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Apr 16, 2011
mongolia
mountainproject.com/v/colorado...

There is a discussion about a questionable style of route development here in Durango. I thought maybe the larger community would be interested in ethical debate.
Skyeler Congdon
From his van
Joined Mar 24, 2007
1,356 points
Apr 16, 2011
Skyeler Congdon wrote:
mountainproject.com/v/colorado... There is a discussion about a questionable style of route development here in Durango. I thought maybe the larger community would be interested in ethical debate.


I apologize if this comes across as harsh, but in my opinion, rap-bolted runouts=hypocrisy.

There is nothing bold about rapping down a pitch, which by definition allows one to preinspect, bolting it sparcely with the foreknowledge gained on rap, then leading it. The result is not a route which requires future ascenscionists to experience the route on the terms the route developer did. It is instead a route that demands prospective onsight climbers to climb it in a more demanding style. If the FA party was unwilling to climb it without preinspection, how can they ask others to do so?

If you want to climb boldly, go ground up. If you want to bolt on rap, craft thoughtful, "safe" (whatever that means) sport routes. I've employed both tactics many times, and respect each of them when employed appropriately.

I find this statement especially odd:

"I wish I could have attempted an on-sight of this route. I would be psyched. As the route developer, I lost the chance to get a true on-sight"

What stopped you?
Derek Doucet
Joined Apr 26, 2010
189 points
Apr 16, 2011
Have to agree with Derek. It's one thing having runouts between good stances if you bolted it on lead and onsite. If that was the case then the route should stay the way it is serving as a reminder of what's possible at the grade at this crag.

Bolting on rap and making an artificial runout where none needs to be is about as lame as a sporto can get!

"Sam and I had hoped to drill the bolts on lead, but it would have been so sketchy there would've been no point in clipping anything! But I agree that drilling from lead is badass."


What I take away from this statement is..."Sam and I wanted to be super badass but in the end we found out that lead bolting is scary and above our skill level. To salvage what was left of our shattered ego's we decided to under bolt the route, since we had pre-inspected it and worked the moves out, so that we could say we're badass too."

effing LAME! Put the drill down before you screw up more rock!
Yarp
Joined Jan 16, 2011
6 points
Apr 16, 2011
P6 Bivy during the massive Rim Fire.
Pretty lame.

If those guys had any sack, they would have at least tried to throw some hooks on.

That is how it gets done.

Instead, they pooftered a route, got to spray about it and NEVER sent.

Sounds to me like the first lead goes to that soloist.

A 70 foot route is not worth spraying about, nor is your inability to manage a ground up ascent.

Best stick to climbing established routes.

Mucci
mucci
From sf ca
Joined Jan 29, 2007
478 points
Apr 17, 2011
mongolia
Derek,
Thanks for your input, I appreciate hearing your perspective since it relied on more than personal attacks.

I believe that the route itself dictates the style of ascent. This meant ground up for routes like Malidea, Fall of Pleiades, Maximum Impaction, and others. But for other routes like Martyr's Crown and I Need a Batholith, a ground up ascent would've been needlessly dangerous due to the amount of choss and the fact the hooks don't work in such soft rock (I've decked hooking on lead btw)

The spots on this route where a bolt could've been placed on lead are not particularly hard (compared to the crux) so I didn't feel it necessary (but since I'm getting so much shit, I'll consider adding bolts on lead on a future ascent).

But to address the main critique: the immediate response on this forum has been "It asks too much from future climbers to onsight something I had pre-inspected." Allow me to retort: 99% of climbers will pre-inspect this route since it is just to the side of the rap route off of the Watch Crystal- the most popular formation in Durango. Most climbers will be looking at the holds as they rap- which is what I did. Furthermore, most climbers, if they are interested in this route, will TR it since they just rapped it. A smaller percentage will want to lead after TR, and a smaller percentage than that will go for the onsight.

So am I to add more bolts, for the guys and gals who want to lead it, but are scared of the run-out? I have to add more bolts for the stubborn old school who don't believe in headpointing?

I'm not ignorant of the accepted practices of developing sport routes, but I'm not a sport climber. I value run out climbing, and feel that modern sport climbing (bolts less than 10 ft apart) is soft.

Part of why I opened up my personal route development practice to debate is to encourage our community to question our assumptions about bolting, and to re-evaluate the changing paradigm of risk.

I respect opposing viewpoints and obviously realize that this is not a generally accepted practice, but I would appreciate you guys laying off the personal attacks.

Skyeler
Skyeler Congdon
From his van
Joined Mar 24, 2007
1,356 points
Apr 17, 2011
Skyeler Congdon wrote:
Derek, Thanks for your input, I appreciate hearing your perspective since it relied on more than personal attacks. I believe that the route itself dictates the style of ascent. This meant ground up for routes like Malidea, Fall of Pleiades, Maximum Impaction, and others. But for other routes like Martyr's Crown and I Need a Batholith, a ground up ascent would've been needlessly dangerous due to the amount of choss and the fact the hooks don't work in such soft rock (I've decked hooking on lead btw) The spots on this route where a bolt could've been placed on lead are not particularly hard (compared to the crux) so I didn't feel it necessary (but since I'm getting so much shit, I'll consider adding bolts on lead on a future ascent). But to address the main critique: the immediate response on this forum has been "It asks too much from future climbers to onsight something I had pre-inspected." Allow me to retort: 99% of climbers will pre-inspect this route since it is just to the side of the rap route off of the Watch Crystal- the most popular formation in Durango. Most climbers will be looking at the holds as they rap- which is what I did. Furthermore, most climbers, if they are interested in this route, will TR it since they just rapped it. A smaller percentage will want to lead after TR, and a smaller percentage than that will go for the onsight. So am I to add more bolts, for the guys and gals who want to lead it, but are scared of the run-out? I have to add more bolts for the stubborn old school who don't believe in headpointing? I'm not ignorant of the accepted practices of developing sport routes, but I'm not a sport climber. I value run out climbing, and feel that modern sport climbing (bolts less than 10 ft apart) is soft. Part of why I opened up my personal route development practice to debate is to encourage our community to question our assumptions about bolting, and to re-evaluate the changing paradigm of risk. I respect opposing viewpoints and obviously realize that this is not a generally accepted practice, but I would appreciate you guys laying off the personal attacks. Skyeler


Not a Durango local, so take this with a grain of salt: if you concluded that the route would need to be rap-bolted, then you committed yourself to placing all the bolts before opening it up to the community. In your case, you decided that it was more important that YOU climb the route before the end of the day than it was to make a worthwhile contribution to the leadable routes at the area. It would've kept till spring. Hell, it would've kept till a warm day in March, rare as they are. As you said, most people will simply toprope this line. They already could from the rap anchors. It was put up in a style that was implemented elsewhere specifically to downplay safety concerns.

What I'm saying is this: when a route is done ground-up, drilling on lead, I expect runouts and poor clipping stances, because the FA was doing things where he could. Its ok to put in less work bolting because you're putting in a lot of work just climbing it; you're risking real personal injury by hanging out to put in a community service bolt. If a route is rap-bolted, if the clipping stances are more insecure than the rest of the climbing, if the bolts are far enough apart that falling before I reach the next one (let alone blowing the clip) results in a big fall, I quickly conclude that the FA should've kept the drill on the ground until they were willing to put in the work necessary to make it good. As Tim said on the route comment page, you're hanging on a friggin' rope. Were you afraid the route would turn into a pumpkin if you didn't get all the bolts in before sundown?
Brian Scoggins
From Boise, ID
Joined Mar 12, 2002
1,110 points
Apr 17, 2011
A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA...
Rap bolting R/X rated routes is weak sauce in my opinion. I suspect most climbers feel the same way.
When you go back next time, add the extra bolts.
Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Joined Jun 24, 2006
975 points
Apr 17, 2011
Man, your logic contradicts itself over and over again. If most people are going to TR the route, leave it as a TR. Most people don't rap that line, they rap the face. So, you say you're not a sport climber, but you're bolting sport routes. If you want to put a tradster sport line up then do it ground up. Pretty simple. If you're rap bolting, bolt it so someone can onsight it safely if they are a climber at that grade. Pretty simple. It's painfully obvious that you are bolting routes as a way to primp your ego and provide a nice headpoint challenge for yourself. The unfortunate side effect is a couple of bolts here and there that don't even amount to a route that anyone climbs, eventually falling into obscurity. Martyr's Crown is an excellent example of a bolt job that has resulted in a bit of a blemish on the Watch Crystal. If a 5.12 climber can't even onsight it safely without risking groundfall then what's the point? Oh yeah, your name attached to an FA. I'd hoped that someone would have chopped it by now. Do us all a favor and quit rap bolting runout routes at East A. It is a classic crag with a history of good route selection and good bolt placement criteria with only a few exceptions. If you don't have the patience to take your time and bolt routes for the public to enjoy, then leave it to people who know what they're doing. Or sack up and do it ground up if you feel that the area really needs runout sport climbs. If you want to do poor quality, runout rap bolting, find your own crag to fuck up. chosspector
From San Juans, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2008
1,289 points
Apr 17, 2011
Stabby
Headpointing is contrived horseshit. Wiring a route into submission and then claiming some fantastic ascent is just asinine, especially when its inevitably followed by the call to chop the bolts that allowed that ascent in the first place. Assuming thats what it means as I'm one of those old-school types....
If you are not a sport climber, do not bring your ideological diviseivness to sport crags; just the same as we don't want sportos bolting up trad areas. What you are doing is not an acheivement of any sort, its a stunt. And then someone else will have to come along and add the bolts it should have, unless its a pile then hopefully someone will poach the hangers for better use.
Mike Lane
From Centennial, CO
Joined Jan 21, 2006
839 points
Apr 17, 2011
Dusk at the Rim Lounge, San Rafael Swell.
It wouldn't be the first time "bolts fell out" on that rock.... Bill Duncan
From Jamestown, CO
Joined Mar 30, 2005
2,890 points
Apr 18, 2011
I have done tons of routes ground up and top down. We sometimes make sport routes run out (for a sport route) if the fall is safe and clean. This way the route is physically and a little mentally challenging. Putting up R or X routes on rap is lame. 1Eric Rhicard
Joined Feb 15, 2006
8,638 points
Apr 18, 2011
I've bolted lots of sport routes with runouts that are not considered R routes. On tall steep sections of rock you can pretty much just bolt crux sections with moderate runouts in between. But when you start going around established crags finding 40' tall blank spots and putting up two bolt leads things start to get ridiculous. chosspector
From San Juans, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2008
1,289 points
Apr 18, 2011
Agree with you on the 40 blank wall thing Chosspector.

Not too interested in a 5.12 climber soloing or sparsely bolting much easier routes. If a guy puts up a runnout route at or just below their peak ability, that is cool and their accomplishment should be celebrated. If the resource is limited and the person is doing everything that way then that is pretty selfish.
1Eric Rhicard
Joined Feb 15, 2006
8,638 points
Apr 18, 2011
Agree to disagree I guess. I just don't think that there should be rap-bolted routes that people have to pre-inspect on TR in order to decide if they can climb it safely. Headpointing is lame. chosspector
From San Juans, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2008
1,289 points
Apr 18, 2011
Rubicon J Tree CA
Man you guys must be pretty bold to rap bolt R/X routes. David Hodges
From Parker, Colorado
Joined May 11, 2006
1,794 points
Apr 18, 2011
Just to throw in a quick two cents-
"Head-pointing" is as lame as it gets. If you've got to top-rope something a bunch of times to figure out the moves- why not leave it as a top-rope?? -oh yeah, so you can brag about how sick you are on run-outs....geez.
And a quick jab at definitions- if you're rap-bolting a route, rather than refering to it as "putting up a route," aren't you really "putting down a route"?
/rant
bdboulder
From Eldorado
Joined Oct 11, 2006
127 points
Apr 18, 2011
Colonel Mustard
DavidH wrote:
Man you guys must be pretty bold to rap bolt R/X routes.


Hah!

Skyeler, it seems you've expanded the debate only to find the consensus the same. I wouldn't be part of the wrench 'n crowbar rattling crew, you have a right to your route, but my experience on rap-bolted runouts leaves me unimpressed with the ethic. It's a strange thing, but many will embrace a runout on a ground up route while cursing premeditated ankle busters. Additionally, the bolting on routes of this type usually seem capricious to me; not in line with the climb were it bolted from the ground up, nor as well-placed if bolts were placed in a style more typical of conventional sport climbing.

It seems disingenuous to decry the soft nature of sport bolting while you're simultaneously unwilling to rise to the challenge of establishing the route from the bottom. Plenty of others have risen to this challenge in needlessly dangerous choss piles across the country.
Colonel Mustard
Joined Sep 13, 2005
1,380 points
Apr 18, 2011
Castle Wood Canyon, May '09
I'm not really sure where the headpointing came into this discussion as I'm fairly sure Skyeler didn't headpoint either martyr's or this new route.
Choss, have you attempted martyr's? It's fairly cool climbing, scary but cool none-the-less.

So what now? do the bolts need to fall out? or a few more added to protect the run out at the top?
Sam Feuerborn
From Durango, CO
Joined Aug 4, 2009
742 points
Apr 18, 2011
Zeke wrote:
Hah! Skyeler, it seems you've expanded the debate only to find the consensus the same. I wouldn't be part of the wrench 'n crowbar rattling crew, you have a right to your route, but my experience on rap-bolted runouts leaves me unimpressed with the ethic. It's a strange thing, but many will embrace a runout on a ground up route while cursing premeditated ankle busters. Additionally, the bolting on routes of this type usually seem capricious to me; not in line with the climb were it bolted from the ground up, nor as well-placed if bolts were placed in a style more typical of conventional sport climbing. It seems disingenuous to decry the soft nature of sport bolting while you're simultaneously unwilling to rise to the challenge of establishing the route from the bottom. Plenty of others have risen to this challenge in needlessly dangerous choss piles across the country.


+1

As to headpointing (lame or not), my understanding is that it is a tactic employed on high end/high consequence trad routes with dubious gear - not 5.10 sport routes.

As to the comment that 99% of climbers will preinspect the route is not only presumptious but border line ridiculous. First, you imply that 99% of climbers don't care about onsighting. Second, who actually preinspects a 5.10 sport route?
JoeP
From Littleton, CO
Joined Sep 28, 2006
0 points
Apr 18, 2011
We've got some folks here in red rock that do this same thing- except on big multi pitch routes- they drop a static line in, work it to death on TR, then bolt it just good enough to protect them on their wired send, then open it and rate it.

The routes have a reputation for being sandbagged and scary as hell- and, imho, this is a waste of a route because only people climbing a full number grade harder than these routes are rated have any chance of even getting up them. And the routes usually clock in at the .12(+) mark and the guys strong enough to get on that say they are more like mid .13R if you can figure out the moves.

It's fine to do this stuff occasionally, but if you're rap bolting it, it strikes me that you should consider other peoples ascents rather than your own. Even on lead, I would consider returning and placing more bolts if i felt the route would never get climbed due to run outs or dangerous fall potential. But maybe that's just me.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,395 points
Administrator
Apr 18, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
add me to the rap-bolting-runout-routes-is-lame list. slim
Joined Dec 1, 2004
2,067 points
Apr 18, 2011
Sam Feuerborn wrote:
I'm not really sure where the headpointing came into this discussion as I'm fairly sure Skyeler didn't headpoint either martyr's or this new route.


Because a few posts ago he recommended top roping the new route before leading it, and implies he shouldn't "have to add more bolts for the stubborn old school who don't believe in headpointing".
Jeremy Kasmann
From Denver, CO
Joined Nov 21, 2007
4 points
Apr 18, 2011
" Allow me to retort: 99% of climbers will pre-inspect this route since it is just to the side of the rap route off of the Watch Crystal- the most popular formation in Durango"

- 99% of Watch Crystal climbers rap the main face. The rest rap over the right Picto Crack on long established anchors. If you want to preinspect the route you could just jug the fixed line thats been hanging next to it for the last year??? That should be yanked...

It's a rap route....creating any runout with hard moves before the first bolt is ridiculous...if you blow it before you clip the first bolt you'll end up in the biggest patch of poison ivy up there!
-mn
Joined Mar 7, 2006
48 points
Apr 18, 2011
maple canyon climb, first ice climb
Having no experience bolting sport routes, take my questions with a grain of salt rather than criticism.

I have always thought that resting on gear blows the "on-sight" so wouldn't it be impossible to on-sight a route if you were to use hooks on lead to aid the drilling process? I don't see how it can be done otherwise. Am I missing something?

Also, making sure a climb will go together is an important part of putting up a route, I don't understand people who bolt on rappel then can't complete the climb, or people who bolt on lead and reach a point where they can't continue. It seems the best way to not waste bolts and rock alike would be to work the moves out on rap before placing any bolts at all. Also if the route can be done traditionally with gear or aided cleanly, why are we putting bolts in it at all?

Someone please explain what I'm missing.
Tyson Taylor
Joined Sep 3, 2010
100 points
Apr 18, 2011
Tyson Taylor wrote:
I don't understand people who bolt on rappel then can't complete the climb, or people who bolt on lead and reach a point where they can't continue. It seems the best way to not waste bolts and rock alike would be to work the moves out on rap before placing any bolts at all.


Go find a really steep sport line. Look at it. Think.
Jeremy Kasmann
From Denver, CO
Joined Nov 21, 2007
4 points
Apr 18, 2011
Sam, Headpointing came into the discussion when Skyeler said that anyone wanting to lead the route should TR it first. Which, might I add, is ridiculous. No, I have not attempted Martyr's because I'm not a strong enough climber to try to onsight runout 5.12. I tend to shy away from poorly bolted sport routes because I've been seriously injured on an old school poorly rap-bolted sport route. I don't care what you guys do with your route. You have a right to do that route the way you did just as much as I have a right to bolt a route like Dune the way that I did. But that doesn't mean that people aren't going to talk shit about your style... If it were my route I'd add a couple bolts so that people will climb it. I like to rap bolt routes that will (hopefully) be popular and people will enjoy. Not to spray about how good I am at runouts on MP. chosspector
From San Juans, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2008
1,289 points


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