Lower Buttresses - Abseil anchors

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Brussel
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Lower Buttresses - Abseil anchors

Post by Brussel » Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:14 am

Firstly thanks to whoever put the abseil anchors at the top of Bombay Duck - they have been long needed. I cleaned off the tat around the boulder...someone with a hammer can remove the piton if you like :lol:

Thanks too to RAM for the new path...will check it out shortly, can only be an improvement to the eroded old one!

Thirdly I trundled a large boulder from the top of Bombay duck that has been teetering for a while. It was about a meter down and slightly right of the ledge where you finish and the new ab anchors are, I tend to always come up slghtly on the right and every time I grab it and feel it move :shock:

it was quite impressive to watch a 160kg block fall for 4 seconds. I thought it might bounce...instead it hit the ground with an impressive expolosion leaving a substantial crater under it's partially shattered remains :D
Happy climbing
B

JC
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Post by JC » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:08 pm

One problem with the bolts, it is a nightmare to pull the ropes through! Because they are set quite far back on a shelf, it creates quite an angle over the edge, and a lo of friction. They probably just need to be extended with some chains attached with shackles.

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Brent
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Post by Brent » Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:53 am

I do not believe that permanent anchors are needed in this spot. It has always been fine to walk round to the regular rap point above India waterfall.

And quite frankly, I don't want to have people abbing down while I'm climbing that route. It's happened before and they get in the way, sorta ruining the whole trad experience for me. Plus, there's the issue of rope drag on the edge. Most certainly chains to extend them will not be permitted.

Another thing, bolting on tm is illegal. Literally. The anchors that exist on tm were put in at a time when it was agreed to by Parks to do so (for a variety of reasons, and after much wrangling), on condition that nothing further was done. Existing anchors have been replaced for safety reasons from time to time, but we keep a very low profile about doing even this, as it's better to stay under the radar.

Please guys, this kind of thing has the potential to affect our access. If in doubt, please consult someone who has had dealings with the relevant authorities on such issues.

Richard
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Post by Richard » Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:18 pm

I have to concur with Brent. In my old fart opinion they are not needed there. Besides, I too absolutely detest having people ab over me and my climbing party.
I have raised this with the bolter himself, who is a very nice guy, does a lot for climbing, and earnestly believes he was doing a good deed for the community, but I'm afraid a precedent may now have been set. (Note that anchors have already appeared on Lion's Head. Are they any more, or less, acceptable there?)
Do we have to drag a sport climbing mentality/approach into trad. I always thought the walk was part of the outdoor experience?? I have heard folk muttering about placing bolted ab anchors on Muizenberg too. Where next? Tafelberg?

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Justin
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Post by Justin » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:40 pm

Does this mean bolted belay stations (on all classic trad routes) is out of the question?? :P :wink:

I do like quick and easy but having people ab'nig past me while I'm climbing a trad route doesn't sound great.
It sounds like the chains are not in a good location (rope drag, ab'ing past climbers and potentially pulling the rope down on them afterwards!?)

Then there is the question of permission to place the anchors!? Was procedure followed!? Is there a procedure? If not what is the way to go about placing bolts on TM?

I like bolts in convenient places :D
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David Vallet
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Post by David Vallet » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:55 pm

Hey there, here are my two cents !!

I agree with Brent, the option for going up around and down, crunching part of the 6th plant kingdom of the world, en route to the waterfall anchors, was always an option for decending from the climbs around Bombay... although, this clearly was not a very popular choice.

a little attention to the burn marks on the tatt surounding the chock stone, a clear indincation rappelling the dodgy block was the norm.
people did this either through environmental reasons, lazyness or a love of rappeling...who knows ?? the fact is, people were rappeling there anyway. regardless of whether there were bolts there or not !
(it's free hanging after the first 6m, and a very popular climb, want a true wilderness, escape the crowds, traditional experience... so many places, so close, why go to bombay duck?)

There's no bolting on T.M. mostly because of a climbing ethic. That's why Mike Scott instead of being arrested, the bolt was simply cut, the climb free'd and a precident set. Table Mountain is strictly a traditional climbing venue, (aside from a few rusty old pitons,- for the brave -, a couple blocks of wood, - go the termite - and some shiny pins - I'm nowhere near strong enough to get to), the vast majority of climbers respect this ethic on T.M. , in my opinion, Fixed Anchors exsist outside of this ethic. although, The fact remains, a bolt has less environmental impact, than the effort involved in going to place it, or inspect it.

The man whom placed the bolt's on top of Bombay Duck, either through an environmental concience, trying to stop people from going through the fainbos en route to the waterfall, or a love for his fellow climbers, not wanting one to die, when that chock stone rips out...in the end is probably going to save someones life....
I would be stoked if the bolts were extended to allow an easy pull, and quick get away.... Thanks.

Now, just to stir it up, my trigger happy, drill totting, buddy, how long do you think it'll be before someone tips over upper africa ledge trying to feed, the increadibly badly placed final atlantic rapp ??

have fun, be safe
d

Richard
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Post by Richard » Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:18 am

Folks, before using the Ledge ab points as the green-light, remember the circumstances under which those were allowed. Massive refurbishment of upper station, construction site, company not wanting people traipsing through the site, etc. etc. So a deal wa struck. As I recall, it was intended as \"temporary\" until constructuion was completed. Hell those bolts are convenient now, and we all use them, but they are not a rubbber stamp for anchors all over TM! I also recall that they were intentionally placed to be unobtrusive, hence their awkward access in places.

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Brent
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Post by Brent » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:09 am

Hi all

I appreciate that the bolter may have thought he or she was doing a good deed, but I just want to get a few things straight, for the record.

Bolting anywhere in the park, without permission, is illegal. Period.
Even at the sport climbing venues, permission is needed. All of them. The correct protocol is to work though the Sport Climbing Working group, which was set up with the agreement of the climbers, the MCSA and SANParks.

The system has been working well over the past few years, so let's keep using it. It has improved the safety of our crags, and has kept good relations with the landowners, as well as allowed us to keep bolting at our sport venues.

Yes, the existing anchor points on TM were put there under special circumstances. They are not to be added to.

I invite the person who bolted that station above Bombay to give me a shout and we can discuss it. Nobody's going to be kakked out, and I genuinely believe they were placed with good intentions.

Yes, I know ppl abseil there, sometimes off dodgy tat. I've had to pause while climbing, get out of the way and sit and wait until a party rapped down. This was annoying - I don't want that to spoil my trad experience again. Is it *really* that much hassle to walk the 70 or so meters to the existing rap point above the waterfall??

If anyone has any queries about bolting protocol, or access issues in the Park, even constructive crit, feel free to give me a call (082-4036994).

cheers
Brent

Sam
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Post by Sam » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:22 am

Hey guys,

I add my opinion here with caution as I know how volatile issues of bolting are amongst climbers...especially on hallowed TM!

Personally I agree in principle with Brent's sentiments on bolting on TM, although I have some sympathy for the mystery bolter who probably thought they were doing climbers of the Lower Buttresses a favour. And to be frank, besides the sub-optimal placement of the anchors, they ARE convenient (for most routes on that buttress), safer, reduce erosion caused on the walk to the anchors at India Waterfall (not a trivial issue, although probably not foremost in the mind of the bolter) etc...

This said, an agreed protocol needs to be followed and no climber should think they are above this i.e. being able to make decisions based solely on their judgment. This is where the mystery bolter may need some defence...he/she may have consulted the relevant authority/ies...? Who oversees bolting, or at least the servicing of bolts on TM? Who does the buck stop with?

I think the way these issues are dealt with in the climbing community could be improved. Perhaps seemingly unsympathetic/unreceptive decision-makers who adopt a seemingly black and white view (on issues such as bolting) needs to be questioned? Perhaps it is this attitude that leads climbers to adopt a \"to hell with them, they are not going to listen anyway\" attitude? Perhaps certain marginal decisions (such as anchor placements on trad lines) should be decided in an open forum where everyone interested gets to comment/vote on what action they feel is best?

Maybe this isn't the best approach, although it does seem to be the most democratic to me. I'm not sold on the above reasoning, but maybe it is something that should be discussed.

Back to Bombay Duck:

The fact remains that climbers were rapping down the Bombay Duck route long before it had anchors. There is both an old peg and copious amounts of tat as evidence. So the argument that the anchors recently installed are going to drastically increase the frequency of rappelling or alter the desirability of climbing BD because of rappellers overhead is not very credible. I think it's an issue that climbers on BD have always had to deal with.

I don't understand the view that \"Most certainly chains to extend them will not be permitted.\"

My view is that the chains either need to be chopped (which will leave an ugly scare on the rock) or extended so that they aren't a rope drag hazard. There seems little point/value in leaving them as is...that way NO one is happy.

Well done to ClimbZA for a great forum!

S

8a_climber
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Post by 8a_climber » Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:59 pm

The fact remains that climbers were rapping down the Bombay Duck route long before it had anchors. There is both an old peg and copious amounts of tat as evidence. So the argument that the anchors recently installed are going to drastically increase the frequency of rappelling or alter the desirability of climbing BD because of rappellers overhead is not very credible.
Not everyone used to rap off the route due to the chockstone being suspect. Now everyone will rap off the route.

Sam, the bottom line is that NO BOLTING is allowed on TM. If you don't like abseiling off the chockstone, then walk down. There is a path that leads to the India Waterfall abs. IMO, the person who has placed these bolts must be found and prosecuted. This one person could jeopardize the climbing for everyone else.
\"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is.\" - Pat Ament.

David Vallet
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Post by David Vallet » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:19 pm

whooa... hold onto your six shooter there partner.

I can't really comment on the Law because I haven't seen the actual legislation.. (someone could post it!).
anyway, it's my experience and understanding that the Law is a flued thing, Changing as our society does, and thank g-d for that or we'd still have slavery !
I'd imagine that TMNP would have banned bolting on Table Mountain because of the environmental impact it would create, (I doubt they're concerned about it being a trad climbing venue, and bolts are against the spirit of trad). Wholesale bolting would surely bring with it the masses of sport climbers, which would without a doubt impact the environment quite severely...But, the bolts placed on top of BD, have in my opinion a positive environmental impact, stopping people from trashing the fynbos- If there is a path from the top of bd to the waterfall it's pretty vague, there's one from the top of India Somersault that's less vague.....
So before we tackle, bind and drag our bolting villain off to our courts, consider the possible outcome. firstly, if you want this man punished, they'd have to find him guilty, those bolts just may be in the spirit of the law. also, as there have been several accident up there, they may just find that as a consequence of security and in the protection of their citizens it should be ruled for all climbs to have fixed anchors ---- ( just to be the devil, take care when acting on emotion, it may come back to bite you.) Lets leave our courts (money and time) to more important issues, Like the violent crime, which sweeps our land !
On a side, \"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened\"- Zen master Futomaki.... is a quote, you really should credit the Zen master with it. Otherwise, i believe that is called plagiarism, there are laws about that too.
Not to worry, I don't think you didn't it spitefully, or for any gain.
I won't be calling for a pose to come and get ya...

peace

Marshall
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Post by Marshall » Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:41 pm

By no means is bolting on TM to be allowed or encouraged, but...

The \"authorities\" can't/are not that intrested in catching muggers on TM. What intrest would they have in a few lousy bolts. What intrest did they have in the grey sewage spill on Jacobs Ladder? Lets keep it real.

Be carefull about throwing the name Bombay Duck about too much, it could be up for change if someone thinks its important to someone else. It could revert to its previous San name XŠe ¿¤ ƒµ¢l« µ¤®Š€Ïƒ ÙÚh, which means \"Love & peace to all mankind\".

8a_climber
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Post by 8a_climber » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:07 pm

so David, who did you ask for permission to place the bolts on Bombay duck then?
It must have been you seeing that you have such strong opinions on why it was ok.
On a side, \"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened\"- Zen master Futomaki.... is a quote, you really should credit the Zen master with it. Otherwise, i believe that is called plagiarism, there are laws about that too.

So, sue me then David.
\"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is.\" - Pat Ament.

jeff
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Post by jeff » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:08 pm

Jeez 8a climber, what do you put in your coffee. Lets all relax a bit. :lol: I thought David's post was quite good, especially considering the fact that the new bolts will reduce foot traffic on the path, and therefore will lead, indirectly, to less of an impact.

I do however agree that there should be no hazy area, bolting is either allowed, or not, and in this case TM is a no-bolt zone.

From a personal point of view, I quite enjoy the short walk to the old ab point, and a recent ab off the new bolts was a mission to get the ropes thru.

Peace out.

Richard
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Post by Richard » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:14 pm

The argument that bolted abseil points reduce the impact on the environment has been bandied about for years. The pro bolters in places like the UK have certainly suggested it in areas like sea cliffs with fragile vegetation along the top. Guess what? More convenient (user friendly) climbing attracts greater traffic, with more chalk, scaring of birds, shitting at the base, cigarette butts in pockets et. etc. Also, loss of the skills of self reliance, once thought to be an integral part of trad climbing, can lead to more accidents. Most uncool, but too frequent, climbing accident ? Abseiling disaster!
I hear all the arguments for these bolts, but come on, we're talking about a tiny walk around! Go climb at Gogarth, or somewhere similar. far heavier traffic than we can imagine. It must be so tempting to place user friendly, ultra safe, bolted abseil anchors. But, some folks realise that that will alter the whole experience.
There's something to be said for actually topping out, standing on the \"summit\", and then descending the other side of the hill. Or is this simply too \"last millenium\"?

David Vallet
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Post by David Vallet » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:38 pm

Richard, your not that old, It is a little \"last millenium\", seems to be the fashion with modern hard men to base jump off the summits these days !!
Not that 'Going Down' the otherside of the hill isn't a joy , travercing a mountain, I find is way more satisfying than decending the same route/ridge you came up.
Abseiling/Rappeling can also be fun, Look at abseil africa, on a clear summers day, people are lining up to go down their lines, and then walk back up.

So were is BD, clearly too low to base jump off (I think?-not a base jumper)...
Not much of a summit... does have a nice rappel though, and that being the point ! \"Abseil Disaster\"....
It was talked about for years, perhaps the individual, should have contacted a ruling authority, and gotten an official permission slip, so that when a discusion like this comes up, they can say, \"well, the commity said it was O.K.\" ....

Jeff, I think a couple of D-shackle links would sort that drag out.

On a side, not that I'm suggesting it for T.M. , but the yosemite, has a nice way of dealing with bolting, you have to do it by hand. much like a piton (only you create the crack). It's pretty grueling work in granite. So if someone bangs on that wall for 3 hours, I recon they deserve to have a bolt there, must have wanted it pretty bad.
Those bolts aren't outside the spirit of Table Mountain, in a couple of years the chains will be a nice rusty colour and fit in beautifully.

mr Chabalala
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Post by mr Chabalala » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:28 am

If it really is that short a walk to the India Waterfall abs, surely the new bolts will cause no increase in traffic on the route.

JC
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Post by JC » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:43 pm

WOW, quite a lot of emotions out there it seems. I would like to clarify one point - is it illegal to bolt on Table Mountain? If one follows the correct procedures, and approaches the relevant bolting 'authorities', who in turn aproach the real authority (TMNP), is it then possible to bolt? At about the same time as the Bombay Duck bolts appeared, three ab points were placed on Lions Head, i wont mention who placed them (Why not just blame Dave? it seems thats allowed!) but i am under the impression that the correct procedure was followed, and as a result these bolts are legit - and helpful (not to mention the fact that the poor trees no longer have to suffer!). In fact i was/am so sure these bolts are legit, i didn't even think of asking!!

On the subject of bolted ab points, if anything needs replacing, it is the old bongs on last laugh. Any takers? anyone can do it, and we can always blame Dave!

Richard
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Post by Richard » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:08 pm

The \"old bongs\", and very attractive chain set at the top of Escalator, was the original Abseil Africa site, and should be ripped out for the eyesore they are... That was before AA placed bolts directly over the last pitch of Magnetic and tried to start there operation there, which was before they placed bolts at the top of Platteklip (top left) and tried to run their operation there ...

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Post by 8a_climber » Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:58 am

The problem is that when you 'bend' the rules, then you cannot complain when someone bolts something that you didnt intend on being bolted. In protest, I will look at placing some bolted stances on some of the classic lines on TM. Look out for a few extra bolts. There are a number of spots that I have thought it would be nice to have a bolt or two, namely on Roulette pitch3, Jacob's ladder (all pitches) and a few others. Hope you guys don't mind this. If someone can get away with just deciding to put TA's on Bombay Duck, without consulting the greater community of climbers who uses this route, then I will be able to place anchors where I see fit as well. The chockstone on BD was perfectly fine to ab off. I have abbed off this chockstone many times before, and so have countless other people. This all smacks of a case of someone deciding to lower the route and its complexities to their own level. I say this: if you didnt like the abseil, then dont do the climb, or walk off. Dont blame erosion though. The path to the India waterfall abs is a clear one that gets used by hikers and climbers alike. I doubt this path would ever see enough foot traffic to cause any major erosion problem.
I stand by what I said earlier: The person who placed these bolts on TM needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law by TMNP who have CLEARLY stipulated that there will be NO bolting on TM without prior arrangement. I know who placed those bolts, and it's maybe time that this person gets reported to the parks, unless of course this bolter owns up and justifies why they thought it was a good thing to place these two useless anchors above one of the classic lines on TM. At least the bolts could have been properly placed so that they are actually useful.
\"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is.\" - Pat Ament.

Sam
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Post by Sam » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:05 pm

Yo,

I vote we keep the anchors atop BD. Why don't we have a vote on this?

Seriously guys, this issue has become a storm in a teacup. The bolter has not set a precedent; no one is rushing off to bolt on TM after this incident. The point has been made loud and clear that protocol needs to be followed before bolting is allowed (if at all).

The bolts placed atop BD are actually very useful (if extended) and I believe most are in favour of keeping them. We don't need to make an example of this incident by chopping the bolts...that really would just be petty.

Please let common sense prevail.

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Justin
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Post by Justin » Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:30 pm

Apologies, meant to place this one above Sam -->

Illegal bolting on Table Mountain
Many of you have probably heard about the new bolted rap station that magically appeared at the top of Bombay Duck on Venster Buttress last month.
Convenient as it may be, this bolt was placed illegally and will jeopardise our relationship with Parks. Because of this the MCSA rock climbing subcom has, after debating the issue at length, decided to chop it.

Some background: Bolting on the Cape Peninsula has been a contentious issue since National Parks took over control of the land in the late Nineties. For those who don’t know, the then MCSA rock climbing sub-committee had to fight hard to prevent every bolted route on the peninsula from being chopped. Yes, chopped!

Today we are privileged to clip bolts at crags throughout the Table Mountain National Park – as far as I know the only park in the country where this is allowed. Climbers who want to open new routes on the Peninsula sport crags can also get permission through an easy application process. However, throughout all of this, and to this day, Table Mountain itself has always remained a bolt-free area.

But: National Parks have given permission in the past for a small number of strategically-positioned rap stations to be bolted on Table Mountain. The ones that many of us use every weekend on top of Africa and Fountain Ledge are a prime example.

Given that people were already abseiling off a (rather dubious) sling point above Bombay Duck, and that this is one of the most popular climbing venues on the mountain, we feel there is a case for bolting a (legal) rap station that could serve all of the routes on Venster Buttress. This will mean less traffic on the walk-off path, which is good for the environment and reduces the chances of rocks being trundled down on climbers below. We will be approaching Parks on this issue and will keep you posted.

The MCSA rock climbing subcommittee

Andy Davies, Guy Holwill, Alison Hughes, Brent Jennings, Mark Johnston, Martin Lompa, Douw Steyn
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