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NEWS: Climbing Bans in France and Spain - Please Respect Them!

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 UKC News 20 Mar 2020

Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, rock climbing is currently banned in France, Spain and Italy. Despite these bans being announced online in the past week, we are still noticing logbook entries for crags in France and Spain.



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1
 john arran 20 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

There is some doubt about whether sport climbing is in fact prohibited in France right now. There are restrictions on staying near to home and to being either by yourself or with members of your household, but climbing isn't mentioned explicitly. Clearly those restrictions themselves rule out all but a tiny proportion of possible climbing activity.

Some friends were climbing today and had a visit from what they referred to as the "mountain police", who told them that, while climbing wasn't actually prohibited, they were very strongly advised against it due to the potential for unnecessary additional burden on emergency services and hospitals.

12
 john arran 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Yes, I've seen that too. My point is that it's advice and not explicitly a ban.

10
 Doug 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

I think part of the problem is that to some extent its up each Préfet.e to determine the rules for his/her Département. And the notes from the FFME (& the cycling equivalent) are just advisory although it worth adding that the PGHM have also asked that mountain sports stop.

 Adrien 20 Mar 2020
In reply to john arran:

Sorry but there's absolutely zero doubt that climbing (and cycling, and hiking, and skiing...) is banned. The Ministry for Sports has stated on Twitter that by "déplacements brefs à proximité du domicile liés à l'activité physique individuelle des personnes" they meant 1 to 2km from your house and 20-30mn exercise top. That basically excludes all climbing. (Besides, unless you're soloing or bouldering, it takes two to climb, and any collective physical activity is banned.)

Cycling is also explicitly banned except to go to work or shopping for groceries. Going to the beach in Brittany, Normandy, the Med etc is banned. And confinement measures are most probably gonna get even tougher since people can't be bothered following them.

Also any kind of physical activity in Font is officially banned as of today.

Two hikers had to call the PGHM and be rescued in Savoie - and they both got fined 135€.

Stay home.

Post edited at 16:30
1
 Doug 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Adrien:

but most people don't read twitter so how are we supposed to know ? I have no problem with the bans but they really need to be clear & well publicised.  For example see https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2020/03/20/plages-parcs-forets-montagnes-les-arretes-se-multiplient-pour-interdire-les-acces-aux-espaces-ouverts_6033844_3224.html (updated about an hour ago) & see how much of the information seems to be by département rather than national

Post edited at 16:40
 Adrien 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Doug:

I know, I probably wouldn't be aware of the minutiae myself if I didn't spend my days reading the Camptocamp forums. Still I think it's up to climbers/cyclists/etc to do their research on this. Even if it's tempting to turn a deaf ear (especially with this perfect weather...).

I think many of us misunderstood (or pretended to...) what the government meant by light physical activity, and all these departmental orders do is make it clearer what the government meant. But I agree it wasn't crystal clear in the first place!

Still, when it comes to climbing most people climb in twos or more, and there's been no ambiguity regarding exercising in group: it's a no no.

Post edited at 16:44
 jon 20 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

No John, it's absolutely banned. As is skiing, ski touring, cycling...

 Stein 20 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

Also in Belgium, is being checked by police and you will get a high fine. In case of an accident insurance will most likely not cover.

Source (in Dutch): https://klimenbergsportfederatie.be/nieuws/coronavirus-covid-19-vragen-en-antwoorden

 Doug 20 Mar 2020
In reply to jon:

but apparently you can cycle to the shops, its just cycling for exercise thats banned (if I've understood correctly)

 jon 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Doug:

Yes! Hilary asked the police municipale this morning and they said it was OK. Which doesn't make a lot of sense really. 

 ElaineO 20 Mar 2020
In reply to john arran:

Climbing in France is banned John.

https://www.ffme.fr/arretons-de-pratiquer/

1
 ElaineO 20 Mar 2020
 john arran 20 Mar 2020
In reply to ElaineO:

Thank you Elaine. The regulations were tightened today so it's now a lot more clearcut. Prior to that there genuinely were circumstances in which climbing wasn't explicitly prohibited - despite what posters above may have thought - and I'm thinking that our place here will have been one of an absolutely minuscule number of sites that fell through the cracks in the stated restrictions. That's presumably why the police were of the same opinion earlier today.

All water under the bridge now though, as even walking on footpaths has been banned.

 Simon King 20 Mar 2020
In reply to ElaineO:

If you and Mike are desperate, come back, all is forgiven! Simon xxx

In reply to jon:

> Yes! Hilary asked the police municipale this morning and they said it was OK. Which doesn't make a lot of sense really. 

You just have to cycle slowly. Which makes even less sense as it it's more time spewing virus all over the place....

4
 LeeWood 20 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

It will be interesting to see if the UK follows suit because, quite apart from epidemic constraints, France and UK have very different notions of and controls on risk taking. Evidence: 1) european climbers believe trad climbing risk is unacceptable 2) all organised sport in France obliges insurance cover ie. in the UK folk are more accustomed to self reliance in risk assesment and adveture. 

Personally in relation to both physical injury and virus transmission the rules are unreasonable. But the gov has a tough job on and has had to make black and white decisions for reason of simplicity. Compare the risk of being at the crag with one other person - to that of kids getting together in a creche - authorised groups up to 10. Even visiting supermarkets or bakeries carries greatr transmission risk.

5
 Enty 20 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

My climbing friend is a health worker at Carpentras hospital. He's just done a mega shift preparing for the shit that's going to hit us next week and he sees Brit climbers on holiday defying the ban, enjoying themselves down in the Tarn redpointing.

Get a grip people - it's not about your 8a redpoint!!!

E

3
 Enty 20 Mar 2020
In reply to jon:

> Yes! Hilary asked the police municipale this morning and they said it was OK. Which doesn't make a lot of sense really. 


I had a brainwave yesterday. I thought right, I'll put a rucksack on my back, sign the paerwork, and  go and do the shopping...........in Sault........that's taking the piss.

I've seen a few people here cycling  down to Intermarché for a few bits and I think that's ok.

E

 jon 20 Mar 2020
In reply to Enty:

BOB would look good with paniers

 Austro-Brit 21 Mar 2020
In reply to UKC News:

It is inevitable that the Uk and all other countries will follow suit. Unfortunately at the moment far too slowly.

In our Mountain Rescue in Austria where I live now as a unwillingly disenfranchised European (we're 1-1.5 weeks ahead in terms of virus curve & measures) they ordered all members to stop any skitours or mountain activity apart from valley walking etc and this only with those cohabiting and safe. i.e. the same rules as for the all. 

The lessons from all other countries (negative/exponential & positive/effective) further along the curve have been clear for weeks now. Any delays and laissez-faire will be be dire and that is maths. 

This article says it all:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-51970379

Good luck up there. 

In reply to Austro-Brit:

Very unfortunately your message will not be well received on UKC.

 Austro-Brit 21 Mar 2020
In reply to Tom V:

Yes unfortunately - I gave up trying.

The one terrible example Austria had (the greed of the Tirolian lift companies) was very hard for the present green-conservative central govt to shut down earlier, due to one of the disadvantages of the federal system - the regional governments are very powerful. 

They did in fact shut relatively early by international comparison but actually should have closed around 5-8.3 when cases of returning tourists with the virus were flagged. You guys have the benefit to learn from the mistakes or pretend you didn't know.

We live literally next to crags and alpine walls galore & I can skitour endless couloirs from my house, so yes it's hard but it's a choice.  

It's possible to anticipate, be proactive and save lives and the economy. It is inevitable anyway so is one day more jerking around/off on the crags gonna be worth it. 

 OG 23 Mar 2020
In reply to LeeWood:

I think there are a few misunderstandings in some of the responses we are seeing from governments and people online:

(1) Does physical activity outside spread the virus? >> Not necessarily

I understand that the authorities may want blanket rules that are simple, but obviously the risk of transmission if you don't go near anyone (other than those you live with) and avoid public places and public transport is approximately zero. If you e.g. go on a 50km cycle circuit from your house it is hard to see how this would transmit a virus between you and anyone else.

I think there is a lot of ignorance about how the virus actually spreads - i.e. through hard surfaces, skin contact and through droplets. Blanket banning of all outdoor activity as a way to prevent viral transmission is not supported by any evidence. Clearly getting to places that are far away or having high concentrations of people in rural areas is problematic but that is a separate issue.

There are various videos online of Italian mayors aggressively accosting people who are out for a walk by themselves in a deserted area, ironically being the only person that comes close to them. Words fail me but I guess it's good publicity if you want to look like a strong man politician in a tiny town, or a strong man local patriot in a small village.

2) There is no time-lag between what you see people doing outside and what you see happening in hospitals >> there is a 2-4 week time-lag

It's tempting to see people out in the sun with their flatmates but away from everyone else, and see the numbers going to hospitals, and draw a link between the two. But the numbers in hospitals today are the cumulative result of infections built up over the past 3 weeks, before the bans became so strict, not what people did this weekend. In the UK I think we are already starting to see this conflation. It's only a week since the UK advice changed to social distancing so what we see in the next 2-3 weeks in the news will largely be the result of the transmission that happened before any measures at all were put in place.

I saw in the news on Sunday my local London park highlighted as somewhere people were outside in the Sun over the weekend, with much misleading hand-wringing ensuing with reference to hospital admissions that day. I went for a jog there, staying a safe distance from anyone else (not hard as it's a huge park) and while plenty of local people were out 95% were doing the same. I.e. actually a lot better than I'd have expected from a broadly disobedient population

(3) The virus is only spread to rural areas by city dwellers >> It is already circulating in most parts of the UK, we are just not testing anyone not in hospital (the numbers looks worst in London because London is a week or two ahead of the rest of the UK, so has the most people in hospital therefore the most cases detected, but that doesn't mean it's not already in other places too)

Similarly videos online of people in rural areas of the UK (e.g. Scotland, Cornwall) having a go at 'outsiders' for coming to the area (which I do agree with), but then also posting videos of them with their mates obviously not observing basic social distancing. The virus is circulating already in Wales and Scotland and probably other more rural areas of the UK too, but there is a tendency in what you see written for people to assume that it's not there already and is only spread by city dwellers coming to the area. I do not think people should be using this as an opportunity to en masse go to North Wales, the Lakes, the Highlands, but clearly that's not the only way it is spreading.

One classic of the genre I saw this weekend on a UK outdoor facebook group is of a Scottish gentleman going to the Nevis Range carpark and walking within half a metre of about 50 people, clearly deliberately risking viral transmission by flouting all government advice, in order to demonstrate "his angry face" about how it's outrageous that people are coming to the area aren't social distancing. I despair... [NB I do think the crowds at Nevis Range, and in the Lakes and Snowdonia, looked pretty mad and irresponsible given all that's going on... but still what a clown! And he is not the only one]

Post edited at 09:25
 OG 23 Mar 2020

In reply to Red Rover:

That's a non-sequitur, but ok...

 Red Rover 23 Mar 2020
In reply to OG:

Wrong thread sorry! Other one is locked anyway.


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