There are reports of chipping and torching going on in the Squamish boulders and locals aren’t happy.

Chipping is when climbers use chisels or drills to enhance a hold. Torching is when climbers use blow torches to dry damp/wet holds for better friction.

For those who don’t know, chipping and torching rock climbs, boulders and projects is an absolute no.

This is the first confirmed boulder that we know of in Squamish to be chipped. Hopefully it is the last… On a recent trip, Randy Puro revisited this old project of his and mentioned it felt different, that perhaps it had been chipped. It was confirmed by some locals and is obviously as seen in the photo. One of the most beautiful, unclimbed lines, has been altered to fix the needs of some turd without vision, too weak to send it as it was. I doubt if the person responsible for this act will step forth but for the record, 99% of the climbing community does not condone chipping. Chipping is NOT ok. Vandalism in a provincial park is NOT ok. Chipping is vandalism. This action is a complete disrespect to the rock, the forest and to those trying it. What has come of climbing and the respect we should have on the outdoors? I had hoped we moved past this sort of act. Leaving tick marks and garbage is one thing but this..? This beauty should have been left as it was. For those strong enough to do it. For those with vision. FYI- this problem is the project on the Octagon boulder, to the right of beyond 4 and Shelter. Word is, Shelter might also have been altered. Yet to be confirmed. If anyone has information on this, please come forth. It is safe to assume it was done by someone strong enough to even entertain climbing it, which really narrows it down… 🤬 @randypuro . . #chippedrock #notokay #boulderingethics #itspossible #project #squamishboulders #squamishbouldering #squeezejob #chipped #dreamtheimpossiblepossible #climbing #squamishclimbing #boulderingproject #oneday #getstronger #protect #granite #rock #beautifulrock @metoliusclimbing @grippedmagazine @rockrespect

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Bill Ramsey wrote an article in 2012 called Making the Grade, which digs into the deeper philosophy of chipping. He notes that some of the world’s most classic routes have been chipped, such as Just Do It 5.14c (America’s hardest route at the time) in Smith Rock and The Rose and the Vampire in France (the world’s first 5.13d).

In it, he says, ” The problem with this argument is that it has nothing to do with the issue. Of course, most things done badly are bad. But that has nothing to do with the propriety of the practice done responsibly. Note that few people think the existence of bad bolting entails the need to abolish all bolting.

“Route preparers who engage in irresponsible and gratuitous manufacturing await the same condemnation as those who engage in irresponsible and gratuitous bolting. Because my argument is a defense of the limited sort of manufacturing described above, the possibility of other kinds of manufacturing is largely irrelevant. Remember that irresponsible manufacturing sometimes occurs now; our current condemnation hasn’t prevented it from happening.”

Chipping holds is not accepted in Squamish and those climbers who are doing it should stop. The granite in the area is a finite resource and once a problem is chipped, it’s damaged forever.

Blow torch soot on Tim’s Sloper Problem in Squamish. It’s winter. It’s wet. Torching was a technique some people tried years ago and quickly abandoned. The intense, localized heat causes holds to expand faster than the surrounding rock. Crack! TORCHING BREAKS HOLDS! Torching is the manslaughter of chipping. You are still responsible and you are still guilty. If you really want to dry a hold, Makita makes a nice cordless blower that will do the job and not heat the holds. Otherwise, climb out in the open talus by the Apron where it dries faster. Otherwise, climb inside. Otherwise, climb in the desert. You have options. 📷 @islandtrailphotography #squamishbouldering #squamishclimbing #squamish #bouldering #climbing #granite

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1 Comment

  • Silly Simon says:

    In a town which wakes under the shadow of a gargantuan granite monolith, you think respecting it was the first thing coming to mind in the morning, at least for those prepared to embark on a climbing a world-class field of endless opportunities.
    Carved with stories set in stone, written and repeated for decades by countless of unseen faces before and after whichever current author possibly sweats and bleeds move by move. Each an individual letter being written.
    Defacing any of these routes due to impatience and ignorance, or chipping to protect your insecurities, is not tearing out the page, crumpling and throwing it in the bin out of anger. That action is admitting defeat, by your own hands or mother nature’s, something all climbers face and respect. Failure is their motivation to send problems!
    Cheating, chipping, blowtorching and any other action leading to defacing is not ripping out any pages. It’s like spilling the entire pot on every page of the book written. Whether by accident, stupidity, or because you to damn insecure. Destroying it, preventing others from continuing on is not worth sending this minute, or feeling better about yourself. Destroying credibility of personal legacies, and demoting the natural beauty that we are blessed to utilize.
    Please, don’t be the “we can’t have nice things kid”. We want nice things.