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News Bolts removed from Englestead (Zion) 9-24-2016

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Went through Englestead last Saturday and removed 5 or 6 two bolt anchors that someone had added to the canyon early this summer. It is unclear in ALL cases why these bolts were added, as conspicuous natural anchors were available in all the locations. There was no clear canyoneer-impact in these locations that would justify adding them from an environmental viewpoint. The person who installed these anchors did not publicize their work.

    We (obviously) rigged natural anchors at each location, except the last rappel out of the canyon, which is easily downclimbed around at a 4th-class level of difficulty.

    Unfortunately, these Wave bolts are especially hard to remove, and clipping them left little barbs sticking out of the rock. I was unable to clean up the mess at this time, but will attempt to do so over the next year.

    Thanks to the assistance of Savage and Cassy on this project.

    Tom

    wave bolts Englestead.
    Kevin, gajslk, Anna and 4 others like this.
  2. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    We did Englesread this spring BEFORE these bolts were installed
    And had a great canyon experience!
    We did not need them then. Others will not need them in the future
    Thanks Tom for helping clean this up.
    Anna likes this.
  3. Stevee B

    Stevee B

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    Thank you Tom! That's a lot of work.
    Rapterman likes this.
  4. Anna

    Anna

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    Same! Those bolts weren't there in late April, but from the sound of it they must have been installed not long after that. Very curious why anyone would go to such a huge effort to so securely bolt a canyon whose natural anchors were so easy to use.
    Rapterman likes this.
  5. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Same reason people pick up trash, replace webbing, etc. A sense of community service. For better or worse sometimes.

    Those Wave bolts aren't that easy to install and could be "best practise" for softer rock like Zion sandstone. I wouldn't be for adding them, but, once added, someone stands to be a bit chapped that they were cut off.

    Englestead is outside the park? Maybe someone who's a local decided to help the anchors out in that canyon? I dunno. You got Tom adding bolts in Spry and Pine Creek, and chopping them in Englestead. Some might wonder who gets to decide what in Zion.

    Yeah, I dunno. What passes for "natural anchors" in some canyons is a big ugly stack of rocks with 40 feet of sling coming out of the ground. Not very condusive to the phrase, "untrammeled by man". And, neither is a fixed anchor, although the activity of canyoneering is limited to quickly passing through an area, rather than repeated construction and destruction of anchors.

    I wouldn't have placed those anchors. But...I wouldn't have removed them either. But, like folks have said, plenty of options for "natural" anchors.

    Just for consideration...the group that placed those anchors thinks there still there. They take a group though, and, someone gets killed at that spot where the anchor was removed. Liability for the person who removed the anchor? Open for a lawsuit? Maybe. I wouldn't take that risk myself.

    Anyhoo...
  6. Anna

    Anna

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    Agreed! But it sounds like it was a lot of effort (not to mention money) to place really nice bolts that are really hard to remove...if you've done much in Zion, you probably know they have a good chance of getthing chopped in Englestead. So I was really just curious who did it and why. Maybe just another little salvo in The Bolt Wars?

    Agreed again. I definitely think it could be beneficial for Zion to have a clear and enforced bolting policy like there is in some other national parks. Then at least there would be less question of what "should" be bolted and what should not.

    If I were in charge of bolting policy, a natural anchor that is solid, unlikely to be destroyed soon, generally safe, and unlikely to cause additional damage to the rock would generally not be bolted, whereas insecure, transient, unsafe, or poorly positioned anchors would be good candidates for bolts. Additionally, bolting could be more commonly used in beginner/trade route canyons than in advanced/rarely visited canyons. Defining those terms wouldn't necessarily be very easy... But since my opinion doesn't actually matter anyway, there's no way I'm joining The Bolt Wars on either side, not in climbing and definitely not in canyoneering.

    Regarding cairn anchors. Bleh. In my bolting universe, there would be a strong case for bolting rappels whose only natural anchor is a large insecure pile of rocks...sadly Death Valley disagrees, so I'll just whine about the anchors there instead :p
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
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  7. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    I'm not an expert in lawsuits, but I find it hard to believe you could make that case, considering how much canyons change naturally. This came up in the past with what happened in Not-Imlay, and I'll reiterate what I said then, which is I do not believe that anyone has the right to a canyon not changing, whether by nature or other canyoneers. Now if someone specifically left the anchor in a way that was definitely unsafe, knowing that it could cause another party harm, then I suppose you could make some sort of case. I wonder if there is some sort of precedence for this in the opposite direction, as in, has there been lawsuits regarding the placement of bolts, and people being injured because of them? I would think that would be an easier case, if someone placed bolts that were not secure... but then, all bolts fail eventually, right? Or heck, what about a deadman? If I rappel off a pile of rocks in Death Valley built by someone else, and it fails, can I sue them for my broken leg if I can prove they built it? Now *there's* your slippery slope :)
    gajslk and Yellow Dart like this.
  8. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    Canyoneering is WAY more than "sliding down a rope"
    though there are those who want to reduce every canyon to that level.
    On every beta site Englestead is listed as a more advanced canyon, due in part to anchor challenges.
    I would argue that bolting up Englestead will just sucker noobs into cruisiing thru, thinking they are 'awesome' and marching onto harder
    canyons...
    Then becoming frightened and/or frustrated in those (having not developed the required skill set) and wanting to bolt up the advanced canyons also...
    Long term I do not believe that making classic canyons easier/faster thru over-bolting helps the canyon, the participants,
    or our sport.
    Anna, townsend and Bootboy like this.
  9. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    If anyone has any strong opinions about bolting I ENCOURAGE them to voice their concerns here
    Much better to debate this issue here in the open with the community
    Before altering the canyon.
  10. AW~

    AW~

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    Some might wonder who is asking for more regulations and big brother...do you really think if the issue has to be decided by the park service that they are going to decide in your favor to add whatever bolts one wants, and not enforce their own policy? They way it is now is a bubble, and when that goes away its canyoning time....so whats the hurry? You got someone who is for more development anyways.

    And it should be said that the emperor is not exactly a dictator. If this new bolter wants to decide to place new bolts in Englestead, he/she is free to be committed to Zion in much the same way Tom is and settle into the issues. I dont know where you get the notion that someone who has an excuse for bolting is the same as someone who approaches it from a big picture perspective.

    Edit: Englestead is not on NPS property apparently and I earlier spelled it Engelstead....my apologies. That does change things. I was setup I tell you! :) So....I guess they get to add bolts, and anyone gets to chop them. Its back to the road to mighty. If they want to mess it up, they can mess it up anyway they want to...its their land and their birthright. "Our folks are spending every day, from the time their boots hit the ground in the morning to the time they collapse into their beds at night, finding what we call, simply, more. We define more as more people having more fun in more parks more often.That’s their sole goal in life, is to make sure that when the next generation of visitors comes to Utah, they are met with amazing family and friend activities that will cement those relationships for the eternities....""
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  11. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I have no idear what point you're trying to make.

    But, I'll make a point: if I lived within a stone's throw of Zion, considered myself a local, I'd make a little bit of an attempt to ask around to a few folks to see if anyone knew who placed the bolts. Then, I'd track them down and have a face-to-face chat about it. Having a bolt war in any area isn't a good thing. And, this isn't the first time bolts have been removed, placed, and removed again in Englestead.

    I've done that here in my backyard a time or two, and, didn't need the internet's opinion to peacefully resolve the issues. No land manager involved.

    That said, I'm pretty involved with the local land managers in a couple of locations that I climb. But, we (as a group coalition) don't share everything that's going on. Prefer to handle our dirty laundry first, then report all good later.

    I'm sure not asking for more regulations. And, Englestad isn't in Zion National Park. To be very clear: I'm NOT suggesting to involve the land manager.

    As an aside, I've always got a chuckle out of former Secretary of the Interior James Watt's quote, "If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used." Especially in light of his visit to Zion back in the day (and the banner hung from the canyon walls in his honor).

    Rather than involve land managers (not an option for me, unless there were proposed actions by the land managers), wouldn't it be better if these rogue individuals who add or subtract anchors to canyons get some type of buy in by a local organization which represents canyoneers?

    We're struggling (and will continue to struggle) with this very issue in our local climbing areas here. At least there is some discussion in lieu of the lone wolves out there doing what they do in a vacuum.
    gajslk, Anna, townsend and 2 others like this.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I asked around, including the usual suspects. Did not scare up anything. Some of the local climbers are using the Wave bolts, but none owned up to it. Wave bolts have also mysteriously appeared on some of the Lamb's Knoll climbs, without a claimant.

    Unlike the bolter, I make it a point to state in public bolts that I place and bolts that I remove. I hope that if someone removed bolts that I place, that they would have the courtesy to contact me either publicly or privately to discuss the issue. As far as I know, the only person that has removed bolts that I have placed is me.

    Englestead has been descended by thousands, possibly 10's of thousands of people since it was first brought to the public's attention. I have removed a few sets of anchors in there before. The only accident I know of, other than the couple on the first rappel, losing control on rappel, is the one where the kid rolled a boulder and cut off his big toe. Some of the natural anchors are a little bit tricky to get, but Englestead also does not flash that often, so most the anchors last a long time in there.

    Thanks for the support from some, and the chatter from others.

    Tom
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Zion has a clear and enforced bolting policy.

    Their policy is that additional bolting is discouraged. The Park leaves it up to the community to decide what bolting is acceptable, and which is unacceptable. Active members of the Zion canyoneering community are the people that actually take action. Sometimes they are encouraged unofficially by the Backcountry rangers, sometimes they are discouraged.

    There does not seem to be the need for a more-elaborate policy.

    Tom :moses:
  14. gajslk

    gajslk

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    Agreed.

    The only thing that might make Englestead "advanced" is the semi-hanging stance if the first drop is done in two stages. That's not hard, it's just scary for newbs. I wouldn't call it advanced. I can see why it is, but completing a relatively easy "advanced" canyon builds unwarranted confidence and can lead to trouble later ...

    Gordon
  15. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I disagree. The anchors are pretty straightforward, especially since most will be already rigged.

    I rate it as advanced because of the LONG first rappel.

    Tom
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  16. gajslk

    gajslk

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    100 feet minus is long? :D

    Gordon
  17. AW~

    AW~

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    You nabbed me before I got finished with an edit. Eeks for me....I should have waited before posting, but that key part of it didnt hit me until just after posting. The BLM should hand Englestead over to Zion NP...just kidding.

    I dont really have a take on bolting...I think people are finding out their own way and upsetting the balance doesnt accomplish anything. If the route design gets ruined, then its ruined. BTW, I dont think there are any organizations that are leaning towards adaptionists, so it would be a kangaroo court. And how many adaptionists are going to make an issue out of a 'first world' problem? They going to talk about a bolt and during that time 100 places just got lost to development, and even more probably starved to death?
  18. Stevee B

    Stevee B

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    To whomever has left a 400' foot stuck or fixed line LDC left after the first rappel - please clean up after yourself.
    Was nice to see things as I remember them c.2002. I brought three novices and they all commented on how much more fun the canyon was (compared to the few bolted Zion canyons they had done) with the problem solving and anchoring challenges. Much better than I remember.
  19. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    I wouldn't mind finding a 400' rope in a canyon. Because then it would become my 400' rope. ^_^
    dakotabelliston likes this.
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