/ Stiles, Gates, Handrails, Holds...

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howlingbaboon 23 Mar 2020

I was passing through Malham village a few days ago. I saw that the whole place was rammed, parking full, clearly tons of people on the paths up and around the cove. Seeing all this I decided to stay in my van and drive up the steep road toward Malham Tarn. I parked up at the top of the hill where the path linking the shortest malham/gordale circular walk crosses over the road to eat my lunch. As I sat there (in my van), during the 20 mins or so was there I counted nearly 100 people cross the road using both stiles (a double ladder and a kissing gate). I saw 8 dogs, pushed, shoved and dragged over too with varying degrees of cooperation. Lots of kids too. Didn't see any gloves or sanitiser but did see a lot of face touching. It really got me thinking: From how far and wide have people traveled to see these famous natural wonders? Through touching all the stiles, gates, rails etc, how much germ sharing is taking place? All healthy people thinking they doing a responsible thing taking themselves and families to exercise in such an iconic spot. Same thing must be happening up and down the country.

I've seen a few articles about how long viruses can survive on various surfaces. The given times do seem to vary but all of them are considerably longer than the time between groups of passing walkers and so quite clearly a risky issue. So this has now got me wondering about our holds. Do we know how long it can survive on various rock surfaces? I read that viruses can live over 28days in colder conditions. So, worst case, imagine an undercut hold or crack, sheltered from rain and the sterilizing UV of the sun. Is there a risk there?

Chalk might tell you if a route has been climbed fairly recently. UKC logbook might tell you exactly when it was last climbed but only if it was logged. The typical popularity of the crag can give an impression, but then maybe there's now more folks in the more esoteric spots. Obviously erring on the side of caution and avoiding all these things is the most sensible approach but until we are forced not to, some will continue. Does anyone else share my concerns? Thoughts?

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howlingbaboon 23 Mar 2020
In reply to howlingbaboon:

EDIT - UKC logs won't tell you if anyone climbed a route after today (23.03.20) as they are being suspended. 

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profitofdoom 24 Mar 2020
In reply to howlingbaboon:

> ..........I counted nearly 100 people cross the road using both stiles (a double ladder and a kissing gate).... Through touching all the stiles, gates, rails etc, how much germ sharing is taking place?........... Does anyone else share my concerns? Thoughts?

A good post/thread, and timely, thanks. I think your experience underlines the incredible stupidity of the droves of people going to Snowdonia and elsewhere and saying / thinking "Ooooh I'm out in the open air 2 metres away from anyone so I'm not doing any harm". They're not thinking straight

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