Author Topic: Exploring with Fighters - a warning to all mine explorers, cavers and URBEXers  (Read 3517 times)

Online Pete K

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Posting this across from the mods on AditNow as it is relevant to cavers too. The following black text is mine though.
https://www.aditnow.co.uk/Community/viewtopic.aspx?p=199479#msg199479

"This is a general warning to all mine explorers, cavers and URBEXers about a group called Exploring with Fighters.

The group is well known in URBEXing circles for their sensationalist videos and for bringing public attention to locations that responsible explorers have kept off-radar for years.
They have recently turned their attention to mines, and most recently Welsh slate mines.
I'm mindful many - probably most - of us have been places we shouldn't, so this sort of post always feels a bit hypocritical; but their explorations are always followed by click bait videos pushed out to a very large social media following. They have potential to do real harm to access arrangements and even to businesses operating in disused mines.
There is a mass of information about mines and quarries available online, including on here. But, if you are contacted by Exploring with Fighters then please do not:
- Give them any information that will help them locate or access sites
- Guide them places
I'm not going to give them the fuel of publicity, Google them if you wish."


I believe these are the people responsible for a rescue in Box which resulted in the mine being welded up. They have recently caused some issues in Cwmorthin, a working mine, which might impact on future access for explorers. There are other sites that the owners or managers are now aware can be accessed too, or who have been quite happy knowing explorers do enter but do so secretly until recently, so we might lose some of the best mines in the UK if this carries on.
These chaps are obviously not solely responsible for the increase to damage and exposure in some of the most sensitive mines in the UK, there are a number of culprits. Certainly in N Wales, a number of well preserved but very sensitive sites have recently been plastered over social media, some innocently and some with full knowledge of the sensitivity of access. Some of the folk in or behind FB groups like 'The Amazing Quarries and Mines of North Wales And beyond" or YouTube validation seekers like Exploring With Fighters, C9C or anyone who uses the term "Explores" or clickbait crap titles, they are all in part to blame for this state of affairs.

I urge you to make sure that anyone you pass details of sites on to is trustworthy and knows that the site needs to remain off social media.
I also suggest we all look very carefully at what we post on places like FB and Twitter to make sure that we are not in part fueling the problem. Use private forums, keep entrance details and locations off public posts, don't name sites!
Finally, if someone tells you a site is sensitive or you know this to be the case already, then for goodness sake keep it off Facebook. Yes you might have taken some lovely photos you wish to share, and yes it is nice to know people are impressed that you managed to get into 'X' mine or cave, but your need for personal validation by the approval or 'likes' of others is not more important than the security and preservation of these locations. Use a private forum if you must and remember that every time you put something online, you are risking that site for the next generation of responsible explorers by attracting idiots like Exploring with Fighters or people with no experience who just want to go a visit the 'Cavern of Lost Souls' because they saw it on Instagram (which is another Welsh mine recently lost to explorers due to social media).
I know that might come over a bit preachy, but we can activity see the damage being done to access in N Wales and the social media problem will only get worse. Have a thought for the mines, caves and any future visitors before you post. Your personal affirmation via social media is not worth the damage, graffiti or access issues that you are likely contributing to.

Online royfellows

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Just a couple of comments.

I was going to post on this but PM'd it to the site owners first for clearance as it names specific groups.

Also, its not just Wales. Access has been lost in Cornwall and other places through irresponsible plastering access info etc on the web.
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Offline mikem

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It's not as though they even attempt to hide their identities (& seem to be profiting quite nicely from the videos)

Online Pete K

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Just a couple of comments.

I was going to post on this but PM'd it to the site owners first for clearance as it names specific groups.

Also, its not just Wales. Access has been lost in Cornwall and other places through irresponsible plastering access info etc on the web.

More than happy to see this edited if needed by the UKC mods.

Online royfellows

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Just been cleared and your post is better than mine anyway, so job done.
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Offline markpot

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Just a heads up

Online royfellows

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Look out for a black Audi Q7 LR13 HYN
He actually uploaded a pic of it to Facebook!
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Offline Boy Engineer

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There’s got to be a PhD on the psychological backstory to these muppets. I wonder what demons they are fighting that requires this sort of language and behaviour. Bullied at school, lack of acknowledgement from parents, absent father-figure or unsatisfying work? In some senses more to be pitied than condemned, but agree that it is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. But can’t help feeling that the root of the issue is something to do with a need for acceptance, which is missing from their normal relationships. Another reminder of how lucky I am with my various networks, including some of you lot!

Online PeteHall

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There’s got to be a PhD on the psychological backstory to these muppets. I wonder what demons they are fighting that requires this sort of language and behaviour. Bullied at school, lack of acknowledgement from parents, absent father-figure or unsatisfying work? In some senses more to be pitied than condemned, but agree that it is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. But can’t help feeling that the root of the issue is something to do with a need for acceptance, which is missing from their normal relationships. Another reminder of how lucky I am with my various networks, including some of you lot!
My first reaction was to agree with everything you said, but after looking at their Facebook/ YouTube page etc, I have another theory...

Perhaps they just like having a bit of fun and an adventure, just like we do, but maybe they have found a way to make their hobby pay for itself.

A quick Google suggests that you earn about $3-5 per 1,000 video views on YouTube. They have 211,000 subscribers and a number of videos with over 1 million views in the last year.
Now I can't be bothered to count all their videos and views, but they seem to be turning stuff out every few days, all of which seem to pick up 10's of thousands of views. They might not be millionaires off it, but I bet they are earning a tidy sum for basically just having a laugh with their mates!

They might be upsetting access for everyone else, but from their perspective, it's hard to blame them, they clearly have a winning formula and are getting paid to have fun. I wish I could say the same about my work!
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Online ObviousSpectre

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There’s got to be a PhD on the psychological backstory to these muppets. I wonder what demons they are fighting that requires this sort of language and behaviour. Bullied at school, lack of acknowledgement from parents, absent father-figure or unsatisfying work? In some senses more to be pitied than condemned, but agree that it is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. But can’t help feeling that the root of the issue is something to do with a need for acceptance, which is missing from their normal relationships. Another reminder of how lucky I am with my various networks, including some of you lot!
My first reaction was to agree with everything you said, but after looking at their Facebook/ YouTube page etc, I have another theory...

Perhaps they just like having a bit of fun and an adventure, just like we do, but maybe they have found a way to make their hobby pay for itself.

A quick Google suggests that you earn about $3-5 per 1,000 video views on YouTube. They have 211,000 subscribers and a number of videos with over 1 million views in the last year.
Now I can't be bothered to count all their videos and views, but they seem to be turning stuff out every few days, all of which seem to pick up 10's of thousands of views. They might not be millionaires off it, but I bet they are earning a tidy sum for basically just having a laugh with their mates!

They might be upsetting access for everyone else, but from their perspective, it's hard to blame them, they clearly have a winning formula and are getting paid to have fun. I wish I could say the same about my work!

I would disagree with what you say about them simply monetising a hobby. It seems as though their popularity and success comes from click bait and other shady methods to attract viewers to their content which is makes me dubious of their integrity to begin with. From watching their vidoes and looking at their FB page, you could easily think that they are exploring some really dangerous and unknown places, for instance many of their supporters seem to believe that they are risking their lives to provide their fans with video of these mines. Whereas many of these underground sites are relatively safe and easy to access as I'm sure you're aware.

Although the fact that being able to monetise it makes it more worthwhile in their own eyes, it make it justified. Plenty of criminals are encouraged by monetary gain although no one seems to sympathise with them because of it.

This group, as well as others associated with urbex, set a poor example and then profits at the expense of people who really value these sites. They don't wear harnesses or helmets where appropriate which besides being a danger to themselves, is also to those who watch these videos and set out to have a go themselves. Their popularity on social media means that kids will see this stuff and think it's ok to go wandering into somewhere like Cwmorthin in just a baseball cap carrying a camera. The fact that they get paid for it makes it even worse in my opinion as they are gaining from other people's loss.

The pile of cars in a particular Welsh mine has been plastered all over the internet by now and you can find plenty of videos of less than ideally equipped parties visiting it all in the name of internet fame and fortune. A group of tracksuited lads even floated over the lake to take a closer look at the cars. Fortunately for them, none of them fell in or the cheap raft didn't decide to sink. It's a miracle that they don't end up causing more call outs.

Honestly, if they were more careful with access and didn't reveal entrances or names of systems then I wouldn't be so opposed to them. I do agree with what you said about them just having fun like the rest of us. At the end of the day they are old enough to decide whether they want to wear helmets etc themselves. As long as they are courteous to others and don't trash the place then that's fine by me and I believe that many groups of urbexers do this.

Offline NewStuff

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This group, as well as others associated with urbex, set a poor example and then profits at the expense of people who really value these sites.
Most people that would call themselves Urbex can't stand these fuckwits. Even 28DL don't want them doing this.

As long as they are courteous to others and don't trash the place then that's fine by me and I believe that many groups of urbexers do this.
This is far closer to the truth.
Permission? Wassat den?

Offline Pitlamp

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There’s got to be a PhD on the psychological backstory to these muppets. I wonder what demons they are fighting that requires this sort of language and behaviour. Bullied at school, lack of acknowledgement from parents, absent father-figure or unsatisfying work? In some senses more to be pitied than condemned, but agree that it is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. But can’t help feeling that the root of the issue is something to do with a need for acceptance, which is missing from their normal relationships. Another reminder of how lucky I am with my various networks, including some of you lot!

Isn't it likely to be more productive if people make an effort to engage with these folk in a friendly manner and try to persuade them of the advisability of doing things in such a way as not to rock the boat for other people with an overlap of interest? Most people are willing to change their approach on the basis of logic.

If we cavers were doing something inadvertently, which really upset another related community of people, wouldn't we prefer to see the hand of friendship extended rather than reading several discouraging posts on a forum?

Online PeteHall

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To be clear, I was not condoning their actions (I've not watched their videos, but the thumbnail and descriptions say enough! ) more speculating on the motive. Are they trying to justify their own existence and self-worth through getting "likes" on the Internet, or is it a financial motive. I think the latter.

I'd be very sure that they enjoy what they do and it's probably their life passion, just as caving is for many of us.

Quote
From watching their vidoes and looking at their FB page, you could easily think that they are exploring some really dangerous and unknown places, for instance many of their supporters seem to believe that they are risking their lives to provide their fans with video of these mines. Whereas many of these underground sites are relatively safe and easy to access as I'm sure you're aware.

This group, as well as others associated with urbex, set a poor example and then profits at the expense of people who really value these sites.
Most people that would call themselves Urbex can't stand these fuckwits. Even 28DL don't want them doing this.

So urbexers don't like them and their viewers think that safe sites are dangerous, so who will be following them underground?

They claim on their Facebook page never to disclose locations and suggest 28DL do. No idea of the truth in this. They also claim to respect the sites and not damage or graffiti them. Again, I've not watched their videos, so can't comment.

If they are just acting like twats as that's what the Internet wants to watch, is that a problem in itself?

Publicising sensitive sites and jeopardising access for others is definitely not good, but if what they say is true and they don't disclose locations is there any evidence that they are actually causing a problem?

If they put themselves or others at risk (including the people who need to rescue them) this is also not good, but if they are visiting accessible safe sites, is it really a problem?

Again, I should stress that I'm not condoning irresponsible behaviour underground, just trying to get some perspective on how much of a problem this group really are.

Maybe these guys are a real risk to themselves, to the local rescue teams and to our continued access to sites and we have genuine concerns. My immediate reaction is definitely "yes", these guys seem like total bell-ends and I have no intention of watching their videos and increasing their view count. But on reflection, maybe we just don't like them because they don't fit into our social grouping, are having more fun than us and making money at the same time, so we jump to the above conclusions to justify our own position. I don't pretend to know which it is!

I should add that I've just been on a management/leadership development course at work and we have been encouraged to ignore snap judgments and to challenge our preconceptions.
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Online royfellows

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Nobody wants to stop them going underground. If they wore proper gear inc the essential hard hat and left out sensitive sites where access could be lost, there would not be a problem. That's all there is to it.

A lot of people have offered them guidance, all to no avail.
Their attitude is that "this is the way we do things and we are not going to change that".
The inevitable accident will be the thing that gets home to them, lets just hope that is somewhere that wont cause a fallout.

They do encourage others to risk by implication that a baseball cap wore backwards is cooler than a helmet, which could have a legal implication for them if someone tried to emulate their activities and suffers injury for it.

Too many negative iffs here for them to continue with this before something bad happens for them.
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Offline ttxela2

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There’s got to be a PhD on the psychological backstory to these muppets. I wonder what demons they are fighting that requires this sort of language and behaviour. Bullied at school, lack of acknowledgement from parents, absent father-figure or unsatisfying work? In some senses more to be pitied than condemned, but agree that it is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. But can’t help feeling that the root of the issue is something to do with a need for acceptance, which is missing from their normal relationships. Another reminder of how lucky I am with my various networks, including some of you lot!

Isn't it likely to be more productive if people make an effort to engage with these folk in a friendly manner and try to persuade them of the advisability of doing things in such a way as not to rock the boat for other people with an overlap of interest? Most people are willing to change their approach on the basis of logic.

If we cavers were doing something inadvertently, which really upset another related community of people, wouldn't we prefer to see the hand of friendship extended rather than reading several discouraging posts on a forum?

I'd tend to agree but I understand attempts have been made to do this on at least two occasions with the results being the opposite of what was intended. I personally don't have any issue with anyone making money from videos featuring old mines in much the same way as I don't mind people making money from writing books about them or guiding people around them.

However these fellows adopt a stance which seems almost calculated to cause concern to landowners and endanger access agreements.

Online Pete K

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Isn't it likely to be more productive if people make an effort to engage with these folk in a friendly manner and try to persuade them of the advisability of doing things in such a way as not to rock the boat for other people with an overlap of interest? Most people are willing to change their approach on the basis of logic.

If we cavers were doing something inadvertently, which really upset another related community of people, wouldn't we prefer to see the hand of friendship extended rather than reading several discouraging posts on a forum?

I'm not really involved with this other than being an occasional employee of the working mine featured in their most recent 'deadly explore' and sharing the original post from AN. What I do know is that there have been attempts at engagement with them and as far as I know, all of them have been ignored. Attempts at contact via social media have either gone unanswered or in the case of some people, been met with threats from them or their 'supporters'.

We should also be careful not to say that all urbexers are bad, much like there are bad eggs in the cave and mine explorer community, it does not mean we all are. I've had nothing but support from members of 28DL with this issue and also in the past when I posted the open letter about why we need to keep mines secure (see DCA website). They are explorers just like us for the most part and value these places. The more extreme element of them split away into groups like EWF and lots of the 28DL graffiti that can be seen underground was apparently done to make people like us think of 28DL as the enemy by other groups. The 28DL graffiti in the 'car mine' tallies with an EWF visit there.

Online Wayland Smith

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Also worth remembering.
Some of these people would rather break in than ask for permission
even when asking is very simple, and trips are frequent.

Being chased by "Secca!" and the Police are what they crave, not exploring.

Offline Kirkymole

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They weren't the ones that got Box welded up. That happened quite a bit prior to EWF making an entrance on the scene.


Just to clarify that point.

Worth nothing XXXXXXXX is their 'tour guide' and we all know the sort of things he gets upto. Funny how Backdoor was sealed for, seemingly forever, then the one day they come down to have a look around it's suddenly open...

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Global Moderator Comment I have redacted the name of the individual in your post. Please do not post personal accusations.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 11:59:07 am by paul »

Online royfellows

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Worth mentioning is that EWF are very good at conning people into taking them into places, promises of wearing proper gear, tales of worthy motivation etc. Then its the baseball caps backwards, head torches, and up on YouTube as "Mine of death" or whatever rubbish.
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Offline Kirkymole

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Global Moderator Comment I have redacted the name of the individual in your post. Please do not post personal accusations.
[/quote]



Is that not what this thread is about or am I reading it wrong? But understood either way.

Besides, throwing accusations and gripes towards EWF is meaningless unless their 'host' is involved in it.

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« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 02:21:15 pm by Kirkymole »

Online Pete K

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They weren't the ones that got Box welded up. That happened quite a bit prior to EWF making an entrance on the scene.
Noted. 2nd hand info anyway.

 

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