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By daniel Baldor
From Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 8, 2014

Hi -- drove past Convict Lake on a work trip and thought it might look fun to do some trad on. I looked into established routes and there doesn't seem to be much (I saw 2 on Laurel Mountain). Two questions:

(1) Does anyone know the rules for bolting in this area? I'd like to spend some time establishing trad routes with bolted anchors on top of each pitch.

(2) Is there any specific reason this area hasn't been explored much? I didn't get a chance to get close and personal with the rock, so I'm thinking there's a possibility that it's just brittle and flaky, or that there are some regulations in this area(?)

Just moved to the area from New England and am having a blast climbing S. Cali for the time being... Playing in the Mammoth Lakes region looks awesome... Getting to establish a route or two on Laurel Mountain would be amazing. Anyone in the know, please get at me!


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By Tahoeguy
Apr 8, 2014

Don't know much about the history of routes there, though I've heard people mention climbing in that area.

One bit of advice though...trad climbing and bolted anchors don't usually go in the same sentence. Kinda ruins the, self sufficient/natural, experience. Would be best to end the pitches where there is natural pro, imho..

Have a great time exploring....


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By ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Apr 8, 2014
ducking ropes at Copper

Tahoeguy wrote:
One bit of advice though...trad climbing and bolted anchors don't usually go in the same sentence.....


Except Indian Creek, Eldorado Canyon, Lumpy Ridge, The South Platte and many many more TRAD areas that have bolted top/rap anchors. It is pretty common practice out here, we like to not force people to leave behind multiple pieces of gear creating rat nests of tat on popular routes.


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By Preston Rhea
From Mammoth Lakes
Apr 8, 2014
Near Checkered Demon.

Hey Daniel, I live in Mammoth Lakes and can give you some background on the area in question as I have climbed extensively in it.

The NE Face of Laurel has been climbed by a bunch of routes. The Pinner Couloir and Mendenhall Couloir being the main ones. The rest are really just variations of the latter; for example: the NE Rib which is a 5.5 variation to the upper half of the Mendenhall Couloir. Check the newest (third edition I believe) of The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails by R.J. Secor. It has the most updated information on what is up there.

Laurel and the surrounding area of Convict Lake is all wilderness area. There are no rules against bolting, but as it is wilderness no power drills are allowed.

The area is rather notorious for the poor quality of the rock. Laurel is loose and on routes like the NE Rib it feels like sandstone that is barely holding on to the stone part. That is the main reason there is not a whole lot up there. The obvious climbs have been done and the blanks spots on the cliffs are going to be committing.

Just because it is the topic of conversation, I'm going to throw in my two cents and say, bolts have no place in the mountains. Protection is hard to come by in that area, but not impossible. Many bold routes have been established on neighboring Morrison (the Eiger of the Sierra) and none have needed bolts.

I have a handful of first ascents on Morrison and Torre de Mierda and have climbed all the major routes on Laurel and a few on Morrison. I'd love to take you out there and go climb and explore. At the very least, go climb the classics and get a feel for the rock before blasting off into the unknown. Have fun and get after it!


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By Todd Townsend
From Bishop, CA
Apr 8, 2014

Along these lines, anyone heard of climbs on the Sevehah Cliffs? I'd assume they are chossy, like the rest of the terrain around there, but they appear to be of a different rock from the rest of Laurel. Maybe more like Morrison?


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By Tahoeguy
Apr 9, 2014

Chef,

"Out here" we prefer to walk, or hike, off rather than leave !!$&%# on our trad routes, and we remove any tat left behind by anyone unfortunate enough to have over estimated their ability and were forced to bail off the route. Especially in wilderness regions that maybe see a handful of climbing parties a year. Sorry that some "trad" areas have been ruined for "convenience" by those that do not live by the "leave no trace" belief to preserve the sense of outdoor adventure for later generations. Some of us actually ENJOY the challenge of figuring out how to set up naturally protected belays, if we wanted convenience we would hang out in heated gyms.


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By Monty
From Golden, CO
Apr 9, 2014
Just a teaser

Tahoeguy wrote:
Sorry that some "trad" areas have been ruined for "convenience" by those that do not live by the "leave no trace" belief to preserve the sense of outdoor adventure for later generations.

Because large erosion gullies from numerous parties descending leave a much smaller trace than 2 bolts to descend from... While the idea of not leaving anything behind and walking off is novel, isn't the better practice leaving tat or 2 bolts behind for the convenience of not destroying an entire hill side due to foot traffic and erosion? I think 2 camoed bolts do a lot more for "leave no trace" than a new, unsustainable descent gully.


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By Todd Townsend
From Bishop, CA
Apr 9, 2014

Sorry Tahoeguy,

But "out here," since we're talking about the Eastside, virtually all of our trad crags have fixed anchors of some sort. Whitney Portal, Little Egypt, Cardinal Pinnacle, Pine Creek, The Gong Show Crag, Patricia Bowl, The Benton Crags, The Mammoth Crest, and Granite Basin all have trad routes that you descend via bolted anchor stations. In fact, the only crag I can think of with no fixed anchors at all is Dexter Canyon, but no one ever climbs there, hmmm...

It is true that most of our backcountry mountain climbs do not have fixed anchors, however the nature of alpine rock is generally not conducive to rappelling, and they usually have a straightforward walkoff via class 1-3 terrain.


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By Tahoeguy
Apr 9, 2014

We are talking about routes that might see a couple of ascents every couple of years, if that, hardly something that would ever develop erosion issues. Bolting in rock is a permanent act, one that affects every climbers experience forever. At least trails/erosion can be reversed over time if they become a problem. Personally, I think even a descent trail is far less offensive than a bunch of man made metal hanging off of a pristine piece of rock in the wilderness. Climbers should be the stewards of the land and preserving our natural resources, not the abusers.

And....there are many, many, many routes on the Eastside without rap/belay anchors....


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By Todd Townsend
From Bishop, CA
Apr 9, 2014

Tahoeguy wrote:
And....there are many, many, many routes on the Eastside without rap/belay anchors....


Maybe so, but I think it's interesting that if you look at Mountain Project's own "top 50" routes for the Eastside,
www.mountainproject.com/scripts/Classics.php?id=105798288, every single trad route listed is descended via rappel from bolted anchors.

Just sayin'.


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By Tahoeguy
Apr 9, 2014

Yes, many have had retro bolted anchors installed...

And maybe you are right,
How would anyone know there was a classic "established" route there unless it had some rap bolts....;)

I am sure I have had some classic "first ascents" of previously climbed lines and am appreciative of the true first ascensionists for not succumbing to the urge to "mark" their accomplishment with telltale bolts.


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By Shawn Heath
Administrator
From Forchheim, Germany
Apr 9, 2014
I couldn't resist uploading this cool silhouette my friend Aran took of me on Panische Zeiten.

Sorry that this topic is running wildly away from the OP's and I'm not helping any, but if you want to walk off, walk off. Nobody's forcing you to use the anchors. However, I have to agree with Monty and say that Tahoeguy is taking a bit of a narrow-minded approach. The flora at the top of mountains is often very fragile and shouldn't be disturbed. Rap anchors really do decrease the impact climbers have, even though they probably increase the amount of climbing on that route. Here in the Frankenjura, it's actually forbidden to top out the routes in the interest of protecting the fragile flora atop the summits.


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By Tahoeguy
Apr 9, 2014

Did you happen to notice the part about it being a designated wilderness area? I am not sure if there are any of those left in Germany, but here we respect that designation to mean an area unimpacted by humans. Maybe it is hard to comprehend such large areas of rock that are rarely visited by climbers for those accustomed to hordes. The, very, few climbers that would be climbing there could not have a significant impact on the flora even if they tried.. Most of those visiting the area are hikers.
Back to the op...get out there and have a great time, and post up about what you discover....


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By ChefMattThaner
From Lakewood, co
Apr 9, 2014
ducking ropes at Copper

Do you see a way to "walk off" these routes Tahoeguy??? I'm sorry the world does not conform to your narrow minded approach to climbing. Walking off is not even remotely an option at most of the crags I named, which happen to be some of the most popular places out here.

Also many of the routes in Colorado top out on in alpine environments. That means tundra and extremely sensitive plant life. We try our best not to walk on this and destroy plants that are far more endangered than granite.

Indian Creek
Indian Creek


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 9, 2014
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

Generations of some of the best, and certainly some of the most prolific, climbers have lived in Bishop & Mammoth.

Yet there are basically zero routes back in there.

Go explore the rock, and you'll see why.


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By Shawn Heath
Administrator
From Forchheim, Germany
Apr 10, 2014
I couldn't resist uploading this cool silhouette my friend Aran took of me on Panische Zeiten.

Tahoeguy wrote:
The, very, few climbers that would be climbing there could not have a significant impact on the flora even if they tried..


I think it's pretty visible in history that humanity in general 1) doesn't learn from their mistakes and 2) don't stop to really consider all the consequences of their actions. We typically think that our actions have no conceivable consequence, and we have been proven wrong countless times with countless examples. Or at least I could argue that there are countless examples of people taking actions which led to unforeseen consequences. Please just try not to be so arrogant to believe that you know everything and stop to consider the consequences/resulting impact of your own actions before you do something. This goes for everybody and many life situations, but some specific examples would be taking a dump while out climbing www.amazon.com/How-Shit-Woods-Edition-Environmentally/dp/158>>>, choosing to tip over a sandstone formation in a Utah state park www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/utah-men-face-felony-charges->>>, the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor (that had some definitely unforeseen consequences), and finally choosing to walk off and destroy potentially delicate plant life when you could otherwise place a bolt or two to rap off and disturb nothing and no one.


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By jeff lebowski
Apr 10, 2014

Without fail, whenever there is a bolting 'discussion' on mp someone brings up Pearl Harbor.


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By Jamespio
Apr 10, 2014

"Did the tradsters quit climbing after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" Or something like that


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By daniel Baldor
From Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 10, 2014

Thanks all for the very colorful discussion and for answering my questions regarding bolting access! I think a week of camping in the general area will be sufficient. I'll have to get into the deeper regions where there are established routes, as it sounds like the rock isn't that great on Laurel. From the highway and the base of the lake it looked awesome, but perhaps it's just the gateway to better climbs elsewhere nearby!

Cheers,

Dan




Balancing on the Crooked Dick, Sawtooth Canyon, CA.
Balancing on the Crooked Dick, Sawtooth Canyon, CA.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Apr 11, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

daniel.... welcome to California. We have tons of unexplored places to climb at.

Mike Waugh, keeps trying to get me to go to the very same cliffs your talking about.... he is one funny jokester.

Please go and let us know how it is.

And the dick deal is pretty fun no, when jeff was climbing up to me, I started jumping up and down, making the thing vibrate and sway. Scared him big time.


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By Shawn Heath
Administrator
From Forchheim, Germany
May 8, 2014
I couldn't resist uploading this cool silhouette my friend Aran took of me on Panische Zeiten.

Along the same vein as the stuff I was ranting about above, there are more examples in this article www.climbing.com/climber/the-mentorship-gap-what-climbing-gy>>> as well as suggestions of how we can effect a change.

jeff lebowski wrote:
Without fail, whenever there is a bolting 'discussion' on mp someone brings up Pearl Harbor.

And thanks for the laugh Jeff.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 8, 2014

Glad the OP had a chance to go explore and discover the area for himself. Mt. Morrison looks crazy good from afar but the rock is junk unfortunately. You have years of fun exploring ahead of you. Enjoy. As for:

Todd Townsend wrote:
Whitney Portal, Little Egypt, Cardinal Pinnacle, Pine Creek, The Gong Show Crag, Patricia Bowl, The Benton Crags, The Mammoth Crest, and Granite Basin all have trad routes that you descend via bolted anchor stations.


Your response if misleading since some of the crags you mention top out on top on longer cliff bands with no easy descent, if they top out at all, making fixed anchors necessary. Also, what you don't appear to realize is that the norm you're referring to, at least at some of the crags, is a newer development than you might suppose. One of the most active developers in the area, Marty Lewis, pretty much bolts everything, even cracks. He hangs chains on some routes so folks don't need draws, etc. However, given the amount of rock and routes he's opened, most folks are clearly cool with that and it's probably safe to say that his methods have been adopted as an acceptable practice by most (though not all). As such, it's hard to characterize some of these places as trad. With the exception of a few older routes like Pratt's Crack, Pine Creek is a newer crag developed with more of a sport ethic than a trad one. Had you visited the Eastside 20 yrs. ago, you would not have seen anchors lining every route, nor the type of convenience bolting at place like Patricia Bowl. Compare the number of bolts in nearby places like Tuolumne, the Valley and Tahoe for a more representative picture of trad bolting standards.

As for the notion that 'we care about our impact on fauna, so we bolt'. Puuleeeze. It's for convenience. Let's not misrepresent our true intentions because of an incidental benefit.


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By Todd Townsend
From Bishop, CA
May 8, 2014

Fat Dad wrote:
Your response is misleading since some of the crags you mention top out on top on longer cliff bands with no easy descent, if they top out at all, making fixed anchors necessary. Also, what you don't appear to realize is that the norm you're referring to, at least at some of the crags, is a newer development than you might suppose...


Actually, I'm personally quite aware of those facts.

In Pine Creek, Pratt's Crack and Sheila both originally went to the top of their formation and then you would rap off a bolted anchor on the back side which deposits you at the base of the Bighorn Wall. The rusty 1/4 inchers are still there if you want to use 'em. I think Rites of Spring was always descended by rapping off of the current stations and the PSOM Pinnacle is descended via rappel too.

I'd assume that Cardinal was originally a walk off, but I don't know anyone who hasn't rapped it in the past 6 years that I've lived in Bishop.

There are some routes at the Benton Crags and Little Egypt without top anchors, but folks usually traverse over to neighboring lines with anchors to descend.

I'm not sure how Marty factors into this, as he's mainly put up sport climbs and we're talking about trad routes.

Anyway, my reply was mainly just to show that by no means is walking off the CURRENT norm or ethic on the Eastside w.r.t. new and established gear routes, as had been implied by another poster.


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