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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 14, 2005
...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Get this... YEsterday, I was told by one of our very own Rangers, that there have been up to five deaths per year on Doule Cross... When I tried to explain that those figures were simply not true, she/he stated that due to being a "Ranger" for the NPS, that I did not know what I was talking about. Well it got me thinking... Is it even possible that I am wrong??? I read Randys info from 2004 and see that nowhere does it state there have been ........ so on and so on... So I ask once more, for total clarification (I am pretty sure I already know the answer), what are the stats on Double Cross??? I was also "TOLD" that Double Cross has had more deaths/accidents than any other route in the USA... And yes, I was told by the same NPS Jtree ranger... Chris, Randy anyone???...HELP!!!...

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By Woody Stark
Mar 9, 2003
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I along with Bill Briggs and Dick Webster established the ratings on Dogleg and Double Cross in the sixties. We probably did the free FA (Wolf Guide). The ratings were a bit conservative in those days. I climbed both routes recently to confirm my belief that they should be raised by one point. Further,I had no bolt kit at the time I led Double Cross; and one should be placed a ways below the crack. A bolt would probably have saved lives. I've always regreted this oversight. I haven't placed a bolt knowing that it would be chopped in this era. These comments should open the discussion.

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By Hayden Yurkanis
Mar 31, 2003
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Woody, coming from a very medicre climber, and for whatever my opinion may be worth--i don't think a bolt should be placed at the beginning of double cross. i know that you are very aware that not all climbs should be totally safe and that there are thousands of climbs that if a bolt were added, lives would have been saved...so there is no need to go down that road.

adding a bolt would make the climb much safer, but even so, after climbing in j-tree all last week (which is very limited exposure indeed!)i felt that double cross was quite reasonable and much safer than many other climbs that we got on. adding a bolt would increase traffic on this already impossible to get on climb, and would, i believe, make the climb a less rewarding lead and less aesthetic overall. but this is coming from a person who loves traditional climbing, and hates unnecessary drilling into beautiful rock on a beautiful climb. what does the local climbing community think?? Jay

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By Randy
Apr 1, 2003
Vern at the crux of the route. You can also see St...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I don't think anyone (including Woody) is serously thinking of adding a bolt to a route that has seen literally thousands of ascents over the last 36 years. It would probably only last hours before being removed, unnecessarily scaring the rock.

To my knowledge, none of the accidents on Double Cross have occured on the lower section getting to the crack (presumably where a bolt would be placed). What has happened is that climbers place gear in the crack and fall, and pull the gear. All of these accidents are directly due to climbers inability to place secure gear in a perfect 2 inch crack. Maybe clipping bolts is not good practice for placing gear, even on a route that is only moderate in difficulty.

Double Cross, unlike many 5.7/8 "cracks" actually requires one to know how to jam a crack. Jamming is a skill that is rarely developed on plastic.

I've placed a notation in the new guide about the accidents on Double Cross. Enough said.

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By Woody Stark
Apr 5, 2003
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

When I led this route in 67, I didn't use the crack except for placing a large angle. I reached up to the slanting edge above and did a hand over hand right to left then jerked up. I'm sure that approach would be a bit more of a thrill for those that like variety in their climbing diets. Further, I'm not going to place a bolt on the route. I thought that the fatalities were due to falls below the vertical crack. I'm baffled, as I feel Randy is, by people not being able to set excellent pro to protect the crux. I climbed it again last year, and the only thing that concerned me was, as usual, getting to the crack.

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By Woody Stark
Nov 14, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I've always been puzzled as to why this route is so popular. I've been told it has more ascents than any other route in the park. In my opinion, on this face, Dogleg and The Orphan are far superior. Somehow, beyond my understanding, it became fashionable to claim having climbed it--possibly its dark history. I don't like it; it hurts my feet. I will always regret not having placed a bolt part way up the apron. Some people would be alive today if I had. My favorite route in the park is The Flake which I've lead close to thirty times. It's the perfect final exam for someone learning to climb/lead. It's got a little of everything: chimney, jam, crack and face. Double Cross is a Johnny One Note.Yeah Locker, I'll do it with you, but only on about four asprin.A final thought: I realize that the injuries and fatalities were related to poor pro placement in the crack. One or two such incidents can be blown off as " Climbing is dangerous..." etc. However, this route has a particularly evil past; and that rather cavalier attitude should require some serious reflection. I've had three "excellent" cams pull on me in the last two years and lived because I had lower pro. This issue relating to Double Cross has been discussed before. An enormous number of climbers of a wide variety of competence do this route each year. That compounds the problem. I don't want to again hear of some young climber dying because of a mistake here. I welded a solid piton in the crack when I led it. Today, we don't have pro that's that simple and secure. Think of it in personal terms as I do: I wouldn't let my daughter lead it if she wanted; but, then, I'm not always around.

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By Woody Stark
Nov 27, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Yesterday afternoon, while getting ready to climb Granny or Grandma or whatever that new route next to Double Cross is, a young couple came up and ask us where DC was. They were just a couple of kids-male,female- and had no guide. I pointed it out. The fellow told me he'd just done his first trad lead -Toe Jam- and had been told by a "guide" that DC would be a good second lead for him. I ask his history: top roping only until today. I ask him the "guide's" name, but he couldn't remember. We were to say the least, chagrined. My partners and I discussed a few routes and decided that Mike's Books would be appropriate for a little more practice. I went over later and talked to them a bit advising them to work the sixes for awhile then move up to the sevens while learning to place pro etc. Lots of good sixes and seven in the park. This incident should stimulate a little reflection and curiosity on the part of the regulars.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Nov 27, 2004
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Woody Stark writes:

"An enormous number of climbers of a wide variety of competence do this route each year. That compounds the problem. I don't want to hear again of some young climber dying because of a mistake here. I welded a solid piton in the crack when I led it. Today we don't have pro that's that simple and secure."

Woody: I agree with your sentiments. As the first ascensionist, you have the right to install additional fixed pro on the route if you want. Do you think if YOU placed a bolt at the start, and let the local bolt choppers/climbing community know that it's your bolt, that the bolt would have a chance of staying?

I certainly hope that the bolt choppers would cut you some slack here, and realize that, in this instance, adding protection for ill-prepared fledgling leaders isn't a bad thing.

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By Woody Stark
Nov 28, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Because they're young and inexperienced and don't know any better; because they're ignorant about the history; because they see a lot of people doing it; because it was rated 5.7 at a time when 5.7 meant something different; because, for some reason, it's become the fashion; because it's in the main campground area and so obvious; because a lot of young climbers now come to trad from toproping and gyms; and because idiots that should know better recommend it to them.There was a time when the climbing community was relatively small and the lore and data moved quickly through the community. Now it's not at all unusual for novices to wander in and, due to no fault of their own, end up over their heads. Universally, this problem is something that we can't solve. I'm focusing only on this one route. I'm not trying to save the world; however, I did lead the FA and have more say on this issue than anyone else-that's the tradition in climbing. But I'm not a solipsist, and I'm giving reasonable time to ponder a solution.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Nov 28, 2004
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

AC writes: "Why can't the ill-prepared fledgling leader climb something else?"

I agree; they SHOULD climb something else, but they don't. Double Cross is like the neighboorhood swimming pool with the unlocked gate: attractive but hazardous. Easy access, a three-star rating, and problematic protection for the inexperienced. Read Woody's comment about the new trad leader who wanted to do the route. Without a big warning sign at the base, people are going to continue to get in over their heads here.

I wouldn't be advocating a bolt on this route if people hadn't died on it. I think Woody would like to see a bolt, but doesn't want to rile the locals by putting one in. I'm giving my view as a visitor to your wonderful climbing area. Believe me, we have the same debates in Colorado.

What makes Double Cross different is that the first ascensionist is still around and an active climber. He has said that he doesn't want to see another young climber die on this route. I am suporting his view.

Of course I'm not advocating that every route should be made "safe" for every climber. In the case of Double Cross, however, I feel a bolt is warranted, based on the opinion of the first ascensionist.

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By Anonymous Coward
Nov 28, 2004
Anonymous Coward
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

We had the same debate over a climb in Eldo called Calypso. I believe the most sensible resolution was to label the climb run out in the guidebook or make some note of it, and this was afetr somebody died on it!!! You can't protect all the fledgling leaders, they have to learn to look out for themselves.

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Nov 28, 2004
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

The difference between Double Cross and Calypso is this: the first ascensionist on Double Cross favors additional protection, not a random member of the climbing community.

It is a long-standing tradition in climbing that the first ascensionist has the right to add pro to his route; Layton Kor added a bolt on The Bulge in Eldorado after the first ascent.

If Layton Kor, Pat Ament, or Larry Dalke (the first ascensionists of Calypso) wanted to add a bolt to that route, I would be in favor of the change.

If Woody Stark wants to add a bolt to Double Cross, I likewise am in favor of the change.

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By Randy
Nov 28, 2004
Vern at the crux of the route. You can also see St...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Wait a minute, please....

Here are the facts:

1. Double Cross is without a doubt the most popular route in the Park ... AND... gets climbed more than probably any other route in the Park. (Conservatively over 1,000 ascents per season).

2. It is a moderate route (5.7/8).

3. It has lots of stars.

4. It is right in Hidden Valley Campground.

It should come as no surprise that it has been the site of a few accidents over the last decade.

Things to consider:

A. It has likely seen no more accidents per number of climbers as any other route in the Park.

B. The place where ALL OF THE KNOWN ACCIDENTS have occured on this climb is AFTER you enter the actual crack (where there is perfect gear placements). There is NOT A SINGLE ACCIDENT REPORTED on the lower section of the climb where this "proposed" bolt would be likely located. (At least I am hoping no one is seriously suggeting bolting next to the crack!)

C. Double Cross has seen somewhere on the order of 20,000+ ascents over more than 37 years. I think it is a little late to start contemplating the addition of bolt that is undisputably unecessary. This is not a case where the FA party really has much to say about the issue.

D. But....don't take this the wrong way, .... it is most likely the case that Woody, Dick Webster and Bill Briggs did not do the first ascent or FFA of Double Cross (in 1967). My research has shown that most of the obvious cracks up to 5.9 in HVCG were climbed at least a decade earlier (c1957/8; e.g.: Orphan was first free climbed no later than 1954). I have credited Woody, et al with the First Known Free Ascent in the new guide because I have not found direct records of an known earlier ascent (though it is very highly likely it was climbed free previously).

So there no real FA perogative here ---any way you choose to look at it.

If the actual facts are not convincing to anyone, let me further state that just because climbing "expectations" have been lowered over the years [because most climbers now learn on bolt protected gym routes and then outdoor sport routes] doesn't mean that standards of what is safe or dangerous for a moderate trad route suddenly change. This is a perfectly safe climb.

Climbing is actually a dangerous activity. Even routes with perfectly good protection see accidents (some fatal). Unless it is proposed that the entire pitch be bolted, the addition of a bolt at the bottom of this route will not do anything to reduce the number of future accidents on Double Cross.

Lastly... those that know me, also know that I have never removed (chopped) a protection bolt on any route, period. I will state, however, if a bolt is placed on Double Cross, (provided it lasts long enough) I will remove it and patch the hole.

Get a grip people...

Randy Vogel

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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Nov 28, 2004
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo,...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Randy,

Since you are so adamantly opposed to adding protection to this climb, I certainly hope you put some caveats about potential hazards in your new guidebook.

For example, see Richard Rossiter's comments on Tagger andthe first pitch of Redguard Route in "Rock Climbing Eldorado Canyon".

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 28, 2004
...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Woody Stark is a climbing partner of mine and he and I have discussed the Double Cross issue a couple of times in the least. I have lead Double Cross and did not find it hard to protect at all. The start was no problem. I have to go with Randy on this one. Leave the route as it is. Anyone that climbs damned well better know the consequences they face...if not............so be it. Be accountable for your own actions. If you get in above your head it is not because someone did not add enough bolts etc... Choose routes accordingly. Don't take off on a route, fuck up, and then blame others................it's on you.......and yes many of the problems are due to inexperience created by thinking "I climb 5.10 in the gym so 5.7 on real rock etc..." There are too many people buying gear and climbing that have not climbed the ranks so to speak. It is inevitable that there are going to be more accidents. Unfortunate.

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By Woody Stark
Nov 29, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I'm getting tired off this subject as I'm sure others are. So, I'll wrap up now and then let go of it. To say this is not a dangerous route is nonsense. It isn't anymore dangerous than most routes in JT if you only focus on the route to the exclusion of all other factors. However, its location, the numerous stars which I don't believe it deserves etc. enhance its appeal. It, therefore, draws an " unhealthy " volume of climbers. Unhealthy because a fair number of those people have no business climbing it for previously stated reasons. To that set, it is dangerous. It's time to face a fact: the world of rock-climbing has, unfortunately, changed: there may be more climbers in JT on any given Fall weekend than there were in the U.S. thirty years ago. I had a mentor that taught me to climb. I was brought along slowly and incrementally as were all the people I knew at the time. Many today, due to factors beyond our control, wander into the sport with no reasonable guidance. That's a situation that's beyond correction. I'm not trying to correct it. This entire polemic has been about a big rock with an crack in it. I felt this crack might be made safer by placing a bolt about three quarters of the way up the apron. That bolt might keep some poor soul off the ground if they screwed up the crux. I never entertained the notion of putting that obscene little bolt and hanger next to a protectable crack. That you can see on the SW Corner of Headstone which nobody seems to have gotten their bowels in a uproar over. And Sweatband seems to have given birth to another bolt close above the horizontal ( Where are the Nazi choppers when you need them.). One would think I had recommended taking a dump on the alter in Saint Peter's Cathedral or painting pornographic graffiti on the Washington Monument. This ain't religion people; it's a sport. One bolt to save a life or two on a route that has an unusually nasty record of killed and wounded does not make a revolution.I agree with a previous recommendation that a notation be included vis a vis this matter in the coming guide. And I truely hope that there will be no nervous breakdowns, riots or bookburnings if that be done. Finis

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By Murf
Nov 29, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross



To debate bolting DC is ludicrous. The bolt would not be allowed to remain. I'm afraid Randy probably couldn't get to it fast enough to lay a wrench on it.

And how about SW Corner.. You got any clear pictures of bolt placements that are unoriginal? I've got fairly dim memories of the placements. I'm not talking about bolts that replace pins, those are fair enough in my book. I haven't been yelled at for a while as a bolt chopping radical, so how about this. I'll pull anything in SW corner that isn't original given the pin for bolt arguement above. I'll need photos though.

As for Sweatband, I don't know about any newish bolts, but they certainly may have been "new" before my time.

Murf

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By Woody Stark
Nov 29, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Having climbed it a couple of times in the early days, there was one bolt. The remains can still be seen. I believe it was put in by Mark Powel. We saw climbers on it one day and ask about the pro. We then went over and climbed it that day. Sorry about the photos: I probably should have anticipated that almost four decades later I'd need them to prove a point. I really wouldn't go swinging whatever you swing Murf and leave only one bolt halfway up the ridge. There might be a complaint or two. The first bolt at the base is the naughty one. I reached over it a couple of months ago and placed a firm cam and skipped the bolt.

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By Kevin Jeffreys
Nov 29, 2004
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

You can tell the the season has offically begun. THe annual Double Cross banter/debate/pissing contest has begun. Even more expected than the swallows returning to Capistrano.

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By Randy
Nov 15, 2005
Vern at the crux of the route. You can also see St...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

locker---That has to be the funniest story I've heard in a while. It is so incomprehensively wrong that it doesn't really warrant a serious response.

Hey Woody, you should take special pride by having so many dead and managled bodies being generated by your old route.

Perhaps, the entire route should be sport bolted or like dangerous caves, just cemented over.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 15, 2005
...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

the amazing thing....the Ranger actually wanted to bet me...I should have gone for it!!! But it would have been way too easy. The Ranger in question was even a bit ticked acting when I challanged her/him... I tried to set the record straight. To no avail!!! I am not making any of this up by the way... Thanks for your responses... I was about 99.99% sure that I was not wrong... But being the Jtrees Village Idiot...well..........

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By Randy
Nov 16, 2005
Vern at the crux of the route. You can also see St...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

And they call K2 the Killer Mountain; its got nothing on Double Cross.

I hear that Palm Springs Memorial Hospital is opening a new wing devoted entirely to care for the 120+ people who are seriously injured on this route each year.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 16, 2005
...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I bumped into Bob G. today out here and he and I discussed Double Cross... He, like I thinks that there have been three(???)... deaths total...now that sounds about right!!!... I can't wait to see one certain young NPS Ranger when she/he gets back on shift...

about those "Chipped holds"... I cannot tell a lie (RIGHT!!!)... I chipped all four.. I did it for the good of the "Climbing Community" and the safty of my fellow climbers...

Woody, no need to bolt it now!!!

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By Woody Stark
Nov 17, 2005
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

Okay, it's time to act. I'm renting a jackhammer tomorrow and drilling a 36" hole at the crux. I'll place 4' titanium rod 4" in diameter in that hole and solve this problem once and for all. Don't anyone try to stop me; I'll be armed.

FLAG
 
By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Nov 18, 2005
...
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

IT CONTINUES!!! I spoke with the Jtree NPS Ranger today again and told HER/him that I had discussed it with Bob G. in person, Randy and CM here and of course the Woodman also... well.......guess what??? The buck got passed to yet another Jtree NPS Ranger... supposedly he (Guess who??? TOOL himself) told the other Ranger this news... Now I just don't get it.... and why would Tools word be more valid than mine, Randys, Bobs, Chris', Woodys etc... (Actually I can understand why mine might be questioned)... well somewhat in a huff, the Ranger bid me farewell. NO smile or hug this time (Better be a lady then huh?).............When I talk again with the Toolman, I am going to razz the hell out of him.............Baby Tool, if you are reading this........straighten that Ranger out damnit!!!...

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By Woody Stark
Dec 12, 2005
This post was originally a comment in Double Cross

I think, possibly, maybe, with due consideration and some doubts, that this, baring some unexpected exigency, will be my last post vis a vis this route. I must have posted this info somewhere else thinking it was here; so here goes: Last year, late in the evening a bunch of us were sitting around at the base of DC when a young couple came up and ask us if the crack behind us was DC. The young fellow told us that a guide they had hired the day before told them that DC would be a good second lead for him. I looked at their fresh young faces (The girl looked about eighteen or so.)and, while listening to the giggles and chokes etc. of my friends, I took them over to Mike's Books. I later went over to see how they were doing. They were just competent at that level and moving slowly. Climbing has changed significantly due to the quantity, training and very limited experience of newbies in the sport. I learned to climb on Tahquitz. The progression was incremental and rather slow. One gathered competence and experience gradually. Now, with schools, guides and newbies introducing newbies to the sport, along with the opportunity to rapidly get in over one's head due to lack of experience, the hazards are greater. We tend to be highly individualistic and , at times, remote during climbing. All I can recommend is that the more experienced devote more time to guidance of the younger and less experienced when an opportunity presents itself. We should, at times, be more forward in speaking up. Take the extra time to speak up if you have concerns about a situation. I've found this usually works and is appreciated.

FLAG


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