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Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:23 pm
by Stu
And in the left corner....


Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:40 am
by pierre.joubert
Rap stations, lower offs :thumright
Bolted stances :pukel:
Mixed routes :scratch:

It's hard to keep up, this year's getting tired.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:10 am
by mokganjetsi
RAP.JPG (37.13 KiB) Viewed 3058 times

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:59 am
by Tristan
@Mok...can I be touching her on her Uzzi?

@Snort, I believe the boltergeist bolt was a hand drill 1/4 type thingy you 'foggies used back in the day - i.e. not the sawn peg as per Oscilation - and was protecting the final moves between the small ledge as one rounds the roof (i.e. right hand extremity of the Elevator roof) and the Staircase Ledge. I have done this in one pitch but I suspect its written up as 2?

Two things to bare in mind here:
- it could be argued that those 'old school' bolts allowed for terrain to be climbed that hitherto couldn't be (safely), and that exposure to that terrain allowed for progress (remember top-roping etc was frowned upon) and thus with stronger generations that terrain needn't have had a bolt

- advances in gear, on occasion, make such bolts redundant. I watched Rich Halsey onsight Eternity Road last Sunday in a marathon fight, and he got a micro and a slider nut a foot beneath the crux...making the whole thing quite plausibly acceptable. (I'm not sure that the effort and time spent hanging in there losing power and energy was worth the security, but hey)

So it could be argued that the likes of Eternity Road were made possible (in good style) by the advances / platform laid by the previous generation. And rather than retrospectively slander said previous generation, they took the torch and forged ahead - the likes of White Rider, Dream Street Rose etc being a few that spring to mind of that generation adding a bolt where someone like Clinton mightn't need one now...and the argument might be replayed that Clinton is able to take that torch further because of the ppl who went before him. Each generation 'makes mistakes' (your words), and learns (maybe).

Taking this back to Yellowood I think that it is important to understand the process the visiting climbers follow. It is COMMON practice in Europe to add 1 bolt to alpine stances, and bolts where needed to supplement trad kit. In Europe (and the US) this has lead to a more popular and more practiced genre of Alpine Routes, with the top-end establishing super hard loooong routes with a few bolts - free routes on el cap, the grand cap and Cime Grande spring to mind.
The issue, thus, is local policy - and this is vague in YW - but I'm afraid that the 'rot' was set years ago. But the up side is that it might eventually provide a venue that will breed a generation of strong folk prepared to walk up big hills and climb big(ger) routes. And maybe, as in the past, the style gets improved on?

Having said that, 'your' role in stemming the tide is as vital as the guys trying to drill because at some point middle ground might be reached, and reasonable compromise reached between adventure / human endeavor and lazy LCD.

On the one hand bolts will increase exposure of wild places to a greater audience, but it will reduce the area's traditional 'wildness' / 'seriousness'. But then what did you think would happen when a sport line was opened there...or a convenient rap line?

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:02 pm
by henkg
Tristan wrote: because at some point middle ground might be reached,
"there is no fundamental principle we can stand on when it comes to climbing ethics. Ultimately, the ethic of any area, boulder, or mountain rests on the shifting sands of arbitrary consensus. The basis for the rules is less important than the fact that we all agree to play by them." Maury Birdwell

Eg the Tat all over the Cederberg and virgin areas like Towerkop is to my eyes more unsightly than a well camouflaged bolt. But that is my preference, and then one needs to consider the unseen effects of placing a bolt (inviting the so called LCD, distracting form the adventure of a route etc.)

Consider that the old school will always maintain current ethics, sometimes at the expense of real progress while the young guns will challenge existing norms, sometimes at the expense of an area. The way I see it, there is need for a balanced group of "custodians" for sensitive areas, comprising land owners, first ascentionists and current users of an area.

Live and let live, make allowance for alternative views and be mindful of tradition.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:56 am
HenkG your post is well put and says it all but for one thing.
Consider that the old school will always maintain current ethics
This is wrong: "young" activists for "advancement" of the sport that dis the "old guard" don't acknowledge and also don't want to acknowledge that all the old guard or old school dudes that comment on this forum were and some still are at the forefront of pushing the boundaries, and spend time, money and enormous effort at developing the sport - indoor and outdoor, sport and trad. But because it does not suit their arguments or their agendas we get branded reactionary. ADK, Mike Scott, Dave Davies, Chris Lomax, Kevin Smith, myself etc etc etc etc all have placed bolts at times - some good some bad. Tini Versveld has bolted the most vaunted sport climb in SA - Automatic for the People. We are all members of the old school.

However, we have made errors along the way and there have been consequences that affect the nature and the character of certain routes and climbing venues.. It is from these (intended) and un-intended consequences that the sport evolves; and it is up to local climbers with current experience to "manage" the development of local crags. No one can even begin to convince me that foreign climbers (whether they be off-shore or from another province in SA) when arriving trigger happy and drill in hand have the best interests of the local ethic and local climbers as a priority. I would not dream of hauling a drill around to any place in the world except the local crags that I have experience in developing. At least not until I have spent considerable time at the new crag and preferably with a local "active" climber.

Climbers are colonizing the world - especially the 3rd world drill in hand. From Antarctica to Mali to Cameroon to Venezuela to Mexico to Thailand to etc etc etc ..... Why, because they are more or less banned from doing so in their own countries and there is a reason for that.......

The same reasons why places such as TM and YW and the Cederberg and many other places in South Africa should have bolting managed if not banned.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:48 pm
by Tristan
should have bolting managed
I had a conversation the other day about Iterated Hash Functions. While I.T.Hf has no real relevance here, I do sumtimes feel like re-hashing things I've said before. But this time at least SNORT is agreeing :thumleft:

Sooooo, how to manage bolting at YW?

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:30 pm
The way to manage it is to do what is done elsewhere in the world.

Write a route book with the prevailing ethic detailed. This has been done albeit incomplete and is now on the routes wiki.

When and if I get some time I shall formalize the route book. But meanwhile individuals should add their stuff on the wiki.

The other process is to chop unneccessary bolts if someone has the time and inclination to do so. Some have been chopped.

The third is that individuals should not engage visiting climbers directly but rather direct them to the wikipedia. People will hear what they want to hear and listen to filter information that suits their agenda but once it is written in black and white then ambiguity is minimized.

Climbers are now regularly arriving here from elsewhere with a drill in their check-in luggage. I think the message should be loud and clear that their chalk and talent is welcome but not their drills unless they go to established sport areas. That is the same message one gets from all the climbing areas in Europe and the USA.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:45 pm

I have done Eternity Road a couple of times and I find that it is adequetly protected with nuts although tiny cams do make it more secure. My problem is not the pro or the crux which I find quite do-able.

It is after the crux where I am standing below the rail that a guy like Halsey has at around eye level that I experience difficulty. The rail is just - and I mean only just - beyond my reach and I am seriously challenged as I cannot place the gear in it to do the next move which is scary as one then becomes a little run out on those small bits of gear down to one's left. Halsey, I dare say would not even know what I am talking about as he would easily place gear in the rail and would not even have to do the very thin move up to it.

There are now quite a few routes on the ledge now that are as, or more necky that Eternity Road - Quake 23, Africa Arette 24, Sanitorium 25, TATWOC 26, TATASC23 and even the 2nd pitch of Sweet Dreams - a mere 21. And Mellow Steady Flow and Hard Times are also very heady routes that compare to E Road for boldness.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:57 pm
by Tristan
HA! A pissing contest :jocolor:
Me thinks that I'll only engage in sed contest on Fountain ledge, where the South Easter is less likely to blow my piss back in my face :o

Soooo, what then is the 'current accepted ethic' for, in particular, YW?

Also, would it not be feasible to instrument an approval process much like the sport-climbing-new-route process - in western cape nature area's.
The deal there is that the FA takes a picture of his intended line and then submits a motivated proposal to the rock climbing sub com detailing why the route is worthwhile, how many bolts etc.etc.etc. This committee then approves/declines the line based on thier mandate to facilitate harmony between users and landowners (in particular) while maintaining area ethics / standards as well as ensuring that any development is carried out within the bounds of currently accepted minimum norms (think 10mm 316 rolled bolts etc.etc)


Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:04 pm
by Hector
I would probably have a similar problem as Snort on Eternity Road - except the rail would be at my knee. Its really hard on the back to bend down all that way to try and put a cam in. :jocolor:

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:36 am
Hector you miss out on all the true cruxes of most routes. And what's more I get to do twice as much climbing as you on any route. Sorry for you :( I have some experience at leg shortening....Lemme know if you are interested.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:15 pm
by David Vallet
Climbing at Yellowwood has a special ambience!

There are scary run outs leading to complex gear placements in strenuous positions. The overhanging wall can be daunting. To climb there I need a certain set of factors to line up. The right weather, the right head space. I need to be fit and I need to be confident.

It begins with a long walk up in the Dark. The cold of the morning is shed quickly by the pace, the path is vague at best and for a large portion of the way I’m making it up, following my nose. At the base I try to shed the sweat drenched t-shirt and rack up quickly, after tea and as much water as I can take down. Hydrating from the walk up and for the climbing to come is important. The rock is cold in the early hours, my fingers are numb and the first few moves painful. Later the sun will cook us, higher up and strapped to the wall there’ll be no escape. It’s going to beat down on us and we hope the breeze is cool.
A couple of pitches up the doctor takes his lead, It’s a difficult pitch for us. Strenuous and steep. Charles places some gear and looks up at the difficulties to come, fidgets and then re-organises the large cammalot, as he begins to search out left for more protection. Our communications have become sullen, serious. The usual banter is gone, No opinions on world views, No more life advise or climbing philosophy. Our concentration is grave, and the atmosphere tense. Yellowwood has even managed to silenced Charles Edelstien (for a short while). I lower my head with a kink, to relieve the stress on my neck as Charlie fingers through the gear on his rack. He needs every piece to be in it’s place, a difficult pitch to protect, he won’t have the strength to mess about and the consequences of failing the protection will be painful. I kink my neck again to greet a hanging quick draw.

The symbol of all sport climbing. My mind fills with memories of the hole and at the mine. Laughing and joking at the base. Who’ll put the draws up for my red point? While we all flop and fall about giggling.
I hope Charles doesn’t fall. It’s a different atmosphere, a different kind of climbing.

I don’t want to pass judgement on another man’s adventures or deny anybody the right to climb safely with what they feel is suitable protection. But, in a way they took something from my adventure that day. Not a lot, just a thought, a slight shift in a state of mind. In the bold, hard yellowwood, it made our intense mood, our steel nerve and harsh resolve seem silly. When we could just clip and go...
I wonder how I’ll feel, if I pop up next to a bolted belay? Maybe, relieved? Maybe, sad?

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:42 am
by Russell Warren

I have never been to Yellowood, but at some stage I would love to experience the atmosphere that I suspect you have cpatured so well with a great piece of writing! I think I can almost understand now what all the fuss is about.

Russell Warren

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:14 am
It is not often I am silenced. Dave, you have indeed captured the essence of what climbing at YW is all about. Will you be relieved or sad if the crux of Prime Time direct has a bolt? You strongly promoted one.... Instead of the tiny cams and no 2RP? or don't know? Soon, or maybe already, I have lost the nerve and possibly also the physical ability to lead that pitch without a bolt....

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:50 pm
by David Vallet
I respect a lot of what has been done at Yellow Wood, and I hope that as the style there progresses it will be respectful of the spirit that prevails.

My logic followed that the gear protecting the crux on ‘Prime Time direct’ is Vital.
Without it, a fall may very well be disastrous. In fact, a fall manipulating the small and not so obvious, creative placements, so that they are safe could be just as disastrous.

I concede that there are more than a few stronger men out there, whose arms of steel will allow them more time to figure things out. Some may even be able to down climb from that position, which would be quite a feat.

But, having said that.
I wouldn’t be able to recommend the route to anybody I know, ground up. Even with the beta. In my opinion, ‘Prime Time direct’ should be rappelled first, the gear noted and the placements figured out (even practised) before any attempts to lead it. This was the style of the first ascension.

If you want the route to be a classic line, that friends can climb safely from the ground up, On-site. I would recommend you tuck a bolt in there or consider very carefully how it’s written up. I would be sad if someone were to get hurt.

Choice is YOURS ! You sent it with fine form. – It’s your route.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:38 pm
Ok, I would consider a peg or a fixed nut but not a bolt but I know many dudes who could safely lead that pitch on-sight without beta. You simply have to be up to it and that is why the pitch is graded E5 6a which generally would convert to grade 25 in SA.

Just to put the modern routes at Blouberg in perspective as well, with perhaps one or two exceptions, every bolt I have ever placed on the routes at Blouberg (other than those used for rappelling) are as appropriate or more so as one would be on PT direct. And also the bolts have been placed where pegs or fixed nuts do not work. They are quite desirable even for very bold climbers. And Blouberg is far more remote and out there than YW.

Even with those bolts in situ there are still some scary and bold run-outs on all the routes. And without the fixed gear there are probably no climbers in the world who would be willing and capable of doing those routes onsight - grade 30+ with a 20m run-out?

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:45 pm
by Stu
SNORT wrote:Ok, I would consider a peg or a fixed nut but not a bolt
What's the difference between a fixed nut and a bolt - with a fixed nut potentially being more of an eye-sore than a bolt? Camouflage the bolt and it's virtually invisible.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:49 pm
by Tristan
<with the greatest respect to all>

@Dave your eloquent and emotional post while great to read, nostalgic even, is just that - emotional and eloquent. In yours and SNORTS post the theme is consistent: you (guys) are defending an area that is special to you.
To the point that it appears that it is yours, and you are custodians. The very fact that you are prepared to justify a bolt in one (of the custodian's) route, but not another's only reinforces that appearance.

We are 106 posts into the second thread on the subject and nothing changes:
- locals hauled drills (hand and powered) and bolts up there
- visitors arrived and opened new routes
- a core group of self-proclaimed custodians tossed their dummies at the audacity that foreigners might also get in on the game but exclude them from the (decision) process.

- the 1st (german) visitors did their research, followed advice
- at the time of their ascent there was no protocol on bolting in YW

Then to get off-topic the posts get rather personal, primarily because the defendants are not SAFFA's nor are they on this forum to rebutt.

- there is NOTHING (save perhaps un-corroborated trash at the base) which the visitors have been accused of that the accusee's haven't first been guilty of. AT YW. (If I felt that way inclined I would post a few pics kit LEFT on routes at YW, of stashed kit, of bolts, of anchors. The list goes on)

It's pretty easy to take a stance (excuse the pun) on ethics in area's like the Cedarberg, Table Mountain et al where the mandate is quite clear. This is helped by the fact that those area's fall, mostly, into national parks, and by default are bolt-free.
NOT by agreement by climbers, but by regulation of PARK AUTHORITIES

Yellowood is different, because there are a handful of non-elected / mandated individuals who are either:
- making their own rules
- pissed when others don't see things their way

So, two 100+ posts later and none of the emotional custodians have presented a workable solution to how anyone OTHER THAN themselves might contribute to the area!

So stop pleading, stop bitching, stop whining...and present a workable solution. <and refrain from pointing out individual instances / occurrences - you bitch of one left draw...I saw 3 or four pieces 'left' by local's on this thread>

Ps: happy birthday SNORT
Pps: I'm not saying that either side is right or wrong, I'm saying that none of you guys are proposing a workable solution other than "do what I say, not what I do...and ask permission to even do that"

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:54 pm
by Tristan
SNORT wrote:... Soon, or maybe already, I have lost the nerve and possibly also the physical ability to lead that pitch without a bolt....
So, uhm...sometime we all become LCD's?
:jocolor: :jocolor:

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:23 am
by David Vallet
I beg for your pardon T.
I wasn’t trying to sling any mud.
I had a great day. Charlie sent, we got sun tanned, it was fantastic.

I shared my experience to help describe to some people that don’t climb there, why there is a sect that gets upset, and the reason Yellow Wood ethics occupy so many posts.
I know you understand it. Local haunts can be emotional places, remember how upset you were when they were retro-bolting at Paarl?

As far as I know, the ethic in Yellow Wood has already been laid down, Trad/Piton/Bolt.
But, it can be a little tricky. I think the second pitch of ‘Prime Time direct’, could do with a bolt. Charles has a different view.

By attempting to shed some light onto how fixed gear can effect other climbers in the Yellow Wood, I was hoping it would help influence with the decision making process, in what is quite clearly a touchy subject for some, and a grey area overall.

If after 50+ meters of intense climbing on a hungry pitch, you arrive at a small ledge, wild eyed, looking to make an anchor with only 3 stoppers and a small cam. Scratching around, you find a bolt. Wouldn’t you feed that Cordellette, I know you all carry :) , straight through the eye and breath easier. Relieved. Glad that a responsible first ascentionist took into account the nature of the last pitch.
If after 30 meters, you landed on a plateau with a range of options for gear and were greeted by a bright shiny bolt of convenience, smack bang in the middle of the back wall?
You’d probably need to blink a few times, blinded by the glare.

I’m not proclaiming to be one of the custodians of Yellow Wood amphitheatre.
Although, we should let them have their say. They’re the people that climb there regularly, it’s the playground in their backyard.

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:22 am
by Tristan
@Dave, I know...hence the disclaimer to begin with.

My interest in this debate is Where to from here in SA?. If the addition of (fixed) hardware can be regulated (particularly exclusively to certain area's), what could this change in ethic do for the other genre's - clean trad / pure sport - in our generally isolated community. Not everyone reading this forum has traveled as extensively as you, I or SNORT. And part of the responsibility of the likes of some of the contributors to this thread is to take a step back and remove their emotion and decide what is best for the advancement of the 'sport' locally.

My personal opinions are not really relevant to the overall discussion. But for what it's worth I think its pretty well known that I am against bolts in the mountains, and in Du Toits Kloof in particular as it is one of the few training grounds for the 'greater ranges' that we have available to us - and fixed descents & fixed gear do NOTHING to teach independence / autonomy in the big hills. But that is my opinion, and I am open to conceding some ground if it furthers a greater cause.
Likewise I think it is well known that I am vehemently opposed to retro-bolting established routes. It dilutes history, and removes test-pieces. Personally, P.T.D should be left as is...even if that means it rarely gets climbed.

The relevance of a route is NOT judged by the number of ascents!

But at the same time I'm aware of what the 'no rules' ethic of the Alps did to push standards (climbing, not ethical) in the mountains, and then that got transferred to bigger arena's etc.etc. In fact there is a great sequence of articles between Mark Twight, Steve House, Will Gadd and Scott Semple culminating in Scott's article "Under the influence" - unfortunately I cannot find an online link - where he weaves it all together; the elitist stance, the LCD stance and how his new route HOUSE OF CARDS was a result of a mix of all of the above. That he and Will wouldn't have been there were it not for sport mixed climbing, that they left the bolts in the bottom of the bag because of the abuse they'd endure, and a fair bit of pride. And he has great snipes at the previous guard as well as self depreciation. Because there is room for everyone in this game we play called climbing.

Here is an article by Semple discussing the relevance of MIXED climbing, but parallels can be drawn to the debate around YW and the progress v regression v advances in equipment

My point in the references is that this grey area is nothing new, nor unique to SA, or YW, but i do think it valuable to discuss it in an open forum.

“We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”--Albert Einstein

Re: Jabulani route at Yellowwood!

Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:23 am
by Stu
David Vallet for president! :)