/ Southern Sandstone Conditions

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Martin Hore - on 06 Mar 2014
We're planning to head down to the sandstone from Ipswich Saturday. Any locals with advice on whether Harrisons will be dry enough for a day's climbing? I appreciate that much of it will be out of condition but I've had good days at this time of the year before eg on the Isolated Buttress and Unclimbed Wall areas - not after such a wet winter though.

Bowles is our fall-back, but I prefer Harrisons if conditions are OK.

Thanks for any advice.

Martin

climbwhenready - on 06 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

I'm up in London but we had more rain earlier in the week. I'd guess it could be soggy.
foxwood on 07 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

Bowles is ok now if you don't mind the odd damp hold.

Harrisons was dire with running water and slime a week ago and won't be ready yet.
Martin Hore - on 07 Mar 2014
In reply to foxwood:

> Bowles is ok now if you don't mind the odd damp hold.

> Harrisons was dire with running water and slime a week ago and won't be ready yet.

Many thanks - that will save us a wasted walk from the car-park to Harrisons and back.
Chris Ellyatt - on 08 Mar 2014
In reply to foxwood:

> Bowles is ok now if you don't mind the odd damp hold.


Remember everyone to be really careful with any damp holds - once that top layer goes, the rock vanishes very quickly! :)

Chris
richard_hopkins - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

I was climbing at Bowles Rocks on Sunday. It was very crowded with many people enjoying the good weather. In general the rocks were dry with some care with route selection - the open aspect climbs were dry, some of the crevices slimy. This was obvious from the ground or could be checked for when rigging the ropes. The top outs of some of the climbs in the trees could do with a bit more drying.

We did out bit by removing some of the slime from Sapper, but that's par for the course anyway :-)

I'd hazard a guess that most of Harrisons is still soaking given the standing water about in the roads and woods.

Beware the craters in the roads round there, some of them could be graded and added to the UKC logbooks!
Trangia - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to richard_hopkins:

Thanks for the report.

I wasn't there so it's unfair to judge, but I was a little alarmed to learn that people were prepared to even contemplate climbing on potentially saturated sandstone bearing in mind that there has been a lot of discussion in the past and even on this thread about the danger (to the rock) of climbing on it when it's wet? The surface may appear to be dry, but what about just under the skin?

I know we all want to get out there ASAP but my (lay) opinion is that after such a prolonged saturation it's going to take a lot of drying out before the risk of permanently damaging some this fragile rock is reduced to normal.

Maybe geologists out there in UKC could make a reasoned assessment and prove my fears to be groundless?
CurlyStevo - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to Trangia:
"I wasn't there so it's unfair to judge, but I was a little alarmed to learn that people were prepared to even contemplate climbing on potentially saturated sandstone"

Why not go there yourself before questioning others actions. Its been sunny, dry and quite windy most the week and Bowles is a pretty fast drying crag so it was fairly obvious to me anyway that it would be worth the gamble going to have a look. Especially as others had reported 2 weeks ago that some climbs in bowles and stone farm were dry.

The face climbs at Bowles sunday were by far in the main in good condition especially to the left hand end of the crag (when facing in). The rock was high friction in the main and non sandy, its just not like that what its damp enough to risk breaking holds. There was a bit of dampness in the deeper horizontal breaks, and the crack and chimney climbs would not have been a good choice.

I didn't see or hear from anyone pulling off any rock all day. The only two times I've seen sandstone break in about 30 years climbing on it is when people have attempted routes where the outer rock looks damp and one of those times was the semi unconsolidated ridgy holds you get with rope grooves at the top of the crag breaking off.

I don't think the core of southern sandstone is often what holds it together anyway its the hard outer skin. In many parts of the crags once the core is exposed its like a sandpit!

Cheers,
Stevo
Post edited at 08:45
Trangia - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Thanks for that. You are right, I should judge for myself by going there, but I'm not a geologist and would be interested to hear what one had to say about possible underlying weakness, bearing in mind that we have had lots of past warnings about damp sandstone, that's all.
CurlyStevo - on 10 Mar 2014
In reply to Trangia:
Without drilling in to the rock and measuring the moisture levels and conducting experiments its just postulation.

As I said no holds that I am aware of came off all day and that's with one of the busiest days climbing at bowles I've ever seen.... Our party certainly didn't do any damage to the rock. Coupled with the fact that on the faces and aretes the rock was generally in good high friction condition that's good enough for me.

That said there were a few face climbs that people were climbing that I thought were still slightly too damp, and you needed to check the top outs as some of those being shaded by trees were slower drying too.

I suggest you go and look at conditions for yourself I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!
Post edited at 09:11
islandlynx - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo:

anyone know what conditions will be like at harrisons at the moment?
CurlyStevo - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to islandlynx:
I was wondering that too. The faster drying bits (long layback area, unclimbed wall, niblick and isolated buttress) dry about as fast as stone farm and I heard that was mostly dry several days back. I think as the leaves are not on the trees yet stone farm and harrisons are drying more quickly than normal.

It's worth a look anyways and if no good head along to bowles which will be dry on most the climbs this weekend and was dry on most the faces last weekend.
Post edited at 15:21
helix - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

Yes I nipped down to the far end of Harrison's on Weds and shunted up climbs around Unclimbed. There are good lines that are dry, and a few that need a bit more time. There were people on the block, which looked good as I walked past; Crowborough, Birchden etc. Don't know about further left. But yes there is stuff to do, it is drying up fast, just avoid the obvious bits.

Was at Bowles last Sat and Sun, there is loads to go at there, the place was packed with happy climbers on dry rock. Huntsman afterwards on Sat was heaving!!

Enjoy!
Ban1 - on 30 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

whats bowles centre it like for Monday 31st
climbwhenready - on 30 Mar 2014
In reply to Ban1:

We've had a lovely weekend. Should be fine.
Ban1 - on 30 Mar 2014
In reply to climbwhenready:

brilliant. cheers
Ban1 - on 31 Mar 2014
In reply to Martin Hore:

first time I've climbed on sandstone. that stuff is scary. every hold is never certain and every foot placement has to be precision, one false move or imbalance and it throws you off.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.