New route at the Palace, Montagu

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SNORT
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New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

The Palace has a collection of pretty good routes and Icarus (23) is certainly one of the better routes there. It is long and varied and has a trad feel to it. So right next to it, I fashioned a new line on trad gear that is longer (around 45m). It is varied, engaging and committing (a little scary) here and there. With no chalk to mark the good holds and no bolts to force the line and to negate the scaryness, it is grade around 20/21.

So the conundrum is whether to bolt it = time and money and loss of engagement and commitment.

However if bolted it would be done a lot I think as a warm up and allow for less strong climbers to also enjoy the Palace while belaying their stronger partners.

It is probably only grade 19 if bolted and marked with chalk.

And then the name. I am told there is a theme there and there are lots of novels with the word "Time" in it. But perhaps I should go back to an old theme and call the route "The Way of the Dog".

So what say ye all?


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justin
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by justin »

That's Montagu with no e on the end :)

Having recently been at the Palace and not feeling very strong, I did gaze over at Icarus for something easier to move around on.

I reckon your new route would be an asset to the crag. One thing... I have faint memories of Ross Suter having a line around that part of the crag (it didn't go that high though).

My vote is for it to be bolted with anchors half way down for 60m ropes. Montagu is primarily sport, very few people will take trad gear up there.
Nice find Snort :thumleft:
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montague

Post by XMod »

I'm unclear as to how bolts will magically change the grade of the route? Climbing is climbing whatever the gear. It's always been the case you will find trad harder than the same grade of sport as you have to hang around placing those fiddly things - but the rock and moves aren't going to change. Surely we grade the moves and not the gear placing? SA grades are technical grades based on the hardest move/s and are not accumulative nor take into account how sustained a route is or isn't. (Bit of a silly system IMO but there it is).

Back to the topic - bolt that thing!! It will definitely be smothered in chalk in no time. Trad lines at Montagu are a complete anomaly. Just do a good job. How many routes have you bolted Charles? If only a few please get someone with a large chunk of experience to advise - funky bolting is a royal pain in the ass and it's everywhere when it should be nowhere.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

You X Mod for someone out of the game for so long you sure sound like the expert...
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by Marshall1 »

Hi Snort, I wouldn't bother. Bolting something you already climbed seems like a bit of a waste of time. Let someone else waste his/her time.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

Out of the game? I have spent the better part of the past two months rebolting poorly bolted routes - I'm getting a little gatvol of fixing other peoples' stuff ups!
So again how many routes have you bolted? How long have been bolting?
How typical of you to immediately take offense and try to insult me instead of simply saying - "yeah I'll make sure it's done well".
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by micky »

If its in a sport crag and you want or think people will enjoy climbing it, bolt it. Not many trad climbers would venture out there for a single line I don't think. If you're not psyched on the commitment of bolting, i'm sure some other keen bean would be happy to bolt it if you allow. Maybe while on the topic, how about bolting that small crag above mystery crag? :)
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

X Mod you took the bait. :hapban :lol:
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by justin »

Can't wait to climb it!
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

On a more serious note though.

I have placed bolts on 6 multipitch routes, 4 at Blouberg (now going on some 20+ years ago) and 2 at Yellowwood and 3 abseil descents, 1 at Blouberg and 2 at Yellowwood where the bolting is super critical.

Failure of most of these bolts can be deathly. And as the bolts at Blouberg age it worries me. Who is ever going to replace them. That's why I am not keen on bolting there.

There are also 3 other bolted abseil routes at Blouberg going on 35 years or so now. I would be seriously concerned using those points now and I am sure people do frequently.

I also bolted 2 sport routes. And the bolting is tried and tested on those routes.

Got a pretty good idea how to place and insert expansion bolts by now although never put in glue in's to date.

Just recently beefed up Down Time bolts at Yellowwood improving the placements at the top and the halfway ledge and adding additional points to all the stances. As well as adding the red singing rock blocks backed up by chains to improve the rope retrieval.

I reckon I got as good an idea how to place bolts as most anybody and I can assure you that it is not difficult to place or clip the draws on any of the bolts I have placed. And the reason I have mostly put in bolts is because there just isn't safe enough trad placements.

I can't say the same for far too many sport routes that I have done where I often have had to clip (dangerously) high or clip having past the bolt.

So I always prefer someone a bit taller than me putting on the draws. So that sucks as far as I am concerned.

Also the vast majority of sport routes have no redundency up until the third and even fourth bolt where you are reliant on just one bolt preventing a deck fall with a hard fall factor. And this is especially so on easier routes that get more traffic with less experienced climbers.

Bolts rarely fail but nevertheless it is still poor bolting if you only have one fixed piece between you and the deck and you are say 8m up.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

I'm unclear as to how bolts will magically change the grade of the route? Climbing is climbing whatever the gear. It's always been the case you will find trad harder than the same grade of sport as you have to hang around placing those fiddly things - but the rock and moves aren't going to change. Surely we grade the moves and not the gear placing? SA grades are technical grades based on the hardest move/s and are not accumulative nor take into account how sustained a route is or isn't. (Bit of a silly system IMO but there it is).
There are hundreds of routes that have cumulative grades. As mentioned before Icarus is one of them. Really not one move harder than 19. The other thing is that the rock on Icarus and this new route is very textured and angled and the moves difficult to figure out and also committing. So when both Bruce and I climbed it you had to try several options at doing individual moves. Once bolted and the key holds are chalked as they are on Icarus it will be a lot easier, technically.

Finally, trad climbing all too often requires a whole different sequence to place the gear than doing the actual moves. And the gear can be away from the line and add drag. Clipping and going off a bolt can drop the grade by several grades when you can see the hold that works all chalked up.

Another example is at Yellowwood. The 4th pitch on Time Bomb is no harder than 22 and that is what I graded it. Been upgraded to 24 because of the cumulative difficulty and pump that has spat off several climbers stronger than me. Now 24. And the gear is not difficult to place on it.... The first pitch of that route also upgraded from 22 to 23 and this after placement of a bolt to avoid a dangerous run-out.

Africa Arette 25 before all the holds broke off had no move harder than 23 on it. Now it has a short section that is very difficult.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

SNORT wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:15 am X Mod you took the bait. :hapban :lol:
Of course - you (again typically) want to loudly announce your entrance into the sport climbing development world with a big song and dance (why not just get on with it quietly?)
Has the high and mighty Snot fallen to depths of metal addiction (like the rest of us)? Oh the fall from grace! The pith and irony of it all are too delicious! You're at the low altitudes now buddy - expect flak!
But of course I forget - you have tons of bolting experience from all the bolting you did at Yellowwood - you know the cliff you spent months and many pages of this forum trying to ban everyone from ever bolting at (like you owned the land or something) extolling the virtues of clean trad climbing (with the odd manufactured placement of course!).
Maybe Derek is right - maybe you should just stick to trad climbing?

Two heads are always better than one. I've seen even the most experienced and prolific of bolters make mistakes, even recently after 30 years of bolting. If they had just spent a bit more time planning and consulted with another climber or two, those mistakes would not have happened. What makes you think you are immune to the pitfalls of doing what is in truth an extremely difficult thing to do right?

Good luck with your project - don't forget to announce it's completion loudly to the world - oh wait - you got that, right?

PS: As for the rest of your essays after the quoted comment - I gave up reading those ages ago.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by justin »

Take it easy on poor Snort Xmod!! He's probably still in shock from having been forced into retirement :pirat:
SNORT wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:36 am Got a pretty good idea how to place and insert expansion bolts by now although never put in glue in's to date.
I reckon I got as good an idea how to place bolts as most anybody...
Just remember to hold that drill steady :thumright

Snort, I look forward to catching up with you next Saturday 8)
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

Aaah Justin, I know what you referring to.... But you vice grip fingers managed to extract that wayward one. Going to YW tomorrow.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

Greg I am not so arrogant that I claim to know everything and I also make mistakes from time to time. But you asking me how many routes I have bolted with the obvious innuendo when I have been climbing continuously for 42 years deserves a Snort Klap. So man up and take it with a smile. You are just being too sensitive and serious.


It stands to reason that I at least know by now what I don't know. And would obviously make sure it is bolted correctly or not at all. That is the point of this thread in the first place.


Also don't fix other people's routes if you are getting gatvol. Stick to trad....There are maybe a handful of my routes that have some bolts that require maintenence in the future so don't trouble yourself.


As for Yellowwood. I do not own the place but I do consider myself as much as anyone could or should to be the steward of the climbing ethic there as I do at Blouberg. It is an excellent ethic that was reached by consensus by many climbers about 10 years ago and here is the list of the signatories. I did not write up the ethic, Hilton did. http://www.climbing.co.za/wiki/Yellowwood_Amphitheatre

Willem le Roux, Karl Hayden, Stephen Davis, Andy Davies, Andy Wood, Bruce Daniel, Keith James, Douw Steyn, Ross Suter, Rik de Decker, Dirk Versfeld, Paul Fatti, Carl Kritzinger, Rob Zipplies, Scarre Cilliers, Mark Berry, Anthony Hall, Mike Scott, Kevin Smith, Stewart Middlemiss, Nic Good, Charles Edelstein, David Vallet, Andy de Klerk, Richard Behne, Tienie Versfeld, Alan Ross, Chris Lomax, John Alexander, Evan Wiercx, Ed February, Andre Vercueil, Bryant Roux, Stuart Brown, Dave Shewell, Johnathan Gordon, Stewart Noy, Paul Schlotfeldt, Clinton Martinengo, Bobby Woods, David Mercer, Neels Havenga, Justin Lawson, Brian Weaver, Johann Lanz, Guy Paterson-Jones

The ethic and climbing is no less attractive than at Milner which is bolted and where the sense of ownership and exclusivity by certain individuals far out weighs mine at YW. Anyone can climb at YW and there is no restrictions at all to anyone going there and you do not require a permit. I am surprised that someone has not yet physically assaulted another person in the ongoing Milner battle field.

If YW is bolted things will probably change. And the interpersonal wars will probably start again as individuals start putting up unfinished projects.

The trad routes that exist there now are in my view absolutely world class and there are a lot of them, and for that matter probably enough of them. It will take anyone a couple of years to repeat them all climbing there once a week.

Putting up more really hard routes (and Newborn is really hard) is arguably elitist whereby only a handful of climbers in the world can climb them. So what then, do I bolt Fun Time?

So it is unlikely that anyone will fashion better new moderate routes with bolts and for that matter there are few remaining options for quality full length routes bolted or not. There are indeed several parts of the main amphitheatre between Newborn and Fantastic Time that lends itself to 1-4 pitch bolted routes from the halfway ledge. So by all means go ahead and bolt routes there. Andy Court mooted it with me and I have no objection. My (trad) job is done there. But that is hard hot work. I know as the few bolts that I placed on both Time Bomb and the Time Line were extremely difficult to place owing to the overhanging nature of the rock but also the sideways tilt of the whole amphitheatre.

It's all fun with or without bolts. And thanks for maintaining the routes. Would appreciate that you generally place the bolts lower so I can reach them and safely clip the draws to the hangers before doing the moves and add some back-up bolts near the ground. :)
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

Had to have a stab. I'm still in shock over the bolting of Yellowwood!

It's not the physical act of placing a decent bolt nor making a route safe I'm referring to but the finer points of how the exact place chosen for the bolts affects climbing - IE whether they actually protect the hard moves properly and over and above that how they contribute to the workability (and hence ease of redpointing and enjoyment) of the route. These nuances are sadly lacking in the vast majority of routes I've climbed. They are also not things that obvious at all and are extremely easy to miscalculate. More input is always helpful whether you follow the advice or not, seek it out. Some of the best tips I ever got on bolting came from a top climber who had never bolted anything in his life - yet he knew what makes or breaks a route.

My original post was not meant to put Charles down but to encourage him to get others involved so that the end product is of as high a caliber as possible. It is also aimed at ALL bolters - not just Charles. We all mess up with bolting from time to time - I have made dozens of errors that in retrospect are obvious but which I missed at the time. 99% of the time the mistakes happen because the job is rushed and done in isolation without input from others. If you find yourself trying to get the bolts in quickly because the sun is about to set and the weekend is almost over - STOP! The rock isn't going anywhere, come back later with a fresh mind and bring a chommy along to critique your work. The problem with bolting errors is that they are literally written in stone. As they say hindsight is 50/50 (50% obvious and 50% f-k up because it would have been better to do it right the first time!)

So..... Charles: Just ignore my rant (well maybe not entirely) and have fun creating some cool routes for us to climb - please do it in conjunction with others - it's more fun that way (bolting is a shitty god-forsaken task) and the end result will most likely be better. I know you have a thick skin and I'm sure my admonishment will be like water off a duck's back.

[I think I'm going to just ditch the idea of posting on here entirely - it always brings out the worst in people (myself included). The internet is a curse.]
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

Aaah well that seems a turn around to me from the original spat over bolting there. It was always that bit of crag that attracted attention from sport climbers - I mean it's obvious right? The steep stuff with no obvious means of protection.

Sport climbing is at it's essence to push the limits of the possible and to raise your own personal abilities as high as you can. To object to top-end routes is therefore a little silly.

Pity this revelation as to the acceptability of bolting a section of that cliff comes so late - I'm old and tired and the likelihood of me summoning the energy to get fit enough to climb that particular stretch of stone - let alone the heinous task of dragging all the gear to the top - is pretty thin at this stage. Well whatever, maybe future generations shall venture there. BTW I was more interested in what I was seeing on the Chesspieces than anything at YW itself (which goes to show just how ridiculous the entire argument was in the first place).

As for the rebolting work - it's annoying to have to do it, but hey it's climbing so I guess I'm having fun (lugging the drill up and down kinds sux though). The stuff we are doing is vitally necessary, replacing old UPat bolts and eliminating old traddy style minimally bolted nonsense ( the routes have not been climbed in 20 years due to the ridiculous run-outs - it's a waste of prime stone). Hopefully ppl will now be able to enjoy the cliff properly.

Glue in's aren't hard to place but take three times as long to do. If the stone is hard there is no point in using them really - a good Hilti or Fisher SS bolt will outlast both of our remaining lives easily - good enough I think? Mechanicals are also a zillion times easier to remove and leave a tiny scar when cut off and the hole sealed over. So if one gets placed in the wrong spot it is easy to fix that (although something of a pain to have to do). The same cannot be said of glue in's!!! Don't mess up the placement - you WILL regret it. Some of the routes I've been working on have glue-ins and there is often nothing we can do to fix a stupidly placed bolt (part of the source of my annoyment) as it would require grinding it out of the rock with an angle grinder and create a massive scar. That said glue-in top anchors are freakin awesome!!!! Very confidence inspiring!

Peace bro - enjoy the new route.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

When I put in a bolt at YW it is really really hard work and ever so carefully considered. It means first doing or at least attempting it ground up. There are 5 bolts on Time Bomb to the halfway ledge. All 3 were placed after climbing the pitches on trad ground up. 2 of the bolts are on a 21 pitch that has no other gear in like 15m and another preventing a kinda death fall onto a sharp flake. The other 2 are belays bolts as the rock is so dodge with imperfectly safe belays.

On the second half the bolts were even more considered and extremely onerous to place. Ask Mike McKechnie. It required more than 10 directionals coming from the top and I initially placed only 3 on the 27 pitch. Then with like a really long cheat stick with Willem it required drilling a shallow hole for a removal bolt to clip the second one and ultimately there is one that is redudent in that it is too difficult to clip. So it has 5 bolts now. It is inevitable that the bolt placements for the most part on the 27 pitch could be slightly better positioned.

Trust me this is really difficult work requiring one walk up there and come top down lugging all the stuff on several occassions. There are few people and willing and able to do this kind of work and although I might not be a trong climber any more I do most of the hard work fashioning these routes.

BTW the bolts on Armageddon time driect were replaced by me and the one was very poorly positioned but much improved now. I also placed one about 3 weeks ago on the second pitch of ADT which goes up left to join the arete. No pro there. Probably also 26 despite it being rated 24. 20 years ago Dave Birkett and I tried that second pitch and failed. And more recently WIllem and I tried it too. Hence the bolt.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

Ok thanks for transparency - I was under the impression that sport routes were being put up there.
Yeah let's not talk about the gear lugging torture - I can remember packing to head up to a certain nameless cliff. One of us had brought an 80kg max spring fish scale with to weigh the packs. He hoisted his pack onto it and the scale exploded into a million pieces! :shock: :shock: - Funniest shit ever! I can still feel the pressure in the soles of my feet - bit like trying to walk in double gravity.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by SNORT »

To object to top-end routes is therefore a little silly.
I don't object, but in the context of YW top end routes will be bolted and force lines that are not natural and that will criss cross the more moderate routes that really do not need bolts. That to me sucks. Interestingly Newborn does not cross a trad line except at the Halfway ledge where it crosses blood is sweeter than honey. And that is pretty cool!

So that is why I reckon its best to leave YW alone and do top end routes elsewhere. There is unlimited rock and potential for that.

Why use bolts to force lines when there is around 10 000m (10km) of vertical climbing to be done that is interesting, engaging, mostly safe and memorable. Even if you are a grade 30+ rock jock you will find yourself really challenged doing any of the trickier routes there - I can assure you.

On the flip side adding a bolt here and there to improve safety (in fact to reduce real danger) without forcing the line away from the natural features is acceptable I think.

But of course once the bolting starts it tends to never stop.

Andy Court and I did the Spanish route Great white shark and that is exactly what they did on one of the pitches. In fact I first climbed it with Greg Thompson and stuck to the line without even noticing the bolts on the one pitch few metres to the left. Weird and a waste of bolts and time in my view.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by NatureBoi »

SNORT wrote: Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:36 am Failure of most of these bolts can be deathly. And as the bolts at Blouberg age it worries me. Who is ever going to replace them. That's why I am not keen on bolting there.
Do they not have ARF up there?
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by XMod »

CT I think the Vaalies still use cheap ass UPat bolts and such - it's gonna come back to bite them in the ass. NEVER use anything other than the recommended HILTI or FISHER SS bolts ppl. I dont care how far from the sea you are - it just means the corrosion happens a bit slower but it still happens. Ive seen those bolts snap with no sign of corrosion whatsoever - they just cracked up inside. I sincerely hope the Durbanites have taken note of the problems we have been having here - the Natal coast has onshore winds nearly everyday in summer - that air could easily push inland as far as Umgeni or even PMB. If we can see shlork forming in Du Toits kloof over 100km from the east coast then my claim here is perfectly reasonable.

I don't think you have to worry about YW Snort. There are way better objectives with MUCH better and steeper rock elsewhere. It was only the right hand headwall (not far right) just left of AT that looked like good sport potential. It only has one route crossing it low down. The integrity of that Route could easily be maintained. BUT it's a bit pointless having routes only going from the half height ledge up. As I say I've seen other stuff that is far superior with fully continuous climbing (no ledges) for 200-250m and more.
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Re: New route at the Palace, Montagu

Post by stingrei »

Snort thank you

It is a sport crag, and trad would see very little traffic. Sure would be nice to have a slightly wider spread of grades.

S
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