Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthday Tick Upgrade

One of the guidelines we set for developing routes at the North Rim is to preserve gear placements where they are obvious. With this in mind, we left one placement each on the Tick Farm's Tick Man and Birthday Tick. The Birthday Tick placement is at the start of the route, making it a long way to the first bolt with some semi-dicey climbing if you don't have the gear. This all makes perfect sense if you're a climber who throws a few cams in with your sport draws. In practice, however, we found that few are arriving at the Tick Farm armed with gear. Most come up with a rope and a clutch of quickdraws. In this sport climbing age, it's likely many climbers don't own trad gear at all.

As a result, our attempt to preserve gear on the Tick Farm now feels contrived. Out of the 8 bolted routes on the wall, there are only two gear placements in total. Climbers embarking up these routes face unnecessary runouts that are out of character with the rest of the climbing.

For these reasons, this past Thursday Dane and Ken added a bolt to the start of Birthday Tick, eliminating the need for a cam to protect the opening 15 feet. Birthday Tick is a great route with some surprisingly subtle and balancey climbing. This will allow everyone to focus on the climbing without being put off by that previously-runout opening.

Between Michael, Dane or Ken, one of us will also add a bolt to Tick Man to protect the runout between the 2nd and 3rd bolt. We had originally left that section for a 3" cam. Continue to expect the runout for now, but look for a safer experience in the near future.

On other news, Dane and Ken have begun redpoint attempts on QED. Hopefully a send (or two!) will be reported soon.