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Bell Buttress - Main Crag
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The Purpose 

YDS: 5.12 French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E6 6b

Type:  Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 75'
Original:  YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b [details]
FA: Brislawn/Shainman, 1999
Page Views: 1,444
Submitted By: Alex Shainman on Oct 2, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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Photo: Damon Brandt.

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  • Description 

    What really is the purpose of this route? I assure you it was not to start all the bullshit that transpired after we put it up. I, personally had no contempt for Steve for chopping it. Jeff had bolted it and I merely made the first free lead. As a matter of fact, when Steve called me on it, I told him just to do what he felt was right.... He did and I gave the route the moniker Chop Yer Dieckhoff (not to be condescending, but I thought it sounded funny). Jeff and I, when proposed by Mark Rolofson, were adamant that he NOT rebolt it (with "some glue-in bolt action at Bell Buttress"). We both saw where this could go, and we were right.

    Yesterday, I went up to look at the cliff's newest bolted line which ascends the right arete from Garden Of Eden's crux (no comment).... It's been 2 years since I lived in Boulder and had been to Bell. As I sat there contemplating the new route, I also stared at The Purpose. I feel it's now another travesty, especially with glue-ins and extra bolts that Mark added (1st and 5th bolts).... It's just ugly!

    To clear up any confusion around this route and the line that Pete Takeda and others headpointed.... Nobody has ever lead the crux of the Purpose (current second bolt) w/o clipping the bolt. Pete's line did Grand I's crux dyno to the roof and joined the Purpose at the vert fin and then mostly stayed on the left where G.I. Direct follows a double line of incipient cracks before ultimately traversing right at a horizontal crack.... Jeff and I were originally wanting to do the route this way (after the independent crux utilizing just one bolt), but because neither of us were willing to drill the crux bolt on the lead (to better the ladder-placed bolt style of G.I.), we ultimately decided to create an independent, relatively safe, rap-bolted mixed route (Pete's Route had not been redpointed yet and we never were aware that he was working on it). We made a decision which, we felt, took the "least of all evils" approach at a mostly trad crag. Then, all hell broke loose....

    So, here is this route.... It's basically a short, bouldery sequence past the second bolt (Mark added the first bolt there to "keep the rope out of your way"??). Once you figure out how to grab the big crystal, you get up on the vert fin and continue up on diminishing difficulties to an easy crack with good finger size pro and then an independent anchor that Mark installed.

    So, this route is essentially just another stretch of rock that became leadable by the masses...Its mode of existence or purpose did not better another style of climbing, nor did it truly set any sort of precedence. Perhaps its purpose will forever be left to be decided by each individual who will form their own opinion....


    QDs and finger size pro, most people will stick clip second bolt.

    Photos of The Purpose Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The lower section of the purpose. You can make out...
    BETA PHOTO: The lower section of the purpose. You can make out...

    Comments on The Purpose Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Matt Battaglia
    May 22, 2010
    rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

    I'm not concerned about the bolts, but I would like to know where the 12b rating comes from, must be some trickery. Is it 12b if you do the 12a GI start and traverse in after the Purpose crux? That seems about right. If you start at the Gates of Eden crack and traverse slightly left into the slopers, I believe the crux to be more like V6/7 and then some 5.11 and easier climbing above. So, more like powerful 12c? Straight up, no traversing in from right or left, wold be cool but at least a V7 boulder problem on a rope. Coming in from the right was fun. BTW, there were no rings on the top bolts, so I left 2 clips up there.
    By EJM
    Jul 4, 2014
    rating: 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b

    Pretty sand bagged at 12b.
    Burly crux.
    By Alex Shainman
    Jan 13, 2016

    Gold standard "California 12b."
    By Mark Rolofson
    Jul 14, 2017
    rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

    It is most interesting to read Alex's posting of his route. Most of it is accurate. What I find rather amusing, but also a bit disturbing, is the statement that Alex was okay with Steve chopping the route. I did talk to both Alex & Jeff on several occasions about the route & its removal, over the course of a year, before I decided to go toprope on it. I remember both Alex & Jeff being rather upset & disgruntled that their route had been removed. After toproping The Purpose, I saw no reason that the route should have been chopped. It is a good climb that warrants the bolts & doesn't infringe on the Grand Inquisitor. The Purpose doesn't provide an escape to the RP protected climbing above the 1st bolt of GI. It has always been possible to traverse right from the last bolt of GI to bail out & avoid its run-out finish. I know this, because I traversed off to Gates Of Eden in 1982.

    Dieckoff felt it was squeezed, & he chopped the route shortly after its first ascent. Therefore, no consensus of opinions about the climb was ever allowed to be established. What gave one individual the right to decide the fate of this route & others? He had certainly bolted routes in Eldorado. I was not a pioneer of significant routes in Boulder Canyon & had no business playing judge, jury, & executioner. Bolting new lines was a well accepted practice in Boulder Canyon in the 1990s, as it is today. While Alex calls Bell Buttress a mostly trad crag, there are a significant number of sport routes on the crag. Verve was in fact the first sport climb in the canyon. In 2000, Dieckoff felt that no more sport routes should be established on Bell Buttress. Quite a few good sport routes were established by Bob D'Antonio, Vaino Kodas, Dan Levison, Roger Moulina & Matt Samet over the next 8 years. Thankfully, the freedom to place bolts & establish new routes still reigns in Boulder Canyon.

    I used glue-in bolts to discourage any further removal or chopping of bolts on the route. I added what it now the 6th bolt, because it seemed silly to have to place a RP between the 4th & 5th bolt. I also added the 1st bolt for two reasons. First with the idea that either someone strong could climb the route without stickclipping. Secondly, even if you do stickclip, it helps to keep the rope out of the way & serves as a control bolt for the belayer (making catching falls & holding a hang dogging leader easier).

    Some gear (medium stoppers- #1 Camalot) is still needed for the crack finish. A beautiful route with a very hard start.

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