Mountain Project Logo

New bolts at Crow Hill

Original Post
Chris Gesek · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 180

Does anyone know what route was recently bolted to the left of Jane? Did someone bolt Dune or is it something new?

line of new bolts at Crow Hill
Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

Looks pretty close to Dune. Want to start a pool on how long they last?

losbill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 130

I think they are trying to bolt Dune. However where some of the bolts are placed don't seem to coincide with the route as I remember it from watching Zeb Enberg do it several years ago from the ground up with gear. He was belayed by his Dad who also had led it, albeit a number of years before, ground up on gear.

Get out and get your runs on Diagonal, CroMag, Jane, Tarzan, Watusi, Birds of Prey, Intertwine, Thin Line, etc. now before you have to do them while staring at bright and shiny hardware. Since these guys taken it upon themselves to ignore the traditional no-bolt ethic at the crag and bolt a line, or attempted to bolt a line, that has been led ground up on gear a number of times then they or others of like mind will not stop with Dune.

Really don't understand it. If you really want to bolt something go to Farley or several other crags in western Mass or in the Worcester area that are under active development with a different ethic. Hook up with those working at those areas (call Pete Ward at the WMCC he will hook you up) and have them point you in the direction where you can find, clean, equip and put up your own bolted 5.12. Why bolt a line that has been led a number of times on gear at a no-bolt ethic crag. I don't get it.

I have only 17 years experience climbing at Crow Hill. Four other climbers who have a combined Crow Hill experience of over 140 years feel similarly.

I would really be interested in hearing from those who have led Dune over the years on gear. Tim, Eric, Zeb, others what do you think?

Of course the entire discussion could come to an end with the posting of a photo by the bolters of the face with the bolts removed and the holes appropriately patched the color of the rock.

zekem · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 70

"Of course the entire discussion could come to an end with the posting of a photo by the bolters of the face with the bolts removed and the holes appropriately patched the color of the rock."


javd von dauber · · East Brookfield MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 93

Since Chris gesek is ken nichols' regular climbing partner, they are probably already gone.

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

They won't last a week is my guess

JD1984 · · Worcester, MA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 545

I agree with Losbill 100 % on this. Crow Hill is and always has been a traditional area. I certainly do not want to see the classics I learned to climb on be bolted. I don't expect these bolts to last and will not miss them when they are gone. There are plenty of bolting opportunities out there if a person is so inclined; even some FA potential if you know where to look. Ethics for specific areas are supposed to be determined by consensus of the community utilizing the area not by the overpowering opinion of a rogue climber. I don't agree with bolting Dune any more than I agree with Nichols chopping High Rocks.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

Bill sums it up perfectly (except for giving me credit for leading Dune - best I ever did was TR). I don't think its worth spending the time rationalizing or reiterating why this is unacceptable - I can't believe whoever did this did so innocently - it had to be done to make a statement fully expecting repercussions.

To be totally honest there is a little bit of historical data to support bolting. When it was first freed (early 90's by Mallory - Henry Barber and Tom Haydin had aided it - A5/Fisherman's Wall - 20 years earlier) Mallory did place bolts. They didn't last long and people worked hard to come up with natural placements.

With modern gear along with the traditions of Crow Hill I don't think there is the need for any bolted lines there. Additional better positioned fixed anchors to mitigate erosion is another story.

DPas · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 25

Maybe one of the gentleman from the Aid-Climbing thread can shead some light on the subject?

This discussion is particularly relevant:…

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 290

Haven't climbed there since the mid-80s, but bolts should be about as welcome there as gumby troops w/ stun grenades...

Eric8 · · Maynard, MA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 245

So Dune has been led 3x ground up without bolts by the best all around climbers New England has ever produced and can't have a couple bolts at the start.

Cro-mag has been led ground up without the bolt or without the bolt being clipped 100's if not 1000's of times and it get a bolt.

Makes total sense.

Whomever, chops it should at least replace the pins while they are up their so they can still claim it can be lead ground up with a straight face...

losbill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 130

So eric8 should we presume you are responsible for the bolts?

Bill Neacy

Eric8 · · Maynard, MA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 245

No. I didn't put those bolts in and don't know who did. I'm just pointing out the irony of complaining about a bolts on a marginally protected face climb, when there is a bolted crack everyone seems okay with 20ft to the left.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0

50% fewer bolts on Cro-Mag then there used to be. But I think the real distinction is that Cro-Mag was not retrobolted. I guess we need SA to weigh in on the history of that first bolt on Cro-Mag.

I think where your apparent argument really looses steam is the part based on the assumption that a more often done route is "better"

Eric8 · · Maynard, MA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 245

I never said one route was better than the other. Dune is probably the best looking face in MA.

I assumed the bolt to start Cro-mag was added after the FA. I guess I'm wrong. I know that the first time I climbed that route I didn't clip it. And based on the logic Bill applied that means it should be chopped.

I will stop posting now since IÂ’m not going to change anyoneÂ’s mind and itÂ’s going to get chopped most likely by someone who hasnÂ’t led it without the bolts.

losbill · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 130

Okay Eric8, play the I'm taking my ball and going home game if you wish. I am hoping you will not. If you do decide to stick around how do you reconcile the recent bolting with the fact that Crow Hill has a well-established, long-standing and long-respected trad ethic?

In the 17 years I have climbed there, other than 3 bolted anchors, only one bolt has been added to the crag. The climb it is on gets climbed very rarely by one of the FAs. He replaced a bolt within the last few years. It had been placed on the first ascent and subsequently got immediately chopped many, many years ago. You can't see the bolt unless you know where it is and look very hard and no one other than the FA climbs the line. Let sleeping dogs lie on that one.

Someone who very rarely climbs at Crow got fired up to place a bolt at the first pin location on Thin Line a couple of years ago. It was missing at the time. It is a shallow placement and requires a cut-off angle and some skill to safely place. I told him that it would not be received well by the local community. Despite this he went ahead and contacted Ed Webster the FA about placing a bolt at the location and Ed said no. The pin was soon replaced and is very solid. Of course neither pin is really necessary given modern gear.

Regarding chopping the bolt on CroMag I have seen it led more than once without clipping the bolt. For information where it came from, how it got there and what should be done with Steve Arsenault will have to weigh in. I know I asked him about it one day but can't remember the answer.

But hopefully reasonable people can agree Eric8 that one exception, represented by the CroMag bolt, a rule does not make especially given 20 years or more of status quo at Crow Hill.

On a separate issue, similar to Eric Enberg, I don't understand your apparent contention that bolting a climb that has been led on gear from the ground up is justified since it has only been done 3 times (I'm pretty sure it has been more). Where is the cut-off Eric8? 5 times, 10 times, only once per year? What number of leads does a climb need to be protected from bolting?

If we throw the trad climbing ethic out the window, or rather modify it according to the Eric8 criterion, what other climbs at Crow would you suggest should be open to bolting? What climbs should not be bolted?

I will repeat my hope the bolters do the right thing and remove their gear and patch the rock.

Bill Neacy

john strand · · southern colo · Joined May 2008 · Points: 1,640

The whole idea of adding bolts to an existing route is silly....It's been done several times with out and that's that

"i could do it if there was a bolt here..and here and" You can do it or you can't

Eric8 · · Maynard, MA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 245

Okay, Bill I will bite. Though it seems unlikely we will change one anotherÂ’s minds. And even if we did come to some agreement, what real world value would it have?

I havenÂ’t been climbing at Crow Hill 17 years. I donÂ’t know its history. I donÂ’t think Thin Line should be bolted because it protects naturally even the pitons are borderline unnecessary. Hence when I climb at Crow hill have I have little clue what ethical rules apply.

Is it the no bolts on routes that have been led ground up ethic? That doesnÂ’t seem to be in play but I thought that was your rational for why Dune should be chopped which is why I brought up Cro-mag and the fact that it has been lead ground up many more times.

Is it the style of the first ascent? Well the first free ascent of Dune was on bolts

I at least find Eric EngbergÂ’s choice of no bolts allowed (accept to prevent erosion) admirable because I can understand it. This would be the strict traditional ethic you claim Crow has but clearly doesnÂ’t.

Instead, it sounds like it is just a hodgepodge of ethics where the only ethic is do what has always has been done and no changes. But new climbers will question that, as I am, because the way something has always been done doesnÂ’t mean it is the best way.

A lot of climbers can lead Cro-mag without the fixed gear. But not Dune so it doesnÂ’t really make sense to us when we look at the two lines and try to understand the ethics at play. A couple bolts on Dune doesnÂ’t turn it into a sport climb and doesnÂ’t mean someone will bolt Thin Line.

I think it is a bit of a shame because Dune is the probably the nicest looking face in MA but no one ever does it because only a very select few elite climbers can lead it safety without a couple of bolts and toproping is no longer really viewed as a valuable method of ascent. And I do think there is an inherent value in having more classic routes people can climb because they enhance our experiences.

Also the ugliest thing on that wall is the fixed mank anchor on Jane. But at least it is not a BOLTED anchor. Guess I will just continue to laugh to myself every time I climb at Crow.

HBTHREE · · ma · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 30

this is dumb, those bolts need to go and should be removed in a clean way as to not f up the rock. yall are sad and wanna climb her, headpoint it and than give it a go or not. that thing is a cool proud line, a hardman route that that should inspire you to climb it in the style it deserves. It's not about anything other than that if u don't get it, don't climb it wtf

S. Neoh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 0

To be completely upfront - 1) I regard EricE a good friend, 2) I know Zeb and I know John Mallory, and had conversations about Dune, at different times, with both of them, 3) I am now a complete sport wimp, and 4) I am not a CH local.
Though not a local, CH has a special place in my heart because Intertwine was my first ever trad lead 24~25 years ago.
All that said, my feeling is the protection bolts on Dune should be skillfully removed. A non-conspicuous, solid, bolted anchor should be installed for Jane. I will gladly contribute to the cause if the community condones it. The few times I have followed EE on Jane, I had a jolly good time. A good route, although a bit on the short side.

DavidLG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 15

I do not have any investment one way or the other on these bolts. If they are removed my only input is that it needs to be done so that they vanish and leave no trace. This means someone with experience on removing not placing bolts needs to do it. If the bolts can not be removed in this fashion the route is still the same as pre-bolts. After all you do not have to clip them when leading the route if you don't think they should be there.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply