Missing Pins on NW Corner, Bastille


Original Post
mike schlauch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 220

Hello Eldo climbers: ACE had our bi-monthly meeting last night and discussed the status of the fixed hardware on the NW Corner. There is quite a bit of good discussion regarding the missing pitch 2 pins on the ACE Facebook page and a condition report can be found here: mountainproject.com/v/north...

Just a friendly reminder to the Eldorado climbing community. If anyone feels strongly that the character of the route has changed and a like-for-like piton replacement isn't suitable in this specific case, then please take the initiative to submit an application via the ACE website for a bolt. ACE will help facilitate the public input process and ultimately the decision will be made by the public / Eldorado climbing community.

Post-up on this thread with any comments or questions. Someone else from ACE will also post a link to the Facebook thread if that's your thing.

Cheers

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,244

[crickets]

...?

Anthony · · Northern CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

Is the deal with a like-for-like replacement a state park rule? Local ethics? I'm just curious. It seems to me that upgrading a pin to a bolt would be safer and more feasible over time. Why not just camo the bolt to keep unsightly items hidden from the other people who come to enjoy eldo. I don't think ACE or anyone for that matter should just tear through the park with a drill and start replacing every old pin or drilling their way up routes. I just think it might seem somewhat practical to upgrade hardware on more well traveled routes. I haven't done the NW corner so maybe i should shut my mouth but i just wanted to hear what some of the more involved people here have to say.

Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871
Anthony O'Neill wrote:I I haven't done the NW corner so maybe i should shut my mouth
Bingo. Are you even an Eldo climber? Do you know the history and ethic of the area?

ACE takes many factor into consideration including public input. Retaining the original character of the routes is important too. My longest lead fall ever was on one of the pins on this route. Not sure which one has come out.

Replace with a pin would be my hopes.
Steve Sangdahl · · eldo sprngs,co · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 735

My vote is to keep it pins on the second pitch. Even when the pin goes missing it is still leadable by your common Eldo punter. There is also great gear right below where the crux that is bomber. The 2nd pitch has been led so many times with out the pin it's an Eldo trade route. Although I do like it when the pin is there , just like when it was first free climbed. Cheers.

Kevin Pula · · Denver · Joined May 2012 · Points: 20
Greg D wrote: Bingo. Are you even an Eldo climber? Do you know the history and ethic of the area?


Did you really need to ask these questions? He was pretty up front that he was just curious of the local ethic and had not climbed the route....

Greg D wrote: My longest lead fall ever was on one of the pins on this route. Not sure which one has come out. Replace with a pin would be my hopes.
Cool man, you've fell while rock climbing! We are all impressed and will consider your opinion with higher regard now. Should the replacement pin be of exact age, design and material as the original in order for us to feel like a badass when we climb this route? Its cooler to climb a route with old fixed gear than new fixed gear right?
Greg D · · Here · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 871

Well, there's nothing cool or impressive about what I did. That was far from the point I was trying to make. So let me dumb it down for you. A pin in good condition is plenty safe and preserves the character of the route for badasses, fat asses, skinny asses and dumbasses alike.

Keenan Waeschle · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 210

As someone wiser than I once said. Eldo is like a giant pile of feces that everyone in Boulder has been collecting and cherishing for years. If anyone suggests that the pile of poo should be cleaned up or changed it ignites the rage and out come the pitch forks.

'Are you even an eldo climber?' Come on dude, it's just like every other climbing area in the country. Lording it over others because of your own personal bias isn't impartial or fair.

Replace the pin with a pin, or sink a bolt. I trust your judgement. This discussion is unlikely to uncover any novel insights.

Joseph Crotty · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Nov 2002 · Points: 985
Rich Farnham · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2002 · Points: 278

I haven't been on this route in more than ten years, and my recollection of the details of the pins is pretty poor, so I'll speak generally. There is a tradition in Eldo of not altering the dangerous nature of routes that were put up in spite of that danger. Bolts aren't typically added after the FA to minimize danger. I'm fine with that.

But it gets weird when routes had been safe because of pins, but would not be safe without them. Do we let them become a dangerous route? Do we keep putting pins back in to preserve the level of danger (or lack thereof) that has always existed on the route? If so, and given that we generally realize that continuing to place pins is not a sustainable practice, should we place a bolt on these routes to maintain the character of the route.

Generally speaking, I'm okay with a previously good pin being replaced by a bolt. I think that was done recently on C'est La Vie. I haven't been back up there since, but supported the decision at the time.

I don't think this means that anywhere there is a pin, we can just swap it out for a bolt. There are plenty of marginal pins, and replacing them with a bolt isn't necessarily preserving the character of a route.

Does anyone know why the pins keep coming out of NW Corner? Does the crack move a lot, spitting out the pins over time? My recollection of the pins on this route was that at least one of them was solid enough that the crux seemed well protected. It used to be that people climbed with hammers, and could reset a pin if they came across one that was loose. We don't carry hammers anymore, so this becomes a maintenance problem.

It's hard to evaluate the cams from the photos on FB. If there is good natural pro, then I don't think we need a bolt. If the cams aren't solid, and/or aren't close enough to where the pins were to keep the experience similar, then perhaps a bolt is appropriate.

Garrett R. · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 50

Missing pins? I've got one of 'em sitting right here on my bookcase.

In that case the pin didn't come out, it snapped where it had rusted in the crack.

And that was my longest fall ever.

Rob Dillon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 710

Damn I'd have figured if anyone could take a pin-snapping lob it would be Rich, but I guess now that you mention it Garrett's kind of a contender.

Chances are good that pin was in better shape back when Cortez or whomever whacked it up in there. Y'all should put one back, is my vote, but I don't get down to eldo much.

nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,474

It's been a few years since I did this line but I remember one of the pins was pretty wobbly because the eye was not flush with the wall. I remember thinking when and if it gets replaced (seemed like it could be bomber) it should be with a shorter (sawed off?) variety. Just my 2 cents.

dameeser · · denver · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 241

I climbed it to where the crack starts and placed a good offset mastercam, a so so green c3, and a bomber green alien. My partner slammed on all of them and they seemed fine. The crux starts after I placed those pieces and I did not place anything else after that because it was a waste of my energy to try and fiddle in anything in those pin scars. I'm not sure if another offset would fit, it might, but I did not check.

The route in my opinion is not dangerous without those pins but the character has changed. It's a lot more heady now.

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793
Rich Farnham wrote:I haven't been on this route in more than ten years, and my recollection of the details of the pins is pretty poor, so I'll speak generally. There is a tradition in Eldo of not altering the dangerous nature of routes that were put up in spite of that danger. Bolts aren't typically added after the FA to minimize danger. I'm fine with that. But it gets weird when routes had been safe because of pins, but would not be safe without them. Do we let them become a dangerous route? Do we keep putting pins back in to preserve the level of danger (or lack thereof) that has always existed on the route? If so, and given that we generally realize that continuing to place pins is not a sustainable practice, should we place a bolt on these routes to maintain the character of the route. Generally speaking, I'm okay with a previously good pin being replaced by a bolt. I think that was done recently on C'est La Vie. I haven't been back up there since, but supported the decision at the time. I don't think this means that anywhere there is a pin, we can just swap it out for a bolt. There are plenty of marginal pins, and replacing them with a bolt isn't necessarily preserving the character of a route. Does anyone know why the pins keep coming out of NW Corner? Does the crack move a lot, spitting out the pins over time? My recollection of the pins on this route was that at least one of them was solid enough that the crux seemed well protected. It used to be that people climbed with hammers, and could reset a pin if they came across one that was loose. We don't carry hammers anymore, so this becomes a maintenance problem. It's hard to evaluate the cams from the photos on FB. If there is good natural pro, then I don't think we need a bolt. If the cams aren't solid, and/or aren't close enough to where the pins were to keep the experience similar, then perhaps a bolt is appropriate.
I thought I would just quote Rich's text because it pretty much summarizes my feelings on the subject (and for that matter, summarizes how I think most of my partners think about pin replacement in general). Though I might add that I often find it to be the height of hilarity when a long time Eldo climber (or insert other rad trad area) points out that they have climbed such and such a route 50 times (with an onion on their belt) and there is no need for the pin. Unfortunately said climber always seems to forget that the first 15 times they climbed said route, they did so with a nice fresh pin that adequately protected the route. But now that they have the route ruthlessly wired and really don't even notice needing or wanting the pin, they scream bloody murder that all the young folks are punters for wanting a piece of solid fixed gear. Funny stuff.
Eliot Augusto · · Boulder, CO · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 60

Soooo my 2c is probably quite unpopular. I love Eldo, and the history, and the ethics. I started climbing there. I also feel like I read an accident report from eldo every other week. There is a lot of old gear with lots of new climbers using it(whole different argument). I've seen moving pitons, and those have a couple decades left in them. I have the belief that in most cases pitons could be replaced by bolts in ways that don't change the character of the route for 95% of climbers out there, and mitigating the injury potential.

eg - Super Slab: One bolt 15-20 ft above the base of the shallow left facing dihedral and you've eliminated most rescue situations while forcing you to "stay in the game" during the part that makes it the classic it is. Not only that, but the aforementioned bolt would eventually be a suitable replacement for that pin in the roof above that will one day tear out from a climber falling on it. What a fall that would be.

Someone with more experience on the NW Corner could probably pick a location for a single bolt that could replace both pitons while still being relatively safe and maintaining the character of of the route.

But I won't be happy until I can solo the Naked Edge using only 18cm quickdraws attached to my harness and the bolt ladder provided by ACE.

I feel like I'm throwing gasoline on campfire by posting this. My eyebrows are going to be singed when I log back on.

Naomi Guy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 15

Yesterday Mike & I went up the 2nd pitch of NW corner to check it out without pins. Our concensus was, albeit it's more heady without the pins, we think it's a safe lead for an Eldorado 5.11 climber. Expect it to feel harder without the pins. As mentioned by Matt, there is a solid green alien placement protecting the crux.

It could be argued that the character of the route has changed without the clip up of pitons, but many Eldo climbers will feel it has changed for the better. Solid 11b+, it is a difficult onsight now. It's reminiscent of The Interceptor but not quite as run out.

Ultimately the ACE public review process would begin by someone taking the initiative to submit an application for a bolt or not.

Gregger Man · · Broomfield, CO · Joined Aug 2004 · Points: 1,244
Michael Schneider wrote:
(It took a while, but the discussion finally developed.)
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,005

i think j.albers has a really good point. i have climbed the NW corner a handful of times. sometimes following, sometimes leading, and with a seemingly variable number of pins on that pitch. with the pins in place, it makes a good candidate for a good first, well protected 11- eldo pitch in a stunning position. there aren't that many of those in eldo.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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