Monday, January 23, 2006

Waterton Anchors/Fixed Gear?

I believe we have discussed fixed/bolted anchors and routes inside the park boundary a little bit last year, if memory serves me correctly. Was there ever a consensus as to replacing some of the old pins with bolts and or creating new modern mixed routes (winter or summer) ? I know the park does not want "sport routes" or the use of an electric/gas drill but there are a lot of untrustworthy pins and the potential for some really good new routes. Experts choice for example, above the dolomite, has the potential for some good routes. As far as old pin replacement goes, one spot in particular that I was reminded of on Saturday was on French Kiss. The two existing pins are fairly suspect and like it was on Saturday there was not enough good ice for a trustworthy abalakov. If nobody objects I wouldn't mind replacing the old pins with two rap rings.

Discuss away.

PS - Ice Conditions as of Saturday Jan 21,
Experts looks to be in good shape on the center
Quick and Dirty is thin, wet but climable
French Kiss was climable but poor gear
Pillier Du Putains was blue and wet
Pearl Necklace was blue, wet, and steep
Trappers Choice is snow covered
Compound Gullies are in - Dave and Willis climbed the right gully and reported good ice

Too bad it is supposed to be in the + temps again this week.

Cheers, Scott


At 1/24/2006 09:39:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally would support someone like Scott putting bolted rap rings on the top of something like French Kiss (and perhaps the rock wall on climber's right at the top of the first pitch of quick and dirty), for the simple reason that these climbs are used a fair bit, and bolted anchors would be a much safer alternative to pitons subject to freeze/thaw, and would also help to cut down on the amount of old cord lying around in the Spring from abolokov anchors.

I would not, however, support the placement of bolts for intermediate protection for either rock climbs or mixed routes in the National Park. I think this kind of use of bolts should be reserved for places outside the park, such as Drywood. I also doubt the Waterton Wardens would be very thrilled about more use of bolts (and might start chopping them), other than for obviously needed places at belay/rap stations at places like Bridalveil. Just my two cents worth...

By the way -- finally went into Wolf Falls in Crowsnest Pass on Sunday (jan 22nd) -- very thin and avy hazard at bottom -- see new posting under Wolf Falls Post. Also checked out Star Creek Falls (ice a mess, and lots of running water) and Gold Creek Climbs (very small, biggest one only about 20 feet high; not worth the hike in right now).


Posted by Brad

At 1/24/2006 10:12:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one thing to be aware of putting in rock anchors on ice climbs is the fact they often ice over, or the ice level changes to such a degree they are no longer reachable. For example the anchors at the top of the bottom section of French Kiss may suffer from this. However, since the anchors would only get used when the ice on top is thin, this may not be much of an issue.

I doubt the Wardens want to have to enforce any type of bolting policy. Knowing how bureaucracies work I would guess they would prefer to see good self policing.

On the rock climbs, there really aren't too many old pins lying around. If it is a crack, I personally prefer pins to bolts, even if they have to get pounded in again on occasion. Like you say, the top of the choice is the one spot bolted routes would go up in the park. I am guessing as long as it doesn't develop a sport character the impact shouldn't be too high there. I think having a gear line up through the dolomite while a pain, certainly keeps things this way. I know it has kept me from putting up more routes up top. 

Posted by chris goble

At 1/24/2006 11:34:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spoken to the head warden in the past on anchors and bolting etc, Chris you have as well right? He seemed to open to having some bolted belay stations on more of the popular routes instead of old pins. He also did not want "sport routes" which is understandable (i've only climbed two sport routes in the last two years, pretty much gone all trad). My thoughts on this are more towards belay stations vs. new route development.

Is it possible to make a list of climbs that might benefit from fixed stations or that should not have fixed stations:

1. French Kiss - 1st pitch and possibly top
2. Cusaks Crack - 3nd pitch where 2 old pins exsist
3. Experts Choice - belay station/rap station at the top of the first pitch

side note Chris - your website seems to be having some problems, none of the drop downs are working


Posted by scott harms

At 1/24/2006 12:05:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a bolt station at the top of the fist pitch of Q&D on the climbers right but it was iced over when I climbed it earlier this year.They are the anchors for the mixed route that was put up a couple years ago on the right of Q&D.

I think that bolt stations would be good on some routes. I remember once on the hump (I can't remember the route name right now, but it was on the bottom tier) we were setting up to rappel off some fixed pins that I had rapped off of before and looked like solid 3-4" pins, and as I replaced the sling with a piece of 7 mil cord I tied a double fishermans knot and went to give it good pull to set the knot and one of the two pins popped out. It was only about a 1.5" stubby pin. Needless to say we found a differant decent route.

Probably some would be good on the experts choice rock routes as belay and rap anchors, and the middle of frenck kiss, although you can rap from the tree at the top with double 60m ropes. I don't think the hump would need any because you can pretty much walk off from the tops of most climbs, which I always do now after the incident I refered to above. 

Posted by Brett Weisser

At 1/24/2006 12:16:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah the website never got the final touches it needed. The header didn't work the way I wanted. I finally gave up and used the site map instead. I can't quite figure out why the jump menu's don't work. However since they don't do what I want, I figure instead of fixing them I will just replace them with something better. Chances are next fall I will be going through the whole site and doing a major update. I have to add in some extra kayaking runs as well as quite a few scrambing routes.

The scrambling routes are what I would really like to add it. My goal is to have a topo showing the route, at least a half dozen well described pictures along the way and a good write up. Going with frames certainly can make it look slick, however it is a major pain in terms of flexibility.

Eventually I would like to include populare traverses and link ups, but the last two seasons I have screwed my knee and have been stuck impersonating an old man - something that seems to come more and more naturally each year. 

Posted by chris goble

At 1/24/2006 12:20:00 PM , Blogger chris g said...

Also over the next few years I am seriously thinking about trying to produce a video guide for classic kayak runs in the province. I'll see if I have the time, and wht the interest levels would be like. I can't imagine it getting done in under 2 or 3 years. Plus flash maps, access info and stories would all take a while to produce.

At 1/25/2006 11:13:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is pretty cool, a non scientific expierment of the abalakov anchor - two videos,


Posted by Scott Harms

At 1/26/2006 01:40:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is now a single bolt to the climbers left of the two pins at the top of the third pitch on Cusak's. It's pretty much set up to continue climbing over the roof rather than setting up a belay station where the pins are. I personally think that's sufficient. I have to admit, the one thing about ice climbing i don't like is seeing all the tat cord left on and at the bottom of climbs but one thing i have discovered is that the rats and birds love that cord for making nests. It makes a bed that probably outlasts them. I also believe we have to take the nature of the climb into consideration. If it's an existing route that has pins on it, pack a hammer, test the pins before you use them. Before we go putting in bolts i think we need to consider the first ascentionists, how they would feel about us putting in bolts, even if they are rap bolts and how does it affect the nature of the climb. Let's face it, if there's a bolt placed beside a pin i can guarantee that 99% of climbers will clip into the bolt but what effect does that have on the nature of the has lots of effect on the nature of the climb. Waterton has it's own unique flavour of climbing and i hope it stays that way.  

Posted by Blair Piggot

At 1/26/2006 06:15:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say I am glad to see bolts on the hump. I always thought the cusaks belay was fine. It certainly wasn't what one would want for catching factor 2 whippers, but then you could never get that situation up there. With rope drag one was lucky to even feel the fall of a second. I definitely think belay bolts do change the character of a route; in some ways more than bolts on the route itself. It is nice to go on a multipitch and have to work to back off. When traffic is substantial things do change, but how often is there a big line on Cusaks or any of those climbs? Plus a couple of KB's could make that belay bomber. While they may pop out during freezes, they certainly change the character of things less. However that is just my opinion. I know many other climbers favor bomber bolt belays no matter what. To me that often neglects the continuity of experience good routes and experiences have. The standard quip about it being worth an accident doesn't really apply . It is only valid if something is decidely out of character with expectations. Unless it is, I say keep character constant.

Of course when one talks about the upper pitches of the choice, things change quite a bit. Often bolts are part of route continuity. 

Posted by chris goble


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