The famous tree at Raven Tor, used to start the iconic routes Indecent Exposure, the Prow and Body Machine, has been chopped down by persons unknown - photo of stump. The incident happened during the night between Friday 18th July and 6:40 am on Saturday morning.
Currently there is only speculation about who might have carried out such a senseless act of vandalism since there are few conflicts at the crag, and there are no known issues that might have prompted someone to do such a thing - photo of the remains of the tree.
The start up the tree was by far the most popular method of getting on the rock for these three famous routes since the initial wall is usually wet and unclimbable for 10 months of the year, and that is in a good summer! All the routes can be climbed direct from the ground by two different alternatives but this adds a brutal section of extremely fingery climbing, on rock which is almost always covered in thick wet slime. Just to get to the starting point would be at least 7b+ which would have a knock-on effect on the routes above of making them at least a grade or two harder.
The tree played a significant role in the development of the Tor. Back in May 1982 Ron Fawcett free climbed the old aid route the Prowler to create Indecent Exposure. He used the tree to by-pass the initial wall, although it is likely that old aid ascents also used the tree. More significantly, Ron used the tree again to gain the line of the aid route The Prow, which he free-climbed in July 1982; an ascent that was famously declared as "the hardest route in the World" in High magazine. The section of climbing that Ron avoided on this occasion was the route Revelations climbed by Jerry Moffatt in August 1984.
The loss of this tree is an incredibly sad development and it is likely that the whole character of these three classic routes will have been changed. The move from the tree wasn't a simple step across, it was a tricky one-way pull on some small edges which left you committed to the climb. No ladder, or stick-clipping will recreate such an experience.
If anyone has any information on who might have carried out this senseless act then contact us.