Author Topic: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)  (Read 7166 times)

Offline marysboy

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Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« 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

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


Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 08:01:39 pm by Cap'n Chris »

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #2 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.

Online PeteHall

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #3 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:
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #4 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.

Offline kroca

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #5 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:

Offline Fulk

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #6 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?).

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #7 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].
« Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 10:44:00 pm by Cap'n Chris »

Offline Speleotron

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #8 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.
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Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #9 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.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #10 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.

Online PeteHall

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #11 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...
The distance between stupidity and genius is measured only by success.

Offline braveduck

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #12 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. 

Offline Tribal Chestnut

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #13 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.

Offline Vern

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #14 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. 

Offline Vern

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #15 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:

Offline tamarmole

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #16 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.

Offline BradW

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #17 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.

Offline andywebman

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #18 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!
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Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #19 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.

Offline Vern

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #20 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:

Online tony from suffolk

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #21 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.
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Online Ian

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #22 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.

Online 2xw

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #23 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.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #24 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.