/ DRILLED GEAR - an AREA or NATIONAL issue?

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Steve Scott - on 06 Jul 2012
At the Lakes Area meeting this week the siting of fixed gear for use by Keswick MRT was discussed at length. A key point raised by Al Hinkes was how much influence the National staff should have when it comes to local issues, as a very late intervention from Manchester was taken as interference in what was seen as a local issue.

The stated and published National policy is that broad guidance is provided -
"The BMC believes that in any discussion or debate involving climbing style and ethics, the well-being of the crag and mountain environment must always be of paramount importance. Local or regional fixed equipment policies should be debated and agreed by climbers at meetings arranged by the BMC. The BMC Area Meeting structure provides the forum for such discussions. Policies should be agreed on a consensus basis and it is the responsibility of all climbers to help promote and respect any such policies."

A National drilled equipment policy also exists but this was agreed in 1992 and is currently being debated, as it is felt that it should be reviewed.

Other Areas are reviewing their own policies too ....

In the Lakes the 'new' proposals will be discussed at the next Area meeting at Kendal Wall in September. But, you should have your say too through your own Area meetings.
MHutch - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Steve Scott:

A bit more context would be useful. What was the view of the meeting on (presumably) the Sharp Edge issue and what was the intervention from Manchester?

The paragraph you quote talks about style and ethics for recreational climbing. Fixed gear for the purposes of MRT rescue, IMO, is a separate (albeit related) issue. So while BMC fixed gear policies, local or national, are a useful guide, they don't carry quite as much weight in these circumstances.
highclimber - on 06 Jul 2012
Monk - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Steve Scott:

I think that this sort of question has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. If someone proposed bolting Gimmer or Stanage, that would be a national issue, as these are nationally important crags. However, bolting Markwell Quarry or some new scrap of rock somewhere along the A66 would be a local issue as most people outside the area would never climb there.

In this case, I think that there is very little in the way of rational argument that could be leveled against Keswick MRT placing some hidden fixed gear, however fixed gear on Broad Stand is most definitely a national issue in my eyes.

Locals are important in climbing areas, acting as guardians in many ways. But they do have to remember that their actions have an impact on all of the non-local climbers and walkers who use, and are very fond of, the National parks. Many of us would love to be local to climbing areas, but economics won't allow that. Sometimes locals know best, but sometimes locals can be swept up in the moment, and the perspective from afar can be important. (I am in no way suggesting that is the case here, just speaking generally. I should also add that I have been both a local and non-local in various areas over the years.)

Finally, I think it is important to remember that many of the areas we love to climb in are National parks, areas defined as places for recreation for all of us.
Steve Scott - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to MHutch:
CONTEXT
Keswick MRT felt that it was important to gauge the response from fell walkers and climbers to their proposal to place fixed gear specifically for rescue purposes on an accident prone ridge where ongoing erosion has made the natural anchors unsafe.

There was no overriding consensus that this was not a matter for the BMC, but there was overwhelming support for the MRT as that this was a situation where the existing policy towards protection of climbs (fixed belays) didn't apply as these anchors are required for fixing rescue and lowering a stretcher.

Intervention came in the communication to the Area Chair immediately prior to the meeting that this was a national issue and needed to be discussed/decided at a National level. The discussion that followed concerned BMC policy which, as you can see from my earlier post, places these matters at an Area level.

At the local level the MRT proposals were supported.
Carolyn - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Steve Scott:

Sounds to me like the onus is on the BMC nationally to now explain why they consider it a national issue, given their policy appears to suggest that it should be a regional one? Were any reasons for it being a national issue given?
Tom Hutton - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Steve Scott: Wearing my climber hat and not my BMC one, I would have said that any crag/route of national significance is a national issue. Simple as.
climber666 on 09 Jul 2012
In reply to Tom Hutton:
> (In reply to Steve Scott) Wearing my climber hat and not my BMC one, I would have said that any crag/route of national significance is a national issue. Simple as.

And from a local climber perspective, there is no justification for fixing gear for the purposes of MRTs or any other group on places like Sharp Edge.
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SteveSBlake - on 09 Jul 2012
In reply to climber666:
> (In reply to Tom Hutton)
> [...]
>
> And from a local climber perspective, there is no justification for fixing gear for the purposes of MRTs or any other group on places like Sharp Edge.

Why so?

Steve


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