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New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:27 pm
by Guy
A couple of years ago the MCSA held discussions with CapeNature that resulted in us being able to bolt new sport routes in Rocklands (and Truitjieskraal). In order to prevent damage to these wilderness areas, we agreed that there would be a process whereby climbers themselves would control development. The process involves submitting a written request to bolt a route, which is then reviewed by climbers who decide if the route is acceptable. To date we have had 35 requests for Rocklands and 10 requests for Truitjieskraal and we have approved every single request.

Unfortunately, someone has now bolted 2 illegal routes in Rocklands. Not only did they not ask for permission, but they have also not camouflaged the bolts as required by CapeNature. This is a problem for us and we have the following options:

1. Do nothing and hope that CapeNature don't notice the new routes

Not really an option, because CapeNature will say that we are not governing new development and they could simply revert to the previous situation of "no new routes".

2. Chop the bolts

A bit extreme, but it will show CapeNature that we are serious about controlling development (thereby allowing us to continue to develop these areas)

3. Discuss the matter with the person who bolted the routes

This is the best option, but we don't know who to talk to. Can you help us? If not, we'll be forced to choose option 2.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:14 pm
by tali0n
Ask CapeNature if you can bolt the route. If they say yes, contact the bolder and have him camouflaged the bolts. If they decline - chop the bolts.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:44 pm
by Gadget

there are three main stake holders that need to be considered: Cape Nature, the rogue bolter and the climbing community.

Cape Nature for all practical reasons “owns” the property (actually they should just act as “care takers” on behalf of the public but as we know they at least act as the sole owners in many respects but that is a whole different issue). They prescribe certain policies to be adhered to. If their policies are not adhered to Cape Nature, as “owners” can easily deny all future bolting or even change their mind about the existing bolts - no way to keep the climbing community happy.

The rogue bolter is seemingly only accountable to himself and is certainly not doing the climbing community any favours by ignoring Cape Nature and the agreed policies (it may be that the bolter does not agree with the current policy but clearly the individual bolter did not go and negotiate a different policy with Cape Nature and chose to do it his way). I see nothing in the bolters action that indicates he/she has any regard for the climbing community’s interest or that deserves the bolter to be consulted.

The climbing community's primary interests are the long term, practical, affordable access to climbing areas and the continued development of climbing areas in the various climbing disciplines.

Since I am part of the climbing community can only suggest you act in a way that protects my interest. I suggest it is Cape Nature that needs to be kept happy in this case – in that way the climbing community's (and my) interests are served best. Cape Nature can easily deny all future bolting and spoil everything for the climbing community. I see no reason to even consult the bolter (who did after all not consult Cape Nature).

I suggest you go to Cape Nature explain what has happened and that unless Cape Nature suggest otherwise that you will Chop the bolts as soon as practically possible. Also offer to review the current situation to see how the same thing can be prevented in the future and do everything to bring the bolter to account for his/her actions. Make it very clear that the bolter is an exception and that the climbing community will work within the Cape Nature policies.

Chop Chop Chop

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:53 pm
by Marshall1
Is it possible to carry out the permission process retroactively? That is submit a back dated proposal with a bogus name if nessesary.

If the bolter is known, he should be reprimanded &/or educated in the correct process.

Do nature conservation audit the number of routes? How would they find out? Lets not over police ourselves.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:27 am
by Justin
It feels like if we chop the bolts we're cutting our nose to spite our face?

Assuming someone from CapeNature is reading this... what to do?
Chopping the bolts for someone to one day submit a proposal and then re-bolt the line just seems wrong (my main concern is defacing the rock unnecessarily).

It's impossible for climbers or a committee to police all bolting that goes on in Rocklands and assuming this not the last time this will happen, perhaps discussing this exact scenario with CN is a good idea.

As for the future, perhaps a sign should be put up at the gate - Notice to Bolters...

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:55 am
by Guy
From my (our) perspective, first prize is that the person merely didn't know that there was a process. Then we can educate him/her and tell CN what happened and that we've resolved the situation (I'm pretty sure that they'll be happy with that, because it shows them that climbers are still capable of self-regulation).

Second & third prizes are if the routes are unaccptable or if the person intentionally contravened the policy. Let's cross those bridges if we get there.

We are working on signage - but there are only a handful of people doing this stuff. Let me know if you want to help out.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:34 pm
by Rastaman
The quality of the routes must also be taken into account.
Are they good quality lines that are worth bolting?
Is the bolting up to standard and properly done?
If this is the case then I would say that the usual process be followed retro-activally with apologies to Cape Nature. If the routes are mediocre then they should be chopped. Not worth the access risk and future awesome lines that are waiting for bolts.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 1:04 pm
by Brent
Some good suggestions coming out, which is gratifying. Hopefully we can get this resolved properly, to everyone's satisfaction.

The one problem with doing a retroactive application to legitimise those routes (in the eyes of the landowner) is that it will set a precedent: the message goes out that if you want to bolt, just go for it and someone else (ie the mcsa rock subcom) will do all your admin for you).

This just doesn't really seem fair, does it? The mcsa is prepared to help, but it requires a bit of adherence to some rules, and let's face it, they're simple, easy and relevant rules.

Whatever you think of the process, it works. If you want to change it, or have constructive crit, or wish to offer your help, drop one of us a line, you're always welcome to address your concerns at one of our meetings. And yes, we have beer at our meetings...

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:32 pm
by Jeremy Samson

I feeling persecuted. It wasn't me. However I last night I spoke to Justin ( he was at DeKelder ) He said not to worry, he'd sort everything out. Smooth things over. I tried to explain where the routes were. I think he understood. He spoke to a farmer called Piesang who has a crowbar and together they are going up to chop any offending bolts. He called back in the early hours of the morning. He said that I must remember that he'll always be there for me. For me, he said, he'd chop every bolt - if need be. I think he was speaking figuratively.

He says they will do it in the next few days. I have only bolted classic routes with a permit in hand. Just so you know.

Over to Justin Hawkins - super duper Hawkins as he likes to be called nowadays

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:43 pm
by Stine Lundgren
think the one route that's being discussed might be mine - it was bolted a couple of years ago, with camouflaged hangers and bolts. It stood with no second ascent for a long time, probably due to the fact that no one saw it! Applied for permits at the same time as we applied for routes such as 'oil spikes', 'phaic tan' and 'better late than never'.
I'm a norwegian living in sa and find the whole bolting system pretty confusing. If you wish feel free to chop my route. (Thought i was doing a favour since it's a first easy route in a hard climbing area (18)


Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:47 pm
by Guy
Talking about feeling persecuted - I'm the poor bastard who has to play the cop here. I don't like, I get no thanks and I wish I didn't have to do it. In fact, if anyone else wants to do this job (ie ensure future access to Rocklands) please call me and it's yours. It just seems like a dumb idea to stuff up access to such a cool place.

Based on the info I received, the two new routes at the Fortress do not fit the descriptions of any of the 35 permits that we've issued. I haven't seen the routes - so I have to base this on 2nd hand information. This info says that the bolts were not camouflaged - so I doubt that this refers to the route Stine is talking about.

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 10:47 am
by scottnoy
For the sake of Rocklands... don't you, the climb community, think it would be better to stop bolting in the CNC areas of Rocklands now?! From what I have seen most of the good lines are taken and the new routes that going up are of sub-standard, and more trouble than they are worth?! Are a few routes really worth the risk of shutting down one of the best bouldering areas in the world...

Re: New Routes in Rocklands - we need your help

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:37 am
by Flex
I have to concur with Scott on this one. I am (and probably always will be) a sport climber at heart but having bouldered and climbed at Rocklands recently, I really cannot see the value in risking access in order to bolt more routes. The bouldering there is superb while the few routes I have climbed there (admittedly very few) have not been of remotely the same quality.