/ Winter climbing ethics
A lot of damage to the turf at the first pitch of Central Gully on Browncove Crags today, no frozen turf hardly anywhere and the damage looks terrible with massive sods ripped out at the bottom of the gully and sods hanging half cut up with crampon scratches, it really does look a state, the turf is not frozen and the ice is very thin, but people are still climbing it as above this the gully it looks complete but thin. I ended up doing right parallel gully and the big wide gully instead as they were complete and you could stick to the rock hard neve all the way without damaging anthing at all. Pick carefully and don't climb if nothing is in, the damage is irreversible and ugly.
It's a lost battle. Too many new climbers seem to think that the first sign of snow means they can go out and climb anything. Some blame UKC, others blame the publicity given to those at the cutting edge.
Whatever the cause, the result will inevitably be climbing bans on the most popular vulnerable areas, eg Helvellyn.
Sadly, I think you are spot on with that....just a matter of time untill national parks etc start to see what's going on...
> A lot of damage to the turf at the first pitch of Central Gully on Browncove Crags today, no frozen turf hardly anywhere and the damage looks terrible with massive sods ripped out at the bottom of the gully and sods hanging half cut up with crampon scratches
I have taken a look at this route - it looks like a gully alright. Have you been up gullies in the summer? They are normally choss filled junkholes. More erosion happens in gullies by freeze/thaw cycles and normal weather than some crampons.
If you are talking about people going up classic rock lines, or sensitive areas fine - but to wax lyrical about a gully??? really??
''Winter routes often follow drainage lines and vegetated rock, which also provide habitat for some incredibly rare arctic alpine plant species. We are fortunate in England and Wales because our mountain crags hold some of the most southern populations of these plants.
We’re only now discovering some of these precious populations. Thanks to overzealous Victorian plant collectors and upland sheep, they’re very scarce. Many remaining populations are only found in inaccessible places where they have been safe from hungry sheep and greedy collectors – steep rocky crags.
Conflict between winter climbing and conservation is a real possibility. If a route is climbed when its turf is out of condition, the areas inhabited by arctic alpines are sometimes so small that an entire population could be destroyed in one ascent.''
Very well put. We only have one shot at protecting our future (and routes)
Yes I am well aware of winter ethics. I shant give you a measured response unless you deem it fit to fill your profile out with some winter experience yourself?
I find it hard to believe a chossy gully line is a rare habital for wildlife. It is likely a festering pile of shite in the summer with boulders and rocks tumbling down every time there is a storm. The argument is hard to apply here.
Not in a regular old gully. Sorry. Your agument does not fly. Had this full argument been about someone hacking their way up ledges on a buttress then it would be a different kettle of fish. Gullies are crags and mountain natural "jobbie lines" - i.e where the mountains take a shite down into the festering scree cones.
There are folkson here vastly more knowledgeable than myself to give you information about the various habitats and species that are so rarely found on our crags. If you think about altitude,soil ph, rainfall, aspect, nutrients, predators and climate then the environment for this flora is pretty unique.
> Not in a regular old gully. Sorry. Your agument does not fly. Had this full argument been about someone hacking their way up ledges on a buttress then it would be a different kettle of fish. Gullies are crags and mountain natural "jobbie lines" - i.e where the mountains take a shite down into the festering scree cones.
Some plants actually thrive in inhospitable environments you know.
Are you basically saying that no rare plants live in any gullies on any mountains in the UK?
Are you trying to play devils advocate or something here? I don't see how anyone couldn't get that whilst a gully is completely chossy and unappealing from a summer climbing perspective that's exactly because lots of stuff grows there. If sheep can't get into it, some of that stuff growing could be quite rare flora for exactly that reason.
Trying to. I am just trying to balance the probabilities out here. While I agree that stuff might grow in gullies, I dont think the odd crampon and axe would make a massive difference to the habitats. Have you ever been scrambling up a gully in the summer? either for the sake of it or to get to a rock climb? I have and in the process rocks and boulders and all sorts get kicked down the slopes. Again I am only trying to apply some common sense to the situation being discussed, not the overall picture. Again had someone been ripping turf of ledges, cracks and buttresses then it would be different. That is my opinion.
Just to add a further critique or two to your arguments:
The loose material in UK mountains is more often than not a relic of physical processes occurring during deglaciation (c.10-20 thousand years ago). Rates of erosion are nowhere near what you'd expect for such an abundance of loose material. The pitter-patter of tiny feet can often be - despite appearances - a significant erosive force. Note that this is a generalisation with places like the cuillin, or gullies taking significant water drainage being obvious exceptions.
Also it seems a bit clueless to suggest that gullies are exclusive of turfy ledges. Most gullies at grade II or above involve some sort of steepening, which will normally be bounded at the top by a ledge with accompanying turf. To put it another way, if you google 'angle of repose' you'll realise that your simplification of gullies to include only loose rock can ONLY apply to grade I steepness, that steeper climbs MUST be made of stable material in places, and that such areas of stable ground have allowed sparse but esoteric soil development and consequent specialised flora.
I concede the point there.
Only after walker erosion and 4x4 / vehicle erosion in my opinion. I have seen the damaging effects on the landscape both of these can cause.
Correct and they couldn't anyway. All the climbers, who are walkers, cause a fair amount of damage through additional CO2, erosion etc.
Sometimes people loose sight of the real issues with conservation and environment. I am not saying the loss of some alpine/arctic plant on a ledge in a gully is not a sad issue. I am just saying is there are a lot of worse things going on in the country (and world).
A climber who drives from London to Aviemore, walks up to the base of the route, refuses to climb unfrozen turf, then drives all the way back to London happy that they have done their bit for conservation?
That's utterly not the same as destroying one specific habitat relied upon for its survival by a rare and/or endangered species through deliberate selfishness or casual carelessness.
SSSIs are protected and recklessly damaging them can result in the perpetrator being prosecuted.
Does that mean that we can ignore your arguments until you provide us with evidence of your ecological and environmental qualifications?
How does this debate move forward?
I've been up gullies in summer, including this one (after retreating off the buttress to the side due to slippery rock).
In order to make any upward progress at all, it's necessary to stick to the sides - any attempt to go up the middle would be futile (and dangerous). So the main gully remains undisturbed. Whereas in poor conditions in the winter, there's enough snow to allow you to go up the middle, while still sending rocks and vegetated down.
Whether this is environmentally significant is to some extent irrelevant - some people who have the power to impose a climbing ban believe that it is, and have made it clear on many occasions, eg in the guidebooks.
> I have taken a look at this route - it looks like a gully alright. Have you been up gullies in the summer? They are normally choss filled junkholes. More erosion happens in gullies by freeze/thaw cycles and normal weather than some crampons.
> If you are talking about people going up classic rock lines, or sensitive areas fine - but to wax lyrical about a gully??? really??
Typical chav attitude, get a life mate, if i catch you in the gully with crampons on and conditions not in i will deal with you in the same chav manor and it won't be pleasant.
Aren't we all glad we can behave like adults!
> Aren't we all glad we can behave like adults!
The point of the reply was to deal with the matter in the same casual attitude as him, in reality the chances of me catching him and knowing it's him in the gully with crampons on and the gully not in conditon are pretty slim but the point is he's acting like the type of people who do this sort of thing, with his it's a rotten gullt attitude, any damage to anything even dark grotty gullies is serious, just because it doesn't affect summer linesmakes it ok makes me pretty mad, the mountain are not just for climbers, they also sustain life for all sorts of wildlife and plantlife. Milesy is a nob. Fact.
Did you also write this on your profile?
"Mountains are my life, i don't mind how i get up them as long as i get up them."
So, as long as it's you that is being irresponsible then presumably thats ok?
Not what it means and no you are wrong. As i said i changed my route after going to do Central.
Did you also state this
" Ever since i discovered mountaineering i can think about little else. I used to be uptight, bad tempered, very irritable and stressed but after finding mountains all this has changed,I and am now very calm relaxed and fun to be around"
Well, you sure seem calm relaxed and fun, errr, ok
Chav? I am better educated than you sunshine. You will also do nothing of the sort. My picture is in my profile. I will be up Stob coire nan Lochan in Glencoe tomorrow. Feel free to meet me at the car park love x
Also you look like a wee fairy xx
Looks can be deceiving, for an educated guy you sure have a shit attitude towards future generations use of the mountains, at work tomorrow but am sure we will catch up sometime, I don't claim to be highly educated but i know when i am damaging the environment and also would feel a sense of guilt at the damage i have caused and not do it again, so you sound more like a chav to me regrardless of class.
You know nothing about me and my attitude to the hills (which is very good thanks)
I actually cancelled climbing with Pids above on Sunday because it was forecast to be too warm. I have a great set of mountain ethics but in this game you need to exercise proportionate responses to situations which you are not.
The landowners can apply for CROW exemption. There are many examples round the country of crags that are banned for conservation reasons.
The flipping tree-hugging-conservationists should look at the damage to flaura and fauna over the long distance footpaths, or your carbon footprint when driving long distances for a weekend climbing, or flying to go to foreign climes, then tell me where the real issues are.
*environmentalists - so 1990's
Seems a massive shame for climbers to be exchanging threats due to differing opinions about winter ethics.
Are the over routes now ok or should people stay away. PLease dont need to give me another slagging off just constructive critism will do
> It's a lost battle. Too many new climbers seem to think that the first sign of snow means they can go out and climb anything. Some blame UKC, others blame the publicity given to those at the cutting edge.
> Whatever the cause, the result will inevitably be climbing bans on the most popular vulnerable areas, eg Helvellyn.
And the destruction of many classic E2s to E4s.
If it is sh1t wet and manky in Summer - OK for winter.
If it is a classic dry summer rock route (any grade, including Bowfell Buttress) - leave it alone in winter.
Otherwise the fragile BVS will be trashed.
I am from a council estate in Hull- North Bransholme, Kendal for the last 20 years and i don't give a shit where he is from, if i see him carelessly trashing my back garden (The lakes, that's right my back garden)and knowingly doing damage to plantlife, moss, turf and rock i will knowingly say something quite harsh, like a knuckle sandwich, his attitude towards gullies and life that lives in them is quite frankly making me feel sick.
There is a big difference between not knowing you are doing damage and knowingly doing damage, i admit only a few years ago i was doing the same thing and unknowingly trashing about up gullies not in condition and doing damage, i now feel guilty for that and try not to repeat it, whereas this idiot thinks it's totally fine as it's only a dark dank gully.
Milesy you look like a bigger fairey!!!!!!
back in the day when I was living in S Wales there was a cwm near Storey Arms that you needed some kind of verbal permission to climb from the warden. I forget how it worked as it was a while ago, but you couldn't just rock up and climb due to the sensitive nature of the vegetation.
p.s. please don't send me any particularly nasty internet threats... I'm not sure my internet connection or hard drive could take it!
> How does this debate move forward?
By people accepting that we all cause damage through travelling, and deciding that despite that it's still a good idea to observe winter ethics, just because it is, i'd have thought?
I'm not sure I get the difficulty, can't people just decide to respect winter ethics? It's not that difficult to in the end.
I dunno really, why complicate it by comparing it to other things?
I was brought up in a fairly middle class family, in a detatched house nowhere near a council estate, and went to a Grammar school, but having looked at both your pictures i reckon i could take you both on at once and kick both your arses.
I have climbed harder than both of you and written it on my profile therefore my opinion is more valid than both of yours.
That opinion is you are both silly little boys unable to have a discussion without resorting to the kind of crap that does no one any favours least of all you.
If you don't stop i shall get my dad on you and he is bigger than your dad.
When i saw the thread title and first couple of posts i thought " What a good idea, just the kind of thing UKC should be used for." How wrong could i have been.
Come on back on track and leave the children to their silly games.
I'm keeping on your good side then you must be well hard !
Well the argument is happening at the top end of the climbing world so it might as well happen at the bottom, the more shit you put in to the argument the more readers you get as it's what you all love really, so therefore my initial post was to get as many people as possible to realise the damage that we all so easily all cause, so therefore i am completely happy with the way it has gone judging by the jump in numbers reading this thread.Doesn't matter where you come from we all cause the same damage.
If only it was a debate ;0)
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