SmithRock.com LogoSmithRock.com Logo SmithRock.com Alan Watts Interview
SmithRock.com Heinous Cling
Alan Watts working on
Heinous Cling (5.12c)
in early 1984.

That would mean that the 10th bolt
of To Bolt Or Not To Be and the last
bolt on To Bolt Or Not To Be were
not there. And that was just sick.
You'd fall. You'd go 60 feet! It was
just ridiculous. It was all I could do
to get up the nerve, after hanging
on a bolt, just to make the dash to
the next bolt. Eventually, it started
to become more painful than pleasur-
able, and I think that's the reason I
was kind of getting burned out.

It actually helped to have the Euro-
peans come and say, "forget this!"
They'd do a route like Powder In The
Eyes, to the right of Sunshine, where
there's a little crack at the start and
obviously you could put cams in there,

and they'd be like, "nope, let's just
put in bolts..."

In a lot of ways it was kind of nice that
it turned that way. That was a big part
of sport climbing getting going. It was
not just trying to go from three RP's
down to two RP's and making things
more and more dangerous.

SmithRock.com: Heinous Cling has
been totally bolted now, right? Do you
think that's lowered the grade?

Alan: Yes, it is totally bolted now, and
it's easier to do. You don't have to
stop and hang out, but it's still the
same climb. Technically the moves

are the same, but it was a little bit
harder back then. Psychologically, it
was quite a bit harder. Just clipping
those big bolts is easy -- I mean
there's something just a little bit weird
about stuffing a Friend in a pocket,
and the cams are back there twisting
around, and then going off above that.
You tend to hold on quite a bit harder
and not be quite as relaxed.

SmithRock.com: Did a lot of the routes
that you put up go up after it became
obvious that more bolts should be
going in, rather than less?

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