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Cob rock - new rappel route
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By mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
Sep 7, 2013

Don't project any more than intended by my statement. It was just a small laugh when I saw that. No sour grapes about the rap project.

I would join the trail days if I had the physical capability Tony.


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By Roger Briggs
Sep 7, 2013

Many thanks, Tony, for stepping up and speaking out. Hope you don't get any cheap shots ... You have really summed up the issues well.


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By CJC
Sep 7, 2013

hey maybe we could put a zip line in from the summit across to the approach for blob rock? faster, more fun, and you could skip the tyrolean on the way back. problem solved.


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By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Sep 8, 2013

Have not logged on for a few weeks.

Thanks to Roger Briggs for actually doing something to mitigate the descent trail erosion.

But....better, surely, to use mtproject to solicit opinion on rap routes/new bolts before they go in.
Northwest Corner is one of my favorite moderate trad climbs in the entire canyon. One of the attractions is that is is a bit runout in places and thus less crowded than the uber-polished Empor etc. Another is that the positions make it feel much bigger than it actually is.

This new rappel line goes right down the general line of the route, adding bolts midway (apparently right in the spicy section where you meander up and right to the arete). If there's gonna be a stream of folks rapping here, then that pretty much sacrifices this climb.

Any rap route should be directed either just right or left of the cluster of popular routes, not right down in their middle of them.

A couple suggestions for possibly better alternatives:
1. Move the raps round the corner to the right, onto the west face, to go down somewhere near Brownies in the Basin or the (already) bolted route just left of BitB?
2. Rappelling Night Vision (another already bolted line). Usually when I do this route I rap from slings around blocks at the top of the bolted arete. How about a summit anchor for a rap to this ledge where the blocks are, then place bolts to replace the tatty slings? This is a Dan Hare route, I'm sure he'd be okay with new bolted anchors.

Thoughts?

If the current anchors are not to be removed, maybe at least one of these alternatives can be installed, in addition.
I'll go up there, midweek with anyone who wants to help check out these alternatives, calculate rap lengths.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Sep 8, 2013
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.

Steve "Crusher" Bartlett wrote:
A couple suggestions for possibly better alternatives: 1. Move the raps round the corner to the right, onto the west face, to go down somewhere near Brownies in the Basin or the (already) bolted route just left of BitB? 2. Rappelling Night Vision (another already bolted line). Usually when I do this route I rap from slings around blocks at the top of the bolted arete. How about a summit anchor for a rap to this ledge where the blocks are, then place bolts to replace the tatty slings? This is a Dan Hare route, I'm sure he'd be okay with new bolted anchors. Thoughts? If the current anchors are not to be removed, maybe at least one of these alternatives can be installed, in addition.


A few thoughts in response -
As to #1, I think that bolted thing *IS* Brownies... that seems to be the consensus. That line diagonals quite a bit, so as it is the line from the existing raps does go down/across that if you do a single 70M.
As to #2 - well, if there is a clean shot to that from the top, and there is a great place for bolts there, talk to Dan and see what he says. I will say though, I'd not like to see what happens if someone leading that route gets a rope tossed atop them.

Keep the thoughts coming. I can't make it out this week, but if you do find alternatives, could you mark them with some tape and post them for review and comment? Come ~ October, I'd like to get up there and do what seems to be the best of what gets suggested.

(Post script- the flood put this back for a while, then I lost my left knee in a non-climbing-related accident. Roger Briggs and Greg German have re-claimed this effort.)

Thanks again Crusher (and all).

-Tony


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By Gregger Man
Dec 28, 2013
gg

Done.

Patched holes.
Patched holes.


Relocated anchor.
Relocated anchor.


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By Steve Levin
From Boulder, CO
Dec 28, 2013
Sundevil Chimney, Titan

After reading the above, my understanding is that any rappel route off Cob Rock is meant as an interim fix, with the long-term goal being a sustainable, west-side climber's decent trail and rehabilitation of the west slope. My assumption is that when the long-term goal is met, any rappel route would be removed. Please correct me if this is not the case.

Regardless, trying to keep climbers from using the west slope descent seem impractical to me. Not everyone will use the rappel route when a walk-off would be quicker and/or safer, due to approaching darkness, a traffic jam on the rap route, or inclement weather, a team of beginning climbers with minimal rappelling experience, or a party with a climber who has never rappelled.

I echo what CJC said above about exploring the option to mark a temporary, sustainable, low-impact descent walk-off on the west side of Cob Rock for those who opt not to rappel. With strategic cairns and obstacles, an additional interim fix could be created.

Hopefully, most descent traffic will use the rappel route, but for those climbers who decide walking off is the better option (and for the many climbers who will not know a rappel route exists), further slope erosion would thus be mitigated until the long-term goal is reached.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 28, 2013
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.

Hi Steve, feel free to PM or call me or Roger about the situation on the W. Side. I'll RE here with my own general reaction to your post, for public consideration/discussion:

With regards to a walk-off:
I would love to see a good and sustainable trail down the W. Side from Cob. I tried to see a "mitigation" solution to that area, but frankly, the area is too steep and already too eroded to get something that I think would hold in, within the existing path. A path that would be anything from "high maintenance" to "sustainable" would require a less steep line and require switch-backs cutting into the forest to the west quite a way. As a trail-builder of some years, that was my view. If you see things differently and want to suggest a specific set of erosion mitigation actions, then I would suggest to eye up your suggestion in specifics, then contact Roger to get our trail team there, and review the specifics with him and the team, in order to discuss what we can legally do or not, and if it seems possible and beneficial to the most experienced and professional people we have access to. If it is later in the season and conditions are good, I'd love to join you, but right now I am only 3 weeks out from having a knee re-built and I can't make it up there.

With regards to a more permanent trail:
This would be a large amount of work (several weeks for many people) once we get approval from the USFS. This is a very high priority for the BCC and one of the pilot areas we are proposing to model our work in once allowed. We have a MOU signed with them now, but no approvals. It seems that the flood put a pretty big dent in our ability and their ability/bandwidth to move forward with that process. I hope we can get back on track.

With regards to the rap station:
I hope that this would be temporary as well. I hope that the station remains undocumented in guidebooks so as not to have its presence become "expectation" and set people up for a problem. I would hope that the community would expect and support its removal if and when we can get a dedicated and sustainable trail open on the West Side. The above circumstances may effect this though, so I admit to some uncertainty there.

With regards to "Voluntary Closure":
When I read what you said I was a little puzzled. I think this is a misunderstanding. Roger was suggesting that climbers do their best not to use that walk-off. Since it is 'voluntary' I think his expectation is that not everyone will volunteer. And I would not expect that everyone would agree either. Perhaps there is a better catch-phrase here like "suggested descent = rap" but that will not be followed when people prefer not to, due to crowding, weather or personal preferences. Hopefully the crag and personal discussions about this will stay civil, right down to the folks who might say/suggest something to the people choosing to walk, or to those who dislike the rap station there and choose not to use it. So far it has been pretty civil and I don't expect that anyone will try to "police" the area. At least I hope not. The idea is mitigation of the erosion.

Thanks again for contributing to the discussion. I hope more people feel free to do the same. Perhaps it will generate interest in the project to the point where, when we are prepared and permitted, that we can go fix the West Slope.


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By Tony B
From Around Boulder, CO
Dec 28, 2013
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.

John Marsella wrote:
There are people who are climbing / placing gear on multipitch routes and don't know how to rap? Really?

There are people being taken up it by more experienced climbers who are not at that level, yes. IE, like I took my Dad. He can follow a route and take out gear, but I didn't try to instruct him on rapping on a multi-pitch.


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By Steve Levin
From Boulder, CO
Dec 28, 2013
Sundevil Chimney, Titan

John Marsella wrote:
There are people who are climbing / placing gear on multipitch routes and don't know how to rap? Really?


I'm sure there are, but my examples were (1) an inexperienced party who are not proficient at rappelling, or (2) a party with someone who had never rappelled before.

Add a sudden rain storm, or approaching darkness, and these climbers could get into a lot of trouble trying to rappel Cob Rock.


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By John Marsella
From Berthoud, CO
Dec 28, 2013
you just lost it

Steve and Tony: fair enough-- and your examples make sense. However it seems to me that the rappel skill is one of those basics that anyone climbing more than a half rope-length (ie, out of lowering-off range) should be ready to perform. I personally wouldn't do multipitch climbs with someone who didn't know how to rap, but that's just me.

I digress. Having both the rap and the walk-off options available is a nice thing.


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