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BLM Seeks Public Comment on Rock Climbing Fixed Anchors in Red Rock Wilderness Areas
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By Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 18, 2012
Skiing around.
Hope you guys will bring all this energy to the BLM meetings.

FLAG
By Cultivating Mass
Oct 19, 2012
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
^^Yeah, that's exactly what we need at the meeting. Arguing style as right/wrong and people referring to each other by "smart guy" to demonstrate the overwhelming sense of unity that the climbing "community" presents.

I'm throwing in my 2 cents here because I won't be wasting my time at meetings; I leave the schmoozing to the unemployed and the self-appointed politicians. I've never gotten laid as a consequence of attending one of these things, therefore the average library run has more value to me than a "sharing" session. Library girls tend to be pretty well-groomed, as well, unlike climber assemblies. Bring your nose clips, ladies.

"Rudeboy", believe me, I don't have any reason to tell you this other than what I've read on this site: your attitude towards bolts is pretty juvenile. I had the same thing going on when I moved out here, I'd never placed one in my life and didn't have any interest in doing so. The more time you spend climbing routes put up by people who are actual, need-their-heads-examined badasses, the less incentive you will have to spew invective against inanimate objects that aren't "good" or "evil", they're a tool that can be part of legitimate expression of adventure. Weston, who I don't know from Adam, either, is right on the money when he brings up routes like Rock Warrior. Minimalism is a style choice, not a legal issue. If you think Sesame Street sucks, I'm sure you're not alone. I never bothered with the place, didn't sound like fun to me. To someone with different tastes, maybe it's Mecca.

The bottom line is this, and I think Tom Beck pretty much laid this out politely, I'd like to say it less politely, with more emphasis:

Red Rock is hardly a wilderness when compared to places where you can't see the lights from the major metropolitan city down the street at night, but it is unique and special and deserves to be protected.

The question is, who can do so? For the majority of the last half a decade, I've been at Red Rock three days a week, minumum. I have not once met a climbing ranger while out climbing. If someone has a credit card, can read instructions, and has the motivation to do so, they can go out and bolt a 2000 foot sport route on Mount Wilson. Has this happened?

Red Rock is essentially a climber-managed area with regard to bolts. Occasionally, offensive bolting occurs, and is mostly removed, sooner or later. And a lot of times, even if climbers almost universally agree that a particular bolt, permadraw, anchor, route etc is completely stupid, it usually stays up if it isn't too much of an eyesore. Despite doom-and-gloom predictions about bolting fiesta madness happening the day the ban is lifted, I think very few people who aren't a) local, b) doing FAs on a regular basis, and c) hanging out at the shop all the time talking trash even have any idea how many new routes go in on an average year. Some of the oldest and most experienced climbers I meet in the park bolt with an abandon that makes my head spin, often on established routes. It's not always the young punks screwing it up for the rest of us. Some of the old fogeys screw up on a regular basis, too. Not that I don't love all you geriatric SOBs, I hope I'm out getting at it ten years from now, let alone in my 60s, 70s, or 80s.

The bottom line is that what happens at Red Rock stays at Red Rock; when catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults, and calling people "smart guy" is pretty rude and immature, and I hold multiple doctorate degrees in Rude and Immature myself, speaking from experience here.

For the Miss Cleo flash-forward psychic reading prediction on the events of the forthcoming meeting, keep reading:

People will talk. Less people will listen. Stupid suggestions will be made. Great suggestions will be thought of but not brought up because some loud dipshit is busy pounding the podium about how great he is/how terrible some other person/group is. People will squirm in their seats. Farting will occur, both verbal and the posterior variety. People will leave wondering what the next step is, and it's....more beaurocratic foot dragging, despite the best intent and efforts of a few people that care and are good at their jobs.

Meanwhile, out in the canyons, someone will be placing a bolt, wishing that the first ascentionist placed a bolt, cursing the first ascentionist for placing a bolt, or chopping a bolt.

And as the sands of the hourglass, these are the days of our lives.

It's a soap opera, in other words. Tune in next time for updates on the sixteen dozen multipitch sport routes that STILL don't exist after nearly fifty years of known climbing at Red Rock. Take Rude's advice and relax, everyone. I hear the library's open...

FLAG
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 19, 2012
modern man
All Killer No Filler wrote:
^^Yeah, that's exactly what we need at the meeting. Arguing style as right/wrong and people referring to each other by "smart guy" to demonstrate the overwhelming sense of unity that the climbing "community" presents. I'm throwing in my 2 cents here because I won't be wasting my time at meetings; I leave the schmoozing to the unemployed and the self-appointed politicians. I've never gotten laid as a consequence of attending one of these things, therefore the average library run has more value to me than a "sharing" session. Library girls tend to be pretty well-groomed, as well, unlike climber assemblies. Bring your nose clips, ladies. "Rudeboy", believe me, I don't have any reason to tell you this other than what I've read on this site: your attitude towards bolts is pretty juvenile. I had the same thing going on when I moved out here, I'd never placed one in my life and didn't have any interest in doing so. The more time you spend climbing routes put up by people who are actual, need-their-heads-examined badasses, the less incentive you will have to spew invective against inanimate objects that aren't "good" or "evil", they're a tool that can be part of legitimate expression of adventure. Weston, who I don't know from Adam, either, is right on the money when he brings up routes like Rock Warrior. Minimalism is a style choice, not a legal issue. If you think Sesame Street sucks, I'm sure you're not alone. I never bothered with the place, didn't sound like fun to me. To someone with different tastes, maybe it's Mecca. The bottom line is this, and I think Tom Beck pretty much laid this out politely, I'd like to say it less politely, with more emphasis: Red Rock is hardly a wilderness when compared to places where you can't see the lights from the major metropolitan city down the street at night, but it is unique and special and deserves to be protected. The question is, who can do so? For the majority of the last half a decade, I've been at Red Rock three days a week, minumum. I have not once met a climbing ranger while out climbing. If someone has a credit card, can read instructions, and has the motivation to do so, they can go out and bolt a 2000 foot sport route on Mount Wilson. Has this happened? Red Rock is essentially a climber-managed area with regard to bolts. Occasionally, offensive bolting occurs, and is mostly removed, sooner or later. And a lot of times, even if climbers almost universally agree that a particular bolt, permadraw, anchor, route etc is completely stupid, it usually stays up if it isn't too much of an eyesore. Despite doom-and-gloom predictions about bolting fiesta madness happening the day the ban is lifted, I think very few people who aren't a) local, b) doing FAs on a regular basis, and c) hanging out at the shop all the time talking trash even have any idea how many new routes go in on an average year. Some of the oldest and most experienced climbers I meet in the park bolt with an abandon that makes my head spin, often on established routes. It's not always the young punks screwing it up for the rest of us. Some of the old fogeys screw up on a regular basis, too. Not that I don't love all you geriatric SOBs, I hope I'm out getting at it ten years from now, let alone in my 60s, 70s, or 80s. The bottom line is that what happens at Red Rock stays at Red Rock; when catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults, and calling people "smart guy" is pretty rude and immature, and I hold multiple doctorate degrees in Rude and Immature myself, speaking from experience here. For the Miss Cleo flash-forward psychic reading prediction on the events of the forthcoming meeting, keep reading: People will talk. Less people will listen. Stupid suggestions will be made. Great suggestions will be thought of but not brought up because some loud dipshit is busy pounding the podium about how great he is/how terrible some other person/group is. People will squirm in their seats. Farting will occur, both verbal and the posterior variety. People will leave wondering what the next step is, and it's....more beaurocratic foot dragging, despite the best intent and efforts of a few people that care and are good at their jobs. Meanwhile, out in the canyons, someone will be placing a bolt, wishing that the first ascentionist placed a bolt, cursing the first ascentionist for placing a bolt, or chopping a bolt. And as the sands of the hourglass, these are the days of our lives. It's a soap opera, in other words. Tune in next time for updates on the sixteen dozen multipitch sport routes that STILL don't exist after nearly fifty years of known climbing at Red Rock. Take Rude's advice and relax, everyone. I hear the library's open...


seems like this was written by a self appointed politician to me

do you also not vote in favor of bikini contests at casinos?

FLAG
By yaddayadda
Oct 19, 2012
seems like this was written by a self appointed politician to me t

AMEN ! Nice'n concisely put

Holier than thou (and the rest of all humanity... as usual)

FLAG
By Cultivating Mass
Oct 19, 2012
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
^^^Exactly what I was talking about. Good luck on the namecalling and anonymous nyuck-nyucks, gents. Doing us proud.

FLAG
By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 20, 2012
beck on limestone
My letter to the Scoping Committee. See if you can get on-board. Stop flaming each other please.
______________________________________________________________________

re:
Resource Management Plan Amendment to consider new management decision for permanent fixed anchors within BLM portions of La Madre Mountain and Rainbow Mountain Wilderness areas of RRC
_________________________________________________________________________________________

To Whom it may concern,

With a few regional specific modifications I endorse the proposed guidelines of the Access Fund as regards bolts and bolt placements in the Red Rocks and La Madre wilderness classified areas.

Access Fund Guidelines:

Allow hand drilling
Allow replacement of old bolts 1:1 without prior approval
Allow placement of new bolts without prior approval in any un-protectable section within a route with removable anchors for safety and in descending and emergencies.


I think it is important to incorporate into the management decision:

1. Climbing is a historic and appropriate use of wilderness
2. Some level of fixed anchor use is necessary to climb safely and fixed anchors should be classified in the same category as any piece of climbing protection equipment
3. Less restrictive policies are best

Harkening back to the guidelines of the Negotiated Rule-making Committee

What type of rock climbing-related equipment should be allowed in wilderness areas and under what circumstances should certain types of equipment be allowed?

My Comments:

Any and all removable gear should be permitted. All equipment required for multipitch and big wall climbing should be permitted. Leaving of fixed lines and gear or water stashes is not endorsed but is not disallowed.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What process should be used to decide whether the insertion or removal of a fixed anchor should take place and who should be party to the decision?


My Comments:


Placement of bolts, since they are a piece of safety equipment to ensure climber safety, should be placed at the sole discretion of the first ascent party. This includes belay/rappel anchors used for subsequent descent. No rules should be made to dictate the type or style of bolts or their method of installation, but certain guidelines suitable for Red Rocks sandstone and La Madre limestone should be included following the recommendations of the American Safe Climbing Association.


It should be acknowledged that the technology of anchors is evolving and improving and thus no specific hardware standards are set.


It should be acknowledged that aesthetic climbing lines can exist in Red Rock sandstone and La Madre limestone which utilize natural features yet which do not lend themselves to the use of removable protection. For these routes bolting is allowed as connecting an “un-protectable section within a route that is otherwise protect-able with removable anchors”.


It should be acknowledged from an engineering viewpoint, that, as is well know, mechanical bolt placements fail in sandstone due to stress cracking of the rock surrounding the hole. A hand drilled hole tends to be elliptical in shape, concentrating the stress in a shear vector directly in line with the anticipated loading, thus leading to more un-assessable and pre-mature failure than a power drilled hole, which tends to be concentric. Therefore, while power bolting with a cordless hammer/drill in the wilderness could be interrupted as prohibited by the Wilderness Act of 1964, power bolting with a cordless hammer/drill results in a more enduring and safer piece of protection, which could be endorsed by the use clauses and the spirit of the Wilderness Act.


The impact on biodiversity from newly created bolted or mixed lines in the canyons of Red Rocks and the La Madre's is minimal and would be the same for any popular or potentially popular route which utilized all removable protection. Descent anchors are often placed on popular lines to facilitate descent. This actually reduces the impact which would occur from a descent trail.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

What is the impact on the BLM or Forest Service and the climbing industry if the agency assumes an active role in regulating use, insertion, and removal of fixed anchors?


My Comments:


The BLM should not be engaged in bolt removal nor should the BLM contract with NGO contractors to remove bolts unless those bolts are determined to specifically adversely impact archeological sites or existing springs by directing climbing traffic to those areas. Should the BLM take an active role then possibilities for liability becomes a consideration.


What could be done is for the BLM to form an Ad Hoc odd numbered advisory committee consisting of guides from the the guiding services operating in this area. This committee (a "star chamber" if you will) could then be consulted for suggestions and advice and in certain circumstances asked to vote on proposed actions. How those actions might be implemented should be beyond the purview of the BLM, thus isolating the BLM from litigation.
----------------------------------------------------

Suggestions:


Climber surveys in other parts of the United Sates have come to some conclusions regarding climber visitation and climber impact;

It was found roughly 35% of motivated climbers (climbing 50 or more days annually) climb between 5.7 and 5.9 and about 30% climb between 5.9+ and 5.11.

Climbers go to destinations that are at or below their on-sight climbing ability
Climbers go to an area which matches their risk quotient, with more experienced climbers preferring more remote areas and tolerating more risk.
Climbers go to an area which has some appealing aesthetic
Climbers go to an area with the shortest possible approach taking all prior factors into account.
Fixed anchors or lack of fixed anchors was a low ranked consideration.


Because Red Rocks and Mt. Charleston are know internationally for their bolted "sport routes" I believe these survey conclusions need to be evaluated specifically for this area. To that end the BLM could call for grant proposals by PhD candidates to study climber visitation patterns throughout the region and in conjunction with the outdoor industry fund a comprehensive research document.
--------------------------------------------------------------


It has been proposed that some form of permitting process for installation of new bolts be implemented. The American Safe Climbing Association has an informal process whereby a climber is vetted by his peers for knowledge and skill before hardware is given to him/her to replace existing bolts. The vetting process is not perfect, is an honor system, and has been abused, as any process may be. Yet by and large it seems to work. Old bolts are being replaced and the ASCA continues to receive donations and hardware. What would motivate a local climber to apply for a permit to drill in Red Rocks and La Madre wilderness? And how would that permit be constrained or would it have any constraints? Given the current considerable costs of installing a 95 ft. sport route, what would further motivate a climber to become permitted or registered?


I believe this permitting idea is unworkable and inappropriate at this time and should be shelved for consideration at a later time.

FLAG
By Cultivating Mass
Oct 21, 2012
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
Pretty sensible stuff.

FLAG
By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 23, 2012
beck on limestone
All Killer No Filler wrote:
the average library run has more value to me than a "sharing" session. Library girls tend to be pretty well-groomed

-------------------

I went to the library today. It was disappointing. Maybe wrong library or wrong timing. Which one do you go to Killis?

FLAG
 
By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Oct 25, 2012
modern man
Thomas Beck wrote:
------------------- I went to the library today. It was disappointing. Maybe wrong library or wrong timing. Which one do you go to Killis?

vegasadultsuperstore.com/store...

just a guess

FLAG
By Rudeboy
From North Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 26, 2012
Paiute wall scout mission, red rock nevada. March 2012.
Your girlfriend topless.
Your girlfriend topless.

FLAG
By jed botsford
Oct 26, 2012
"The question is, who can do so? For the majority of the last half a decade, I've been at Red Rock three days a week, minumum. I have not once met a climbing ranger while out climbing."

Come now Killis... I ran into you more than a couple of times out there.

FLAG
By Cultivating Mass
Oct 27, 2012
Leading on the only "fair means" rack.
Ah, off the library talk, I see. That ain't my girlfriend, she's more hairy and muscly. Also a hangnail, this clearly ain't the one I love. I'm not giving away the best spots on a public forum, Tom, but the talent is out there.

Jed is right about us seeing each other at LVCLC organized events, and I will assert that Senor Botsford is a strong, pack-muling muthatrucka when it comes to carrying 80+ pounds of sand on his back to fill the sandblaster we used to take off graffiti. Full respect there. I do seem to recall running into you in Pine parking once or twice while off duty, as well, I know you got out there and climbed a good bit, so my point was more on the whole enforcement/uniformed official tip.

Restate: I have never run into a uniformed, on-duty Red Rock Canyon climbing ranger outside of a parking lot or scheduled cleanup event that was organized in advance. Off-duty, fun-time run ins have happened, I didn't mean to suggest that anyone wasn't "around" or in some way involved in the scene, just making the point that if you posted up a 20 foot sign saying "Hey BLM guys, I have peyote buttons-bust me please" and camped out 15 minutes past the mouth of any big canyon in the area, you might be able to get some attention if noticed by an SAR chopper training flight or complaint by a hiker or climber that happened to get submitted when there wasn't a desk full of other projects, but the likelihood of a uniformed ranger showing up at your sign within 48 hours would be a bad bet even by Vegas odds. The sad story of a local hiker whose body was missing for months this year despite thousands of man-hours in search parties, chopper flights, and SAR coordination and rescue underlines my point: it IS possible to get lost in the wilderness, even half a day's hike from suburbia.

My point is that the NCA and surrounding lands are VAST, and in my lowly opinion, pretty unpolicable. I've found the BLM rangers a uniformly helpful and reasonable lot, I just never had to ditch my stash when one approached me at the base of Varnishing Point, is all I'm saying. Even having one full-time ranger assigned to each large canyon wouldn't be enough to stop dedicated bolters, they'd all just have to get sneakier.

I think that Jed, Nick, and many others do a good job and the best they can out there. There are simply limits to how close to China you can dig with a teaspoon, you dig?

Imagine if the US adopted an isolationist or at least drastically reduced foreign aid/military policy, and we could afford to hire five more climbing rangers. That might actually mean that rangers could replace bolts on a regular basis, upgrade and repair trails, crack down on the meetup groups' "trail of tears" overflow capacity hikes, with 40+ people hee-hawing down trails in single file several times a week, and so on.

Gotta keep dreaming on that one. Til bovine flight occurs, we police ourselves, methinks.

FLAG
By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 27, 2012
One might consider this when debating whether or not to go to a scoping meeting. If bolting becomes legal in Red Rock, it doesnt just affect Red Rock. Red Rock is a massive area with a reputation for being a world wide climbing destination. An effective climbing and bolting policy here would have ramifications nationwide.

As to the 'it cant be policed' aspect- the BLM knows that. We know that. Thats why a big part of developing good policy is geared toward getting buyoff from climbers so that climbers will police themselves. This is one reason, rudeboy, that a strict bolting policy is not going to happen- we tried that already and it went nowhere fast. I've been in this game for about 7 years now and this will be our 3rd attempt at getting a bolting policy established in Red Rock. With any luck, a hand drill only rule will more or less be the name of the game, as it has been proven to be policeable by climbers (i.e. Yosemite and Joshua Tree).

Illegal power drilling will still happen, and I dont think any of us or the BLM has any illusions about that. That said, if climbers can bolt legally with a hand drill, we can hope that some of us (or hopefully most of us), will speak up and say something to any developer we see hauling a power drill into a cliff. It should be said, I dont advocate turning said climber into the BLM, only talking to him ourselves, pointing out that if we use powerdrills in the wilderness, we're at risk of losing our ability to bolt- not just in Red Rock, but in other areas as well.

FLAG
By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 27, 2012
Rudeboy wrote:
Bold ethics are a must and catering to non serious climbers creates the controversy in the first place. The climbing experience as a whole should not be compromised because some individuals lack climbing skill and strict bold ethics.


Bolt ethics are personal taste and should not be forced upon anyone. One of the best parts about climbing for many is the ability to choose their own risk level. One day they might be down to run it out 30' above some crappy RP, the next they may want to hang dog their way up a safely bolted 5.12. That's their choice, not yours.

Some of the best routes in Red Rock come from both attitudes- Adventure Punks, Rock Warrior, Fiddler on the Roof- all some of the best 5.10s I've climbed in Red Rock. All are quite bold. Nightcrawler, Levitation 29, Eagle Dance- again, all classic at their grade and some would argue over-bolted. I dont really think they are and I enjoyed them immensely- mega classic and I dont know anyone who has climbed one of them and not climbed one of the first three I mentioned.

At the end of the day, its all personal preference and its all rock climbing. Some route developers develop for the masses (Jorge and Joanne Urioste), some develop for their own enjoyment and to make it bold (the Adventure Punks). I've put up my share of multipitch lines in Red Rock- and frankly, a couple of them need a handful of bolts to make them sane. As soon as bolting is legal, they're going to get them. For now, they remain dangerous and bold at a level I'm not psyched on and one of them remains un-repeated because of the 90' run on 5.10 terrain.

FLAG
By Rudeboy
From North Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 30, 2012
Paiute wall scout mission, red rock nevada. March 2012.
Uh oh watch out! Earth shattering info pouring in. Maybe you guys should look up the word disregard, so you could better understand my standpoint. So whos next with the reiterations of simple and aforementioned perceptions? Stir the pot hommie.

FLAG
By BLM Red Rock
Nov 19, 2012
Comments will be accepted until the end of today, 11/19/12. Written letters must be postmarked by today. Email to rrc_fixedanchors@blm.gov

Thanks,
Nick Walendziak
Red Rock Canyon NCA
4701 N. Torrey Pines Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89130

FLAG
 


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