/ Falling blocks at Blacknor Central?

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rockafunked - on 09 Oct 2017
We were climbing Last Rose of Summer in Blacknor Central on Saturday, and a succession of blocks (microwave and telly-sized) fell off / were being chucked off the cliff without warning.

Spoke to a couple of climbers around the Blacknor South area and they did see someone at the top, but not entirely certain that it was being done intentionally.

Has this sort of thing been reported before, in Blacknor?
thermal_t - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

I've been in the blacknor area before with kids throwing rocks from the quarry but not of the size you have described.
The Jazz Butcher on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

This is very serious! Not sure what you mean by "not entirely certain that it was being done intentionally." Perhaps you mean you weren't sure if it was being done with intent to harm or just someone not realising people could be below. Doesn't really make much difference. Microwave and telly-sized blocks are going to cause some damage if they hit anyone, intentionally or not

Did you report this to Dorset police? If not, even doing so now will be useful.

This does happen from time to time. In the past, when this has been reported, the police have done some extra patrols at the weekends.

TJB.
rockafunked - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to The Jazz Butcher:

Have just lodged a report with Dorset Police. I hope this doesn't happen again soon.
Rock to Fakey - on 13 Oct 2017

Was it this? Fly-tipping involving a fridge...but the article refers to Battleship cliffs...

http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/15590269.Young_climbers_put_in__serious__danger_after_fridge_is_thr...
Post edited at 15:21
Mick Ward - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

I'll probably be down there today doing some bolting and (possibly) cleaning. I try to avoid weekends when equipping but if you want to get stuff done it's hard to keep to weekdays - especially at this time of the year. Naturally I'm as careful as I possibly can be to alert people.

Recently a couple of people mentioned loose blocks on a route of mine, One Fine Day. I went to check it out. While doing so, I noticed a possible line to the left. I went back and cleaned that. There was certainly lots of loose stuff coming off. To my knowledge there was nobody in the vicinity and, in any case, I gave frequent warnings, looked around, etc. Irritatingly though, I can't remember the day in question. Cleaning long routes on Portland can be an arduous process; the days tend to blur into each other. My routes seem to have become shorter and shorter as I've got more knackered!

While the locals throw all sorts of stuff over, I've never known them throw blocks. And offhand I can't think of a ready supply of loose blocks at the top of Blacknor. Once you go over the slat band and below, it can be a very different matter. So I'm left wondering whether this was me. As I say, I'm as safe as can be. Nothings rushed; there's an ab rope in place for hours (and hours, and hours). It's obvious what's going on.

Perhaps more than most, I'm aware of the danger of stuff being lobbed off on Portland. In 2006 I avoided somewhat ignominious death by seconds when some locals (probably kids) pushed a hay bale off the top of Wallsend - followed by another, five minutes later. There have been many similar incidents (perhaps the route name 'Arc of a Fridge' commemorates one such?) The old trad guide mentions a shunter having his rope cut (on Blacknor, I think). Luckily his weight wasn't on the rope at the time. God knows what he was up to but I wouldn't fancy being left in the middle of Blacknor without a rope.

Mick









Mick Ward - on 14 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

Was in a rush to get out this morning and failed to take heed of the obvious. You can't see One Fine Day from Last Rose of Summer. Where were the blocks coming down?

Mick
I like climbing - on 15 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:
This is shocking. I remember Naval cadets throwing things over the edge when we were on Down Town Julie Brown years ago but nothing the size you saw. Mind you if we’d been hit it could have been v serious.
rockafunked - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Hi Mick

They were coming down around 5-10 metres to the left of Last Rose of Summer, so most definitely not near One Fine Day.

It's highly unlikely that any route cleaning was in progress on that day (7 Oct) near Last Rose of Summer. As you've mentioned we would have noticed ab ropes, etc.
Mick Ward - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

Many thanks indeed for replying and putting my mind at rest. I can imagine it was a deeply unpleasant experience for you and hope it hasn't put you off Portland. I guess we all need to be particularly vigilant around Blacknor and Battleship.

Mick
Greenbanks - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

Maybe should be re-named Blocknor Central, in the light of ongoing issues?
rockafunked - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Unlikely that I will be shunning Portland - there's just too many good routes, and the crags benefit from a dedicated bunch of people (e.g. you, DBF) maintaining them.

There's an incidental benefit to this episode, though - I now have another compelling reason to insist that my friends (present that day) wear helmets and use ABBDs!
A Longleat Boulderer - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Hi Mick,

I was pottering on Lifeline/It's My Life with a friend new to climbing when we heard it happen. Rockafunked came over to us to ask if we'd seen anything. I am pretty sure I saw someone at the top of Last Rose of Summer... but I assumed that was Rockafunked going over the top for added spice.

Definitely rocks being thrown. Quite worrying.
TonyB - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to rockafunked:

I know it sounds daft, but I wonder if putting a sign at the top of the cliff saying "Rock Climbers below. Do not throw things off the cliff" would be helpful. It sounds a bit silly, but assuming that people genuinely don't realise what they are doing it may make them think twice. If they are hellbent on throwing a fridge off for some inexplicable reason, it might force them to go elsewhere. It seems like a sad thing to have to do, but if it saves someone getting hit, it would be worth it.
Dandan82 - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to TonyB:

> I know it sounds daft, but I wonder if putting a sign at the top of the cliff saying "Rock Climbers below. Do not throw things off the cliff" would be helpful. It sounds a bit silly, but assuming that people genuinely don't realise what they are doing it may make them think twice.

You might be right, some kids were throwing rocks over the edge of Cheyne weares and they stopped after a fair bit of shouting and whistling from me below. Quite how they couldn't notice climbers scattered across the crag I don't know but maybe people really are that ignorant... (this was several years ago BTW)

Mick Ward - on 16 Oct 2017
In reply to Dandan82:

I've also seen kids throwing stones over Cheyne Weares and they've stopped when told. Some years ago, there was a big crew of Eastern Europeans camping at The Cuttings for quite a while. Not really what one should be doing but I doubt they had any money, there was minimum disturbance and they left the place spotless.

They went off somewhere else, came back to their little campsite and lo and behold, somebody had pushed a car over the crag right where they'd been camping. That was it - they legged it. Understandably.

Although the biggest danger to climbers is probably poor belaying, there are a lot of other dangers: people lobbing stuff off, holds snapping, blocks coming off routes, blocks hidden at the tops of crags... The top of the Neddyfields bouldering wall has long been due to collapse. I believe there's a need for two signs at the top of Battleship/Blacknor Far South telling people that the normal access has gone and alerting them to the new ways down.

Apart from Marti's rebolting surge, a number of routes probably need recleaning (e.g. Valerian, Gaze of the Gorgon) and there are worrying blocks (e.g. the huge one to the left of One Fine Day). In the meantime, it may be worth carrying a helmet for areas such as around Pregnant Pause and stick-clipping any route if the first bolt is at all high. Also worth having some longer quickdraws for the bigger routes. And maybe also a 'may feel adventurous' label on some of the bigger routes.

Am grateful to the OP for raising these issues.

Mick

P.S. Fred/ALB - great to have you back!

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