Friday, 12 June 2015
Trad versus Bolt? by Stevie Haston.
Will Trad climbing survive? Is it what people want? Is it any good? I have asked myself these questions for years. I'ave looked at the other side of the coin too. Is bolt climbing any good? Will it survive. Well bolts, apart from a problem of corrosion are the preferred mode of transport over rock. More importantly for me (and I say me, you are not me and are allowed an opinion) bolts provide less faff, and more pleasure. Without the huge quantity of trad gear, you climb more, and spend less time messing, around, placing gear, dropping gear (expensive), or just mashing your fingers in gear!
So we went Trad climbing today, it just used to be called climbing, notice we are already in opposing camps. Why Trad, well because it was an exploration, to have a look, prospecting for golden routes. And yes Trad was the way, cos it was quick. It was the method that worked. But will some one bolt what I climbed on trad? Maybe yes, and Maybe no!
Looking up this beau groove, it's magic. Protection was two huge Sky Hooks, two pegs, one of which pulled out in the second persons hand, and a couple of other crap pieces. But what a gothic, groovy groove. It would be much better if it was bolted! People come to my island, famous climbers, and they come here to enjoy themselves. But if they are very famous, they come here to promote themselves, their companies, and to make Dosh, money Denari, they don't necessarily care about the wonderful thing that is peoples special joy of moving over special stone.
This belay high above the sea, in a hole, is on slings over soft sandstone, and a peg that will rust behind an acoustic flake, the next two bits of climbing will require three set of friends, which will rot, and seise up in the salt laden atmosphere. Yes it could be Trad, and maybe it should be as it follows solid cracks, but it is also impractical, the only people who will venture onto it will be pro climbers making money! If I turn it into a superb sport climbing, safe journey, other people than prima donnas will enjoy it. What to do? I am a bit stuck because I love modern climbing, you don't have to carry loads of rotting metal around the world and you do lots of good stuff safer. But, and it is a big but, climbing on Trad gear is a skill that should be kept alive. To be honest, climbing with a small set of friends, a peg hammer, pegs, a set of wires, hooks, felt awful. I got badly cut, hooked myself in the ass, bumped my head cos I was in a panic all the time. Fun? Not really, Adventure? Certainly! Will I emasculate it, and make it more enjoyable, quite possibly.