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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Dargan Creek (Dams Cliff) Plan of Management 4-Feb-2012 At 9:52:01 AM davidn
On 3/02/2012 superstu wrote:
>The only bone of contention is that new routes within the reserve need
>approval. Well obviously no climber is going to like that, but I can understand
>why this statement is there. It is a plan of management, you can't exactly
>manage an area if you have no control over expansion of activities within
>the area. We should oppose this proposal in our submissions, the question
>is what exactly should we offer in its place to address their concerns?

The question of whether bolting should be regulated is one that we should be asking the Trust to establish as much as they are asking us to respond. Put simply, has there been new routing undertaken that is demonstrably to the detriment of the area?

I'll leave that to others to consider/discuss. It is not my local area.

Regarding regulation itself, there are generally two reasons to put it in place: a funding imperative (wanting to ensure the regulator/taxpayer receives value for money); or a moral imperative (wanting to ensure that people do not undertake activities that are bad for them or for others). Bolting is not a value for money proposition - as it is almost never funded by Governments or trusts - so I see this issue as being a moral issue; one of aesthetics of the area and safety.

Researching this morning, I came across a number of plans of management nationally and internationally that dealt with this issue of making an application to bolt a new route. This approach is not commonly used across plans of management; it is generally used where there are wilderness areas in need of special care and attention above and beyond what climbers would normally undertake, i.e. highly fragile ecosystems. Where it is used, the most common way to go about it is either through partnership between local climbers and the Government/trust, or where bolting is directly managed by climbers. Noting, of course, that climbers have long standing informal systems for managing bolting and safety in any case, and that aesthetics is just as important to climbers as any other user or owner of the land.

Climbers are the experts; in order to make a good decision about whether bolting should go ahead (on both aesthetic and safety grounds), a climber will need to be consulted. You wouldn't advise your doctor whether he/she should undertake surgery; nor would you tell your plumber the best approach to cleaning your blocked drains. Requiring climbers to apply to the trust would involve unnecessary red tape when climbers generally discuss bolting routes among themselves (hence the Safer Cliffs area of the forum) and indeed, learn the best and safest ways to do it from other climbers.

It could be inferred that the trust by regulating bolting is taking responsibility for the safety of the bolts themselves. This is a sub-optimal solution, as climbers currently take full responsibility for their own bolting, and their own decisions whether to use a route, bolted or un-bolted.

I would suggest that the question of 'why regulate?' should be answered. If it is considered regulation is needed, then the simpler approach is that the experts themselves (climbing clubs) should be the ones considering and approving new routes, in consultation with the trust as appropriate.

If safety turns out to be the burning issue, there's statistics available (SES reports for example, and the climbing accident register) showing how much safer and cheaper climbing is for the taxpayer than other outdoor activities.

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