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What are peoples attitudes to closed projects? (Read 10223 times)

Dave Flanagan

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Was wondering what the general consensus is on closed (bouldering) projects?
Is it the done thing any more? Do people respect it?

fatneck

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Personally, I'm fine with it. If someone's put the time and effort in to clean/prep a line then they should have be given time to climb it. The issue then is, what is a reasonable amount of time!? A certain gorge based North Wales sport route springs to mind...

slackline

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You surely need some method of letting others know a project is closed.

Without in situ aspirant first ascentionist there is nothing to distinguish a cleaned line that has been ascended from one that hasn't and anyone questing for new rock could come across an obviously cleaned line and know nothing of its project/already ascended status (guidebooks become outdated and don't always contain everything) and do it without any knowledge that it is a closed project.

Thus its not disrespectful to climb a closed project if you didn't know it was closed in the first place.

Perhaps one approach might be to have an online database a la peakboundering.info and list projects on crags and have a shortcut that lists all closed (and open) projects.  Although that system is itself open to abuse should someone come along and be looking to get some First Ascents as they would then have a list of things to go and try and purposefully choose to ignore the status of any project.

Dave Flanagan

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I suppose that usually it's a word of mouth thing. Obviously this isn't very effective and I'm that many closed projects have been climbed through ignorance of their status.

But would it be fair to say that the closed project idea is generally accepted in the UK?

jwi

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(I'm not based in UK, but have done a fair amount of development of bouldering areas/climbing areas.)

I do not respect closed boulder projects. They are ridiculous.

How would you stop someone who's just walking around without a guide, just climbing anything that strike her fancy to climb a closed project? Put up a sign?

“Closed projects” can only apply to hard-ish problems (for the area) in locals-only areas, in which case I'd recommend the cleaner to do some introspection.

Secret areas are a better solution for people who don't like “competition”. Develop the entire area and “win” all fa before telling the world about the area.

slackline

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I have enough trouble climbing long established problems and have therefore never given it any thought.  I just thought that the above is an obvious problem.

Dave Flanagan

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I think one of the main advantages of closed problems is that discourage secret areas, so rather than a developer keeping a whole area secret they can spill the beans and just say listen I've been working this thing for ages will you please stay off it.

Rocksteady

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Interesting question because I'm not sure of my answer. I'm not local to any climbing areas so unlikely to come across this in practice. Certainly with a route that someone has gone to the effort of equipping I find it easy to respect a closed status, for a certain amount of time (a year or two?)

But a boulder? I guess I don't know how much effort goes into cleaning a discovered boulder - is it a day's work, several days, a week? Is the effort put in/benefit to the climbing community proportionate to the 'harm' of imposing on other people not to follow their inclination to try it?

I think with boulders my inclination is not to respect a closed project, unless that person is a friend or showed me the boulder in the first place - i.e. I have a personal relationship with them that makes it 'dishonourable' to bag their project. Otherwise, if you're not good enough to do it quickly, get better quickly, or accept that someone who is a better climber than you will bag it first? It doesn't mean you don't get to do it, just that you don't get to name it. Doesn't seem that important to me.

a dense loner

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dave

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If someone has sacrificed time/effort/sessions in cleaning, brushing, gardening, reinforcing holds, patioing a landing, that sort of thing (i.e. stuff that has made the problem a possibility at all, a bit like bolting a sport route), then it's only reasonable that they should be given first crack of the whip. That is however assuming that the problem is reasonably within the grasp of the cleaner. I.e. not a 7a climber cleaning up a font 8c project, that would be assumed to be a public service gesture.

Also, if a 7a climber has brushed up a 7a project that would mean quite a lot to them and an 8a climber nips in and does it first, then that would probably be regarded as a bit tight.

Of course if you're out and just stumble upon a cleaned and chalked problem that isn't in a guidebook then you're going to try it and assume its already been done. Tends not to be an issue in practice, as projects that are very accessible/amenable they tend to be done shortly after being cleaned anyway.

cha1n

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I'd say it depends on the effort put into getting the boulder into a climbable state and also location.

When I was bouldering in La Pedriza, there were 100's or 1000's of FAs to be done, so you didn't feel too bad ticking a few of them even though you hadn't cleaned them but if it was a rare find then that's a different story in my opinion. The locals would clean the boulders in the summer when it was too hot to climb them.

I remember a minor incident at Huntsham for the FA of Hunter's roof (8A ish). I believe that Cailean Harker started trying it first and James Squire started trying it after. I few people were saying that James shouldn't be trying it* because it was Cailean's project but fuck that. It didn't look like it needed any cleaning and it was an obvious line, smack bang in the middle of an established (ish) wall.

*I have no idea if Cailean himself was pissed off.

Dave Flanagan

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Certainly for routes I think it makes a lot of sense. With the FA being the reward for the often fairly significant effort of equipping/cleaning.

I would say that the majority of problems could be cleaned up ready to climb in less than 30 minutes. There are exceptions, extensive landings may need to built or the rock might be really filthy but in general I don't think cleaning one problem is a bit hassle.

The closed project thing is particularly difficult when the problem isn't very difficulty and there may be lots of people who could do it fairly easy. But I think there is something to be said for allowing climbers who aren't at the cutting edge a chance to have do a FA at their limit, they will probably get a lot more out of it then some wad who does it second go anyway.

tomtom

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I'd say it depends on the effort put into getting the boulder into a climbable state and also location.

When I was bouldering in La Pedriza, there were 100's or 1000's of FAs to be done, so you didn't feel too bad ticking a few of them even though you hadn't cleaned them but if it was a rare find then that's a different story in my opinion. The locals would clean the boulders in the summer when it was too hot to climb them.


A good point - if there are loads of problems to go at - whats the big deal. But in the virgin rock starved Peak District (for example) thats not really the case...

Doylo

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I don't believe in closed projects for bouldering. You can ask people to leave it for you and usually they will but you can't bagsy them. Sport climbing is different.

Dave Flanagan

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You can ask people to leave it for you

Is that not what a closed project is? All you can ever do is ask.

Doylo

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Well I guess all you can do is ask. But you can't expect someone not to do it. Whereas on a bolt route you can.

andy popp

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This question is pertinent for me at the moment. As readers of Power Club might have spotted, I'm trying a project at the moment (it's in the roadside quarry at Harmers Wood). It was filthy and has taken multiple days to clean (and I will have to dig the top out a bit, which I've yet to do); it will be hard for the area at what is basically a local's crag; it is feasible for me but very challenging and will have personal significance (but there are many people for whom it would be pretty trivial); I'm actively trying it and am making progress; I've several times offered to show others other cleaned local projects that I think might be too hard for me. Given all the above it seems reasonable for me to hope that anyone who knows I cleaned and am trying it to respect that and leave it for a while. That isn't bagsying it, or declaring it closed - obviously that is meaningless - but nor does it seem that much to ask.

Then again, its about 25 foot so maybe its a route and I can declare it closed  :-\

dave

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The ideal project would be one that jump starts to a wobbly limestone jug that the projecter removes and takes with them and only gets glued in place once they've made the first ascent.

fatneck

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Quote from: Andy Popp
This question is pertinent for me at the moment.

I actually had you in mind when I wrote my post earlier Andy!

remus

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I don't think it's so different to routes really.

If you put in a bit of effort to get the line in a climbable state it's reasonable that you should have a decent shot at getting the FA. In most cases the effort to make it climbable is relatively small so you should get correspondingly less time to get it done before it's opened up.

Of course it's all basically just a respect thing so i don't think it's worth getting angry if some poor guidebook-less local stumbles upon your project and flashes it.

slackline

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Thus in essence its a nice idea to respect peoples projects, pragmatically though its virtually impossible to enforce outside your circle of friends.

iain

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Then again, its about 25 foot so maybe its a route and I can declare it closed  :-\
That's easy then, put a bolt in it :whistle:

Respect for the cleaner/equiper should give them a reasonable time to do it. But what's a reasonable time?

I have friend who had many long term projects. One person's solution was to climb with them, ask if they could have a look at a project (many years after it was bolted) climb through the crux and then ask 'can I top it out?'.
That might have only worked once.

Muenchener

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Then again, its about 25 foot so maybe its a route and I can declare it closed  :-\

Bolt in, red ribbon on the bolt, job done.

bigtuboflard

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Then again, its about 25 foot so maybe its a route and I can declare it closed  :-\

Bolt in, red ribbon on the bolt, job done.
Or as an alternative on a project I recall at Kilnsey way back, bolt a sizeable saucepan to one of the bolts near the crux.

Jaspersharpe

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Or smear vaseline all over the holds.

 

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