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Too many bolts at Lost T?
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By Gary C Thomann
Aug 18, 2012
There has been a lot of controversy lately about the bolts at Lost T. It is interesting that none of the climbers concerned about them asked me to meet them at the cliff, look at the bolts and discuss them. So to get started, I am going to discuss them, at least on three of the routes. If anybody wants to consider other routes please just mention the route name and I will pontificate about it also. However, before I talk about the three routes I want to cover a couple of other things.

First, let me say there is no one expert on bolting, Jim Lawyer, Kevin Heckeler, or me. Actually every experienced climber I ever met was an expert on bolting; it is just that none of them agreed with each other.

Second, please do not use phrases like “Adirondack Ethic.” The problem with vague terms like that is they can be just about anything a particular climber wants them to be. If there is going to be such an ethic then a group of representative climbers needs to get together, type up a written document, post it online, and get consent from a majority of the local climbers that it is a set of principles that apply to the Adirondack cliffs. Until that is done there is, in my opinion, no such thing as an Adirondack ethic.

Being done ranting for the time being, the three climbs I am going to discuss are Parthenope, Mean Sister and Freckles. Before I begin let me say that everybody makes mistakes, especially me. When you look at any project you need to realize that nothing is ever going to be perfect.

On Parthenope there is an extra bolt. The reason for it is clearly explained in the Lost T climbing guide. It is way up high and not very visible. None of the climbers that actually led Parthenope have complained about it. Let’s just leave it.

On Mean Sister I made a bad mistake. The start of this climb is under a roof and involves a move that I thought was very difficult. So I put in an alternate beginning which involves a traverse coming in from Coach and Mary on the right. The problem with traverses is they are difficult to protect and I put in one (or two, I forget) bolt(s) to protect it. As it turns out, the beginning roof move is not that difficult, even I did it successfully the other day. It is not even the hardest move on the climb. So that traverse bolt(s) needs to be removed and the holes filled to completely conceal their presence. Those bolts are stainless concrete expansion anchors and they will not come out easy. They may need to be trimmed off and then tapped back into the hole so the hole can be filled. Please don’t anybody mess with them; our crew will get it done sometime this season.

Finally that first bolt on Freckles, which people have been arguing about for four years! Freckles is rated 5.9 or 5.10, I go back on forth on that. The opening move is pretty difficult; the first bolt is there to be stick clipped so if the climber slips off he does not bounce off the ground. That is the “Lost T Ethic.” The fact that the bolt is near a crack that takes protection really has nothing to do with it. Now, is that first bolt necessary? Well, the climb is 5.9 or 5.10, so it needs to be protected for a climber of that ability. How about if we do this? From our stock we will select two mil spec 5.9 climbers, put them on top rope, and have them climb up to where the bolt/crack is. If they are comfortable getting up there and putting protection in the crack we will take the bolt out. If they are not comfortable doing that the bolt will be left there. Does anybody have any problem with that?

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to discuss any other climb at Lost T just say so.

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By Glenn Schuler
From Monument, Co.
Aug 18, 2012
A grey fox skull wedged in a crack 100' up on a FA...
Gary C Thomann wrote:
The fact that the bolt is near a crack that takes protection really has nothing to do with it.


I was on board with what you were saying up until that. Everyone that puts up enough routes will eventually screw up bolt placements - guaranteed. Fix your fuckups and move on. It happens. But placing bolts next to good gear? Most climbers agree that is bad style.

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By MaxSuffering
From KVNY
Aug 18, 2012
I certainly didn't intend to stir up controversy. What I took from the other thread was that a bolted route was led entirely on gear and this is what I questioned, not necessarily the overall number of bolts on the cliff. If quality routes require bolts then put them in, I'll clip those things every chance I get, but bolts next to bomber gear placements seems like the antithesis of, not some "Adirondack ethic," but good climbing ethics in general. That's my personal feeling, anyone and everyone is entitled to disagree.

Gary, I've never been to Lost-T, I don't know that I'd ever heard of the place until you posted that your route got poached. I'd be happy to get a tour, see for myself and give my two cents in person if you want.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Aug 18, 2012
At the BRC
Gary C Thomann wrote:
please do not use phrases like “Adirondack Ethic.” The problem with vague terms like that is they can be just about anything a particular climber wants them to be. If there is going to be such an ethic then a group of representative climbers needs to get together, type up a written document, post it online, and get consent from a majority of the local climbers that it is a set of principles that apply to the Adirondack cliffs. Until that is done there is, in my opinion, no such thing as an Adirondack ethic.


Gary, you have this process all wrong. Here's how local consensus is created-

1) Newcomers place bolts, cut trees, fix ropes on an approach, or otherwise do something completely unacceptable to established locals.
2) Outraged locals react with vandalism and violence, whcih is soon reciprocated by newcomers. All in the name of 'serving the greater climbing community' of course.
3) Feud escalates until a meeting is held, where each group gets to point out the evils of the other side.
4) Repeat these steps until one side moves, gives up or finds another hobby.

Gary C Thomann wrote:
Finally that first bolt on Freckles, which people have been arguing about for four years! Freckles is rated 5.9 or 5.10, I go back on forth on that. The opening move is pretty difficult; the first bolt is there to be stick clipped so if the climber slips off he does not bounce off the ground. That is the “Lost T Ethic.” The fact that the bolt is near a crack that takes protection really has nothing to do with it.


I can see why people think this bolt should go. In the first place, not every 5.9 climb is meant for 5.9 leaders. Leave something for folks to aspire to! In the second place, the crag is only 50 feet high, so it wouldn't seem that hard to rap down and place crack gear and pre-clip it if you really wanted. It's purely a convenience bolt on what sounds like an otherwise reasonably bolted mixed line.

And BTW, where is the "Lost T Ethic" document posted?

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Aug 19, 2012
old 1/4" bolt.
What!!! Geez Gary, 1st you've got issues with guys snaking your routes and now you're raking the muck for people to abuse you regarding the many bolting screwups you've committed. You're crying out for help. You really need to get intervention, therapy, counseling,.....This is getting rediculous! JUST GO CLIMBING, FOR CRYING OUTLOUD!!!!!

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Aug 19, 2012
At the BRC
Benjamin Chapman wrote:
What!!! Geez Gary, 1st you've got issues with guys snaking your routes and now you're raking the muck for people to abuse you regarding the many bolting screwups you've committed. You're crying out for help. You really need to get intervention, therapy, counseling,.....This is getting rediculous!JUST GO CLIMBING, FOR CRYING OUTLOUD!!!!!


Thanks for the laugh

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By Kenny Thompson
From woodfords, california
Aug 19, 2012
gorge
Sound's like you got BIG problems.

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By Diego Rivera
From Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2012
GARY "Those bolts are stainless concrete expansion anchors and they will not come out easy. They may need to be trimmed off and then tapped back into the hole so the hole can be filled."

First, use 5 piece if you're regularly screwing up placements. Studs that gotta be cut and patched, and can't be replaced, bad form.


GARY "is that first bolt necessary? Well, the climb is 5.9 or 5.10, so it needs to be protected for a climber of that ability. How about if we do this? From our stock we will select two mil spec 5.9 climbers, put them on top rope, and have them climb up to where the bolt/crack is. If they are comfortable getting up there and putting protection in the crack we will take the bolt out. If they are not comfortable doing that the bolt will be left there. Does anybody have any problem with that?



Do you get out, travel, and climb much, outside your crew? I have a problem with pro bolts by good cracks. Period. Hell, half the jtree classics need a bolt to stick clip using your considerations!

Maybe I'm missing somethin, but your thinking is way outta touch.

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 19, 2012
Rumney
Gary, I'm certainly no expert or sage of Adirondack climbing, but it was VERY obvious to me at first time seeing these "problem" bolts that something needed to be said. I'm a pro-bolt climber, and subscribe to the general community consensus which has been to use them ONLY WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. "Absolutely necessary" has been getting twisted, stretched, and outright ignored in just the 5 years I've been climbing.

That thread I started was quite a while ago. But I'm glad you're taking the time to hash this out.

Fwiw, I don't head out that way very often. By chance I just happened to be there a couple weekends ago, but otherwise I'd probably only make it maybe once a year average. I don't know if that disqualifies me for having a say in what goes on there (or why the point of meeting you there was made at all). The issue is bigger than me, you, or Lost T. If me and you only had that chat, who would really have learned anything? Now the entire comunity benefits from my intolerant attitude and your(?) mistakes.

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By Justin Sanford
From Broadalbin, New York
Aug 20, 2012
Push-5.12C at Good Luck Lake Cliffs
Interesting perspectives and thoughts...many of which I agree with. Now the true issue is, who has gone ahead and chopped some bolts at Lost T as they deemed necessary? ON my hike into Lost Hunters yesterday I crossed paths with a very upset Gary on his was back to his car. He was upset and disgusted because someone had chopped some bolts at Lost T. This really upsets me for two reasons...

1. In Gary's initial post he mentions his willingness to remove unnecessary bolts on the cliff, so why were these bolts chopped without his presence?

2. I do a bunch of route development in the immediate area. Am I to expect someone to go to my new routes and start removing fixed hardware based on their options/ethics?

What is wrong with people? I bet the person(s) responsible for this chopping used Gary's top anchors to lower over the cliff to access the hangers, just saying. Hypocrite in my opinion. The bolt war days are over...time to discuss any issues you might have with the development of new crags and routes so we can keep the access to these areas legit!

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By Charlie S
From Ogden, UT
Aug 20, 2012
Cams above the arm bar moves on Three Pigs in a Sl...
You all need to chill out. I've walked up to Lost T once trying to find my climbing group which was actually at McMartin...

Anyway, it's apparent that a lot of work has been done on this cliff. Did any of you go up, try to develop the trail, and clean the routes? Yet after it's developed, you begin to complain.

I am not necessarily pro-bolt. I prefer trad gear, especially where possible. But in general, if I disagree with a bolt placement, I leave it at that. I've climbed several sport routes throughout the nation; some bolts make absolutely no sense, some are too close, some are too far, some are unnecessary, some are poorly placed.

But did I put those in? Is this my private property? Did I devote time and sweat to make that wall enjoyable? If the answer is no, you're better off leaving it as a disagreement and nothing more.

This is a pride issue of "my way is better than your way." Just shake your head and move on. It obvious that Gary is trying to make this a fun, enjoyable cliff for everyone, not trying to destroy it.

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By Brassmonkey
Aug 20, 2012
Brass monkey
You lost ALL credibility to me when you said stick clip...in the Adirondacks.

You may not believe there are ethics in the park, but some things exist whether you believe in them or not.

Meant to be stick clipped? On a 9/10? Grow some fucking balls, this is climbing after all, not your local gym.

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By Paul Deagle
From Geneseo, NY
Aug 20, 2012
me
hey either way the cliff is coming along, I was there this weekend. Cool place when it is dry.

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By Jaysen Henderson
From White Plains, New York
Aug 20, 2012
on p13 or so of zodiac
Gary, thanks for ur contribution to lost t, ive climbed most the routes there (including the full trad lines) and found them to be clean and enjoyable.

cheers

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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Aug 20, 2012
Rumney
Justin Sanford wrote:
Interesting perspectives and thoughts...many of which I agree with. Now the true issue is, who has gone ahead and chopped some bolts at Lost T as they deemed necessary? ON my hike into Lost Hunters yesterday I crossed paths with a very upset Gary on his was back to his car. He was upset and disgusted because someone had chopped some bolts at Lost T. This really upsets me for two reasons... 1. In Gary's initial post he mentions his willingness to remove unnecessary bolts on the cliff, so why were these bolts chopped without his presence? 2. I do a bunch of route development in the immediate area. Am I to expect someone to go to my new routes and start removing fixed hardware based on their options/ethics? What is wrong with people? I bet the person(s) responsible for this chopping used Gary's top anchors to lower over the cliff to access the hangers, just saying. Hypocrite in my opinion. The bolt war days are over...time to discuss any issues you might have with the development of new crags and routes so we can keep the access to these areas legit!


Agree 100%. Chopping is over the top. I can guess who did it.

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By Gary C Thomann
Aug 20, 2012
Thanks for comments everybody, I see they kind of span the spectrum. I was out at Lost T yesterday Sunday morning, along with 13 other people. I saw that a number of bolts had been chopped and left, furious. I was inclined to do something rash but my friends have calmed me down.

It is not possible to safely lead Mean Sister anymore, the necessary bolt is gone. Some of the other bolts were on the traverse, which I had said I was going to remove anyway so it is no big deal. They did not take the Freckles bolt, maybe they are going to chop that one later. Apparently they did a good job; they may be cowardly but at least they are competent.

Obviously the system we have now is not working. But after some thought I have decided I no longer care. I am done with route development and at least for the present outdoor climbing. It is no longer fun. Everybody please keep enjoying Lost T, the Annex, Lost T2 and McMartin.

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By 1Eric Rhicard
Aug 20, 2012
It is a good sized roof. Photo: Jimbo
Douchebags. 1 bolt by a crack that has bolts farther up the route. Don't clip it, feel like a hard man. What ever.

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By MaxSuffering
From KVNY
Aug 20, 2012
I'll say the same thing I posted previously in a different context: What happens when the people who discover, clean and establish routes stop? Most climbers benefiting from the hard work of the few who put up new routes and are pretty ungrateful. The bolts are two close, to far apart, not in the right place, blah, blah, blah...

Chopping bolts is bullshit. If you disagree that's fine, start a dialogue and figure things out like adults or go put up some routes of your own. If you're going to take things into your own hands and remove bolts at least do it right: pull the things out with a crowbar and patch the holes with epoxy and rock dust. Yeah it's more work but if you're going to make a statement you should do it right. Secondly (and this goes out to another anonymous bolt chopper around Chapel Pond as well) at least have the balls to claim it, if you're scared of what people will think maybe you should just leave the bolts where they are.

As for stick clipping in the ADKs has anyone done Raging Raven since the block fell out without preclipping the first bolt? Dare ya! I agree that not every route needs to be made suitable for someone pushing into the grade on lead but bolting with the intention of having the first bolt stick clipped makes sense in some cases.

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By Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Aug 20, 2012
Bocan
Gary C Thomann wrote:
But after some thought I have decided I no longer care. I am done with route development and at least for the present outdoor climbing. It is no longer fun.


Not from the area, but this is the general outcome of some of the crag antics. Everyone loses.

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By J Q
Aug 20, 2012
Me again!
Brassmonkey wrote:
You lost ALL credibility to me when you said stick clip...in the Adirondacks. You may not believe there are ethics in the park, but some things exist whether you believe in them or not. Meant to be stick clipped? On a 9/10? Grow some fucking balls, this is climbing after all, not your local gym.


So where do you draw the line? Is it cool if I stick clip a 12-? How about a soft as baby poo 14-? Does it have to be a 5.15? What does the brass monkey do when someone is judged to be a non ethical punting douche with no balls? You must crush!!!!!

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By Tim McCabe
Aug 20, 2012
This from the main Adirondack page: Those who have climbed before you have tried to leave very little evidence of their passage, save for a few slings growing from the side of the cliff. You won't find overly-chalked holds, or tick marks marring a route from top to bottom. What you will find in the Adirondacks is adventurous, character-building climbing that carries with it the very essence of traditional rock climbing.

Verses this from the Lost T page: Mostly trad with added bolts, and a few bolted lines. Top ropes can be setup for most (if not all) routes. Walk around climber's left.

Followed by: Bolting at Lost T is not indicative of the typical Adirondack ethic. Bolts are usually added to provide safety for the leader only when no other means of protection is available.

To be perfectly honest I really don't care one way or the other. Never been there don't plan on going. However I can't see how this type of route development fits in to the typical Adirondack ethic. I certainly can see why someone would snake an FA and then declare that it doesn't need bolts.

As for the bolt removal I can see why those who placed them would be pissed. But until the sport bolters start asking for a consensus from the trad community before placing bolts. I can't see the trad community looking for a consensus before removing them.

Yeah it sucks no doubt and of course it's always the rock that looses out in the end. Seems like on a wall where everything can be top roped bolts should only be needed for anchors where no gear can be had for top roping. And anyone who's not up for the challenge a certain route presents on lead can always TR.

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By Brassmonkey
Aug 20, 2012
Brass monkey
Jonhy Q wrote:
So where do you draw the line? Is it cool if I stick clip a 12-? How about a soft as baby poo 14-? Does it have to be a 5.15? What does the brass monkey do when someone is judged to be a non ethical punting douche with no balls? You must crush!!!!!


Haha, well thank you. Though I cannot say that I crush, unless you count the dreams of those around me.

I've honestly never used a stick clip, ever. Probably never will. If I have to stick clip something in my eyes I don't belong on it, regardless of the grade. Furthermore, if a route is set up to be intentionally stick clipped, that is an extremely backwards way of climbing.

ESPECIALLY in the Adirondacks. If he was bolting lines like this in the Gunks everyone would be up in arms. Ethics do still matter.

Maybe he should bolt Empress since that is unprotectable.

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By redlude97
Aug 20, 2012
Brassmonkey wrote:
Haha, well thank you. Though I cannot say that I crush, unless you count the dreams of those around me. I've honestly never used a stick clip, ever. Probably never will. If I have to stick clip something in my eyes I don't belong on it, regardless of the grade. Furthermore, if a route is set up to be intentionally stick clipped, that is an extremely backwards way of climbing. ESPECIALLY in the Adirondacks. If he was bolting lines like this in the Gunks everyone would be up in arms. Ethics do still matter. Maybe he should bolt Empress since that is unprotectable.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but this is pretty backwards view in itself based on current sport climbing ethics. Its freaking sport climbing, nothing wrong with a stick clip every now and then to keep you off the deck.

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By Brassmonkey
Aug 20, 2012
Brass monkey
redlude97 wrote:
I don't have a dog in this fight, but this is pretty backwards view in itself based on current sport climbing ethics. Its freaking sport climbing, nothing wrong with a stick clip every now and then to keep you off the deck.



But we are talking about a traditionally trad climbing area where bolts (use to be) rarely used. Not your local sport crag. Even there I dont use them though; just my personal climbing ethics, thats all.

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By redlude97
Aug 20, 2012
Brassmonkey wrote:
But we are talking about a traditionally trad climbing area where bolts (use to be) rarely used. Not your local sport crag. Even there I dont use them though; just my personal climbing ethics, thats all.

Your post certainly implied that it wasn't limited to just the Adirondacks by your statement directly following the part I bolded.

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By Brassmonkey
Aug 20, 2012
Brass monkey
redlude97 wrote:
Your post certainly implied that it wasn't limited to just the Adirondacks by your statement directly following the part I bolded.



You are correct. I was attempting to relate it back to the thread as to avoid a bit of drift in it. However if you want to pull it in that way, I personally don't and wont use them, anywhere. If I cant pull it, I don't deserve to. I hope it doesn't bother you that I don't use or need them. My apologies if it does! ;)

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