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Bolts in the Fish Creek area--whodunnit?
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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 4, 2008
Duck face with Largo

Two days ago I was driving the Apache Trail, aka AZ 88. At the point where Fish Creek crosses the 88, I stopped to check it out and see if the amazing walls in the place really were the chossy crap they appeared to be.

On the right side of the road (where it hairpins over the creek), there are some trails that climb up the side of the big creek bed toward a giant cave. The rock seems different than the other walls around there; it appears fairly hard.

First I spotted two tiny hangers at the top of a 30ish ft triangular shaped rock down below that sits by some (at this time) unmoving pools of water in the bottom of the creek right before it goes under the road. The rock itself looked to be a most easy and totally forgettable "route" from my vantage point; also, there are no bolts on its face and the horizontal cracks look too large/shallow to take gear. You can walk off the top, so I never got the point of the hangers. (TRing?)

Slightly past the giant cave (where people have clearly been hanging out and/or partying with fire and grafitti implements), I saw a line of very, VERY shiny bolts. Again, the route appeared to be 5.easy and totally forgettable....but the kicker is the bolts are placed every two feet, the first one being probably shoulder height or lower to a 5'6" person (inexplicably, I might add, since the starting moves don't look hard nor is there a dangerously angled slope directly below the route). The bolts go up this somewhat lame-looking face, then stop briefly. There is no walk off exactly I could discern. There is a big ledge at that point and another huge boulder sits on top of it. Climbing its face straight on looked harder than the "route" below it, yet there are no bolts at all until you see one on a very short smooth slab section near the top (~15-20 ft up the boulder). WTF??? It looked possible to go around the right side of the boulder and scramble up a big 4th/5th class crack as well, but again... the bolt out there on the face is of what use...? I could see no anchors or continuation up the cliff face behind the boulder, but this was a good distance up and it was hard to pick details out.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my effing camera with me that day or I would post photos. If you have information leading to the identify and thought processes of these routes' establishers, you are encouraged to call our Tips line...or just post here.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
May 4, 2008
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Somebody practicing, perhaps?


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 5, 2008
Duck face with Largo

The problem is partly that I believe this area still qualifies as the Superstition Mountains, where this is currently a ban on bolting. :-/ Not to mention this was not bolted "responsibly," practice or no, if you catch my drift...


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
May 5, 2008
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Agreed; sounds like a few independent layers of irresponsibility at work there: over bolting, no efforts to camo hardware, and doing so in area(s) not okay'd for bolting. Reading through your post again, I'd have to say practicing for sure. Some furball probably picked up Inertia 1 & 2 (vhs or beta, of course) from the local pawn shop and headed straight for Home Depot. I cringe to think what he came up with for quickdraws... . And his rope?...omg - waaaay scarier than any 5.xxRR I've seen.

Maybe Darwin will go to work before any more senseless defacing takes place. Okay, that was mean. How about... "Maybe he'll pick up a copy of Titanic and change hobbies before he ruins something worth climbing."


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By bio
From mesa, az
May 5, 2008

I've hiked along the creek a number of times, there's some nice bouldering if you're into that sort of thing. I have seen some random bolts but no actual lines. There is good potential for some lines on the big walls above the road but the rock is quite chossy, some places prohibitively so. If some good lines were put up there I wouldn't object, but it sounds like the bolter is a newbie in this case.


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By susan peplow
From Joshua Tree
May 5, 2008
Beer Anyone?

Humm,

I met someone recently who has been going up there. Sounds a lot like his handiwork. Even if I confirm, is it right to post up his name? Probably not under the circumstances.

If it helps, I'm under the impression that some of the routes that have been getting attention he was the "FA" on many years ago. For whatever that's worth. Easy, tightly bolted, poor lines, in wilderness area? I'm sure we'll have a line of people staking their claim.

Interesting.


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 5, 2008
Duck face with Largo

Well, actually, I didn't expect any names to be posted unless the person who did the bolting decided to be public about it, but one can always ask. :)

Is it legal to be bolting in this area of the Superstitions? I did not know if the bolting ban has boundaries or what.


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By manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
May 5, 2008
Trying to redpoint The Ugly 11c; steeper than it looks and the rock is scary in spots but good enough.

Sounds like somebody practicing or learning a new skill set. Unfortunately, sounds like somebody is unaware that drilling in the Supes is banned, although it is legal to hand drill in other wilderness areas, the local authorities have kept the ban, as far as I know. I asked a few years ago. If anyone cares to update on the ban, please do. Susan, if the person wants to learn how to bolt, have em PM me.


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By Chris Greevers
From San Tan Valley, az
May 5, 2008
First pitch of the hand

As far as the formation in the creek below the bridge. There are anchor bolts at the top. I TR'd it probably 15 years ago and it looked like those bolts had been in long before I got there and before the bolting ban. Also there are some fixed pitons in the horizontal cracks on the routes. The rock is fairly polished as is most of the rock in the creek. Not a world class destination. Some cool bouldering up the creek. Polished rock with geod type pockets on some big boulders. Good senic area to go to though. Especially when it is raining. The waterfalls coming off the canyon walls are extremly awesome.
As far as I know Supes are still off limits to bolting. That cave is full of choss too. Sounds like someone puting up a bolt ladder instead of a route. Something to play on while partying maybe.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
May 5, 2008
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Was it here?

Fish Creek, AZ <br />
Fish Creek, AZ

Fish Creek, AZ
Fish Creek, AZ


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 6, 2008
Duck face with Largo

Daryl, yes, that's the place. I can identify both points in your first photo where the two routes are (er, I don't see them in your photo, but their locations are included in your photo). The bolt ladder is on the middle-right hand side of the rock face just left of the cave--the face looks like a triangle lying on its side, pointing right. The bolts stitch up this face, then stop at the ledge where you can see that big boulder sitting above the face. Nothing on it until you hit the very tip of that boulder--a single bolt is on the little slabby tip. Then nothing as far as I could tell.

c greevers wrote:
As far as the formation in the creek below the bridge. There are anchor bolts at the top. I TR'd it probably 15 years ago and it looked like those bolts had been in long before I got there and before the bolting ban.


Yes, those anchors looked far different from the other bolts. Much older, less shiny, different shape (although I didn't walk down to inspect up close). The other bolts are in fact some of the shiniest I've ever seen, actually....They look like a different brand of bolt than anything else I've ever seen as well.


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By Mike Covington
May 6, 2008

The language is contained in the "The Wilderness Act of 1964" I believe. Dief probably has a copy. The whole thing hinges on interpretation the "no instalation" portion of the act.

It really hasn't been challenged locally in about 15 years. It really came down to the head guys (the one in charge of the Supes) interpretation. I think the same guy is still in office, if not maybe there is headway to be made. That would be cool, there's much rock to bolt.


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