I guess this discussion speaks to the "policing" of climbing development in general. In the old days (before I was doing any new routing, at least) the number of climbers and therefore bolters was small and it seems that it was sort of an apprenticeship scenario. An older climber would take a newbie under his or her wing and show them the ropes. We no longer live in that era. Instant publicity like this internet forum, cheap hardware available on line, newer climbers starting out in gyms, and the proliferation of sport climbing has really changed the game. Whether we like it or not, the government (i.e. land managers, park rangers) will step in when they see us fail to appropriately manage ourselves. I don't know what the solution is, but it would be nice if we could come to some consensus before we lose the freedom we have in our pursuits.
Well, I'm surprised that this route has caused such a discussion here, but I'm glad that it has as it reflects not only the local but broader climbing communities care about the rock and our ethics interacting with it. Obviously I need to clarify myself on my intentions and thoughts for bolting this route, realizing that my post was misleading on how much time and thought I put into this. CCC is home to me, and I want to make sure that I take care of it and respect it just like so many others of you do. So let me clarify myself a bit.
It's true that my original thoughts were that the line looked impossible, and I wouldn't bolt something that I honestly thought could not be climbed. But I also know through personal experience that through time, work, effort and dedication the impossible can become possible; and in that interest I thought I should take a closer look and see for myself what this 'impossible' line was all about. I also gave consideration to all of the valid points many people have brought up; does this line need to go in? is it a squeeze job? will I be able to determine good bolt placements? will anyone ever climb it? Especially valid considering it cost me around $100 to equip it. Well after inspecting the line for some time on a rope looking for the natural weakness and good clipping stances, I was surprised at how much was actually there. I realized that large sections of this route I could climb, while others looked guarded by difficult boulder problems a few grades above my(current) limit. But as always, the more I looked the more I found, and I became excited about the climbing, position, and exposure you feel up there. After that I felt that this line was definitely good and worth bolting; it was clean, independent, and I never felt close to Interstellar Overdrive or Roadrunner. I followed the natural weakness in the rock, and gave much thought to clipping positions and safety. But it is true that I could have misplaced a few bolts, and could have detracted from the climbing or created the necessity to move one or two. I gave it lots of thought before each bolt placement, but even on routes I've top-roped first I haven't always nailed 'em perfect. I think if you develop routes you know this as well as I do.
Another thought I had regarding this route was about development in general. I realized that the other routes I had bolted had been for my own pleasure; near my own limit and red-tagged to get the FA. I have nothing against this practice in general as lots of work goes into routes, but I also feel that I needed to do more than just develop for myself. Maybe picking a 5.14 line first was a poor choice, maybe it would have been better to try to find a sweet 5.10. Maybe I just shouldn't have tagged it at .14+ and put it at .13+ instead; more people would probably try it.
It isn't a 'practice' of mine to just bolt routes I can't do, nor is the more common practice of bolting everything I can do. I bolt lines that I find exciting and engaging, and that I think others will as well. I think this is a good line and will become a popular hard route, and that's why I bolted it.
Thanks to everyone for the constructive criticism on this line and development in general, it has given me lots to think about before developing another. Lets keep up the discussion and have fun climbing.
Randy Leavitt bolted Jumbo Love. Chris Sharma got the FA. Most climbers I know called the FA of Jumbo Love a great progression for sport climbing. Nobody came down on Randy for bolting something he couldn't send. Ultimately, I think there is a fine line between development and hubris. But if Luke Childers is psyched about the new route, why can't the rest of us.
I'm pretty sure Randy worked the thing before realizing it was beyond him. With steep OH stuff you pretty much have to lead it to see how it goes, at a certain angle top-rope previews don't work. I also didn't want to come off as overly critical, I'm generally ambivalent about this; I'm only leaning to thinking that its not something we want to see more of. Here's a few constructive criticisms:
Probably should not have thrown a rating in there. Its kind of a tradition when a really hard problem is identified is to simply rate it with a ?, then maybe add potentially 14+ in the description.
Applying a name. That seems just a little presumptious, but I guess it'll give folks a reference point to talk about. Everyone who knows me knows that I occasionally put up a route that for me is a project, yet can be sent by hundreds of others (b/c I'm a fatty); thus the FFA is not mine. But they are always something I can at least work out the moves on; if I recognize that there's no way for me, I leave the anchors and move on. In Europe, the bolter gets naming rights while here it belongs to the first ascender (Realization v. Biographie). So far I've been lucky that my original name has stuck. The difference here is that while I work it, a FFA happens quickly. But this will remain an open project, and subject to renaming once sent.
Sharma and Leavitt knew each other; it might be best that you know at least know of someone locally who would have a shot at it first. Potentially skipping several letter grades in CCC's natural development w/out some suitors is one of the weird things at work here.
There may a kid in a gym somewhere who has zero ability to install something like this, yet will be the FFA. Perhaps it will allow s/he to discover that kind of elite ability beyond their own mental limitations. We'll see. My reservations are just that this really is a slippery slope deal, especially as new terrain inevitably starts to dwindle.
By Stich From Colorado Springs, Colorado Jun 10, 2011
With Ed mentioning the last pitch on Yankee Clipper, I have gained more insight into this. If you can see the line, well, why not? And for that route I think the last pitch actually gets you to the ridge top, or at least the little rib coming down from the mountain on that wall. So that makes perfect sense.
But something in the 5.14 range to me would be very, very difficult to "see" unless you could climb at that grade. Like it was mentioned, bolt placement would be very important.
Anyway, it's not like one of those Dieckhoff cartoons with the little guy saying "Mine, mine, me!" and bolting everything. I sure miss seeing those in Climbing. Remember?
My approach on putting up sport climbs is to rap down on them first and work out the moves: just get an idea if I can actually do the thing before I put any bolts in, even an anchor, since sometimes you don't really know quite where it's going to end exactly.
Once I'm reasonably sure I can do it, then I put in the anchor, spot the bolts where the crux of the climb isn't clipping in, and clean off any choss and vegitables.
I go through the moves several times to be sure the bolts are placed correctly before I put them in.
There have been several lines I've attempted that were over my head when I was initially working on them and I didn't develop those lines because I felt I wouldn't do a good job of it. Vance White has taken over a few of these and completed them, but he's a much better climber than I am.
My guiding idea here is that if you go out and put in a bunch of hardware when you can't do it, you're just going to make a mess of it, since if you can't do the moves, you can't know where to place the hardware so that the crux of the route isn't clipping in.
There's always going to be some kid coming along who will be able to do it. It's just amazing what the youngin's are doing these days. When you screw up a piece of stone like that, you are taking away the opportunity for that kid to experience the great feeling of doing something for the first time ever that no one else has done before. That's a terrible rip-off of future youth, just so you can blow your ego up.
It's seems really backwards to me to just go throw in bolts and then hope you can do it.
Well, as the OP here, I was mostly trying to understand the motives and thought processes of what went on here. I have to say that I've learned a lot, but that with my old school trad values and not really "getting" the sport thing, it still seems strange to me. But then, I'm nowhere near as comfortable with a smartphone as my 14 yr old nephew is, so I'll entertain the possibility that I have some things to learn.
I guess that Time Will Tell (might be a good alternate name for the climb), but this sure brought up a lot more issues than I thought it would and I'm glad that the route setter decided to explain himself in a calm and logical manner.
By Coeus From a botched genetics experiment Jun 10, 2011
I for one don't think it is weird to bolt something that is too hard for you. There is a lot of precendent for this in sport climbing. A few routes come to mind. Hasta La Vista (Bolted by Yaniro I think, sent by Sharma) Necessary Evil (not sure who bolted it, but Sharma sent it first and didn't bolt it) To Bolt or Not to Be (bolted by Watts?, sent by Tribout)
and of course Jumbo Love
Mike Lane wrote:
I'm pretty sure Randy worked the thing before realizing it was beyond him
Let's not forget that Leavitt tends to enhance features, so he could've done this thing if he wanted to, it just would have been 14b, not 15b. I think that he left it for "the future."
One thing to remember is that there are a lot more people climbing 5.14 that we would like to admit to ourselves. This "cutting edge" potential 14+ may seem unreasonable to bolt today, but will probably see more traffic in the future. Case in point, a couple of months ago some guy from Mexico did the second ascent of Ghetto Booty (14c/d) in Vegas. Never heard of the guy, and he climbed the hardest route at Charleston. I bet he would be psyched if someone would bolt a 14+ project closer to his house.
Interesting topic. I sometimes bolt stuff I can't do easily, or, well. And, I hate to project climbs. Usually pass it off to a stronger partner immediately then hope I can at least follow it.
I don't spend a bunch of time friggin' around on a line. Sometimes I suss out the bolt placements and maybe, every blue moon, I'll work the moves to see if it goes. But, usually, I eyeball the line, clean off the dangerously loose stuff, stab in reasonable placements, then, I sorta get as close to an onsight as that method allows by climbing it for the first time by leading it. At least, that's what I usually do. Works most of the time. For the times it doesn't, my partner gets a sweet route to do.
Sometimes I see a real neat line and I'll offer to equip it if someone I know wants to get a try on it. But, I usually won't bolt something I don't think I'll stand a chance on.
Fun to hear other folks' thoughts on how they do it. Every one has a different eye for a line. Not easy to get it "right" for the masses. On what I think might be harder routes for me to do, I have to really restrain where I make fixed placements so the route isn't custom for especially my height. At over six foot, I can reach fairly high to clip off a stance or a hold, even drilling on lead. But, folks' have different styles and strengths. Neat to see someone hike a route that I have trouble on, just by doing a move that I hadn't figured out.
Wow, this is the cleanest thread that's happened on here for awhile. Good on everyone for keeping it that way.
Seems a little dangerous to me to be bolting something that the bolter can't climb, sets a bad precedent with possible consequences as mentioned above. We can sight a few examples of when this happened but that doesn't really make it ok, necessarily.
Perhaps if the bolter has someone specific in mind to climb it and that someone asked it to be bolted?
Rate it low to get people to find out how hard it actually is.
By Stich From Colorado Springs, Colorado Jun 10, 2011
Bolting routes in and of itself is a creative act that only a few people decide to invest the time and money into. Honestly, it interferes with just going out and having fun climbing on the short term end. It's tons of work. So given that, I think letting those that bolt decide what they want to put time into is the way to go. There are all sorts of motives out there.
Some people like to visit places and put in tons of moderate routes after the hard stuff has gone in. That irritates the elitists sometimes, but in other cases that spreads out the crowds and helps everyone. Some like to bolt routes they can later enjoy and perhaps others just see a nice line and work it out, maybe never getting it clean.
So, what do yall think about Sharma bolting the project at Bob Marley crag at the RRG? He said he could "barely hang on the holds", but he decided to bolt it anyway. Sharma is probably the strongest sport climber around, and he didn't think it was possible for him anytime soon. He essentially bolted it to inspire future climbers. Is this the same, or does Sharma get a free pass because he is so strong?
Disclaimer: Coming from NC, some of the bolting I see in CO is pretty overkill and I am not arguing in favor of this route, just pointing out another example of this behaviour by a Pro climber who we all probably respect.
By Monomaniac Administrator From Morrison, CO Jun 10, 2011
I guess I don't really have an opinion on this particular route, but in general I think the practice of bolting something for the future should be defended, when done in moderation.
I've been the fortunate recipient of someone else's vision, and for me personally it was a tremendous gift. In the case of Carnage (aka "Wild Virus"), I never, ever would have bolted that line myself, and I imagine no one else would have either. Not only did I get a rad FFA, but it inspired me to look for other undone lines and bolt & send some things myself. I'd like to think the entire community has benefited as a result of one bolter's selfless act ~20 years ago.
I think it says a lot that Sharma, who spent the first decade of his career benefiting from this sort of thing, is now "paying it forward" to future generations. Clearly he deems it valuable.
That said, this sort of thing should be done sparingly.
I agree basically with everything that Mr. Anderson said. The one interesting thing that I never thought about was what a previous post said. Someone mentioned that you might be stealing the full FA experience from a future climber by bolting a line.
I never thought about the possibility that someone would be upset that a sport route was cleaned, bolted, and ready to go for them. But again that speaks to why a particular person wants to develop a particular route.
As a climber who has scooped up a number of routes in Clear Creek that had been abandoned by their equippers, I find some of the criticism of this effort somewhat bewildering. The route is on a well-established wall that is already covered with sport routes so there is zero real environmental impact. The equipper saw an excellent line, one that has been speculated about by many, no doubt, including myself, and he decided to put in bolts. Judging by the number of bolts, it is not overbolted or squeezed. If it goes, and I see no reason why it shouldn't, the Front Range could have a truly classic 14+ that is in a popular and easily accessible place. The equipper also opened the project to anyone which is quite generous, considering the time, effort and expense involved in bolting the route.
The grumblings about old school/new school are about 20 or 30 years out of date. There are many examples of pathbreaking projects worldwide that were equipped by people incapable of climbing them but who recognized a good line when they saw it. Maybe we should wait for the opinion of someone who can more accurately assess the project's quality firsthand. For my part, I say a loud thank you to Jay and anyone else who takes the trouble to bolt a good-looking line, regardless of grade.
Coeus:"I for one don't think it is weird to bolt something that is too hard for you.
One thing to remember is that there are a lot more people climbing 5.14 that we would like to admit to ourselves. This "cutting edge" potential 14+ may seem unreasonable to bolt today, but will probably see more traffic in the future."
This is on point imo...
looking more globally, where 5.14 is not even hard, as all kinds of kids (and not so kids) are onsighting mid-upper 5.14, even over here...
certainly Ondra has benefited and has put up numerous lines which were "pre bolted"...I'm not sure he has put in his own line at these upper grades yet, but I'm sure when he does later in his career given his continued improvement, we could be seeing 9c and even 10a!
looking at the '8a' scorecards, '9a' is getting pretty easy for "the world"....how about a dozen 9a or harder routes in the last year?
Have never climbed abroad, but from my limited understanding, often times the bolter is given credit...imo not so much a dangerous precedent to create undoable routes (for you), but something that is positive and pushes standards forward. In terms of the argument of possible bad bolting, no biggie, if you watch guys like Sharma and Ondra, a lot of times they are skipping quite a few clips anyhoos, yeehaw! Just watch the first (and last) 15 secs...
As a climber who has scooped up a number of routes in Clear Creek that had been abandoned by their equippers, I find some of the criticism of this effort somewhat bewildering. The route is on a well-established wall that is already covered with sport routes so there is zero real environmental impact. The equipper saw an excellent line, one that has been speculated about by many, no doubt, including myself, and he decided to put in bolts. Judging by the number of bolts, it is not overbolted or squeezed. If it goes, and I see no reason why it shouldn't, the Front Range could have a truly classic 14+ that is in a popular and easily accessible place. The equipper also opened the project to anyone which is quite generous, considering the time, effort and expense involved in bolting the route. The grumblings about old school/new school are about 20 or 30 years out of date. There are many examples of pathbreaking projects worldwide that were equipped by people incapable of climbing them but who recognized a good line when they saw it. Maybe we should wait for the opinion of someone who can more accurately assess the project's quality firsthand. For my part, I say a loud thank you to Jay and anyone else who takes the trouble to bolt a good-looking line, regardless of grade.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand sport/bolt routes and anything to do with their ethics. But, I just read a submission for a new route in CCC where the person who put up the "project" readily admits that he doesn't climb anywhere near that grade (he's estimating 5.14+) If he has some friend that climbs that hard and asks him to help put it up that's one thing. But, reading the account makes it sound like he just sort of put it up on a whim. It just seems like a dangerous precedent to set. Like it could lead to people bolting a lot of blank walls and then saying "let's see if anyone can climb that?" I hope there was a little more thought put into it than it looks like from first glance.
Simple answer is yes. We are 'old school' if we: 1) started climbing on rock and not in a gym. 2) did trad long before sport 3) are over the age of 30something and don't lead 5.12 all day long. 'Nuff said. Welcome to the club.
What has the potential for being lost here is that those who are capable of high-end projects losing the opportunity to personally equip, unlock and realize the potential of such lines. There is a HUGE difference between merely climbing a route and being its creator. If all you do is equip it, you have achieved nothing. And if all you do is climb it, then you just have a tick on your resume. But if you create and send, then its a bit of a personal testament.
Still, this whole thing rates really low on my give-a-shit meter. I think consensus is we don't really care much one way or the other, just don't want to see this become a popular trend.
What has the potential for being lost here is that those who are capable of high-end projects losing the opportunity to personally equip, unlock and realize the potential of such lines. There is a HUGE difference between merely climbing a route and being its creator. If all you do is equip it, you have achieved nothing. And if all you do is climb it, then you just have a tick on your resume.
I disagree, you look at like Ubermensch at the Pinnacles-a sick line, lets be real, Sharma wasn't going to equip it @ 16 but he did send...---of course now he's putting up his own rigs at times, which may be "prouder" in some eyes I guess.
Closer to youse guys just look at all the Rifle rigs that were abandoned then picked up by guys like George Squibb---Gropius is a perfect example...JB--7 PM Show...even "reworks" like Don Welsh's HUGE...all fantastic lines in my eyes, none of which I have sent.
I think that when you get to "so high end" sometimes you bite off more than you can chew...I think that the notion that creating a route and merely climbing it is a huge difference is a personal one, certainly not one that holds water where standards are much higher (Lleida, in general Europe)...many of the world's hardest routes were sent by someone other than the creator...the most recent example being Chaxi Raxi! Who's criticizing Ondra? I remember criticism of Sharma a while ago for this (not bolting his own routes), fwiw...speaking of, how about all the red tag critics on FRFM? What a Catch-22... Seems to me the "community" is really moving towards "open projects" rather than "my parochial unit"...maybe this is new schooL?
Locally CO guys Peter and Mono show there is usually a beneficiary to someone's "hard" vision...
---of course now he's putting up his own rigs at times, which may be "prouder" in some eyes I guess. Closer to youse guys just look at all the Rifle rigs that were abandoned then picked up by guys like George Squibb---
To clarify- it ain't about how proud the send is, or community perception. I am talking about the personal experience one has when you actually create and send it. And you are still referring to other routes that were at least attempted by the installers before being abandoned. Just b/c the young-uns don't have the knowledge to equip means that things are evolving in a positive manner. To wit: who equipped Flex Luther?