ACTIVITIES SUMMER 2020

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  • #13872
    Andrew
    Moderator

    This thread is a replacement for the “Suspension” topic which was posted at the beginning of the COVID emergency.

    For outdoor activities in England, the guidance continues to be a maximum of 6 participants, with social distancing. Huts and bothies are generally closed.

    The Club is obviously not in a position to organise anything for more than 6 people. In particular, our jolly cragging evenings for a dozen or so on Thursdays will have to await happier times. But of course Members will get out and about within the guidelines and using their judgement.

    Hillwalking in small groups is fairly straightforward, especially on a breezy day. I carry sanitiser and (try to) wipe hands after using gates.
    Days out can be organised via the Forum (as was last Saturday on Ingleborough).

    Rock climbing is more complex. A number of us remain very dubious about passing gear and rope from hand to hand (?? when I’m not allowed to play catch with my grandchildren ??). On the other hand, there is national guidance (even though that may be subject to commercial and other influences). The balance between safety and ambition has to be decided individually.

    On 9 July there was updated guidance from Mountaineering Scotland.
    This seems to me to be usefully specific and clear on the detail of precautions AND choice of routes, so I’m including the “Climbing” section below in full.

    For those who keep up to date with Scottish mountains, the full document is at
    https://www.mountaineering.scot/coronavirus

    ANDREW

    While you are climbing / scrambling:
    Scale back your ambitions – be cautious, choose objectives well within your own technical and physical limits to minimise the risk of accidents and injury, and to avoid pressure on emergency services.
    Maintain physical distancing, staying 2m apart with anyone from outside your household/extended household.
    Try to ensure your bags do not come into contact with other people’s bags and only visit your bag if you are able to maintain physical distancing. Put your bag in a separate area if possible.
    Ensure you sanitise or thoroughly clean your hands after each climb / problem and ensure you do not touch your face.
    Don’t hog the crag/boulder – show consideration to fellow climbers that are waiting to climb. Maybe consider a half day at a venue if it is busy and be prepared to be flexible.
    Communicate respectfully with fellow climbers. It is good to understand what people’s intentions are and to work together so everyone can get their climbing fix. Ensure appropriate physical distancing at all times.
    Be aware of wildlife which may have moved into unexpected areas during lockdown: cliff-nesting birds are likely to be on new crags due to the lack of visitors and should not be disturbed.
    Cleaning of equipment can be done in some cases in line with the manufacturer’s guidance (see link to guidance in “Further information”).
    Additional considerations for bouldering
    Spotting should only be carried out by members of your household.
    Do you have enough bouldering mats to build a suitable landing? Avoid lying/resting on mats and clean them after use.
    Can you avoid climbing with other groups/individuals you encounter out bouldering?
    Consider low level traverses and problems rather than high ball.
    Additional considerations for climbing
    Do your buddy checks at a distance. Ask your partner to show you the checking rather than you checking yourself.
    Choose your routes carefully to ensure you are 2m apart from other climbers. This may mean leaving a route in between if necessary.
    Avoid single pitch routes where the leader and second need to share a small ledge or top out.
    Physical distancing will be difficult to achieve on multi pitch routes and will require advance planning and good local knowledge of routes so you can pick those with large stances.
    Think about how you manage your stance, consider belaying back from the edge and using technical solutions to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
    Equipment:
    Avoid sharing equipment where possible.
    Minimise shared gear by doubling up on items where possible.
    Avoid using your mouth when clipping ropes or placing gear.
    Disinfect your hands with gel before and after each pitch.
    Minimise exchanges of equipment whilst maintaining social distance.
    Disinfect your hands with gel after handing over gear.

    #13878
    Andrew
    Moderator

    I expect everyone will have received a BMC Newsletter today; but just for the record they report that climbing walls re-open on 25th July. There is a little article on that subject (rather obvious stuff IMO) and a link to Assn of Climbing Walls statement.
    I imagine they will be busy at Harrogate trying to move lockers and stuff to comply with social distancing.
    Whether all the words and requirements will be adhered to in practice remains to be seen.

    Eventually.
    I suspect that being a V.O.G. (vulnerable old git) I might leave this for a while myself, but its all personal choice of course.

    ANDREW

    #13879
    Andrew
    Moderator

    I expect everyone will have received a BMC Newsletter today; but just for the record they report that climbing walls re-open on 25th July. There is a little article on that subject (rather obvious stuff IMO) and a link to Assn of Climbing Walls statement.
    I imagine they will be busy at Harrogate trying to move lockers and stuff to comply with social distancing.
    Whether all the words and requirements will be adhered to in practice remains to be seen.

    Eventually.
    I suspect that being a V.O.G. (vulnerable old git) I might leave this for a while myself, but its all personal choice of course.

    ANDREW

    #13881
    Bella O’Keeffe
    Spectator

    Hi All,

    Following Andrew’s email I have some info on Harrogate wall.

    Rowan and I visited on Monday at lunchtime when it opened. They have a partial one way system in place, hand gel on entry etc. Lockers are in the same place as before. There were approx 6 other climbers inside at the most. We were expecting it to be busier but perhaps everyone is waiting a couple of weeks before visiting so numbers might increase over time. Cafe was open. Alcohol based liquid chalk is available to buy. You can check how busy it is online before visiting but it isn’t possible to book a slot. Given the lack of climbers inside we felt reasonably safe.

    Bella

    #13888
    Andrew
    Moderator

    Interesting stuff Bella, thanks. I think it would be very much in the general interest if Members would like to use the Forum to keep everyone else informed about the state of play at different places.

    Ideas for quieter out-of-the-way locations will probably be useful.. such as Giles’ recent post on bouldering at Gate House Crag.

    I was on the beaches of Northumberland last week. But I can report that yesterday Pen-y-ghent was not too busy, and parking (plus toilets I think) in Horton was not a problem. Has anybody got any recent feedback re the Lakes ?

    Angela has managed some Cairngorm Munros using B&B. Hats off. But hostels are still closed and Steve Murray has read some bad stories about bothies being vandalised. (at one time the locations were somewhat secret…….)

    ANDREW

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