/ Don't get the whole winter ethics thing I'm afraid

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NWR - on 08 Nov 2013
I am quite new to the winter climbing thing, but what I am struggling to understand after reading various posts on here last year is why I can't just go and do what I want in winter? I genuinely don't get it. How come summer rock jocks can claim crags and go 'clean' routes (destroy/remove flaura & fauna) but as soon as winter climbers start to mention early winter routes there is an uproar about damaging the rock.
And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar.
Genuine question btw.
xplorer on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

We don't talk about ethics, especially winter ethics. It's a definite no no.

I think it's because no one really understands exactly what's going on......

;-)
tallpaulselfridge - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: I shall be watching this one closely! I'd say I'm 50/50 with you/disagree
highclimber - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: it's a lot more complicated than this
Dave Kerr - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

It's really nothing to do to with damaging the rock and everything to do with the traditions of Scottish winter climbing.
NWR - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to NWR) it's a lot more complicated than this

Exactly my issue. I just like climbing particlarly winter because it feels quite simple and pure. But I am really struggling with what seems like deliberately over complicated 'ethics'.

Dave Kerr - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> I just like climbing particlarly winter because it feels quite simple and pure.

If you wait until it actually is winter then you'll not go far wrong.
Wesley Orvis - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

If you go climb some summer rock routes which are also popular winter routes you will see for yourself, something like Bowfell Buttress or Egineer's Slab, did both this summer and the damage is clear for all to see.
NWR - on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

What I am saying basically is if it is non frozen/snowy rock I climb it in boots or rock shoes. If it is snowy or icy I climb it with crampons and axes. This is slightly over simplifiying it, but you get my point I'm sure.
gethin_allen on 08 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> What I am saying basically is if it is non frozen/snowy rock I climb it in boots or rock shoes. If it is snowy or icy I climb it with crampons and axes. This is slightly over simplifiying it, but you get my point I'm sure.

Pretty much but you'll do well to avoid grit and sandstone.

If you are standing and scratching around on ice then it's winter climbing so use axes and crampons.

Often, when you see people dry tooling up summer routes I wonder what the point is, as it would be much easier climbing them without the axes and crampons. I'm really not keen on dry tooling, it just feels so unnatural.
ablackett - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: There was a fantastic series of BMC lectures on the ethics of Lakes winter climbing, really helped me to understand what was going on. Does anyone have links?
In reply to NWR: Turf that is frozen doesn't damage too easily when you smack an ice tool into it. It is also nice and reassuring to climb on. Turf that is still wet and unfrozen, even if it's under snow, rips apart easily you'll see that you are ripping up the plant life that lives there. It's also very scary when you pull on turf placement and it starts ripping because it's not frozen.

Trying not to destroy plant life isn't that complicated. Stick to that rule and you won't go far wrong.

Occasionally you'll find the mountains totally frozen but with no snow or frost on them. Here you'll not do any damage extra damage if you climb, besides to your image because you'll get laughed at.
Offwidth - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA: climbing unfrozen turf also removes the turf and trashes the route so its selfish as well as ecologically unsound.
Aletsch - on 09 Nov 2013
It used to be so easy: " enjoy the scenery, leave nothing but footprints"
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to TobyA) climbing unfrozen turf also removes the turf and trashes the route so its selfish as well as ecologically unsound.

It has nothing to do with selfishness. Its not about other climbers. We don't matter.

Sorry but your comment annoyed me!

iksander on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> I genuinely don't get it. How come summer rock jocks can claim crags and go 'clean' routes (destroy/remove flaura & fauna) but as soon as winter climbers start to mention early winter routes there is an uproar about damaging the rock.

Three separate issues here - i) damaging the flora (hopefully not too much fauna getting damaged?), ii) degrading the turf which affects the character of the route in winter and iii) damaging the rock, affecting the character of the route in summer.

None of these were major issues until the number of UK winter climbers started to increase rapidly over recent years. But now there's many more of us, we have to be more conscious of the wear and tear that occurs.

> And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar.

Again this "double standard" is down to numbers; one or two hot shots climbing super hard routes in "early season" conditions isn't going to have too much of an impact, as opposed to 5-10 parties every weekend on Bowfell Buttress

> Genuine question btw.

ice.solo - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to iksander:

i hate it when an informed voice of reason kills a good drytooling bitch-fest so early in the fray.
iksander on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to ice.solo: What was I thinking? String em up!
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

To be honest I was just being mischevious from the beginning. Probably should have been a bit more argumentative.
Only a hill - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
Well trolled, sir.
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

However I do find that there are a lot of double standards amongst the *climbing community as regards summer/winter climbing. A definite feelng that non winter climbers i.e. summer rock only climbers feel they are some how superior, and that summer crags and climbs are far more important than winter ones. I find it very pompous.


*I say climbing community but I actually mean ukc users
Blizzard - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> but as soon as winter climbers start to mention early winter routes there is an uproar about damaging the rock.
>

Perhaps its because some people lack common sense?

Calder - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> ... A definite feelng that non winter climbers i.e. summer rock only climbers feel they are some how superior, and that summer crags and climbs are far more important than winter ones. I find it very pompous.

Are they not?
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to NWR)
> [...]
>
> Are they not?

Yes summer trad climbers are more pompous ;-)
Cuthbert on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

This http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=104448 isn't winter climbing. It isn't lean, early season or any other justification for pretending it's winter climbing. It just isn't.
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> This http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=104448 isn't winter climbing. It isn't lean, early season or any other justification for pretending it's winter climbing. It just isn't.

A bit pointless I grant you, but its not doing any harm.

xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:

so with a centimetre of rime its ok is it?

Michael Gordon - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:

It would be more like winter climbing anyway.
Calder - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer: And justifiably so. :-o
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

haha, its a strange thing this UK winter climbing lark.

Anyone want to contribute to a snow machine.
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Timmd on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
>
> so with a centimetre of rime its ok is it?

The tools would be needed, if the rock was covered in rime.

top cat - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

As a mate of mine once said, 'isn't ethics a county near London?'..........

I think he was pulling on a runner at the time. A peg runner.
Offwidth - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer: Sorry but I have no idea what you are talking about or are upset about. It's not controversial to think people trashing winter routes by climbing them out of condition is selfish.
Dave Ferguson - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> However I do find that there are a lot of double standards amongst the *climbing community as regards summer/winter climbing. A definite feelng that non winter climbers i.e. summer rock only climbers feel they are some how superior, and that summer crags and climbs are far more important than winter ones. I find it very pompous.
>
>
I climb in winter and I disagree with climbing established popular rock routes with winter tools.

Am I a pompous winter climber? or is there no such thing?
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Winter ethics are not about saving routes for other climbers. There about protecting the local environment.

I just think its incredibly boring and petty to say its selfish.

its like telling people its better to cut steps in frozen falls instead of front pointing, so it saves it for other people.

I think the selfishness is coming from these posters not the very small minority of climbers who climb routes out of condition like the one above.
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to NWR)
> Well trolled, sir.

Why thank you sir
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> very small minority of climbers who climb routes out of condition like the one above.

I trust thats not me you are referring to?

Jamie B - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

Always seemed very simple to me:

Is it frozen?
Is it easier with crampons and axes?
Is it wintery in appearance?

If yes to all the above, climb it, it's a winter route.
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

What are you about?

No i'm not talking about you, how would you even come to that conclusion.

HINT - The picture posted earlier on!
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
>
> Winter ethics are not about saving routes for other climbers. There about protecting the local environment.

It can be both, hardly a complicated idea.

> its like telling people its better to cut steps in frozen falls instead of front pointing, so it saves it for other people.

Huh?
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:


Sorry its the red wine.
xplorer on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I completely understand the "idea" Toby. Stop acting the politician, in no winter climbing ethics does it mention anything to do with saving winter routes for the next climber. Pulling turf isn't bad because the next climber cant use it. It is ecological, email the BMC and ask. It really isn't that hard to get your head around.

This doesn't mean I climb routes out of condition.

The other comment comes from something offwidth said last year. Are you really interested?
Andrew Mallinson - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Thanks for some sense Jamie,
ANdy
tallpaulselfridge - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: we have a biter! Job done!
NWR - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> Always seemed very simple to me:
>
> Is it frozen?
> Is it easier with crampons and axes?
> Is it wintery in appearance?
>
> If yes to all the above, climb it, it's a winter route.

Exactly. Makes perfect sense.

In reply to xplorer:

> in no winter climbing ethics does it mention anything to do with saving winter routes for the next climber.

You seem to mixing up "ethic" with "written guidelines". It's really rather rare that anyone tries to write down what ethics because they are of course, vague and fuzzy. But in this case, I've heard plenty of people pointing out for more than 20 years that popular routes in the Cairngorms for instance have gotten harder due to people stripping the turf placements climbing them when they weren't frozen and, therefore, people should wait for them to be frozen.

Haven't you ever backed off a route when you found that despite lots of snow, the turf was still wet underneath?

Robert Durran - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to NWR)
>
> Always seemed very simple to me:
>
> Is it frozen?
> Is it easier with crampons and axes?
> Is it wintery in appearance?
>
> If yes to all the above, climb it, it's a winter route.

Even Simpler:

Is it easier without axes and crampons?
Then it's contrived to use them.



Offwidth - on 09 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA: I still think stripping out of condition turf is often almost as much selfish as ecological. If the turf had especially rare plants there would be a ban anyhow. There is plenty more turf up their off routes. Another example is the lazy selfish climbers I've seen in the downfall area blasting away at the ice as if there is no end to it when kinder (apologies) climbers gently hook up and preserve as much as they can for the next pairs.
ice.solo - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Jamie B)
> [...]
>
> Even Simpler:
>
> Is it easier without axes and crampons?
> Then it's contrived to use them.

i think this.
Joak - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
Another example is the lazy selfish climbers I've seen in the downfall area blasting away at the ice as if there is no end to it when kinder (apologies) climbers gently hook up and preserve as much as they can for the next pairs.

Aye I've witnessed ice blasting at the Braeheid ice wall area, thankfully the heid (apologies) bangers gently hook the re-bar and preserve....
Milesy - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Joak:

Hooking holes and rebar isn't ice climbing..... My technique has improved tenfold since starting there.
needvert on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
> ...why I can't just go and do what I want...

It seems to me you can provided it is lawful. Be prepared to be unpopular, but you only need to be popular with one other person to climb
xplorer on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to TobyA) I still think stripping out of condition turf is often almost as much selfish as ecological. If the turf had especially rare plants there would be a ban anyhow. There is plenty more turf up their off routes. Another example is the lazy selfish climbers I've seen in the downfall area blasting away at the ice as if there is no end to it when kinder (apologies) climbers gently hook up and preserve as much as they can for the next pairs.


Maybe you should try getting to Scotland or further afield then. Kinder downfall isn't the only bit of ice in the UK.

Again..... To moan about Ice, in this way is just lazy and selfish. I can't help but think that you just don't like other people having fun before you, or at all.

Never in ten years have I met any climbers as boring and selfish, as the ones on this website. I find it hard to believe that a lot of you actually still climb. You probably use your axes to type.

Bitter bastards comes to mind
Jamie B - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:

> Bitter bastards comes to mind

You have a certain anger yourself.

In reply to Jamie B: Mr Xplorer mainly just seems desperate for an internet fight over pretty much anything, anytime. But he then chooses some slightly odd and pernickety 'non-points' to attack with his all-rhetorical-guns-blazing. This leaves one with the impression of bemusement rather than anger though, like watching a screaming man violently machine-gun a pile of dirt that no one really cares about.
JCurrie - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to TobyA)
>
> in no winter climbing ethics does it mention anything to do with saving winter routes for the next climber. Pulling turf isn't bad because the next climber cant use it. It is ecological, email the BMC and ask. It really isn't that hard to get your head around.
>

Toby, Jamie,
There really is no point in continuing to debate with someone who genuinely believes this to be true.
J

And if the BMC are really so concerned about ecology then perhaps their focus should be on letting Car Park Crag, Greatend Crag and others return to nature. But that might belong to another thread.
xplorer on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Brilliant! This isn't question time. You continue to sit in your little box. I'm about to go for a run!
Offwidth - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer: Long before you started climbing I was running student club trips to Scotland with 1/3 beginners and 1/3 improvers, we always worked with the BMC on best how to do this and used experienced local mountain guides for the best location advice. I do apologise though as clearly from what you are telling me I seem to have got quite a bit out of touch.
Joak - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to Milesy: The rebar hooking is mair of a mixed thing. Seriously though I couldn't agree with you more, my 0128 post was tongue in cheek following a great days winter hillbashin and two bottles of Californian Red!! Braeheid (and Kinlocleven) are both excellent venues where in a safe controlled environment you can practice and perfect ice climbing technique, foot placements, axe placements, relaxing grip to conserve energy, balance, helping to eliminate the dreaded Barndoor, hooking up with old mates, meeting new.....the list goes on, I might bump into you along there one of these days. BTW, your "technique has improved tenfold.." I take it you could just aboot walk unaided in crampons withoot falling over afore yer first sesh!!HaHa.
Offwidth - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer: I thought syou had tried to help me before. Found it: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=541638&v=1#x7255727. My ego was so large here I mistook a 5m vertical ice step in Crowden Clough for a 1m vertical step at most. You lovely photo of technical axes very much at home in the ice but without the climber remiinded me that something was missing in the modern ice work of some climbers and it was not my earlier ascent with a walking axe and no crampons cutting steps.
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NWR - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

Please play nicely people ;-)
In reply to xplorer: Hope it was a good run. Still completely bemused about what point you want to make though.
xplorer on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Yes thank you Toby, I managed 15 miles around helvellyn, I'm hurting now.

You know me by now, I clutch at straws, I find it hard to make the exact point I want to make. Which is mostly how ignorance and arrogance are rife on this site. Not that I'm saying you are Toby, you actually seem like a reasonable guy.

It's probably down the the culture of the general public rather than climbers alone. I just hope I don't turn into the things I hate most when I'm past it and don't climb anymore.

Simon Yearsley - on 10 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:
Hi NWR... re your second point: "And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar."... what sort of examples do you have in mind?
Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer: If you are clutching at straws maybe be more cicumspect in what you say. Post stuff you enjoy and things you found surprising and be nice to people rather than picking fights. People react much better to kindness and joy. Ignorant and arrogant is sadly how you come over occasionally even though I can clearly see that's probably not with any intent (or as troll).
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth and Xplorer

You are both wrong. The reason for not climbing unfrozen routes is not some self-righteous ecological thing (what about trampling plants all over the hills, cleaning summer routes etc), nor is is a self-righteous thing about selfishly ruining the routes for others (so the route gets a bit harder or maybe even impossible - so what; isn't difficulty and impossibility pretty central to climbing?). It is the fact that it is unpleasant and scary. As your axe rips through the slushy mud are you thinking "poor plants" or "poor next ascentionist"? No, you are thinking "shit, I might fall off and die".

cliff shasby - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: I think the ethics thing is much more of an issue due to the numbers of winter climbers now...
And i think the interest in mixed is partly down to the unreliable ice/snow conditions that we get in the uk and its generally easier/closer to find mixed conditions.
Peeps want to climb something with their shiny axes and crampons and if the ice and snow arent up to much the mixed is the next best thing,plus the new hard mixed routes that are "advertised" on here every year fuel the interest in mixed.
Sorry not really about ethics,just why i think there are so many peeps into the mixed these days.
CurlyStevo - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to cliff shasby:

Hmmm I prefer Ice / neve too but I genuinely think a lot of people prefer mixed, partly because their is a generally a greater repetoire of moves, however a lot of people trust the gear on mixed climbs more too.
Cuthbert on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to xplorer:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
>
> so with a centimetre of rime its ok is it?

Yeah it is. Harm is not the issue. All winter climbing causes harm be it scratching the rock, pulling out turf, driving up from the far south and blasting out CO2, eroding paths etc. The trick is to limit the harm.

That is different from the ethics. I was with the person who took that picture and I spoke to the people in it. They really did believe it was winter climbing.
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to xplorer)
> [...]
>
> Harm is not the issue.......The trick is to limit the harm.

Eh? I'm confused.
>
> That is different from the ethics. I was with the person who took that picture and I spoke to the people in it. They really did believe it was winter climbing.

So is the problem that they were causing harm or that they were were unethical? Or are the ethics there to limit harm? In which case why are harm and ethics different? I really don't see what the fuss is about.

Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Thats another factor but I've seen lots of climbers try out-of-condition routes regardless, so really unless they are crazy (ie they want such extra risk) I discounted it in my view.
Cuthbert on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Are you referring to the picture? If so I don't think they caused any harm more so than climbing it in winter conditions apart from possibly ripping turf and soil out. There is so little on Fingers Ridge that it would be hard to do much more turf damage.

The "issue" is that in my view, climbing totally black rock in warm temperatures with a wee bit of melting verglas is not winter climbing. In fact I think that picture is so absurd and idiotic I'd be surprised if they were not pretty amused about it now. To use crampons and axes make it look like two wannabes pretending to themselves but convincing no one.
cliff shasby - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: yes,i meant to add some peeps just prefer mixed...i never thought about the trusting gear thing though.
CurlyStevo - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to cliff shasby:
I think its not uncommon for people to break in to a grade on safe mixed and then transfer the skills, confidence and strength gains back to ice.
Cuthbert on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Thinking about skiing as an analogy, you could probably put some skis on and slide down a steep grass slope. Yes you would be skiing but I think most skiers would laugh at you. The same is true for those guys in that picture.
MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Thinking about skiing as an analogy, you could probably put some skis on and slide down a steep grass slope. Yes you would be skiing but I think most skiers would laugh at you. The same is true for those guys in that picture.

I suppose you would in that case damage the grass but yes, both seem absurd. However, I am not sure that to a non-climber, climbing Fingers Ridge in a howling gale, with snow and ice would seem any less absurd. It's all a bit arbitrary.

Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> The "issue" is that in my view, climbing totally black rock in warm temperatures with a wee bit of melting verglas is not winter climbing. In fact I think that picture is so absurd and idiotic I'd be surprised if they were not pretty amused about it now. To use crampons and axes make it look like two wannabes pretending to themselves but convincing no one.

Maybe, but what's the problem? If I climbed it in similar conditions would it be a problem for anyone?

Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> Thats another factor but I've seen lots of climbers try out-of-condition routes regardless, so really unless they are crazy (ie they want such extra risk) I discounted it in my view.

Discounted it in what sense? Anyway, unfrozen turf does not make it "out of condition" (assuming it would not be easier in rock shoes and without axes - the only sensible criterion); it just makes it harder/scarier.

Cuthbert on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

No problem sir, where do you see one? It's actually quite amusing I think. I just don't recognise that as a winter ascent of Fingers Ridge. Maybe you do, I don't mind either way.
MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> Discounted it in what sense? Anyway, unfrozen turf does not make it "out of condition"

I think you are wrong on the ecological front. It's pretty selfish to hack lumps of turf off (very different to walking on grass) and I think that makes a route out of condition.
Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

It makes it harder/scarier but for most sensible climbers it wouldnt be an issue as they wont be on the route: if its knowingly out of nick it's damaging the route and its ecologically ill advised. I often see climbers on routes who dont care as its obvious the turf isnt/wont be in. I discount the harder/scarier bit for them as they have chosen that so the poor ethic is all that remains.

This is an ethical position you may not agree with but its supported by the major mountaineering bodies.
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to MG:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> I think you are wrong on the ecological front. It's pretty selfish to hack lumps of turf off (very different to walking on grass) and I think that makes a route out of condition.

So is it wrong to clean summer routes?

Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> No problem sir, where do you see one? It's actually quite amusing I think. I just don't recognise that as a winter ascent of Fingers Ridge. Maybe you do, I don't mind either way.

Nor do I.

MG - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> So is it wrong to clean summer routes?

If done excessively, yes.
Offwidth - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

The ethics of cleaning summer routes depends on the location. High north faces are rarer environments than those on the average rock climb. The national bodies again have clear views where it matters for access.
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> It makes it harder/scarier but for most sensible climbers it wouldnt be an issue as they wont be on the route.

No. I think most sensible climbers won't be on the route BECAUSE it makes it harder/scarier.

> If its knowingly out of nick it's damaging the route.

I don't think it's out of nick if it's easier with axes and crampons than with rock boots and hands.

> This is an ethical position you may not agree with but its supported by the major mountaineering bodies.

I find the whole winter ethics thing so riddled with hypocrisy, double standards and muddled thinking that I really do find it hard to care any more.
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> The ethics of cleaning summer routes depends on the location. High north faces are rarer environments than those on the average rock climb.

So the routes on the Dubh Loch shouldn't have been cleaned?

> The national bodies again have clear views where it matters for access.

That is a different issue.

Cuthbert on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

I like Jamie's criteria apart from easier in axe and crampons. If it looks wintery and is frozen then it's winter in my view.
Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> I like Jamie's criteria apart from easier in axe and crampons.

That's the only bit I do like. Everything else is arbitrary, contrived waffle.
BMC Office - on 11 Nov 2013 - www.thebmc.co.uk
In reply to...

Confused about winter conditions? BMC access officer Rob Dyer explains all in our short film:

http://tv.thebmc.co.uk/video/winter-climbing-conditions-apply?current-channel=mountains&page=2
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Erik B - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Saor Alba: jamie's definition is okish, but how do you define "looks wintery"? its far too wooly for me
French Erick - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B:
wool whence the issue arises indeed!
Erik B - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Saor Alba)
> [...]
>
> Everything else is arbitrary, contrived waffle.

just like the post I have quoted in this post

Robert Durran - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> just like the post I have quoted in this post.

But your last post seemed to imply at least some agreement with me (how wintery looking is wintery looking?)

I'd rather worry about whether it's wintery to climb than whether it is wintery to look at.





Erik B - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: i know mate, im just pulling yer leg. trying to liven up a dreary coporate monday
Simon Yearsley - on 11 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: No answer from NWR.. so I'll try again: Hi NWR... re your second point: "And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar."... what sort of examples do you have in mind?
NWR - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon Yearsley:

None really :-)

I do hope you are not taking my posts too seriously Simon.
Simon Yearsley - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR: NWR, when say you are new to winter climbing, pose a question and say you “genuinely don’t get it”, and end your post with "Genuine question btw” then yes, I do take your post seriously, and do (like quite a few others) try to genuinely help you answer the question.

“And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar”

If you don’t have any example to back up this type of statement, suggest you steer clear of implying there are differences in what are acceptable winter ethics for “top winter climbers” vs. “the rest of us”.

All of the “top winter climbers” that I know are hugely careful of the conditions they climb in, and also hugely aware of the role they have in role-modelling/reinforcing/advancing the complex ethics of winter climbing.

It annoys me when you have a cheap dig (without having any examples to back up what you’re saying) at folk who really do care massively about their sport.
Jamie B - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B:

> Jamie's definition is okish, but how do you define "looks wintery"? its far too wooly for me.

It's not perfect, and there will always be grey (or black) areas. But I think it provides the winter climber with a starting point.

Personally I'm far more concerned with the frozen (or otherwise) state of the ground. If you climb a black-looking or barely-covered route with tools you may well look like an eejit, but if the turf is frozen no actual harm will be done. I think we do quite a good job of ridiculing those who climb in such dubious conditions, and digi cameras and the internet help greatly.

What is a bigger worry is the ascent of unfrozen turfy routes when everything looks white and wintery - this has definitely happened in the last week. Unlike Robert I don't find that the only reason not to climb mushy turf is self-preservation - I'm genuinely uncomfortable if I think that my ascent may change a route permamnently. Witness the state of Invernookie and others; visually scarred in places and now a grade harder.

AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to Erik B)
> Witness the state of Invernookie and others; visually scarred in places and now a grade harder.

…and climbed at the weekend.
Offwidth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH: Ivernookie had next to no turf left a decade back... it's not such a problem now due to past selfishness. I'm with Jamie, this is much more about educating punters desperate to get routes done than the ethics of the top climbers.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
I did invernookie a few winters back and thought it was a great route still! Really enjoyed it, perhaps more for being a wee bit harder ?

Some of the summer lines near The Message have really cleaned up from winter ascents (whether that's good or not is up to you). I did pot of gold as a rock route a while back it was really good I thought ( and didn't used to be apparently ). The message does look rather trashed close up but I think its only summer climbers that would really notice that, does it really matter at this venue which is mostly about winter anyways?

Obviously with some routes the missing turf will make them very unbalanced difficulty wise, I guess my point is loosing a bit of turf isn't necessarily always a bad thing!
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B:
> (In reply to Erik B)
> I'm genuinely uncomfortable if I think that my ascent may change a route permamnently. Witness the state of Invernookie and others; visually scarred in places and now a grade harder.

But is it any the worse for being harder or just different? Perhaps better even? Does the lack of turf detract from Savage Slit and Fallout Corner? Is Belhaven worse a s a grade VI than it was a s a grade IV?
Visual scarring of rock has got nothing to do with whether the route is frozen or "wintery in appearance".

CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> Visual scarring of rock has got nothing to do with whether the route is frozen or "wintery in appearance".

Whilst in terms of ethics that is mostly true (ie wintery in appearance doesn't necessarily protect a route), in a very heavy winter with only very mild thaws the haw frost can turn in to a usable plating on the rock for many (easier?) routes which does protect it. However if we only climbed in these conditions we wouldn't even mixed climb most winters I guess.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> I guess my point is loosing a bit of turf isn't necessarily always a bad thing!

And ripping great caterpillars of turf off routes to improve them in summer is apparently a great public service, but poke the same turf in winter with an ice axe when it's unfrozen it's apparently terrible crime. It's the muddled thinking which gets me.

AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth: I disagree, having climbed the route each of the last few winters it is changing. The ledge on the right at the top of the corner on the second last pitch is denuding of what was fairly copious amounts of turf until recently creating a harder finish and on the lower, easier pitches the small steps which have always been fairly easy are going to get harder with no turf on them.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
At the end of the day its all very contrived and high up in the alps (on routes that would require tools at least on part of the route) no one would care, its just about what is more convenient / easier at the time.

I think half the point (in Scotland) of these ethics are just so people can't claim to be awesome winter climbers when actually they mostly rock/aid climbed their way up a route to get a winter tick!

I am against good low level Scottish rock routes getting scratched up even if they are in condition as such but that's another point really.
NWR - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon Yearsley:

Oh dear
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
What about well frozen wintery looking aerated/dry turf? There is no 'ethics' about that is there? From my experience it damages nearly as easily as partly frozen turf.
Erik B - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: jesus man, yer taking this too far
Erik B - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Jamie B: Im sure the sheep climbed mushy routes this last week because the internet was in a frenzy after some local experienced cheels climbed some snowed up turfless routes. this happens every year. i wish the internet wouldnt hype up such early season fever.

i cant exactly preach though, ive done far too much white mush climbing in my life, particularly during the dreadful green winters.
Offwidth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH: Winter conditions and experiences of routes are pretty variable and I wouldnt have be climbing it in anything like marginal nick so the remaining lower angle turf might have had snow, neve or refrozen rime over it. I did it twice about 15 years back and about 10 years back. On neither occasion were there any hard turf moves as on the crux sections where turf was once exposed in good conditions (so I'd been told by the guides we worked with) it had already been stripped. My apologies for thinking it coulnd't get any worse but my point remains a lot more damage is done by punters climbing routes out of nick and yet most of the ethics posts relate to harder climbers. Im not denying there are concerns on the harder climbs at times. The focus put on education from the BMC and others are important and not helped by experienced climbers here implying its such a mess that nothing is important anymore.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B:
I wasn't for a minute suggesting the ethics need to be expanded, I was trying to highlight that if the ethics are about turf preservation (which I'm not convinced they are) then looking wintery and being frozen doesn't even always achieve that! Typically mixed climbing at the grades I climb does change the environment its just the rate of change the conditions determine IMO.
Kid Spatula - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

I find it absolutely hilarious that people still use the old "hoar frost will protect the rock" argument. Yeah cos snow crystals are much harder than ice tools and form an impregnable layer that they can't get through.
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Offwidth: Agree wholeheartedly with your comments about education and that lower grade climbers can alter easier routes climbing them out of nick. I reckon that Invernookie is in that category now too.
Calder - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to CurlyStevo)
> [...]
>
> And ripping great caterpillars of turf off routes to improve them in summer is apparently a great public service, but poke the same turf in winter with an ice axe when it's unfrozen it's apparently terrible crime. It's the muddled thinking which gets me.

Not necessarily so: http://www.theuiaa.org/upload_area/files/1/Green-guide_UK_LakeDistrict-BMC.pdf

Refer particularly to page 7.

The thing with winter climbing is that the hacking apart of unfrozen routes by folk who don't know better can very rapidly lead to destruction of a particular environment. To me the important thing is the sustainability of that environment - be it to protect a sensitive ecosystem or for the long term benefit of the climbing community.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Calder:
I think the issues in the lake district where there are not many north facing mountain cliffs and what there are represent the only environment of that type in England, are quite different to Scotland where there are a lot! But fair enough point I guess - this isn't a Scottish only thread.
NottsRich on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> ...can very rapidly lead to destruction of a particular environment. To me the important thing is the sustainability of that environment...


At last! Someone who sees the bigger picture outside of climbing.
Erik B - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula: hilarious? weird sense of humour. dry hoar is not the norm, the norm is hoar with a layer of verglas under it. verglas is tough stuff. laugh away
Kid Spatula - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to NWR:

No it's not. Are you trying to tell me crampon points won't go through verglas?
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CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Kid Spatula:
my experience of verglass is that its rock hard and you can't get axes or crampons in to it, it makes climbing very difficult. I am far from convinced this is the norm under hoar frost though and the ice you quite often get with thick hoar frost late season on the Ben I'm not convinced is verglass with hoar frost on top, I think its very thick hoar frost (or whatever the proper name for those fern like formations is) which has partially melted and refrozen and then formed more on top in a number of cycles.

I think generally early season snow and frosting can be cleared back to rock to find placements for axes and gear, well that's been my experience anyways.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> I think half the point (in Scotland) of these ethics are just so people can't claim to be awesome winter climbers when actually they mostly rock/aid climbed their way up a route to get a winter tick!

I suspect you may have hit the nail on the head; it's maybe all about ego and bragging rights.

If that's the only problem (I'm not necessarily saying it is), then who cares? They're only kidding themselves and their impressionalble mates.
And if the leading activists want to argue about validity of first ascents, then, at the end of the day, that is their (and guidebook writeres') problem. The rest of us are just having "fun".
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)

> The thing with winter climbing is that the hacking apart of unfrozen routes by folk who don't know better can very rapidly lead to destruction of a particular environment.

And if that's seen as a problem, then maybe we shouldn't be doing it - winter or summer.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Offwidth) Agree wholeheartedly with your comments about education and that lower grade climbers can alter easier routes climbing them out of nick. I reckon that Invernookie is in that category now too.

Do you think that Invernookie has been altered for better or worse or neither?



CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Calder)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> And if that's seen as a problem, then maybe we shouldn't be doing it - winter or summer.

I was going to say similar - with the number of people going in to the hills its only a matter of time, maybe best to stay at home.
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Aah there's the rub. I have enjoyed it greatly many times since first doing it many years ago! As a specific route Its still climbable at the grade at present but that may not always be the case. Who knows what horridness lies beneath the turf.
I'm sure its near neighbour Bellhaven is now in a condition quite unlike its first guidebook appearance and I'd rather slow the erosion by seeing these turfy routes climbed when frozen.
The whole tricky nature of the 'feel' of a route is very hard but Jamie B's rules are a good start and I'd need to justify any great personal departure from them. If your axes are dragging through clods of unfrozen turf on moves where you are relying on them for upwards progress is it 'winter' climbing? If you are hooking and placing points on or in snow and iceless rock is that 'winter' climbing?
British winter climbing is as hard to precisely define as it is worth preserving with all its foibles. Climbing rubbly unfrozen gullys, scratching up snowless, iceless rock and ripping out unfrozen greenery aren't part of it. Over eagerness can be understood if not excused. Ignorance can be put down to lack of experience of what its all about.
I've nothing against dry tooling in any way shape or form but like to see it in its place where winter routes aren't possible (low down, in quarries or on rock which won't ever fulfil 'winter conditions') and feel that those whose apprenticeship with axes is through DTooling often don't 'get' our winter ethics in the same way those who've been introduced to climbing indoors often initially identify more with sport than trad. That can change after a few seasons though and the media and other climbers have a responsibility to educate them (take them climbing!)….
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
There is a short amount of turf you have to climb on hidden chimney just before the first belay, probably not even grade I ground but none the less won't have been frozen this season yet and you do swing axes in to it and kick boots in to it. Should people be staying clear in your opinion?
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to CurlyStevo: This is the problem. Its coming down to individual routes isn't it? The only person who can answer that question really is the climber standing in front of it knowing if their next move is going to 'damage' the route. Only someone with experience will know that before they get to the Coire or, when things are marginal when they stand below the route. Is it any wonder that people err on the wrong side of the line as to what is winter? So if you need that turf and its not frozen don't climb it. If you don't need it do??
As to Hidden Chimney do you mean the first belay at the foot of Jacobs (i doubt it)? The first belay on the horizontal ledge where you leave Jacob's? Or the first belay at the top of the wee groove on the block above the Direct? You can get to any of those without pulling on soft turf and once you leave the Slant and the climbing starts there's pretty much none left now so I could make a case for climbing it (but probably wouldn't for choice).
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
> The whole tricky nature of the 'feel' of a route is very hard but Jamie B's rules are a good start.

But I think jamie's rules don't necessarily correspopnd to the "feel" of a route; to get a "feel" of a route you need to be on it. A route can look pretty black, but "feel" pretty wintery in the climbing for instance. And buried unfrozen turf certainly feels pretty wintery (it certainly doesn't feel like summer anyway)

> If your axes are dragging through clods of unfrozen turf on moves where you are relying on them for upwards progress is it 'winter' climbing?

If it is under deep powder in a blizzard then I don't know what else it is.

> If you are hooking and placing points on or in snow and iceless rock is that 'winter' climbing?

If you are meaning snowed up rock climbing, then I don't know what else it is.

I actually suspect that any perceived "problem" is overstated; people will generally baulk at climbing unfrozen turf because it is unpleasant and frighening and people will generally not bother tooling up dry rock because it feels contrived. Yes, both will happen in one or two popular venues and a few trade routes will change for better or worse, but the routes are not actually going to disappear

CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
Hmmm Ok I'm pretty sure in retrospect I mean the final belay before that top pitch. There is/was about 2 metres of very grassy turfy ground (with no rock) just before that on the obvious line. Not even grade I but you can't safely stand and walk up it in these sort of conditions.

I'm pretty sure its the section down and left (from the angle the picture is taken) of the climber in the blue jacket.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=188603
Michael Gordon - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to AlH)
> [...]
>
> But I think jamie's rules don't necessarily correspopnd to the "feel" of a route; to get a "feel" of a route you need to be on it. A route can look pretty black, but "feel" pretty wintery in the climbing for instance. And buried unfrozen turf certainly feels pretty wintery (it certainly doesn't feel like summer anyway)
>

That's why a judgement call is required. Will the 'pretty black-looking' route feel wintery when you get on it? And is the route likely to have unfrozen turf on it?
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: I think you can get a feel for a route before you start climbing it. I've walked into the bottom of Messiah based on the temperature at the road but when we got there it s was too black and green for us to feel it was right (so 'not wintery in appearance').
If 'its under deep powder in a blizzard' for the whole route it probably doesn't matter, and if not the whole route you'll discover the conditions when you hit the first steep bit.
'Snowed up' rock climbing is winter climbing for me. Snowless rock climbing isn't.
This again is the issue that makes it hard to set rules for. A winter climber will know on the day if it was winter or not themself. Then its a case of having the heart to back off if its not right.
"people will generally baulk at climbing unfrozen turf because it is unpleasant and frighening and people will generally not bother tooling up dry rock because it feels contrived." Wish I believed that but in Sneachda and Lochain, on Stob Coire Nan Lochan and Ben Nevis I see a lot of questionable decision making every year (I'm out quite a bit mind you). This weekend someone was in Fiacaill Couloir, took a wee fall, ended up retreating but felt they'd had their first winter lead. Afterwards (online) I commented to them that it wasn't a great choice of route for the conditions and a number of folk agreed with me but unless someone says something they would happily carry on regardless. And there are plenty of people getting into DTooling for its own sake. Many of them feel they should be able to DT anywhere they like. More experienced DToolers and those who take part in more traditional winter climbing as well often take the time to point out what is usually considered acceptable to UK climbers but a handful refuse to listen.
The routes won't disappear but they won't last in their current form. Should we ignore the issue and let them all get stripped sooner rather than later or point out to folk what winter climbing conditions have traditionally been about and preserve them as long as possible?

Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> That's why a judgement call is required. Will the 'pretty black-looking' route feel wintery when you get on it? And is the route likely to have unfrozen turf on it?

Of course everyone makes their own judgement call, but, as devil's advocate, I'm asking whether it does or should matter to anyone else. Is it actually a problem if I have a laugh dry tooling Savage Slit or hack a bit more turf off Invernookie?

Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:

> A winter climber will know on the day if it was winter or not themself.

Absolutely. And if it wasn't (I've been there, done it), is any harm really done? Did anyone get all stressed about it before instant photos, reporting and discussion on the internet?
Michael Gordon - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Michael Gordon)
> [...]
>
> Of course everyone makes their own judgement call, but, as devil's advocate, I'm asking whether it does or should matter to anyone else. Is it actually a problem if I have a laugh dry tooling Savage Slit or hack a bit more turf off Invernookie?

I don't think either is good. Savage Slit partly for 'thin end of wedge' argument. I certainly don't see the point in climbing Invernookie when it isn't in condition. If folk can wait til winter surely they can wait a few more weeks?
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> [...]
>
> I don't think either is good. Savage Slit partly for 'thin end of wedge' argument.

Do you really think it's going to go beyond "we're here now, so we might as well climb it" to "let's go and dry tool such and such a route this weekend" (and if it's a route that's already massively scratched, does that really matter anyway?)

> I certainly don't see the point in climbing Invernookie when it isn't in condition.

But I might.
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: But the increase in information available has coincided with an ever increasing number of winter climbers. We see the effects of the out of condition climbing in removed blocks, holds and turf on the honeypot routes first but do we want to leave it until new routes are being put up in poor conditions and being called winter ascents? Quite apart from that its a sight more dangerous when its all poorly frozen and many obviously don't realise that. You won't catch me right of Fingers and left of the Goat Track in unfrozen/thaw conditions yet many are blissfully unaware of the amount of loose chose there is there until they are amongst it.
CurlyStevo - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:

Yeah I nearly got hit by some rock falling out of red gully once when I was around that area and I remember what it looked like up there a couple of years back when I lead it in good nick.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) Do we want to leave it until new routes are being put up in poor conditions and being called winter ascents?

I don't think "poor conditions" are the same as "not in condition"; "poor conditions"(eg bottomless powder) can definitely be full on winter.

Anyway, do you really think that will happen? And, even if it does, does it really matter except to some people's egos and a few guidebook writers?

> Quite apart from that its a sight more dangerous when its all poorly frozen and many obviously don't realise that.

Maybe, but ultimately people can take responsibilty for their own safety (I think that is pretty fundamental in mountaineering).

> You won't catch me right of Fingers and left of the Goat Track in unfrozen/thaw conditions.

Nor me.
AlH - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Fine, new routes when 'not in condition then' and yes i think it will happen if left unchecked and I feel the loss of what makes our version of winter climbing unique as opposed to how the mainland continentals climb should matter (and Ines Papert and Bayard Russel might agree with me).
I agree they need to take responsibility for their own safety but I also feel that there is nothing wrong with educating them before they put their life on the line needlessly- educate to increase self reliance not remove it.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to AlH:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) Fine, new routes when 'not in condition then' and yes i think it will happen if left unchecked and I feel the loss of what makes our version of winter climbing unique as opposed to how the mainland continentals climb should matter (and Ines Papert and Bayard Russel might agree with me).

While I've ceratinly been playing devil's advocate here for all it's worth, I do sometimes feel there is an orthodoxy creeeping into what constitutes "acceptable conditions" which perhaps needs challenging in order to preserve what I would see as the "alternative Scottish tradition" of just going out and climbing what you find (or running away); this is certainly what I did in my youth when everything was given grade V and before the rise of the internet ethics police.

Optimistically, I would hope for a balance where the self-policed standards for an officially recorded first ascent would remain high (as we agreed, you know afterwards whether route was "wintery" or not), but that people would get less upset about punters just going out and getting stuck in - and I really don't think that would result in the proliferation of dry tooling in the mountains.

> I agree they need to take responsibility for their own safety but I also feel that there is nothing wrong with educating them before they put their life on the line needlessly.

Yes, but if they then choose to knowingly put their life on the line then that is up to them.
Calder - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Calder)
> [...]
>
> And if that's seen as a problem, then maybe we shouldn't be doing it - winter or summer.

It's only really a problem in some cases. Understanding which cases they are is the important (but not necessarily easy/obvious) bit.
Dave Ferguson - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon Yearsley:
> (In reply to NWR) No answer from NWR.. so I'll try again: Hi NWR... re your second point: "And how come top winter climbers hit the crags early season with their axes and crampons claiming new routes (which seems fine to me) but if the rest of us did that we would be slagged off for damaging rock or similar."... what sort of examples do you have in mind?

Steve Ashworth - Asterix on Gimmer
Dave Birkett - Trespasser Groove on Esk
Brian Davison - Hangover on Dove
Paddy Cave - on Flat Crags
thegoatstroker - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: If a climber is pulling turf off an unfrozen route and making it harder for those that follow they are doing more than just taking a risk , they are denying others the chance to enjoy the route at that grade. It is just thoughtless.
Offwidth - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: He's messing with our heads. He knows full well what our point is as he sees the muppets climbing out of conditon routes (unfrozen turf) as well as we do. Without wanting to physically stop climbers I think the efforts to educate are very welcome: it preserves the routes, the important ecology and novice climber's bodies, as best we can in a sensible compromise.
Robert Durran - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:
> (In reply to Robert Durran) If a climber is pulling turf off an unfrozen route and making it harder for those that follow they are doing more than just taking a risk , they are denying others the chance to enjoy the route at that grade.

Or offering others the chance to enjoy the route at a slightly higher grade.
Gael Force - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: The ethics of the UKC ethics police bother me more than a few bits of soggy turf being pulled off here and there. Crampon scratches on Gimmer or other such crags don't bother me at all. Don't care if some holds get knocked off either, in fact the change will just make the route more interesting.The importance, to some, of this almost irrelevant issue in the big scheme of things is surprising. The preponderance of ski lifts all over the Alps bothers me more, but as I use them due to my double standards, I keep quiet about them.
I think some people just like a cause to associate themselves with.
thegoatstroker - on 12 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: thanks but that is an offer i may have no option but to refuse. If i see anyone offering such opportunities this winter i will decline as politely as i can but in no uncertain terms!
Erik B - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Gael Force: "than a few bits of soggy turf being pulled off here and there"

classic downplaying of reality

turf being stripped is a serious issue, from a climbing perspective as it is a finite entity. its not just a few bits here and there. West Buttress on that crag famous for turf climbing (BaD) was stripped on the steep section when I last did it 10 years ago, spoiling the route and making it a grotty sketchy route. I can only imagine what its like now. so its not a small problem as you say.

this slagging off of the ethics police crap that folk spout on here is a cop out, without an element of peer pressure and strict (self) ethics scottish winter is ultimately a farscical and futile activity.
Gael Force - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B: it's not something I can get myself worked up about, but enjoy your time in the force, I'm retired now :)
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Simon Yearsley - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Dave Ferguson: Good examples. However, I think all four examples have folk who are totally comfortable that they were climbed in winter conditions, and some who don’t. They i.e. they are not definitive examples of top climbers doing things which others would be slagged off for.

Eg Steve’s article in UKC which has the photo looking down on Woody on Asterix – very wintery.

Eg Dave’s ascent of Trespasser Grooves : “There was a natural winter line," he says, "and it didn't go where the summer line goes, we would have been climbing bare rock if we had followed that....."

Eg Steve’s photo looking down on the snowy rock on Hangover - wintery.

Eg Paddy’s blog about Flat Crags, “arriving at the crag it was obvious that the crag was plastered but we couldn't see the overhanging wall start without detouring to the crag, so going up around the corner we saw that the ice at the groove's bottom and icicle were still there, there was more fresh snow blown around the lower part of the route and now there was also ice in the cracks to clear.”
Erik B - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Gael Force: i know what you mean :) cant say im too bothered either in the grand scheme of things
Robert Durran - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Erik B:
> This slagging off of the ethics police crap that folk spout on here is a cop out, without an element of peer pressure and strict (self) ethics scottish winter is ultimately a farcical and futile activity.

Here is my honest sttempt to cut through all the muddled thinking (no longer playing devil's advocate)

I start from the premise that a route (or part of a route) is in winter condition if it is easier to climb it with axes and crampons than with boots and hands (I simply cannot accept that any other definition is anything other than completely contrived and therefore really would truly make the whole activity farcical).

So turf being unfrozen does not by any means necessarily mean that a route is not in winter condition. Now, if there is a concensus that turf diminution is seen as a problem for environmental or other reasons (and I don't think this is always as clear cut as some people make out), then, fair enough, there should be peer pressure and self-policing not to climb unfrozen turf.

As for people climbing routes that are genuinely not in winter condition, then, unless you think that this is going to lead to widespread dry-tooling in the mountains (and I don't think it will) rather than people climbing a route anyway having made the effort to get to it, then is it really a problem? OK, so some people will try to claim bragging rights to which they are not entitled, but does that actually affect other people's pleasure and satisfaction in their own climbing? I really don't think it should.

The only other issue I can think of is whether good rock climbs should be tooled at all. I certainly have reservations, but it is entirely a matter of opinion and no concensus seems to exist.






Dave Ferguson - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Simon Yearsley:
> (In reply to Dave Ferguson) Good examples. However, I think all four examples have folk who are totally comfortable that they were climbed in winter conditions, and some who don’t. They i.e. they are not definitive examples of top climbers doing things which others would be slagged off for.
>

I would (and have) slagged anyone off for doing these routes with axes and crampons whether or not they are in winter condition. I don't see these routes as suitable winter objectives. But I suspect we have differing opinions on that.
Gael Force - on 13 Nov 2013
In reply to Robert Durran: Seems a sensible summary and conclusion.
andrewmcleod - on 14 Nov 2013
I realise that it was about the Lakes, and not British winter climbing in general, but watching the videos from the BMC meeting post-Works was interesting - particularly when describing the locations of rare alpine plants in the Lakes. As in, the exact location of individual specimens on particular locations on particular cliffs - because in some cases there were only a handful (or less) in the entire Lakes.

So I think it at least sounds like the environmental considerations of turf stripping CAN be extremely significant - whether done by winter or summer climbers (with a good argument that winter climbing on frozen turf may be less destructive than summer 'cleaning').
Offwidth - on 14 Nov 2013
In reply to andrewmcleod: except the sort of locations you climb winter turf routes don't tend to have many rock routes where turf is being stripped to climb them.

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