remove via ferrata south peak?

Everything and anything to do with climbing in Squamish.

remove south peak via ferrata

Poll ended at Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:02 pm

yes
18
46%
no
21
54%
 
Total votes: 39

rolfr
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Post by rolfr » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:33 am

I totally agree with Crusty the clown, in my experience dealing with departments of the provincial government, pointing out and soap boxing about liability issues will just bring out the lawyers and unfavorable outcomes. In discussions with previous Ex. of the dept. of Environment, on lake aeration, i have personally seen this happen.

Assuming the hardware is uncertified and there is a genuine interest to replace it, the first questions should be:

1. What is the replacement cost .
2. Where is the money coming from.
3. Who will do the work.
4. Who will maintain it.

Anyone have any answers ?

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:53 pm

Focusing on replacement rather than removal is a more productive direction in my view.

In response to Rolf's queries, I think the first question is

0. What *should* the ladder look like (design)?

This would affect all of 1. through 4.

Without a helicopter's involvement, all the materials would need to be carried up on the backs of humans. This raises a constraint on materials and design... but one that could be overcome.

2. is the best question... where will the money come from? I'd bet that enough locals could band together to design the replacement, remove the existing one, and install the new one. But we might be looking at $500 to $1000 for a proper ladder.

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Post by BK » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:09 pm

I think its a superb hiking link up. Unobtrusive as well. A fine addition by "a certain individual", aka "he who shall not be named" and who I propose the title henceforth: Dances with Bush saw".

It seems to me that DWB gets a pretty rough ride around here, no doubt some of it justifiable. Even I have cursed his name upon occasion, perhaps while trying to clip one of his dog leash chain links or laying eyes on a recent clear cut. Good stuff for ranting over a beer. At the same time however I suggest we should all raise our glasses to DWB - not to his relatively minor crimes but to the vast bulk of his work which no climber can help but appreciate, if they care to think about it.

I can't help noticing a tone of disrespect from some comments which should be noted, were likely soiling their diapers while DWB was doing the grunt work on the squaw, smoke bluffs, malemute and everywhere else, which he continues to this day. I'm not saying anyone gets a free pass on accountability, and times change. I'd be one of the first to agree that his style and engineering can run a bit rough but I'd also say stack his transgressions against his contributions over 4 decades and there's no contest. The man has unearthed more good climbing around here than anyone else and deserves much respect for it.

I think that even DWB will acknowledge that the odd one or two of his routes may need a little, oh... renovating shall we say. As these creations are after all not private property, such action should be decided upon with a healthy consensus of opinion. Good on you Peder for springing the question.

my vote is leave as is or upgrade if really necessary. I'll throw a few bucks and hours in the pot. The squaw / 3 peaks linkup is awesome.

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Post by Dru » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:54 am

The squaw/three peaks linkup was a lot better before all the ironmongery got added IMHO. The south peak is the only place where anything new was really added to the route, (not having to drop down via the trail to the 1st-2nd fork anymore) and I'm not really sure that it's warranted.

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Post by Chubb Rock » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:42 am

Jst leave it and as time goes by fix the rungs that need to be replaced.....I think it is cool. And a fun way to hike the chief!

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Post by Anders Ourom » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:40 pm

I am strongly in favour of removing the rungs, chains etc that were built in early 2009, and not replacing them at all. If they were to be replaced, perhaps at another location, then only if it is consistent with the master plan for the Park, after appropriate planning, done to safe standards, and after the existing Chief trails have all been upgraded. And yes, I have used the setup once, in June 2009, with Tony Richardson. It may seem clever, but that’s about it. It and other recent events suggest that the climbing community isn’t responsible, and can’t be relied on to regulate itself. We should carefully remove it, to show otherwise, and then have a mature discussion as to what’s next.

Consider this, and other things that have happened at Squamish in the last few years, from the perspective of the public and of BC Parks. It concerns much more than just climbers, and those who live in Squamish. The Chief has been a provincial park since 1995 – it’s no longer our private playground, where climbers can do what we want. Some of the issues:
• Scandalously low funding for BC Parks, at Squamish and elsewhere. A chronic problem. Nonetheless, if a use or user group is perceived as a problem, particularly in terms of public safety, it eventually will be addressed by stricter management if not prohibition. If we manage ourselves, even if it means some self-restraint, it reduces the chances of someone else managing us more actively.
• Increasing commercial pressure on the Park, of all kinds.
• Public safety and environmental impacts, whether from construction of a substandard ladder system, cleaning (trundling and scrubbing), or otherwise.
• Risk to the public – I’ve spent time at the gap between the first and second summits, cleaning up garbage, and seen hikers going up. And seen a few hikers stranded at its top, and even near the top of the third (fourth) summit. In dry mid-summer the ladders were manageable for me – what about non-climbers, or in damper conditions?
• The precedent of allowing this to be built in the Park without appropriate planning, and of doing little in response. (Climbers in Squamish must have known it was being built, in early 2009 – why didn’t they do the right thing then?) The ladders are outside anything in the Master Plan – which needs to be updated – and far outside the Recreational Climbing Strategy.
• There is one ‘real’ via ferrata in the area already, at Whistler/Blackcomb, and room to build others outside parks. Shouldn’t they be kept in the commercialized places?
• The precedent in terms of other parks. Also, we don’t want the Chief, and B.C., to be overdeveloped like some other mountain areas.
• The full cost of removing the existing system, and replacing it with something engineered to a decent standard, will probably be considerable, in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how much can be done by volunteers, if available. There’s also the question of whether specialized “via ferrata” climbing equipment is available locally. If not, will the stores bring it in, and what about training the public in its use?

In my view, the focus should be to rebuild the existing trail network in the Park, to a reasonable and durable standard. That would be of greatest service to the public, and climbers. BC Parks did some commendable work on the trails over the last few months, but there’s much more to do. I also believe that the old mountaineers’ route from the Slhanay gravel pit parking (on the Stawamus River road) to the saddle should be rebuilt as a good trail, linking into the existing trail network and creating a loop trail. A low-level trail parallel to the road and linking the Slhanay parking area to the campground would add to this, and overall should much increase hiking use of the northern part of the Park. (With all the related management issues…) It should also help with increasing parking pressure at the Park. If the trail work led to removal or at least minimizing all artificial structures (ladders, chains) in the Park, so much the better. They were only added in the later 1980s, and for the most part aren’t needed.

If the ladders were to be rebuilt, and replaced in another more appropriate location, it should only be with BC Parks’ full cooperation, perhaps after updating of the master plan, and with appropriate discussion. It should be to accepted standards for such things.

On a historical note, the ladders also “over-wrote” some of the mountaineers’ route from the first to the second summit, as well as a route on the Chief’s north ridge, to the north summit. Neither was well known, but they provided pleasant, inobtrusive, alternate adventures.

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Post by BK » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:33 pm

I'm inclined to think of it more as a tempest in a teapot.
At the very least, I don't see it a whole lot differently than the myriad network of tatty but quite useful fixed hand lines scattered all over the place. I haven't seen any tourists kill themselves on any of those yet and they're about as obvious as the rungs.
I have seen tourists monkeying up the grandwall descent for instance, or poking around the entrance to the penthouse.

You want to see some wild fixed tourist gack just go down to angels landing in zion or the cables on HD. No fatalities that i've heard so far.

As for precedent, I think if something truly stupid were to appear, it will cross the line.
where's the line? maybe determined through consensus, possibly by a forum like this.

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Post by Anders Ourom » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:08 pm

With 22 posts, and only 31 votes, there's not very conclusive evidence of anything. Although many more seem to be viewing this thread - I wonder if they know that they can vote without identifying themselves? And there have been some informed perspectives presented.

The ladder system is an embarrassment to the climbing community, and it's our responsibility to do something about it if we reasonably can. It would show that we not only claim to be but actually are responsibly self-governing, in the public interest.

Rebuilding the hiking trails at the Chief, and adding to them, would also be an opportunity to 'manage' climbers' trails, those that aren't generally suitable for hikers. Some low-profile signage, concealed starts, and so on.

The proliferation of scruffy hand lines is another concern. Yet more 'convenience' add-ons, potentially a precedent for worse. But very often they don't really make the situation safer. An example being the rope placed on Broadway two years ago (photos somewhere here). A fifty year old route, which can easily be belayed and protected, both ascending and descending, and also rappelled. Better to leave Broadway and the Apron descent as they are. Discourages hikers from going up, and inappropriate installations. In this case, a major one would be required to make any real difference. This ain't the Alps. Although the trail in the forest could do with some work.

There will always be pressure to make climbing at Squamish more convenient, often for commercial motives. A short, steep and slippery slope, and something to guard against. Climbing ain't ever safe, and ain't ever convenient.

(A few years ago, there was a handline at the start of South Arete, a real mystery. Not to mention all the bolts added on its second pitch.)

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Post by slopr » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:33 am

A pic of the ladder here, where does the route go from its top? Up the ledge to the right? Is there more iron above?


http://squamishclimbing.com/squamish_cl ... ht=ferrata
Image

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Post by J Mace » Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:22 pm

[quoteIf they were to be replaced, perhaps at another location, then only if it is consistent with the master plan for the Park, after appropriate planning, done to safe standards, and after the existing Chief trails have all been upgraded.[/quote]

:roll:

Keep the ladder, its awesome!

And no not all European Ferrattas are done to "safe standards" They have the same sh*t, missing rungs old bolts and such.

Ive seen plenty, they all look just like those.

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Post by Anders Ourom » Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:50 am

37 votes doesn't seem enough from which to draw any real conclusion. It does seem fairly clear that there are those who look at this largely as just a "climber" issue, and those who see it as a park, public and climber issue.

I continue to believe that it's up to the climbing community to clean up its own messes, and to prevent them where possible - particularly where park values or the public are affected.

Certainly construction standards for these things vary. However, I suspect that modern European ladder systems, particularly in public parks, must be built to a fairly high standard. Not that Squamish or B.C. is or should be like Europe.

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:48 pm

Anders, the "via ferrata" is not a mess for the majority of people who spoke out on this thread, it's a valuable community asset. We all agree that it's not as well constructed as it could be. Some of us are exploring replacing it with something more "standard" and durable. But when it comes to "cleaning up" this community asset, thanks but no thanks.

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Post by Fre » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:52 am

We hiked the VF last Tuesday, did the entire loop from the Slarnhay (or howevever the pc name of the Squaw is spelled). When we got to the bottom of the VF, we bumped into a couple of Japanese hikers with a didgeridoo, and politely pointed out the path for the second peak, since it seemed to be their first time.
Some of the rungs bend a bit, but I can't see them fail any time soon, and even if they did, you're always on several of them at the same time. I felt more uncomfortable on some of the pulley-ropes, not just on the VF but in other places as well.
I originally voted to get the thing removed but I changed my mind. Someone needs to use the hot-tub time machine, and prevent the thing from being built. I guess I'm annoyed that someone randomly built the VF but what good is online bitching after the facts?

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Re: remove via ferrata south peak?

Post by Anders Ourom » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:00 pm

(Thought I'd try out the new site and board.)

the "via ferrata" is not a mess for the majority of people who spoke out on this thread, it's a valuable community asset.

I'm afraid that we'll have to disagree on that one. And this concerns many more than those few climbers who read and post on this forum, but all climbers, and the public generally. And BC Parks. A few may think the thing, for all its shortcomings, an asset. Jumping from there to saying that it's a valuable community is a long jump indeed.

There's been considerable fuss over the last few years about 'cleaning' operations on Milk Run and Crescent Ramp, Crap Crags, right of the Sheriff's Badge (harihari), and elsewhere, the ladder disaster being discussed here, and anchor standards, often involving many of the same people. Perhaps what this illustrates is that whatever the master plan and recreational climbing strategy say, it's time for climbers to back off a little in terms of these activities. For example, for it to become the community standard to post information about plans of any substance, e.g. cleaning of more than a single pitch, "logging", or where such operations might affect other routes, public safety, or climber safety. Posting it here and elsewhere, so that those who might contribute to discussion of any related matters have an opportunity to do so - before it occurs. It might be the end of the "secret cliff" silliness, but so what?

Something like this wouldn't really apply to something like the rungs and chains, given that they are much more than just a climber issue, and well outside the master plan and climbing strategy. Short of changes to both documents, a non-starter.

Speaking of BC Parks, the centennial of the creation of the first park is in March. There was a good article in the Sun on Saturday about this, and related management and planning problems. http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/park ... story.html

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Re: remove via ferrata south peak?

Post by squamish climber » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:51 am

It's the last day to participate in the poll.

Fre, your comment a couple posts up about running into some Japanese hikers with a didgeridoo at the base of the via ferrata is a funny image. It seems to me that non-climbers are going to end up climbing this thing quite often throughout the year. Should that be a concern to climbers? What would happen if there was an accident on the vf -- what would Parks do? Whose responsibility is it to maintain the vf?

Another tangent thought: My understanding of the vf's in Europe is that they require a harness with two daisy chain kind of attachments (Petzl Scorpio Via Ferrata Lanyard avail through MEC for $111) so the person is always anchored in. I don't think anybody is going to be using lanyards on this very short vf. So in a way it will never be in compliance even if the hardware were upgraded.

I have to say I'm not attached to the vf never having used it. I can see letting go of it would be more difficult if I used it -- it sounds fun and convenient. I consider it a liability to climbers and our freedom to self-manage ourselves.
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