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Bolting Rap Anchors on Trad Climbs
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By Isaac8
May 18, 2011
P.K. wrote:
I am actually just curious on what you found the best areas to be, near Marquette or up on the Keewenaw? There is a small chance I might be in Michigan for a bit this summer and would try to climb some there if I can pull myself away from the lake. I know a new Marquette County guidebook has been published, do you know how complete it it? Also, have you checked out any of the stone in Ontario, north of Sault Ste. Marie, mayby near Agawa Canyon?


I'm climbing in the Marquette area. Palmer probably has the most climbable rock of the crags. I enjoyed climbing there and at Cliff's Ridge on the backside the Marquette Mountain ski resort. The guidebook for the surrounding area can be purchased at Downwind Sports and has been accurate. Although at some of the locations there are lines that aren't in the guidebook. The areas are all within 20 minutes from town and have 5 minute approaches.

Thanks for the comments. Soil erosion seems to be a problem on the walk-off. The solution might be making a better trail, and I will try to contact the local climbers. The area needs a good clean-up day anyways. That might be a great time to get a consensus.

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By Greg D
From Here
May 19, 2011
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
Isaac8 wrote:
What ethical considerations may I be overlooking that are keeping this area under-developed?



Sometimes we can answer our own questions:


Isaac8 wrote:
I want to drill several rappel stations for the cliff in safe and convinent locations.


Traditional climbing has this weird intrinsic value. It is based on tradition. Convenience didn't make it into the values.

My suggestion, don't sportitize the traditional climbs. Yes, I just made up that word.

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By The Hobbs
May 19, 2011
I recently added anchors at my local sport crag with a friend. This crag has 4-6 bolt routes without anchors. You could anchor off trees that are 30 feet away but it is a big hassel. So we put in anchors only to have them chopped. We contacted BLM law enforcement and made note of the incident. Months later the BLM told us they were thinking about shutting down the crag because people were using their vehicles as anchors since there were not many available and destroying the area. So went went back and put them back in with glue around the bolts so they couldnt be unscrewed easily, with hopes of keeping the BLM happy. The bolts survived.

MY ADVICE: Repair the ugly chopped bolts and put in new anchors. Your cleaning up old ugly crap and putting in new safe stuff. Just do a few at first....It sounds like the chopper had no ethics anyway so I wouldnt worry about ethics.

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
May 19, 2011
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 Hobbs wrote:
We contacted BLM law enforcement and made note of the incident. Months later the BLM told us they were thinking about shutting down the crag because people were using their vehicles as anchors since there were not many available and destroying the area.


So you are admitting that your poor play almost got the cliff shut down?

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By Andy Novak
From Golden, Co
May 19, 2011
Living the High Life.
The Hobbs wrote:
We contacted BLM law enforcement and made note of the incident.



Did you go home and cry to your mommies too? Puss.

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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
May 19, 2011
Tony B wrote:
So you are admitting that your poor play almost got the cliff shut down?


I have to disagree with you, Tony. Climber's bad behavior (in this case, parking vehicles at the top) threatened the access, not attempting to work with the management body to address the bad behavior. I have no dogs in this bolt argument, but so long as climbers see themselves in opposition to land management organizations, we will continue to have those management organizations do what is best for the land, damn what the climbers have to say about it. The "snitches get stitches" approach rather than working together to preserve the resource won us a new eye-sore parking lot in Indian Creek, and has cost us several private crags in the southeast. It also led to the draconian bolting policies in Eldo.

Self-policing only works if we actually, you know, police our selves.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
May 19, 2011
At the BRC
Andy, not a very helpful response.

Maybe Tony B actually knows the situation at Hobb's crag, but I don't.

My impression is that getting the federal/state land owner involved in climbers' spats usually backfires and screws things up for everybody. By everybody, of course I mean climbers.

In this case, it may be different. Maybe the initial bolt anchors were removed by non-climbers attracted to shiny objects.
Maybe the poor driving habits of the top-ropers can be corrected by a commmunity 'intervention' and the BLM can be reassured that climbers really can police themselves. Depending on the setting (alpine meadow for example) maybe the crag should be shut down if climbers can't stay on road.

On a different note, seems to me most of the opposition to convenience anchors really boils down to folks trying to keep the crowds away from their crags. I'm kind of sympathetic- I hate crowds at the crags. I used to get apoplectic at the Gunks, esp the topropers on lead routes...fortunately moving west and intensive therapy have helped.

Mark

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
May 19, 2011
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 don't know the particulars of Hobb's Crag, but I do know that the Jurisprudence on bolt wars according to the Feds is that the bolts are abandoned property. It's been hashed out already. Getting the government involved will end up with the paternalistic "If you kids can't get along, I'm going to take the ball and neither of you can play with it."
So yeah, that's the problem with calling the cops. Don't do it unless there is imminent and immediate danger of something other than not getting your way.
As a sheriff I know once put it "There are volumes of traffic law in Colorado, and even I don't know what they all are. But if a cop is following you and he wants to pull you over, he can do it for sure."
The message here is that if you call attention to yourself, you'll get it, and you'll get it good and hard.
"Vote: Every man's god given right to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country"
-Ambrose Beirce

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 19, 2011
Two points:

Good on ya Isaac8 for your thoughtful consideration of the issue and starting some community involvement. Well done. It sounds like you'll be an asset to that community.

Re reporting bolt chopping to the BLM: dumb, rookie move. While the BLM may have cited people using cars for anchors as a potential reason, that alone clearly didn't prompt or threaten closure. If they were really that concerned about it, they could have posted a sign, handed out leaflets advocating use of tree anchors with a anchor line, etc. It was the public airing of the bolt dispute that did.

Whenever dealing with land managers, it's REALLY important to remember that it's easier for the agency to close the area than attempt to regulate it. Caveat emptor.

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By the Oracle
From Delphi
May 19, 2011
mawiage
Mike Anderson wrote:
During my Air Force survival training an old crusty master sergeant told us a story that sounded a little far fetched...I don't know if it was true or not. He said that several years after the end of WWII, a man was found living on an uninhabited island. He was a Japanese soldier who had been left behind on the island, and had survived all that time. They said his survival equipment, especially his knife was in mint condition. The moral of his story being, take care of your gear and it will take care of you. The moral of my story is still coming. As the story goes, when they found the guy, he tried to defend his island from the rescuers because he had no idea the war had ended years ago. THE WAR ENDED YEARS AGO!!!! Nevertheless, in remote areas of this country, there are still people with (apparently) no internet access or other contact with the outside world that think the presence of rap anchors affects the quality of the experience or boldness of the route. Just like the Japanese soldier, they will defend these beliefs vigorously. My advice is to roll your eyes often and deal with it.



+ ∞

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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
May 19, 2011
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.
Brian Scoggins wrote:
I have to disagree with you, Tony. Climber's bad behavior (in this case, parking vehicles at the top) threatened the access, not attempting to work with the management body to address the bad behavior. I have no dogs in this bolt argument, but so long as climbers see themselves in opposition to land management organizations, we will continue to have those management organizations do what is best for the land, damn what the climbers have to say about it. The "snitches get stitches" approach rather than working together to preserve the resource won us a new eye-sore parking lot in Indian Creek, and has cost us several private crags in the southeast. It also led to the draconian bolting policies in Eldo. Self-policing only works if we actually, you know, police our selves.

In reverse order here: I don't see Eldo as that draconian, but it is a bit of trouble. I haven't seen a new-route application that has been turned down lately. (?) I know I've voted for all of them which are new routes not overlapping an existing route, and I know all of the ones I've voted for have gone in too. I think I represent a fairly moderate point of view with respect to that. I do think it is unfortunately difficult/lengthly process, but it's hardly and iron fist of "no" coming down on any applications. They even approved retrobolts on some routes, which I am surely against...

Going from there- perhaps you misunderstood my point, which was admittedly very terse. It was intended to point out that there is some room for introspection on the part of the poster/tattler. Less obliquely, I believe that it is poor play to go to the land management agency first. It is better play to open dialog with the community and try to work out a consensus deal. The cars parking there didn't start when the bolts were chopped or there wouldn't have been much impact yet. But the managers, if this is presumed to be true, did take note of the problem once they were called to attend to the place and saw it.
But I digress, your response/philosophy by and large is something I agree with more than disagree, so I'm not sure how differently we actually see this. Do remember, we're hearing one side of the story here on this chat board. I just can't imagine that people who would rather park their car at the edge of a cliff and anchor to that would be the anti-bolt purist types. Can you picture that? We can not assume that the people who chopped the bolts were the ones parking their cars up there or any such thing. I don't think it is cause-and-effect, although I can imagine that the car parkers, being the problem in the first place, might be reduced by bolts. And that's a valid point, but then you can't blame the choppers, you blame the parkers... they are one step closer to getting the crag closed than the "tattler" is for calling the cops, but the tattler is certainly more related to the strain on access than the bolt choppers.

In any case it takes no majority to either place or remove a bolt. As Nietzsche said "It is not the majority who have determined the course of history..."
Then again, the "iron willed minority" people who did determine the course of history, according to him, started a lot of wars.

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
May 19, 2011
Mark E Dixon wrote:
On a different note, seems to me most of the opposition to convenience anchors really boils down to folks trying to keep the crowds away from their crags. I'm kind of sympathetic- I hate crowds at the crags. I used to get apoplectic at the Gunks, esp the topropers on lead routes...fortunately moving west and intensive therapy have helped. Mark


But would this still be a problem if every route had anchors on top? People definitely flock to the routes with anchors on top, I've seen it at every trad crag I've been to, but this leads people to the (to me) erroneous conclusion that anchors increase crowds. I would argue that if every route had anchors, the crowds would disperse, and we would all be more likely to try new routes that don't usually get traffic.

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By shawn bradley
May 19, 2011
Hey Mobley, Administrator eh. Far out. I was going to chime in and site the Ct. situation, but i guess you got it covered. Although I will say to Ryan Williams who said "I think it's sad that so many of you have the view that you should just put anchors at the top of every pitch." no one said "anchors at the top of every pitch". A couple of dedicated rap stations would go a long way in protecting the trees.

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By Elliott Crooks
May 20, 2011
Progress happens! The debate on this thread wouldn't even been conceivable when I started climbing(old fart dinosaur that I am). BTW, Mobley, DDT sure beats malaria, which is why a lot of the world still uses it. Or did you mean DEET? +1 on ropes pulled on trees; been climbing long enough to see old friend trees that should have outlived me die. & I've seen a lot more lowering & rappelling fuck-ups than screwed up walk-offs. Evolution In Action!

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 20, 2011
Mike Anderson wrote:
I would argue that if every route had anchors, the crowds would disperse, and we would all be more likely to try new routes that don't usually get traffic.

This is an interesting point, but from I've seen at Joshua Tree, convenient anchors at the top of climbs just prompts people to string a succession of TRs, maybe only one of which they'll actually use at a time.

The only real benefit to anchors in the OP's scenario is to preserve the trees. Other than that, if it's easy enough to do without, why drill?

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By Billcoe
May 26, 2011
Ryan Williams wrote:
I think it's sad that so many of you have the view that you should just put anchors at the top of every pitch.......The only people who really know what is appropriate are the people who climb there regularly.


Just re-read this and keep this stuff off the internet where most of us don't know our heads from our asses. Baring asking those who have been climbing there for years and years and have figured this out, at least don't be a dickhead to all the locals, leave it alone.

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
May 26, 2011
El Chorro
shawn bradley wrote:
I will say to Ryan Williams who said "I think it's sad that so many of you have the view that you should just put anchors at the top of every pitch." no one said "anchors at the top of every pitch". A couple of dedicated rap stations would go a long way in protecting the trees.


Maybe so, but who are we to decide?

See "Billcoe's" post above. He actually read the next sentence.

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