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By David Aguasca!
From New York
Mar 10, 2009
Oh no! OUT OF COFFEE! ALL IS LOST

Had an interesting encounter on the page for Sky Pilot at Rumney. Quick story is: It was originally led on preplaced gear. Later, it was bolted, but the upper section was not. All the hard climbing is down low, and is well protected; up above, the climbing is much easier, but if you fall, you will probably deck. Someone asked about bolting the upper section, and the FA said it was OK with him, that he wants it to be safe. However, the upper section can be protected with gear. Keep in mind Rumney is almost entirely a sport crag.

Should the top section be bolted? I feel that if it can be protected with gear, it should stay as it is. Of course, it should be listed in the guidebook that it takes gear.


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By Aaron Martinuzzi
Mar 10, 2009
end of the day in the black canyon.

Justin Cantrall wrote:
I'm not a "bolt-the-planet" kind of guy, nor am I a trad-purist; more middle-ground. That said; Not everybody uses guidebooks, and if the expectation at Rumney is that almost everything is bolted, then there could be safety issues. The two fundamental questions to be able to make a sound judgment of whether to bolt or not to bolt: Is it plainly obvious/visible from the ground that the second half requires gear?


I think this is an important question to answer. I've been in a situation where I got on a 'mixed' climb without any trad gear because it wasn't plainly obvious that the middle section of the climb lacked bolts, and it wasn't super fun.

Whether or not the climb takes gear doesn't seem to be much of an issue, as the protectable first half has already been bolted. In light of that information, the FAists approval, and the prevalence of sport climbing at Rumney, I would think that drilling bolts to the top of the route wouldn't be too big a deal.


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By BHMBen
From The Deeper South
Mar 10, 2009
Post climb snack... <br /> <br />Photo is of Strappo Hughes, taken in the Yosemite Lodge parking lot in 1982 by Russ Walling.

Bolts don't belong in the vicinity of good gear...sound like a protectable crack to me.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Mar 10, 2009

Should all routes be made "Safe" by the addition of bolts?

Is a 30 foot runout on easy terrain OK on a hard sport climb or should the whole climb have the same protection?

Questions to ponder....seems to me that the consensus of the local climbing community would be more important than the FA's approval.

I personally think that bolts should not be added where natural protection exists. People can always downclimb and lower if they are not prepared to run it out.

Some element of risk is a key ingredient to a classic climb in my opinion.


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By mschlocker
From San Diego, CA
Mar 10, 2009
Me climbing in La Jolla.

It seems typical to me that bolted climbs that are proteted well at the crux but have a section that is easy RELATIVE TO THE CRUX tend to be run out on the easy sections. I have actually intentionally set climbs in this manner. The logic is that if you can climb the crux you should feel comfortable on the easy terrain. My goal when I did this was to keep the climber equally engaged throughout the climb. Down low the crux was bolted every 8-10 feet. Up high the number grade eased off from solid 5.9 to 5.6. The last three gaps are about 20 feet. I felt that would keep the route memorable to the 5.9 climber and 5.6 climbers would never make it to that section or probably ever try and lead the route in the first place. That said, while you might go a long ways on this route I don't think you would deck if you blew it.

Looking at Sky Pilot, anybody willing to lead an 11b should have no problem with severe runouts on 5.6 ground. A nervous leader should wise up and check mountain project. It sounds like the top is cruiser with the gear, but I think few people have problems retrobolting pins with real fixed protection.


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By David Aguasca!
From New York
Mar 10, 2009
Oh no! OUT OF COFFEE! ALL IS LOST

Justin Cantrall wrote:
Is it plainly obvious/visible from the ground that the second half requires gear? Is there an appropriate set of bail/rappel anchors prior to the second half of the route? I'm not sure what the local ethic is as to bolting a traditionally protectable climb is; look for a precedent that has already been set--are there other bolted routes in the area that could be protected with trad gear?


No, it's not obvious from the ground that the second half requires gear, and there are no anchors at the end of the bolted section.

Two climbs down, there is Blueballs at Christmas and it's a gear protected route, with an R rating, no less.

On the other hand, there are routes on Main Cliff (just above the 5.8 crag) that have been retrobolted, after being led on gear.


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By Kevin McLaughlin
From Colorado Springs
Mar 10, 2009
Thunder Ridge- Storm, 5.12, Wasp Canyon

Not every route is for every leader. It's CLIMBING - you're supposed to have a challenge . Don't dilute the quality with extra bolts .


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By Evan1984
Mar 10, 2009

I'm definetly in the middle when it comes to bolting, but I feel less is more applies to the topic.

Personally, "bolting a route because people might not know to bring gear" is not a valid argument because it does away with personal responsibility to a large extent and can be easily mitigated by a little research.

I view bolts as a vertical trail. Sure, a trail through the forest impacts the pristine aspect of the forest, but it also limits the impact to a designated area(no girdled rap trees), enables people to experience a different aspect of the outdoors, and, hopefully, compels them to protect said environment(through access funds, etc).

However, in areas where a trail is not necessary to preserve the environment and make it reasonably accessible to responsible human use, they should be skipped.

I feel that investing in and learning to trad climb are reasonable.

Another bolting ethic I read in a recent magazine whichI find reasonable is to use bolting as a tool to push the ceiling or climbing. THis doesn't seem to be the case for the route in question.

So, I would preffer to see the route remain as is.

Evan


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By caughtinside
From Oakland CA
Mar 10, 2009

hmm, an .11b 'sport' climb at a sport crag.

personally I don't see what the big deal is about popping in one or two bolts to stay off the deck if a hold breaks. I'm not going to get a hard on protecting 30 feet of .6 crack.

An alternative would be to have a lower anchor installed at the top of the .11 section. that way the hard trad dudes could still have their pristine .6 crack, and the sportards could lower off after the interesting climbing and not risk getting bored.


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By Mike Larson
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 10, 2009
Weeping Wall Central Pillar

caughtinside wrote:
hmm, an .11b 'sport' climb at a sport crag. personally I don't see what the big deal is about popping in one or two bolts to stay off the deck if a hold breaks. I'm not going to get a hard on protecting 30 feet of .6 crack.


Exactly. There are bigger fish to fry. Throwing in one bolt additional bolt on a sport route at a sport crag shouldn't get anyone's knickers in a bunch, particularly if the FAist is good with it. Save your energy and your breath for stuff like this: www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=566859


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By Greg D
From Here
Mar 10, 2009
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />

Justin Cantrall wrote:
Is it plainly obvious/visible from the ground that the second half requires gear?


Do you close your eyes once you leave the ground? Do you rely on the written words of a guide? When I climb, I tend to look ahead. I generally know where the next bolt is or where some gear may be available. If it looks very runout to the next piece/bolt I get to make a decision which includes test my abilities and continue up, downclimb or lower off my last piece/bolt to get the appropriate gear or bail altogether.

Or, we can create a climbing population totally dependent on others. Dumb it down, dumb it down America, dumb it down.


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By matthewWallace
From plymouth, nh
Mar 10, 2009
Sticking the pinch on the V5 variation. self portrait.

i have never been on this route so i cannot speak from experience but i have climbed a lot in rumney. in rumney bolting is the ethic, there are routes all over rumney that could be sewn up with bomber cam placements that have been bolted, for example Son of Sammy on lower new wave and many of the routes at bonsai. does this mean i support bolting the top of sky pilot i am not sure, but surely one bolt on the top couldn't hurt i would say put one bolt in it for no more reason than to prevent a ground fall in case someone doesn't do their homework and blows one of the easy moves. that's just my opinion...


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By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From Ventura, CA
Mar 11, 2009
Photo by Marisa Fienup.

There is a part of David's original post that seems particularly relevant to me, whether or not this is a Sport crag: "The FA said it was OK."


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
Mar 11, 2009
My dogs got ups yo!

I've always been one to clip bolts and rarely one to place trad, but since it seems like there are plenty of other routes to clip bolts I would leave this one in it's current state. There is a cliff in NC called Sauratown which is 90% sport with a few trad climbs and even less mixed routes. No one complained about the mixed, or trad routes needing to be retrobolted. Especially since it's a 45 min hike up a steep hill so packing light is the norm. Keep the route the way it is, and go climb something else since there are so many other routes at Rumney to clip bolts.


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By lee hansche
Administrator
From goffstown, nh
Mar 11, 2009
getting to the last jug before the top out

i have done the route in question many times... and second im not normally in favor of retro bolting... im fine with the route the way it is but wouldnt be against one more bolt at the run out spot... i dont belive it has been mentioned yet that there are 2 pins on the upper section that are in fine shape... i do think that bringing a small rack of nuts to the crag would be the best bet as one nut on this route would render it perfectly safe...

we shouldnt have to "dumb down" the cliff for the silly uneducated folks often found at the roadside crags at sport areas but i dont want to help with their rescue either so thats one point in favor of the bolt...


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Mar 11, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

I've also done Sky Pilot a bunch. To be honest, the route is all about the lower (bolted) part. The upper half is simply ledge climbing to the chains. And no, it's not a splitter crack, as some are suggesting. I don't think a bolt or two would detract from climbing the upper half, as there's not much from which to detract.

If it's a sport route, in a sport area, then it should be safe, by definition.


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By David Aguasca!
From New York
Mar 11, 2009
Oh no! OUT OF COFFEE! ALL IS LOST

Jay Knower wrote:
I've also done Sky Pilot a bunch. To be honest, the route is all about the lower (bolted) part. The upper half is simply ledge climbing to the chains. And no, it's not a splitter crack, as some are suggesting. I don't think a bolt or two would detract from climbing the upper half, as there's not much from which to detract. If it's a sport route, in a sport area, then it should be safe, by definition.


Thanks for mentioning that out, Jay...it's definitely not 3-star climbing at that point. And as Lee pointed out...there are pitons, i forgot about those as well, but if I remember correctly, if you don't make it to the first one, that's where the groundfall danger is.

So, if the route is all about the lower part, shouldn't anchors be added right above where the bolts end? I'm not saying this to be a devil's advocate. If more bolts are to be added, might as well just cut off the lower-quality climbing at the top.

The only reason why I enjoyed the upper section when I first climbed it was BECAUSE it was run-out...


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By john strand
From southern colo
Mar 11, 2009

Jay Knower wrote:
I've also done Sky Pilot a bunch. To be honest, the route is all about the lower (bolted) part. The upper half is simply ledge climbing to the chains. And no, it's not a splitter crack, as some are suggesting. I don't think a bolt or two would detract from climbing the upper half, as there's not much from which to detract. If it's a sport route, in a sport area, then it should be safe, by definition.


So if it's a trad route at a trad area then it should be runout ?


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Mar 11, 2009

Jay Knower wrote:
If it's a sport route, in a sport area, then it should be safe, by definition.


Curious where you got this definition Jay? I can name about 100 "sport" routes in "sport" areas that are not "safe". Many of the original routes at Shelf Rd, the Flatirons, Penetente, even Rifle. By your definition none of the climbs at Ceuse are sport climbs....Should we be adding bolts to all these routes to make them safe?


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Mar 11, 2009

Here are a few examples...I am sure you can think of more.

Paris Girl - Eldorado -(edit:not best example as it is not a sport area)
Discipline - Flatirons
Bullet the Blue Sky - Penetente
Feline - Rifle

It should be mentioned that all of these have runouts on hard climbing....


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Mar 11, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

john strand wrote:
So if it's a trad route at a trad area then it should be runout ?


In my mind, a sport route should allow you to focus on the climbing and not on fear of dangerous falls. A dangerously run-out bolted route is not a "sport route" in my opinion.

Calling a route a "trad route" makes no assumption of relative safety. There can be safe trad routes and dangerous ones. I think "sport" assumes relative safety. Dangerous bolted routes should not be considered "sport routes."


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By Jay Knower
Administrator
From Plymouth, NH
Mar 11, 2009
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.

Kevin Stricker wrote:
Here are a few examples...I am sure you can think of more. Paris Girl - Eldorado Discipline - Flatirons Bullet the Blue Sky - Penetente Feline - Rifle It should be mentioned that all of these have runouts on hard climbing....


Haven't done the others, but I never felt in danger of an unsafe fall while climbing Feline. Felt like a sport route to me.

On Sky Pilot, a slip on the upper part would certainly send you 40 feet to the ground. That's not sport climbing, in my opinion.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Mar 11, 2009

40 feet on 5.6.... Feline is run out 5.11 where if you blow a clip you are taking a 20 footer on blocky vertical terrain(edit: and the crux is probably making the clips). Of course it wouldn't be a big deal for a 5.13 climber....ask some 5.11 climbers what they think.


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By matthewWallace
From plymouth, nh
Mar 11, 2009
Sticking the pinch on the V5 variation. self portrait.

I think Jays definition is right where in Rumney almost everything is bolted safely to the point that ground falls on the sport routes are extremely rare. This is a sport route in Rumney, therefor I believe that a ground fall at the forty foot mark shouldn't be a possibility, one bolt to make it safer would be OK, this will still be runout to an extent and if someone wants to climb it without the bolt then the climber simply could skip the bolt, you can always place gear or run it out by not using the bolt, why not make it a route for everyone to get on?


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By Sir Camsalot
From thankgodchickenhead, Ut
Mar 11, 2009

matthewWallace wrote:
and if someone wants to climb it without the bolt then the climber simply could skip the bolt, you can always place gear or run it out by not using the bolt, why not make it a route for everyone to get on?


Why do I cringe everytime someone says this? Oh, thats right, because its a lame ass excuse to dumbing down a route. If "you can always place gear," why not leave it that way?


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Mar 11, 2009

I think that one bolt at the top of the main face would be the best solution.

I was there this summer when i overheard one of the bolters in the area talking about putting in a bolt and is probably the same one who got permission from Tom

The places where you can plug gear are right next to the pitons.. which are higher up so it's kinda pointless to have gear since the pins are good and it's really easy at that point. It's the move getting from the face up into the upper section that would be really ugly if you blew it.


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