Visiting American climber Anna Hazlett has repeated Once Upon a Time in the South West E9 6c at Dyer's Lookout. The bold line was not only Anna's first of the grade, but one of her first trad routes full stop. On the same day, Tom Randall also repeated the route.
Very impressive, but I'm not at all happy that someone has decided it's appropriate to organise a "Sponsored Abseil" down the cliff. It's not as if there aren't plenty of other cliffs in the area where you won't risk damaging the holds on two of the finest routes around.
> I wonder how this compares to Indian Face in difficulty - presumably a lot harder, given how much safer it seems to be.
A friend who's been on it (but not done it yet) reckoned it was around the 7c+/8a range. Obviously that difficulty goes up a bit when you have to stand around fiddling in loads of small gear for 50m (no such problems on IF of course!)
I think it's time that the BMC stood up to these mass abseils that are actually damaging the fabric of certain climbing venues. A set of guidelines, a statement issued to the media etc. I'm all in favour of people fundraising for good causes but there has to be education on this issue. Possible sites recommended by the BMC that are not mainstream climbing venues. I've experienced the same at Sheep's Tor which went on the whole day. As if the routes here are not polished enough.
> I think it's time that the BMC stood up to these mass abseils that are actually damaging the fabric of certain climbing venues.
Are they? Where exactly?
> I've experienced the same at Sheep's Tor which went on the whole day. As if the routes here are not polished enough.
I'm trying to think but climbing I reckon on average once a week over the last 7 years, mainly the Peak but Lakes, Wales, South Coast and across Scotland too, I've not ever seen one. I see guided groups abing off one of the old rail bridges on the Monsal trail most of the times I go past, but I've never seen groups just abseiling on any of the cliffs all around though.
It's not my thing but it seems a difficult argument to make that the occasional group of people aren't allowed to abseil down some lump of rock, possibly causing some damage or polish, because loads of us climbers want to climb up the lump of rock, which certainly leads to polish and damage.
In my view it's a selfish minority not thinking things through. I've been in a few scenarios where there were disputes because abseils had been set up on grit slab routes that rely on pebble pulling, nearly all made worse by the group wearing dirty clunky footwear and a poor response from the group leader when approached politely. Abseiling down slab classics really should be a complete no-no. There are other scenarios as well... I've had a few disputes with simulated rescues damaging the rock on classics. Its not an equivalent right of two activities if one is damaging the rock and potentially seriously changing or removing the other activity.
On the big day, the team also enjoyed sharing the cliff with group who were carrying out a sponsored abseil down the slab to raise money for a local cancer hospice charity.
Just an observation: (two of) the people actually climbing at this level don't seem to have a problem. I'm all for caring for and protecting the rock, but it seems a bit odd that the people who make most noise about damage to very hard trad are those who don't climb very hard trad.
I read this and thought it might be a somwhat liberal use of the word 'enjoyed' and wondered if they were highlighting the issue in a bit of a round about way. Pure speculation on my part though and probably completely misinterpreting.
Do we even know if that charity abseil was down a route line? Not everywhere on rock is a problem. Group abseiling in clunky dirty boots down classic routes on grit slabs that rely on pebble pulling, or on other rock types with classic slab routes dependent on small edges, is a terrible activity in conservation terms.
I doubt it applies to E9 sea cliffs, but when it comes to damaging classic slabs in general I think we need to look inwardly at the hordes of people flailing around on toprope before having a go at people who may not climb at all and may not have any idea that they're abbing down a classic E9.
I'm going to struggle to get pent up about crumbly sea cliffs being trashed by non-climbers while people continue to wreck routes like Chalkstorm — that are actually attainable for dedicated mortals — by toproping far beyond their pay grade. Probably with dirty shoes, too, the cretins.
Abseiling down delicate slabs is clearly not always the fault of those abseiling but their activity leader would always be aware of the issues. I agree on the point of flailing on top ropes... yet many of those are also new to the cliff environment, say school groups, where again any responsibility sits with the activity leader. However, I agree too much bad practice does come from well established climbers who should know better: Downhill Racer is also infamous for such poor practice.
> their activity leader would always be aware of the issues.
As would climbing instructors. Unfortunately, from the regular and endless examples I see in the Peak, I can only conclude that the vast majority of SPAs (whatever they are called now) don't care. My comment seems unpopular, but I stand by it: the damage caused by people — predominantly climbers — to delicate routes that most dedicated climbers could aspire to — is far more of an issue than a possibly one-off instance of a group abseiling in the vicinity of a classic E9. There are a handful of people who are likely to get on the E9, and two of them don't see a problem if you take their words at face value.
Yes, I agree, they are both problems — but of completely different orders of magnitude. And it seems hypocritical to get worked up about others damaging a resource we can't claim sole ownership of when we can't even get on top of our own gratuitous and avoidable damage.
Naturally though, I'd be outraged if they were abseiling down Downhill Racer on God's own second choice of rock.
Not that I'm a big fixed gear fan but I'm really struggling to understand your point here, poor practice abseiling down climbs (not theres any evidence of this here) can absolutely trash them, pegs on the other hand will not.
The rock is only a 'climb' to climbers. A broken delicate hold is no more a significant piece of damage than a possibly rusty peg scar to the average outdoor user. And seeing someone wielding a hammer is going to look a lot more damaging than an abseil.
I'd feel a lot happier at taking on some guardianship of the cliff if we had our own house a bit more in order.
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