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By Wade Frank
From Littleton, CO
Mar 16, 2009
Rhys at Lake McConaughy.

Well I know this may not fit in the trad section, but I decided to post here because typically trad climbers have a more conservative view on "the rock". So here is my question.

While I was climbing this weekend I noticed a lot of large rocks on a particular route were fairly loose, I felt there was a good chance they would not support a climber using the rock as a hold, additionaly not safe to place pro next to. I have been in some areas where there will be a white X on similar rocks indicating that the rock should not be used as a hold or for pro. Here is where I am conflicted a little because I want my partner or myself on belay to be safe and not have large rocks falling on us but I would hate to see a million marks on the rock. Is it appropriate to mark potential hazards where someone could be seriously injured? What action have you guys/girls taken in the past if anything?

Oh, and to clarify I was climbing in Clear Creek Canyon where a near fatal accident happened last year when a large rock was dislodged by the leader and fell onto the belayer.


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By Tim Kline
From Littleton, co
Mar 16, 2009
Classic climb called Gossamer in the monster area of Rushmore

Was this at the Wall of the 90's? I have pulled several large rocks off of this crag and one that almost nailed my partner in the head. I personally hate to mark the rocks, but at the same time I feel that the safety of my partner and myself outweigh the ascetics of the crag. If the crag were somewhere where a lot of people come and look at the formations for their beauty and not just a place where us rock jocks conglomerate and climb I may be more apt to not mark the rock, but otherwise if it's just a crag... mark it... don't over mark it!! If there are that many loose rocks maybe one should try to clean it.


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By Wade Frank
From Littleton, CO
Mar 16, 2009
Rhys at Lake McConaughy.

Not sure what crag it was? I was on a route called Solid Gold.


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By matthewWallace
From plymouth, nh
Mar 16, 2009
Cool movement on this line

i think if you were making tick marks for places to place gear, or for holds to use, that would be crossing the line, but putting an x on a hold that can been seen from the perspective of the climber is fine, it doesnt need to be seen from the ground just big enough to be seen by the climber.

as long as this is how chalk is being used to mark things on the rock that should not be a problem. IMHO


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By Justin Dansby
From GA
Mar 16, 2009
Me at the top.

I've seen this alot at the far end of Foster Falls lately. It has helped make it somewhat safer, but it is distracting.


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By Buff Johnson
Mar 16, 2009
smiley face

I'd say no to marking on this rock. You are well in posting as a trad, as the route and rock in general is established a mixed pro -- it's not a typical CCC sport crag. There is an abundance of questionable areas higher up on the rock and going around the other aspects -- so it is expected that there could be loose rock on this crag.

If there's a concern, you could have someone help spot with a radio on the ground and just clean the route, there is no danger to the roadway; but you do want to have a lookout for climbers & rafters. If it does come down to x'ing some of the choss, I or someone else will more than likely just clean the block off the face.


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By SAL
From broomdigiddy
Mar 16, 2009
good times. <br />

clean it. if you cant. Mark it. there is no reason, espacially in CCC to be worried about a damn white x on a block. isnt there enough gumby's trundling themselves these days. F the LNT. if you are not in a situation to remove it then at least warn those next to follow. There could be folks at the base next time when that block gets used as a hand hold. then pulled and crushed on someone. then its not their lucky day.


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By Wade Frank
From Littleton, CO
Mar 17, 2009
Rhys at Lake McConaughy.

Cool, thank you for the replies.

Oh and SAL what does the LNT stand for in the "F the LNT"??? Just curious.


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By Pete Elliott
From Co Spgs CO
Mar 17, 2009

Lazy Noob Tradclimbers.

Not really... Leave No Trace.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Mar 17, 2009

LNT - Leave No Trace. I agree on marking, unlike most of chalk marks, those Xs are generally for safety reason, not just for the leader, but anyone below the climb.


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By Legs Magillicutty
From Littleton
Mar 17, 2009
Function over fashion.  My newest pair of climbing shoes.

I constantly check for lose rock when I climb; at times can be pretty anal about it. I can thank climbing in the mountains for that technique! When I find something unsafe, I alert my partner if I'm on lead and visa versa. When communication is poor and the loose rock is one that I feel my partner will have to use, I'll mark it. I feel hypocritical about this. I feel like we climbers should leave no trace whenever possible but I also don't want to see anyone get hurt because they pulled down on something that was loose.


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By SAL
From broomdigiddy
Mar 17, 2009
good times. <br />

Pete Elliott wrote:
Lazy Noob Tradclimbers. Not really... Leave No Trace.


:)

Yup.

The best thing to do like mentioned above is to get people to clear the area below and get rid of it.


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By Ron Olsen
From Boulder, CO
Mar 17, 2009
In the cow pasture below the Tre Cime de Lavaredo, after climbing Spitagoras, a 12-pitch 10a route. <br /> <br />Photo by <a href='/u/bruce-hildenbrand//11057'>Bruce Hildenbrand</a>

Please mark loose rock with a chalked X. Decreasing the chance of injury or death from falling rock supercedes the purist "leave no trace" ethic. Doesn't matter if it's trad or sport.

And please teach your less-experienced partners to test holds and be aware of the potential for loose rock on every climb.


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By Wade Frank
From Littleton, CO
Mar 17, 2009
Rhys at Lake McConaughy.

And please teach your less-experienced partners to test holds and be aware of the potential for loose rock on every climb.

I think the statement above is right on. I remember when I first started climbing this advice was never mentioned, I'm sure just an oversight, but I will certainly advise the people I climb with to check for loose rock on the way up. If I am unable to clean the choss from now on I will mark the hazard with a small x to help prevent injury.


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By The Piker
From colo. springs
Apr 16, 2009

Dear Wade, I'll be as gentle as I can, i.e.TRAD Inform your belayer, get him out of the way and pitch the rock! TRAD is loose rocks, TRAD is entire pitches up loose blocks, TRAD is finding out that one of your favorite climbs has fallen off etc... Whine.. Whine.. . Is this a climbing webpage or Better Housekeeping? Don't be making anything, if you're scared of objective danger,take up T.V. poker.
I've got some dustbunnies under my bed, but they don't keep me from sleeping.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Apr 17, 2009
Stabby

You were on a 5-pitch mixed gear route in CCC. Trundling off a loose block from up high has a high probability of having something bad happen; either to your 2nd, someone below, or perhaps even a busload of greyhairs heading to Blackhawk. Everyone I have ever climbed with will mark a loose block with an X, and also make every attempt to trundle it safely. But a lot of times that is not possible. A good trundle is a highly unpredictable event, a lot more energy than you'd expect gets generated by the falling block.

I was belaying Tzilla while he was installing Natural Selection at Little Eiger while Richard Wright was working something new to the East. He came across a microwave sized block that had to go right then. Richard held it and had all of us at the base move away. I got about 100 feet to the side and watched the thing sail. It hit the initial slab and partially exploded, the biggest remaining chunk rolling through the bushes onto US 6. After we watched it stop, blood started down my forehead from a piece of shrapnel. Then some dude drove over the block, blowing out a tire and rupturing his oil pan. He called the cops, we tried to hide at the base; and eventually had to go down to the road and explain to the cop that we had no idea who would do such a thing. Dude was trying to burn holes in us with his eyeballs, but the sheriff took our side amazingly.

Point being, even in a "controlled" trundle bad shit can happen. So this is why marking x's pretty much mandatory. The Piker's opinion above is just foolish.


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By saxfiend
Administrator
From Decatur, GA
Apr 17, 2009
Relaxing at the P1 belay of Fruit Loops at Rumbling Bald.

Mike Lane wrote:
So this is why marking x's pretty much mandatory. The Piker's opinion above is just foolish.

Good post. It's fascinating how just about anything, including something as sensible as marking potential death blocks, can become an excuse for juvenile macho posturing by some people.

JL


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By Buff Johnson
Apr 17, 2009
smiley face

Mike - you won't hit the roadway from that crag; though you could hit rafters during certain times of the year. Because of this, we're not going to leave x-blocks on the wall with routes that are getting regular climbing traffic. This place is not that hard to spot and run communication over radio.


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By Nelson Lunsford
Apr 17, 2009

This is such a subjective matter and opinions will vary all over the place. I have authored many routes in Colorado and Utah. People have been hurt one or two of my climbs from rock breaking. I try to clean it as best as I can, but freezing and thawing over the years still makes things loose over time. This is one of the challenges of the sport. If something is obviously loose and too big or difficult to clean, then I will not set a route on it. This is the case on the "75 Cairns Wall" at IC, where some folks came along and put a route up that we looked at for years. We did not set a route on it even though the upper part of the climb is very clean and pretty. The loose stuff on the bottom of the climb is a complete show stopper. To then give it 3 stars, thus encouraging someone to get on it is irresponsible. But, everyone must use their own judgement? This particular climb does not need an "X" mark, it is obvious from 100 feet away


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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
Apr 17, 2009
Cocaine Corner

actually Mark, in regards to Solid Gold, Richard wrote in his discription "Rocks ricocheting from the slab will hit the road, trust me"


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By Buff Johnson
Apr 17, 2009
smiley face

are there two routes in the canyon with that name?
from Creekside you will not hit the road.


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By Derek Lawrence
From Bailey
Apr 17, 2009
Cocaine Corner

Nope, just the one on Creekside... I could see how you would think it unlikely that the rocks could hit the road from Creekside but if a rock came off from up high enough and started bouncing - who knows...


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By Mark Roth
From Boulder
Apr 17, 2009
not climbing

www.nytimes.com/1987/08/11/us/7-killed-as-rock-in-colorado-h>>>

Be careful cleaning loose rock. You never know...


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By Phoenix
From louisville, colorado
Apr 17, 2009
hiking 8-5-09 (Don't chase the rabbit!!!)

Ice climbing is great practice for dodging falling microwaves or the occasional mini-van. Hmm, I think I might just start marking the loose ice with a big X, stead of cleaning it... Whatcha think?
I feel that (generally) cleaning loose choss or hazards from a climb should be and mostly is done by the developer/FA'ist. I look at it as a responsibility to do my best to make sure the people who might climb my routes are safe. However yes, time takes its toll, and things can work loose. Such is some of the adventure of climbing. I think we are on the right track here, if a hazard can safely be cleaned/removed, it certainly should be. Conversely, if it is not safe or possible to clean said hazard, mark it and let others know. In my book safety trumps ethics, especially when were talking about chalk marks. Good post!


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By Deep Fried
From Warshington
May 3, 2009

Chalk and tape wash off in the rain -I put safety before aeshetics and always carry a can of spray paint with me to mark loose rock and/or suspect holds.


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By slim
Administrator
May 3, 2009
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i would think it quite possible for a trundled block from an upper pitch at creekside to hit the road. have you ever seen how far OUT a block can bounce when it hits a slab, or something else. yikes.

nost sure what my overall opinion is. i've climbed a thousand routes with "X's" on blocks that were fine. this gets kind of annoying, but, probably better safe than sorry. i tend to pay attention for loose rock in the first place, so an X or a lack of an X won't make much of a difference. however, i have climbed with other climbers who could "accidently" trundle the only loose piece of rock in a 100 square miles. these people are hopeless. good to see that you are concerned though, nothing wrong with that for sure!


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