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Uintas: Trad vs. Sport
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By DallinH
From Utah
Jun 1, 2012
I have spent a fair amount of time in the Uintas the ethics out there have always confused me a bit. How many feasible trad routes have been bolted there. Has anyone considered climbing some of the better sports lines sanz bolts?

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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 2, 2012
Andrew Gram
Welcome to the SLC area quartzite experience. If BCC or the Uintahs had anything similar to the Eldo or Flatirons bolting regulations there would be half or less the number of bolts there are now. I still can't decide if that is a good or bad thing.

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By Alex Quitiquit
From Salt Lake City
Jun 2, 2012
meow
I've been planning a gear ascent of Black Elk for this summer. The ethics seems to lean toward bolt friendly.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jun 2, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
Yeah, the bolting seemed a bit much when I climbed there last year. In this day and age, however, if no FS laws are being broken, it seems the best ethic is to respect the style of the FA, whether gear protected or bolted.

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By Craig Martin
From Park City
Jun 2, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
Alex Quitiquit wrote:
The ethics seems to lean toward bolt friendly.


This is true of some crags in the Uintas but there are also crags where the bolting has been kept to a minimum or completely discouraged by the original developers and guidebook authors. The Recess, The Portal, Wall Of Tiers, Fehr Lake are all places with a distinct lack of fully bolt protected sport climbs.

I think many route developers approach the process differently. Some people just want the FA experience and don't intend to ever climb it again or care if anyone else does either. Some want to create a route that others will enjoy. Some want to create super safe routes for the beginners or children or even themselves;-) Sometimes the route itself dictates the end result.

Quarzite is an interesting climbing medium and it often seems quite contrived. Bolts sometimes add to a climb's quality by directing the climber onto steeper, better climbing away from weaknesses where protection may be found. But wandering around on some seemingly blank face fiddling TCU's and sideways nuts into shallow horizontals is some peoples bag also.

Anyways, end of rambling. I have never been to Eldo or the Flatirons, my quartzite climbing experience is limited to northern ut.

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Jun 2, 2012
modern man
half of Ruths lake could be done with gear , the Stonegarden has a few nice mixed lines

that IME route to the right of the outside corner in BCC mountainproject.com/v/weed-kil...
is a great example of a well thought out mixed quartzite line
the small stopper at the top(if you find it) makes the finish way more fun than clipping a bolt

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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 2, 2012
Andrew Gram
Eldo and the Flatirons aren't quartzite - sorry if I was misunderstood. My point there was that the land managers there have instituted a bolt review committee, applications must be submitted before bolts are placed, and consequently you don't end up with bolted routes that could have been trad routes. I don't want a committee like that here, but I do wish that people would stop bolting easily protectable features.

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By Craig Martin
From Park City
Jun 2, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
Andrew Gram wrote:
Eldo and the Flatirons aren't quartzite - sorry if I was misunderstood.


Sorry, my bad.

I hope the Northern UT climbing community can continue to exist without a bolting review committee.

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By DallinH
From Utah
Jun 2, 2012
The saddest thing i have found while climbing there is clipping a bolt right next perfect gear placement. I don't know that i fully agree with the FA having the right to put up the route in the method that suits them. If that is to be the case what is to stop a potenial FA from chipping hold. I wouldn't mind a change being made to the ethics of the area. I suppose I could just not clip the bolts. No bolting committee necessary. Just responisble decision makers.

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By Craig Martin
From Park City
Jun 2, 2012
Captain Cairn kicker
IMO claiming that a route could have gone on gear and it actually going on gear are different things.

I would like to hear of peoples experiences going all trad on any established sport route in the Uintas.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jun 2, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
Craig Martin wrote:
IMO claiming that a route could have gone on gear and it actually going on gear are different things.


Exactly. Especially in quartzite, most placements in are horizontals, so one person's manageable trad lead is another's r-rated scarefest. That's why, in the midst of so many different opinions, leaving it up to the FA seems the best option. Especially since the Uintas are very much a moderate bolt-clipper's dream right now.

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By DallinH
From Utah
Jun 3, 2012
I think it would be a cool project to make an effort to climb the feasible routes with as little use of bolts as possible. In gunks style.

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By Alex Quitiquit
From Salt Lake City
Jun 3, 2012
meow
But seriously how are the conditions up at Ruth lake?

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