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INXS - Spitzkoppe

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 1:18 pm
by Hector
I'm heading out to Spitzkoppe for the first time in April. I've heard the wild stories about death runouts on INXS. Has anyone actually been on the route and can provide some beta about where exactly the bad spots are. I know that Martin Seegers broke himself on pitch 7 on one of the 1st ascent attempts. I'm keen to give the route a bash but want to be objective about the risks first. Would a cheat stick be feasible on the very runout / crux sections?
Also, any recommendations / beta for other routes at Spitz?

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:39 pm
by Justin
Check out ... Routes.htm

If protection gets scarce you could always Duct tape a few sky hooks along the way...
& mind that cheat stick doesnt spear you when you fall :twisted:

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:32 pm
by African Climber
What happened to Errol Ninaber, is that old chap still around ?

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:29 pm
by Grigri
From what I remember of reading about the first ascent a cheatstick is going to come up several meters short of the next clip!! :x Speak to Jeremy Samson about his horrifying repeat of the route before you go for that one! If someone of his ability and poise shat then its pretty bloody serious.

Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:25 pm
by Stu
What is the potential for new routes on the Inxs wall?

Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:46 pm
by Hector
Thanks for the inspiring advice! No, kidding, I'd heard that the route was very serious. Think I'll climb some other stuff first and then maybe check out the upper pitches.
As for new routes on that wall, I've never been there but there have been quite a few new routes put up in recent years. Alard and Mark put up 3, Voitek put up one and some German (i think?) climbers put up Herero Arch. Theres probably scope for more, but I'm guessing theyll all be pure, desperate slab routes. From what I can make oout all the cracks have been done.
To continue the topic, what do people think about a route like INXS? I know there's a similar thread running about Paarl rocks. Guest reckons all the routes should be super safe. Should INXS be retro bolted? I say no ways. The guys put up most of the pitches ground up (off bathooks) in the early 90's. Thats a huge effort. Martin Seegers wiped out badly on one attempt. They subsequently sent it, and as far as I know Jeremy has had the only repeat ascent. I reckon it would take alot away from the route if it was turned into a clip-up.I wanna climb it but I'm scared. I need to up my game to be able to do it. If I attempt it now, theres a very good chance I'll fail. If the route were retro bolted, and I could work the route in safety, I'm almost guaranteed to get it. To me, guaranteeing you can do a route by retro bolting defeats the purpose. If theres a good chance you can fail on a route, it makes it very worthwhile when you finally send it.

Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:24 pm
by Justin
I'm normally against retro bolting, etc... however, I'd debate this one... I can remember seeing a picture of one of the runouts in a Southern Rock Mag (Issue 5, I think). It’s huge - I'm guessing about 30 meters.
I think one of the opening party also fell past the belay with the drill in his hand :shock:
There is also the matter of a bolt breaking? Which could result in a HUGE fall. If the route where retro bolted, more people would climb it.

Perhaps try and get hold of the guys who opened the route? Who opened INXS :?: They might have just been limited by battery power, resulting in fewer bolts?

The route got its second ascent by Roland Graf and Joachim Morawetz (April 2001)
Ref: ... dback.html

Posted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:54 pm
by Stu
Justin I'm surprised by your response. By your thinking all routes that have long run-outs or that have the potential for huge falls should be retro-bolted. What's with all the complaining about established routes these days, instead of taking your drill and adding extra bolts on someone elses route go and open a new one. If anyone has seen desert Friction, Jeremy and Justin's comments are something along the lines of, \"it's definatly the long run-outs that make it such an alluring climb\". It seems to me the days of 'adventure' climbing is over and instead we expect have everything served up fast-food style, were are we going to be at in 10 years will all our trad crags be bolted. There are plenty of other routes to climb there.

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:45 am
by Rastaman
I have mixed feelings on this one.
Yes, you must respect the original climbers ethics and style.
Yes, it was a brilliant effort to open and repeat the line.
Yes, it would be brilliant to repeat again.
But (selfishly) I would love to climb it but would want to climb it safely. 30m runouts are huge. Perhaps the orgininal openers should be contacted and their opions checked. It just seems like a waste to have this huge beautiful line sitting out there that basically never gets climbed because of the way its bolted!
By the way Hector the first few pitches are quite well protected, maybe go for those!

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:08 am
by Stu
I believe the longest run-outs were 12m, no where near 30m!! Does anyone know what grade the climbing is on some of the more run-out parts?

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:02 am
by Grigri
I think you are right Stu, 30m is a huge exaggeration! I was trying to find my old copy of Southern Rock but it seems I have donated it to City Rock Gym! Will pop past and see if they still have it so we can stop guessing and get the facts. From what I remember the runouts got bigger the higher they went more because they got bored and decided to see who could go the furthest and scare themselves the most!! :lol: . The runouts are in the region of seven meters with the biggest about nine, but lets try and get hold of the article and find out for sure. Remember Rat & Co were amongst the strongest and most soilid climbers at that time, I wouldnt suggest this route for some sport climber who has done a couple of 25's.

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:37 am
by Justin
Hey Stu, thanks for the response... I refer to my disclaimer \"however, I'd debate this one...\"

12 meters? Ok but it looked like more :roll:

Yeah, yeah, maybe it's all this Anchor Replacement stuff with bolts breaking (they just don't make em' like they used to)!? I'm all for runouts, Bosh crag used to have four bolts to the top a long time ago. If you fell, you fell kinda far but you would not hurt yourself. So if there are bolts, I want a clean flight & happy landing - I don’t want to limp away with a busted back or ankle.
I agree with your 'fast food' comment - Keep the riff raff off please :) Don’t even bother greasing the holds up unless you have a good chance at getting up.

Summary - If you make a mistake which results in a fall you shouldn't get injured (unless it's marked 'E9')
Should the route be retro bolted? Probably not, it wouldn’t be fun if everything was Mediocre!

P.S. When climbing on a granite slab and you’re about to come off - has anyone tried the method of standing up and running down the slab until the rope takes (thereby avoiding the cheese grter effect)? Does it work?

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:06 pm
by Hector
The route guide says the longest runout is about 12m. Thats still very big, especially on a slab. Maybe I'll head up the lower pitches and see what they're like. I doubt I'd actually be able to commit to the crux pitches. I still maintain that there's no ways the route should be retro bolted. Theres enough other (safe) climbing at Spitzkoppe to keep the multitudes happy.

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:37 pm
by Grigri
Nope! gone.

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:50 am
by scottnoy
After reading some of the comments on this topic I feel ashamed to call myself a SA climber! How selfish and disrespectful can you get?!
There are so many awesome sport climbs out there, so why in the world would someone want to go all the way up to Nam to f$%k up a gem?
I heard someone said something about bolting run-out routes is selfish, well maybe those people should get out more! Let me say something about bolting a route, it's a very personal thing! The character of the person can be seen in the route and changing that, is as I said before, selfish and disrespectful!!!!
Maybe we should all have a closer look at way we climb? This is my personal opinion but if some dip shit ever asks me if he can add bolts to one of my routes because he's to chicken shit, I'll kick him in the ass and send him back to City Rock!

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:23 am
by oOdball
If you are going to place the extra pro on lead (i.e in the same style as the first ascent) then I say go ahead and put in as many new bolts as you like :shock:

I suspect the first ascensionists would agree...

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:27 am
by Rastaman
Relax scottnoy its just a debate. Nobody is going to add bolts to the route.
This is why we have this forum, to agree on ethics.
Out of interest there were some spanish visitors to Spitzkoppe a few years ago that bolted quite a few (multipitch) routes. These routes are very well bolted and many people view them as being overbolted.
These routes are recognisable by their \"gold\" bolts. Nice routes to get into the swing of things but can mess your head up for the other routes.

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:23 am
by Stu
Rastaman, where do you think we will be some years down the line? Trad routes are being bolted, other routes being retro-bolted, despite the fact that we have more sport crags than ever!!!I know I sound like a stuck record on this subject but think as SA climbers we have to look at where we are going and our attitudes to our sport.

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:25 am
by mountainmailorder
Twelve years ago, Andrew and Glenda Lainis and I, went up to do InXs. We phoned Kevin Smith who was the main driving force on the route and asked him for beta . His reply was \"put in a bolt between every one of ours\", which we did for the first 5 pitches. From there we ran out of power and time and climbed to the top in bad style.
We ran into huge problems from other members of the party. It was a pity we did not bolt the whole route.

David Davies

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:37 pm
by Hector
I've been reading a book on Yosemite by Thomas Huber. He describes how many of the old aid routes are being free'd. The Huber brothers reckon that its poor form to alter even the aid routes to make free ascents easier / safer. On their route El Nino, the brothers climb through the black cave on the North America Wall. The final moves through the cave are protected by a dodgy, rusted peg. They didnt want to place a bolt here, or even replace the peg, as it would be a disrespect to the early pioneers, and might spoil the experience for other aid climbers. The pitch goes at 5.13b! Alex practiced it by climbing up to the crux then reversing it to rest. He took no falls and eventually sent it.

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:55 pm
by Rastaman
I have two points to make:
(I'm sure we've had this debate though)
Hector, I'm sure Thomas was chuffed but I don't see the point of repeating climbs using the protection of my forefathers. When the climb was opened it was opened on a brand new solid peg. If they could have placed a bolt they would have. Simple.

The second point: Exactly as predicated the guys that opened the route (INXS) only placed as many bolts as they could. If they had more bolts/battery power/energy, they would have placed more.
In fact they encouraged more bolts being placed!
Therefore to preserve and respect the openers ethics we should do the same and place as many bolts as possible!!!!!
Take that sport fans :twisted:

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:19 pm
by DouglasWard
Yes, scottnoy, opening a route is a very personal thing. But I would hate to have any of the routes I´ve opened hint at my character by the way they were bolted. Rather I´d have the route itself do that - the line.

Personally, I find bolts incidental to the whole experience - they are for protection for f***s sake, not to define the route in some way as to show off the bravery of the route opener. I think the reaction of Kevin Smith to Dave´s request for beta says it all: even the first ascencionist couldn´t give a toss about the bolts.

However, one can argue about traditions of bolted slab climbs in general, and I think one will find that around the world they tend to be a little more run out than most people would like. My way of dealing with that is not to climb them, but it seems others want to add more bolts - I think they should merely be persuaded that it´s not worth the effort, rather than have their ethics called into question, or be threatened with a kick up the rear end.

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:23 pm
by Grigri
Dont get me started on the Huber brothers! That is such a load of hypocritical crap! Tommy Caldwell reports, after his repeat of the Nose free, that the Huber brothers were up there adding another stance and bolt right in the middle of the crux changing corners pitch to protect a variation that completely bypasses the crux. So much for respecting the style of the forerunners and not changing the character of a climb to suit your needs!! :( They are notorious amongst Valley locals for bolting stances for their film crews and generally doing as they please with the wall, all in the name of turning a buck of course!

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:53 pm
by Stu
DouglasWard, that's crap. Bolts are a part of the route and also define the route somewhat. A bolt in the wrong place or too many can easily ruin a route or make it unclimbable not being able to clip. Our (Scott and I) attitude has been not to \"show off the bravery\" but rather tthat bolts on certain routes should be carefully placed to make an interesting route and using your head instead of simply crimping as hard as possible and hoping for the best knowing you have a bolt every meter.. If the first ascentionist has no problem with adding extra bolts than go ahead, but is this now going to be the norm, are all older routes going to be retro-bolted because we all have power drills. Personally I give up. No one seems to give a crap about history or what has gone before. If I don't like it then I will change it - this is not a nice attitude to go forward with....

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:19 pm
by scottnoy
An example: While climbing at Lion Head Granite I spotted a great 'new' slab line which had no bolts or natural protection. I did some research and found out that it had been climbed solo by ADK and is called \"Aqualung\".
Now according to your theory someone should bolt the line so everyone can climb it? I think thats cr@p!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:58 pm
by DouglasWard
Scott, Stu - I actually agree with a lot of what you guys are saying. But your attitude on this, and other topics in this forum, does come across in a way that makes it seem that you bolt in a way to show off your bravery.

Stu, your last explanation about your guys bolting ethic is a much more acceptable explanation - to make people think about that climbing rather than thrash and crimp to the next bolt - ok, THAT makes sense.

Back to INXS: the route openers did not end up creating 12m bolt spacings to express their personalities. They did it to save money and effort. I am sure Kevin would far rather that many more people were able to attempt the route, rather than that a handful risk life and limb doing so - he has even indicated as much.

So why the ranting to keep the route like it is? Nobody will forget the style of Kevin´s and Jeremy´s ascents - the climbing community needs heros just like everybody else.

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:35 pm
by Stu
Doug, I don't know why you would get that impression, maybe because I'm not merely approaching this issue from a sport climbers perspective but someone who climbs trad as well. Replace the word 'bravery' with 'fun, different, interesting or adventure' and you will understand where we are coming from. I look back at the climbers of old and the stories and adventures they tell and today you might here, \"well I clipped a total of 160 bolts this weekend, it was awesome\", but don't get me wrong though, I too probably spend more time clipping bolts these days. Doug my explanation also only refers to certain routes, definitly not all routes, a number of routes I have recently opened are your average sport route that you woulfd find at your local Silvermine crag (probably too many bolts). Surely there is room for both. Luckily we didn't bolt that one hey Scott.

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:13 pm
by Mark
I think we would all agree that drilling extra holds into the rock would be wrong, isnt this what we are doing by retro bolting. Either you are up to the FA climb or you are not. Fair enough if the FA couldnt bolt it like they wanted to (from a safety point of view) this is another story. My feeling is that we are designing routes and approaching them with the redpoint in mind (ie I know I am going to fall let me make it safe), instead of a more serious approach of training and assessing the risk and then deciding if you want to brave the specific climb. I think that in the quest for pushing our technical ability we are rushing passed and denying ourselves certain challenges and achievements.

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:35 pm
by Magnus
I've recently been climbing at Stone Mountain, North Carolina in the US. This big granite dome was bolted in the 70s on lead. The bolts have since been replaced, but none added to the typical 10 to 15m run-outs. The climbing is wild, but it hasn't stopped the locals from queuing up every weekend. They've adapted to the climbing here, using running belays and good falling technique. I've been told that turning around and running will break every bone in your body. It has happened here, but the ethic stays.

The bottom line is, bolts don’t make it a sport climb, so don’t try and make it into one by lowering the commitment factor.

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:52 pm
by Grigri
Granite sux
Slabs suk
and so do dangerous runouts! :evil:

You can talk about bravery/adventure (whatever!) all you want but break yourself and you will change your tune!

But I still dont think the route should be changed, where would people go to break themselves!? :twisted: