|The thing I liked about Gerry’s article was how it used the new routes to reflect on people, relationships, places and times of life, which is way more interesting than lists of numbers. Although I was impressed at the precise recall and counting – that OCD doesn’t need to be taken for a walk. It’s getting plenty of exercise sitting in front of a computer.
On the topic of new routes though, all new routes have an impact on the environment. Getting there, getting off, the inevitable route cleaning of some (possibly substantial) sort, before we even get into bolting. So I think it is worth thinking about whether it is worth doing it. And we don’t really do it just for ourselves. Sure, there is heaps of fun in exploring, spying a new line, working out if it will go, thinking up names. Not so much fun in route cleaning or bolting, although with Adam’s rock melting drill, it’s quite a rewarding sensation. But if we were just doing it for ourselves, we wouldn’t name them or write them up. They’d be left unknown for someone else to come along and think they were doing a first ascent and have all that fun too.
Which leaves us with finding a happy medium of whether the impact of doing the route on the environment outweighs the impact of doing the new route on our lives and climbing in general. There is, however, a lot of choss already climbed and recorded out there, which does suggest that if someone doesn’t do a route because it is not a “route of quality” and record it now, someone else we come along and do it later. People’s idea of quality varies. It is also a little pointlessly rude to call all people questioning the quality of new routes “bottom feeders” as well. It’s pretty normal to ask about the quality of routes, and plenty of people who do develop new routes will also ask about the quality of them. I think "bottom feeder" should actually be applied to someone who expects some mysterious "someone" to go out and put up new routes/rebolt/clean/place anchors/plant trees/pull weeds/build tracks/etc for them with no appreciation of the work or contributions towards crag maintenance in anyway.
At the same time, bolting a route whilst admitting it will probably never be repeated seems a bit silly. Why not just top rope it? Do we need to put bolts in the rock for 1 ascent? Or where the entire gully becomes mossed over from lack of attention?