Posted on 04. May, 2015 by in News

As bouldering has become more popular, landing zones have become more elaborate. Here’s one of the most advanced structures I’ve yet seen. This brings up a number of interesting issues. If there are no land management rules otherwise, should virtually anything go? Does this reflect poorly on us as a user group, or does it open new and inspiring lines once thought impossible? What are we prioritizing as a group, our own selfish interests in climbing certain lines, or the natural world? Mountain bikers, in some instances, have made strong relationships with land managers to produce advanced and well built trails through the forest (reminiscent of the photo below) Should this kind of dramatic alteration be a template for the future of our sport, or is this an unsightly intrusion disrupting the natural world? Clearly this violates any kind of “Leave no Trace” ethic espoused by the Access Fund and it definitely violates “The Pact” seen here Are climbers who signed “The Pact” willing to forgo climbing on such landings, and if they are not, what value does signing your name to such a document have? One great example here in the US are the landings which have been built up in Joe’s Valley. Problems like The Masterpiece, Mask of God, and The Last Great One come to mind. Many people throughout the years have enjoyed these boulders, yet some in the local community have been very outspoken against such dramatic alterations, for the reasons given above.


18 Responses to “Landings”

  1. sammy d.

    04. May, 2015

    If there are no land restrictions it seems like these landings are minor in comparison with whats done to produce the natural resources that we use everyday. They chew through entire mountains just for the rock to make concrete and roads. Whats the harm in a little landing in the woods.

  2. K-WoW

    05. May, 2015

    I for one have never signed any pact, so I will to continue to enjoy the safety of flat landings. I think your questions bring a lot of controversy in what is acceptable during the development stage of bouldering. Is stacking rocks to flatten out a landing ok? I’d say so. What about cutting down trees? It seems less ok to me. How about picking up fallen trees? As you can see there is a lot of grey area here. I personally enjoy climbing above flat landings.

  3. Baer

    05. May, 2015

    Although this particular case violates Leave No Trace ethics, it seems to have a lower impact on the immediate environment then heavily padding and spotting would.

  4. Jeff

    05. May, 2015

    RE: As Slack lining becomes more popular so does the deed of placing dozens of more bolts on top of every cliff, spire, tower and wall. Not good ether.

  5. Grant

    05. May, 2015

    No don’t alter the lading zone. It takes o away from the nature when there’s just man made lading zone right next to the Boulder. Also when bouldering part of the fun and debenture is taking risks. I think it’s a terrible idea to alter the lading zone and should NOT BE DONE!

  6. Lucas

    05. May, 2015

    Jamie, I’m not sure if you saw on 8a, but the landowner gave permission to these climbers to make such elaborate landings. However, I find the premise of your questions to be faulty: the climbing community contains a plurality of ideas as to how to go about dealing with issues such as these. The uniformity or consensus you assume we should arrive it is unlikely to be a viable option for the myriad contexts climbers have to make decisions within.

  7. soyAnarchisto

    05. May, 2015

    I don’t see much “grey” about this appalling photo. If this person is not into the highball or commitment of a dicey ascent, then there’s a much easier way than cutting trees to build a platform to bring the rock down to his level: it’s called top roping. I hope his sponsors (if he has any) put the kibash on this behavior. Stoopid.

  8. Trampoline

    05. May, 2015

    I may be alone here, but the diversity in landing zones for bouldering is part of the allure and challenge of climbing certain problems. What about people who climbed the problem pre-engineered landing zone? Can they claim a different grade than the people who took the danger out of the equation? I also think we don’t have to climb Everything. Of course, drilling holes into rock and hammering stainless steel bolts into it in order to climb it may have set a precedent there’s no coming back from. This could be bouldering’s ‘bolt wars’ saga.

  9. B3

    05. May, 2015

    Great comments! I would encourage all of you to share your thoughts on my Facebook athlete page it’s muchs easier to comment respond and like comments posted! The only premise is that I think it brings up questions.

  10. dood

    05. May, 2015

    here is a something to think about jamie, what about all those mt bike trails built of wood way up in the forest? those are long trails and took lots of wood to build them, how is that “cool” but trying to make landings for bouldering bad?

    and personally i think trimming up, moving a few ankle breakers and yes sometimes fixing up a landing not only makes things a bit safer, but just like gardening it helps the place look more beautiful. if you dont think so then why are japenese gardens beautiful to look at?

  11. B3

    05. May, 2015

    Just to be clear, I didn’t sign The Pact, because I do build landings and move rocks to make problems safer. I thought it would be hypocritical if I did sign it. I don’t have an issue with building landings of the land managers are ok with it, but this instance is fairly extreme (if it were on public land) so I thought it’s an interesting subject.

  12. Alex

    06. May, 2015

    Slam a couple of bolts in it 😉

  13. Luke

    06. May, 2015

    Moving some rocks and logs to make a somewhat flat landing a little flatter is in no way comparable to the photo above. The gigantic landing structure, which is reminiscent of mountain bike trail building that has become prolific, will lead bouldering and climbing to nowhere good, IMO. A few camo painted bolts would have been less unsightly. One could always continue searching the hillside/ forest/ scree slope and find another boulder to climb……….GASP.

    Fortunately, I seriously doubt that this is the wave of the bouldering future.

  14. jabroni

    07. May, 2015

    Some people are questioning why it isn’t bolted for top-rope. Seriously? Look how steep that boulder is, you’d be eating a tree if you fell off!

    I don’t have a major issue with it, if the local community don’t.

  15. No-Balls

    07. May, 2015

    Here is ONE example. There is a highball in So IL called “kings high”, FA kehl. It had serious consequences (for people like me) and I respected him for setting the path and putting so much on the line, like his legs being broken #1. Then the climbers association came along and built the landing for the “safety” of the new crop of gym rat generation. Now, in my opinion, there is no reliving the problem. If it’s climbed first without a built landing then it’s a climbing sin to change it after. Screw the “pact”. They are the ones altering areas and giving out rules to people who don’t need them. WE don’t need gym rats saying how outdoor climbers should behave, because they are the ones harming everything

  16. Mike

    08. May, 2015

    This is inventive and awesome! Bravo for getting permission and taking the time to build a ‘fort’ in the woods. (I built a ton of em when i was a kid). I hope the problem was worth the effort.

  17. Paul Dusatko

    29. Sep, 2015

    I sent that without the pussy landing. Cocksucker.

  18. Paul Dusatko

    14. Feb, 2016

    I just renewed my La Sportiva ambassador contract! Just thought I’d post this cuz I’m the sickest climber of all time. OF ALL TIME.

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