Chris Linder and his Window of Opportunity
American climber Chris Lindner speaks about his Window of Opportunity 5.13+ in California and the use of removable bolts..
In the summer of 2007 American climber Chris Lindner carried out the first ascent of his Window of Opportunity in the Lost Rocks area in Northern California. The route climbs the obvious prow and weighs in somewhere in the region of 5.13+ but what makes it stand out from almost all other sport routes is that fact that it is protected by removable bolts. Unlike traditional bolts which are left in place endlessly, removable bolts are easily removed when no longer needed. This system is used rarely but very successfully in some circumstances - read where there is a high risk of corrosion or the need for minimal environmental impact. This captured our imagination and provided a good excuse to check in with Lindner to find out more about his Window of Opportunity which, as it happens, is also one of his all time favourites.
Chris, you used removable bolts on this route. What criteria must be met for you to use this system?
Several reasons made me decide to use these bolts: first and foremost, this particular climb sits right next to the ocean which creates highly corrosive conditions. Plus, it's on the border of California and Oregon which by itself is one of the moistest climates in America. These two factors alone made me think that any type of permanent anchor I'd use would have a limited life span due to corrosion. I didn't want to be responsible for insecure equipment 10 years in the future when in my mind, this route was worthy of lasting hundreds of years. Another reason was relations with the local native Indian tribe who worship further north along the beach. Although there isn't any specific climbing closures, the Indians have reportedly had a history of distaste for climbers in the past, so I didn't want to add fuel to the fire with visible bolts.
Are there any other climbs in the area ?
Yes, there is another climb on the other side (north-side) of the same rock my route is on. The bolter, Eric Camello drilled permanent anchors on top of the rock and used removable bolts for his route as well, but they weren't the same removable bolts I used as his are discontinued nowadays. I used his permanent anchors on top of the rock to bolt my route on the other side.
Could it have gone without bolts altogether?
I wouldn't say it's impossible, because nothing is impossible, but the gear potential is basically non-existent in my opinion.
So if someone wants to repeat your route?
If anyone wants to try the route, they just need to buy the same bolts I used and remove them when they are done. It will add a little extra commitment value for whoever wants to repeat the route, but it's worth it!
The environment looks amazing, right on the edge of the Pacific ocean.
Indeed this is the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen for a rock climb. The pictures and video make the area look beautiful, but the inner feeling of connection with nature when you're climbing next to the ocean can't be documented. On the first ascent, there was a huge whale cruising just offshore while a huge sea lion perched on a rock nearby to watch me climb.
What's in the name?
The powerful waves crashed just a few feet short of the climb's starting moves during low tide. Finding a dry day when the tide was low enough to start and belay the route proved to be tricky, hence the "Window of Opportunity" name. It was such an amazing experience in so many ways. It's not my hardest, but it's certainly my favourite route I've ever done.
Chris Lindner on Window of Opportunity