Si­lence: A Tragedy

Climbing - - UNSENT -

Wow. Just watched Adam Ondra’s Si­lence vid. Maybe Ondra didn’t scream on the route, but Mother Na­ture sure did— that line clearly takes gear and yet Ondra placed bolts. That’s bull­shit. I, CrustyTradDad 58, am chop­ping those bolts and here’s why:


Back in my day— the 1980s, out at Apri­cot Dome ( it’s not in any guide­books, but I can Xerox a topo for you)— we had an un­writ­ten rule: You bolt a crack, we slash your tires. You do it again, maybe we lug a sack of pota­toes to the crag and play “Hit the Tar­get” while you’re on the sharp end. The point is: You knew there’d be con­se­quences. To­day, you get to livestream the video premier of your crimes while the world ap­plauds. What the hell hap­pened to climb­ing?

Ondra keeps call­ing Si­lence a “sport route,” and yet he de­scribes the crux as a V15 crack. IN­TER­EST­ING. I see a clear No. 1 cam place­ment in the same slot where Ondra jams his foot af­ter in­vert­ing, which is fol­lowed by two feet of bomber .5 place­ments. But in­stead, the crux has as many bolts as me and old Rowdy McRip­per­pants (RIP) used on Low-An­gle Di­rect— three—and that puppy’s 2,000 feet. Ondra bet­ter keep an eye on his tires, is all I’m say­ing.


Look, I get it. Some rock can’t even be pro­tected with Ball­nuts or taped-on sky­hooks; bolts are the only op­tion. But I count at least 12 bolts in 150 feet in the Si­lence video. If Ondra can climb the V15 crux, he should’ve had no prob­lem run­ning out the first 80 feet of 5.13d. Would Ondra like a Star­bucks at the no­hands rest as well? Why not just do­mes­ti­cate the fucker like Half Dome: put in handrails and charge tourists $5 a pop? Ondra’s bolt­ing low­ers the route to his level, which, men­tally, is the level of my two-year-old kid with my fifth wife. For­get if it’s a boy or not cause the hair’s all long, but I think we named it Rain­bow. Any­way … as the home­made bumper sticker on my ‘78 VW bus says, “Keep Fla­tanger Bold.”


Ondra had to rest in a knee­bar for “five to six min­utes” in or­der to com­plete the route. He wore sticky- rub­ber kneepads— an ar­ti­fi­cial climb­ing aid— in or­der to do this. Hey, buddy, if your knees hurt, how about I lend you my Car­rharts, or per­haps you’d pre­fer etri­ers next time? 5.15d? More like 5.13d A0.


I don’t know when climbers de­cided that the laws of grav­ity don’t ap­ply, but that sure as shit has never been the way out at Apri­cot. You think Lay­ton Kor in­spected

The Owl ( 5.7+) in Boul­der Canyon be­fore his FA? LOLZ. “Climb­ing” means start­ing from the bot­tom and then go­ing to the top. But Ondra started that no- star turd pile by fig­ur­ing out the mid­dle then work­ing his way down. What’s next, a scis­sor­lift up to the mid­dle of El Cap so he can “work” the Great Roof? Per­haps he should pay some­one to climb for him, since he doesn’t seem in­ter­ested in do­ing it him­self.


I watched Ondra’s lit­tle film and the whole time I was think­ing, “This is dumb and that route is bull­shit, but it must have a pretty boss view from up top since he’s putting so many years into it.” No, sir! Si­lence doesn’t even top out. It stops at an ar­bi­trary spot in the mid­dle of the ceil­ing. Did Ondra get lost? Did his bolt gun run out of bat­ter­ies? Where is he try­ing to go? It’s like driv­ing half­way to the 7- Eleven and then turn­ing around be­fore you can even smell the taquitos.

Next time I can get up the scratch to hop a plane up to Norge, I’m chop­ping those bolts then do­ing that route right. I’ll skol a few Scan­di­na­vian King Co­bras and belt out some Steely Dan to get in the zone, then throw on my shoul­der sling and climb un­til I run out of moun­tain. Then I’ll howl at the mid­night sun,

rap down, and cel­e­brate restor­ing Si­lence to its right­ful state: an X- rated trad route no­body will ever re­peat.


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