/ The Best Hold On Stanage Has Been Pulled Off
Just a sarcastic "thanks mate" with a twist of public humiliation for whoever failed to climb Heaven Crack, and in doing so cleaved off the best hold on the route, therefore the best hold on Stanage, presumably with a badly placed cam.
Some of the removed holds I see on the crag have been going that way for a years and I suppose there's an element of bad luck combined with crapness/inexperience when they get cleaved off, but this one really must have taken some doing. It's the massive horizontal spike. Well it isn't any more, is it.
That's not wear and tear, that's tectonics in action.
I'm amazed that even a cam at the tip could do that.
Far too many wall bred inexperienced fools at the crag these days! Anyone with any common sense would avoid placing gear behind that flake, its not like there isn't a million other options above or below it. Jeesh!
Having said that Heaven crack is one of the few grit routes I know of that could lose a jug or 2, hope it hasn't affected the climbing too much.
Jon,did you see what actually happened or could it have just broken off when someone was pulling on it?
that's a shame, it's probably just a 4 star route now
Sorry, didn't think to. But not sure what that would add other than a bit more rage, frothing, threats and so forth. Believe me, it's gone.
Haha. I think the options are accidental cam damage and a sledgehammer. Unless Heaven Crack is now one of the rounds on World's Strongest Man?
Are you a Daily Mail reader by any chance?
Seems its the season for grit getting a trashing. Wharncliffe has had some serious graffiti damage recently, as well as Burbage. Loads of trundling damage at Stanage Popular too although I haven't seen any actual routes damaged.
Loads of rubbish about too.
What you doing up there anyway, it's neither March nor October ;)
But there was a lovely breeze. Had a "proper" climbing experience (rather than the usual auto-pilot job) on Cave Gully Wall which is not part of my usual circuit. Pumped on solo, nice!?
You never know, it might have been the World's Fattest Man climbing it.
Thank you, I just fell off my chair.
I can't remember climbing it but my logbook says I thought it was about E1 5B. Give me a shout if you're out one evening, scrittle or s-lime.
Maybe we should give the grit a couple of years break.............
Grit isn't the strongest rock type so not surprising those flakes come off now and then. Even the big ones.
This is what it used to look like: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=148806
"You never know, it might have been the World's Fattest Man climbing it."
Nah, it's above my grade.
And I tend to stick to top ropes ;)
I have not climbed the route in question, have not seen the flake and the placement, however I would still like to ask why do we have to be so mean to other people who obviously had an accident?
Judging from the photo, the flake seems quite low with a good chance of decking if it comes off (maybe I'm wrong on this, again I haven't climbed the route in question). Point is, someone obviously had a bad time on this climb. I think the climbing community should be supportive, where if someone makes a mistake, they don't instantly get a thread on UKC telling them what a dumbass he or she was. Seriously if it happened to be a beginner, who pulled off the flake, not only did they had a bad fall, with a huge flake flying around, but then the Internet piling up on it, virtually telling them they're horrible indoor climbers from Mordor, that should never EVER venture outdoors.
Also, I think people should just understand that rocks are not these permanent indestructible things. It's easy to forget that when we have this excellent rock quality of grit stone. They are in constant change, remember the rock cycle from school? Occasionally, in our life times, we will see little changes here and there, but that's inevitable.
Anyways, I digress - point is - accidents happen get over it, don't be mean to other people in the climbing community, especially as I'm sure they didn't set off with bad intentions.
Will it grow back?
'Presumably' - meaning no evidence for your aqusitory post Jon. The public humiliation that you seek to bestow is pretty unfounded and rather sad in the way you feel you have to do it on here with much gusto.
Dunno about anyone else, but my first thought was that if someone pulled on the hold and it came off, I hope they were alright, holds snap all the time after all with varying consequences.
It's quite mysterious though. It's impossible to fall off Heaven Crack, unless attacked by a swarm of hornets or something. Or perhaps a swarm of midges....
I also didn't follow how if this hold was so robust and big why falling on it, even with a cam placement would cause it to come off. Clearly it wasn't in fact that robust. Whatever the cause (and I doubt a cam was a significant factor) it was clearly going to come off quite soon.
is it the flake between the 4th and 5th runners in this pic?
Clearly you are unfamiliar with UKC.
If it is, I'd be properly impressed if a cam broke it off! There simply isn't enough route above that to generate much of a fall-factor. Yes, it could have been chossy. You can't blame people for breaking choss.
Oh wait... sorry... forgot this was UKC. Hang em!
You have no idea what happened other than knowing a hold has broken off and you come out with that drivel.. . unbef^ckingleivable!
It does sound quite hollow higher up but you are probably right.. Maybe its the thinner bit of flake near the first runner in the pic.
Yeah, that was my first guess. Visually, that looks good for placements. You can't tap the rock in a photograph, however, so I could be wrong.
So essentially you've seen that a hold has come off and then immediately decided to make up a story to suit your agenda for the day.
And people say that knee jerk responses aren't common on UKC............
I remember when a large part of the Right Unconquerable flake was broken off. This was rumoured to be done by someone levering it with a car jack whilst trying to remove some stuck gear.
Or perhaps by one of the many who seem unable to realise that other crags exist, and as such climb the same routes at Stanage all day every day, and contributing more erosion than the 'toproping hordes'.
But they're all to high and mighty for that.
And who probably calls the area Stanage is in the peaks.
From the logbooks it is obvious that the UKC user called "Hidden" has done this heinous crime as they did the route 3 times in 2 days recently even when they'd done it many times before.
This user should be banned (from something).
You're quite right. It is "unbef^ckingleivable" that anyone thinks that they can authoritively judge which hold was or is the best hold on such a huge crag ;)
You've onsighted E4
Heaven Crack is a 3* VDiff. But it's very pumpy, and to the un-initiated grit climber is not easy at all. Is it too much to suggest that some beginners, lured by the low grade and classic status, might struggle with it?
Yep, I remember that story going round - pre-internet of course. But was there any evidence ? Or did someone just make a wild assumption ?
Lets blame the police and the lazy immigrants coming to the UK to steal our jobs
Fair point, I haven't presented my argument in the best way.
My point being there are many people who contribute far more erosion/damage to crags over a sustained period of time from multiple ascents when compared to the casual beginner. However, the latter seems to be the assumed "guilty" (for want of a better word) when a route gets damaged in this fashion.
This clearly relies on the assumption that beginner doesn't mean idiot.
In this specific case, nobody knows what happened anyway, so this has potential to be a somewhat circular argument.
Sorry, my comment was in response to the OP, not you! (I agree with everything you said.)
Pulled off at Stanage? - crikey, some people have all the fun.
i before e except after c!
I think you need to establish exactly what has happened here Jon, before getting the pitchforks and burning torches out?
Ahhhh, memories of things falling off.
When I were a lad (a fat lad) climbing Bracket, Slab and Flake on Gimmer in 1924 I accidentally pulled off a hold. Amen to that.
Wasn't it Dawes that said 'Stanage is just one big hold.'
But then he had freakishly large hands.
At the time it was claimed that the cam exploded the flake at just the moment that the climber gently came to a halt on rope stretch after taking a lead fall.
Then a witness came forward who had seen the jack being gently used to expand the flake to enable the retrieval of the stuck cam.
I think it's a kind of perverse achievement to break that hold off, hence the sarcastic tone of my OP. As I say, often it's perfectly understandable how holds get broken off, but this one is so big and the route is so classic that I thought it worthy of a public eyeroll, if you will. I've been a beginner, I learnt to climb on grit, and I've pulled holds off routes before. I have never removed a loaf of bread sized jug off a 3* Stanage vdiff though.
You may or may not have noticed a little glint of irony in the words "a twist of public humiliation". Breaking massive holds off the country's classic routes is the kind of mistake that happens, and when it does, you need to know to be more careful in future.
As for my lack of evidence for how it happened, err, yeah. Are there any other ways to break off a massive chunk of Heaven Crack? Let's have some suggestions, then.
If you think "a sarcastic thanks mate" is the greatest over-reaction of 2014, you should see what happens when I realise the milk's gone off and I've already made the brew.
Pulling too hard - in an outward direction - on a hold that has an inherent weakness?
I climb the route most weeks and would have noticed if the hold were about to fall off. Remember, we're stood on ledges here, we're not gurning and power-screaming through crusty flakes in a horizontal roof.
Was it the hold between 4th and 5th runners in the link to the photo of the route earlier in the thread?
Aye, that's the badger.
Did you find the block?
I'd quite like it for my rockery :)
Didn't actually. I muttered WTF to myself when my right hand failed to land on the hold, then wandered off, without stopping to gather evidence of the heinous crime/heartbreaking tragedy.
Let me rewrite your headline:
"A hold has come off a route I like. I don't know how it happened but I'm upset."
Move on, life's too short.
Have you ever thought of a career in journalism?
I consider (lovely) gritstone to be a hard sandstone. It is being worn down about 10-20% the rate of southern sandstone, old photos of High Neb buttress show this well. Therefore in about 100 years every route below E1 at Stanage will be as hard as the E1s, and less enjoyable
Basically, be glad you enjoyed the beginner routes when you did - they're temporary
Let's not forget to blame the Tory government for privitising the crag, and the Daily mail for ...
..ohh hang about, someone's already done that...
And 10 foot higher due to erosion at the foot of the crag.
But even that won't make these insignificant outcrops worth bothering with ;-)
Nothing a bit of sika won't fix...
Cognitive dissonance in action... it must have happened the way I say it did and because there is no proof, I must therefore be right...
...so prove me wrong?
only in your head sunshine...
Let's have some suggestions then.
There's plenty more rock left where that came from isn't there?
The obvious one is a combination of weathering, frost and being pulled on many, many times.
I climb this route most weeks. It did not just come off in someone's hand. If I put the washing machine on before I going out, and when I return the kitchen is flooded with soapy water, I know what's happened, don't I? It's called inference to the best explanation.
It could have been deliberate vandalism with a sledgehammer, a freak lightening bolt to an unusual spot on the crag, a bird with a suicide vest might have landed there, extraordinary local atmospheric conditions could have caused a rapid freeze-thaw overnight confined only to that hold. But all these explanations are unlikely.
Now this is all getting quite silly, because this kind of thing happens on popular routes, and a sarcastic "thanks mate" is plenty enough. But the idea that numptitude was not the causal factor is simply denying the bleedin' obvious.
I disagree the obvious one is a cam levering it off or just some passive gear doing the same. Freeze thaw tends to remove whole flakes not the end of them and the rock there was strong enough to handle the forces involved with people climbing it IMO.
If you look about on the grit edges you can see quite a lot of broken flakes, falling on to cams placed behind these is the most common cause of failure IMO.
Can you provide a picture of the damaged flake?
Not until I go up to the crag again and I'm not up there after work at the mo. For what purpose?
Isn't that what's happened?
Perhaps someone slightly heavy stood on it at the wrong time. Perhaps it's been weakened by the thousands of people pulling on it over the years, and someone pulled on it just so and it came off. Perhaps water seepage has weakened the rock under the hard shell.
There are loads of things that could have happened.
Seeing as there is 75 replies to the thread and several thousand views I though it may help people to understand what the damage has actually been.
Have you climbed the route?
I beleive the 'flake' in question is really part of a much larger flake which is the upper part of the climb.
A long time ago. There was photo above of the flake in situ, I assumed the whole thing had gone.
I'm sorry, only the world's strongest man could have pulled off this hold. It was the size of a Hovis loaf, not a thin flake, and it was totally solid a couple of weeks ago, and has been for the 10 or so years I've been climbing the route regularly. Given that it was a spike protruding horizontally you could shove a cam behind, the "it just came off in my hand" explanation is silly.
I'm with you Jon. The crags are full of casual incompetance with cam use and that flake was slightly hollow sounding so a cam is by far the most likely culprit. Heaven Crag is special so this damage is sad : like you I solo it every time I'm in the vicinity. Too many trad climbers are in denial that routes like this are not indestructable: cam use is problematic on flake holds so passive pro should always be the first choice if you have to use gear at that point at all. The extreme leading heros that think its impossible to fall off such a route are frankly childish fools: its a tricky VD with a sting in the tail for those leading at those grades.
Ok so the flake broke off due to being pulled on repeatedly over the years (mainly it seems by you). therefore you broke it, hows that?
The forces generated by a cam in a fall are more than a magnitude higher than those of part of the passive weight of a climber when pulling on the hold. It is incredibly unlikely someone just pulled this off following thousands of others. Freeze thaw would break at the freeze thaw line.
I guess an examination of the scar where the flake was attached might reveal any incipient crack. As with the Right Unconquerable flake the area of the broken surface is quite large so unless there was a crackline forming it is very unlikely that even Brian Blessed would generate enough force to break it wheras a cam most certainly could. So Jon & Offwidth are right - this is the most likely explanation.
There are two snapped flakes on RU non? The 'car jack' flake at the bottom of the flake section and another poor placement break above. Gritstone has an accelerating number of these cam snapped flakes, pretty much all avoidable.
I've seen incipent crack breaks where the fracture line has part (dark) old break and part fresh rock (some most probably caused by damage from falls on previous bad placements) but its highly unlikley these will be happening on one of the most travelled routes on grit in mid summer.
Yes I was thinking of the lower broken bit on RU - car jack or cam forces were responsible here.
That tell tale darkness in the fracture line is what I meant. I won't be looking myself but someone could check the Heaven Crack breakage.
I still reckon it's illegal immigrants who are in to sport climbing
Unfunny stereotypes aside I'd bet its a white male english trad climber.
Counts me out - I only lead sport stuff :-D
Maybe someone attempting a clean aid ascent?
Sorry about the hold, but you'll be glad to know I got the stuck cam out...
Thank you! I had to go back a long way to find what was "Excellent"!
Classic fatigue failure from repetitive cycling stress. I can only see one obvious culprit here with ten years of flake abuse under his belt....
Absolutely. If only these numpties wouldn't climb a route more than once in a lifetime to preserve them for future generations...
I guess as the numbers of climbers increase, if they all climb their favourite routes each time they visit a crag, more holds breaking is inevitable.
On a different tack maybe in instructions for cams there should be mention of what can happen if they're placed behind flakes?
It's not impossible there was a hidden weakness in the rock, given how millstones could explode without warning for the same reason.
We can't change the past so lets move on and answer the burning question. Is this still one of the best VDiffs on Stanage with a slightly harder move than before?
Especially if he always climbed it in exactly the same way, it's 'all' Jon Stewart's fault. (:-))
It's all 'your' fault Jon Stewart. (;-))
No, it's not impossible, and nor is the suicide bomber pigeon explanation. More likely than both of these by a country mile is someone using a cam behind it and either falling off, or maybe just being fat and resting on it.
Climbing a route with solid rock does not gradually pull the holds off. On the other hand, putting cams behind flake holds and then falling off tends to pull them off suddenly.
Yes, and a big fatty too.
But faults do exist within gritstone, where as suicide bomber pigeons don't..?
On Kinder it was found that holds broke more frequently after prolonged rain, according to Keith Suttcliffe who used to post on here, who was in the Rock & Ice Club. which isn't what happened here, but the rock can just break, granted quite rarely on gritstone.
Nope, it's still all your fault, and you've been adding to the polish by climbing it repeatedly too...Which definitely is true. (:-))
If indeed it was pulled off by someone falling onto a cam that broke the hold, I hope both the leader and the belayer are ok...
Precisely, a Hovis loaf like that! That would hurt ones foot!
Ok seriously now...
VD, Cams!, Falling off! In modern parlance, WTF?
I've only had one gritstone hold break on me. It wasn't a flake, it was one side of a crack. And it wasn't done by a cam, it was done by pushing my foot against it while attempting to layback.
I'd expect better from you. If you want examples Ive seen a few, including Moff who's foot slipped on a layback move (her placements of course were good but she clipped the rock on the way down and sprained ligaments and a friend and I had to carry her back to the car...cheers alex). If you sit and watch the route it wont be long before someone place cams in that route in places experinced climbers would advise against and sometimes even at the wrong angle to catch any fall. Its not just the beautiful climbing holds I'm worried about, its also the consequencies to the climber. Cams are so easy to use and misuse that too many are failing to think when passive pro or no pro is a better safety option.
On the other point made above about sandstone holds being more likely to snap after rain its pretty common worldwide knowledge now (if understated in the UK). Its not a huge problem on grit but I'd be a lot more careful on soft sandstones. In Red Rocks in the US the guidebook advises leaving a day after rain (ignored of course by various muppets).
It might be more likely however a sudden natural failure is not comparable to a suicide bomber pigeon. Because the failure (man made or natural) happened to occur on a 3* popular Vdiff, you're applying a suvivorship bias.
Winning the lottery is astronomically unlikely yet someone wins almost every week. Similarly an individual natural catastrophic gritstone failure may be unlikely, but there's a lot of gritstone available for it to occur.
Suicide bomber pigeons are, I expect, not available in high numbers.
Without sounding full of myself, that demonstrates my point, there's all kinds of hidden weaknesses within rock.
it was meant to :)
That is true. Let's place
- cleaved off by numpty cam;
- "it just came off in my hand"; and
- suicide bomber pigeon
on a scale of probabilities, widely separated, in that order.
There's the stump left behind, if that's what you mean? No other damage I noticed.
Hi Offwidth, you got the wrong end of the stick. I was questioning Jon's assumptions that there were cams and falling climbers to blame. My fault for using shorthand!
I got it first time!
7,000 views, 116 posts and an argument going on since Sunday about whether it is more likely that a hold was broken by a cam or by it snapping off in someone's hand. Awesome. I must look in on this thread again in a week or so to watch the wheels continue to spin.
No one got a photo of this yet?
> - cleaved off by numpty cam;
> - "it just came off in my hand"; and
> - suicide bomber pigeon
> on a scale of probabilities, widely separated, in that order.
I'll try to estimate, using my vast statistical knowledge[?]:
Cleaved off / cam
2 to 1
Came off in my hand
40 to 1
Suicide bomber pigeon
10,000,000,000 to 1
100,000,000,000,000 to 1
I am wondering if this is an elaborate troll! Huge hold comes off, denying it could be erosion, willy-waving about "muppets" and "incompetents" using cams.
I can see that "The witch hunt" is still on (or shall I say suicide bomber pigeon hunt?) and some CSI UKC members are turning every piece of rock/grit to find out who is guilty - nice :-D
anyway, regardless of what happened it is obvious that a hold is missing, the route is ruined, maybe the whole crag so my question is: shouldnt the whole lot just be bolted?
No, on the surface of the rock behind were the his hold used to be. Big chunk of rock, if it was a can I might have expected the lobes to leave a scratch on the rock behind.
There was a lengthy thread a while ago where people were arguing that a cam placed no more outward force on the rock than a nut or hex. Can anyone find it?
I'm 99% sure you're right.
I guess it might have done yes. I don't think without forensic analysis we'll know for sure, and it doesn't actually matter after all.
Here ends the thread.....right?
It isn't. Well, not really. The hold has definitely broken off, but I admit that when my rage subsided, I realised that it was perfect material for a lengthy thread on UKC!
Don't forget the fatties and numpties.
it has still made you look like a prize chump though.
Not to me it hasn't. A bit more passion like this and we may reduce the rate of breaks and better still cut the risks of people hurting themselves.
It also highlighted Simon Caldwell's comment.... I'd still be interested in that thread even though it goes against what I'd expect from experience...I've never not seen comparative calculations. It is of course irrelevant to this case as no one sensible would stick passive gear on the very end of a flake.
Found it. It was the RU flake break discussion. The conclusion was cams exert the same force as a wedge in frictionless rock but as friction increases the situation changes with cams being much worse on grit flakes.
This may be true, but the crux of the matter is that if a flake flexes due to pressure from a nut, the nut will pull though. With a cam, the flake will keep on flexing until someing gives,
Are you mad? that is clearly the work of a suicide puffin, cant you tell the difference?
Thank you!!! I am so sorry for my extremely rash and careless statement - I will call in the bird specialists (ornithologists? opthalmologists?) to confirm your no doubt correct analysis - many thanks!!!
Coincidentally a suicide pigeon flew off with my cheese sandwich this evening, what are the odds?!?!
Every integer that when divided by two does not give another integer.
Depends ....can't see solid connected rock flexing much (like the middle of the RU flake that snapped), long spike flakes maybe (like the HC break).
Am I to assume the hold now has pride of place in your rockery? Or perhaps you're planning to glue it back on?
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