Manchester University Mountaineering Club will be heading to Froggatt Edge on Saturday 17th. We have risk assessed the trip, following government and BMC coronavirus guidelines. We will be setting up some top ropes, but we will be more than happy to move them for you. Apologies for any inconveniences this causes anyone.
Do you have shares in popcorn?
Insert Micheal Jackson GIF here
Have a lovely trip and I hope the weather is great. Wish I could get out!
Just wanted to give a few more details about the trip. We posted to give people a heads up that we'll be visiting Froggatt so you're all aware we'll be there, but the last thig we want to do is to give the impression that we're commandeering the crag.
To follow coronavirus guidelines, we'll be travelling to Froggatt Edge via public transport. There will be less than 30 of us and we'll stay in socially distant groups of 6 the whole time. We have also signed up to the university's track and trace system.
We are taking some beginners on the trip, so will be setting up some top ropes to help teach them, but are very happy to move them if anyone wants to get on routes.
We hope that you can appreciate why we're still running the trips. It's important for students, who may be feeling isolated, to get out of the city and have some exercise because at the end of the day, we're all here to have fun climbing.
We're aware of the criticism received for the last trip and are working to resolve it for this trip.
I am going to grab my pop corn though, it does not matter what crag you pick, how you get there and what you do there, someone here will complain regardless. :-P
I'm sure the lessons have been learned. Have a great trip.
Froggatt was the location for my first freshers' meet, more years ago than I care to think about. Back then no one, and least of all the university authorities, cared what we got up to. I don't envy anyone trying to run a university club these days, even before Covid.
> We're aware of the criticism received for the last trip and are working to resolve it for this trip.
I think this is the key phrase. Well done.
Sounds good. I posted the following in the Castle Naze thread a bit earlier, and it was suggested that I should repeat myself here too:
"Best of luck with your Froggatt meet. It's a crag that will give you the opportunity to do a much better job than it seems you did on this occasion (and the opportunity to spread out further to some of the quieter Curbar buttresses if needs be). Lets hope you'll be able to do a better job this time and that your group and anyone else who happens to be there (climbers or otherwise) will be able to enjoy a good day out and a much needed breath of fresh air.
The top path is very popular with walkers. Many of them are often quite elderly and I've noticed whilst running that, having relaxed a bit over the summer, people are beginning to really appreciate being given plenty of space again. For the approach, I suggest you brief your groups that they may need to drop into single-file at times and stay well over to one side of the path to let people past with the clearance that they are comfortable with and pay particular attention to the 'pinch points' at gates etc."
(I was assuming when I wrote that that you'd be heading in from the bend in the road and/or the NT car park near the Grouse Inn, but if you're going by train I guess you'll actually be toiling up the hill from Grindleford. A much less trodden path, but also quite a bit narrower and with more 'pinch points'.)
In the other thread slab_happy replied to my post to elaborate that Beech Buttress at the end of Curbar is only a v short walk from the Chequers Buttress area and is almost always deserted. Could be a useful 'overspill' option. She also mentioned Brookside Buttress (500m or so to the North of the main body of Froggatt) - there are a few good routes there and it's rarely busy. As a bonus there's a small waterfall in the brook that makes it quite a charming place to visit anyway - if you manage to catch the place with nobody else around it feels like you've discovered a little secret.
> To follow coronavirus guidelines, we'll be travelling to Froggatt Edge via public transport.
But the guidance says " If you need to travel, you should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible and you are encouraged to walk or cycle, rather than use public transport. "
> But the guidance says " If you need to travel, you should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible and you are encouraged to walk or cycle, rather than use public transport. "
Don't really want to get involved in this... but you want them to walk from Manchester to Froggatt?!
I hope you have a great trip and that the weather does as the forecast says and remains dry. It's genuinely great to see that the classic UKC disaster of the last thread has led to something constructive (on both sides hopefully) and that the legitimate concerns have been taken on-board by the club.
Like you say, we're all here to have fun climbing
Brookside Buttress (500m or so to the North of the main body of Froggatt) - there are a few good routes there and it's rarely busy. As a bonus there's a small waterfall in the brook that makes it quite a charming place to visit anyway - if you manage to catch the place with nobody else around it feels like you've discovered a little secret.
Yes a couple of nice easier routes there. It was a pleasant place to while away the minutes whilst waiting for Edale MRT recently !!
> It was a pleasant place to while away the minutes whilst waiting for Edale MRT recently !!
Well, that's an impressively ominous description! Hope you or whoever was involved in the incident is fine now.
Froggatt was my first trip with Manchester Uni Mountaineering Club. I didn't have anyone to climb with, so held the ropes for this lad who wanted to lead something. Johnny was his name, he turned out to be quite good.
> but you want them to walk from Manchester to Froggatt?!
I'd like them to consider if they need to travel, given they are in a Tier 2 area, and that the university has had daily case numbers in the hundreds for the last two weeks; about 1350 cases out of 40000 students in the last two weeks. That's more than the numbers in total in my town of about six times that population, from the start of the pandemic. And about 3350 cases per 100k, compared to a national average of 89 per 100k.
Yes they are on the road to recovery now. The sound of the stream at Brookside buttress is very therapeutic but not as effective as morphine !
> I'd like them to consider if they need to travel, given they are in a Tier 2 area,
The Tier 2 restrictions say "In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors." Guidance from DCMS expressly states "you can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance.".
"Guidelines from national sporting bodies",in this case means the guidelines to clubs issued by the BMC, which itself follows guidance from Sport England. There is no question that climbing is one of the activities permitted under these rules, and that groups of up to 30 are allowed under these arrangements.
Most of the North West, the Peak, Sheffield and surrounging areas are in Tier 2. Are you suggesting that no one in these areas should go climbing?
With 3375 active cases per 100k population, they probably should be higher than Tier 2.
The climbing isn't the problem. It's the travelling by public transport when you are from a population with 3.4% active cases that is pretty irresponsible, frankly. Their journeys on public transport aren't essential.
We seem to be sleepwalking into disaster, ignoring the exponential growth all around us.
> With 3375 active cases per 100k population, they probably should be higher than Tier 2.
The logic for which tier an area should be in is far from clear.
Manchester is only just second to Knowsley, a district of Liverpool. Those have case rates about 500 per 100k.
So, with a population case rate of 3375 per 100k, MU really should be in Tier, what..? 6?
On closer inspection of the 100k case rate, it seems to be measured over the last week (not a notional two week infectious period). So that 1350 total falls to 350, as the previous week was much higher. Scaling up to per 100k, that's still 875 cases per 100k this week, and 2500 per 100k last week. Both still higher than any geographic area.
Maybe not. Sky tweeting govt has signed off on Manchester level 3. Andy Burnham is unhappy announcement via media (again)
> Yes a couple of nice easier routes there. It was a pleasant place to while away the minutes whilst waiting for Edale MRT recently !!
Eek! Glad to hear the victim is on the mend. No doubt the gentle burbling of the brook + morphine is quite a soothing combination. It'd be a lot more fun without the injury though. ;-)
Fair play to you for stepping up to post this. I hope it goes well for you.
> With 3375 active cases per 100k population, they probably should be higher than Tier 2.
Quite possibly. But outdoor exercise, and travelling to get to it, is still permitted under Tier 3. You can argue with that, but it seems harsh to criticise people for acting within the rules.
> Quite possibly. But outdoor exercise, and travelling to get to it, is still permitted under Tier 3. You can argue with that, but it seems harsh to criticise people for acting within the rules.
However, for Tier 3:
> you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
So if Manchester does go into Tier 3 before the weekend (as seems very likely, though it hasn't been officially confirmed yet), unfortunately I think they're screwed -- they'd be travelling from a Tier 3 area into a Tier 1 area, and not for one of the authorized reasons.
I agree it seems unfair to pick on one small group of students for planning something which is within current rules (whatever one thinks about said rules).
But as of this morning it does look like the rules are being changed on them. Which must be very disappointing and frustrating.
So judging from all the replies, nobody is remotely concerned that a large group are setting up top-rope on a very popular crag and so monopolise that part of the crag for most of the day. This never happened years ago. Isn't somebody capable of leading climbs these days or is this a sad sign of the times.
Worst thing about this is that MUMC have previous in this action(Castle Naze)
I for one won't be too upset if they go onto lockdown to spare other climbers from this thoughtless monopoly. Grrr!
"we will be more than happy to move them for you"
> Worst thing about this is that MUMC have previous in this action(Castle Naze)
Their first attempt to navigate the challenges of running an event under the current conditions - you can't say there's evidence of a pattern of bad behaviour with a sample size of n=1. They're hardly the only organisation to not quite nail it the first time they try to figure out how to operate safely under the current conditions. Have other uni groups been running freshers' trips? Wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that others who haven't stuck their heads above the parapet on here have struggled more. (I've certainly encountered such groups at the crag in more normal times who do worse, and perhaps more to the point, care less.)
"We're aware of the criticism received for the last trip and are working to resolve it for this trip."
I see no reason to assume they won't do better this time. Assuming they do actually run the trip in the end and don't have the rug yanked out from under their feet by a change in Greater Manchester's status before the weekend.
> I for one won't be too upset if they go onto lockdown to spare other climbers from this thoughtless monopoly. Grrr!
They've made it clear they will be cooperative with other climbers. Despite my misgivings about the sagacity of them travelling, I don't have other problems with their trip; in other circumstances, I'd have thanked them for the advanced notice, and their open approach to other climbers.
May I suggest that you emphasise to your group that they should not set up "base" at any of the "pinch-points" along the path at the bottom of the crag.
There are many points along this path where people normally have to edge past others, whereas with a little thought people can "settle" away from the bottom path.
(This of course applies to all, not just Uni groups, but beginners will need "advice" on areas best left clear).
> So judging from all the replies, nobody is remotely concerned that a large group are setting up top-rope on a very popular crag and so monopolise that part of the crag for most of the day.
No, not at all.
> Isn't somebody capable of leading climbs these days or is this a sad sign of the times.
Yes, people are leading climbs these days. They have already outlined their reasons, to maximise the number of beginners they can have when they already have a fairly low maximum number of people that can go on the trip.
I come from a club that practically never does this, we always lead and then beginners second, and even then I understand MUMC's reasoning behind this 100%.
Thank you for proving my point earlier in the thread so perfectly. ;-)
It’s a sad sign of the times that this thread still has people trying to pick it apart.
if you are worried stay home, don’t go to the crag. It’s really that simple.
It's not about the crag; it's about the use of public transport to get there.
That and taking some personal responsibility about trying to beat this pandemic.
Whilst at the crag (hence outdoors) the risk of transmission of CV-19 is pretty low, particularly if you keep ~2m apart or are in close proximity for <15 minutes, they are limiting numbers to 30 all of whom will have a track and trace record. What more do you suggest they could they do?
You saw the point about public transport? That's the viral "pinch point"
> You saw the point about public transport? That's the viral "pinch point"
Thanks. At least someone is reading what I post...
> they are limiting numbers to 30 all of whom will have a track and trace record.
Track and trace won't prevent spread. Given how ineffective the Government's T&T programme is, it probably won't help trace infections in a timely manner, either.
> What more do you suggest they could they do?
I've made it pretty clear from the outset that I think it is unwise for them to travel on public transport, given the active infection rate within the university student population. Regardless of government guidelines, which are a political fudge, we each need to start taking personal responsibility for this disease, and considering whether our actions will cause it to spread. Let's stop the 'special case pleading'.
Yes, but I was responding to the dig about "taking personal responsibility for beating the pandemic".
There is whole other debate to be had about public transport and CV-19.
Everything we do (just about) will cause it to spread. Are we supposed to sit at home (or in student's cases rooms in halls) forever?
> So judging from all the replies, nobody is remotely concerned that a large group are setting up top-rope on a very popular crag and so monopolise that part of the crag for most of the day. This never happened years ago.
Of course it did. My first climbs were on a university freshers' meet at Froggatt, and we put top ropes up on the Slab Recess area, and elsewhere, for the same reason that MUMC are planning to. That was 1972. OK, there weren't as many climbers around back then, but it was still a popular crag and there were other parties around.
Most clubs only have to deal with novices joining in ones and twos at intervals spread out over the year, uni clubs have to deal with a busload all joining at once. If it's managed properly, top-roping need not monopolise the crag. MUMC were criticised for taking a large group to a small crag, where monopolising was harder to avoid, but Froggatt offers more options for both them and other climbers to spread out.
To say MUMC "have form" based on a single incident seems unfair. They made mistakes at Castle Naze for which they were deservedly criticised, but they say they've learned lessons and will run this one better. They're entitled to the benefit of the doubt. No doubt there will be plenty watching for them to put a foot wrong.
> Yes, but I was responding to the dig about "taking personal responsibility for beating the pandemic".
It's not a dig. It's the only way we have a chance of beating this; we can't rely on the clowns running the country to do it. For instance, I certainly wouldn't have forced students to go and live in halls.
That personal responsibility means that you have to ask yourself whether your activity really justifies the risk of spread, considering the prevalence of the population you are in. If that means sitting at home, then so be it.
Amazing. I am on my second bag of popcorn now. The thread that keeps on giving this. I find it incredible that people take the OP as an opportunity to air their opinions on groups at crags, groups toproping and groups navigating public transport. It really is pathetic.
This is a relatively small group of people catching a train to go climbing. Compared to the risk that comes from (for example) 32 school children packed together in a small classroom (with no masks, PPE or social distancing measures for 5 hours a day), mixing within a year group bubble of up to 180 other children for an hour at lunch each day (where they shove, piggy back, play tig, kiss-catch), before catching a bus home (with up to 60 children from other year group bubbles, absolutely no social distancing and often poor use of masks or no masks) this lovely climbing trip seems pretty low risk.
Fingers crossed the weather holds, enjoy getting out while you still can and may gravity be low.
A few years ago, I left work early on beautiful, sunny evening with the sole intention of leading Hostile Witness at Bench Tor, a route which I had been saving for years. We were excited by the prospect of almost certainly having an out of the way, peaceful crag to ourselves.
But to our horror, on reaching the brow of the final hill, we saw that the whole crag was plastered in ropes and people on virtually every route. It was our misfortune to have encountered a local (not Uni) club night. Someone was on Hostile Witness and another pair were waiting.
To be met by a large, local club meet monopolising the crag having driven over for one route in the peace and quiet was a bitter pill to swallow.
I was forced to climb Seniors Wall (enough said; I almost left instead) with someone giving a running commentary nearby before heading over to Hotshot because every other climb was busy.
Leaving aside CV19 risk assessments, for me, there seems little difference between the two examples of a large club meet.
So you went to a crag you expected to have to yourselves and found other climbers there. That's life, you were just unlucky. They had just as much right to be there as you. Your real problem was that you expectation of climbing in peace and solitude was frustrated, and there were other parties on the route you wanted to do - whether or not they were part of a club would have made no difference. They got there first, that's the end of it.
Uni clubs face, and sometimes cause, particular problems because they have to introduce a large number of novices at once, which usually means top-roping, which despite best intentions can monopolise a section of crag as people can be reluctant to ask them to move their ropes. Also, they are young and can be a bit noisy and boisterous, which can sometimes grate. Other organised groups do the same but are usually smaller. However this is only really an issue at this time of year. By next term half the new members will have drifted away, and those who have stuck with it will be able to climb in pairs, and the annual fuss about uni clubs will fade away until the next academic year begins.
But you don't say if they were top roping, as it is this action that prevents anyone else from going on those routes. I've seen top-ropes that were not in use but preventing others from doing the climb.
Crags get busy when groups arrive but it's still possible to get something done. I was once at Sheeps Tor on a beautiful sunny Saturday and it was full of bodies doing sponsored abseils, hundreds of them. It went on for hours. Probably for a good cause but I'm sure that another suitable venue such as disused railway bridge would have sufficed. Now if that is not thoughtless I don't know what is.
You try climbing next to a rookie abbing for the first time with feet everywhere and certainly not too concerned about another climber trying to pass. As for trashing the climbs...
Incidentally, the group at Bench Tor was possibly the SDMC so I apologise for this, but unfortunately there are not that many routes to go round. At least Senior's Wall is a cracking climb to have done, especially with that bold start.
Unless you want to register with the BmC crag booking scheme
That drift was usually quite fast and that one of the reasons my old Uni club first beginners outdoor trip was often the first weekend in November and most of our initial meets were indoors... not wasting the time of the experienced members and reducing any impact. There is no reason for those trying out climbing in a Uni club in normal years to be doing this outside.
I've a significant sympathy to the efforts of MUMC over the years to try to follow recommended best practice and publicise their freshers' venue in advance here on UKC. Walking up to Castle Naze is impressive dedication and 5 top-rope groups of 6 people is hardly crag hogging unless things got out of control due to enthusiasm. There is plenty of worthwhile stuff for others who don't like crowds on the quarried section, the far right (steep ground at the base so unsuitable for the inexperienced) and the nearby buttresses around Coombs Moss. As for Froggatt with the far end of Curbar that is even more the case.
Unfortunately I've seen plenty of bad group practice over the years but for student groups it's much less common now than in the 90s. Some student critics on these threads are just plain miserable.
I find the 'outdoor pursuits' industry much worse than students for lack of crag manners. (Some call it arrogance!)
I once went to a crag which had others on it when we arrived too. I called the FBI, and was surprised at their lack of interest. Last time I climb at Yosemite.
The Scottish Government has announced a £2 million support package for the residential outdoor education sector, which has taken a severe financial hit due to the COVID-19 crisis.