Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Superior ethics or littering the countryside?

A very geeky climbers' post. All non-climbers can safely ignore unless they are doing anthropological studies into self-regulation and conflict within non-organised sporting sub-cultures. All pictures are clickable to get higher resolution version.

The Castell Helen abseil station showing the tat

The Castell Helen abseil station showing all the pitons

Is this a tidier answer or the downfall of Western (or anglo-saxon at least) civilization?

The Norwegians at least seem to think the the former - here is some fat punter on a route Brensholmen, Kvaløya. Note the bolted belay/ab station bottom right.

Ironically that sector of the cliff is called "Little Gogarth".


Dave C said...

It would be nice to see a little common sense when it comes to discussing fixed belays in the UK, particularly on some of the sea cliffs, but then again, I keep hoping to see pigs fly!

cragrat said...

Agree with Dave C - my only question here is why did they use the system that is almost irreplaceable when the clips eventually wear out?

Øystein Andresen said...

Terve! Oikein hyvää kuvaa!

No, niin!
So how do I end up writing a comment on a blog entry that is 2 years old? Well, I am somewhat following the web-fora based discussion on norwegian climbing ethics, after a series of bolting on norwegian ice routes by a german climber this winter.

Suddenly, a link took me to a picture of a climber on a route next to an abseil anchor placed by none other than myself!
(Hats off for posting comments at sunrise, by the way!)

So, I just have to say that I'm pleased to see a photo from this crag, especially with a foreign climber on it (just a few weeks after the guidebook came out), as it deservers more attention (although we refer to this crag as the Volx of Northern Norway - Gullknausen being Céüse...)!

However, this is not Little Gogarth. L.G. is the next sector, the steep, narrow canyon with loose rock, where we had fun putting up bad routes on poor protection. At the time, none of us had been to Gogarth, but last year we went there. Awesome!

P.S: I didn't get if the other comments refer to the pics from UK or Brensholmen, but this anchor is great in the sense that the biner can easily be replaced when worn out (which will happen every 20 years or so at this latitude).

Hope you enjoyed the routes and will recommmend Kvaløya to other climbers.


Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Hi Øystein! And thank you for doing all the work at Brensholmen - we spent a really nice day there waiting for the weather to get better in the mountains. I'm just about to do the main pitch of Stordiedret - a great route! I actually knew that it was the next sector of the cliff that is called little Gogarth, but I was trying to wind up some of my overly precious British climbing compatriots so I thought I would stretch the name as it made it more ironic. :-)

The bolts are all superb by the way, and look like they will last forever. Having helped prepare some sports routes last year I now know how much work it is and money if someone doesn't give you the hardware.

It would be interesting to hear you views on UKC about Jaspers bolting - as my impressions from Northern Norway is that attitudes to fixed gear seem more relaxed there.

Øystein Andresen said...

Niinpä niin...

I’ve been living in France for the last three years (and I quit ice climbing ten years ago), so I’m not a part of the scene anymore.

However, Norwegian climbing ethics are more about pragmatics than principles. There has always been a distinction between cragging (where trad, mixed and sport climbs intermingle) and mountain climbing. In the mountains, bolted abseil stations may be allowed (Baugen, Stetind), but that does not imply bolts on routes or belays. On Kvaløya, Baugen and Blåmann are in this sense bolt free areas. (Although two established routes on Blåmann have seen bolts being added - both times by Swedes, no kidding!) A bolt that was put on the classic Normal route on Stetind by a local guide stirred a similar discussion a few years ago.

The way I see it, as long as you don’t place any in-situ protection, anyone can open new routes anywhere. But if I decided to place bolts, I would never do that without thoroughly discussing the matter with the local community.

Now it’s time to go climbing.