/ 'rocks can break'

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Climbpsyched 02 Nov 2019

I got to the top of a sport pitch yesterday, clipped two draws into the chains and shouted take. Pretty standard stuff. As the rope went tight I looked Infront of me and a block about the size of a bag of sugar had come off and was being held in place luckily by the rope. I grabbed it and checked for other blocks and found an equal sized one. Got lowered off as normal with a block in each hand and continued with the day.

I've seen plenty loose rock in my time but that was scary to see it just appear like it did without any pulling. I did pull the second one off.

I was about 25-30m off the ground. Two young families below me with no helmets on made the situation feel way more serious. If it was just my mate then he could have hopefully easily dodged the rocks but with people spread out below it was not a nice feeling. 

I brought the blocks down and everyone was a bit like 'wow' 

I chatted to the families and they said since they almost got hit by a rock they now all 'normally' belay with a helmet and don't bring their kids to the bottom. I did point out that they didn't have helmets on and that the kids were at the bottom in a light-hearted fashion. 

It's a good wake up call for me as over time it's easy to fall into the trap of how relaxing and safe sport climbing can feel compared to trad.

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Planeandsimple 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

Plenty of sport routes with bolts in crap rock and holds which are falling apart. Horseshoe, plenty of dangerous sport crags in Dorset. As an adventurous trad climber you learn to assess the rock and the placements and I certainly don't feel safer at most sport crags, while sport climbing is fun it surprises me how blindly we trust the bolters. 

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Rog Wilko 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

> It's a good wake up call for me as over time it's easy to fall into the trap of how relaxing and safe sport climbing can feel compared to trad.

We all need to take this on board.

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tmawer 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Perhaps especially so those of us climbing at Bramcrag... A great venue but one that needs treating with special respect. 

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kingborris 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

If the blocks are bag of sugar sized I suspect a helmet isn't going to make any difference from 25m up

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Al Randall 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

You don't say ;-)  That's why I'm not a huge fan of UK Sport climbing.  It's mostly in grotty quarries which are particularly prone to loose rock and breakages of all shapes and sizes.  My mate was seriously hurt whilst belaying in Derbyshire in such a quarry. Portland is not a lot better and I seem to recall someone was killed there a few years ago when a huge rock parted company from near the top taking him with it.

Al

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andrewwaller 02 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

Where was this and what climb ??

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jimtitt 02 Nov 2019
In reply to andrewwaller:

Drag Racing Underground, what difference does it make?

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Rog Wilko 02 Nov 2019
In reply to tmawer:

> Perhaps especially so those of us climbing at Bramcrag... A great venue but one that needs treating with special respect. 

I took one look and turned tail.

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Wide_Mouth_Frog 03 Nov 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> Drag Racing Underground, what difference does it make?

I think it's worth being aware of any routes that may be loose. This one seems to have a history of it from looking at the logbooks. One to avoid 

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andrewwaller 03 Nov 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

Was referring to original post ....If you'd bothered looking at who I replied to .

Post edited at 08:18
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Pbob 03 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

I was once at Millstone Edge getting my shoes on to second my partner. Next to me were a couple of very attractive female climbers. I heard a shout from my partner and saw a block about the size of a house brick dislodged from the loose rock at the top bounding down the crag in our direction. Something in my brain registered that it was the low density rock near the top, not the dense stuff that the rest of the crag was made from. I stuck my hand out and caught it, just as it was floating over the female's heads. Cool as a cucumber, I just put the block on the deck and carried on doing up my laces. Cue mega swooning ... and subsequent relationship. Would have ended very differently if it had been more dense.

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Mike505 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

We had a similar experience last year, I was at a lower off in Cheedale moving left to centralize myself before weighting the rope I grabbed a hold that looked fully attached, no crack or visible seam around it and polished to glass. To my horror a section of rock larger than my thigh detached. I screamed at my belayer and then jumped to grab the rope on the other side of the lower off fully expecting my friend to be hit. Fortunately the block landed 2ft to his left before bouncing up and landing next to the river.

I don't think I've ever felt sick as i did in the moment. And it made for a very sobering experience. 

Be careful out there. 

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L Philb1950 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Mike505:

If it made you feel sick, you,ve not many near misses then. Trad climbs everywhere are full of loose rock, especially on limestone. Don,t go climbing in the Alps, as not only are there loose holds, but airborne rocks as well. It,s part of climbing.

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rachelpearce01 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Climbpsyched:

We were climbing today, and a french chap to a 10m walk out from the crag (think he dropped his orange and it rolled down the hill a bit) only to have a football size piece of rock explode less than meter from his head. No word of a lie. Goat must have kicked it off. It’s a miracle he wasn’t decapitated. Looked like a grenade had gone off next to him. Out of the blue, everyone minding their own business. I’ve heard of this before, but never really seen it and not to the extend where you nearly watch someone get an airstrike like that. It’s obviously rare, but not that improbable. Really unlucky I guess  

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john arran 09 Nov 2019
In reply to rachelpearce01:

> Really unlucky I guess  

Nah. Really unlucky would be much worse. This is actually quite lucky.

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to rachelpearce01:

A close shave with death by the sounds of it. Scary biscuits. That will keep you alert at the crag for a while! 

I hope that wasn't the goats getting revenge for him top roping. I jest! 

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Planeandsimple:

Yes very true! 

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to kingborris:

Yes totally. I'd still personally rather have one on but at that height it's unlikely you're walking away if the rock properly connected. 

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

This was in Spain but thought it worth sharing to bring back to the front of peoples mind. The title is a piss take from 'holds can spin' ;) 

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to andrewwaller:

It was in Spain. 

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Climbpsyched 09 Nov 2019
In reply to Philb1950:

Airborne rocks will make a good route name! He may have already climbed in the Alps...

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sheppy 11 Nov 2019

I am surprised at the surprise of many on here.... Crags are evolving all the time, there is no such thing as a "solid" crag, its a relative term.

In recent past (2012) possibly more than 1000 tons of granite just slid off Creag an Dubh Loch in the highlands. 

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Mike505 06:42 Thu
In reply to Philb1950:

I personally hope i never become so desensitized to the prospect of losing a friend. 

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nikoid 09:09 Thu
In reply to Mike505:

To be fair I'm not sure we can draw any conclusions about how he would feel about losing a friend based on what he posted.

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