Friday, 22 June 2018

High Rocks Suspends Climbing

June 2018 update

High Rocks has suspended climbing until further notice.

BMC UPDATE
"June 2018 update: access to High Rocks is currently banned due to an issue with the landowners insurance which the BMC is providing advice and assistance on in an attempt to resolve the insurers concerns. These discussions are ongoing - please bear with us whilst we try to negotiate a solution."

Up to date information can be found on our 'Climbing Areas' 'High Rocks Page.' and on the BMC RAD.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

New Routes Report - Spring 2018


Brutus - f7C+ - one of the new problems at Eridge Green
Climber: Peter Wycislik

Climbers have been out in force this spring after a somewhat wet start. Eridge has seen the most activity with eight new problems and routes including the addition of its hardest problem to date.  Happy Valley has predictably been back in the spotlight with climbers enjoying the West Valley Boulders and the addition of one new problem. Toad Rocks and Mount Edgcumbe Rocks have also seen new problems added as well as Harrison's Rocks.

Your new routes and problems are important!

Your first ascents are part of history which is why it needs recording and protecting. This is why
recording them on UKC is the best way forward. This can be done from anywhere, using a personal computer or mobile device. It's more beneficial to the sandstone climbing community who can instantly see if a route or problem has been done before. The information is checked by voluntary moderators, and those who submit new routes can be contacted for further clarification if needed. New route data on UKC is digitally backed-up and also listed on the Sandstone New Routes Page. Recording your problem and uploading to YouTube also helps clarify your ascents. The information can be used by guidebook authors and climbers alike and is available to all.

It's worth noting that paper new route books (globally) are in rapid decline, rarely used these days and are a very localised thing. They are unfortunately only situated in one location, often with restricted access between certain opening times. They are vulnerable to being lost/stolen or even worse destroyed in a fire of which years of hand written records are lost. Also, information recorded in these books can sometimes be ileligible and no forward contact information left, as well as only being checked once in a blue moon.

Recording routes on other websites is possible but is potentially risky, as more often that not, these sites are poorly maintained and information is often overlooked, resulting in lost first ascent data for future guidebooks.

If you do record information elsewhere for some reason, then please also ensure you list it on UKC to help other climbers know about your ascent and keep the information in one place. Unfortunately, if not then we won't know about it for quite some time, resulting in someone else potentially registering the first ascent of your route. Also it won't show up in the new routes list here for quite some time.

Does UKC own new route information?

Alan James - Managing Director of UKClimbing Limited had this to say on the subject.

UKClimbing Logbook data comes from a variety of sources and the copyright of that data remains with the individual, or company, that originated it. The grades and star votes are decided by user votes and have no overall copyright. Some logbook entries have a description field marked ©Rockfax. This means that the data came from a Rockfax guidebook author. It also has a second description field which is where users upload descriptions. This data remains the property of the person who uploaded it, and that information is retained in the database administration fields, but in reality user uploaded descriptions have no overall copyright. Recently a new system has been established to allow us to attribute a third party to the main description field with a copyright symbol. This is so that we can work with third parties and protect their copyright. We are working towards establishing a proper Creative Commons licence for UKC logbook and hope to have this properly established in the next year.


HAPPY VALLEY


I Can Only Imagine - f6C - Climber: Tom Gore

Earlier in the month as the sun finally came out in the south east, Tom Gore sprung into action at Happy Valley and added  I Can Only Imagine - f6C on the Hidden Gem buttress.

ERIDGE ROCKS
Eridge also began to dry out and saw a good number of significant ascents in May. Ben Read sprang dramatically into action with the addition of four new routes, three of which were climbed on the same day. Eridge Lip Traverse - f7A+ - traverses left across the lip of the cave from '6:00 a.m Route' to finish up Parisian Affair (RF p124). Additionally Ben added Eli's Wall - f6B which is behind Boulder Chimney at the Equilibrium Wall area (RF p119) and also  Velcro Reach - f7A on the Velcro Boulder  (RF p130) of which videos are below.



Eli's Wall - f6B - Climber: Ben Read



Velcro Reach - f7A - Climber: Ben Read

Rhys Whitehouse also turned his attentions to Eridge and added a hybrid problem called  The Phantom Shitter Strikes Again - f7B+ - which start as for 'Yankee Affair' (RF p124) but then heads right across the lip towards the corner and finishes as for 'Even Shorter Mention' without using the side wall.

Peter Wycislik who is well known for his hard bolder problems added two new problems to Eridge's now expanding portfolio of climbs and problems. The first one is perhaps better described as a route. Located on the Mammoth Wall, this new route 'Darkness - f7A' links the start of 'Diagonal' into the final section of 'Wall E Mammoth' (RF p111)


Darkness - f7A - Climber: Peter Wycislik

Finally on the same day Peter added Brutus - f7C+ - at the Parisian Affair Area. This problem just scraps half grade past 'Judamondo' to become the hardest problem at Eridge. This powerful problem climbs the right side of the cave without touching the side wall and finishes up 'Even Shorter Mention'. Video at the top of this article.

More recently Harry Westaway added a nice finish to Snail Bail (RF - p128) called Dinky Arete - UK 6b on the 14th June which finishes up and left of the large pocket out toward and then up the arete.

TOAD ROCKS
Tom Gore started the season early by climbing Cub Arete - f7B back on the 15th April which was also reported here. Tom returned there recently and added Spicy Chilli - f6C+ - which is located around the back of the Bishops Head (RF - p 416).



Spicy Chilli - f6C+ - Climber: Tom Gore

Staying on the Bishops Head, Jack Shewring added It's Easier Round the Back- f5 which goes up the face between Mole's wall and The Willows just right of the gap (RF - p416).




It's Easier Round the Back- f5 - Climber: Jack Shewring
 

MOUNT EDGCUMBE
Tom in good fashion continued his development of Tom Gore Rocks, sorry Mount Edgcumbe Rocks, by adding yet another powerful problem, The Press - f7A.


The Press - f7A - Climber: Tom Gore

HARRISON'S ROCKS
Even Harrison's has seen some attention with Rhys Whitehouse innovating on the Grants Wall (RF p.256) by putting up a mild eliminate, RSVP - UK 6a which goes up the face avoiding both adjacent cracks on Thingamywobs and Whatsname.

Last but not least, Gwain Plenary has made the first ascent of Gwains' Awete - F6b+  which goes up the right hand arĂȘte of the slab that is situated between Fingernail Crack and Dinosaurus (RF p185). This is a good little addition to the area and a great find, also due to the fact that space for new climbs at Harrison's is somewhat of a challenge these days.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

What's going on at Eridge?

For many people new to sandstone, they may not realise that Eridge was once banned for a prolonged period. This  ended in the late 90s and the BMC helped put in place an access agreement when the rocks were purchased by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. This enabled climbing to take place 
                                 at the rocks.

In short, we as climbers must do everything we can to help protect Eridge and adhere to the rules. This includes using minimal chalk and taking extra care, as some areas of Eridge have softer rock in places. Repetitive cleaning especially with the use of inappropriate brushes will eat away at the surface.

Bouldering mastermind, Ben Read, has been down at Eridge recently and has noticed a number of poorly treated broken holds which have been badly repaired, leaving the rock unsightly and this is a problem. It is asked that people do not repair holds at Eridge or other crags, and if you do see a hold that needs repairing or is damaged, then please contact the BMC access@thebmc.co.uk or drops us a quick Facebook message so we can notify the appropriate people. We all want to continue to enjoy climbing at Eridge so please help protect it. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Isolated Buttress - June 2018 - Update

Climbers lowering off the buttress
Following the decision to put a bridge in place on the isolated buttress, there will be a further period of review before a bridge is installed. The BMC Land Management Group (LMG) will be making extra assessments before moving forward, including another site visit along with a special open meeting, which is likely to be around September 2018. 

There are a number of items that need addressing prior to commencing including construction, planning and legal cost queries.

If there are no compelling reasons to come to a different decision in September then the LMG will endorse the recommendations of the Harrison's Management Group (HRMG). 

The LMG originally gave the task to the HRMG to come up with a decision regarding two options; a bridge or do nothing. Following a long period of analysis of arguments made from both sides and assessing the impact of the erosion of the rock, environmental issues, along with open meetings to discuss with the wider climbing community, the HRMG made a balanced decision to build a bridge.

The LMG will continue to investigate liability and health & safety to ensure that the decision can be endorsed.  

You can read the BMC's update here.


Improper use of bolts



Improper use of bolts

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Lampool Farm Rocks

Southern Sandstone is littered with small and often ignored outcrops. More often than not they are on private land and or have climbing bands due to SSSI or other restrictions. Some are often too soft to climb and are overgrown. Occasionally some micro venues pop back into the limelight when connoisseur sandstoners seek them out. Tom Gore enjoys seeking out those hidden problems on more secluded sandstone outcrops, as such Tom recently opened up a few more additional problems at Lampool Farm Rocks. Currently, access does not seem to be an issue and little is known of who the owners are.

Tom reports on his recent development there.

"Lampool Farm Rocks is a small crag south of Crowborough. It's located in a valley with small outcrops situated on both sides. There is only one boulder that is of real interest to climbers - about 4 metres in height and not overgrown."

This boulder now has three problems on it:

Step into the Light - f3
"The easiest climb up the slabby (and shady) side of the boulder that I have dubbed 'Stepping into the Light' as this is what it feels like when you are top out."


Baby Bump f6C
"The main rounded overhanging face of the boulder with good, but well-spaced holds. Currently the best problem at the crag!"


Hips Don't Lie - f6B+
"The right side of the wall goes at about f6B+. This looks a lot easier than it actually is and required a very high heel hook. Hence the name - Hips Don't Lie."


"If you are climbing on the Southern Sandstone crags often, then this little outcrop might be worth a quick hit."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Tom Gore is an active Southern Sandstone climber based in the south east of england, primarily focusing on bouldering. He has done numerous first ascents and repeats of some of sandstones hardest lines. Tom is sponsored by Beyond Hope Climbing.

Also, see Tom's article on Secluded Southern Sandstone over on UKC.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Southern Sandstone Open Meeting - Sunday 20th May 2018

The next Southern Sandstone Open Meeting is this Sunday 20th May 2018, 6.30pm at Bowles Rocks (in the upstairs bar). The BMC will be providing some sandwiches and snacks. Please bring your own drinks.
Bowles Rocks Outdoor Centre
Sandhill Lane
Eridge Green
Tunbridge Wells
TN3 9LW
The Sandstone Open Meetings offer the chance to have your say on Southern Sandstone climbing and management issues. This might, for example, range from access issues, top-roping and other ethical issues, erosion of crags, repair of crags, bolting issues, use of chalk, groups using the rocks, bouldering issues. This meeting is open to all climbers.
You can access the previous meetings minutes on our 'Meetings' Page.


Monday, 30 April 2018

Happy Valley Bolts - IMPORTANT INFORMATION



Please be advised that bolts have been placed without prior consent in the Happy Valley area. The placements of these bolts (six currently) are dangerous and deemed an act of vandalism. It is suspected that these bolts are not suitable for use in sandstone and are prone to failure, as they may be too short for modern sandstone bolting methods and not backed up. Please do not use until further assesments have been made.

If anyone has any information as to who has placed these bolts, please contact us on Facebook or email the BMC access@thebmc.co.uk


It is not unheard of that crags in the southeast have been banned in the past and we need to ensure relations with land owners are positively maintained.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Cub Arete - f7B - Toad Rocks

Tom Gore has dispatched a new problem at Toad Rocks called Cub Arete. Graded at font 7B it takes the arete right of The Lion's Crack RF Page: 412 (without using the ledges to the left). Tom notes that it's a "big move onto poor slopers at the top" Go take a look and at other problems at Toad Rock, which are curently only found in the Rockfax Guide.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Climbing Areas Page - Major Refresh!



For the past few weeks, we have been giving those on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels a sneak peek at our new area pages. With the new Rockfax guide now out we felt that the old area page style needed a reboot. In our view, it seemed pretty obvious that dedicated pages for each area was the way forward, and would allow for more information to be presented and give us the opportunity to display more area photos for those that may have not been to the crags. This also ties nicely into the new Rockfax guide, as some areas are now exclusively available in that guide, such as Mount Edgcumbe and Toad Rocks.

The pages primarily focus on a basic description of the crag and looks at any access issues, like getting to the crag, or items of interest at the crag, such as Isolated Buttress access. Also, there is info on toilet facilities and parking.

We have highlighted the code of practice at each venue with a link to that page.  

The new climbing area page is a much cleaner and simpler design which links to all of these new dedicated pages. 

If you have any updates you wish to be added or think should be there, then drop us a message on our Facebook page

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Sneak Peeks

Take a look and like our Facebook page this week as we give a sneak peek at our new climbing ‘venue’ pages launching later this month. The launch of these pages will be complemented by our new ‘climbing areas page’ also launching later this month.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Clearance Work - Crucifix Wall

After the clearance
For information: Additional clearance work took place above the ‘Crucifix Wall’ area at Harrison's Rocks (P259 - RF SSC Guide) on the 18.02.2018. 

This continues the work started last year above the left side of ‘Wanderfall’ (P260 - RF SSC Guide) whereby significant amounts of earth and overgrowth were removed. This also included an unstable tree just left of ‘Don Juander’. The work is aimed at reclaiming the top of this area of rock from years of overgrowth and earth build up. The work is hoped to move rightwards at some point towards The Scoop Area. 

The general aim is to create better climbing environments to help climbers explore more of the climbs in this area and relieve potential overuse and overcrowding down by the Unclimbed Wall. 

Work like this took place a few years ago on Kukri Wall (P176 - RF SSC Guide), Kirby’s Adventures Area (P177 - RF SSC Guide), Eyelet Wall (P178 - RF SSC Guide) and Fang Wall, of which the latter was unrecognisable at the time. 

Work is still needed in these areas and over time it is hoped that some of these areas such as Kukri Wall and Fang Wall will become more appealing. Further work is planned to help reactivate a number of lost areas.

Please allow time for the area above Crucifix Wall to naturally clear itself (i.e rain is needed to clear the excess soil away and the soil below to settle).  


If you are interested in clearing overgrown crags owned by the BMC, please get in touch with us via our Southern Sandstone Climbs Facebook page and we can put you in contact with the relevant people. Alternatively, contact access@thebmc.co.uk


Thank you.
 
Before the clearance




Thursday, 15 February 2018

New SSC Guidebook Info Page - See What's New!

A new guidebook info page has been put together to give people a better idea of what's new and different about this new sandstone guide. It may also tip you into getting involved and purchasing a copy! 

We have gone into quite some detail, so take a look at what's new, including access to reviews and chapter samples!
Click here.
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thursday, 1 February 2018

First Ascent - Narrenturn f7b+ - Eridge Rocks

Here's a video some of you may not have seen of Peter Wycislik making the first ascent of his new highball problem Narrenturn f7b+ at Eridge Rocks at the later end of last year. Remember to add your ascents to the UKC Logbooks and drop us a message on the FB page so we can add them to the new routes page also.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Respect the Rock - Groups on Southern Sandstone

2018 will continue to see an increased number of groups lead by instructors, heading out onto the popular sandstone outcrops, especialy at Harrison's Rocks. Many of these instructors lead by good examples of how to respect the rock by limiting climbing to certain areas, using climbing shoes along with towles and carpets to clean them. But some groups and individuals do not...

Shoes must be cleaned before starting up any climb to minimize erosion and to help climb the rock better. Beginners tend to not to use their feet very precisely so dirty sandy feet that scuffle along the rock, grate against the surface and erode it very rapidly. This erosion is hard to repair and will reveal the sandy under-layer which will require significant repair work and time.

So the simple solution to this big problem is to have a small piece of carpet to wipe feet on before climbing and to use a towel to make climbing shoes squeaky clean!

The BMC in collaboration with UKC have begun a Respect the Rock campaign. This includes the production of small beer mat style towles and is proving very popular, so there is no excuse for all climbers on sandstone not to have a towel now!


Friday, 5 January 2018

Isolated Buttress - The Decision


It’s been over 3 years since the step across boulder to the isolated buttress at Harrisons's Rocks was removed.

In that time the HRMG has been involved in a very complex and difficult process of decision making that included a large amount of research, reporting, surveying, periods of observation, gathering feedback from the climbing community and also analysing the impacts for the long term. 

In the end, the decision comes down to the HRMG, a group of passionate and dedicated individuals who volunteer much of their time to manage the rocks and the environment. They ensure Harrison’s Rocks is protected and climbers of today and tomorrow can enjoy the climbing on offer in this unique climbing venue.

On Wednesday 13th December 2017 the final meeting was held to deliver the final decision, which all members would back despite their views. After many hours of discussions, statements, reviewing evidence from all angles and legalities of what can and cannot be done by the BMC, the HRMG took the decision to install a bridge to the Isolated Buttress at Harrison’s Rocks.

This is a decision that all HRMG members will support with the backing of the BMC. Work will commence on the bridge early in 2018.

The BMC has released a statement concerning the decisions and can be found here.

(Update) UKC News'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.' The UKC article including more information on this, can be found here

(Update 2) Rockfax Access Blog - read the Rockfax Access and Bolt Fund Donations 2017 - blog post including information on the 'Harrison's Bridge Project' here.