It should be common knowledge by now that many winter mixed and drytool routes have manufactured holds. So much so, that when a route doesn’t have chipped holds, the new route team often makes a note of it in their topo.

Recently in the Canadian Rockies, Raphael Slawinski’s El Dorado drytool crag on Grotto Mountain has been the centre of attention as it has steered away from chipping or plying blocks off. Slawinski noted that it’s more of an “alpine crag” meant to hone skills for mountain lines. Which is unlike crags such as Haffner Creek and the Playground where routes were manufactured with a drill.

Now, Ines Papert and Luka Lindic (two of the world’s best all-round winter climbers) are getting in on the discussion and have criticized drilled holds on a route they recently climbed.

Papert wrote on social media: “Question to the climbers community: During the day (2) of our road trip we had different feelings. When we started to climb ‚stirb langsam’ M11+ next to Sebenseefalls we were extremely psyched and enthusiastic. But soon, when we noticed the drilled hooks, we nearly bailed off the route because of disappointment.

“Doesn’t feel the same happiness as after many multipitch mixed routes that I free climbed worldwide in the past. Climbing free on artificial hooks feels more like aiding. Wondering how do you think about this (in my opinion the totally wrong ethical approach). Great training route? Is this new school? Should we go for an A grade instead? Are we allowed to shape the routes in the mountains in a style and difficulty as we feel like? Anyways… we will continue our journey and try to find what we are looking for.”

There’s likely no end in sight for the ongoing discussion for and against manufacturing holds on mixed and drytool routes.

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