questionable bolting of 'My Precious' - Lower Silvermine

Let everyone know about any suspect/dodgy/misplaced bolts to be renewed or avoided.
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questionable bolting of 'My Precious' - Lower Silvermine

Post by Thom » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:35 am

I'd like to grate some cheese with regard to the bolting of Malcolm Gowan's route 'My Precious' at lower silvermine. I've chatted to a few people about the route and there is a general agreement about the inadequit nature of the bolting. Namely not being able to clip the bolts from good holds and the dodge reach even for tall people to clip the chains. It seems that all the bolts should actually have been placed slightly down from their present positions, to enable ease of clipping. Maybe some sort of pre-bolt inspection should be undertaken by qualitfied/respected individuals in the climbing community.


Post by Taller » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:36 am

This is standard procedure, have you not climbed at Hellfire? long clips off small edges with long falls in the loom behind you! Please lets not have any pre-bolt inspections, its hard enough being able to bolt as is. I suggest rather letting the person/bolter know about their super reach capabilities and asking them to bare it in mind for next time? If someone inists on adding bolts then let it be a \"qualified/respected\" person, better still add a chain onto the bolt instead of making another hole in the rock? Err... having not climber the route, do you mind if i ask how tall you are :)

Greg Hart

Post by Greg Hart » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:36 am

Dear Thom, you sir are a pathetic wimp!!! Malcolm Gowans is a very accomplished climber with years of bolting experience under his belt, and a qualified montain guide to boot! I was ground support during the bolting of this route and, having inside knowledge of what went into the placement decisions, can assure you that all of the bolts are in their optimal position. To place bolts one through three any where else would have meant putting them into hollow sounding and possibly rotten rock! If we'd put them any lower I bet you would really be snivelling when you pulled a huge lump of stone off into your lap!! Even given the difficulties of finding a decent placement all the bolts are still eminently clippable and protect the climber well, perhaps you need a lesson in footwork?? As for the chains you are supposed to turn the roof first and tough it through the slopers above the chains to reach a decent hold from where the chains are clippable at your waist! Or do you need route finding lessons too?? The only thing you are grating are our nerves, you should be thanking the man for adding what is one of the better routes there, not whining about your inadequacies! I'd like to see your face when (hopefully) you get onto a route at somewhere like Ceuse or the Verdon Gorge where the bolts are several meters apart!

Greg Hart

Post by Greg Hart » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:36 am

Dear Taller...Please dont suggest retrobolting of routes, especially ones you have not climbed! There is nothing wrong with the placements on this route as my response above esxplains. Also adding a length of chain is a really bad idea as chain is seldom anywhere near the strength required of a climbing anchor and chains carry no guarantee of quality or strength.


Post by Taller » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:37 am

Agree on not rebolting and the chain quality issues, however coming back to the retro bolting, Does anyone know what happened to the top of Sickle Moon? Holes, cut off bolts (one that looks in good condition) There was nothing wrong with it? was there?


Post by Brent » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:37 am

I have also climbed Malcoms 'my precious' and myself, my partner and two other climbers that where there also commented on the poor placement of the bolts. If some of them could have been placed about 6 inches lower it would have made all the difference. I have never bolted a climb so take my comments with a pinch of salt, but I am six foot and even for me there was a stretch. The route itself is a great line and I really enjoyed it. My 2 cents worth.

Greg Hart

Post by Greg Hart » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:37 am

Ok my response to Thom was harsh but it gets my goat that Malcolm put in the effort and expense of creating a cool route and all you lot can do is whine, Jeez Guys!! Once again the bolts were placed in the most suitable position allowed by the hollow sounding and possibly rotten rock. I climbed the route last weekend with a girl who cant be more than five feet tall and she had zero difficulty clipping. If you use proper footwork neither will you!

Greg Hart

Post by Greg Hart » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:38 am

Yeah what is this? Hack Malcolm's routes year or what? Sickle moon was a bit runout near the top but not that bad. A prime example of what happens when people try to second guess the efforts of the opening party without the experience to do the job, nor with any consultation with the opening party. In this case again Malcolm and myself. Lay off for gods sake! Go bolt your own stuff then we can fun critising your attempts!!

Derek Marshall

Post by Derek Marshall » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:38 am

Thanks Greg for your response....not to harsh in my opinion. I'm so sick and tired of all the wingeing about bolt placements, top anchors and the like. Most complaining is from fokes who have done sweet stuff all or precious little developing. The MCSA does not fund all the bolting that is happening.In fact most bolts are sold to private people not MCSA... bolters dig deep to make a route avalible for others to enjoy(or winge about). Bolting is fliping expensive and takes a huge amount of effort. This is not France where bolters are paid. So lets make a bit of effort to show apreciation for what others have given that is: time, effort and cash. Or at least just shut up. Malcolm has bought a hell of a lot of hangers..and therefor is extremly committed to new routing Give it gas Greg!


Post by Chalk » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:38 am

My two cents for what its worth – bolting protects a route, it does not make it. When you accept that leadouts are a psychological fear factor (anvil) its incentive to climb clever and consolidate your technique instead of trying to climb thing that are way ahead of you.


Post by grigri » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:38 am

Thanx Derek and Chalk for your vindication. Not all routes are bolted so that you can toprope every move! We will bolt like that on super easy routes so as beginners can get into the leading thing without getting too scared or hurt (mostly their pride in this case as I or Malcolm would never bolt something unsafely). But dont expect to be molly coddled as you move up the grades. Too many clips destroys the flow and rythymn of a route, if the falls are safe and the climber protected then less is actually more! Mal bolted 'My Precious' in the style that most harder routes are bolted IE Demanding smooth and efficient climbing, consider this route a stepping stone, an indication of what to expect as you graduate to the harder crags. Do this and you will find grace and fluidity in your movement, strength you did not know you possessed, and willpower beyond your wildest dreams! Qualities that will you serve you well when you one day come to repeat Malcolms 'Wicked and Wild' at Hellfire and are heading into crux sections 2,5m above the last bolt, Or head up 'Liquid Sky' at Milner where the clips are all 3-4m apart.


Post by grigri » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:39 am

I complained here about the retrobolting of Sickle Moon. Having now had a chance to check it out carefully the new clips are better, the rope is now routed away from the sharp jugs and the runout eliminated. Now all that remains is to countersink the chopped bolt and cover over the scar with epoxy.


Post by Richard » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:39 am

I will admit that the first time I climbed this route I found some of the clips tricky, however: 1. If I had got myself into a better position then the clipping would be much easier. 2. The ideal bolt position for me to clip is different from the next climber, but most importantly - 3. The best overall clipping location for a bolt, that should suit most climbers, might not be safe!!! So, in my humble opinion, when some experienced guys safely bolt a cool route, don't bitch and moan about it just cause you didn't find it easy to clip.


Post by BigAir » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:40 am

Ja, and the clever boy who put the bolt/s in to Sickle, not only made it \"doggable\" but now if you do come off before the chains you break your shins on the lip, rather than a nice big - but safe- fall into space!!

Malcolm Gowans

Post by Malcolm Gowans » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:40 am

Hi all I join this forum at a late date. So late in fact that I’m sure the heat surrounding “My Precious” has blown off. What follows are some of my thought on the matter. Between June and August this year, I did some climbing in Ith, Germany. It is not uncommon for routes there to have two bolts in a15 meter pitch, and one of those is the top out bolt. Yes, only one bolt to lower off and that’s standard practice! I know this has little relevance to Silvermine, a crag that has been developed to encourage nubies into the safe, bolt-clipping sort of sport climbing, but it does put a fresh perspective on the matter. Hee hee With regards to “My precious” I have the following to say. For years the line was much talked about but left untouched. Using the opportunity to add a new line I used, what I believe to be, best of my judgment. The rock quality on most of the slightly over hanging wall is dodgy to say the least. The soft, granular stone has been weakened by water seeping outward from within the crag. Who know how many of the holds will break off in winter? It was so lacking in quality that I almost shelved the idea of putting further time and money into the route. Fortunate or not, I was persuaded otherwise. The route was cleaned of the “loose” holds, top roped once to see where the most logical line would be, top-roped a second time to mark the clips. And top-roped a third time to check that the placements where correct. Please bear two things in mind here, Firstly the rock quality are as I’ve said extremely poor. This was a major contributing factor in where the bolts would be placed. After all would you rater clip a safe or unsafe bolt? Secondly, when I mark a clip I make sure I can reach it with the bent elbow of the clipping arm. I call this consideration for those who are vertically challenged, my ape index handicap. For those of you who doubt my ability and judgment I say the following ion my defense. I have been climbing for 18 years. Bolting routes since the early nineties. Protected more than forty sport pitches. I believe this racks up to fair amount of experience. In conclusion, should climbers, after reading this and having climbed the route, believe that “My precious” is an un-safe route. Please contact me. I will then deconstruct the route. Malcolm Gowans PS: A line from the “Lord of the rings” comes to mind. \"Is it not a strange fate that we suffer such fear and doubt over so small a thing\"


Post by StuBoy » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:40 am

Firstly, no one is perfect, no matter how much experience you have. I saw a mountain guide on lead with the rope conected to his harness with a screw gate, he thought this was how it should be done, and he had been guiding for as long as I've been breathing and that's bloody long. Secondly, one shouldn't have something to grate when making a comment or voicing your opinion, it just gets everyones back up and the bun fight starts. Thirdly, why do ohs get their nickers in a not and start ranting and raving about money spent, time, energy, vision and no body loves me. Forthly, Melcom seems to have kept nice and cool about it and given a good reason for what he did. Fifthly, why can't climbers just get on and chat and learn and move forward. They seem to be a very sensitive and agressive bunch, ready to pounce on anyone who crosses their way. Even if someone has placed a million bolts there is still room for learning and comments. I do not think anyone goes out and bolts a route to the worst of his ability or to make it a stuff up. So just chill, we are starting to sound like our politicians, ohs.


Post by Jeff » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:41 am

\"So just chill, we are starting to sound like our politicians, ohs.\" Ahmen to that.


Post by Paddy » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:41 am

Malcom I am the world's worst wimp when it comes to doing a route for the first time and I had no problem with the placements of the bolts when doing the the route for the first time. In fact I did not even notice the bolts and believe me if there had been a problem I would defenitely not have flashed the route. My view is well done and my only complaint is that you got the line before I did. I had had my eye on it for some time.

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