Trad or Sport line

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wildx
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Trad or Sport line

Post by wildx » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:41 pm

How do we draw the line between a sport line and trad lines?

Recently I went climbing at Rocklands with a climbing friend from New Zealand. We both are trad enthusiasts with the latter having climbed and opened big wall lines all over the world. We had a lot of fun finding new single pitch lines at the back of the De Pak Huis.

While scouting and climbing new lines we found a beautiful classic crack system in the back of Fields of Joy area but sadly it was bolted. The routes name is KGB (6b+). On 8A a previous climber called Scott Noy made a comment on the route "Great line!! Why was this bolted? With trad it is as safe as with the bolts?!" I agree with Scott, its a perfect trad line that got bolted for no reason.
This route is definitely a good sport climb but would have been a true classic single pitch trad line if left naturally.

Rocklands is not a sport area and sport and trad climbing come very much second to bouldering in this area, which in my mind gives the area a perfect opportunity not to bolt every line imaginable but to mix trad and sport where it fits respectively. Giving everyone a perfect place to climb in their own styles.

What I want to know is not necessarily to do with this particular route but with all the lines that could be safely climbed on traditional methods but gets bolted with no thought of the yet small but psyched trad community.
Across the pond, the trad communities takes bolting trad lines very seriously with many bolts being chopped and climbers being shunned.

How do we protect trad lines in sport areas or trad lines in new developing areas from being eternally scarred with bolts?

Bolting is forever...

mokganjetsi
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:02 pm

*get some popcorn*
i think it is about education - when you pick up a drill (assuming bolting is allowed) you perhaps need to ask yourself:
1. are bolts really necessary?
2. will this be a good trad line?

both no i'd say bolt it. no-yes leave it. yes-yes is an oxymoron or a mixed line. yes-no is obvious.

have seen some really good trad lines bolted and some really good sport lines convoluted into trad routes. sterling silver is a really good trad line and one of the best sport routes in the peninsula. think it was a good call to bolt it otherwise only a handful of guys would ever have climbed it

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Xenomorph
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Xenomorph » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:08 pm

We'll you can still trad it.
I stand to be corrected, but originally Rocklands was a sport destination. Bouldering came later.
If you want to trad in Cederberg, Wolfberg, Tafelberg and Krakadouw are the premier destinations.
Also it is private land and the bolters probably got permission from the owners. It's first come, first serve I guess.

Years ago, the MCSA came to an agreement with South African National Parks and CapeNature that allows new sport routes to be bolted in the Cape Peninsula and Cederberg Wilderness Areas.
These areas are sensitive and important conservation areas and bolting is allowed subject to strict conditions.
Approval for routes are issued by a committee convened by the rock climbing sub-committee of the Cape Town section of the MCSA. In addition to the current application criteria, one of the committee members must visit the proposed route to confirm that everything is indeed in order and that it is a line worth bolting. This obviously means that the process will be slower (rock climbing sub-committee members get out to the Cederberg quite often, but not as often as they would like!), so applicants may have to wait for a few months. The upside of this is that permits will only be issued for routes of a high standard, addressing the concerns that mediocre lines were being allowed.

The point I am trying to make is that if the route was in a SANP then maybe it would not have been bolted.

Cheers
Cormac

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:21 pm

Trad lines tend to follow a line of weakness in a wall, which makes them aesthetically pleasing, and appealing to climb. The trad lines that have become sport routes are great sport routes because of that aesthetic appeal, not because of something intrinsic to bolts.

Bolting a trad line to increase it's appeal is a way of lowering the bar. If you want so desperately to climb the line, but can't trad climb, rather just top rope it than ruining it with a line of bolts.
Happy climbing
Nic

Ockert
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Ockert » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:05 pm

An easy and inexpensive solution to a problem like this can be to simply use a hammer and smash the bolts.
If you feel strongly that the route should not have been bolted then take matters into your own hands.

a simple and easy solution.

RyanKarate
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by RyanKarate » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:49 pm

Yes let’s make ugly, uglier. Statement made but really?

JanoSA
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by JanoSA » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:06 am

I often wonder why South Africa has such a small online climbing community. Then a thread like this one pops up and it all comes rushing back to me.

Old Smelly
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Old Smelly » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:55 am

Yes - I think the point is that great care should be taken when considering to bolt a line - do your research...

Then don't be a moron and smash someone else's bolts without taking care to investigate what is going on...there may be more to the story...

The real point is that indescriminate bolting is normally done by people who don't ask around or check what the arrangement for the area is. That is why the regulations for an area need to be made known and the ethics need to be circulated by climbers so that everyone is in the know for a particular area. There are refinements in bolting as well - like asking the FA if you want to add a bolt to a line etc.

I do think that it is best to as far as possible to avoid creating climbs that use both trad natural pro and bolts. Maybe in those cases the ethic for the area would be to require removable bolts if it was agreed that a climb would be totally un-climable without additional protection that cannot be done with trad gear. To me that is more acceptable than run-out climbs with possible death fall potential. Naturally that would have to be agreed upon by those who administer that land.
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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tygereye
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by tygereye » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:57 am

Let the traddies bolt! :hapban

They won't do it unless necessary, they appreciate run outs, so won't overbolt, and understand potential fall dangers.
(or that's the theory :eye: )

Warren G
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Warren G » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:20 pm

As implied above routes are opened at different times, with different management plans and ethics, and routes should be seen in this light. Having said this I agree that there should be a conversation regarding routes that no longer fit in with the ethics of the day, but I don't see any value in removing usable bolts, simply to scar the rock further.

Not to get into the trad vs sport debate, but I am convinced we will be judged by future generations as the lazy generation who stuck a bolt in, rather than stuck a neck out. When will climbing pass this ethical frontier? For the sake of our rock, soon I hope.
Sandbagging is a dirty game

wildx
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by wildx » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:40 am

I agree with
Warren G wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:20 pm
Not to get into the trad vs sport debate, but I am convinced we will be judged by future generations as the lazy generation who stuck a bolt in, rather than stuck a neck out. When will climbing pass this ethical frontier? For the sake of our rock, soon I hope.
It is something that has to be looked at, we cannot keep on bolting without thinking about future generations. A lot of our sport crags has been rebolted resulting in more holes and more hangers. What will we do in 10 -20 years when we need to rebolt routes again? (Yes maybe use the same holes, but only time will tell)

If the line can be protected by traditional methods why not keep it clean.

wesleywt
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by wesleywt » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:05 pm

Becoming a trad climber is significantly more expensive than a sport climber. If its a single pitch and not an established trad line then there is no reason to 'protected' for future generations in their mid 40's with disposable income to splurge on a trad rack. Single pitch trad climbs seems a waste since you can just ignore the bolts and climb it anyway on trad. Anyway, it should be the FAs decision.

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Thermophage
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Thermophage » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:32 am

wesleywt wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:05 pm
Becoming a trad climber is significantly more expensive than a sport climber. If its a single pitch and not an established trad line then there is no reason to 'protected' for future generations in their mid 40's with disposable income to splurge on a trad rack. Single pitch trad climbs seems a waste since you can just ignore the bolts and climb it anyway on trad. Anyway, it should be the FAs decision.
This, through and through. Nobody is forcing you to clip the bolts if you want to trad the thing.

Old Smelly
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Old Smelly » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:06 am

Maybe I misread but I think Wesley makes my previous point nicely...

Anyone who has read this thread correctly would have observed that climbers know it is NOT the FA who decides but someone who has investigated what the local ethic and requirements for bolting are. Some Landowners will slap you in jail if you ignore that.

The other point of course that has been made already is that it is not your unilateral decision to bolt something that could be tradded but to find out what is acceptable for that crag and general ethic of the area.

Everyone's noses are put out of joint when foreigners just arrive and bolt...why would you be any different...
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

mokganjetsi
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by mokganjetsi » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:11 am

wesleywt wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:05 pm
Becoming a trad climber is significantly more expensive than a sport climber. If its a single pitch and not an established trad line then there is no reason to 'protected' for future generations in their mid 40's with disposable income to splurge on a trad rack. Single pitch trad climbs seems a waste since you can just ignore the bolts and climb it anyway on trad. Anyway, it should be the FAs decision.
there are more than enough sport routes to climb Wes. no need to bolt good trad lines. and climbing bolted routes on gear is just not the same as clean rock - the experience is lost.

PatMalone
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by PatMalone » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:12 am

Image

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Rastaman
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Rastaman » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:25 pm

Hang on a minute.
This is a Trad climber complaining about an existing Sport route.
Slightly different to the usual argument of a existing Trad route being bolted.
This is a existing Sport route that they want to Trad?
I would argue that there are loads of potential trad routes in the area so if you wish to trad just look next door.
Of course there is something lost whenever a potential trad route is bolted however sport climbers do also like to climb cracks nown again.
And yes I climb sport and trad.

mokganjetsi
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by mokganjetsi » Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:46 pm

i guess the question is not just whether it can "go" on trad gear; but whether it is a "good" trad route. There are 10+ sport routes for every good trad route imho.

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henkg
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by henkg » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:41 pm

Thermophage wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:32 am
Nobody is forcing you to clip the bolts if you want to trad the thing.
Not that simple. If you climb at your limit, and get pumped, frantically fiddling with gear, do you cop out an clip the bolt or do you persevere, push yourself harder and complete the climb? The mind is shifty at those edges.

Bolts spoil the sense of achievement. Rather walk past and leave it for sport climbers who now effectively possess the line.
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens

Gadget
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by Gadget » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:07 pm

In addition to all the ethics and style considerations I feel one need to consider the style / ethics of a crag level too. In most parts of the world crags have a predominant (sometimes exclusive) style / ethic whether it be on the bolted side or on the trad side of the spectrum (and mixtures such as bolted cruxes or stances on trad routes). Most (I know) people spend a day at a crag with either a trad rack or a sport rack and seldom mix it for that day. In my opinion even if an individual line might shout trad or sport the style of the crag might push things into a different direction with perhaps a couple of exceptions.

The Boven crags are predominantly sport and even though there are a couple of trad routes here and there it makes very little sense to have an explosion of NEW trad routes where more than 99% of all climbing is sport and most climbers going there go for the sport routes exclusively. Kransberg, Blouberg is almost exclusively trad. The Magaliesberg has trad kloofs and sports kloofs. I can live with this and don't feel the need to evaluate each and every line on its own merits.

mokganjetsi
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:29 am

what gadget said
Gadget wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:07 pm
The Boven crags are predominantly sport and even though there are a couple of trad routes here and there it makes very little sense to have an explosion of NEW trad routes where more than 99% of all climbing is sport and most climbers going there go for the sport routes exclusively.
only routes to remain trad at Boven should either be historically significant, or be really good trad routes. a route like "brolloks" was opened on trad back in the day, and although being one of the best 19s anywhere is not a particularly good trad line - and was rightly bolted. ("good" referring to both aesthetics and quality of gear / safety).
bolting something like "heart of china" would be stupid; one of the few quality trad challenges at Boven and it's not like the area is in dire need of another bolted 4-star 23.

overall bolters need to be a lot more thoughtful and careful than for opening routes on trad. if in doubt: don't bolt!

wildx
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Re: Trad or Sport line

Post by wildx » Thu Feb 01, 2018 1:30 pm

Rastaman wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:25 pm
I would argue that there are loads of potential trad routes in the area so if you wish to trad just look next door.
The thing is that is how we got to that perfect line was by walking through each door and valley looking for lines. It may seem that there is a multitude of Great lines in those hills behind the campsite but most lines are not of great quality and most of those roofs are being bolted or just crazy grades made for the Alex-es of the world. (I am not saying there is nothing just not a lot of 5 star lines and this specific sport route is just that a 5 star trad route.
It was just sad to see a perfect trad line being bolted.

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