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Rant: toproping bolted rappel routes
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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 28, 2013
Rumney
PosiDave wrote:
... go elsewhere or deal with it.


I should apply that to everything in my life. Pure wizdum.

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By PosiDave
Aug 28, 2013
Kevin Heckeler wrote:
I should apply that to everything in my life. Pure wizdum.



Do you go to Mcdonalds and demand fresh food? You would be eliminating a large amount of clientele from an area by denying access.

The people you want to deny access to are the perfect consumer for climbing.

- They aren't chipping boulder problems
- They aren't bolting climbs
- They support guide services
- They usually include that rich person that spent to much time making a 6 figure salary to climb.
- They introduce new blood to the area & sport

Other than pure convenience for us what does kicking these people out do for the preserve?

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 28, 2013
Rumney
Who said to "kick them out"? I thought we were speaking in hypotheticals? Are you suggesting we need to cater to top ropers?

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By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Aug 29, 2013
Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Who said to "kick them out"? I thought we were speaking in hypotheticals? Are you suggesting we need to cater to top ropers?


I might be reading his post wrong, but it seems to me like he's saying no one group is more important than another, so we should cater to ALL climbers that are respectful of the area and can adapt to regional norms (this includes older climbers that can't adapt to changing norms). It seems like a lot of the complaints about tr'ers is more of a want to keep the status quo how it is, instead of having norms of the community adapt to the changing population of the community. The short-sighted view would be "THEY MUST ADAPT TO OUUUURRRR WAY OR AREN'T WELCOME" but that only works for so long. People are getting older and not climbing anymore, people come and go, and the only group of people that is exploding in population is the gym/tr community. So we, as trad climbers, can either shun this group, or we can invite them along and hope that they change through positive guidance.

I agree though, in general the tr-tough-guys I see at the gunks tend to be respecting the area just as much as most old-heads. Are they hogging classics? Probably, but like I said before, you can walk ten yards in either direction and be near another classic that DOESN'T have bolt anchors. And of course, most of these groups aren't climbing p2, and anything past easy-o tends to have a nice giant gt ledge staring you in the face, with plenty of open 2nd and 3rd pitches open because gumbies are hang-dogging p1 on tr

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By The Phoenix
Aug 29, 2013
The Phoenix
Rob Davis wrote:
It seems like a lot of the complaints about tr'ers is more of a want to keep the status quo how it is, instead of having norms of the community adapt to the changing population of the community.


This...

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By PosiDave
Aug 29, 2013
Kevin Heckeler wrote:
Who said to "kick them out"? I thought we were speaking in hypotheticals? Are you suggesting we need to cater to top ropers?



I am not saying we should cater to them. I fully agree it is annoying as hell to deal with sometimes. But at the end of the day they provide money to the preserve and while it is a inconvenience at times the pros do actually work in favor of access rights. The people who should be yelled at (Chippers & Bolters) because they create an actual issue and put access at risk. If you respect that a leader or rap station has the right away over your TR project then you are doing it right and are not being disrespectful.

share what ya got.

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By Dana Marie
From Cold Spring
Aug 30, 2013
by the river
I have to say, that I was in the Nears on Saturday last and it felt like an outdoor gym. Obviously, going past Grease Gun Groove helps this problem considerably, but still-in terms of impact, noise, barking dogs, cigarette smoke, gear, shoes, (purses!?) packs EVERY WHERE, hearing at full volume, 'there's a total crimper for your left hand-three feet up dude-that's how I send this bitch', etc. etc. ad infinitum

makes me invariably sad.

If people like the gym atmosphere, why don't they just climb in a gym? Oh, I guess you can't smoke in a gym. My bad.

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By The Phoenix
Aug 30, 2013
The Phoenix
Dana Marie wrote:
I have to say, that I was in the Nears on Saturday last and it felt like an outdoor gym. Obviously, going past Grease Gun Groove helps this problem considerably, but still-in terms of impact, noise, barking dogs, cigarette smoke, gear, shoes, (purses!?) packs EVERY WHERE, hearing at full volume, 'there's a total crimper for your left hand-three feet up dude-that's how I send this bitch', etc. etc. ad infinitum makes me invariably sad. If people like the gym atmosphere, why don't they just climb in a gym? Oh, I guess you can't smoke in a gym. My bad.



it was like that 10 years ago... Climbing at the Gunks is exactly as you state, an outdoor gym with little nature and no 'wilderness'. You, like others here are going to the gunks with an expectation of what 'you want' and not taking the gunks for what it is now... the outdoor gym for NYC.

Try ADKs or NH for the wilderness nature quiet peaceful climbing you are looking for. . .

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By Kedron Silsbee
From Princeton, NJ
Aug 30, 2013
What horrible thing would happen if top-ropers didn't give way to lead climbers? Gunks routes are short, and it's often (usually) possible to skip the first pitch of a route if you want to access the upper pitches. I almost exclusively lead, but I would never ask someone top-roping to get out of my way so I could lead something if they were there first. That just seems rude when I know I can walk 100 feet and get on another great climb. It's a small inconvenience to me to pick a different route and a hassle for them to move or wait while I take my sweet time to get up their route.

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By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Sep 1, 2013
Climbed Trapps on Friday and PK saturday - It's funny to climb them back to back because you realize how much more removed PK is from the noise of the highway and the truck downshifting/motorcycles/screeching tires at 50% of the Trapps (parking lot~High E?). It was also empty on a Saturday of a three day weekend (which I can't say for the Trapps the Friday before). It's too short for me to want to go back regularly, but it seems like everyone complaining about noise and crowd from gym climbers at the Trapps should consider spending their weekends climbing at Peterskill.

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By Gunkiemike
Sep 1, 2013
Rob Davis wrote:
Climbed Trapps on Friday and PK saturday - It's funny to climb them back to back because you realize how much more removed PK is from the noise of the highway and the truck downshifting/motorcycles/screeching tires at 50% of the Trapps (parking lot~High E?). It was also empty on a Saturday of a three day weekend (which I can't say for the Trapps the Friday before). It's too short for me to want to go back regularly, but it seems like everyone complaining about noise and crowd from gym climbers at the Trapps should consider spending their weekends climbing at Peterskill.


And if PK is too close to the road, walk 10-15 minutes up the wide trail to the upper PK cliff band. Rock is taller there (max 90 ft), the climber population is less, and there may actually be a sense of adventure as you explore the not-yet-published lines up there. Some bolts for the TR crowd, but quite a few attractive leads as well.

And then there is Millbrook...

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By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Sep 1, 2013
Gunkiemike wrote:
And if PK is too close to the road, walk 10-15 minutes up the wide trail to the upper PK cliff band. Rock is taller there (max 90 ft), the climber population is less, and there may actually be a sense of adventure as you explore the not-yet-published lines up there. Some bolts for the TR crowd, but quite a few attractive leads as well. And then there is Millbrook...


oh totally! My comment was more on people complaining about gym-rats being too loud at the gunks. Lets be honest here for a second, there is very little that is actually quiet in the trapps!

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Sep 1, 2013
Rumney
You just need to walk further down the carriage road and get out of the uberfall area. Once you're 5 minutes past the stairmaster (say from Madame G's down) you don't hear the traffic since the road isn't directly below you anymore. Same for the Nears, which are relatively far from the road and noise from man is lessened. I do tend to avoid the uberfall because it's pretty much party central compared to the relative quiet that can sometimes (50% of the time?) be found elsewhere in the Gunks. This is true for a lot of climbing areas - walk 5 minutes form the car and you're going to be surrounded by climbers, walk ten minutes and be all by yourself. That's another reason why I like going up to the ADKs - longer approaches tends to result in solitude. ;-)

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By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Sep 2, 2013
Kevin Heckeler wrote:
You just need to walk further down the carriage road and get out of the uberfall area. Once you're 5 minutes past the stairmaster (say from Madame G's down) you don't hear the traffic since the road isn't directly below you anymore. Same for the Nears, which are relatively far from the road and noise from man is lessened. I do tend to avoid the uberfall because it's pretty much party central compared to the relative quiet that can sometimes (50% of the time?) be found elsewhere in the Gunks. This is true for a lot of climbing areas - walk 5 minutes form the car and you're going to be surrounded by climbers, walk ten minutes and be all by yourself. That's another reason why I like going up to the ADKs - longer approaches tends to result in solitude. ;-)


I feel like even climbing madam g's you can hear the hairpin screech, but maybe I'm hearing phantom tires. But yes, that was kind of one of my points earlier - The answer for any of the crowds/tr-ing/etc is honestly just walk a little further.

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By SethG
Sep 2, 2013
I too find large groups hogging excellent lines to be a nuisance. But it is not a new problem and I don't think there's anything much we can do about it. I think education will be futile and new regulation would be worse than the current problem.

The idea that the top ropers should be encouraged to go to Peterskill-- as brilliant and insightful as it is-- is neither new nor practical. Peterskill is already known as the prime top roping area and it is not speculation to note the current reality that people are turned away regularly.

So there we are. Luckily the Gunks is a large area with hundreds and hundreds of good climbs at several cliffs. As has been noted you can just walk a bit (even at the Trapps) and find something approaching solitude even on a weekend. If you broaden your horizons to the climbs with fewer guidebook stars and/or learn to climb harder than 5.6 you will find that the crowds don't get in your way in the slightest.

Or you can wait for hours behind two parties to get on a three-star polish fest and feel frustrated.

On the subject of the bolted full length rap routes, I'm glad some exist. I have taken solace in knowing I can get to them if I don't like the mank I'm faced with using in front of me. But it does take some experience with the top of the cliff to locate these routes. This comes with time. Sometimes it is fun to stumble around up there trying to find them! I've never had the problem of rapping down a bolted route atop another party or if I have it wasn't that hard to sort out. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me.

The bolted stations at the tops of popular first pitches have only encouraged the top rope scourge and I'd rather they disappeared. But my solution is just to do other routes on the weekends.

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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
Sep 2, 2013
"I was giving you a basic math equation. If everyone hates the "hordes" of topropers. then obviously it is multiple groups and can fill the 75 people capacity of peterskill pretty fast. "

The Peterskill limit includes roped climbers and boulderers, and does consistently reach to the limit on good weather weekend days. I haven't climbed at PK in a few years but early on I would go several times a year. Back then it was standard to get there as soon after opening as possible, because by 11am the climber access limit would likely have been met.

As for the campground, I noticed chain link fence on 299 the other day, so it looks like they are about to begin work which will include tools and machinery, which makes it "on schedule" with what I was told when I asked Hank about it a few months ago. At that time he said they were in the approval process for the contracts(if I recall correctly)and were hoping for a soft opening in spring of 2014.

It looks like the Campground IS finally coming. It will be both good and bad. Seems like a pretty nice place to camp, with both drive-in and walk-in sites, and an onsite manager. There will be a community firepit, which will make for a nice social aspect, and help make a 10pm quiet time more probable, since most revelry after 10 does tend to come from a mixture of booze and firelight. But the free camping at MUA and Slime will end. Don't know if that will coincide directly with campground opening, but eventually it will be the case.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 2, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
doligo wrote:
Tell me more about the Son of Easy O anchors - are they above the roofs? All piton anchor? Yikes! Don't care if they're new, I'd be sketched to TR from pitons (rappel ok, but not TR), unless I bring a hammer to test them out. Someone's gotta enlighten them top-ropers.


Above the roofs, at the ledge where Easy O traverses in from the left. I think maybe too far up to toprope with a single 60m rope, but I'm told that 70m ropes work.

All-piton anchor with chains. Pretty burly at the moment. Really attractive too...



"Legal" by current Preserve rules because there were three decaying pitons in this spot that were replaced.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 2, 2013
At the BRC
Top ropers are an invasive species and should be ruthlessly extirpated whenever they escape their native habitat (ie Ragged Mountain and Stoney Point.)

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By The Coop
Sep 2, 2013
Can someone tell me how someone top-roping SOEO is any different than belaying from the top? Each person is still climbing the route once(usually) so I don't see how it's being tied up any longer or getting any more polished. Personally, I think 3 people tr'ing a route is more respectful than the time sapping cluster f@&k that ensues with all 3 going to the top. This discussion is really about a bunch of people who think they have bigger balls than everyone else because they're more "trad" than thou.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Sep 2, 2013
The Coop wrote:
Can someone tell me how someone top-roping SOEO is any different than belaying from the top? Each person is still climbing the route once(usually) so I don't see how it's being tied up any longer or getting any more polished. Personally, I think 3 people tr'ing a route is more respectful than the time sapping cluster f@&k that ensues with all 3 going to the top. This discussion is really about a bunch of people who think they have bigger balls than everyone else because they're more "trad" than thou.


There's some truth to that. But a party of two that is leading the route is almost certainly going to be skilled enough to complete the climb without a lot difficulty: few people pick gear protected routes that are really far above their pay grade. Yet with a 5-6 people toproping - which is the norm at the 'Gunks - there's no reason for all 5, 6 or more members of a group not to spend endless hours getting winched up a climb - and that is also the norm. Certainly, their right to do so, and the assertion that one mode takes the same amount of time as the other could be true, but it isn't for those reasons.

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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Sep 3, 2013
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogsti...
The Coop wrote:
Can someone tell me how someone top-roping SOEO is any different than belaying from the top? Each person is still climbing the route once(usually) so I don't see how it's being tied up any longer or getting any more polished...This discussion is really about a bunch of people who think they have bigger balls than everyone else because they're more "trad" than thou.


Well, I for one haven't mastered the art of peering into other people's souls to detect what they are "really" talking about, so I'm going to stick with what the discussion is really really about.

The remarks on timing might be true if top-ropers came in pairs. But that isn't the way it often works. Those big-balled traddies can do amazing things, but they don't head up routes with four, five, six people, numbers that are fairly common for top-ropers. So one way top-roping takes up much more time is that it seems to encourage and then accommodate much larger parties.

Another thing the tradder-than-thou bunch---in spite of their general superiority in all things---has never been able to master is climbing two or three routes simultaneously. But sometimes a single leader will set up top-ropes on two or three adjacent climbs to keep his or her posse engaged. So a second way top-roping takes up much more time is it allows a single group to monopolize a collection of nearby routes.

Most of this falls into the realm of common decency, which is often in short supply when resources get crowded. The intelligent way to manage such resources is to minimize occasions for conflict. Running rappel routes down popular climbs instead maximizes the potential for conflict. People claim to be doing this as a public service, but it isn't any such thing.

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By The Coop
Sep 3, 2013
OK fair enough. Personally, I've never had any issue with disrespectful top-ropers due to the act of top-roping itself. The crowd that I see on weekends who set up camp in the Uberfall with strollers, blankets, hammocks, ropes/pack everywhere is annoying, but at the same time it's pretty good people watching too. Sure, in areas like the Uberfall, Seasons, Froghead wall, this is pretty common but really it doesn't bother me because, that's life. And..It's fun climbing with friends and socializing, so who can blame them. I really don't see anything inherently wrong with this. I'd say about 90% of the time "these" people share ropes with strangers and make a good effort to hurry along once someone else makes it clear that they would like to give it a go on lead. There are however, what seems to me to be a new influx of Gunks climber that really have no clue when it comes to cliff etiquette and don't share, but there are just as many of these same people also doing multi-pitch climbs as there are top-ropers, so really this is just a symptom of more climbers coming to the cliff in general. I believe because of this ever-growing flow of traffic to the cliff, climbers need to come together and develop a reasonable bolting policy that respects the area's history but also confronts the reality of a growing population of climbers. Somewhere between the Ken Nichols mindset and the grid-bolting mindset there is a reasonable middle ground that will offer a good compromise to the wants of the old guard and the next generation of climbers. MOre logical rappel routes, replacing old tat with solid anchors, and maybe even adding a couple of bolts to some horrorshow 12x routes that sadly will never be enjoyed in there current state probably isn't a huge stretch considering the changing times.

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Sep 3, 2013
Brian wrote:
Let's start a movement to ban top-roping at the Gunks!! We'll get the Preserve to hire a team of big burly guys to patrol the cliffs with knives. Any rope that has been hanging on a route more than 10 minutes gets cut. ;-)

If the Gunks target program works well, then it should be expanded out west to Joshua Tree. I have spent the better part of a day out there trying to find something, even a crag, that isn't littered with TRs for most of the day.

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By doligo
Sep 3, 2013
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
Fat Dad wrote:
If the Gunks target program works well, then it should be expanded out west to Joshua Tree. I have spent the better part of a day out there trying to find something, even a crag, that isn't littered with TRs for most of the day.


Haha, good luck with that! California is Front Range Colorado on steroids, which in turn makes the Gunks look like wilderness.

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By Brian
From North Kingstown, RI
Sep 3, 2013
Eiger summit
rgold wrote:
Above the roofs, at the ledge where Easy O traverses in from the left. I think maybe too far up to toprope with a single 60m rope, but I'm told that 70m ropes work. All-piton anchor with chains. Pretty burly at the moment. Really attractive too... "Legal" by current Preserve rules because there were three decaying pitons in this spot that were replaced.


It can be top-roped with a 60m rope.

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