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Tres Piedras (NM) Bolts, Ethics, Access Discussion
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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Aug 28, 2009
RGG silhouette
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

Please review the updated "private property" notice at the top of each page.

Any information (sightings, photos, automobile ID, etc.) of activity relative to the issue of "bolt chopping" should be reported to the forest service. You may also contact me via e-mail and I will assist you as you feel necessary. Please do not take any action that puts you or the climbing access in jeopardy.

Please report missing hardware here. Anchors were removed (and then replaced) from Dirty Diagonal. This anchor was chopped again as of August 28, 2009.

Please review experience in other areas here or here.

FLAG
By Mike Howard
Administrator
Sep 21, 2009
RGG silhouette
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

New info this week from a concerned climber:
"A sign saying "No Bolting" was posted on the board by the parking. Not sure who posted it, but it ought to go away, since that's not official policy, unless there is a F.S. policy I'm not aware of. Will require something to strip away the glue, then a wrench. I tried to hammer it out with a rock, but that didn't work."
"The anchor between 5 Years After and Chicken Heads was chopped and not patched. It's kind of a mess, with 3 holes/studs. This may have happened a while ago? I haven't been on these climbs recently, so I don't know for sure."
"My friend went looking for the new climbs we'd heard were bolted north of Alien. He said he saw only 1 of them, although we'd heard there were 3 new ones. He hadn't been there before, so who knows if he was looking in the right place."

Again, I will offer my time to listen to both parties independently or in an open forum to help each be heard with respect and to understand the important vision that each party has toward this special area. Email me, or take me over and show me what's bugging you.

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By Luke Hanley
From Boulder, CO
Sep 22, 2009
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

Gheez Mike... I just read through the above posts!! Has there been any progress in getting lines of communication on this? Makes me nervous.

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Sep 22, 2009
RGG silhouette
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

Luke,
Great to see your posts and that you are seen more in the 575. Wild scenario at TP. I have kept this thread alive hoping to make a dialogue happen here rather than on the rock. We have been given names of 2 parties that have been involved in chopping, mostly taking out new routes but also a few old anchors that have been in place for years. One episode took out Bruce Holthouse's additional bolts on CGD within a week of their addition by the FA. Be careful/prepared to have to climb off some of the old standards. We all hope there are no untoward consequences.
Be safe amigo,
Mike

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By Luke Hanley
From Boulder, CO
Sep 22, 2009
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

Thanks Mike. It has been great to head back down south, I only wish we could collaborate everyone to get out and do some climbing/developing together. I'm hoping to make it down this weekend or the following to finish up some work, then I might post some information on Mt. Project... I'm still having doubts about that, especially considering the recent problem.... if they can somehow feel justified in chopping Holthouse's routes then no one is safe. I hope to catch up soon amigo, and maybe shed some additional light on this topic. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Cheers,

Luke

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Sep 22, 2009
RGG silhouette
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

I think an earlier removed post regarding the respect for the property owner's request is valid. If you don't mind I will re-post it here:
"A sign saying "No Bolting" was posted on the board by the parking. Not sure who posted it, but it ought to go away, since that's not official policy, unless there is a F.S. policy I'm not aware of. Will require something to strip away the glue, then a wrench. I tried to hammer it out with a rock, but that didn't work."
...or someone could bolt a second sign below it that reads: "On Private Property."
Seriously, at the very least, no more hardware installation should occur on the privately owned rocks (as per the owner's request). That continued action could jeopardize our access more than anything else."

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Sep 23, 2009
RGG silhouette
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

It seems like we are probably heading toward a consensus. It would be nice to have the folks that are bolting and the folks that are chopping weigh in. This seems like a good place as any because I can't imagine pulling us together in person. I know that the new routers lurk but the two parties that are suspected in chopping new routes and old anchors are probably not. The land managers are the other interested party. The Property owner has already expressed his wishes which I have listed on the notice at the top of each page. Here are a few considerations compiled from these comments which should help direct the discussion.

1.)Please read the private property notice and sign and send in the waiver. A clear definition of private property boundaries is needed.
2.)No new bolted routes or permanent anchors on private property. Fixed hardware and webbing is discouraged by the Land Owner in the following quote (see access notes here): "My biggest gripe is that despite repeated requests, the climbers don't remove protection (edit: colored webbing, shiny hardware) from the climbing routes, which is both lazy and unattractive. Your organization could do me a big favor by doing a group climb and removing the crap that others have left on the various routes so that it is both a pristine part of the landscape, and so that each climber must figure out his own route without relying on the handiwork of others." Quoted August 19, 2009.
3.)Efforts working with the USFS need to continue to clarify a bolting agreement consistent with other Climbing Management Plans. One example is from Los Alamos.
4.)All fixed protection should be camouflaged. Paint hangers before they are placed or mask area appropriately.
5.)A priority should be placed on upgrading old fixed hardware to maintain TP classic climbing routes at their original risk level. Replacement of deteriorating old fixed anchors to a modern standard for durability should be done without altering route integrity and character.
6.)Respect for the first ascentionist's opinion is a widely accepted practice in our community. If there is any effort to "retro-bolt", not just upgrade (rebolt) the hardware on an existing route, then the FA should be contacted. If unavailable, we need to have a dialogue and create consensus if any "retro-bolting" or "convienece anchor placement" is to take place.
7.)First Ascentionists should place the highest quality fixed gear available (minimum 3/8 x 2 1/2 inch plated). Placement of bolts near naturally protectable features is discouraged. Attention to groundfall/ledgefall is left to their discretion. Climbing is inherently dangerous.
8.)Crowding of existing lines ("grid bolting") is highly discouraged.
9.)Any bolt holes should be patched with local stone mixed with epoxy.

More Information.
Better Information.

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By Luke Hanley
From Boulder, CO
Sep 23, 2009
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

A few thoughts in consideration of what we are up against.
I think we all agree that based on what is shown on the map, Gus basically owns the "best" chunk of rock. That being said, the interest of the landowner must be adhered to with a great amount of care so as to not lose our privilege to climb there, or even walk through the property for that matter.

A few ideas focused at showing the landowner we care:
1) Put in a waiver signature box for climbers at the TP Parking area.
2) Post some guidelines for development in the area as Mike has posted here ( camo, camo, camo .. No one is offended by what they don't see)
3) No new routes on private property. (until maybe more of a relationship is developed with the landowner)
4) Anchor camo/replacement day with BBQ. Maybe we have a cookout and invite the landowner, and the choppers. I'll do the pulled pork... we can't underestimate the power of pulled pork.
5) Maybe develop a set of development "ethics".. ugh. this is hard one to swallow, but might be the only way to discourage people from chopping.. if they agree. This is basically an extrapolation on posting guidelines.

I can help with the signature box, post, etc.. and making copies of the waiver to fill it. I also can make some pretty good pulled pork, just saying...
Does anyone want to be in charge of delivering or mailing the waivers (dropping in the mail box)? Or would Gus collect them out of the box?

Keeping it going...

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By dennis jackson
Sep 23, 2009
This post was originally a comment in Tres Piedras

The TP chopper has come out of the closet and has tacitly agreed to stop chopping (and putting up no bolting signs). Additional the FS is now fully engaged in this issue so control of our own destiny at TP has been compromised and will be carefully scrutinized by them. As the situation seems pretty tenuous I would urge everyone to chill on direct actions and proceed with a good discussion and examination of the direction the climbing community at large would like to see included in the inevitable negotiations with the FS as they address this problem as part of a comprehensive Climbing Management Plan for TP. I think we are at a crux time and must do our best to insure the best positive outcome to keep climbing at this New Mexico jewel.

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By Chris Wenker
From Santa Fe
Sep 25, 2009
Bandera
Luke Hanley wrote:
3) No new routes on private property.


Or maybe, more precisely, no new bolted routes (or anchors) on private property. New unbolted routes (if you can find them) would be great to know about.
But the last thing Tres Piedras needs, IMO, is more routes (bolted or not) that go halfway up a crag and stop at a bolted set of lazy convenience anchors 90 feet off the ground (like that new one on the SW side of Mosaic Rock).
Have I used convenience anchors in the past? Sure. But would I continue to climb stuff like Gila Monster or Summer Dreams or Bienvenidos even if it meant I had to walk off? Sure I would.
(Just my $0.02; take it or leave it.)

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By Paul Davidson
Sep 25, 2009
One of the problems with being a self-indulgent, overly righteous, appointed by god, guardian of the rock is that when you chop something put up the FA party, you end looking like the truly small-minded person that you really are. You can no longer hide behind justifications of moral superiority (assumed in one's own mind at least.) You have just committed sacrilege against your basic moral tenant of adhering to the style of the first.

In addition, when you totally botch the job, as it sounds has happened here, your greed for self-patronization becomes glaringly obvious. You've just proven that your actions are, in their essence, not about "protecting the area." Instead, you have just shown your actions are about nothing other than me, myself and I.

The only chance the botchers now have for redemption is to:
1. Start by pulling their heads out so they can see clearly.
2. Apologize publicly for your behavior.
3. Clean up your mistakes in better than good style.
4. You need to replace the chopped bolts and most importantly, the chopped anchors. Fill the holes and camouflage them with local stone.
5. Final penance is to replace all bad anchors and pieces at the area.

Hopefully you have now learned that climbing is a community that requires consensus if it's going to last and not end up being regulated by the powers that be.
The NM community is not about to let TP become a grid bolted area and it certainly didn't need the help of a rabid few to bring this front and center into the vision of the FS.

Reminds me of that bumper sticker:
The Moral Majority is neither.

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By Williampenner
From The 505
Sep 25, 2009
Beaver Mountain
Well said Paul. I would love the chopper to fix their mess and fess up to self-serving actions, preferably even identify themselves if they have the courage.

Nobody wants or will let TP turn into a grid-bolted area.

W

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Oct 5, 2009
RGG silhouette
I have cross posted this from the Los Alamos forum.

Darien Raistrick wrote:
...it truly is possible to remove bolts and leave no trace. Several years ago I removed a couple of newly-placed, unnecessary bolts at Tres Piedras, on Mama Jugs and Clean Green Dream. I would be astounded if anyone could find where those bolts were.In fact, I couldn't find them when I climbed the routes right after taking them out and repairing the rock.

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Oct 7, 2009
RGG silhouette
Mark Schraad wrote:
Mike, Thanks for staying on top of this. I have made Darien aware that she chopped Bruce's bolts, and I have asked her to explain her actions, but any explanation doesn't appear to be forthcoming. Mark


I have been lurking at mountainproject.com and saw the admission by Darien Raistrick that she chopped Bruce Holthouse's additional bolts on CGD and then sorta gloated about what a great job she did (the reclamation was well done, I give her that). I have heard from an eye witness that Greg Swift and Sharon(?) were also involved. I do not know any of these people and I don't particularly want to confront them. That seems to be happening in the LA thread. You know, I do respect the opinions of all involved, and I strongly support a cautious approach to bolting especially with the availability of cheap hammer-drills. I heard the concerns of others that the new climb in the middle of the Mosaic had crossed a line. "No camoflage, "seemed forced", private property, "Bolting Ban", history of tenuous access,..." I still climbed it and even added the anchor chains and links it needed (I'd like them back by the way). But, it is just such a pity that the rock is where it plays out. For this reason I do appreciate the forum on MP.com. As for CGD. I am fine with it the way it is. I never climbed it with the additional bolts but Bruce felt it should be better protected. I was with him on a recent FA when his son, Risson, took a 20+ footer and badly sprained his ankle on a slab fall 5 pitches up. I saw the grief and reflection on his face. The line had a spicy spacing which he ultimately decided to add an extra bolt to. Many will appreciate the extra bolt, others claim it makes it "not a memorable climb". He cares. Bruce is a kind, mellow soul. If he wants to go back and replace the bolts on CGD I will go with him, and thanks to all you folks, we will be able to tell the self-annointed to leave them be.

Thanks again,
Mike

ps: Note that I do hear other's points about not adding the bolts back. "A moustache on the Mona Lisa" is the fear. It is just this simple. It ain't anybody else's say. Only the FA can add or take a way.

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By djkyote
Oct 15, 2009
If you want to make the climb memorable then don't clip the bolt. it is truly amazing that people would want to endanger kids and others climbing at their limit on a given route so they have a memorable climb on something they are comfortable on.

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Nov 10, 2009
RGG silhouette
On Novemebr 10 and 11, Bruce Holthouse organized a posse (basically Risson and me and some Tecate in a cooler as a carrot) in an effort to replace his old bolts on some of the classics at TP. Many have considered the climbs to be less safe than their original state of risk because of corroded hardware. Although, independant parties like Jay Foley/Mount Skill and Dennis Jackson, have continued to replace anchors and webbing/rings over the years some of the harder less frequented routes are in need of an upgrade. We targeted Holthouse to Hell, Direct Start, Clean Green Dream, as well as my goal, Better Red than Dead. I also wanted to help repair rock at the chopped anchors on Five Years After and Dirty Diagonal. We didn't get to Airy Scary but we will. I ponied up some Fixe 3/8" stainless and painted plated hangers, as well as the knuckle skin of the back of both my hands. Mountain Skills donated Hilti QB3's and madrock SS hangers as well.

Bruce on Holthouse to Hell
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Bruce on Direct Start
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Me on the crux bolt to CGD.
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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Nov 10, 2009
RGG silhouette
Better Red Than Dead. Replaced the three 1/4 inch bolts (all spinners). All 3 bolts snapped off in hole. We used a cast bearing puller/tuning fork that worked well (shown on another bolt). Patched holes with epoxy and crushed granite. Replaced with SS 3/8 x 2 3/4 Fixe. Here is one example of result. We did 15 bolts on 5 routes over 2 days. Thanks to Bruce and Risson Holthouse for the work and Mountain Skills/Jay Foley for some of the hardware. Still more to do.

Highest bolt on BRTD. Spinner and I couldn't remove the rusted nut with a small crescent. The entire stud started to move. I wanted to save the hangers because these SS SMC with the vertical stamp are still considered good. No luck.
"Better Red" top bolt, broke in hole
"Better Red" top bolt, broke in hole


Here is the bearing puller on the lowest bolt. Worked well, could have closer tines and be of hardened steel.
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Me working the lowest bolt.
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Top bolt broke in hole. New SS 3/8" 2x3/4" Fixe placed
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Patched hole with 5 minute epoxy and crushed stone from the base.
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Bolts and hangers compared.
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The finished line.
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The crux bolt on CGD with the SS SMC hanger which Bruce and I thought was smaller than 3/8" but not the 1/4" he placed over 30 years ago.
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So I pulled it to find a pretty good rawl 5 piece (non-stainless). The threads are 5/16". Aaargh!
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And I replaced it with a true 3/8" x 2 3/4" Fixe stainless and a modern camouflaged Fixe hanger
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Some of the bolts and hangers removed compared with the modern stainless steel 3/8" replacements. 5 piece rawl may have lasted many more years but the 1 3/4" long split shank buttonheads and the 1/4" rawls were nice to be rid of.
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Used without permission from <a href='http://Safeclimbing.org' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >safeclimbing.org</a>
Used without permission from safeclimbing.org

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Nov 10, 2009
RGG silhouette
Five Years After anchor remediation.

Stage 1 (I am guessing from the evidence that the first anchor was spray painted, then chopped leaving the smashed button-head, then new anchor placed with pounded/rounding of nuts to prevent easy removal). Wire brushed with no real success.

"Five Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 1
"Five Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 1


Stage 2. Pulled smashed buttonhead. Partial removal of gray spray paint.
"Five Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 2.  Pulled smashed buttonhead. Partial removal of gray spray paint.
"Five Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 2. Pulled smashed buttonhead. Partial removal of gray spray paint.


Stage 3. Patched holes with epoxy mixed with crushed granite. Continued effort needed to remove spray paint.

"Fiver Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 3.  Patched holes.  Continued effort needed to remove spray paint.
"Fiver Years After" anchor remediation. Stage 3. Patched holes. Continued effort needed to remove spray paint.


Dirty Diagonal anchor remediation:

There is a set of chopped anchor bolts where the spray painted rock is at the mid rope point of Dirty Diagonal. New 2 bolt anchor has been added (black painted chain) just below and in good condition as of 11/10/09. I worked on the paint but it got dark and the result was hard to compare on photos. It still could use some work. I first tried a wire brush with no luck. The graffiti removal spray seemed to work but I was ill equipped (I had to pull my socks off to sop it up). The solvent turned gray immediately and dribbled down the rock. A big towel or heavy sponge might work with a softer brush. It seemed like I probably got 30% of the paint off both spots here and at Five years after. Then I started wondering what it was doing to my rope? Use gloves and old gear if you want to tackle this remediation. It seemed to be less obvious from the ground but still needs work.

Shiny and gray.
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Some paint removed.
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Here is the anchor to the right and above Five Years After that was chopped and the route disappeared by 3 Los Alamos climbers admitted in this thread. Help me out here. Are those Triplex bolts? Can't we remove and or salvage these bolts and disappear these holes?
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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Nov 10, 2009
Bucky
Nope, not working.

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By Williampenner
From The 505
Nov 11, 2009
Beaver Mountain
Mike,

Did someone chop your photos?

W

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Nov 11, 2009
RGG silhouette
Williampenner wrote:
Mike, Did someone chop your photos? W


TFF

Thanks WP. That made my morning.

Anybody know how to remedy this? I loaded them onto Picasa and did the <img=URL.

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By Paul Davidson
Nov 11, 2009
Most images loaded for me from my home PC.One or two missing.
Can't see anything from Picassa at work since it's a blocked site.
Maybe that's what's happening to others.

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By TBowser
Nov 29, 2009
Hey Mike,

Kudos to you and Bruce, Dennis and Jay for replacing the old bolts at TP. I wish I was there to help. Did you keep the old hardware?

I knew TP would become more popular which would bring the issues with more use. The spiciness of the routes out there is part of the allure of the place. Bruce and the FA guys who did those routes ground up had some Kahones!

I am in favor of the bolting ban. I would hate to see the Mosaic Wall grid bolted which we know would happen. I think the best lines have been done anyhow.

Thanks again and Ill let you know the next time I am in the area.

TBowser

P.S. What is up with the ftard spray painting the chains and at least not using some kind of shield to keep from spray painting the rock?

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By Mike Howard
Administrator
Dec 1, 2009
RGG silhouette
TBowser wrote:
Hey Mike, Kudos to you and Bruce, Dennis and Jay for replacing the old bolts at TP
You are welcome, Tyler. I'll let the others know.
TBowser wrote:
... Did you keep the old hardware?
I tried to save the Stainless SMC hangers for other uses but the nuts were rusted on or the bolts completely spun. Some were hard to pull (the buttonheads were surprisingly solid). Others just popped off (rawl 1/4") we have a pile of nostalgia in a bag somewhere.
TBowser wrote:
... I am in favor of the bolting ban. I would hate to see the Mosaic Wall grid bolted which we know would happen
Most people seem to agree but I can't speak for everyone.
TBowser wrote:
Thanks again and Ill let you know the next time I am in the area
Great to hear from you. Drop me a note if you come back through.
TBowser wrote:
What is up with the ftard spray painting the chains and at least not using some kind of shield to keep from spray painting the rock?
I am making no comments on any of this beyond we all agree the rock has suffered and we need to make that right. Everyone is forgiven if they can forgive others and themselves and vow to make it right.

FLAG
 
By Chris Wenker
From Santa Fe
Aug 16, 2010
Bandera
I really, really, really had hoped this topic wouldn't resurface. I'm ambivalent about even resurrecting this thread.

But I recently observed that someone has bolted an obscure, easy route on Middle Rock that has previously been climbed for many years, solely on gear. Also, although there is a walk-off descent from the summit, it now instead features a bolt-and-chain convenience anchor that lies about 25 feet below the actual summit, to allow toproping.

Admittedly, it isnít a very popular or important route. But, are we OK with this sort of behavior? If tolerated, where will it lead in the future?

I feel terribly badly now, because by posting the original route here on MP, I suspect that Iím probably responsible for bringing it to the attention of the bolters, who have diminished (in my opinion) an otherwise heady line for the beginning 5.8 leader. (And it makes me second-guess my participation on this site).

Make no mistake, I donít consider this Ďmyí route just because I posted it here on MP. I originally learned about this route from a long-time TP climber, and its origins are shrouded in history. I led it on gear several years ago, and while I felt challenged as a new leader, I was very fulfilled when I pulled on to the top. The bolts would have taken that experience away.

My own opinion: I suspect it was put up by a guiding company that wants to just conveniently toprope their clients and doesnít want to go through the trouble of having to go all the way to the actual top of a climb and walk off. I did observe what appeared to be a guided group using this new anchor on 8/13/10. Maybe they werenít guided, that's just my impression. My recommendation to the guides: if you're going to use OUR public lands to create an outdoor playground designed to profit off your clients, go to the Gorge instead, where there's "miles of that shwag."

I had originally prepared a much longer rant, with embedded pictures and everything (think Johnny Cash flipping the bird, etc.). Suffice to say, I'm considering learning how to chop bolts.

FLAG


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