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Will Coronavirus create new outdoor climbers?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
 Mike505 17 Mar 2020

I was pondering, with the advice being not to climb indoors. Will it create an influx of new outdoor climbers? I know of a few friends who generally boulder indoors but are now looking to get on some real rock. This again raised the question could the influx of new outdoor climbers be so great, that isolating oneself at the crag is no longer possible?

Regards

Michael

 Iamgregp 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

Not round my way.  Relatively few decent crags in London.

 AlanLittle 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

I'm amazed that people are still considering this as an option. Surely there is no travel more unnecessary than going climbing?

Maybe I have a different perspective on this as an expat, and I must admit my perspective has changed drastically in the last couple of days. Up to Saturday I too was in "wash your hands & carry on" mode.

Then I was turfed out of the Tyrol on Sunday as Austria suddenly decided to go into immediate full lockdown - prior to that locals I spoke to had heard rumours that they might do it on Tuesday but nothing had been officially announced. Returned home to have Germany close its borders and Bavaria announce a state of emergency on Monday morning. Still allowed out to buy food or do work that requires physical presence (mine doesn't) but I will not be in the least surprised if we have hard Chinese style lockdown in a week or two.

9
 gezebo 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

I accept that training inside is a necessity but surely unless you climb outside you’re not really a climber but another gym user 😉

4
In reply to AlanLittle:

> I'm amazed that people are still considering this as an option. Surely there is no travel more unnecessary than going climbing?

I don't think you should underestimate the effect on people's mental health of *not* being able to do these things. It does very much depend on how many people you are likely to come into contact with on the journey to and from the crag. Certainly public transport is not really an option - but at the crag itself, the chances of transmission must be near zero - the virus cannot survive for long outside of a host body.

2
 AlanLittle 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

True, although there's also the question of you getting injured - or your two week incubation period coming to an end - in a rural area with severely limited hospital capacity that the locals might be about to need.

3
 kirsten 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

And this is why we also will  be in full lockdown soon.  As in Spain and Italy, no one quite thinks the advice is fully intended for them.... 

 Red Rover 17 Mar 2020
In reply to kirsten:

Yes it's strange how climbers thing they're special. Is climbing such a drug that we can't have six months off?

1
 Jim Lancs 17 Mar 2020

To me this all feels like the early days of foot and mouth. People discussing which crags were in the 'infected areas' and whether we should use wet wipes on our rock shoes after climbing.  Then within days the whole of the countryside was closed.

Sadly, I think this is going to be a long term and massive impediment to what we considered to be our 'normal lives'. Unlike foot and mouth, it is also us humans that are truly central to this. Predictions from places like Imperial College show this continuing until the Autumn of 2021 with a solution only possible after the widespread availability of a vaccine. 

If, when it's all over, the only impact on my life has been a disruption to my recreational, leisure and holiday options, I for one will count myself very lucky indeed.. 

 Lord_ash2000 17 Mar 2020
In reply to AlanLittle:

> I'm amazed that people are still considering this as an option. Surely there is no travel more unnecessary than going climbing?

Is travel really a problem? I can understand not using public transport, cooped up in a train car or aeroplane with a bunch of germy people but if I leave my house, go into my car on the driveway, drive to a remote crag, have a climb/walk/etc, then come home at which point am I at risk of either catching or spreading the virus?

3
In reply to Red Rover:

> Yes it's strange how climbers thing they're special. Is climbing such a drug that we can't have six months off?

I don't think you should underestimate the importance of recreational activities to the mental health of many people - particularly those who live alone and do not have constant interaction with children, partners etc.

3
 Nathan Adam 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

This is not forever. 

If people can sit out of climbing for six months to recover from an injury then they can also sit out to decrease the chances of people dying unnecessarily. You will still be allowed outside to move around and exercise, we need to not be selfish and support the health service by taking ourselves out of risky situations for the time it takes for us to get over this. I most definitely require climbing to maintain sanity and I will suffer from a sadness like I've never experienced if I can't do it in the way I know right now, but as a collective we really need to pull together on this and sit it out. 

It's no longer about us as individuals anymore. For the sake of saving the at risk people in our countries, giving up climbing for 6-12 months is a small price to pay.

4
 Mike505 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I was thinking the same thing, I see no risk in going climbing my GF, we have a camper and can be completely 'self contained'. Or even as a group, I work with a few people who I also boulder with, is there any additional risk at the crag as we work together all day?

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 Mike505 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Nathan Adam:

To view it from another perspective though, we still need to go shopping and go to work. These are surely high risk environments when compared to bagging a few routes at Gogarth or Cloggy?

 Mike505 17 Mar 2020
In reply to gezebo:

Em, I'd seek advice from the BMC on that matter 😉

Post edited at 12:28
 Ciro 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

> I don't think you should underestimate the effect on people's mental health of *not* being able to do these things. It does very much depend on how many people you are likely to come into contact with on the journey to and from the crag. Certainly public transport is not really an option - but at the crag itself, the chances of transmission must be near zero - the virus cannot survive for long outside of a host body.

The spanish have closed the crags, as they feel it's a risk to have people climbing on the same rock. The virus has been shown to live anything up to a few days depending on the surface. I have no idea where rock fits in:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2020/03/15/new-coronavirus-study-shows-how-long-hcov-19-can-live-on-different-surfaces/#6b6b0f21412f

 Nathan Adam 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

Indeed you're right there Mike, I'd say they fall into the "essential travel" category though. The shopping side of it can be somewhat mitigated by trying to go at quieter times and with good hygiene and common sense. Work is something the government should be taking care of for us all if they want any ounce of success out of trying to push this back but that's an entirely different debate. 

The issue with the selfishness of climbing becomes apparent in times like these, when turning up at a hospital with a broken bone sustained in a climbing accident means a medic needs to take time away from a critically ill patient to deal with the climber. 

Climbing generally takes us to smaller communities as well which are under resourced to deal with large scale outbreaks that we could be facing. So unless you can be entirely self sufficient, i.e. not go into shops or have any close interactions with people in those communities that could lead to an unknowing spread of the virus then that makes the act of climbing doubly selfish. 

Post edited at 12:35
1
 Ciro 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

> I was thinking the same thing, I see no risk in going climbing my GF, we have a camper and can be completely 'self contained'. Or even as a group, I work with a few people who I also boulder with, is there any additional risk at the crag as we work together all day?

When you say self contained, do you have a large fuel store on your property, or does making unnecessary trips in your van mean extra stops at fuel stations.

Do you have a personal hospital system, or does making unnecessary trips in your van to climb mean contributing to the road and crag accident statistics that will divert hospital resources away from dealing with the corona virus and towards other emergency treatments.

Italy and Spain have both banned cycling, in order to reduce the load on the health systems there.

6
 Rob Parsons 17 Mar 2020
In reply to kirsten:

> And this is why we also will  be in full lockdown soon.  As in Spain and Italy, no one quite thinks the advice is fully intended for them.... 


In fairness: if the authorities are serious, then action needs to be mandated, not just 'advised.' We are still getting mixed messages.

Telling people not to go to pubs, theatres etc. is probably good advice for example, but doesn't help pub and theatre owners who consequently go out of business. So the government needs to order that all such premises are closed down, and simultaneously sort out appropriate compensatory measures.

Likewise, 'essential travel' is one of those irregular verbs, isn't it?: my travel is essential; your travel is not strictly necessary; his travel is a complete waste of time. To get this properly sorted out you really need actual rules and laws.

1
In reply to Thread:

What if going climbing means 5-10 min drive to some non-highball, low injury risk, grit boulders, mid-day mid-week, no-one else around, couple of hours then back home?
 

This describes 99% of my climbing and seems OK to me.....but then, I'm one of the special ones. 

In reply to Ciro:

> The spanish have closed the crags, as they feel it's a risk to have people climbing on the same rock. The virus has been shown to live anything up to a few days depending on the surface. I have no idea where rock fits in:

Thanks for that - though crucially those are all *indoor* environments. I couldn't find much on virus survival in outdoor environments (presumably because the conditions would be difficult to reproduce), but the combination of wind and UV would certainly reduce the viability of any virus in an outdoor environment.

Would be interested to see any research on this.

 Mike505 17 Mar 2020
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

I would argue that there is little difference in that scenario even if the drive was an hour. 

 fred99 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Ciro:

> Italy and Spain have both banned cycling, in order to reduce the load on the health systems there.

Maybe if they'd promoted cycling in the past the population would be in a healthier state and better able to weather what's happening.

3
In reply to Mike505:

Perhaps, although folks are also highlighting the increased risk from time spent driving....

 gezebo 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

Ahh. They’ve just sold out chasing the Olympic money. Big boots, rain and some ‘classic’ Hard V Diff is where the real climbers are! 

In reply to Mike505:

> Will it create an influx of new outdoor climbers? 

Of all the ways in which it might mutate, I should have thought this unlikely.

 Red Rover 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

When I was a kid and I was getting into climbing people told me that climbing culture had a selfish streak. I laughed at them but now I think they might have a point. Would you really risk getting injured and taking up a hospital bed now? Imagine taking resources away from the virus fight because you couldn't have 3 months without climbing. Madness. 

7
 Mike505 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

On a side note I would say climbing does have a selfish streak, however I think the sense of belonging, openness and community that I have come to love counteract it somewhat.

I would also say that when referring to selfishness people usually mean that climbers don't consider the impact on family if their sport goes wrong (one could argue the same for quite a few sports).

However I think the selfishness here is just people not want to give up there usual freedoms and way of life. 

 Red Rover 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

I totally agree, climbing is a huge net posative so long as you don't neglect family etc. But come on, we can do without it for a few months!

2
 AlanLittle 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Red Rover:

Couldn't agree more. We're looking at hundreds of thousands of deaths, more hundreds of thousands of people losing their livelihoods/businesses in the attempt to keep the bodycount down - and people here talking as if not being able to pursue their hobby for a few weeks somehow mattered. Unbelievable.

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 HeMa 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

Don’t mix virus & bacteria. 
 

in fact some viruses can survive even prolonged stay in space. And besides, virus is not really living, in fact it’s more like blueprint on How to replicate and structure that makes it fulfill those blueprints. All the actual work is done by the living host cells. 
 

that being said, How much this is relevant for this particular strain of novel corona virus is up to debate. 

 kirsten 17 Mar 2020
In reply to HeMa:

In Italy too, the advice to stay home was mostly ignored before the official lockdown. 

We published this today: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-ethics-speci/special-report-all-is-well-in-italy-triage-and-lies-for-virus-patients-idUSKBN2133KG

1
In reply to HeMa:

> Don’t mix virus & bacteria. 

I'm not, but thanks.

1
 HeMa 17 Mar 2020
In reply to planetmarshall:

> ... virus cannot survive

^^^^ to survive, it needs to be alive.

Bacteria are alive, where as by many accounts virus and prions are generally not *alive* (as in they aren't doing anything, their structure/shape take care of the replication.

You can make them non-active or denaturate with numerous different ways (which can and will also kill living things), like heat, radiation, base or acid.

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 Michael Gordon 17 Mar 2020
In reply to AlanLittle:

> Couldn't agree more. We're looking at hundreds of thousands of deaths, more hundreds of thousands of people losing their livelihoods/businesses in the attempt to keep the bodycount down - and people here talking as if not being able to pursue their hobby for a few weeks somehow mattered. Unbelievable.

It's not just a few weeks though is it? If it was I doubt we'd be having this debate. And what's the harm of driving to climb at a crag with no-one else there? Unbelievable.

5
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

No,but your eco credentials do take a nose dive.

In reply to HeMa:

> ^^^^ to survive, it needs to be alive.

> Bacteria are alive, where as by many accounts virus and prions are generally not *alive* (as in they aren't doing anything, their structure/shape take care of the replication.

Sure... but I'm not sure what led you to believe I'm confusing viruses with bacteria? Bacteria have been known to survive, and thrive, in some of the most extreme environments on earth. What matters is under what conditions a virus remains viable. Debating whether or not a virus is "alive" seems like unnecessary hair splitting.

For the record, this review paper was a useful review of the resilience of various airborne infectious agents.

The effect of environmental parameters on the survival of airborne infectious agents

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2843949/

 Lord_ash2000 17 Mar 2020
In reply to Ade in Sheffield:

> No,but your eco credentials do take a nose dive.

Maybe, but I think given the huge reduction in air traffic of late we can afford the odd extra car journey without feeling too guilty.

2
In reply to Mike505:

They will be speed climbers because they will need to climb fast to get away from the vigilante mobs of former climbers who think it’s not ok to go climbing any more. 

1
 AJM79 18 Mar 2020
In reply to Mike505:

There seem to be a lot of people over assessing the risk involved in climbing. In reality outside the worlds of alpinism it's actually a very safe pastime. Thinking back over years of climbing (winter, trad, sport, bouldering and alpinism)  I've only been present during serious situations twice and both involved non-climbers jumping of the top of crags.

By far the most dangerous environments seem to be indoor bouldering walls and to think that heading to Stanage to tick off a few well protected HVS's is some sort of extreme sport akin to base jumping with both hands tied behind your back is ridiculous. No-one's suggesting a speed solo attempt of the north face of the Jorrases but if people want to head to their local crag and get a bit of exercise I don't really see the problem. I had to go shopping in Aldi yesterday and that seemed like a much higher risk activity.

 George_Surf 19 Mar 2020
In reply to AJM79:

I’ll probably get lynched but this is basically what I think too. I’ve done thousands of routes and managed to stay safe. Maybe 3000 pitches or more and I’ve not had an accident, especially not one that requires hospital attention! 

That said, I know I’m not invisible and although it’s very unlikely to happen (to me, if I carry on the way I am), it could happen, so maybe now is the time to take it steady, not climb bold/dangerous routes, climb within your ability and just remember that going to hospital for whatever reason is absolutely not an option. Having a lower threshold and the ability to decide when to back off could serve you well in the coming weeks.

Again, the blanket ban/one rule fits all is much easier to implement and police from the point of view of the authorities, so i understand why, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. One size doesn’t fit all though. My idea of safe could be someone’s idea of crazy and vice versa, so it’s not an easy one. 

How many (experienced?) people here have been to hospital with a serious injury from climbing? Could you have avoided it? I don’t know what the answer is. I’m sure the responsible thing to do is hole up in the house until April at least, but like others have mentioned I think I’d start going a bit stir crazy. 

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 overdrawnboy 19 Mar 2020

I Will it create an influx of new outdoor climbers? 

I can foresee a surge in the birth rate in the next 9 to 15 months so in a few years time maybe yes.

 stp 19 Mar 2020
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> if I leave my house, go into my car on the driveway, drive to a remote crag, have a climb/walk/etc, then come home at which point am I at risk of either catching or spreading the virus?

I think that's a totally valid point. But 'travel' for the vast majority of the population implies going to see other people, visiting other communities. Travelling to empty countryside is obviously a different thing entirely.

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