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By Larry S
May 22, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Thanks, Mojo! All your points are very valid, I hope the others on here take them into consideration. I believe the bolting part of the discussion was just theoretical, and we haven't spurred anyone out to start drilling.

To bring this full circle, the original intent I had with starting this conversation was to discuss the area in general, and see if people thought there were things we could do to clean up/improve the gap. I've been climbing there for a few years, but often avoided it because it was, in my opinion at the time, dirty, overgrown, and not really worth the effort. I could drive an hour and a half farther to the gunks and get on some nice clean rock and not come back covered in poison ivy and ticks.

Anyways, I'm just planning to try and climb there more, and If i can, clean up some overgrown routes.

I think priorities should be cleaning overgrown routes and trail maintenance. Doing so could make a big impact. On the PA side there are TONS of routes that could be cleaned. Next would be to consider the common descent routes - be they slung trees, fixed gear, or bolted rappels. There are some sketch old fixed gear anchors mid wall out there. The lowest things on the list would be the altering of existing routes, which, as the points and counter-points above show, is a minefield of opinions.


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By ThomasK
May 22, 2013

Well, for the sake of clarity in the mosh pit of discussion;
The only reason I consider viable for putting a bolt on Martin's Fall is because on that long traverse the second is assuming exactly the same risks as the leader, just as a pendulum fall has exactly the same force as a straight down fall. I'm good and I was not worried leading it. But I was very concerned that my not-too-good second might fall. If someone does take responsibility to place a bolt it should probably be toward the beginning but just far enough along "to protect the second" at this hardest part. The leader is already assuming danger from the get-go, but the second assumes he's relatively safe. Not on this traverse.

I only mentioned Getting Bent because I tried it once and nearly died. The gear was all old fixed stuff and I couldn't for the life of me get anything else in. Several rusted pitons all half sticking out of a thin crack, a small wired hex stuck in a crack at the roof but with the wired loop completely ripped apart!, and halfway along the traverse a bong with the eye cracked- that's it. What barely saved me was that hex. It was uncippable, but I just managed to stuff a loop of spectra from one of my small stoppers around it to clip. Worn out from hanging around trying to get in better gear I summoned some courage and raced out to the bong. With fading strength I clipped it and continued on until my fingers melted as I tried to round the lip onto vegetated horizontals.
The fall was much further than I was expecting. After lowering off and resting I went back up for another shot. When I got back below the roof I saw that somehow the bong or carabiner clipped to it had completely failed. And to my horror the spectra cord around the hex had almost ripped completely through. Sheath gone, all the twisted little white cords ripped apart save just part of one. I have never seen that happen. I was belayed off dental floss! In trepidation I gingerly eased onto the rope and told my belayer to slowly and smoothly lower me down.
I religiously avoid that part of the cliff now, in homage for my miraculous survival. But if good gears/bolts were replaced there (not perhaps an easy chore)... I don't have the bravado I had that day but I might just grit my teeth and give it another try.

As far as getting the NPS involved. I'm an ethics anarchist and perhaps most climbers are too. Maybe they should be involved in other aspects (what the guides are up to?) but I think this should be up to the daredevils themselves to do or not do. NPS might get carried away into something they are not suited for and assume liability for the results (all those Mohonk Preserve bolts). Besides, nobody asked their opinion before putting in any of the pins and bolts already at the cliff. I don't mean to dismiss them, but in this particular discussion I think I do, perhaps for their own good.


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By Michael C
From New Jersey
May 22, 2013
Base of Main Flow, The Narrows.

with regards to clean-up...

how exactly does one clean a route? serious question. what sort of tools and equipment are used? anyone have experience?

I'd like to suggest to all of those who are intested making an effort that we focus on specific lines, one at a time, instead of working at random.

with regards to pulling old pins, rusted bolts, etc...

how should that be approached? do we start a list of routes with bad gear? does anyone know how to safely replace bolts?


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
May 22, 2013
Rumney

Cleanup using various sizes and rigidity wire brushes. Most home improvement stores have them, and they're usually pretty cheap. Better brushes can be found online for a little more money.

Not that I know anything about spending hours scrubbing rock...


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By Larry S
May 22, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Michael C wrote:
with regards to clean-up... how exactly does one clean a route? serious question. what sort of tools and equipment are used? anyone have experience?


General landscraping stuff... Pruners, Small saw, possibly shovel & rake, wire brushes for scrubbing the rock (ones with a broom handle would be nice). Possibly have a small hammer and prybar around for loose/dangerous rock. Poison Ivy killer. Safety Glasses at a minimum, possibly a face or mask. Best to do it on rappel if you can, so you work your way down and don't toss new crap from above on your freshly cleaned rock.

Michael C wrote:
I'd like to suggest to all of those who are intested making an effort that we focus on specific lines, one at a time, instead of working at random.


I'll start off a list -
Tamany - Black Wall Area - The Black Wall 5.7PG * - Good route, just needs the bushes beaten back a bit.
Minsi - Land of the Giants Area - Point of No Return 5.8+G ** - Completely overgrown.
Minsi - Morning Wall Area - Morning Wall 5.9PG and Morning Sickness Variation 5.11b PG ** - Probably overgrown. Unsure about the condition of the bolted anchors.

Michael C wrote:
with regards to pulling old pins, rusted bolts, etc... how should that be approached? do we start a list of routes with bad gear? does anyone know how to safely replace bolts?


Joe Forte would be our expert. He's been active on this thread over on Rockclimbing.com and has already told me he's interested in helping out. I do own a hand drill myself but have not bolted anything.


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By AML
From NJ
May 22, 2013
Easy Rider

Thanks, Larry.
I would recommend a respirator for those doing the scrubbing. Those little disposable face masks don't do much.

Is Minsi still closed?


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By ThomasK
May 22, 2013

A little tip. For those grassy hummocks; when they're still green grab a big hand full of grass, tuck and wiggle, and often the whole chunk of grass and dirt comes nicely out. If you have to dig and scrape; prepare to get filthy, and the dirt just gets brushed down on all the holds below you.
Post a pic after you're done.


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By Larry S
May 22, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

So far as I know minsi is still closed. I emailed and called and haven't gotten an answer yet.


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By AEM
May 22, 2013

Team, Minsi is closed. Saw a raptor closure sign posted there 3 weeks back. Another thing that is a really easy to do is clip vines on the approach. Invasive vines like grapevine smother native vegetation. Regimented cutting of Poison ivy is also probably the best way to beat that back I wonder? It would be nice to have a chemical free alternative.


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By AEM
May 22, 2013

Did not talk to any rangers, just saw the sign.


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By Larry S
May 23, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Heard back from the ranger today. Still closed, they think the eggs have hatched, but it's difficult to tell through all the foliage.


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By joeforte
From palmerton, pa
May 23, 2013

Sorry to chime in late, but I am not on the internet much, which brings up a very valid question... is an internet consensus sufficient for adding bolts to an existing route? I think not. Before bolts get added to anything, first ascensionists must be asked. If they are unavailable, the second, or friends of the FAist should be asked.

Why, you might ask? Consider this... some people chose to climb for the mental challenge as well as the physical. Some might say that you "don't have to clip the bolt" if it is added. While this may be true, just the existence of the bolt changes the nature of the route. If you have the option of clipping the bolt, the route has already become less committing. There is an amazing sense of personal responsibility, self control, and accomplishment that comes from leading a route that challenges you both mentally and physically. There are PLENTY of G and PG routes to climb at the gap, and all over NEPA. Please leave some R and X routes for those who desire them. It will be a very sad day when all routes have been brought down to G's, just because people didn't feel safe leading them. When you climb alpine, you get R and X, and some people use local rock to get experience on this terrain. Some even enjoy this terrain! Hard to believe isn't it? Well, try it out. It's addicting. If you don't like it, climb Triumverate, Osprey, Surprise... etc.

As far as cleaning the gap... I'm all for it. Let's do a climb and clean in Keith's memory. When was his birthday? I'd also be willing to replace some old rusty bolts. Give me some suggestions, chip a little cash, and some new stainless will take the place of that old rusty 1/4 inch timebomb.


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By Larry S
May 23, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Thanks, joe! I'm going to try and head up to tamany this weekend and do a little recon. Sounds like it might still be a bit on minsi reopening.


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By AEM
May 24, 2013

Joe,
There is a guy that I have bumped into many times at Stover and the Narrows named Keith. Is this the Keith you are referring to? I last saw him last year at Stover.


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By PosiDave
May 24, 2013

didn't read the whole thread but I will after I am done working. Do not replace bolts or add bolts (or any fixed anchors) in NJ. NJ sucks for climbing enough and adding bolts (or any fixed anchors) where bolts are illegal makes it harder for everyone else and gives the Long arm of the law (it is very long here) easier to ban climbing


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By Michael C
From New Jersey
May 24, 2013
Base of Main Flow, The Narrows.

Chillax everyone. Nobody here is going to be bolting any routes. It was just a hypothetical discussion.

Let's return the convo to route clean-up and trail work.


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By The Phoenix
May 24, 2013
The Phoenix

AntonioL wrote:
I would recommend a respirator for those doing the scrubbing.


Seriously... you're joking, right? Man up u panzies...

You people clearly have never actually developed routes before... a wire brush, a crowbar, and maybe a nylon brush... DONE.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
May 24, 2013
modern man

I know the ethics police have spoken but I'm a believer that all choss should be bolted.


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By Larry S
May 24, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

It's tough to say w/ the weather forecast and the holiday weekend, but if I get some spare time, I'll be up there with some tools this weekend trying to do some cleaning along the base on the NJ side. I'll try and beat some of that poison ivy along the trail back.

We need to bring the focus back - What routes need some love?

Base of corkscrew had some Poison Ivy intrusion on it, in fact, it seemed we had to do an alternate start compared to the guidebook because the "official" start was very overgrown.

Black Wall needs some vertical gardening to remove the bushes, we climbed it 3 weeks ago and they were in your face up the corner and we came out covered in ticks

Triumvurate
and Tanamund could always use some grass removal on the bottom.


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By mgree
May 24, 2013

It's tough to say which routes need touched up - you get so used to the vegetation that you just start to accept that it's part of every climb.

Friends in High Places is one that definitely sticks out in my mind, though, because you hit a lot of vegetation right at the first pitch belay and before the crux.

I always wondered about the start of Corkscrew. I've done it a half dozen times and have always come at the route from the left, because it's an absolute jungle if you go the way the book tells you. I wouldn't want to begin to cut that mess down, and don't think that starting from the left changes the route in a bad way.

There's a bush that kind of gets in the way of the first crux of Shadowline Direct. It's an awesome route but a little scary due to loose rock.

I'm "sanguma" from rc.com, by the way. This seems like a pretty productive discussion so I finally got a mp account so I could join in.


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By Michael C
From New Jersey
May 24, 2013
Base of Main Flow, The Narrows.

Friends In High Places would be first on my list.

A lot of the routes mentioned seemed to be in between The Black Wall and Double Overhang Area. So, it's a concentrated area.

Over on Minsi I'd like to see The Grunge Wall get cleaned up. That whole area (going to the climber's left) on out to Suprise.


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By Larry S
May 24, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Welcome to MP, Mgree, i'm the OP, abobo123 from over on RC. I've been planning to get on Friends in High Places soon. I'll bring the pruners.

Michael - I think the main part of the grunge wall may be a lost cause... thus the name... But the Land of the giants wall - just next to it - could be a good time.

Another one to add to the list - Espresso 5.8+ PG** on the practice face on minsi. I tried it and couldn't find the route to get to the crack on P2, which had a bush growing out of it. Had some scary blocks on it too.


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By joeforte
From palmerton, pa
May 25, 2013

No, that is a different Keith.

AEM wrote:
Joe, There is a guy that I have bumped into many times at Stover and the Narrows named Keith. Is this the Keith you are referring to? I last saw him last year at Stover.


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By ThomasK
May 25, 2013

I'd like to add some spin to a couple points Joe brought up.

Most of the old guard 1st ascensionists have long gone, even decades ago. Although they may be happy to have their names remembered for some climbs here I'm sure they could care less about us following their style of protection. They're older now and life has other concerns. Besides they don't own their route, there's no patent. There is no crazy reason to contact them to get permission. When they did their 1st ascent they did whatever the hell they wanted for ethics or protection. Fine. So should we. Not to completely ignore theirs but to have our own.

Fritz Wiessner led most of his climbs ground up with just a couple pitons and a rope tied around his waist! Of course I would never suggest bolting any of Fritz' routes, but that's my ethics, out of respect; its not a rule that applies to everybody's routes. Nowadays most routes are worked on top-rope, protection drilled on rappel, then led. You feel more courtesy for their time involved in producing the route than respect for the actual ascent. And if they overdid the bolts where gear could have been enough, perhaps disdain.

We, especially the locals, have just as much right to decide current protection and ethics at the Gap than all the past climbers there. The old guard has left. Pitons came first and now bolts are being put in by 1st ascents and apparently by guides. As hinted, the Gap will not stay obscure too much longer. The population density is too high and the climbing too good. More climbers will arrive, many itching for bolted climbs. There is a place for some pitons and bolts at the Gap and there is a place for trad R and X rated climbs. I'm suggesting a middle ground, that rules don't and shouldn't work, but maybe managed anarchy can.

I think that an internet consensus actually might be the best solution. The gunks.com site is one of the best and serves the needs of that area quite well. The Gap IS the Gunks, well maybe the southern Gunks or poor-man's Gunks, but it is the same rock. I think someone should ask them to add "Delaware Water Gap" as another category between "Gunks Routes" and "Other Areas". It would be a perfect forum to discuss everything about DWG; protection issues, new routes and variations, route conditions, suggestions, work days, etc. Not that I don't like this site but it is nice to have all DWG discussions concentrated on one site easy to reference, and I think it would benefit from the experienced gunks.com users.

I didn't know the Gap had rusty old 1/4 inch bolts, although the pitons are often older and rustier.

I am one of those who do like R rated routes. And I would probably argue to not retro bolt most of those routes at the Gap. But there may be exceptions. I only climbed Martin's Fall once but I'd recommend looking at the seriousness of the beginning of that traverse. I recall the leader is well protected, but the second faces a fair size swing. Its a great Gap climb that many moderate grade climbers would be thrilled climbing but is more serious for the second than any 5.6 at the Gunks.

X ratings have gotten looser. I noticed in the new Smith Rocks guide that I've climbed 13 X rated routes there. I thought they were all R rated at the time. Except for one that should be XX (I Lost My Lunch), don't ever do that climb. Fortunately there are very few X routes at the Gap. Getting Bent was probably PG or PG-13 when done on aid and likewise when later free climbed. The critical fixed gear has deteriorated over time so it is now X rated (technically X minus since I didn't die). Its an exciting climb that should be restored with either pitons or bolts to a PG-13 rating.

(Sorry for the long rant, but I found this whole discussion verging on being a productive Gap forum, and couldn't resist throwing in my 2 cents.)


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By joeforte
From palmerton, pa
May 25, 2013

PosiDave wrote:
didn't read the whole thread but I will after I am done working. Do not replace bolts or add bolts (or any fixed anchors) in NJ. NJ sucks for climbing enough and adding bolts (or any fixed anchors) where bolts are illegal makes it harder for everyone else and gives the Long arm of the law (it is very long here) easier to ban climbing


No problem. New jersey will be kept rusty and manky!


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