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Amandla 

YDS: 5.13c French: 8a+ Ewbanks: 30 UIAA: X- ZA: 31 British: E7 7a

   
Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.13c French: 8a+ Ewbanks: 30 UIAA: X- ZA: 31 British: E7 7a [details]
FA: To first anchor: Andy Deklerk, 1991 Extension: Ben Gilkison, 2007
Season: Late Fall-Early Spring
Page Views: 3,086
Submitted By: Drewsky on Jul 6, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (3)
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Andy Deklerk on Amandla (5.13c), Index Town Walls....

Description 

This brilliant route leaves Numbah Ten after the 6th bolt and heads right through a roof and up onto a technical arete that is just under vertical. Some ascents have likely climbed to the right after the roof to take advantage of a full rest on Iron Horse before moving back left to establish on the arete; this reduces the grade to about .13a as it allows one to start the Powerhorse (Iron Horse into Amandla) sequence fully rested (and chalked). If climbed directly without the jaunt right into the rest, the sequence of moves is much harder and the route feels far more sustained. In any case, the climbing is a remarkable mixture of power and finesse, difficult nearly the whole way through. Temperature and humidity are both important considerations when attempting the route unless your granite technique is absolutely flawless.

The extension continues above the anchor over the roof past one bolt to a more logical finish at an anchor on a large ledge (.13c/d). The first section of this will be desperate if you can't simply stem across the feature. A small stopper and a finger-size cam protect the final section above the bolt.

Unfortunately, Amandla has been the victim of a terrible rebolting job (see comments below). The bolt that one used to clip high on the left before moving right onto the arete off of Numbah Ten is now in the way of one's feet while doing the lower crux. It now creates far more rope drag and makes the fall from the arete much less safe. The original anchor has been moved as well, altering the original route despite the fact that an extension already has existed since 2007. Worse, an extra bolt has been added on the lower arete, cluttering what was already a perfectly safe sport climb with unnecessary retrobolts.

This is a climb that was established in the 1990s. It didn't even really need new bolts and it most certainly didn't need extra bolts added or any change to the bolt locations. This is based on my opinion and on the opinions of several other people who have also actually climbed the route.

Location 

One 70m rope reaches the ground from the top anchor; otherwise a 60m is sufficient. Route starts as for Numbah Ten in an obvious groove left of Iron Horse.

Protection 

13 quickdraws plus anchor; one more quickdraw plus small nuts/tcu's for the extension.


Comments on Amandla Add Comment
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By blakeherrington
Jan 10, 2015

This pitch is amazing - it has to be one of the best single pitches of granite climbing anywhere. Definitely end this by climbing up and over the roof (either rightward or leftward), it provides a final redpoint crux just after anchor #1, and seems like the only logical finish. The original anchor spot doesn't make any sense. As to the 13a vs 13c question (depending on if you step right into Iron horse) There isn't an easy or obvious way to escape over into the Iron Horse flare. It may be possible, but sticking to the arete doesn't feel forced.

EDIT JAN '16: A local climber and starfish-ornament-enthusiast removed the anchors and drilled new ones ~4 feet higher, adding another fairly potent redpoint crux into Amandla, which had previously been part of the extension over the roof. He also added an additional bolt through the middle of the route, and bashed out the old bolts, leaving their remnants in place and a pile of metal on the ground. However, he mercifully left the pitch devoid of additional bolted-on marine animal figures.
By Jon Nelson
Administrator
Jan 20, 2016

So, the Starfish strikes again.

The bolt remnants don't sound great, but nobody can say that Index doesn't have interesting characters.
By Drewsky
Feb 3, 2016

It makes me sad to read this. Tom Ramier's actions have become a problem at Index. Rebolting (and apparently retrobolting) classic climbs like Clay and now Amandla and leaving all the old bolt remnants in place is bad enough. Worse still are the rebar ladder installed below Madsen's ledge and the bolted-on handhold added to a "variation" of one of the upper pitches of Good Girls Like Bad Boys.

Tom has put up some good routes at the Cheeks area, but the devil-may-care attitude in his approach to basic climbing ethics is both getting old and, in my opinion, more generally threatening to do damage to climbing at Index. The real problem is that he seems to operate either without or oblivious to any criticism from his peers. His actions often seem intentionally provocative and they lack any sign of reflection on what impact they might have on the shared resource.

This obviously isn't the best venue for a discussion about this, but the climbing community needs to be more proactive about finding ways to deal with these issues, or at least to agree on whether or not these types of things are acceptable at an area becoming ever more popular year after year.
By Jon Nelson
Administrator
5 days ago

Thanks Drewsky for the thoughtful comment.

Maybe someone else can help out by removing the bolt remnants, if they can be removed. I haven't seen them, so I don't know. But my point is that Tom is trying to improve things as he sees it, and perhaps just needs some others to offer to help him out with the cleaning up. He is investing quite a bit of time and hardware, and maybe just needs more hands. (OK, so this might not apply to the starfishes, but I don't think they are going to take over Index. A little 'color' here and there adds character to Index.)

For the general case, I hope there is an effective way to plan things out and try to avoid backlash. We used to use the developers forums at rcnw.net, but that site has been pretty dead for awhile. It was a good idea though, as one had to get authorized by Darryl before gaining access. Perhaps a special FB page that doesn't allow general access? If so, maybe you know someone who could set it up (i.e., determines who gets access)?

And hey, those new routes on the Cheeks are not good -- they're fantastic.
By Drewsky
5 days ago

I would agree with you if this was simply an issue of replacing bolts without quite finishing the job properly. However, there are some key points here that change the equation a bit: moving anchors and adding bolts to the route. The phrase I focused on in your response was "...trying to improve things as he sees it". My criticism here is precisely that there's seemingly no discussion and an apparent lack of forethought preceding Tom's decisions. No one gets credit simply for 'doing something' if that something is actually harmful; that logic doesn't work in any situation, this one included. But here's some more specific criticism in support of this claim:

Firstly, drilling a new anchor higher up on Amandla makes absolutely no sense. The old anchor wasn't in the best spot, sure, but it was left in place after the extension was established simply because it was already there and offered a lower stopping point to work on the route. If one has to do the upper crux anyway, the one that was part of the extension above the original anchor, then the "new" anchor doesn't need to be there. Worse still, he moved the bolt that one previously clipped before moving onto the arete down and underneath the arete where it now promotes rope drag and potential falls onto or behind the rope. There's no logic to this at all. He's now effectively altered both the original route and the extension without speaking to anyone actually involved in the first ascent(s) of either or, presumably, to anyone who has actually climbed the route.

Furthermore, adding extra bolts to a climb breaks the cardinal rule of respecting the first ascent. Without seeing what he did, I obviously can't comment with any specificity. However, I doubt he checked with Andy DeKlerk before doing it. At the very least, a discussion with people who have actually climbed the route might have yielded different opinions which then could have informed his decision. My opinion is that the bolt count was perfect for the climb and that the decision to add one if indeed such was made was completely inappropriate.

I really hope I'm wrong, but what this looks like to me is someone operating in a vacuum who doesn't bother or care to discuss anything with anyone before doing it. With the rebar ladder and bolt-on starfish "holds", it's obvious why he wouldn't seek opinions. On established routes that have featured prominently in the collective consciousness of other climbers he has a duty to do better. Without a consensus among people who know and love routes like Clay and Amandla about how they should be refitted these rebolting operations seem flippant, poorly conceived and downright selfish. Index is not Tom's personal playground: it's a shared resource and as such changing established routes should really be subject to consensus just it always has.

I respect your opinion Jon, but I don't think people should get credit simply because they're investing time and money into these projects when the results are far worse than what was there before. Look at Clay, which Tom 'refitted' two years ago and now has two lines of bolts, including the old ones, on either side of the dihedral. That climb is about 30 seconds from the Cheeks where Tom has spent tons of time and he still hasn't fixed it. It's not the responsibility of other people to pick up the slack when someone consistently refuses to do things properly and, in the case of Clay, to even actually finish the job he set out to do. Doing absolutely nothing (or maybe just climbing and leaving the drill and crowbar at home) is far, far better than effectively ruining routes with poorly placed bolts, not to mention retrobolting routes that are and have always been perfectly safe to begin with.
By Ben Gilkison
3 days ago

This is super sad news. When I established the Full Amandla back in 2007, I recall thinking long and hard about where to place any additional bolts through the extension. I placed just one bolt, since there was a solid nut placement towards the end. It was a tad spicy, but safe. At the old anchor site, I pulled a rusty 1/4" bolt and placed an new stainless steel 3/8th with ring, in case anyone still wanted to use the original anchor.

Altering peoples routes without even attempting to seek their permission just reeks of brazen disrespect, regardless of whether they live far off in South Africa, or in Tacoma.
By Jon Nelson
Administrator
3 days ago

OK, so you both have good arguments, and perhaps I was being too tolerant. I mentioned these comments to Tom, and I hope he responds here.

I agree, there should be some prior discussion if one person wants to alter another person's creation (other than recleaning, removing some loose rock).

Do you think a private discussion forum for developers would help?

By Thomas Ramier
2 days ago

This was fun to come home to. Thanks Jon for giving me the heads up.

“Without seeing what he did, I obviously can't comment with any specificity” That sure didn’t stop you did it Andrew Philbin?

If you don’t like this venue then why do you so often choose it? I’ve seen you make the same disingenuous remarks in the past about the inappropriateness of this or that online forum before going on one of your whiny diatribes then skulking off to write angry manifestos on your blog. (Btw, what happened to your more recent effort trumpeting the virtue of doing nothing at Index? Did you take that down? Maybe you should repost it.) You know where I live. I’m not difficult to find and I think I’m a pretty easy to talk to guy. Especially when it comes to anything climbing. Because, well, ahhh gee I like climbing. If you don’t like this venue bring it to the dirt. Oh yeah, and I own a telephone. Just ask me for it.

I think it’s so fun that you attempt to denigrate me for doing a “not good enough job” on… whatever route. Clay, Amandla, Numbah Ten, Good Girls, take your pick. Booha for Ben. He replaced one bolt on a route that so obviously needed to be updated bottom to top. Did you criticize him for the same lack of completeness? SMC hangers are known fail points. Before we go heralding the wisdom our forbearers face it, they often did a completely shit job of equipping the routes in the first place. I know I did before better knowledge and technology was available. Sometimes just for lack of funds. Non-stainless 1/4” sleeve anchors? Come on player. Two of those things pretty much crumbled when I took them out of Amandla. While you choose to leave your “drill and crowbar” at home(purely metaphorical, no one is accusing you of actually owning let alone using such tools) others have been quietly replacing all the bullshit anchors in the park in addition to a wide range of maintenance efforts that you seem to hate. You wonder why you aren’t consulted? Whenever you do offer your two cents it’s always the same dribble. Bad, bad, bad. Your fundamentalist attitude is far far more menacing a threat to the shared resource of Index then all of my efforts combined.

It’s not a difficult assumption to make judging from your written opinions that had you been around back when some of these routes were first established you would have been squarely and annoyingly in the camp that was pissing and moaning about the scourge of rap bolting and crying for the formations of committees and bolt review boards. It’s the same crap that lead Index to fall fallow for almost ten years during the “bolt wars”, but you probably don’t remember that. Thankfully we don’t live in Colarado and thankfully you and your ilk were then, as now, a vociferous minority. Had you been around back then and somehow had your ideology pushed, routes like Numbah Ten and Amandla would never have been established in the first place. Had you been around back then guys like Deklerk would have pissed in your beer.

Guess what Drew just because you weren’t asked doesn’t mean that the small but motivated group of route cleaners, route developers, re-equippers, trail maintainers, trail developers and other “selfish” do’y type folk don’t sometimes talk, share, discuss and occasionally obtain consensus about one or another of their chosen pursuits. It’s part of what makes it possible for you to “just go climbing”. Also, what particular psychotic twitch causes you to think that the actions of another person are somehow motivated specifically to anger you or your perception of a group? You might want to have that looked at.

For the record: If at any point in the future ANYONE cares to replace or change ANY route that I have established or bolt that I have placed please DO NOT fucking bother me about it. Get off you pretty little tushka and do it. And hopefully we will still live in a community where that is allowed.

Here’s a big scary fact: bolts are easy to place. They’re easy to remove and replace. It’s not magic.

Has it been two years since I placed those two bolts on Clay?(wow, time does fly). That route gets done constantly. Sooooooo what’s the consensus folks? Do you prefer the bolts to be on the right side or the left? Or would you prefer to simply skank over the fact that you have a choice? Btw, I asked Darryl. He didn’t care.

Oh and lighten up. Super sad is backing over your sleeping dog. Arguing over the nuance of fall protection on a sport route is the pinnacle of privilege. pffft

Mods, please feel free to move topic to the appropriate forums.
By Drewsky
1 day ago

Tom, the reason I'm criticizing your rebolting on these routes is not because I'm a staunch anti-bolting traditionalist/fundamentalist. That's just flat out incorrect. I've stated again and again that I'm all for replacing old anchors and bolts. I'm a sport climber as much as anything and rap-bolting is not a tactic I've ever questioned. What I would or wouldn't have been in the 1990s in Colorado is totally irrelevant.

My comments online are usually pretty even-handed and are intended to prompt discussion instead of provoke conflict. Usually. I can understand why the above seem inflammatory but I thought this was one case where trying to ride the line between being honest and being tactful wouldn't be productive. I didn't really expect you to join the discussion at all so on that point I stand corrected.

As for the merit of my arguments being based on how many anchors I've fixed or bolts I've replaced, that's just spurious logic that I've heard plenty of times before. I know what bad hardware looks like; I know how bolts work. The fact that I haven't put time into updating hardware doesn't automatically negate my opinion about bolting because I never, ever criticize anyone simply for updating hardware. I know full well that our collective ability to continue to climb these routes is at least partly based on efforts to keep them clean and free of failing hardware; I never once said that I wouldn't or couldn't contribute to that effort.

I criticized you not because of the sheer fact that you rebolted existing routes, but because of the way you did it. It's not about lack of completeness at all, but about making changes to the routes that detracts from the way they climb. I know for a fact that at least one person who has climbed Amandla reached out to you in the hope of at least collaborating on rebolting the route but for whatever reason you wouldn't listen. The result is that the bolt locations don't make sense for freeclimbing. The one below the undercling is way too low and is in the way of one's feet while climbing. Adding an extra one doesn't mitigate that problem. Moving the anchor up under the roof doesn't make sense either, because now one needs a huge sling to mitigate rope drag over the extension and the anchor is still in a relatively arbitrary spot.

On Numbah Ten, many people, about half, climb the flared corner by staying inside it via either chimneying or otherwise. The bolts are now far enough outside the corner that someone climbing it this way can't reach them. They also create rope drag as the rope bends around the corner.

As far as Clay goes, having a 'choice' between lines of bolts to clip makes absolutely no sense. Having all four bolts there is confusing and looks junky. What makes less sense to me is that the route has remained that way for years. If you'd simply removed two of the bolts, it wouldn't even be counted among the issues I brought up. I'm sure Darryl didn't care whether they were on the right or the left; that's not the question being asked here. The fact that it gets done constantly is all the more reason for the rebolting to be done right, which means to choose a side for the bolts and take the other ones out.

Tom, if you'd just replaced the hardware this would be a non-issue. The fact that you made significant changes to the routes without talking to more of us who have climbed them is the issue here. It's an issue because it's a resource that we all share. If I'm wrong about the "things done in a vacuum" assertion then so be it, but along with the weird bolting on Good Girls, the rebar ladder and the bolted-on sea creatures, it just doesn't seem like you're willing to consider the merit of these types of actions before you make them.

I also disagree with you when you attempt to downplay the significance of these arguments by labeling them as privileged. We're all privileged to enjoy climbing at Index. No one is trying to compare the importance of this to anything else that may have more or less relevance in the world at large. I'm simply trying to understand why you would change bolt locations and add retrobolts without a wider discussion and this because I care about these routes, not because the world or the universe does.

Incidentally, my blog is intended to be a space for my musings, angry or not, insightful or not. Attempting to belittle me for sharing opinions online and for recording thoughts on my blog is simply an ad hominem attack, nothing more.

Finally, I don't want this to devolve further. I criticized you and attacked your character, you attacked mine and I responded to those attacks as constructively as I'm able. If you're willing to talk about this over the phone, I'd absolutely welcome that so that maybe we can defuse some of the angst that we clearly both have. I'm pretty sure I have your email address, so I'll try sending you one.
By Jon Nelson
Administrator
19 hours ago

Though it is nice to see activity on these pages, I wonder if, for all the non-Amandla stuff here, that maybe the telephone would be a better medium for the discussion?

Also, perhaps a detailed topo of this route would be a nice addition -- let us see the changes to the clipping positions and anchors.

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