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/ NEWS: Bridge Installation to Harrison's Isolated Buttress Approved

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UKC News - on 12 Jan 2018
The decision has been made to install a bridge to the Isolated Buttress at Harrison's Rocks, following an extensive period of public debate at Sandstone Open Meetings and internal discussion, alongside a vote within the Harrison's Rocks Management Group (HRMG).

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Rob892 on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

Even though I respect the decision, I'm a little bit disappointed. The isolated buttress always provided a little bit of adventure at harrisons. 

I'm sure I'll use the bridge though. 

doz generale - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

Will we have to now call it " Not quite so isolated butress" I used to enjoy the leap but fair enough if it's getting unsafe. Some great routes on there! 

Irk the Purist - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

The consultation and the 'trial period' were a sham with no meaningful attempt made to monitor damage or usage over the period. 

After a few years, HRMG and the BMC have given up hearing the arguments against and pushed on unilaterally.

A failure to reach consensus for change is no reason to make irreversible changes, rather it's a good reason to leave things as they are.

It's the reason I Ieft the BMC and I certainly won't be buying a guidebook that helps to fund a bridge.

It just goes against the whole ethics and ethos of climbing in the uk to start putting bridges on rocks so we can get to the top.

I look forward to the installation of steps on the inaccessible boulder at stone farm.

 

 

Trangia on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

I am pleased by the decision. The rope rail access was fun, but not really suitable for indefinite use and potentially a problem with the potential forces that might be exerted on the anchorage on the boulder side, and involved ropework construction and use outside the experience of many people. It's hard enough to educate some about the correct way to set up top rope anchors, let alone a rope protected  traverse!

I've missed the old jump But looking forward to using the bridge.

Roberttaylor - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

Thin end of the wedge. There'll be a bridge to Skye next.

Oceanrower - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

I think the difference is that, with SS, you need to start at the top. I.e. set up a top rope.

Almost anywhere else, you'd start at the bottom so a bridge wouldn't be much use...

 

 

 

Irk the Purist - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

This isn't the only place on sandstone that has an inaccessible top. The difference is that for some reason people feel entitled to climb the routes on this block. It doesn't matter that it's an ssi, it doesn't matter that it's a unique landscape, it doesn't matter that there are hundreds of other routes of comparable quality all along the crag.

You can still do these routes, you just have to be a bit adventurous. That's what climbing is about right?

The idea that the BMC is worried about the risk of an accident on their land is frankly ridiculous. Taken to the extreme, we can expect bolts at Stanage. Or in situ top ropes at harrisons.

It's nonsense. If the owner of the Inn Pin installed a ladder the BMC would have a coronary.

 

 

Forester3 - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> This isn't the only place on sandstone that has an inaccessible top. The difference is that for some reason people feel entitled to climb the routes on this block. It doesn't matter that it's an ssi, it doesn't matter that it's a unique landscape, it doesn't matter that there are hundreds of other routes of comparable quality all along the crag.

A bridge too far? 

 

Post edited at 10:33
Martin Hore - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

>  it doesn't matter that there are hundreds of other routes of comparable quality all along the crag.

That's quite an exaggeration! I challenge you to name more than 20 routes at Harrisons of comparable quality to Birchden Wall, and several of those will also be on the Isolated Buttress. After poor weather the IB is often one of the few places in condition to climb at all.

I started climbing at Harrisons in 1964. I only visit once a year at most now but I always like to take in routes on the IB. I've used the roped traverse, but I'm in favour of the bridge.

Martin

Oceanrower - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> This isn't the only place on sandstone that has an inaccessible top. 

It's also not the only place on sandstone to have a bridge. High Rocks and Bowles also have structures to help at the top.

 

 

Rob892 on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

IMO that's why them crags are both a bit spoilt and commercial. 

It's nice to keep a bit of a natural feel. Like High Rocks and bowles, will they start charging to climb at harrisons soon? 

Oh wait.... 

alan moore - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

Love the drone shot; looks like a miniature English Elbe.

Am a little bit amazed that climbers (of Southern Sandstone or otherwise) would propose or condone a bridge to the top.

Martin Hore - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to alan moore:

> Am a little bit amazed that climbers (of Southern Sandstone or otherwise) would propose or condone a bridge to the top.

But Southern Sandstone is not like other rocks. You can't lead climb here. - it's rightly forbidden. Unless soloing is your thing you have to rig top-ropes, and that's what most (around 90% in my experience) of climbers on southern sandstone do. Anywhere else you would simply lead the easiest route to reach the top. I'm sure I'm just repeating what has been said at the various meetings though.

Martin

Trangia on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

 

> A failure to reach consensus for change is no reason to make irreversible changes, rather it's a good reason to leave things as they are.

Well you can't because the step/ jump became unstable, so we are not in a situation where you can leave things as they are. A totally new situation has arisen.

Access to the top has historically always been possible without resorting to ropework, so you can't compare the IB with other free standing boulders where easy access has never been possible.

As someone has said the IB has a high concentration of quality climbs, probably a greater concentration than anywhere else at Harrison's, so why deny access to the majority of climbers who have always been able to access it easily without recourse to a roped protection system?

A decision has been made, and I think it should be respected. The time for expressing views was at Sandstone meetings prior to this when everyone had ample opportunity to air them. I suggest that your reasons for continuing opposition is verging on elitism.

Irk the Purist - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to Trangia:

A decision has been made but it doesn't have to be respected. Opinions were aired and no consensus was agreed. A trial period was arranged and absolutely no data was collected and no observations made.

I'm not sure what's elitist about this, I'm a grade a punter. 

 

trouserburp - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

It doesn't matter now but it was 2014 and 'BMC volunteers decided to remove it immediately' is misleading- you could equally say BMC volunteers wanted to explore pinning, other options for stabilising or indeed whether there was actually any possibility of the rock falling off in the first place, but in the meantime someone went and jackhammered half the rock off (which was clearly not enough force to make it fall off)

Bridge decision influenced by 'legal obligations as a landowner' - great precedent setting BMC, I thought we were agreed that landowners aren't responsible for climbers' safety (so they don't ban access, access being main reason for having a BMC)

Jimbo C - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC News:

If placing lead protection does damage to the rock, what will placing anchors for a bridge do? Ethical and technical considerations aside, the above from 'trouserburp' about setting a precedent for other landowners is a very important point.

elliptic on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp:

> Bridge decision influenced by 'legal obligations as a landowner' - great precedent setting BMC, I thought we were agreed that landowners aren't responsible for climbers' safety (so they don't ban access, access being main reason for having a BMC)

May depend in part on whether the landowner is Farmer Giles or the national representative body for climbers, which purchased the land specifically to facilitate climbing there.

See also: Horseshoe Quarry rebolting.

trouserburp - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to elliptic:

Doubt it, would be ridiculous if leaving a rock in its natural state introduces liability

One rule for BMC and another for all other landowners then - hope that will be clear to landowners of say Bamford, Lulworth, Vixen Tor when BMC are campaigning for access

Irk the Purist - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to trouserburp:

I wonder if any legal advice was sought as part of the lengthy consultation. I'd look at the minutes but it seems to be password protected.

 

 

 

Oceanrower - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Why would it be? It's owned by the BMC. If they want to stick a bridge up (which I fully support, by the way,) why on earth would they need legal advice?

Irk the Purist - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to Oceanrower:

Because legal obligations are being used as justification for the installation. I'm no lawyer but I can't imagine why there is an obligation to install bridges. This has huge implications for land access rights across the UK for climbers if true.

I wonder if anyone from HRMG is able to clear this up. 

 

OnUp - on 11:27 Tue
In reply to UKC News:

It's clear to me that the whole process from smashing the boulder, to 'bridge or no bridge?' has been a complete farce.

Basically the decision 'bridge' was inevitable. BMC + HMRG have just given it time for those who are bothered to give up and shut up!

I offered the BMC + HMRG a 'free' 3D survey about two years ago, which they turned down. A 3D survey wld have allowed  precision imagery to be mailed anywhere in the world for recommendations/other solutions. For example climbing clubs who are accessing sandstone towers in Czech. If nothing else the survey wld have given the ability to monitor wear and or damage precisely. 

What is done is done, or will be done.

I guarantee the loose boulder cld have been drilled, pinned and grouted in the first place. Therefore climbers have a right to be cross and have no respect for this decision or the BMC.

 

 

 

Post edited at 11:29
Irk the Purist - on 17:07 Tue
In reply to OnUp:

Agree. And they've now clammed up and gone silent on the issue.

 

Trangia on 17:28 Tue
In reply to OnUp:

 

> I guarantee the loose boulder cld have been drilled, pinned and grouted in the first place. Therefore climbers have a right to be cross and have no respect for this decision or the BMC.

That's a pretty bold statement. So tell us, who are you? And what are your qualifications?

 

Post edited at 17:29
Oceanrower - on 17:43 Tue
In reply to Trangia:

Well, his (or her) profile is less than illuminating...

 

Jim Hamilton - on 18:18 Tue
In reply to OnUp:

I can understand why the BMC might be unwilling to email the world asking how best to scale a 25 foot high boulder!

 

 

 

OnUp - on 19:28 Tue
In reply to Trangia:  Southern Sandstone Supervisors Award. IRATA Rope Access, Geotechnical, Anchor placement and testing Experence. Delivered climbing holidays in Czech. Have been a contributer to Steve Durkin trust for a couple of years. Ex BMC member.

 

Trangia on 19:36 Tue
In reply to OnUp:

Did you examine the loose boulder before it was destroyed? 

The reason I ask is because during the consultation period prior to the decision to install a bridge I asked  whether it would be possible to  re-instate the original jump with an artificial concrete or similar jump off "boulder"?

I don't know whether this option was ever considered, if indeed it was possible?

 

Post edited at 19:37
OnUp - on 19:48 Tue
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

Why not? Can you expand on your understanding? I should have written, mail any expert/professional.

OnUp - on 20:06 Tue
In reply to Trangia:

Yes indeed, the boulder is still there if one wishes to inspect it. With the overhanging section missing.

Yes absolutely an artificial boulder or timber platform cld be built.

But here comes the liability issues and easy decision making opportunity.

OnUp - on 22:42 Tue
In reply to Oceanrower:

Yes indeed bridges at High Rocks but these are in place as a scenic walk way. There's 2 large isolated boulders which require sole or rope technic.

Bowles, one bridge for the top walk way, not a direct access issue.

I wonder if the BMC have thought about handrails?

When the bridge is installed they are giving public access. Therefore they'll need handrail on top of the boulder to prevent people falling off?

Post edited at 22:43
OnUp - on 23:25 Tue
In reply to trouserburp:

'Someone'

It was Chris Tullis and Tim Skinner who took hammers to the boulder. Tim Skinner resigned from the position of Chair of HRMG shortly after.

Post edited at 23:26
Trangia on 09:01 Wed
In reply to OnUp:

> 'Someone'

> It was Chris Tullis and Tim Skinner who took hammers to the boulder. Tim Skinner resigned from the position of Chair of HRMG shortly after.

Why are you being selective in your replies? You have no profile and your personal Website is currently "Down". When I asked you who you are, you ignored it. When I asked what your qualifications are for stating that you could have "guaranteed that the loose boulder could have been drilled, pinned and grouted in the first place" you gave a list which included "geotechnical". Does that mean that you are a geotechnical engineer? You didn't answer my question as to whether you had inspected the loose boulder prior to it's being destroyed, instead you dodged it and said "the boulder is still there if one wishes to inspect it with the overhanging section missing". So I ask again did you inspect the loose boulder before it was destroyed? If you did then I can understand how you reached a professional opinion as to how you could have "guaranteed" a repair. But if it was subsequent I wonder how you were able to form such a professional opinion? Maybe you can, but you haven't said so.

What is your purpose in now publicly naming the two people who "took hammers to it", because this isn't going to bring back the past - the step has gone regardless. There seems to be an unspoken implication in your statement that Tim Skinner resigned from the position of HRMC shortly after, as you say he and Chris Tullis "took hammers to it"?

You are making some serious statements and innuendo about two people on a public forum which is gong to be read by a lot of people who know them, yet you do it anonymously, and haven't had the courage to tell us who you are. 

What exactly are you trying to achieve? To me it seems that you have a very big chip on your shoulder by bringing all this up now in an attempt to sabotage a decision made by the BMC and HRMC and the fact that you do it anonymously on a public forum is despicable.

OnUp - on 11:00 Wed
In reply to Trangia:

Yes I have a chip on my shoulder I'm pleased that's clear.

If you were at the SS voluteers meeting after the boulder was shamed then you would also know who did it. I'm passing on information that was discussed.

No I'm not an engineer i do the physical work of drilling, pinning, grouting. That's why I offered to arrange the 3D survey.

There's quite a large part of the boulder there. That's kinda the point, it's still there.

My name is Paul Robertson. My interneting is a pretty slack, i don't get any joy from filling out profiles and stuff. You'll find me at Under Rocks in the current Jingo Wobbly if you wish to stick pins in me.

Elitism was mentioned earlier in this post and that's exactly what i see within the decision making process of South Sandstone issues.

Trangia on 12:02 Wed
In reply to OnUp:

Thank you Paul Robertson, I'm not certain if we have met? Anyway just to equalise the playing field I will tell you that my name is Tim Birch. I know the Southern Sandstone crags very well having climbed there since the early 1960s. I have taken part in assisting at Sandstone Volunteers work parties over the years at Harrisons, High Rocks and Stone Farm, although due to illness have not done so for the last few years, although I can still bumble around a bit on the climbs including some of the "classics" last year like Birchenden Wall on the IB ( top belay accessed via the rope protected traverse). I was unable to attend the BMC Meetings concerning Access to the IB, but made my views known by writing to the Chair, including, as I allured to above a suggestion that the step might be re-instated with an artificial concrete step, failing that I was broadly in favour of a bridge rather than continued access via the rope protected traverse for the reasons I give above.

I am afraid that I am finding it difficult to understand  what you are trying to achieve? We are faced with a fait accomplis, as the "step" has been destroyed. I really don't see the point in dragging up and churning over the past. Of course I knew who had broken up the loose boulder, but what was your point in naming them again now? What on earth would that have achieved? So I ask you again, what is your agenda? In your list of qualifications you say "ex BMC member". If that is the case what has it got to do with you what the BMC chooses to do on it's own land?

I've looked back through your posts, and I honestly don't understand what it is that you are proposing, I am sorry to say it, but you seem to be stuck in the past rather than the present and it's future.

By your own admission you have a chip on your shoulder, isn't it time you moved on? Otherwise can't you be more specific rather than talking in riddles and innuendo?

Hooo - on 14:21 Wed
In reply to Trangia:

> The reason I ask is because during the consultation period prior to the decision to install a bridge I asked  whether it would be possible to  re-instate the original jump with an artificial concrete or similar jump off "boulder"?

> I don't know whether this option was ever considered, if indeed it was possible?

I was at one of the meetings where a representative from the BMC attended. He explained that this wasn't an option. If the BMC install anything, it has to comply with safety requirements for any member of the public. A step or jump would leave them liable. This means that the only options they would consider were to do nothing or build a bridge, despite something in between being by far the most popular option.

I did even suggest that the BMC do nothing, and some anonymous people might lay a tree across the gap. I was told that the BMC would have to remove this if it happened.

OnUp - on 14:52 Wed
In reply to Trangia:

Just getting it off my chest/shoulder which I'm perfectly entitled to do.

Not being a BMC member doesn't mean I can't have an opinion and air it. I'm sure there's plenty of people who aren't even climbers who will think a bridge is a great thing and use it.

As you say, you contacted the chair HRMG with an idea for solution. Didn't they not have the courtesy to reply and explain the issues?

Trangia on 15:20 Wed
In reply to OnUp:

I put forward the suggestion, but wasn't expecting a reply unless it was acted upon. As Hooo has helpfully explained the BMC  rep explained to the meeting that wasn't an option for safety reasons. That's good enough for me and I am not going to rant on here because they didn't write back to me explaining this! It wasn't their fault that I couldn't go to the meeting and hear it for myself.


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