/ TONIGHT: BMC Peak Area Meeting - Fixed Belays at Millstone?

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MattH - on 04 Jun 2010
Mark Stevenson - on 04 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: Unless things have improved considerably at Millstone since I was last there, a fairly major clearance of the loose rock (from pebbles to toaster sized blocks) that litters some ledges and top-outs would strike me as a more useful contribution to safe climbing there than yet another discussion about fixed gear.
Tony & Sarah - on 04 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: This is pretty rich from a committee who argued against belay stakes at Windgather. See you at the meeting. T&S
Adam Long - on 04 Jun 2010
In reply to Tony & Sarah:

I think you've got the wrong end of the stick - the 'committee' are proposing nothing. The agenda item is in response to Martin Kocsis' article in Climber:

http://www.climber.co.uk/categories/articleitem.asp?item=586

I don't think the lower-off proposal is realistic but given Martin's criticism of past BMC area meets it would seem reasonable to give it a hearing.
stewieatb on 04 Jun 2010
In reply to Adam Long: The bit in Martin's article about Keyhole Cave is complete and utter bollocks. You only 'need' to lower off the peg if you climb the first pitch of the routes with no intention of doing the (generally much harder) second pitch. Installing bolts for the convenience of people wanting to climb half a route is no justification at all.
Chris the Tall - on 04 Jun 2010
In reply to Tony & Sarah:
Why on earth is it "pretty rich" for one group of people to discuss something, just because a differant group of people dismissed a differant proposal 10 or more years ago. Probably about the same time the word committee was dropped from these meetings. Anyone is welcome to attend and voice their opinions, and no subject should be deemed off-limits just because it was discussed in the last century !
Adam Long - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to stewieatb:

Totally agree. But it'd be nice to have a broad consensus to quash the suggestion, lest he use his 'elitism' rant again.
redsulike - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to Adam Long: Can I ask who added it to the agenda? If you have the answer can I also ask if this is a discussion about Martin's opinion on a bolted lower off at Millstone or his assertion that Peak Area meetings are run by a small elite of climbers?
In reply to Mark Stevenson: I'd agree about the loose rock - move a lot of the loose stuff back from the edge. Millstone could also do with some more belay stakes (or a handful of reinforced fence posts that are 'recommended' to belay off).

but definitely no bolts!
PeakDJ on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to:

Seems to me to be a bit of a colossal waste of time even discussing the option of lower-offs at Millstone, and I doubt that it's being seriously suggested. Lower offs would be unnecessary and unwanted by most. As for this being an "elitist" issue, I am definitely not an elite climber, and I wouldn't want to see lower-offs at Millstone.

I can't attend the meeting, but I hope the discussion about bolted lower-offs is short, and the one about trying to move some of the loose stuff at the top of the crag is lengthier and more serious.
redsulike - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall: Hi Chris, you seem to be very defensive about the role of the committee, (I won't use the 'C' word again). Nevertheless the 'group of people who run and organise the meetings' to a very large extent determine the tone and candour of the meetings. I also feel that criticisms of the 'organisational body' are not necessarily criticisms of individuals or groups within it. However, you may be quite right that it was a previous 'cadre' who opposed the placing of belay stakes at Windgather but if the feeling is that the same ethos prevails, then that is what it is.
Mark Stevenson - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike: A rather obvious question, the Chairman decides on the agenda because it's one of the things you elect a Chairman to do.

As to the second point, the agenda item specifically says 'Bolted lower-offs on Millstone', that seems clear enough to me.

What might be very useful is for someone to come to the meeting with some decent photos of the current fixed gear at Keyhole cave for those without detailed knowledge or rusty memories.
Mark Stevenson - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to PeakDJ:
> I doubt that it's being seriously suggested.

It has, very seriously. You clearly haven't been following events.

It has been suggested by a prominent UK climber and activist in a high profile published article as mentioned and referred to several times in this thread.



ShaunD - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson: bolt lower offs arnt needed or wanted. wot is wrong with them fence posts.bolt the lower offs, bolt the routes.that is the only question.a bolting grit thread, i presume.
Alun - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH:

There should be no fixed gear on gritstone BUT people certainly shouldn't be encouraged to risk their lives needlessly. While I don't agree with Martin's suggestion of a lower-off, I do commend him for bringing up the subject in general.

I don't really buy his point about elitism though. British climbing, with it's general instinctive rejection of fixed gear, is highly elitist in that sense - and that elitism extends throughout all the grades i.e.

It is just as elitist for an anti-bolt E1 climber to rely on an old peg for protection as it is for an E7 climber to come along and knock that peg out.

I would support the E7 climber in this situation - at least s/he is not being hypocritical.

Either we remove dangerous old pegs, or we replace them with bolts. Arguing against bolts but accepting (or worse, encouraging!) the use of existing fixed gear is, in my opinion, an ethically muddled position!
SI - profile removed on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: I think the cave should be bolted. If you can't bolt the cave then how do you justify the bolt on Valkerie? I'm against bolts in principle on grit but I think an acception should be made in this case, there are three really good routes up to that tat, I've climbed them all and lowered off the tat each time just 'hoping it won't be me'. I don't think I'd do it again but other people will.

If gristly old grit veterans can't abide the thought of a few bolts then the shite in the cave should be stripped out.

Mark Stevenson - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to Alun: Completely agree with your logic. Like you I can see that both positions are at least self-consistent.

In general I tend towards removing fixed gear and I am coming around to the view that more should be done to stop lowering off or abseiling from becoming the norm for UK trad climbing.

As I've said on previous threads I'm mildly surprised that the old fixed gear hasn't already been removed, pre-empting this discussion.
AlistairB - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: No to bolts anywhere on Millstone. Whilst I think the cave situation is stupid, there's a clear solution which is for people to stop lowering off from the cave. Both guidebooks advise against lowering off from the Cave as far as I remember. I don't get why people do it. There's hardly a shortage of decent HVS/VS climbs at Millstone! I think someone should go up and strip all the crap out of the cave personally, it's from an age gone by and is a disaster waiting to happen.

The fenceposts and general lack of belays aren't the greatest thing in the world though. Whilst I'd be amazed if a two fencepost belay ever failed, they sure aren't getting any more solid. Maybe a candidate for a couple of well placed ab stakes? There's a couple there already from what I remember but I've never climbed a route that ends at one.
PeakDJ on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson:
> (In reply to PeakDJ)
> [...]
>
> It has, very seriously. You clearly haven't been following events.

No, I haven't but I've just read the article and my view hasn't changed. Was Martin really suggesting that he thinks there is a chance that bolted lower-offs at Millstone would be favoured by the majority? Wasn't the example of the keyhole cave being used to illustrate a general point about rusting, shitty old fixed gear on crags.

As far as I'm aware there is not really much chance of the majority wanting any new fixed gear at Millstone. But if there is some kind of a vote in favour of this...can they stick some shiny new staples in Toploader while they're at it, so I can have a crack at that in safety. I don't really fancy going up there and having to lower off a single, 30 year-old aid bolt. No...I guess that would be a ridiculous suggestion...!

More seriously: I'm in favour of removing the existing fixed gear if that's possible without damaging the rock...

Otherwise just leave it alone and let people make their own risk assessment of whether they'd rather continue to the top, ab off the spike, or back it up with their own gear. As has happened for years...



Chris the Tall - on 05 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:
The way it works is this. 2 or 3 weeks before the meeting, the chair sends round a email to the access reps, national council reps and the secretary, asking if anyone has anything they want on the agenda. Access reports and a national council report are standing features, but it's always good to have something a bit more interesting to generate some talk.

So we have one area activist, who just happens to be employed by the BMC, writing an article suggesting a fixed belay in the Keyhole Cave at Millstone, and another area activist, who just happens to be an access rep, thinking it would be really bad idea. Seems to be a pretty good topic for a debate. Doesn't meean the "committee", "cadre" or whichever c word you wish to describe us as thinks it a good idea.

Yes I may be a bit defensive, but I really do think Tony's comment was odd and unnecessary, and I think people should be aware of the corrosive nature of criticism of the volunteers who organise the meeting. Trudi has stepped down, Matt is going at the end of the year and I can't get away quick enough. Put your head above the parapet and you get shot at !

In one of your posts you said "All we seem to discuss at the moment is which crag to bolt next". I think discussion is healthy and people should be allowed to have their say, whether they would like more or less bolts. Nonetheless the only crag in which extra bolts have been placed with the meeting's approval is Horseshoe Quarry. Personally I don't see bolts at Millstone as being in any way justified, simply because it's quite obvious plenty of people are quite happy to climb those routes in their current state. Central Butress at WcJ - which was discussed last year - is perhaps a better place to consisder....

Anyway, I can assure you that the committee has no plans to discuss the grid bolting of Stanage until 2015 at the earliest. Actually, given the way the meetings tend to go, it will be more like 2025, or even half past eight :)
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall: Thanks for the smiley because I am not supporting critcism of you or anyone on the committee. Although yes, being on a committee does invite criticism, I know from personal experience, But if you didn't want to be a cook in the first place, why did you enter the kitchen?
In this case the chair, the committee - not 'people' as you suggest - someone on the committee, decided they wanted to debate another bolting issue. Surely they knew how divisive this would be.
There was certainly a sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are on the committee at the moment and with the support given to Area Committees by the BMC. And if you leave along with Trudi and Matt then I will thank -you for your service, commitment and sacrifice because being on a committee involves all of those things.
Being on a committee is a thankless task but if you want to change things to the way you want them to be, it's what you have to do. I am glad to see you haven't lost your sense of humour though. Cheers, Phil.
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Mark Stevenson: Yes it was obvious. It was rhetorical in that I know the answer. Someone on the committee put it on the agenda. There was no demand from the membership to discuss it.
Adam raised the point that he was concerned with the tone and implication of Martin's article in that a small group of elite climbers determine what goes on at Peak Area meetings.
Adam also said he thought there would be little support for bolting a lower off at Millstone, (so why have it?). Which raises the possibility in my head at least that the debate is less about bolting lower offs and more about dismissing Martin's allegation. I have no idea to whom he was referring but I am willing to bet there will be people there who do know who they are and feel slighted by what he has said. So is this whole thing just political point scoring? There is a fair bit of unrest in the Peak Area at the moment.
sutty on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:

Sometimes people volunteer for office to make sure the committee keeps going. I volunteered for a committee to stop a club folding, that is how tenuous it is sometimes.

Eventually you get pissed off by people complaining yet being unwilling to stick their neck above the parapet and stand or go to meetings.

It is like voting, if you do not get involved you have no reason to complain when things are done you don't like. Remember, after discussing bolts in places there is a show of hands for and against, and if yours is not up it is time to keep quiet.

As a matter of fact, the pegs in that roof are probably as good as the original ones, which when it was an aid route would often pull out. It was one of the routes I avoided after several people got hurt on it for that reason. Now if people do not want to finish the route, perhaps they should not start it.;-)
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Shaun L: This issue with tat. Can I address anyone who ab's off existing tat. Surely? Surely? If you are going up a route that you expect to ab' off you take your own tat up with you. How stupidly irresponsible to expect someone to have left some up there for you and for it to be in good condition. And then to really put the cherry on the cake you have the brass neck to complain about trusting your life to it! How about you take some responsibility for yourself and stop expecting everything to be laid on for you.
Perhaps the ethic or protocol should be to remove all old tat, bring it down with you and replace it with yours so there is never more than one piece of tat in situ.
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to sutty: I accept all you say. I too am on a committee and come in for my fair share of criticism. I have been on other committees and I have spoken to many, many people over the years. It is always the same and I suppose it always will be. The answer to people unhappy with a committee is to stand for the committee themselves. Put up or shut up is not an argument because everyone is entitled to their opinion which can be critical if they are unhappy.
A while back on this forum Chris' suggested I should come to peak Area meetings if I was unhappy instead of just using this forum. So I did. And I am still pretty unhappy with the direction the BMC is heading, but I still go. It cuts both ways. If people feel that attending meetings is a waste of time because they achieve nothing then they too can walk away which is possibly the strongest criticism a committee can receive.



What have pegs got to do with any of this? :)
NorthernRock - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:
> (In reply to Shaun L) This issue with tat.
..... replace it with yours so there is never more than one piece of tat in situ.

What is the difference between the one piece of tat around a tree and an ab station.

How about you place the tat, ab off it, then walk around to the top of the crag, ab off an insitu post and retrieve the tat, which is in fact littering in the first place, oh and then walk around and remove the insitu post ;-P
......this is millstone in particular by the way.....

SI - profile removed on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike: Is there any need for that? Are you trying to have a conversation or just insult people who don't agree with you? You need to grow up mate.

When I said tat I meant what it was attached to, ie. the crappy old peg.

If someone new to climbing sees someone else lowering off the gear they'll probably do it too. It takes a fair few years to gain enough experience to know what to trust and what not to trust. When I lowered off the people I was climbing with just did it as par of the course, so I went along with it. That's why I said I wouldn't do it now.

popebenedictus - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to stewieatb:
> You only 'need' to lower off the peg if you climb the first pitch of the routes with no intention of doing the (generally much harder) second pitch. Installing bolts for the convenience of people wanting to climb half a route is no justification at all.

But what if you can't do the "generally harder" second pitch?
Your options are:
a) downclimb
b) ab from the old fixed gear
c) fix a stance from your own gear and ab off that
d) get someone to rescue you from the top
e) sit and wait

ie. the same options you have if you get stuck halfway up almost any other
route.
john arran - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to popebenedictus:

How about
c)fix a stance from your own gear and ab off that
followed by
f) Ab from the top and retrieve your gear.
This has long been common practice when a team starts up a route and is unable to reach the top, so what's the real difference here?

In reply to PeakDJ:

> But if there is some kind of a vote in favour of this...can they stick some shiny new staples in Toploader while they're at it, so I can have a crack at that in safety. I don't really fancy going up there and having to lower off a single, 30 year-old aid bolt.

FYI there's a very good (albeit very small - HB offset #1?) micro wire just underneath the bolt which I trusted far more than the bolt itself - especially seeing as it only really would ever need to hold a pendule rather than a direct fall. Not too hard to place on lead either as it's closer than the bolt.
NorthernRock - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply ;

I can understand the reasons for bailing out at the caves. I have done it myself. However with thought not panic, it is possible to clip the in situ gear, hang, pull the ropes and your partner set an ab from the top.

However, why do people need to escape off the top of The Embankment? Why is there not raging indignation about the "lower off by default" above Embankment 2, and abseil point above Time for Tea? Both of these are tat on trees. If you can reach these points, why do you need to bail?

The "thin end of the wedge" has already started, as we have all accepted these by default, so why not clean these trees and put a permanent ab point in?
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Shaun L: No problem Sean, my apologies. Its plain speaking rather than in insult, and I wasn't directing my comments towards you but more to everyone who has ever... in a general observation; 'You' was a collective noun.
If you meant the peg in this case, or rusty iron bar in another or corroded bolt in another. Then maybe the debate is to start a fund to remove them, that way no-one is going to climb it without the wherewithall to get themselves down again.
redsulike - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to NorthernRock: Well,if there is a handy tree or a stake, you should be top-roping it. :P
NorthernRock - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:

I suggested that to Craggsy in the original discussion, and about London Wall.

Strip out all the old insitu gear, and have done with it.

I will be first on a rope with a bolster, and a knife chopping tat.....
gabriel_m on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to NorthernRock:
> However, why do people need to escape off the top of The Embankment? Why is there not raging indignation about the "lower off by default" above Embankment 2, and abseil point above Time for Tea? Both of these are tat on trees. If you can reach these points, why do you need to bail?

I'm guessing the mild mannered, easily olfactorily offended climbers on the Embankment are currently using the excuse of the decaying sheep which you have to walk past to top out. Obviously doing a second pitch would just be plain silly.

In some places people don't even have these excuses, people seem to ab off Great Peter and any route on the Gingerbread Slab by default.
SI - profile removed on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike: Oh right, it just came across a bit harsh and aggressive, just the way it does on here sometimes. I'm glad I toned down my initial response! Sorry for telling you to grow up.

I'd happily go and take the old peg out if I knew I wouldn't get in trouble, although it'd probably be better if someone with a bit more experience did it.

As for replacing them, putting new pegs in seems daft to me. As for bolts I'd vote yes personally but I do appreciate the argument against it, so I wouldn't mind too much what the decision was.
NorthernRock - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to gabriel_m:
> (In reply to NorthernRock)
> [...]
>

> In some places people don't even have these excuses, people seem to ab off Great Peter and any route on the Gingerbread Slab by default.

Which sort of leads you to the question;

Save the two trees at the top of Gingerbread, and put 2 pairs of bolts in the headwall behind......it's a top roping beginners area, usually rigged from the trees.......

Chris the Tall - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:
> Someone on the committee put it on the agenda. There was no demand from the membership to discuss it.
> Adam raised the point that he was concerned with the tone and implication of Martin's article in that a small group of elite climbers determine what goes on at Peak Area meetings.

Just to explain, Martin's article refered to a meeting at the Traveller's Rest a couple of years ago, at which old pegs in Millstone were discussed (following a much publicised but possibly badly reported incident on London Wall). Both Adam and Ben Bransby spoke against having fixed gear on trad routes. Unfortunately the shape of the room (or rather rooms - we were spread across 3 sections of the bar), so it was hard for everyone to have their say. These things happen.

So Martin is suggesting that elite purists control the meeting, whereas you seem to think it is elite bolters. The reality, not suprisingly, is completely the opposite - the "committee" is actually a pretty good cross-section of climbers and walkers of differant abilities. No one who has ever seen me climb would ever accuse me of being "elite" at anything other than faffing and gibbering !

But my main comment on this thread is the opposition, verging on conspiracy theories, to the notion that we should even be discussing this issue. Martin's article has provoked a lot of debate both on and off this forum. I've only had a skim read of it, but is does seem to me that he is not alone in his views. Why on earth shouldn't we discuss it ?
MHutch - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

The issue is clearly more about rotting fixed gear - and perhaps a shift in culture where climbers are keener to use it - than it is bolting, and that's well worth a discussion.

It's an issue that has festered on for quite a while - perhaps the only way to get people to try to reach a consensus on stripping or replacing fixed gear is to have fairly inflammatory articles about bolting the keyhole cave, and hope that the spark from that will bring forward some more widely acceptable alternatives.

I'd favour some better stake belays above the keyhole area at Millstone (I'll never be totally comfortable with fenceposts!), and a clear message that if you want to do only routes into the cave and not have a worrisome return leg, you should be prepared to build a decent belay, lower off it, then ab for your gear, however, time-consuming that will be. It doesn't prevent people from doing those routes, just means a greater investment in time and ropework.

Michael Ryan - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to redsulike)
> [...]
>
> following a much publicised but possibly badly reported incident on London Wall

Reported and discussed quite well on here, you must be thinking of somewhere else Chris.

ACCIDENT REPORT: Millstone Sat 31/05/08

http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=44631

The route and peg: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=76751

Close up of peg: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=93261
AlistairB - on 06 Jun 2010
The one time I've abbed off the Embankment is because my partner got to the ledge, took one look at the second pitch of Embankment 1 and said no to seconding it. I was not impressed! The second pitch of Embankment 2 isn't very good from what I remember so I'd probably not do it again. But here's the point, the trees up there are both natural and bomber. Should I not sling trees on easy routes because they're insitu gear?!

Not lowering off from the cave isn't some elitist thing or anything like that, it's simply because it's an accident waiting to happen. If there was a handy tree in the Keyhole Cave I'm sure nobody would care. As has been said here already, if you get to the cave and find you can't do the second pitch then it's just like ballsing up on any other trad route. Lower off your gear, walk up to the top and ab back down for your gear. Compared to not being able to finish a route on a sea cliff it's not exactly much effort and compared to lowering off the peg, could well save your life.
Ada on 06 Jun 2010 - host86-171-210-102.range86-171.btcentralplus.com
In reply to MattH:

I suspect obnoxious shiny bolts wouldn't last too long anyway. Just leave Millstone alone for pity sake
Chris the Tall - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
Jeez Mick, do you always have to jump down my throat?

I was not critising your reporting, but there was a certain amount of speculation about that incident which may have been distressing to the person involved, and for that reason I'm not going to rehash it. However I do think it was raised at that meeting, and may have flavoured the discussion. Or maybe it wasn't. Either way it's irrelevant now and I shouldn't have mentioned it.

Back on topic, I notice from the UKC logbooks that you have climbed one these routes recently, and descended from the cave - why not tell us what you think of the state of the gear there ?
Coel Hellier - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Any chance of discount copies of the new Froggatt guide being available for attendees? ;-)

But on the matter at hand, I'd support a couple of large metal rods being drilled into the floor of the keyhole cave (but wouldn't support anything more widespread at Millstone).
Chris Fitzhugh - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If not this meeting (I know there are some problems due to very high demand) certainly the next.

Offwidth, on a friend's computer
Chris the Tall - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall)
>
> Any chance of discount copies of the new Froggatt guide being available for attendees? ;-)
>

I've put in a request, but as Steve says there are aparently a few problems
Michael Ryan - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com)
> Jeez Mick, do you always have to jump down my throat?
>
> I was not critising your reporting,

Seeing as we were the only people who reported it!!!!!! I had to come to our defence.

> Back on topic, I notice from the UKC logbooks that you have climbed one these routes recently, and descended from the cave - why not tell us what you think of the state of the gear there ?

Not a problem for me, I'm used to crap insitu gear. I remember in the old days lowering off single 8mm caving bolts, you breathed out to make yourself lighter.

I lowered off the stake and that rusty peg, and down climbed a bit.

If I had the time or the inclination I'd drive over there with a drill.... drill a nice big hole near the existing metal stake, fill it full of resin, then put a new metal stake in.

M

highclimber - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: I think introduction of belay stakes in the places where the fence is unsuitable/unsafe would be welcome in my eyes.

If there is a real risk that the peg in the keyhole could cause a fatality/injury, then I see no reason to keep it there and should be removed at the earliest opportunity.
It was placed for a reason by one of us and left there by us for many years. I feel it would be better to replace it like for like than sit back and let someone hit the deck whilst we were still squabbling over 'ethics'

There is a wider issue to contend with at Millstone - the state of the top of the crag. There is a lot of loose rubble and seems to get worse each time I visit (maybe it doesn't in reality but it's pertinent to the situation) and is a more pressing safety issue given the popularity of the crag.

We all have to remember that Millstone has been shaped by humans and wouldn't be there without us mining there so I really don't see the problem with a few stakes at the top and replacement of dangerous pegs
tonanf - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH: clear all the loose choss off the top and put belay rings wherever possible. its called climbing not danger belaying.
highclimber - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to tonanf:
> (In reply to MattH) clear all the loose choss off the top and put belay rings wherever possible.

no, it should be 'wherever needed'

sutty on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to tonanf:

Clearing rubbish from the edge needs doing regularly as it just gets washed out when it rains from under the moor.
It was the same at Castle Naze, the instructors from Whitehall would clear a lot away and a month later have to remove more.
Adam Long - on 06 Jun 2010
In reply to redsulike:
> (In reply to Mark Stevenson)

> Adam also said he thought there would be little support for bolting a lower off at Millstone, (so why have it?). Which raises the possibility in my head at least that the debate is less about bolting lower offs and more about dismissing Martin's allegation. I have no idea to whom he was referring but I am willing to bet there will be people there who do know who they are and feel slighted by what he has said. So is this whole thing just political point scoring?

That's rather a cynical view. Martin has very publically raised an individual issue on fixed gear that hasn't been specifically debated before. Had it just been a post on a forum, I doubt it would have made the agenda. But it has been given a higher profile and therefore, I think, deserves addressing.

Martin also stated that he did not feel the wider issue of fixed gear in The Peak was debated fairly in the past. That isn't my memory of the event, so yes, I'd be interested to see if that is a widely held view and whether the whole issue does need revisiting. Although this isn't a specific item on the agenda I suspect it will be covered on the discussion.
Monk - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to NorthernRock:
> In reply ;
>

>
> However, why do people need to escape off the top of The Embankment? Why is there not raging indignation about the "lower off by default" above Embankment 2, and abseil point above Time for Tea? Both of these are tat on trees. If you can reach these points, why do you need to bail?
>

I am genuinely surprised about this. I haven't climbed at Millstone for a while, but I always scramble out the back after doing the first pitch of the Embankment routes if I didn't fancy the second. It didn't even cross my mind to ab off!
davidwright - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to AlistairB:
> The one time I've abbed off the Embankment is because my partner got to the ledge, took one look at the second pitch of Embankment 1 and said no to seconding it. I was not impressed! The second pitch of Embankment 2 isn't very good from what I remember so I'd probably not do it again. But here's the point, the trees up there are both natural and bomber. Should I not sling trees on easy routes because they're insitu gear?!
>
Nobody is suggesting you don't belay off those trees however using them as ab anchors (and the trees at the top of Great Peter and right of the gingerbread slab) is just plain lazy there are good and straight forward routes to the top from those places for anybody can get there.
Coel Hellier - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to davidwright:

> Nobody is suggesting you don't belay off those trees however using them as ab anchors ... is just plain lazy

Abbing is a time-honoured method of getting where you want to go. What is the reason not to (presuming you're using tat and not harming the trees)?
davidwright - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to davidwright)
>
> [...]
>
> Abbing is a time-honoured method of getting where you want to go. What is the reason not to (presuming you're using tat and not harming the trees)?

These are busy crags (like a lot of others). Abbing down a 3* VS or a 3* E3 with queues on them because your toes pinch a bit or because you don't want to coax a novice up a scramble move at the top of a cliff is lazy and anti social practice. All it does there is tie up a route for longer than is needed but those habits transfer themselves to other venues where it becomes a real hazard to other climbers.
petellis - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH:

Is it possible to back up the bendy thing with some of your own gear and then do a gear retrieval ab from the top afterwards?

I don't know if its possible but this is potentially a safety vs lazyness debate rather than a fixed gear debate...
stewieatb on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to davidwright)
>
> [...]
>
> Abbing is a time-honoured method of getting where you want to go. What is the reason not to (presuming you're using tat and not harming the trees)?

At 99% of crags, the walk down is less dangerous than an abseil descent. Abseiling involves setting up a system you're completely reliant on, when you've relaxed due to completing the climb, and may be tired. In most cases it's safer to walk.
Franco Cookson on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH:

A bolted belay would protect the upper part of the route. This would mean a gritstone route was protected by bolts. If the peak decides that's the best option then that's fine by me- i'd quite like to do Edge Lane safely.
Coel Hellier - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to davidwright:

> Abbing down a 3* VS or a 3* E3 with queues on them because your toes pinch a bit or because you don't
> want to coax a novice up a scramble move at the top of a cliff is lazy and anti social practice.

Perhaps, but while I've abbed off the Embankment quite a few times, I've never done so when there are parties or queues on the routes being abbed down.
Mr Lopez - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to petellis: There's a sandy pocket just left of the 'spike' that takes a 1.5 cam, though i wouldn't have trusted it even to hang my shoes from it...
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Adam Long - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to petellis:
> (In reply to MattH)
>
> Is it possible to back up the bendy thing with some of your own gear and then do a gear retrieval ab from the top afterwards?
>
> I don't know if its possible but this is potentially a safety vs lazyness debate rather than a fixed gear debate...

It is perfectly possible, and the option taken by most folk deciding not to continue from the cave. If you don't trust the tat there are plenty of opportunities to back it up. A bolted lower-off would be purely for convenience - not an argument in my opinion.
stewieatb on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Adam Long: Agreed
Mr Lopez - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Adam Long: Yes, i was being a bit melodramatic there. Good gear at the very top of the Oxford St crack and Jermyn St, plus an ok looking peg.
Still, that stake is crying to be replaced.
davidwright - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to davidwright)
>
> [...]
>
> Perhaps, but while I've abbed off the Embankment quite a few times, I've never done so when there are parties or queues on the routes being abbed down.

I have had to wait on that wall for absailers before I could start and I have seen the lawerencfield trees used on days when the quarry was one of two climbable venues in the eastern peak. It also encourages the attitudes that lead to people abbing down Grim wall, Nea 'A' route/asterix and has places like Sennan covered in pointless ab ropes on busy days.
john arran - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Franco C:

> A bolted belay would protect the upper part of the route. This would mean a gritstone route was protected by bolts. If the peak decides that's the best option then that's fine by me- i'd quite like to do Edge Lane safely.

That's already possible. All you have to do is arrange a rope from above.
Jonny2vests - on 07 Jun 2010
In reply to Franco C:
> (In reply to MattH)
>
> A bolted belay would protect the upper part of the route. This would mean a gritstone route was protected by bolts. If the peak decides that's the best option then that's fine by me- i'd quite like to do Edge Lane safely.

Or some mats from below? (I haven't done this - I'm being facetious).
Chris the Tall - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to MattH:
Just a reminder - it's tonight folks !
Offwidth - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

You can tell its the annual Staffs meet because its raining!
LakesWinter on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall: I can't make it tonight sadly but I'd like to register my opposition to replacing fixed gear of any sort at Millstone with bolts - my view is that one needs to embark on the keyhole cave routes prepared to find one's own way out of the cave without a nice bolt to bail from. I'd be in favour of removing the metal from the cave entirely too.
drysori - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to MattG:

> I'd be in favour of removing the metal from the cave entirely too.

Seconded. I doubt I can make the meeting this evening, but it is surely the most completely no-brainer argument with bolts on gritstone - they simply aren't necessary. If routes are too dangerous for you rigging a toprope is rarely hard or inconvenient. If you can't top-out on a route, for whatever reason, retrieving your gear is a simple task. There is no justifiable reason to place bolts in this cave.
Offwidth - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to MattG:

Registering opposition to a point at these meetings needs to be a bit more formal than just asking for this on the day on these forums. I'll certainly be saying some people on UKC (who cant make the meeting) object to fixed gear on Millstone, if no-one else does so but frankly that won't mean much.
IainWhitehouse - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to Offwidth: Steve, can we ask someone else present to act as proxy? If they were to be able to give my name and address, for example? I can't get there tonight.
Iain
Coel Hellier - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to MattG:

> I'd like to register my opposition to replacing fixed gear of any sort at Millstone with bolts

I'd also oppose bolts. But I wouldn't object to a large metal spike in the floor of the cave. ;-) The point is that such a thing would be fairly useless as a runner for anyone climbing out upwards and so not really affect those pitches.
Chris the Tall - on 09 Jun 2010
In reply to IainWhitehouse:
Voting at area meetings is informal. It's normally based on a show of hands on a motion that gets hastily scribbled on the back of an envelope and then lost or used as a beer mat !

If we allow proxy voting, then I would think it would be open to abuse, or accusations of abuse, unless properly scrutinised.

It should also be remembered that issues like this require consensus
Offwidth - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I don't know about anyone else but a fixed system to safeguard our way back thorough the fog across the moors to Matlock would have been appreciated last night... almost losing the side of the road at times.

Also visited the Traveller's Rest at Flash before the meeting as the weather was so manky. Its now under new ownership (the Knights). I'll miss the old character of the place and the slightly medieval theme (!)was a bit of a change. The new owners seem keen to do a good job with food and beer, have spent a lot of money and cleaned the place up. They are open and serve food from 12:00-8.00 which is good news. They are also looking to possibly support some local microbreweries, others going to encourage this might be good.
Coel Hellier - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Offwidth:

> Also visited the Traveller's Rest at Flash before the meeting as the weather was so manky.

Surely ideal conditions for an Offwidth thrutch up The Great Zawn?
Offwidth - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:

We had intended to do something but we popped into the pub for a coffee and chatted for so long we were nearly late for the meeting. As it was I had to drop Lynn off at The Winking Man for my chance to view the grave in the fog before we started.
IainWhitehouse - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to IainWhitehouse)
Thanks for the replies Chris and Steve. I can see the problems associated with formal proxy voting. I envisaged something less formal but I suppose 'my mate Bob agrees with me' is no more helpful than 'lots of people on UKC agree with me'.

> It should also be remembered that issues like this require consensus

I'm not quite sure why you added this. Surely a requirement for consensus creates a need to consult more widely than those able to attend? I know most of us are simply too lazy but many others have very valid reasons for being unable to make it.
Chris the Tall - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Offwidth:
You went onto the moors looking for a grave in those conditions ?

Haven't you ever seen a horror film ?

Pity it was so grim, definitely had an effect on the turnout. Still, those who stayed at home missed an interesting meeting, good chips, and can't complain about the decision to grid bolt Millstone.....

Just kidding folks - there were a few abstentions, but no one was in favour of a fixed belay at Keyhole Cave. Which does leave the question of whether the peak area meeting is out of step with the views of the climbing public at large. And if so what can we (or they) do about it?
Michael Ryan - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

Iain

Fixed Belays at Millstone was a non-issue. Made up. Hot air, an attention seeking ploy.

Attention is better directed elsewhere. Henry Folkard did mention that BMC and some individuals are in dialogue with some quarry people about how quarries can best be left for climbers.

Now that's interesting!

Mick
Morgan Woods - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to MattG)
>
> [...]
>
> I'd also oppose bolts. But I wouldn't object to a large metal spike in the floor of the cave. ;-) The point is that such a thing would be fairly useless as a runner for anyone climbing out upwards and so not really affect those pitches.

it might be a good incentive not to fall off :p
john arran - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Morgan Woods:

> ... such a thing would be fairly useless as a runner for anyone climbing out upwards and so not really affect those pitches.

In my youth there was also a rusty iron bar in the right hand end of the keyhole cave. I managed to fall from the lip of Jermyn St., trying to clip an ancient bolt that's no longer there, and was stopped half by the iron bar that's no longer there and half by a wire in the side of the cave, the placement for which is also no longer there. I stopped just a few metres from the ground, which definitely still is there!
Chris the Tall - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to IainWhitehouse:
What I meant was that if it was clear that many people had very strong objections, then even if the meeting voted by a narrow majority in favour of the action, it would be pointless - the bolts/stakes or whatever would be removed by the morning. The BMC is the representative body, not the governing body, and as such any changes to the status quo have to be done by consent not just of the majority, but a very substantial majority.

As such there is no case for proxy votes on such issues - if it isn't obvious that the action would carry substantial support, then the status quo remains.
sutty on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to john arran:

>I stopped just a few metres from the ground, which definitely still is there!

LIKE IT.:-)
Chris the Tall - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> Fixed Belays at Millstone was a non-issue. Made up. Hot air, an attention seeking ploy.
>
It had been suggested in a national magazine under a BMC banner. A few people on here thought it was a good idea. For the area meeting to ignore it, or just say "We aren't going to talk about that" would have been absurd.

But yes, Henry's efforts to get authorities to look at the long-term use of quarries is far more important
Jim Nicholson on 10 Jun 2010 - cpc3-stkp5-0-0-cust338.manc.cable.ntl.com
In reply to MattH: After beig alerted to this thread by a friend I thought I'd read the entire discussion and then chip in mytwo penneth. Unfortunately I was unaware of the meeting until today.
I set up a thread for reading on 29th May after abing off the cave area. The iron spike was in appaulling condition and we backed it up with a new bomb proof wire and new thread, which someone has subsequently removed. We left it there as there are a great number of people who just climb the initial pitches (as they are all good). For what it's worth and my humble opinion.. a chain at the back would have no impact on anything but would provide a sensible situation to a tired argument - the cave at Milstone is quite unique..its damp and fairly gearless - a chain could be place as to be unobtrussive. Or just remove the metal spike and then guidebooks should be rewritten as they do present the possibilities of climbing the lower pitches in isolation. Whatever the outcome there may be some poor soul who makes a critical error and abs off that rusting piece of crap iron (which exploded and splintered when we hit it with a Krab)while the discussion continues...
IainWhitehouse - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Mick Ryan - UKClimbing.com:
> (In reply to IainWhitehouse)
> Attention is better directed elsewhere. Henry Folkard did mention that BMC and some individuals are in dialogue with some quarry people about how quarries can best be left for climbers.
> Now that's interesting!

Agreed. Now what were you doing attending frivolous meetings when you have articles to edit? :-)

IainWhitehouse - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Ah, I see what ou mean now.

> The BMC is the representative body, not the governing body,

Has anyone told the esteemed leader of same who has been quoted calling it a governing body on at least one occasion?
Kipper - on 10 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> ... The BMC is the representative body, not the governing body, ...

http://www.pyb.co.uk/information/governing-bodies.php

Chris the Tall - on 11 Jun 2010
In reply to Kipper:
http://www.thebmc.co.uk/Feature.aspx?id=1418

"The BMC is the national representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers in England and Wales and has over 70,000 members"

I suppose you could say it is also the UK governing body for competition climbing, which is perhaps what Iain is referring to
ads.ukclimbing.com
Kipper - on 11 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Sport England also seem to regard the BMC as the National Governing Body.
Monk - on 11 Jun 2010
In reply to Kipper:

I think you are on to a loser when the BMC itself does not regard itself as a governing body. I think in the case of Sport England (and abbreviations)'National Governing Body' is the standard term in use and it is impractical to use varying terminology.

As far as I understand it, as climbing is an activity all about personal decision making and freedom, the BMC does not want to regulate or govern that activity.
IainWhitehouse - on 11 Jun 2010
In reply to Chris the Tall: No, I don't think it is, or should be, a governing body. I was alluding to the fact that Dave Turnbull has been quoted in (at least one) interview calling the BMC a NGB.
Dave Turnbull, BMC - on 13 Jun 2010
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

Hi Iain

The BMC is the National Representative Body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers in England and Wales - as stated in our Articles of Association. It is also recognised (by Sport England) as the National Governing Body (NGB) in England.

I'm sure I make the odd mistake in my use of the terminolgy but in general when dealing with internal BMC/climbing/mountaineering issues and people, I always refer to the BMC as the representative body; when I'm dealing with Sport England I fall into their lingo and use NGB. Sport England are well aware that we're actually a representative body as I remind them of this pretty much every time I meet up with our contacts their.

Take it from me - the BMC (and me personally) has no aspiration whatsoever to be the 'Governing Body' of climbers.

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