Friday 3 July 2020

Protect Eridge

Eridge is now seeing unprecedented erosion in all areas. This is due to the high volume of climbers visiting the area and over working climbs and boulder problems. Many climbers have never been to Eridge before and do not understand the sensitive and soft nature of the rock, especially when it is wet. Now we have a situation on our hands where an unprecedented amount of the rocks outer layer from many of the climbs and problems have worn away. Toothbrushes have been found, people not wiping their feet, over working problems and pulling too hard have caused this significant damage. 

Holds at Eridge are not permitted to be repaired as they are at Harrison's and Stone Farm Rocks, and as such, the BMC volunteers are looking at ways to stop the erosion and possibly look at any repairs that can be made with the land owners consent; The Sussex Wildlife Trust. 

We are now asking all climbers not to climb on any problems or routes where broken holds are evident.

Ben Read (Director and Co-Founder of Volume 1 Climbing) who is a strong advocate for the protection of climbing at Eridge has recently noted his own views on the issue and makes a strong case for what is occurring now. Below are his own words and we urge all climbers to follow the advice below:

'In the last few weeks Eridge has seen a large spike in visitors
which it isn’t able to handle. Not only this, but many climbers are not being respectful, hopefully just through lack of education, which is causing irreversible damage. This has already led to more areas of the crag now being restricted and there is a genuine threat that climbing access could be compromised if things do not change immediately'. 

The main issues are: 
  • Increased traffic causing unseen levels of erosion.
  • Climbing on wet/damp rock which is damaging holds.
  • Parking issues.
  • Bad outdoor climbing etiquette (Brushing holds, over chalking, not cleaning feet). 
How can you help:
  • Reduce your impact: Cut down on the amount you are visiting Eridge, go to different venues and explore other areas and problems.
  • Do not climb on wet or damp rock: If it has rained in the last 24 - 48 hours then it is best to avoid Eridge as it is a softer rock than other crags and takes longer to dry. If a hold is damp – do not use it.
  • Avoid the weekends: The car park is full by the early hours at the weekend and this is leading to a number of issues with parking.
  • Stop sieging: It is common indoor practice to ‘siege’ a problem until you unlock the beta. Avoid this tactic by keeping attempts to a few goes where possible. Enjoy climbing other problems in different areas and spread your impact.
  • No Gardening: Eridge is a SSSI mainly due to the rare plants that are found there. Climbing has been allowed, but only if no vegetation is removed. Do not remove any plants from the rock.
  • No Brushing: The soft structure of sandstone means that normal brushing habits used in other areas and indoors cause the hard outer crust to wear away quickly leaving irreversible damage. 
  • Minimise Chalk Use: Use as little chalk as possible.
  • Clean your Feet: Ensuring you have clean feet will not only help you climb better but will also reduce foothold erosion.