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Extreme development tension at my crag - War is about to break. Ideas?
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By Red-Flag
Jan 9, 2012
Recently a major conflict has come up with the main route developer in my area and myself. I could greatly use some advice on how to handle the situation as the consequences are grave and the outcome of our problem affects the entire community. Let me start off with the basics first.

I mainly climb at a small sport crag located on private property, one of five small crags in the area. Although the property is privately owned, the owner wants noting to do with anything climbing related. He says he does not care who is on the property or what its used for, its just a section of land he owns but does not care about. So the owner refuses to be brought into the situation. Additionally the owner no longer lives in the USA, so its impossible to contact him.

For the past 15 years a guy named Mark has been maintaining the area and replacing old bolts with new ones as well as developing new crags. Until now he has been the sole route developer, but only because no one has been interested in doing any bolting work. About four years ago I moved to the area and started climbing. Recently I decided to add a few new routes to our main crag. I talked with the general community and everyone was is supportive in my developmental plans.

I talked to Mark about my plans. He disagreed with some of my ideas, he though one line was too close to another, another was too chossy and dangerous and he though the other two needed to converge with existing routes to reduce the number of top out anchors. I ran my ideas by the public again and everyone (aside from him and his friends) reconfirmed I have support to bolt the lines I had planed, and in the manner I planed to bolt them. So against Mark’s advice, I bolted all the routes I originally planed on bolting, and in the manner I planned on bolting them (separate anchors for each route, no converging of routes). When he found out, he flipped out telling me I need to run my ideas by the public (although I did).

Well I feel that when a developer creates a sport route, the developer has full control of the exact specifics under which the route is developed such as 10 bolts or 12, two pitches or one, left or right at the roof, ect. As long as I am not doing anything that is obviously unethical or wrong (bolting cracks, chipping, ect.), I get to decide on the precise specifics of how I develop my route. He feels that I need to run EVERYTHING by him and he needs to approve of it or else I cannot do it. Well I ran the specifics by everyone else and everyone accept him and his friend approved.

The truth, I think he is just pissed off I did not follow his recommendations. He is pissed off I added separate anchors and I used bolts that he does not like (yet they are 45 kN, 316 stainless steel, 5/8”x4”, hang a house off them strong).

The thing that pisses me off the most is he says I did not “consult the community” with my plans (although I asked everyone that climbs at the crag beforehand for approval), yet when he makes changes to a route or adds a new one, he doesent ask a single person, not one. He feels he has been there so long that he does not need to ask anyone for approval to do anything, only I do and when he says “ask the community”, he means submit to the precise advice of him and his friends.

Anyway now that the routes are bolted he is threatening to chop them. In retaliation, my friends are threatening to strip an entire private crag of his if he chops any of my routes. He says if that happens he is going to kill us all *roll eyes*. Anyway, I feel that if a single bolt gets chopped, its going to trigger an all out war that will result in a completely devoid region, decommissioned of all climbing.

So I need advice on how to resolve this issue. I want to make everyone happy, however I refuse to submit to dictatorship under which I develop routes in a “free for all” area, especially when there is only one person that has a problem with my routes, everyone else supports them. I really want to take a "screw Mark" stance on this issue and just do my own thing and ignore him. However if I do that he will likely chop my routes which will result in war. I tried to suggest an "agree to disagree" stance with him, but he refused. I feel if you dont like a route, just dont climb it. But he feels if the route does not meet his criteria, it gets chopped.

FLAG
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jan 9, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
I love it when someone tells me what I can and cannot do!

You said he doesn't own the land so he cannot tell you what to do on the land.

you have to love the dictators.

Anyway, did he climb the routes and say they sucked?

FLAG
By Red-Flag
Jan 9, 2012
1Eric Rhicard wrote:
I love it when someone tells me what I can and cannot do! You said he doesn't own the land so he cannot tell you what to do on the land. you have to love the dictators. Anyway, did he climb the routes and say they sucked?

Yes he climbed them. Basically I sport bolted two already established routes that were top rope variations (the FA is long gone for those routes). The other routes are brand new. He thinks one sucks, he thinks the others are cramped. But I disagree, as does most of the other people that climbed the routes. Anyway, my stance is its his right to think they suck or cramped or whatever, but he can simply choose not to climb them.

FLAG
By MojoMonkey
Jan 9, 2012
It sounds like there are two groups of "everyone" and you both have their full support.

FLAG
By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Jan 9, 2012
Stabby
Get rid of the retaliation-chopping talk. That sort of thing will force the outcome into a war no matter what other possibilities exist for agreement or compromise.
I've never heard of 5/8" hangers. Not saying they don't exist, but makes me skeptical. Need more details here.
I've seen too many "this dude's an asshat" threads come out that once they evolve and the other side is heard turn out to be completely different than the original intent.
Is your choss route dangerous? Why did you feel it needed bolts?
Bring us beta photos with bolt and anchor locations added. Use 2 colors for your work and existing bolts.
Tell Mark to get in here too.

FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 9, 2012
Tough situation. The classic "Bolt War." I am friends with a guy who went through that locally.

And the person he was feuding with was very much like your antagonist: He had the "I was there first, so I am in charge" mentality.

This guy did chop some routes and my friend rebolted them. Eventually, the villian stopped.

From the story you've told, I think you are in the right. That doesn't mean there won't be problems, vandalism, chopping or altercations.

Could there be a "climbing community" meeting, where all parties get together and air their grievances? (not that it's necessary, but everyone gets to voice their opinions and you can see if you really have majority support.)

Anyway, I appreciate someone that develops new routes, and as long as it's done thoughtfully, without encroaching on other routes (subjective), bolt on! And take a friend with you when you bolt. For protection. And as a witness.

Edit: I personally contacted the bolt chopper in my local situation. I wanted him to hear from at least one other person that I wanted him to stop chopping. Do you have any friends that would do that for you? I think it's good for the chopper to hear from someone besides you. He may be more open to listening to someone else.

FLAG
By JPVallone
Jan 9, 2012
It's a dog eat dog world out there!

FLAG
By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jan 9, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
So you've only been climbing for 4 years? This "Mark" has been developing this small cliff for 15 years and you wonder why there's conflict. I'm not saying he's in the right and your not, but just look at it from his perspective. He's been climbing for much longer than you have, and has put the last 15 years into developing a small crag. Along comes someone who is barely out of climbing diapers and starts changing his vision of the crag he's put a lot of time and effort into. Anyone who has climbed a significant amount of time will almost certainly tell you that your opinions about route development four years into your career will change. If you've really been climbing for only 4 years, I can almost certainly tell you that your opinions on a lot of climbing related things will change.

Again, I'm not saying he is right, or that you are right. I'm not even sure what the answer to your problem is. I'm just telling you to look at it from a different perspective and think about how you'd feel if the shoe were on the other foot. It sounds like Mark isn't exactly behaving like an adult here, but escalation will almost certainly not help anything. Do you have a local climbing advocacy group? Here in NC we have the Carolina Climbers Coalition and it can be a good avenue to get a public record of local opinions. Sometimes just discussing an areas vision and development in a local public forum can help.

FLAG
 
By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Jan 9, 2012
Toofast
It's hard to say if the routes are squeeze jobs or not without some pictures, but Mark has no business acting like he owns the place.

Get a bunch of the locals together to hash it out. Once that's done if Mark can't accept the results sign him off.

FLAG
By Luc
Administrator
From Montreal
Jan 9, 2012
The El
Create a regional club for the area and invite all climbers to join up and be part of constructively developing the area, not just in terms of route opening but also in terms of environment (trails, cliff base, garbage, toilet, etc.) and also access (owners, liability, bonus for local businesses, etc.)
When you get a group involved on paper with meetings etc. it will smooth out many issues and if someone's ego gets out of hand, he's got the whole local community to deal with, not just a little group.

FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jan 9, 2012
Middle
Red-Flag wrote:
Recently a major conflict has come up with the main route developer in my area and myself. I could greatly use some advice on how to handle the situation as the consequences are grave and the outcome of our problem affects the entire community. Let me start off with the basics first. I mainly climb at a small sport crag located on private property, one of five small crags in the area. Although the property is privately owned, the owner wants noting to do with anything climbing related. He says he does not care who is on the property or what its used for, its just a section of land he owns but does not care about. So the owner refuses to be brought into the situation. Additionally the owner no longer lives in the USA, so its impossible to contact him. For the past 15 years a guy named Mark has been maintaining the area and replacing old bolts with new ones as well as developing new crags. Until now he has been the sole route developer, but only because no one has been interested in doing any bolting work. About four years ago I moved to the area and started climbing. Recently I decided to add a few new routes to our main crag. I talked with the general community and everyone was is supportive in my developmental plans. I talked to Mark about my plans. He disagreed with some of my ideas, he though one line was too close to another, another was too chossy and dangerous and he though the other two needed to converge with existing routes to reduce the number of top out anchors. I ran my ideas by the public again and everyone (aside from him and his friends) reconfirmed I have support to bolt the lines I had planed, and in the manner I planed to bolt them. So against Mark’s advice, I bolted all the routes I originally planed on bolting, and in the manner I planned on bolting them (separate anchors for each route, no converging of routes). When he found out, he flipped out telling me I need to run my ideas by the public (although I did). Well I feel that when a developer creates a sport route, the developer has full control of the exact specifics under which the route is developed such as 10 bolts or 12, two pitches or one, left or right at the roof, ect. As long as I am not doing anything that is obviously unethical or wrong (bolting cracks, chipping, ect.), I get to decide on the precise specifics of how I develop my route. He feels that I need to run EVERYTHING by him and he needs to approve of it or else I cannot do it. Well I ran the specifics by everyone else and everyone accept him and his friend approved. The truth, I think he is just pissed off I did not follow his recommendations. He is pissed off I added separate anchors and I used bolts that he does not like (yet they are 45 kN, 316 stainless steel, 5/8”x4”, hang a house off them strong). The thing that pisses me off the most is he says I did not “consult the community” with my plans (although I asked everyone that climbs at the crag beforehand for approval), yet when he makes changes to a route or adds a new one, he doesent ask a single person, not one. He feels he has been there so long that he does not need to ask anyone for approval to do anything, only I do and when he says “ask the community”, he means submit to the precise advice of him and his friends. Anyway now that the routes are bolted he is threatening to chop them. In retaliation, my friends are threatening to strip an entire private crag of his if he chops any of my routes. He says if that happens he is going to kill us all *roll eyes*. Anyway, I feel that if a single bolt gets chopped, its going to trigger an all out war that will result in a completely devoid region, decommissioned of all climbing. So I need advice on how to resolve this issue. I want to make everyone happy, however I refuse to submit to dictatorship under which I develop routes in a “free for all” area, especially when there is only one person that has a problem with my routes, everyone else supports them. I really want to take a "screw Mark" stance on this issue and just do my own thing and ignore him. However if I do that he will likely chop my routes which will result in war. I tried to suggest an "agree to disagree" stance with him, but he refused. I feel if you dont like a route, just dont climb it. But he feels if the route does not meet his criteria, it gets chopped.


Well Leon, it looks like you're going to have to wrestle.


FLAG
By mattm
From TX
Jan 9, 2012
Grande Grotto
Mike Lane wrote:
I've never heard of 5/8" hangers. Not saying they don't exist, but makes me skeptical..


Only thing I know of that matches that description is a Wave Bolt (Glue In). They're made of 316SS and available in 5/8in size (4in depth). You can get Bolt Products Glue Ins in a similar size but I believe 316SS is hard to come by in the USA.

FLAG
By bergbryce
From South Lake Tahoe, CA
Jan 9, 2012
The guy who has basically developed the area says (some of) your proposed routes are squeeze jobs and the other are TR variations, that position alone carries a lot of weight. Whether you or the others like it or not, that person pretty much developed the ethics for that crag/area and that person's opinion should be taken pretty seriously before getting out the drill.

A topo of the crag in question would help. A squeeze job in one place is completely acceptable in another. The regional consensus makes a big difference in this discussion.

I also agree that since you've only been climbing for 4 years, you might want to step back and chill a bit.

I do applaud you for coming to the MP community and asking for advice on this sticky situation, strong work.

FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 9, 2012
I don't think that we (MP) should try to decide if the routes are too close together, bolted properly, etc., but rather provide advice on how to resolve the conflict, in more general terms. It's up to the locals to work out the specifics.

FLAG
By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jan 9, 2012
Middle
FrankPS wrote:
I don't think that we (MP) should try to decide if the routes are too close together, bolted properly, etc., but rather provide advice on how to resolve the conflict, in more general terms. It's up to the locals to work out the specifics.




FLAG
By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jan 9, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
bergbryce wrote:
I do applaud you for coming to the MP community and asking for advice on this sticky situation, strong work.


Are you serious?

Posting a one-sided story to a national website about an internal, local matter, so that everyday desk jockies can type up their opinions without any knowledge of the crag or its ethics is lame and lazy.

The very fact that Red-flag posted about this on mp shows that he might be a bit clueless and entitled, and tends to get me to side with "Mark."

FLAG
 
By Kaner
From Eagle
Jan 9, 2012
Leading an unknown route.  Photo credit: Sam Lange.
Sweet blog. While I greatly, genuinely appreciate the contributions of route setters and equippers, I feel like your situation could be solved with a 10 step program:

Step 1, invite Mike to pub.
Step 2, buy him beer.
Step 3-7, buy him multiple beers, accept when he reciprocates, intersperse wings and sliders as necessary.
Step 8, tell Mike you want to step outside to settle this once and for all.
Step 9, once outside, bust out some dank green and resolve differences over the peace pipe.
Step 10, wake up the next day, call Mike, go climb together.

Dude, extreme tension? War? It's not real life, it's only climbing.

major conflict! consequences are grave! problem affects the entire community! private property! does not care! refuses to be brought into the situation! no longer lives!

impossible! a guy named Mark! old! new! no one has been interested! disagreed! too close! too chossy! dangerous! reduce! against Mark’s advice! no converging! flipped out! left or right at the roof?!? obviously unethical! wrong! precise specifics! run EVERYTHING!

I cannot do it. Well I ran! The truth! pissed off! I did not follow! pissed off! he does not like! them strong. pisses me off! not one!

submit to the precise advice! threatening! chop them! retaliation, my friends. strip an entire private! he chops. kill us all! trigger! all out war! completely devoid! decommissioned of all! I refuse to submit! dictatorship! I develop! “free for all”! problem!

"screw Mark" stance! chop! war! you dont like! But he feels. it gets chopped.

FLAG
By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Jan 9, 2012
Stabby
Kaner wrote:
Sweet blog. While I greatly, genuinely appreciate the contributions of route setters and equippers, I feel like your situation could be solved with a 10 step program: Step 1, invite Mike to pub. Step 2, buy him beer. Step 3-7, buy him multiple beers, accept when he reciprocates, intersperse wings and sliders as necessary. Step 8, tell Mike you want to step outside to settle this once and for all. Step 9, once outside, bust out some dank green and resolve differences over the peace pipe. Step 10, wake up the next day, call Mike, go climb together.

This is how every problem on the planet should be addressed. But my schedule is filling up fast.

The rest of that rant fucking kicks ass!

FLAG
By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Jan 9, 2012
Mathematical!
Kaner wrote:
Sweet blog. While I greatly, genuinely appreciate the contributions of route setters and equippers, I feel like your situation could be solved with a 10 step program: Step 1, invite Mike to pub. Step 2, buy him beer. Step 3-7, buy him multiple beers, accept when he reciprocates, intersperse wings and sliders as necessary. Step 8, tell Mike you want to step outside to settle this once and for all. Step 9, once outside, bust out some dank green and resolve differences over the peace pipe. Step 10, wake up the next day, call Mike, go climb together. Dude, extreme tension? War? It's not real life, it's only climbing. major conflict! consequences are grave! problem affects the entire community! private property! does not care! refuses to be brought into the situation! no longer lives! impossible! a guy named Mark! old! new! no one has been interested! disagreed! too close! too chossy! dangerous! reduce! against Mark’s advice! no converging! flipped out! left or right at the roof?!? obviously unethical! wrong! precise specifics! run EVERYTHING! I cannot do it. Well I ran! The truth! pissed off! I did not follow! pissed off! he does not like! them strong. pisses me off! not one! submit to the precise advice! threatening! chop them! retaliation, my friends. strip an entire private! he chops. kill us all! trigger! all out war! completely devoid! decommissioned of all! I refuse to submit! dictatorship! I develop! “free for all”! problem! "screw Mark" stance! chop! war! you dont like! But he feels. it gets chopped.


This is by far the funniest thing I've seen on MP in a long time. Good work, sir. Good work.

FLAG
By Alex Swan
From West
Jan 9, 2012
Rather Grand
Red-Flag, you're going to be put on "probation" for a few days if you post too many comments as a brand new user. This is just to prevent spammers.

My advice is to get as many people on the routes as possible and make sure he sees people enjoying your routes.

FLAG
By Julius Beres
From Boulder, CO
Jan 9, 2012
Rewritten
Why did you create a new user account at MP today to post this?

I have no knowledge of the area, the routes, or who is right or wrong, but not having the conviction to post under your own name does little to improve your argument.

FLAG
By John Knight
Jan 9, 2012
John Knight
I have been through this in our climbing community. This sort of thing is really a bummer for the entire local climbing community. No one ever wins a "bolt war". The retaliation and smack talk doesn't help as well. Bolts get chopped, bolts get replaced, everyone gets pissed off and no forward progress is made. The internet bantering doesn't help the situation. Everyone needs to cool off for a bit then try to get the various interested parties together for a meeting. Find a neutral party to host, come up with an agenda, and host in an agreed upon location.

What you really need to do is build consensus that the routes are worthy routes and should be allowed to stay. If the consensus is otherwise, then maybe they need to go. Or perhaps specific changes need to made. Any comments/criticisms about the route need to be very specific. For example, a specific comment might be - "new bolt #3 is only five feet from ex. bolt #4 and is encroaching on the adjacent route". Bolts can be chopped and patched and adjustments made if ther are specific complaints.

If the comments are more in the neighborhood of "this route should never have been put up" or "this guy has no business developing routes" then maybe you need a process for establishing new routes. Many climbing communities have created a process to establish a new route. You fill out an application, then you top rope the route and put "Xs" on the proposed bolt locations. Everyone gets a say on whether they like the route and the bolt locations and then the route author decides whether he wants to make adjustments or abandon the route entirely.

You can resolve this issue and create a solution for future route development if you can get everyone together for a meeting that is properly facilitated. Stick to diplomacy. No one wins a bolt war.

If you need any more help/advice, please send me a private message.

john

FLAG
By John Knight
Jan 9, 2012
John Knight
I have to admit, I do like the wrestling match idea. Boxing is good too. Or maybe it should be a death match - "two fighters go in, only one comes out". Add in a few lions and medieval weapons to make it more interesting.


Death Match <br />
Death Match

FLAG
By Rick McL
From Arvada CO
Jan 9, 2012
Long day on the ice.
Kaner wrote:
Sweet blog. While I greatly, genuinely appreciate the contributions of route setters and equippers, I feel like your situation could be solved with a 10 step program: Step 1, invite Mike to pub. Step 2, buy him beer. Step 3-7, buy him multiple beers, accept when he reciprocates, intersperse wings and sliders as necessary. Step 8, tell Mike you want to step outside to settle this once and for all. Step 9, once outside, bust out some dank green and resolve differences over the peace pipe. Step 10, wake up the next day, call Mike, go climb together. Dude, extreme tension? War? It's not real life, it's only climbing. major conflict! consequences are grave! problem affects the entire community! private property! does not care! refuses to be brought into the situation! no longer lives! impossible! a guy named Mark! old! new! no one has been interested! disagreed! too close! too chossy! dangerous! reduce! against Mark’s advice! no converging! flipped out! left or right at the roof?!? obviously unethical! wrong! precise specifics! run EVERYTHING! I cannot do it. Well I ran! The truth! pissed off! I did not follow! pissed off! he does not like! them strong. pisses me off! not one! submit to the precise advice! threatening! chop them! retaliation, my friends. strip an entire private! he chops. kill us all! trigger! all out war! completely devoid! decommissioned of all! I refuse to submit! dictatorship! I develop! “free for all”! problem! "screw Mark" stance! chop! war! you dont like! But he feels. it gets chopped.

YES!! Beautiful. True wisdom. I hope the young Red-Flag is listening.

FLAG
 
By !?!
From !?!
Jan 9, 2012
What ever you do,

Don't bring a knife.....

--- Invalid image id: 107232228 ---

To a bolt gun fight

FLAG
By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jan 9, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.
Show up at Mark's door with the rest of the community, or as many as you can put together, and explain to him in no uncertain terms that chopping your routes is not welcome and that the crag is not his, it is in fact everyones'. Tell him he doesn't run the show or call the shots for the place in general and that route development is first come first serve. Let him know his routes are awesome and much appreciated. Then leave a fucking six-pack of his favorite beer and leave.

That should work.

I have had this sort of thing play out in the caving community a lot differently. The control freak guy we dealt with was a lot harder to manage. In the end we just gave up. Hope you have better luck.

FLAG


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