/ Commercial exploitation

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
olliebenzie - on 20 May 2012
I have just read a thread where ĎMandyí reports about very large groups using Avon Gorge.

I too have experienced this and Iím no way near as nice as Mandy because Iím not going to say its fine I donít believe it is.

Avon Gorge is free to use (it is for me and I assume that it is for commercial groups?). So how can it be fair that outdoor pursuit companies are allowed to cash in on this free resource at the expense of people using it on a recreational level?

Itís over crowded, I believe there is a booking system through the council for groups, I donít believe they would allow this many commercial groups there on a weekend so someoneís probably not following the rules.

All the usual stuff about polishing routes etc, I donít normally jump on this band wagon but I was a bit pissed of when I saw the ab rope down independent route.

Lastly, hopefully Dick or Martin can answer/request. Do Commercial groups have to pay to use the site or is it purely an exploitation of everyoneís crag?
If they donít pay to use it perhaps they should make a donation each time they visit to the Avon revival project, so that bolt, peg and tatty bits of string fund is contributed to by the people who could be seen to be taking the piss a bit.




highclimber - on 20 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: sadly not restricted to Avon. take a trip to Stanage, Windgather, Roaches et al on a weekend! I suspect they pay nothing towards the management. As far as I am aware, commercial organisations do not have right of access to CRoW land ergo most crags but it is generally not enforced to prevent them from free access.
henwardian - on 20 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: Groups of people enjoying the crag rather than doing it individually, how dare they, lawks a mussy me, etc.

Come live in Scotland, 50 times as much rock 10 times fewer people.
camalins - on 20 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:

Wasn't it one of the commercial operators who arranged to have the gravel put down at the end of sea walls?

Isn't the plethora of bolts at the top of those routes indicative that they put their own anchors in?

It's clear that they do contribute to the upkeep of the crag.

The rest of your points come across as ill considered and selfish.
almost sane - on 20 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:
>
> So how can it be fair that outdoor pursuit companies are allowed to cash in on this free resource at the expense of people using it on a recreational level?
>

Pizza delivery drivers, salesmen driving to do a sales pitch and people commuting to work can use public roads at the same cost (road tax and fuel duty) as recreational drivers. Are they cashing in on what is a "free" resource at the expense of recreational users?

What about people doing paid research at a public library, museum or archive - is it fair that they might be reading the book that a recreational researcher wants to use?
crossdressingrodney - on 21 May 2012
In reply to camalins:
> Isn't the plethora of bolts at the top of those routes indicative that they put their own anchors in?

Is that a good thing?
Scarab9 - on 21 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:

sorry, I can appreciate the at having to queue or having the peace disturbed by big groups, but it's open to everyone, why should groups not be allowed?

and if you're that bothered, climb at a different spot.
A Mountain Journey - on 21 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: I was climbing at Windgather Rocks today (mentioned elsewhere in thread). When we arrived we had the place to ourselves which i thought unusual for such a warm & sunny day in May. We enjoyed our climbing, the views etc. After a couple of hours we noticed that 2 groups of youngsters had arrived and were being given their first taste of this great sport. They were not noisy or intrusive in any way, in fact i'd say they helped liven the atmosphere as it was clear all were having great fun.
A crag isn't everybody else's, rather it's everybodies. And plenty of non-commercial groups / climbers will scratch / chalk / wear out crags, nothing to do with commercial or otherwise.

As suggested, if you're unhappy with it, go to the Highlands.
silo - on 21 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: There are lots of crags in the UK that are in desperate need of climbing traffic to stop them from becoming over grown.I find it amazing that climber always complain about over crowed crags and routes been spoilt bye by polish.why is it people always seem to gravitate to the same crags.
gazhbo - on 21 May 2012
In reply to silo:

My beef is that a lot of the (frequent) charity abseils come down some pretty good routes (One Scream's enough, Edgemaster, Smoove Groove, Aardvark, Simian etc.) I appreciate that this is not the fault of the participants, most of whom have no reason to know one chossy bit of rock from the other, but surely some of the organisers must know of their significance. I've been down to have a go at OSE before and been warned off by an instructor because he had a party abseiling repeatedly down it (and in fairness, was worried that they'd kick stuff on me.) Is there not a good abseil point at some other part of the gorge that does not take in so many classic lines (or maybe no lines at all.) It wouldn't be so bad if it was top-ropers as they'd stick to established routes.
olliebenzie - on 21 May 2012
In reply to camalins: i'll just pop up to wales and do my bit to help out by putting in a load of bolts in right wall and i'll add some decking to the belay spot its a bit wonky, similar to your argument
olliebenzie - on 21 May 2012
In reply to almost sane: on most roads an assessment is done to see what is safe and reasonable use of a road. There are then restrictions put in place, such as a weight limit or one way systems or road blocks forcing people to use other routes. I suggest some bollards halfway up any good route then people will have to go around them. Oh hang on that might not work, just another ill thought through comment, sorry.
olliebenzie - on 21 May 2012
In reply to silo: your right there are lots of crags in the uk that rely on traffic to keep them on nick, you should start a new thread about them. This topic is about an area on the other end of the spectrum where its being over used and very good quality routes are in danger of being damaged.
olliebenzie - on 21 May 2012
In reply to A Mountain Journey: your right it does belong to everyone and it doesn't always have to agree with me, i was just venting some steam, what do you think about groups paying 50p a climber (considering they often charge 17 quid a person) and that could support up keep of other areas of the gorge.

The highlands is just out of reach for after work.
jjclarke70 - on 21 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: I was on Valkyrie (Roaches) on Sunday while there was a group abseil going on next to us on Swan Wall. The group abseiling didn't bother me, although the hoard of family, friends, neighbours, acquaintances and even pet dogs that were all clapping, chearing and barking from below was a bit off putting when you're trying to concentrate on a lead
Ramblin dave - on 21 May 2012
In reply to jjclarke70:
Coasteering groups are great for extraneous noise - when you're climbing a sea cliff, it takes a bit of mental effort to tune out a scream followed by a splash...

All part of the game, though, innit.

The only thing that really winds me up is bad selection of routes ie sticking novices in trainers on routes with (comparatively) delicate smeary footholds that they have no chance of getting any purchase on, and then literally hauling them up on a tight rope while their legs go like roadrunner. I can't imagine it's much fun for the novices, either, compared to climbing something they could actually get up more or less under there own steam. But fortunately I've not seen it very often...
maresia - on 22 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:

I wondered how long it would take for the group bashing to start. Yes it can be an inconvenience and will increase traffic in certain areas but exploitation is a little bit of an over statement. In the case of Avon there is only really the one place that is suitable for novice groups.

As I said on the other thread I will always try to be as accommodating as possible when other climbers or groups want to use the same space. And in general I have always found other climbers and instructors of groups to have the same attitude. Space is limited and we make the best of it with good dialogue between the concerned parties on the day. I don't see that one has a priority over the other.

When it comes to the impact that groups have on an area then I can see how it may seem an issue but there are benefits. As someone mentioned above, the gravel at the base was initiated and paid for by local companies that use the area. I personally make an effort to clear any litter whether it was left by my group or by other climbers. For many people their first experience of climbing may be a group session that inspires them to take up the sport and become part of the climbing community. The BMC have only just run a campaign to get 10000 likes on facebook. With a larger body of people involved in the sport it gives greater support to more relevant issues that will actually make a difference to what, where and when you can climb.

crossdressingrodney - on 22 May 2012
In reply to maresia:
> In the case of Avon there is only really the one place that is suitable for novice groups.

Very true. The OP should be grateful (as I am) that the great majority of routes in Avon, Goblin, Cheddar (trad), Shorn Cliff, Wintour's and Wyndcliffe are unsuitable for top-roping/abseiling, and hence have not been trashed. Losing Sea Walls is a small price to pay.

> For many people their first experience of climbing may be a group session that inspires them to take up the sport and become part of the climbing community. The BMC have only just run a campaign to get 10000 likes on facebook. With a larger body of people involved in the sport it gives greater support to more relevant issues that will actually make a difference to what, where and when you can climb.

I don't see that creating more climbers/BMC members is necessarily a good thing.
geomac - on 22 May 2012
In reply to maresia: Maybe, in counter argument to some of the above, the group members should expect more than the individual climbers as they ARE paying! I was at Sea Walls on Saturday, although it seems it was a little quieter than previously described when I got there around five PM. There was a single group high up on the right of the crag and they did no harm to anyone.

I wanted to practice using cam hooks and simply selected a crack farther to the left rather than the one below the group that I might have used.
We all start somewhere and group leaders are there trying to make a living.

Also, the idea that the crag belongs to everyone is wrong. It almost always belongs to 'someone' and ALL of us gain access by their good grace understanding and tolerance.

I've been at crags before when a group upset me but it's always the fault of a poor group leader. Most are reasonably considerate and do actually want to do the right thing. They are, after all, climbers themselves.Bottom line is we have no more right to be there than they do and if they annoy us too much it's time for us to move on elsewhere.
mullermn - on 22 May 2012

I was in that latter group. I'm afraid this is going to undermine the stereotype a bit, but we were all experienced climbers receiving a day's instruction on crevasse & self rescue technique. Additionally, we are all members of a local climbing club which is BMC affiliated and therefore probably contributes quite a lot more in the form of financial support to the UK climbing scene than a lot of the independent climbers using the crag.

The amount of ire directed at paid instructors and group leaders always seems a bit puzzling to me. If they're making their living from the crag environment then they have far more of a stake in looking after it than the casual climbers who visit a given crag a few times a season.

How anyone can claim the gorge is overcrowded is a bit of a mystery. The amphitheatre, unknown wall, main wall and to a large extent suspension bridge buttress and main area are often virtually empty. If you choose to go to the one crag in the area that is suitable for groups it seems very odd to complain that there are groups using it.
The Ex-Engineer - on 22 May 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> As far as I am aware, commercial organisations do not have right of access to CRoW land ergo most crags but it is generally not enforced to prevent them from free access.

Spot on. The land owners could legally either ban or charge commercial groups on CROW land but AFAIK that provision has never been properly test in court and few have attempted to do so.

The situation in Scotland is completely different - a commercial organisation is basically entitled to do anything that a member of the public can legally do as regards access to open land.
EeeByGum - on 22 May 2012
In reply to almost sane:

> Pizza delivery drivers, salesmen driving to do a sales pitch and people commuting to work can use public roads at the same cost (road tax and fuel duty) as recreational drivers. Are they cashing in on what is a "free" resource at the expense of recreational users?

A poor analogy since all drivers pay taxes that pay for the roads as does the general tax payer. We also all benefit from the increased economic activity caused by delivery drivers and salesmen driving up and down the motorways.

I was at the Roaches on Sunday and saw a few of 10+ organised parties scrambling over the rocks. Which felt a bit excessive just based on the sheer volume of people at one place on the crag. Regardless of groups though, I was amazed at just how advanced the erosion is there, especially on the walk down to the right of the upper tier as you look at the crag. This is no doubt caused mainly by walkers and climbers a like and less so by groups who tend to hang out on the lower tier.
Howardw1968 - on 22 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:
At what point does commercial use become exploitation? Given that one day I expect to be in one of those groups learning the outdoor ropes?
Anonymous on 22 May 2012 - cpc12-aztw24-2-0-cust139.aztw.cable.virginmedia.com
In reply to olliebenzie: but what about the 50p tax on a climber in a group. I know instructors get very little money but the bigger companies who arrange the bigger groups have ,anagers/owners who make a good sum of money for not a lot of work.
Why not get them to pay into the newly proposed avo revival project, a group of people who fairly represent (don't worry i'm not on it) avon users and maintain the crag on behalf of the bmc.
Just an idea...


Ollie
James Oswald - on 22 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie:

You could argue that everyone should pay a small fee to use the crag. When you go to the crag (especially busy crags) you inflict a cost on everyone else (congestion, queueing for routes etc) which you didn't account for when deciding whether to go to the crag.. However, it is impractical in reality and probably against the ethos of climbing...

D
Jon Stewart - on 22 May 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

One could also argue that economists should pay a small fee every time they introduce a free-market argument where they are well and truly not wanted. Perhaps losing a finger would be appropriate, so that they'd find it increasingly difficult to count when attempting to quantify everything that makes up the very joy and sadness of life.
victim of mathematics - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:

But imagine the fun they'd have weighing up the costs and benefits of introducing a free market argument then...
James Oswald - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to James Oswald)
>
> One could also argue that economists should pay a small fee every time they introduce a free-market argument where they are well and truly not wanted.

Haha! This isn't really a "free market" argument. The free market exists here, people have chosen to go to the crag, instructors have chosen to instruct. But, when they do so they harm others (queueing, congestion, polish etc). This is a cost to a third party, one other than themselves which they don't account for when deciding to go to the crag. Small charges for going to crags that are busy would encourage people to go to other crags, ones which are quiet.
It's the same argument as to why congestion charges are desirable during peak times, lots of people choose to drive at a specific times of day (rush hour) and the result is that everyone waits. It's a collective action problem. The people who value going to these crags the most can use them, others can choose to go elsewhere.

I'm not advocating a "free market solution". I'm advocating intervention in a "free market" that isn't performing well.


P.s. In practice, I realise it might be completely infeasible.

A Mountain Journey - on 22 May 2012
In reply to olliebenzie: Maybe a small fee for parking vehicles would be a fair way to raise additional revenue. I do mean small, maybe £2 per car / minibus. With proceeds being pumped into local projects / upkeep of area.
Having a charge for group users on the crag would simply mean this would be passed on to the end user, thus increasing the price
James Oswald - on 22 May 2012
In reply to A Mountain Journey:

Having a charge per car/ minibus would increase the price of the instruction too.
Jon Stewart - on 22 May 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

OK, it's not a free market argument until you suggest that every crag is auctioned off to the highest bidder so they can charge for access.

The main problem with your argument (apart from everything about it) is that by charging a fee, you are making the resource itself less valuable. Stanage would not be my favourite crag if it had a fence and a turnstile.
James Oswald - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to James Oswald)
>
> OK, it's not a free market argument until you suggest that every crag is auctioned off to the highest bidder so they can charge for access.


I was never going to suggest that.
Jon Stewart - on 22 May 2012
In reply to James Oswald:

Why not? Wouldn't the freedom for everyone to succeed bring out the best in human nature and make the world a better, more wholesome place?

[That post is not actually addressed to you, but perhaps some of the Tories I've been arguing with lately are reading...]
A Mountain Journey - on 22 May 2012
In reply to James Oswald: Only slightly as this would be more easily absorbed.
James Oswald - on 22 May 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Would it be made less valuable if someone walked round (at certain busy times and places - e.g. Stanage Popular on weekends)to collect a small fee?
Jon Stewart - on 22 May 2012
In reply to James Oswald: That's a good question. Sadly I can't answer it because I'm setting off for the Lakes right now. Good luck with the study!
James Oswald - on 23 May 2012
In reply to Jon Stewart:
You bastard!
augustus trout - on 23 May 2012
In reply to jjclarke70:I was at the Roaches on Sunday and it was packed.
A company called rock and Ice seemed to be running the charity abseil down Elegy, I know the name because they had attached a large advertising board for there company to the main gate of the estate. Quite a few groups were put off from doing the routes they wanted to on the lower tier, although I did notice you having a go at Valkyrie I remember thinking you did well to deal with the constant barrage of noise.
After the dust settled, I came back from the Skyline and settled down to doing my favourite little circuit of easy problems on the boulders below Teck buttress. Pine slab now has a cross carved into it, thankfully away from any established problems and there was obvious signs of kids playing the traditional game of "wang" the rock till it shatters on rocks near to the greener boulder, there were quite a few scratches on other bits of rock of the "I Love mandy" variety which is usual on a weekend but the others I mentioned must have been pretty noisome and noticeable if someone was attentively managing the group.
Considering the fact that this is a collection of pretty well loved boulder problems and many are purely friction problems am I being unreasonable in being a bit annoyed that a company making money out of a precious resource hadn't reinforced the fact that the little darlings are not supposed to chip the routes. Or am I being oversensitive and casting aspersions on those wonderful MI's who smooth over so many access problems and contribute so much to the many boltfunds round the country.

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