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Slouppi • View topic - Bolts


Rock climbing and Bouldering in Finland
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2001 20:24 

Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2001 02:00
Posts: 60
-- Posted by Toby on 10:03 am on May 10, 2001

Should Bolts be placed on routes that can be adequately protected with nuts or friends? I don't think so, but what about everyone else?

Last night I climbed route 1 (5-) at Solvalla, Nuuksio using nuts and not clipping the bolts - and I'm rubbish, so why does it need bolts?

Who decides where bolts can and can't be placed? :confused:


-- Posted by olli on 9:02 am on May 11, 2001


i reckon, the thing we don't need is the routes with bolts and natural gear. when new routes are put up they should be either fully bolted or trad. that is only my personal opinion.

anyroad, as long as one is willing to take all the pain, clean and equip a new route i don't really mind if there is a bolt next to a crack or not as every route is better than nothing. the worst case is the scottish situation when the development is restricted by a bolt war... and the ethics are nine-to-five luxury anyway...

weather you are rubbish or not, i'm sure that there is heaps of trad routes you still need to go and do so why to bother to start a conversation for nothing?

cheers, olli


-- Posted by Toby on 11:48 am on May 11, 2001

"i don't really mind if there is a bolt next to a crack or not as every route is better than nothing."

The "route" is there even before the bolts are there. Bolts don't make a route, they just make some routes more accessable. A bolt next to a crack, ethical matters aside, strikes me as a waste of someones time and money.

I agree totally on mixing bolts and trad gear, the problem is deciding what is "needs" bolts and what doesn't. I will use RPs reasonably happily, other would say the same route is unjustifiable with out bolts.

"why to bother to start a conversation for nothing?"

It is not for nothing at all. I have climbed in Finland for nearly 5 years, so despite not being Finnish, I am sort of a 'finnish-climber', and I have opinions. I have seen changes in that time, some of which I think are wrong or sad. I want to know what other people think and feel about certain issues.

I get the impression that there is no set ethics, people do what they want with out realising what the implications are for other climbers, and that rock is a limited resource so needs to be taken care of. I'm just interested in hearing others opinions.

As to Scotland, I think you are wrong, "development" is a vague term. But that is a very different argument...



-- Posted by olli on 12:32 pm on May 11, 2001


i agree that this is an important issue and i wasn't exact stating "for nothing" but knowing quite a few brittish climbers i quess i know what you mean. we don't have such a rich tradition, which is in a way good as there is no need for a fight in a pub because of a bloody bolt...

as you know the amount of rock is limited in finland even there is propably shit loads of cliffs to be found in the woods. what i tried to say was that no climber has repeated all the trad climbs in finland so there is no urgent need to develop a new trad crag for that sake.

i see the crags being for climbers and at the moment the new-comers and the most active climbers seem to be into the bolted stuff. the nature of rock here is fairly featureless so finding easier lines on blank faces is a hard task and demand for those climbs is the biggest. i don't believe that finland will ever become another france but i also wish that it will never become another scotland.

as i already mentioned big thumbs-up to the people who put the routes. however, you should also notice that nothing has been retro-bolted ie. the routes remain as the first ascentionist wanted them to be. if you want more trad climbs, go, find and put up them. i'm more than sure that nobody will blame you doing that and if the lines are good, they may be even climbed every now and then. but as you may have noticed at havukallio and olhava only a handful of trad climbs see enough ascents to remain clean. for example, jojo, dojo and the lord of lies at olhava are great climbs and even being a bit runout are totally safe they still don't see enough ascents to remain clean.

cheers, olli


-- Posted by Toby on 2:45 pm on May 11, 2001


I'm not so sure about the no retro bolting, how long have those bolts been in at Nuuksio? I bet the line was climbed on gear before as it is only about 5- and folk have been climbing there since the 80s. Also have you climbed Vasen väärä at Viitapohja? Some one bolted a very eliminate line about a metre to the left, in effect retrobolting a classic 5- crack. You could climb the wall using the crack only for gear if you really want, but the bolting changes the natural route permanantly.

At Rollarit, Route 27 (5) has in effect been retrobolted, because the bolts on Pingviini (6-) are so close. Also there is the one bolt at the top of Pölykeuhko (5+) when you have a bomber 2.5 friend by your feet.

I just think that once a bolt has gone in, it tends to be there for good, and thats why it should be something done with consideration.

And the thing about new-comers wanting bolts; this is because they have generally been introduced to climbing through walls, but we don't paint the holds on the cliffs different colours for them do we? Although having said that I think the climbing wall-like lower-off chains at Rollarit were put in for commercial gain, which is the worst possible reason. If people don't get the chance to try trad climbing they won't ever know if they like it. And the argument that the most active climbers lead, is also dubious, I climb 3 times a week, and have climbed for over 10 years, so can I take out other peoples bolts I don't agree with just because I'm active? I don't think so.




-- Posted by olli on 9:45 am on May 14, 2001

hoi again,

that's correct, there are a few shiny bolts at rollarit and even the lower offs. don't know if it's because of the commercial reasons, propably it has more to do with the fact that fixing a top rope may be a bit tricky if you don't have idea, how to place gear? as far as i know, nobody makes a big money out of rock climbing in finland...

you also say that if people don't have a change to try trad is a bit weird as there are number of trad climbing around. but if you go to olhava nowdays, there are loads of top ropes everywhere, so it seems to me that people are not into trad.

i'm sure that there are many people who feel the same as you, that is: remove all the bolts, keep the minimum impact etc. my point is, if you just keep whining and do nothing - which means putting up new routes - a very little will happen. am i right?

cheers, olli

(Edited by olli at 9:49 am on May 14, 2001)


-- Posted by Toby on 11:49 am on May 14, 2001

Is no one else going to join in on this? :sad: Other people must have opinions. Write in Finnish if you want, I'll get someone to translate if I don't understand!

I'm not whining, I'm stating my opinion and asking others, that's all. And on saturday I climbed a slab about 20 metres left of route 20 at Rautavuori, Hyvinkää, cleaning the mud and pine needles out of the cracks as I went. It is very easy, about 4 or 4-, and now the cracks are clean, there is loads of pro, so basically anyone who could toprope 5- and has a few nuts and quickdraws could try leading on it. Some friends and I also cleaned and led a lot of the easier routes (up to about 5) as Tussinkoski, Korso a couple of summers back. All you need is a nut key and occasionally a wire brush. Also on saturday, I led Zombarri at Jannankallio and cleaned out the cracks at the crux so you can now get a few RPs or small nuts in, and I also did the same on the slab finish to Invicta, which is easy climbing, but was scarily dirty.

The lower offs at Rollarit were put in by the people who run (or at the time were running) climbing courses from Tapanila Climbing Wall. I don't know what kind of climbing course wouldn't show you how to set up a top rope! It's not like this country is short of trees! But nevertheless, it was done for commercial convenience.

I am not anti-bolt at all. I have been sport climbing in France and had lots of fun. But I do think there are places where bolts aren't necessary.

If you see cliffs as a leisure facility, like a cycle path, or a tennis court, or a swimming pool, then why not bolt them - or indeed chip holds in the bits that don't have any! But I don't, I think cliffs are part of the natural environment, and a rare part of the environment here at that, and therefore should be respected. That means not bringing down everything to our level, but accepting it as a challenge. Climbing can be so much more than just a physical challenge. If people only get the chance to toprope then they will never find that out.


-- Posted by jmakinen on 12:57 pm on May 14, 2001

No re-bolting unless it is route maintenance.

No bolts if the route is trad-climbable.

No mixed routes, either fully bolted or null bolted.

First climber owns the route and his/her opinions rule over the previous notions. Nevertheless, when putting up a route the first climber should respect the historical aspects of the sector.

My two cents worth.


-- Posted by Jarkko on 4:14 pm on May 15, 2001

A couple of years ago all bolters were asked to speak to Henrik Suihkonen(Finnish Alpine Club SAKE) before bolting in Helsinki region. I dont know what the policy is today. Earlier tradition was to place bolts if there was no other protection, that is mixed protection and bolts. I think that a route should be either bolted or not bolted, and a crag should be either trad or sport, although I should say that it doesnt really matter for me as I climb very little with ropes.

I think that lower-offs are a good idea on popular (sport) crags with loads of climbers because they help minimize erosion above crags as you do not have to go there (works only if you lead or have someone to lead the route for you), so in a way lower-offs are environment friendly. I dont think that traditional protection is very "minimal impact" either: every time you fall on traditional protection or have to use force to remove stuck pieces you cause some erosion.

The british adventure aspect of climbing is quite unclear for most finnish climbers. I am not anti-trad but personally I want to climb safe routes which means bolts on harder climbs because hard granite routes seldom have decent placements for protection and I think that there is no sense in climbing potentionally hazardous routes like you do in Britain.


-- Posted by Dave on 5:16 pm on May 15, 2001

.... a complicated issue, which is why the arguments have been going on for many years, and still no answers!

Personally I think Finland has a reasonable balance of ethics, There are trad routes where its possible to place gear and bolted routes where its not. There are some exceptions, perhaps mainly on popular crags like Rollarit, as Toby has pointed out, but basically bolted and trad routes exist happily side by side in many places, Olhava, Hyytyskallio, Toravuori, Havukallio and some of my local Turku crags to name just a few. I hope it stays like this. Somebody mentioned that mixed trad and bolt routes are not good and it should be one or the other. I dísagree, there are relatively few of those type of routes anyway and they mainly have been trad routes with a minimum number of bolts to protect top quality lines. Examples that come to mind are all at Olhava, Lord of the Lies, Brothers in Arms and Kantti, if they would be all bolted that would destroy some of the best climbing experiences Finland has. If they were not bolted at all they would have had 2-3 ascents perhaps, and maybe that would also be a shame. The current situation is a compromise and it works well for the majority of climbers.

Having said that it is a shame that the generation of climbers coming from indoor walls concentrate particularly on bolted sport climbing because, in my opinion, they miss out on the real challenge of climbing which is balancing risk, fear and skill to achieve something that is very difficult to define.... but some sort of rewarding satisfaction over what you have done. I think risk, basically risk of death or injury, lies at the heart of climbing and those who are in the activity (I dont like to call it a sport!) long enough will understand that eventually, maybe even sport climbers. Whilst redpointing a bolt route gives some feeling it mainly comes down to numbers, the grade of the route. For me a hard trad route gives a deeper experience and more satisfaction than a hard bolted route and I would guess that many trad climbers feel the same.

I speak as a climber who enjoys trad and sport climbing. Enough, I'm off bouldering!



-- Posted by Toby on 5:16 pm on May 15, 2001

Jarkko, Do you ice climb? Lots of people do that here and that is about as "potentially hazardous" as it gets! I'm really interested in your comment, do you not have any interest in the risk aspect of climbing? Do you do any mountaineering? I think you must like some risk otherwise you would just toprope, not climb bolted routes! Anyway, sport climbing can be scary, if you climb trad cracks and you can put gear in above your head whenever you want!

I had a thought that maybe trad climbing has developed most strongly in liberal democracies (UK, USA) with an emphasis on individuality, whilst sport climbing comes from social democracies (Germany) where social coherence is stressed. But I think the french screw up that theory! I just hope that people get the chance to see climbing isn't just a sport like football, or running, it is an adventure, a way to take responsibility for yourself.


-- Posted by Toby on 1:38 pm on May 17, 2001

Another example of my orignal point. Who put the bolts in at Rollarit between Spiderman (6-) and the next crack with no name (I was once told it was called Spiral) (5-)? The result: one shitty eliminate, and two good natural lines effectively retrobolted. Whoever it was why couldn't you just use a top rope?


-- Posted by olli on 2:23 pm on May 17, 2001

for fuck sake, toby, cannot you just give up? i have nothing against trad but as you may have noticed when visiting rollarit, people who bolted the new climbs and added few bolts here and there made a big favour. that is fairly clear as it's now the most crowded crag around. i would understand your reaction better, if somebody had ruined the classic lines at olhava by bolting a new face climb next to a crack.

for you climbing may mean adventure or whatever, but that is a personal subject and if somebody enjoys clipping bolts, it shouldn't be a pain in your arse.

why don't you complain about falkberget which could be a bad ass trad crag as a talented and brave climber could propably climb the most of the routes without bolts. still, nobody i've met there, has complained.



-- Posted by Jarkko on 4:00 pm on May 17, 2001

To Toby: yes I do climb ice every now and then. I have no interest in mountain climbing, I want to keep my brain cells the way they are, that is alive, and I need all my fingers and toes in the activity that I value most: bouldering. And with bouldering I do not mean traversing. There is always some danger in climbing, and I can live with it. I admit that I like the rush of adrenaline after climbing high boulders. The only other aspect of climbing that gives me that adrenaline is ice climbing. I dont get such feelings from roped rock climbing.

What I meant with "potentially hazardous" routes are those on grit stone or elsewhere with high E numbers. They are very dangerous, but I fail to see much "adventure" in those ascents. How adventurous can it be if one practises those routes some hundreds of times before leading, and sometimes (often?) with preplaced protection and truck loads of crash mats. It seems to me that there are to sets of rules in British traditional climbing: on the easier end of the scale one should always climb routes on-sight, and on the harder routes any amount of pre-practising, top roping, crash mats and even preplaced protection are acceptable. I think that you call it "head pointing". I can understand the on-sight ethic, but how does the spirit of head pointing differ from redpointing and sport climbing because as you said, there are sport climbs that are scary, even dangerous?


-- Posted by Toby on 10:24 am on May 18, 2001

Bouldering- very scary business, I have had more friends injured doing that than anything else! If you are three metres up a route you would put some gear in, but because you are bouldering you are meant to do knarly moves with nothing but your mate saying "don't worry, I'll catch you" for protection!

Headpointing: I agree its a weird thing, but no more so than practicing hard sports routes for days at a time, before doing the redpoint. I guess with routes like Equilibrium (E10 and said to be technically Fr 8b+, with the chance of hitting the ground if you fall off those moves) top roping it to death is the only way people can think of doing those routes at the moment. Having said that last autumn Ben Bransby onsighted an E9 (although he found some gear that the first ascentionist had missed so now people reckon E8), and the second and third ascents of Parthian Shot (E9) were done placing gear on the lead, so people are doing the routes in better style.

Mats are very controversial issue on Grit as few of the routes are higher than about 10 metres, and many are safeish with mats. But there are routes on the sea cliffs and mountains in the UK where mats would make no difference. Leo Houlding's onsight of the Master Wall (E7) a 50m route in the welsh mountains is a good example of of such a climb.

So I guess the spirit of headpointing is pretty similar to redpointing, but at the end of the day people pull down the top rope and go for it leading or soloing and that must be quite a different feeling.


P.S. I've come closer to frostbite in my toes at Helvetinjärvi than I ever have in the Alps, northern Norway, Scotland or the Himalayas!


-- Posted by Jarkko on 9:16 am on May 21, 2001

Yes, I was wondering the mat thing, because I have seen The Hard Grit, and most of the routes dont look like they are any higher than Lobotomy wall in Meilahti (its the one on the most right side of the main wall with a bolt on top) which is somewhere between 8 and 9 meters (for the record: I have not climbed it yet, I have planned to do it when I fell confident enough to do it without top rope practise which may take at least a couple of years, or perhaps eternally. Time will tell). As a boulderer I would understand a mat or two, but inflatable delphins (on Meshuga)? . As for high bouldering, spotters are quite useless for problems above six meters because if you fall above that there are no sane people willing to take any weight of a falling climber.

The good thing in ice climbing in Finland is that if your toes or fingers start to go numb, you can often go to your car in some tens of minutes and drive to nearest gas station or if in a real hurry, to nearest house, so the risk of serious frostbite is quite small. In Finland it is seldom necessary to spend the nights in a tent in winter unless you happen to like it. Also the ice gets too brittle if the temperature falls below -15..20C. I have been ice climbing once in -25C, and it was not very enjoyable. I wouldnt want to know what the ice is like in temperatures below -30C (-51C is the coldest measured in finnish Lappland)



-- Posted by Toby on 10:40 am on May 21, 2001

I would say most of the hard grit routes are a bit higher than the highest bit at Meilahti, but not a lot more, and some of the grit routes with very high E grades are arguably extended boulder problems. There are a lot of young guys doing the hardest routes, but many of them are doing the routes that are effectively solos and sprint routes, the routes that are higher and involve hanging around fiddling gear see a lot less ascents.

The things that makes some of the routes so bad, are the landings, often very rocky. Meshuga has a load of jagged rocks at the bottom of it. It gets very complicated though as to whether the grade should be effected by the landings. Traditionally it shouldn't, but I think on some of the new-wave grit routes people do consider it.

Finally gritstone crags are normally at the tops of hillsides, and on some of the crags this makes the climbs feel much more more exposed than they really are.

If you are interested, there are some grit photos at: ... llery.html

As to the iceclimbing, it was -25oC and it was my own fault as I only brought my leather boots to Finland this winter, not my plastics! We were almost having fun, but stayed a bit too long, the plan had been to bivvy that night but by the time the sun went down it -27oC so we did a runner to my mates parents' house in Tampere for re-warming in the sauna.


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