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Monday, April 23, 2012

Gear on rock - "no sustainability"?

Throwing the cat amongst the pigeons with this one!

A lovely little interview with Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) here and one quote, of many, caught my eye:
"Yvon Chouinard: Yeah, well that was an unintended consequence of thinking we were doing the right thing. We made our pitons out of a harder steel so that they could be taken out and put in, taken out and put in, and last a long time. But it turned out when there got to be so many climbers around, putting 'em in and taking 'em out, it started destroying the rock. That was kind of our first lesson. The fact that we were causing the damage, so therefore we should do something about it."

So I have a question, is all climbing trad gear the same? Even in my limited time of climbing in the past 10+ years, it's evident at crags where to put gear (think Bunnan Bui in the Burren), all the placements have been worn out from wires/friends being put into the cracks and pulled out again. Is it something that just is accepted, like chalk, as a side effect of climbing?

This obviously isn't just specific to trad gear also, the argument over bolts is long and well-tread hence I'm not giving it priority. And there's obviously also the peg issue as well which kind of falls somewhere in the middle (although I know where my own thoughts on pegs are!).