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.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: WallE on February 27, 2019, 02:44:27 am
Just to update everyone. Having gone through on Sat 23rd Feb the steps appear to have been cut off now. Sadly there's now a load of two inch steel spikes left sticking out of the wall ready to shred the gear of, or at worst, impale the unwary. A bit more tidying to do still...
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on February 27, 2019, 07:34:52 am
Just to update everyone. Having gone through on Sat 23rd Feb the steps appear to have been cut off now. Sadly there's now a load of two inch steel spikes left sticking out of the wall ready to shred the gear of, or at worst, impale the unwary. A bit more tidying to do still...

How to take a situation from bad to worse...

Taking unilateral action is never the answer. They shouldn't have been put in without consensus but an incompetent dangerous hack job at removing them which someone competent will have to go and sort out just makes it worse.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Ian Ball on February 27, 2019, 09:11:42 am
Oh dear 
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on February 27, 2019, 09:32:17 am
Oh dear

Oh dear indeed.

There is a CNCC meeting soon and I think there's a chance that this matter migh be mentioned. It would be good if we had better information about this so that we can have an informed discussion. If anyone is planning to go there could you please take a camera and get some snaps. It would help if there is something in images to give scale.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Canary on February 27, 2019, 05:56:27 pm
Perhaps UKC isn't the best place to discuss errant bolting as it just turns into judgement by the mob. This is mainly due to the absence of people who want to leave it to the CNCC, or don't think they have a significant impact.

The CNCC meetings should have been the first port of call   :wall:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: malcolm smith on February 27, 2019, 06:24:08 pm
Sounds like caltrops have been added to make the cave more of a challenge 😀
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: langcliffe on February 27, 2019, 06:58:51 pm
Perhaps UKC isn't the best place to discuss errant bolting as it just turns into judgement by the mob.

The CNCC meetings should have been the first port of call   :wall:

Ignoring the inflammatory language, whilst I agree that the CNCC should be informed, I really don't see why the cavers whom the CNCC represent shouldn't have an opportunity to express their opinion. With one notable exception, I have been pretty impressed by the quality of the discussion. It certainly doesn't merit your use of the word 'mob'.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Canary on February 27, 2019, 08:56:43 pm

"I really don't see why the cavers whom the CNCC represent shouldn't have an opportunity to express their opinion."


They do have the opportunity to express their opinion, at the CNCC meetings and/or via the club reps.  It's pretty disingenuous of you to suggest they dont. :spank:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on February 27, 2019, 09:00:34 pm
Perhaps UKC isn't the best place to discuss errant bolting as it just turns into judgement by the mob.

Perhaps is arguably unnecessary.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: langcliffe on February 27, 2019, 09:14:31 pm

"I really don't see why the cavers whom the CNCC represent shouldn't have an opportunity to express their opinion."


They do have the opportunity to express their opinion, at the CNCC meetings and/or via the club reps.  It's pretty disingenuous of you to suggest they dont. :spank:

I expressed myself badly, and I didn't mean to imply that - many apologies. But I guess that we have to differ in that I do believe that there is nothing wrong with a discussion on this forum as well, and that I don't believe that those who have expressed an opinion have behaved like a mob.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Ian Ball on February 27, 2019, 09:44:10 pm
I don't think UkC is just to state your opinion, I imagine some, like me, form their opinion from the discussion had, then contact the CNCC to add their vote to one side of a debate or the other.  I wouldn't get involved if it were a different region mind.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: thomasr on February 27, 2019, 09:58:58 pm
I understood immediately what Lancliffe  meant. That cavers  had a right to express their opinion on this forum.  He did Not suggest they had not a right of audience at cncc metings
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Badlad on February 27, 2019, 10:00:11 pm
Many of us at CNCC read this forum, certainly the officers.  It is very useful, I think, to read the opinions of other cavers about such issues ahead of any meetings we have - The more the better.  At our meetings more opinions will be expressed no doubt and most likely a consensus formed.

Whoever is installing these stirrups, or cutting them off, or chipping holds please stop and think before doing any more.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on February 27, 2019, 11:44:56 pm
Canary: Maybe it's pretty disingenuous of you to suggest that cavers shouldn't express an opinion on an open forum, rather than wait of the next CNCC meeting; isn't that what the forum's for (among other things)?.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: CNCC on February 28, 2019, 07:55:13 am
Agree totally with Badlad (our Access Officer). Our Secretary, Chair and Conservation Officer are also UKCaving users and contributors.

It is good to see the variety of opinions expressed here. Matters such as this are difficult for the CNCC. We are not the 'cave police' and we have no rights to allow or disallow, condone or condemn the kinds of work people are doing. Incidentally, we have also been made aware of some recent efforts by persons unknown to 'modify the rock' of the Wretched Rabbit entrance climbs; to what end we're not sure, but perhaps to provide footholds. Whether the two incidents are related we cannot be sure.

We do seek however to provide a friendly venue (via our meetings) for such modifications to caves to be discussed before the work is undertaken, and perhaps even for a less damaging alternative to be considered.

The CNCC acted to remove the metal steps in Kingsdale Master Cave (work undertaken last month) as they were not Stainless Steel and thus not corrosion resistant. In time they may have left rust streaks down the wall of the cave. The steps in the Upper Trident climb were stainless steel, so there was no conservation remit for the CNCC to take action against these (it wasn't us who cut them off). It is interesting to see the opinions here and what people think the CNCC should, or should not be doing in such situations.

Remember, our meetings are open, friendly and welcoming, and if you have a project that involves such extensive modifications to a popular cave that you'd like to discuss via a democratic forum, then we are happy to provide that opportunity. Just turn up, or if you would like it specifically putting on the agenda then let our Secretary know.

What this incident has shown is the strength of feeling both for and against such installations; so much so that someone has undertaken the work in the first place, and someone else has taken action to remove them, leaving protruding metal and of course a number of unsightly holes in the rock. Nobody has 'won' or gained anything from this incident. For this reason we'd urge the installer of such metal fixtures to think very carefully and to consult the CNCC before taking any further action that could reduce enjoyment of our cave systems for others.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on February 28, 2019, 08:45:56 am
We should not assume the installer and the cutter-offer are different people.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: PeteHall on February 28, 2019, 08:56:57 am
We should not assume the installer and the cutter-offer are different people.
An interesting thought...
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on February 28, 2019, 09:12:44 am
We should not assume the installer and the cutter-offer are different people.

That would seem to be extremely strange behaviour.

Do you know if the installer cut them off?

It would seem more logical to think that the installer of the steps in KMC and Trident might be the same person.

If you read the CNCC minutes it reads as if the overriding objection to the KMC steps was that they were carbon steel and therefore it follows that stainless ones would be acceptable. A few months later some stainless ones appear. It seems inconceivable that the two cases are not connected.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on February 28, 2019, 12:25:36 pm
I've noticed that the CNCC has now equipped Quaking Pot with modern bolts.

The thing is, I'm too big for this cave. In fact, there are many cavers who are too big for it. So I think the time has come to widen some of its more difficult features, such as The Crux. It would mean more people could enjoy the lower reaches of what I'm told is a fine system, and even those who can fit down it now would be able to do it faster, and so have a better chance of making the pub. A win-win! Why should we follow some sort of bizarre thin persons' elitism policy? I've always wanted to see Gormenghast. This will make it possible. We don't have to take off too much. Just enough to make it accessible to those with big chests and broad shoulders.

I'm sure there will be a few stuffy purists who will object, but I propose simply to ignore them. After all, it would make a rescue much easier. We can justify this on safety grounds, if pressed.

Anyone who wants to help with what will be quite a big capping project send me a personal message, and we can take it from there. And unlike these steel via ferrata thingies, once we've widened it, our efforts will be irreversible! After that's done, I propose turning the Daren Cilau entrance crawl into a nice, pleasant walk, so that older cavers can continue to enjoy a visit to the Time Machine.

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on February 28, 2019, 12:37:01 pm
I think that is a very flippant, deliberately inflammatory and trolling remark by David I see. But I guess his point is where does this stop, but I wonder Dave are you saying in your fashion that p-bolting Quaking was too far then then?

But, if your going to start trolling please keep it to the Daily fail.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Topimo on February 28, 2019, 12:40:07 pm
I've noticed that the CNCC has now equipped Quaking Pot with modern bolts.

The thing is, I'm too big for this cave. In fact, there are many cavers who are too big for it. So I think the time has come to widen some of its more difficult features, such as The Crux. It would mean more people could enjoy the lower reaches of what I'm told is a fine system, and even those who can fit down it now would be able to do it faster, and so have a better chance of making the pub. A win-win! Why should we follow some sort of bizarre thin persons' elitism policy? I've always wanted to see Gormenghast. This will make it possible. We don't have to take off too much. Just enough to make it accessible to those with big chests and broad shoulders.

I'm sure there will be a few stuffy purists who will object, but I propose simply to ignore them. After all, it would make a rescue much easier. We can justify this on safety grounds, if pressed.

Anyone who wants to help with what will be quite a big capping project send me a personal message, and we can take it from there. And unlike these steel via ferrata thingies, once we've widened it, our efforts will be irreversible! After that's done, I propose turning the Daren Cilau entrance crawl into a nice, pleasant walk, so that older cavers can continue to enjoy a visit to the Time Machine.

Caps? We can do better than that surely! :clap2:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cavematt on February 28, 2019, 12:44:43 pm
Alex; I suspect David's comments are intended slightly tongue-in-cheek  :lol:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on February 28, 2019, 12:49:26 pm
Maybe, I had a sense of humour failure then. Apologies. My humour normally revolves around puns.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on February 28, 2019, 01:18:18 pm
Alex, my dear chap. I was trying to be humorous. A dangerous game, I know...
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: thomasr on February 28, 2019, 02:35:12 pm
Shoudnt you lads be at  work  ?:)
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Andy Sparrow on February 28, 2019, 03:46:16 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.

Not entirely correct.  Stanton rigged a chain to be used as an aid to access the ledge 3m metres along the right hand wall.  From here he installed a small number (4?) of short (about 6 inch) stemples.  You can clearly see the stemples in place but hammered flat so as to be unusable.  So not a fixed ladder but an ingenious minimalist use of natural features and discrete climbing aids.   
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on February 28, 2019, 05:27:07 pm
Is it true that the entrance pitch of Lancaster Hole once had a fixed ladder in it? I seem to remember there used to be sections of it lying around at the bottom.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on February 28, 2019, 07:05:38 pm
We should not assume the installer and the cutter-offer are different people.

That would seem to be extremely strange behaviour.

Do you know if the installer cut them off?

It would seem more logical to think that the installer of the steps in KMC and Trident might be the same person.

If you read the CNCC minutes it reads as if the overriding objection to the KMC steps was that they were carbon steel and therefore it follows that stainless ones would be acceptable. A few months later some stainless ones appear. It seems inconceivable that the two cases are not connected.
I do not know who cut off the stemples. If i did i would have said so. I'm only saying it MAY have been the installer so don;t jump to conclusions that it MUST be someone else. That they could return to discretely remove (part of) what they installed seems logical to me.

KMC Steps; i started a separate thread because i had no understanding of a link between the two sets of steps (other than outlined in my post above).  The installer MIGHT be the same person but i don't know that and given all the available information to me i think making such a link would be doubtful.  Logical to you does not mean proven correct.

Simon i wish to respectfully ask if you trruly mean 'inconceivable'. As in you cannot conceive an idea that these may be different people installing different kit in different caves.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on February 28, 2019, 07:12:55 pm
Inconceivable! :)

Personally I think that since larger cavers clearly cause all the conservation damage, all caves should be fitted with a 7" slot which you have to squeeze through to gain access...
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on February 28, 2019, 07:57:24 pm
Quote
Shoudnt you lads be at  work  ?:)

Got to do something while my code compiles.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on February 28, 2019, 08:41:42 pm
We should not assume the installer and the cutter-offer are different people.

That would seem to be extremely strange behaviour.

Do you know if the installer cut them off?

It would seem more logical to think that the installer of the steps in KMC and Trident might be the same person.

If you read the CNCC minutes it reads as if the overriding objection to the KMC steps was that they were carbon steel and therefore it follows that stainless ones would be acceptable. A few months later some stainless ones appear. It seems inconceivable that the two cases are not connected.
I do not know who cut off the stemples. If i did i would have said so. I'm only saying it MAY have been the installer so don;t jump to conclusions that it MUST be someone else. That they could return to discretely remove (part of) what they installed seems logical to me.

KMC Steps; i started a separate thread because i had no understanding of a link between the two sets of steps (other than outlined in my post above).  The installer MIGHT be the same person but i don't know that and given all the available information to me i think making such a link would be doubtful.  Logical to you does not mean proven correct.

Simon i wish to respectfully ask if you trruly mean 'inconceivable'. As in you cannot conceive an idea that these may be different people installing different kit in different caves.

OK. But you know what I mean.

I'll rephrase it.

It seems to me highly unlikely that someone would install the steps knowing that there would be objections and then a few weeks later remove them after a few quite mild objections.

It seems to me extremely unlikely that there is not some sort of connection between the installations in KMC and those in Trident.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on March 01, 2019, 12:33:26 am
It seems to me extremely unlikely that there is not some sort of connection between the installations in KMC and those in Trident.
Again i feel you may be over-egging things somewhat. Perhaps you think you are just adding your opinion, but it is potentially misleading to broadcast such a statement. Is there any evidence for such a connection?

Regarding the KMC steps, we have been told they were installed by someone connected with CRO acting independently with rescue in mind. That they were not condoned, largely criticised and then with the installers' input, efforts made to remove them (all last year). We also know they were installed using non-stainless steel.

Re the Trident steps, they were installed by someone who i do not think is connected with CRO, acting individually with sport caving convenience in mind. It seems they were installed much later that the KMC steps, long after the KMC steps were already being discussed for removal. And they were installed in seemingly a stainless steel.

Different material, different cave, different purpose, possibly different installer, different time. Thats Who What Where When and Why mostly different. Let's keep an open mind.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 01, 2019, 07:52:52 am
It seems to me extremely unlikely that there is not some sort of connection between the installations in KMC and those in Trident.
Again i feel you may be over-egging things somewhat. Perhaps you think you are just adding your opinion, but it is potentially misleading to broadcast such a statement. Is there any evidence for such a connection?

Regarding the KMC steps, we have been told they were installed by someone connected with CRO acting independently with rescue in mind. That they were not condoned, largely criticised and then with the installers' input, efforts made to remove them (all last year). We also know they were installed using non-stainless steel.

Re the Trident steps, they were installed by someone who i do not think is connected with CRO, acting individually with sport caving convenience in mind. It seems they were installed much later that the KMC steps, long after the KMC steps were already being discussed for removal. And they were installed in seemingly a stainless steel.

Different material, different cave, different purpose, possibly different installer, different time. Thats Who What Where When and Why mostly different. Let's keep an open mind.

The high level traverse in KMC is not difficult for an experienced caver at the point where the steps were installed. If they were installed "with rescue in mind" then in reflects badly on the ability of the rescuer. The evidence suggests to me that the real intention was not for rescue.

I would not say the Trident steps were installed "long after" the KMC steps. The only objection to the KMC steps stated in the CNCC minutes is that "they were not stainless steel". The stainless steel steps in Trident appeared around four months after the CNCC seemed to imply that there might be no objection to stainless steps. Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.

I am keeping an open mind and I can't avoid seeing connections.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Fulk on March 01, 2019, 09:45:00 am
David (Rose): I believe that you are correct in saying that there used to be an iron ladder all the way down Lancaster Hole entrance shaft; I understand that this was installed by Eli Simpson and his cronies in their ill-fated attempt to turn the cave into an underground laboratory.

I can just remember when there was one remaining section, maybe 20 feet long, resting against the wall at the bottom; it made the ladder climb out a tad easier.

I think that the ladder that used to grace Fall Pot came from the entrance-pitch ladder.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on March 01, 2019, 11:56:33 am
The high level traverse in KMC is not difficult for an experienced caver at the point where the steps were installed. If they were installed "with rescue in mind" then in reflects badly on the ability of the rescuer. The evidence suggests to me that the real intention was not for rescue.

I would not say the Trident steps were installed "long after" the KMC steps. The only objection to the KMC steps stated in the CNCC minutes is that "they were not stainless steel". The stainless steel steps in Trident appeared around four months after the CNCC seemed to imply that there might be no objection to stainless steps. Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.

I am keeping an open mind and I can't avoid seeing connections.

Well articulated
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Pete K on March 01, 2019, 12:37:49 pm
Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.

I am keeping an open mind and I can't avoid seeing connections.

Is it not still the case that the Ease Gill system permits do not allow instructed groups? It's always been that way as far as I know.
Do you have some proof against an instructed group and are prepared to name them or is this another unfounded dig at people who are lucky enough to make a living from their hobby?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: 2xw on March 01, 2019, 12:42:13 pm
Can't see anything on the CNCC access page about instructed groups for County Pot for example, just maximum group sizes.
Even if there were that doesn't mean instructed groups wouldn't use the area.

I don't think anybody made any accusations but we're just speculating. It wouldn't be surprising given groups of instructors have been pushing for inappropriate aids in other areas of the country.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Pete K on March 01, 2019, 01:18:36 pm
Can't see anything on the CNCC access page about instructed groups for County Pot for example, just maximum group sizes.
Maybe it has changed recently then, it was always an off limits system. Seemed a bit off to accuse a user group that could not even be in that system.

Even if there were that doesn't mean instructed groups wouldn't use the area.
Says a person who does not understand the way the qualification structure and insurance works. Named sites only on LCMLA tickets I'm afraid, you can't lead in somewhere not on 'the list' and your insurance would sure as hell not pay out if you did and had an incident. Yes, a CIC can go anywhere technically, but they are in such a small number and so high profile that it would be really stupid to do something like that.

I don't think anybody made any accusations but we're just speculating. It wouldn't be surprising given groups of instructors have been pushing for inappropriate aids in other areas of the country.

I think the very fact that that user group was named is accusation enough. Simon's post stood just fine without it. If there is proof then they should be named and no doubt will be dealt with by BCA, otherwise it is just more instructor bashing for the sake of it.
I have seen a particular caving club has carved its initials into the bottom of a mine I helped re-bolt recently. I think on the strength of that that all caving clubs should be thought of as untrustworthy cave-wreckers. See my point? Rediculous isnt it to accuse one entire group based on the actions of a single individual within it?
Do I need to remind you about the group of instructors who voluntarily cleaned up after a caving club party in Bagshawe Cavern a few years ago? I don't think all caving clubs are bad becasue of that, and I don't go around making accusations about them.

That's probably enough about this as it'll drag this thread OT, but I had to answer that point about instructed groups.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on March 01, 2019, 01:20:04 pm
Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.

I am told that Easegill is not open to instructed groups, the only exception being training (e.g. CIC assessments etc) for which a training permit is required.

I can't imagine any instructed group that would want to do the KMC traverse. What would be the point? I wouldn't be surprised if many/most of the instructed groups don't even do the pitch, let alone hundreds of metres of unnecessary traversing. CRO has about hundreds of metres of rope ready and bagged up for it, but what group is going to rig out 400m (or whatever it is) of traversing just to do a bit of horizontal via ferrata directly above easy walking passage? I suspect very few cavers have done it either.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Ian P on March 01, 2019, 01:25:38 pm
Quote from CNCC website

“Agreement with the Whelprigg Estate for access to caves of Casterton Fell.

Novice cavers are not permitted into the Easegill system.
The Easegill system is not to be used for training absolute novice cavers or for instructed (commercial) caving purposes.”

Ian
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: langcliffe on March 01, 2019, 01:38:54 pm
I suspect very few cavers have done it either.

It's actually quite a popular wet weather exercise.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on March 01, 2019, 02:06:12 pm
When chatting to the Trident installer (who is not to my knowledge an instructor) there was no mention of instructing, training, instructed groups, novices or the like.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 01, 2019, 02:09:59 pm

I think the very fact that that user group was named ...


I've looked back up this thread and can't see a named user group. Who named a 'user group' what 'user group' did they name and where?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Pete K on March 01, 2019, 03:06:21 pm
I've looked back up this thread and can't see a named user group. Who named a 'user group' what 'user group' did they name and where?
Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.
Semantics aside, that is pointing a finger at a user group.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 01, 2019, 04:15:55 pm
I've looked back up this thread and can't see a named user group. Who named a 'user group' what 'user group' did they name and where?
Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.
Semantics aside, that is pointing a finger at a user group.

Call them groups of beginners or people who are new to caving or whatever. People who spend time up there will be familier with minibuses and bunches of teenagers traipsing over the fell. It's a cave that is often visited by a certain type of person and they won't own a copy of NFTFH. I'm just going off what I've seen with my own eyes.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 01, 2019, 07:26:45 pm
instructing, training, instructed groups, novices or the like.

...all of which are cavers. There is no distinction. People caving are cavers.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on March 01, 2019, 07:28:50 pm
Simon: you are faffing about. Say what you mean.

'I think that these aids were installed by Instructors/Guides to make the cave easier for their clients'.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: mikem on March 01, 2019, 09:22:24 pm
When chatting to the Trident installer (who is not to my knowledge an instructor) there was no mention of instructing, training, instructed groups, novices or the like.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on March 01, 2019, 09:26:13 pm
I'm not trying to square a circle, Mike.... :lol:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Cap'n Chris on March 01, 2019, 09:33:52 pm
...to make the cave easier...

Less dangerous, perhaps.

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Jon on March 01, 2019, 09:55:05 pm
Both sets of steps were in easy caves less than four miles apart that are popular with instructed groups.

I am told that Easegill is not open to instructed groups, the only exception being training (e.g. CIC assessments etc) for which a training permit is required.

I can't imagine any instructed group that would want to do the KMC traverse. What would be the point? I wouldn't be surprised if many/most of the instructed groups don't even do the pitch, let alone hundreds of metres of unnecessary traversing. CRO has about hundreds of metres of rope ready and bagged up for it, but what group is going to rig out 400m (or whatever it is) of traversing just to do a bit of horizontal via ferrata directly above easy walking passage? I suspect very few cavers have done it either.
I know of instructed groups that have done some or all of the KMC traverse but they were of the type that wouldn't need steps and the instructors certainly wouldn't even consider installing any.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Badlad on March 04, 2019, 10:22:09 am
Perhaps the worst possible to end to this sorry tale.  A photo of the sawn off stirrups from yesterday.  Now just a load of irreparable damage.  In my view you didn't need these stirrups in the first place as there are IC anchors and fixed ropes.  However one stirrup would have been helpful and not much more intrusive than many other fixed aids in our caves.  Three was a bit over kill but still better than six useless sharp studs sticking out of the scalloped wall.  Gaining a bit of consensus before placement would have certainly helped.  Maybe it was the installer himself who sawed them off because of the disapproval of his actions or maybe it was someone else making a statement, whichever there will need to be further work done to minimise the damage and at least take the sharp edges off the studs.  See lower photo.

(https://media.ukcaving.com/wl/?id=EI3TAvz9WkuBl442dgPiZ40H7RtIztip)

A rip to someones suit caused by the sawn off sharp edges.

(https://media.ukcaving.com/wl/?id=ObsnRdUcZEO93FgECu30COJopYlBxyKH)
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: mch on March 04, 2019, 10:55:48 am
Christ, who would do this? It's now moved from being an eyesore to a danger!
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on March 04, 2019, 11:14:41 am
Someone should take a lump hammer in on the next trip and squash those flat against the wall, would that work?
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on March 04, 2019, 11:20:46 am
Some poor bugger sat there thinking 'Can't do right for doing wrong'....
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Benfool on March 04, 2019, 11:30:44 am
Could it be something to do with the aggressive and accusatory nature of some of the posts on this forum?

B
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on March 04, 2019, 11:42:15 am
Someone should take a lump hammer in on the next trip and squash those flat against the wall, would that work?

Angle grind flat with cutting disc and cover with mud/resin mix?

Best not to add further amateur work, though, and work through the CNCC for a consensus solution (who I'm sure would be happy for any volunteers).
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: David Rose on March 04, 2019, 01:05:05 pm
Marysboy, has the installer of the stirrups given you any idea why he installed them without taking any time to establish whether the wider caving comunuity would think they were a good idea?

Badlad's photos are depressing. Sheer unnecessary vandalism in one of Britain's finest and most popular caves, and now the creation of a new, serious hazard.

As for blaming this forum for the botched sawing off job: that beggars belief. I've been impressed at how mild and reasonable debate over this has been.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: MarkS on March 04, 2019, 01:19:00 pm
One thing that puzzles me about this sort of thing is the lack of foresight from people that do it.

An individual taking a unilateral decision to install something that is clearly somewhat controversial can't really argue against someone else who disagrees with them and makes the unilateral decision to remove it.

Almost inevitably nobody wins.

:shrug:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Speleotron on March 04, 2019, 04:43:02 pm
One thing that puzzles me about this sort of thing is the lack of foresight from people that do it.

An individual taking a unilateral decision to install something that is clearly somewhat controversial can't really argue against someone else who disagrees with them and makes the unilateral decision to remove it.

Almost inevitably nobody wins.

:shrug:

Wait until you see what they've done to Wretched Rabbit Mark!
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 04, 2019, 04:48:50 pm
One thing that puzzles me about this sort of thing is the lack of foresight from people that do it.

An individual taking a unilateral decision to install something that is clearly somewhat controversial can't really argue against someone else who disagrees with them and makes the unilateral decision to remove it.

Almost inevitably nobody wins.

:shrug:

Wait until you see what they've done to Wretched Rabbit Mark!

I hope you aren't suggesting for one minute there's any connection. Be very careful what you say. Someone will say you're pointing fingers and being agressive and accusatory.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on March 04, 2019, 04:49:20 pm
No doubt someone will go onto the climbs and add some greece to counter it.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Speleotron on March 05, 2019, 11:28:43 am
One thing that puzzles me about this sort of thing is the lack of foresight from people that do it.

An individual taking a unilateral decision to install something that is clearly somewhat controversial can't really argue against someone else who disagrees with them and makes the unilateral decision to remove it.

Almost inevitably nobody wins.

:shrug:

Wait until you see what they've done to Wretched Rabbit Mark!

I hope you aren't suggesting for one minute there's any connection. Be very careful what you say. Someone will say you're pointing fingers and being agressive and accusatory.

Fair enough, I didn't mean to suggest there was a link or not a link, 'they' being the vaguest use of the word. Can't seem to edit the post or delete it though.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 05, 2019, 11:45:10 am
One thing that puzzles me about this sort of thing is the lack of foresight from people that do it.

An individual taking a unilateral decision to install something that is clearly somewhat controversial can't really argue against someone else who disagrees with them and makes the unilateral decision to remove it.

Almost inevitably nobody wins.

:shrug:

Wait until you see what they've done to Wretched Rabbit Mark!

I hope you aren't suggesting for one minute there's any connection. Be very careful what you say. Someone will say you're pointing fingers and being agressive and accusatory.

Fair enough, I didn't mean to suggest there was a link or not a link, 'they' being the vaguest use of the word. Can't seem to edit the post or delete it though.

I understood that. There's nothing wrong with what you said. I was referring to back up the thread where I was accused of pointing the finger. There was also some mention of aggression and accusation when there was none. David Rose was right when he said that comments have been mild.

All I did was point out the obvious and irrefutable fact that both caves are very popular with beginners who are almost exclusivley under the 'guidance' some sort of 'leader' or 'instructor'. What you make of that is up to you. You can quote the access agreement if you want but what the access agreement says is one thing and what actually happens is another.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: andrewmc on March 05, 2019, 12:15:18 pm
All I did was point out the obvious and irrefutable fact that both caves are very popular with beginners who are almost exclusivley under the 'guidance' some sort of 'leader' or 'instructor'. What you make of that is up to you. You can quote the access agreement if you want but what the access agreement says is one thing and what actually happens is another.

Cavers break access agreements regularly. Professional instructors are far, far less likely to because:

a) They are limited to the sites on their list (unless they are CIC, and the current CIC membership number is running at about 140 i.e. there have been less than 150 CIC's ever and they should all know better). A CIC will not sign off an LCMLA for a cave (or provide site-specific training) they aren't allowed to take people into, which means they would be working outside of their qualification and potentially their insurance.
b) They will be required to carry out risk assessments of the sites with documentation etc - they don't just take people out for to random places - every site will have been checked before they go there, and (if required) the landowners contacted.
c) If an accident happened in a cave they weren't supposed to be in, they would find that a brown sticky material suddenly started striking rapidly rotating blades.

Show me any evidence that paid instructed groups (in the 'group' sense) have ever used a cave outside of an access agreement (e.g. a rescue callout for an instructed group in a place they weren't supposed to be).

In any event, Wretched Rabbit is probably far from an ideal commercial venue - 'long' walk to the entrance, tricky entrance climbs which would need lifelining (at which point why bother capping it) and far too many places to lose people.

The only people who will even have capping equipment will be active diggers - remember that it is pretty much the only caving activity that is NOT covered by BCA insurance...

If these were instructed groups putting in aids, then why are they all in strange places far from the 'normal' instructed group? Why in the KMC traverse (which is not exactly what you are going to lead a load of kids along) and in a cave that commercial activity is (largely) banned? Why not in the common group caves (which are also often not the caves that 'cavers' visit)?

In any event, we only know the motivations of one, possibly two of these three incidents:
1) the KMC traverse - I thought the person putting them in was doing it to help rescue (but entirely without the knowledge or approval of CRO)
2) the steps - marysboy stated the installer 'felt that they provide convenience of an upward through trip without needing to pre-rig or rely on a fixed rope.' which doesn't sound like a commercial group (who could, even if they went completely insane and decided to take a group into a cave they are banned from, just sent their instructor up first with a rope...)
3) Wretched Rabbit capping - motivation unknown

Marysboy can presumably rule out your 'instructor' theory conclusively.

This is rapidly turning into a conspiracy theory.

The Wretched Rabbit capping is, in my opinion, clearly just a misguided caver (and most likely someone who digs). Similarly for the Upper Trident steps and the KMC steps, although I would argue they are all different things in different caves and therefore no reason to assume they are the same person.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 05, 2019, 04:50:21 pm
...popular with beginners... ... under the 'guidance' some sort of 'leader' or 'instructor'. What you make of that is up to you.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on March 05, 2019, 05:34:42 pm
I'm not sure there's a 'conspiracy' as such. but....

On a forum like this, you get people that have 'opinions'. And they state them, sometimes quite strongly. And get rather mardy when those 'opinions' are challenged.

There are other people that like doing that challenging and winding those people up.  ::)

What better way than to install utterly pointless aids on a relatively easy and popular choke point for beginners? 2 hours work and the forum will buzz for weeks.

Because EVERY TIME we get something like this, or even people stating unpopular opinions, there's a cavalry charge of bile and discontent. People queue up to say exactly what has already been said several times already, and getting more and more vociferous. Rather than just saying 'I agree'.

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Simon Wilson on March 05, 2019, 05:55:07 pm
I'm not sure there's a 'conspiracy' as such. but....

On a forum like this, you get people that have 'opinions'. And they state them, sometimes quite strongly. And get rather mardy when those 'opinions' are challenged.

There are other people that like doing that challenging and winding those people up.  ::)

What better way than to install utterly pointless aids on a relatively easy and popular choke point for beginners? 2 hours work and the forum will buzz for weeks.

Because EVERY TIME we get something like this, or even people stating unpopular opinions, there's a cavalry charge of bile and discontent. People queue up to say exactly what has already been said several times already, and getting more and more vociferous. Rather than just saying 'I agree'.

I've been thinking on similar lines.

 :-\ - Oh, so they don't like carbon steel steps. (KMC)

I wonder what they'll think of these...  (Trident)

or how about these... :lol:   (County)
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Badlad on March 05, 2019, 06:21:46 pm
"A cavalry charge of bile", Droid?  A bit strong and over the top to describe some fairly moderate opinions on damage to a popular route.  You seem a little disappointed that there isn't the all out war and bitching between those who used to wind each other up on this forum.  It is essential that cavers have a place to express their views on subjects that matter to them.  It is also essential that others in the caving community can hear those views - just as long as it is all done in the best possible taste...

If you want a real conspiracy theory then consider this.  I made the OP.  I have capping gear and know how to use it.  Perhaps I capped those footholds just to get cavers talking on Ukcaving.  Afterall this thread has already generated over 5000 views  :shrug: :shrug: :lol:
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: droid on March 05, 2019, 06:40:02 pm
'Bile' seemed a better description than 'aggressive outrage'

Not disappointed at all. The usual suspects turned up ( I include myself in that) and the same points were made. Repeatedly. Like every other 'discussion' we have.

And I wasn't proposing a conspiracy theory. I was proposing an entirely possible scenario. Because pisstakers LOVE a situation where they get the maximum return for minimum effort.

And I don't think you'd jeopardise your position in the caving firmament merely to generate views on here.... :lol: :lol: :lol:

Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Jopo on March 06, 2019, 10:41:25 am

The majority of comments presupposes the the perpetrator reads or even knows about this forum. Thousands of cavers don't. Someone noted that this thread has generated 5k hits. Well I have been responsible for about 10 of those just popping on to see the latest from what I see as a mere handful of contributors.

Finding out 'who' and asking for 'why' is perhaps the only option to try and understand.

Jopo
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: PeteHall on March 06, 2019, 10:50:46 am
Finding out 'who' and asking for 'why' is perhaps the only option to try and understand.

Jopo

The OP met the installer and asked this very question. The reason given was for convenience on an upward through trip.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on March 10, 2019, 10:55:34 am
Marysboy, has the installer of the stirrups given you any idea why he installed them without taking any time to establish whether the wider caving comunuity would think they were a good idea?
When i chatted with the installer, he made no mention of attempts to canvas opinion from the community prior to installation, and i didnt ask him whether he had. I cannot say that he didnt make some attempt.


Marysboy can presumably rule out your 'instructor' theory conclusively.
I do not believe this issue is related in any way to paid instructors. I think i said this already.

The majority of comments presupposes the the perpetrator reads or even knows about this forum.
I informed the installer of this thread, by email, with a link. He is very capable of contributing if he wishes.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: CNCC on March 10, 2019, 11:31:38 pm
At the CNCC AGM yesterday the matter of the Ease Gill Trident staples was discussed, along with the damage in Wretched Rabbit. The AGM had a healthy turnout; 17 voting clubs (more than 50% of our membership) and 36 people in total, many of who contributed to a very friendly discussion.

Several people emphasised the importance of us not attributing blame or making assumptions about the person(s) responsible or their motives. The consensus was however that the CNCC should take a proactive role in these matters, evaluating each situation on a case-by-case basis.

A proposal was accepted that the CNCC should make safe the remnants of the Trident climb staples and evaluate the damage in Wretched Rabbit for the possibility of restoration.

After the meeting, a CNCC team set off across to County Pot. The remnants of the staples on the Trident climb were easily located; six in total, each protruding from the wall by 2-5cm and rather sharp where they had previously been cut off by persons unknown. An unsuspecting individual sliding down onto this climb could easily rip their suit (or worse) on these.

Using a battery powered angle grinder, the metal remnants were cut off flush at wall level and then hammered as flat as possible. They were covered with a small amount of resin. The repairs are fairly discrete, and we expect that once a few months’ worth of caver traffic has rubbed them smooth and transferred a little ‘cave filth’ onto them, they should blend in nicely to the surrounding cave wall and few people will even notice them unless specifically searching.

It is worth noting that this pitch is equipped with safe IC anchors to enable a ladder and lifeline to be placed or for a rope to be installed. Many confident and long-legged cavers will free-climb this completely. There are ample options for safe descent of this route.

The team then headed to Wretched Rabbit. The damage was quickly located; one hole has been drilled just once to cap a sizable chunk of rock (about the volume of a football) half way up the top climb just 15m inside the entrance. Another smaller chunk had been removed by means of at least three converging drilled holes three climbs lower.

In both cases the damage was to a smooth rock surface, thus exaggerating its visual impact.

The team quickly established that the lower damage was beyond repair as the removed chunk of rock was shattered completely. Some resin was used to fill in the remnant drill holes. On the upper section where the damage is more obvious and extensive, about 30 minutes was spent rounding up the fragments to assess repairing the wall with resin, but it quickly became clear that the result of this would look worse than leaving it be. A small amount of masonry work was performed to smooth off the obvious drilled hole running down the back of the foothold and make it look a little more ‘natural’ and, in time, we hope that caver traffic will smooth this off and help it blend in a little more with the surrounding smooth walls.

Note that there are safe resin bonded stainless steel anchors installed at the top of the Wretched Rabbit climbs that can be used to belay a ladder or rope for anyone unable to negotiate the climbs without equipment.

We would like to appeal to the individual(s) involved in installing these staples, capping these walls (or considering other such projects), to please consider your actions carefully, taking into account the comments expressed here on this forum and the details below.

These caves are for everyone to enjoy and share. Unilateral and irreversible action, particularly where simple or less damaging alternatives exist, risks upsetting other visitors to the caves.

Clearly modification to caves happens often; and for many different reasons. This may vary from new exploration, safety (e.g. dealing with a precarious hanging block), anchor installation (which has had its fair share of controversy over the years too). We have all ‘modified’ a cave simply in the act of passing through it. In this case however, the damage has been particularly emotive because it has occurred despite anchors already being in place (thus providing a non-damaging alternative), it was undertaken unilaterally, and is in such a popular and well-loved cave system enjoyed by hundreds of people each year.

If you are reading this and thinking of undertaking any such modifications elsewhere, we urge you to get in touch with the CNCC Officers to discuss your plans. In many cases, a solution may be possible avoiding damage, or which can be agreed by democratic consensus rather than unilateral action.

Thank you

Matt Ewles and Andrew Hinde (CNCC Secretary and CNCC Chair)
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Goydenman on March 11, 2019, 12:53:51 pm
CNCC I like your approach to this and THANKS so much for the remedial work you have done.
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: Alex on March 11, 2019, 12:58:00 pm
Wow very quick work, no sooner had the meeting completed then some off you were off underground to sort it out. Well done !
Title: Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
Post by: marysboy on March 12, 2019, 02:11:53 pm
CNCC thank you.