Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
I for one am just as opposed to cables as to bolts. Frankly, there is absolutely no reason at Millbrook to leave anything at the top, and going forward I would hope that there would be no traces of any top anchors anywhere. There is no reason why climbers can't clean up after themselves, and this has been the case at Millbrook, with the almost unique exception of the Westward Ha rap tree. The "sunfaded tat around a dead tree" is part of a false dichotomy that has bolts as its only alternative.

The fact is, the more crap people leave, the more incessant the calls for bolts become, whereas the real solution is to have nothing permanent or semi-permanent at all.

It is way too late for the main Gunks areas and even some of the undocumented ones, but Millbrook is unique in that climbers return to the top and so can easily, at the end of the day, remove their anchors and/or their slings. This has been the case for many years already and it works perfectly.

Sport climbing, the child that wants to eat its mother, continually threatens the natural basis of trad climbing. First come the tat-encrusted convenience anchors, then the bolts that suddenly become necessary because of the convenience anchors that were never necessary, then suddenly every little runout needs to be bolted too, and soon there is little trad climbing left, which suits some, but not all, of the population just fine.

Millbrook is now among the few remaining trad areas in the country, with hardly any fixed gear anywhere. Perhaps only in the UK are comparable opportunities available. Millbrook climbing isn't for everyone, but the Gunks are full of opportunities for those who don't want the experiences of a fixed gear free crag, whereas those who aspire to this type of climbing have fewer and fewer places to go, worldwide.

Making Millbrook more like every other cliff adds little to the stock of everyday cragging while destroying a resource that becomes more and more special as the rest of the world heads inexorably towards the sportification of all climbing.

As Cerro Torre has shown, there is a vibrant younger generation of climbers who don't think more bolts make for better climbing. I'm an old fart, but this is not an old fart issue---it is a question of homogenizing all climbing and thereby cutting off an entire younger generation from the type of climbing it has every right to aspire to.

Climbers have managed to keep Millbrook pristine for nearly 80 years. Lets not be the generation that blows it.