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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:55 am 
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Hey Gri contact me at windrunner@mweb.co.za regarding your new long sport route.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:31 am
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Location: Montagu
Real Name: Justin Lawson
Hi Everyone,

Just spoke to Kevin Smith, once he's managed to digest all your postings he'll post a reply up (so give him about a week :wink: )
Cheers,
Justin

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:00 pm 
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shame man leave the kitties alone god! :evil:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:17 pm 
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I thank God every day that I am a boulderer!!!and I hate kittens so the one that just died as a result of this post should've in anycase!peace


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:48 pm 
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May a leopard jump out from behind a boulder and eat your boulderng mat! - with you sketched out twenty feet up of course!!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:53 pm 
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Location: Cape Town
Cheers punks!
I'm off the the desert to climb beautiful granite walls while you sit and type kak on the internet.

later :D


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 Post subject: INXS
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:50 am 
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Some opinions (*), interspersed with a bit of history. A bit late in this thread, which I've skimmed through, but not never:

* My thought is that you should always try to improve on style of the FA and FFA. This can be tricky when the FA and FFA are different.
On the FA of INXS we started ground up, intending to follow the water streak directly, and free. Ha!
I led the first pitch, placing one bolt from the top of the mini-pillar, then the anchors. Mike led the 2nd pitch, which quickly got too steep for us granite-neophytes to climb straight up and drill on lead, so he veered right to avoid the bulge, and used hooks to drill from.
(* At this point we refer to the Bachar-Yerian, which was drilled on lead, no aid. But then Bachar climbed on granite almost exclusively ...)
Once we had started aiding, we continued that way for most of the rest of the route. We wanted to climb the line, and seeing we had flown up to Namibia for just a few days, we felt, perhaps incorrectly, that we should climb it any which way.
(* Here we refer to Messner's article: \"Murder of the Impossible\")
Our method was to drill a 2mm hook hole, into which we placed a household curtain hook, bent at 90 degrees. Top-runging off this, we drilled the next 2mm hole, and so on. The usual format was 5 hook moves, i.e., about 25 or 30 feet, then a 10mm bolt. Because we were drilling on lead, we felt justified in extending the runouts, because we took the risk. I remember leading/aiding the last (hard) pitch, pushing the runout somewhat. I guess some of the gaps between bolts are about 30 feet, which sounds horrendous, but since the angle is so low, isn't that bad.
A short while after the FA, I left SA for the UK and USA. In the following year or two, Mike went back twice with Martin Slang Seegers, and they attempted to free INXS. I don't remember all the details, suffice it to say they were not able to free all the pitches. They felt one of the pitches was 25 or 26, plus Martin had badly sprained/broken his ankle on (the crux?) pitch.
After having spent a couple of years away from SA (Michele and I were moved to the USA by my company), I went back on vacation, and Mike persuaded me to join Martin and him for another attempt. They drove up, and I flew in and met them at Spitzkop.
The first day, we rapped down and practiced a couple of the crux pitches (not much - as much as one can do in an easy day). The next day we freed the first half of the route, starting at crack of dawn, then sheltered in the big drive-in cave somewhere near Spitzkop, and the following day, again very early in the day, freed the remainder. I don't remember the month, but it was hot enough not to want to be on the face after midday.
We ended up grading the crux pitch 24 (I led this, after a single, clean TR, and also the last 22 pitch, after no TR). Mike felt that the crux pitch was 25, but I felt it was 23, so we compromised at 24. I didn't find it too hard, since I had been climbing at Joshua Tree a fair amount, and it felt just like a J-Tree 11a.
So, how does someone approach it if they want to climb INXS onsight? I recommend some warm up on slabby granite, obviously. It is a little scary to lead free, but not if your granite skills are OK And because the rock is low angle, falls are more like slides. And courage can be carried in the form of a cheatstick.
* Now, what about the issue of adding bolts? Bottom line - I don't think any more bolts should be added. Originally, after the FFA, I had mixed feelings about adding hardware. This was for two reasons:
1) After the FA (Smith & Cartwright), Mike and Martin added a couple of bolts, both to support free climbing (the original bolts from hooks didn't have enough regard for climbing features), and to better protect the crux; and
2) The FA was not done in good style, basically it was mostly an aid route, and the FFA was also done in less than perfect style, so the route was fundamentally flawed.
Accordingly, when Andrew & Glenda Lainis said they were planning on...


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 Post subject: INXS - post continued
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:53 am 
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doing INXS with Dave Davies, I suggested that they add bolts to make it more reasonable. INXS had not yet had a second ascent, and I was not sure that it was reasonable for an onsight free ascent, since I had not made one.

But ... INXS has now been climbed ground up in good style, and the character of the route has been established. The route is very do-able as it is, even if it is slightly more scary than the usual sport climb.
So, no more bolts please.
Cheers,
Kevin Smith
kms@frii.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:51 pm 
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Wow thanks for the history behind the route, it truley is one of those classics and is great to hear how it was established, and makes one want to climb it even more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 8:22 am 
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Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 9:06 am
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Location: Cape Town
Hey Kevin, thanks for the info!
Puts things in perspective and nice to know the history of the route.
I heard rumours that a new route guide almost ready, stories like this should be put in.
Yeah, definately makes me want to climb it more 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:31 am 
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Location: Seattle, USA
I'm glad Kevin got to this thread before I did and tidied up most of the speculation about the background of INXS. Doesn't stop me from throwing in my oar though ...

Some clarifications and plenty of other drivel:

Expense or battery power were not factors that limited the number of bolts. We had a petrol generator (try and get one of those into your carry-on luggage on a plane like we did back then). The original bolts are all kick-arse stainless steel 10mm of the longer, double cone variety. The hangers are all stainless steel too. This may seem normal now but it was considered overkill, especially the expense, at the time we placed them. All the belays are absolutely stonking (one includes a failed bolt placement which gets a cameo appearance in Desert Friction for dramatic effect).

After almost creaming Kevin with the spinning power drill on the belay at the end of pitch one, the subsequent belays are not directly below the path of the leader. This factor 2 fall also smacked him straight up into the generator which was attached to the anchors above him, not pretty. Hint: hang yourself 10 feet below the anchors to belay and this reduces the potential fall factor at the start of each pitch (leader uses anchor as first bolt) - yes, shallow learning curve, I know.

There was an incident on pitch 11 involving smoke coming out of the drill followed by an awkward silence. This forced Kevin to switch from aid to free mode after being in aiders for two days, while already run out (the reason he was drilling..), and boat off to the nearest \"stance\". Here he untied (he was way more than half a rope out and we had tied the extension cord off), pulled his lead rope through, and lowered it for a hand drill kit. By the time he had hand drilled his anchor, the power drill was operational again and we used power to add a \"real\" bolt to the stance. When you arrive at this obvious hand drilled buttonhead, take a moment to ponder his quandry (I guess the alternative was downclimbing friction at the end of an already monster runout). This resulted in the longest runout on the climb (4 bolts mostly in the first two thirds of a 40m pitch - nice soft falls I'll bet) but the pitch is now rated 22 and is relatively non-tenuous compared to the hard stuff. I think that after the reasonably protected technical cruxes, this pitch adds a lot of character to the route in the form of a much needed psych crux.

On the subject of spacing, Martin and I placed a few key bolts on rap when working the route to free it. This means that the cruxes are relatively well protected. Simply count the X's on the topo and do the math: 9 bolts in 40m of pitches 7 & 8. Suppose for a second that you are comfortable that you can dispatch the 3 x 24 crux pitches on the route. If so, why do you need more bolts on the easier pitches?

Some important credit that is lost to history is that the \"almost FFA\" was probably one of the highlights of Martin's sadly abbreviated climbing career. He and I had freed all the pitches either on TR (which is how we decided on the positions of the additional crux pitch bolts) or on lead. It was a very memorable trip that also included Fran Hunziker (those cool photos in Southern Rock) and Stewart Middlemiss. On that same trip, Martin clocked his ankle on pitch 9, our high point on our push for a complete free ascent (it would not have been the FFA anyway since I took a point of aid on pitch 7). Based on this trip, I was reasonably confident that lack of slab climbing skill was our weakness and nothing else. On the subject of injury, Martin rapped off under his own steam (in pain, no doubt) so think about that as you embellish the war story .. it was \"only\" a tweaked ankle.

Side note: Douard mentioned SE Arete (Sentinel): Martin was on the FFA of that route too. Who knew? ;-)

...


Last edited by michael_c on Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:29 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:38 am 
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Location: Seattle, USA
...

Jeremy's link up of the crux \"pitch\" was awesome (Kevin originally freed this as pitches 7 and 8 thanks to the hanging stance at the end of pitch 7). As Kevin noted, Martin and I thought pitches 7 and 9 were 25. We settled on all three crux pitches at 24 and since he lead them all on the FFA, his call. I maintain that the linked pitch probably is more stressful than the original two halves and fits perfectly with what Kevin was saying about improving on the style of the FA.

I'm interested to know if Clinton linked these two as well. It's probably obvious, but I'll mention it anyway: climbing this sort of thing is a lot easier if you have more than one climber do the leading. Both psych and finger tips get thin after a while so it helps to share. Did Clinton lead the whole enchelada? This would be another way of improving on the style of the FA.

From the \"find our own route\" department, the guys who put up Herero's Arch (and all these http://www.alardsbigwallclimbing.com/Namibia%20Routes.htm) proved that we were morons to \"follow a water streak\" (earlier experience on other routes in the area showed that water streaks implied cleaner rock, or so I thought). All these later routes follow more natural lines of features and, from the accounts, are probably more interesting than INXS. Another reason to leave it in peace.

Mike Hislop and I did the FFA in 1988 of Ward and Druschke's Southwest Wall (22) which is another fine adventure on the same face. If you want runouts, try those chimneys (I hear no talk of retrobolting here?) and if you need to drill, please replace the really crappy old bolts on the crux face on pitch 10.

From the \"community service\" department, Kevin soloed the Standard route on the same trip we did the FFA of INXS. The noteworthy part of his solo is that he carried a drill and replaced the tatty old bits of metal (some dating to the 30's) with brand new stainless stuff. The replacement of those nasty old rap anchors on such a popular route has probably prevented at least one sticky end.

From the \"permission\" department: I was never consulted when, under Kevin's blessing, \"training wheels\" where added to the pre-amble pitches. With hindsight and in the wake of the recent repeats by more qualified parties, I think this consumerization was a mistake. I think there is a place for adventurous climbing that doesn't require an air-ticket to California, Chile, Pakistan, etc. This one is in your own backyard!

Think about why Moose thought INXS would make a good movie. Did it help fuel the new routing activity on Spitzkoppe? Is that good or bad? I think it's good but the opinions are like arse-holes .. we each have one.

Bottom line: there is a time and place for re-equipping. This is not a debate where logic has any place: each case will be subjective. Just think long term before you act and perhaps focus on great new routes rather than recycling what has already been done.

- Michael


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:21 pm
Posts: 354
Its always good to get the stories behind routes and hear why certain decisions were made and how things were done. Often, what seems like a really stupid decision 10 years later was actually the only option available for the FAscentionists. Re SW wall route, Alard replaced the first 2 bolts on the 21 pitch which really made me warm and fuzzy (the old ones are atrocious). The other bolts are still original, but its not so serious as you get higher up.


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