Home Forums Bolting Three genuine questions?

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  • #8795 Reply

    Three genuine questions,why bolt?is there meaniful bolting?and after living up north for years and never seen another climber[apart from visiting mates]or bolts and pondering why,I ask a the question what comes first the climber?or the bolt?[and I know there are bolts at Karajini but thats another discussion!]

    #8796 Reply

    Why not?

    #8797 Reply

    Hmmm bolts, I might be wrong but don’t they allow a climber to take themselves to their limit AND beyond on climbs that would not allow this any other safe way? (whilst maintaining an ability to walk and breath after said climb). I don’t understand your second question, it strikes me as the same as your first and finally, in answer to your last question the climber came first (but hey cars came before seatbelts, pushies before helmets, diving before the aqualung, etc).

    Happy (and safe) climbing.


    #8798 Reply

    It’s commercial. The purpose of bolts so we can buy and use lots of shiny colourful gear. As we all know the tops of most of our bolted climbs are easily accessible, and a well constructed belay station would allow convenient top-roping. As we also know today climbs are so well bolted and safely bolted that leading is little different from top-roping. Given the number of people working routes there is no fear of flying. But with bolts we need all the flash gear. We appear brave and daring. It’s image, it’s perception, it’s coca-cola, ray-bans and rolex.

    #8799 Reply

    Haha….What a rant (i know thats big coming from me!!:).

    What has commercialism got to do with it?. You need far less gear to go out sport climbing (all bolts), than you do to go trad climbing. Why hate on bolts, when it is clear your blaming peoples poor climbing ethic on commercialism.

    I would say that alot of the fully bolted routes i can think of are no easier than any trad route to access the top of. Most sport routes would be harder given the fact that they are equipped with lower offs and don’t go to the top of the cliff(for good reason!! have a look at the top of Wallcliffe if you need convincing!!).

    As for todays bolting being like toproping, where exactly are you referring to??. I guess it would be if you were stickclipping your way to the anchors!. Again that comes back to individual style, I can guarantee you that this wasn’t the case when they were bolted and lead.

    Who needs all the gear?, what exact image…..Chris Sharma shaking out with his rolex and ray bans on, while slamming down an icy cold can of coke. Seriously……welcome to the year 2010.

    I think we are very lucky to live in a country where we are free to have our own styles and ethics. Sure be a cynic if you like, but at least be an educated one!.

    #8800 Reply

    Hmm, again we peer into the spaghetti bowl of George’s logic. What does he have against commercialism and image? Embrace it , it’s sports climbing, look at Sharma, though we all grieve a little for the passing of neon lycra.

    Trad will always be a bit edgy, cos of the reliance on other skills, reading the gear placements, judgement and risk. If risk exists in bolted climbs this is quickly corrected by more bolts. A lead ascent on Urban Ethics , though less convenient, is no more or less admirable than a clean top-rope. The down side of bolts is the contrived nature of the climb. Don’t use the blue grips, don’t stand on the hangers. There is a similar problem in Trad, though an additional reason not to pull on the gear is because it’ll come out. In some ways the purest climbing is a bottom belay top-rope with a couple of metres of slack. Some places recognise this. The Adelaide guide books give FAs to top ropes of subsequently bolted routes. But for the coming sports top-rope revolution there will also have to be some rules. Little marks on the cliff the climber must follow, and to simulate bad bolt placement or difficult clips, there will be markers where he must pat the top of his head three times. Still without flash gear it may not happen. Bring back day-glo tights.

    #8801 Reply

    spaghetti bowl…right!?. Calvin (if thats your real name….doubtful!). If you can point out where exactly my logic is off the mark, then ill gladly discuss. Otherwise i wont waste my breath on your obviously not so genuine reply.

    NIce troll though!.

    #8802 Reply

    Gosh, George. You take offence more easily than Woodman.

    #8803 Reply

    yep, your response was a mortal blow to my ego…..heres laughing at you big man!.

    #8804 Reply

    Play the ball, not the man Calvin.

    I think George is on the money and would also be curious to understand where you think he is off. Personally I don’t understand Calvin’s comments and would welcome someone who has a similar perspective to Calvin but is able to articulate their views to join the discussion.

    #8805 Reply
    Calvin B

    I feel like the ball some days. It was a light-hearted response to the three whimsical questions. Some of my broad statements are obviously often untrue, There are lots of climbs that would really be a pain to top-rope. The point being that there are climbs that I’m happy to lead on bolts when I have only a moderate chance of getting up. So if on the climb I entertain myself by clipping bolts or if I use a top-rope, it may not make much difference to the ascent. It’s not a new idea that some climbs get their first ascent on top-rope. It’s a point of view and I wouldn’t attack anyone who thought differently. even George. Some of it comes down to bolting style. I go along with some comments Nepia made, that on bolted climbs where falls are clean and safe they should be huge. Though I’d like to fall on a closely spaced group of bolts not just one. maybe time to borrow the drill again, and make a few changes. If nothing else it should result in some incoherent fury.

    #8806 Reply

    Let me paraphrase the original post by likening it to “bushwalking”:

    Three genuine questions,why MAKE TRAILS? is there meaniful TRAIL MAKING? and after living up north for years and never seen another BUSHWALKER[apart from visiting mates]or TRAILS and pondering why,I ask a the question what comes first the BUSHWALKER? or the TRAIL?[and I know there are TRAILS at Karajini but thats another discussion!]

    If I put it like this, the point raised looks like nonsense doesn’t it?

    The US Access Fund has argued for ages that climbing routes are VERTICAL TRAILS. Just like trails need stomping out of vegetation and the odd enhancement like steps and markings, climbers sometimes need bolts. There is nothing unreasonable about bolts.

    Consider Karijini, since it was raised: hectares have been razed to put in roads, camping areas and buildings. There are formed paths and signs all over the place. Huge dust storms arise behind every vehicle and kill off road side vegetation. In the context of this “infrastructure”, what about a few bits of shiny steel embedded in a cliff. Sounds entirely reasonable and consistent with the rest of the pic to me.

    Having said that, we should still be sensible and practice minimum impact bolting. That too is consistent with minimum impact ethics elsewhere. Amen.

    #8807 Reply

    Hi Calvin,

    “A lead ascent on Urban Ethics , though less convenient, is no more or less admirable than a clean top-rope.”

    I disagree. I find that I can usually cleanly on-sight a grade 20 – 22 (trad or bolted), second a grade or two harder, and top-rope a grade or two harder again.

    Why the difference? A few reasons: frigging around trying to clip a friggin’ bolt or trying to find the right cam or nut saps my strength (I’m an old, weak fart). Not quite as bad on second, trying to unclip the gear, but it still takes a bit of time. In addition, yes, I get a bit freaked out and gripped and waste strength sometimes when I’m starting to slip and might take a 5 metre (or more) whipper. I think my biggest fall was about 8 metres.

    On top-rope, I can climb much faster as I don’t have to waste time and energy putting in protection. I also don’t have to worry about taking a big fall – if I fall more than a metre or two on top-rope, then it’s time to get a new belayer!

    Of course, if you rap down from the top of a climb, pre-place all your gear, practice the climb on top-rope until you can climb it in your sleep and then ‘lead’ it, then OK, maybe there is no difference between top-roping and that type of ‘leading’.

    #8808 Reply

    Your’re right, on-site would be different. There are leads and there are leads. Though the aim of the bolter is always to set up clips from rests, to avoid awkward clips, to replace difficult-to-clip machine bolts with rings or hangers, and to make falls safe and relatively short. In fact to try to get as close as possible to a top-rope experience. Of course this is impossible for many routes, including almost all the really hard ones with significant overhang. That bolts are used on easier climbs where top-roping would work, may be so that the rest of us can look like the hard guys, or just inertia. [Is clipping bolts quickly and efficiently is a skill one wants to incorporate in climbing? Like placing natural gear. Probably not. Clipping is not something we do apart from free climbing, whereas natural aid climbing is.] the answer to the original question is, some bolting is meaningful and some bolting is not. About 40/60. Of course another answer is, if the bolts offend you go bouldering.

    #8809 Reply
    Richard W

    Yet another load of dribble about bolting! And Calvin – Do I know you? Look I’m all for those getting out and contributing to the community, and George definately fits the bill with all the re-bolting he has done for the Perth climbers. Cheers to all those climbers making a difference!

    #8810 Reply

    Hi Richard. as defensive as always I see. We’ve not met. Drivel, yes, it’s the internet. People talk. Suprised you or George are interested in this thread.

    #8811 Reply

    Calvin, I think you have well and truly confused everybody with your incoherent musing.

    I believe it is we that are now looking into the empty bowl that is your logic!!

    #8812 Reply

    Not everybody, Pete.

    #8813 Reply

    “In fact to try to get as close as possible to a top-rope experience.”

    If I wanted to go top-roping, then I would, but I don’t. Instead I prefer leading. And second to leading, seconding. Top-roping is way down the list for me.

    I enjoy climbing for a few reasons – it get me outdoors (I rarely go to a gym); it gets me places that few other people have ever been to, like half-way up Bluff Knoll or Gib Rock or Peak Head etc; it’s good exercise; it’s a personal challenge, both mentally, physically and intellectually; and many other reasons besides.

    Top-roping just doesn’t cut it with many of these. It is difficult, if not impossible to top-rope many multi-pitch climbs; the mental and intellectual challenge is greatly decreased in doing top-ropes as compared to leading, and often so is the physical challenge. This is even the case with climbs that I don’t climb on-sight – I have lead Urban Ethics, Gates of Mordor, Baylac Direct etc a dozen or more times each, and while the buzz I get out of it now is different from what I got the first time I climbed it (such as succeeding in such an awesome looking climbs), I still get a buzz, but for different reasons, such as just enjoying the pure beauty of the moves, the changing conditions, and my changing mental, physical and intellectual states. Of course, however, I enjoy even more on-sighting a great climb I haven’t climbed before – and there are still plenty of those around.

    #8814 Reply

    Just back from holiday.So I missed all the talk,some interesting points though and that with some time I will have to consider and digest.I having to agree that top roping is a safer option some times, I have small/medium children and when they lead I can’t always trust their placement,top roping would fix that and make it safer.But we rarely climb in the same place twice plus I don’t own a drill!But you have me thinking!

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