I've received a couple of emails during the last week or so and thought I'd kill a few birds with one stone and just simply post my comments here instead of in various emails. So here goes!
I received a somewhat pointed and almost hostile email about my comments in an earlier post concerning the manufacturing of choss in eastern Idaho. So for the record here are my views on the matter.
So many people use the term "gray area" when it comes to cleaning, comfortizing, and re-inforcing holds on a route. For me, there is no gray in manufacturing, it's black and white. It is all altering the current state of the rock which in essence is manufacturing. The big argument in manufacturing a route or more commonly referred to as "chipping" is that you are reducing a route that could possibly be of greater difficulty down to something more realistic or easier. Now bear in mind this is not the only reason for chipping a route, but is always the defalt in reasoning for nay sayers. If you can't think of any other reason to manufacture a route, this topic just might be for you...
So here's the problem, so many people accept the act of bolting a sport climb but not the act of manufacturing. The problem lies within the reality that by placing bolts for protection is reducing the intended line from a Bachar free solo, an X-Rated trad route which could likely be climbed by Kevin Thaw or Dave McCloud, or a high ball boulder problem suitable for Jason Krehl or Dean Potter, and turning the line into something more realistic or mentally easier. To drill holes for bolts and not fingers is in reality manufacturing. To clip those bolts yet disdain someone for drilling a hole for your finger is hypocritical to me. I don't see how it could be anything but hypocritical.
With that being said, i will get to the point of the matter. Do i manufacture routes? Absolutely! Do i drill holes to put my fingers in and make progression up a route? I have not. Do i accept these style of routes? You bet. In the end, regardless of the quality of route, manufactured or not, it's not worth abandoning human decency to prove a point that one way in better, or more pure than another. It's rock climbing not something important like creating a cure for cancer or any other noble cause. So if you feel the need to correct me in my evil ways, I'd suggest an abandonment in clipping those shinny little manufactured safety devices (bolts) and to stop brushing off dirt and lichen from your boulder problems before you start blowin' your ethics horn up my butt! It's all manufacturing to me...
What i've been up to:
I've also received a few emails and phone calls from friends wondering what Heather and I have been up to the last little while. So here goes:
Since i've returned from back east, Heather and I have opened a few more sport routes at the old new crag along the South Fork of the Snake River. I say old and new because Brian Williams of Rexburg Idaho equipped one line at this area sometime in the early to mid 90's. Heather and I picked up where he left off and have jokingly reffered to the area as the South Park. This name seems to be sticking around and so it's become the newest area which currently hosts four routes ranging from 5.11 to 5.12. The climbing is disticntly differernt than other basalt in the area. If you are in to pulling down to get up something, you're gonna hate this place, but if you like pinches, open palming, awkward body contortions, and lots of choss, then you'll really like the power endurance nature of the South Park. Likey the wall will produce a dozen or more route and will be just one more addtion to our local climbing scene.
I've been waiting for a weather window to get after a few new routes in the Lost River Range. Hopefully this week we'll get the window we need. Likely we'll head back to Sac's north face for another beat down!
On Saturday, Heather and I joined Matt TeNgiao, Bruce Black, Josh Nielson, Troy Neu, and Stan Caldwell for a day at the Fins. I bested a personal record at the Fins for me by not falling off of every route i got on! Don't read into that though, i did fall off of most things! The Fins are difficult for me but I'm excited to spend some more time there this year and hopefully figure out how to climb!
Last but definitely not least. I have been blind sided by adult life this week. Heather and I have officially stepped into a mature adult world by purchasing our very own washer and dryer. I'm still a bit overwhelmed by this sign of stability, but it is what is is and I'll have to deal with it at some point! For the time being, i sure like how easy it is to do laundry now! The down side is that they reside in the gear room...