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How far from bolts?


Original Post
Shawn Whitney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

I seem to have a hard time distinguishing some routes/ holds from each other when they are close to each other (and single routes too). How far does the route wander from a bolt line, generaly?

Rich zz · · california · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 180
Shawn Whitney wrote:I seem to have a hard time distinguishing some routes/ holds from each other when they are close to each other (and single routes too). How far does the route wander from a bolt line, generaly?
+/- 3ft i'd say, but really depends. ultimately who cares as long as you get up.
Sam Stephens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 1,015

Where are you climbing at? Typically, at the areas I climb, if you can reach another bolt line, you're probably off route. That being said, there are plenty of areas (Boulder Canyon Sport Park comes to mind) where the lines are so tightly packed that you just have to follow the bolt line straight up. Sometimes routes do cross each other or share certain sections, it's just up to you to determine that. Remember to always follow the path of least resistance, until you get off route.

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

My rule of thumb is if you can't reach the bolt from a normal stance you are probably off route. It you are leading you are in for a nasty fall the further you get away from the bolts. If the route wanders and you are top roping remember to place directionals to protect everyone from swinging falls.

Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,180

Within the margin of error.

Sometimes things are bolted straight up and down but you do a lot of traversing in between.

Anyway, I thought part of the fun of climbing outdoors was not worrying about which holds were "off"?

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
Colonel Mustard wrote:Within the margin of error...... Anyway, I thought part of the fun of climbing outdoors was not worrying about which holds were "off"?
So true.

The choss I climb on will let you know.... grab a off route hold... bam, your flying. My partner likes to wander off to the side some as he is ducking the crux moves.... you get to far off to the side... bam- a wild pendo and face scrape is the penalty you pay.
Colonel Mustard · · Sacramento, CA · Joined Sep 2005 · Points: 1,180
Guy Keesee wrote: So true. The choss I climb on will let you know.... grab a off route hold... bam, your flying. My partner likes to wander off to the side some as he is ducking the crux moves.... you get to far off to the side... bam- a wild pendo and face scrape is the penalty you pay.
Good points.

Portable holds, I call them. No big deal, just put it in your pocket and use it later on the blank section.
Jeremy Polk · · Sandy, UT · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

Most times, bolts are placed to protect specific moves so I mainly think about keeping the moves protected by the last bolt I clipped. If you start to get so far off that you're looking at a big swinging fall, you're probably off route.

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

After a route has been bolted and climbed, other holds and ways of climbing the line can be uncovered and can also become the preferred way to climb the line. So it's rather complicated at times. If a route has been bolted well, you should be able to figure out how the route developer did the line initially. But people make mistakes and sometimes bolts are moved for better clipping. Keep that in mind when you are leading a route and the bolts seem to be in the wrong place or less than ideal.

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 125

You can be as far away from the bolt line as you wish to be. At some point, you are going to be off route, but unless there is a specific set of features that define a route, climbing outdoors is something for you to figure out for yourself. There have been plenty of times I am well off the bolt line after making a few moves then I traverse back to get to the bolt.

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50
Shawn Whitney wrote:I seem to have a hard time distinguishing some routes/ holds from each other when they are close to each other (and single routes too). How far does the route wander from a bolt line, generaly?
Depending on route, on crag, on local ethics, etc.

E.g., the slab pitch #5 of The White Punks on Dope - mountainproject.com/v/white… - is equipped with 4 bolts. I've clipped 2 or 3 just've been climbing the line of the least resistance and clipping everything I've been able to reach.

There are local rules, e.g. "do not share holds in between routes", sometimes. Ask locals.
Shawn Whitney · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks all. Still pretty new, only been climbing for about 4 months now in the Reno/Tahoe area. I've had a feeling I've been ducking some of the cruxy sections being that some of the routes have felt a bit easier than they were rated and I find myself traversing to some clips. But HEY I still made it to the anchors... most of the time!

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83

In that case you probably didn't climb the route as "designed" but it sounds like you had fun so who cares.

On easier climbs I find a lot of times there are multiple options that some will find easier or harder. It seems to get more cut and dry on harder routes.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310
Pavel Burov wrote: Depending on route, on crag, on local ethics, etc. E.g., the slab pitch #5 of The White Punks on Dope - mountainproject.com/v/white… - is equipped with 4 bolts. I've clipped 2 or 3 just've been climbing the line of the least resistance and clipping everything I've been able to reach. There are local rules, e.g. "do not share holds in between routes", sometimes. Ask locals.
Pavel.... the original line only had 3 bolts.... if you clipped 3 then traversed right... about 25 feet... and got to the start of the line of water created features (little holes and rounded edges)you were doing it just the same as E.C.Joe did. That 4th bolt is to trick you into climbing 5.10 and was placed, on RAP by somebody other than the boys who did the climb first.

Wandering around on Climbs (trad, as its now called)is pretty standard.... wandering around on Sport Climbs is not (usually)
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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