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#68298 - 06/13/13 04:00 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: rg@ofmc]
cfrac Offline
addict

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 462
OK, I think I followed all of that. When I solo I usually down solo easier routes. I like doing the routes around Jackie because I like coming back down Betty. Same with Frog's Head area because of Easy-O. If I am out after work with friends that are new to climbing I will do a route like Sixish and end at the p1 anchor. I don't like down soloing Sixish because I find the moves 20 feet up kind of weird so it's nice to be able to rappel. I tend to avoid the Trapps on weekends when the weather is nice so I am unfamiliar with these rappelling traffic jams on Sixish. Is it really that big of a problem?

Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc

I didn't think you seriously meant to suggest that we ought to install anchors so that folks could come after work and do only one pitch. Having something there so a local or two can amuse themselves after work is really asking for a hell of an entitlement.


I know I joke around quite a bit, but I really don't see a problem with anchors in the Trapps and Near Trapps that enable someone to lead a single pitch and then rappel. I mean isn't all of the climbing in the Gunks an entitlement? As far as "having something for a local or two to amuse themselves after work" seems to imply that everyone else is out there climbing for some greater purpose. I climb for many reasons but I think the main reason is because I find it incredibly fun. Am I really in the minority here because I am a local that climbs after work for fun and don't always get roped into doing multi-pitch routes. (sorry, just a bit of wordplay there)

Do you (RG and others) see the p1 anchors at the top of Criss Cross, RoseLand/Shitface, Workout Wall, BirdLand etc... the same way?

I guess I am very curious about all of this because though I have read your arguments (and others) and understand what you are saying I just see it so differently. It also seems that there is a pretext that anyone who doesn't see it a certain way has a shallow view of the larger context of the issue. I understand that you and many others that have climbed here for a long time may be seeing a wider picture that perhaps I can not somehow grasp, but the arguments don't feel compelling enough to win me over...yet.

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#68299 - 06/13/13 04:48 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: cfrac]
kenr Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 36
I generally like the "convenience" anchors that the Preserve has installed at the top of the P1 of various routes. And I like that they recently improved the convenience of the Son of Easy O anchor.

There's not so many days with dry rock in the Gunks that fit my schedule, and I have to drive a significant time to get to the Gunks -- so I want to make the most of each day I get. 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.

But I (like most people who climb Sixish) do enjoy leading P2, and do enjoy doing Sixish as a three-pitch climb to the top of the ridge. So having a traffic jam at the top of P1 is not what I favor. I think the number of parties who want to do only P1 of Sixish is like 1 in a 1000. So I feel the current P1 anchor of Sixish (as of last week) is just the right level of "convenience" for me (and I did back up the pitons with a piece of Trad gear).

Ken

P.S. my challenge to RGold:
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.)



Edited by kenr (06/13/13 04:50 AM)

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#68301 - 06/13/13 05:21 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: cfrac]
rg@ofmc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2468
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?


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#68303 - 06/13/13 06:34 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: rg@ofmc]
kenr Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 36
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
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?

That's just what I did from the top of Sixish last week: Walked a couple of hundred feet and rappeled down. Note that in my response to the earlier post about Sixish, I did not say how exactly how I did it. So I helped preserve the "slight puzzle". But there are consequences to leaving that puzzle ... one is that some people will "solve" it with less ingenuity -- and so crowd the belay ledge at P1.

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#68304 - 06/13/13 07:08 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: rg@ofmc]
kenr Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 36
Originally Posted By: rg@ofmc
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.
... 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.

I recall a wise climber writing ten or twenty years ago that future generations would be grateful that the adventurous character of Gunks climbing had been retained. Well now, my feeling is, based on: (a) The percentage of 20-year-old climbers in the southern NY - NJ area who do any Trad climbing; and (b) The smaller number of climbers in the Trapps (even smaller number in the Nears?) on recent wonderful weekend-weather days -- that this future generation is not feeling much gratitude.

I do know a couple of 20-year-old climbers who are excitedly discovering Trad climbing in the Gunks, rapidly "working their way up through the grades" in leading. They have not mentioned the slightest discomfort with convenience anchors, or any preference for routes that lack them.

I recall Russ Clune in the last couple of years was quoted as saying that Trad climbing is really about long multi-pitch routes, so most of the Eastern USA really can't match the Western mountains for that.

Myself, I love long high-mountain routes: I eagerly seek them out in Europe, and I'm much looking forward to a trip to the high Sierras soon. But the Gunks can't deliver that level of adventure for me in roped climbing, because I carry a mobile phone with the Preserve phone number in memory, and I lead with double-ropes, so I can just sacrifice some gear and escape by rappeling all the way to the ground from 99.9% of the rock in the Gunks.

Anyway I actually enjoy building Trad anchors when I'm Leading in the Gunks, because it's my own creative action. It's when I'm Following that I hate it, because it's just more time sitting around waiting while somebody else does their creative adventure thing.

Free soloing: There's still adventure in the Gunks, and no amount of additional convenience anchors can take that away. Great easy/moderate climbs mostly on pretty sound rock -- the key ingredients for a free solo circuit. Also great prep for long high-mountain routes, and great motivation for doing lots of practice down-climbing.

For a possible future of two-pitch Trad adventure climbing without convenience anchors, check out the thread on MountainProject about Delaware Water Gap climbing, note the frequent comments about "vegetation" on good routes that nobody seems to do much any more. So when I need that good old-time two-pitch adventure climbing I know where to find it -- if not on the hundreds of Gunks routes that will still be un-convenienced (and newly vegetated?) twenty years from now - (and there's the Dacks).

Ken


Edited by kenr (06/13/13 07:16 AM)

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#68305 - 06/13/13 10:09 AM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: kenr]
kenr Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/05/10
Posts: 36
I'm having trouble understanding how lack of bolt (or other convenience) anchors is a crucial part of the Gunks "adventure" experience.

When I lead indoors, usually I find that making the clip at an intermediate bolt is the crux of the climb (hanging on with one hand) -- and sometimes I've backed off on indoor leads because pulling out the rope and contemplating a significant fall was mentally too much.

Sport climbing outdoors -- I can remember a couple of times even with bolt anchors where I was so pumped when I reached the overhanging anchor that I was afraid I was going to take a substantial fall while making the final clip - (and the only time I ever got significantly injured Leading was an intermediate fall on a bolted route).

Gunks -- In all the Gunks climbs I've led so far, the belay was on some horizontal ledge with a good stance, and the Trad gear placement "rocket science" was sticking three cams into a horizontal crack. (I even use the climbing rope with clove hitches to connect to the cams -- none of that unnecessary Cordelette stuff for me.)

I do feel the adventure of contemplating falling on a "PG" route and breaking my ankle hitting one of those notorious Gunks horizontals. I do get the adventure of fiddling to find the right stopper while standing on little footholds on a typical Gunks slab/face.

My concept of "adventure" implies uncertainty with serious negative consequences. How do most Gunks belay stations deliver on that?

Ken


Edited by kenr (06/13/13 10:45 AM)

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#68310 - 06/13/13 03:35 PM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: kenr]
SethG Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 709
Loc: NYC
I think pitch two of Sixish is great.

Also I think I am with RG here. I don't think these pitch one convenience anchors are good, especially in the long run. I don't know if my reasoning derives from a desire for adventure. Instead I object because these anchors tend to influence climbers to skip the upper pitches, lead to traffic jams, and contribute to polish on popular routes.
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#68311 - 06/13/13 04:08 PM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: kenr]
Adrian Offline
journeyman

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 73
Originally Posted By: kenr
Gunks -- In all the Gunks climbs I've led so far, the belay was on some horizontal ledge with a good stance, and the Trad gear placement "rocket science" was sticking three cams into a horizontal crack. (I even use the climbing rope with clove hitches to connect to the cams -- none of that unnecessary Cordelette stuff for me.)


I've only climbed at JTree, Zion, Yosemite, Red Rock and east coast areas. As far as I remember, all belays are on good ledges (except Tunnel Vision P2 worse belay bolts ever). Crimson Chrysalis is bad too, lol.

Originally Posted By: kenr

My concept of "adventure" implies uncertainty with serious negative consequences. How do most Gunks belay stations deliver on that?

Is that what you really want for belay stations? Hop on some dessert routes, that'll probably wake you up.

Originally Posted By: SethG

Instead I object because these anchors tend to influence climbers to skip the upper pitches, lead to traffic jams, and contribute to polish on popular routes.

Well, how do we address traffic jams on No Glow, Keep On Struttin' ledge?

I don't know, I agree with RG mostly, but I don't think there is a solution to the problem.


Edited by Adrian (06/13/13 04:11 PM)

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#68312 - 06/13/13 04:37 PM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: rg@ofmc]
Rockanice Offline
member

Registered: 12/24/99
Posts: 146
Loc: New York
It seems to me this quibbling over bolts and sling placement is part and parcel of one of the sadder by-products attending the massive increase in numbers of people pursuing climbing these days. I say "people pursuing climbing" because I hesitate to say the word "climber".

I don't know what that word means anymore. I thought I knew, maybe I never really did, though. I had an ideal beyond mechanics that encompassed how a set of challenges were taken on. To be a climber to the general public was once a strange enigmnatic concept- a truly fringe endeavor that puzzled people and I guess it still does to some extent. However, more often now the unititiated can relate to you because they had attended a climbing birthday party. " Oh, yeah, I know about climbing" they say. I might just smile and think "sure you do".

Once to be a climber was to be self-reliant, possessing skills and nerve that would see you through uncertain terrain or perhaps dictate a retreat if need be, etc. etc. etc.

To get there, you evolved through a series of experiences that cultivated your developing set of skills and way of thinking.

Now to be a climber, you may have just passed your belay test in the gym.

I think what may being decried here is the dilution of the overall Brand, along with a call to mitigate that dilution here in this 'bastion of traditional climbing'. The mindset of the climber has morphed with the inroads that come with the strictly Gym Climber mentality. I see a fear here in this thread, that those aspirants who are just now finding their way through may be exposed to a lower common denominator with the convenience trend, that robs them of the problem-solving, self reliant aspects that should be prized in a climber's make-up.

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#68313 - 06/13/13 05:01 PM Re: Shawangunk Anchors - Wish Lists and Updates [Re: Rockanice]
Lucander Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 224
Loc: Stone Ridge, NY
I remember long ago when I started this thread and it was just about the status of anchors.

Keep up the good work rGold, and don't stop running your mouth like all of my favorite senior faculty members in the senate do. I'm not tenured and keeping quiet while I work on my book, if ya know what I mean.

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