Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Chris, when you ask whether I and others see things analogously, the answer is that it seems to be pretty much me. I am aware of fighting a losing battle, but think it worth the effort, although only for very little more time. The fact that I can't even convince you, who as a Millbrook aficiando I would have thought would understand, is an indication of just how little effect my efforts are likely to have. I'm nearly 70, and I'm getting understandably tired of arguing to no purpose.
My interest is in preserving what I think is a vanishing experience for future generations. The Gunks is one of but a few climbing areas where this is possible, because the Preserve has kept the waves of bolting that have swept other areas at bay, and has limited the placement of new pitons. A climber can come here and face a pitch or two or three of climbing on rock that hasn't been carved up and decorated to satisfy the never-ending demands of convenience that try to make everything as much like the gym as possible. They might even be obliged to haul their asses up the offensive second pitch of Sixish (like Julie and Dana, I like that pitch too), because that's what nature put there and so that's what they have to deal with. I think that those kind of inevitabilities enrich the climbing experience, rather than draining it of "fun."
As climbing areas become more and more equipped, a climber has to journey to remote locales to experience climbing in a setting that hasn't been extensively altered. This means that such experiences will increasingly become the province of a tiny minority who have the time and the funds to mount the necessary expeditions.
It doesn't have to be that way. The Gunks could fairly easily, with a change in current direction, become a place where a bit of the adventures of remote locations still abides. I think that is a worthier goal than making all kinds of alterations so folks can have "fun" after work, and perhaps that is the larger context you are referring to.
The typical response is that the Trapps have already been tainted and so we might as well just let 'em go to hell. To me, this makes as much sense as saying because your house got a little dusty, you should start urinating in the corners, but other people seem to find such arguments persuasive.
Then there is kenr's comment:
Building Trad anchors is a waste of precious time. (If I need practice in the "dying art" of building Trad anchors to prepare for some multi-pitch alpine route, I know how to get that -- No reason to mix that in with a precious fun day of Gunks easy climbing.
Fiddling with trad protection is a waste of precious time too, but beyond that I have no real answer, other than something that would offend kenr, and I'm not going there. I might add that several years ago a poster said almost the identical thing about the need for Carriage Road signs identifying the locations of climbs. He had no desire to waste his precious time trying to locate routes. Kenr's comment provides more evidence that it is time for me to shut up.
In answer to Chris's specific question about the anchors in the Near Trapps you mentioned, my answer would be yes, I see them exactly the same way. In a number of cases, by the way, there is good climbing above that no one knows about or does any more.
Here's a prediction, Chris. Left unchecked, the proliferation of convenience practices will eventually gross you out too, but it will be too late by then. I made an analogous prediction once before to a climber, who heaped scorn upon it and me. About eight years later, he appeared in an ad (I think for the Access Fund) bemoaning the kinds of things I claimed his attitudes would engender. Believe me when I say that I took absolutely no pleasure in that.
So those are the larger-context concerns. I guess they are also informed by a particular view of trad climbing that may also be fading, a view that includes far more than the what type of gear is or is not used for protection.
Although the arguments I made were certainly fueled by a hope that Gunks climbing could be saved from the scourge of ever more convenience modifications (for which, by the way, there will always be an enthusiastic audience), the particulars of my comments were addressed to intelligent resource management. Making rappel routes go down climbing routes is bad practice, no matter where you stand on the larger-context issues I described. And whether or not Sixish is currently jammed on weekends is surely not the point. In climbing, "if you build it, they will come" is a fairly accurate prophesy, and even it it is not fulfilled, there is no good reason to send even one party down on top of an ascending party when there are perfectly good ways down nearby.
Again from kenr,
OK so you recognize that it's OK for people to rap down instead of walking. So what positive advice do you give to people who want to rap down after climbing P3 of Sixish? (Because in the absence of a positive alternative, lots of people who climb with a single rope are going to want to rap down to that Sixish P1 anchor.)
I just did Sixish last week and rapped down, with no problem whatsoever. It did involve walking perhaps a few hundred feet. Is it ok for the descent to be a slight puzzle, or does every route have to be provided with a sling at the top to start back down with?