UKC

/ Avon Gorge Accident 2/2/18

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badgerjockey - on 03 Feb 2018

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/huge-rescue-operation-launched-after-1157410

Another sad incident at the Gorge today, my heart goes out to the climbing partner, friends and family. 

Does anyone know whether this was a loose rock situation? It being so soon following the winter freezes does beg the question.  

From the photos alone this appears to be at the left of Main Wall, around the Corpse (argh) area. 

It goes without saying that the Gorge can be a dangerous place to climb but there does seem to be an inordinate number of bad or even fatal incidents in recent years. Perhaps those with longer memories can shed more light on this?

 

17
PaulJepson - on 03 Feb 2018

Sad news indeed.

Both the BBC and Bristol Post say "a stretch of cliff face that is a recognised climbing route, with climbing holds fixed to the rock." Wut. Do they mean it was bolted?

3
James Mann - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

 This is terrible, tragic news. Can people try and be very considered when posting comments here. There have been recent occasions when the press have been less than scrupulous about trawling UKClimbing and climbing facebook groups  to try and gain information for stories about accidents in the gorge. Any idle speculation of cause has no positive effect and could indeed prove enormously upsetting to those involved in the accident or who have lost loved ones. The police took statements from those involved in the accident and the details of those who assisted before the emergency services arrived at the scene. This information will be used by the coroner who will determine a cause of death based on a range of evidence. 

James Mann (SW area chair - British Mountaineering Council)

Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to PaulJepson:

Yes, it's sad that the Beeb can't get the basic facts of climbing right, and doesn't appear to understand that holds are natural rock features.

badgerjockey - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to James Mann:

I had no idea the press gleaned information from UKC forums, but then again I guess it should come as no surprise. 

I had hoped that something positive and useful to the climbing community could emerge from an understanding of the circumstances of this tragedy, but if as you suggest the only way this can come to light is via a coroner’s report then I suppose we should wait for that. My hunch is that local climbers would prefer useful climbing safety advice (potentially avoiding further accidents in the interim) given to them by climbing community rather than the council or other authorities, however. I could be very wrong. Whether ukc is the right channel is another question, though...

I realise this is an incredibly sensitive issue (9 dislikes), however we are a community who has a unique asset in the gorge and we need to look out for each other. 

Post edited at 08:56
3
PaulJepson - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

I think whilst there is obvious care that needs to be taken with discussion and speculation, there is definitely a need for the facts about any kind of climbing accident to be made public. You learn best from mistakes that you or others make and I don't think things should be kept under wraps until someone else has to learn the hard way.

That being said, the information should only come from people who were there or are qualified to divulge such information. Wild speculation doesn't help anyone really. 

If it was a failure of rock, an anchor, a peg, etc. on a particular line then people need to know about that for their own safety. 

3
James Mann - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to PaulJepson:

Paul,

I don’t actually fundamentally disagree with you in sentiment and we as a local BMC area are at present working on a number of projects to both learn from incidents and also to encourage climbers to examine their own practice and decision making processes. However, One day after the death of a climber in a tragic accident without access to anything like the full facts, is neither the time or the place for this discussion. 

 

James

Post edited at 12:38
4
badgerjockey - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to James Mann:

I respect the BMC and their work and am a keen member. But they are only part of the picture. What would a local climbing community be without knowledge sharing and support at a grass roots level. I was therefore not requesting speculation but useful facts of benefit for all, including the many who would be heading to the gorge on the drier days in the near future (myself and friends have been wishing to climb the aforementioned route and others like it on Main Wall for a while and have some free time coming up - we’d like to be as safe as possible....). While very sensitive, I do not consider this to be disrespectful to those caught up in yesterday’s events. Nor, assuming that true facts come to light, do I see this as compromising the current inquest. 

The loss of another life through climbing in the gorge should, in my opinion, provoke healthy discussion (this includes on UKC!) on improving the experience and safety among climbers rather than ignored until a BMC announcement. I’m sure we would all treat this as a sensitively and seriously as it should be. 

21
French Erick - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

you won't be learning anything from the situation until you have the full facts, and furthermore those facts have been analysed. Anything before that is either idle or morbid conjectures. I am sure you are very keen to keep yourself safe and learn from the unfortunate victim's mistakes and/or lack of luck...you will have to wait.

Until then, don't climb or climb even more circumspectly than usual. Anyone can make a mistake, even the most experienced of us!

Let those people who have been bereaved have their moment without being able to trace any speculations online. I suppose you can still discuss it privately with any locals willing to discuss it with you.

Climb long stay safe!

Post edited at 15:33
2
badgerjockey - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to French Erick:

Thanks Erick. 

James Mann - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

I have emailed you. 

 

James

Pursued by a bear - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Whilst inaccurate reporting is regrettable, it serves to remind both that climbing is a minority sport that isn't understood by others and that cuts to the BBC's funding lead to a dilution in the quality of some of their services.

All of which further reinforces need for comments here to be circumspect. Journalists looking for information might once have gone to other sources in the police, hospitals and the like; now they'll look on social media and websites such as this one. A man is dead and those who loved him are grieving; let's ensure that comments here don't give them further unhappiness by feeding reporters hungry for copy.

T.

1
Flavio on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to James Mann:

James, 

I was climbing near Main Wall last week. I have emailed you some information which could be helpful.

Flavio

Fakey Rocks - on 03 Feb 2018
In reply to French Erick:

Wishing sincere condolences to the climbers partner, family and friends.

Climbers may have been visiting this section today, tomorrow or next week, locally or from out of the area, and may have such hectic lives that they neither read this forum nor heard about the incident through news.

Perhaps the fully analysed facts do have to be waited on.. but if there's some some simple info that is available now such as crucial peg(s) now missing and part of route / crux no longer protectable, or route has become unstable and there is risk of more rock becoming detached, then shouldn't this type of info be released as soon as possible?

Not everyone looks at logbook comments but that would be another place where any climber friend of the party could make a log note to warn others of changes.

Post edited at 00:09
2
James Mann - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to Fakey Rocks:

This accident was not related to rockfall, gear or rock failure. 

James

Fakey Rocks - on 04 Feb 2018
In reply to James Mann:

Thanks James.

badgerjockey - on 05 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

I would like to point out for the avoidance of anyone’s confusion that The Corpse is the name of a climb in the gorge.......

> From the photos alone this appears to be at the left of Main Wall, around the Corpse (argh) area. 

 

BenMaxfield - on 06 Feb 2018
In reply to badgerjockey:

Hello all, 

I just want to confirm as first on the scene and the person who dealt with this awful and tragic sight, this did not happen as a result of damaged rock or a failure in gear.

I was avoiding reading this thread but feel it is only fair to share this much for now. Th route and area is as safe now as it was before the incident.

Thanks,

Ben

badgerjockey - on 07 Feb 2018
In reply to BenMaxfield:

Thank you, Ben. I hope you're OK and your message will be of help to local climbers.


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