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Bolted lower-offs on select trad routes?? (Read 5910 times)

Fiend

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Bolted lower-offs on select trad routes??
October 16, 2021, 08:41:45 pm
 :-\

Andy F

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Stainless double bolt belay at the top of the Cromlech to save the tree and someone's life

Kingy

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mrjonathanr

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Disappointingly there is no way to tick both option 3 and 5. 5 is the most traditional, so there’s that.

lagerstarfish

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No "I call thee by thy name and command thou foul Fiend to return to UKC where thou dost belong" option?

andy moles

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Ever climbed on Pen Trwyn?

Bonjoy

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I installed a bolt belay when I did The Great Tribulation. Seemed like a good idea given the crag was listed as a SSSI for plants above the crag.

Fiend

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Which ones were you thinking of?
Actually just a general discussion. Although I was partly inspired by some of the almost-classic routes in Wilton1 that now look to be Millstone for 15m then Llyn for 5m to finish. Also Mad Dogs at Two Tier which is pretty dusty compared to 1 star 6c nearby and has the Amazon to top out.

Disappointingly there is no way to tick both option 3 and 5. 5 is the most traditional, so there’s that.
Well. I suppose one could ideally go for 5, then 3. So that you're only allowed the mess of rusty pegs and decaying slings already in place, AND you're not even allowed to replace them like-for-like when they start rotting, so you have a period of dubious death abseils before resorting to dubious death top-outs!

No "I call thee by thy name and command thou foul Fiend to return to UKC where thou dost belong" option?
No. Arsehole!

Despite the slightly frivolous options, I'm actually interested in the concept and views on it.

Ever climbed on Pen Trwyn?
4 or 5 times this spring. Great stuff. Apart from the wanky retro-ruining of good trad routes there.



« Last Edit: October 17, 2021, 11:11:48 am by Fiend »

Potash

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I've always thought that the routes on Castell Cidwm would really benefit from this.

They are mostly described as two pitches, with the second pitch descending into vegetated scrambling.

If they had lower offs after the high quality, hard, steep climbing then they could all be done as three star single pitches.

Obviously they should be actual, unambiguous bolts, to avoid anybody then going wild with the deception bolts on the rest of the crag. 

Fiend

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There's a good lower-off in place just above Vertigo. I found and retrieved a small purple Omega Pacific Link Cam following the first pitch, best crag swag ever. The view from the belay - which I was properly slumped / almost lying in - is truly magnificent in it's scope and variety, one of my favourite views south of the wall.

Unfortunately there's not one above Central Wall, and there would be an ideal spot about 5m above the final roof. I'm not sure I'd want to try that in one pitch with all the attendant rope drag though. Incidentally the crux pitch seems to have eco-bolts or whatever they are on it now.

Potash

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 I thought all the routes to the left of central wall would benefit and specifically lower offs below the top.

Bolting the crux of Central Wall seems a bit retrograde, I don't remember it being dangerous even without the old pegs as there was good gear a short distance below.

Fiend

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I can't tell to what extent the....thingies were drilled or glued, they looked fairly normal and placed in normal peg-like seams on first acquaintance, but I'm sure they were the same style as I've seen them in various other places (Adar, that retro-ed 6c at the end of Excursion Wall, on top of Llawder).

petejh

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'Deception bolts', good name.
Climbed on Adar earlier this week for first time. Glorious sunshine, quiet, great views, deception bolts on all the cruxes and soft grades. Good times.

andy moles

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Ever climbed on Pen Trwyn?
4 or 5 times this spring. Great stuff. Apart from the wanky retro-ruining of good trad routes there.

Which good trad routes do you think have been ruined? I can think of some mediocre ones...

My point in mentioning Pen Trwyn was only that this isn't the novel proposal that asking the question in general terms anticipates it to be, when we have prominent and popular crags on which trad routes have had bolt lower-offs forever. Surely a discussion only worth having for specified cases? I mean, bolts would last longer than bits of rope on the Grochan, but I'm guessing not many people feel they'd add much value there...?


Potash

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Adding lower offs to the trad routes on predominantly sport crags also seems to be sensible.

It shows that they are trad routes and that they can be climbed despite having bold sections.

I've equipped bolted belays on some trad routes I have put up outside the UK as I felt that it was the best option for ensuring that they remained as trad routes.

They are, then, clearly routes.

petejh

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I'm heading to Gap of Dunloe and Dun Seanna Head next weekend for some tradding. According to the guide many of the abseil descents there are bolted, as are a few belays. Likewise at some other trad crags in Ireland (Glendalough descent, and Eagle Rock lower-offs, others including a Mournes cliff).
As Andy says this isn't a novel proposal. Needs careful handling and it's easy to fuck up the 'natural' feel of a trad route if done clumsily or inappropriately. I put in a bolted lower-off on a trad route I did in Penmaen West Quarry (Triskilion). Could have left it as an easy scramble up to a fence post which would be perfectly safe enough to belay from, but having the lower-off doesn't alter anything at all about the feel of the route and it might just encourage the probably 1 person in every 5 years to bother going and spending some time enjoying it.
Of crags I can think of in N.Wales Scimitar Ridge springs instantly to mind as the most obvious place for a bolted ab, instead of the equalised in-situ wires ab point. Maybe they have (with deception bolts?). I haven't been for a couple of years.

Fiend

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They are, then, clearly routes.
This is generally a good feature of routes  :2thumbsup:

'Deception bolts', good name.
Climbed on Adar earlier this week for first time. Glorious sunshine, quiet, great views, deception bolts on all the cruxes and soft grades. Good times.
It is a lovely spot indeed. Quite a surprise when you see it rising out of the field / bog. One of the most relaxed days I've had this year. The grades are completely bolloxed even in the new book (the hardest thing I did up the middle was definitely more F7a than E-whatever), but the crunchy jug-pulling is fun.

Now you can answer my prior question: are all the new bolts drilled and cemented there? And do you think any have been added, or are they just replacing old / removed bolts?

P.S. Yes obviously the general poll / discussion is under the assumption that lower-offs / ab points would be genuinely useful, beneficial to continuing traffic on the routes, and done on a case-by-case basis. It's also a poll / discussion about the actual concept though.

petejh

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Quote
Now you can answer my prior question: are all the new bolts drilled and cemented there? And do you think any have been added, or are they just replacing old / removed bolts?

Yes they’re cemented, and yes they will have had the placement drilled to accept the resin and the bolt. It’s not possible to say 100% for certain, without being there during placement, whether or not every one of them has been drilled because there *might* have been a nice convenient 12mm diameter 100mm deep hole in the part of the crack where the bolt is placed. Allowing it to have had the resin pumped in and then push in the bolt by hand (they aren’t designed to be hammered due to being stainless). But what do you think the likelihood is of that…

Can’t answer whether or not any have been added as I’d never climbed the routes before this week.

So there you are. Mountain crag trad-climbing with resin bolts protecting. Rhoscolyn sea cliff-climbing on resin bolts.
That’s what we’re doing. I’m *OK* with it where it climbs well (caveats and some doubts apply). What sits uneasily with me is what appears to be sort of a complicit wilful ignorance surrounding these bolts.
I think we should be honest about what these pieces of protection are, not spinning people some deception about them being pegs.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2021, 06:38:12 pm by petejh »

Fiend

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Cheers Pete. If I have any further questions your honour I will take them to the "bolts on sea-cliffs" thread  :yes:

Kingy

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Which ones were you thinking of?
Actually just a general discussion. Although I was partly inspired by some of the almost-classic routes in Wilton1 that now look to be Millstone for 15m then Llyn for 5m to finish. Also Mad Dogs at Two Tier which is pretty dusty compared to 1 star 6c nearby and has the Amazon to top out.

I would be in favour of a Mad Dogs loweroff cos its an isolated trad route in a lime area like Pen Trywn where there are similar cases.

Regarding Lancashire gritstone quarries, that is another kettle of fish cos there are no sport routes there (other than the Axe Wound in Wilton but 99.99% of routes are trad). The lack of popularity of previously well travelled trad routes, which is a sympton of the rising popularity of bouldering and sport climbing and indoor walls compared to the quarries' heyday in the 80's is to be lamented. However, bolting loweroffs is not the answer in my view as if you do it for one route, where will it end? There would be no way of preventing more and more bolted loweroffs appearing as it could just be said that vegetation was encroaching which would discourage the cleaning of topouts and climbing traffic ensuring these topouts remain viable. There are no easy answers but in pure trad areas such as the quarries, I think the old slogan 'Bolts in Lancs, no thanks' would get my vote at least. Local activists doing trad routes currently would have more of a feel for this than me but I get the feeling there is no pressing demand for the introduction of bolted loweroffs on selected routes whose topouts are affected by vegetation.

Potash

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I'd have thought that Coal Measure Crag at Anglezarke Quarry would be a Lancashire Quarry that fitted the bill.


Kingy

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I'd have thought that Coal Measure Crag at Anglezarke Quarry would be a Lancashire Quarry that fitted the bill.

Oh yes, I forgot about that one. But other than that unique case with a crumbing shale band and where loweroffs were specifically agreed, I wouldn't be in favour of any other further loweroffs in other areas

Fiend

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Regarding Lancashire gritstone quarries, that is another kettle of fish cos there are no sport routes there (other than the Axe Wound in Wilton but 99.99% of routes are trad). The lack of popularity of previously well travelled trad routes, which is a sympton of the rising popularity of bouldering and sport climbing and indoor walls compared to the quarries' heyday in the 80's is to be lamented. However, bolting loweroffs is not the answer in my view as if you do it for one route, where will it end? There would be no way of preventing more and more bolted loweroffs appearing as it could just be said that vegetation was encroaching which would discourage the cleaning of topouts and climbing traffic ensuring these topouts remain viable. There are no easy answers but in pure trad areas such as the quarries, I think the old slogan 'Bolts in Lancs, no thanks' would get my vote at least. Local activists doing trad routes currently would have more of a feel for this than me but I get the feeling there is no pressing demand for the introduction of bolted loweroffs on selected routes whose topouts are affected by vegetation.
Fair response Ted, and an interesting point that it might discourage people from gardening finishes in general, thus encouraging lower-offs to spread from "unfeasible" finishes to "would have been fine if people kept cleaning but now bolloxed" finishes.

OTOH there is a bright shiny lower-off serving Supercrack and Sobeit and it works very well and, in the words of Potash, they are clearly routes.

petejh

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Quote from: Kingy
I think the old slogan 'Bolts in Lancs, no thanks'..

As an aside… had never heard this before, I love this quote!

Got me thinking..
Bolts in Lancs, no thanks.

Bolts in Welsh trad, we’ll call it Spad!


grimer

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Quote from: Kingy
I think the old slogan 'Bolts in Lancs, no thanks'..

As an aside… had never heard this before, I love this quote!
.

I have this slogan on a T shirt.!

Or maybe it says "No bolts in Lancs, no thanks"?

 

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