Large Fire service, Ambulance and Police presence in the proximity of Giant's Cave Buttress (VS 4c) in the Avon Gorge (Suspension Bridge Area) this evening with the local press unfortunately reporting a fatality.
Anybody know if this was climbing related?
My thoughts are with the individual, their families and loved ones at what must be a very difficult time.
"The stretch of cliff face the man was on when he fell is a recognised route that has established climbing "holds" fixed to the rock."
Isn't that an old report? Couple of years ago?
There's a report here, but it doesn't say if it was actually a climber. We're heading to that sector today, but doubt we'll find out what happened.
I saw a party on GCB on Saturday having a real struggle on P1 , they bailed in the end and headed off home. It's not a soft touch at VS 4c, that one...... & my guidebook (Avon 2004) says it's had "... some serious accidents".
It's not being reported like it is a climber. "One male has fallen down the cliff edge" is not how they usually report climbing accidents, so suggests more likely to be someone getting too close to the edge or a jumper (especially as there has been no follow-up information). Very sad either way.
Correct, it’s an old report. Though I guess still a good example of how poorly the press often report climbing related stuff...
I agree it’s hard. I’ve climbed all the major VS in the gorge multiple times and GCB is the only one I’ve ever fallen off on second. Repeatedly. I only have about a 50% success rate seconding it, when VS is a grade I’m normally solid seconding. Arguably HVS, I’d say.
I was climbing Rocker’s Revenge on an adjacent buttress soon after the accident. It seemed clear a body was being removed. I heard suggestions it was climbing related at the scene, but nothing confirmed. Could have just been a wrong assumption, in the confusion over what happened. I saw nothing to confirm either way and saw no other climbers in the area at the time (though I guess any other climbers finishing routes as we arrived might have seen more).
There are railings at the top, which would deter most people from going over, other than climbers or jumpers as the ground beyond the railings is steep and vegetated. It’s not uncommon for people to cross the railings for a variety of reasons, though normally this happens much further along, above Main Area, where it’s flatter - bird watchers, people smoking weed, thinking it’s a nice place to sit to chat etc. I guess we’ll just have to wait for confirmation in an official report as speculation is probably not very helpful.
Obviously it’s very sad, whatever the cause.
> I agree it’s hard. I’ve climbed all the major VS in the gorge multiple times and GCB is the only one I’ve ever fallen off on second. Repeatedly. I only have about a 50% success rate seconding it, when VS is a grade I’m normally solid seconding. Arguably HVS, I’d say.
I'll have to disagree with you. I've done GCB several times, and rate is fairly low VS - there's no way it's HVS in my humble opinion
I remember it in 1969 as being one of the more friendly, amenable routes at Avon (and rather unusual in that respect), perfectly graded at Hard Severe.
Though it's 30 years or so since I last did it, unless it's changed markedly I'd agree with you. Lovely route, I thought.
Fairly middling at VS I thought, though definitely not soft. Didn't a famous climber die on it back in the day? The first pitch starts with some real decking potential (shonky gear until the peg and all the holds face in funny directions), though unlikely to kill you. The middle pitch is very loose and an unbalanced team may come a cropper if they stick a beginner on it thinking 'oh it's only 4a'. Avon has some high VS's which skew things slightly; Clarion is pretty bold and tricky in places, Rockers Revenge is technically hard, Gronk is a serious undertaking, etc.
I agree about that first pitch from doing it many years ago on sight as a beginning leader. Balancing up onto those sloping polished holds with gear too low was unnerving. Typical Avon of course...
> Didn't a famous climber die on it back in the day?......
Very sadly Peter Biven died on GCB. RIP Peter
Knot failure on one of the belay ledges I see
4c/5a moves well above the gear is not my idea of soft VS. I’ll lead the softer VS round here, but GCB no way.
Is a thread about a fatality really the place to be debating the grade?
> I remember it in 1969 as being one of the more friendly, amenable routes at Avon (and rather unusual in that respect), perfectly graded at Hard Severe.
> (and others)
> Is a thread about a fatality really the place to be debating the grade?
I completely agree with that, and I apologise for my post about the grade
Not sure how you didn’t see the other climber being rescued by someone in red rescue attire about 10 foot away from the yellow railings. I also responded as a witness to the accident to you on Facebook which you didn’t mention here.
I would say if it’s not climbing related it’s very odd that I saw a single climber on the route that runs to the right of the yellow railings, and a man climbing over the railings towards him.
Edit; I’ve seen about 8-10 jumper aftermaths and the turnout was nothing like what I’ve seen before, was definitely an attempted, unusual/complex rescue of some sort.
There doesn't seem to have been any follow-up in the news so I guess we won't find out.
Yes, I & Dom can't find any follow ups either. Two climbers recorded "DNFs" on Tuesday on GCB, (and I saw a party of two on Saturday spend ages struggling on P1, then retreat completely) (I just can't shake the idea they came back to try to finish the job....) , so we may never know. Do the BMC reports record this sort of thing?
Dom & I climbed from the GC railings yesterday, but there was no sign anywhere of the previous evening's sad events.
It was a suicide and not climbing related. I have this on very good authority.
Thanks Rowan. Super sad in either case, but now we know.....