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.

South East Round-up 2017 by Tom Gore - UKC News

Tom Gore's yearly round-up is now up on UKC.  Check out what's been happening on the front line of development regarding Southern Sandstone. 

Click here for the full story.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Southern Sandstone Climbs - 2017

Simona Koplin who features on the front cover of the new Southern Sandstone Rockfax Guide 
Its been a ridiculously busy year! Especially so with the release of the new Southern Sandstone Climbs Rockfax Guidebook in September. Many people received their copies throughout September and October and many more have ordered theirs for Christmas. Special thanks once again to everyone who was involved in the new guide and helped make the book possible, no matter how big or small your contribution. The picture opposite is of Simona Koplin who was photographed for the front cover as well as inside the guide.  A full review of the guide by Tom Gore can be found here, as well as the book featuring as part of UKC's Rob Greenwood's christmas reading recomendations.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year, by sharing news stories and reaching out to us. In addition, we would like to thank everyone who has been out on the rocks supporting the HRMG / BMC and SVG at crag and woodland management clear-ups this year.

A big thank you to everyone who has been going the extra mile to help protect the rock whilst out climbing by following that all important code of practice! It's important and please help spread the word where possible. 

Very soon we will see the conclusion to the Isolated Buttress big question and I'm sure many of you will be out next year exploring and enjoying sandstone, just make sure its dry enough before venturing out!  

We are also going to be making some changes to the website by expanding a number of items to help create a better and more informative experience. 

Cheers and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The SSC Team

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Harrison's Rocks - Winter Conservation Work Weekend 2017

A big thank you to all the volunteers who gave their time and effort last weekend at Harrison's Rocks...

The trees designated as section F of the woodland management plan were cut, opening up the area so more natural light and air can reach the crag. New paths were built, wildlife habits were created, and crags were cleared. Unclimbed Wall area was strimmed and the Wanderfall section had the overgrown top-outs dealt with, paving way for better and drier conditions in that area.

If you are interested in future volunteering, contact the Sandstone Volunteering Group.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Sandstone Volunteers' Group - Winter Conservation Work - 11th & 12th November 2017

The Sandstone Volunteers’ Group and HRMG would like your help with the planned work at Harrison’s Rocks on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November 2017.

Work will include clearing the arisings from the cuttings, moving trunks to habitat piles or where they are required for revetment work and lining footpaths with brash.

Other work includes cutting back sycamore and birch saplings that have re-grown in areas cut in previous years. Bowsaws, loppers, pruners will all come in handy.

The plan is to meet at Harrison's car park at 9.30am. If you cannot get there that early then head to compartment F shown on the map, which is more commonly known as Unclimbed Wall Area.

Wear warm old clothing that you do not mind getting dirty, waterproof boots, gardening gloves and bring any cutting or digging tools you may have.

If you can attend, please email Graham Adcock (SVG Co-ordinator) on adcock@clara.net

The SVG will also be carrying out some work at Bull’s Hollow and most likely High Rocks.
There may well be other initiatives – watch this space.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Harrison's Camping At Risk

Paying for parking and camping was all part of the deal when the Forestry Commission took over the management of the toilet block, car park and camping at Harrison’s Rocks. A few years back when it was first announced that the toilet block was to be closed and then potentially demolished, there was an uproar from the south-east climbing community. Without the toilet facilities the campsite could not stay open.

The Forestry Commission agreed that the money raised from the parking fees and camping, would go towards the upkeep of the facilities which the climbing community fought so hard to keep.

It has been noticed that some visitors have not been paying for their camping. They may have a valid yearly parking ‘discovery pass’, which allows them to park in the car park, but as soon as they stay overnight, it is deemed as camping, so a camping charge is needed to be paid at the machine.

The upkeep of the camping is important and costly, mainly due to the facilities used by visitors staying over night; water and electricity from the toilet block usage are costly for the Forestry Commission, as well as regular refuse pick-ups from the large bin in the car park. Please take all this into consideration when staying at Harrison’s. With the Forestry Commission’s budget already stretched, all visitors need to pay in order to secure the future of the facilities. If people continue not to pay for camping in 2018 then there is a very strong risk that the campsite and potentialy certain aspects of the facilities, will close.

So easily forgotten, the long discussions regarding the fate of the toilet block and camping. Read the old stories here:

17/04/2015    Facilities are now open at Harrison's (Campsite opening soon)

27/03/2015    Birchden Wood - Harrisons Rocks Facilities Update

29/10/2014    Harrison's Rocks Car Park & Facilities Decision

14/04/2014    Harrison's Rocks Toilets and Campsite Now Open

18/03/2014    Update - Harrison's facilities to open in March 2014

12/12/2013    Submit your idea for Harrison's Facilities

13/11/2013    Latest News - Harrison's Toilet Block to be Refurbished

21/10/2013    Petition for Harrison's Rocks toilet block and campsite

09/07/2013    Closure of Harrison's Campsite and Toilet Facilities

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Isolated Buttress - October 2017 Update

After the removal of the block three years ago (on genuine safety grounds), which previously enabled  climbers from making a short step to and from the Isolated Buttress, and two additional years of monitoring the situation, the HRMG have now entered an extended period of discussions. This is to evaluate all the evidence in detail and to establish an appropriate course of action regarding access and erosion prevention for the buttress. 

A more focused Sandstone Open Meeting was held on 8th October 2017, where views were aired and noted by the HRMG, as well as the acknowledgement of emails sent in, and the south-east
voting poll that was conducted in 2015.
The Isolated Buttress is an important subject matter for the HRMG, and the matter is being taken very seriously in order to ensure the best possible course of action is taken concerning access and conservation for the buttress.  

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Harrison’s Rocks: BMC Debating Bridge Access

If you have been following the long saga regarding a bridge at Harrison's Rocks, then this may be of interest to you. The BMC with help from the HRMG have put together an article debating bridge access to Isolated Buttress at Harrison's Rocks.

The only practical solution is to install a bridge or to leave the situation as it is. Many views for and against building a bridge have been discussed, and the BMC wishes to support the decision of the majority of climbers that actively use Harrison’s Rocks.

Discussions will take place at the Sandstone Open Meeting on Sunday 8th October (6pm located at Bowles Rocks in the upstairs bar) and will help to inform any decisions made by the Harrison's Rocks Management Group (HRMG) and Land Management Group (which has oversight of the HRMG and all other crags owned by the BMC). A summary of major points – both for and against – has been assembled into a report, which is downloadable. Anyone wishing to attend the Sandstone Open Meeting should read this report before attending, so as to be fully informed of the situation.

You can download the arguments for and against building a bridge here.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Southern Sandstone Open Meeting - Sunday 8th October 2017, 6pm

The next Sandstone Open Meeting will take place at the bar at Bowles Rocks from 6pm on Sunday 8th October 2017 with a buffet provided by the BMC. The format of these meetings has changed and they now last an hour (this one may be slightly longer depending on discussions) with an update on what’s going on at the various crags followed by a discussion / Q and A session.

This meeting is particularly important as there will be a discussion about access to the Isolated Buttress at Harrison’s Rocks and all views will be taken into consideration. A decision will be made by the BMC's Harrison's Rocks Management Group (HRMG) throughout the following week. This follows a two 'trial' years since the step-across to the buttress was demolished for safety reasons. If you have a view then please try and attend the meeting.

If however, you cannot attend, the HRMG are still keen to take your view into account, so please submit your thoughts to the HRMG chair – Sarah Cullen - sarah@nuts4climbing.com

The UKC forum post can be found here: 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

UKC Logbooks Updated

The UKC Logbooks have finally seen their much needed overhaul concerning areas that are featured in the new Southern Sandstone Climbs Rockfax guidebook. The guide will also be available on the Rockfax App and will sync with your current UKC logbook entries. 

Many of the previously unnamed problems now have names, and alternatively named logbook entries have been transferred to their new homes. 

For new route submissions or additional routes or problem entries, please ensure they are entered using the correct current name or new first ascent name and are not duplicates of current entries. 

For more information about adding new routes and the links to the Sandstone UKC pages, please read our 'New Routes' page.