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Chipped Cam Placements – The Future of British Trad Climbing?

The strong anti-bolt ethic at many UK climbing areas is contributing to an unexpected chipping controversy.

The strong anti-bolt ethic at many UK climbing areas is contributing to an unexpected chipping controversy.

Reports suggest that some Cornish climbers are drilling protection slots for cam placements in what would otherwise be unprotectable terrain.

Traditionally UK climbers have dealt with these unprotectable routes by employing extensive top rope inspection and rehearsal before eventually headpointing these climbs.

The new chipped route in Cornwall would have required similar headpointing tactics or the addition of protection bolts. As bolts are not allowed, it seems that someone manufactured small protection slots that could accommodate cam placements enabling climbers to attempt ground up, onsight ascents.

While these tactics may seem odd, the Corwall region has had a history of manufactured placements (drilled piton and thread placements) going back to 80s. More details here.