UK Caving

WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions => The Dales => Topic started by: marysboy on February 09, 2019, 06:27:59 pm

Title: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on February 09, 2019, 06:27:59 pm
These metal steps have been installed in the Trident Series of County Pot, Ease Gill.

They are on a short climb that is already provided with CNCC resin IC anchors (1), and which is accessible from the top and usually has a fixed rope.

To me they seem unneccesary and unsightly, and represent irreversible damage to the natural cave i went to see.

The installer, when i mentioned this to him, felt that they provide convenience of an upward through trip without needing to pre-rig or rely on a fixed rope.

I am sharing this because of the interest generated by the KMC steps thread (2) a while ago, and the suggestion by some (and myself) that an unwanted precedent is being formed.

What do you think?


(1) "County Pot is equipped with Eco 'P' resin anchors within the BCA Anchor Scheme. County Pot is fitted with stainless steel P-type resin anchors on the pitch near the entrance (7m ladder or 12m SRT rope required), and in September 2018 was fitted with four IC anchors on the traverse and pitch for the Upper Trident route to Eureka Junction (may be free-climbed by experienced cavers but 25m handline recommended)." https://cncc.org.uk/cave/county-pot (https://cncc.org.uk/cave/county-pot)

(2) https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=23782.0 (https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=23782.0)

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 09, 2019, 06:49:12 pm
There are many caves with metal steps already, so perhaps the only precedent being set is one wherein the steps are really badly installed, such that they look highly likely to snap someone's leg if they fell backwards and it slipped inside the rung as they did so.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: langcliffe on February 09, 2019, 07:37:51 pm
I thought that they were unnecessary and unsightly when I saw them on Wednesday, but I didn't say owt because I don't want to discourage anybody from installing a Stannah Stairlift in the Wretched Rabbit entrance rift.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: PeteHall on February 09, 2019, 08:39:56 pm
I thought that they were unnecessary and unsightly when I saw them on Wednesday, but I didn't say owt because I don't want to discourage anybody from installing a Stannah Stairlift in the Wretched Rabbit entrance rift.

Interestingly, one of the directors of Stannah is actually a member of the Cheddar Caving Club, so it might be the 20 in Swildon's that is the first cave to be fitted with a chairlift, not Wretched Rabbit  :lol:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 09, 2019, 09:29:58 pm
Coincidentally Willie Stanton installed a fixed ladder at the 20' in Swildon's Hole (removed almost immediately by a third party who unilaterally took issue with it) and it was the same visionary, Willie Stanton, who installed (they remain to this day) metal steps in Reservoir Hole decades ago. Therefore worry not, and consider any precedents long-since set. The man was ahead of his time. Ahead of many cavers, too.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: kroca on February 09, 2019, 10:13:04 pm
I find this a total abomination, why oh why do we need to fill caves with bolts p hangers fixed ladders and all the rest of this shit is totally beyond me,if you can't get down a cave without all this crap don't bother and find another sport, i was looking at some of the rigging guides the other day what a joke,p hangers all over the place deviations everywhere .total madness ,rant over . :annoyed:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on February 09, 2019, 10:24:29 pm
Quote
The installer, when i mentioned this to him, felt that they provide convenience of an upward through trip without needing to pre-rig or rely on a fixed rope.

The poor darling. My heart bleeds for him (her?).
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 09, 2019, 10:35:29 pm
...why oh why do we need to fill caves with bolts p hangers fixed ladders and all the rest of this shit is totally beyond me...

Easy peasy. My turn...

Safety.
Accessibility.
...And to benefit people* who aren't superhuman athletic free solo climbing deathwish-seeking egotists.

* [aka those with mortgages and/or dependent family members who are living in the 21st Century rather than the 1970s].
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Speleotron on February 09, 2019, 10:41:00 pm
Why do people keep doing this? Caves are the last remote places in England so should be kept in a natural state where possible. The stemples look rubbish as well.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 09, 2019, 10:42:12 pm
Caves are the last remote places in England so should be kept in a natural state where possible.

Precisely. That's why many vulnerable and pristine ones are locked and/or have conservation warden access protocols.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 09, 2019, 10:46:46 pm
...if you can't get down a cave without all this crap don't bother and find another sport...

The international rock-climbing uberhero, Alex Honnold, can free solo El Cap; if he doesn't need ropes, harness, and hangers etc., perhaps everyone else who does should find another sport.

Isn't elitism illegal nowadays anyway?

You need a better argument, methinks.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: PeteHall on February 09, 2019, 10:49:50 pm
...why oh why do we need to fill caves with bolts p hangers fixed ladders and all the rest of this shit is totally beyond me...

Easy peasy. My turn...

Safety.
Accessibility.
And to benefit people who aren't superhuman athletic free solo climbing deathwish-seeking egotists.
Not to mention the fact that we'll placed anchors/ aids can do a great deal for conservation. You only need to look at the life-line saw marks at any popular pitch-head from a previous era if you don't believe me. And that's before we even get started on bolt-rash.

The key thing though (in my opinion) is that the use of fixed aids should be proportionate to the situation.

I can't comment on this particular case, as I have not seen them and don't recall ever visiting that area of Ease Gill anyway...
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: braveduck on February 09, 2019, 11:19:16 pm
Before we get the usual outburst off Hypocrisy ,a few useful steps
compared with digs held up with tones of Scafolding .Consider. 
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Tribal Chestnut on February 09, 2019, 11:24:19 pm
I thought that they were unnecessary and unsightly when I saw them on Wednesday, but I didn't say owt because I don't want to discourage anybody from installing a Stannah Stairlift in the Wretched Rabbit entrance rift.

Interestingly, one of the directors of Stannah is actually a member of the Cheddar Caving Club, so it might be the 20 in Swildon's that is the first cave to be fitted with a chairlift, not Wretched Rabbit  :lol:

Not if my recent experience of them is anything to go by. A proper shower.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Vern on February 10, 2019, 05:07:35 am
Seems cavers are being wrapped up in cotton wool with all this protection including metal ladders/steps. I remember the traverse in Juniper Gulf got the heart racing and ferrying all the ladders and rope was a real test. But we enjoyed the THRILL !!! Now it's all been made to easy and the thrill and adrenaline rush has been taken away. Not to mention all the metal crap. Nuff said. 
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Vern on February 10, 2019, 05:44:33 am
I find this a total abomination, why oh why do we need to fill caves with bolts p hangers fixed ladders and all the rest of this shit is totally beyond me,if you can't get down a cave without all this crap don't bother and find another sport, i was looking at some of the rigging guides the other day what a joke,p hangers all over the place deviations everywhere .total madness ,rant over . :annoyed:
AGREE with you all the way :clap2:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: tamarmole on February 10, 2019, 08:18:01 am
Before we get the usual outburst off Hypocrisy ,a few useful steps
compared with digs held up with tones of Scafolding .Consider.

Not sure that the two are comparable.  I think there is a world of difference between adding metal steps to make an already passable obstacle easier and the use of scaffold in a dig to open / maintain an otherwise inaccessible section of cave.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: BradW on February 10, 2019, 09:04:09 am
They dont stop anyone exploring the cave without using them. Nobody is prevented from going up and down without using them. Arguing that they make tbe cave easier to explore only applies to those who want to do it easily. Those who want to "be hard" are free to do so. They look a lot less ugly than a bit of old frayed knotted rope, frequently used to make climbs easier. If you can still cave the way YOU want to then why be upset if someone else wants to do it a different way? If you had been prevented from "being hard" you just  may have a point.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andywebman on February 10, 2019, 09:25:05 am
Totally not needed. Who will maintain them in the long run. Must get down there with an angle grinder!
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Pitlamp on February 10, 2019, 09:58:38 am
My immediate reaction is that these aids are unnecessary and will have a negative conservation impact on this fine cave system. But I'll happily reserve judgement until the person who installed these aids has had a chance to justify them.

It does strike me though that if someone has decided to installed these unilaterally then others might not be judged unreasonable in then unilaterally removing them. Wouldn't it have been better first to have consulted with other folk in the caving community? There is, of course, the SSSI aspect to consider.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Vern on February 10, 2019, 10:13:20 am
From memory there were metal ladders at the bottom of the entrance pitch of Lancaster Hole, Fall Pot, Stake Pot and Stop Pot. All placed there in the early stages of exploration of the system and certainly helped cavers on any through trip. So what's next, metal steps up into Gour Chamber of Bull Pot of The Witches, metal steps up the sometimes hairy climb up into Easter Grotto. The list goes on. I'm all for 'safety' but making life to easy for cavers is not in my opinion always acceptable. I would love to hear comments on this from the likes of Jim Newton, John Conway and Johnny Wilkinson.  :bow:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: tony from suffolk on February 10, 2019, 10:18:47 am
I find this a total abomination, why oh why do we need to fill caves with bolts p hangers fixed ladders and all the rest of this shit is totally beyond me,if you can't get down a cave without all this crap don't bother and find another sport, i was looking at some of the rigging guides the other day what a joke,p hangers all over the place deviations everywhere .total madness ,rant over . :annoyed:
So, a cautious approval vote then.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Ian on February 10, 2019, 12:24:48 pm
Where an area is inaccessible without the steps then I would support them. In this case we have been able to pre-rig the climb before doing a through trip for many years so I would argue that they are unnecessary.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: 2xw on February 10, 2019, 02:49:05 pm
What are the chances the installer is part of the "professional" caving community that wants to make caves safer and more accessible to all people that pay them?

I'd be interested to see the NE consents for this. The installer should be prosecuted.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on February 10, 2019, 03:09:23 pm
Whatever one thinks of this installation (and I, personally, am strongly against it) it appears to have been done unilaterally, with no attempt made to sound out opinion from the caving community or its representatives, such as the CNCC. Whoever did it could, at the very least, have posted something here and asked what people would think. Instead they just went ahead - sensing, I suspect correctly, that cavers' general opinions would have been very much opposed, if they had had the chance to express a view.

This far beyond P-bolts. This via ferrata is ugly, far more obtrusive, and removing it would cause considerable damage. And this in a very popular cave, part of the longest in Britain. Meanwhile, what if a rung did break while someone was using it? What would be the liability issues - and the possible implications for access?

To be frank, I think it's a scandal. There is a good case for removing the fixed aids in Wretched Rabbit, as was done some time ago in Lancaster Hole. We do not need new ones in County Pot - or, indeed, anywhere else where cavers have been conducting trips without them for many years.

If they haven't gone already, I do not give them long.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Canary on February 10, 2019, 03:42:06 pm
A great example of Poe's law. Well done to all involved.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: MarkS on February 10, 2019, 04:00:38 pm
1. The BCA & CNCC have done a lot of good work to find a balance between accessibility and conservation in setting up the anchor scheme: minimal impact on the cave with maximum safety. I think the majority of cavers find it a good approach. If someone thinks alternative aids should be pursued, get in touch with the relevant CNCC or BCA reps.

2. With no information (that I'm aware of) released by the installer, how does anyone know how safe they are? What are they fixed in place with? etc. etc.

3. It isn't a hard climb. There used to be an electron ladder on it, and it caught us by surprise on a trip with some relative novices when it was removed, but with a sling/short rope (and now with resin anchors) it's straightforward to free climb. If it is being done on the exit of a through trip then only one person needs to be able to reach the anchors.

4. You have to pre-rig the pitch in County anyway if you want to do a through trip. It's hardly that onerous to go a bit further and rig this climb if required. If a through trip is desired without needing to pre-rig this climb, just use the Manchester Bypass instead.

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andywebman on February 10, 2019, 06:09:31 pm
We explored Wretched Rabbit upwards from the inside and all the climbs were free climbed easily from the bottom during the exploration in 1984 using combined tactics. The fixed aids have all been addded since. Most of the other climbs in Trident Series were explored in this way. No need for fixed aids like these. Anyone honest enough to own up to this?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: MJenkinson on February 10, 2019, 06:46:00 pm
Whereabouts are these? Is it the pitch where you duck down under the wall to your left when facing the 10m drop into lower Trident?

If so the bit of tat at the top was more than suitable, if you are leading a group that would struggle (as me and a mate did) we climbed up first and rigged a ladder for the others.

You can't be comparing randomly installing via ferrata as the same as installing P bolts. I don't go around blasting small caves for fat lads to make my life easier, don't go rigging steps for people who can't climb.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: langcliffe on February 10, 2019, 07:30:26 pm
Whereabouts are these? Is it the pitch where you duck down under the wall to your left when facing the 10m drop into lower Trident?

That's it.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 10, 2019, 09:09:30 pm
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: MJenkinson on February 10, 2019, 10:07:59 pm
Eh? It’s got bolts on it.. Go rig it. It doesn’t need steps.

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: 2xw on February 10, 2019, 10:19:11 pm
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.

I kind of hope that is a joke and that I have just stupidly and embarrasingly fallen for it.

Because what a quite ridiculous opinion. The BCA is not there to provide you with an ever increasing range of caves that you can pitch to your customers.

The BCA represents cavers, and caving is and has never been about drastically altering the natural environment to remove any aspect of challenge. If every cave were a pleasant bimble what would the point of caving be? What a slogan the BCA could have:
"Try caving, or don't bother. It's not challenging and there's no personal development"

You would have us mine a sanitised, dull landscape that caters for the lowest common denominator. As far as I'm concerned, the very minimum should be added to make the cave barely safe. Bolts are acceptable but they should be very carefully thought about.

I suppose you'd also see Indian Face bolted and the Ben get a train on it. We could even remove rocks from every river to make it easier to take Groupon punters down?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Speleotron on February 10, 2019, 11:18:39 pm
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.

It's probably a lot more dangerous if randomers start putting home-made ironware onto climbs for the masses to trust!
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Inferus on February 10, 2019, 11:44:09 pm
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.
Strange perspective from a caver, oh hang on, "professional caver".
Chris Binding, a professional caver in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, describes caving as "the next best thing to being on another planet" and a "sensory overload".
Being on another planet we wouldn't find over the top aids you quite clearly advocate..
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on February 11, 2019, 12:23:15 am
FFS, Chris. Do you even know what you are talking about? The pitch in question does not need via ferrata-style style fixed aids.

Quote
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.

Well it’s a damn sight more dismal to read this sort of shite from a so-called caver.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 11, 2019, 08:04:22 am
Ad hominem isn't unusual for this forum. When it comes to instructing caving, yes, BCA support the view that I do know what I'm talking about.

The pitch in question does not need via ferrata-style style fixed aids.

Someone obviously disagrees with this enough to have gone to the effort and cost of doing precisely that though. Differing opinions are not unusual within caving circles.

Here's an opinion I quite favour:

https://youtu.be/4SGsaYf2qB0?t=146

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: tamarmole on February 11, 2019, 08:34:42 am
It's dismal to read a caving equivalent of an episode of Grumpy Old Men/Women: how does this anti accessibility mindset square against the BCA Vision for increasing/improving the rapid cliff-edge demographic of the nation's caving? If making things less dangerous and more do-able for a modern generation who are physically less awesome than pioneers who routinely took calculated risks (nowadays highly inadvisable for anyone with a family) is going to elicit a knee-jerk reaction and a call to arms to purge caves of long overdue and needful fixed aids then perhaps BCA, and caving generally, deserves to die on its arse due to a lack of uptake from people who don't fancy exposing themselves to a real likelihood of life-changing injuries.

"If you're not hard you shouldn't have come"

As a fat, middle aged man who was never much cop as a sporting caver I accepted early on that there are a lot of places that I will never see due to my lack of physical and technical ability.  This is my problem and not a problem with the cave.  As a mediocre sporting caver I would not expect the cave to be made mediocre to match my limited abilities. 

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: caving_fox on February 11, 2019, 09:28:36 am
Contrast with the steps added to my favourite cave Craig A Fyynnon. There's a little bit of an awkward and exposed free climb that used to have a knotted rope on it. First on up would rig a ladder for the rest. Then there was a chain (Actually harder to use). Then a few years ago 5 discreet footplates were added (by the wardens). These are now so muddy you usually have to point them out to the rest of the group. They're only 2" deep but provide a useful support so that one person doesn't have to risk a potentially nasty fall. As far as I've heard there was no opposition at the time, and they're remained in place without the threat of anglegrinders.

So why are these any worse? Aesthetically and practically they're less good? There wasn't the support of the community beforehand? It's just different in Wales? Issues of 'certification' and checks?

It's difficult to balance the requirements for minimal intervention in a cave, safety, and access for "competent" cavers. There's a bell curve of caving ability, and also of caving challenges. It seems reasonable that only the most determined cavers should be able to pass the most difficult challenges, but the middle ground of how much aid to add for the average caver to pass a specific challenge is less clear - the general guidelines of the explorers made it this big / bolted this route /free climbed this, have prevailed so far. Should it remain so?

I don't have the answers!
Personally I don't like the look of these, but I'm sure I'd happily use them rather than faff about on a difficult climb.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: BradW on February 11, 2019, 09:53:32 am
We have had lots of views on why individuals don't want them or don't need them.

Do you know anybody who would find them useful and would otherwise not attempt to ascend this bit of the cave? If they wanted to go up there, would you take them with suitable safety protection, if the staples were really the only practical way for them to get up? Would you refuse to take them on principle?


What we really don't know are the particular circumstances of their installation beyond what Marysboy was told in the first post. It's easy to condemn someone or something when you only have your own perception of whether it's right or wrong.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: MarkS on February 11, 2019, 09:56:15 am
if the staples were really the only practical way for them to get up

As opposed to rigging a ladder and/or a rope?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 11, 2019, 10:13:35 am
The BCA is not there to provide you with an ever increasing range of caves that you can pitch to your customers.

You are correct; it is the Regional Councils that negotiate access but BCA does urge and expect those negotiations to include all categories of caver, and customers (the public) are cavers when they are caving.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: aricooperdavis on February 11, 2019, 10:49:19 am
For me the conservation/aid argument boils down to where different people draw the line at what is the minimum acceptable level of safety. Since no-one is going to have exactly the same opinion on that I believe that the best way to deal with the range of opinions is to openly debate and discuss aid before it's installed in one of the wonderful open forums that exist to facilitate this kind of discussion (such as here and within the CNCC).

If you're not happy with my initial assumption that most people want the "minimum acceptable level of safety" then consider installing strip lighting, hand rails, and picnic benches in all caves in the UK. What would be the objection to those things that would make the trip safer and accessible for all levels of ability?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on February 11, 2019, 11:35:31 am
caving_fox: I get the impression that the climb you mention in your favourite cave is only accessible from the bottom, and if you want to gain access to the passage at the top then someone has to climb it somehow.
The situation with these new stemples in Easegill is quite different (assuming that they’re where I think they are) in that the top of the pitch is easily accessible from the other direction, and the stemples seem to have been placed in order to facilitate a through trip from one of the other entrances to County Pot.

There are bolts at the top of this pitch; it strike me that if someone is so keen on making life easy for themselves (and their instructed parties?????), then the best thing to have done would have been to rig a rope and keep an eye on it (it’s only a short pitch and renewing the rope every few months wouldn’t actually cost much).
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: BradW on February 11, 2019, 12:18:37 pm
if the staples were really the only practical way for them to get up

As opposed to rigging a ladder and/or a rope?
I didn't say the preferred way to get them up, I said the ONLY way to get them up (assuming there are circumstances that would prevent use of a ladder). My question was supposed to focus the mind on the user of the steps, away from the feelings of the offended observer.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on February 11, 2019, 12:38:27 pm
Quote
If you're not happy with my initial assumption that most people want the "minimum acceptable level of safety" then consider installing strip lighting, hand rails, and picnic benches in all caves in the UK. What would be the objection to those things that would make the trip safer and accessible for all levels of ability?

I doubt you could fit a picnic bench into Strans gill, it would rather get in the way :lol: My view on this is rather indifferent on these, provided they remain in the novice play ground caves. I can see both points of view here. I guess with those stemples means its better than getting to the pitch and finding you have to abseil on a crab on a belay belt like I did there a long time ago before I knew better. (We expected there to be a knotted rope on it we could climb). But why not just use a knotted hand line with loops as was there before, I guess it's harder to climb?

But this also brings up the question as to why these stemples are so much worse than the knotted ropes all over the place in that system? There generally has to be something whether it's rope or some other artificial aid to get up some climbs, so how are these worse than those when one is required. I mean there is a fixed ladder on stop pot no one has argued that to be removed? With these stemples I guess the rope can now be removed , why is it an issue to remove one unsightly aid to be replaced with another if there is going to be an aid there anyway what difference does it make?

The ones in Vally ent, did make a big difference as you could see them from the stream where you could not see the P's but, here at Trident you could always see the rope. To be clear I am against those in vally ent ones as is almost everyone else. But where visible fixed aids already exist all I can muster is meh!
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on February 11, 2019, 12:50:02 pm
Quote
I doubt you could fit a picnic bench into Strans gill, it would rather get in the way

You could take it down in pieces and assemble it down there; it'd be good for admiring the formations in the Passage of Time.  ;D
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Badlad on February 11, 2019, 01:42:09 pm
The CNCC has previously appealed to cavers who are thinking of installing such fixed aids to come and discuss it before any installation takes place.  I am happy to make that appeal again.  The CNCC do not wish to try to tell cavers what they can and cannot do but are able to offer potential installers a platform where they can gauge support for their ideas and a gather a broad opinion. 

Fixed aids, especially of the nature shown in this post and the KMC one, are controversial.  What one person considers a necessary safety step others see as defacing a popular cave.  Taking unilateral action does risk attracting condemnation and may lead to others taking similar unilateral action to removing them. 

Do get in touch with CNCC via the website if you are thinking of making a similar installation.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on February 11, 2019, 01:59:50 pm
A curious thing I've noticed about this thread. Many of the people criticising the installation of these steps are also people who in the past have voiced support for CROW access to caves, whereas some of their defenders have taken the opposite view. Is there a point here? Well, maybe - it's that CROW supporters do care about conservation.   
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on February 11, 2019, 02:35:27 pm
Meanwhile, what if a rung did break while someone was using it? What would be the liability issues[...]

Unless you could demonstrate:
a) the installer was wilfully negligent in installation, or
b) the steps themselves were dangerous in design or manufacture,

then I strongly suspect none whatsoever (and quite possibly the installer might even be covered by BCA insurance anyway, assuming the insurance treats all fixed aids the same way as bolts/anchors). A caver came along and stood a random bit of metal in a cave underground outside of supervision or a duty of care? Volenti non fit iniuria.

In any event, no different to fixed ropes or indeed fixed anchors - I believe no liability is due to the installer unless there is some pretty serious wilful negligence (e.g. repeatedly not putting the cone in the head of a spit, or never bothering to glue in resin bolts and just hammering them in?).
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: BradW on February 11, 2019, 04:09:29 pm
A curious thing I've noticed about this thread. Many of the people criticising the installation of these steps are also people who in the past have voiced support for CROW access to caves, whereas some of their defenders have taken the opposite view. Is there a point here? Well, maybe - it's that CROW supporters do care about conservation.
Maybe it demonstrates that people who want freer access to caves draw the line when it comes to someone else exerting a freedom to freely add a feature of their own. Freedom is a complex beast.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: JohnMCooper on February 11, 2019, 04:13:19 pm
Quote
There are many caves with metal steps already, so perhaps the only precedent being set is one wherein the steps are really badly installed, such that they look highly likely to snap someone's leg if they fell backwards and it slipped inside the rung as they did so.

The guide that Raumer issue say the maximum gap should be 150mm for their stemples. These look to protrude more than that.

See https://www.raumerclimbing.com/eng/prodotti_dettaglio.asp?prod=%F816_mm-270x300_stemple_rung_-_raumer-classic-_model-ribbed_bar&qi=0-21-378&qinav=0-21-c (https://www.raumerclimbing.com/eng/prodotti_dettaglio.asp?prod=%F816_mm-270x300_stemple_rung_-_raumer-classic-_model-ribbed_bar&qi=0-21-378&qinav=0-21-c)
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: aricooperdavis on February 11, 2019, 04:42:31 pm
But this also brings up the question as to why these stemples are so much worse than the knotted ropes all over the place in that system?

For me I'd rather have a rope than stemples simply because the impact associated with installation is less significant; a couple of holes in total for bolts for the rope, but a couple of holes per stemple if you're going with them. Ropes are also much more easily tucked out of the way for photos or if you don't want to use them, and easily removable, so feel more temporary, whereas stemples are a much more permanent feature. But I don't know the bit of cave in question, so don't feel like I can chip in much, other than hoping that in future these discussions will happen in a public forum pre-installation.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: NewStuff on February 11, 2019, 06:23:25 pm
Maybe it demonstrates that people who want freer access to caves
Maybe it's that there's a consensus that these things are a bad idea. Just as there's a consensus that access needs to be more open, despite a vocal minority.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: caving_fox on February 11, 2019, 10:07:05 pm
caving_fox: I get the impression that the climb you mention in your favourite cave is only accessible from the bottom, and if you want to gain access to the passage at the top then someone has to climb it somehow.
The situation with these new stemples in Easegill is quite different (assuming that they’re where I think they are) in that the top of the pitch is easily accessible from the other direction, and the stemples seem to have been placed in order to facilitate a through trip from one of the other entrances to County Pot.

There are bolts at the top of this pitch; it strike me that if someone is so keen on making life easy for themselves (and their instructed parties?????), then the best thing to have done would have been to rig a rope and keep an eye on it (it’s only a short pitch and renewing the rope every few months wouldn’t actually cost much).

True that does make a difference.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: JoW on February 12, 2019, 07:23:54 am
caving_fox: I get the impression that the climb you mention in your favourite cave is only accessible from the bottom, and if you want to gain access to the passage at the top then someone has to climb it somehow.
The situation with these new stemples in Easegill is quite different (assuming that they’re where I think they are) in that the top of the pitch is easily accessible from the other direction, and the stemples seem to have been placed in order to facilitate a through trip from one of the other entrances to County Pot.

There are bolts at the top of this pitch; it strike me that if someone is so keen on making life easy for themselves (and their instructed parties?????), then the best thing to have done would have been to rig a rope and keep an eye on it (it’s only a short pitch and renewing the rope every few months wouldn’t actually cost much).

Unless I am mistaken and things have changed I believe instructed groups are not allowed in Easegill, with the exception of CIC training or similar.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on February 12, 2019, 02:08:42 pm
There are bolts at the top of this pitch; it strike me that if someone is so keen on making life easy for themselves (and their instructed parties?????), then the best thing to have done would have been to rig a rope and keep an eye on it (it’s only a short pitch and renewing the rope every few months wouldn’t actually cost much).


Good point, but ignores the fact that ropes can 'disappear' whereas the stemples probably won't.


What's the problem with a fixed chain? I know of a couple of VERY popular caves that have these in situ for awkward little climbs, and no-one seems to object.....
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on February 12, 2019, 03:30:27 pm
I do not intend to gather opinion on paying groups, access control gates or historical installations of fixed equipment elsewhere. And its not about scaffold or elitism.

I started this thread to gather people's views on the metal steps recently installed in the Dales. Thanks to those that responded so far.

It seems the online caving community active here is generally of the opinion that unsolicited via ferrata style step installation in the Dales is undesirable. Consensus by those who know this site also seems to be that installation of steps here was unnecessary.

To add context to those unfamiliar with the site, the climb can be easily reached from above via the Trident Series. This allows a rope or ladder to be rigged from above, using the new IC anchors.

When approaching from below, the lowest IC anchor is reachable BEFORE starting the climb, as shown by the yellow-suited caver in the photo. so a protecting rope or steps could be put in i think
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on February 13, 2019, 11:36:50 am
I do not intend to gather opinion on paying groups, access control gates or historical installations of fixed equipment elsewhere. And its not about scaffold or elitism.

I started this thread to gather people's views on the metal steps recently installed in the Dales. Thanks to those that responded so far.

It seems the online caving community active here is generally of the opinion that unsolicited via ferrata style step installation in the Dales is undesirable. Consensus by those who know this site also seems to be that installation of steps here was unnecessary.

To add context to those unfamiliar with the site, the climb can be easily reached from above via the Trident Series. This allows a rope or ladder to be rigged from above, using the new IC anchors.

When approaching from below, the lowest IC anchor is reachable BEFORE starting the climb, as shown by the yellow-suited caver in the photo. so a protecting rope or steps could be put in i think

You have explained what you think about them and I think many people would agree with you.

At the start you said that you have spoken to the installer.


The installer, when i mentioned this to him, felt that they provide convenience of an upward through trip without needing to pre-rig or rely on a fixed rope.


Can you explain in more detail why they were installed? Is the installer aware of the objections to the similar installations in KMC? Are the two cases connected and if so in what way?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on February 13, 2019, 12:18:16 pm
Can you explain in more detail why they were installed? Is the installer aware of the objections to the similar installations in KMC? Are the two cases connected and if so in what way?

I don't have more details at present. I only spoke briefly with him and summarised as best i could what i remember of that conversation in my first post. I felt it reasonable to present his reasoning so far as it provided context for this discussion.

I don't wish to speculate further on the motivations or act as go-between for the installer. I feel it is up to them to get involved in discussion with the caving community at large. I do not think he is a member of this forum but will make him aware of this thread.

I am not aware of a connection with the KMC steps, other than:
(1) via ferrata steps installed in Dales cave where none was before
(2) arguably unneccesary location for the previous and anticipated users
(3) installed by an individual seemingly without wider prior approval.