Climbed this route yesterday and the Abseil station is in dire need of replacement. If we had some cord with us we would have replaced it and also the 2 wires, thread & linking 'tat'. Also the peg needs renewing ideally, you can still just see tutankhamun's initials on it through the rust!
If I lived nearby I would sort it out but I don't. I would be happy to supply the wires/refund the cost for anyone willing to put the time into replacing the Ab station because IMHO it is currently in a dangerous state.
Off on a climbing trip this weekend but we haven't decided between the SW and Pembroke yet.
It's a useful reminder. If we're heading anywhere near Sharpnose I'll make sure to chuck some old rope and spare gear in the car just in case.
Maybe put a feedback note on the logbook page? More people are likely to see it there than in a random forum thread.
Well done Mark, the wires were 2x no.3's I think but a slightly bigger size may work. You will also need some smaller cord 5mm ish for the small thread.
We were there 2 weeks ago and thought it was all fine, the cord, whilst discoloured, had no abrasions and the biners were corroded shut were in good shape. Fair play replacing it however.
Agreed the quality of the cord is not the issue but the wires and peg are completely corroded.
Peg size and type, please
Small to medium angle from memory
Well, we did climb it.
Unfortunately, we didn't manage to replace the peg and in the end we only had 6mm cord with us. However, the two rusted wires have been replaced with a new DMM Gold Offset and all of the old tat removed and replaced.
It could still do with more work and ideally upgraded with some thicker rope, but it is less of a mess than it was...
It's always a good idea to carry some sacrificial tat when climbing on the culm cliffs that require abseil decents. However if you don't think the tat on Break on Through is safe and you don't have any replacement, you can traverse the fin and abseil from the steel strop at the top of Lunakhod.
Which has now been backed up with some rope!
It was only a matter of time and we are back to the situation of tat building up. It will be the same with the wire loops at Vicarage. Is it really not time to just replace these things with a couple of discreetly placed bolts?
I know shock horror bolts on the culm, but they would be far far less intrusive than the chain at the top of Lunakhod, the tat and peg at the top of Break on Through and all of the in my opinion unsightly wire loops at Vicarage.
Although would this be any different and the bolts would get backed up with tat in time?
Just my two pennies worth!
There really is no need to back up those strops yet, please whoever is there next chop the tat before it builds up. If you really think the strops are past there sell by date, then they need to be replaced, but the ones at Vicarage looked absolutely fine to me 3 weeks ago. The whole point of placing the steel strops was that the build up of tat was so ugly - see https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=233733 and https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=233730
As far as I'm concerned, bolts are definately a step too far and are completely against the agreed fixed gear policy for the area.
Sadly Mark quite obviously not everyone agrees that the chain doesn't need backing up on lunakhod, i didn't think that the lower off at the top of break on through needing doing and i guess that's the issue. Everyone has a different opinion.
I'm not saying it would be any different with bolts but for some reason people do seem less likely to worry about these.
I'm not sure how leaving two small bolts is any different and in my opinion certainly not as bad as leaving a huge chain or wire stroops which are damaging the rock quite considerably as they move around. Also what is the difference between discussing which peg needs replacing as was happening above to a discreetly placed bolt.
In my opinion the steel stroops and chains need to go they are unsightly and damage the rock. Either put a couple of bolts in or leave it and manage the tat as we have done for years. In your own words you have encouraged people to carry it but you don't want them to use it?
On a slightly different point. I am going to Sharpnose soon for the first time and assumed from the guidebooks that you can walk/scramble to the base of the fins 3 hours either side of low tide. I presume people ab in when the tide is too high to the allow the former approach or just because it's quicker?
> In my opinion the steel stroops and chains need to go they are unsightly and damage the rock. Either put a couple of bolts in or leave it and manage the tat as we have done for years. In your own words you have encouraged people to carry it but you don't want them to use it?
At the moment we've only put the strops / chains on the very popular crags - i.e. Vicarage (4 strops) and Lunakhod (1 chain). The only other place under consideration is the top of Fay, if it is feasable, and possibly the top of break on through. All of these were discussed and agreed upon at BMC SW area meetings prior to them being placed. As you know there are many more less frequented crags on the Culm that are problematic to get off, often with fixed lower-offs which it is often neccessary to replace - hence the need to carry sacraficial tat.
Bolts are an entirely different issue. We have an agreed policy of no drilled placements on the Culm. I wrote the policy after wide ranging discussions here on UKC and in SW area meetings. It was widely circulated before it was agreed unanimously at a SW area meeting about 8 years ago. Any plan to place bolts should be raised at an area meeting and agreed before they are placed. I'm fairly certain this would not be successful and I for one would speak strongly against it!
You can walk / scramble in to the fins from about half tide, sometimes when the sea is particularly rough you may need to wait a little longer. Abseiling down Out of the Blue gives a much longer climbing time on the south face of the north fin - Out of the Blue itself is then climbable almost to high tide.
Thanks for the info.
Can i ask why are you happy with the chain and stroops being left in place but so fiercely anti bolts? Just really interested, i find it interesting that the meer mention of bolts brings such negativity.
As i have said i would rather see the chains and stroops gone they are damaging the rock and are getting backed up by tat so we may as well just have the tat if it's going to be there anyway.
I'm not saying bolts should be placed just that the stroops and chain are far more intrusive and damaging.
> I'm not saying bolts should be placed just that the stroops and chain are far more intrusive and damaging.
Many people feel that a line has been crossed when placing bolts because it is no longer exploiting the natural features of the rock. This general principle is felt to outweigh the possible greater visual intrusiveness of tat or a stroop.
Thanks for that, an understandable point of view.
The stroops really do need to go as the steel wire damages the rock considerably. The chain far less.
However it was the backing up of these with tat that began this conversation so should the steel or the new tat be removed or neither?
> The stroops really do need to go as the steel wire damages the rock considerably. The chain far less.
Not sure were this damaging the rock opinion comes from. The steel is plastic coated.
Exactly! Using the metal cable and chain just as god created it! so we can climb on our all natural ropes using naturally derived cams and nuts slung with eco materials....
Its a made up game by made up rules. There is no more to it than people have to draw the line somewhere. Personally damaging the rock with cable rubbing/ rusting and looking gross is worse than a couple of bolts.... but that's my line!
Basically - Robert Durran's view on bolts - thin end of the wedge etc. We placed the strops because the excessive build up of ab tat was unsightly, my view is that the strops and chain are safe and that the other tat should be removed (obviously make a thorough inspection of the strops and chain first).
The chains are in my opinion less visible than the previous tat. We removed a 60 litre dry bag full of tat from Vicarage Cliff, some of the krabs were split down the back bar.
Thanks for highlighting. It meant we came prepared with tat and a knife. We only had 6mm tat but it’s better than what was there before. A new peg would be useful - small to medium angle (tried to place a no 5 wire but it didn’t sit very well). There’s also a good no 5 wire available at ledge level - we didn’t bother adding it but may be helpful to weave this in.
Regarding bolts - they would be tidier but they will rust and are bolts any good in culm anyway (Sharpnose rock is relatively hard but I suspect not as good as limestone)? Whereas tat or a chain can be replaced as and when required.
> The steel is plastic coated.
That's not a sensible thing to do for fixed gear, let alone on a seacliff. The plastic traps moisture inside which then rots the cable where you can't see it.
This is what was recommended at the time, the steel cable is stainless as are the maylons and the chain on Lunakhod, the plastic is transparent so you can see what is happening inside.
It still doesn't answer the question of how we move forward.
Clearly someone feels the chain needs replacing or they wouldn't have left the tat there so do we replace the chain and not have any tat for a period of time. Mark when was the chain put in place?
If we remove the tat and leave the chain then the next person may feel it needs replacing and back it up with tat so we are back where we started and may as well just have the tat!
People are obviously not in favour of the bolting option so as I see it we either replace the chain with a new one or with a new peice of rope?
bolts are very good in culm they have been in place far longer than the chain at sharpnose and are still looking like new!
Very inconspicuous and in my opinion a good few routes on the coast would be better for having them in place at a lower off especially routes with horrendously dangerous tops or those that constantly collect tat!
> Clearly someone feels the chain needs replacing or they wouldn't have left the tat there so do we replace the chain and not have any tat for a period of time. Mark when was the chain put in place?
Just because 'somebody' feels like the chain needs backing up does not mean it does - people do all sorts of werid things when building anchors. I was there 3 weeks ago and the chain looked completely fine.
The only advantage a bolt has over a chain is that it is less visible. Bolts still need replacing in marine environments and they clearly damage the rock, more importantly Uk culm cliffs seem to have a bolt free ethic, like gritstone and most mountain crags.
Like all things in climbing, one needs to make a personal judgement. I was completely happy to trust my life to a shiny metal chain around a solid block but someone else wanted their bit of rope to back it up. If someone wants to place a bolt when they lower off there is little anyone can do to stop them but they shouldn't expect the climbing community to leave it in place and thank them.
> bolts are very good in culm they have been in place far longer than the chain at sharpnose and are still looking like new!
I only know of 3 in situ bolts (staples) on one route on the Culm. How long they'll last once a local GP gets a copy of the new guide remains to be seen... (Not counting the chopped ones at Menachurch.)
Any new ones placed are very likely to get chopped quickly.
I'm not sure any new bolts would get chopped that quickly Mark the ones that are there now have been in for years as you well know.
So the concensus is leave everything as is. Theres no point in taking the tat down as it will get replaced by someone else using there judgement soon anyway.
I think the reason the bolts have stayed is that certain people are unaware of them. I'm putting the route in the guide with the coment - bolts placed before the no drilled gear agreement. Personally, I'm happy to leave them there (the rock is fairly insignificant), but would not want to see any new stuff placed.
> So the concensus is leave everything as is. Theres no point in taking the tat down as it will get replaced by someone else using there judgement soon anyway.
Tat always accumulates as people decide they don't want to trust their lives to bits of old rope that they cannot account for - that doesn't mean it shouldn't get cut down and disposed of every now and again with the person doing it leaving their bit of tat so they can get back down - it just means the cycle has been reset.
Yes thats my point so should the chain be removed as it is clearly not trusted by some?
Should it be removed and replaced by a new peice of tat and the cycle begins again!
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