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Peterskill Bolts At Edge


Original Post
David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

What's the reasoning behind putting the bolts at Peterskill so close to the edge? I'm only seeing downsides:

  1. Limits you to only using the bolts for one climb. For example, the bolts on Reach Around can't be used for Crackalack, but they could have been if they were placed in the center of that flat area of rock. Similar situation with Golden Dream and Fickle Fingers (you can use a directional cam for Fickle Fingers, but it's harder than just adjusting your anchor).
  2. Harder to inspect the bolts.
  3. Harder to rap down.

Is there some reason they need to be near the edge, I'm not thinking of?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,674

Of course for doing multiple routes off the same anchor (or for rappeling off an anchor above the cliff), then Yes, usually it makes sense to have the anchor farther back from the edge.

On the other hand, a strong reason in many areas for putting the bolts below the edge is because the area above the edge is slopy with loose rock on it, and want to avoid tempting climbers to go to places where they will endanger other climbers. Or because the exit to the top of the cliff is much more difficult (or less interesting) than the climbing of the rest of the route. Or to avoid abrasion of slings or cords over the top edge of the cliff.

Recently . . . to make it very convenient for climbers to just lower-off (or top-rope?) directly on the anchor hardware, without needing to add any of their own slings or carabiners at all. Like indoor gym climbing.

Which gets to ... Once deciding to put an anchor above the edge, why put it closer rather than farther?
Possible answers:

* avoid damage to soil and vegetation farther back from top of cliff.

* so climbers can use shorter slings to set up top-ropes or lower-offs.

So why put anchors close above rather than below the top? I don't know -- maybe to prevent climbers from top-roping through the anchor hardware, rather than supplying their own slinges and carabiners.

Anyway most well-organized climbing areas nowadays seem to think that making it easy for climbers to stay off the top of the cliff is a good idea, and they solve the problem of doing multiple routes side-by-side by installing an anchor at the top of each route. A few places even have a horizontal steel cable to make it easy and safe to move from one anchor to another while staying below the top of the cliff.

Ken

Climb.tooth.radish · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

I am all for helping fellow climbers out. And I appreciate curiosity and learning especially since I’ve been through the TR solo learning curve and safely learned competence and good judgment. Based on your question here and others, I suspect you might get a lot out of a few guided sessions or even a course. The right instructors or mentors will teach you the framework for working out solutions to many of the questions you have. 

MojoMonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 68

FWIW, clifftop access is not generally a problem or discouraged at Peterskill. Not sure what coniderations were made in bolting (e.g popularity of nearby climbs, natural anchor opportunities) but I generally disliked having one central anchor farther back with mutiple parties using it. I'd rather not have some of the people I've seen out there messing around on the bolts I might be currently using.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

I agree that the Reach Around bolts are poorly situated. The Enterprise area (Captain's Log etc) bolts are better located to serve the multiple routes in that area, though it does lead to anchor sharing, as Mojo points out. I have run across folks who are a bit uneasy about bolt sharing there, though thankfully these folks are in the minority.

You mention Fickle Fingers. Did you miss the fact when you were there that that route has its own bolts? They are a few inches below the top. No need to redirect the GD anchor.

The upside to close-to-the-edge anchors is that a TR setup requires less webbing/cordage. A minor advantage (though probably not a significant determinant when the hardware was installed) is that there are no static ropes/webbing running across the flat top surface to potentially trip someone walking past.

"Harder to inspect"? Not a real concern where the bolts are currently.

Bottom line, to your question, "Do they have to be close to the edge?" No, they don't. But that shouldn't be a problem at PK, really. Redirect judiciusly where needed e.g. a Tricam or two in the horizontal and a 4' sling will drop the rope nicely on Crack-a-lack, build a gear anchor far back and extend it to the edge with static rope (best option for Slot Machine and the routes to its left, the routes left of Bunk Arete, and several routes in the Fortress area at Dickie Barre), and - when all else fails - use the trees. Contrary to once-held policy, this is not totally prohibited at PK..

MojoMonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2009 · Points: 68
Gunkiemike wrote:

I have run across folks who are a bit uneasy about bolt sharing there, though thankfully these folks are in the minority.

I guess I'm a little wary after having a guy cleaning the anchor for his group start taking apart my anchor while he was up there :)

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Gunkiemike wrote:

You mention Fickle Fingers. Did you miss the fact when you were there that that route has its own bolts? They are a few inches below the top. No need to redirect the GD anchor.

I thought those bolts were for Slot Machine?

Bottom line, to your question, "Do they have to be close to the edge?" No, they don't. But that shouldn't be a problem at PK, really. Redirect judiciusly where needed e.g. a Tricam or two in the horizontal and a 4' sling will drop the rope nicely on Crack-a-lack, build a gear anchor far back and extend it to the edge with static rope (best option for Slot Machine and the routes to its left, the routes left of Bunk Arete, and several routes in the Fortress area at Dickie Barre), and - when all else fails - use the trees. Contrary to once-held policy, this is not totally prohibited at PK..

Interesting, I thought using the pitch pines was prohibited, which excludes 9/10 trees.

I see what you're saying about shared anchors. Still, it seems to me like if an area is being bolted, the best bet is to serve as many climbs as possible. If we have enough bolts to bolt each climb then I guess it makes sense to do that. That said, I am not out to tell people who are paying for gear out of their own pockets what to do. I'd only want to express my opinion on this if this work is being done by community organizations I contribute to (AAC, GCC).

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 765
Climb.tooth.radish wrote:

I am all for helping fellow climbers out. And I appreciate curiosity and learning especially since I’ve been through the TR solo learning curve and safely learned competence and good judgment. Based on your question here and others, I suspect you might get a lot out of a few guided sessions or even a course. The right instructors or mentors will teach you the framework for working out solutions to many of the questions you have. 

VERY WELL PUT, Getting schooled,Climbing by trial and error, seems a low darwinian way to go about it, doesn't it?  I could put it otherways

Edit:: 

The important part of the above, that you seemed to have taken as an attack? when it was not meant as one is:

.  .   .  .  ."you might get a lot out of a few guided sessions or even a course".

 "The right instructors or mentors will teach you the framework for working out solutions to many of the questions you have". 

To add, your reading comprehension also leaves something to be desired . . He specifically pointed out that working things out on your own,  is a way to fully evolve as a climber.

If you do go the paid to learn route, consider going with a group;  you may find like minded partners, or get a handle on what is desirable in a partner.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

I can't imagine how "Hire a guide to teach you TR solo" could be construed as an answer to this question. Sprayers gonna spray I suppose.

june m · · elmore ,vt · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 43

bolts next to the edge are designed so you can lower off and designed for leading,  you dont need  static  rope  etc. Modern anchor bolts are usually placed just below the top Edge or just at the top Edge.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
june m wrote:

bolts next to the edge are designed so you can lower off and designed for leading,  you dont need  static  rope  etc. Modern anchor bolts are usually placed just below the top Edge or just at the top Edge.

True for many areas, but not at all for Peterskill.  These are not drop-in/lower off anchors.  With a couple exceptions they are traditional hangers i.e. flat stamped steel (sharpish edges) and are set a foot or two past a (generally) abrupt 90 degree edge. Lowering from them is tantamount to rope destruction. They are basically convenience anchors for top-roping, which fits nicely with the majority of traffic on these short climbs.

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,767
june m wrote:

bolts next to the edge are designed so you can lower off and designed for leading,  you dont need  static  rope  etc. Modern anchor bolts are usually placed just below the top Edge or just at the top Edge.

This... they are leading anchors. Likely to encourage leading so the top of the cliff sees less traffic and possibly reduce impacts on the cliff top.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Morgan Patterson wrote:

This... they are leading anchors. Likely to encourage leading so the top of the cliff sees less traffic and possibly reduce impacts on the cliff top.

See Gunkiemike's comment above yours.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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