Public Safety Issue - Europa/Crap Crags

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AaronRN
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Re: Public Safety Issue - Europa/Crap Crags

Post by AaronRN » Sun May 27, 2012 8:40 pm

Got on Crap Crags for the first time the other day. It's been two years since the comments on this topic was first posted and I can say that the situation on this climb has gone from bad to ridiculous. Clearly a couple of years of freeze thaw action, post devegitation have done a number on this route. You might as well call pitch 1 the widow maker pitch. Got your gear stuck? forgot your nut tool? No worries, just lightly pull back on that massive flake, widen up the crack and grab your gear as it falls out. Also, I had to deal with a few heart stopping moments as foot ball sized holds busted loose under weight. Thankfully nothing got dropped, but these holds would have been pulled/stepped on many times before, but unfortunately they've suffered one frost too many. Decided to pull the pin at the top of pitch 4 and made it down the rap route. What a cluster f**k that turned out to be. In two short years this cruel joke of a decent option has all but greened up again, and I got to endure a rap/bush wack all the way to the base.
Two things I'd like to stress.
1. At a price tag of over $10,000/12,000 the cleaning of Crap Crags will go down in history as one of the greatest boondoggles in climbing history. Did some research out of curiosity and if you break down the cost per meter climbed this POS is on par with the first British expeditions to Mt. Everest. I kid you not.
2. Some on is going to die/get seriously injured, and the climbing community needs to do something to prevent this. With parties hanging out at the base of popular routes like Arrowroot the likelihood of someone getting clobbered from one of the many detached or soon to be detached blocks is likely. This route should not be popular and any one intending to climb this route should either be discouraged from doing so, or be going in with their eyes wide open to the dangers. I have two ideas. Unless it's too late I would encourage the publisher of the new select guide to omit this route from their book. For Kevin's new book/books I'll suggest that he stresses the inherent dangers of this route. Also, I'd like to see a sign at the base of this route that basically reads "climb this and you're going to kill someone, maybe you". I'll gladly install and pay for the sign my self.
Your thoughts?
Aaron Kristiansen

natsdad
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Re: Public Safety Issue - Europa/Crap Crags

Post by natsdad » Mon May 28, 2012 8:58 am

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for starting the conversation. I did this route a couple of years ago and have never desired to repeat it. I also found a lot of questionable (in terms of its' soundness) rock on this route. Also, with the new "butt face" variation on the Squamish Buttress, there is an "easy" and much more enjoyable alternative for folks climbing in the lower difficulty range who want to scale the chief. (And they don't need to climb any A0 pitches ...)

Interesting cost analysis/comparison with first British Everest expedition (did you factor in inflation :D ?). And your concerns about rockfall are well taken. I'm particularly fond of arrowroot, rutabaga, etc. Still, I'm not sure about the sign idea. Perhaps just getting the word out that this climb is not a good, safe climbing experience and that it endangers people below will result in nature reclaiming this route?

Steve
Last edited by natsdad on Mon May 28, 2012 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BK
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Re: Public Safety Issue - Europa/Crap Crags

Post by BK » Mon May 28, 2012 12:01 pm

I hadn't seen this post before but I think its a major red flag. I havn't climbed it but i have strayed onto the upper pitches and in my observation the major problem is that the fault line it follows is a contact zone / shear zone between two distinct batholith components, with the usual poor quality rock associated, more so than surrounding rock. This is a distinct problem with following lines of weakness, major faults or gullies. The big gullies are prime examples and are filled with decomposed gravel and choss. Crap crags is the same thing on a minor scale. The only thing holding things like that together is the green sh*t we love to remove.

Anyway, even before the birth of Europa the upper ledges of Millenium Falcon also needed to be treaded with care lest you pepper those below on Arrow route etc.

Thanks for the heads up and I'm not sure I'd want to climb on Rutta Bagga / arrow route knowing that anyone is on Europa or possibly even MF.

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