It's been a long time since we argued about actual climbing ethics around here, so let's try to piss some people off, eh? Was out climbing Sunday evening in the Nears, and as we walked underneath Kansas City we could see that it had obviously been fixed for a free ascent. There was gear left in place all the way down to the ground with draws. The presence of draws is what tells me that it was someone trying to free it. There was no one around as we walked in around 4pm, and still no one around as we left at around 7pm. We came back around 10:30 and we were going to do our cliff scavenger thing, but the gear was gone by then.
My question is...do people have the right to fix a route like that with their gear, and leave it for a period of time? Do they have a reasonable right to expect to see their gear still there when they come back? Especially when it was fixed all the way to the ground. I little bouldering about 15' off the ground would have removed a brand new camalot along with a quickdraw. It is my contention that Kansas City is not exactly a cutting edge route, and has been free climbed by hundreds of people since the 1970's. Fixing your own gear on it and leaving it for a later time is extremely selfish and is not acceptable. If you want to fix and come down, and then attempt it then feel free. But what if you leave your gear, and someone else wants to climb it after you leave? Now they have to get your gear out of the way before they can climb the route the way it is meant to be climbed. I can reasonably see fixing something like Spinal Traction, which has not yet been freed. Even though it does get in the way of an aid ascent, the free ascent should take precedence. But Kansas City??? C'mon!
For what it is worth, if we had scored that gear I would have notified the preserve that if anyone came asking about gear they had left on Kansas City to please tell them I had it. But once you leave gear on the cliff, especially here in the Gunks, it is free for the taking! Just my opinion.