With the hindsight of this starting a heated debate. I was just wondering whether I have missed that chipping in the Bristol area is an acceptable habit.
This week I went to Leigh Woods for the first time to check out the trad. I have climbed a fair bit in Avon, but would not class myself as a local.
What I saw was a guy (who seemed familiar) shunting a line - maybe Brubeck Fingers or just to the right of it. It looked like a bolted line. As he got to a section that seemed blank, he would pull up his hammer and tap tap tap a better hold! There was then some brushing and chalking and occasionally a bit of levering with the claw.(Personally, this is what gripped me the most; if you are going to chip holds, use a proper piton hammer with a chisel head not some crappy claw hammer!)
He had a right go at the route then disappeared. As I was out of area I didn't confront him as well as wanting a quiet day tradding with the Mrs.
But it left me wondering if what we saw was normal or acceptable for Avon locals?
Maybe the person involved might like to share his reasons?
To the best of my knowledge chipping is considered unacceptable even in Bristol.
Given that he was in leigh woods between March and November it's likely that the hammer was for fighting off ticks and he gave up when it became hopeless.
I think as d_b suggests 'Ticky' would be more appropriate!
I don't know the crag, or the local ethics but could it have been a new route? It's fairly common, particularly on sport routes, to tidy up the holds, loose flakes etc when bolting a new line.
Could well be. Leigh Woods is pretty chossy and all the clean lines have long been picked off. I suspect any new routes would need a lot of cleaning to get into any kind of climbing shape. A hammer sounds a bit heavy handed but people lever loose rock off with crowbars too.
I think Guy Percival has been doing a bit of new-routing in Leigh Woods in the last couple of weeks so he may be able to shed some light on it, though I doubt he would be 'chipping' given his track record of hard desperates.
I think it's worth bearing in mind just how much work goes into preparing a new line and getting rid of any crap rock. It's very normal to be tapping around with a hammer to check for loose rock, especially on a trad route where a hold suddenly exploding could have very serious consequences depending on the nature of the protection.
I feel like Marti probably knows plenty enough about new routing already!
And if it's a sport route (likely in Leigh Woods) then tap tap tap with a hammer is par for the course for checking rock quality for where you're going to be drilling...
As AJM said, Marti will know the difference between cleaning a route and abusing one.
I don't know him so I'll take your word for it! Just thought I'd mention.
> To the best of my knowledge chipping is considered unacceptable even in Bristol.
What do you mean even in Bristol? Are you implying that Bristol climbers play more fast and loose with ethics than elsewhere?
Sounds like cleaning some loose stuff from a new route to me. But even if your assessment that it was bone fide chipping (i.e. altering solid rock with the intention of making the climbing easier), is correct .....
> But it left me wondering if what we saw was normal or acceptable for Avon locals?
Why would you even consider that, on the basis of one incident? If you saw someone chipping holds at Stanage, would it "leave you wondering" if that was generally acceptable for Sheffield climbers?
Speaking as a climber and degenerate I pride myself on bringing down the local ethical standards wherever I go.
I live in Bristol, therefore on average standards are lower here than elsewhere.
Does that clarify matters?
They probably meant the rock is shit alot of the times, and you cannot avoid 'chipping' routes when climbing it, let alone bolting.
> They probably meant the rock is shit alot of the times, and you cannot avoid 'chipping' routes when climbing it, let alone bolting.
it’s not shit! The rock where you live is shit.
> As AJM said, Marti will know the difference between cleaning a route and abusing one.
Yes when actually on the rock, not observing from afar?
Ah .. I see. Your profile doesn't give a location, and your logbook is private, otherwise I would probably have got the point. Thanks for the clarification
A lot of it definitely IS shit!
Chipping clearly not a local ethic in Bristol. I can go and have a look at the route when next there. Guy’s new bolted stuff on that side is on my list. I won’t be there for a while though. Maybe someone could have a look and report back? Hopefully it was just clearing off loose flakes.
> Speaking as a climber and degenerate I pride myself on bringing down the local ethical standards wherever I go.
> I live in Bristol, therefore on average standards are lower here than elsewhere.
> Does that clarify matters?
Im led to believe that a “Bristol start” involves one leg folded underneath on boulder problem starts. Certainly a lot of the climbers down there are “chippie” but you don’t sound like one of them
My dad was a good woodworker but you would never hire me as a chippie unless the chips were made of semiconductors.
Today I lost my climber credentials anyway. After a few months off I can no longer solo Morpheus. It's embarrassing.
Hope that was a controlled retreat. Was wondering whether it was spelt ‘chippy’ - I think you know what I mean
Yeah. The problem was one of psych rather than technical capability. Retreating was time consuming but safe. Bloody galling though - I have climbed it dozens of times.
Nothing to see. Was just some cleaning loose stuff off of new route (not me). Just disinformation and wrong conclusions jumped to by Big Brother. Be seeing you.
Tony Robinson lives in Bristol. Perhaps it was the Time Team mob looking for some gold coins with Baldrick.
Climbing in Portishead quarry today, I was admiring the beautiful spider web patterns made around boreholes by the explosives that carved that slab for us. I imagine the violence sheering off huge chunks which cascade into piles with a thunderous noise and it makes me proud thinking of that first step in the Bristol climbing workflow.
It was the etiquette in the Gorge area to use men and mules and ropes to drag blocks over wooden planks on mud slopes and load them into barges for decades to develop crags along the Portway, Leigh Woods and out at Portishead.
The next step of putting up a route in Bristol is to stop mining around 1860 and let nature take over the massive holes in the earth for 40 years. You then fill in some of the holes, blast train tunnels inside the rock on both sides of the river, build a funicular railway inside a f*cking cliff just because you can (and to hide poor people). But stop all this to send a couple of world wars (which involves reinforcing parts of the new wall with concrete pillars).
Now, normal Avon locals build a humongous concrete shed above the road under suspension bridge buttress to make a belay platform and then reinforce all limestone that flanks the newly expanded road by drilling thousands of metres of rebar into it but we leave a little nubbin sticking out to later serve as wire placements on trad routes.
The Bristol Mountain Council believe it's ethical to involve the authorities so we get Avon & Somerset police to turn Quarry No. 3 into a goddamn shooting range, where they erect 3 tiers of concrete block wall and cover the floor in rubber chippings to suppress ricochet from stray bullets. This may seem a bit over-engineered but 20 years of gunfire tempers the limestone just right for crimps.
Finally, after letting several invasive species of ivy grow into the exposed cracks for 20 years, forcing apart chunks of rock, we allow local artists to come and write their name big in spray paint at the base of all routes. This is just the acceptable habit and helps make the start moves slippery enough to establish a consistent grade. Something we pride ourselves on locally.
Now, a quick protest about a Tesco in Stoke Croft and we cut back the foliage to reveal the choss, pull out loose bits and start route setting. This involves drills, stainless steel bolts and yes, often a hammer to take the sharp edges off holds that resemble flint blades and can either be removed there and then or be left to sever a finger pad or ping off under a shoe.
It's a bloody good job you turned up in Quarry No. 3 when you did instead of 170 years earlier! A grockle like you would have been shocked to witness the start of our unique regional method!
You've been climbing outside for 6 months... Pipe down.
LOL. I write a 170 year history of man made rock modification in Avon and you say I'm not aloud because I first climbed outdoors in November 2019. Hahaha.
It wasn't in Quarry 3! Millstone edge climb ( my personal favourite crag in the UK) was created by mans endeavours, but you would go at it with a crappy B&Q craw hammer!
And how dare you call me a Grockle, you haven't had the decency to do some basic internet background on me before throwing out insults.
Thank you for your informative industrial history lesson on Bristol.
Marti (not some grockle)
think you miss understood my opening posts, Sorry my mistake I forget I have only been climbing in the SW for 5 mins and know nothing about cleaning, restoring and equipping new and established routes! But it is hard to see whats actually going on at 20m away!
Would have been nice if the guy (who has met me before ) just said some words to me just to be friendly and interested in what other think of the routes in his quarry.
My point : crappy B&Q craw hammer!
> My point : crappy B&Q craw hammer!
Yeah but a claw hammer is perfect for getting loose shit off.
I would have to disagree and say the professional tool of chose is a Petzl Bongo hammer, clean and accurate!
> I would have to disagree and say the professional tool of chose is a Petzl Bongo hammer, clean and accurate!
The B & Q ones are £4!!
Some of these crags could do with a bit of dynamite to improve them, just think what we could do to main wall Avon with a few well placed sticks.. boom ..polish goes and new routes to be had for the new generation
You're insinuating that someone opinion isn't valid because he's a grockle.despite him doing so much for the climbing community over the years. And youve been climbing for 18 months. So yeah, pipe down.
I came to see a fight but a UKC thread broke out.
No no, please understand I was playing along with the scene set by the post's author. Read my words with a tongue-in-cheek tone of voice (but also enjoy the rich historical imagery). You've taken my playful response as literal and my use of the word "Grockle" as non-ironic, so I'll explain the joke...
Marti666 opened with an invitation for a heated debate. He admits he's got hindsight so this ain't his first rodeo. He's got the devil's number in his screenname and is ready to light some fires.
The intention is clear, he wants to turn an observation into a suspicion, then bake that into an assumption. Then extrapolate from that, a behaviour consistent to an entire population, in this case "Avon locals". This author is skilled, he's studied the opening gambits of some of the greats like Farage and Hopkins to name just 2.
He playfully offers to establish opposing roles with the statement "[I] would not class myself as a local" and later doubles down on this with a status divide by inviting the anonymous person to explain themselves, a tone of voice that suggests he's owed one. The stage is set. This is role play and someone needs to play his opposite.
He explains that the man was using an offensively affordable hammer for a purpose not entirely clear to him, but this is not a curious enquiry from a man struggling to understand what he witnessed on that fateful afternoon. No. He's concluded it was nefarious. What he needs is the locals to explain if this is normal or acceptable?
It's a fantastically unsolvable puzzle to ask one group of people to answer for an individual's actions when the demographic is arbitrary and no formal chain of command or rules of engagement exist. Great canon with huge potential.
So that is why I played the complimentary role of a lower status, simple-minded yet historically aware local, earnestly answering the outsider's question about the ethics of our relationship with rock, as if a consensus exists, or ever could. The joke is that the unanswerable, received an answer. The subtext is drawing attention to the historical context of these quarries. It asks the question; when we consider all the heavy engineering that has mutilated and exposed this seam of rock beyond recognition over the years, is a man with a hammer really the moment that purity is lost?
In the words of E.B. White: "Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better but the frog dies in the process."
At least frogs are funny.
It wasn't funny. It want even a joke. You don't need to explain it, I could see what you were trying to do. Don't call people grockles especially when they aren't and they made more of a contribution to the climbing community than you ever could. You clearly like writing long posts... Maybe just think first.
> As AJM said, Marti will know the difference between cleaning a route and abusing one.
Obviously not in this case given the person was cleaning and certainly not chipping.
Martin, I think you need to drink less coffee, mate
Sabrina Verjee has beaten her own women's Pennine Way fastest known time, running the route in a time of 74 hours 28 minutes and 46 seconds, beating her previous time of 82 hours and 19 minutes.