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#11485 - 02/16/12 09:52 AM Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained
Mike Trehearne Offline

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 9
To those interested:

I'll speak for me alone, as to why I thought it a good idea to bolt the route 2 Low 4 Zero. This post is my reasoning and grounds for placing the bolts. I've said it before, but if you don't personally agree or you feel absolutely compelled to go remove the hardware from the route, please just do me the courtesy of letting me know - I'll save you the time and effort and go in there and do it myself.

Before I get into the "why" this was done. I take issue with a few things that have been said. Most of you who have been critical on this forum of me, my actions, my workplace, my career choice, don't know me from a hole in the ground. If you want anyone to see any validity in your statements, keep your emotional baggage out of it. Stick to the issue at hand. Debate is great, as long as it's productive and to a positive end.

This is part of the reason I have not posted to this forum in the past, am hesitant now, and why I probably won't do so in the future. I think the folks making comments on this matter are coming a little too close to self-righteously assuming the title of "the climbing community". I can only hope that people inputing on this forum aren't so arrogant to think that the sentiments of the few voicing their opinions here, represent that of a community of thousands.

In my experience those who deal in moderation, stay open-minded, and leave emotion out of it, will create the best outcomes. Unfortunately the people who have those skills often don't partake in these discussions because shit-slinging and fueling a fruitless fire ain't their cup of tea.

You can question my motives on this next point or not, I could care less. But a few times now it's been suggested that I placed these bolts to make it easier for guided ascents. It's also been suggested that I bolted it to make it "more comfortable" for me to climb.
These two statements are blatantly wrong. The biggest reason the bolts were placed: It was intended to be a community service. I think those who know me, will know that truth in that statement.

Oh, and if your going to comment here, grow a pair, and stand up and use your full, real names. Joe McKay had a great quote in here somewhere "that tough-guy talk is counterproductive, unless of course you really are one". Don't want to use your real name? Well, I guess we know which side of that statement you stand on.

Why I chose to bolt 2 Low 4 Zero:

I do not believe in bolting routes that can be protected traditionally.
The operative word is 'protected'.
I've climbed it ground up, "placing" gear. I absolutely echo Pat Delaney's statements. With the way it's seems to be forming, and has formed over the past 5 years, there are huge sections of the route where if you fall, in my opinion you'd be lucky not to get killed. That's no longer a traditionally protected route. That's soloing.
Sure you can "place" the gear, but your kidding yourself if you think it will hold. The majority of it is worthless.

To preface this next point, My view is that there needs to be a venue for people to hone skills on run-out, poorly protected, loose, traditionally protected routes. If you want to learn to be proficient in the at higher elevations, this is something that is needed in lower elevation, more accessible venues to maintain a progression for people. That's important. Evan Thomas may have been that venue at one time - but for those who spend any sort of real time there now, they'll know that this is not the case any longer.

The demographic of climbers that have been frequenting the Moonlight and Snowline area are not interested in the type of route 2 Low 4 Zero has been in it's traditional form. It's also obvious that very few climbers capable of climbing this type of route are also not spending any time on it. There's almost nobody who's climbing it period, let alone ground up.
From my own experience, I spend on average between 10 & 15 days a year working and climbing in Evan Thomas Creek. I have never once seen anybody on 2 Low 4 Zero. Ever.
I'm not saying that my own experience should be the be all and end all. But it seems signifigant that in almost 75 days of climbing in there I've never seen anybody on it. This same sentiment has been echoed by many people in the community.

To Jon Walsh - you said in here somewhere "I could care less about bolts on some drippy flow in the trees in a place Ive never even been", your comment is exactly what I'm getting at.
Why not let the people who will benefit more from it, do exactly that? I'm certainly not advocating putting bolts up in every gear protected mixed route out there. In fact, I'd likely be opposed in a lot of cases. But this route serves climbers of a different demographic better than it does us.

The ethic I subscribed to here is not a new one. It's been around in the Rockies for 20 years at least. In the Rockies we've allowed our ethics to be open to shades of grey, not just black and white. The bolting of routes has been judged on a case by case basis. I used a parallel to the rock climbs at the Back of the Lake earlier. Routes like Wicked Gravity, Dew Line, The Search, Mr. Rogers were all hard, heady, traditionally protected routes that are now bolt protected climbs. If the bolts on 2 Low 4 Zero get removed should we not also return all of the classics at the Back of the Lake to their traditional state? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. But why not? Because the demographic of climber at the Back of the Lake currently demands bolt protected access to them. Is that wrong? No. It's just different, and that's a-ok. If the community prefers bolts on 2 Low 4 Zero, how is that any different?

So, my challenge to all you perspective bolt choppers is, who among you has the stones to stick unwaveringly by your ethic of no traditional route should be bolted, and go and chop the bolts from the above mentioned classics at the Back of the Lake? ...That's what I thought.
Sometimes routes transition and evolve, maybe this is a reasonable time for 2 Low 4 Zero.

Point: Prior to the project we checked in with a lot of different genres of climbers before going in to place the bolts - we got lot's of positive support from just about everybody we spoke to. Enough so that it seemed like a plan that was supported by a large majority.

To Jon Walsh - You can choose to believe me or not, it really doesn't matter in the end. But again, for those that know me - if there wasn't a lot of support for the project, I wouldn't have done it. And if it turns out that I've made a mistake and the greater community wants the bolts removed than I'll be the first guy lining up to go and pull them out.

A quote from the First Ascensionist: "(what you guys have done) it's a service to the community" (bolting the route). His sentiment was that if the bolts are to stay "it should be a community decision" and not to be based on the opinions of only a few.
*as Pat mentioned we did not contact the FA's prior to bolting it. This was a big mistake on my part - they deserved the courtesy and we didn't make the effort. I'm fully willing to admit, I dropped the ball on that.

This is not a traditionally protectable route. The quality of the gear and quality of the rock is beyond poor. I've personally spoken to many who echo the idea that if you take a lead fall on this route, there is no doubt you will at best be going to the hospital, and being killed is actually way more likely. When the ice disappears so does a large amount of the protection. What does the word "protection" actually mean. That it affords you some protection against dying if your to fall off - that doesn't apply here.

To Brandon Pullan - That's what makes this route different than Red Man Soars, you can "protect" Red Man's. If you'd ever led 2 Low 4 Zero from the ground up you'd know that.

When Avalanche Danger is high in the Rockies, there are very few objectives that have minimal overhead hazard where climbing parties can go climb these sorts of routes without sticking there necks way out there. Back to my other point, if this route was actually getting used and climbed regularly, than by all means. Leave the bolts out. But it's not getting climbed. Giving people another alternative on days with high Avalanche Danger seems reasonable.

We placed the bolts as a service to the community. All week this week, I've had calls and emails and texts from people who have since climbed the route with the bolts, or heard about the project. Equal to the number of comments to the contrary on this forum.
Not 1 person with any 1st hand knowledge of the route or the area has had anything negative to say about our efforts. Feedback has come not just from guides, but from others in the climbing community as well.

That was my thought process.

As the FA mentioned when we spoke on the phone, this should be a community decision. I agree, and I did my best to get peoples opinions before we bolted it. I hope I didn't make a mistake here and ruin a resource for people, but if I did I'll certainly go and clean up my mess. But that judgement should come from many, not just the dozen or so posting on this forum. What I'd propose is to give it until the end of the season. I'll make the effort to make sure that we have as many varying opinions on the project as we can, and if by early April, people want to see it come down, I'll go out there and restore it to what it was before we placed the hardware. It's not going to get picked out between now and April. Sound reasonable?

Said it before, but I'm all for just sharing the sandbox.

Looking forward to your thoughts and comments.

All the best.

Mike Trehearne
ACMG Alpine Guide & Assistant Ski Guide.

#11487 - 02/16/12 11:18 AM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
iwelsted Offline

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 191

I think that is a very reasonable proposition, that, as you say the first ascentionist says, it should be a community decision. If this is the stance of the FA'ists that is what goes, or that is what I learned when getting into the sport. The question then becomes how "the community" makes that decision, which is I believe why the rule used to be that it be left up to the FA'ist to approve or not.

Maybe a lot of this back and forth could have been avoided if the idea was aired before the bolts were placed, but maybe not. Removing them once they have been placed scars the rock and is maybe not ideal, but indeed possible, and it is good of you to offer to do so.

All of this is of course just a stand in for a comprehensive discussion of retro bolting in the Rockies, something which seems to be approached every so often but never undertaken. The default of lots of bolts being put in, "bolt creep", takes us further away from having trad cragging options. For me this is the issue as it becomes more difficult to find trad options close to the road, as really on necky leads "just not clipping the bolts" is quite difficult psychologically as I think many who face this possibility realize. Maybe "the community" needs some of these options as a way to learn how to trad climb higher in the mountains. One trad route out of four at a craq isn't so much to ask.

It is unfortunate that we can not deal with this issue without a whole lot of character assassination all around. My comment about guiding playing a role stands however, as Mike, you talk about being in there however many days and appealing to "the community", but surely this comes about due to your profession no? It is not really an insult to call someone "a guide" or say that something comes about due to "guiding", it just means that their view is not representational of the broad spectrum of recreationalists like myself. When you "talked to people" you probably talked to your social and professional circle, many of whom would be guides, who share your own background and interest. Posting on this forum and discussing it here involves the public recreationalist, something you did not initially do or want to do.

Many people are ridiculing us for discussing such an inconsequential topic, but we all enjoy climbing enough to go out there. Some climbing venues have established rules for conduct, and it seems to me this will continue to be a thorn in the side in the Rockies until people openly canvas opinion on attempts to retro bolt, like Mike Barter does:)

#11490 - 02/16/12 11:50 AM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
karel Offline


Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 290
Loc: Calgary
Here are my thoughts and comments: And I'd like to preface this by telling you something about me, because I think its relevant to this discussion. I'm a guy who's been climbing for somewhere around 6 years and gets out once or twice a week. I consider myself a competent WI4 climber, sometimes I jump on something harder if I'm psyched and the conditions look good. I've climbed most routes in that difficulty range that we have around here (but not 2 Low 4 Zero). Maybe I'm wrong, but I think this qualifies me as your "average Joe climber".

Let's go from the least controversial to the most controversial:
1) Putting in more moderate routes in unclimbed terrain (trad, bolted, whatever) - I think this is great and have no objections. If anything, easy mixed, bolt protected routes are something that I feel we don't have enough of around here and its a hindrance to the development of climbers looking to develop in that direction.

2) Bolting anchors on established routes - Again, I think this is great, from a safety perspective as well as efficiency. Bolted anchors provide safety where we need it most - the belay should not fail, and especially on busy routes like the ones at ETC or Professor Falls, it speeds everybody up on their way up and down, allowing more people to enjoy the route on a given day.

3) Bolting established routes where bolts were not present before - this where all of the problems come in (as we are seeing). Personally, I think that this is acceptable if at least some of the following conditions are met: Permission of the FA team, general consensus of the community and need.

a) This is an easy one - you ask the FA team, and either they say yes or no. If they say no, end of story, otherwise continue to b.
b) General consensus of the community is hard to gauge. As you mention, some groups have louder voices than others. If the consensus is against the bolting, end of story, otherwise continue to c.
c) Need also isn't straightforward because its largely subjective. I would argue that the first issue to consider is that of safety: is there available natural protection? If there is, then there isn't much need for a bolt unless it its uncharacteristic of the area to require people to bring a rack (ie Haffner). I'd argue that some of the issues you talk about in your post, such as a need to distribute the people because of the busyness of the area and the fact that *nobody* has been climbing 2L4Z fits under this section.

Let's talk about how the process you went through to bolt 2L4Z as it concerns the above points:
c) According to you there was a definite need from a people distribution perspective as well as a safety perspective. Having not climbed the route, I have to take your word for the safety, but having stood in line at ETC, I'm inclined to agree with the people distribution part. Again, this is quite subjective and people may disagree based on their definition of adequate protection and because of the proximity of the Rehab Wall and other climbs, which for whatever reason haven't become as popular as one might think they should.
b) Community consensus - you claim to have talked to a bunch of people and they were mostly for it, which is good. I think a lot of the opposition that you're facing might be based on the fact that nothing showed up here on Gravsports until after the fact. Maybe I'm not plugged into the Canmore/Banff scene enough, but most average-Joe climbers probably come out from Calgary, Edmonton and surrounding areas anyways. It seems to me that if you're trying to reach those people and ask for consensus, then this forum is definitely, by far, the best way to do it.
a) FA permission - Again, I think this is what a lot people are upset about. It turns out, judging from your post that they're ok with it, which is great, but that only turned out to be the case after you went ahead and bolted it.

In summary, I think the consultation process (FA and community) are why you're taking as much heat as you are over this, as opposed to the actual bolting of the route. There's the issue with the FA team not being asked before hand, and the *perceived* lack of consultation with the community. I'm not saying you didn't talk to anybody about it - I'm perfectly happy taking your word for it, but naturally, you're going to get a lot push back about lack of consultation from the user group you chose not to consult (Gravsports users).

I think the community consultation aspect is very important. If we were to only consider safety aspects, then by all accounts climbs like Anorexia Nervosa (bottom pitch) should be bolted, but I think there'd be a much bigger community outcry against that action - those kinds of climbs need to exist too, so that people learn how to deal with that stuff while leading. I think the main difference between AN and 2L4Z is what you've called the craggy feel of ETC these days versus being deep in Planter's Valley. But thorough community consultation is necessary to prevent people from doing things like that (bolting something like Anorexia), even if their intentions are good.

As a community, I think climbers are very polarized when it comes to these issues. This is good because it shows that many climbers are passionate about climbing, but it's also bad because some people take these things a little too seriously and a little too personally. We need this website to serve as a forum for open, objective, discussion, so that these issues can be dealt with in a professional manner. If every time somebody places a bolt, or talks about placing a bolt, people get upset and start slinging insults then its no wonder that people stop consulting this forum before taking these kinds of actions and bolts just appear (and then get chopped, and then reappear etc.)

Finally, I'd like to thank the people who go out there and put up new routes, and spend their own time and money to bolt anchors, replace ancient hardware etc. As an average Joe climber, I think these things are appreciated and should be supported.


PS. This is all simply my opinion and shouldn't be taken to be anything more than that.

#11491 - 02/16/12 12:02 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
Mike Trehearne Offline

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 9

To be clear, before bolting the route I involved not only guides in the discussion but I actively went to seek out the opinion of the non-guiding demographic. I stated that above. I tried to ask as many different genres as I could. But your right I'm sure it could be argued that they would share my similar desires. All I can say is that I tried not to let that happen.

Also, the reason I did not post it to this forum initially was because, as so many of the people here have aptly demonstrated, their desire is not to have a productive debate, but only to pour fuel on a fire. People aren't willing to stand up and attach their names to anything here. Their in general more interested in character assassination than to try to be a part of a meaningful end.

That's not productive, that's judgement by kangaroo court. That's why I didn't post it here.

As for canvassing openly if a project like this ever presents itself in the future. I'm learning a lot from this, I'll know who to call first.

Feedback's appreciated.


#11492 - 02/16/12 01:33 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
Mike Thomas Offline

Registered: 11/29/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Calgary

After reading your postings yesterday I got really worked up. It seems like you bolted this route for your and your college’s commercial gain. Only you truly know the answer to that. I just find it really hard to believe that you wanted to bolt this route for purely personal reasons. That said I do not know you so who knows. If you did it for what you feel is the communities benefit then good on you. You just went about it the wrong way.

The only other concern I have that has "not been brought up" is that unlike other crags, for example Haffner, Bear Spirit. and so on, they are in fairly remote reaches of tight canyons where Mr.Public typically does not go. This keeps the damage to the rock walls some what out of the public eyes. This area is in a beautiful valley where many people hike, bike and horse back in the summer months. What are your thoughts to the possibility of the soon to be marred up rock wall causing a bolt ban for the area? or maybe in the future access issues?

#11493 - 02/16/12 04:37 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Thomas]
Mike Trehearne Offline

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 9

Thanks for you thoughts, appreciated.

To be clear, I did not bolt this for commercial gain. Nor did I bolt it for personal reasons. As stated above, It was meant to be a service to the community.

Re: Your comments on access issues.
Based on the number of other area's in the mountains, that have bolt hardware in plain view of other user groups, and a reasonable knowledge of how the people operate who would be charged with enforcing such a ban, I could probably say with 99% certainty there will not be either a bolt ban or future access issues as a result of our actions.


#11497 - 02/16/12 06:55 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
BrandonP. Offline

Registered: 09/11/09
Posts: 84
I will stand behind everything I say, I was not trying to fuel a fire, it was ablaze the second the bolts went in. I am not trying to hide.. I messed up on the registration thing, it will not let me change my name over to Brandon Pullan the 5th of Newmarket, If I could I would.
This has been wildly entertaining and characracter assasinations have only been done at the hands of the one who gave a great history of all the 'what not to dos' and tried to use it to justify the actions, that was a fun read!
Your essay is much better and well writen, I like.

I suppose in the future if the Golden Rule of asking the FA team first, this would likely all be avoided, which would be a shame because it all in good fun and games, no?
In light of all the negative things that have been happening in the climbing world, this is a nice distraction.

Brandon Pullan the 5th, of Newmarket

#11504 - 02/16/12 10:38 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Mike Trehearne]
Josh Briggs Offline

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Canada

#11505 - 02/16/12 11:27 PM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: BrandonP.]
Mark Carlson Offline

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 41
Loc: Calgary
Originally Posted By: pine
I messed up on the registration thing, it will not let me change my name over to Brandon Pullan the 5th of Newmarket, If I could I would.

Have you tried the following?

Near the top of the page, click "My Stuff", then select "Edit Profile"

Scroll down to this section: "USE YOUR REAL NAME OR BE DENIED. THANKS."
In the box below that line, enter your name.

Then scroll all the way down the page and press "Submit"

#11506 - 02/17/12 06:55 AM Re: Bolting 2 Low 4 Zero: Explained [Re: Josh Briggs]
iwelsted Offline

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 191
Hey Josh,

How long did it take you to find that graphic on the internet. This from a man who's getting married in two days, busted, haha. Hey, have a great time tying the knot.

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