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Bolting at Bishop Peak


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M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20

Been climbing at Bishop Peak for a couple years now and the more I do, the more annoyed I am with a lot of bolting at Bishop Peak. Let me preface the rest of this by saying I do not intend to change/add/remove any bolts.

But the bolting is pretty unfriendly. While Bishop Peak may have a bit of a history, it is not steeped in lore and ethics like other areas, so the defense of some of the more egregious bolting seems unnecessary.

For example, Impacted Stool Crack is a very risky endeavor because it is a crack for 15 feet and then the climber has to climb into serious injury/death fall territory to finish. Why? And there are other climbs not as serious but with pretty bad bolting. Has anyone considered talking to the first ascentionists about adding some more on select climbs?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

What other climbs would you like to see more bolts on? (note: I am a local)

Marathon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 275

Just some friendly advice while your in the area, don't worry about it, climb in other places. And if you really want your questions answered the kool-aid drinkers will come crawling out of the manzanita and poison oak by the droves.

Marathon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 275

Just some more friendly advice while YOUR in the area. Climb at the Tor.

SRB25 · · Woodside, ca · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 5

LOL

M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20

Let me step back a bit, I was a little hyperbolic in my first statement. A lot of the bolting is just fine, and I appreciate the lack of bolts by solid gear placements. For example mouse maze and no permit required are great. I really appreciate all the work (and money) the first ascentionists and others put into Bishop Peak.

Frank,
I'm not a huge fan of Camel, I believe it could use another bolt between the second and third and maybe a new one below the first.

Gold Rush could also use a bolt between one and two.

Llama could use a lower first bolt.

And there are another few at P Wall I can never remember the name of that are a little spacey.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Mitch Alexander wrote:Let me step back a bit, I was a little hyperbolic in my first statement. A lot of the bolting is just fine, and I appreciate the lack of bolts by solid gear placements. For example mouse maze and no permit required are great. I really appreciate all the work (and money) the first ascentionists and others put into Bishop Peak. Frank, I'm not a huge fan of Camel, I believe it could use another bolt between the second and third and maybe a new one below the first. Gold Rush could also use a bolt between one and two. Llama could use a lower first bolt. And there are another few at P Wall I can never remember the name of that are a little spacey.
Mitch,

Impacted Stool Crack could use another bolt, but you can toprope it from the P-Crack Anchor. Those others you mention just need to be rehearsed on toprope before you lead them, or be confident that you can safely lead them onsight. Just because someone isn't comfortable with the bolting, doesn't mean it needs more bolts. As is the case with those other climbs you mentioned. Get strong enough to lead those climbs without additional bolts. Which leaves me out!
Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

Having lived in SLO for a couple of years, I think the bolting is fine. If you aren't comfortable with the protection, you aren't ready for the route. It's as simple as that. If you get hurt on the climb, it's your fault for not being good enough for the demands of the route.

M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20

I guess this is the typical agree to disagree bolting argument.

I guess my main issue is that I understand and appreciate the appeal of routes like the Dike Route and Bachar-Yerian in Tuolumne because they are world class in a world class environment and a large part of the route is getting in the right head space and making sure you can do the moves. And if you don't want to, there are 20 other routes at the grade with similar moves that won't get you killed. At Bishop having to top rope a .10b multiple times (or onsight much harder) to make sure you don't get hurt just seems silly. Its a small wall on a small crag,

Thanks for the respectful replies, I know its a silly argument to try to bring up, but maybe one day we will get another bolt on Impacted Stool.

Chris Bersbach · · Arroyo Grande, CA · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 206

I've led every route listed here except for Impacted Stool Crack, and I am *not* a bold leader. Each of these routes is easily and safely topropeable, so we're not even talking about bolting *preventing* certain climbers from attempting routes, just preventing those climbers from attempting them in a particular *style*. There are also numerous routes at the Peak that are more generously protected, so there *are* lead options for most competent leaders, even if they're not the specific routes under discussion.

There's a pretty big climbing community in SLO, considering the size of the town, and within that community are a lot of different opinions and ideas. Bishop's Peak offers a pretty impressive range of options that should satisfy most of what you can reasonably expect from a local crag: straightforward topropes, sport(ish) moderates, easy-moderate gear climbs, and yeah, total f***ing horrorshows. Satisfy yourself with knowing that, if you can lead a range of what the Peak has to offer, you're not going to show up in Tuolumne at the beginning of the Sierra season without your head screwed on well enough to have some fun.

Also know that there a number of locals who are actively involved in bolt replacement and route maintenance in the area, who coordinate with both the City Parks Department and first ascentionists to keep the fixed gear that we do have safe and updated. If there are real issues with a specific climb, get to know these people, and see what you can learn about the history of these routes and what the specific local considerations are. Maybe for some routes there are solutions that can be considered. I've been involved in discussions with FAists who have supported updating conditions on a route, and we've been able to make those changes in a way that everybody with skin in the game was on-board with. This is the process and ethic of our weird, pointless sport.

Finally, for some deep history, enjoy this: drive.google.com/file/d/0B7…

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 420

Never argue for more bolts on easily top rope-able climbs that don't make for a worthy lead.

Never argue for more bolts on any established climb for lead protection, unless you did the FA.

Go do your own FAs. There are thousands and thousands out there in the Sierra to do.

Always argue for more/better bolts at anchors that are unsafe, that need bolts, not on those that don't. If you actually replace old needed bolts as a public service it really helps your argument.

You gotta realize that bolts are a permanent altering of the rock, and their placement is not to be undertaken without a long term view.

Its not about being "ready or not" as the placement of bolts is not required in most cases at all. Some future Honnold more ready than you is always going to be out there ready to onsight free solo your proud rock climb (that you weren't ready for and needed bolts to protect). Placing bolts should be done with real forethought as to their need and the resulting rock climb should unequivocally be a worthy addition, not some local short thing on a leftover pile that is ridiculous and should just be a TR. It will get done as a TR if it is worthy.

Just take some time to think about it. 40 years of experience and quite a few FAs (some I regret bolting and some that need more bolts too) have led me to this point of view seeing the progressive changes in the environment surrounding rock climbs, few for the better.

When you see a chalky, greasy and polished mess with bad erosion at the base versus your humble TR that looks better than the day you found it 30 years ago and compare...you will have learned a lesson that more bolts equals more use of the rock and resulting degradation of the quality of the climb.

Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

If I remember correctly, I would usually lead the crack, and go far left. There is a bolted climb that has more reasonably placed bolts. I think it hugs the arette. It's been a while though.

Chad N · · Three Rivers, CA · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 1,510
Mitch Alexander wrote:Been climbing at Bishop Peak for a couple years now and the more I do, the more annoyed I am with a lot of bolting at Bishop Peak. Let me preface the rest of this by saying I do not intend to change/add/remove any bolts. But the bolting is pretty unfriendly. While Bishop Peak may have a bit of a history, it is not steeped in lore and ethics like other areas, so the defense of some of the more egregious bolting seems unnecessary. For example, Impacted Stool Crack is a very risky endeavor because it is a crack for 15 feet and then the climber has to climb into serious injury/death fall territory to finish. Why? And there are other climbs not as serious but with pretty bad bolting. Has anyone considered talking to the first ascentionists about adding some more on select climbs?
IS crack is a 1970 Richard Harrison FA. That's the bold style of the fa'ist, putting up a bold lead, going for it, and now its a historical test piece. If you know anything about R. Harrison or seen any more of his fa's, I think you might understand it all better. It was the style of the times, nearly a lost art these days in most fa situations. The mind set was different back then. Remember no cams in 1970. Hexes, nuts and pins protected that crack, then he cruised the upper slab without the feeling of putting in a bolt or pin. He was the FIRST person to HTFU and do it. So, that's it, that's the route. Pretty bold for most. Funny how some 70s Hardman leads popped up in SLO. Ahh, winters in CA.

I don't mind the bolting at Bishops. A nice mix of old and new school. Good practice for bold leads in other SW climbing venues.
Chris Bersbach · · Arroyo Grande, CA · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 206
Michael McNutt wrote:If I remember correctly, I would usually lead the crack, and go far left. There is a bolted climb that has more reasonably placed bolts. I think it hugs the arette. It's been a while though.
Yeah, thats Out of Hangars. Probably the most reasonable way to link up a somewhat reasonably-protected leads off of Impacted Stool.
C Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 546

Dude, just get in your car and drive to Kernville.

M Alexander · · SLO, CA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20

Thanks for your input everyone.

I guess I should have stated my concern a little differently. I don't intend on changing anything, but I personally find there could be a few changes.

I am just curious if anyone knows the FAs and has their opinion on adding or not. Some FA are adamant nothing changes, and that's A-OK, others have changed their opinion with time.

I'll just keep toproping and leading the things I can.

Tim Maas · · Isla Vista, California · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 15

Keep Bishop Peak Old School!!

Hey Mitch, when you say that runouts are for world class areas. I'm going to mention something a friend told me that really impacted the way I looked at areas. We were talking about pinnacles and he said, "Pinnacles is like the Peak District in that it's choss rock made exciting by staunch ethics." It's always good to have a place where you can go and push your mental game.

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

I don't think you can ask Tobin what he wishes.

Erik Ericsson is still around ask him, if you dare.

Tim Maas... good to point out the Peak District and I will add Gritstone to that list.... World Class climbs on small rocks.

Otherwise they would be just like Holcomb Valley...short grid bolted beginner spots.

limpingcrab · · Visalia, CA · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,020

Some of those sketchy routes were put up by Tobin Sorensen who was loved by many and passed away. I'd imagine it would be hard to get support for changing his routes.

My first leads were runout bolted routes on Bishop, I was new and thought that's how all routes were, ha! Now, having climbed more and learned, I probably wouldn't lead them again!

Like others have said, there's some of everything there so I think it's fine. Not like some areas that are uniformly sketch.

My opinion is also skewed by the fact that I think it's silly to lead anything that can be too-roped so more bolts on those routes just sounds useless (to me).

I miss Bishop, cool spot.

Twinboas · · Quincy, CA · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 700

I learned to climb at Bishop Peak and for better or for worse it has made me a bolder climber in the long run. I painstakingly worked up to each of the climbs you have listed, and feel that the reward was higher because of it. Not so great if you're an out-of-towner, but in that case you can toprope or climb something that has better protection, as others have said. I don't believe adding new bolts to existing climbs is the answer, but if it's a question of updating the hardware with something newer/beefier/more sustainable I'm all for it. I've climbed all over the world and Bishop Peak still holds a special place in my heart.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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