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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:44 pm 
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Real Name: ClimbRat
David , i understand your concern , but i have been using that technique since 2001 and have tried to find the best solution for climbing in that style. In my post i clearly say i use fixed lines.I didnt specify.They were dynamics.When i am on a static line for abseiling and checking out new places , i use a kroll instead of gri-gri to ascend and have used an ASAP before as a back up instead of shunt.I use this style ALOT for lack of partners. All these techniques you will find in RAFA and IRATA training books and courses. My roper mates agree that what im doing is safe and as long as i have 2 points without building up slack in the system(which is easy to avoid) , to my understanding and my roper friends this is alot safer than leading. Think about , if rope access was more dangerous than leading , surely you would need climbing experience before you are able to book a course. But that is not the case , you dont need any climbing experience. I know for a fact more people die climbing on traditional gear than on bolts(this including rope access as well as they use bolts).It takes a short search on the net to see what i am talking about. Just because you are a guide David , and with respect , that does not mean you know everything , i have climbed this style for 10years now and have made ascents up to 7B and never put myself or anyone else in danger.I also cant say what gear Matt uses , if his clients receive tutoring before the climb or not , cause i havent been guided by him. Dont diss anything until you've tried it . I have never bolted any of my anchors , all natural.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:06 pm 
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Hi Climb Rat,

I don’t find a problem with the technique, there are a lot of different ways to rope solo and I’m sure you have your system down. It’s the equipment that worries me. Static Ropes are used in Rope Access were they climb the rope, not the building or rock. If you’re using both hands and feet you can’t make sure that ‘no slack’ will build up in the system. It’s very difficult to climb with all four extremities on a taught rope, especially if you’re traversing or climbing diagonally.
I’m not a Rope Access technician. But, I thought they used ‘absorbers’ if they worked in a places were they had to un-weight the lines.

IRATA instructors sponsor this site.
Maybe we could get the word from them. Would they approve a system were the objective is to climb the rock and not the rope up 140 meter face? That traverses and weaves it’s way upwards and the climber needs to use both hands for several meters at a time?

In my school we need to guide with Full Ropes (Dynamic (1)).
(as apposed to a half rope each, if you're guiding 2)
They don't have as much stretch as a half rope, so if your client comes off with a little bit of slack he won't risk hitting a ledge as much. But, they stretch and absorb which is the point of a climbing rope.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:02 pm 
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Real Name: ClimbRat
Good point get a word from them. A good mate has been working on Chapmans peak since 2006. There you have to climb the mountain with ascension devices(kroll and jumar) if it is on angle , obviously if off angle you jumar. Except for a few minors accidents due to the heavy work and rock fall , there were no serious accidents . To this day they use the same style to get up to the catch fences high above the road . The rock quality on chappies is way worse than TM for climbing and bolting. Yet it seems the way these guys go up a mountain , which has some of the dodgiest scariest scrambling in the Western Cape is the safest way. A la bolt and not gear. Food for thought


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:28 am 
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In order to understand the system and techniques being used. We would need Matt to explain his system.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:49 pm 
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Have to agree with you Justin.

Climb Rat – Dude,

Because you seem like a dude that doesn’t want to mince his words.
… for the benefit of myself and the form.
So that nothing implied is misinterpreted.

Are you tell us?
Your friend the rope access technician working on Chapmans Peak , says that it is appropriate to abseil down a cliff face on a Static Rope, to then free climb a rock climbing route back up using a kroll and shunt on this Static Line for protection. It is safe as long as you have 2 points connected without building up slack. He recommends this and it is sanctioned by IRATA.

Sounds a bit like, “It’s safe to drive on the wrong side of the road as long as you don’t crash into oncoming traffic.”

One man’s 7B is another man’s 5.4


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:25 pm 
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Real Name: ClimbRat
Why dont you refer your question to Mark Campbell at ASC or Ettiennne Tredoux at Ropeworx , I dont know either of them but was told Mark's company were the Rope Access team that did all the major work on Chapmans peak to install the catch fences high up on the mountain . If anything him or his level3 for the job could fill you in a bit better , i will not try to as i lack credentials yet know all their techniques.You're argument that it is not safe and leading is , is weak , statistics dont lie . Again , i said fixed LINES meaning 2 , . One for ascension on for back up . You need more facts to convince me or anyone doing rope access and climbing .


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Mr Rat dude,

(Lies, Damn Lies and Statistic.)
Although, I'm not doubting your statistics.
I believe Professional Rope Access technicians are very safe in their work, and the system Impact forces approved by their Professional bodies are far lower than the UIAA.

That’s why I find it hard to believe a professional rope access worker would recommend employing the system you’ve described for technical rock climbing, with 2 static LINES.

… and that was the question.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:21 am 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
The purpose of the bolts on Arrow placed and removed recently was for a commercial entity to allow novices to climb the route all the way from the bottom using self-belay devices - a Petzl Croll backed up by a Petzl shunt on static ropes. According to the protagonist his would effectively be a more efficient (cheaper?) way of allowing more people access to climbing on TM.

I have dubbed this 'Upseiling"

Is this an appropriate and safe way of introducing novices to climbing at the Ledge? If not, is this an appropriate and safe way of introducing people to climbing in a different context?

The word conservative emanates from the word conserve. My understanding of the bolting policy on TM and elsewhere, is that it's purpose is to "conserve" our natural heritage. A secondary reason is to conserve the adventurous way of climbing in these areas that have existed for more than 100 years.

Arguments for making access easier to the general public by bolting on TM are completely valid in my opinion given that it is a tourist destination that has been blasted and built and that there is a significant amount of engineering all over the mountain including a cable car, built trails, staples, chains, wooden board walks, abseil points - all of which make the mountain easily accessible to all and sundry.

The only kind of access that is missing are bolted sport routes and via ferrata's both of which would undoubtedly improve the attraction of TM to climbers and hikers around the world.

So, as far as TM goes and especially the Ledge, the only objective reason to prevent bolting is to conserve the particular style and ethic of climbing that has prevailed there for so many years.

Is the traditional style of climbing worth preserving?

Is it time to embrace new methods?

Can they co-exist?

Let's try keep the posts informative and as objective as possible.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:29 am 
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Real Name: John Paterson
@ SNORT The only kind of access that is missing are bolted sport routes and via ferrata's both of which would undoubtedly improve the attraction of TM to climbers and hikers around the world.

So, as far as TM goes and especially the Ledge, the only objective reason to prevent bolting is to conserve the particular style and ethic of climbing that has prevailed there for so many years.

Is the traditional style of climbing worth preserving?

Is it time to embrace new methods?

Can they co-exist?


Yes Table Mountain is blasted, bolted and built on. Much of this occurred many, many years ago and as such has become part of the mountain and to some extent the accepted way in which we view the mountain. We may not necessarily like it or agree with it though. In modern times we realise that what has gone before is not necessarily sustainable hence the bolting policy and the SANParks management plan and regulations to conserve the mountain. Again we may not all like these new regulations or agree with them.

In its present state the mountain has a certain character and is a magnificent wilderness area. Not a pristine wilderness, but considering the locality it is pretty damn fantastic and needs to be approached with care. One of the joys of the mountain is its accessibility; from accessible to all via the cable car through varying grades of walks to the most challenging of rock climbs. This is good and part of the character and attraction of the mountain.

There is an abundance of climbable rock that is trad gear friendly. I would imagine there are potential new routes that may require a bolt or two to make them safe. There is an abundance of sport venues all around the Peninsula where routes are bolted and new routes may be bolted. This asks the question do we need to put in the odd bolt on TM just to make another route possible when there are many very good and challenging trad routes already in existence? I do not believe so. I believe that the mountain should remain a trad area without any bolts. Using trad gear while taking or guiding novices and or inexperienced climbers in a trad area is part of the experience and adventure of the outing. Adding bolts for any climbing reason, be it belay anchor or protection, exposes our inadequacies and weaknesses in comparison to earlier generations of climbers who chose not to use bolts. This probably explains why TM, despite being such a popular and accessible climbing venue, is still relatively bolt free from a climbing point of view.

I have not climbed on TM for many years so cannot and will not comment on the bolted abseil anchors for the Africa and Fountain Ledge climbs. I remember walking off in the past and it never took longer than ½ an hour to get back to the Lilly pond.

To get to Snort’s question regarding other opportunities. I would strongly say no to developing more access possibilities that require the modification, in any way, of the rock or mountain and/or the addition of any object to create such access. Keep and maintain what is in place, do not add more. The point is TM is accessible to anyone from wheelchairs and prams to the most hot-shot climber via a wide range of degrees of challenge to suit all tastes.

Generations of good climbers have cut their teeth on TM using trad gear only. Let’s keep it that way to foster future generations of trad climbers.

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed... We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in." (Wallace Stegner)

We have the ability to modify the rock and engineer a route making it accessible to most people. By doing so we belittle ourselves and show just how insignificant we are. Let us accept that there are some places we will never get to go to or take others to. We can look at them and marvel and maybe it will always remain a challenge. Only accept the challenge once you are capable of doing so without modifying or changing the environment to make it possible.

I refer to Table Mountain as the section from Constantia Neck to Kloof Neck.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Thanks John,

Quote:
Let us accept that there are some places we will never get to go to or take others to.


It is the beautiful irony of Table Mountain that it is one of the most accessible Mountains on earth where people in wheel-chairs and prams can go, that overweight and out of condition people and even the elderly can walk up Platteklip and yet there are some of the hardest and most exciting and bold climbs in the world.

What is missing is the in-be-tween "assisted" climbing routes that prevail throughout the world in similar settings.

I certainly am not advocating this, but what would be wrong with sport routes up the side walls of say Platteklip or one or two Via Ferrata's in the same area. Access would be by Cable Car or Platteklip and the additional environmental impact would be minimal compared to what is already there. Boulderers around the peninsula and at Rocklands, De Pakhuys and sport climbers and mountain bikers all over the peninsula and elsewhere cause infinitely more environmental damage than what this would cause. The rock is not suitable for trad climbing as it is wet a lot of the year and crumbly.

What unintended consequences would there potentially be?

How would that change the character of the trad climbing on the rest of TM?

South Africa needs every possible way of attracting tourists for job creation. This would help.

I repeat, I am not promoting this but I cannot conceive of a rational argument against it. I am intuitively against it because once you start this it lends itself to abuse by self serving individuals that will justify bolting at the Ledge and elsewhere for all the reasons mentioned an as has happened.

However, there seems to be no lack of individuals able and willing to prevent people from bolting at the Ledge and other traditional climbing areas.

Your thoughts....And anyone else?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Snort, you are a very complicated dude :shock:
Never a dull moment...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:07 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Hector your comment is not helpful. Give a rational opinion. We are all under fire by young and rebellious climbers who feel we are fundamentalists and conservative and averse to progress and change. This despite the fact that older climbers who cut their teeth on traditional climbing probably control well over 90% of all aspects of climbing from the indoor climbing gyms to to the rock'nroad to guiding etc.

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:06 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
I do not like seeing bolts, chains etc in nature, so I would say that I would prefer Table Mountain to remain as bolt free as possible. However, as Snort has pointed out that the addition of a few shiny bolts is nothing compared to the development that has already taken place on the mountain, and honostly the only time non-climbers ever notice the bolts is when someone is actually climbing on them. Snort always maintains that trad climbing is the only way to go at the ledge because it is an adventure etc, but how adventerous is it when it is actually a short walk in from Town, the walk in is a bit more than you would do for a sport climb actually. I cannot guess what the enviromental impact would be, would it actually significantly go up as every weekend (in good weather) everyone and their dog is on the mountain. The LCD component has not yet been brought in and that is should climbing on Table Mountain be accessable to the least capible as oppossed to the most.

But even after considering the above I feel that we should do no further harm even if the impact is minimal and that any of the developments that Snort has mentioned would adversly affect the mountain and consquently cause harm.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:12 pm 
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Snort, I think you're inventing an issue.

I think most people, sport climbers, boulderers and traddies, agree with and accept the no-bolting policy on TM. What is needed is consistency. That means no new bolts. By anyone. For any reason. No "modified" gear placements. Basically nothing that alters the rock. The minute there's inconsistency then the whole argument collapses and bickering ensues.

I'd also seriously consider chopping the rap anchors (bear in mind I've barely climbed on TM so I don't have an informed opinion). If I understand Hilton's explanation correctly, they were originally placed because the cable station construction prevented climbers from walking around. That is no longer a factor, so why keep the rap stations? Climbers would then have to be disciplined not to leave tat all over the place.

Let's leave it up to non-climbers to come up with silly ideas like via-ferrata. It's not up to us to make the hill accessible to the masses. If the powers-that-be do seriously propose it, then the MCSA and other climber-bodies can weigh-in on a specific issue. But general "what-if's" achieve nothing.

As for whether it's acceptable to guide novices on a fixed line or using any other system, I'm really not interested.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Well said Hector. Snort shut it! Any more drivel and I'll revoke the new best friend thing!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:32 pm 
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Real Name: Rag Muffin
Umm to stay on topic here regarding using a croll and shunt.
I am in the industrial rope access industry and am a level 3.
My feeling regarding the above mentioned style for climbing:
The shunt I would say is acceptable to be used in that matter all be it limiting (you cannot descend on it)
However the croll should not be used in this fashion. The croll is never to be used in any situation that could lead to it being dynamically loaded (it will damage to rope) In essence the style above is fall arresting and the croll is not designed for this at all.
Further more from a climber’s perspective I feel that this style detracts from the climbing experience. But hey that’s my two cents. You guys can get back to arguing about bolts on TM now.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Sticking to the topic : just curious as to whether the shunt is now reccomended for solo toproping. When I bought mine in the early 90's Petzl called it a backup for decending and stated THAT THE SHUNT SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR TOPROPE SOLOING. Of course that's the only reason that we bought the thing. I had trouble finding partners and used it a lot for toproping even with the horror stories of the lever breaking etc. Eventually I found a free Soloist that allowed leading as well as toproping. Interestingly enough, the articles on solo toproping listed the Croll as good (despite the shark like teeth!) while the Shunt was not to be used for toproping or any kind of shock loading. As mentioned, before the rope access industry took off here, (almost) the only reason anyone bought the shunt was for toproping. Wouldn't like to have to defend it in a liability case though.
Not sure the term "upseiling " will catch on. Us novices have been calling toproping, seconding etc "climbing " for at least the last 20 years.
In my first year, I was a really expert "climber" and was proud of discovering that I could use a prussic loop for solo work. Fainted when I found the result of shock loading, went and bought a shunt.
Anyway, genuinely interested to hear if Petzl now recommends it for toproping.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:46 pm 
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Edge -

Just before we begin recommending this style of climbing to the community.

It is my understanding that the ‘Shunt’, Once it reaches it’s maximum loads doesn’t just slip, It ‘FreeRides’.

Scenario number one.
Feeling very stoked with an ascent on the mega-classic Bombay Duck (If you haven’t climbed it, it really is worth it), Scenario man confidently makes his way through the final moves having left the difficulty’s far below. A final throw to that flat top ledge, were his 60m Static Rope is fixed to two bolts.
He grip a hand full of dussie Poo, and the Puffi flirting with the back end of his Static line figure eight tells him to piss- off.
No-problems, he push off from the face with a warm fuzzy feeling radiating from that ‘Shunt’ attached to a 60 cm Nylon sling, after all the rope access industry level 3 gave an expert opinion on the climb.za forum that this was Safe.

He’s just fallen 1.2 meters onto 4 meters of Static Rope.
What happens to Scenario Man?
Is my concern.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:05 pm 
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Real Name: Rag Muffin
Hi David
Ok First up I DO NOT RECOMMEND USING THIS STYLE TO ANYONE. The shunt (which actually does not even appear in the Petzl 2011 industrial catalog) is a back up device designed for industrial rope access use. Personally I recommend sticking to the tried and tested methods of climbing. Anyone who wants to go out there and use these pieces of gear should be trained in the use of them and then make those decisions for them selves.
Perhaps my previous post was a bit ambiguous, but my intention was to warn people of the dangers of using a croll.
Scenario man shouldn’t be using a static rope, I doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that if you gonna be in a situation whereby you face potentially taking a dynamic fall you should be using a dynamic rope.

My recommendation is to go climbing with a partner get a belay use the appropriate gear and avoid being out there on your own.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Edge-
Thank you for making that clear.

On the other issue.
Table Mountain is quite a large place, How would you feel if a via ferrata was erected in an area, were there are No established routes?
Would that be appropriate or should these areas be left to future generations of Traditional explorers ?

A via ferratta would be a marketable tool, to bring tourists to our fairest Cape,
And quite an adventure for those whom would normally not venture in the mountains.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:48 am 
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Location: cape town
Do you seriously think a via ferretta would be such a good marketing tool and bring the tourists in their droves? Thereby creating thousands of jobs?

I have a good idea, did you know south Africa is the murder capital of the world? And within south Africa cape town has the highest homicide rate? Not 100% sure on that stat but it's what I found on the Internet. So I reckon if you came up with a great way to prevent crime and rooted out corruption in government that would be a fantastic way to attract more tourist's. Come and visit beautiful crime free cape town! It's a win win situation really!

Although I do suppose that's a pipe dream and it will be far easier just to bolt a ladder somewhere....


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:37 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Hey David where on the large piece of Rock do you propose this iron ladder.

I do not know much about the via ferretta but have read in a old petzl catalog that you need very specialised harness to be attached to this safely, consequently this is just going to place a large number of general persons in a dangerous place with the illusion of safety and into areas that they lack the necessary skill sets. It also looks like crap.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:54 pm 
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Hi Wayne,

The story of the Via Ferrata is quite an interesting one. The first ones were built by the Italian army as a way of getting provisions to troops posted on top of the Cliffs, and I am told they are pretty scary.

Today they come in all different grades and shapes.
There is a special harness or harness attachment they suggest you use, that has absorbing extensions, so that you don’t die. The one’s I’ve guided you wouldn’t really want to fall even with that harness system. But, they were all equipped with ‘pig-tails’, so you could run a rope and ‘Guide’ in short-pitch mode.
Basically, running belays, etc… (Safer for leader, safer for seconds, safer for everyone)

What I was thinking was out on the eastern-side of the North face of Table Mountain. Nothing very difficult or dangerous (We don’t want any of our tourists to get hurt). Something they could do on their own, after renting a Harness from the CableStation. Nothing more difficult than the India Fenster scramble, that could be accessed from the top paths, and will allow a Fat Tourist to make a few steps with a 100m+ shear drop below his feet and an epic view of the city between his legs.
A kin to a scary walkway.

Dark Horse,
It would make for an awesome photo, and adventure opportunity for candy bar addicts.
The more we can show case, the beauty and splendour of the Good Things we have, the more tourists we can snatch, the more money we will have the more corrupt officials we can suspend on full pay.

if it was pretty non-event and intuitive as to the safety aspect, it would be easy to train the ferrata or 'scary walk way' guides. Creating jobs.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 3:56 pm 
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Real Name: Derek Marshall
What harm could a Via Ferrata or a few bolted lines, as Snort suggested, cause? It would not look worse than the cable way or the sprawling city below. Every effort should be made to create employment & opertunity.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:06 pm 
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He may have been a little sarcastic with that remark.
But, you never know!

The Ledge, is the Ledge, though….
Something special, we should keep it that way.


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