/ NEWS: Climber Injured At New Yorkshire Sport Crag

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UKC News - on 13 Jul 2009
[Ben Hirst on Practically Everything, F7a, Castlebergh Crag, 3 kb]Woman Stretchered From Castlebergh Crag 1 Day After Opening

Castlebergh Crag was officially opened on Saturday the 11th of July. On Sunday the 12th a 40 year old woman was hit by a falling rock, and was stretchered from the crag by the local Cave Rescue Organisation.
The rock was dislodged by a...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=48329
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 13 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

ooops, any idea which shop/business was responsible for the falling rock!
3leggeddog on 13 Jul 2009
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Hold the front page

"Overated Manky Limestone Crag in Loose Rock Shocker"

I seem to recall posting similar comments not too long ago.

My sympathy goes to the lady involved, perhaps those resonsible (here and elsewhere) for overhyping the crag may be a little chastened by this.

To the gullible out there in ukc land:

Quality mid grade sport climbing in the uk is a myth, newly developed crags will all hold suspect rock and dubious quality climbing. This is partly down to our traditional ethics and partly down to all but the worst venues being worked out. Think before you fall for the media spin.
redsulike - on 13 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News: 'Castlebergh Crag above the North Yorkshire town of Settle has been made safe and to be opened as a climbing venue in a unique collaboration between climbers, the council and local businesses.'

Made safe? I wouldn't be surprised if you or someone has made themselves liable by saying that. Here I go again, taking a pop at sport climbing; but transfering the approach to indoor wall climbing to the outdoors is fraught with misconception. Climbing is not safe and if you start bolting routes and sponsoring them you are trading a fine line when you encourage others to follow you.

Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery to the climber injured.
Bulls Crack - on 13 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News:

Hope she's ok.

I didn't expect my prediction to occur so soon but not surprising given the nature of the rock.
leathers - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to Bulls Crack:

Likewise - hope she was not too badly hurt.

Having been there on Sunday, I felt that it was the left hand side that was the loosest, particularly in the lower part. I managed to pull a block about the size of a coffe table book off Town Hall Corner (above the second bolt for the cleaners!). Fortunately it didn't hit anyone and my fall wasn't too bad. I aso did the Anchorman which sported loads of hollow sounding flakes and blocks (none of which I pulled off!) - it badly needs looking at.

By comnparison, the right hand side looked more solid.

Morgan Woods - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to redsulike:
> (In reply to UKC News) > Made safe?
Climbing is not safe and if you start bolting routes and sponsoring them you are trading a fine line when you encourage others to follow you.

i tend to agree....not sure with a crag like this if it's a case of trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Mick Ward - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC))

> Quality mid grade sport climbing in the uk is a myth

Really? Been to Portland?? There's tons of the stuff...

Mick
3leggeddog on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to Mick Ward:

You are correct, Portland is the exception to the rule. However from where I live, I may as well travel to France or Spain for some real quality.
Mick Ward - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:

We're in agreement! Sure, the best stuff is on the Continent. But, if you want to stay in the UK and clip on sunny days by the sea...

Mick

P.S. Re the OP, the victim, and the crag developers, very sorry indeed to hear about this accident. I'm sure that every care was taken cleaning up the crag.
Bulls Crack - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to Mick Ward:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)

>
> P.S. Re the OP, the victim, and the crag developers, very sorry indeed to hear about this accident. I'm sure that every care was taken cleaning up the crag.

Very probably but there isn't a solid layer to get down to so 'safe' or 'clean' are relative terms.
Chris F - on 14 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News: Surely it should be "newly developed" not "new"? In geological terms there is nothing new about it :)
agp - on 26 Jul 2009
In reply to Morgan Woods:

Have you actually climbed at this crag? Some of the routes are very good indeed.

I was there last week-end along with about a dozen others. Yes, like all newly developed sport venues there is still some loose rock but it's not the first ascentionists job to act as crag butlers to everyone else. If people think that a route 'badly needs sorting' to quote another contributor to the thread, then they should get out there and do whatever they think is neccessary themselves.

When I was there everybody was having a good time and nobody took the attitude that their safety was anyone's responsibility but their own. That's how it should be.
Al Evans on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC))
To the gullible out there in ukc land:
>
> Quality mid grade sport climbing in the uk is a myth, newly developed crags will all hold suspect rock and dubious quality climbing. This is partly down to our traditional ethics and partly down to all but the worst venues being worked out. Think before you fall for the media spin.

No, it exists in Portland.
flaneur - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to Al Evans:

A 40" plasma screen TV sized lump of rock was pulled off by a climber and landed 2' from me at Wallend. More fool me for standing so close to the drop-zone but it was a useful reminder that Portland has it's fair share of suspect rock. Portland stone is a popular building material because it is soft and easy to carve. The Portland cliffs were known about and remained undeveloped as a trad. venue in the 60s and 70s, mainly because the rock was thought too soft to be safe to climb on. It's not an outdoor climbing wall.
flaneur - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to flaneur:

Reviewing my previous post, it could read like a dig at Al. This was not the intention, I was just aiming to point out that even safe-seeming outdoor venues have their share of dangers.
Andy Say - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to flaneur:
Now that's a sign of the times. We don't just get missed by TV sized lumps of rock now - we get missed by '40" plasma TV sized' blocks. There's posh :-)
GrahamD - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to Andy Say:

Old TV sized blocks were more cuboid than modern flat TV sized blocks.
steve taylor - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to agp:

I'm slightly in disagreement with your view here...

Yes - climbing is dangerous and we should all accept responsibility for our own actions. Loose rock on climbs should be part of the accepted hazards we accept when we start up a route.

However, the FA of a bolted route has the opportunity, on an ab rope, to check all of the loose rock on or near the intended line. I'd feel guilty if anyone pulled off a loose hold on any of my routes that I could have sorted myself when cleaning/drilling - I'm sure that this has actually happened on some of my new routes in the past, but at the time I did the FA, I was comfortable in my mind that all loose rock/dust had been dealt with. I'd hope that all other bolters share the same view.
Ian McNeill - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to Andy Say:

that proves the theory that blocks falling of crags are increasing in size proportionality to the size of Televisions and inversely to Moores Law ..
ads.ukclimbing.com
Al Evans on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to steve taylor: I suspect in this case you are right Steve, but not all bolted routes are done on abseil.
steve taylor - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to Al Evans:

I'd guess that 99.9-100% of UK bolted routes in the UK are done from an abseil, and should therefore be cleaned properly.

I've no idea if, in this case, the climber had strayed significantly from the line of bolts though.
Offwidth - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to steve taylor:

Limestone surfaces are often fractured. When damp cracks freeze they lever the rock and previously safe stuff can easily come loose. I climbed a minor route on Ossam's crag about 15 years back and went back a couple of years ago. A previously OK but slightly loose severe had changed to a fundamentally loose climb (not a solid hold), that was bloody terrifying.
chris_j_s - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to steve taylor:
> (In reply to agp)

> However, the FA of a bolted route has the opportunity, on an ab rope, to check all of the loose rock on or near the intended line. I'd feel guilty if anyone pulled off a loose hold on any of my routes that I could have sorted myself when cleaning/drilling - I'm sure that this has actually happened on some of my new routes in the past, but at the time I did the FA, I was comfortable in my mind that all loose rock/dust had been dealt with. I'd hope that all other bolters share the same view.

I think this is a slightly dangerous direction to take the discussion as, although I know this is not what you mean, it wouldn't take much of a leap for someone to start accusing the people who are cleaning and bolting routes of being liable for them subsequently.

Having been to this crag several times I would say that the FA's of the various routes have done a superb job, especially considering how much work needed doing. Being quite easily accessible and with a few quality routes on it I think Castleberg will see a lot of traffic and I would guess that means that rock which looked 'acceptable' during cleaning could subsequently break and become dislodged.

Of course, as you've said we as climbers have to accept a certain amount of risk - holds can and do break even at the best of crags so I don't think here should be any different.

Just my 2p.
flaneur - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to Andy Say:

BITD, a TV was a TV and they were all about the same size. With multiplatform viewing a 'TV' could be an iPod video, personal computer, game console, mobile phone, an old skool CRT, or a big flat-screen jobbie. Consequently greater precision is required than just "TV sized lump of rock".

;-)
steve taylor - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to chris_j_s:
> (In reply to steve taylor)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> I think this is a slightly dangerous direction to take the discussion as, although I know this is not what you mean, it wouldn't take much of a leap for someone to start accusing the people who are cleaning and bolting routes of being liable for them subsequently.
>
>
A fair point Chris, but if every bolter had this sort of consequence in the back of their mind when cleaning, then perhaps (hypothetically) they would do a better job. I've been on newly-bolted routes in Dorset where dangerously loose blocks have been left en-route for others to discover - unacceptable in my view.
Dave Musgrove - on 27 Jul 2009
In reply to UKC News: As one of the climbers involved in the development of this crag I was extremely sorry to hear of the accident that occurred on the 12th of July. In order to negate any further speculation my enquiries the following day revealed that the lady in question was discharged from Airedale Hospital the same evening. Fortunately, I understand, her injuries were relatively minor.

The incident does however, highlight the inherent dangers of the complacency we all suffer from in varying degrees at times by sitting or standing below crags whilst climbers are in action above. There have been several inferences on this and related topic threads about the poor quality of rock on many of the recently developed limestone sport venues and it is true that many have been developed in this way simply because the rock was never sound enough to support leader placed protection. However don’t just point the finger at bolted limestone. Loose rock on 3 star classics on volcanic rock in the Lakes and North Wales has killed and seriously injured many climbers in the past. The danger is ever-present, even at Portland, and we should always be aware of it wherever we are.

In relation to first ascentionists cleaning routes thoroughly. I have always had the philosophy that if I am creating a new sport climb then I want it to end up as a ‘good product’ and have been accused in the past (by some of the knockers who have contributed to this thread – you know who you are!) of over cleaning in some circumstances. However in the case of Castleberg I can assure you that the removal of all loose rock (potentially loose as well as obviously loose) was our fundamental aim. The big corner which contains two variants was abseiled and cleaned with crowbars and hammers several times before any bolts were placed and both the main variants had had many ascents in the days and weeks leading up to the official opening. It had at least a dozen ascents the day before the accident. I have been back and examined the corner since and am still not sure exactly what came loose. However we have now cleaned it some more and re-examined and done further work on several other lines.

Despite the ‘media hype’ the geology of this cliff means it will never be completely solid and no guarantees implying that it was were ever given to the Council or the media by me or any of the activists involved.

Finally, thank you to those of you on these forums who have acknowledged the hard work we put in to develop this cliff. It will never be a ‘great’ venue but I stand by my earlier assertions that it will become a popular venue. We could argue all day about the star quality of the routes but I’ve enjoyed them all and some of the harder ones have provided me with quite a challenge. Go and try them before you knock them but accept the place for what it is – treat the rock with respect – and you may want re-read what I wrote on pages 15 and 16 of the YMC Yorkshire Limestone guidebook back in 2005; particularly the section on helmets.

Dave
In reply to Dave Musgrove:


Good response Dave, and thanks for all the graft put in.

It is obvious to me (with my 40+ years experience) not to linger directly under people who are climbing, especially at loose limestone venues. (Many, many years ago I was sheltering under the overhang at the foot of Face Route, Gordale, and heard a shout, I stuck my head out to see what the fuss was about and a half-a-house brick sized lump missed me by inches!)
Also maybe prospective leaders should scan the area before they set off in case anyone is sunbathing in the firing line?

Chris
Offwidth - on 28 Jul 2009
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I think we have to accept that some people are competitors for Darwin awards. I really struggled to pursuade a picnic group to move from under the firing line of a scree finish at Millstone once. At a more mundane level how many belayers at loose crags stick a lid on: often the risk of head injury at these venues when belaying or seconding is considerably higher than when leading?
In reply to Offwidth:

Well the belayers should also have the common-sense not to stand under a leader battling with a loose limestone route, or even on a solid grit crack - a cam on the boko also hurts a lot!


Chris

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