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Why runout bolting ?

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Why runout bolting ?

Postby rhyang » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:32 pm

It's raining .. another bolt thread :lol:

I went to Pinnacles on Saturday with some local climbing buddies, Lisa and Justin. After warming up on some other stuff we went over to Dos Equis, which in Brad Young's new Pinnacles guide is rated 5.8 R. There are four bolts in about 90', FA 3/1980 by Larry Arthur and Bob Otter. I've led stuff at Tollhouse Rock that seemed to be bolted in a similar style, and had my meeting with Mr. Fear that day :shock: :) We each took a turn toproping it afterwards.

While eating lunch another party came by, and the conversation turned to why there weren't more bolts on this route, to make it safer. Naturally, Lisa who has more experience with Pinnacles climbing mentioned the ground-up ethic that is usually observed at the Monument, and that if the first ascensionists didn't see a need for more bolts, then their wishes should be respected. I casually piped up that it would not be as thrilling a lead with more bolts (would I have still gotten Elvis Leg if a fifth bolt was present ??)

btw We actually met Brad Young earlier in the day and chatted for a bit. Nice guy ! He mentioned that he had been part of the FA of Sea of Tranquility and later gone back to rebolt and retrobolt the route to make it safer (better and more bolts). At least that's what I remember .. maybe I have this wrong.

Anyhow, the other party had a good time on the route too. Did we miss anything when explaining the One True Path ? :)
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Postby fatdad » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:38 pm

It's safe if you don't fall. Climbers used to rely on their skill and good judgment to protect themselves, not just bolts. If you approached a route that seemed runout and you weren't sure of your abilities, you looked for something else to climb. Simple.
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Postby cp0915 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:50 pm

The South Face Diagonal (5.8 A0) is a traversing slab route on Great White Throne that averages just under 2 bolts per 165-foot pitch. Only one pitch allows any traditional pro -- a single 1.5" Friend. Yowser!
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Postby Dow Williams » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:08 pm

cp0915 wrote:The South Face Diagonal (5.8 A0) is a traversing slab route on Great White Throne that averages just under 2 bolts per 165-foot pitch. Only one pitch allows any traditional pro -- a single 1.5" Friend. Yowser!


True, but that is what made it interesting for us....did Song and Dance which Crazy Larry (FAer) labeled as 5.10R and placed no bolts on the entire route, which I really appreciated. It hones your trad skills.....what little gear is available, you have to search and think about vs lazy climbing which encompasses so many routes at RR. Many of us climb for the adventure of it, i.e. Courtney and I on the route above versus just about any other incentive. Well bolted slab at that grade might as well be called scrambling/hiking. The way it is, one has to think a bit. Not every 5.8-5.10 should be bolted to the hilt.
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Postby rhyang » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:23 pm

cp0915 wrote:The South Face Diagonal (5.8 A0) is a traversing slab route on Great White Throne that averages just under 2 bolts per 165-foot pitch. Only one pitch allows any traditional pro -- a single 1.5" Friend. Yowser!


I'm no expert on this 'runout' thing, but this is what I usually think of when a pitch is described as runout. Four bolts in 90' is perhaps a little old school, but considering the crux is after the fourth bolt it will keep you off the ground.

Contrast this with the next route over -- Corona (5.6) -- 8 bolts in less height ? Great for practice (kudos to Justin on his second lead, yeah !)
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Postby phlipdascrip » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:27 pm

fatdad wrote:It's safe if you don't fall.


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Postby The Chief » Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:56 pm

fatdad wrote:It's safe if you don't fall. Climbers used to rely on their skill and good judgment to protect themselves, not just bolts. If you approached a route that seemed runout and you weren't sure of your abilities, you looked for something else to climb. Simple.

+1

Those days are loooong gone.

Folks now rely far more on their Bolted Pro and not their abilities.

I hear more of this...

"HOLY SHEET, WHERE'S THE NEXT BOLT. I CAN'T DO THIS. THERE'S NO PRO!"


Than what was not heard and then reflected after the pitch on days past...

GREAT MOVES..GREAT FICTION. MADE ME THINK AND CLIMB BETTER!"



An old saying by one of the best, sheds a bright waning light on this OP...

"If you're shakey at the grade, best to stay off the route dude!"

Jimmy Dunn
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Postby cp0915 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:11 pm

Dow Williams wrote:
cp0915 wrote:The South Face Diagonal (5.8 A0) is a traversing slab route on Great White Throne that averages just under 2 bolts per 165-foot pitch. Only one pitch allows any traditional pro -- a single 1.5" Friend. Yowser!


True, but that is what made it interesting for us....did Song and Dance which Crazy Larry (FAer) labeled as 5.10R and placed no bolts on the entire route, which I really appreciated. It hones your trad skills.....what little gear is available, you have to search and think about vs lazy climbing which encompasses so many routes at RR. Many of us climb for the adventure of it, i.e. Courtney and I on the route above versus just about any other incentive. Well bolted slab at that grade might as well be called scrambling/hiking. The way it is, one has to think a bit. Not every 5.8-5.10 should be bolted to the hilt.


I must agree, Dow. Good point. This particular route just wouldn't have that excellent "adventure quality" if it had more bolts.
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Postby fatdad » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:33 pm

A thought that just occured to me after I typed my original response. Route like the one Rob is talking about didn't seem to be runout at the time they were established. The number of bolts seemed adequate. They only appear runout in retrospect when compared to sport climbs.

Maybe another thing that some may not be familiar with is that the old method of placing bolts by hand wasn't easy. You had to find a stance where you could stop, pull out your drill bit and hammer and pound away for a good 15 to 20 minutes (sometime longer if that stance was sketchy and you had to stop and shake out, etc.). On a lot of thin, sketchy slabs, that was a tough proposition.

I had a buddy who was putting up a 5.10 face at Josh. I remember seeing him stop at an absolutely horrible stance (but the best available), 20 ft. out from his last piece and then have to stand there for almost half an hour while he put in a bolt. He'd hammer a bit, then stop and moan, and hammer and moan some more. It looked totally grim. Given that as an example, (although my friend didn't have this option given the route), it can be alot easier to keep your head together and climb to a better stance.
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Postby Rocker Paully » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:35 pm

I have mixed emotions about bolting, changing with my situation. When I'm on a 'run-out' route I get kinda pissed that I have to punch it to the next bolt, but after I climb it I feel stoked that I did it. When climbing very run out routes, you get that in the zone feeling and the extreme focus you need to climb. You can't panic and you just think about climbing well. I got this feeling this last weekend on a mixed ice route, The Thrill is Gone in Hyalite Canyon. I was past the crux section, and entering some WI3, when I dropped my last screw and almost dropped my tool (this is my first ice season and I was told to climb this route by a 'buddy'). I had no more gear placements, and I was 10ft above my last screw, so I had to punch it 50ft without gear until I got to the anchor tree. Believe me, I haven't been that focused in a very very long time.

City of Rocks is a great example of run out bolted routes that should be that way. All the bolts are where they should be, most are way off the ground, but the climbing to get to them is easy relative to the crux move of the route. Once the hard climbing stops, so do the bolts. You might have a 30ft run out to get to the chains, but the climbing is 5.6. I did a few 90ft routes with only 4 bolts and wasn't too freaked out...but they were definitely a little spicy.
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Postby Guyzo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:59 pm

Rob.... it's rated 5.8 R.... what do you expect?

The "R" means something.

What do you think a 5.8 "X" means?

Not all climbs are "safe" , or should be.
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Postby The Chief » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:10 pm

I thought this was called "Climbing" for a reason...
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Oh, I forgot... My Bad.
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Postby rhyang » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:19 pm

Guyzo wrote:Rob.... it's rated 5.8 R.... what do you expect?

The "R" means something.

What do you think a 5.8 "X" means?

Not all climbs are "safe" , or should be.


Yep. I actually didn't realize it was rated R in the new book until afterwards, when we were talking to the other party and looked it up in the book.

David Rubine's older guide lists it without the R rating. I'd seen Lisa's route page on SP beforehand, where she says this -

Lisae wrote:Although the route is rated 5.8, it is a serious lead. The terrain is relatively low angle and there are some long run outs between bolts, without the opportunity to place additional protection. A fall could result in a broken ankle. Before leading the route, you should be comfortable leading at this level.


Another one we did that day was Overboard - a shorter, somewhat steeper but IMO easier route, and heavily bolted .. 6 bolts in 30 feet. Quite a different feeling ..

I've led pitches that were runout (1 or two places for pro), so I know what to expect, and I'm scared to lead those kind of runout climbs at my limit.

I think the point of this thread (mine anyway) is that while eating my sandwich I was trying to come up with what to say to this other party who was asking us things like this (forgive the rough paraphrase) -

So I understand why the bolts were placed where they are on lead by the FA-ists, but why does that matter for us who are climbing it afterwards ? Why can't more bolts be put in to make it safer ?


We looked at each other, kinda shocked :) I thought I was gonna choke on my sammich a couple of times :lol:
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Postby Guyzo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:25 pm

Rob I hope you took a moment to explain to the Folks asking the question.

Because it's not a gym. :roll:
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