Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

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stuboy
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by stuboy »

Hi everyone and Hilton.

This is a very important topic and I'm glad to see climbers are concerned about it and adding much insight. I got aggressive because of the last paragraph in the first posting. With regards to points 3, 4, and 5. It was very up there with man enough and so on, it was about New Born and it was about Jeremy ( Sean Maasch ). All the other points I agree with and we should focus on those and leave the hero stories of breaking ankles, big balls, not man enough, ..... out of it. I personally do not have big balls and do not want to break my ankles.

XMod and Tristan have made some fantastic points and I trust that with this kind of mind set South African rock climbing can move forward and continue to grow.

Your in Climbing.

Stuart.
Hilton
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Stuart:
not "I got aggressive" but rather "I am aggressive". You damage this discussion. So many of the hard climbers won't contribute because they don't want the sort of treatment you dish out so liberally. Just think for a minute of the sort of guys I speak of. You know them. They don't have personalities that want to go into the ring with you kicking and biting. (And every time one walks away from you, you give a prod in the back.) But you know that they're good, smart guys. And have very well-considered opinions. Would you be willing to say things that might get them involved? Can you leave me out of your stories from hereon out? My back is getting bruised...

Stu:
Since when is a multi-pitch sport climber owed anything? Is a multi-pitch sport climber in Cape Town who doesn't own a car owed the right to bolt a multi-pitch sport route on Table Mountain? How can you be owed the right to fulfil your desires? I might aspire to building a 10-storey building on the beachfront in Hout Bay. I might aspire to driving my car at 220 kph on the freeway. I might aspire to creating big graffitti art at Boven. I might aspire to free healthcare. So? If you want unimpeded access to bolt multi-pitch sport routes go to Sardinia or someplace appropriate. I wouldn't suggest Yosemite though. The price could be high! Fulfilment of aspiration is not a right mate. If you want to operate with some degree of harmony in a community you have to negotiate the right, accept that you don't get the right, or you have to first acquire ownership.


Moving on...

Wayne73 asked if I have any ideas. Sure. Thanks for asking. And thanks to the other guys for coming forward. Some of these funny name things I don't know but very good to hear from senior climbers: Neil Havenga, Andy Davies, Gustav van Rensburg, Hector Pringle, Jeremy Samson, Stuart Brown, Richard Behne, Tristan Firman. It would be good to hear from lots more of the guys who have put in big milage. And there are so many. Unfortunately most of them won't participate. Maybe for a round-table at Foresters Arms though.

Okay, so anyone can go out and bolt a ladder up some great, historic trad venue. And anyone can go out and chop all those bolts. And anyone actively involved in climbing in the Cape and with a bit of nous can see what's coming down the track.
The best system is not one that starts with rules and enforcers. I've deliberately stayed away from the law in this discussion. The best system is one where there are shared values and shared vision. And then happy people excel.
The Stuart Brown model is 'everyone do as they please and no one should be restrained in any way' alternatively 'lets go and chop the bolts on Wolfberg'
The Marshall1 story is 'well not you nor anyone else is actually going to do anything so therefore give it a miss'.
Clearly Neil, Andy, Hector, Jeremy, Richard and Tristan don't agree with these guys but I won't put words in their mouthes.

So, Wayne73...My plan...

1. get the community involved, and not just online;
2. illustrate that things have changed and are not conforming to an old agreement;
2. clarify the issues (and we know this is not about saving the world);
3. try to get a consensus position that has wide approval;
4. clean up and remove old bolts where that is generally agreed.

Do I have views? Sure I do. I've expressed many of them already. Do I see a workable solution? Sure I do. Otherwise I wouldn't have started this painful thing. But I can't put a solution on the table right up front can I? These things have to be fought from both extremes by vocal advocates before they all settle on what was always pretty obvious. (but I happen to be pretty close in thinking to a tall guy from up north, with some additions such as what the young German guys did at Yellowwood is totally fine)
Stu
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Hilton wrote:Stu:
Since when is a multi-pitch sport climber owed anything? Is a multi-pitch sport climber in Cape Town who doesn't own a car owed the right to bolt a multi-pitch sport route on Table Mountain? How can you be owed the right to fulfil your desires? I might aspire to building a 10-storey building on the beachfront in Hout Bay. I might aspire to driving my car at 220 kph on the freeway. I might aspire to creating big graffitti art at Boven. I might aspire to free healthcare. So? If you want unimpeded access to bolt multi-pitch sport routes go to Sardinia or someplace appropriate. I wouldn't suggest Yosemite though. The price could be high! Fulfilment of aspiration is not a right mate. If you want to operate with some degree of harmony in a community you have to negotiate the right, accept that you don't get the right, or you have to first acquire ownership.
Hilton, you're overreacting.
I wasn't making a demand or saying I have the right to anything. I was simply offering a few points from the sport climbers perspective. This is a discussion/debate, right? As such I have the right to say my piece, as do you.

Harmony - it seems that the majority of people within the 'community' would support the idea of a few decent multi-pitch sport routes being opened, with the trad-only crowd seemingly in the minority. However that doesn't necessarily make it right to haul out the drill and bolt either. In fact it seems there is alot more respect for these sensitive areas than you give the rest of us credit for - but as soon as a bolt is placed/or suggested anywhere close to some sacred trad area (which in some cases have half the route bolted), we hear cries of foul murder. You seem entirely unbending on the issue.
Climbing has come a very long way since it's simple beginnings, and if we are to see any progression in SA we have to look forward, while still preserving the past.

The fact is none of us are owed anything, unless it's on private land - so essentially you and the trad elitists don't have sole right to the mountains either. I'm sorry to say it but their is a distinct elitist vibe coming from certain quarters, as if only a certain group of people know what is best for the future of our mountains.

I'm curious as to what solutions/compromises you would offer?
What makes Du Toit's Kloof in particular an inappropriate place to bolt? Again, within reason and after careful consideration.
Last edited by Stu on Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tristan
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

Before I get to the meat of my post I will respond to Stu's last:
The "Trad-Elite" - your words - are in the minority because they are the minority in numbers. However they are the vocal, seemingly uncompromising, lot because by it's very nature the genre of Trad over sport is likely to conjure more emotive passion. And I reiterate what I said before - until such time as "you" have embraced trad seriously (as apposed to Serious Trad) and put in the associated commitment necessary, "you" will never understand. It is worth noting that ALL of the "elitist minority" you mention ALSO Sport climb, how many of the "common majority" also trad seriously?

Perhaps the well-rounded experience of the former offer them a pedestal of perspective? Perhaps "they" have a basis for their opinions?

Similarly, imagine the opinions from the "common-majority" if elements from within the "elitist-minority" were to trad routes and remove the bolts? Think this VERY carefully through - because there are folk out there who are both bold AND uber strong. Sport crags would disapear - would that not raise a little words from the "common-majority"?

I am not going to merit your Du Toits-specific comment with much retort other than:
- for the most part (of the range) I cannot think of a many walls worth the effort. Which brings me to my next..
- how many routes have you climbed in the range, vs looked at thru the window en route to Montague? (don't reply here as it will detract from the point of the topic and reduce a general solution driven forum into nit-picking individual tangents of negligible meaning in the grander scheme

.....

Hilton I propose that, the time has arrived in this topic, to accept (for the interim) that:
- there is place for Sport-Climbing-Specific area's
- there is a place for Trad-Specific area's
- there is room for mixed arena's

By and large:
- Current Trad-Specific area's, largely, fall on conservation land and thus to all intents and purposes are closed to bolting
- current Sport area's are, well, already there

Sooo, what remains is for a consensus on:
- how to advocate the existing area's to the ill-informed. Here I refer, in part, to the international community who may come from regions where it is ethically accepted to bolt anything and everything. Wolfberg springs to mind.
And before ANYONE jumps up and down pointing their fingers at the MCSA, be warned that my PM retort to you will degenerate both in vocab and restraint unless you are, or have been, an active member involved in trying to do something for this community. Remember that NOTHING happens when the average person does nothing. It is very easy to point and condemn - and it's a no-win situation for the organization.

- how to decide what area's are worth mixing it up

Further more I propose that consensus be reached to remove the bolts (or just the hangers) from area's deemed "hanger-free". There are not that many...

Tristan

Ps: for the "common-majority" wanting a ticklist to try and broaden their views, PM me I will happily oblige, even give you beta.
Pps: I await the opening of a "wall" route "for the masses" - i.e. sub 20 (else in itself it will be elitist) - and to hear comments of its worthiness. But maybe my cynisism is biased by the volume I have experienced.
Lowry
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Lowry »

So
I may represent the "great unwashed " or the "common majority." Even though I got into climbing through trad and getting super gripped on various trad routes, I don't think that that should give me any moral authority, should one be required.
I do agree that there should be certain designated bolt free areas where the true wilderness experience can be maintained, I think we owe that to future generations.
But more pressing is the need for an easy (minus 20) multi pitch sport route in the Western Cape and dare I say it even on TM, (not just that unfinished mountain, Paarl Rock). I personally think that we as climbers should develop a super easy super friendly sport climb to take all the WAGs and friends up. This would allow a greater proportion of the population to experience what we experience and may also lead to people then understanding why so called country routes and other areas should be wilderness areas.
p.s thanks google:
According to Bentham, the most moral acts are those which maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Maximizing the general happiness by calculating the greatest good for the greatest number.
In this instance long multi pitch safe sport routes in accessible areas!
Just a thought - :thumright
mokganjetsi
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by mokganjetsi »

according to that definition few things really worthwhile will ever be "moral" - pleasure is such a weak definition of value; human gratification tends to happen at the expense of nature in most of what we do; a "moral" voice will rely on understanding and wisdom that extends far beyond the confines of the senses and our (generally short-termist) judgment....... anyways, enough philosophy for now

i only scanned through the essays that are now being posted, and is a bit miffed at how much analysis is going into "who said exactly what and how it offended me" stuff
Stu
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Tristan wrote:Before I get to the meat of my post I will respond to Stu's last:
The "Trad-Elite" - your words - are in the minority because they are the minority in numbers. However they are the vocal, seemingly uncompromising, lot because by it's very nature the genre of Trad over sport is likely to conjure more emotive passion. And I reiterate what I said before - until such time as "you" have embraced trad seriously (as apposed to Serious Trad) and put in the associated commitment necessary, "you" will never understand. It is worth noting that ALL of the "elitist minority" you mention ALSO Sport climb, how many of the "common majority" also trad seriously?
For the record, I'm partially playing devil's advocate here.
Tristan, I can't believe you resorted to the old 'trad is better than sport/bouldering argument'. While I happen to agree, I know pleny of boulderers, and even competition climbers who would not - in fact they would argue that their dedication and training schedule would surpass even your love for the big untamed walls.

I'm curious - what are the requirements for one to have "embraced trad seriously". How many routes should I have climbed? 25, 50, 100?
Note that I used the "elitist minority" tag deliberately regarding this thread, and doesn't reflect my actual sentiments towards the traddies amoung us.
It seems that the problem with your line of thinking is that unless you love trad above all others styles of climbing, your opinion counts for less?
There are many people who have their climbing rooted in trad, but for whatever reason prefer sport or bouldering - including seeing trad as the perfect avenue once a few gray hairs have sprouted up top.
Perhaps the well-rounded experience of the former offer them a pedestal of perspective? Perhaps "they" have a basis for their opinions?
Sure you do have a point, but we all have our bias whether 'well-rounded or not. If you see yourself arguing from an elevated position then there is not much room for compromise.
Similarly, imagine the opinions from the "common-majority" if elements from within the "elitist-minority" were to trad routes and remove the bolts

Think this VERY carefully through - because there are folk out there who are both bold AND uber strong. Sport crags would disapear - would that not raise a little words from the "common-majority"??
This is a tired, old and flawed argument. No one is suggesting bolting exisiting trad lines!! Just like no one is suggesting chopping bolts. So are you then suggesting that all future lines everywhere belong to the realm of trad only - keep in mind that no one is advocating the bolting of splitter cracks that accept bomber.
I am not going to merit your Du Toits-specific comment with much retort other than:
- for the most part (of the range) I cannot think of a many walls worth the effort. Which brings me to my next..
You obviously haven't looked hard enough, or haven't got an eye for a decent sport route then :) There are few guys on the prowl at the moment. Regarding those activities - from the ground up to the 5th pitch there is NO place for gear, and yet offers some world-class sport climbing. I know for a fact that those involved had gone out with the intention of bolting where necessary and trading where possible, but so far there is no place for gear.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Dark Horse »

Tristian..

You write beautifully...
Marshall1
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Marshall1 »

Good men will do nothing....bad things happen

You said it all Hilton. All the "big names" quoted have not stopped the evil tide.

The world is big enough, so are most crags. Short list of EC evil-mixed venues: Mary, Hog, NSA, Windmill, van Stadens Pinnacle, Naggas, Slipper. No areas are declared trad only. Every area is mixed. Most climbers sport/trad/boulder as the moment grabs them. Each one does as he/she pleases without restraint. Keith James, our local grey hair, has engendered a mature culture of tolorence, co-existance, tethered ego & short toes(harder to stand on).
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XMod
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by XMod »

Tristan; you may write beautifully(??) but you dont really make any valid points. Why should antone have to 'seriously embrace' (whatever that means?) trad in order to have a valid opinion, or to make a valuable contribution to climbing at places like Yellowood?? If anyone is sounding like an exclusive minority its you! All this talk of chopping and whole sport crags disappearing - wot a load of pox mate! Seriously! Get real! What you are really saying is that you traddies are pooping youselves that all your lines are going to disappear under a swathe of bolts. Again in reality this is highly unlikely. Give bolters some credit, we too have an eye for a line and most likely those lines are very different in conception to any trad line.

Reality: 1. These walls are FAR from the car and lugging in 50kg packs is SERIOUS afkak - ie development will naturally be slow. 2. Future sport lines are likely to follow different features to trad routes most probably taking on blank faces and aretes and steering clear of those delicious cracks you guys love so much.

This all a load of panic for nothing. There is room at Yellowood for both trad, sport and mixed routes to co-exist quite happily. I agree that any bolter should at the very least thouroughly acquaint thensleves with the existing trad routes (and preferably sample a few too) but if common sense is used and open discussion maintained then there is no reason why sport routes cannot be put up there. I myself am eyeing a four pitch line just off to one side of the main action. It will most likely be at a very accessable grade too (if not with an accessible walk-in, but then you dont go up there for the convenience, rather the isolation, elevation and inacessability). And there are many more similar lines there which could also be developed without encroaching in the slightest. Its important in a discussion like this to stick to concrete and objective facts, not ramble off on some lyrical diatrabe bemoaning our lost innocence, it just doesnt contribute anything worthwhile - sorry.

What may be worthwhile is creating a Yellowood forum of active FA's (and would be FA's) where potential routes can be openly discussed and thus the development 'steered' in the right direction. I dont think a free for all is the right way of doing things, that is bound to end in tears and friction. So, food for thought? Such a forum would need some ground rules, like if a party reveals a project they are keen on in order to discuss with their peers, others in the forum may not go out and steal the line quickly. What else would be useful? What else can be done to manage development there? Throwing your hands up in horror and wanting to ban all bolts just doesnt cut it Im afraid!

May good things happen when bad men do something!!!!
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Tristan
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

@ Darkhorse, I may well write beautifully, but apparently I write in such a way as to confuse - perhaps bland point-form will help with my points...or the readers responding to my post should be on the other topic - the one with modern typing and cellphone grammar as, it would seem, it's easier to understand.


But it would appear that the Devil, his advocate and ilk readith not what is written, merely what they want to read. Stu and Xmod perhaps you should re-read my post and contextualize it with the posts before it.

@ XMod, uhm...where's the panic? Who is panicking? If I am not mistaken this thread was initiated with the realization that simplistic trad / sport is (possibly) no longer as simple as it once was, and thus a consensussed and rational way forward is being sort - by the VERY people you seem to think are panicking.
For the record, I NEVER said you could not, or do not, have a valid opinion sans having "seriously embraced" trad...re-read if u must.

@ Stu, where do I resort to the trad is better than sport? It's a validation to the vociferous stances. If you happen to agree that trad is better than sport, then you are on your own there bro - I completely disagree. Climbing is climbing, in whatever manner you find suites you, but do not label people as something until you have partaken in their passions, and thus understand the view points. By the by, the only people being judged here are the "traddies". Funny how the judged don't slag their accusers.

Likewise you question in an earlier post why it is that "traddies" should have exclusive right to, for arguments sake, Du Toits (which, incidentally is not the case), and I equate the protectiveness shown by the "traddies" toward their playground to how sporters would feel if their area's were threatened. A contextualisation, not a threat. :roll:
The issue here, is that the only people advocating "compromise" are the traddies - yes, read my post again. Yet the likes of you and Xmod demand rights and access to do as you see fit, presume that the traddies are worried that their mountains will disappear under a swathe of bolts - YET you overlook the fact that it is the very same panicking, scared traddies who are saying "guys, lets compromise, there is place for both"?

@ Xmod, "there is room at yellowood..." - uhmmm, isn't that what I said?

But Xmod does, finally, actually have something constructive: the forum of FA's and future FA's. Now we are getting somewhere....but it's taken you a few posts to arrive at the very place of compromise and way-forward-seeking as the original intent of the topic sought.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Tristan wrote:@ Stu, where do I resort to the trad is better than sport? It's a validation to the vociferous stances. If you happen to agree that trad is better than sport, then you are on your own there bro - I completely disagree. Climbing is climbing, in whatever manner you find suites you, but do not label people as something until you have partaken in their passions, and thus understand the view points. By the by, the only people being judged here are the "traddies". Funny how the judged don't slag their accusers.
The "Trad-Elite" - your words - are in the minority because they are the minority in numbers. However they are the vocal, seemingly uncompromising, lot because by it's very nature the genre of Trad over sport is likely to conjure more emotive passion.

The above statment has suttle hints of the old Trad vs Sport vs Bouldering argument, but lets leave that well alone then...
It's not a case of what is "better" and never has been, but rather what style of climbing suits each individual.

Come on Tristan, there's a reason only the traddies are being 'judged' - it is a particular part of their playground, which has thus far been off-limits, that sport climbers are now looking towards to further their genre in SA. Again, NO ONE is suggesting bolting at Wolfberg, TM or any of the many other trad venues. It is, for me anyway, a debate regarding access to multi-pitch sport routes, which inevitably finds us heading towards the bigger kloofs.
Likewise you question in an earlier post why it is that "traddies" should have exclusive right to, for arguments sake, Du Toits (which, incidentally is not the case), and I equate the protectiveness shown by the "traddies" toward their playground to how sporters would feel if their area's were threatened. A contextualisation, not a threat. :roll:
The issue here, is that the only people advocating "compromise" are the traddies - yes, read my post again. Yet the likes of you and Xmod demand rights and access to do as you see fit, presume that the traddies are worried that their mountains will disappear under a swathe of bolts - YET you overlook the fact that it is the very same panicking, scared traddies who are saying "guys, lets compromise, there is place for both"?
I understand that, but your areas are not threatened at all!
You make it sound as if sport climbers are demanding access to all existing trad areas. Have you actually read my (and others) posts - coexistance has been my suggestion from the get-go. In fact you will find that my views on moving forward are very similar to yours...
But Xmod does, finally, actually have something constructive: the forum of FA's and future FA's. Now we are getting somewhere....but it's taken you a few posts to arrive at the very place of compromise and way-forward-seeking as the original intent of the topic sought.
At the start of this debate it I found the views very polarized, but we are now working towards a middle ground. But yeah, it's definitely time to halt the mudslinging and look towards a more constructive solution.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by GBM »

R Messner made the point so much better in 1971 when he wrote “murdering the impossible” … These few extracts are particularly insightful:

Expansion bolts are taken for granted nowadays; they are kept to hand just in case some difficulty cannot be overcome by ordinary methods.

Today's climber doesn't want to cut himself off from the possibility of retreat: he carries his courage in his rucksack, in the form of bolts and equipment.

Rock faces are no longer overcome by climbing skill, but are humbled, pitch by pitch, by methodical manual labor; what isn't done today will be done tomorrow. Free-climbing routes are dangerous, so the are protected by pegs. Ambitions are no longer built on skill, but on equipment and the length of time available. The decisive factor isn't courage, but technique; an ascent may take days and days, and the pegs and bolts counted in the hundreds.

Take a climber o a rock face, iron rungs beneath his feet and all around him only yellow, overhanging rock. Already tired, he bores another hole above the last peg. He won't give up. Stubbornly, bolt by bolt, he goes on. His way, and none other, must be forced up the face.

Faith in equipment has replaced faith in oneself; a team is admired for the number of bivouacs it makes, while the courage of those who still climb "free" is derided as a manifestation of lack of conscientiousness.

Who has polluted the pure spring of mountaineering?

Put on your boots and get going. If you've got a companion, take a rope with you and a couple of pitons for your belays, but nothing else. I'm already on my way, ready for anything - even for retreat, if I meet the impossible. I'm not going to be killing any dragons, but if anyone wants to come with me, we'll go to the top together on the routes we can do without branding ourselves murderers.

He is one of the few that has the right to question the "boredom of bolts"!
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by SNORT »

About 5 years ago I on-sighted the second pitch of Africa Arête 25; never done it since and promised myself I would not. Until this last Sunday Willem Le Roux and I “ascended” it: (A few days before I managed a clean ascent of Out to Lunch 24.)

Our ascent was so “spectacular” that we thought we should rename the route “Dog Food” seeing as we made such a meal of it.

Here is the route description:
Pitch 1.

Climb the first pitch (clean) graded 25 but what felt like grade 23 last time. Willem lead the pitch in fine style. Engender a little concern that it feels a little harder than you remember and maybe it is 25.

Stance. Don kit.

Pitch 2: Under-cling and peruse the “Damocles” flakes. Traverse right 3m to the gully. Take a good look at the flakes. Place a nut far right, come back to the under-cling; place blue alien cam; have another look; sit back on stance; don diaper (nappy) just in case. Traverse back to gully; remove nut; remove alien; traverse left around corner to Dynamite start; fail on that too; lean round and try lasso flake; get Willem who is taller to help.

Aid on sling on Damocles flake and complete move up to left after placing the yellow alien blind in the yellow slot; stand and tremble. Willem says the Alien looks “OK”. Try about 5 times to place nut in next expanding flake; try move - 3 times; aid on nut on expanding flake that creaks and groans. Try forget that between you and a monster 20m fall is one nut in the expanding flake and an “OK” yellow Alien in shallow slot that you placed blind. Do very thin move to good rail. Make a hanging stance; feel relieved. Change your nappy. Take a Valium.

Willem comes up.

He climbs to next rail; sags on gear – twice – falls off twice too.

Gets to next rail – sags on gear. Tries move, falls off again,

Gets to next rail, falls off 3 times. Gets to top shattered.

My SMS to him later that day: Thanks for a spectacularly unsuccessful but great day! When we going back?

So what’s the point of describing a catastrophic and rapacious “ascent” of a hard and scary and very bold trad route? Well, it’s a great outing full of fear and failure and fear of failure. It’s the ultimate adventure and it serves to conjure up an extreme desire to return to the route to do it again in good style. And more especially with your buddy who was there with you and shared your pain.

How do you ruin the route and therefore the experience? Place just 3 bolts or at most 4 on that pitch and you will convert a mind mangling, gripping and exhilarating pitch into just another moderately hard sport route. Oh and remember that you are likely to step in human shit on the way to the base of the route and possibly even Que for it.

To reiterate, I on-sighted this pitch about 5 years ago and it has not lost any of it’s allure or fear factor since then. If you have been climbing for any length of time on sport and trad you will understand exactly what I am talking about and if you don’t, it is not even worth telling you “to get a life”.

The reality is that bolts in most cases "relatively" and and many more cases "absolutely" dumb down routes that attracts and allows for the lowest common denominator of the human species to attempt the route and with it comes the degradation of wild and wonderful places.

The other kind of place that attracts and allows for a similar genre of the human kind is Mt. Everest which, with it's Sherpa's holding your hand, fixed ropes and ladders is really also just a sport route. Something like 50 tons of trash is left on Everest each year.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

I knew this would be heavy going...

I can't respond to the nonsense of some of these respondents; to the guys saying intelligent things - thank you. I realise that the painful guys are probably kids who are being provocative to test the system.

Guys and Gals:

This story is not about Yellowwood, Jeremy, Newborn, sport v trad, egos, etc. If I may remind you, as you will see in my initial letter, my opening piece is about high aesthetic values and the loss of the special qualities of our world-class multi-pitch trad venues due to the appearance of sport routes.

In my pieces I've written about:
"appropriateness" (2nd)
"discerning bolting is great" (3rd)
"these are the early days and we're figuring things out" (4th)
"as things are going climbers face a future where Du Toits Kloof will have hundreds or thousands of bolted lines" (4th)
my vision of "minimal-bolts-only-where-essential-in-trad-areas" (4th)
"a bolt ladder nearby changes all that" (5th)
"gaze into the future" (5th)
"this is not about an uncompromising position" (7th)
"this debate is about building consensus" (7th)

To build consensus:
this process needs many, many climbers. We need the input of many more senior climbers (no order): Tony, Tienie, Ed, Andy dK, Snort, Dave (several), Chris, Kevin, Bruce, Jeremy(s), Adam, Franci, Scarre, Brian, Gosia, Mark (several), Alan, Karl, Butch, Microbe, Steve, Bryant, Dirk, Sean, Jason, Beth, Douw, Andrew, John, Ross, Malcolm, Clinton, Justin, and the many other hundreds of great climbers (sorry I haven't named you...)

On the subject of values and ethics:
1. with the greatest respect to that lekker guy and awesome climber Jeremy, the first ascentionist does not get to dictate the style of a route. Not if he's bolted a line up Magnetic Wall, not if he tradded a line in Higgovale Quarry 30 years ago. It still has to be appropriate doesn't it?
2. Stewart, Stuart, and the kids say that bolts don't affect trad climbers and the trad climbers must live with them. Since when do rapists get to tell rape victims that they must live with what's perpetrated on them? The multi-disciplinary trad climbers aren't trying to force something on the ladder-bolters. The ladder-bolters have to try to win approval for their via ferrata in the pristine nature areas.
3. on the (sport) crag yesterday I had a good chat with Richard Behne. Now here's a guy who should be South Africa's leading climber on the West Face of Makalu, and who is a professional guide and general tower of strength. Richard re-iterates his written words: "the argument of whether it can be climbed with or without bolts is irrelevant. Maybe some pieces of rock should be left unclimber." He has a compelling point, eh?

Moving on...

The Law:
It is a criminal offence to bolt on Cape Nature property without express permission.

Access:
Bolt ladders are generally offensive in high-value nature areas (with some exceptions like the Big M) and it would be pretty naive to believe that they won't affect access in the future. We've had problems in the past (eg Wolfberg (private), Rocklands (Cape Nature)). Without a question, bolt ladders are going to present access problems in years to come. Its a definite if we don't get control of ourselves. You don't have to be visionary to see it...

Next level later.
Last edited by Hilton on Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

@ Stu
In 9-odd posts by yourself you have not offered anything meaningful wrt a workable solution to the way forward or the way forward, yet habitually focus on the smaller, more specific, and inherently contentious issues. And you interpret my (attempted) explanations to suite a contentious debate.

But to get back to my questions of some posts back, which none of you have attempted to contribute toward (I have highlighted in colour to help keep focus):

I propose that, the time has arrived in this topic, to accept (for the interim) that:
- there is place for Sport-Climbing-Specific area's
- there is a place for Trad-Specific area's
- there is room for mixed arena's

By and large:
- Current Trad-Specific area's, largely, fall on conservation land and thus to all intents and purposes are closed to bolting
- current Sport area's are, well, already there

Sooo, what remains is for a consensus on:
- how to advocate the existing area's to the ill-informed. Here I refer, in part, to the international community who may come from regions where it is ethically accepted to bolt anything and everything. The bolts in the Wolfberg cracks (placed by foreigners) springs to mind.

- how to decide what area's are worth mixing it up

Further more I propose that consensus be reached to remove the bolts (or just the hangers) from area's deemed "hanger-free". There are not that many...
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Tristan wrote:@ Stu
In 9-odd posts by yourself you have not offered anything meaningful wrt a workable solution to the way forward or the way forward, yet habitually focus on the smaller, more specific, and inherently contentious issues. And you interpret my (attempted) explanations to suite a contentious debate.
Please read my first post - below is an excerpt, and reflects some of my views:
As for the contentious issues, well I was merely responding to points made by others.

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?
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 Scott »

Hilton pointing out the legalities of the issue is important. Climbers WILL bolt routes in Du Toits, I know I have and with not too much regard to Cape Nature but high regard to access and getting the local climbing scene in trouble. It is my opinion that the only way Cape Nature will know of any sport routes or bolting in Du Toits is from a climber telling them with all the best intentions.
It seems like we went through a similar problem at Rocklands, locals illegal bolting, foreigners bolting (ok euros we all know expat Americans like myself sound foreign but try hard to fit in) The scope of a mutlipitch is different but maybe we do the same thing and have a plan in place similar to Rocklands where the MCSA issues permits with the permission of Cape Nature. Just use the exact same permit process.
Im not a fan of gun ownership but the NRA (National Rifle association of America) had a T-shirt a few years ago that said "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns". So when you outlaw bolting only outlaws will bolt, and they are. I am all for pushing the bounds and have been actively developing sport routes for 15+ years, sometimes people think the routes or areas are kak or sometimes lekker (see Im no bolt crazy euro trash!) but it is about progress. One mans bolt ladder eye soar is another mans dream route.
I love trad climbing and whenever I am trading on TM or Wolfberg I see sport lines in between that would be great. not gonna touch them because those are hangerless (great term, I guess) areas but the minute Cape Nature has someone with enough money and political clout you will see a via ferrata crossing half a dozen "classic" trad climbs. some well placed multipitch sport routes NOT on TM or Wolfberg etal but in some of the other country areas would be a great addition to WP climbing, lets work on a permit process so they are legal and not encroaching on a trad line.
Hilton, why are the sport climbs at Milner the exception? Not meant as an attack in anyway just trying to understand the debate.
Cheers
Scott Miller

Dark Horse, don't complement Tristan he gets a big head and his helmet that he doesn't wear enough wont fit.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

Scooter, the sport climbs at MilnerTON (in the Free State :) ) are different because the crag makes it real easy to manage. I.E. it is not Tradd-able and ergo bolting does not impact on existing or potential trad lines.
My interest in this (debate) is how to manage co-existence. There are other crags similar to MilnerTON, which will not impact on existing area's, yet bolters want access to existing trad-only area's.

I am curious why it is that the likes of Stu, XMod and Lowry feel the need to have multi-pitch sport lines? If you cannot get value out of climbing 9 pitches of sport back-to-back at Silvermine, then it is apparent that you seek something else? And XMod hit's some of it when he says:
"...but then you dont go up there for the convenience, rather the isolation, elevation and inacessability”.
(sic)

Uhm, but you are quite happy to add bolts to make it accessible? Is that not detracting from exactly what you are seeking?

And this is my contention: how / who gets to regulate what is being bolted?

XMod and Stu are at pains to say that they are not advocating grid-bolting, BUT this is not something that either of them can guarantee if area's are "opened". Take the squeezed (grid) bolting at Oudtshoorn for eg. - it was surely never intended to be that way, yet there it is.
They advocate only bolting lines which they deem sport-worthy. But that, in itself, is exclusive - they only want to bolt what THEY feel is worthy.

In my simplistic opinion, there are great sport pitches in places like, for arguments sake, Yellowood. But I, personally, do not believe that there are great sport (only) routes there, and I question the merit of a 4-pitch sport route there - it seems out of place. But then, as Stu points out, I clearly do not have an eye for good sport lines. I also don't have an eye for route-butchering under the guise of mass-appeal. But that is my version of aesthetics, and part of what Hilton is trying to discuss.

Scooter, I am tossing my helmet and await the bolting of the routes which need it 8)
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

I'm splitting my posts so as not to appear to ramble in lyrical diatribe too much. But sticking to "the objective facts", yes bolting is and will happen illegally - it always has. But wouldn't it be more constructive to develop things with consensus and transparency?

- identify the differing objectives and aesthetics of each genre
- trying to retain the integrity of those genre's, if possible, side-by-side
- find cross-genre benefits
- identifying area's and crags which facilitate the development and progress of each discipline
<if need be or you guys want it, I'll elaborate on these musings of mine>

As much as I despise "authority" and "rules", the reality is that there are may interested/affected parties in this, some of whom (CNC et al) are more bureaucratic than others. Perhaps some form of guide-lines / management plan is worthwhile.

The alternative is to muddle along as we have for ever. "Illegal" sport routes will pop up (and i will climb them) slowly, and those who've always gotten into wild places still will. Everyone wins? BUT, there is no development - no feedback to the future generations. This model provides for everyone to look after themselves without a proactive and combined view to the future. It works, it always has - but it's selfish.

<run's and get his helmet from the bin and cowers in expectation of the lynching>
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Do you seriously believe that a sudden sway of bolters will head up the 4-hour (6-hour with drill) hike to commence on a bolting frenzy? Foreigners aside (we have to watch out for them), I believe there is far more respect amongst sport climbers for the big 'trad' walls than you seem to suggest. Let's face it, there are really only a handful of guys who would put in the effort required to open sport routes on those walls, and they would inevitably have some trad experience.
I am curious why it is that the likes of Stu, XMod and Lowry feel the need to have multi-pitch sport lines? If you cannot get value out of climbing 9 pitches of sport back-to-back at Silvermine, then it is apparent that you seek something else?
Uuum, I'm not sure I understand... but if I do, let me turn that around then - If you cannot get value out of climbing 9 pitches of trad back-to-back at Muizenberg, then it is apparent that you seek something else?
Sorry dude, but that is just a ludicrous statement to make, as that logic would then negate the need for a crag like MilnerTON or Yellowwood?

No, you misunderstand. It's not what we deem sport-worthy, but what is sport-worthy, no matter who bolts it. Similarly, you don't deem a 4 pitch sport route worthy at Yellowwood - yes opinions vary, but surely some form of consensus can be reached.

The question (threat?) of the law has been raised. Yet I'm curious - if one heads out to open a trad/bolted route, then it is deemed ok to do so, no matter the amount of bolts placed? But if it is a bolt-only line, we are suddenly open to prosecution?? What if there are 100 bolts on a 'mixed' route - where do you draw the line, and at what point does it simply become farcical and entirely subjective.

If it's simply aesthetics and that some are worried about then what about routes like Private Universe or even the new trad route (sporting a few bolts) on Yellowwood?

Yes, we all agree that:
- certain areas should remain trad-only
- certain areas are sport-only
- there are certain areas that are/should remain mixed

So where to from here? Various solutions have been suggested here, but for anything concrete to be achieved we need a thread dedicated to just that, void of pedestals and mud-slinging.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Scott:
Thanks for your good words.
I'm not going the bureaucratic route. I have no interest in pursuing that game. And I definitely will not be a policeman. My interest is in the areas of influence and culture. I recognise that these are early days, that we all make mistakes and a strong, open culture with some high values is best.
I've placed some bolts that I regret. I've created at least one access furore. [I wrote an article on Du Toits Peak Column for SA Mountain Magazine and said we climbed under the locked gate - man, I got it in the neck for that from a bureaucrat]
Bureaucracy is not my angle. But I can see what is coming at us if guys are going to flagrantly bolt ladders. But my starting point on this issue is the pain felt (by me and various others) caused by the desecration of high-value historic trad areas. Although some of our fellow climbers are adamant that we cannot have such feelings.

Scott, as for multi-pitch sport I think its just great - where appropriate. For example Paarl Rocks, Montagu or the Big M. For various reasons they're appropriate. Mostly to do with the lack of natural gear and that they never were high-value historic trad areas.

Stu:
Without naming venues, I embrace the style used by the young Germans. As you point out it's what I did on Private Universe. It's what has been done on Oceans of Fear and has been done on Blouberg. The Big M is totally different and maybe there will be other discoveries like it. I hope so.
Stu, the impact of fully-bolted sport lines is very different to the impact of TraPitBol routes ("trad-piton-bolt" routes, to borrow from the Germans). Surely you must agree?
I'm going to go back to my previous post and edit out your name and Greg's. I'm not the policeman. Then I'm going to put up my first proposal.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

Hi all.

I am not making this up. There is a wall deep inside DuToits. It's about 6 pitches high. The 'piece de resistance' is a huge sweep of perfectly overhanging orange rock of - I'm guessing - 40 meters of very steep climbing of a high grade ( like 27+) It'll be a monster- I reckon and will require bolts to get directly through. There is perhaps one other hard pitch the others will be in the low 20's.

To be honest I was thinking of bolting the whole thing just so future parties can wander in ( 5 hours ) to climb it with just quickdraws. It will be a sensational day's outing.

However I sense a wave of disagreement in this ethic. Perhaps just a few bolts now and then would be better ? No bolts would mean you would end up clambering up a grotty crack. No routes exist anywhere in this valley.

Honestly I am happy to go with the consensus on this one. It would just be quite cool if it saw some repeats. Some of my routes ( I can name over 10 ) have never seen a repeat since they are deemed too dicey.

Please advise how the voting system works so I can know what to do next.

Cheers
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

@ Stu, you don’t play fair: by default because you purport to not actually believe most of what u write, I am forced to address the people you advocate for and thus it becomes an us/them thing which gets turned into a trad/sport thing. :D

Now in a different thread on this forum a youngster asks why there are no Tommy C or Alex H emanating from this country. For decade on decade South Africa has produced a handful of world class climbers who have, amongst themselves, opened new routes in Africa and the greater ranges, stood atop far flung summits like Khan Tengri and Mt Vinson and nabbed early repeats of world class test-pieces. Likewise we produce boulderers and sport climbers of world repute – but we are not talking about them here.

For me, the issue is that none of those ppl learnt their craft running up a line of bolts. When Alard et al arrived in El Chalten and tagged the summit of Cerro Torre 70hrs (I can’t remember the exact time) later, their success has its roots in their mountain trade-craft. Among other talents.

I am not looking for something other than back-to-back routes at Muizenberg – I know where to find it. But it comes with a separate set of skills – mountain trade-craft - and establishing bolted routes in that environment, changes that environment and removes a training ground for future generations. You win, others lose. Regardless of the fact that other area’s exist for you to ply your trade (and are arguably better suited). For that reason, I am not convinced of the merit of 4 pitches of sport at the crag. It’s not the 4 pitches, it’s the appropriateness thereof. How is it contributing to the overall range / crag. How does it better our future? The simplistic view is that there are people already utilizing those hills, in their current form exactly because of their current form. By changing that environment, you impact on people. Does that not seem one-sided?

No, I do not envisage en mass siege of mountain walls (though imagine ho many hangers I could sell), but that is moot – this is a hypothetical discussion and ergo should not be dictated by speculation. The chance exists for someone to bolt straight through an established classic, and I still want to know how you propose to manage that? Currently the best you can do is ask for trust?
----------------------
A number of decades ago, on the opening ascent of "The Andromeda Strain" a bolt was placed, reducing the route to the ability of the opening party and allowing the establishment of a, then, test-piece. But, it allowed others a training ground and with time the ethics improved – and similar routes established sans bolt. It could be argued that it enabled Steve H and Vince A to run up the Rupal face of Parabat Alpine Style. My point in this? That sometimes we need to go backward in order to go forward. And I am open to bolting in the mountains if it provides a training ground to future generations.

My concern here is that those advocating bolting in the bigger hills advocate only for the right to bolt, seemingly without concern for what may be lost, potentially. This is another case of me asking you for your insight on how to manage co-existence – I’m sorry, but “trust us” just doesn’t cut it.

I await Hilton’s insight’s – it does not seem forth-coming from elsewhere
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Tristan »

Hey Jer
My essays wander, perhaps as a result of man-cold-fever keeping me bed-bound :jocolor:

My two cents, if it don't affect existing areas, do as you see fit. I'm just trying to protect what is already there
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Tristan wrote:@ Stu, you don’t play fair: by default because you purport to not actually believe most of what u write, I am forced to address the people you advocate for and thus it becomes an us/them thing which gets turned into a trad/sport thing.
I find mysef in the trad camp, but with a sympathetic ear towards sport. Truth is, if I was personally to open a route up at Yellowwood it would more than likely be a trad route. In fact I tried a solo attempt of a line a while back (no partner could be found) but got shut down not too far up the wall...
As amazing as those walls look while driving past the amphitheatre below, they are so much more spectacular when standing directly beneath them - and I'm not sure I would be willing to send a line of bolts up that wall (nevermind the walk-in). However, if done properly (minimal impact on the aesthetics of the area through camouflaging, no potential trad lines, etc.) why should I be the one to hold back the future of Sport Climbing in SA.

Trust - would be nice eh... :) Yes, policing something like this would be extremely difficult. Maybe Hilton has had a bit of time to think about this while the rest of us seem to have been doing a bit of shooting from the hip with simple knee-jerk reactions?
At least we have now reached a point where views from both sides have been established, and can move forward. Though I reckon little more time might be needed than a rainy Sunday afternoon :) I do however think that we can also not just bolt multi-pitch sport routes willy-nilly at spectacular venues such as Yellowwood, and should proceed with caution with a view to the future regarding the number of routes.
Believe me, the last thing I want is for a bolt to placed on an existing trad route, but I believe if we approach this correctly an acceptable solution could be found.
My two cents, if it don't affect existing areas, do as you see fit. I'm just trying to protect what is already there
Whoah, that seems a bit careless...
Hilton wrote:Stu, the impact of fully-bolted sport lines is very different to the impact of TraPitBol routes ("trad-piton-bolt" routes, to borrow from the Germans). Surely you must agree?
Sure, but like I said before - where do you draw the line? 1 2, 3 or 4 pitches are bolted, half the route?
I'm going to go back to my previous post and edit out your name and XMod's. I'm not the policeman. Then I'm going to put up my first proposal.
Thanks, appreciated.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

I propose to start a high profile record of some bolting issues and to get climbers to become signatories to those issues. And grow the lists in perpetuity. Hopefully that will help to create a culture where there’s buy-in, respect and tolerance. Especially important is the signing-on of senior climbers. My proposed issues are very specific so as to make decisions easier and not to imply that there aren’t other issues. I don’t believe a blanket policy makes sense given that there are so many area-specific nuances.

I propose to ask Justin & Rikki if they would be prepared to host this on Climb ZA.

I will put my proposal up in a following post to keep it uncluttered.

Some points:
1. Climbers can pick and choose what they support. Jeremy would you support the concept and be prepared to sign-off on what you can support?
2. Stuart, we’ve traded blows in a robust debate. Will you accept my hand in peace? Climbing needs you.
3. Stewart and all other participants – good on ya for being in there. Even if I don’t like what you say! Don’t stop. I look forward to your comments.
4. The guys who have made comments of support – I wasn’t ignoring you. It’s just that arguments get weaker when they start relying on quotes.
5. Maybe other areas in addition to the ones I name should also be dealt with. And, my list is very local to the Western Cape.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Hilton »

Statement on Bolting in Historic Trad Climbing Areas

Overview
The Western Cape and South Africa have a rich heritage in traditional rock-climbing dating back to 1885. The climbing has been developed in some world-class multi-pitch traditional climbing venues. As climbing evolves there is the risk that the pristine nature of some very special traditional climbing areas could be lost to bolting development. This statement is intended to foster an awareness of the high value of certain traditional climbing areas and in so doing assist in perpetuating a culture of respect, restraint and preservation of these world-class areas.

Overarching Principle
These recordings have no legal bearing. Any issue that a person attaches their name to below does not mean that they subscribe to anything other than those exact specifics. Support for a position is stated to convey ethical standards of climbing and is not intended to subvert current or future legal regulations that prescribe climber conduct in the area.

Definition: “TraPiBo” is used to describe a climbing style that may use traditional gear, pitons and bolts.

Bolting on Table Mountain
We advocate that no bolts may be placed on the main block of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and the Twelve Apostles. This point excludes places in the greater Table Mountain chain beyond the necks (cols) at Kloof Nek, Suikerbossie Nek and Constantia Nek. This point does not address the issue of negotiated abseil anchors.
Signatories:

Bolting on the Cederberg Crags of Krakadouw, Tafelberg & Wolfberg
We advocate that no bolts may be placed on these Cederberg crags. This point does not address the issue of historic abseil anchors and does not address Sandrif Crag.
Signatories:

Bolting on Yellowwood Amphitheatre, Du Toits Kloof
We advocate that no sport routes may be developed on Yellowwood Amphitheatre. This point does not address the issues of TraPiBo-style and negotiated abseil anchors.
Signatories:

Bolting on Slanghoek Amphitheatre, Du Toits Kloof
We advocate that no sport routes may be developed on Slanghoek Amphitheatre. This point does not address the issues of TraPiBo-style and negotiated abseil anchors.
Signatories:

Bolting on Klein Winterhoek Amphitheatre
We advocate that no sport routes may be developed on Klein Winterhoek Amphitheatre. This point does not address the issues of TraPiBo-style and negotiated abseil anchors.
Signatories:

Bolting on Castle Rocks, Ceres
We advocate that no sport routes may be developed on Castle Rocks. This point excludes the issues of TraPiBo-style.
Signatories:

Bolting on North West Face, Du Toits Peak
We advocate that no bolts may be placed on North West Face.
Signatories:
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Jeremy Samson »

I am still confused, the walls I am thinking of bolting are definately not on the list.
I skipped bolts on Private Universe, that traverse pitch 22 - what does this mean ? Who can decide what is the correct number of bolts for any wall?

It's the massive sweeps of overhanging walls in other way out places that interest me. Terrain that is otherwise unclimbable without some bolts. These walls are unnamed and unclimbed. What about them ?

Sean bolted Yellowwood a long time ago. It stood awaiting completion for a decade, that's why I went back, shifted the line a little and completed it. It seemed like the appropriate thing to do. ( I added 12 bolts. now there are over 100 in total. ) I still think it is the right way for that route. We opened Armageddon Direct in 1989 on trad, it still hasn't had a second ascent.

Both routes lie peacefully side by side. Think of it as " chicken or beef " on an airline trolley. Somedays I feel like beef others I must admit to being in the " chicken" camp.
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Re: Bad Things Happen When Good Men Do Nothing

Post by Stu »

Likewise - are we perhaps suggesting a little leeway for unexplored ground?
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