New bolts at Crow Hill


Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 650
Luc wrote: Rumney? a complete view of New England climbing??? that's the last spot I'd go climbing in the Northeast, it's a mass of gym/sport climbers and urbanites. Kids, Dogs, litter, crowds. Gimme Trad, cuts out the gumbies and the crowds. I'm sorry, just my opinion, I have no say what happens at CH, just that I wish areas can remain as natural as possible to allow future generations to be able to climb routes the same way previous generations have without having mental crutches spread out all over the place to accommodate the lowest common denominator.
You'll find just as many... "gym/sport climbers and urbanites. Kids, Dogs, litter, crowds." at the Gunks doing trad. It has little to do with the type of climbing.
Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 650
M Sprague wrote:What are John Mallery's thoughts on it? He did the FA didn't he?...
Didn't he die in the Cordillera Blanca back in the 1980s or do I have a different guy?
Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Wrong guy, for sure. Can't even place whom you are thinking of. John Mallery is alive and well, though apparantly not climbing these days nor active on MP.

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 416
zswan wrote: You know, saying "just my opinion, sorry" isn't an excuse for saying stupid and insulting things. How terrible that people learned this sport in a gym, convenient to their homes. How awful it is that people leave the city on the weekends to climb in the mountains, and teach their kids to enjoy the sport. I'm so sorry that the rest of us cause you any inconvenience, especially the "gumbies" who don't climb as hard as you. And since you want us to climb in the same manner as previous generations, I assume you're cool if I pound some pitons in?
zing! zing! zing!!!!
yeah seriously, this whole hate on the new generation of climbers thing is getting a little out of hand, please hop off that bandwagon.
M Sprague · · New England · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 4,799
Brian wrote: Didn't he die in the Cordillera Blanca back in the 1980s or do I have a different guy?
You are probably confusing him with Chris Hassig, another MIT climber and prolific first ascentionist. He was one of the pioneers of Rumney.
tech.mit.edu/V105/N29/obit....
Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 8,903

Yeah, thought I'd get flak for that.
It's people's choice's, one of the main reasons I climb is to avoid crowds and get away. I understand many people enjoy the super social side of climbing and I respect their choice.
And no, I'm not a hard climber but I sure as hell get irritated when I see a bolt within a couple feet of a crack that's easy to protect with an excuse that "most" routes are sport on the cliff.

But this is all off topic so nevermind my outbursts or my agoraphobia.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
zswan wrote: You know, saying "just my opinion, sorry" isn't an excuse for saying stupid and insulting things. How terrible that people learned this sport in a gym, convenient to their homes. How awful it is that people leave the city on the weekends to climb in the mountains, and teach their kids to enjoy the sport. I'm so sorry that the rest of us cause you any inconvenience, especially the "gumbies" who don't climb as hard as you. And since you want us to climb in the same manner as previous generations, I assume you're cool if I pound some pitons in?
It certainly is the PC thing to do to defend the folks transitioning from gym to crag and resist calling them the root of all evil. But there is a bit of truth to the fact that someone who has learned "rockclimbing" in a gym environment has certain expectations and perceptions. Fundamentally that it is basically safe and civilized and if at some venue it isn't then it should be. Odds are if they started in a gym then they mainly view it as a sport and exercise and aren't familiar with (or interested in) climbing history but simply want to be able to do their sport on rocks in a similar style to what they do on plastic. And with their shear numbers along with developers willing to accommodate them they tend to get their way. So if you can focus that on a few areas (Rumney, WEML etc. at Farley) that serves that purpose. But I don't think it follows that every outdoors venue needs to be retrofit to accommodate them. "Build it and they will come" certainly applies along with "be careful what you wish for".
Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 285
Eric Engberg wrote:Odds are if they started in a gym then they mainly view it as a sport and exercise and aren't familiar with (or interested in) climbing history but simply want to be able to do their sport on rocks in a similar style to what they do on plastic
This is the ironic part of it. The first gyms were built so you could have a passable emulation of real climbing indoors, but the net result has been to grow generations of climbers who instead want a faithful emulation of what they do in the gym outside. I know few who don't care for the feel of real rock, but do it grudgingly to be outside and to socialize. And that's another change - the cloistered environs of the gyms have led climbing to be much more of a group / social activity than in the past.
Zach Swanson · · Newton, MA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 28
Eric Engberg wrote:I don't think it follows that every outdoors venue needs to be retrofit to accommodate them.
Sure, I agree. But I also don't think that everyone who climbs in a gym that's under the age of 40 automatically deserves to be spit and shat on by the guys who live out in the woods of NH. Just because I have a job in the city (and a kid) and train at a gym during the week doesn't make an asshole. (I am an asshole, don't get me wrong - but not for those reasons)
Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,712
Healyje wrote: I'm about as rabidly anti-bolt as they come, but I don't consider headpointing particularly 'inspiring'; it mostly just shows that with enough rote reps you can get up most anything with enough confidence to sustain a near free-solo-like ascent. Unless we're going to adopt and embrace headpointing, then I'd say those ascents are edge cases and the bolts are valid.
Ahh... a truly telling comment... Gonna have to keep this one on hand next time you comment about bolting in CT.
Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
zswan wrote: Sure, I agree. But I also don't think that everyone who climbs in a gym that's under the age of 40 automatically deserves to be spit and shat on by the guys who live out in the woods of NH. Just because I have a job in the city (and a kid) and train at a gym during the week doesn't make an asshole. (I am an asshole, don't get me wrong - but not for those reasons)
You are misinterpreting what I said - or at least what I meant. I'm am not insulting those coming from a gym environment. Just observing that if/when they go outdoors they are going to want/expect/demand something similar to what they are familiar with. I think its fine to have some areas like that but I think its ideal to have a few "rougher" areas. Some of the newer climbers will enjoy the additional challenges these areas present and rise to it. Some (most) won't. Variety is the spice...
Lucas · · Asheville, NC · Joined May 2010 · Points: 175

I'm +1 for bolts in any subsequent count....though I do agree with and respect a lot of Erics points.
This is a bolted route that was chopped, not a trad route that got bolted. Clipping pitons and pre-placing crappy gear on rappel does not make this a trad climb. Chopping and headpointing an x rated route and then calling it a clean/traditional climb is kinda BS.

Eric Engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 0
Nick Goldsmith wrote:Eric. getting the state involved is the worst possible scenario imaginable. The vast majority of climbing access issues have come about from grumpy climbers complaining to the state about other climbers bolting or chopping bolts. Some asshat tells the state how awful bolts are and the next thing you know the place is closed.
It's fine to strive to keep the traditional stay under the radar/ don't ask don't tell attitude. I'm not suggesting you go announcing what you are going to do and certainly not wait for official blessing. What I am suggesting is that any climber coalition educate themselves as to who the land owner is and what regulations currently exist. If the consensus is to upgrade the fixed gear then having some buy-in from the management might help if/when things get chopped. So I am advocating for the opposite end of the spectrum to what you suggest - having a leg to stand on if you want to complain to the state someone chopped your bolts.

I doubt that many of the participants of this thread remember or are aware of the fact that the state used to require a permit to climb at Crow. It would just take one zealot public employee to put Crow under closer scrutiny.
GrantF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 5
sara pax wrote: The question to the people who think bolts should be left or who are for bolting: Do you think it should reflect the original Mallery bolting, or should it be fully bolted? If some bolts were allowed on Dune would you push for more bolted routes at CH or would you stand with the "trad ethic" of the area?
I think you break it down quite nicely. I am (and I imagine the other supporters of some bolts on this climb) want the climb to be how it was when it was first FFA'd. It seems also seems that there is no want to see anything else bolted (aside from replacing existing pro that's either rotting or crap). Nobody wants to see Absolute bolted and that right there is something you could get a consensus behind.
Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 285
Lucas79 wrote:This is a bolted route that was chopped, not a trad route that got bolted.
No, it's not, it was a trad route with mixed protection and should be restored to the original FFA bolt count.

Lucas79 wrote:Clipping pitons and pre-placing crappy gear on rappel does not make this a trad climb. Chopping and headpointing an x rated route and then calling it a clean/traditional climb is kinda BS.
Well, clipping pitons and crappy gear is a trad climb. Pre-place gear and it's just sport route. On the headpointing we agree.

sara pax wrote:The question to the people who think bolts should be left or who are for bolting: Do you think it should reflect the original Mallery bolting, or should it be fully bolted?
We're talking an edge case and a chopping incident; nothing about it opens the door to "fully bolted".

sara pax wrote:If some bolts were allowed on Dune would you push for more bolted routes at CH or would you stand with the "trad ethic" of the area?
Both of these questions illustrate exactly what I'm talking about when I say that if you fix this chopping as an edge case, you then have to be vigilant against that being interpreted as a signal that the floodgates are now officially open. It's unfortunately a real phenom and does happen.
Zach Swanson · · Newton, MA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 28
Healyje wrote:No, it's not, it was a trad route with mixed protection ... clipping pitons and crappy gear is a trad climb. ... Pre-place gear and it's just sport route.
This just made my head spin.
zeb engberg · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 100

In my ideal world, any bolt-related issue would be decided unanimously by the "local community" after a lengthy discussion. The community will often choose to uphold the first ascensionist's style, but they might have reason to alter that style, and it is within their right to do so. It is rare that this ideal is attained in reality. More often, bolting and chopping is done on a more individual level by a select few with a firm belief in the righteousness of their vision and who see themselves as acting on behalf of the larger community. Both great and terrible things have resulted from this approach. Few of us have done much bolting, even fewer of us have chopped bolts, and so we are dependent on those who do bolt and chop to act in our interest. We can hope that the bolters and choppers will take our opinions into consideration before they act. As evidenced by the comments, this forum is read by many prominent New England route developers. Your comment might influence the actions of others.

Citing the existence of other bolts at crow hill to justify those on dune is out of context. Most of the original protection bolts at crow hill date back to the 1960s. In that decade, bolting in New England was not nearly as contentious as it would later become. The community was small, and bolts were placed sparingly (and often without forethought) as needed by the first ascensionist. In the early 1970s Henry Barber pushed the free climbing standards at crow hill without additional bolts. By the late 1970s the effects of the bolting controversy in North Conway percolated down to crow hill, and the ensuing sentiment was that no new bolts were needed. This was still the de facto ethic when Mallery first climbed dune. Seen as an outsider by locals, his bolts were quickly chopped to restore crow hill to its previous state. This no-new-bolts attitude was supported by Barry Rugo and Mark Ritchie's in their headpoint of dune, and then pushed to a much further extreme by Tim Kemple and Peter Vintoniv. The context of Arsenault's bolts on cro magnon is very different from that of Mallery's bolts on dune.

Having learned to climb at crow hill, I feel a great personal attachment to the crag. Dune stands out as one the most memorable routes I have climbed in New England. The movement is excellent, the rock (underneath the dirt) is some of the most solid in the country, and the entire fisherman's wall is a thing of wonder and beauty. The route as a whole requires mastery of many different physical elements of climbing. If I had climbed dune with the two bolts in place, it still would have been a wonderful climb. But headpointing dune without bolts deeply added to my experience. For me, the main challenge in climbing dune was confronting this mental component. As a 5.12+ trad-face climb, dune is entirely unique in New England. Keeping the bolts in place would make dune more accessible and restore Mallery's masterpiece, but we'd also be losing something very special in doing so.

Derek Jf · · Northeast · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 345

Hi again,
SERIOUS QUESTION we can all rage and debate about: you just got off the mt... you're itching to go to your favorite spot downtown after climbing an epic trad line or your steepest bolted project. ...

Burrito with that beer... or Pizza with a beer!?

team burrito?

or team pizza?

choose wisely... we're all judging you based on your opinion in this forum

redlude97 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5
zswan wrote: This just made my head spin.
What was hard to understand? The climb had a few bolts when the FFA was done. Its not a bolted climb but rather one with mixed protection and is still a trad line, with or without the originally placed bolts
Zach Swanson · · Newton, MA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 28
redlude97 wrote: What was hard to understand? The climb had a few bolts when the FFA was done. Its not a bolted climb but rather one with mixed protection and is still a trad line, with or without the originally placed bolts
Because it was contradictory. (And not referring to Dune anyways.)
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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