|On 6/04/2011 davidn wrote:
> Closer to home a climb at Red Rocks was graded 14 until it got upgraded
>to 20. Given ODH helped bolt that area, I suspect his involvement!
That one is not entirely my fault, but its a pretty funny yarn.
For those not in the know, Red Rocks is a volcanic sport crag on the Murrumbidgee river, spitting distance from the 'burbs of canberra. It's a great little crag, 20 routes on steep (for canberra) red and black rock, up to 30m high. The only drawback is the 'funny' climbing style required to deal with the sideways holds and benchtop-smooth rock...........and the ledges to hit if your belayer is not paying attention..........and the fact that you have to jump or swim across one of australia's major rivers in order to access the crag.........
Anyway, the existing routes were all clustered from 18-24. When we went to replace the old bolts and repopularise the crag, a friend of mine wanted to add some safe, easier routes so that people could warm up/get their girlfriend up something/learn the style without getting freaked/etc.
Now, this was a noble aim. But the plan was somewhat handicapped by;
-the fact that there were no easy lines waiting to be bolted on that cliff
-my friend's impatience, and his decision to neglect toproping his new 'easy routes' before placing the bolts
-his rather good form on the rock at the time. This left him unable to judge the difference between a gr14 move with a bolt at the waist, and a gr20 move with a bolt exactly halfway between one's waist and a ledge.
So, when the rock dust had cleared, there stood a couple of perfect beginner routes..........holds all face the wrong way, all bolts are in the wrong spots (reachy to clip off insecure holds, poor protection against ledge falls, and you clip during rather than before the hard bits)...........and they look, for all the world, like actual gr14's
Since my friend was cranking and fearless, he fearless cranked the first ascents and proceeded to convince himself that the grades were as he wished. Seeing as I had volunteered to edit the mini-guide, I dutifully went up to do the second ascents and confirm the grades...............slapped and cursed my way up, shitting myself about spooging off and hitting a ledge.......I was grinning from ear to ear.
Someone genuinely trying to perform a public service had accidently created some of the best sandbags ever.........I just wrote the guide in a way which reflected the self-deluding hopes of the FA. After all, who was I to decide what's safe 14 and what's sketchy 20?