/ Stuck cam in Stanage

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L Iker 10 Sep 2019

Stanage Popular

Hi,

This Saturday I left a red cam stuck in the Amazon Crack (S 4a) (Mississippi Buttress, Stange) in the point where the crack divides in two. If someone manages to retrieve it, could please contact me?

Thanks!

Post edited at 09:31
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Michael Hood 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

For correct attitude when gear is abandoned see https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/stuck_cam-709853

You are however forgiven because you're a newbie

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Hardonicus 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

Suck it up - swag it is! The only reason to contact you would be to say thanks for the cam...

Post edited at 14:35
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AMorris 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

Welcome to UKC! Membership fee is 1 cam and your self-worth

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Michael Hood 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

In case you're totally new to climbing trad I should explain (there have been many threads in the past about this).

If when out at the crag, you leave an item behind by mistake (e.g. not packing your helmet away), then you have not abandoned the item. Technically, if someone then picks it up and keeps it without making reasonable steps to re-unite the item with its owner, they have committed a theft. In practice, whether you see the item again will depend on many factors, is the finder a nice person or a nasty barstool, do they already have several of said item, etc. Nowadays, with the internet and websites like UKC, the opportunities to re-unite items with their owners are much greater than in the "old days".

If when out at the crag, you abandon an item (e.g. leaving a stuck piece of gear), then if someone gets it they have not stolen the item and it is much more likely to be kept by the finder. It's known as crag swag. Having said that, sometimes people will nicely try and return abandoned gear as well (if you're very lucky).

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Justsomeclimber 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

Seriously? What a pretentious pr*ck you are.

There was no need for that at all.

The guy’s a new trad climber and he asked a fair question politely..

If you don’t like it - then don’t reply! 

Jay

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gravy 10 Sep 2019

I'm not sure that was pretentious but it was a little harsh and rude.

OP - if you leave gear it is a little like leaving litter and it is fair game for the person who cleaned up after you to keep the gear. 

That said, most people will happily return stuff with good grace if they can identify who it belongs. 

Sometimes gear is deliberately left with good reason and this is not fair game - it's important to know the difference.

You'll leave less stuff (esp cams) and climb better and safer if you learn to place it better.

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olddirtydoggy 10 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

Down to personal conscience but I always try to reunite gear back with the owner, regardless of a few pounds of personal cost.

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Deadeye 10 Sep 2019
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Me too. I find the whole idea of gear becoming "swag" pretty unpleasant.  Why not just be nice and try to get it back to its owner?

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dr_botnik 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Iker:

saw someone taking this out today. It took a good half hour of effort with some home made tools and I'm not sure the piece was still safe to use after it had been removed. Apologies if this isn't the answer you hoped for

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zv 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

Hey that's not cool at all. A really nice climber who is new to British trad climbing asked a polite question and you were mean to him in a public forum.  

Post edited at 08:18
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Ciro 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

> In case you're totally new to climbing trad I should explain (there have been many threads in the past about this).

> If when out at the crag, you abandon an item (e.g. leaving a stuck piece of gear), then if someone gets it they have not stolen the item and it is much more likely to be kept by the finder. It's known as crag swag. Having said that, sometimes people will nicely try and return abandoned gear as well (if you're very lucky).

This is a popular misconception on here. You are perfectly within your rights to leave something in a public place with the intent to return and collect it, or indeed the intent to ask someone else to retrieve it for you.

The law requires that reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the legal owner *intended* to abandon their property. If not, it is very much still theft.

What constitutes reasonable steps would be decided in court, and I'm not aware of any case law regarding stuck climbing gear, however I'm quite sure a court would find you guilty if it could be shown that you contributed to this thread and then went out to collect the gear for personal gain for example.

There have been successful prosecutions, for example, for taking property from a skip - although it would seem apparent that the owner had given up their rights when they binned it, they have the right to change their mind before the skip has been taken away so a "reasonable step" would be knocking on the door and asking.

It would seem to me that what is reasonable in law would depend on the gear and location.

Old, rusty gear that has been left in there for some time would be clearly abandoned and should be removed as litter. A wire in a remote mountain crag that doesn't get much traffic is also probably reasonable to assume abandoned.

A shiny new cam in a popular cragging spot was quite likely left behind by mistake, or difficulty retrieving, and a high chance that the owner would intend to return and try again, so it would seem reasonable to post on a popular climbing forum before assuming abandoned. 

TL;DR, if you take gear that someone did not *intend* to permanently abandon, it is theft in UK law.

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Michael Hood 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Ciro:

Thanks for the clarification. The OP didn't show any intent to return or that they'd asked anyone to return on their behalf.

A couple of supplementary questions...

Do you think the OP's general request was sufficient to not consider the gear as abandoned?

If he'd said, my mate's returning on Tuesday to retrieve it. If anyone gets it out in the meantime... then I can see that it wouldn't be abandoned.

In that case, would someone who hadn't been on UKC, or who'd retrieved the gear before the OP was posted, be "guilty" of theft?

Does the fact that there is an established tradition of"crag swag" (let's limit this to single items that are stuck) have any legal relevance?

Obviously the highly impractical way around all this is to leave a waterproof (!!?) note at the bottom of the route stating your intent to retrieve.

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L Iker 11 Sep 2019
In reply to dr_botnik:

Thanks for the information, at least I know that the route hasn't become a "sport" route!

Thanks to everyone for explaining the ethics/rules for stuck gear too!

Post edited at 09:37
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Ciro 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Thanks for the clarification. The OP didn't show any intent to return or that they'd asked anyone to return on their behalf.

It is not a requirement in UK law to show any intent to return to collect your property. It is yours until you confirm you no longer want it. 

> A couple of supplementary questions...

> Do you think the OP's general request was sufficient to not consider the gear as abandoned?

Absolutely. 

> If he'd said, my mate's returning on Tuesday to retrieve it. If anyone gets it out in the meantime... then I can see that it wouldn't be abandoned.

> In that case, would someone who hadn't been on UKC, or who'd retrieved the gear before the OP was posted, be "guilty" of theft?

If they didn't take "reasonable steps" to determine if the owner didn't want it anymore, yes. As I said, the courts would have to decide if reasonable steps were taken. If you're a member of UKC, a quick post asking if anyone lost/left some gear would seem like a reasonable step to me.

> Does the fact that there is an established tradition of"crag swag" (let's limit this to single items that are stuck) have any legal relevance?

None whatsoever. In my youth there was a highly established tradition of "plundering" fruit from people's gardens. The fact that lord of people did it, didn't make it legal.

> Obviously the highly impractical way around all this is to leave a waterproof (!!?) note at the bottom of the route stating your intent to retrieve.

The highly practical way around it is for people to obey the law, and take reasonable steps to determine if the owner wants their gear back before stealing it.

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Luke90 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Ciro:

> This is a popular misconception on here.

"Crag swag" isn't a popular misconception because the people explaining it aren't trying to explain the formal legal situation. They're just describing the prevailing ethic in climbing. You're explaining the legal niceties as though the people talking about "crag swag" think the term exists in legislation.

Clearly, legally, a stuck cam doesn't automatically cease to belong to the owner. Equally clearly, the law is irrelevant because it's never going to come to court.

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Lusk 11 Sep 2019
In reply to Hardonicus:

I always followed the simple rule, if you can't be arsed to recover anything, it's fair game.
The pub was always more attractive than fannying around trying to retrieve a piece of stuck gear.

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Ciro 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Luke90:

> > This is a popular misconception on here.

> "Crag swag" isn't a popular misconception because the people explaining it aren't trying to explain the formal legal situation. They're just describing the prevailing ethic in climbing. You're explaining the legal niceties as though the people talking about "crag swag" think the term exists in legislation.

> Clearly, legally, a stuck cam doesn't automatically cease to belong to the owner. Equally clearly, the law is irrelevant because it's never going to come to court.

I was replying to:

> If when out at the crag, you abandon an item (e.g. leaving a stuck piece of gear), then if someone gets it they have not stolen the item 

It seems to me that a lot of people do believe "crag swag" is not theft (although the clue should be in the name). To the point where several people on this thread have tried to tell the OP that they may no longer lay claim to their property. Forgive me if I'm wrong and they are all just thieving b'stards.

Post edited at 06:34
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GrahamD 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Ciro:

Ying and Yang, innit ? I suspect that by living by crag swag code I've gained as much as I've lost but I haven't spent half my life carrying parcels to the post office.

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NBR 18:13 Fri
In reply to Iker:

Even as a believer in 'crag swag' if I had managed to retrieve it and then saw this post I'd contact them.

No harm in being nice.

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In reply to Ciro:

Any thoughts on when a piece of personal property left (without a notice of intent to abandon) becomes litter? "I was coming back for that cigarette butt next week, your honour...."

And also thoughts on legal situation if you knowingly leave a piece of property in a position that could endanger life (e.g. leaving a cam stuck in a critical placement on a climb)?

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In reply to Ciro:

> What constitutes reasonable steps would be decided in court, and I'm not aware of any case law regarding stuck climbing gear, however I'm quite sure a court would find you guilty if it could be shown that you contributed to this thread and then went out to collect the gear for personal gain for example.

If you contributed to the thread you would know who left the cam and that they wanted it back. 

That's not the same situation as climbing the route, spotting a cam and having no way of knowing who left it.   If there's nobody around obviously looking to retrieve it and it is stuck up a cliff then a court might well decide that it is reasonable to conclude it is abandoned.   Especially since there's a public interest in not leaving bits of climbing gear littering cliffs.

At a pragmatic level lots of judges and lawyers would see this as a 'win some lose some' situation covered by sporting ethics like occasionally losing golf balls and occasionally finding somebody else's lost ball.

> There have been successful prosecutions, for example, for taking property from a skip - although it would seem apparent that the owner had given up their rights when they binned it, they have the right to change their mind before the skip has been taken away so a "reasonable step" would be knocking on the door and asking.

Yes but there's far less uncertainty about the situation with a skip.  It's got a company name on the side, its outside somebody's house and you know it is going to be collected.

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rich_hw 08:12 Sat
In reply to Iker:

Hi Iker,

I and many other climbers mark our gear using ‘tough tags’ (alternatives are available). Each piece is labelled with my name and phone number increasing the odds of being re-united after loss. They have a fairly straight forward websit to produce your own labels at a moderate cost. Has payed for itself many times!

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McHeath 08:48 Sat
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

> And also thoughts on legal situation if you knowingly leave a piece of property in a position that could endanger life (e.g. leaving a cam stuck in a critical placement on a climb)?

If I was in a life threatening position just under the cam I think I'd just clip it

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ebdon 09:06 Sat

Is gear left in routes like this not just littering?

If people subsequently come and retrieve the gear are they not doing you and everyone else a favour by cleaning the route up?

I'm always pretty embarrassed by either my incompetence or laziness if I cant get my own stuck gear out and am grateful when others manage to clear away the evidence of my shame!

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ColdWill 12:04 Sat
In reply to Luke90:

Saying people who retrieve stuck gear are committing theft if they don't make efforts to return it is equivalent to saying people who leave gear in routes are guilty of littering if they dont come back to get it.

Doh, same question above. 

Post edited at 12:07
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SteveSBlake 12:17 Sat
In reply to rich_hw:

I left ToughTagged Grigri at an obscure French crag.... It was found by a visiting German and was back home before me! 

Steve

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Michael Hood 21:51 Sat
In reply to SteveSBlake:

Value is one of the parameters in deciding whether gear has been abandoned or whether the owner is likely to return, etc. So...

An expensive grigri left lying around is obviously mislaid or forgotten rather than abandoned.

Well done on getting it back.

Stuck gear (a single piece) is more likely to be abandoned than mislaid or forgotten.

Non stuck gear is more likely to be incompetent or inexperienced seconds so less likely to be abandoned.

Several pieces of gear would make me think, wonder what's happened here? Unlikely to have been abandoned.

Personally if I retrieved any gear and it was still usable, I'd (and have) post on here. If it was too damaged but looked like it was recent, I'd probably still post on here so that the owner might know what has become of it.

I've never actually retrieved any labelled gear but if I did I'd just get my phone out and call. So easy to do now in the mobile phone age.

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FactorXXX 01:19 Sun
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I've never actually retrieved any labelled gear but if I did I'd just get my phone out and call. So easy to do now in the mobile phone age.

This is a problem to me as I firmly believe in the Win/Loss game of Crag Swag and having name/address, etc. on gear sort of puts a guilt trip on the retriever to return gear regardless of circumstances surrounding its loss and efforts to retrieve it. For example, if I get some gear stuck and I make the decision to leave it to go to the pub, then to me it's lost and no longer mine. 
There is absolutely no way I would expect someone to spend time getting it out and then return it to me.  Why would I when I've been effectively too lazy, etc. to make an effort to get it out? 
I might make my second buy me a pint for being so feckless though...

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r0x0r.wolfo 01:31 Sun
In reply to FactorXXX:

> This is a problem to me as I firmly believe in the Win/Loss game of Crag Swag and having name/address, etc. on gear sort of puts a guilt trip on the retriever to return gear regardless of circumstances surrounding its loss and efforts to retrieve it. For example, if I get some gear stuck and I make the decision to leave it to go to the pub, then to me it's lost and no longer mine. 

> There is absolutely no way I would expect someone to spend time getting it out and then return it to me.  Why would I when I've been effectively too lazy, etc. to make an effort to get it out? 

> I might make my second buy me a pint for being so feckless though...

I put tags on all of my gear. As a believer in abandoned gear being swag, it's certainly not to guilt trip anyone but rather that I never know how something will be lost!

Had I given up getting a stuck nut or cam or something I'd probably just tell them to keep it. If a couple of pints reward is desired then that's fine too mind. 

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FactorXXX 02:48 Sun
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> I put tags on all of my gear. As a believer in abandoned gear being swag, it's certainly not to guilt trip anyone but rather that I never know how something will be lost!
> Had I given up getting a stuck nut or cam or something I'd probably just tell them to keep it. If a couple of pints reward is desired then that's fine too mind. 

Maybe, but there does seem to be a recent trend that people can be as feckless as they like with their gear and expect it to be magically returned on posting on UKC about it.
As for tags, I assume that you would be happy for people to cut them off if the abandoned gear complies to old school ethics?
 

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r0x0r.wolfo 03:12 Sun
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Maybe, but there does seem to be a recent trend that people can be as feckless as they like with their gear and expect it to be magically returned on posting on UKC about it.

> As for tags, I assume that you would be happy for people to cut them off if the abandoned gear complies to old school ethics?

Absolutely. If they are abandoned I thank anyone who removes the litter I have left. If they are lost for some reason then I hope I can then track them down and find out what happened to them. 

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DaveHK 06:47 Sun
In reply to Ciro:

> This is a popular misconception on here. 

> The law requires that reasonable steps are taken to ensure that the legal owner *intended* to abandon their property. If not, it is very much still theft.

Another common misconception is that the law has anything to do with it. Crag swag is a matter for climbing tradition and etiquette.

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DaveHK 06:54 Sun
In reply to thread:

Crag swag is a game, part of the bigger game of climbing. I will continue to play this game regardless of the namby pamby spoilsports who bleat about loss and law. It comforts me that they too will continue to play the game, albeit involuntarily.  

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tjdodd 07:15 Sun
In reply to Iker:

Clearly the OP has learnt a forum lesson.  I think what is missing from the OP (but possibly implied) is the extra wording to the effect of "reward offered".  In reality people will either keep the cam or would return it without the need for a reward but the wording might encourage some of the crag swaggers to do the latter.

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GrahamD 07:26 Sun
In reply to tjdodd:

You make to return it sound like a zero effort activity. Its not. Its wrap it, pack and get to queue up at your nearest post office.  All takes a lot longer than getting the gear out in the first place.

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tjdodd 08:19 Sun
In reply to GrahamD:

Eh?  Where do I imply it is zero effort.  All I am saying is that including "reward offered" in the OP may make people look more favourably on the OP and not descend into berating them.  Whether people actually return the cam will depend on many factors including actual effort to extract the cam, future effort to return it (which could be just meeting up at a crag they are both going to anyway or popping down the road in Sheffield), the individual's ethics/morals and whether the reward is enough incentive (or even needed as an incentive).  There is a pretty good chance that gear lost at Stanage belongs to someone local and the finder is local.

It is interesting that with dropped/lost ice axes the usual rule is to post saying the axe was dropped/lost and that a reward is offered for return. Obviously unlikely to be any effort to extract an axe (it will just be found) but still effort to package and post.  People seem to be happy with such posts.

Perhaps I am just the sort of person who thinks the personal satisfaction gained from returning the item to the owner (even at the expense of my time and money as I would never accept the offered reward) is greater than from having gained some crag swag.

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark."

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peppermill 09:56 Sun
In reply to Iker:

Rest assured you may well be contributing to another newbie's rack. Play the game and all that!

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andyman666999 10:01 Sun
In reply to tjdodd:

Interesting points generally in this thread. I generally believe in the reasonableness of most people and so most cases should have a decent conclusion. 

RE: the theft vs littering scenario, for example there’s a lost nut currently posted :

My partner forgot her nut key resulting in a blue BD nut getting stuck 2/3’rds up clarion on morning slab, had a wiggle on ab but it was stuck good. 

We would appreciate its safe return!

What are the thoughts about this then ?? I think that they personally deserve to lose this - if you don’t carry a nut key don’t do the route. Or expect to lose stuff/need to come back to clear up after yourselves as otherwise it’s littering. Maybe harsh but we are always told to brush tick marks etc off, leave no trace in beauty spots. Discuss 

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NBR 11:30 Sun
In reply to andyman666999:

My thoughts?

The post seems factual, I am  sure that they 'would appreciate its safe return!'.

I would appreciate a magic flying unicorn.

A nut is not a cam. Not sure how much bother I would go to to reunite a nut.

Post edited at 11:33
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jon 11:35 Sun
In reply to andyman666999:

> I think that they personally deserve to lose this - if you don’t carry a nut key don’t do the route. Or expect to lose stuff/need to come back to clear up after yourselves as otherwise it’s littering. Maybe harsh

I'd say harsh, we all forget gear from time to time. I've seen some pretty unpleasant scenes play out over the years regarding stuck gear. I remember one climber reduced to tears when some guy abseiled down in front of him, removed the jammed wire and then refused to give it back, telling him something along the lines 'tough, it's mine now... ' and walked off very pleased with himself. What sort of tw*t do you have to be to do that?

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andyman666999 11:57 Sun
In reply to jon:

I’d agree with you re: that story that’s not good but I would suspect that the rogue in question would probably be an unpleasant human being in other social interactions.  These people are found in all walks of life  

But to me the circumstances seem a little lacking - they’re based in Bristol, it wouldn’t be too difficult to head back, ab in and get it out. Granted if it’s already gone then request it back, but it just seems a little lazy. 

I mean, I wouldn’t head there to just get it out but if I read the post and had removed it I’d feel  conflicted about returning it. Because in my eyes I’m picking up someone else’s litter, which is annoying enough and now there is an ethical/moral debate about what to do with it. 

Post edited at 12:02
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Michael Hood 13:37 Sun
In reply to jon:

> > I think that they personally deserve to lose this - if you don’t carry a nut key don’t do the route. Or expect to lose stuff/need to come back to clear up after yourselves as otherwise it’s littering. Maybe harsh

> I remember one climber reduced to tears when some guy abseiled down in front of him, removed the jammed wire and then refused to give it back, telling him something along the lines 'tough, it's mine now... ' and walked off very pleased with himself. What sort of tw*t do you have to be to do that?

I'd be tying his abseil rope off - tight - before he got to the ground.

Then maybe go round to the top and see whether his abseil anchors were needlessly redundant

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sn 14:25 Mon

Having started climbing well before the internet age, this was a bit of a non-issue - you just had to regard stuck gear as lost, and a 'gift' to anyone who managed through skill or effort to get it out (notwithstanding using a car jack..)

I would use that approach now - though I rarely get stuff stuck.  This approach has the advantage incentivising the original party to develop their gear placing/retrieving skill if nothing else. And it is simple.

However - if I had retrieved something, and happened to come across a post asking for it back, I would of course oblige - not that you're likely to catch me climbing at Stanage if I can help it !

Post edited at 14:37
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Misha 16:37 Mon
In reply to Ciro:

Good points but surely if neither second nor leader can get a piece of gear out at Stanage, it would be fairly clear that they abandoned it due to lack of skill in getting it out? It’s a single pitch crag with generally easy to arrange anchors at the top, so there’s the immediate opportunity to abseil for the gear (again, lack of ability to do so could be an issue). I can’t really see why anyone would leave gear at Stanage with the intention to come back for it later. 

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cwarby 20:48 Mon
In reply to Iker:

I take the view that, irrelevant of the law, I would always try to help. Not so long ago I found a bunch of hexes and a jumper at the bottom of a crag. I posted on UKC and mailed the last few people listed on latest ascents. Got a reply, gear reunited. Felt good. If we cannot help a mate, then it's sad. You may end up climbing with them sometime, it's a small world.

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bonebag 21:26 Mon
In reply to cwarby:

Nicely said matey. Some fairly unpleasant comments from a few on this thread. Makes you wonder why bother being a climber if that's how we are with each other.

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FactorXXX 21:54 Mon
In reply to cwarby:

>  Not so long ago I found a bunch of hexes and a jumper at the bottom of a crag. 

That isn't Crag Swag though and therefore the right thing to do is indeed to try and return it.

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Michael Hood 23:40 Mon
In reply to FactorXXX:

> >  Not so long ago I found a bunch of hexes and a jumper at the bottom of a crag. 

> That isn't Crag Swag though and therefore the right thing to do is indeed to try and return it.


Exactly, clearly not abandoned gear, obviously forgotten/overlooked.

I wonder why you got a dislike for that.

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Dave Cundy 10:03 Tue
In reply to Michael Hood:

I find that on my phone, the buttons are too close together.  I think it's quite possible with fat finger tips, to aim for like but select the dislike.

May be UKC could move them a bit further apart...

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In reply to Dave Cundy:

> I find that on my phone, the buttons are too close together.  I think it's quite possible with fat finger tips, to aim for like but select the dislike.

> May be UKC could move them a bit further apart...

Press the same button again and it will remove it

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In reply to cwarby:

> I take the view that, irrelevant of the law, I would always try to help. Not so long ago I found a bunch of hexes and a jumper at the bottom of a crag. I posted on UKC and mailed the last few people listed on latest ascents. Got a reply, gear reunited. Felt good. If we cannot help a mate, then it's sad. You may end up climbing with them sometime, it's a small world.

But this is exactly what you'd expect as it's not swag.

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In reply to Ciro:

A few years ago at Pembroke I left a wire in Army Dreamers. 2nd couldn't get it out, I nipped down and couldn't get it out either. Went back the next day and it had gone. Very happy someone had cleaned it given the sea cliff location not a thought of getting it back.

Last year on Cloggy my second dropped my brand new Orange Totem off White Slab we could see where it landed and it was still there as we finished the ruote. When we came down to pick it up it had been taken. Rather unimpressed.

Post edited at 10:54
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john arran 11:14 Tue
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

I'm picturing people hacking away with a nut tool at a jumper and a bunch of hexes, cursing the fact they can't get them to budge from the bit of ground they dropped on, then finally giving up, disconsolately packing away the nut tool, saying a final farewell to the jumper and hexes they'll surely never see again.

Brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it ;-)

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