/ NEWS: Coire Leis Abseil Posts Removed
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=67163
I don't understand why a 2 metre high cairn is preferable to the marker post. It certainly won't be any less intrusive aesthetically speaking, and will be a poorer navigational aid (there are cairns all over the mountain).
> I don't understand why a 2 metre high cairn is preferable to the marker post. It certainly won't be any less intrusive aesthetically speaking, and will be a poorer navigational aid (there are cairns all over the mountain).
I can't understand it - madness. I guess they like building cairns, or maybe they have a stone mason and builder in the group who needs to be kept busy and has identified in their yearly performance review that they want to gain experience of building unneccesary towers at higher altitudes. Or for a PHD studying the breakdown of cement over the freeze thaw cycles etc.
Do gooders doing no good springs to mind!
Does anyone know of anyone who's actually abseiled off the marker posts?
I've never heard of anyone doing that.
A cairn would mark the best descent into the corrie, I guess that was their thinking.
Abseiled off the No.4 Gully marker numerous times when the cornice has been difficult to negotiate. Seen loads of people use it so definitely not alone. Never had a look at it in the summer months which is probably a good thing...
I've done it in the past, when coming down from the brenva face, very handy if its dead icy too.
The reason you don't understand if perfectly obvious. You have not got the slightest clue about the current state of Ben Nevis, as evidenced by statements that are utter and complete bollocks.
There are absolutely not 'cairns all over the mountain'. The only cairns now remaining on the mountain are specifically there for navigation, mainly on the descent routes from the summit at 50m intervals, and they were all constructed in recent years. All the other numerous cairns that were haphazardly located and constructed over previous decades were completely removed several years ago, along with all memorials and vast amounts of other rubbish and man-made material left from past endeavours.
Additionally, these newly constructed cairns make superb navigation markers, as anyone who is not an armchair critic and has actually been on the Ben in a recent years in low visibility can testify.
The summit plateau of the Ben has been vastly improved over recent years and this is just the latest step in a well considered programme that has wide approval amongst those (including me) who regularly spend time on the mountain and have given the issues involved serious consideration.
Love the cynical way the nr 4 gully post removal has been reported - it had previously been well known that the coire leis poles were to be removed but consultation was to take place about the nr 4 gully marker - it's removal is now just a footnote - guess the consultation period ended and they decided.
Oh well, good to see the hill being returned to "natural" state with a 2m high navigational aid cairn instead, hmmmm
> The reason you don't understand if perfectly obvious. You have not got the slightest clue about the current state of Ben Nevis, as evidenced by statements that are utter and complete bollocks.
> There are absolutely not 'cairns all over the mountain'. The only cairns now remaining on the mountain are specifically there for navigation, mainly on the descent routes from the summit at 50m intervals, and they were all constructed in recent years. All the other numerous cairns that were haphazardly located and constructed over previous decades were completely removed several years ago, along with all memorials and vast amounts of other rubbish and man-made material left from past endeavours.
> Additionally, these newly constructed cairns make superb navigation markers, as anyone who is not an armchair critic and has actually been on the Ben in a recent years in low visibility can testify.
> The summit plateau of the Ben has been vastly improved over recent years and this is just the latest step in a well considered programme that has wide approval amongst those (including me) who regularly spend time on the mountain and have given the issues involved serious consideration.
2 meter high cairns are less usefull in winter when there can be over 3 meters of depth of snow on the summit. The arete cairn will be fine but in a heavy winter these other cairns could get burried. I've seen the trig point cairn burried and that's very substantial and over 2 meters tall.
Like others here I am struggling to see how a 6 foot cairn could possibly be less intrusive than the marker post. Somebody somewhere has different aesthetics to me. Its all man made. At least the marker post had some historic significance.
Abseil posts were unsafe and I understand that times change and they needed moved as they were an eyesore too. Feel very let down by the JMT who I have supported a lot over the years and who I generally concur with on these sorts of things.
I'm guessing a bit here but I think the JMT were determined to remove the marker post but because of pressure from most who they asked (including me), who wanted it left, they decided a cairn was a compromise. Which ends up being a worse option for everyone.
You are joking surely!
Seems a bit bizarre that Ben Nevis is being cleaned up and returned to it's natural state, by removing existing aids and chucking them down the mountain as rubbish, then building massive cairns to replace them!!!!
Hi Mike, I understand that the #4 Gully Marker Pole has now been removed and replaced with a cairn.
Following a heated debate on UKC in November 2011, ‘Rory@JohnMuirTrust’, announced that the JMT had ‘opened up the consultation to general views’ and directed people to the specific proposal on the JMT website which invited ‘... members of the public to comment on proposals to remove an abseil pole above Coire Leis... and to retain the Number 4 Gully marker’. (JMT website Nov ‘11).
The consultation closed on 30th April, and I suspect I was not alone in emailing you (on 14th Nov ‘11) with my support of the JMT proposal.
I may have missed it on your website, but I can’t seem to find anything (either on your website or elsewhere) which shows the outcome of this consultation.
As someone who took the time to get involved, and to take up your invitation to comment on your proposal, I feel it is only polite if you could share the detail of the outcomes of the consultation, specifically in relation to the Number 4 Gully Marker issue. Therefore, could you let me know:
• the rational for the JMT’s proposal not being accepted.
• an idea of who was consulted.
• an indication of the number of comments ‘for and against’ which you received.
I also understand (though have not seen it with my own eyes yet) that the Number 4 Gully marker post is currently in the snow patch at the bottom of Number 5 Gully. Can you confirm if this is true if so, any ideas on how it go there and any plans to dispose of it properly?
Look forward to your reply.
I think I meet your criteria. I'll testify that they can help people to maintain a bearing and provide reassurance, but would have to counter with the observation that they are often buried or rendered near-invisible by rime-ice. Only a fool would use them as a substitute for map-and-compass navigation in whiteout, but I see these fools regularly. Do the cairns tempt them higher? Quite possibly. Hence my concern that there is now another near-identical cairn a short distance from a big cornice.
> Does anyone know of anyone who's actually abseiled off the marker posts?
> I've never heard of anyone doing that.
Me and lots of folk when the cornice is huge!
Consult and ignore!
I wasn't suggesting that TBH, I was just pointing out they have limited use in winter which is surely when they are designed to be most usefull. In summer you can just follow the path no?
I agree you shouldn't be on the hill in winter if you can't navigate properly.
Easily solved; sling a chain around the cairn or add a couple of bolts to it.
A great response isn't it - massive majority of respondents in favour of retention so demolish it anyway and go for a worst of both worlds compromise.
Disapointing that the MCofS involved themselves and agreed to the removal without any consultation with their membership. So much for a representative body! At least the JMT pretended to be interested in walkers / climbers viewpoints.
Personally I think its a good thing that as much tat and rubbish is removed from the summit. OK 99% of people on Ben Nevis use the standard path up and there is a case for making the way for less experienced tourists at least safe. The 1% who like to call themselves climbers or mountaineers need to get themselves more self reliant or, if they do not have confidence in their navigation / down climbing ability then walk down the path. I'd agree that a cairn is probably OTT on number 4 gulley as well but at least its a more natural looking structure.
JMT consulted... precious few bothered themselves to get involved. There was a preference for a marker left at the top of No. 4. They listened but reasoned that the existing marker wasn't stable enough to leave to be used as an anchor so decided to replace it with something else that is, that still marks the gully and isn't made of metal.
I was one of the 43 out of 45 responding to the consultation in favour of keeping the No. 4 gully marker. I realise it was a consultation and not a referendum, but I'm a bit dismayed that the majority view was so contrary to the decision of the JMT and those it represents. I kind of assumed our mutual love of wild places would take us in similar directions.
@most: why so much apparent outrage at this? JMT have done what the majority of respondents wanted (probably NOT what they themeselves wanted): 43/45 in favour of retaining something to mark the top of No.4 Gully, 21/27 in favour of a cairn at the best descent point into Coire Leis. As Al H has said, the importance of the No.4 marker is to confirm one's navigation, and a cairn does that just as well as a metal post.
@Jamie B: the top of No.4 is about 350 m from the nearest point on the Tourist Path, and from what I recall isn't even visible from it, so surely there's no danger of confusing the new cairn with the walkers' way off?
@Curly S: I'm subject to correction here, but I don't recall that the metal marker was much taller (if at all) than 2 m, and I've never seen it anywhere near buried, so a 2m cairn should be adequate?
Some good points made.
I see the problem with a wide fat cairn rather than a slender marker pole is that snow can accumulate in its lee which then with several thaws freezes and wind direction changes can lead to total burial. Snow depth of over two metres is normal on the top of the Ben.
Time will tell if the design of the marker is a problem or if the criteria of an aesthetic marker has been a wise decision. In that regard I hope the keeper of the pole Guards it safely for a few years; it may need cementing on the top.
I was thinking along the same lines. At least including the pole in whatever structure they build would have some historical significance.
You'd hope not, but I've seen confused walkers all over the place on the plateau, including some trying to follow me down no.4!
Will the new cairn be installed with abseil chain in-situ or should we wait for garlands of tat to accumulate?
Good points. I would dispute that this is 'really, really, important' given the likely direction of JMT - its not as though they are going for anything unsustainable or irreversible.
I was one of the 45 who responded to the JMT and I am happy with the outcome.
A suitably designed cairn will be as good as the metal marker.
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