Bridge Installation to Harrison's Isolated Buttress Approved

© Daimon Beail

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).

The Isolated Buttress, Harrison's Rocks
© Daimon Beail

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.

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12 Jan, 2018

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. 

12 Jan, 2018

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! 

12 Jan, 2018

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.

12 Jan, 2018

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

12 Jan, 2018

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...




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