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 Post subject: Belays on Angus Leppan
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2006 2:16 pm
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Hey all,

Recently repeated Angus Leppan route on Sentinel, and was quite amazed to find two of the belays retro-bolted! Have done this route 5 times now, and had never thought that those belays warranted being bolted.

Does anyone know the reason for this? Those belays where pretty damn good, by berg standards anyway!

Not looking for ethical debate, or to open up a can of worms here, just merely wondering if anyone knows the reason for this???

Only thing that came to my mind is for guiding on the route?

Cool, thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:35 am 
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They've been there for many years now, but I agree, I don't know why someone thought it was necessary.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:05 pm 
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Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal
Awe,

Dunno Who did it. But i think it be best that the bolts are there. Considering the amount of people who attempt the route and actually Underestimate the route. especially in the berg where weather can change dramatically. I would feel far more at ease knowing there are two Solid anchors to make a retreat. It is an easy berg route but still many inexperienced climbers attempt it without the knowledge of how chossy the berg rock is.

I do not think it was for guiding purposes. More for a safety factor. It is the most accessible peak in the berg and I can only assume it receives the most summits. Be it via the Standard Route or Angus Leppan. That peak sees many people on its summit during a year.

Lets be happy someone has taken the time and effort to make it safer for all

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:38 pm 
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Real Name: Vaughn Cleminson
We used rap bolts on pyramid and monks cowl.
Still don't know who put them there but I can tell you when it's getting dark and the clouds are gathering I was mighty pleased to find them.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:08 pm 
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Real Name: Robyn P
I've also climbed it, and didn't see the need for them (actually missed the first one). I know Gavin Raubenheimer does a lot of guiding on Sentinel...maybe he can help? He seems to be the "go to guy" for the Berg :afro: !
Here's my question....who decides if a classic climb can be bolted? *q abuse* :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Thanks for the replies guys!

Points taken, not saying I disagree with the bolts, but it does leave a certain unease in my stomach. As Vaughn mentioned, there are rap chains on Cowl and Pyramid. I have used them myself! Seems bit funny that bolts are cropping up on classic climbs ( on the Bell as well).

Which is maybe what rparry is alluding to?

It does seem to beg the question on who decides to bolt rap chains or otherwise, on these classic berg climbs. They have mostly been there for fifty odd years, with numerous ascents- and epics! Are we taking the responsibility for other climbers welfare by trying to " cotton wool" these classic climbs?

Make no mistake, I have used the bolts, but I would not have taken that much longer to get down -even in inclement weather or night time I have suffered through it, just to have a pretty good story to tell the next day. Anyhoo, heres another one, as it cropped up whilst writing this- who put the chains down "the gully"? Its a walking route for heavens sake! There must be at least 5 down there.

Dammit now Im just getting myself worked up...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:18 am 
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I was told the Angus bolts were placed by a guide, but haven't confirmed it. Would be interested to know the bolter's opinion on the via feratta.
I was also told the gulley bolts were placed for an adventure race. Apparently if you run down that gulley it's nice to have a guide rope. Dunno who placed the other bolts.

Bolting is illegal in the 'berg - the via ferrata is an extreme example.

My opinion: no need to bolt existing routes, regardless of the number of ascents. A pre-requisite for 'berg climbing is being comfy with dodgy belays and puckering raps. I also think placing bolts to make guiding easier is very poor form. It's a pure financial incentive.

If it weren't illegal I see a place for semi bolted new routes like Not So Auto. Ahhh, the ironies and contradictions of ethical climbing debates.

At the end of the day I agree with Marshal: if you feel strongly enough about bolts, then chop them.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:20 am 
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Real Name: Chris Joubert
The MCSA has a policy for the use of fixed protection throughout the high Drakensberg, you can read it here: http://kzn.mcsa.org.za/about-us/policie ... ITAGE-SITE

According to this policy bolting is not illegal in the berg, as long as the conditions are met, I think the bolts on Angus-Leppan holds to the conditions of this policy. However I would rather go without those bolts, if they were to set a precedent that bolting in the berg is OK.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Well im sure glad those bolted anchores were there when we did AL 3+ years ago...

from those last set of anchors, Its a rather long traverse with min pro... :shock:


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:23 pm 
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Think Im with you on this one Hector. I can definitely see the pros of bolting on new routes in the the berg, as grades get harder (slowly) there.
But I just dont see the sense in bolting established climbs, especially classics. Its not a case of being elitist, its just that I have shed skin, sweat and k*k many a time to do a berg climb, and if it is true that classics are being bolted for guiding, then I wasted all that effort. Point being that if you want it hard enough, you will make a mission for it. If you want to climb a classic, or any other berg route, then you have to be ready for it and accept the consequences, come what may.

If this was Scotland, whoever placed those bolts on established routes would have been castrated! They have a profound sense of respect for history and tradition of routes. And they cant be that wrong, look at the mountaineers they have produced!

Eish, I know its a tough one, but where do we stop with this. Surely we should leave our historical ( in the climbing sense) routes alone, as a testament to the hardcore old baalies who opened and climbed them, and have the b*lls and guts to stay true to the opening ascent, and if not, then back off and come back when you are ready?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:00 am 
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Real Name: Jonathan
You wonder how the people who opened Sani Pass felt when they first started talking about the road up it. Its a bit like this cable car thing - we all know Icidi and Ifidi are some of the hardest passes in the Berg, but there could be an eyesore of a cable car and an easy route to the top in that area in the future. So from the perspective of those who enjoy difficult hiking the cable car is a horrible idea.

From the point of view of the masses, they would now have an opportunity to go where they could never have gone otherwise.

Admittedly there are tons of Berg routes I have on my "not a chance" list (such as the Injiuthi Triplets) which I may have reconsidered if it was a safer route. But is it right that less serious climbers such as myself should be able to achieve the "same feats" that the really serious climbers have been prepared to risk their life on bad odds on poorly protected crumbly rock on?

You can argue it both ways, but I worked hard to do some of the hardest passes I have done (as a serious hiker). If someone put in a system that made these routes easier/less complex I would be annoyed that it would devalue the achievements I made when it was more difficult.

Its a bit like matric results - I wrote matric 2 years before the higher grade and standard grade systems were removed. I talk to people who have written matric since (with the lower pass rates and easier subjects - not to mention the complimentary A everyone gets for LO now). They talk about how good their results are and by comparison they must be much more clever than the people in my matric class. We all know that one of the reasons trad climbing is so tough is psychological. If we make it safer and thus psychologically easier, I would say it devalues the achievements of people who have done it in the past.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 10:37 am
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Real Name: Josh Pickering
jackson wrote:
Not looking for ethical debate, or to open up a can of worms here
:lol: You obviously don't know the guys on this forum!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Ye too right Josh, although I might have to swallow my own statement here! I just cant seem to get the answers I was looking for, and I would really like to find out.

So thanks to ccjoubert, I took a look at the bolting policy. Found it a little bit contradictory (although maybe I misunderstood it). Ie:
•It is permissible to place bolts in order to reduce the number of unsafe and / or unsightly abseil points.

•There are cases when the placing of bolts is necessary to make a route safer or to supplement removable protection when it is necessary
Which is all good, but does this just apply to new routes? Which I do think is acceptable to a certain degree. But then:

•The Drakensberg is considered a traditional climbing area and this tradition will be firmly protected by the MCSA

•The retro-bolting of traditional routes will not be tolerated (and there is no recorded case of this having occurred).


So if bolting routes should go through the MCSA KZN Section, is there anyone from the section who would be prepared to talk about the reto-bolting of belays/rap points of established berg climbs?

Or would any berg guides be prepared to part with some info? You guys run all over the hills, and most of these bolts occur on classic guiding peaks, so someone must know something?! If it is not illegal, then surely someone should be happy to fess up, and state a valid case for the bolting?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:58 am 
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Real Name: Josh Pickering
As I understand it, it is Ezemvelo's policy that was written with help from the MCSA. I might be wrong...

It is really difficult to draw a line with this, with so many opinions and grey areas. Obviously we want to protect the beauty and unspoilt (kind of) nature of the berg, and the existing opened routes, and so I think it's great that a stand was taken with the via-ferrata. It was ugly and permission was not sought, so it is right that action was taken.

The bolting of belays on a few routes is done for safety of descending or bailing from routes, and not to make guiding easier. I've been very grateful for some of these bolts when descending some routes in the berg, especially when looking at the alternatives! I can't see this is retro-bolting, and don't think it detracts from the routes at all. It has been done on the commonly (for the berg) climbed routes, not the "classic guide routes", and is to hopefully stop people killing themselves and creating an expensive mess to clean up.

I think it is very important that the bolting policy is upheld, and hopefully permission for these anchors was obtained. Even though there will always be grey areas with this, there needs to be some protection of the routes in the berg. I think if anchors like this are a major issue to enough people (there will always be a few people that will complain no matter what anyone does...) then perhaps they should be chopped, but this should only be done if a proper policy can then be implemented to show what can and can't be done. It's pointless for some anti-bolting fanatic to just go around chopping bolts, rather sit down with people in the know and discuss the problem.
I'm pretty sure that permission is through Ezemvelo and not MCSA, but if you do want to discuss the policy, it would be best to contact someone in the MCSA, I'm sure they will steer you in the right direction.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:13 pm
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Policies are wonderful things. It is important to have them in place to enable anyone to justify anything at any time and quote relevant sentences to justify their actions.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:37 pm
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Real Name: Jonathan
Hector wrote:
I was also told the gulley bolts were placed for an adventure race. Apparently if you run down that gulley it's nice to have a guide rope. Dunno who placed the other bolts.


I came down Beacon Buttress gully yesterday - those metal poles in the ground with loops on them are a real eyesore. Not sure how people could run down that gully. It was really wet when we did it, so that didn't help. But on the narrow bits there where frequently bits where you had to basically climb down the wet rock (well, for 1 vertical meter).

Some pics of the different types of objects placed in the gully that we noticed:
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B3.jpg [ 185.03 KiB | Viewed 646 times ]

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