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BMC announcement on climbing 12/05

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 StoneManky 12 May 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

Roll up! Roll up! Repeat everything you already said on the three other threads here, but this time showing how the new BMC statement proves you were already right yesterday!

i’ll go first

it’s ok for me to go to Dorset tomorrow so long as I annoy the less scary people in Worth Matravers rather than the more scary people on that estate in Portland...the BMC said so!

Post edited at 18:04
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 pasbury 12 May 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

Considerably more nuanced than the wholesale bullshit from HM Government.

 pasbury 12 May 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

You really are f*cking annoying.

37
 Luke90 12 May 2020
In reply to pasbury:

More nuance and more clarity.

 Dom Goodwin 12 May 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

Broadly, this seems sensible. I think it's to be welcomed. Personally, I'm surprised (but not unhappy) that they weren't more cautious.

One thing that does surprise me is the inference that it's ok to climb with someone not from your household. (Given that they say instructors can meet people.)

I know some climbers have been saying they can keep 2m apart, but the 2m "rule" is arbitrary. It's about time as well as distance, constantly handling the same equipment, bretahing the same air, sneezes or coughs go further etc. I think that realistically we should accept that there must be some kind of transmission risk from a climbing partner, probably not insignificant.

But hopefully, it should be possible to maintain distance from other parties so that the only risk is from your climbing partner.

Everything else they said seems pretty well judged. I guess there will be more clarity from the Q&A tomorrow.

 pasbury 12 May 2020
In reply to Luke90:

Well yes, they aren't in a position to issue regulations with any legal power so clarity is perhaps less useful than an appeal to our own intelligence and sense of responsibility, hence the reasoned argument about thinking where to travel to.

In my opinion the government should be doing the exact opposite: they are not.

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 Blunderbuss 12 May 2020
In reply to pasbury:

You expect HMG to give out such detailed communication for climbing.....pmsl!

1
In reply to pasbury:

No doubt, to some tastes. A lot of people feel the same way about you, too, y’know? Swings and roundabouts. Horses for courses. 

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In reply to StoneManky:

I'm surprised they seem to be accepting roped climbing with a person outside your own household as being within the spirit of the guidelines. Is it a matter of realising it would be like trying to hold back the tide if they didn't?

Post edited at 19:03
 Luke90 12 May 2020
In reply to Dom Goodwin:

> One thing that does surprise me is the inference that it's ok to climb with someone not from your household. (Given that they say instructors can meet people.)

It's clear in the government guidance that you can meet and exercise with people outside your household so I don't think it's the BMC's job to go against that. As individuals we might decide we'd rather be more cautious but the government guidance is what it is.

> I know some climbers have been saying they can keep 2m apart, but the 2m "rule" is arbitrary. It's about time as well as distance, constantly handling the same equipment, bretahing the same air, sneezes or coughs go further etc.

Worth noting that the permission to meet up with others very much doesn't apply if you're coughing. And being outdoors is reckoned to significantly reduce the extent to which you're "breathing the same air".

> I think that realistically we should accept that there must be some kind of transmission risk from a climbing partner, probably not insignificant.

Undoubtedly true. But I guess the general thrust of the government guidance is that they are actually expecting people to take a certain amount more risk.

 StoneManky 12 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I mean the government did explicitly say you can exercise with one person not from you household. Obviously there's the issue of sharing rope, but that wasn't accounted for anywhere. 

Possibly a bit of a loophole?  

 Luke90 12 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'm surprised they seem to be accepting roped climbing with a person outside your own household as being within the spirit of the guidelines.

Whether or not it's wise, it seems to me that it's unavoidably there in the government guidance. They don't give climbing as an example, obviously. But they do very clearly say that outdoor exercise with a non-household member is kosher now.

In reply to StoneManky and Luke90

Yes, I suspect the government were not thinking of exercise which involves repeated handling of shared equipment, so I do think that roped climbing has probably slipped through the net - within the guidance but outside the spirit of it.

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 jezb1 12 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

A quote from Sport England's FAQs re. Corona Virus:

Can I share equipment?
Yes, but you should enforce strong hygiene measures. This might be cleaning it rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antibacterial spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use.

 Luke90 12 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, I suspect the government were not thinking of exercise which involves repeated handling of shared equipment, so I do think that roped climbing has probably slipped through the net - within the guidance but outside the spirit of it.

I see your point but I think the "spirit" you're reading into the government guidance isn't necessarily there. One of the few examples they give in the clause about using outdoor facilities with a non-household member is a basketball court, which presumably implies a shared basketball unless they're being very obtuse.

In reply to jezb1:

> A quote from Sport England's FAQs re. Corona Virus:

> Can I share equipment?

> Yes, but you should enforce strong hygiene measures. This might be cleaning it rigorously in line with wider guidance on hygiene, for example by using antibacterial spray and washing hands thoroughly before and after use.

Is that not more about stuff one person uses then is finished with it and another person uses it later, rather than frequent alternate handling as it would be with nuts, cams and so on? I just think that "strong hygiene measures" are going to be very difficult to maintain in a climbing environment.

In reply to Luke90:

> I see your point but I think the "spirit" you're reading into the government guidance isn't necessarily there. One of the few examples they give in the clause about using outdoor facilities with a non-household member is a basketball court, which presumably implies a shared basketball unless they're being very obtuse.

Fair point. 

 jezb1 12 May 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Is that not more about stuff one person uses then is finished with it and another person uses it later, rather than frequent alternate handling as it would be with nuts, cams and so on? I just think that "strong hygiene measures" are going to be very difficult to maintain in a climbing environment.

You're probably right. I only thought it interesting because the BMC guidance quotes Sport England in another reference, which lead me to their website.

 Steve Woollard 12 May 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> it’s ok for me to go to Dorset tomorrow so long as I annoy the less scary people in Worth Matravers rather than the more scary people on that estate in Portland...the BMC said so!

Just don't mention furry things with big ears if you want to get out alive

 pasbury 12 May 2020
In reply to Blunderbuss:

> You expect HMG to give out such detailed communication for climbing.....pmsl!

No, did you read my post?

Post edited at 21:34
 Dom Goodwin 12 May 2020
In reply to Luke90:

I don't think "the government guidance is what it is" covers the situation very well! Their advice is doubtless intended for more common situations, like people meeting in parks throwing frisbees or whatever. Climbing is rather different...

Also, I don't think you can possibly predict when you agree to meet someone whether you might happen to randomly cough, however many hours later! Of course, if you were actually feeling ill, you would hopefully not arrange it in the first place or cancel. But someone could easily be asymptomatic and cough, sneeze or whatever. Yes, you're right that being outdoors is significantly less risky than the same distance indoors.

While climbing, we are very much less in control of the distance apart we keep than when standing around in a park or doing more common activities that the 2 metre rule perhaps has in mind. However, it is our responsibility to carefully consider transmission risk in our chosen activity, rather than just quote some rule and say that's all ok, then. In any case, do we really think we're always going to keep reasonable distance e.g. swapping gear, religiously walking away every single time for the other person to pick it up? In any case, that's rather hard half way up a crag.

I doubt a sensible level of social distancing from one's climbing partner can be kept in many climbing activities and think it is quite arguably not in the spirit of the recommendations to climb with people outside our own household as there is a lot more contact involved than probably "allowed". Others may interpret this differently and we will all make our own decisions. I think there's much to be said for some common sense, rather than getting too tied up, worrying about whether we are acting within arbitrary rules.

The important thing to realise is that there is a very significant chance of transmission between climbing partners. It sounds like we're in agreement about that, which is the main point, really. Perhaps it's an acceptable risk (to some), but I just think it's important that people understand that this risk is definitely there, rather than pretend we can keep sufficiently socially distant from our climbing partners at all times to avoid risk of transmission (as I have seen some other posts on these forums suggest).

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 Danm79 12 May 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Roll up! Roll up! Repeat everything you already said on the three other threads here, but this time showing how the new BMC statement proves you were already right yesterday!

> i’ll go first

> it’s ok for me to go to Dorset tomorrow so long as I annoy the less scary people in Worth Matravers rather than the more scary people on that estate in Portland...the BMC said so!

Good stuff again Paul 🙂

I’m also able to reassert that I was right all along - if you’re the Prime Minister hastily issuing new rules to over 60 million people you can’t be expected to list every reasonable exemption. Fair enough... Rational, morally inclined individuals however can understand the purpose of a rule (or guideline) and see where potential actions may breach a rule but will cause absolutely no harm to anyone. 

Anyway, I was delighted to hear the latest government/ BMC guidance and confess to expressing a feeling of triumph that wouldn’t have given a clue to the way I also feel; ie, that the situation is delicate, some people are scared and that I will absolutely be courteous / considerate in my behaviour. In practice I mean I’ll fill up at my local petrol station, bring sandwiches, nip up a couple of crap routes out the way and be gone before anyone who lives in the Peak knows I’m there.

 pec 12 May 2020
In reply to StoneManky:

I'm as keen as anyone to get out in the next few days, even though the weather forecast isn't great, and provided people are sensible I think the risks are small and justifiable because if we wait until there is no risk we won't be climbing for another year or two so it's up to us to act responsibly.

To that end I think it's important to choose where we climb carefully. Initially I think we need to avoid places which will antagonise locals. I think their concerns are largely unfounded, people parking up in laybyes and car parks before wandering up into the hills isn't going to spread the virus to their communities, but the powers that be (councils, police, government etc), are more likely to listen to their concerns (real or not) than ours so in order to avoid problems we don't want to 'swamp' little vilages with outsiders and so on.

I've been looking at where to climb and intend to avoid places that require parking up in small villages and walking in through farmyards etc. or will access them via a different approach to keep a lower profile.

No doubt Stanage will be heaving anyway (at least there aren't any locals in the immediate vicinity) but in general, a bit of thought now could help us in the long run.

Post edited at 22:58
In reply to StoneManky:

The BMC statement seems entirely sensible. I suspect it would have been difficult for them to say something significantly different, given the relatively open ended government guidance. At the outset, I was concerned that the BMC had boxed themselves into a corner with their original statement and wouldn’t be able to ‘ok’ a return to climbing any time soon. Boris made that job considerably easier.

As others have said, crag choice will be key - both to maintain SD and to avoid antagonising locals and landowners.

Safety will also be key, as it always should be.

Realistically, I doubt it would be possible to exclude the possibility of transmission with your partner, even with the best SD possible.

Incidentally, I don’t see the rope as an issue. Just use one end each (mark one of the ends with some tape) and use gloves when belaying (not a bad idea anyway, especially for sport). Sharing gear can be avoided by stripping when lowering off or abseiling for the gear. Sharing holds can be avoided by leading different routes if possible. Still, just being around each other all day will entail some risk of transmission, especially as there will inevitably be small ‘infringements’.

I would therefore suggest climbing with one other non-household partner for the foreseeable, ideally someone at low risk of having the virus (eg they and their household members are working / staying at home).

Oh and be alert!

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