Retro on Right Wing?

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Optimally-Primed
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Retro on Right Wing?

Post by Optimally-Primed » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:08 am

I've been thinking of cleaning "Right Wing" on the Squaw this winter. Only, after rapping the route and giving it a close look, I noticed that there are a few wide (o/w or chimney) sections that are unprotectable and potentially quite challenging relative to the crux (10c). I considered the idea of, after giving it a retroscrub, also placing a few well-thought-out bolts, if they seemed appropriate to me. I consulted Fred Beckey (one of three first ascentionists) on this specific matter and he gave his approval of such. But before I do anything, I would like to get a sense of what the Squamish community thought on this matter. I'd like to have the backing of the core of the climbing community before I engage this project as the last thing I want is for someone to be offended by my work and head up there with a chisel.

Clearly, preserving the flavour of the route as it was climbed at the time of the FA resulted in it becoming overgrown and vastly underclimbed. It has thus not realised its natural potential. The line looks excellent by my reconning and could be a valued contribution to the Squaw. And so, it must see traffic. If it does have the runout wide sections (liebacking, probably not grinding) that I think it does, and if people go up there and get themselves scared, and if they come back to town and folks get word of the runout wide sections, then it will quickly become underclimbed and overgrown again. This is why I want to take the sting (but not the character) out the climb. I acknowledge that this is but one position---one that not all agree with. I would like to get a sense of what the community of Squamish wants to see. I am volunteering my time, effort, knuckle skin, and financial resources to bring Right Wing back into action. But I am only interested in doing so if the community of Squamish is backing the project that I am proposing. Otherwise, I'll spend my winter elsewise.

Any feedback (dissenters especially) would be appreciated.

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Post by rich k » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:29 am

given you have beckey's approval (which seems like the accepted way of going about it) my thoughts kinda evolved like this:

-generally (from overhanging sport to slab climbing), if an FAist has put up a route in a style NOT consistent with the style of the area, there shouldn't be a problem with the climbing community accepting making the route like others, whether this means adding or removing bolts, and

-furthermore (but still generally), an FAist who has put up a route that is below their limit and hasn't protected it the way they would've if the route was at their limit, should be cool with others adding protection to it to make it consistent with other routes. they're not required to buy extra bolts and invest extra time in placing them, but if others want to, why would they disagree.

-now specific to bolting an offwidths. these are the first questions that come to mind: what is the common style in squamish? how many offwidths are bolted (none other than the one at the base of pipeline?)? why are they not bolted? will this lead to pipeline getting bolted? has the route grown in because people don't like climbing offwidths?

gotta go for lunch, more on this later...

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Bolting offwidths and chimneys

Post by Optimally-Primed » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:36 am

Right Wing has some offwidth (protectable with large cams; I'll probably avoid bolting in these cases) but also some chimneys. Here are a number of precidents in Squamish where offwidths received iron:
-- Perry's Layback
-- the 10a offwidth on Borderline
-- Pipeline
-- Tantalus Wall (p5)
Right Wing may be more like Perry's and less like the others in that it is a right-facing, right-leaning corner, making it harder to see into and place gear

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Post by Peter » Wed Oct 18, 2006 11:40 am

I'd say go for it. If you want some help, I'm available and have all the required stuff.

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Post by rich k » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:57 pm

ya, you have a good idea. given that nobody climbs the route in the state that it's in, why not make it more appealing and available to be enjoyed by more people. go for it.

also, offwidths are $$$ to protect. with the option to clip bolts, climbers who can't afford big bros and large cams can still do the climb, and those who have the gear (but don't show up often enough for the route to see enough traffic) can choose to ignore the bolts. works for me.

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Post by Anders Ourom » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:13 pm

Good to have a debate on this, and take some time before making any decision.

The bolts on Pipeline were placed for a belay - ropes weren't long enough in those days to do it as one pitch.

Anders

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Post by rich k » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:53 pm

Anders Ourom wrote: The bolts on Pipeline were placed for a belay - ropes weren't long enough in those days to do it as one pitch.
anybody know why
Optimally-Primed wrote:-- Perry's Layback
-- the 10a offwidth on Borderline
...
-- Tantalus Wall (p5)
are bolted

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Post by thebigchin » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:05 pm

My buddy Joe and I tried to clean it around 1992 and got a severe lesson in the difficulty of scrubbing a route in the wet. Especially a route that isn't straight down. I'm still mentally scarred from that experience.

As for bolting the wide cracks I say go for it. I'm pretty old school and crusty but really... no one climbs that PoS in its current state. I agree that it could be a great addition to the crag formerly known as the Squaw.

Good luck!

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Post by meingh » Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:58 pm

My 2 cents...

I agree the steps you are taking are the best ones.

I try to look at it from logic and overall benefit.

1) Above everything else if the First Ascentionist says no then it no, no matter what!!!! If the first ascentionist is no longer with us then that's a whole other post :)

2) If you have approval from the first ascentionist then logic and benefit really come into play. Who will be harmed and who will be benefited. In this case no one will be harmed. The route may get some more traffic and we may get another great climb.

3) Logic.... does protecting a potentially dangerous move on a route of moderate grade that may be climbed by a large number of climbers that are not acquainted with or may not agree with the old "traditional" or "hard man" approach to route establishment. In this case I would says bolts make sense.

That's all i got,
have fun.

Gary

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Post by harihari » Thu Oct 19, 2006 9:52 am

Hm. Does it not get climbed because it has been dirty for ages or cos it has some o/w moves? Do we get ten feet of off-width at a time, or sustained unprotectable parts?

I would start but just scrubbing/cleaning it. Let people know about it and let it get climbed in a clean state so that a consensus can develop about it before it gets bolted.

Scrubbing has to be done when things are dry (or you just smear the goo around). If you want a hand with this, PM or call me and I'll help out 604 222 0499. I have brushes, gardening gear etc.

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Thu Oct 19, 2006 9:58 am

Someone told me that they backed off it because of how wide it is. The bulk of it is not very dirty at all... just a little lichen and maybe 10 bushes.

Your point about consensus seems off. Consensus is almost never achieved. There will be as many opinions once it's cleaned and has been climbed as there are now... But it doesn't hurt to wait till it's clean, try it out in the spring (maybe by folks that are ok with runout 5.10) and get their opinion about what it'd be like for the average 5.10 climber. I'm leaning that way.

I cleaned Optimus Prime (nearby) when it was wet-ish and had no problems.

I'll gladly accept your offer to help clean it. I'll be in touch.

Jeremy[/quote]

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Post by meingh » Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:16 am

I would start but just scrubbing/cleaning it. Let people know about it and let it get climbed in a clean state so that a consensus can develop about it before it gets bolted.
If someone has the permission of the FA'er (I like that term) and they are going to put the time and effort in then they get to decide. There's no point in cleaning it and putting in all that time and effort to find out that a few "loud" individuals don't want any bolts. You did the right think by looking for consensus and asking the FA'er. I say that's it, if you decided to do it then you have the right to do what YOU want.

Gary

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Post by rich k » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:49 pm

plus those 'loud' individuals can't climb the route in its overgrown state anyways, and those 'loud' individuals can place the o/w gear if they have it. nobody is forcing them to clip the bolts. good points meingh

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Post by harihari » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:56 pm

meingh wrote:
I would start but just scrubbing/cleaning it. Let people know about it and let it get climbed in a clean state so that a consensus can develop about it before it gets bolted.
If someone has the permission of the FA'er (I like that term) and they are going to put the time and effort in then they get to decide. There's no point in cleaning it and putting in all that time and effort to find out that a few "loud" individuals don't want any bolts. You did the right think by looking for consensus and asking the FA'er. I say that's it, if you decided to do it then you have the right to do what YOU want.

Gary
Hm. Good points raised by all here! I would say that simply the desire to bolt and permission from FA doesn't add up to "it's OK." No individual "owns" the route. There are so-called "loud" individuals who would love to add bolts to the bottom of the Pillar, or to Sunblessed's first pitch, etc etc.

The question of what makes a "5.10 climber" is also up for grabs. I have onsighted 5.12; I have freesoloed 5.10; I have also had my a$% handed to me by lots of 5.10 bolted routes and 5.9 trad. Does that make me a 5.12 or a 5.10 or a 5.9 climber? Should a 5.10 climber be able to climb 5.10 with difficulty, or cruise it? Should a 5.10 climber be OK with runouts or should things be bolted to sport standards? You are not ever going to get perfect "consensus" from the community, but you will get a much better sense of how grades and runouts feel.

The classic off-width (and slab) problem is this: people don't climb them much, so they feel hard and scary. I have seen LOADS of trad climbers (esp. me) get smacked around say 5.10 by off-widths when they can climb 11+ fingercracks or whatever. If RW has some short o/w width sections, you can always haul one big cam up, then leapfrog small and big gear.

Adding iron to the route, and then saying "well if you want, climb it with natural gear" is a problematic argument-- we all know that the experience is profoundly changed by the presence of bolts. For a comparison, leave your cell-phone in the car on your next big alpine day!


chris

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Bolts and scrubbing on Right Wing

Post by Mr.Sleazy » Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:23 pm

I recall also getting on this route back in the mid-1990s with the intent of cleaning it up, as McLane's guide book at the time suggested it as a good candidate for a scrub. My memory could be off, but I believe there was a short steep section just above the initial 5.8 crack/slab pitches and before the right-facing dihedral that is almost always wet, and had a couple or one old rusty pin. No problems there, replace any pins with bolts and clean it enough so that if its wet at least its a clean wet.

As to adding bolts: If I understand correctly you want to add bolts to some chimney sections, not offwidth. If they are unprotectable except via bolts, then go for it, but make sure to TR those sections thoroughly because it may be possible to squeeze into the chimneys and fiddle some gear in the back. This kind of climbing can be very rewarding when you figure out how to do it safely.

Good luck!
Brian Pegg

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