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How many people are out climbing now?

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One week into the 'unlock', I thought it would be interesting to do a straw poll to see how many people have actually been out climbing in England since BoJo's 'stay alert' speech on Sunday 10th.

To avoid distorting the (entirely unscientific) stats, please only vote if you live in England. Commiserations to our friends living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - hopefully things will open up for you soon.

Like = I've been out between Monday 11th and Sunday 18th (inclusive)

Dislike = I've not been out between Monday 11th and Sunday 18th (inclusive)

Being specific with the dates as I might run the poll again in the coming weeks.

Personally, I've not been out climbing yet but intend to over the Bank Holiday weekend - thinking of some suitable venues!

Post edited at 00:04
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 Mr Lopez 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Personally, I've not been out climbing yet but intend to over the Bank Holiday weekend - thinking of some suitable venues!

Portland should be nice and quiet and with the aggro locals you can claim E grades for the sport routes according to how exposed they are to the lynching, so for example a 7a at Blacknor would get you "E5 f7a" in 'Portland grades ©', whereas a 7a at the MOD cliffs will only get you "HVS f7a(P)"

Post edited at 00:19
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In reply to Mr Lopez:

Ha, well I won't be visiting Portland for a while, not least because it's way too far for a day trip from Birmingham, even if the roads are quieter than usual.

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 Andy Moles 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Commiserations to our friends living in Wales

It could be worse.

https://thebmc.co.uk/can-i-go-climbing-and-hill-walking-in-wales

Edit: if that's a bit TL;DR, the juice is this:

"The BMC believes that if you are able to access a mountain or hill area directly from your home and that if that area is not within the closed areas of national parks, then there should not be any issues with the activity of hill-walking or low-risk climbing activites and that such individual activity falls within the guidance. Having said that, the regulations in Wales surrounding social distancing are more stringent, and excercise can only  be undertaken alone or with a member of your household. You cannot meet up with another person outside of your home for excercise in Wales and the 2m social distancing regulation is legally enforcable. Gatherings of more than two people are illegal and groups of climbers or boulderers at a climbing venue would attract attention and could involve police action."

Post edited at 06:43
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 Blue Straggler 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

Not terribly scientific, Misha! There could be lots and lots of reasons that people who a) would like to go climbing and b) could actually do so, within guideline, have not been out in since May 11th! Should they "dislike"?! 

I am sure you know this, just as well as you know that inviting people to use the Like and Dislike buttons as a polling device, is unscientific  

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In reply to Misha:

No not yet - all I can say is that there must be an awful lot of multi-climber households out there...;)

Might go for some easy solos or shunting at a local crag.

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In reply to Misha:

To add even less scientific information to your 'data': the Swanage sport crags over the past 5 days were, at most, medium busy. Fewer people than you'd expect during such good weather on a normal weekend. So I'd say a lot of people are still staying away.

Which was great for us! I got to climb loads of good lines on the Quarryman Wall maintaining easy social distancing!

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In reply to Misha:

I’m torturing myself and holding out until June when a few more venues/ car parks open up and hopefully it’s ok to see family and friends.

I have definitely felt a pang of envy for those out at the moment, but for me personally it doesn’t feel quite right yet for a multitude of reasons. That said, I’m psyched for all those getting out; maybe you can clean up some of those dirty routes for me and clear out any creepy crawleys

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In reply to planetmarshall:

I've ticked yes because I went for shunt!

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In reply to Misha:

I haven't been out climbing yet but am probably doing so this afternoon. I did though ride 111 kms, predominantly off-road, on Saturday to celebrate out unlimited exercise liberty - of which I'm far more proud than any serious cyclist will think I should be.  

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 NikBoyd 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I haven't been out yet - hoping to get away for a day next week. Does anyone know if things are much busier at weekends? If so, I can wait until a week day. I'm lucky enough to live with my (long suffering) climbing partner but still only planning on some easy boulders and maybe rigging some top ropes for now.

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 Martin Bennett 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

> Like = I've been out between Monday 11th and Sunday 18th (inclusive)

> Dislike = I've not been out between Monday 11th and Sunday 18th (inclusive)

> Being specific with the dates as I might run the poll again in the coming weeks.

I voted dislike to add to your data having been out but not climbing.

It's also given me the chance to nitpick in my accustomed fashion because I couldn't help smiling at your "Being specific with the dates" when you'd got 'em wrong - Sunday (yesterday) was the 17th. All day. Just a typo I know but amusing nonetheless. 

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 Albion 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

'Sacrifice yourself- ignore the virus-save Tory wealth'

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

The buttons are all I have available unfortunately, if I could have posed several questions, I would have done.

However, for all its limitations, a yes/no question based on what people have actually done (as opposed to what they think or could have done) has the advantages of simplicity and objectivity.

As you say, there will be people who vote ‘no’ because they couldn’t or didn’t want to get out yet but who don’t have an issue with it in principle, as well as those who think it’s not ‘ok’ to go climbing. However over time the ‘nos’ will become mostly comprised of those who think it’s not ‘ok’.

The main reason it’s not very scientific is that UKC users aren’t necessarily representative of the entire climbing population.

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In reply to Bulls Crack:

I should have specified that and form of ropes climbing or bouldering counts. 

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In reply to Martin Bennett:

Good spot, that’s because I was posting after midnight and just looked at the date on the screen!

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In reply to Misha:

I've been out twice from Birmingham.

On Friday I was the only climber at Nesscliffe, Red Square as lovely as ever.

Yesterday I made a first visit to Dukes Quarry. Friends were there on Saturday and climbed Great Crack, but on Sunday I was the only one there. I cleaned Destroying Angel; the crack is perfect and ready for leading (E2 5c imho), but I didn't clean the topout. This is horrible, and a pre-placed rope or sling would be advisable.

After all the dry weather, Dukes is as good as it will ever be. No midges anywhere. Give it a try, and relieve the pressure on the honeypot gritstone crags....

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In reply to Misha:

I've been out 4 times since Wednesday 13th and had the crag to ourselves each time 

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 DoctorYoghourt 18 May 2020
In reply to Andy Hemsted:

Your work was noted less than an hour ago.  Duke's Quarry is my local crag.  Literally five minutes walk away.  I got back just now having been poking around there for an hour or so deciding what to clean tomorrow.

We went for a walk over Birchen Edge this afternoon. Saw two pairs of climbers, but a lot of chalk from the weekend.  44 years a climber, and it's only today that I can say that I've seen somebody belaying at the top of a crag whilst wearing a facemask. Strange times.

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 OG 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I haven’t but I wish I could... don’t live with climbers though and don’t have a car so it’s rather tricky for the time being. Suspect many others are in one or both of these boats too!

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In reply to Andy Hemsted:

> On Friday I was the only climber at Nesscliffe, Red Square as lovely as ever.

No you weren't! 

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 JHiley 18 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

Not yet. I don't have any climbers in my household. Most of my concerns about the lockdown have been addressed i.e. we can now meet friends at a distance but personally it seems a bit sketchy as to whether this really allows climbing (for me) other than maybe soloing or solo bouldering which I rarely do. Obviously if they keep opening things up without relaxing the 2 m rule there'll come a point when it just becomes too daft. Maybe that's true already but I'm not there yet.

It isn't the set of rules I'd have liked but it does stop me worrying about it being so damaging for mental health (for now). Climbing was always a secondary concern for me and I can wait a few more weeks.

On the plus side I now have two 3.6 m high cracks (hands and fingers) in my garden and I'd never have built them without the lockdown. Maybe there'll be an offwidth to follow.

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In reply to Misha:

As far as I know we in N.Ireland are allowed to go climbing now, but typically the weather has turned crap.The rules regarding travel to climb are not very clear but I might go out shunting on Wednesday

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In reply to DoctorYoghourt:

>   I got back just now having been poking around there for an hour or so deciding what to clean tomorrow.

If you clean anything else easy-ish let us know here! I did Great Crack back in 2018 in the super-hot summer, but even then nothing else looked too enticing beyond that line. But it's an interesting place and not too far for me.

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In reply to Andy Hemsted:

I cleaned and climbed Destroying Angel in 2015 - I guess it hasnt had too much attention since. Did Great Crack on Saturday and nipped up the road to climb the equally brill Thunderstruck (no others climbing at either quarry but some people camping in Robin Hood quarry 3)

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In reply to Misha:

243 yes vs 144 no. That’s a 60-40 split. A majority but not exactly overwhelming, given that this is a climbing forum after all.

Wonder if it will be more like 70-30 after the bank holiday weekend - I’ll run another poll then.

Thanks everyone for the votes and comments and keep the votes coming - the more we get, the less inaccurate my unscientific poll will be!

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 Michael Gordon 19 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I must say I'm surprised so many have been both able to get out and have decided they're able to keep to social distancing rules (or have decided to ignore them). I suspect a fair number of your likes and dislikes have just been from those who are making a general comment on getting out in general.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

I don’t know but hopefully people are using the button to actually vote, not to make a general point. I am not surprised by the result. There are a lot of people living in climbing households (partners and flat shares) and a fair few people who will take the view that SD is perfectly possible on single pitch.

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 Michael Gordon 20 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I'm more surprised that c60% of England dwelling folk on UKC apparently went climbing in the last week! My general hypothesis tends to be that the more you're able to get out, the less time you're on UKC (you as in people in general). Considering that most Englanders would have had to go back to work on wednesday, it seems a great weekend was had by many. 

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 Sean Kelly 20 May 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I climbed on the Monday to avoid the crowds!

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 Blue Straggler 20 May 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I'm more surprised that c60% of England dwelling folk on UKC apparently went climbing in the last week!

A nebulous (given that a greater proportion of those of who looked at this but haven't climbed, probably also didn't vote) 60% of people who chose to click on a thread in the Rocktalk forum called "How many people are out climbing now" and chose to vote!

Post edited at 14:17
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 Arms Cliff 20 May 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I'm more surprised that c60% of England dwelling folk on UKC apparently went climbing in the last week! My general hypothesis tends to be that the more you're able to get out, the less time you're on UKC (you as in people in general). Considering that most Englanders would have had to go back to work on wednesday, it seems a great weekend was had by many. 

It’s quite light after work too at the moment

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In reply to Arms Cliff:

I've climbed locally after work at Pex Hill and at Frogsmouth; both venues felt much busier than I would normally expect. Frogsmouth having over 20 people there and quite hard to stay a couple of routes apart from each pair. It's easier to stay apart at Pex, but still pretty busy when I have been down there over the past week. A fair few were climbers who said that they hadn't done much outside before, presumably the lack of climbing walls encouraging them to try outdoors.

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 Michael Gordon 20 May 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> A nebulous (given that a greater proportion of those of who looked at this but haven't climbed, probably also didn't vote) 60% of people who chose to click on a thread in the Rocktalk forum called "How many people are out climbing now" and chose to vote!

Yes, hence my word "apparently"

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 Arms Cliff 20 May 2020
In reply to Ben Farley:

> A fair few were climbers who said that they hadn't done much outside before, presumably the lack of climbing walls encouraging them to try outdoors.

I was wondering if there was going to be this effect, and I’ve heard a few reports of very shiny mats and bewildered looking people with new guidebooks at a few venues now. It makes sense that the walls being shut along with this good weather would act as catalysts for getting wall climbers outside. 

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 mrphilipoldham 20 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

7 climbers and umpteen walkers/families out at  Blackstone Edge today. Two pairs, one mixed and one both female and three single males. Lancashire doing it for equality, nearly!  

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

I saw  some stats from our economist at work which said roughly one third are going to work, one third working from home and one third furloughed or unemployed. Then you have retired people. Besides, even if someone is physically going to work, they can get out climbing on their days off or in the evenings if they’re lucky.

UKC users are generally keen climbers, so the proportion of the overall climbing population who got out could be lower (in my local climbing club there are 15-20 active climbers but only two of them got out last week as far as I know). Also not sure that getting out climbing once or twice a week means you’re significantly less likely to see a UKC post and I’m only asking people to vote (a separate indicator may be a reduction in the number of posts on the site - perhaps Alan and team could do some stats on that further down the line). So I’m not surprised that 60% of UKC users who saw the post had been out. 

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

> (given that a greater proportion of those of who looked at this but haven't climbed, probably also didn't vote)

What makes you think that?

I’m not claiming this is a scientific poll bit with almost 500 responses I think it’s fair to say that a significant proportion of regular climbers did get out. It might not be 60% but it’s not going to be 6% either.

It could be closer to 6% of what I would call active but not regular climbers, i.e. including those who on average climb a few times a year as opposed to a few times a month in the summer months. 

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 Michael Gordon 21 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I understand your reasoning, but, in short, there's no real reason why the poll would be anywhere near accurate. The true stats could be just as easily 60/40 the other way. The methodology of data is too flawed. I'm not saying it's not of interest.

Re: site traffic, you only have to consider the big drop at weekends compared to during the week (in normal times), this being accentuated further if the weather is good at weekends and less of a difference if its shit. This leads me to speculate that when folk are able to get out climbing they tend to be less often on UKC. Consider your own posting pattern in lockdown vs normal times. 

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 FallingBrick 21 May 2020

We were out on Burbage North yesterday - Ash Tree Wall and Knights Move.  The paths were busy, as were the car parks, but the crag was pretty deserted. We saw 1 other team.  We talked about it and decided, in the interest of being responsible, to rig up anchors at the top of most routes to reduce the risk right down.  This also meant I could have a go at pushing my grade a bit more - shoulders are sore today! 

My wife climbs - if you don't have another climber in your household I think it's still not possible to go out - unless you want to self belay .

I hope those people new to the outdoors can be safe in this time when we have no instruction available?

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 Offwidth 21 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I agree it won't be 6% I'd be amazed if 500 votes was 1%.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yes but people can still catch up on other days of the week when they aren’t climbing. But I agree that some people won’t have time if they’ve been out.

It could indeed be 60/40 the other way but it’s unlikely to be 90/10 and certainly not 99/1. Unless you include occasional climbers (who don’t tend to go on UKC or at least not as often), in which case it may well be more like 90/10. 

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 Michael Gordon 22 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

I meant that even for regular UKC users it could be 60/40 the other way, or 30/70, or 70/30 etc as the poll results can't be trusted. I wasn't speculating on the representation of English climbers in general, for obvious reasons.  

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

If looking at regular UKC users only, I wouldn't claim it's bang on but I would be surprised if it's more than about 10% out. With 500 responses, that's going to be a sizeable proportion of the regular users - probably at least 10% (depends what's meant by regular user I suppose). Now I'm not a statistician but I reckon if you get a 10% sample of a given population, that's going to give you meaningful results. But I'll grant you that it could conceivably be 40/60. Much beyond that seems unlikely given how many votes there have been. It's certainly not going to be 10/90.

I'll run another poll after this weekend, with a better thread title. My prediction is that it will be 70/30. Of course it might not be the same people voting but again as long as lots of votes come in it should be possible to get an idea of how the numbers compare week on week.

At the end of the day, this is just a bit of fun.

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 Michael Gordon 23 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

It's not the number of responders that's the problem but the method used to gather the data. Not a criticism. I agree that comparing week on week numbers could be more useful/interesting.

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 stp 23 May 2020
In reply to Misha:

The thing to do, from what I've seen, is a kind of safety in numbers thing. We need to all go to the most popular crags at the same time, and ignore all the others.

I've passed Horseshoe Quarry several times and the car park has been packed with cars. Meanwhile the other quarries, just a few minutes away, have been almost or completely empty.

I have to say I struggle to understand people sometimes.

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