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ACE: Eldo fixed hardware application vote
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By Gregger Man
Dec 30, 2013
gg

The FHRC applications that were scheduled for October were postponed due to the park closure. We've decided to do a rescheduled vote which will conclude with a public meeting February 10th at the Spot gym in Boulder at 7:00pm.
To vote online, go here:
www.aceeldo.org/fhrc/applications/
(note: clicking on the application shows a lot of blank text fields, but if you click on the image link it opens a pdf file with photos and a description. If any professional web developers reading this are interested in building a better website for us, we might be able to work out a charitable tax deduction...)


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By Gregger Man
Jan 1, 2014
gg

[bump]

Interesting nostalgia on the pin removal votes so far.

q: If I leave a stuck cam on an FA tomorrow should that stuck cam be regarded as history?

followup: Mark Hudon has cleaned up lots of manky unnecessary heads on aid routes on the Captain. Are superfluous pins like the ones on these free climbs similar or different? How?

Discuss.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

The fixed pins remaining in Eldo are different than "stuck gear" because they were put there and left there intentionally as fixed gear.


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By Gregger Man
Jan 2, 2014
gg

So if I intentionally leave a piece fixed on the FA, then it should stay put?

-Even if it's in a section where reliable removable pro is easy to place?

Does technical obsolescence ever kick in for completely non-essential pin placements?


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Depends, of course, but I don't think that is really what we are talking about here.
But there is precedent for what you are saying - Sometimes fixed stoppers or such pounded in, such as in "Creep Show" in RRG.
The Diving Board sported a pounded in Stopper for years, and Boomerang had those fixed heads.
There are other examples as well, such as Cory Fleagle's route up at Avalon that had the large fixed stopper mostly to put pro in a place such that it also help out the rope (though if you read that one - it got removed).

But that isn't really what we are talking about here and is not, in my view, a good analogy. Unless you want people going around chopping bolts where they can find removable protection on legacy rocks. That's the logical extension of the "remove it" argument.

What we are talking about is gear that was placed on lead on a route where it was used for protection by the leader in the FA, or perhaps was present for aiding and then in place fixed for the FA, and was considered important fixed gear by someone, in a day and age where it was not intended to be removed. I think that is a different thing.

As for the question on technical obsolescence, well, I guess when the pro is gone, it is gone, but so long as it is part of the living history of the routes as experienced and descibed in books, etc, then the pins serve as a waypoint and guide for location as a secondary value. I might decline to replace a bad one, but I wouldn't go pulling it.


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By Tombo
From Boulder
Jan 2, 2014
1/3 of the way up Spire, just above where my piece blew.

1+ ^^^^


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By Joseph P. Crotty
From Broomfield, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Maltese cross.

Pins (AKA Pitons and Pegs) can only be trusted by the person who placed them the day they were placed. The analogy to leader placed nuts and cams is apt.

A good read on the subject of pins Is there a future for pegs in British climbing? with a thorough report provided by James Titt.

Unless your carrying a hammer on lead and completely removing and re-driving the pin on the spot you have little if any idea of the safety of the pin. I understand the sentimental endearment experienced eldo climbers have with pins. But leaving unreliable rusting hardware in rock for unsuspecting climbers of any generation to clip is irresponsible.

The way forward proposed in the two pin removal applications is to start removing pins on routes where there is ample natural protection to supplement the pin. Both of these pin removals are ideal candidates.


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By Gregger Man
Jan 2, 2014
gg

Tony B wrote:
... But that isn't really what we are talking about here and is not, in my view, a good analogy. Unless you want people going around chopping bolts where they can find removable protection on legacy rocks. That's the logical extension of the "remove it" argument. What we are talking about is gear that was placed on lead on a route where it was used for protection by the leader in the FA, or perhaps was present for aiding and then in place fixed for the FA, and was considered important fixed gear by someone, in a day and age where it was not intended to be removed...


I think there is a distinction between the intended permanence of a piton in a crack versus a drilled hole on a face. The Peanuts pin was hammered in by Henry Barber or Jim Erikson in 1973 if this one is indeed from the FA. Henry soon became a strong advocate of clean climbing after Chouinard started making nuts in 1972. It would be interesting to see what either of them think now. Maybe they will chime in.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Joseph P. Crotty wrote:
Pins (AKA Pitons and Pegs) can only be trusted by the person who placed them the day they were placed. The analogy to leader placed nuts and cams is apt.

Not at all true. A majority of Eldo test pieces were free climbed on existing aid protection long after it was left fixed.
Ask Jim E. about Rosy C. by way of example, Or Steve W. about Kloeberdanz. The list goes on.


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By Gregger Man
Jan 2, 2014
gg

Fair enough, but the fact that it was left in place before the advent of removable gear still doesn't separate it from a manky fixed cam or nut (for me) unless sentimentality puts its thumb on the scale.
If the majority opinion is to leave them, that's fine. The argument in favor is just a little vague to me.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

I'm not sedimental, but frankly, my idea of the pro-remove argument is about the same as your on the anti-remove argument.
The easiest thing to do, of course, is nothing. Then if you just don't like it, you don't clip it? I mean, it's not a retro placement and you can still protect right by it, right? What's the harm?
I'd focus more energy on replacing bad hardware as you have, rather than removing hardware that has a legacy on the route.


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By Jim Logan
Jan 2, 2014

As one of the people who left a number of those pins around on the whole it was not intentional. Climbs would accumulate pins over time and poor aspiring climbers would go up and clean pitches to get the gear. A pin tended to become fixed when it had been overdriven to the point that it could not be easily removed or had been there long enough that it seemed to just be part of the route. Some places like the upper pitch of the Yellow Spur or the first pitch of the Naked Edge would go from having a pin every three ft to having none and one never knew what was going to be there. There were a few places that we tried to fix and leave gear, like the start of the Bastille crack. It was apparent that it was being destroyed, but no matter how we placed a permanent pin, someone would always take it out. I wouldn't place to much intent on any of the old pins that are left. I also think there is a problem in that most people who clip them have no understanding of how bad a 30 or 40 year old pin placement may be. I like to clip old pins for nostalgia but do so with the idea that it may have absolutely no protection value.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Got Milk? How about forearm pump? Tony leads "Alan Nelson's Bulging Belly" (5.10, X) on the Lost and Found Flatiron. Belayer is Mark Ruocco. Photo by Bill Wright, 10/06.

Good point, Jim.
And you are right (I never disagreed) that " I like to clip old pins for nostalgia but do so with the idea that it may have absolutely no protection value."

But I do clip it thinking that it might, and in some cases, I like the extra pro/confidence, even if it is only marginal, it is generally better than nothing.
And I also think that once it fails, then yeah, if there is pro - might as well leave it.

As a public rep for our community, leaving something as it is is not likely to stir the community. But as a BCC Board member, I will not pursue a change based on a simple majority opinion. If you piss off 30-40% of the people with each decision, eventually, you piss off everybody. Look at congressional approval rates for an example. I believe that actively changing routes with intent should be done with 90+ (or higher) support, not 51%.


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By Josh Janes
Jan 2, 2014

Tony, while your view on this is not sentimental, it is surely sedimental. ;)

In the examples in the application the pins are trash - we have modern pro that makes them obsolete (the photos show bomber cams surrounding each of the old pins). While a case could be made that they're "historically significant", I believe it is the ascent itself that is significant - not the relic (AKA trash)... just like a key cam or bolt in a modern-day groundbreaking ascent isn't significant and shouldn't be 50 years from now.

On the other hand, I worry that that new route next to Vertigo is too close to "To RP or Not to Be"...


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By Nate Sydnor
Jan 2, 2014

Tony B has a well-articulated opinion, as well as a life of climbing in the area to back it up with. A question that comes to mind is: What exactly is gained from the removal of these pins? Why remove what many see as valuable aspects of the Eldorado climbing experience, simply in the spirit of "Now we're superior and don't need them"? This may not be the exact sentiment, but it is what I'm perceiving as the position. By this rationale, with exceptions, this could lead to the removal of many more pins in the canyon. Should we remove the pin at the top of the second pitch of the Bastille Crack? Perfectly parallel placements there, etc., etc. Why are more pins not up on the chopping block? Why aren't we talking about removing pins that are already cracked or snapped off? Yes, the removal of some would possibly give climbs a more dangerous nature, but isn't that part of the Eldo ethos as well? There are so many questions.

Personally, I have never thought of either of these pins as extremely poor or unreliable either, and if natural gear abounds, then it is certainly easy to back them up. I also disagree with Mr. Crotty's assertion that it is impossible for anyone but the one who placed them to judge a pin's reliability. This position seems naive. I feel that we as climbers have several methods by which to ascertain a pin's integrity (sight, sound, etc.). And again, although some pins in the canyon are suspect, the characterization of these pins as "unreliable rusting hardware" is, to me, actually, not the case.

And is it no longer an expectation in the climbing community that climbers should have the ability to make judgments on protection themselves? Must we make the decision for them? Are we to protect every new climber from unexpected experiences that may lead to their growth in some way or another (including, but not limited to, backing off, ripping a pin and potentially getting injured, and/or having an amazing whipper story to tell)?

It seems to me, based on his comments, that Mr. Man has an agenda or ethical standpoint that he is pushing, and unfortunately his analogies are neither applicable, nor do they actually support the question at hand, as Mr. B pointed out. Sometimes the way one asks questions reveals the answer they want to hear. Yes, technically speaking, the pins are superfluous if other gear is available, but gear availability is not the only consideration in Eldorado. How quickly will we forget our history? What aspects contribute to the unique nature of Eldorado climbing? Again, so many questions.

As to Mr. Man's comments regarding nostalgia, etc., I feel that Eldorado Canyon has a particular place in history, and I enjoy coming upon pins like these in pretty much any place I climb. If they were brand new it would be one thing. However, they are not, and they offer a unique experience to those who travel these routes. We can actually touch a pin that Layton or some other pioneer touched as well, which is, to me, unique and invaluable. If they stay in, I see no real harm as being done, and if they go, then what? Who's shelf do they sit on? I don't know if I've put down my entire line of thought, and, frankly, am not sure what all my thoughts on the subject are, but I think that the arguments for removal hold less water than the arguments against removal. Appreciation of the past, and respect for tradition, are not, in my opinion, to be relegated to simple nostalgia. The issue is much more nuanced than this.


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By Joseph P. Crotty
From Broomfield, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Maltese cross.

Joseph P. Crotty wrote:
Pins (AKA Pitons and Pegs) can only be trusted by the person who placed them the day they were placed. The analogy to leader placed nuts and cams is apt.


Tony B wrote:
Not at all true. A majority of Eldo test pieces were free climbed on existing aid protection long after it was left fixed. Ask Jim E. about Rosy C. by way of example, Or Steve W. about Kloeberdanz. The list goes on.


Because a few climbers have fallen on some fixed pins that held, a long time ago at that, does not make all the fixed pins in eldo trust worthy. The point is when your on route analyzing a fixed pin unless you have a hammer with you and pull and then re-drive the pin you have no idea of it's merits and are making a leap of faith by clipping it.


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By Joseph P. Crotty
From Broomfield, CO
Jan 2, 2014
Maltese cross.

Josh Janes wrote:
On the other hand, I worry that that new route next to Vertigo is too close to "To RP or Not to Be"...


Eric Johnson told me the closest bolt on his proposed new route is 15' to the left of 'To RP or not to be' and unreachable. However, I have not TR'ed Eric's line to confirm that but trust him implicitly.


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By Gregger Man
Jan 2, 2014
gg

I don't have an axe to grind. I am genuinely interested in the opinion of the climbing community. That is why we submitted the application.
This generation of climbers will likely never pound in a Lost Arrow or angle. Learning to evaluate in situ pitons will mostly be a theoretical exercise for them.
Doing nothing is the easiest route, and that might be what we will do. Doesn't hurt to ask. They'll all fall out eventually- I just want to know whether some of them fall under the same category as tattered slings or mangled fixed cams yet. Probably not.


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By Mark Roth
From Boulder
Jan 2, 2014
not climbing

The only reason to remove a pin, in my opinion, is if the pin is blocking the only natural protection. If gear is better without it, remove it. If not, leave it alone as a historical exhibit.


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By Wally
From Denver
Jan 2, 2014

Please keep the fixed pins. Removing these is taking away part of Eldo's climbing history. This is the overwhelming opinion so far on the ACE votes. Those in favor of removing the pins, those that I know, tend to be younger and have less experience climbing in Eldo. The appreciation of the historical nature of old pins seems to be missing in this group. That is fine - but please respect the opinions of those of us who have been climbing in Eldo for many many years. If you look at that group, there is just about 100% support for keeping the old pins.

One of the supporters of removing the pins is a very strong sport climber (and a great guy - no diss intended here) who (from what I understand) has very little Eldo trad experience. Should that vote count? Which of course opens up a question - who is permitted to vote? I just went to the climbing gym for the first time last month. I read on the internet that pins are bad. I think we should remove all pins from Eldo. Simple enough. No, I don't think so.

Joe, I disagree with you assertion that you cannot look at a pin and judge it's ability to hold a fall. We (experienced trad climbers) all know that pins are suspect. But some pins look and are way more suspect than other pins. A solid downward driven angle with a good head is not a suspect pin. Am I going to back it up at the next reasonably good opportunity, well, yes. Any piece I place, or clip, including a bolt, has some probability of failure.

Bottom line - old pins are cool and awesome relics to many of us - please do not remove.

Bottom line number two - ACE has done a great job replacing and upgrading many anchors recently in Eldo. That effort should not be overlooked - thank you ACE for helping to take care of Eldo!

Climb on. Wally


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By Gregger Man
Jan 2, 2014
gg

The voting process is weighted in favor of the status quo. I am obligated to vote my interpretation of the will of the community even if it conflicts with my own. That's why I'm stirring the pot. Thank you all for voicing your opinions. Keep it up and stay involved.


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By JLP
From The Internet
Jan 2, 2014

Joseph P. Crotty wrote:
The point is when your on route analyzing a fixed pin unless you have a hammer with you and pull and then re-drive the pin you have no idea of it's merits and are making a leap of faith by clipping it.

This is only true for someone who knows nothing about placing pins - which I will concede is probably 99+% of modern climbers. Would you say the same about nuts and cams?


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By Patrik
Jan 2, 2014

Mark Roth wrote:
The only reason to remove a pin, in my opinion, is if the pin is blocking the only natural protection. If gear is better without it, remove it. If not, leave it alone as a historical exhibit.


I agree with this sound statement and would really like to see the top two pins on the first pitch of "Over the Hill" be pulled. Clipping those relics is always enerving (no backup at all with a bad ledge fall guaranteed should those pins fail) and I would rather place standard gear in the pin scars after removing them. The "like for like" replacement policy in Eldo doesn't make much sense (at least not for these two pins in question) as new pins are likely questionable soon enough.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jan 2, 2014
...

"The only reason to remove a pin, in my opinion, is if the pin is blocking the only natural protection. If gear is better without it, remove it. If not, leave it alone as a historical exhibit."


+1


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By James Crump
Jan 2, 2014

Is it management or ethics...

If is bomb leave it, if it is mank yank it...

Please refrain from the need to remake routes to fit some new view or for new toys...

In a park, a state park it is a manage for safety verdict.

I have clipped many a pin and known they were good just by how my biner felt in the clip.

Some pins are obviously bomb... If not, it is mank. Mank needs to be yanked.

I have enjoyed clipping old pins in Eldo and cherish the memories.


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By CJC
Jan 2, 2014

Josh Janes wrote:
On the other hand, I worry that that new route next to Vertigo is too close to "To RP or Not to Be"...


This worries me too. There's been a rope hanging there for months and some tape Xs and they seem very close to Derek's masterpiece.

Good discussion on pins, and thanks Mr. Logan for providing some historical perspective.

Going to vote right now.


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