The decision has been made to install a bridge to the Isolated Buttress at Harrisons 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).
In 2015, the boulder used to jump and cross the gap to the Isolated Buttress became loose and concerns were raised about the hidden danger should the boulder fall whilst in use, so BMC volunteers decided to remove it immediately.
As a result, the Isolated Buttress is no longer as easily accessible and new means of reaching the sector have developed, some of which are not recommended.
The proposal was divisive, with climbers at the meetings voting for and against the plan in equal measure. The decision therefore fell to the BMC and HRMG. In an article, the BMC's Rob Dyer explained:
'In situations like this, the BMC and HRMG always try to take account of the views of the climbing community and support the majority where possible, but in this case there was no clear majority for either side of the argument. Instead, the HRMG had to weigh up both sides and balance this against the BMC's legal obligations as a landowner.'
Following on from this decision, Alan James announced that Rockfax would like to offer financial support to the project from the proceeds of the new Southern Sandstone guidebook.
'Daimon Beail, the author of the Southern Sandstone Rockfax, had mentioned that discussions about this bridge were ongoing. He showed me the gap when we were down there working on the guidebook. At that stage we didn't want to get involved in the politics, since we were aware of the senstivities of this decsion locally, so it wasn't mentioned in the guidebook. However, since the decision has now been taken, we are happy to help where we can.'
This initiative follows on from the very successful Portland Path Restoration project which was given financial support from the proceeds of the Dorset Bouldering Rockfax guidebook.
Background on the arguments for and against the bridge can be found in this article.
The minutes of the HMRG meeting can be found here.
Read more about the decision from the BMC here.