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Rock Climbing and other mountain endeavors
For now I'll just piss off some of my old Gunks partners......
|Petzl Fixe 5-piece expansion bolt and hanger.|
|Another Pretty Face, 10d
East Face, Window Rock
City of Rocks, Idaho, 1994
|Aggressive installation of these would be the biggest benefit for the Gunks today. At least the 44 fixed bolted anchors are a step in the right direction.
As expected, a Gunks friend challenged that statement, particularly the "aggressive" suggestion.
In the 80's, when the bolting ban went into effect, the Gunks climbers made a decision to never again be at the forefront of difficulty in American climbing. Sure, lots of routes, the vast majority in fact, can be adequately protected with trad gear. But there are also a bunch of really high quality routes that are seriously risky and don't get done that often simply 'cause the pro sucks so bad. Two quick examples:
I know a number of climbers who left the Gunks because they wanted to climb hard but not have to constantly face serious injury or death. Many of these folks are now solid 5.13 climbers and pushing 5.14 - some relatively well known names come to mind.
I'm not advocating grid bolting, bolting next to good cracks, extensive retro bolting, or rap bolting 60' lines*. I am advocating a sane and reasonable bolting policy that is consistent with the way the existing (protection) bolts were placed by the FA party. Somehow Yosemite has managed to accommodate all approaches from head-trip run-out trad to pure sport and, despite some adolescent growing pains, has managed to settle into adulthood with a balanced perspective. Why do so many of the Gunkies seem to have a 2x4 up their ass about this? Bolts are merely one tool in the toolkit - of themselves they are not inherently evil.
*Given the choice between clipping a solid bolt that was placed on rap vs. a shitty one placed by a tired leader from a poor stance and I'll advocate the rap placed one every time. Don't forget how many existing routes had rap placed pro, be that bolts or pins: Blackout, Keep On Struttin', the crux bolt on Turdland, Arrow, Pas de Deux...there are others. Let's also not forget that many of the former aid lines had numerous pre-placed pins and bolts in place when they were freed: Yellow Wall, April Showers, Fat City, Criss Cross....the list goes on.
|Chain anchor on Desert Shield
|Metolius 5-piece bolt|
Warren Harding 1925 - 2002
"As I hammered in the last bolt and staggered over the rim, it was not at all clear to me who was the conqueror and who was the conquered. I do recall that El Cap seemed to be in much better condition than I was." - Warren Harding.
"I was spent up. I sure grabbed that girl of mine." - Warren Harding, after getting off of the Nose.
"My once-keen analytical mind has become so dulled by endless hours of baking in the hot sun, thrashing about in tight chimneys, pulling at impossibly heavy loads, freezing my ass off.... so that now my mental state is comparable to that of a Peruvian Indian, well stoked on coca leaves..." - Warren Harding, Reflections on a broken down climber.
"I couldn't catch a ball or any of that stuff. I could do only what required brute stupidity." - Warren Harding
Link to obituary in NY Times (free registration required):