Climbed The Fang yesterday at Gouther Crag, Swindale, I was rather alarmed by the loose block standing at the top of the first pitch...I'm unsure if it has been like this for long as it was 20 years ago when I last did it, but it certainly cause me concern from below and more so when stood at the belay.
IMHO I think it needs trundling off and doubt it would affect the route that much. For those who don't know it, it is used to pull over the last moves before traversing a short distance to the belay.
I have photos if anyone wants to see them...Drop me a message either on Messenger (Cliff Lowther) or on Instagram _roxcool
Please be very careful until this is investigated.
same loose block as https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/the_fang_swindale_-_large_loose_block-735694 ?
Yes in deed it is...I reported it to FRCC last night and Ron got a post out before I noticed it...
Hi Cliff, I think I've sent you an email via your username. Can you send me the pictures and I'll try and have a look in the next few days, my local crag.
With a name like that, you're clearly the man for the job!
(I happened to climb Fang Direct last Friday, but that skirts the suspect block on the right and I never even noticed it).
Climbed the route on Sunday, after pulling up the left side of the block I realised it seemed to be perched there and tentatively moved right. It didn't actually move but I wasn't hanging from it, just moved past carefully. I think it probably needs to be removed
Thanks Cliff and all.
Interesting comments - like many others the block has for many (and that is many) years seemed a bit dodgy.
Been in touch with Rob Dyer at BMC; Penrith MRT and local climbers - unfortunately I am limited in what I can do but hopefully between all we can have a look and decide - has it moved and does it want trundling. If looking to trundle it Rob said he had had a rule of thumb from a geo-expert who said if you can not move it with a 30cm long crowbar then leave it.
I have a photo of George North swinging across it two years ago !!
Cheers Ron, useful guidance. Now where did I put that crowbar!
My mate who does not view UKC says he belayed off it, on Saturday. He is no duck egg, and is a very experienced climber. Obviously now the issue has been raised, it needs looking at, and the block should be treated with caution, but then any block should be treated with caution, as standard procedure.
I have climbed The Fang and Fang Direct many times over the past few years and I do recall that that block always feels a little precarious but in reality it has never moved....yet. It does provide a lovely place to stick some large cams.
I have been to the crag this evening, awful weather! The block is quite large at least 2m long, 1m high and around 0.5m wide. It sits several inches from the main crag wall but seems very sound and solid. I tried to move it, pushed it, shoved it, kicked it, nothing moved, not even a vibration. I'm pretty sure it's exactly as it has been for years. It would take significant leverage to move it. Probably sensible to pass it with caution but it doesn't move when pulled on at all.
Thanks for that - I had a feeling that would be the case ! Would appreciate any other comments from folk. As I recalled it was slightly back from the edge and good cam to move out right below it.
Seems like the 30cm crowbar test would have been passed !
Will it slide off - sound unlikely at the moment but who knows !
Not sure if Cliff has any thoughts !
Will ponder on something appropriate on the BMC RAD.
George North as in the rugby player? That sounds like a good test to me. Very public-spirited of him to make himself available.
Wise to leave well alone. It will only likely move next time a significant earth tremor affects the crag (there have been seven events in the area over the past year and a half).
Doubt it would slide off, to trundle it would take a very large force applied to the top to move it I think. It's about 8 to 10 inches from the main crag and sitting very flat and stable.
Some individuals went up today (Saturday) to check the block. It was found unstable and moved easily to the touch. With a little effort, having secured the area, they were able to manage a controlled fall. The debris was contained close to the crag as the block disintegrated on its impact with rocks at the base of the crag. They cleaned the location of the block to remove small rocks, debris etc and enable safe passage for the next climbers on the route.
Well done guys !! Job dob !
Ron this is excellent news…and happy we have all avoided a potential disaster …will have to go back and do the route again now 😊💪👍