Bolting in NC – Moore’s Wall

An unknown climber wrote this comment on an old post of mine.  I think he or she has a really good point.

Climbed at Moores Wall, NC last week and there must have been 10 people waiting to rap down the sentinel anchor. There were two people on Zoo View, two on Air Show and at least 6 on the ledge.

There is a big discussion on rockclimbing.com about putting in more anchors around Moores Wall. This issue has been discussed for years and seems to never go anywhere.

So does anyone actually know if they are going to put in some bolted anchors above certain one pitch routes to make it easier to get down so we can do more routes in a day instead of waiting for 45 minutes to get down????

I would put them in myself since I have bolted a lot of routes an CO but everyone around NC states they will be cut.

I think the next step is to call the Hanging Rock State Park and explain that there are more and more inexperienced climbers coming to Moores and someone is going to hurt themselves if we don’t get safer anchors up.

I have been climbing for 12 years and I saw some very unsafe issues this weekend.

FYI

As rock climbing becomes more popular in North Carolina the standard exits are becoming overwhelmed which is creating a real danger.  The ledge referenced above is fairly substantial, maybe a large pickup truck bed, but six people on it is getting a little too cozy.  What are your thoughts?  Should Moore’s Wall get new bolts?

18 thoughts on “Bolting in NC – Moore’s Wall

  1. Scott Gilliam

    No new bolts are necessary. There’s a nice walk off from the top of Sentinel. Or, if folks share descent ropes the trip down is pretty damn speedy. Besides, Moore’s is not single pitch sport cragging. Also, climbing is not safe. You can die. Hell, someone will die climbing this week. Don’t be fooled by bolts. And inexperienced climbers are not a reason to deface the resource. Do a different route. Carry shoes and walk off. Have a nice conversation with some strangers while you use their rope to descend. All of these are options.

  2. John Lovett

    I would have to disagree with Scott Gillam due to the fact I was at Moores on July 25, 2009 and there was a group of 8 on the Sentinal ledge with another group of four trying to climbing up while at the same time another group was decending. There was a group of three trying to do Zoo View and another group trying to do the 5.5 second pitch. No one has mentioned anything about single pitch sport routes at Moore’s the first message was that certain single pitch routes should have rap bolts so more single pitch routes can be done. As far as walking off if the anchors have a line as long as some Disney world rides that sucks. You have to bushwack through some serious jagger bushes and nasty underbrush to get to the main trail.

    I am their to climb a lot of gear placement routes. However, I would like to climb up and then get back off without having to walk off or carry shoes.

    I talked to a Hanging Rock Park Ranger at the parking lot and apparently a few letters have been written to the State Park in the past two weeks about the anchor issues at Moores Wall. He stated the Park was going to contact the CCC and discuss their concerns about inexperienced climber safety and anchors.

    Now that people have acted and started to complain about anchors the park has an obligation to ensure safety of all. Because now if someone uses one of the old nylon anchors and it fails the park could be under pressure since people have actually submitted letters complaining to the park.

    In a law suit this would not look well if the letters were introduced in court and the park took no action.

    And yes I have a law degree.

  3. John Lovett

    I agree with John, Some of the single pitch routes should have high end bolted anchors. Some of the old slings look like crap. There are so many people coming to this area with no experience trying to climb the 5.5. or 5.6 routes. Yhe anchors are wrwpped around rocks stuck into cracks and other crap. Its just a bunch of crap there for anchors. I think the state park should make the CCC put in bolted anchors above a lot of he single pitch routes.

    everyone I talk to agrees with this. There are a couple of people that think they own the area but this needs to change.

  4. sean barb

    john lovett, for clarification: are you hinting at the threat of a planned effort to expand the liabilities and obligations of the state in order to strong arm the local climbing community in to submitting to a change of fixed anchor installation policy?

    if so, who would want to be ‘that guy’? that’s sick!!! who would willfully infect the greater climbing community with such a litigious turd?!

    the central argument is between folks that want to develop a centralized decision making process for bolting and the other side of the debate is to maintain the status quo of climbers policing themselves and to keep bolting the domain of the independent, self-reliant climber. maintaining the ethos of self-reliance and protecting the domain of the individual craftsman climber is a better survival technique given the climate of an ignorant non-climbing public and a land manager community that has no expertise in climbing anchors. when we give in to bolting by committee and when we ask for land manager sanctioning, we invite more external supervision and give up our power to self-police. a debate like this is best conducted at the crags, over a few beers, while bouldering… whatever, most importantly it is best done face-to-face.

  5. Rick Anthony

    To All:

    What this thread comes down to is and I include myself. Moores needs some better anchors at various one pitch routes to make the decent better for all. I have bushwacked off the top of a lot of these routes and it does suck!!!

    No reason decent rap anchors can’t be installed to get down quickly without having to look around for an hour to not find nylon anchors wrapped around a tree.

    All my friends want anchors that are better quality than what is currently at Moores.

    Just my thoughts.

    More and more people want anchors and eventually it will happen.

    Rick

  6. Sean Raspino

    I recently moved to NC from New Hampshire and have been climbing hard trade for years. I agree with both sides of the discussion. I understand people not wanting to deface Moore’s Wall and I understand people wanting safer anchors. What I suggest is to have the local experienced trad climbers do a risk assessment of Moore’s for the massive influx of non-experienced trad climbers and actively decide where new anchors need to go and what needs replaced in order to prevent a serious accident from happening. I would also suggest the very experienced trad climbers hold a once a year trad climbing education and training seminar to pass along their wealth of knowledge and experienced to the younger climbers that are showing up taking much un-needed risks. This would make the park happy and probably make the people that are uncomfortable with the lack of anchors understand how to make better decisions. Additionally, would a few well placed bolts at key locations hurt? There has to be some give from both sides before the state park gets involved.
    Regards,
    Sean

  7. Scott Owens

    Moore’s absolutely does not need bolted anchors at the top of every route. I climb there at least once a month and have never had to wait for a rappel. Isolated instances of parties consciously making a bad decision to climb all to the same belay ledge is no reason to deface the wall and change the long-established ethic of a crag. Heck, I learned to lead trad there and never once had a problem finding a rappel anchor. Why not? Because I did the responsible thing and asked a more experienced climber where it was. If you don’t know where the anchor is before going up, then you probably should have asked a local or taken the time to read the guidebook more carefully. They aren’t hard to find, but you have to recognize that you are at a trad crag and need to take the time to prepare both for your ascent and descent. If you’re not willing to do that, then I invite you to drive across the highway to Pilot Mountain and stay there.

  8. Scott Owens

    “I was at Moores on July 25, 2009 and there was a group of 8 on the Sentinal ledge with another group of four trying to climbing up while at the same time another group was decending.”

    Bolts cannot fix the sort of mind-numbing stupidity that it takes for such a situation to arise.

  9. Bob Welgos

    I follwed the Rock Climbing.com Moore’s Wall anchor issues that ended August 24, 2009 and have seen this same complaint pop up over the past 10 tears reference the Moore’s Wall anchor issue nothing every really happens with this situation. Just my opnion but there are a lot of climbers out there that due want anchors at the top of some of the more popular routes to make the decent more rapid. I have been climbing at Moore’s since 1999 and have done a lot of the routes there. I do not mind walking off from certain one pitch routes if need be but it is at times a pain. Sean Raspino seems to have the most un-biased opnion that makes perfect sense. I think a few bolted anchors at the top of some routes would be fine for convienence. But I have done without them for 10+ years so I think the elite few should make a plan like Sean stated and teach some of the yonger Trad climbers once in awhile. I have only completed 10C Trad at Moore’s but I have probably climbed 25 + routes there. I enjoy this place but I also have seen some dangerous young trad climbers there!!! Sometimes yiou can offer advise sometimes they look at you like your an ass for trying to explain a safer way to do sometihng. I would really hate to see someone get killed or seriously injured because the State Park would get involved then. Especially if people have written letters to the park about safer anchors. Anyway, Be safe! Have fun climbing at Moore’s

  10. Travis Bickle

    I’ve been climbing at Moores since the late 1980s, and I’ve followed this debate for a very long time. Odd, but it never seems to get resolved, and it inevitably erodes into a shouting match between the hard dicks, who think that any bolt is a sign of weakness, and the beginners, who can’t seem to understand why being safe is such an emotionally charged argument. The level of nonsensical shit that passes for discussion is simply mind-boggling, and I have to wonder what planet most of you people live on.

    Here’s the deal: There should never be an argument about beefing up a belay station. Never. Not under any circumstances, especially when it involves sharp edges, like the top of a cliff. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron.

    For the record, the only people on this thread with a brain in their heads are Rick Anthony, John Lovett, Sean Raspino, and Bob Welgos.

    The commentary defending the status quo at Mooores is simply incomprehensible and seems based less on real climbing skill than on chest pounding by people who can’t seem to articulate a message that gets beyond “Well, we’ve always done it this way.”

    To wit, Sean Barb says that “…protecting the domain of the individual craftsman climber is a better survival technique given the climate of an ignorant non-climbing public and a land manager community that has no expertise in climbing anchors. when we give in to bolting by committee and when we ask for land manager sanctioning,we invite more external supervision and give up our power to self-police.”

    What fantasy land do you live in? You’re already neck deep in “land manager sanctioning.” You might think that you contrl your access, but you don’t. Since you’ve apparently not noticed, Moores Wall is owned by the State, which can arbitrarily close access at any time. Let me promise you, if you and the rest of the too proud trad climbers continue to act this way, somebody’s gonna get chopped, and then Moores will come under “external supervision” in ways that you can’t imagine. Let me know how your silly tradition works out when that happens.

    “Individual craftsman climber”? “Power to self-police”? Are you serious? This is publicly-owned property, sport. The sooner you realize that, the better. As for your much vaunted self-policing, I’ve seen firsthand the trespassing and real damage to resources that’s occurred over the years at Rumbling Bald, Grandfather Mountain, and other areas. Crappy trails, hundreds of anchors, wire brushed cracks with rare species, trespassing on private property. You name it, I’ve seen it – in spades – courtesy of “craftsman climbers.” Spare me the tired shit about how ehtical climbers are and how you’re all so interested in conservation. You’re not ethical, and you’re interested in only one thing at the expense of all else: access. The sooner you stop trying to deceive land managers about this, the better.

    As for Scott Owens, who said “Moore’s absolutely does not need bolted anchors at the top of every route.” Agreed, but then, nobody is suggesting ancors at every route, so thanks for doing your part to conflate the argument. How can you possibly disagree with a few strategically placed stations to ease crowding and keep everyone safe? Remind me never to climb with you.

    “I climb there at least once a month and have never had to wait for a rappel.” Well, good for you. My guess is that you are the exception that proves the rule.

    “Isolated instances of parties consciously making a bad decision to climb all to the same belay ledge is no reason to deface the wall and change the long-established ethic of a crag. Heck, I learned to lead trad there and never once had a problem finding a rappel anchor.” You completely miss the point. Belay stations DO NOT deface the resource, and they do not chnage the long-established ethic. Are you even aware that the original traditional ethic at Moores was pins and bolts? Apparently not. A few well-placed double anchor stations is a tiny impact that has no meaningful impact on the resource but pays huge dividends in safety. If you can’t see this, then maybve you should move along to your next trendy sport. Salt water fly fishing, anyone?

    In the end, anchor stations protect the resource by keeping morons like you from slinging every tree and shrub within reach. I know that you will disagree. Funny, the American Safe Climbing Association doesn’t see it your way.

    Last thought: Rest asured, that state parks are well aware of these shenanigans, and it won’t take but one visit by a state safety official to close this place tighter than a virgin on prom night. My advice: Stop the silly chest pounding and establish safe, reliable belays at selected stations. If you don’t want to use them, then please, feel free to thrash through the briars and thumb your nose at the people who want to be safe. Just try to remember that safety is not a game of chance.

  11. Glen Bangs

    Travis,

    outstanding write up !! I have watched these trad wars regarding Moores wall far too long. This whole discussion is about putting a few bolted belay stations for safety and ease of decent. I do not see how some people feel two bolts will deface a climb when I see five 1 inch nylon slings that are probably a few years old hanging over the rock from a half dead tree. Two bolts will look better than the Sentinal Butress Belay or the Belay on Quaker State. The belay on Easy Hard and Head Jam should be two bolt belay. Need a two bolt belay above Dolphin Head

  12. Scott Owens

    I’m not opposed to bolting where a tree would otherwise be damaged from use as an anchor – it’s both a safety and a conservation thing. The Gemini Crack rappel tree at Looking Glass (since replaced by two bolts) is a perfect example of this. That said, the need for bolted anchors at Moore’s is overstated.

    I got irritated with the initial post suggesting that an alternative bolted rappel setup on the Buttress is needed, when there’s really only one practical line to rappel, and it’s already bolted with a walk-off possible. The premise is faulty, and the suggestion of involving the State Park and claiming a safety hazard is irresponsible, counterproductive, and wrong.

    As for Travis… seriously, calm down.
    “How can you possibly disagree with a few strategically placed stations to ease crowding and keep everyone safe?”
    I’m not, but the need for them and a lack of alternatives should clearly be demonstrated before they are placed. The OP failed to illustrate the need for this, and an excess of bolted anchors would be the natural end point of involving the park with liability scare tactics, which (again) was the original suggestion.

    “There should never be an argument about beefing up a belay station. Never. Not under any circumstances, especially when it involves sharp edges, like the top of a cliff. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron. ”
    The problem here is that its logical extension is to bolt every belay everywhere. You’ve made it clear that this isn’t what you’re going for, but that is the endpoint of this reasoning. People are right to be wary of it.

  13. David Johnson

    It is funny that I came upon this forum after climbing last weekend at Moore’s Wall for two days. I will say the place is pretty nice but not the best trad climbing I have done. I climbed Zoo View, Air Show, Golden Earring, Wash Board, Raise Hell, and Super Direct. What I did find as odd was the lack of decent Rap stations at the top of some of these routes. The anchor at the top of Golden Earring is two wires stuck into the rock which were probably very safe but now there is one full wire rung that is frayed off the and the wire ends kept getting caught in my rope when trying to pull it. My only concern is what does the wire look like where I can’t see it. Not a very warm feeling lowering off something frayed like that. At the top of Super Direct I found what looked like old nylon webbing wrapped around a small tree that could have been very old and rotten. Again, not sure why two nice rap bolts could not be installed there. I like to climb a lot of routes and get down quick and move on, but this was a difficult thing to do at Moore’s. I mostly climb trad but do climb sport every once in a while. I did notice some of the routes had pretty nasty potential for falls onto ledges. The S Buttress had two ropes wrapped around a large rock but again you really can’t see the wear and tear on the whole rope sure would be easy to have a nice rap station there. I climb a lot out west where most one pitch routes have rap stations. I do not mind building a trad anchor on multi pitch routes but it sure is nice to have an easy rap line. Everyone I talked to this weekend all agree that Moore’s Wall should have rap stations at the top of the one pitch routes for easy of decent. I want to climb routes and get down to climb more. I do not see any adventure in walking off a route in this day and age. I applaud the people that want rap stations. Looks like on this thread alone 8 people are for new anchors and 3 are against. Majority rules in my book! My Vote is for Rap stations.
    Thanks,
    David Johnson

  14. Jason Howard

    I have climbed there as well and had to wait for the rap station at S buttress after climbing Zoo View. I was up there for two hours waiting for 4 people make the first rappel off of something with a damn pulley. Then went to the next station where some ropes were wrapped around a boulder. Wonder how long those ropes have been up there? Yeah I could have walked off after climbing and not rapped but where the hell is the path and while trying to find the path I wonder how much I am contributing to the erosion to the top of the cliff. I think the CCC should get together and plan out the best way to minimize the climbing footprint. For all of the if it ain’t broke don’t fix it people have you ever heard of being proactive and not reactive? Before someone gets hurt because of sub-par rap stations or the top of the cliff erodes off because of the lack of established paths and webbing choking the trees. I don’t understand how there can even be an arguement.

  15. Jeff Welgos

    i would have to say that Moores does need nice Rap Rings just like most of the world uses to get off of some of the single pitch routes. Walking off is stupid and the thorn bushes are not fun.

    I do not undersatnd why people do not want rap rigs instead of nylon anchors.

    Stupid

  16. Jake Jones

    I just did my first trad lead, and I researched the crag, the route, and the ethics thoroughly before I showed up. I even hiked there the evening before just to get a look at it. I can tell you from experience that Hanging Rock will not put more bolts there. More bolts and easier access means more traffic, which means inevitably more accidents and injuries; which is bad for the park. Several have stated that the discussion about bolted anchors at the tops of routes never seems to go anywhere; this is why.

    I was aware of the limited descent options when I showed up. I did the Sentinel Buttress route, both pitches, and it was busy as hell. When I was gearing up, two parties that were ready jumped on and did the first pitch. As I was bringing up my third to the Crow’s Nest, one party rappelled down (a little rude, considering I told them that my third was on and would be up in about four to five minutes, but oh well, no biggie). I had to wait to get on the second pitch because three parties were rappelling down it.

    After I got to the top, I looked down, and it was as if a concert was getting ready to take place on the Crow’s Nest. We collectively decided (except my wife who just wanted to get off the crag) that in the interest courtesy and safety, that a walk down the gulley would be the best. The bitch of it was, I didn’t consider a walk off because the crag wasn’t that crowded when we got there; and my five fingers (very light) approach shoes were sitting at the bottom in my pack – as were everyone else’s. Oh the irony.

    The bottom line is this: You’re always going to have people complain about the limited descent options. This, in my opinion is useless. First of all, consider the views. So what if you have to wait a half hour to get on the anchors to rappel? Enjoy where you are and what you just did while being patient. I hear it’s a virtue. Secondly, know where you are and what options you have before you ever step onto that first hold. Have a plan. Have a backup plan (unlike myself; hiking down was a sumbitch in snug Mythos). Because this debate has gone on so long, it is as likely to change as politicians one day growing some balls and some scruples. Arguing, pleading, begging, whining, bitching, pissing and moaning is futile and won’t change anything.

    The way I see it, I’m new here. Who am I to question or suggest a change to the ethics? I didn’t view the wait as unreasonable to climb, and I was a dumbass for not bringing my uber-light approach shoes with me. Plus, the walk down and back to our packs gave us a tour of the area and we got a chance to see more of what Moore’s has to offer.

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