Blood Diamond Chipped?

Since hearing about Blood Diamond being easier, considerable easier (potentially V6?), we hiked out to see it first hand. Since we had originally found the problem and cleaned it, we had a good idea if it had naturally broken or was chipped. In the photos below, you can clearly see the original block that was intact. It wasn’t a loose “keystone” block either.

Here is a closeup of the original block that was busted out.

Here is a closeup of the original block that was busted out.

The part that is now gone was solid stone but had space surrounding it entirely. That means if you hit it hard with something solid (like a hammer or chisel), it will break off at the base and slide out. And the reason this makes it so much easier, and we knew this when we found the line, is that now you can heel hook where your hand was. The new hold is a full jug.

Could someone have put their foot on it and pushed real hard, causing it to break off at the base? Maybe. But it’s location is a bit further away from the foot one normally uses to do the big left reach. And it tapers away making for a poor foothold.

The new jug ...

The new jug …

Clearly visible at the back of where the hold has broken off is exposed virgin rock.

Clearly visible at the back of where the hold has broken off is exposed rock.

Here are a few more images:

A view from the right side.

A view from the right side.

Yet another view.

Yet another view.

If this is chipped it sucks because there are other holds just like this on other problems in the park. If chipped, the perpetrator(s) probably thought it was an ingenious and sly move to send a v10 by removing something they thought would seem natural. When we found it, I hypothesized that someone could do just that, whack the block and create a big hold, but I figured that would most likely not happen because climbers just wouldn’t stoop so low.

Another interesting side point is that now the straight up project is much more doable. I tried it when it was in its original state, and that corner was a real problem to navigate. To reach the sloping crimp above the crack on the right side of the face required making the original first move on Blood Diamond then somehow setting up the feet to bump the right hand to that crimp. To original bicycle move doesn’t get you high enough to the crimp and heel hooking is SO hard given your had was on the crimp. Now using the big hold, you do the first move left past the poor crimp to reach further up the crack, heel hook where your right hand would have been, and reach up to that crimp. We also saw a lot of chalk on the straight up, so someone is definitely working it or has done it. It would be a super tragedy if THAT person chipped the hold out to make the vert line go! Fuck one line up in order to achieve FA posterity! Let’s hope not.

If it matters at all to the person that might have chipped the hold off, let me put it into perspective: Blood Diamond was super cool because nature created an incredibly unique relationship of holds not typical on plastic. One has to make a big move off the original right facing right hand crimp to reach a really bad 3 finger edge, then match the right partially on top of it after performing a super hard bicycle move with a blind and precarious toe hook (see above shots). That match is harder for bigger hands but the moves are longer for people with smaller hands if they are shorter. Nature created an original masterpiece on stellar stone with totally unique moves, as usual.*

It’s the kind of movement that’s hard to replicate on plastic, and very different from today’s setting styles. Every aspect of the crux moves have very unique characteristics that reflect on how nature forces us to adapt to nature’s standards. When we chip lines we, in essence, want to become route setters: we arrogantly think our imagination and our standards are better than nature (actually more like we just want to send it above all else). This, of course, runs counter to climbing outside since the whole point of climbing outside is to NOT have humans involved in “creating” lines. We humans, therefore, “find” lines to climb and adapt to what nature demands.** The irony is now Blood Diamond climbs like any other problem in the gym. Big, hard moves on good holds. Fucking so typical.

*And climbing it pretending there is no jug (i.e., eliminating the “new” hold created by the removal of the block) is like leading a ground up line pretending the retro-bolts don’t exist. It’s only fun for the lowest standard. It’s the life observation where standards always drop to the lowest level played. It’s like our politics now: by losing respect for the institutions, candidates and process, we lower the standard to populism and emotional reactionism, hyperbolic assertions and rationalizations.

**This is why we also work around vegetation and even walk away from lines where heavily vegetated areas would get seriously degraded. In the desert, disturbed vegetation is even more fragile. We have trampled some vegetation with pads or falling, but it’s a judgement call to minimize and preserve unique things and lessen the overall impact. I just sent two new lines with a Yucca below on one side and what appeared dead a teddy bear cactus under another. We stacked and covered with pads around the dead cactus and noticed how and where we fell or would fall. After we all finished, the cactus was still intact. With the Yucca, I just make sure my mindset is to solo and not fall. Sometimes that’s the best way forward, even if there is no vegetation around.

~ by r. mulligan on 2017/01/23.

6 Responses to “Blood Diamond Chipped?”

  1. While I would not be at all surprised if it was chipped and I am leaning towards that being likely, I seriously hope that it wasn’t. Obviously chipping and the hubris and narcissism one must have to do it is not a new phenomenon, it does seem that there has been a slight resurgence of this behavior.

    Climbing has become very fashionable, which is fine, and there are so many new people entering the practice, which is also fine, but the “institutions” that are unleashing these hoards are doing zero or very little in regards to preparing them for proper behavior if they choose to explore outside. By institution I don’t only mean gyms. If you look at video content for example, excessive ticking and “painting” of usable( I say usable because they don’t know what hold are in the sequence yet and they still chalk them) holds have become somewhat normalized. There was a recent video of some beautiful climbing in Indian Creek. To the credit of the creators of the video, they did have a foreward that highlighted some “best practice” guidelines which is admirable but then in the video they don’t follow those same guidelines and it actually shows them coming in from the top down and smearing all the holds with chalk socks. Magazines(at least RI and Climbing) do some of the same when they only highlight the sends and amazing times, as if everyone out there is just getting shit done without slowing down and being contemplative of their actions. Kinda one and done and on to the next.

    Hopefully I am just being a curmudgeon, the problem wasn’t chipped and this is all some unwarranted rant! 🙂

    • I think you bring up some very important points that the “business” of climbing simply doesn’t want to be responsible for…which is a tragedy for sure.

      I personally feel it’s this narrow-mindedness of capitalism (and libertarianism in particular) that promotes a “not my problem” attitude; unfortunately I’m about to blog about another possibly chipped line… at Black this time (actually 2 instances but I haven’t seen the second one to comment on).

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. Looking at it again, would it have been possible just to pull that rock out or use a branch to wiggle it out? If so I can’t imagine that being a full on “chisel”? Or was it solidly in there? Could recent rains have loosened it up? I know other problems ::coughyaborooftraversecough:: after rain had loosened petrified dirt and insect remains which acted like cement for loose rock. A little brushing and bam…rock starts falling off…

  3. Maybe it came off when applying foot pressure to it? I know my fat butt broke a good small jug off teflon up at Tram and all I was doing was heel hooking it. With that, perhaps the person(s) were stepping on it and it simply broke…dunno tho, just speculating.

    • I considered that initially when we tried the line while considering any other possibilities. The location is a bit odd to put great force on it and it’s weakness is in the vertical plane since it’s a horizontal piece of stone. But yes, it could be hence the question mark. But the stone wasn’t “loose” by any stretch and it’s location is tucked away with minimal edge accessibility.

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