/ Groups under instruction trashing Sandstone

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Trangia - on 27 Apr 2013

I posted this under the Stone Farm thtread but feel it needs airing generally.

I was doing a walk that passes Stone Farm one day last year when it was drizzling. The rocks were clearly wet, yet there was a large group under instruction faffing about on the rocks. I politely suggested to the instructor that he shouldn't be climbing on wet sandstone as it can damage the rock, but he continued instructing group, saying that they had paid for a day's climbing.

I've seen similar things going on at Harrisons.

I think the BMC needs to be much tougher on instructors who persist in setting a bad example to their students by taking them climbing on sandstone when conditions are not suitable. OK maybe they have paid but it can't be that difficult to have a clause in their booking conditions warning that in the event of adverse conditions climbing will not take place and either a full refund given or a free climb on another day.

Instructors may argue that this adversley affects their livelyhood, but isn't that one of the downsides of outdoor instructing? If you choose this career, you have to accept this may happen, but it's surely wrong for them to continue when they may be irreversibly trashing a precious resource which ruins it for everyone?






jon on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia:

I've never climbed on southern sandstone but even I know you don't climb on it during or immediately after rain. I don't think it's necessarily the BMC that should be involved, more his instructor association. Did you get the guy's name? Do you know what qualification he holds? Maybe he'll pop up here and defend himself.
Elrond - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Was it someone with a group of kids? If so then they were probably from Blacklands farm.

Perhaps the signs at the entrances which talk about ethics should make these kind of things a bit clearer. I do agree, its this kind of behaviour that will destroy the sandstone and make it unclimbable for future generations.

Trangia - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Elrond:

Yes it was with a group of kids.

Maybe someone on this forum, who is an instructor, would care to comment on their take on this problem? Do you think it is acceptable behaviour by an instructor or outdoor centre?
Elrond - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Ah right, that might make more sense.

When was it last year just out of interest?

I reckon that really doesn't seem like appropriate, an instructor on the sandstone should know better than to climb when its raining, especially when actually instructing as that just leads the students on to think that this kind of behaviour is acceptable
Trangia - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Elrond:

End of last year - can't remember exact date
Elrond - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Ah ok - still doesn't excuse that..
Hooo - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia:
I've seen this sort of thing at Stone Farm too. Never been there when it's wet, but I've seen an instructor hauling a bunch of kids up a route with the rope, trainer-clad feet scrabbling away. I politely suggested that the route was too hard for beginners, but he just dismissed it.
Would it be possible for the BMC to contact Blacklands (who I suspect were the culprits) and have a word? I don't know how these things are dealt with, but they do own the place after all.
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Madden - on 27 Apr 2013
In reply to Trangia: I'm not an instructor myself, but I've helped with outdoor instructing groups, and once sadly got roped into helping belay and supervise a group of beginners at a local sandstone crag (luckily, one of the less classic crags, but that's no excuse).

It had rained massively in the days running up to the group's session, and the crag was in one place running with water, and was significantly wet in all of the cracks. Despite that, top ropes were set up, and the group was allowed to climb...

Sad to say, the attitude of the instructor seemed to be that the day couldn't be rearranged, as it was at too short notice, and the group probably wouldn't come back if it had to be rearranged anyway.

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