Major Rock Chipping on Peak Gritstoneby Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor Feb/2013
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Major chipping damage all the way up this arete
UKC News, Feb 2013
© Wil Treasure The popular gritstone venues of Cratcliffe and Robin Hood's Stride have been badly damaged by a mystery rock chipper.
The chips on the rock are widespread and specifically on known and popular rock climbs and boulder problems. The nature of the chips is such that this is not a case of hold improvement, but just damage to the climbs. All of the affected areas of rock were probably chalk-covered.
UKC user Offwidth commented in the forums:
"Looks to me like an attack on popular boulder problems by someone with a crazy grudge."
"This appears to be deliberately malicious behaviour targeting climbers and the only common link seems to be that all the hold that were chipped were well chalked. There have been previous complaints about excessive chalk use in the area, so it may point to another user who dislikes climbers using chalk. Either way it's hard to understand how anyone can justify this damage as a response to chalk use."
Local climber Wil Treasure has been up to the crag and reported back to UKC on his findings:
"I live a few miles from Cratcliffe so it's my local spot to grab a few hours bouldering. I've had quite a few visits lately, including the week before this damage occurred. The damage is quite widespread, affecting a number of problems which would form the standard easy circuits. The person doing this was clearly determined - they'd made the effort to chip the rock at spots all the way around Robin Hood's Stride and the top boulders at Cratcliffe. It looked to me like a hammer was used, and all of the sections of rock affected are holds used on problems and would quite likely have been chalked which would indicate that whoever is responsible was targeting climbers rather than just damaging the rock.
Big ticks like Jerry's Traverse and T Crack were fortunately unaffected, but Razor Roof, the classic 6C, was quite badly chipped. I thought it looked like it would climb at the same grade, but people have pointed out it's probably now harder for the short. Most of the chipped problems looked like their grades wouldn't be significantly affected, but the exposed rock is very soft and in places probably best avoided. There have been incidents of chipping in the area in the past, including by climbers back in the day (I believe), and there are access issues at some other local bouldering spots. It's upsetting that someone would try to make a point in this way though, which is irreversible, rather than engaging with the climbing community on any issues."
Rob Dyer of the BMC also commented:
"The BMC is in contact with the landowner and National Park ranger and we have expressed our concern about the situation and offered to help in any way we can. It seems unlikely that the person or persons responsible will ever surface, but if you notice any suspicious activity at either these crags or elsewhere in the Peak, please report it to either the BMC or National Park ranger service."
Photo Gallery - Rock Damage, Peak Gritstone: