Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

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PaulB
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by PaulB »

Grimace every time someone compares bolting to rape... (oh, I think the post to which this refers has been deleted).

I think what might go a long way towards civility, and which I think Xmod tried to point out, is that most of these opinions boil down to preference. There is very little, as in life, that is absolute: you like Yellowood without bolts because, er, you like it that way. But some see it differently. And to speak in wounded tones, offends them for the exact reason you're offended by the bolts in the first place: your vision of the sport is compromised...

I think the best argument for leaving these places without bolts is to argue that most of the people who climb in these areas share this ethic. I think this is a better angle than to get all emotive and talk of 'desecration', 'rape' etc. To my thinking that's all in your head (?)
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by george nel »

Hi Hilton,you asked Towerkop locals what they tought?

Well,I would'nt want to see bolt ladders up the Northern wall of the Western summit,it rather be unclimbed then.Towerkop is way to historic and sensitive for metal decorating its beatifull orange rock. As such,I've got no issues with bolts,if placed wisely where there is no weakness for natural pro.El Cap is a perfect example.
There are a few unclimbed walls in my backyard(Swartberge) wich I and Jan plan to climb,so please stay away from our playground you bunch of whining Capies!!!!


:lol:
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Tristan
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

Most who know me insist that my mind is permanently in the gutter - so I must fit right in here :jocolor:

I still don't understand why we can't all "agree" to disagree - if we must.

- There can be area's for those who need to bolt, chip and glue all they want
- There can be area's for those who need to pretend that pristine un-tapped nature still exists
- and there can be area's where the two blend a wierd mix of grey

When the sporties wander down to the bronx, they can get scorned, when the traddies bumble into Haute Place, they can be flamed.

I, personally, am interested in developing the muddy-grey area because it is part of the future, and it has application elsewhere in the country.

What about the Drakensberg, where is the future there?

<ducks and runs for cover>
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

PaulB:
I won't be following your advice but thanks for offering it. Too many holes in the logic. Firstly, an argument based on the shared ethic of the people climbing there means that if a large number of sport route bolters descended on Yellowwood then the numerical support would be in favour of sport route bolting. Secondly, there is a lot in life that is absolute, and bolts are absolute - they ain't in my head. Thirdly, I'm not offended by bolts - in the context of what you're trying to say, I'm offended by sport routes at Yellowwood. This has nothing to do with sport climbing or sport venues. Its about sport routes at a handful of great trad venues.
My argument appeals to high values and the preservation of a handful of great trad wilderness venues. C'mon, don't ya see that?
Is there nothing of value that should be preserved?
[incidentally, in the Oxford Dictionary you will find that one of the definitions of 'rape' is "spoil or destroy a place". Its not all sexual]

George:
You've thrown a few opposing thoughts together but my reading is that you say no bolting on Towerkop. Is that right? Do the other locals feel the same way? Is it worth getting this out there before you find a sport route on Towerkop?

Tristan:
With you completely. But it seems the vocal sport route community don't go along with your second category. At least, not for Yellowwood where trad climbers have been relishing the place since the 1940s.
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Scott
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Scott »

The conversation keeps getting brought back to Yellowwood but it seems to me that Yellowwood is a mixed venue and should be developed that way as well as a few other areas in DuToits. Not to much argument about keeping TM wolfberg, tafelberg Towerkop as trad only areas they are suited for trad and should stay that way, I guess. But to be fair sections of these areas could be categorized as "pristine" and other sections could be opened for development of mixed or grey area sections. Just remember it is illegal to bolt in Cape Nature UNLESS you have special permission IE Silvermine is in Table Mtn National park.

Yellowwood has several mixed lines, a fully bolted multi pitch sport route and a fully bolted abseil line. It seems like it and other areas in Du Toits should be mixed use areas, in fact Yellowwood already is so..... I am all for the older experienced crew leading the way on these decisions but they need to take in account that a majority of todays and more than likely the future climbers will embrace and want sport climbing venues, the will hopefully want trad venues too. Also it is difficult to say who these older experienced people are. Are they the vocal ones that want to push a specific agenda? or can we say you need to have climbed xx amount of years?
I think it is great that Hilton and others feel these areas are worth debating about and worth fighting for. I just think that there are an equal if not more people that feel sport routes enhance their wilderness experience and help them get out and enjoy themselves in a "pristine" area. Having more people venture out in the wilderness to climb be it sport or trade can only help keep some of these areas pristine. progress is a bitch and having more people get enjoyment out of an area serves to protect it in the long run. If we were debating on somewhere in California we would need to be harsh and set limits merely because there are too many people and climbers. The western cape just doesn't have this problem and more than likely never will.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by douard »

@ MarkM

Yes, there is a second rapp route on Blouberg down Big Corner, flippin scary rapps off rusted bolts. i had to change pants after the descent :lol:

So, this seems to be a very emotive thread.

Hilton, you asked for opinions from people who have been climbing a while. I have been climbing for 14 years, i climb anything from a boulder to a big wall; aid, sport, trad, dry tooling. i love all aspects of climbing and that's what's so cool about the sport, there are so many dimensions to it.

Although i have never climbed Yellowood (and it is high on my ticklist) I do think there should be bolted routes. I think people like Jeremy will put up responsible lines. I would love to climb the bolted and the trad routes. To me there is no difference; the "commitment" that is alluded to is all in the mind.

I crap myself on bolts and on trad gear somedays, other days I'm bulletproof on either.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by george nel »

Ladismith's climbing community only consists of 2,me and Jan Viljoen,and we say no bolting on Towerkop!If we want to climb sport,wich we do often,De Hoek is 45 min drive from us.I love bolts for pushing it,love trad for onsighting an epic adventure,with maybe a bolt or to when needed to return to my wife and kids,after all I value life more than a 10mm hole on a wall somewhere!
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jan Viljoen »

In response to Hilton’s question regarding Towerkop and bolting, here’s my opinion as a local:

I consider myself equally keen on sport as well as trad climbing, but I believe that the decision on whether a crag should be for sport, trad, or both, should be based on factors regarding the crag itself, not on one’s own climbing preferences.

As most probably know, Towerkop is the site of the first recorded rock climbing route in South Africa (probably Africa as well). In 1885 Gustaf Nefdt free soloed a grade 16/17 route, up and down, without climbing shoes, chalk, or prior climbing experience.

Towerkop is also one of a rare few peaks that can only be climbed to its summit by using proper rock climbing techniques and equipment. No hiking routes up the back or cable cars in front. The summit remains reserved for a dedicated few – those who call themselves rock climbers.

The fact that more that 50 trad routes cover all sides of Towerkop begs the question: will we ever need bolts up there? Climbers who have scaled Towerkop’s faces will know that its sandstone/quartzite formations are a trad climber’s paradise, providing ample opportunities for gear placements. Those virgin faces that remain immune to gear placements should act as a reminder that we can’t always have our way with everything.

Not many realise this, but Towerkop is our last totally bolt free climbing venue we have left. What a sad day it would be if we can’t claim that anymore.

Jan Viljoen
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

Jan Viljoen wrote:Those virgin faces that remain immune to gear placements should act as a reminder that we can’t always have our way with everything.
i like that Jan - spot on! we need a few places like that.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

Hi guys,

Would be really cool if a few more people could head up Yellowwood to climb Newborn and then offer an opinion.

To date only Clinton has repeated it. ( that I know of )

If you want to revert to Bolt/piton/trad I would imagine that about 30 bolts could be chopped. ( out of 110 ) but really what would be the point of that ?
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by PaulB »

Hilton, sorry to presume about your own motivations, but it just seems to me that idea of despoiling a wilderness with bolts is just a convenient peg to hang your own feelings about bolts in your playground. You say as much yourself:

"This has nothing to do with sport climbing or sport venues. Its about sport routes at a handful of great trad venues."

This is my point: these are your preferences. And those of your peers.

I just battle to see how New Born despoils anything. Can you even see the bolts from 50m away?

Either you produce a much better argument for how bolts despoil a wilderness, or accept that everything you say is based on your preference for how the sport should progress in your playground. And yes, in the latter, I see no reason why this shouldn't be democratic. If the people who climb in the area want bolts: let there be bolts... And this is how my argument suits you: I don't have strong feelings about bolts at Yellowood either way: the people who would 'vote' on this issue are you guys: again, if the people who climb at this area don't want bolts, then this is how it should be.

But revert to emotive language and you will affend people who like to use bolts. Don't be suprised at this. I'm well aware 'rape' has other meanings. But the obvious inference is that someone who bolts is commiting a kind of rape...
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by toprope »

Sorry, I realise you guys are having a very serious debate here.

Image
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by PaulB »

Good point: thin edge of the wedge... I really need to get back on the road.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by XMod »

OK relax enuf flaming.
@Charles and Hilton I must apologise if I flew off the handle here and got aggressive but these are issues we all have strong feelings about. I admire the achievements of you both and by and large respect what you have to say. It is very important that areas of 'wildness' are kept that way for all time. I am in wholehearted agreement that places like Tafelberg and Krakadouw (and countless others around the country) should be kept as pristine as possible. Towerkop especially should be kept inviolate, Im glad we have ppl like George Nel around!

My perspective on Yellowood is different however:
Some facts: Yellowood already has a fair amount of ironmongery in place, it is not in wilderness setting (the national road is right there), it is situated within an hour's drive of a major city, it is only two and half hours brisk walk from the car - in fact its probably the most accessible big (for SA) wall in the country, it is not in a nature reserve. The rock has some incredible crack lines, but it also features some wild overhangs and sweeping faces, the angle is steep despite the fact the entire range there sits back at about 80 degrees; ie- its desirable terrain for hard climbing.

You add all this together and you can see the appeal of the place to both sport climbers as well as traddies. Personally I dont think a wall like this should this should, effectively, be declared off limits to a large percentage of the climbing population by stopping further sport routes going up (moderate and hard routes).

Anyways.....perhaps we should just let the opening of routes up there happen organically, as it has been, and let the place write its own history. Some guidelines would be good in order to maintain the venue in good order. Prompt communication between interested parties will help to prevent friction, maybe Stuboys idea of a regular pub meet is a good one - I feel like I need a drink! :wink:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Gustav »

Hey Toprope, about that pic:

I am just so glad the people are wearing headlamps.

I have been wanting to put some of those 'grippy things' on all sorts of routes here in 'Boven. I think I'll start with THE BEAST, but I'll take the environmental route and keep it visually clean - I'll only use orange holds. I wonder if 100 of them will get us all the way to the top?

And I'll rename it - I've always wanted to call a route "THE ORANGE ROUTE"...
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by SNORT »

Jeremy, Newborn is climbable by a handful of climbers in SA. Have you ever noticed how the star grading of a route seems to go up with the grade even if its a 5bolt route. So what's my point. If a place like Yellowwood has a bolted route on it that only caters for the "elite" then the logic follows that a moderate bolted route is justified to cater for the LCD. And then there is no stopping the bolting.

You say someone must do the route to judge it. Yes indeed. That was my argument too about the nut on TATWOC. But once you set the precedent there is no end to it. Are you going to chop the bolts if someone bolts a route that criss crosses Prime Time? And by the way, there is still a bottle of very expensive Malt Whisky on the challenge of on-sighting Prime Time in a day at a mere trifling grade of 23. I certainly would not bet same on an on-sight ascent of Newborn at the grade of 29 is it?

Ultimately every major climbing venue will be dumbed down as Mt Everest has been. I just feel it is our responsibility to preserve as much as possible for as long as we can. You have a sprog on the way. You will want your Sprog to experience climbing like you did if he or she so chooses.

There is no big wall quite like Yellowwood near Cape Town that is as accessible and as tradable.

In SA their is Yellowwood and Blouberg. The rest don't quite match up. Leave em alone....
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by dom »

From the point of view of someone who has not climbed trad nor placed bolts, this is an entirely nebulous argument. Is the intention to create some kind of consensus-driven panopticon, or will a committee of he-who-shouts-loudest be better suited, to solve these problems? There's no right answer - it's not far short of a religious argument and, while I'm feeling like an atheist caught in the midst of sectarian violence by typing this, no broad-brush solution is going to resolve the issues.

That said, the rhethoric spouting from both sides makes me ashamed to be a climber - it seems like no-one is willing to budge an inch from their positions, to stop using vituperative, emotional language, to set aside egos and to stop resorting to ad hominem insults and questioning of manhood. This no way to provoke a reasoned debate or reach some kind of mutually-acceptible settlement.

While the bolters have not always toed the right side of the line (arguing progression and evolution), let's not forget that some of the very people who view bolting and sport climbing as the death of "proper" climbing were those who jumped on the evolutionary bandwagons of rock shoes and chalk and cams when they were viewed as bolts are now. Some of them even placed the first bolts. Hell, some of them even placed the odd bolt on trad routes. And that was even viewed as acceptible back then, at least mostly.

No-one here has entirely clean hands - cleaning a trad route not be as harmful as bolting, but it still has an impact. And before you jump down my throat, we boulderers have an impact too, I'm happy to admit that.

Do I believe that there is space for mixed crags? Not really, because I think that, happily, there is enough of a gray area between what can be tradded and what can't be, at least not without resorting to the UKs upper E-grade levels of psychological protection. I'm all for those kinds of routes, but not in sport climbing areas. In the same way, I'm also all for easy sport climbs that I can put beginners on. "Because it's protectable" is a logically acceptible reason for not bolting a route at Yellowwood or Milner or Tafelberg, but it's not necessarily logical at Montagu where prevailing ethics are that it's a sport area. Delineating along those lines is the only way to look at these things. This is where the nebulous argument comes into play - I'll argue that the people bolting traditionally trad crags are not ignorant or beginners and that they know what they're doing, know about the prevailing ethic and choose to ignore it. Where legal sanction can be applied, maybe that is the way to deal with these things. Where it can't, some level of intelligent, bi-directional discussion needs to happen. You can't just chop the bolts and make some ego-driven threats. History has shown us that aggression tends not to expedite the resolution of disagreements.

I write this as an interested observer and as someone who knows a number of the participants in this debate. Jeremy and Tristan are two people whose climbing, commitment and writing I admire, and both seem to be the only people who can, and are willing to, acknowledge that there is a gray area here.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by XMod »

fook :albino: :colors: :scratch: :salut: :cat: :cherry:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Guys and gals:

So... a lot of very good contributions. Good to see more entrants. Shot, guys.

I raised Towerkop because I concur with Jan and George. The hill really should remain utterly natural. We need to include Towerkop in these discussions lest we find a bolt appearing there and then we might have whining Towerkoppies to add to the list!

If we talk about Wolfberg, Tafelberg, Krakadouw and Towerkop being bolt-free venues is there anyone who would feel differently? Who is willing to sign on for these areas being bolt-free? Senior climbers?
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by george nel »

Whining Towerkoppies??Gerookte zol koppies party van julle!! :shock:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by XMod »

Towerkop should be bolt free, the others should be kept 'wild', but bolt free? Doesnt Wolfberg have tons of bolts already? Krakadouw also has mighty fine looking faces... :twisted: :cherry: :jocolor:

Im a bit confused as to why two of the blokes who are so anti bolts here, have themselves placed bolts at these venues. Ok for some in one style but not for others in another style? ... continue debate ad nauseum...

Bad threads happen when bored men do writing!
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by justin »

Oh boy here I go :)

I concur... Wolfberg, Tafelberg, Krakadouw and Towerkop should be bolt free.

Going back to the first thread...I would not trust any of the bolts at Wolfberg.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

what does "bolt-free" mean? on tafelberg you need the bolt to keep the chain on the decent gully in place......
and in the wolfbergcracks the bolts are out-of-sight and on faces that are totally unclimbable on trad. but i wouldn't trust any of them either.

i understand it then to mean no new bolted or mixed routes at these venues?

ps: pls do not chop newborn
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Sam »

Hi Greg,

Why not state the specifics of what you want?

You want Yellowwood as a mixed venue/dedicated sport venue?
You want the community to consider making Wolfberg a mixed venue?

Please - if you have the interests of the sport of climbing at heart - help to keep this debate constructive and consensus-focussed, otherwise it WILL become boring and fizzle out.

sam
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Nic Le Maitre »

mokganjetsi wrote:and in the wolfbergcracks the bolts are out-of-sight and on faces that are totally unclimbable on trad.
Hi

There are plenty of bolts at the Wolfberg on the faces on the right facing up the Gaper (second) crack, all of which are trad-able (take lots of slings for making threads). These bolts are not very clear because they have rusted.
Further up the Gaper crack on the left there are more bolts on untrad-able rock, which have also rusted (these are quite obvious though).

ALL of these bolts in the Gaper crack were placed WITHOUT permission by a bunch of ignorant tourists. They are illegal and dangerous and should be chopped.

Furthermore the Wolfberg is on private land and the landowners do not want bolting on it.

I'm heading up there this weekend, anyone got an battery powered anglegrinder I can borrow?
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

Hi

Two weeks ago I watched John Aaron, who has climbed E10, slip off the first move of Red Rain onto the dicky bolt. I was curiously interested to see it hold. He would have been choppered out if it had snapped.

Red Rain is,arguably, the finest single pitch of climbing in the western cape. It is PitBoltra or whatever that is called. It would be sad to see the single bolt chopped by someone who hasn't climbed it.

Likewise Newborn. Chop the bolts, destroy 10 years of history and call it Stillborn.

I think you would add more to climbing by opening your own routes and setting the kind of example you would like to see other people follow.

I am sorry that people feel so strongly about something they have only seem pictures of. What a pity no one who is debating this so vehemently has actually tried the route.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Jeremy Samson wrote:Likewise Newborn. Chop the bolts, destroy 10 years of history and call it Stillborn.
Whether Yellowwood remains mixed only or not, Newborn should be left well alone IMO. And any calls for it be chopped would be a huge waste of time, and a big up yours to the efforts of many people over the years.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

he nic

i have not noticed the bolts on the tradable lines in the Gaper crack to be honest - the very apparent ones are on those beautiful blank orange & black faces in the gaper crack. if my memory serves me correctly a bunch of them were boted by Saffas (?)

anyways, wouldn't cry if they are chopped.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

I am a little close to this one - again - to be objective. Jono bolted Red Rain and Sanbanessa back in about 1989.

He hand drilled the bolts and placed just 1 on Red Rain and 3 on Sanbanessa as well as a peg. They were incredible at the time climbing a wall that looks impossible. The suggested grade of 24 has now been " bumped up" to 26/27.

He also opened Excellent Birds a trad horror show.A route which has yet to see a repeat.

A battery drill was then introduced and several other routes were opened but these were chopped.
( I agree with this )

Red Rain was on the cover of Mountain magazine, quoted as the best pitch on sandstone in the world as it climbs a magnificant crimson coloured wall.
It will soon appear again in Climber magazine. It also outshines anything in Arapiles and I rate it as one of the top pitches I have ever climbed.

Perhaps chop a few routes near Celestial but I will offer to chop all the bolts off Cattle Rustler and Little Dutch Boy in return for that one bolt that we took 5 hours to handdrill 20 years ago.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hector »

Jeremy raises a question that has bugged me in the past - what do we do with the old routes in "exclusive trad" areas that have one or two bolts on them? The kloofs have a scattering of such routes. Some are brilliant, some are pretty random, most are not very safe nowadays. My solution would be to replace the bolts on the "good" routes and either chop or just leave the others. But who decides which routes are good? I suppose its not too much of an issue up north - the MCSA has already rebolted many of the old full sport routes in the kloofs, and I doubt it will be too difficult to get permission to fix up the one-bolt-wonders. But in places like Wolfberg its a lot more thorny - would the owners bend on their rules for a route like Red Rain? If they would, then the question of which routes are "good" and which ones not becomes more relevant.

Speaking of which, Jeremy, Justin, can't you post a pic of Red Rain on the site? It sounds amazing...
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