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Forum: GLOBAL / Editorial / Better protection on easier routes needed Login in to contribute
Better protection on easier routes needed
OffLine 8a.nu
  2019-03-08 00:00:00    
Commenting on Youtube, the climber said that he made some novice mistakes. I do not agree at all. Easy routes should be better bolted!

OffLine JLH
  2019-03-08 15:10:26    
Quite common situation -- if you missed to clip 2nd or (here) 3rd bolt, you couldn't blame the setter, especially if your belayer is too light (<3:4 weight ratio) and (s)he is not able to 'run' from the wall to take some slack.
In such situation it sometimes help to clip two or even three quickdraws in 'chain' to clip as low as possible. Or to put only one carabiner (instead of quickdraw) in first or second bolt.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-08 15:50:28    
I agree if we are talking about hard routes but they guy who did fall 10 meters to the ground was a beginner. We can not say that beginner climbers should know all the tricks you are mentioning.

Climbing is becoming a mainstream sport and we can not have dead dangerous sport routes out there when families will go out and climb.

This route is liking climbing and R graded dangerous trad route.
OffLine Joakim Thommesen
  2019-03-08 19:20:42    
Natural selection never sleeps.
OffLine Robert Kasper
  2019-03-08 19:47:40    
If its a way to keep climbing becoming from Mainstream...

Falling while clipping the third will always be dangerous. If one is not willing to take the risk, find another sport
OffLine Kenny Walker
  2019-03-08 23:41:13    
On virtually any route a fall clipping the first couple of bolts = groundfall. This is just Jens trying to create controversy where there is none....
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-09 08:06:10    
Why is there a problem putting in one extra bolt in the start in order to reduce the potential for youngsters and beginners to get killed in the start.

Why do we care so much about Safety so the best climbers in the world will enjoy better Safety in a world cup final?

In sweden, many dangerous easy routes have had one or two extra bolts added. Do you not think this is good?
OffLine Endre Verden
  2019-03-09 12:02:12    
Usually I think you should not deck from blowing the third clip.
That means you blowing the clip between chest and waist, and not having excessive slack in the system.
However the first three clips, or clips above a ledge/shelf always comes with higher risk.
If you clip the third draw above your head you most often will deck, same with having too much slack in the system.

I do not know the weight difference between the two in the video. A question is; would he still deck with a person that had a similar weight? The rope clearly takes in the video and soften the fall.

Having a big weight difference between the climber and the belayer is assuming a higher risk. To the degree that a totally safe and fine scenario, can turn into a dangerous situation. This is the climber's and belayer's responsibility (mostly the climber).

A guideline would be to bolt so that you can fall on all bolts.
(Clipping the second draw at waist level, and the third in chest height.)
A bolter should not account for a huge weight difference between climber and belayer.
A bolter should not run it out just because it's low grades and he will never fall at this section.
A bolter should not bolt with stick clipping in mind.
There already exist a lot of good _guidelines_ for bolting new routes.

But with that being said, climbing comes with a risk depending on the route, level and many other factors. The climber can chose to take the risk or move onto something completely different, or find another route. It's not a right for all climbers to climb all routes. Thou bolting a new low grade bold route today makes no sense.

All of the above is with modern and new routes in mind. We have a whole different chapter in regards to old routes and rebolting. It's related but a different discussion.

But in both discussions it will always end up with being the climber's choice to climb or not. It does not matter if you are a beginner or not. A beginner have the same responsibility to make themselves and those around them safe, just as an experienced climber.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-09 12:58:41    
We have to add that the beginner, or any teenager, coming from the gym have never come toa situation where they have to take responsibility for the safety.

I do think it is not ok to tell the parents of a teenager who died because of bad bolting, that the teenager should have taken full responsibility.

If you set up a new easy route, it is hard for me to understand why you do not bolt it based on the experience the beginner climber has.
OffLine Endre Verden
  2019-03-09 13:21:44    
No, we do not have to account for people not taking responsibility for themselves, PERIOD!
That does not make it smart or good to make shit routes (bad bolting).

If the beginner or the teenager cannot assess the risk, then they are not mature enough, and/or are in the wrong place and need learn more.

It is very normal to expose oneself for groundfall potential on the first clips, also in gyms where it should be safe. Normally we rather clip from a stable position then one higher up where you have the higher probability of blowing the clip. But in theory the latter has a safer outcome(on a safe equipped route), but a higher probability of happening. My job as a teacher/mentor is to make the beginner aware about the dangers and risk they are putting themselves in. Then they can take a conscious choice if they want to assume that risk.

Do not mix the discussions about already equipped routes and new ones. It will just make the discussion a mess. First one has to define what to do with new routes, then one can use that in the discussion about old routes. I think for most experienced climbers, and climber's communities around the world, the conclusion on the two topics will not have the same outcome.

Jens, can you provide what you think is good bolting (regardless of grade)?
Are your thoughts on the topic different from e.g. Kalymnoes Guidelines for new routes?
At some point having too many bolts gets absurd. Is that at 2 meter, 1 meter, 0,5 meter, 0,1m? (of course it's progressive with the ground in mind).

I think we agree that new routes should be safe for all. Where we might disagree, is that I think you you want to make them idiot proof. I want them to be safe for climbers (not a danger for serious injury).
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-09 14:11:17    
Why do you think new routes should be safe for all at the same time you think old routes can be dangerous?
OffLine Endre Verden
  2019-03-09 20:03:27    
I can answer your question, but why do you ignore mine?

If you don't think the route is safe for you, and you are not willing to take the risk, then don't climb it! It is as simple as that. Climbing comes with a certain degree of risk, you chose your own risk.

Old established routes are old established routes. They have a history, as does climbing. Climbing was and is more than just sport climbing. Climbing was much more dangerous and adventures than what sport climbing is today. The routes is part of that history, good and bad.

If you add bolts to a route, then you alter the routes character. Handling exposure is sometimes part of the experience and grade. Depending on ones view that may be a good or bad thing.

There are many opinions and ethical debates in climbing. One of the universal guidelines is to follow the local ethics, have dialog with the local climbing community and a dialog with the one(s) that has bolted the route/FA. Same applies for bolting new routes, cracks etc.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-09 20:57:51    
Beginners and teenagers have limited experience to analyze risk.

After looking at the video do you not think it would be better to add a bolt if the FA agrees?
OffLine Quentin Viaud
  2019-03-10 16:30:46    
Very tough discussion, what troubles me the most is that it seems that less people are interested in this one than grade discussions...

Anyway, i agree with both Endre and Jens ! The big problem is finding the right balance.

Yes, anyone should be responsible for their own safety. But humans do dumb things, period. That's why we have belts in cars, airbags, helmets for bikes or electrical circuit breakers or traffic lights.
Yes, only experienced enough people should be climbing lead, and that's even more true outdoors. The problem is that the non-experienced enough people dont know that they are at risk when they do certain things (that's actually the whole security problem that we face in any activity : they would need more experience to understand that this is risky, but when they have such experience they tend not to do those mistakes). Thus, you cant really say "too bad you weren't experienced enough to know that this was actually risky, you broke your neck !"

On the other hand, you cannot create a world where any beginner is perfectly safe climbing a route, especially outdoors : sometimes, even in an easy route, the crux is on the first 5 meters and there is no super good clipping position. The route will be for experienced climbers only.
In addition, you cannot say that you'll bolt every route with a first 3m bolt, then 1m second and third bolt and then 2.5m bolts. Some routes wont work like that, sometimes you will create huge rope friction, etc.

So, this is why lots of regions created "school crags", where EVERY route is super safe, pretty easy, and just needs the basics to climb.
This is where i agree with Endre, some climbs will remain "beginner-non-friendly" because that's how they've been created and that's fine, as long as it is CLEAR for the whole community.

This is why i question what is see in this video :
-a complete beginner (which i'll assume the guy is) should always be taught to climb with experienced climbers. Always. That's what every one should tell him, in every situation. Dont go climb alone or with other beginners.

-a complete beginner to LEAD shouldn't climb routes that no one suggested to him, so that he doesn't have to analyse the risks while climbing. He should first climb routes that are ok to lead for him.

-it should be mentionned in topos if the crag is more old school oriented/exposed or beginner friendly

-A beginner should be taught that when in doubt, stop climbing and take the most secure fall that you can, because he cant' actually know how dangerous this situation can be.

In this video, it's impossible to say if a bolt is missing or not (that's not possible to tell on a video anyway). What we can see is a non experienced climber trying to clip a quickdraw on third bolt that he placed himself, in a very bad clipping position.
What i can assume is that no one was experienced enough to call the danger here (belayer, guy holding the camera, climber himself). This is what sould never happen.

If you teach correctly people in the gyms, they will go climbg with experienced people on school crags and everything will be fine.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-10 19:17:42    
Of course in a perfect world where everyone has been taught about risk assessment before they lead for the first time outdoors, the bolts can be par apart.

But as this is just theoretically possible, we should adjust and make some beginner routes more safe bolted.

It is very obvious from the video that one bolt is missing. I am not saying two bolts are missing but do you not agree that it would be better if there was one extra bolt in the start?

Is it not strange that if the start would have been 8b, we would probably seen two more bolts but now when it might be a 6a attracting beginners, they are not allowed to have the same safety as the experienced climbers?
OffLine Robert Kasper
  2019-03-10 22:27:13    
1. Its Hard to say from the Video if there is missing a bolt. I dont know the holds, maybe the guy missed the clipping Position
2. Climbing outdoors should not be measured against indoor Standards.and as well as indoor Training is important.. Its is not meant me be absolutely Safe without any Training
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-10 22:39:31    
This has nothing to do with the clipping position. He has the quick draw at this chin. The problem is that he stands like two meters above the last bolt.

If this would have been indoors my guess is that there would have been two more bolts to clip. I am not saying we need to have as many bolts as indoors but why should beginners need to risk their life when harder routes are normally bolted better?
OffLine Robert Kasper
  2019-03-10 23:05:31    
we dont know this climb. Both of us i guess. Maybe he missed the super hold to the lft where clipping is safe?

I do agree that its lame that some bolter bold tight on hard routes and loose on easy routes. But where i climb they are about the same. I think there need to be safe routes and some more challening routes in every grade. let people choose and let them have the experience they want. I enjoy doing some very runout lines at ceuse for example.

Maybe these guys were not beginners? Maybe the wanted a challenge as well?

I disagree that there needs to be a 1 m raster on every route. Climbing outdoors defenitely needs a mental factor. Otherwise it becomes just a consumer good. Which is what i guess climbing should become in the future

OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-10 23:16:25    
He had just climbed one year. Even without pulling rope he could have hit the belayer who could have broken her neck. We have to bolt so we can onsight the routes with less risk of ground fall.

I agree that it should not be a 1 m raster on every route. Nobody has said that.

Why should we have challenging and death potential 5a routes?

Nice with runout lines in Ceuse but I do not think you would have liked them to be death potential if you fall? Or do you also enjoy death potential hard routes?
OffLine Quentin Viaud
  2019-03-11 08:53:05    
You can't tell on a video if a bolt is missing, that's just not possible.

As Robert said, maybe the guy did miss the correct clipping position.

Generally speaking, "harder" routes don't see more bolts. Routes see bolts depending on bolters, their style and level (the closer the route gets to the maximum level of the bolter, the more they usually have bolts).
On hard routes that have an easy section, you can have runouts for 10m because you're not supposed to fall in a 6a section on a 8a route.

There is no way that you can generalize the bolting on every route and region in the world.
The only thing that we can assert in this video is that mistakes were made by the climbers (but as i said, maybe they couldn't know that those were mistakes in the first place) on one route that we don't know anything about.
Adding bolts in places that are bad clipping position actually create more problems than anything.

Ultimately, "add bolts" to "easy routes" won't solve anything, because LOTS of climbers coming from gyms will think they're able to climb 6b granite slabs or 6c cracks, because they did those juggy overhanging 10m 7a routes in their gyms. And of course, they will get destroyed by such routes, that i dont think you'll qualify as "easy", and thus wont receive "more bolts".
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-11 09:13:32    
Please check the video. Even if he had not pulled the rope he would have been at risk falling into the belayer possibly breaking her neck. This has nothing to do about missing the clipping position. He is standing like two meters above the second bolt. If one more bolt would have been placed, he would never have fallen ten meters to the ground but instead around five meters.

Harder routes have, generally, more bolts in the start if the route starts hard.

Sure if you have a 6a route, you can have longer 4a run outs.

Of course, we will see less injuries if routes like this would have one more bolt.

If the FA agrees, do you not think it would be great to add one more bolt?

Are you not familiar that all over the place, more bolts are added in the start in easier routes. This is a trend and I am sure that this route will have one more bolt if not the FA totally disagrees.
OffLine Joakim Thommesen
  2019-03-11 10:19:23    
Regardless of the bolting (which looks sub-optimal), this guy is stupid and gets punished for it. That's how life in general works, and you can't protect people from their own stupidity. He's obviously completely out of control, and should have grabbed the quickdraw for his dear life instead of pulling rope and risking to deck. He probably won't do that again.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-11 12:37:29    
Have you ever seen a very hard route bolted, on the hard sections, with the bolts so far apart that if you miss the clip and do not grab the quick draw, you might die?

Is it not unfair that the least experience climbers often face the worst bolting at the same time you often can hang dog your way up a hard route totally safe.
OffLine Joakim Thommesen
  2019-03-11 16:12:19    
No, I don't think I have, except for in Elbsandstein. However, if I ever end up in that situation I will prefer to grab the QD rather than to deck - lol.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-11 16:40:19    
So I guess you agree with me that it is not far that the less experienced climbers should better bolted routes. I mean, just asking my 6a wife to grab the quick draw and being able to hold on is out of the question. You need a certain strength to grab it dynamically and hang when one foot pops as in the video...
OffLine Philippe Vaucher
  2019-03-12 09:45:49    
I agree that beginner's routes should be better bolted, but in this particular video I think the climber is experienced but indoor.

When he placed the quickdraw if could have hold it to clip instead of trying to be proud and "not cheat". Same before he fell, I believe he was strong enough to hold it but did like "indoor" and was ok with falling.

Outdoor requires slightly different rules for clipping, yes it can be solved by adding more bolts but then it becomes indoor.

I believe this accident is more about the inexperience of outdoor climbing, rather than a bolting problem.

In an ideal world, the start of outdoor routes should have a bolt every meter, but in practice you have to learn how to handle 3-meters-aparts bolts, and he clearly didn't know how to handle it there.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-12 10:00:27    
If one more bolt had been placed, the risk for getting killed on the route would be minimal. I am not saying one bolt every meter but why should there be death potential on sport routes?

So we have experienced indoor climbers that of course never have taken any quick draws and has learnt that the best thing in climbing is to go for it.

Let us say, the first day outdoor they come to this badly bolted route. How should he get experienced on what to do on death dangerous climbs? All his friends are indoor climbers and there is not outdoor course available for all the thousands of guys wanting to get outdoors.

The indoor climber has been thought that there is no death potential in climbing...

Where should he learn?

"Outdoor requires slightly different rules for clipping"
OffLine Henning Wang
  2019-03-12 11:25:46    
If the death potential on all these easy routes were so great, why don´t we see a lot of dead beginners/teenagers at these super dangerous crags? I mean, have anyone actually died sportclimbing falling at the start of the route? or while sportclimbing in general?

I have bailed out on many onsights on much harder routes at the second-third draw because of groundfall potential and bad bolt placements when the draws are not in/not enough margin to safely clip.. I do not agree at all that it´s only the easy routes that have this danger potential. It is basically any route, regardless of grade where the bolter has bolted with the intention that draws are in place (obviously not a great practice..) or where there is a crux with no easy cliping possitions in the first part of the wall.

You do not need to be very expirienced to see the danger in climbing high above a bolt at the bottom of the wall to then fall while clipping. If someone is teaching that this is super safe indoors I´d rather question that then say all routes should be rebolted.
OffLine Philippe Vaucher
  2019-03-13 10:30:16    
FWIW I also often see people climbing "dangerously" indoor, they don't seem to understand the potential of ground fall for the first 2-3 bolts (e.g the belayer giving them too much slack, climber not clipping where he should, etc).
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-13 10:58:25    
@Henning: I am sure there are several death or seriously injured climbers every year due to bad bolting on easy routes. I remember a swedish girl died in Frankenjura some 15 years ago on like a 5c route. I guess you know that several routes in Frankenjura have been rebolted and this happends all over the world.

It seems you logic is, "let us wait until somebody dies and then we know where to place an extra bolt."

@Philippe: What you say just confirms what I am saying. There are many climbers who has poor knowledge about safety when they go out. The difference is that indoor you very seldom die and there you also sometimes have other persons confronting the guys with poor safety knowledge... outdoors you are on your own.

I have never said that all routes outdoor should be rebolted. I have said that there should not be death potential on easier routes.

If the FA on this route agrees that one extra bolt could be placed in the start? Is there anybody who actually think that this should not be done as it is good with death potential on some easier routes?
OffLine Henning Wang
  2019-03-13 12:08:52    
It seems you logic is, "let us wait until somebody dies and then we know where to place an extra bolt."

- That is not what I`m saying at all..

I have never heard of anyone dying from bad bolting on easy routes, nor can I find anything about it googling the internet. I`m not saying it never happened, but if this is a real problem I find it strange that it is not mentioned anywhere. Could you please back up this claim with facts and referances? "I am sure" is not a very convincing argument..

I do not disagree that on very badly bolted routes that a. causes a lot of injuries, b. are not climbed because of the bolting or c. are not classics with a mental aspect, there should be room for making changes if all parties involved agree. If that is the case however that usually happens on it´s own in the local communites.

Climbing is in it´s nature a potentially dangerous activity. You can´t change that with more bolts. People die from falling down stairs after all, adding an additional bolt in a spot where clipping is hard will not necesarily make things better/safer.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2019-03-13 12:57:46    
It must be obvious that with one more bolt on the route in the video, the next climber will have less risk to die. I am glad that you think it is OK to put one extra bolt if all parties involved agree. That is what I have been saying the whole time so it is hard for me to understand why you have put so many contradictive arguments.

The death accident due to poor bolting in Frankenjura I am referring to was mentioned in our magazine Bergsport.
OffLine Off The Couch
  2019-03-16 20:32:09    
I agree, and am glad this guy didn't bite the big mango. Seemed exceedingly close to a crippling injury. It's possible that there was some gear placement in between the 2nd and 3rd. In many parts of the United States, "mixed" routes are par for the course and will likely lead to more bad situations like this. From my limited understanding, Farley Ledges is a fairly traditional type crag.

I have always been a proponent of the way it's done in Smith Rocks, where many of the 5.5 and 5.6 bolted routes are tightly protected, but as you get into 5.12 and 5.13 the bolts are generally spaced out farther.

Unfortunately the reverse is often the case in "trad" areas like Tuolumne Meadows and many other US crags. Easier routes have zero or very sparse bolting jobs but as you get into harder 5.11/.12 the bolting generally becomes much safer, or are even "bolt ladders" that go free. It just seems ass-backwards in my book.

The other problem in the States is that many of the first ascentionists are "ardent trads" who don't believe in making their routes safe and will fight tooth and nail, preferring, I suppose that a "noob" gets hurt or killed. Provincialism at it's best...MY ROCK, MY RULES, MY CLIMB...