The Kentucky Wall

Placing a cam? Slotting a nut? Slinging a tree?
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caribe
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by caribe » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:27 pm

Why are climbers walking around different from all the other hikers that pass along the cliff on foot?

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by :-) » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:16 pm

caribe wrote:Why are climbers walking around different from all the other hikers that pass along the cliff on foot?
They are and they aren't. The 2004 Final Environmental Impact Statement talks about "Cliffline Community," which the statement defines as being "from 100 feet above the cliffline to 200 feet below the cliffline," so long as the cliff is more than 10 feet tall. The Cliffline Community is noted for unique biological and cultural resources. Think White-Haired Goldenrod and most of the paleo-Indian sites.

It's not that hikers don't visit "Cliffline Communities." I'd conjecture that the distinctions are two-fold. First, climbers disproportionately visit (and linger for hours) along the bases of cliffs. Second, hiker traffic is more likely to be confined to official trails. Only a few FS climbing trails are official, such as Pebble Beach and Military approach trails. Most are like Long Wall or Fortress, unofficial muddy eroded messes. Official trails are less prone to erosion because they're designed with appropriate grades and drainage. Well designed trails can handle much higher traffic with less impact. FS also seeks to close user defined hiking trails, and anyone hiking out to Indian Staircase or Grays Arch can't miss the many signs and ropes closing off unofficial campsites.

In short, both hiking and climbing can be low impact with a proper trail, while both hiking and climbing can be damaging when there is no proper trail. Most official trails were built in pre-climbing days. FS hasn't caught up with the user shift from hikers to climbers. I suspect that's partly because they're grossly underfunded.
Last edited by :-) on Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by :-) » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:19 pm

caribe wrote:Where can we access this revised plan?
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/dbnf/lan ... ev3_032595

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by Jackiefreesh » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:34 pm

There are two types of hikers: backpackers who follow mostly established trails and day trippers and weekenders who will go and camp anywhere. Just check out the hike to Wall of Denial on a nice Saturday and you probably see a couple illegal campsites. My name is Jac.

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by heath » Thu Oct 26, 2017 10:13 pm

So trad climbing in the Clifty Wilderness is illegal?
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by :-) » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:19 am

heath wrote:So trad climbing in the Clifty Wilderness is illegal?
For all of DBNF, the Revised Plan reads:

- C-REC-2. Any new areas developed for ... rock climbing ... must receive Forest Service authorization prior to development. ...

For the Clifty Wilderness, the Revised Plan reads:

- A-REC-5. No new rock climbing routes with fixed anchors are allowed....

The Revised Plan defines "fixed anchor" as:

- Any device on a cliff face for all climbers to use for purpose of assisting in rock climbing or rappelling activities. Such devices include bolts placed in drilled holes, removable cams and nuts, pitons and straps/slings.

Trad climbing and sport climbing both are allowed in Clifty, as long as it's on a route established before the ban. The ban does not distinguish between sport and trad. That makes sense if the concern is foot traffic. The rules do distinguish between old and new. New routes aren't allowed anywhere without FS approval. But, the FS has given themselves authority to someday approve new routes in most of DBNF, although they have not given themselves authority to ever approve new Clifty routes with bolt or sling anchors. It's not clear from these rules whether they could ever approve a new route in Clifty where you walk off, assuming they ever implement an authorization process for new routes.

All this closely was followed on RRC when it happened. (See http://www.redriverclimbing.com/viewtop ... =11&t=1015)

Also, these rules are still relevant. In 2015, US Fish & Wildlife cited C-REC-2 then it proposed removing White-Haired Goldenrod from the list of federally endangered species. (See https://www.fws.gov/policy/library/2015/2015-21410.html)

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by heath » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:55 am

How can we work to make this information common knowledge? We have climbed MANY routes in the Mariba area. Knowing that it was Clifty, we assumed anchors were a no go but had no clue we couldn't climb in there. I understand that the ban is held to NEW routes, but how can a person know what is actually new? We have found a few undocumented routes in our adventures. At this point we will cease our exploration of that drainage and move our focus outside of Clifty zones. We were not trying to intentionally poach routes, but merely enjoying remote and wild terrain. It's strange that those drainages in the North are considered wilderness, as there are literally houses on top of the cliff line. Is it possible that some of the cliff line is privately owned? Doesnt the drip line dictate property boundary? It looks like some off that ridge line property runs to the cliffs edge.

We have left some cams and nuts in there for anchors and we will work through the winter to get those removed. The anchors at Kentucky Wall were placed to replace unsafe and unsustainable anchors, which I still believe falls within the guidelines. However, I will leave that decision up to other folks to make in the future. My goal has never been to cause trouble, just trying to be an active member of this community.

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by heath » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:58 am

Also, :), you seem to be a wealth of knowledge and an asset to this conversation. Why won't you let people know who you are, so that you can be contacted when questions come up. Not everyone uses this forum. I barely do. If Art hadn't told me this conversation was happening, I would have been none the wiser.
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by :-) » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:19 pm

Heath, The picture of you on "Roy" makes me want to go buy a dozen more 3s and 4s. Looks like a splendid line. I hope to legally climb it some day, if it's not legit now.

I know people have thought they were FAing a crack only to find a 30 year old looking sling at the top. The rules don't really clarify how many ascents a route had to see before it's considered "'established." While I haven't heard of FS recently issuing fines for unauthorized route development in RRG, I did hear they busted someone in Rockcastle Co. a couple years ago for exactly that. If a climber on FS land absolutely wants to avoid a ticket, I guess the only 100% safe bet is being able to point out to a skeptical ranger either the route in a guidebook (with old FA) or a clear picture of the rusty piton stuck in the top.

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by heath » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:27 pm

That route is amazing! You only need a double rack to climb it. That photo isn't of me, I was the belayer though. Eric Davenport and I have the potential FA. I say potential because we found an old Tnut on the route(20-30ft off the deck)the last time we went out there. It had "UCMC" written on it and it was placed below a section of unprotectable climbing. It was in no way stuck and still had a biner on it. Leading us to believe it was a bail piece. That said....Roy should be legal based on what you are saying.
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by J-Ru » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:06 am

UCMC = University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by captain static » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:17 pm

heath wrote:That route is amazing! You only need a double rack to climb it. That photo isn't of me, I was the belayer though. Eric Davenport and I have the potential FA. I say potential because we found an old Tnut on the route(20-30ft off the deck)the last time we went out there. It had "UCMC" written on it and it was placed below a section of unprotectable climbing. It was in no way stuck and still had a biner on it. Leading us to believe it was a bail piece. That said....Roy should be legal based on what you are saying.
That old piece was a Forrest Titon. The UCMC had a full set. First ascenscionists Mark Schorle, Jerry Bargo, and Alex Cudkowicz were all UCMC members and thus potential suspects.
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by Catawaba » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:01 am

If a list of climbs with historical anchors (tat, left nuts or what not) was compiled with photo proof. Would that be enough of a defensible item to be allowed to climb at least some of the routes at Kentucky Wall?

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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by heath » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:09 pm

Catawaba wrote:If a list of climbs with historical anchors (tat, left nuts or what not) was compiled with photo proof. Would that be enough of a defensible item to be allowed to climb at least some of the routes at Kentucky Wall?

Kentucky Wall is clear to climb. The only dispute around the wall is about a few anchors.
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Re: The Kentucky Wall

Post by Ascentionist » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:21 pm

I'm too lazy to read this thread word for word so please forgive me if what i say is redundant. Let me offer a bit of first hand perspective from conversations with USFS personnel from back when the LAC was in process and during the threat of a widespread ban on climbing in the Gorge.

The biggest issue is the "development" of a new route. From what i remember you could climb whatever you wanted as long as you weren't "developing" routes. There was some debate on what constituted development on both sides of the chasm. There were more radical elements in the land management camp that claimed any human traffic equated to development. Obviously there were folks in the rock climbing camp at the other end of the spectrum that felt as long as we weren't putting up fully bolted routes we should be allowed to do whatever we wanted. And in between were all manner of silly viewpoints.

Development. There are basically two components of that.

1) Any human improvement to a potential route. So if you clean lichen, cut rhodo, build a trail, install anchors of any kind (presumably even leaver slings) then you are technically developing a route.

2) Promotion of any routes that had not gone through a formal approval process. The USFS did some blanket approvals for established routes that had been documented at a certain point in time. A snapshot. Please don't ask me when that was. But from their standpoint even if you climbed a crack, topped out, didn't clean or install anchors, but then included it online or in a published guidebook you were technically developing the route.

This all came out when Chris Redmond published his bouldering guide and about the same time when the FS read about intentions of members of this very site (maybe it was still kywilderness then) to install bolt anchors on a route that had not gone through formal approval processes. Plans were made online in a public forum and when the climbers got to the parking area the FS was waiting for them (if memory serves). And so the climbing community then learned the hard way and we also learned to keep things under wraps and to ourselves. Over time the FS has not been as strict in enforcing things (I think mainly because it all got quiet) and climbers became more careful. Changes in all the players have also changed the nature of the playing field somewhat.

I'm not saying I agree with or have abided by these interpretations. I'm just stating what I learned form first and second hand experience when all of this policy was set forth over a decade ago.

Things started to change when previously unrecorded FAs started showing up in new editions of guidebooks. At first it was routes that had been done and were known before the controversy and after a time when nothing much was said and there were no real repercussions then brand spanking new routes started to be included. And finally it seems as if new development is moving forward unchecked on both sides of the equation.

Again, I'm not pointing fingers or being critical of any of you putting up or documenting new routes. I have done the same thing myself over the years on a smaller scale. I "developed" about 500 moderate boulder problems over many years in the area, and I just *mostly* kept them to myself. The interesting thing to me now when I revisit them is I can't tell I had ever cleaned a single problem.
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