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By Mike C. Robinson
From Rumney, NH
Sep 24, 2011
d

For discussion...

1. White Horse, many climbers stay away from slabs due to the "run out" and I can respect the honer of those who first sent any route.
2. Is it arrogant to expect all future climbers to take the same risks as the person who "put up" the route?
-Would it be arrogant to expect all who travel west to trade in their car for a wagon and 6 months of rations?
-Would it be arrogant to expect all trad routes to be climbed with the same gear that is now obsolete
3. Routes like Interloper are super good but leave (at least me) wondering why one or two more bolts would be so bad.
4. I am curious to hear a reasonable explanation to the old school ethics that have top ropers stripping bark from trees at Barber Wall and leave great routes like Interloper in the land of obscurity.

Has a fatal crime of passion ever been committed due to bolt placement?


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 24, 2011
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

This isn't going to answer your question, but it will probably give you

(a) more ammunition to support whatever your point of view is;

(b) some understanding, if you are willing to listen, to what the "other side" believes.

www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1609264/Haunted-for-34-year>>>


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Sep 25, 2011
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Whitehorse was a great place for me to learn multipitch. Looooong easy run outs on Standard and Sliding Board taught me about poise when leading at my limit, something that was useful on routes further left at White Horse later in my climbing life.

New Hampshire has a lot of rock, enough so that every crag can have its own personality. WH Ledge has long easy slabs and techy modern multipitch routes with spaced bolts between gear, Cathedral remains stodgy in all the right ways. Then there's Rumney. If you want 5.10ish bolted slabby climbing, wander up to Lonesome Done and leave Interloper alone as test pieces for people who are ready for the challenge. If you want 5.3ish bolted multi-pitch, Rumney has that too.

D. Lucander


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Sep 25, 2011
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Whitehorse was a great place for me to learn multipitch. Looooong easy run outs on Standard and Sliding Board taught me about poise when leading at my limit, something that was useful on routes further left at White Horse later in my climbing life.

New Hampshire has a lot of rock, enough so that every crag can have its own personality. WH Ledge has long easy slabs and techy modern multipitch routes with spaced bolts between gear, Cathedral remains stodgy in all the right ways. Then there's Rumney. If you want 5.10ish bolted slabby climbing, wander up to Lonesome Done and leave Interloper alone as test pieces for people who are ready for the challenge. If you want 5.3ish bolted multi-pitch, Rumney has that too.

D. Lucander


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By burlap submariner
Sep 25, 2011

runout? its all subjective. A lot of the routes on the slabs were done in this style due to the fact the features of the rock dictated that there was only certain places one could stop and hand drill a bolt. I dont know if you have ever drilled on lead but its a do or ditch effort.
I also believe that when this route was climbed it was a wayyyyy different era of climbing, the mentality was cut from a pioneer cloth. People did new routes because it was not only adventurous but there was also so much virgin rock there how could you not? The effort put in to even get four or so pitches off the ground with the ground up style in the works is both time consuming and stressful, with that in mind wouldn't it be a real cunt if you put all that work in and someone came along and just decided based on their fears and insecurities that the route needs a couple more bolts? If you think interloper is scary with the bolts it has now think of how scared the first ascentonist was placing them from stances on the lead risking a big slider on to the belayer?


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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Sep 25, 2011

Hello,

I have done Interloper, and I honestly can't remember any runouts that were dangerous or unreasonable. What section/sections of the route are you referring to? Thanks.

Dana Bartlett


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By john strand
From southern colo
Sep 25, 2011

Interloper is certainly not dangerous.
Do all routes have to be safe, by your standards ?

No one has a gun to your head to do a route


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By David Houston
From Boulder, Colorado
Sep 25, 2011
J-Tree

This is a discussion that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. For my part, I do believe that routes should be left in the same style as the first ascent. When any fixed pro becomes unsafe I would be comfortable replacing it with a modern bolt. Climbing can be a test of nerve as well as strength and skill; while I no longer lead run out routes at my limit, I do believe they are worth having.

On new routes I prefer that bolts are not added where good trad placements exist. I know there is a general feeling that in a “sport area” on a route with 9 bolts and one stopper placement many would prefer to just have an additional bolt. I have no problem bringing up a few pieces of gear if that’s the opportunity presented by the rock.

One argument I would like to challenge is the idea that “if you don’t like the bolts don’t clip them.” If you are doing a route with the intent of testing your lead head, the fact that bolts have been added to the route irrevocably changes the proposition. The fact that you can clip them reduces the commitment and mental challenge involved.


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By talkinrocks
From Boulder, CO
Sep 25, 2011
Washburns Thumb.  Denali

I dont really have a useful opinion on this since I dont live there, but I dont think retro-bolting someone elses route to your safety standards is a valued option.

However, I traveled and climbed there last year and found this bolt on a slab route we did (dont remember which route, but it was very easy). Perhaps some updating needs to be done.


Manky bolt
Manky bolt


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By Yarp
Sep 25, 2011

Yeah, so.... I was in Yosemite this summer and DAMN are some of those routes run out! Next time I go back I'm taking my Bosch and I'm gonna sanitize those route for the un-washed masses because anything without a bolt every couple/three body lengths is just plain and simply not SAFE!

If no one else will FIX it then I guess I'll just have to, for everyone own good and SAFETY.


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By john strand
From southern colo
Sep 25, 2011

Interloper was done over 30 years ago.

Why not retro Sliding board ? Very runout, Oh that's right the poster may feel more comfy on 5.7


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By Mike C. Robinson
From Rumney, NH
Sep 25, 2011
d

lucander wrote:
Whitehorse was a great place for me to learn multipitch. Looooong easy run outs on Standard and Sliding Board taught me about poise when leading at my limit, something that was useful on routes further left at White Horse later in my climbing life. New Hampshire has a lot of rock, enough so that every crag can have its own personality. WH Ledge has long easy slabs and techy modern multipitch routes with spaced bolts between gear, Cathedral remains stodgy in all the right ways. Then there's Rumney. If you want 5.10ish bolted slabby climbing, wander up to Lonesome Done and leave Interloper alone as test pieces for people who are ready for the challenge. If you want 5.3ish bolted multi-pitch, Rumney has that too. D. Lucander


All valid points...


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By Don MacKenzie
From Seattle, WA
Sep 26, 2011

john strand wrote:
Interloper was done over 30 years ago. Why not retro Sliding board ? Very runout, Oh that's right the poster may feel more comfy on 5.7


According to the Webster guide, Sliding Board was in fact retrobolted. The p3 bolt was added several years after the FA.


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Sep 26, 2011

Why not climb Wavelength? That is reasonably bolted at all the hard places.
I don't think that Whitehorse should be retro-bolted but this begs a bigger question. The idea that one person can own a route up a cliff forever and have jurisdiction over its character is a ludicrous concept conceivable only in the climbing community. It should only hold true if you literally own the cliff. (Imagine a hiker insisting he owns a hiking trail on public land.) Is every generation is required to enforce the decisions of the first ascentionist or can we change the route after they die? In the case of routes where bolts are involved, what if a terrible bolt job is done on a beautiful piece of rock? Are we to live with the first ascentionist’s poor judgment indefinitely? I’ve seen routes where there is ground fall between the first and second bolt and the crux is between the first and second bolt. Do we have to live forever with a route put up by a first ascentionist who failed high school geometry or he failed to get a good stance while adhering to some “climbing ethic” of ground-up bolt placement? Do we have to beg his permission to go fix his screw up? Wouldn’t a loftier goal be to put up the best route possible with safe falls instead of simply replicating the experience of the first ascentionist had, good or bad? Adding bolts to a trad line is another argument (more valid I think). It is not as clear cut and can lead to bolt wars that serve no one. But even on a trad route must we forever live with a death defying X rated climb up a beautiful route that almost no one climbs just to pay tribute to the cojones and ego of the first ascentionist? If I do a first ascent in hob-nail boots with a hemp rope can I insist that no one can do the route unless they do it in the same style? There are more and more climbers and less and less undeveloped rock. Climbing must evolve. None of us own the rock, at least not on public land. Unfortunately some think they do. Hell, one guy in Connecticut thinks he owns the rock in the whole state. What I’ve gathered from lurking on climbing forums is that there are lots of “accepted” climbing rules regarding first ascents and bolting and that many people have many different interpretations and many different “accepted” rules.

You shouldn’t have people bolting/retro-bolting the rock with no control and you shouldn’t have people putting up badly bolted routes. So who sets route policy? My take…the owner of the land or, in the case of public land, a coalition of local climbers in consultation with the land manager, i.e. a climbing management plan. I would bet that the majority of North Conway area climbers would be against retro-bolting Whitehorse so if that is true then that should be the policy.


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By David Houston
From Boulder, Colorado
Sep 26, 2011
J-Tree

Brian: Thanks for your thoughtful post. We probably fall on opposite sides of this argument so it is good to have someone reasonable to respond to. You wrote: ”But even on a trad route must we forever live with a death defying X rated climb up a beautiful route that almost no one climbs just to pay tribute to the cojones and ego of the first ascentionist?” I think the reason to maintain such routes is not for the ego of the first ascensionist but for the experience of everyone who follows. It is one of the things that separate our sport from many others; how we manage risk and fear. Jules Verne in Eldorado is a good example. [I know, I know, see the STFU about Eldo thread] There is a climb to aspire to and dream about, a benchmark of a certain kind of climbing experience that is an important part of the sport. Your comment about the hemp rope is different; adding a bolt would change everyone’s experience of Jules Verne but what rope you choose to use does not affect others.

You wrote: “So who sets route policy?” Interesting question since climbers used to mostly police ourselves informally but that paradigm is shifting. Eldo is now governed by a committee that reviews all fixed hardware proposals. aceeldo.org/fhrc/ While it generates a lot of resentment, I think it actually functions pretty well. I would be willing to live with that compromise. The Flatirons policy in Boulder is too restrictive for my taste, but it is a park with many priorities and widely dispersed crags. flatironsclimbingcouncil.wordpress.com/fixed-hardware-pilot->>> Clear Creek in Golden is unregulated and is mostly well-bolted sport routes which I think is consistent with the friable nature of the rock. There are a lot of different models out there and individual areas and climbers should probably find their own compromise.
As climbers make these decisions I hope we can keep in mind that it is impossible to make climbing completely safe, and that understanding the risks and overcoming them is part of the value of the experience. Routes that challenge us as climbers both physically and mentally make the sport a much richer experience.


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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Sep 26, 2011

David Houston wrote:

David,
I'm more in agreement than disagreement with your thoughts. I don't think a classic run-out route like the Bachar-Yerian route in Tuolumne should be retro-bolted to make it safe. It would destroy the character of the route (or the routes on Whitehorse for that matter). But where you have a hypothetical 5.8 route that is well protected with gear except for one 40 foot run-out I would have no problem adding a bolt in the middle of that run-out so that more people could enjoy it safely. I guess my point is do we have to ask permission of the first ascentionist or does a coalition of local climbers decide? I don't believe the first asccentionist own the rock unless they literally own the cliff.
And thanks it is nice to discuss something civilly in a forum.
Brian


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By Mike C. Robinson
From Rumney, NH
Sep 26, 2011
d

Everyone is making fair comments here. I agree with much of what Brian is saying. Also, I love run out slab routes! That doesn't mean that I am right and someone who wants more safety is wrong. That also doesn't mean that they have not "earned the right" to enjoy the same route. Bolting a line that takes gear is silly, on the other hand if in a place like Rumney, Rifle, or another major sport destination it makes a bit more sense. No one has mentioned the idea of skipping bolts to heighten the intensity. We all have the ability to choose how we send a route. Sport routes can be free soloed and when it is done the climber tends to be noted for it. Esthetically...who cares? Every sport has it's divides. Sport, Gym, Bouldering, Trad, Aid , Alpine, Adventure, Top Rope, ground up. The most bad ass to do a route is the First Free Ascentionist, everyone else already knows it can be done. Climbing a PG route on lead may be at the mental limit of one climber while it may take another climber an X rating to get the same intensity. To me climbing holds a great deal of value in terms of mental challenge. That mental challenge is what I perceive it to be. It makes every route my experience. When we spray with our climbing buddies we connect and build report talking about the routes we have both done. WE usually ask..did you get it clean? Or we might say we had to "pull gear at the crux" and so on. And there is something to be said about those notorious routes all the local climbers know of but few have done. On one hand those who have the nerve to send an X rated climb deserve the right of being part of a small group. On the other...Plenty of well protected sport and trad routes have been free soloed and if the climber wants to be considered as part of the same small group all they have to do is say they soled route A or whatever. Like most who have truly thought about this debate, I don't think there is a clear answer. However, there are more valid points on the side of protecting a route so all climbers can enjoy it, whatever their mental threshold is.


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By Mike C. Robinson
From Rumney, NH
Sep 26, 2011
d

john strand wrote:
Interloper is certainly not dangerous. Do all routes have to be safe, by your standards ? No one has a gun to your head to do a route


To clarify my position, no every route does not have to be safe by my standards. My purpose is to simply hear the thoughts and opinions on the subject. It is not fair for anyone to mandate the way in which a climb is done. I like routes like this (interloper), I love the run out crux of South Platte's Topographical Oceans and the challenge it presents. I get a sense of pride when I think about soloing Reggae, leading Naked Edge, Jack the Ripper, or Yellow Wall on Longs. Those were all experiences that I feel I earned the right to brag about. In reality they are child's play to (some) climbers far better than me. I also do not have the conviction of many Boulder Colorado climbers who experienced "The Bolt Wars", I wasn't climbing then and I don't have the emotional triggers from it. What I am most annoyed by is the black and white thinking towards such a subjective discussion. God vs Allah, Summer Slam 2011, choose your side now cuz one half is going to hell! If we are talking about "changing the character of a route" it could be argued that the character was already changed the moment someone picked out the line.


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By Mike C. Robinson
From Rumney, NH
Sep 26, 2011
d

john strand wrote:
Interloper was done over 30 years ago. Why not retro Sliding board ? Very runout, Oh that's right the poster may feel more comfy on 5.7


Really? "more comfortable on 5.7" "Hey guys, look at this jack ass that thinks he can climb" pretty self righteous comment to make from someone who has had enough time in the world to know better. Clearly you are well established as a Climbing Legend in Colorado which is all the more reason to show more tact than that. I have noticed that the people who aren't really that great at what they do are usually the ones to be so arrogant about it. People who Are that good at what they do don't feel the need to point out others of a lower skill level. And, like a good friend once told me, climbers are destined for obscurity. Very few who don't climb know who Chris Sharma is and I have a feeling he is number grades better than you...tough guy.

-10 Charisma points from my opinion


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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Sep 26, 2011

I'm glad I've avoided climbing out east where the availability of good exposed rock is not simply a function of how far you're willing to walk.

I've never been comfortable with the concept of the FA "owning" the route. I think that initially that is the case, but after a while, the route passes into the community at large's possession. Ultimately, I think that if the overwhelming majority of the community does support rebolting, retrobolting, dynamiting or whatever options are allowed by law, ultimately that's what will happen. This is aimed specifically in response to Henry Barber's recent chopping in the Needles. 35 years after the fact is a bit beyond the statute of limitations on that sort of thing, regardless of how it originally went up. The community had grown accustomed to the presence of that bolt and if the community cares enough about it, it will go back in, regardless of what Barber thinks. If the Needles community is wise about it, they'll hold some meetings, invite Barber, talk it over, and put the bolt back in in full view of Barber and the managing bodies of the land.

What's always galled me about fly-by-night zorro choppers is that they don't represent the community. They don't call up all the significant locals, they certainly don't seek out the folks who placed the bolts in the first place, they just chop as they see fit. It doesn't matter much to me if their works have, thus far, been widely supported. In the end, they don't actually answer to the community, their ethics only parallel ours. Put another way, a rabid dog that so far has only attacked people you don't like is still a rabid dog for all that. Likewise with "community service" bolters. I've been pretty critical over the years of certain "convenience" anchors, mostly because the ones I've encountered aren't terribly convenient.

I do definitely support the idea of keeping runouts, at least as a psychological artifact of the era or spirit under which the climb was put up.

That said, allowing a route to decay into a dangerous state by not replacing gear that needs replacing is just as bad as chopping a route, but more passive-aggressive.


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By cjdrover
From Somerville, MA
Sep 27, 2011
Taken at MWV Icefest 2014.

Mike C. Robinson wrote:
I also do not have the conviction of many Boulder Colorado climbers who experienced "The Bolt Wars", I wasn't climbing then and I don't have the emotional triggers from it.


There were/are plenty of bolt controversies around here, too.

Mike C. Robinson wrote:
Really? "more comfortable on 5.7" "Hey guys, look at this jack ass that thinks he can climb" pretty self righteous comment to make from someone who has had enough time in the world to know better.


I think you took this the wrong way. Point is that if safety is really the concern (as opposed to "bringing the climb down a level") why not retro the easier lines instead of the harder ones?

Mike C. Robinson wrote:
No one has mentioned the idea of skipping bolts to heighten the intensity.


No one has mentioned it because its been beaten to death in 300 other threads. Short answer - even if you skip it you can still chicken out and downclimb to it. No committment.


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By Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Sep 27, 2011

Overbolted moderate slab routes are boring and tedious.

dev


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By burlap submariner
Sep 27, 2011

Mike C. Robinson wrote:
Really? "more comfortable on 5.7" "Hey guys, look at this jack ass that thinks he can climb" pretty self righteous comment to make from someone who has had enough time in the world to know better. Clearly you are well established as a Climbing Legend in Colorado which is all the more reason to show more tact than that. I have noticed that the people who aren't really that great at what they do are usually the ones to be so arrogant about it. People who Are that good at what they do don't feel the need to point out others of a lower skill level. And, like a good friend once told me, climbers are destined for obscurity. Very few who don't climb know who Chris Sharma is and I have a feeling he is number grades better than you...tough guy. -10 Charisma points from my opinion


Mike if you get a chance you might want to peek through Webster's guide for the whites and look at "Unwanted Guests" next to the Ethereal buttress on Whitehorse. For that matter look at any of the first ascents John did in new england, better still go and climb them, cause after all that's really what matters right? The climbing.


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By Tim McCabe
Sep 27, 2011

Brian wrote:
But where you have a hypothetical 5.8 route that is well protected with gear except for one 40 foot run-out I would have no problem adding a bolt in the middle of that run-out so that more people could enjoy it safely.


Rarely is there going to be a 40 foot run out that is the crux of a route. Typically if you are on a 5.8 anything 5.6 or easier is going to be run out. Even if there were a crack to place gear in most climbers will run it out on the easy section.

How about this hypothetical on a route that's mostly 5.8 but has a short blank section of 5.10 how about we bolt on a hold so more people can enjoy it. After all you don't have to use it.

cjdrover wrote:
Short answer - even if you skip it you can still chicken out and downclimb to it. No committment.


The only people who think that skipping bolts should be easy are the people who never would. Just my opinion obviously.

Some climbers have the ability to move up the grades and climb super hard routes. Some climbers have the ability to control their fear and climb super run out routes. Some climbers have both. Most older climbing area's have something for both types of climber.

I'll go along with the concept that the FA doesn't own the rock. But then I would expect that it would still be left as is so that future climbers can test themselves. That goes for adding bolts for safety as well as changing the route to make it physically easier.


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By 1Eric Rhicard
Sep 27, 2011
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo

David Houston wrote:
I think the reason to maintain such routes is not for the ego of the first ascensionist but for the experience of everyone who follows.


The experience is not just about climbing and everyone getting up it. The ability to control your fear and maintain control so you don't fall is far more memorable than scampering up a route that has been brought down to a level that the average can climb.

What people did in the day was badass.

Now if 5.10 climbers are out there doing run out 5.7s these days that is silly, bolt it up. But I wouldn't destroy an historic route just so everyone can do it.


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By john strand
From southern colo
Sep 27, 2011

My comment about being comfy on 5.7 wasnot meant to belittle anyone, you clearly did not feel comfy on Interloper.

i don't think being frightened on a climb is a bad thing and it's all relative. WE should not change climbs so people will feel safe on them.

Whitehorse is not a sport area and should not be treated as one.


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