So instead of telling climbing stories I’m going to take a few moments to respond to some of the comments from the Dry Tooling in Ouray Day 1 post.
First, I want to say “suck it!” to all the folks that left me nasty blog comments. We’re just out having some fun climbing and you guys completely missed that.
I was a big unprepared for the Rock and Ice article: America’s Hardest Mixed Crag? Tim had set that up, and although I sent along some basic information, I was pretty distracted by work and traveling. I had pretty much forgot about that whole thing until our blog post started getting 500 hits a day. When I looked at Rock and Ice’s webpage, I was a bit horrified by the title “America’s Hardest Mixed Crag?”. That was quite a bold statement. I knew a shit-storm would be coming. I guess that’s what happens when you let certain things take their course.
The article itself I thought was pretty benign and more on par with what we were doing, just some climbers out having fun on the rock. I imagine many people didn’t get past the title though.
The Hall of Justice Does Have Mixed Climbing (aka ice)
Although we only referred to drytooling in the Hall of Justice, ice does form there. It forms within the cave and at the top of the routes. Due to the fact that the cave is South Facing, it’s just not there very often. It seems more accurate to refer to it as a drytooling area as that’s how most of the routes are done most of the time. When you’re climbing at routes of this difficulty, often times the ice makes the routes easier and the hard moves are usually on the rock.
Is Mixed Climbing Aid Climbing?
I have done a fair amount of both aid climbing and mixed climbing in my 17 years of the sport. I have played with pretty much all aspects of the climbing and I can appreciate each one in it’s own way. Honestly, I don’t care that much about what others choose to call it. Aid climbing to me would generally imply standing in aiders (and often being afraid). Hanging off ice tools feels nothing like standing in aiders, although it too is rather scary. I could argue that using ice tools to ascend rock or ice is not much different than using chalk, rock shoes, or tape as all items are used to “enhance” the experience. Who cares! moving on…
Why Aren’t We Rock Climbing in the Hall of Justice?
Well, in a sense, we are rock climbing it, just not in the traditional sense that rock climbers relate to. I’ve established many rock climbs in the San Juans, and it’s no mystery to those that have been to the Hall of Justice why folks don’t have any interest whatsoever in rock climbing there. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to. There’s not an ascent in the cave where no rocks are dislodged in the process of climbing. The cave seeps and it’s walls are continuously shedding their skin of loose pieces of rock. In general, dry-tooling crags are chosen as such because rock climbers don’t want to climb there.
What About the Impact on Nature and the Environment?
The Hall of Justice overlooks about 15 acres of mine tailings that are likely toxic. There are mine shaft’s in it’s walls. There is an active mine just up the road from it. It’s not beautiful rock. There is avalanche debris everywhere. A few bolts in an exfoliating cave that will either fall out or rust out over time really does not affect the “big picture”, mother nature or the experience of passerbys.
Why All the Fuss About this Place?
If you were to start picking on crags in the Ouray Area to condemn for all of these reasons mentioned in the comments of Dry Tooling in Ouray, why not look toward the Ice Park? It is however loved by thousands and greatly helps to support the local winter economy so you’ll be up against a lot of fellow climbers. Send your hate and misunderstanding that way, it’s plenty high profile enough. Why do you care about the Hall of Justice? You’ve not been there. It could be mythical for all you know.
You Completely Missed The Point
We are out here doing this because it’s FUN. I went through all of this work and money invested so that I and other climbers could have FUN. We are sharing the pictures and stories because they are FUN to look at and read.
It’s not just me either. Thousands go to ice festivals throughout the country, many of which try mixed climbing or dry tooling and know what? They have fun too! I know this first hand. I’m often the one standing around in the cold teaching them.
Now quit your bitchin’ and go have some FUN! Sounds like you need it.