes them as "adventure bolted".  The follow natural lines up the face, and given that you can rarely see the next bolt from the previous one, you'll need to route find too.  Falling isn't something you want to do much of on this.

Now the reason why I'm making this distinction is that a lot of the arguments being made refer to the 1st or maybe the second type of "sport" climbing I've mentioned above (people want convenience, safety, routes go straight up the face, not adventurous etc) but not really to the latter type I've described.

Are routes like that fun?  Yes, makes a change after a few days of hard sport climbing.  Do we have any here in the UK?  Not really.  Would I like them to be available?  Sure, they're great fun.  When do I expect that to happen?  Never.  It's just not what climbing's about in the UK, and routes like this would be easily protected with trad gear, so they will continue to be climbed like that.

TL : DR There's climbing mountain routes on bolts, and there's sport climbing.  

Post edited at 14:44
 IainL 25 Nov 2022
In reply to GrahamD:

Tuolumne is good for ‘adventurous sport’ or for a big mountain, Infinite Bliss in the Cascades.

In reply to dking02:

> A great example is italy that has a mixture of great adventurous sport AND trad crags. 

It's really NOT a great example for the following reasons:

1) The bolting and fixed equipment conducted is 100% unregulated. Literally zero checking goes on. Yes many routes are bolted by guides, but even then you will find home made bolts, inconsistent bolting, some routes which are a mix between pegs (which can and do move due to winter freeze thaw action) and threads, some of which are drilled and then painted red so you can see them, in situe threads which are often a horror show of abraded nylon, belays with no chains but with again, a horror show of fixed manky tat which is often tied incorrectly and which blocks the peg/bolt eye.

2) Routes are put up without consensus, sometimes over the top of existing trad routes. That's not co-existing.

3) There is zero support from government bodies, so fixed equipment is supplied by clubs. But almost certainly NOT the CAI who in many regions have very little to do with actual climbing.

4) Guides tend to do what makes them money. They bolt routes which are trad, for example Via Finlandia, an absolutely classic VII which is "trad" in all but name and provides the worst of both worlds - a bolted route bolted sparsely.

5) Because of their aversion to cracks and preference for face climbing, it's common practice to bolt crack lines where there is absolutely no need, other than bringing the route down to their level.

6) Trad routes are basically ignored by many of the climbers when within a primarily bolted area. There are areas with a strong trad ethic for sure - Mello and the Lagorai for example, but in areas which are sport, that's what people do. Again, that isn't co-existance.

I'll stop there. 
 

Now take as a different example France, where routes are gridbolted. I grew up on 200-400m sport routes - it's HIGHLY regulated, with very very little room at low altitudes for really adventure. That is directly BECAUSE it's well funded by tourist boards and executed by guides and the FFME. Can you have a good time on these routes, 100%. But if you want real adventure you need to walk a few hours up into the mountains. Even there you will find routes which claim to be trad but which effectively you only need a set of quickdraws for.

If you want an example of somewhere where it does work, it would be the US. But it's an extremely fine balance in my view, with the sport being quite self regulated and with the accepted ethic on trad being quite different to here in the sense that hand drilled bolts are permitted, and the nature of the rock making it quite easy to distinguish what should be trad and what should be sport. That said, large multipitch sport, there's not much of, and I would hazzard a guess at the reason being that sport routes are inherently about difficulty rather than danger so it makes less sense.

1
In reply to dking02:

Great thread, but a lot of the arguments for and against are pretty circular and focus on the inherent attributes of sport or trad... e.g. saying you don't want long mountain routes bolted because it diminishes the risk and the overall sense of adventure is often identifying the precise point of why these routes were bolted, to make long days out in the mountains more possible for the casual climber through diminished risk and commitment. It's like someone that likes apples but not oranges complaining the oranges are too orange-y. 

To me the more interesting arguments are about land management and how best to reflect the will of climbers. In most fields of endeavor if the majority of users want something, then they get their way. This is an interesting debate re bolts because even if the majority wanted to metaphorically bolt more (not sure if they do or not), there are reasonable arguments to the contrary based on tradition and not wanting to let a scarce resource get overrun by making it more accessible. Hence a tricky one.

FWIW I've climbed a few plaisir route (ie ~6a multipitch sport in Switzerland) and enjoyed them for what they are. Some were v well protected and allowed a casual day out in the mountains, others were really runout and scary, felt a bit more adventurous. As a casual climber, it was fun to get out and achieve lots of mileage in beautiful scenery with only 10 QDs, a single rope and minimal faff. Not everyone's idea of a good day out, but it was for us...

 NaCl 25 Nov 2022
In reply to beardy mike:

I'm glad I got to the end and read your comment before replying to the same comment from the OP. I was just winding up to go and say litteraly exactly the same thing re Via Finlandia as a great example of the wedge argument. Did it last year and was really disappointed to find as many bolts as I did. Was expecting a epic trad experience and got a sport climb instead. It was still good but nothing like as memorable as it would have been having to place all the gear.

In reply to Eduardo2010:

Yes, this is what I refer to. I can appreciate the other points re against sport, which are very valid but I also think its not the whole picture. To have bolted sport mountain route with minimal faff would be nice.

13
In reply to dking02:

I really cant help but feel the crux of your and Eduardo's arguments is that it would be nice to have the Alps in the UK. I very much agree, it would. However alas UK mountains, with perhaps a few very rare exceptions, are considerably different in terms of size, gelology, geography and climate.

Perhaps once you have gained the experience in UK climbing you note you lack above you might appreciate this.

Post edited at 16:24
 Howard J 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Eduardo2010:

>  the precise point of why these routes were bolted, to make long days out in the mountains more possible for the casual climber through diminished risk and commitment. 

The point is, long days out in the mountains are already possible for the casual climber. Classic Rock barely scratches the surface of what is available.  I have been climbing for just over 50 years, I'm a weekend punter who's never led harder than VS and climbs mostly around VD-Severe. I don't consider myself a bold climber, in fact I feel I'm pretty cautious. Pretty much the epitome of the casual climber. Even so I've never had any trouble finding worthwhile mountain routes in the UK, and there are more long mountain climbs than I could possibly do in several lifetimes.

I'm not suggesting that even these easier routes are risk-free, but risk cannot be entirely eradicated in a mountain environment.  In some respects the risk might be even higher for sport climbers if they have a more relaxed attitude to falling, since they might hit something on the way down, especially on routes aimed at the casual climber.

The positions of both BMC and Mountaineering Scotland are based as much on preserving the mountain environment as they are on climbing ethics.  Mountain areas of an adventurous nature are not considered suitable for bolting, but there are plenty of areas where bolting is permitted and even encouraged. If you not seeking adventure, why go to adventurous places?

In reply to ebdon:

Agree it would be nice but does the argument hold, are our cliffs and mountains really so geologically and climatically different that you couldn't create any bolted multi pitch routes on them? I'm not so sure. I bet they wouldn't be as spectacular as the alps, but I think I'd be able to enjoy it.

4
In reply to Eduardo2010:

I'll put it another way, the Alps are bloody massive. UK mountains are very small. The crags I can think of that would give the 'plasir' exerperance in the UK I can count on one hand, pretty much all in Scotland. The big limestone and granite faces you get in the Alps are unfortunately absent in the UK. I'm not knocking the UK, but putting some bolted belays on Idwal slabs or whatever really wouldn't be the same.

In reply to ebdon:

Well there are big plasir bolted routes in the UK on Limestone. In Cheddar. But you're right, seeing as it's Englands biggest inland cliff, not going to be that many other places worth doing it...

In reply to Howard J:

It's the faff that doesn't appeal as much, limits how much you can do in a day. I have a trad rack and have done some trad, just found it more faffy and time consuming, harder to achieve the flow state of charging up loads of pitches efficiently with a good partner.

Thumbs up for Classic Rock and Mountain Rock, have both, look forward to at some point getting into it. Recommend me a UK route that compares, punter grades - promise i'll only jump on it when I have the right level of experience and won't write myself off...

2
In reply to Eduardo2010:

Flow state - you can get that trad climbing too - you just need experience putting in the gear. It'll come with time... think about what goes on in Alpine climbing - 1000m climbs in a few hours and yeah there's some fixed gear but sport it ain't...

Post edited at 17:22
1
In reply to Eduardo2010:

My point is it's very hard charging up lots of pitches, when you run of pitches to charge up.... this approch in the UK you get to the top very very quickly.

I suppose you could ab back down just as quick and do somthing else but hardly the flowy experience you are looking for.

Post edited at 17:25
 AlanLittle 25 Nov 2022
In reply to Eduardo2010:

I've done twenty pitch trad routes in the Dolomites in a day, comfortably. How much more do you want do get done in a day?

1
In reply to ebdon:

Oh come on Tim - surely you've done circuits at Avon in the past and tried to go hell for leather? Jog down invetween etc. I mean hell you can even do the Wye Valley Salathe challenge if you want a sports "flow" experience. Although it's got to be said by the time we got to pitch 28 I wasn't flowing at all...

In reply to dking02:

Everything I said applied equally whether you climb 4a or 8a, and to be honest I couldn't care less whether you climb 4a or 8a. The counterarguments have been done to death; my only contribution was to point out that it makes no sense to claim that greater impact is no worse than lesser impact. It makes about as much sense as claiming that you don't have to clip the bolts if you want to climb the trad line.


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