/ Lake District Snowed-Up Hard Rock Routes

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Dave Cumberland - on 27 Dec 2012
Coming up to the coldest part of the year, those who are keen to tick yet another grade 7, 8, 9 or 10? even - have you thought what impact you may have on our climbing heritage? This is an appeal NOT to aid up classic rock routes and destroy their fragile holds. In particular there is a huge list of classic E1s, E2s up to E5 that are attracting attention just as Snicker Snack did.

The wise heads are saying: If it is a wet, vegetated, dirty drainage line in Summer - fair game. There are numerous such places in the Lakes that will give steep and long winter routes to impress.

If it is a clean, dry, bare-rock summer classic - leave it undamaged, please. That includes Bowfell Buttress, Moss Ghyll Grooves, Botterill's Slab, Snicker Snack, Engineers Slabs (before it gets further trashed) and many hard classics on Bowfell, Scafell, Pillar, Gable and elsewhere.
tom290483 - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Slightly odd post. I would imagine most winter climbers operating on climbs with summer grades of e2 and above already know what there doing and probably not many will be reading this post.
kevin stephens - on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to tom290483:

I don't agree. Modern technical axes, prospect of reliable protection and lure of big ticks is bound to resort in aspirants "having a go"

I would also argue that even experienced mixed climbers' first thought when torquing a finger crack is going to be "will this placement hold by weight?" rather than "will this placement trash a finger lock for summer climbing?"
LakesWinter on 27 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Cumberland: In terms of climbing heritage Bowfell Buttress and Pisgah Buttress on Scafell were probably the hardest winter routes in the world when they were first done - certainly harder than anything in Scotland from the mid 1930s. Therefore maybe such historical classics should not be climbed in summer to allow the turf to regenerate without rock climbers picking the rock clean.

On the other hand I think that future development should steer clear of 2 and 3 star summer classics unless they form ice.
Dave Cumberland - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to LakesWinter:
> Therefore maybe such historical classics should not be climbed in summer to allow the turf to regenerate without rock climbers picking the rock clean.
They were first climbed in Summer because they were lines on clean rock.
Now that we have a touch of frost perhaps the op relevant again.
Simon4 - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland: I sympathise with your intentions Dave, having seen the damage done to for example Engineer's Slabs but I suspect this is a lost battle.

Those who want to scratch their way up classic Summer routes will do so, aggresively shouting "what right do you have to stop me?", which is much the same mentality as those who think that if the placement of a bolt is convenient to them, nobody has the right to tell them not to do so.

We don't have much rock in the UK and keeping it relatively pristine and close to its natural state has depended on self-restraint by climbers and a culture that respects the outdoors as much as possible (obviously nothing is absolutely pure, we change it as soon as we go there). If that culture is ignored, there is not much that can be done to enforce it. Unfortunately it is rather like the Alps, where fixed gear is now very general, even on classic easy routes, just because it suits the guides to have it on trade routes, it makes their lives easier.
pasbury on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4:
> (In reply to Dave Cumberland) I sympathise with your intentions Dave, having seen the damage done to for example Engineer's Slabs but I suspect this is a lost battle.
>

I hope not. If something is deemed unacceptable by the majority then hopefully peer pressure will eventually root it out.

For example I don't think anyone will be in a massive hurry to take axes to Millstone again.
LakesWinter on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland: I agree with you about some of the routes on your list, however, I was not being flippant about Bowfell or Pisgah Buttress - both are of far more historical value in winter terms and probably (not been on Pisgah in winter but have been on Bowfell) better winter than summer routes.

I certainly agree that clean rock summer classics in the Lakes should be left alone for new winter lines. I fully support the stance in the new guide re. Gimmer where it says all of the routes that have been tooled up should really be left alone in future, apart from the winter only line on the NW side.

Bottrils slab follows a different line to the summer route on the main pitch so would be a different case. Something like Hopkinsons Gully on Scafell also ices properly so again is fair game.
Simon4 - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to LakesWinter: Please, please, please don't climb Botterils' slab as a Winter route.
Gael Force - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4: You obviously haven't done it or you wouldn't post pish like this.
Somerset swede basher - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4:

In summer the best line goes up the left edge of the slab. In winter the ice forms on the mossy bit on the right, also allowing you to throw hexs into the corner. Of all the routes that could be considered bad form in marginal conditions this seems an unlikely choice seeing as you dont even climb the same bit through the crux.
Dave Cumberland - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to tom290483:
> (In reply to Dave Cumberland)
>
> Slightly odd post. I would imagine most winter climbers operating on climbs with summer grades of e2 and above already know what there doing and probably not many will be reading this post.

1700+ read it so far.
Jamie B - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Most of those are just following it in the hope they'll get to watch a fight.
mockerkin on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to LakesWinter: You appear to think that what you like is paramount and to hell with everyone else. If you are a Lakes climber then you will know that good winter conditions are not every year and that there is more summer climbing. Suggest you try Scotland for winter.
Simon4 - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Gael Force: "aggresively shouting "what right do you have to stop me?"

Or

"I'm so much of a God, you don't have any right to a view, peasant"
Baron Weasel - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland: I wouldn't bother with Bowfell Buttress just now as the snow will have covered all the crampon scars - you could get lost up there man...
LakesWinter on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to mockerkin: What I posted is basically that I fully agreed with no 2 or 3 star rock climbs being done as new winter routes, then I made a couple of historical points re. Bowfell and Pisgah. Personally I think the key thing is to make sensible choices about what would be a good winter route without destroying a summer classic. But I don't see anything wrong with climbing less classic, vegetated and damp lines, which may have been done in summer, in winter.

Obviously different people have a range of views on what is acceptable and our views might differ.
Simon4 - on 13 Jan 2013
In reply to LakesWinter:
> But I don't see anything wrong with climbing less classic, vegetated and damp lines, which may have been done in summer, in winter.

Nor do I, in principle. The problem is, would it ever stop at that, or be that finely self-regulated? Isn't it more likely to be a slippery slope to people just wrecking whatever they feel like? (Wonderful to be able use the phrase "slippery slope" in connection with ice-routes!)

> Obviously different people have a range of views on what is acceptable and our views might differ.

But unless those with extreme views about what Summer routes can be climbed in Winter show self-restraint, their views (or rather their actions), will inevitably over-ride the views of others who are more concerned about conserving rock and routes.
LakesWinter on 14 Jan 2013
> (In reply to LakesWinter)

>
> But unless those with extreme views about what Summer routes can be climbed in Winter show self-restraint, their views (or rather their actions), will inevitably over-ride the views of others who are more concerned about conserving rock and routes.



I suppose it depends on what 'extreme views' actually are in practice. I probably fall somewhere between the 2 extremes of climbing anything that's white once in a blue moon and climbing nothing except a winter only line. I think the key point is to be sensible about what would make a good winter line without wrecking a summer classic. In addition to that another question is why is summer climbing on a mountain crag that faces north a more important activity than winter climbing on the same crag? I guess people have different views on this too.
csw on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

This is an interesting post for me, because I'll probably be on Engineers Slabs the next time it comes into condition and I have a day free. I'd never thought of it as an issue before. I consider myself a fairly responsible, ethical climber. I'd be happy to organise a lynch mob for anyone found tooling e.g. Denham Quarry or Cadshaw Castle and I totally get that some routes and crags are summer-only. I think the Millstone comment was something of a red herring, since to the best of my knowledge, nothing there appears in a guidebook of winter climbs, but here's the thing. I hold in my hand the 2006 edition of the FRCC guide to winter climbs in the Lakes, and Engineers Slabs is in it, so - serious question. You obviously think it's not OK to climb it in winter, The FRCC guidebook team presumably think it is. What reason have I got, to give precedence to your wishes, given that I want to climb the route anyway?

Also, I think it's a bit disingenuous to suggest Scotland as an alternative if one wants to climb these sort of routes, given that the same ethical concerns will apply over the border. Thoughts anyone?
Dave Cumberland - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to Dave Cumberland)
> I hold in my hand the 2006 edition of the FRCC guide to winter climbs in the Lakes, and Engineers Slabs is in it, so - serious question. You obviously think it's not OK to climb it in winter, The FRCC guidebook team presumably think it is. What reason have I got, to give precedence to your wishes, given that I want to climb the route anyway?

The answer is that things move on. As it happens, ES has been in condition both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Whatever routes are in the FRCC guidebook, even the guidebook writers and the FRCC great and good know how sensitive this issue is. My post was an appeal. In the future I believe you will find a consensus developing to conserve our classic routes rather than aid up them and trash them with metal as was done in the peg era.
tom290483 - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> The answer is that things move on.

Yes and maybe the consensus is that ES is now a summer and winter route in the same way that fall out corner and magic crack/white magic are?

> As it happens, ES has been in condition both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Whatever routes are in the FRCC guidebook, even the guidebook writers and the FRCC great and good know how sensitive this issue is.

Yet they still put the routes in there?

> My post was an appeal. In the future I believe you will find a consensus developing to conserve our classic routes rather than aid up them and trash them with metal as was done in the peg era.

Its not aid climbing though is it. If you are a winter climber you must surely know that.
The same consensus that a couple of years ago suggested that dry tooling was a fad and waste of time? Now look at the popularity of it. If your a lakes climber you will know of "The Works" and "Bakestone Quarry".
Gael Force - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Simon4: Your the one with extreme views, by complaining about people climbing Botterills slab in winter, its a good route for winter, excellent line, venue that's often in condition etc.
I dont see any difference between climbing it and NE Buttress on the Ben which has crampon marks all the way up, do they bother me , not really. Its a brilliant rock climb to. I find chalk on routes much more annoying, and see it as a form of aid, but I keep my opinions to myself usually and don't post ill informed garbage on UKC about it.
Anyway just off out to dry tool Little Cham before work.
csw on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

A couple of things. I'm assuming that by "aiding" you mean climbing with tools and I'd dispute that, unless you also want to call chalk and sticky rubber aid, in which case the debate shifts to what types of aid are acceptable. However that's a debate for another time.

"Trashing them with metal as was done in the peg era". Your language is highly emotive. Understandable, since you obviously have strong feelings on the subject, but seriously - quarry routes in Lancashire are full of peg scars, from the days when aiding them was the only way people thought they could be climbed, given the standards and gear available at that time. Are you saying that torquing an axe into a crack is going to do the same kind of damage that hammering a peg backwards and forwards to loosen it does? I've never seen such damage, but then compared to many people on here, I'm quite inexperienced.

I grant you that scratches from tools stand out and many people find them unsightly. They don't seem so on a high mountain crag to me - On gritstone I'm as rabid as the next guy. If that means I'm holding a double standard then I guess I have no defence. But actual damage to the rock? How widespead is that? And the other question I have is: what criterion do we use to establish precedence? If a route is climbed in summer, does that, or should that, put it out of bounds in winter?

I'm not trying to start a fight here, I'm open to reasonable argument. Give me a good reason to stay away from ES, that allows me to do e.g. Tower Ridge or Centurion and I'll do it, but it's not apparent so far.
neil the weak - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to csw:
> (In reply to Dave Cumberland)
>
> A couple of things. I'm assuming that by "aiding" you mean climbing with tools and I'd dispute that,

I don' think he was calling winter climbing aided, he was just comparing levels of impact to the rock as similair.
>
> "Trashing them with metal as was done in the peg era". Your language is highly emotive. Understandable, since you obviously have strong feelings on the subject, but seriously - quarry routes in Lancashire are full of peg scars, from the days when aiding them was the only way people thought they could be climbed, given the standards and gear available at that time. Are you saying that torquing an axe into a crack is going to do the same kind of damage that hammering a peg backwards and forwards to loosen it does? I've never seen such damage, but then compared to many people on here, I'm quite inexperienced.

I think it does do quite a lot over time, mabe more than aid even. One ascent might not do too much, just as one aid ascent woudl not but repeated again and again the scarring really builds. Whether this matters or not is quite different.

> I'm not trying to start a fight here, I'm open to reasonable argument. Give me a good reason to stay away from ES, that allows me to do e.g. Tower Ridge or Centurion and I'll do it, but it's not apparent so far.

I think he would be suggesting that maybe we should leave routes like Centurion alone too. I may be with him on that, though I'm still making up my mind. I climbed it a couple of years ago and there was a fair amount of marking and some obviously hammered gear in the main pitch.

Webster - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to neil the weak:
> (In reply to csw)
> [...]
>
> I don' think he was calling winter climbing aided, he was just comparing levels of impact to the rock as similair.
>

I think he WAS deliberately calling winter climbing aiding in a deliberately provocative and emotive statement.

I hate how self righteous and hypocritical many of the so called "climbing comunity" appear to be (this arguement sprouts up every winter). Why is crampon scratching "damaging" the rock and yet the pollishing and over chalking of all popular rock routes "OK"? They can both be considered as visual scars, and in my oppinion the polishing and chalking of popular rock routes is a far greater visual scar than crampon scratches (which can only be seen up close). This is largely down to the fac that a popular rock route will invarably see far more traffic than a popular winter route, and therefore the cumulative "scarring" is far greater. And if we are going to pretend that this arrguement stems out of a genuine care for the environment, then i throw out there that summer rock climbing does far more damage to the physicl environment thn winter (when dealing with rock, the turf issue is not contested), for example the use of chalk will have an effect on the chemistry of the rock surface and water running off it, having a negative impack on the micro-ecosystems (lichens and mosses etc) that liv on or near the rock, and potentilly impacting on the larger food web.

As for scratching vs pollish, a scratch will eventually over time weather out and become naturalised, and will actually have a positive impact on the environent as it exposes fresh minerals to the surface which can be mobilised into the environment. Pollish on the other hand will have a much longer lasting effect and may prevent the weathering of the rock surface and restrictng the mobilisation of crucial minerals into the environment.

Now im not arguing against the use of chalk, and iim certainly not arguing against rock climbing, im merely highlighting the double standard which exhist in this debate...
muppetfilter - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to Webster: I dont think your arguments about micro minerals and scratching being an environmental positive hold as much water as a sieve.

when I first climbed on little tryfan 23 years ago it didn't have scratches. Now it does. The experience of a scratch free venue has been taken away for every climber by one or two lazy morons.

I have seen trends come and go in climbing, the current one for arsing about with axes on crags that are near the road covered in wet slushy snow is one for lazy twunts and will leave a legacy long after the tools are in a cupboard gathering dust.

There are no double standards, the minority just shouldn't ruin it for the majority.
Webster - on 14 Jan 2013
In reply to muppetfilter: I dont dissagree with your objection to people using tools on little tryfan (or other roadside crags) unless there is a good reason to do so (ie the formation of ice). your right that is lazy when someone could find far better winter climbing only slightly higher up. that still doesnt change the fact that there are double standards in this debate (remember the crags that the OP has listed are to my knowledge all mountain crags with long walk ins and therefore climbing on them in winter can in no way be called lazy).
In reply to Webster:

> I think he WAS deliberately calling winter climbing aiding in a deliberately provocative and emotive statement.

Yep. I've heard the mixed climbing is aid because it's just "yarding around on bloody great skyhooks" argument for about 20 years. I'm sure it was around before then too.

It always makes me think that the person who says it probably hasn't mixed climbed OR aid-climbed.

There is a fair enough argument to be had here about impacts from different types of climbing, but your write that some just want to provoke.
Bert - on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Dave Cumberland: I have a general feeling I'd like to add to this point. I love the outddors and also love to climb. What I do not like is the thought of unecessary damage caused to the amazing areas of natural beauty that the UK has to offer.
Surely it makes sense if there is no ice on it then it is a rock climb, I appreciate the need of ice tools on mixed routes in which case it is unavoidable, but I have always thought dry tooling on certain rock types quite selfish.
There are a handful of rock types out there that can probably withstand damage from ice tools - but realistically how many folk out there actually know what they are? Or more to the point how many people out there reading this who dry tool can honistly say they know what rock it is that they have climbed on?
csw on 15 Jan 2013
In reply to Bert:

Yes, but this post isn't about dry tooling, it's about the idea that climbers should refrain from climbing established winter lines because they're also lines in the summer. What's your view on that? If a summer rock route on a high mountain crag comes into winter condition, is it a valid objective for a winter climber? And if not, then why not?

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