Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

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Hilton
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Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

I don’t want to write this. I should not have to. My conscience compels me to.

I love to climb. I’m an active climber. 88 days of climbing in 2008. 79 days of climbing in 2009 so far. I love the activity, I love the environment and I love my companions. Locally I climb sport routes, crag routes and big wall routes. Abroad I’ve climbed alpine routes in Europe, South America, Antarctica, central Africa, North America and other regions. I’ve made many first ascents – alpine and rock. I climb with great guys – David Davies, John Davies, Bruce Daniel, Tony Dick, Charles Edelstein, Chris Lomax and many others. Some have died on the mountains. And all of this makes me wholly unqualified to say what I have to say.

We all love special places. We love the Cederberg – without tar roads and hotels. We love - Milner without facilities. We love Du Toits Kloof – without development. We love Table Mountain – without route names on rock. And yet as humans we tend to destroy the things we love. We forget what it was that was special and reduce magical places to the mundane.

So it comes to my dilemma. I don’t want to court controversy and I don’t want to hurt my fellow climbers. Quite the opposite. But bad things happen when good men do nothing; and so I need to speak on what is troubling me.

But first some observations about different types of climbing in our country. We have some nice backcountry ski-mountaineering once in a while. We have some fun ice waterfalls some winters. We have some reasonable big wall aiding. We have some nice sport climbing. But none of these are truly special. Any doubts would be quickly dispelled by trips to the right spots abroad. What we do have that is world class are bouldering and multi-pitch trad. Bouldering at Rocklands will soon confront some issues as the influx doubles every year but I am going to leave that subject to the people closer to the game. This story is about multi-pitch trad.

Let’s see. Bouldering is about pure power, without commitment. Sport climbing is about power and endurance, with very little commitment. Trad is about power, endurance and total commitment. Aren’t they all fantastic? It’s horses for courses for sure, and like many Olympic sports its about variations on a theme that will appeal to different people. Our ‘courses’ for bouldering are right up there with the best. As are our ‘courses’ for multi-pitch trad. And we should treasure them. But we don’t. And it’s breaking my heart.

The fabric of multi-pitch trad is being undone. Not by black-hearted evil-doers but by ourselves. We are destroying what is special and that which we love. And it’s all to do with bolting routes where they don’t belong.

So I’d better man-up quickly. I’ve placed many bolts and clipped many others - in sport climbing areas. And I love it. I’ve also placed bolts on A Private Universe – on hanging stances way out in space 500 metres off the ground. The greatest of all South African climbers – Andy de Klerk – placed bolts on stances on Oceans of Fear. Andy’s a great friend and a great man – and I applaud him. Likewise for Ed February and his big route on Upper Milner. The problem is not with the occasional bolt in very dangerous situations. The problem lies in the desecration of multi-pitch trad areas by the appearance of sport routes. In these areas sport routes destroy the feeling of adventure and commitment. And because these routes are permanent we lose part of our climbers’ soul when they appear.

This Saturday-past Bruce and I had the great pleasure of taking two visiting Americans up Celestial Journey, the quintessential trad route in the quintessential multi-pitch trad area - Wolfberg, in the Cederberg. One of these wonderful, super-strong and humble men quietly observed to me that it was a pity that there were bolts in the vicinity, and enquired as to the rationale. The explanation had its roots in early-days ignorance. This man wanted to know what we might do about it. Of far greater concern to me is the enlightened desecration that is gathering momentum. Some of the men who are despoiling the likes of the pristine Yellowwood Amphitheatre are my friends and I treasure their friendship. They are good men, but misguided. They are the George W. Bushes of climbing. Blundering forward for short-term gratification without thought of long-term consequences. These strong virile young men are having fun. They are good climbers. But not good enough. They need to man-up and climb these walls as they should be climbed, and not leave a via ferrata that steals the value of these places, from all climbers, for all time.

Hilton Davies
2 November 2009
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Mark
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Mark »

Shoo - I expect this may become another emotive discussion. So far I have only climbed sport, its relatively low risk and consumer friendly (i.e it works for me.. thus far) but before we get involved in justifications and explanations I think cold fact should be considered.

1) Bolts are not natural
2) They are necessary where trad is not possible (this is not a decision made based on my ability)
3) There are 1000's of bolted routes in SA (most correctly, some ignorantly / incorrectly bolted)

So by the time a sport climber like myself has run out of bolted routes (and faces which cannot be trad climbed), I would need to "sack up" and start trad climbing.

Its a natural progression, the alternative is to shorten the ruler (read: bolt) because I dont measure up (which just doesnt seem right to me)
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Hmm, thorny topic, but it was bound to crop up at some point... I think it's important to be candid concerning a discussion like this.

It seems that in South Africa many have developed an 'either / or' mentality where sport and trad climbing is concerned.
From what I understand an agreement was reached amoungst climbers during the 80's that saw sport climbing limited to shorter more accessible urban crags, and the bigger walls left to the arena of trad. Maybe it's time for a slight rethink.
Why can we not (like many overseas countries) simply enjoy what both activities have to offer. Case in point - Newborn follows a line, that if climbed traditionally would not accept enough gear to be safe, and so would involve the placement of many bolts - Where does one draw the line? At what point does it lose the trad label? If half of the route has bolts, two-thirds? And this leads one to ask, what difference would it then make if the entire route is bolted.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not advocating the grid bolting of every possible line on every possible wall. Far from it. However in my mind a potential trad line is significantly different from that of a sport route. So then why can a sport route not live side by side with a trad route?
I really don't see the point of this negative anti-sport mentality that seems to surround multipitch sport - every off-shoot of our sport has it's benefits, speed and safety often associated with sport climbing. Can we not still enjoy all the mountains have to offer when clipping a bolt? And if so, for multipitch sport to grow it will inevitably involve long treks up into the big kloofs and trad territory. However this in no way has to be to the detriment of traditional climbing.

Times change, sport changes, the people participating change - surely rock climbing has reached a point now where there is room for both trad and sport up on the big walls.

p.s. Maybe a seperate discussion can be had regarding the actual scouting process, ie. can someone without any previous trad experience spot a potential trad line, and if not, then potentially go on to ruin the area.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Dark Horse »

I love trad and the whole adventure aspect of climbing so for me it would be sad to see bolts where there shouldn't be any (I love paarl and Milner but would struggle to climb there without bolts).

I believe there are just too many people on the planet, so while I would love to travel to places that are pristine and untouched for them to remain that way no-one else should go there. So we all have to work really hard to make sure after we have been somewhere we leave as little trace as possible ie: take only photo's leave only foot prints.

Join the mountain club, vote for Change and set some rules in place and make sure they get followed.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi
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Good things happen when bad men do something good

Post by Andy Davies »

Hilton I'm with you boet but maybe my problem is also closer to the ground. As a whole I believe the adventure of climbing is being eroded in South Africa.

I had the pleasure of starting climbing when the odd bolt was installed, and the balance of the climbing relied on trad gear, caution and a lot of adventure. I also had the pleasure of experiencing the whole bolting debate in 89/90? and understand how important adventure AND safety is. In a recent posting Andrew Pedley noted the fact that Oudtshoorn Main Wall had squeezed in lines and I also noted the fact that this wall was covered in stainless steel. I am also dissapointed that sh1tty pieces of rock are covered with bolts in beautiful areas - the Roadside Block in Rocklands is a perfect example. At the bolting debate and subsequent negotations with landowners we have always argued that the bare minimum of bolts should be placed for SAFETY. However, it would appear that South African's balls have shrunk as they can't climb past a bolt without sh1tting themselves. Go to the uber sport crags like Buoux, Ceuse, Gorges du Tarn etc and you will get a real shock when you see your last bolt a meter or two below you. But when you clip the chains you will feel that sense of achievement for not only doing something physical.

The very nature of routes are being changed by people who are too p00p scared to run it out a bit. "Stealing" and "Daze of Thunder" at Montagu have had bolts added which have degraded the routes into clip fests. And although I believe some retro bolting of old trad routes is acceptable, its a pity when the essence of adventure is removed with a ladder of bolts - an example is "Living on a Prayer" at Sandrift. Now I am guilty of placing many bolts (especially those big shiny rings) and have even added a bolt or two at the start of a climb, but in my humble opinion a pair of broken ankles is not condusive to walking out. However a nice clean lob at the top of the route won't hurt anyone, even if you do soil your pants.

Maybe its time for "a bad man to do something good". I have a great little angle grinder, but believe that a consensus needs to be agreed upon.

Happy clipping........ :evil:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Gustav »

Hilton said:
We have some nice sport climbing. But none of these are truly special.
Amazing then how so many foreign climbers rate 'Boven as a "Top 10 sport crag".

This might be slightly bias, but I think 'Boven is truly special...
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Re: Good things happen when bad men do something good

Post by MarkM »

Andy Davies wrote:...

The very nature of routes are being changed by people who are too p00p scared to run it out a bit. "Stealing" and "Daze of Thunder" at Montagu have had bolts added which have degraded the routes into clip fests. And although I believe some retro bolting of old trad routes is acceptable, its a pity when the essence of adventure is removed with a ladder of bolts - an example is "Living on a Prayer" at Sandrift. Now I am guilty of placing many bolts (especially those big shiny rings) and have even added a bolt or two at the start of a climb, but in my humble opinion a pair of broken ankles is not condusive to walking out. However a nice clean lob at the top of the route won't hurt anyone, even if you do soil your pants.

...
You can add Atomic Aardvark to that list.
Open hand, open mind...
Hilton
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Stu wrote:I really don't see the point of this negative anti-sport mentality that seems to surround multipitch sport
You've got this all wrong Stu. This is not about sport or trad. They're both excellent forms of climbing. Certain areas are very well suited to sport climbing such as The Hole, Silvermine, Montagu, Paarl Rock, Rocklands and Boven. Certain areas are very well suited to trad climbing such as Table Mountain, Du Toits Kloof (excl Hellfire) and the Cederberg walls (Krakadouw, Tafelberg, Wolfberg).

The issue concerns bolts appearing in pristine trad areas.

In a sport area bolt lines are wonderful. Especially in a stunning setting like Boven or Rocklands. But they are incongruous in world-class trad settings like Wolfberg or Du Toits Kloof. The bolts then serve to debase.

The crux of the matter is "appropriateness".

Imagine if someone had chopped the bolts on Pocketted Roof at The Hole and turned it into a trad route. Imagine if a super-climber like Huber had tradded Lotter's Desire at Boven before it was bolted. These actions would have been to the detriment of climbing in general. And yet the reverse is happening.

There are some areas where bolted lines and trad routes can co-exist. Boven, Rooiberg and Paarl Rock come to mind. "Multi-pitch" is not the issue and never was.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hector »

Nice to read lucid, non-personel and obviously heartfelt comment on the age-old debate. I dont know much about the areas Hilton speaks of but I do know how I would feel if a full sport route were bolted at my stomping ground, Blouberg.

In some intangible way it would take away from the place even though I know the effort that would be involved, that few if any sport climbers would actually walk up there to climb it, that it would be a wild and exciting climb if it avoids existing routes, and that I would probably have to at least try it at some stage. Mike Cartwright planned such a route in the 90's, top down. Later, and quite by chance, he climbed ground-up to the pitch that he had bolted and created Delicate Sound of Thunder, a desperate aid route. He dropped the sport route plan after that.

For some reason though, I dont have issues with the odd bolt to enable an otherwise natural line. Snort's new routes and my recent addition are cases in point. Most of the routes with bolts at Blouberg are at least 4 stars.

I guess the thing that would annoy me the most is knowing how much effort, failure, adventure and experience I've been through to know the place like I do. It would grate me to know that some random bumbly can walk up there (he would have to be guided) start at the first bolt and join the dots to the top. No experience, intelligence, decision-making or anything required. Obviously this is a simplification and I'm not saying you dont need all of these things to succeed on hard multipitch sport routes, but it would still piss me off. In my mind, if you want to climb at Blouberg you have to pay your dues, start on Last Moon, progress to Big Corner and work your way from there. Perhaps thats old-fashioned, outmoded and elitist but why should everyone have the opportunity to climb that wall? Why should the only prerequisite be that you can bust hard moves and know how to clip a draw?

All this is pretty hypothetical because I doubt Blouberg will see a fully equipped sport route anytime soon, but I take Hilton's point. I've (attempted to) climb at Yellowwood and got completely shut down. 3 attempts in 3 days on 3 different routes saw us getting only 3 pitches up. If I want to climb that wall I have to up my game and grow some balls. Shouldn't that be the standard we set for ourselves?
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by napaman »

As you all know im new to this so at the moment im doing indoor bouldering and sport climbing. if i grow some balls I will probably try trad one day (Im petrified of heights).

I do have a few noob questions though to get a better understanding of this debate.

Why cant there be bolts near a trad line do they interfere? (has it got to do with route reading?)
Dont trad climbers already have exclusive areas that cannot be bolted i.e Table Mountain?
Why is it mostly the Trad climbers that moan about this? is this a older generation of climbers that are set in there ways?
Is it really about the bolt in the rock that bothers the trad dudes or the fact that sport climbing is more commercial so you get more people at the crags? More people, more pollution, more destruction to the enviroment? are sport climbers irresponsible when it comes to the enviroment?

Also some people are arguing this debate with unreasonable points.

Names written on the rock below the route- So what! man has been writing on rocks for a very long time. I think there should be a standard for route naming. I.e standard font size, who did the FA and FA date. This is part of our history, if man is around in 3000 years it will be considered ancient Rock drawings not "vandalism".

And please remember im a noob so this is not an attack on any camp.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

ja napaman i did not "get it" as well at first...... but over time i started climbing a bit of trad and now know that it is climbing-as-it-is-supposed-to-be. not knocking sport or anything else; still loves doing that. but for the full advenure you cannot beat it (unless you multi-pitch solo?)
when you go to a place like tafelberg (cederberg) or blouberg (i suppose) you do not need to argue it -you simply know a line of bolts is as out-of-place as a cheap chinese hi-fi in an antique shop selling fine woodcraft and silver. climbing needs places that gives you goosebumps and knowing that one can only venture up there with a rack of gear, skill, balls and one moer-of-a determination (okay, maybe i'm overplaying it.....)
one can arge the issue of bolting otherwise unclimbable lines, but there methinks we have more than enough sport crags. i am not against the placing of the odd bolt to help protect a trad route where really required though.
the thinking on this issue is not "old school" or "outdated"; its rather "timeless" - the idea to preserve a place that will allow us to experience something completely wild and unspoilt and real and natural - forever and ever amen.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by rocklooney »

I haven't climbed a lot of trad. A little at Magaliesberg, Eastern Cape and a weekend at Blouberg that re-defined the meaning of fear for me. I remain a more regular sport climber who has aspirations for great trad epics sometime soon. Very soon. For me, there is just no comparison between the two. Trad is so clean and so big and so much more of a "spritual" experience if I may borrow a friend's description of his experiences at Blouberg. I have the utmost respect for trad climbers and primarily climb sport to build strength and technique (and that in no way detracts from the beauty of places like Boven, Montagu and Harrismith). When I'm big I want to go and do more monster trad routes and I don't want to see bolts. It must be pristine and untouched. The only time I want to see a bolt is when some hardcore trad-maniac has decided that it's a life or death necessity. I believe that the trad establishment should have the final say here. They are the ones who climb this stuff without leaving anything behind, and that those of us who climb sport should respect that always.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Gustav »

People climb for different reasons; the bolting debate will never end.

We should rather look at case studies than making rules and treat each situation differently.

Here we are looking at "the freedom of the hills" and being out there and being able to do what you want (you are so out there that nobody will know what you have done for a week or 2 or more!) vs. policies & ethics.

Policy/rule/law: You don't bolt on TM/in Magaliesberg kloofs/Blouberg and a bunch of other places, right?

Ethics (in the broad sense): You can justify breaking the rules when there is a real desire and no other option avails AND it is an acceptable solution to your problem in the eyes of your piers and the powers that be.

As you know, rules are there to be broken but they have to be broken ethically, within reason and with serious thoughts about the consequenses.

A bolt on TM? Against the law, unethical - chop 'em.

A clip 'n go line up Blouberg (it is a long walk and those friends and trad stuff is heavy an' all, you know?) - chop 'em.

But if you are in an obvious trad environment and an extended blank section presents itself I would much rather that you place some bolts, staying within the nature/seriousness of the climb in terms of keeping it run out and even go along placing 2 shiny bolts at the stances where needed.

In the same breath, one must consider where climbing has come from and where it is now. Remember when chalk hit the markets? Well, I was definitely not climbing in the 1950's but we have heard the stories about how traditionalists were swearing never to touch the "white gold". It was just a matter of time...

Bolts do not make any significant environmental impact in itself. It is the masses drawn by the bolts that cause erosion, pollution and other problems. We do not have to go the same route as the limestone big walls in Europe and create dotted stainless lines all over the country routes. But if we do not want to be left behind in the dark, our policies and ethics should be adopted to follow international trends and keep fueling local talent.

The local talents need to have the freedom to aim higher than before but act responsibly as well as ethically and not lose the vision of what may come in the future.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by garvinj »

I've heard it said that man doesn't care for the enviroment only for our survival in it and after we've died out the enviroment will go on.

In somewhat the same manner I think its not the bolts rather the way the bolts make us feel about where and who we are. I'll give an example, early this year I was quite adament about the quality and legitimacy of Eastern Cape rock. About this, one could reason that I was not so much concerned about the rock rather how I would be viewed being a climber from this area. This idea brings us back to EGO. It is not only true that trad climbers think their efforts more worthy but that most other climbers give the idea of trad to lofty a regard.

I've done some trad, 40m being my biggest and most brown pants run-out. I agree it invokes a different feeling. but I get that same feeling when my bike cuts out on an intersection and there's a sixteen wheeler bearing down on me. Something I'm happy to survive and a great story to tell.

In short Trad guys should get over the ego thing and the bolts really don't effect you. Think of how you'd react to a person being mugged close to where you're walking. Yes just drop your head and pretend you didn't see a thing. The bolts don't pull face at you, do they?

Lastly for the bolters a little bit of paint in a can (the corresponding color to your rock) and us tradsters will have less to complain about.

Garvin
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

gustav, garvin
if i'm not mistaken hilton was not making a general statement about bolting vs natural
he was alluding to the danger of encroaching sport routes in traditional areas (i would venture to say the yellowood amphitheatre is a prime example)- i haven't been there so will not comment
i consider myself a half-baked sport climber of sorts who just discovered trad. one visit to tafelberg and i think a line of bolts would be an atrocity. ditto for blouberg; wolfberg (bar the bolts in the cracks); magaliesberg.......
so, maybe this discussion is rather to say, should we not draw a line in the sand regarding which areas are no-bolt (except the odd bolt where a trad route requires it).
and i think international development and keeping-up with the times is not something that should drive our decisions. preserving wild, dangerous, adventurous places for generations to come is our duty.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by rocklooney »

Aag jeeslaaikit Garvin. Paint in a can .................. ? :pukel:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Marshall1 »

Thanks Garvin.
"The bolts don't pull face at you, do they?" HaHa! one cut in front of me the other morning....

Lets all just get on with it.

"One of these wonderful, super-strong and humble men quietly observed to me that it was a pity that there were bolts in the vicinity, and enquired as to the rationale. The explanation had its roots in early-days ignorance. This man wanted to know what we might do about it." I bet they/you did nothing. You do stuff that is really important or fun....obviously in this case making conversation was important & fun.

Lets not over think climbing. Keep it basic
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Hilton wrote:You've got this all wrong Stu. This is not about sport or trad. They're both excellent forms of climbing. Certain areas are very well suited to sport climbing such as The Hole, Silvermine, Montagu, Paarl Rock, Rocklands and Boven. Certain areas are very well suited to trad climbing such as Table Mountain, Du Toits Kloof (excl Hellfire) and the Cederberg walls (Krakadouw, Tafelberg, Wolfberg).
Howzit, yeah I agree 100% that areas like TM, Krakadouw, Tafelberg and Wolfberg should remain trad only, however in my opinion Du Toits is not one of them. There is so much unclimbed rock in those kloofs, many of which can never be climbed without bolts.
The issue concerns bolts appearing in pristine trad areas.
Why? How does placing a line of bolts effect those pristine areas. If you're refering to an unsightly line of bolts up a wall, well camouflaging any new bolts anywhere should be a must - no matter the area. Just look at Skoorsteenskop - if you didn't have actual previous knowledge of those bolts you would never even know they were there.
In a sport area bolt lines are wonderful. Especially in a stunning setting like Boven or Rocklands. But they are incongruous in world-class trad settings like Wolfberg or Du Toits Kloof. The bolts then serve to debase.
Well to be honest, I'm not so keen on the bolts being placed at Rocklands, but I'll leave that for another debate...
Why are the entire Du Toits Kloof mountains deemed trad only? - and why the exception for Hellfire? There are so many walls that will never accept gear, why lump the entire range into the trad category?
The crux of the matter is "appropriateness"

Imagine if someone had chopped the bolts on Pocketted Roof at The Hole and turned it into a trad route. Imagine if a super-climber like Huber had tradded Lotter's Desire at Boven before it was bolted. These actions would have been to the detriment of climbing in general. And yet the reverse is happening..
Sorry, but that first statement is unfair. Again, I say only rock that clearly cannot be protected should be bolted.
There are some areas where bolted lines and trad routes can co-exist. Boven, Rooiberg and Paarl Rock come to mind. "Multi-pitch" is not the issue and never was.
Sure, but it seems that sport climbers in SA (Western Cape in my case) are being limited to the shorter crags and are told to simply leave the bigger walls alone as they are all trad territory. Well Paarl Rocks is not a big wall, it's a 100m rock face that slabs out near the top, and doesn't really compare.

Despite my comments I fully understand your concerns, but I don't think anyone is endorsing the grid bolting of trad areas - maybe just a well-placed sport route.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

garvinj wrote:It is not only true that trad climbers think their efforts more worthy but that most other climbers give the idea of trad to lofty a regard... In short Trad guys should get over the ego thing and the bolts really don't effect you.
Garvin I don't know why you think this but speaking personally it is untrue. I met a young boulderer at Rocklands recently who impressed me enormously - both for his abilities and his character. A chap named Kilian. 'Just' a boulderer. I'm really impressed by what I read about locals called Marijus S. and Andrew P. These guys are the local Usain Bolts of climbing.

To say that I'm unaffected by bolts in a pristine trad setting is to say that I'm unaffected by yellowwood trees being cut down in the Knysna forest or by opencast mining in the Kruger Park. I care and you should care. Things of beauty and quality should be cherished. And that is not to say that sport routes should not be cherished. Snapdragon or Monster are things of beauty in the Boven setting.
Marshall1 wrote:I bet they/you did nothing. You do stuff that is really important or fun....obviously in this case making conversation was important & fun.
Why would you say this about me? I have taken my first step in a process that is important to me and many others.

Discerning bolting is great. Indiscriminate bolting is not. Similarly to property development. Someone needs to speak up for the rational conservationists against the indiscriminate developers. Otherwise we replace the beauty that we came for with the development that gave us gratification.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Gustav »

First thing here that I find odd is how people with hardly any trad experience can shed so much light on the topic. Go for it, that is why we have an open forum?

Secondly:
We have a problem. People.

People need shiny stuff. Therefore there need to be mines.

Your Kruger Park example: it is an awesome place, we will all agree. But is it good to allow millions of tourists through the park? At first they bulldozed roads, then they tarred stunning lines through this prestine place...why? People, demand.

The more people on earth, the more need to get access to everything, do everything and make the way there easier or consumer friendly.

Close the Kruger Park. Just fly in every now and then with a helicopter to make sure alien vegetation is not taking over, some outbreak is not killing the animals and control the animals accordingly?

Close Yellow Amphitheater. Very few would mind - they did not [qualify to] visit in any case?

It is a tricky situation, there will be development. We can not turn back. It is however a question of HOW we do the development, how we manage it and how people embrace it. If ever.
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Jeremy Samson
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

Hi all,

Since I placed the bolts on Yellowwood I feel I should step up to the plate. I have climbed pretty much all the other trad routes and Newborn climbs through a wild section of unprotectable rock. It feels weird reading all these comments from people who haven't been on it.
It's often tricky seeing the bolts so I feel no eyesore has been created. I

The first ascentionist gets to dictate the style usually although I know many people have added bolts to routes I have opened mainly on trad. ( cattle rustler, cuts both ways ( Andy Davies added those bolts ) little dutch boy, backwater etc )

I don't think you need worry too much it took 9 visits to bolt just one route, I can't imagine many people are in the mood for that.

Although I was curiously amused to hear that Justin Hawkins was bolting a big wall over the week-end, it's a 'new' wall with no current routes on it. Hawkins says it's the future - it's hard to argue with someone of his vision.
Marshall1
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Marshall1 »

Bolting ethics are not that important...or we would chop bolts that offend us. Chopping bolts is not fun. A massive effort & a huge waste of climbing time.

Hilton, what I mean is: yourself, Bruce & 2-wonderful-super-strong-humble-americans chatted about bolts in the vicinity, but did not find it that important that you fetched a 17 spanner & a hammer & procceded with the work of chopping the lines. Neither did anyone else over the last 18 years since they were bolted.

Ethics gets intresting when it passes the talk phase, because when it becomes effort you give your stand point a fresh boil down & admit that its not really so important.
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XMod
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by XMod »

Hilton; sorry, but you are talking bollcks! Try climbing Newborn without clipping any of the bolts, then maybe you can take the moral high ground. You know as well as any that the rock up there often doesnt yield that much pro. There are long sections of sealed stone. That whole ridge is perfect for hard mixed or sport routes. Why not spend your energies opening as many of the lines up there on trad to prove your point rather than ranting here? Even if you open all the potential trad routes, there will still be ample scope for partly or fully bolted stuff without overlaps.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

i'm 100% backing where hilton is going with this - not to say that there are areas (maybe such as yellowood) where one should go and chop bolts just because, but to create a mindset that will look at something holistically and consider how we are changing the character of a place.
much of this lies in intuition, instinct and appreciation; not facts and arguments.
kinda reminds me of the 4x4 trail on the drakensberg issue - can be done with little environmental impact and avoid running any hikers over, but it just changes the whole character of the place.....
so where do you draw the line?
how about it when you spot that absolutely killer unprotectable line up at tafelberg right next to black ice?
i hope i can one day take my granchildren to places and show them where only hard men venture. it does the soul a whole lot of good!
and this issue has nothing to do with your ability or experience; its how you value stuff.
Jeremy Samson
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

Hilton and I will hopefully be heading up Newborn in the next week or so.

We'll discuss the bolts a little more after the 5th pitch !
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by DaveD »

The great floor in any point of view is subjectivity.

This debate is old and boring me.

Stuff this, I am going Mountain Biking.......

'Ride it, Don't slide it.'
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by thebest »

The problem is when you put up a hard rout. You went threw the long runouts ,scary falls on little gear, the doggy belays. Your heart and soul went into that rout . Now some guy comes a long with a big ego and small brains and puts a line of bolts in making your excellent rout into one you just forget about . Its the same as saying ill go to any “sport crage” and chop the bolts because I think it will be a better trad rout


:afro: climb hard :afro:
DaveD
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by DaveD »

Complete Retro Bolting of existing lines without consulting the first ascensionist is another debate altogether. I believe that is right out.

I believe the discression regarding bolts is up to the first ascensionist and I encourage first ascensionista to consider the ethic of the area before developing a new route.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Marshall1: your comments are supposition - all incorrect.

Stu: why do you not want to see sport routes up Krakadouw and Tafelberg?

Jeremy: none of this is about you. And its not directly about Yellowwood or your incredible route Newborn. You blow me away. You're the consumate top-level alrounder. Incredible trad routes like Jeopardy, astounding big aid routes like Children of the Sky, mega sport routes like Newborn and Automatic. Even more impressive for me are Sunset Warrior solo, A Private Universe in a day, your Freney Pillar epic and how strong you were on Shivling (according to Tony and Chris). You, Jonathan Fisher and Andy de Klerk have been the premier South African climbers. To cap it you are a way-out-there base jumper and we all love you... Okay enough...you get the point...I have immense respect for you as a climber and your friendship is very important to me.

Jeremy this story of mine is about protecting pristine trad areas. In the last couple of months I've done many trips to Krakadouw, Tafelberg, Wolfberg and other areas - as I've been doing for many years. And I always get the same overwhelming joy from being in an almost undamaged area that offers purity and adventure. Hard, exposed climbing and no intrusion by man. My companions get the same. And I know that others do to. And its largely for the same reasons that we commit so much money and effort to expeditions abroad.

I know you didn't set this thing off by bolting a sport route on Yellowwood. And I certainly don't blame Sean. These are the early days and we're figuring things out. This is my contribution.

Please look ahead - years and centuries. As things are currently going climbers face a future where Du Toits Kloof will have hundreds or thousands of bolted lines - of all grades and qualities. Its only a matter of time if we don't work things out. I'm advocating impact, but minimal impact. Place bolts only where essential and don't make sport routes in high, wild, crack climbing areas.

And thanks a lot for your invitation to do Newborn with you next week! I know its there and it makes no difference whether I clip it's bolts or not but I'm going to decline in case I enjoy it too much and am tempted to abandon my vision of minimal-bolts-only-where-essential in trad areas!
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by garvinj »

I think this started out with "encruaching" as the idea not retro bolting other peoples routes. That's just shamefull and wrong. You go bolt something I opened, even if it 10 meter high with crap gear, be prepared for at least some verbal abuse after I've choped your bolts and keyed your car. Ok I won't scartch any cars, cause that about as bad as retro bolting without permission.
Hi hilton, just read again this quote for your first post.
"Bouldering is about pure power, without commitment. Sport climbing is about power and endurance, with very little commitment. Trad is about power, endurance and total commitment."
Why does trad get 3 atributes, sport get 2 and bouldering 1 with a slitly negative one on top? When your bouldering 4 meters of the deck with a bad landing and no spotter I think it needs a shit load of commmitment. (I really don't like bouldering. Don't have the strength).

If your someone like me who usually doesn't say much and you pay attention when people speak you'll hear it. Those little thing give the Ego away. And no it was not ment to be personal.

Garvin
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