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#64708 - 05/06/12 02:04 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: rg@ofmc]
retroscree Offline

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 397
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
Originally Posted By: retroscree
Some historical perspective in this discussion...
The original rationale the Preserve used for bolted anchors was:
* there were nests of tat/pins/irretrievable nuts on various climbs that many climbers were only doing the first pitch
* these were damaging some trees, like Jackie and Classic (although soil compaction was probably a bigger factor)
* these anchors regularly reappeared whenever they were removed
* the Preserve received a number of complaints about the visual blight (mostly from non-climbing visitors, the major source of income and donations)

I'd go with all but the last point. By and large, visitors can't see slings on the cliff and I don't think there was any hue and cry about that. There were, however, complaints about chalk on carriage road boulders.

True, but that was what Thom had told me.

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
So basically the original justification was environmental protection and removal visual blight. At first the Preserve started pretty slowly, with only 5 bolted anchors initially. Somewhere after that the number of anchors increased exponentially, accelerated in part by the Preserve's recommendation to climbers to not use the cliff top trail due to it's deterioration of compaction and erosion. Arguably that is when the greatest number of purely convenience anchors appeared as it morphed into a traffic management issue.

You seem to be saying the anchors multiplied because the Preserve told climbers not to walk back? I don't buy that for a second.

No, I think it was a lot of things all mixed together, but the desire on the Preserve's part to decrease cliff top trail usage was at least part of their stated rationale.

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
I think the reason for rap anchor proliferation was the banning of parking on Route 44. This forced people to bring packs with all their stuff to the base of climbs, rather than returning to their parked cars by walking back along the top. With everything at the base, the motivation to rap back was strong and there was no longer any good reason to walk back along the top.

Agreed, but again, I feel there were a lot of contributing factors. Theoretically the Preserve was installing anchors primarily for environmental reasons, not convenience for climbers. Arguably, convenience seems to have won out.

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
From a purely environmental view, bolted anchors probably do have the least impact.

No permanent anchors have the least impact. Fewer permanent anchors have less impact than more permanent anchors.

Of course, but if you're going to have permanent anchors anyway....

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
The ethical issues of fixed anchors is something else entirely.

Climbers use the term "ethics" when they mean adhering to or violating certain rules of the game. There is no question of ethics involved, but that doesn't mean the issues are trivial, since some type of voluntary restraint lies at the very essence of what climbing is.

Trivial? Hardly. We're talking about two different ethical considerations: the presence/installation of fixed anchors, and what kind of anchor. The installation is certainly the larger issue.

#64710 - 05/06/12 04:16 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: retroscree]
rg@ofmc Offline

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Retroscree, we don't really disagree about any of this. As for convenience winning out, that happened because the Preserve mounted a reactive program that installed bolts where climbers had already created makeshift anchors, and the climbers goals were never about environmental concerns. Rather than thinking about location-specific safety issues and traffic management, the Preserve began by simply bolting the biggest slingfests.

The only other thing they could have done would have been an outright ban on climber-created rap anchors, which after all would have been a modest extension of the ban on fixed pitons. I actually suggested this, but it was clear they had no intention of injecting themselves into climbing practices in that way.

The net result, however, is the present profusion of anchors and the periodic calls for more bolting to make those anchors "safe." To me, it looks like a never-ending cycle in which the land manager is always behind the 8-ball and is never able to genuinely manage the situation.

And now, I think we are beginning to see a new phenomenon which, once again, is going to put the Preserve in a reactive position: the installation of cables on trees. Personally, I have a lot of concerns about this.

First, a cable is as much, in fact more, a piece of fixed protection as a piton and so ought to fall under the Preserve's fixed protection ban. Admittedly, fewer and fewer climbers have the competence to test and judge fixed pitons, but I don't think anyone has a way to judge the reliability of cables, neither whether the installations are reliable, nor whether the materials used are appropriate, nor the degree to which aging has affected the security of the anchor.

The idea that cables saves trees is probably nonsense. I don't think there is much in the way of science or evidence that pressure on a tree is destructive, unless the bark is both entirely encircled and strangled by slings grown tight because of tree growth. What kills trees is the combination of soil erosion and soil compaction created by hoards of climbers trampling the same spot, and cables do nothing to lessen this effect and might even increase it, since they provide at least the illusion of a more secure anchor.

This illusion of security and the official-looking nature of a cable means that it will have a distinct influence in traffic patterns, and the fact that climbers are just putting these cables in willy-nilly ultimately promises more congestion and unpleasant climber interactions with absolutely no benefit to the environment. I think the Preserve needs to get ahead of the trend and not repeat the errors of a reactive approach that characterized its bolting program, but that's just me.

#64711 - 05/06/12 04:38 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: retroscree]
wombat Offline

Registered: 05/27/08
Posts: 147
Loc: gardiner
opinion for the "community consensus" or whatever that is

Bad idea
1) climb to the top, isn't that the point
2) most people will assume a 60 gets you down
3) perpetuate the clueless and convenience culture
4) unnecessarily permanent
5) don't add more rappelling down routes
6) many other descent options in that section

#64715 - 05/07/12 02:00 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: wombat]
fear Offline

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 221
Loc: New England
One word.


#64717 - 05/07/12 03:02 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: fear]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2679
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
For argument's sake, one could attach a laminate card to the anchors on SOEO to let users know they need at least a 70m rope to rappel to the ground from there and to otherwise stop at the ledge and use the bolts for the bottom section.

#64719 - 05/07/12 03:13 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: chip]
whatthegunks Offline

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 136
Loc: High Falls, NY
I have been beaned on the head by a rock falling from the top of SoEO. I was belaying a climber on Pas de Deux and an extremely strong and competent climber sent a few rocks down including a bit about golf ball size that smacked onto my helmet as if there were a target painted there. I have seen many rocks fall from this spot, they seem to be propagating and then lining up like lemmings.

Perhaps an anchor lower (so as to not need a 70) and off to climber's right (so as not to be attractive for TR) might make sense.

Climbing is too popular, too many gyms, too many guidebooks, too many people!

Now what?

#64722 - 05/07/12 04:07 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: chip]
Coppertone Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/17/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Newtown, CT
Originally Posted By: chip
For argument's sake, one could attach a laminate card to the anchors on SOEO to let users know they need at least a 70m rope to rappel to the ground from there and to otherwise stop at the ledge and use the bolts for the bottom section.

Isn't part of climbing being self sufficient and responsible for yourself and your partner. We are now going to start leaving instructions at the rapel anchors for how they are supposed to be used?

Just got back from Red Rocks and on some of the climbs that we did things varied regarding gear used and the state of certain anchors from route descriptions in the guide book and on line. We were somehow able to complete the routes safely without incident and get back down. We did all that without explicit instructions attached onto the anchor. I realize that the gunks is not exactly wilderness, but if we continue to try to make things as easy as possible for people where is the self reliance and independence going to come in. This is rock climbing outdoors, its not a gym and its not saturday morning soccer practice.

#64731 - 05/07/12 08:14 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: TrappDyke]
climbingbetty Offline

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Stone Ridge, NY
Originally Posted By: TrappDyke
O.K. but since when are the weekend masses courteous. Also, even with the best intentions and skill it's almost impossible not to knock off a few rocks on that top out. Especially when it's dry.

This is pretty worthy consideration. The amount and size of loose rock up there and the fact that the best trees to use for anchors are 5 or more feet back from edge means that your rope will be running nearly on the top of these rocks over the edge, potential turning a densely populated area into a shooting gallery.

Also is the issue that the top out is a slight bit slabby, making for potential communications issues with a climber stuck under the roof. The current manchor, being a bit more out on the bulge and directly over the roof is better spot to belay from from both that stand point of knocking rocks off and communicating with your second.

I think those inherent safety aspects are what has kept that anchor in use for so long despite its rattlely appearance and are things the Preserve should consider if it decides to take up the question of replacing the pins with bolts.

Edited by climbingbetty (05/07/12 08:16 PM)
"In the 60's sex was safe and climbing was dangerous. Now its the other way around." -Chuck Pratt

#64754 - 05/08/12 06:38 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: climbingbetty]
schwortz Offline

Registered: 09/10/03
Posts: 308
climbing is dangerous

suck it up or stay home

#64759 - 05/08/12 08:47 PM Re: Son of easy o rap [Re: chip]
Rickster Online   content
old hand

Registered: 10/16/07
Posts: 853
Loc: Orange Cty, NY
Originally Posted By: chip
For argument's sake, one could attach a laminate card to the anchors on SOEO to let users know they need at least a 70m rope to rappel to the ground from there and to otherwise stop at the ledge and use the bolts for the bottom section.

Better yet, a stamped metal disc linked to the anchor, labeled with the correct rope length. Weather and wear proof. Possibly include the installation date, and initials of the installer.

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