/ Redeveloping a crag

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Baron Weasel 19 Mar 2020

I've got a crag near me that was popular in the 60s but has since been reclaimed by the mountain side. Apparently it was a really good crag and even has a Joe Brown route on it!

A few of us have been talking about cleaning it up and trying some of the routes again.

Who here has cleaned up/developed a crag and what tips would you give? I've not looked too closely yet, but I think it's fairly well overgrown so I'm thinking abseil with a range of different brushes would be best? 

Report
Red Rover 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Speak to Martin Kocais I think he's on here somewhere. He has done his fair share of cleaning up forgotten crags. 

Report
bpmclimb 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

As you probably know, but bears repeating ....

Climbers have to be very careful and discerning when removing vegetation, seemingly insignificant plants can represent rare or endangered species. Also, this time of year isn't great for removing or disturbing any denser patches, as many birds have started their nest-building.

A few other thoughts ....

Be really careful not to accidentally cut your abseil rope if using knives, secateurs, etc. (consider attaching to two ropes with two devices if that's an option); also be really careful about dislodging rock above you as you bounce around on abseil (and wear a helmet, of course).

Report
Donotello 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I do a fair bit each year. Love a good garden.

Use an old rope I learnt the hard way knocking off chunks and seeing them land all over the rail of my sport rope.  
 

A handy item is the grivel ice axe leash to attach all your tools to. I generally take a decent nut key, a wire brush, normal brush, a small rock hammer (mostly new routes existing 

Report
Baron Weasel 19 Mar 2020
In reply to bpmclimb:

Thanks, great advice! I'll check for nesting and rare plants before proceeding and I'll use 2 ropes, but probably both on an alpine up. 

Report
Donotello 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I do a fair bit each year. Love a good garden.

Use an old rope I learnt the hard way knocking off chunks and seeing them land all over the rail of my sport rope.  
 

A handy item is the grivel ice axe leash cheap from go outdoors to attach all your tools to. I generally take a decent nut key, a wire brush, normal brush, a small rock hammer test suspect bits of rock, some music (have spent 3 hours on a route) 

Also consider why they may not have been climbed since original ascents. If they’re hard sketchy trad that no ones touched in decades but could make a legit sport route then consider discussing this with locals. It’s a shame when whole walls are off limits because some nutter in 1989 was mad enough to lead them on one micro wire and got to claim the route. 

Report
Baron Weasel 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Donotello:

I have access to lots of static rope so I can use 'new' rope (we replace unused ropes in rescue kits when they are 10 years old).

I don't think bolts would go down well, but I won't rule it out until I've had a proper look. It was likened to the east buttress of scafell apparently so we're quite intrigued. 

Report
Pekkie 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

What kind of rock is it? Softer rock such as sandstone can be damaged by wire brushing and over zealous scraping while harder rock such as igneous/volcanic can better stand rough treatment.

Report
misterb 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Pekkie:

As others have said be careful with everything you do regarding being sympathetic to wildlife and locals ( not climbers) as you don't want access to be banned

Getting a good idea of the nature of the old routes is a neccessary so posting on here for route info is sensible

Good on you for doing this ,if we all got out and cleaned one old neglected route off and updated condition and route description on here it would encourage people to actually do these routes and keep them cleaner from year to year

Report
steveriley 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Pekkie:

Fair point, and there's a nuance even with nylon brushes on softer rock. I've been guilty of brushing stuff in the past on the wrong day, with the wrong brush. If in doubt don't

Report
Baron Weasel 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Pekkie:

> What kind of rock is it? Softer rock such as sandstone can be damaged by wire brushing and over zealous scraping while harder rock such as igneous/volcanic can better stand rough treatment.

It's bullet hard volcanic rock! 

Report
Rick Graham 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> It's bullet hard volcanic rock! 

From all the clues this looks likely to be Rainsborrow Crag in Kentmere.

It may be bullet hard rock but it is quite slatey and  loosely bonded in varying sized shards.

I went once in 1973, the resulting new route did not even make it into the frcc archive .

Said archive has the 1969 guide as information, which even though written by one of the principal activists , hardly encouraged a visit.

Fwiw , I have just tabulated my hit list of routes and projects for this summer , covid permitting. It never entered my head to include a trip to rainsborrow, this year or any since 73 for that matter.

There are a lot of very good routes elsewhere in Cumbria  that could do with a bit of tlc.

Probably better to practice your crag sprucing skills there first.

Report
Baron Weasel 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Rick Graham:

Yep it's Rainsborrow crag. It's easy cycling distance from home so going to check it out at the very least. 

Report
Eric9Points 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Static rope is good.

An old ice axe is a good gardening tool.

Don't be over enthusiastic about cleaning. You don't need to clean stuff that won't get used.

Same about suspect rock. There's a fine balance between removing loose holds and prising off stuff that would actually last for ever.

Report
overdrawnboy 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

There is a excellent article in either a FRCC or CC journal entitled "The Battle for Rainsborrow" worth seeking out, might have been by Ian "Sherpa" Roper if my memory is correct (less than likely).

Report
Rick Graham 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Fair enough , have a look.

The easiest route to clean might be the top pitch or two of the Groan. 

JB always had the knack of getting the king line of a crag.

Report
Trevor Langhorne 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Rainsborrow is a traditional peregrine nest site, it isn't on the restriction list, in part because the crag has been reclaimed by nature. There may not be any birds present but keep your ears and eyes open, you will know if they are in residence. If they have set up home please notify Rob Dyer at BMC and FRCC via their website, this will allow the restriction access details to be updated.

Think carefully before re-cleaning routes that returned to nature for good reasons!

Report
In reply to Rick Graham:

Pete Whillance and I spent some time cleaning up the big quarry at the foot of Rainsborrow about 15 years ago, then decided it was too loose to bother with any more. Like you say - shards of rock constantly coming off. 

I'd let Rainsborrow continue to grow into the hillside.

Report
Monkeysee 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Just remember damp rock is soft rock 😉

Wire brushes will destroy sandstone  

Report
JDal 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Beware if the crag has become vegetated it could be because of nitrate pollution, either airborne or runoff, combined with warming and the reduction of acid rain. So you end up with a never ending clean-up. This has happened on Crag Lough in Northumberland. 

Report
Lankyman 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

> Pete Whillance and I spent some time cleaning up the big quarry at the foot of Rainsborrow about 15 years ago, then decided it was too loose to bother with

The big cave there is pretty impressive. Did you look at the quarries further up the dale above the outdoor centre and across the other side of the river? I've wandered into them a few times and thought a few bolts might be useful.

Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.