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What's the deal with running out so much?
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By Ben Harrison
Sep 24, 2012
Rapping off Moosedog tower, Indian Cove, JT
I climbed this the other day. The section leading up to the first belay is easy, but there are 30 feet between there and the previous bolt. I didn't test this, but I'm pretty sure I would have decked had I have fallen around that point. Why is it this way? I guess people like to exhibit the size of their balls by taking this kind of exposure. Thing is, no one is going to be impressed if you become a bit special after falling from a 5.0/4th section of a sport route. I imagine someone might say that you have demonstrated your ability to climb at above that level by getting there, but mistakes are made.

So, why are bolts sometimes so far apart when they don't need to be?

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Sep 24, 2012
Well...
IMHO, a route that easy doest not need that many bolts. Its really based on personal safty and comfort. The origional route setters set the bolt spacing for what they thought was good.
Consider you can climb a 5.0+ in flip plops 30-40 foot runs is not that out of line.
Now Im not sure about your neck of the woods, but the local craigs here, a route setter will build and estbolish a route for him self and him self alone (at least thats the mentality) he equips the rout with the number of bolt he/she feels is nessary. The route is available for the public to enjoy but the Fa/FFA dictates what they want out of that route. Any changes should be brought up with the origonal route setter.

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 24, 2012
OTL
Welcome to outdoor climbing.

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By Rob Fielding
From Las Vegas, NV
Sep 24, 2012
Third pillar of dana descent.
Trollin?

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By s.price
From PS,CO
Sep 24, 2012
 Morning Dew ,self portrait
Your either up to the challenge or need to spend more time getting ready for such scenarios. That's not runout. Bachar-Yerian, now that's runout.

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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Sep 24, 2012
There's no cut and dried answer for when its acceptable to space out bolts really far, but you can basically expect something like that when there's a big difficulty shift on the route. That is, if the route has a pronounced crux with considerably easier climbing (say, for somebody who can onsite the crux) elsewhere, the easier sections will have a larger bolt spacing. The reasoning being not simply that you *should* be able to climb that without falling, but moreover that you *should* be so deeply in your comfort zone that most unexpected events that would cause you fall were you at your limit, wouldn't be enough to cause a fall there. If you cruise the 5.12 crux of a route, but end up eating it because of a bee on 5.0 terrain, there's something fishy going on there, and it has nothing to do with the bolt spacing.

Also, this isn't linked to a specific route, so this really could be anywhere.

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By Brian Scoggins
From Eugene, OR
Sep 24, 2012
If you're going on about Goldline, that's a sport route in the same sense that shoving feathers up my ass makes me a chicken.

It is an artifact of an era where the only style was "traditional" which was ground up, and the leader must not fall. The bolts, by and large, were placed on lead, from hooks or stances, and reflect what was available to the hand-drilling first ascensionist.

Its not a sport route in the modern sense, it is a traditional route with only bolts for protection, and should be approached accordingly.

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By Reginald McChufferton
Sep 24, 2012
Was down climbing an option? If the bolts were too far apart for you to feel comfortable climbing it you most likely would have said "to hell with this" and retreated. It sounds like you didn't. This would indicate that the route was adequately bolted for, at least, you and the FA. Probably adequately bolted for most people on that climb. The internet will not help you become comfortable with runouts. Not to say that this particular runout your speaking of isn't just laziness or ego masturbation by the FA. Since you haven't posted what route it it, it's hard to say.

The "deal" with running it out is what climbing has always been about. Until sport climbing came along and it suddenly became acceptable to turn the rock into your own personal gym. There is no route in existence in which a fall from ANY point will ALWAYS be safe. It's just not possible. If you don't feel comfortable I'd suggest retreat and more laps on easier climbs.

Welcome to outdoor climbing!

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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Sep 24, 2012
I've kind of come to the realization, that on easy stuff, not falling is the main part of my safety strategy. It's simply prohibitively slow and uses too much equipment to protect every 5.2 move, and there is always another ledge just below you.

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By Jeremy Riesberg
From Boulder, CO
Sep 24, 2012
Palisaid, SD.
If you fell on a section of climb in the 5.2 range, you would at least have the peace of mind to know that all those big ledges will slow you down...

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By Tom Mulholland
From #1 Cheese Producing State!
Sep 24, 2012
Whiskey-a-Go-Go
DannyUncanny wrote:
I've kind of come to the realization, that on easy stuff, not falling is the main part of my safety strategy. It's simply prohibitively slow and uses too much equipment to protect every 5.2 move, and there is always another ledge just below you.


Not falling is always the main part of the safety strategy.

Rule #1: Don't fall.
Rule #2: If you fall, don't hit anything.
Rule #3: If you hit something, make sure you aren't moving too fast.
Rule #4: If you're worried about getting hurt, see Rule #1.

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By Nick Stayner
From Billings, MT
Sep 24, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.
Ben Harrison wrote:
So, why are bolts sometimes so far apart when they don't need to be?

If you have to ask this question, just keep sport climbing until you learn enough about climbing history to answer it yourself.

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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Sep 24, 2012
i mean... you'd basically have to jump off 5.2...

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By Ben Harrison
Sep 24, 2012
Rapping off Moosedog tower, Indian Cove, JT
I normally climb trad. If I have to run it out, then I just figure that it's what has to be done to do the route and get on with it. When I saw a potential ground fall from a decent hight on a sport route, I wondered why not stick in a bolt. As some of you have worked out, I had no issue with finishing the route. My question really wasn't specific to goldline.

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By Eric D
From Gnarnia
Sep 24, 2012
Born again on the last move of the Red Dihedral, high Sierras.
Ben Harrison wrote:
I wondered why not stick in a bolt.


Because, as you can see from these posts, most people don't mind running it out in that scenario.

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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Sep 24, 2012
Just because it was bolted, (obviously) does not mean it's a sport route.

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By Josh Kornish
From Missoula, MT
Sep 24, 2012
Humboldt Bouldering
Honestly if there was a bolt every 10 feet on the snake dike the climb wouldn't be worth it in my opinion.

That said yes there are times when it's more about the ego than anything

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