Route Identification

New Areas. New routes. Retrobolting. Add-ons. Re-grading. etc.
stephan
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Route Identification

Postby stephan » Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:53 am

Hi all!
I would like to ask all the climbers out there if they could please include a black permanent marker in their bag next time they go to the crag's.

Then all of us can start to re-write the names of route's, their grade and star rating so that, in time, all the route's in SA can be easily identified. I'm sure that many of you have had trouble in the past finding that route you've heard about or that you've climbed ages ago but did'nt get the red point..

Please make sure that you get the correct route and grading from a trusted source i.e. a Route Guide booklet or from the route guide database from SAClimb

Any suggestions? :)

Stephan van den Berg[/b]

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The Jimmy
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Postby The Jimmy » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:16 pm

My first suggestion would be that you shouldn't have put your full name and surname at the bottom of your post....it gonna make it easier to track you down... :twisted:

Good luck, see you on the other side.

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Justin
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Postby Justin » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:29 pm

Hi Stephan,

At what crags where the names of the routes written? I've seen this done in Europe and one crag in CT (where they can't really be seen anymore).
I'm guessing non-climbers here in SA won't be happy about scribing on the rocks? Maybe I'm wrong?
If this were to be done, permission from the land owner should be granted and someone with neat hand writing to do the job.
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oOdball
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Postby oOdball » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:58 pm

I'm not keen on this :?. It isn't very hard to read a route guide once you have some practice :wink:
You have an opinion, so do I. When these differ, please don't confuse your opinion with the truth, nothing is absolute.

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African Climber
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Postby African Climber » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:18 pm

Stephan, that is a no-no, it amounts to graffiti. However I am currently involved in discussions with a few people with the know-how in finding a solution for this, I have proposed a method and it is under consideration. Once I have a consensus I will approach the MCSA and see if they will support it. Remember, let’s have as minimal an impact on/at our crags as possible.

RockHopper
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Postby RockHopper » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:20 pm

I agree with trying to use the Route Book, it takes some practice.

The other things I have seen on my adventures are small brass plates with the route name glued on the start of the route, usually under a slight over hang piece, liek the trad routes at Muzienberg

The other thing i came accross a few times is the route name written on a small piece of loose flake and built into a carin at the base of the route.

I don't think it wise running around all the crags writing the route names in with a big felt tip marker.

DBez
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Postby DBez » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:40 pm

Use a guide or get info from the local climbers . There's always someone that will know the layout or existence of routes at a crag .

scottnoy
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Postby scottnoy » Tue Apr 25, 2006 4:54 pm

How the hell is this guy? Are you actually serious? I would not like to be you if we catch you Sonny Jim!!

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Justin
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Postby Justin » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:06 pm

Hey Scott,
Now, now :)
Not a big deal, in some parts of the world this is the norm... route names have been written on the rock at local Cape Town crags before, bushmen paintings bolted over and smeared on, graffiti, etc in comparison this is mild :P
Lets not lynch anybody yet!!
Peace !!!
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Marshall
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Postby Marshall » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:55 pm

It depends on the crag. NSA in EL has initials & grade on 90% of the lines. But this is an urban sport crag with no other user groups....the big black marker is great here. There is less impact than you would imagine... Mary would be diffrent, so would lots of other places.

What is worse for the enviroment, initials & grade in black marker at the base of a route or forests full of alien veg surounding a crag?

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fanta
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Postby fanta » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:53 pm

I am very much against any form of writing any info on the rock PERIOD.

I mean why not circle all the holds and put arrows next bolts and features to show the way and write \"crux\" just before the big moment...

I think it should become standard practice to include a \"Dog Tag\" bolted on with the normal washer on the first bolt of a route with grade and initial the route name :idea: I have never seen this but I think that is a far better idea :!: :!: :!:

as for trad routes; well just get used to reading features... and have an adventure.

Grigri
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Postby Grigri » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:48 pm

Writing on the rocks in any National Park or Nature Reserve is most assuredly against regulations and completely out of the question. Surely you can look at a photograph with a line drawn on it and figure out where to climb? Dumbass troll!

andrewped
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Postby andrewped » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:09 am

Why do south africans have to make up their own little rules and standards in climbing. Its embarrasing. Plaques or tags are not used anywhere in the world. The international standard is nothing at all, or a very discreet and tiny marker pen label. There are too many SA climbers that expect the crag to be like the gym, they must realise that gym climbing is really not rock climbing at all and the same standards do not apply with regards bolting, labels etc.. Soon we will see requests for colour coded holds on crags..! As for those ghastly gay painted labels at the hallucinogenic at boven, they are apalling, a product of nerdy control freak climbers who enjoy writing guides, bolting and painting labels more than climbing itself. Enough ranting but I hope that a concensus has been reached.

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African Climber
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Postby African Climber » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:40 am

Hey Fanta, I'm in total agreement.

Andrewped, the reason I have been investigating this is to avoid renegade marking and defacement of rock (which has reared its head). That’s all. I will be following the proper channels and it is in an effort to prevent unsightly crags. If the MCSA does not see merit in my proposal, or the cons are more than the pros, then it must be written off.

With that said, this is how I am going about it:

I have been discussing the \"dog tag\" method with a few people(from boulderers, sport climbers to trad climbers). I am currently doing research to see what materials are best suited for the application. This includes, cost, durability, how it should be attached and ease of future replacement or removal. So far we have come up with an aluminium, stainless steel and a plastic \"dog tag\" test piece.
I will be doing some tests regarding the weathering of these test pieces; however, this will only be in Gauteng. I will need someone to carry out the tests in various parts of the costal areas.(this is still in a very early stage, I am also doing controlled environment tests at home.) The reasons for these tests are to ensure that they do not become unsightly or eroded to the point of uselessness in a short period of time.
There are other considerations to take into account too: ethics, cost, size, shape, colour(painted to the specific rock colour), what information should be placed on it and whether they should only be used on single pitch sport routes or included on trad and multipitch sport routes. (Take for instance 14 pitch route, the tag may end up as big as a hub-cap.) I am of opinion that if this gets the go ahead, only the name, FA+date and grade should be placed on the tags.

Once I have had a chance to put a proper proposal together and if I feel that it would be benificial, I will contact the MCSA JHB section and ask them to discuss this with the rest of the MCSA, only they should make a decision on this project.

If anyone has any suggestions or criticism (please make it positive, i.e.: no mud slinging), mail me @ safricanclimber@co.uk
Last edited by African Climber on Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:37 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Justin
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Postby Justin » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:49 am

An MCSA Initiative that is sort of related to this thread: http://www.climb.co.za/news_detail.asp?newsid=400

Thanks everyone for not mud slinging
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Grigri
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Postby Grigri » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:59 am

Putting a sign at the start of a walk up / crag entrance (probably a good idea) is one thing, labelling all the routes is overkill. The names used at some French crags were useful to a first time visitor like myself, but they were not at the base of every route, nor used at every crag, also the crags where they are used are continuous featurless walls with 100 - 300 routes on them where one route looks exactly like the next. Our rock is a million times more featured and it is generally easy to see what is going on from the photograph. Tagging routes locally is unnecessary.

African Climber - please do not use aluminium for the tags. There is a strong electro - valent relationship between Stainless Steel and Aliminium. This causes a very free movement of electrons between the two metals which results in rapid and catastrophic corrosion of both. This especially noticable in Marine environments and could lead to the degradation of the equipment within weeks!!! So no aliminium please!! If you really must have things spelled out for you with these tags then use 316 grades of Stainless steel only.

The whole idea is, in my opinion, stupid and just adds more cost and hassle to the already arduous job of opening routes.

Andy Davies
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Graffiti

Postby Andy Davies » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:25 pm

Come on Stephan - do you think landowners would let us continue to climb on their land if we wrote graffiti on the beautiful rock? Do you seriously want our crags to look like railway stations? If any climber is caught scribbling on the rock I'm sure 99% of climbers would bounce him up and then lay charges against him for damaging public/private property.
AndyDavies

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Mark
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Postby Mark » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:21 pm

Even with a decent guide book it is difficult to confirm the specific route

I think fastening a small neat brass \"dog tag\" with a cable tie to the first bolt will be low impact, on most faces you battle to see the bolts anyway so non climbers shouldnt be offended and it isnt graffiti

Personally a tax fastened to a bolt is less offensive than a name written on the rock, the one appears functional the other is make shift

Grigri
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Postby Grigri » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:16 am

You people seem hell bent on domesticating the crags. Climbing is supposed to be about getting out into Nature and having an adventure of discovery, both of the natural surroundings and the inner workings of your mind and body. Why do you want to make it into something akin to visiting the local library, with everything catalogued and stacked neatly in rows???

If you struggle to see the bolts (Im not quite sure how you manage this, perhaps you need glasses? but anyway...) then great! Hopefully hikers also struggle to see them. Making them more visible with a bright metal tag is not a bright idea! If you start sticking plaques all over Table Mountain you will have a bunch of woolie traddies (not to mention Park officials) after you in no time! Please stay in the gym where you are safe and unlikely to get lost!! Mind you, if you put tags on the bolts, then we can have fun swopping them all around and sandbagging you :lol:
Last edited by Grigri on Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

willpower
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Postby willpower » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:02 pm

how about just climb the f*#king line if its there

RockHopper
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Postby RockHopper » Fri Apr 28, 2006 8:28 am

Well part of the fun of a climb is finding a new route, or the one that you are interested in climbing.

Then trying to get there, weither it is just a park your car and belay for a quick climb or a trek an hour or two through thick bush and thicket, scratched, tired and brused.

find the line / features from a photograph or an written route discription or arb bolts in the middle of now where.

Then the voice in the back of you head convinces you this is a right route or \"hey this looks doable\"

Then the fun starts, trying to find your way up the line, climbing past belay stances, down clig, running out of rope, yelling at your belay partner for advice and to read you the discription again. This is great fun on both Sport and trad.

Half the fun is getting to the top, once you are up there you still have to get down.

Then there is the rewarding feeling of just going up a route by yourself using your own skills and navigation, got up and down back to teh car safely and enjoying a beer with your belay buddy

half the fun is called route finding. Enjoy ythe rock as it is.

To the good life.

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ken4ord
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Postby ken4ord » Fri Apr 28, 2006 12:49 pm

Stephan, what great idea! Actually I think it can be improved upon, though. Markers eventually fade and then you would not be able to find the route you are looking for. The dog tag idea somebody mentioned sounds great, but what if the first bolt a ways of the ground, you will not be able to read it.

What I think people should do is carry chisel with them and carve the name and grade of the route, it won't fade and you will be able to see it at the base of the route. Then if you are climbing and feel the route is too difficult the chisel could be used to make it easier to climb.

since we are discussing making climbs easier to find, other ideas I have is that we should pave the paths to the base of the cliffs. This will prevent people from twisting an ankle on the difficult approaches. Also large signs that list the routes that a path leads to would help. Hey while we are at we should paint dots on the routes where each hold is, since it might be unclear, preferably using a real bright colors so that they can be spotted from the ground. Hmm, what else we do to take the adventure out of climbing, oh I got it, how about on the difficult routes we install ladders, like they do in Europe, over there they call them via ferratta, but hey it is still climbing right. It also makes it easier not to get lost.

There has to be more that we can to do to desicrate the environment and take adventure out of climbing. Come on you guys lets pull our heads together and come up with some good ideas. Oh oh oh, I got it, you know i get tired of carrying my gear to the base of the cliff, we should build little kiosks where you check in your gear, they could sell soda and food so you wouldn't have to carry anything, of course we would have to fund this with a membership.

Marshall
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Postby Marshall » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:21 pm

What is the real diffrence between fitting a tag & fitting a string of bolts & hangers? I can understand not having tags at an unspoiled trad area. But at a sport area, why not go the full mile?

Hector
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Postby Hector » Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:29 pm

This is ridiculous. Imagine my surprise when I get to the base of the Sugarloaf at spitzkoppe, beneath the only obvious stonking line on the wall, with a row of shiny bolts marking the way, and a beautiful picture in the guide book with a line drawn on it, and some palooka has written \"Romours of Rain, 20\" in huge-ass letters. Come on people! Many of the other routes are similarly marked. There are outstanding guide books available for places like Boven and Montagu. There is absolutely no reason to mark names for bolted routes. Besides, on bolts, if u start up a route and realise its the wrong one and you cant do it, then frikking lower off and find the right one! its not that hard. As for trad routes, I agree the magalies guides can be a bit cryptic (there are still some routes I've never found after 10 years) but then again I've climbed some awesome pieces of rock while completely off route. Its part of the fun. I would be seriously mif if someone painted route names at the base of Blouberg for instance.
Another problem with writing at the base of routes is that grades often change. Take Rumours of Rain for example. The guidebook reckons its 21, I've been told it was opened at 23, and many people reckon its harder than 21, but the black ink proclaims to the world that it is, in fact, 20, so just suck it up and stop climbing like a wuss.
So I reckon there is absolutely no excuse for marking route names.

stephan
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Postby stephan » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:39 am

Everyone, calm down for a second :!:
I did ask for suggestions so we can solve this matter, not childish sarcastic remarks that annoys everyone.

I should have been more specific. I am talking about crags like Strubens, Bronkies and some of the Magalies crags i.e. sport crags. NOT the whole of SA, so the Cape Town people can stop slashing the idea. :twisted:

I am very keen when it comes to conservation, of nature and of the rocks. Heck, that is what I did my degree in... :!:

I do like some of the other ideas, however for now I think that the Cape Signage project of the MCSA is an awesome idea. Remember that most people do not own a guide book of every crag in SA. However, I will be sure to make it my next investment.

Stephan

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zook
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Postby zook » Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:18 pm

Stephan,

I don't really agree with what you or anyone or here suggest to mark routes( cause in my opinion if you want to have a hard \"training session\" flying up 20 odd routes just go to a climbing gym, outdoors is a completely different matter.)
You don't really need to be a rocket scientist to track down the route you need, and even if it takes you a while...so what, your outside. Besides on the more popular spots there are bound to be some regulars around that should be able to point out the route...

O ya, one other thing, its a real good idea to explain yourself properly on here, these guys are like vultures and will strip you clean in seconds - Think you have to learn to just let it slide and not take it to personal (its mostly mouth anyway)...I talk from experience haha... (Think its a newbie thing!)
I think opinions on this one is going to be all over the place anyway...
Good luck with not becoming a emotional wreck after this post is done :lol: :lol: :lol:
You know you climbing to much when you start grading your girls

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tygereye
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Postby tygereye » Tue May 02, 2006 12:46 pm

I was climbing at Boven (Hallucenogenic wall) for the first time last weekend and was quite shocked to find some of the routes' names written on the rock. I had no trouble finding the routes whatsoever just by using Gustav's route guide. For example, Dexter's Lab... off-width crack... you need no further details...!

Please don't mess up our crags any further!!

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Mark
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Postby Mark » Tue May 02, 2006 5:21 pm

Unfortunately, in most cases, route marking is going to happen, whether we like it or not (most of us not). I dont believe we should just say it is wrong and we disagree with it, that is not going to prevent it.

Something needs to be suggested as a way forward to steer these misguided route finders in an acceptable direction, be it markers or better guide books.

BTW I suggested a dog tag on the first bolt and mentioned that it would be low impact because sometimes it was hard enough even to see the bolts and then I was chirped that I need glasses - didnt see that one coming :roll:

Guy
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Postby Guy » Wed May 03, 2006 12:35 pm

The spoonfeedme generation never ceases to amaze me. What is wrong with a bit of nature and a touch of adventure.

Learn to read a map - it's not that hard.

Thinking....

Wait, I take all that back - there is a business opportunity here. I'm offering MP3 downloads of the beta for all routes in SA (which you can play on your iPod as you climb) at R100 per route. Each download comes free the GPS co-ordinates of every hold. Who's keen?
There's no point being pessimistic, because it probably won't work

Marshall
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Postby Marshall » Wed May 03, 2006 1:23 pm

If you are going to spoon feed them a line of bolts to follow...then why not the name/initial on a tag. How come the bolts are accepted, but not the tag? The tag would not be larger than a bolt.


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