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Post by Hann » Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:30 am

With sport climbers going around retrobolting established trad lines, would it be fair for trad climbers to go around and chop established sport lines?

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Post by stillemans » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:03 am

Like Didier Berthod in \"First Ascent\"...

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Post by tygereye » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:22 am

Many sport climbers (especially the newer generations) see it as the bolter's job to bolt routes and therefore make it available for them to climb safely. A climb is not a climb when there are no bolts.

Trad climbers experience a different sense of freedom, also because they can go where most people can't. A trad route is stripped of that \"exclusivity\" once it's been bolted.

Chopping sport lines, in my opinion, will never restore the route to what it had been before. There will always be holes and other remnants from the bolts. And you will be hated by many sport climbers.

So, if a trad route gets \"stolen\" by the sport climbers, I guess it's up to the trad climbers to go out and find some new ones. :wink:

In the end, I think sport and trad climbers should respect each others' areas. Sport climbers have their bolted crags, and are welcome to bolt lines all over where trad protection cannot be placed.
Trad climbers can climb anywhere anyway. 8)

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Post by Dav » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:15 am

Sounds a little like many previous discussions...
I think it's important to ask the permission of the route's setter in order to retro-bolt a Trad or even existing Sport route. Obviously if a sport route is dangerous or the anchors have deteriorated, permission is no longer important.
But bolting a trad route is different. If you want access to the longer climbs, invest in a trad rack. Or bolt something that isn't an existing trad line.
I was always on the other side of this argument, having only climbed sport before. Now that I have climbed a few trad routes, it's easy to see how bolts would ruin these routes.
My advice, before you decide to retro-bolt a trad line, climb it on trad see what it feels like. If you still think bolting it is a good idea, then look for permission.
However, I doubt very much that the classic country/trad lines are in any danger of being bolted. Generally most sport climbers shy away from long walk-ins... Skull crag in Montague is a good example. Although this crag had several classic sport lines, climbers generally don't venture past Ramset and Bosch.

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Post by DaveD » Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:25 am

It is not okay for people to just go around and bolt a trad route. This should not be tolarated. It flys against all ethical practices of climbing. People thinking of doing this, or doing it need to be singled out and informed of their misguided ways.

There are circumstanses were it is accepatble and they include, The area is not deamed a traditional area, the general concensus of the active climbers using the area is to bolt it, the first ascentionist has granted permissinon, and the route gets little or no traffic in its current state.

If all of the above are met, then it could be considered.

The Trad vs Sport war has been raged for years, and will always be a hot one. I am all for respect of others efforts, and finding my own routes to bolt. I frown upon pissing all over someone elses hard work and efforts.

Another even more grey areas are what to do with mixed routes? or is it okay to replace old pitons with bolts, on trad routes?
Feel the Qui

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Post by DouglasWard » Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:42 pm


I'm not sure that the practice of retro-bolting trad routes is either common or widely condoned. I think this debate has been covered already, and the answer to your question is NO.

However, the discussion is a little academic without an example. Do you have one in mind?


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Post by Hann » Fri Mar 23, 2007 8:18 am

20/03/2007: Western Cape
ARF at Peer's Cave
During the recent Anchor Replacement Fund (ARF) meets at Peer's Cave many of the sport and traditional routes have been re- and retrobolted.

I didn't attend so I don’t know what was happening, but what else does this article then imply?

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Post by scottnoy » Fri Mar 23, 2007 10:28 am

The trad routes in question were partly bolted (in bad condition!) and had seen very few (if any) repeats since they were done in the 80's.
The first ascentionists had given permission for the bolting and I think they were part of the process too.

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Post by green » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:57 pm

another point, gleamed i suppose from movies such as First Ascent etc.., is weather we should be placing bolts next a potential gear placement? mixed routes are quite fun, and one still gets the feeling of trad climbing a line, albeit a little safer (sometimes!!). i know a lot of people would rather place a bolt or two extra than lug a trad rack all the way up to Skull Crag, for example...but for people who like the challenge, i feel they should have the option... tough one i know.
peace and yogurt

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Post by Marshall » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:06 pm

\"i know a lot of people would rather place a bolt or two extra than lug a trad rack all the way up to Skull Crag\" this is a poor justification for bolting a trad line. Skull is not that far. Why do bolters feel the need to pave the way for sport climbers? I supose it's a sense of adding something.

Bolts on trad-able lines are a waste of bolts.

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Post by Grigri » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:21 pm

We did a few mixed routes back in the day at Hellfire, but as time has proven most of the bolts placed thus are unnecessary, we've actually chopped the bolt on Burnout (one of the best 21 trad leads in the country) and Tinie has lead Wildfire without clipping any of the bolts, its actually reasonable safe without, perhaps they should be chopped?? Tough one, for shortees like me who have to dyno the crux the bolts are a welcome psychological aid. Even Fireballs (solid 24) could conceivably have been climbed with only one bolt placed albeit via an inferior line of moves.

Point is mixed routes are the absolute exception, 90% of the time you can safely run it a few meters to the next placement, hard routes more heady than this often simply end up as sport routes, not mixed routes. My 2c keep it pure, if at all possible trad the thing or leave it for a better climber to do trad. Only if it is an absolutely exceptional line with virtually no gear at all should you consider (deeply and prolongedly!) reaching for the machine. If the route is not gonna leave climbers whooping and blown away stoked by the moves and situation then its not worth bolting, we have so much steel to maintain already! To my mind simply labelling an area 'sport' and blotting everything in sight is total nonsense and a waste of effort and good steel.

PS Just re-reading Marshalls post; \"...a sense of adding something...\" Youre actually taking something away! Nature is so perfect in what she provides for us, mess with it as little as possible!!!

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Post by green » Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:24 am

I completely agree with this....
i wish more people had this sense of ethics! an awesome trad line is something to aspire to, something you dream about, visualise all the time! then eventually one day suck it up and go for it. well done for chopping the bolt on the burnout!
peace and yogurt

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Post by madcrazyhaha » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:55 pm

I don't think that trad routes should be bolted up.... Granted, it's great for a sport climber to be able to do the routes that only trad climbers can do but i recon that it ruins the experience for the trad climbers... granted, i'm not a trad climber yet, but i certainly aspire to be one.....

oh well... even though it's already been said, i just had to put in my 2cents worth!
\"Because it's there\" - George Leigh Mallory
(March 1923, interview, The New York Times)

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Post by paddy » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:39 pm

Don't know how Skull Crag come into the equation in this debate but you tradsters are welcome to lug a rack up the crag. The obvious trad lines have not been bolted. As for the bolted lines, good luck to anybody who tries to protect these climbs with trad gear (there are 2 routes that take some trad gear but only for part of the route). :shock:

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Post by rockvoyager » Sat May 05, 2007 4:21 am

It's good (depends on your view) to see that the rest of the world is having the same dialog that we are having here in the states. Seems that waves of gym climbers are bent on lowering the commitment level of many old, time tested classics. It has been more than a little frustrating. At my local crag a bolt was added to two climbs that had been put up more than 15 years ago and climbed by hundreds of people. The part that really bothers me is the section they bolted was a 25 foot runout of 5.5 climbing (not sure of your rating but very, very easy). What scares me is what will happen when the 5.2 climbers decide this new runout is too much for them. Are they going to add a few more bolts?

Having put up a number of first accents in my area I used to stand by the notion that First accensionist had ownership of the route they developed. I felt this was a working solution to a gritty problem. I've come to believe this system won't work with this new class of climbers that have no climbing ethics and no sense of history or community.

Because of what happened at our local crag (180 miles north of Yosemite) we have started to encourage people to get the broader climbing community involved before they put up a new bolt. This includes replacing old bolts. (we provide new bolts and hangers for free to those that want to become involved in making climbs safer). It seems to be working, at least for now.

This weekend we are heading up to chop those added bolts. It will be done with as much care as possible. The holes will be filled with epoxy and granite chips. The idea here is a bit Pavlovian. Hopefully it will teach the newbies that the bolts stand no chance of staying if the community isn't involved.

Ok, Ok, I'm off my box. Anyway, the reason I'm here is I was thinking of coming to SA for a little climbing and to visit my friends Justin and Rikki. Sounds like you folks have a great community, great climbing and all the same issues we have here. Although, umm, umm, maybe I should delete the top portion of this post..............

See ya when I get there. (although Asia is looking pretty good)


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I agree

Post by Drifter » Sat May 05, 2007 10:14 am

It isn't right to go around and bolt trad routes. There is enough place for trad and sport.

We have to consider each other.

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