/ Bolts on Sharp Edge - the Thin Edge of the Wedge??

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Hammy - on 23 Apr 2012

Minutes of the Mountain Liaison Group meeting held on
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at Keswick Mountain Rescue Team HQ

Actions arising from previous minutes
• Safety anchors on Sharp Edge – RD reported that it was possible to have epoxy anchors made to bear 30 kilo newtons. RH said the MRT planned to get the landowner’s consent before installing anchors in the next few months.

RD – Rob Dyer, British Mountaineering Council
RH – Roy Henderson, National Trust/Keswick Mountain Rescue Team

Has this issue been drawn to the attention of the general mountaineering public?

Who indeed are the Mountain Liason Group and who do they liaise with?

Please stop this bolting nonsense before ethics are hurt.....
Lord of Starkness - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

Unless this post has been dreamed up by one of those creatures that lives under bridges and has a taste for goat, I guess there may possibly have been a suggestion from the mountain rescue team to have some permanent anchors strategically placed in a location that would assist them in rescue work at a notorious accident black spot where conventional belays are difficult to arrange. I for one could conceive of no other valid reasons for locating bolts anywhere on a scrambling route.
brokenbanjo - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

Also to add that the block the MRT have been using up to this point, is loose.
PontiusPirate on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to brokenbanjo:

> the block the MRT have been using up to this point, is loose

presumably from someone inserting the 'thin end of the wedge'... ;-)

I'll have a word with Rob at the w/e and get some context...

PP.


birdie num num - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:
Num Num reckons that by the time Sharp Edge starts to get bolted you may as well relax because it will be right up to the fat end of the wedge
The Ex-Engineer - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy: In case people want the figures - there have been 10 rescues of serious casualties from the aptly named 'usual gully' below Sharp Edge in the last 13 years, unfortunately including two fatalities. See http://www.keswickmrt.org.uk/rescues/sharp_edge.htm if you want details.

Given that these have mostly all been full-scale technical rescues with casualties being either lowered or winched on stretchers with multiple team members also putting themselves at risk by trusting whatever anchors are used, I don't think this issue has much relevance to wider mountaineering ethics.
The Ex-Engineer - on 24 Apr 2012
A good report of the latest rescue there only a few months ago which included a 45m stretcher lower - http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2012/02/27/man-suffers-serious-injuries-in-lakeland-scrambling-fall
Rob Dyer, BMC - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy: As you've noted I was present at the meeting, so I'll attempt to outline the situation here and give a bit of context.

These are not bolts intended for use as climbing/scrambling anchors or pro, but rather as an anchor point for the MRT at an accident black spot where the existing natural anchors are slowly degrading to the point of being dangerous and no other suitable natural anchors exist. (As a previous poster pointed out, the block currently used is becoming loose enough to be of questionable worth and the MRT are genuinely concerned about an accident happening with a couple of their guys on the rope with a casualty. The kind of work they do involves pretty large loads by all accounts with hauling and several people on the ropes).

The proposal from Roy at the MRT (and I stress that that is all it is at this stage - a proposal) is that two glue in bolts are placed on the other side of the ridge to provide a bomber anchor for the MRT to work from. These would be placed in such a way as that they would not be visible from the ridge itself and you would only know that they were there if you knew where to look.

From a purely personal point of view, I'm certainly no fan of bolts in the mountains. But in this case I can see that there is little other option, other than continuing to use the dodgy block and potentially having an even worse accident occur at a spot that unfortunately sees a lot of people slipping off the ridge and hurting themselves tumbling down the other side. It was agreed at the meeting that as this is bound to be a pretty contentious proposal that Roy would come along to the next Lakes Area Meeting to discuss the proposal and show the photos he has of the block/proposed bolt location which show the situation much better than I can explain here. That way climbers and hill walkers can form their own informed opinions and make them known to Roy.

For those that don't know what the Mountain Liaison Group is, it's formed of representatives from all the various recreational users of the Lakes and conservation bodies/large landowners such as the National Park Authority, Natural England, National Trust, United Utilities, RSPB etc. It meets twice a year to discuss any access or conservation issues that may have arisen in the Lakes and look at ways to approach them. It gives an opportunity for recreational users (such as climbers and hill walkers through the BMC) to have direct contact with the key players within the conservation bodies and landowners.

Hopefully that goes some way to explaining what the proposal is and Roy can explain further and field any questions/opinions at the next Area Meeting .

Cheers,
Rob Dyer
(BMC Access & Conservation Officer - English Regions)
Hammy - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC: That sounds very reasonable. Thanks for the explanation.
Tom V - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

Clachaig Gully -does it still have a series of bolts at its edge?
Wiley Coyote - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:
I can't picture the exact spot but if it's agreed the existing anchors are becoming dangerous and experienced guys from the MRT reckon there are no viable alternatives just get on with it
ezbee - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy: this is gonna be one to watch.!!!!!
SCrossley on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:
So a bolt is okay to help rescue someone who has fallen off, but not a chain to help stop them falling off in the first place?
Steve John B - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Hammy)
> So a bolt is okay to help rescue someone who has fallen off, but not a chain to help stop them falling off in the first place?

The bolt would be to protect the people doing the rescuing - not a difficult concept to grasp!
ben b - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc: Erm, yes.
SCrossley on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Steve John B:
But if the person who had fallen had, had a chain, they would not have fallen, therefore no one would need to put their life in danger rescuing them - not a difficult concept to grasp.
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:
>
> These would be placed in such a way as that they would not be visible from the ridge itself and you would only know that they were there if you knew where to look.
>


This is the key, I think.

The same goes for stakes; if they were placed discreetly there would usually be no problem.
John Rushby - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:

I think the suggestion is to place two bolts to enable the safe rescue of broken grockles, not installing a via ferrata.

Chris the Tall - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Steve John B)
> But if the person who had fallen had, had a chain, they would not have fallen, therefore no one would need to put their life in danger rescuing them - not a difficult concept to grasp.

Except that the chain (I presume you mean a handrail) may make them think it's much easier and safer than it actually is, and encourage them to do something that is beyond them.
And will be far more obvious, and a blot on the landscape.
SCrossley on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to sjc)
> [...]
>
>
> and a blot on the landscape.
Give me a break, have you seen the paths up on to Blencthra, you can literally see them from 2 or 3 miles away, wheras a chain would be visible from about 5 mtr`s.
Sir Chasm - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc: It's a little early for a score, but you have lost marks for returning to agitate.
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Hammy)
> So a bolt is okay to help rescue someone who has fallen off, but not a chain to help stop them falling off in the first place?

Yes.
jonnie3430 - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall)
> [...]
> Give me a break, have you seen the paths up on to Blencthra, you can literally see them from 2 or 3 miles away, wheras a chain would be visible from about 5 mtr`s.

There would be a path you could see 2 or 3 miles away if a chain existed.

I would prefer a way of discretely stabilising the existing anchor, is this not possible?
John Rushby - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc:

did you know you can see The Band from space?
Kemics - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

Anyone who has taken enough time to volunteer for mountain rescue or any other organisation dedicated to the mountain/hill environments will no doubt have a very firm understanding of the situation.

If they say bolt's are a good idea. Then they are a good idea.
victorclimber - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC: thanks for that ,but I have to say how long before the Elf and Safety want more bolts and chains in the Hills ..I dont even like Cairns ..
999thAndy on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to jonnie3430:

> I would prefer a way of discretely stabilising the existing anchor, is this not possible?

Drill a hole through it to the bedrock, insert a really long expansion bolt and top it off with a neat washer/spring washer/nut combo?
SCrossley on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
> (In reply to sjc)
>
> did you know you can see The Band from space?

Space, now your talking if Cameron could land the asteroid http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/24/james-cameron-and-investors-seek-to-lasso-and-mine-... near the top of Sharp edge, they could use that as an anchor, and no one can object to one new boulder.
Hat Dude on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to 999thAndy:
> (In reply to jonnie3430)
>
> [...]
>
> Drill a hole through it to the bedrock, insert a really long expansion bolt and top it off with a neat washer/spring washer/nut combo?

You could put a bolt hanger on it too - Belt and Braces! ;-)

andyr - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to 999thAndy:

These work extremely well and all that's visible is a 1" hole; which can be allowed to 'weather in' as it'll only need a 20 second brush-out to be ready for use.

http://www.climbtechgear.com/removable-bolts/?gclid=CMuXlq-jza8CFc4LtAodAmnjaw

No doubt someone would then 'improve' the idea by suggesting spraying a large fluro paint ring around the holes to aid location......
ads.ukclimbing.com
DNS on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

I was reasonably certain that KMRT placed a bolt up there a number of years ago for the purpose described. I am certain it was described at the MRC Lancaster conference at least four years ago. Sensibly, those who knew didn't publicise it.
sihills - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to sjc: so placing a bolt, where it cant be seen, or has any real use to anyone other than mountain rescue is a bad idea? These are the people who volunteer, give up there own time, to risk there own lives to rescue folk who have got into trouble in the hills! There hardly proposing a via ferrata up there are they! I feel like your starting an argument for an arguments sake, and I imagine (im assuming here, so feel free to shoot me down) you dont know the local area to well, you dont understand quite how much of a black spot for accidents this is, and you clearly have no appreciation of what the mountain rescue teams do!
Kid Spatula - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

I'm trying to care about this, but really struggling due to the fact that it's entirely irrelevant to 99.99999999% of us.
Fultonius - on 24 Apr 2012
Place a couple of bolts back form the edge, then get a pair of medium sized rocks and drill out a couple of bolt-sized holes in them. Place them on the bolts and only remove in case of rescue.

Problem solved!

M0nkey - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

i don't know the area, would stakes not work?
Robert Durran - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Fultonius:
> Place a couple of bolts back form the edge, then get a pair of medium sized rocks and drill out a couple of bolt-sized holes in them. Place them on the bolts and only remove in case of rescue.
>
> Problem solved!

But it doesn't solve the problem of the principle of having bolts there(much more important than the visual one in my opinion).
If ever there was a case for a bolt in the mountains then this is probably it, but it still leaves me feeling a little uneasy.


Kid Spatula - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Hammy:

If this makes you feel uneasy I think you may have a problem and should seek counselling.
Hammy - on 24 Apr 2012
It wasn't clear in the minutes quoted at the start of this thread that the anchors were intended for use during rescues. Now that this has been explained there is no further issue.

I would have been disappointed if a line of anchors had appeared on Sharp Edge for general use.
Niall - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to Fultonius)
> [...]
>
> But it doesn't solve the problem of the principle of having bolts there(much more important than the visual one in my opinion).
> If ever there was a case for a bolt in the mountains then this is probably it, but it still leaves me feeling a little uneasy.

Strike! Fultonius, reel him in gently and I'll hand you the net when he gets tired. :-D
birdman - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Kid Spatula:

what would make you feel more uneasy?

a) using 2 bolts placed discretely out of sight to rescue an injured person

or

b) YOU abseiling down a rope to a casualty on what has been identified as a loose boulder / anchor which is getting progressively worse?

If i was volunteering my time etc to save others lives, i'd like to think a little common sense would be applied to considering my own safety and that of the casualty during such rescues.

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