Southern Sandstone Open Meeting = Sunday 8th October

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 Bob Moulton 25 Sep 2017
This will take place at the bar at Bowles Rocks –from 6 pm to 7:30 pm with a buffet provided by the BMC. The format of these meetings has changed and they now last an hour or so with an update on what’s going on at the various crags followed by a discussion / Q and A session.

This meeting is particularly important as there will be a discussions about access to the Isolated Buttress at Harrison’s Rocks to a 'final’ decision being made the BMC's Harrison's Rocks Management Group (HRMG). This follows two 'trial' years since the step-across to the buttress was demolished. If you have a view then please try and attend the meeting. If, however, you cannot attend, HRMG are still keen to take your view into account, so please submit your thoughts to the HRMG chair – Sarah Cullen - or post your thoughts here.
Sarah Cullen 25 Sep 2017
In reply to Bob Moulton:

Looking forward to this discussion on 8th. Please attend this meeting if you have views on access to the Isolated Buttress.
In reply to Bob Moulton:

"Build a bridge!- Its elitist making people find their own way onto the buttress now the step across has gone"

"Don't build a bridge - People should be able to make their own decisions and risk assessments to decide whether to climb on the Isolated Buttress or not"

"Build a bridge - Harrisons is a unique crag, people don't come here for adventure, its a fun environment and the routes are top roped"

"Don't build a bridge!! - We don't have to provide access for all visitors to all routes, its not "elitist", but not everyone will be able to access the top of the buttress just like some people will never stand on top of the Old Man of Hoy"

What about the cost? What about the public using it? What if someone fell off soloing across while trying to get to the top?

Is the rock currently being damaged by bad practice caused by climbers desperate to climb on the IB, but reverting to lowering off, running ropes through bolts in order to get on / off.

Are the routes suffering less wear caused by lower numbers of climbers?

This is not a simple yes / no arguement. There are lots of factors and we need your input. If you are familiar with climbing at Harrisons and have climbed on the Isolated Buttress in the last 2 years, or wanted to climb on it but felt unable to safely setup your ropes as couldn't get to the top, please give us your feedback.
XXXX 26 Sep 2017
In reply to Bob Moulton:

Hi Bob, it's hard to have a view on the Isolated Buttress without seeing the findings of the trial period. Are these available anywhere?

In reply to XXXX:
I've climbed on it a handful of times during the trial period. I've seen people lower off rather than traverse off each of these times, and 2 different people abseil off. Personally, through ignorance I'm also guilty of setting the Tyrolean handrail up by clipping the bolt (I assumed the slackness would be sufficient to negate the strain on the bolt should someone fall but now realise this is wrong). Previously I'd tied it off the big boulder at top but you could see this was starting to groove the rock when people pulled on the rope. I'll try and attend the meeting but will email these comments over if I can't make it.
Post edited at 08:15
In reply to trythis:

Great feedback - Please do email this over if you can't make the meeting. Thanks!
In reply to Bob Moulton:

BMC summary available


Keep that feedback coming. ..
XXXX 28 Sep 2017
In reply to Sandstone Stickman:

Hi. The summary is great as a reminder but just repeats all the arguments from two years ago.

The trial period was intended to gather information and see what happened.

There's been no accidents so it's clearly not very dangerous. Has there been an increase in lowering? More erosion? Less traffic? Has there been enough rock damage to justify a bridge? Etc.

I don't see how the debate has moved on unless there's some kind of outcome from the trial.
 Bob Moulton 28 Sep 2017
In reply to XXXX:

Hi Irk. On the face of it yours is a very reasonable request, especially as the impact on the rock was the main reason why the trial period was continued for a second year. However, we’ve never been in a position to make an accurate measure of the effect of the trial period, particularly as regards damage to the rock, or of the number of occasions on which the Sandstone Code of Practice has or has not be followed. We have to rely on individuals forming their own impression of what has been happening. We already know, different people are coming to different conclusions, which no doubt will be put forward at the open meeting, by emailing Sarah Cullen and here.
Bob Russell 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Bob Moulton:
After lots of thinking and unthinking I believe the answer is to re-introduce a small element of danger in accessing the top of the block. I propose a NARROW bridge without handrail. English oak 6" thick and a careful 9" wide. Any wider and grandma and the grandchildren will pic-nic on the top. That particular narrowness will deter some but allow easy (but slightly risky) access to others. Any climber feeling a bit unsteady is only one step away from solid ground. A substantial plate well fixed to the landward end would need to say 'CLIMBERS ONLY'. It could be done with an engineer's punch. What else replaces the easy but always slightly risky access that we always had? I suppose some gripper-mesh would need to be attached to it's upper surface to avoid slipperiness. Wooden bridges are not regarded with suspicion at High Rocks and vandalism can occur any where.

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