/ New Abseil Point at Wildcat Crags
It is made of 11mm rope passed around the tree twice with a glued shut carabiner threaded onto it.
It's worth noting that although this means walking off is no longer necessary (and it was a horrible walk in rock shoes!) care should be taken when it's busy as there are a few popular routes which cross the line of abseil - Have a look before you chuck the ropes!
Dan - applause for your initiative. And its a wee while since I climbed at Wildat. But does that crag really need an abseil point - especially one that goes down over some popular routes? The walk round to the base of the crag might be a bit of a long way - but its never been difficult.
It might not NEED one, but i think it will be appreciated by a lot of people. Windy Buttress at Stoney doesn't need an abseil point but it has one (walking off the back is pretty easy). Similarly Aldery Cliff doesn't need abseil points because walking round is pretty easy but they're there too.
The other reason i put it there is to protect the tree. It looks as though people have been abseiling off with the rope around the tree, and hence damaging it. In my opinion this is a better alternative.
> It might not NEED one, but i think it will be appreciated by a lot of people. Windy Buttress at Stoney doesn't need an abseil point but it has one (walking off the back is pretty easy). Similarly Aldery Cliff doesn't need abseil points because walking round is pretty easy but they're there too.
> The other reason i put it there is to protect the tree. It looks as though people have been abseiling off with the rope around the tree, and hence damaging it. In my opinion this is a better alternative.
OK. So Wildcat doesn't NEED an abseil point. Glad you agree. But people might appreciate the convenience of an ab. point?
Other crags have abseil points that are not actually needed so that validates one at Wildcat?
Protecting trees is good! But education and getting folks to walk off rather than ab. down the crag over other routes might do the trick rather than getting folks to focus on an easy alternative?
Just thoughts from someone who has done a load of routes at Wildcat in the dim and distant and never ever thought of abbing rather than walking.
I'm not really sure what I think about this sort of thing. Convenience abseiling is lazy and not to be condoned or encouraged in the slightest. But if people are already doing it directly of the tree then something should be done to protect it.
My preference would be just to cut the ropes of the arseholes who are abbing straight of the tree, and then we don't need any ab stations, but as that's probably not socially acceptable I'm not sure...
If anybody doesn't climb at Wildcat because they're put off by the 5 minute walk down a big path, then frankly they sound like the kind of idle wankers I don't want to share a crag with.
I have to say I am quite against this. The walk off is fine; done it many times. We don't need another Trem/Grim Wall situation.
Was thus unilateral action on your part?
When I was last there I remember an ab point on the tree at the top of Nine Lives Wall, as this would only cross the one route maybe this would be a better option?
Whatever the pros and cons of walking vs abseiling are, if a tree is showing signs of wear that will eventually kill because folk are using it as an abseil point, is it not better to do what Dan has done?
mmm, well why not take some pre-emptive action and put slings/krabs on all trees above crags to nip the problem in the bud?
I know you meant well, but the problem is that once people start leaving in situ ab gear it's the thin end of the wedge in equiping our crags and mountains, particularly where it isn't strictly neccessary. See previous threads on the descent routes from Idwal Slabs and from Milestone Buttress, Broad Stand etc. Even the Inaaccessible Pinnacle in the Cuillins ( I don't know when that one crept in, as it wasn't bolted when I first climbed it nearly 50 years ago)?
Just my view - although the argument to protect trees has some merit.
> mmm, well why not take some pre-emptive action and put slings/krabs on all trees above crags to nip the problem in the bud?
Of course not Jon - a far better solution would be to chop the tree down to remove the temptation...! I'm simply taking Dan at his word that the tree was already damaged.
I'm assuming you've been to Wildcat. If not, the path along the top and back down is actually quite a nice walk and part of the exeperience of climbing there. The (good) path is hidden well back from the top of the crag and sandwiched between the crag and a fence with fields and then cuts back after passing through an old archway (which almost certainly preceded climbers on the crag). There is absolutely no need for an abseil point at all. The only unpleasant bit is the often muddy scrambling at the base of the crags between routes, not the top.
Well, as you will appreciate, my point is that where do you draw the line. Do you throw an ab chain around every tree that is starting to show wear and tear, or do you get climbers to moderate their behaviour? The more you encourage people (with in situ tat) to treat crags as climbing walls or sports crags, the more you will encourage them to take the 'easy' option and ab off trees.
And the more you encourage people to go there and hence the routes don't get as overgrown...This is a major problem on Peak Limestone.
Of course I appreciate your point. I just think that if it comes to climbing ethics vs killing trees, the trees should win. I'm all for walking off routes - it's usually safer and often faster (on longer routes, anyway) but just on 'ethical' grounds (climbing ethics, that is), I find the walking vs abseiling argument holds far less water, especially if the tree is already showing signs of rope damage...
I started climbing at Wildcat in the 60's. At that period the prow above the middle of the crag still had the remnants of a fenced viewpoint; the walk up to the top of the crag was a popular tourist excursion around the turn of the century (last!) - that's one of the reasons why its such an easy walk off.
Ah, reading my last reply back, it doesn't make much sense...! I meant that trying to 'force' climbers to walk down rather than abseil - purely on traditional/ethical grounds - makes less sense to me than putting a sling and maillon around an already rope-scarred tree, to protect it - especially knowing that people will use it for abseiling regardless.
Yes, I did think that might have been the case. As you say, the walk off is very easy (and enjoyable). I just don't see the need for ab stations and, rather than encourage their use, I think the BMC should be actively discouraging them on this sort of crag. I find it a little depressing that people want to turn it into a convenience crag.
There is no argument for it at Wildcat, unlike Sergeants Crag Slabs for example where thas was a valid argument about the walk off/erosion etc.
As to Wildcat getting overgrown, I can't say I've noticed - it always seems busy enough when I go there. I agree some of them seem to get overgrown eg. Beeston. But that's a differnt issue and wouldn't be solved by ab points.
> Ah, reading my last reply back, it doesn't make much sense...! I meant that trying to 'force' climbers to walk down rather than abseil - purely on traditional/ethical grounds - makes less sense to me than putting a sling and maillon around an already rope-scarred tree, to protect it - especially knowing that people will use it for abseiling regardless.
Hi, Jon. I don't think its a matter of 'forcing'. There is a well-made and easy path down from the top of all the routes on this crag; walking off is no hardship. And, from memory, we are talking trees well over a metre thick; some of the damage may well be ancient history - and some of it may be mine! - we were uncaring buggers in them days. But I can't really remember abbing off Wildcat as a matter of habit. Simply no need.
Ooooh - I'm inspired to go back!
Yes I know and have climbed there quite a lot in the distant past myself. Perhaps 'forcing' wasnt the best choice of words... 'persuading' or 'educating' might have been better. But in this case it would seem that the horse has bolted. How would you deal with this? I conceed, of course, that a one metre diameter tree is not going to die overnight, but I very much doubt it was a tree that size that Dan 'equipped'.
But just as an aside... When I climbed regularly in Chee Dale, at the top of routes like Absent Friends and its neighbours, we'd simply walk around a convenient tree and lower back down. This killed the tree, so for safety's sake we used another tree... etc etc. At the suggestion of lower-offs appearing at the top of routes, Chairman Ken uttered his immortal 'I'd rather see a hundred dead trees than one bolt in Chee Dale.' Priceless!
...and scare myself again......
Whilst we are on Ken - I have advocated, for years, the development of a BMC inspired strategic tree planting policy to use up some of their cash reserve. Some of those grit quarries that we are forever banging stakes into could have a nice silver birch woodland going above them in 20-30 years - with strategic, bark-protecting, anchor points on them if necessary.
But do they listen? Hah! Short termism......
What a great idea.
As abseiling is so dangerous in comparison to an easy walk off the addition of another abseil point is just inviting another abseiling accident. Why not just carry up a pair of trainers on the back of your harness and not annoy all the people climbing below.Abseil points are a modern scourge of our crags. Hopefully someone will remove the litter you so kindly left at the crag.
I havn't the foggiest idea.
Why does the UK have so many hangups with the dangers of abseiling compared to other parts of the world?
At the end of the day climbing is dangerous, you choose the risk that is acceptable to you.
Muppets with abseil ropes over routes? That's probably a more valid point.
> It is made of 11mm rope passed around the tree twice with a glued shut carabiner threaded onto it.
> It's worth noting that although this means walking off is no longer necessary (and it was a horrible walk in rock shoes!) care should be taken when it's busy as there are a few popular routes which cross the line of abseil - Have a look before you chuck the ropes!
Since there has presumably been a lot of bitching, for the record, and as someone who climbs on peak limestone quite often, I am fully supportive if this measure, and similar ones at other crags where the lower off has no negative access implications (ugly and visible to walkers etc) and doesnt damage the environment at all. Often on peak lime, but especially where the descent is a long way around, many people will just ab off anyway, and its better if there is a fixed station in place so you know where to expect people. It also saves footpath erosion.
P.S. thanks also for your efforts re-equipping the top of Windy buttess.
I think it should stay (and thanks for your efforts).
as do many of the people who have commented on this and disagreed with it.
you mean additional erosion of what is actually an old footpath...?
It's the sports crag mentality and having people abbing down through other climbers which winds people up. I always wonder if this splits into two camps and it's as simple as those who say they don't mind are those who do in fact ab down through other parties.
Its very rare there are enough people climbing at Wildcat for that to become an issue. Yes, if you abseil off a crag you should always look below you. People who ab over another party are idiots, but they are not an argument against abseil stations except perhaps on the very busiest crags/routes.
If anyone has some serious issues with this why not raise them at the next peak area meeting?
I am pretty sure dan will be there too.
The internet if full of sanctimonius idiots. The best bet is to quietly put in an abseil point. If the people who actually use the crag see it and don't like it, then they can remove it.
The way to deal with people abseiling down on to you / throwing ropes on to you, is to politely ask them not to. This approach doesn't work to stop people damaging trees because the damage can happen when no one else is there other than the climbers who are damaging the trees.
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