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Methods of protecting in-situ ropes from unwanted usage

mikem

Well-known member
It's possible, but means you are dragging the weight of the chain up behind you (or the chain is not correctly positioned to start with)

You can clip into most chains used for climbing lower offs
 

2xw

Active member
Is there really any provable legal problems? I know it's armchair caving's favourite hobby to engage in liability related histrionics but at the point that someone is using a piece of fixed aid they understand the danger and willingly consent to the possibility of injury - otherwise they wouldn't be using it
 

mikem

Well-known member
Not provable currently, but if someone is named as being responsible for maintaining aids (as was suggested in one comment)...
 

aricooperdavis

Moderator
Is there really any provable legal problems? I know it's armchair caving's favourite hobby to engage in liability related histrionics but at the point that someone is using a piece of fixed aid they understand the danger and willingly consent to the possibility of injury - otherwise they wouldn't be using it
From very brief googling about this a while ago, I don't think it's likely. The injured party would have to prove that they're owed a duty of care by the installer (why should they be?) and that it was breached. There's also the principle of voluntary assumption of risk that could provide a defence - the user knows the risks of using the fixed aid and consents to those risks by using it.

To my knowledge it hasn't been tested in the non-commercial UK climbing scene, which is much more likely to see an accident than caving.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
You might be in trouble if you installed something in an entirely reckless way, and you probably would be in trouble if you deliberately installed unsafe equipment.

For example, you have probably done something criminal if you installed anchors that you had cut 90% of the way through and it failed (deliberate recklessness).
But I suspect you might still be in trouble if (for example) you were knocking spits into holes and you weren't putting the cones in the bottom (because you were an idiot) and were then leaving them with hangers on on popular routes; or if you were making your own P-bolts out of lead or something. But it would have to be _really_ stupid, I suspect, and something that couldn't be identified by the user.

I remember seeing a handline made out of garden hose on the tight alternative to the Lobster Pot in Sidcot Swallet. While that's stupid, anyone using that garden hose should be able to recognize that garden hose is not generally considered a sensible material for a handline, so if they do use it they have consented to the risks...

The BCA insurance will cover any member putting in anchors regardless of whether they are an 'approved installer' or they are 'approved anchors'. I suspect it would also cover the installation of similar fixed aids, so you are probably covered even if you do something stupid.
 

rm128

Active member
Not provable currently, but if someone is named as being responsible for maintaining aids (as was suggested in one comment)...
My suggestion for a database of fixed aids would list a "point of contact", which could be an individual, a club or simply a representative of some body (e.g. CNCC) covering an area (e.g. one for Easegill, another for Leck etc...). A point of contact would be really helpful to avoid the current situation where fixed rigging is springing up everywhere and no-one knows who put it there. The database would, of course, include all the usual disclaimers: use at own risk etc... Access to the database could even be conditional on signing an acknowledgement of the user accepting the risk.
 

cap n chris

Well-known member
Is there really any provable legal problems? I know it's armchair caving's favourite hobby to engage in liability related histrionics but at the point that someone is using a piece of fixed aid they understand the danger and willingly consent to the possibility of injury - otherwise they wouldn't be using it
Surely that's easily disprovable nonsense. Any number of Freshers and othersuch novices will gladly use fixed aids in caves without having the faintest suspicion of any potential risks it might pose and therefore they're unable to make the value judgement you presume they're capable of.
 

mikem

Well-known member
It was Chocolate fireguard who suggested individuals or groups taking responsibility for fixed aids, rather than "temporary" rigging. The Descent "adopt a cave" scheme is still just about hanging on in some locations, but many clubs can't remember what they sponsored all those years ago!
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
Surely that's easily disprovable nonsense. Any number of Freshers and othersuch novices will gladly use fixed aids in caves without having the faintest suspicion of any potential risks it might pose and therefore they're unable to make the value judgement you presume they're capable of.
If people are being led, there is a duty of care, so their leader is responsible for assessing fixed aids.
If they have chosen to take themselves into an obviously potentially dangerous environment (i.e. underground) without the skills needed, they have consented to the risk of injury.
 
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cap n chris

Well-known member
If people are being led, there is a duty of care, so their leader is responsible for assessing fixed aids.
If they have chosen to take themselves into an obviously potentially dangerous environment (i.e. underground) without the skills needed, they have consented to the risk of injury.
You're presuming that someone who knows the route being taken has the ability to judge the soundness of any fixed aid(s). There's surely no rationale behind such a presumption. Mercifully there's a lovely quote from Mr Sparrow which I often refer to which is probably very apt, "Anything that can go wrong probably won't".
 

langcliffe

Well-known member
You're presuming that someone who knows the route being taken has the ability to judge the soundness of any fixed aid(s). There's surely no rationale behind such a presumption. Mercifully there's a lovely quote from Mr Sparrow which I often refer to which is probably very apt, "Anything that can go wrong probably won't".

You're presuming that the only qualification required for leading a group is having a knowledge of the route. There's surely no rationale behind such a presumption.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
You're presuming that someone who knows the route being taken has the ability to judge the soundness of any fixed aid(s). There's surely no rationale behind such a presumption. Mercifully there's a lovely quote from Mr Sparrow which I often refer to which is probably very apt, "Anything that can go wrong probably won't".
I made no presumption of the leader's ability :) just that when (for example) I am leading novices around caves this weekend, I will have a duty of care over them (whether I am competent to do so or not).

To further extend Langcliffe's point, knowledge of the route is not even a necessary requirement for leading people... I've led plenty of trips where I have probably had a duty of care but have never been in the cave before (albeit typically well-equipped with laminated surveys and descriptions).
 

2xw

Active member
Sorry my open question was somewhat of an entrapment as I actually did get advice on this some time ago, and when you consider that 11 years olds have been held to have been able to appropriately assess risk whilst trespassing onto structures and therefore consent to it then this tripe about Freshers and newbies goes out the window. You're at the top of a big hole and you're using something to go down the big hole. You either consent to the risk or your carer is liable for you having escaped.

I personally think a database is a bad idea precisely because of how this thread has gone: it would take up an inordinate amount of the caving communities time for exceptionally little benefit. The people here talking about it could better use their expansive time discussing radon or constitutional minutiae perhaps?

As an aside, can we have a new forum rule where anybody who expresses an opinion about The Law has to be either a practising liability legal professional or be repeating stuff from one they have actually paid one themselves? It's very dull and makes the caving community sound like the physical incarnation of the "well acshually" meme. Myself included. If I ever write at length about it again at some point please throw me down a well.

Back to the main topic of the post, if you leave in situ ropes you should expect them to be used by cavers in the same way you should expect them to be slowly eroded by the cave.
 

andrewmcleod

Well-known member
As an aside, can we have a new forum rule where anybody who expresses an opinion about The Law has to be either a practising liability legal professional or be repeating stuff from one they have actually paid one themselves? It's very dull and makes the caving community sound like the physical incarnation of the "well acshually" meme. Myself included. If I ever write at length about it again at some point please throw me down a well.

You make an excellent argument, and I am indeed guilty. I would also suggest that if you need legal advice, don't get it from a web forum...
 

cavetroll

New member
Ireby at the minute has two ropes in situ at several points.. this photo is how I found it.

Swinsto has traverse lines and a couple of ropes labelled JSMT Ripon.

This does seem to be an increasing trend..

Basically in some of these cases it’s often more dangerous to rig your own rope on top! The likelihood of this older tat failing is still quite small, but I’ve seen lots of reasonably competent cavers get themselves tangled in rigging.
 

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Ed

Member
Ireby at the minute has two ropes in situ at several points.. this photo is how I found it.

Swinsto has traverse lines and a couple of ropes labelled JSMT Ripon.

This does seem to be an increasing trend..

Basically in some of these cases it’s often more dangerous to rig your own rope on top! The likelihood of this older tat failing is still quite small, but I’ve seen lots of reasonably competent cavers get themselves tangled in rigging.
Jsmt Ripon - Joint Service Mountain Training.

What used to be Army Adventure training.

You've paid for them - use them.
 
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