/ NEWS: Gritstone: Loving it to Death?
"As you can see the brushing was pretty thorough..." remarked Graham.
Adam Long had more to say:
"To quote Bernard Manning: It's a fu*king disgrace."
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=50009
Looks like the flake above the new damage has snapped off at some stage also. If you look about especially on western grit you can see quite a lot of signs of broken thinnish flakes espeicially at the roaches.
I've heard that when grit was first climbed a lot of the foot holds were on top of thinnish flakes but they wore down with time to flatish foot holds from the use of nailed boots. Ofcourse this could be rumour,
The annoyance about tickmarks on Careless Torque strikes a chord.
I was at Kyloe-in-the-woods yesterday and several of the problems I was trying were covered in thick ugly strokes of chalk. It looks an absolute mess. If you really need a marker to find a blind pocket or whatever (isn't that part of the challenge of the problem...?) what's wrong with a small unobtrusive dab that's easily brushed off afterwards?
Yes i totally agree with Adam and Bernard, it's a F*cking disgrace.
Ticking like this is becoming all too common around the Peak... It needs to stop.
> was reportedly used to try and remove a stuck cam.
Although this suggestion was widely made at the time, a poster (either UKC or uk.rec.climbing or something, I forget) stated that it was untrue, that he had been one of the climbers when the flake came off, that no car jack had been involved, that the flake came off during a leader fall, and that the climbers had narrowly missed injury. The car jack story started out as conjecture that turned into legend through repetition.
I find the brushing more concerning than the tick marks. I mean, at least the chalk washes off - excessive brushing does long-term damage to the rock and seems unnecessary on popular climbs.
The article has a point but regarding the talk about not to roping careless torque:
What a crock of shite, if someone wants to tope-rope it they can do as they please! Damaging the route in the process isn't on though obviously (and it ought to be obvious when pressing on with something like that in bad conditions is going to knacker the rock).
But regarding the state of climbing in the peak in general, is it really sustainable as it is? Burbage north is another example of the crag slowly being destroyed - some of the routes are now in a state of high glass sheen all the way up (although maybe they've been like that for years).
On the whole though the something like 10 super popular crags of the peak are pretty insignificant when compared to climbing in the uk from the highlands to southern sandstone.
Anyone have any theories on the old, old damage just above the new damage?
Yeah, noticed that on the pic.
Was there about 2-3 weeks ago, and never noticed that.
I only thought there was only ever 1 missing piece on the route (the infamous pre 1985 car jacking piece)
I think the time I lead it in the late 80s, I sailed past the higher missing piece in a state of pump and panic, and either failed to notice it, or have erased the slighly traumatic last 10 feet from my memory!
The reason for the dates, is, not to show my age, but to try and guess the date of damage.
The lower flake is shown intact in the 1977 " PN - Book of Lies" photo.
The top one looks older damage than the famous one.
> The article has a point but regarding the talk about not to roping careless torque:
> What a crock of shite, if someone wants to tope-rope it they can do as they please!
Yes that is correct. Anyone can climb as they please.
Yes that is correct. But some styles of ascent and certain conditions increase wear.
Everthing's OK then!
That is 10+ years old I think - no idea how it happened though the usual method of levering off flakes was suspected at the time (cams).
Thanks to Dave Thomas who brought this to my attention. He rang me from the crag absolutely appalled at the state of Careless Torque. If anyone read my article on UKC earlier this year they will know how passionate Dave is about climbing and the way in which we climb. The state in which Careless Torque was left in last week is a perfect example of what made Dave and I get together last year to discuss what had been going on in climbing (particularly in the Peak) and led to me writing the article.
> The article has a point but regarding the talk about not to roping careless torque:
> What a crock of shite, if someone wants to tope-rope it they can do as they please!
Pete, you say that and then worry about how sustainable climbing is on grit generally? We already have a fairly comprehensive set of arbitrary rules governing acceptable ethics on grit - why not this?
Hard grit routes are often fragile things. By trying to encourage better styles of ascent the routes get far less traffic. Folk treat fragile holds far more gently when on lead. I've heard of climbers kicking pebbles when on top-rope to 'check they're strong enough for the lead'.
Whatever you think, if there was a widely respected ground-up ethic on grit, the rock would get much less of a hammering. I'm not calling for such a blanket approach, but I do think people should always consider top-roping as a last resort. On Careless Torque, that means at least doing the boulder problem start first.
> On the whole though the something like 10 super popular crags of the peak are pretty insignificant when compared to climbing in the uk from the highlands to southern sandstone.
Its not just crags - its prop only 10 routes at each of those crags (give or take...). I have come to the conclusion over the years that a lot of climbers lack imagination and are a bit lazy, so that limits them to doing the famous 3* routes at the roadside crags. These routes are bound to get battered... Look in the UKC logbook - Right Unconquerable HVS 5a*** 514 ascents (in reality thousands more), nearby Ritornel HVS 5a* 15 ascents, is one route so much better than the other?
I have been guilty of it myself, I walked 10 yards from my car and did Vector earlier this year, and I enjoyed it, but it didnt stand out from other no-name no-star E2's I have done elsewhere. Once you realise that famous routes are usually famous because lots of people have done them, not because they are especially good, then it opens up a whole world of possibilities at those crags 20 minutes further away from the roadside ones.
If anyone fancies coming to Portland, there are probably 200 or so routes at Wallsend/Coastgaurd that could be classic but are crying out for repeat ascentionists to finish pulling off all the remaining loose stuff :o)
You won't do any damage brushing off tickmarks Liam, get stuck in! Just don't use a wire brush...
This is something the climbing community needs to address, to try and keep this activity to a minimum. Finger dabs are much less offensive for example.
How? People have been talking about this for years - self governance has worked to a certain extent - but it seems that there is an increasing amount of people that call themselves climbers (I certainly wouldn't) that don't give a flying fig about the landscape that they decimate.
Its a very sad state of affairs when people thing that its is acceptable to wire brush Careless Torque, I wonder what Ron thinks about all this...
why dont they own up and say they were wrong.
Rights and responsibilities. The problem people seems clued up on the former but ignore the latter. Yes we have a right to top rope Careless Torque but I'd hope most had the responsibilty to not exercise that right: either at all (looking for best current style) or at least until they are ready (ie good enough and in the right conditions to have a chance of success) and certainly not to trash such a classic by wire brushing it. Overchalking is a lesser crime but still ugly.
As for your assertion about sheen on popular routes I've seen few changes in the 20+ years I've been climbing; the exceptions tend to be routes that suddenly gained extra stars. Some routes at Laddow even have sheen under decades of re-vegetation. Wire brush damage occurs from time to time but dirty shoe damage on soft boulder problem starts and cam damage on softer popular classics (like those at Birchen) have both got much worse.
Each case is unique, but with routes with gear there obviously a danger that it will be the gear placements that get worn out if everyone starts trying to ground up everything. I generally try to onsight or ground up, but this means I fall pretty regularly onto gear placements. Not a problem where I climb, but I guess it could be on popular grit routes - especially those with only a few placements on them.
Aye I suspect after another 100 years of climbing the gritstone edges will not be in such a good state. I suspect the patina will be worn off quite drastically on some of the softer gritstones.
More here: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=78713
> Each case is unique, but with routes with gear there obviously a danger that it will be the gear placements that get worn out if everyone starts trying to ground up everything. I generally try to onsight or ground up, but this means I fall pretty regularly onto gear placements. Not a problem where I climb, but I guess it could be on popular grit routes - especially those with only a few placements on them.
Its a fair point, but I think more theoretical than practical. There are relatively few routes that don't demand an 'entry fee' in terms of ability before you can get to such critical gear. I reckon the damage to holds from top-roping is likely to be worse than damage to gear placements from failed ground-up attempts, and personally I'd value the holds more highly than the gear placements.
Why not? I'm not talking from a rock protection point of view (there are arguments on both sides) but just as a general prinicple? There's no mystique about grit any more, all the last great challenges have been done and with extensive practice most legendary routes seem to be within the realm of most keen climbers. So hwta is there to make grit stand out anymore, now it only stands out as a medium where HVS climbers go to get an E6 tick.
grit varies a lot though doesn't it. I don't have in depth geological knowledge of the area but from climbing it seems the strongest gritstones are in the burbage/stanage area. They appear to have more iron in the rock and the holds tend to polish rather than erode to sand.
The roaches and many of the other western grits seem more sandy and less hard to me (and you tend to see more broken holds also) this also seems true as you head north.
Cam damage is mainly a problem on midgrade cruxy routes on softer grit and the ethics should be tailored to the particular problem. In any case 'ground up' doesnt mean for most climbers to climb a route like Orpheus Wall repeatedly in bad style and hang around halfway grinding cams in already damaged placements.
> In any case 'ground up' doesnt mean for most climbers to climb a route like Orpheus Wall repeatedly in bad style and hang around halfway grinding cams in already damaged placements.
The bridestones is very soft rock. Hence it gets trashed far faster than e.g. most of Stanage.
In reply to everyone:
If you _really_ need a tick mark on a boulder problem, why not use a length of finger tape? Then you can just take it off when you're done. Just don't chuck it on the flippin floor.
Sheffield Eurotrash or the Manchesters Euros.
> Pete, you say that and then worry about how sustainable climbing is on grit generally?
I didn't really make my point very well, I think the sustainability problem is with the numbers of people at crags and climbing lower grade routes (like right unconquerable I guess) which are either getting polished or knackered and the land around the crags is getting badly erroded. If careless torque was ruined it wouldn't affect many climbers to be honest. Putting pictures of it up and going "tut tut, somebody's been naughty" isn't really going to solve the problem of there being literally thousands of climbers at stanage every weekend.
I wouldn't know I don't climb them. Do they really change much more than something like 3 pebble slab has changed, now the pebbles are gone, a little bit harder but still the same route?
Sounds pretty sensible, if I was going to do the sequence around a particular pebble at my headpoint limit I'd want to make damn sure it wouldn't come out and kill me!
There already is for 99% of climbing by ordinary climbers (punters like myself generally). As others have mentioned maybe the gear placements would take the hammering instead. I didn't think there was any gear on careless, I wouldn't want to ground up that unless I had a bouncey castle as a boulder pad!
maybe they had...
>If careless torque was ruined it wouldn't affect many climbers to be honest.
It wouldn't affect their ability to climb CT as most climbers aren't capable. However it would affect their overall appreciation of what is possible and destroy a historically important route.
>Do they really change much more than something like 3 pebble slab has changed,
>if I was going to do the sequence around a particular pebble at my headpoint limit I'd want to make damn sure it wouldn't come out and kill me!
That say's it all really. What Adam is (rightly) arguing for is the ground up/on sight ethic to be preserved once established on routes/highballs such as CT given the relatively fragile & tenuous nature of the rock and route/problem. If you follow that argument, you might as well ab the line of Indian Face and knock off all the snappy flakes...
>I wouldn't want to ground up that unless I had a bouncey castle as a boulder pad!
That's pretty much how it has been done of late. Instead of someone dangling around on a rope kicking pebbles and scrabbling around on the slopers, the recent ascentionists have attempted it from the bottom to the top with pads and spotters so you only get a pass to the upper section if you can do the very hard bottom.
Hope that helps
What do you want Pete? For people to hide their heads in the sand and ignore the problem.
The first step to a possible solution is awareness. Awareness that there is a problem. Awareness that whatever style you climb you have an effect on the rock and that some styles have a greater effect on the rock.
This is not about pointing fingers.
That it is caused by that group, or that type of climber. I'm sure Graham Hoey would say that he is part of the problem....but like all of us he is also part of the solution, whatever that solution is.
Thanks for that Ben.
Consider this Pete - just about every pebble on gritstone would break off if you kicked it hard enough, and many wouldn't need a hard kick at all. One of the things that make pebble-pulling routes special is that you have to treat them with respect. I really can't understand the attitude that thinks its okay to break such holds to make your own ascent safer, especially when others have gone before you without such selfish behaviour.
Agree. One may as well take a chisel and add a hold or three. Same deal really.
That said, one also has to accept that people cause erosion and damage. It's just a fact. It is a consequence of people climbing at all. What would help was if there were more support for novice climbers, in an ethical sense. There used to be a mentor/protégé approach to climbing and hill craft. Now there is a wider accessibility there is also a forgetting of the heritage and ethics have been forgotten with it. Climbing is a victim of it's own success.
"Climbing is a victim of it's own success." If we let it be... I remember an altercation on Telli where a group had set up an abseil and nearby climbers talked to them and then argued until they moved on (albeit someone had to lead it to show them the problem... short climbers have to pebble pull). I once talked to some young kids wirebrushing clean but eroded problems at Burbage South and they listened and seemed to understand (they thought it was what good climbers did and didn't know that gritstone had a harder surface layer). If we all make a point of talking to people in such circumstances we collectively make a big difference.
>If we let it be
Agree. I was observing that this sort of consideration does not appear to have been a historical problem. That it is a recent development.
I too would speak to anybody whom I saw defacing (in good faith or no) a route. This year I have seen what appear to be 6 recent chips added to low grade routes that I have been taking novices up. I can't recall what all of the routes were, but I have sworn hard under my breath that if I ever find someone doing it...
I've just got back from Froggatt and Four Pebble Slab is a mess. Every possible handhold is plastered and most of the easily visible foothold smears are underlined with lines of chalk between 6" and a foot long.
To those people who did this today: if you feel the need to drag the route down to your level the least you can do is BRUSH THE CHALK OFF AFTERWARDS so others can try the route in their own style.
On a nicer note it was great to watch a young guy solo Downhill Racer ground up in style(he'd once soloed up to the crux and back down that's all) - no mats - good effort Andy.
Looks like the solution is the same as with unwanted cats, spray the offenders with a water gun along with the route so they have to give up trashing the crags.
I know I have no chance of doing any of the hard routes now but if we could get up E2-3 slabs in EBs and no chalk or runners nearly half a century ago it is time those who think they need chalk all the time learned it does not work on soaked rock.
Visit to pound shop tomorrow to buy a powerful one I think as will be in the area this weekend.
It seems to me that this is really just a problem with the numbers of people climbing on gritstone now, together with a rise in standards. When I moved to London in 1993 it was still possible to go to Ramshaw, the Skyline, the far end of Stanage or Brimham (to give a few examples) and not actually see anyone - even at the weekend. A trip to Wimberry felt like an adventure because it was always such a lonely experience.
The contrast with Southern Sandstone at that time was really shocking, with people seemingly on almost every route at Harrisons and Bowles. Sandstone has not changed all that much since then but it seems like gritstone has sadly caught up.
On sandstone the only things that made any difference were charging for climbing at High Rocks, and Gary Wickham discovering a furniture restorer's resin that hardened the rock surface. The sandstone code made a marginal difference at best, and that is far more widely agreed than any gritstone ethics.
I suppose human nature is what it is - climbing is a great sport and more people will discover that fact. Unless a way can be found to repair the rocks they will erode, so anyone relying on the pebble on Beau Geste, or any other pebble, should be getting busy. Perhaps building replicas on climbing walls will end up being the answer.
Its so sad Graham - I'm not sure I want to be a climber sometimes - the few that give us a very bad name - leave a very bitter taste in the mouth.
I went to a very little local crag near Bakewell yesterday to check it's condition & caught a young chap with hammer & chisel carving his name.
His dad did not understand what he was doing was wrong as there were lots of carvings at the crag...
I soon educated them - nice people - non climbers - just clueless...
> The sandstone code made a marginal difference at best, and that is far more widely agreed than any gritstone ethics.
I think the comparison with sandstone is valid in that a lot of these problems manifested earlier there as that sandstone is both softer & busier.
However I think your two statements above contradict each other.
The sandstone code has done little to slow the damage simply because 90% choose to ignore it. If it were followed by everyone I am convinced that the rate of damage would slow so as to give another century of climbing on these outcrops.
It's not simply a case of numbers of climbers
OK a high percentage of climbers might not follow the code 100%, but they do to a greater than lesser extent. I've never seen anyone trying to lead on SS for instance.
I'm sure without the code there would be nothing left bar sand pits by now.
Part of the reason for 'not remembering' is that I cannot be 100% that the damage has been done this year. Last year I spent more time in higher grades. This year I have been training novices and so hitting VDs through VSs.
However, one was Leaning Buttress Indirect, Stanage; another was Keep Arete at Castle Naze (The small thread half height is gone and is now a weak pocket. This may of course be from a fall). I am trying to wrack my brains, but the others are missing at the moment. I have commented umpteen times to my novices though as I get quite irate about it when I see it.
Yes, it was from a fall.
Thanks for that. I suspected but lumped it in with the rest because damage had already become a noted aspect of my year's climbing.
I hope the faller was OK?
People should be ridiculed for doing this to routes when they're not close enough in ability to step up to a headpoint with minimal practice. At a bare minimum not to clean up afterwards is slovenly.
At Baildon Bank, I rather suspect that the reaction would've been to carve the rest of the name into your forehead! Would left a bit more than a bitter taste in your mouth! Again, they probably wouldn't have understood that having done that, that it was wrong.
Sorry if this sounds bitter but probably Genetic from Father to Son.
I've lived in Bradford too long!
The fact that these people claim to have "ticked' a route, when all they have actually done is reduce it, would be lost on the sort of mentality of the person who would consider using these tactics in the first place.
Please could you point me an E6 that you think I could do; I have been trying to (re)break into 'extreme' climbing now that I have (re)consolidated HVS.
Advice gratefully received.
Haha, I take it you climb nothing then? xxx
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