Ascent New Brunswick issued a statement after a few bolts were chopped on a relatively new sport route at the popular Cochrane Lane.
House Sass is an 18-metre 5.5 at the right side of the Waterfall Wall that was developed in 2018 by Dom Caron, Anna Schneider and Amanda Savoie as a fully bolted line. It’s one of three sport routes on this part of the wall. The climb is popular for people learning how to lead. When Caron shared the route details after the first ascent, he said, “The closely spaced bolts and the grade of this route are sure to attract a fair share of traffic – whether for a warm up, a cool down or for a first outdoor lead.”
This past weekend, a climber who’d climbed House Sass before led up not knowing that someone had removed protection. After finding several chopped bolts, Ascent New Brunswick shared the below message on Facebook; which we’re sharing here for folks who are not on the platform:
Ascent New Brunswick does not approve of bolt chopping on any route by anyone other than the first ascensionist. If someone does not like a bolt on a route, they should consult the fa and engage in dialogue in an effort to bring a satisfactory resolution to the matter. If the two individuals cannot come to an agreement, the general climbing community can then become involved and help determine a solution. No one has the right to chop bolts on someone else’s route without consultation.
There is a long standing trad climbing ethic of no bolts next to cracks at our most prominent crag Cochrane Lane. This ethic has been extended to Eagle Rock and McQuirks Mountain as both of these cliffs have an abundance of high quality rock with cracks present providing ample protection. This is not to say that bolts are prohibited. There are bolted sport routes scattered all over Cochrane Lane. Leviathan, Tit For Tat, Bone Machine and Hitchiker are a few examples of high quality classic sport lines at Cochrane Lane. These two different styles of climbing can coexist at any crag, in fact it is something that we should strive for as it directly exposes sport climbers to the possibilities of trad and hopefully inspires them to pursue that style when they are ready. All of our crags should be like this. The possibility of mixed and sport lines at predominantly trad areas should not be precluded if the opportunity exists.