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Red tags - How long is too long?
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Nov 29, 2011
highnoonhilltopper wrote:
So if you bolt a route and red tag it, can i put another bolt next to each of yours and then send? Do we see the problem here?

That's fricking hilarious.
Tim McCabe
Joined Oct 15, 2006
110 points
Nov 29, 2011
Tim McCabe wrote:
Not saying I wouldn't give someone a fair amount of time to work on something but. I have seen it posted on here a couple of times. In reference to respecting old school FA's. That if some bad ass free soloist showed up in a place like the Needles of S. Dak. they would have claimed all of the routes. Thus leaving nothing for the rest of us to safely climb. That didn't happen of course. Now imagine a new sport climbing area. Over the first couple of years a hand full of locals establish a fair number of climbs. Then a couple of sponsored climbers roll in and in 2 seasons establish the same number of routes. Thus leaving very little left for the future. This did happen to some extent in the Mount Rushmore area. No disrespect to those sponsored climbers they did what they felt was right at the time. So whats to stop someone from coming into an area and bolting up a large number of climbs and then expecting everyone to leave them sit for a long period of time. That's what the OP's post sounded like to me.
Understood. Good point.
Brad "Stonyman" Killough
From Alabama
Joined Jan 18, 2008
5,070 points
Nov 29, 2011
Monomaniac wrote:
I agree, one year is about right for "normal" routes. However, climbing history is full of FA's that took many seasons or even years to complete, so if the developer is still actively working the route, I think the honorable thing is to let them have it until they send or give up.

What constitutes working a route?
SeanKuus Kuusinen
From Steamboat Springs
Joined Sep 30, 2007
525 points
Apr 20, 2012
Does the act of red tagging and expecting others to stay off of something because you want your name to be in a guide book as the first one to have climbed it clean not seem very egocentric to anyone? It's not like you're doing secret research that could win you the Nobel Prize in Science. We're just climbers, nothing more than people playing around on rock. Nothing even worth bragging about. Respecting a red tag does not seem very important. Respecting nature and not littering well protected lines with bolts on the other hand seems very important. Of coarse, this is all just an opinion... Scatterbrain
Joined Apr 4, 2011
90 points
Aug 7, 2013
If I am bolting ground up, I'll use a "red tag" to inform others the route is not finished to two rap able anchors. Then it's their choice. What Killis said...I've had a couple routes "bolt raped" where I had posted progress on what? Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Joined Feb 5, 2006
660 points
Aug 7, 2013
The rock does not belong to you.

Anything longer than 12 months, and it is fair game for anybody.
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Joined Dec 16, 2012
283 points
Aug 8, 2013
Where I am from we've had red tags up for years and years and nobody cares since there is so much to do. If your red tag is still on your route after a year I'll just go bolt my own route so I can have the FA experience. My question is, what happens when you get belayed by a climber who is better than you and can send your route? Do you buy them a beer if they call take? Red tags are only assured to stay on routes at my home crag if you can find a newbie willing to stand around all day while you hangdog. BBQ
Joined Apr 6, 2009
10,953 points
Aug 8, 2013
Stich wrote:
I'm sorry, but did anyone, anywhere, at any time give a remote shit about who got the FA on a sport route? Huh? No, that sort of thing isn't even usually recorded. The whole red tag issue is completely stupid. I never tagged any of the routes I bolted. It never occurred to me to care about it.

+1. Red tags are egotistical.
Tommy Layback
From Sheridan, WY
Joined Jan 7, 2011
80 points
Dec 26, 2014
^^^. If I see a project (which we rarely do around here) that looks like a good route, just climb it like anything else; who needs to know. Let the bolter get the FA if they want, but rock is rock. Kailin M.
From Rowley, MA
Joined Mar 27, 2014
15 points
May 24, 2015
I feel like if you don't bolt routes you probably can't complain about red tags, ( I know the option said he bolts) In just glad someone else ponied up hundreds of dollars in hardware for me to climb on :) so what if wanting your name in a book is egotistical, now if someone else wanted to bolt it... I'd imagine if the tag is still red don't climb it! (Fwiw I dont bolt ...yet)

More importantly there was an accident at the New fairly recently when someone in a guided group bailed off a route and the bolt they bailed off pulled out. The route had been red tagged because of this bad bolt. Dunno what guide lets a client on a red tagged route.
Joined Apr 19, 2015
5 points
May 24, 2015
Holy thread resurrection. I have played the game. If I put in days of work bolting, cleaning a route and $, I would like to be the first one to free it. If I feel it's too hard for me to do in a reasonable amount of time (1 season), then I would open it to others to try. I personally find it rewarding to put in lots of work creating a route and then free climbing it. At the same time I do feel the pressure to send the route quickly as I know others want to try it, luckily I usually get it done quickly.
If someone else has red tagged a route for a long time, it does not bother me, because I know the work that goes into developing a new route, and I am fine with giving them their time on the route. I will just go climb something else or bolt my own route. Plenty of rock out there, and not many people willing to put in the work and $ to develop new routes.
From Ouray, CO
Joined Apr 14, 2008
175 points
May 24, 2015
Oh yeah I did resurect this my bad, im bored outta my skull and ventured into the sport forum, didn't realize 2 year old stuff is on the first page lol Zacks
Joined Apr 19, 2015
5 points
May 26, 2015
Red tags are stupid and people should ignore them. It is only people with egos who care about them. If it is there and someone can climb it let them.

The day you put red tape on something and walk away imo you just lost the FA, at least imo you are artificially putting an FA on it.

What if I walked along a cliff with a top of 5.5s and stuck a piece of red tap every 10ft... am i really getting the FA on all those routes? No it just means that i am stopping others from climbing it.
Joined Dec 22, 2013
165 points
May 26, 2015
Huh. I always assumed red tagged routes were being bolted on lead, and the red tag was a way of saying, "dude, the bolts don't go to the top yet; climb at your own risk."

It didn't occur to me that people would red tag a rap-bolted climb to "reserve" an FA.
Dylan B.
Joined Mar 31, 2006
613 points
May 26, 2015
Like Zacks and Highlander said, What a lot of you are ignoring is the fact that route development is expensive. Not to mention to properly clean a route takes a lot of time.

Imagine you spent a few hundred dollars and weeks of your free time building a beautiful sand castle. Then when you walked away one day someone else just walked up put a stick on top of that castle. They got their picture taken, and got put on the front page of a magazine and got all the credit for building such a beautiful sand castle.

That sand castle was your pride and joy, and it hurts when someone else takes all the credit...
Joined May 25, 2014
30 points
May 26, 2015
ViperScale wrote:
Red tags are stupid and people should ignore them. It is only people with egos who care about them. ..

That attitude shows likely ignorance of the new routing process and a dick personality. Equipping and prepping a route can take a huge amount of work (and quite a bit of money). It is completely disrespectful of that work and the persons creative vision to just go and prematurely jump all over it without them indicating it is OK. Just from a safety standpoint it is stupid to ignore a red tag. The tag often means more than simply stay off because it is a project. It could indicate incomplete bolting or that some of the bolts are inferior temporary bolts used for cleaning, loose blocks that still need to be trundled etc.

The first thing to do if you think a red tag has been on too long is to go look for, scrub up and equip your own line. Second is speak to the person who put it there and ask what is up. There may be a very good reason they have been delayed or they may be fine with you taking over the project. Somebody would have to be really greedy with multiple projects, not seriously working or making no attempts to get out do do so for quite a while for me to just snag it on them. The only other way I might jump in is an extreme case of incompetency where they refuse to take any advise from the community and are well known to totally botch things and some super classic would be destroyed. That would be a very extreme case though and be for reason of saving something rather than snagging an FA.
M Sprague
From New England
Joined Nov 9, 2006
4,762 points
May 26, 2015
I'm kind of with Mike on this one. What's lost by respecting a red tag? Are you out of rock to climb? Have you sent everything else? You don't see any new routes you could develop yourself? I suggest you look past those tags and go find your own vision. It might just be an ego stroke, but getting to name the route and claim FFA are pretty cool. Stealing that glory isn't criminal, but it a real dick move by my measure. I respect those tags, (though I rarely see them climbing in NM and OK), weather they guard a project, or warn of an incomplete route, either way... I see more climbing I can do around the bend and leave them to strive for their own glory. Craig Childre
From Lubbock, Texas
Joined Aug 28, 2006
4,885 points
May 26, 2015
Mike mentioned it but again I think it's worth noting how much work can go into developing a route. Even what looks like an easy sport route can be backbreaking labor. Not to mention the scary and dangerous part of dislodging blocks and broken holds. I've spent countless hours hanging in a harness to develop routes. I never truly understood how much work it is until I got into it.

And the cash? It's basically $6-$9 per bolt plus at least $20 for good anchors. I've spent more money on bolts, drill bits, and glue in the last year than on any other climbing gear...

As for the timeline, I'd say one year seems fair if the developer is actively working on it. Of course, you can always just ask permission. I have at least one route in progress right now that I plan on handing over to someone.

Also of note, I really appreciate that some guidebooks mention who the equipper of the route is. Just because you don't get the FA doesn't mean credit shouldn't be given for the hardwork and vision of creating the line.
Kris Fiore
From Burlington, Vermont
Joined Sep 4, 2014
1,228 points
May 26, 2015
KrisFiore wrote:
Also of note, I really appreciate that some guidebooks mention who the equipper of the route is. Just because you don't get the FA doesn't mean credit shouldn't be given for the hardwork and vision of creating the line.

The equipper has more impact on the quality of the route than the FFA.
Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Joined Nov 29, 2007
204 points
May 26, 2015
Interesting that some seem to think the only reason to red-tag a route is to get the FA and your name in a guidebook. The assumption of others intentions is usually a bad place to start forming your opinion of their actions. And has anyone considered that jumping on someone's red-tagged project might be egotistical and selfish as well?

I left a project red-tagged for 4+ years, and am thankful and grateful to the front range community who respected that and let me complete my process. If they hadn't respected that and given me the time for me to complete the project I would've lost a lot of insight, personal growth and self-exploration that was required to battle through 4 years of struggle and pain. It also made me reflect on the selfish nature of red-tagging, climbing in general and my personal motivations involved in the whole mess. I see lots of mentions of FA glory, names in guidebooks or 'getting the credit', and I can honestly say that although those things were factors during periods of that project, in the end they were meaningless. The insights and self-reflection I gained from the struggle was everything. It's not all about sex, drugs and fame from glorious FA's(there is none), sometimes it's the personal journey and experience that someone is after.
Jay Samuelson
From Denver CO
Joined Nov 8, 2006
1,778 points
May 26, 2015
Jay Samuelson wrote:
And has anyone considered that jumping on someone's red-tagged project might be egotistical and selfish as well?

I did... Ego puts aside others interest for the sake of your own. "I am here... I will climb... no one can tell me what to do! " seems to be more of an ego trip, than some cat who worked to build a project and would like to finish it before gifting it back to the community.
Craig Childre
From Lubbock, Texas
Joined Aug 28, 2006
4,885 points
May 26, 2015
I found that once I had my name on a few FAs, that getting more didn't really matter that much to me. So, last two routes I bolted I offered the FAs to other people. One to the person who did much of the cleaning on the route cause it was really her route. The other to someone who happened to be out climbing with me the first day we were back at the crag in question after I had bolted the route.

But, as other say, there's a bunch of work and cost involved in developing a route. If the person who's done that work wants to get the FA, they deserve it. If you don't like that, and you want an FA on something, find your own line, clean it, bolt it, etc. Do the work.
David Gibbs
From Ottawa, ON
Joined Aug 18, 2010
6 points

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