Author Topic: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)  (Read 7163 times)

Offline Canary

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2019, 03:42:06 pm »
A great example of Poe's law. Well done to all involved.  :thumbsup:

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #26 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.


Offline andywebman

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #27 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?
RRCPC:-)

Offline MJenkinson

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #28 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.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #29 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.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #30 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.

Offline MJenkinson

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2019, 10:07:59 pm »
Eh? It’s got bolts on it.. Go rig it. It doesn’t need steps.


Offline 2xw

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #32 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?

Offline Speleotron

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #33 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!
In search of taverns measureless to man

Online Inferus

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #34 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..
Awkward, grumpy sod.

Offline Fulk

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #35 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.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #36 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


Online tamarmole

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #37 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. 


Offline caving_fox

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #38 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.
If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Offline BradW

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #39 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.

Online MarkS

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #40 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?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #41 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.

Offline aricooperdavis

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #42 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?

Offline Fulk

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #43 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).

Offline BradW

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #44 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.

Offline Alex

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #45 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!
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Fulk

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #46 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

Offline Badlad

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #47 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.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #48 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.   

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Metal steps in Trident Series (County Pot / Ease Gill)
« Reply #49 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?).