/ Climbers and Churches! I need help
The church authority has complained and want us to remove the bolts immediately. We have a last-ditch meeting later today to try and avoid this as the routes are brilliant and obviously a lot of work went into creating them in the first place. I'm looking for pics or stories which i can bring to the attention of the church rep showing climbers climbing near churches or chapels or situations where climbers and the church have cooperated and made this overlap of church/sport work to the advantage of both. Ideally I will be able to show them that the fact that climbers do these routes can be used to the advantage of the church..any ideas?
You need to see if you can find depictions of jesus climbing, that would help. But of course Jesus wouldn't have desecrated the rock with bolts.
Rename the route stairway to heaven, that may help :0)
made this overlap of church/sport work to the advantage of both. Ideally I will be able to show them that the fact that climbers do these routes can be used to the advantage of the church..any ideas?
What advantage, precisely?
Frankly, if you have gone ahead and bolted onto the property without the permission of the owner is pretty arrogant. Even if not, then the notion of climbers scrabbling about above and around the church is a bad idea- who is going to pay for any repair should damage occur, including wear marks?
To be honest I can see why they complained, but you might try the tack that the Church, mountains and climbing have a long history of close association, viz the numerous summit crosses in the Alps (Google).
If they don't take that argument at face value, then you could point out that stuffing a 15 foot high cross into the top of a mountain is somewhat more intrusive than a handful of bolts in a crag next to a church.
I suspect the church is not only concerned about possible physical damage but that climbing (or any sporting activity) is inappropriate and disrespectful in that location, regardless of how often the chapel is used for services. It's difficult to see what benefit the church might get from it.
Firstly I agree with the people who say that you shouldn't have bolted it.
Secondly the church is unlikely to to change it's mind they are closed minded on many many issues and wont understand climbing in the slightest.
thirdly this may help your sport/church link and it was on songs of praise.
Finally given my experience of church I suggest you pray about it cause usually when they are dealing with this sort of thing they forget too!
Should this be a BMC help issue?
The bolting at best seems a little insensitive - good luck with trying to get the Church authorities to see your routes as having some 'benefit' to their lives.
You need to appologise profusely and crawl like mad! As has been said to bolt on private land near anyone's property is downright unthoughtful and arrogant.
Accept their decision with grace. Remember that it's not just the church authorities you are dealing with, but their whole congregation. They will talk and word will fly round the island. As climbers you need to be seen in the best possible light by the local population and want to avoid access issues.
Out of curiousity do you encounter any problems or conflict with bird shooters on the cliff tops?
Can't see you making the case for inclusivity of youth if they're all 7a-8c !!
It's not as if you are short of rock in Malta (or sunshine) unlike in the UK. Whatever your religious beliefs putting a route so close to the church was bad karma, and the (justifiably) negative reaction of the church may have implications for climbing much further afield in Malta. The only way to "save" this situation would be to arrange to remove the bolts and move on.
As with anything else in life, the only guaranteed way to resolve this issue is money.
The only question is how much of a donation will it take?
I was about to post exactly the same thing... almost word for word!
Is this for real!!!!
I can imagine some poor soul seeking quite religous solace in the church being disturbed by the sound of loud profanities through the roof from another blown redpoint attempt.
Take a step back and look at yourself!
Tell them that Saint Anasazi (the patron saint of climbers) appeared in a vision and told you to seek out the chapel in the cave and there create a climbing route in his name. After many years searching you found the chapel in the vision and bolted the route along the line revealed to you by the saint but were unable to climb it. Seven days later on the feast of St Anasazi (10th May), it was revealed to you that you must make an offering of £100.
As the money left your wallet Saint Anasazi descended in a blaze of light and blessed your climbing shoes. You felt a tingle in your feet and then a searing pain as the shoes shrunk gripped your feet tighter and tighter. As you turned to leave the chapel the rubber stuck to the floor of the chapel like glue. With your miraculous footwear you easily ascended the new routes above the chapel and from that day forth you have been climbing 3 grades harder. Now St Anasazi's shrine at their chapel will be a place of pilgrimage for all climbers.
Pope Pius XI was apparently a keen mountaineer in his youth - the Achille Ratti club was named after him - and I've got a feeling that both JPII and Benedict were too.
Not too sure about their feelings on sport climbing though, and a route going directly above the chapel sounds pretty out of order.
cave should be filled with jolly rock worshipers praying they can tame the awesome roof-good luck with you problem
I suspect the view of the church will be that it doesn't matter that the chapel is used only occasionally, it is sanctified ground and should be treated with respect.
Back in the 70s we were roundly abused by the man who lived in a hut at the foot of The Roaches and was upset by all our shouting. It wasn't a church though.
I'd have definately asked first.
Even if the church doesn't own it it seems highly unlikely that the land isn't owned by somebody. Malta is a small island which has been occupied for thousands of years and I would expect that every square inch has been claimed by someone.
Even if it's publicly owned (by the government or local authority) that wouldn't necessarily mean that the public has access to it, let alone the right to bolt and climb it.
I think you're wise not to pursue this argument.
> I suspect the view of the church will be that it doesn't matter that the chapel is used only occasionally, it is sanctified ground and should be treated with respect.
That's what i'm thinking, whatever one's views of religion the church was there before the routes were, and different groups need to peacefully coexist where possible.
I'd suggest removing the bolts immediately and tell the local climber not to be so arrogant or selfish. It looks like there are lot of other opportunities for 'brilliant routes'.
Sorry, you did ask!
I think that's a beautifull chapel by the way, like a place for peacefull reflection even when it's locked up.
> I was about to post exactly the same thing... almost word for word!
Me too. I struggle to imagine anyone thinking it was a good idea to bolt somewhere like this. The bolts should come out, and grovelling apologies made.
As an access rep I've had to deal with several issues caused by inappropriate/inconsiderate/unskilled bolting efforts by lots of climbers.
I've got pretty upset by some of the actions that short-sighted climbers have taken in order to fill in small gaps in the crags, or bolt-up three star classics in bolt-free areas.
IMHO, this is much worse than anything I've had to deal with. You've got acres of rock over there and someone has got it into their head to bolt this small crag, where there was bound to be a negative reaction which would not only reflect on the bolter, but possibly on the whole climbing population of Malta. Such a shame - I've seen Dave Simmonite's photo collection of his trip last year and the place looks magical.
Eat some humble pie, apologise for the insensitivity of the bolter and remove the bolts as soon/cleanly as possible.
A few churches have allowed people to do charity abseils down them, in fact a quick google for derby cathedral abseil brings up the website of one G Stainforth, of this parish, so to speak, who has a load on his website.
You could offer to do this on one of their other churches to raise funds, certainly much more lucrative than climbers putting their hands in their own pockets. Although it will bring the situation out into the open and possibly raise more objections from the church's other members.
Managed access sounds good. What about painting the bolts to make them less obvious?
Longer term the Colditz strategy of woodworm in the rafters might pay off.
Short of a hefty donation I don't see what benefits you can possibly bring the church. Most likely they'll eventually end up with a damaged roof as bits and bobs get dropped onto fragile tile.
Looks to me like your options are:
*Apologise then try the bribe, see if you can afford it.
*Apologise then strip the routes, re-use the gear elsewhere.
*Ignore the problem, climb when the church is vacant, risk losing the gear and risk follow-up action when the roof gets broken.
Chop the bolts and move on with an apology to the vicar.
I think the consensus on here at least seems to be that you're being a bit disingenuous in your objective. You're really trying to find an excuse to let the routes still be climbed and get a 'positive' out of it for the climbers; the church's expressed 'positive' seems to be getting the bolts removed.
> Tell them that Saint Anasazi (the patron saint of climbers) appeared in a vision and told you to seek out the chapel in the cave and there create a climbing route in his name. After many years searching you found the chapel in the vision and bolted the route along the line revealed to you by the saint but were unable to climb it. Seven days later on the feast of St Anasazi (10th May), it was revealed to you that you must make an offering of £100.
> As the money left your wallet Saint Anasazi descended in a blaze of light and blessed your climbing shoes. You felt a tingle in your feet and then a searing pain as the shoes shrunk gripped your feet tighter and tighter. As you turned to leave the chapel the rubber stuck to the floor of the chapel like glue. With your miraculous footwear you easily ascended the new routes above the chapel and from that day forth you have been climbing 3 grades harder. Now St Anasazi's shrine at their chapel will be a place of pilgrimage for all climbers.
Oh! and the sequel to this story is that the bolters must renounce all material things, take life vows of chastity, go into the chapel to pray 3 times a day and enter a holy order in return for being allowed to climb there hen not praying. It the climbing worth the price? :)
Consent to baptism?
btw Can I just point out that not all churches are against mountaineering as someone implied higher up the thread? Ours actually has a mini-club which advertises our activities in the notices - interesting contrast to the flower arranging (I jest, more likely to be talking about services for the homeless and btw we ran the first Foodbank and these are now popping up everywhere in these dire economic times)
Dig, dig, slight counter to UKC's very vocal atheist contingent :O)
Sorry for hijack - I genuinely hope the church see the sense of becoming more exciting and relevant.
Man up, take the bolts out, apologise, give them a donation and go somewhere else.
What the hell were you thinking?
> Man up, take the bolts out, apologise, give them a donation and go somewhere else.
> What the hell were you thinking?
Tell them God told you to put the bolts there. They can't really dispute that.
Elsewhere on the site
Hot Aches Productions premiered their latest film Redemption: The James Pearson Story at Kendal Mountain Festival on... Read more
Nikwax’s uncompromising environmental ethos has once again been recognised and rewarded by a trusted authority in... Read more
Atom Series: Synthetic insulated mid layers AR: All-Round. Significantly warmer and more protective than a fleece hoody, this... Read more
2014 has been a bumper year for climbing publications. Here's a few of the ones that we have either read, or ones that we... Read more
Skiing Baffin’s couloirs has been on my to do list ever since I saw Andrew McLean and Brad Barlage’s inspirational... Read more