- Rock climbers: what kind of muppet goes dry tooling?
- Ben wrote:
I thought most people cared! There’s a lot of difference between permanently marking and eroding a popular route and some boot prints or tyre marks, which will disappear when it next rains.
What about creating a trail centre – with features? That doesn’t get washed away.Posted 4 years agoAlasdairMcMember
Dry tooling has its place in crags with rubbish rock and no summer routes, like crappy quarries.
It does blunt your tools, but then so does Scottish mixed.
I’ve done it indoors, and indoor bouldering with tools – both are great fun and make a difference from just using your hands. You tend not to dry tool in crampons, either using rock boots or mountain boots depending on the venue.Posted 4 years ago
The difference is that people have the choice whether or not they visit a trail centre, which didn’t exist anyway until somebody built it. A rock route is 100% natural and should always remain so, people climb rocks because they want to enjoy testing themselves against everything Nature throws at them so they don’t want somebody chipping holds, bolting, pegging or scratching it. You might as well do what the French do and go out an paint red and white marks up all our mountains.Posted 4 years agoianvMember
I liked bolts so it would be a bit hypocritical to slag it off on purely environmental grounds. It does seem like a rubbish concept though.
Is it so much different from remodelling the landscape to make a MTB trail centre?
Its more like riding off road on a penny-farthing or some other unsuitable bike.Posted 4 years agoBen wrote:
The difference is that people have the choice whether or not they visit a trail centre, which didn’t exist anyway until somebody built it.
But any hillside could be “100% natural” before someone builds a trail centre on it. (Some) people ride bikes because they want to enjoy testing themselves against everything Nature throws at them so they don’t want somebody bilding trail, chopping trees and waymarking it.Posted 4 years ago
Okay, you can argue about the finer rights and wrongs of any kind of environment modification until you’re blue in the face and the beer has run out.
But back to my original questions: what kind of people do this and what pleasure is there in doing it? Is it a widespread practice on British rock? How do the majority of climbers view dry tooling? Do people actually walk up to a crag in summer and climb it with ice tools?Posted 4 years agopeterfileMember
Dry tooling has its place in crags with rubbish rock and no summer routes, like crappy quarries.
This. Ethics mean that dry tooling does not take place on established rock routes or crags.
People get angry when this rule is broken, usually when scratches are found on classic routes, but in many cases I think that’s as a result of people climbing winter routes which aren’t in condition rather than dry tooling.
As for why people dry tool…why not? Surely it’s no different to any other discipline of any other sport? I can’t say it interests me, but I know plenty of people who DT in the summer as a way of keeping fit for mixed.Posted 4 years agoampthillSubscriber
I think the key thing here is that people are popping up to Stanage or Tremadog for a spot of dry tooling on your favourite route. They are doing it where conventional climbing doesn’t work
In terms of damage the scratching rock doesn’t really effect anyone but rock climbers.
But cleaning routes clearly does make a huge difference to cliff ecology. Also the base of some where like Stanage is a huge scar. The heather use to go right upto the base of the crag. We don’t have that much cliff in the UK so having some of it scrubbed clean must make a big difference
However adding a trail centre to a conifer planation is irrelevant isn’t it. Conifer plantations are not an important habitat, they are basically farm land
PS I was a very active rock climber. I’m not anti climbing. But I do think that climbers have tended to get off lightly compared to say mountain bikers on impact. I think basically as they are the only one to visit the environments they damagePosted 4 years ago
As I understand it, some people actually go out and deliberately climb dry rock with ice gear; axes and crampons. This must scratch the hell out of the rock and blunt the tools so it goes against everything I thought climbing stood for – respect for the environment and other people’s enjoyment of it, as well as care of the equipment, which may one day save your or somebody else’s life. On top of that, hanging from a couple of tiny points swivelling on a wrinkle and some spikes skidding on a hard surface must be terrifying.
So what kind of idiot does this? Not having rock climbed for a couple of decades I admit I’m out of touch with climbing culture but this would seem like the ultimate act of stupid selfishness, no matter how clever or fashionable it may seem.Posted 4 years agonedrapierSubscriber
Reminds me of a study I read about which pointed at the huge reduction in biodiversity caused by climbers to cliffs and crags, comparing climbing routes to non-climbed sections.
It was rather shot down when someone pointed out that nowhere did it consider that climbers would choose routes with less biodiveristy in the first place.Posted 4 years agoantigeeMember
But cleaning routes clearly does make a huge difference to cliff ecology. Also the base of some where like Stanage is a huge scar. The heather use to go right upto the base of the crag. We don’t have that much cliff in the UK
we have lots and lots of “cliffs” that climbers have no interest in, they are tiny and broken but provide the same habitats and they are all over the place – the popular areas like some parts of Stanage are denuded of the (natural?) vegetation at the base due to climbers and also on the top due to the number of walkers – the car parks aren’t too great either
to conclude climbing is very low impact as climbing areas are small relative to the total environment
as to dry tooling I’m sure it will sort itself out not as in live and let live just that climbing does develop ethics thru consensus and consensus is that dry tooling on established is a no no – dry tooling in environmentally sensitive areas the samePosted 4 years agomattsccmMember
Sorry but you, like me, are way out of date! Nowadays its is seen as legitimate to scratch up a crag with a dusting of frost on it and call it a winter ascent. Despite this being seen as, mostly, a high grade activity many protagonists see the need to practice. Those with a brain use crappy old quarries. Some don’t.Posted 4 years agopennineMember
To be fair it’s been going on for years. It really hit the climbing forums about 3 years ago when two teenagers were seen top-roping the classic Embankment routes at Milestone in the Peak District. Very few climbers would consider it acceptable on these crags but ‘may’ think differently about scottish big mountain crags.
As Mattsccm says, rimed up routes appear to be fair game thesedays.Posted 4 years agoShackletonSubscriber
Most climbers, including myself, are very ethical in how they treat the rock. I have dry tooled and it is fun and good training for winter climbing.
Dry tool routes in the UK tend to be in scrappy quarries that are nobody’s idea of a pleasant spot and would be unclimbable as trad or sports routes due to the quality of the rock, seepage, etc. Ascents on crags where winter mixed climbing is accepted only when the crag is under winter conditions can scratch the rock but it is only going to be seen by other climbers, and even then the majority of winter trade routes aren’t summer rock routes. If the crag isn’t in condition (rimed, icy and turf frozen) then you shouldn’t climb it. Sugar coated rock routes are not on.
If someone tried to dry tool up Ravens scar, Cloggy, Stanage, Bowden Doors, Almscliffe, etc. or on rock fundamentally unsuited to it (sandstone, gritstone, etc) they would quickly find themselves asked to stop if they were lucky or nailed to the floor with their own tools and left for the birds if unlucky. See the above mentioned story of UKC about some idiots from one of the university clubs top rope dry tooling Embankment 1 at Millstone.
I would personally say that mountain biking has more of perceived and obvious societal and environmental impact that dry tooling/mixed climbing purely because the signs of bikes are much more obvious to others than some pale scratches 200 ft above your head in the Cairngorms or some bolts in a disused quarry outside of Perth.
In my opinion chalk use by climbers has more of an impact than dry tooling on the perception of climbing by non-climbers. Responsible dry tooling is a complete non-issue.Posted 4 years agoCountZeroMember
Not being a climber, I have to ask, what’s the issue with scratching the rock? It’s just rock, it’s not like bio-diverse soft soils where even slight damage can cause erosion through compromised drainage. Rock weathers and erodes through rain and frost, so what difference do surface scratches make, other than the close-up aesthetic appearance to other climbers?Posted 4 years agoEwanMember
For the non-climbers, imagine your favourite piece of perfectly sculpted singletrack. Now imagine someone going down it and taking a pick axe to every berm, jump lip, nice bit that you can manual and makes you grin. Then imagine that same person every so often just digging a big pit that’ll stop you going along it full stop.
That’s what dry tooling does to a classic rock route. It’s not the scratching per say, it’s the damage it does to the holds that are often the only thing that lets you climb it.Posted 4 years agoShackletonSubscriber
But the thing is, the really major and important thing in this discussion, is that people don’t do it to classic rock routes. It is well established etiquette in the climbing community, emphasised in guide books, passed on by word of mouth and heavily delineated on the BMC and MCofS websites that there are places where it is acceptable (specified tatty old quarries) and places where it isn’t (normal climbing venues). So quite hard to miss really. Those that do it are fairly quickly informed of what is considered acceptable. I bet you won’t find a single axe mark or crampon scratch on Right wall, Knights move, Peapod, Moonraker, Dream of White Horses, etc.
Scars from gear placement, polish and erosion from feet and unsightly chalk from hands yes, but tool marks? No.
Go and look at Rubicon wall, The Roaches, Bowden doors, Avon Gorge or any other popular crag and tell me whether the things that make the routes look defaced and obviously a climbing venue is due to dry tooling or general rock climbing.
And the number of people who dry tool is minimal. Really minimal. Probably in the “0.1% of climbers or less” realm. Most climbers don’t winter climb, let alone indulge in the more esoteric aspects of the sport.
So to spell out UK dry tooling as practiced by the vast majority in biking language:
Imagine someone did some skids down that tatty bit of trail that you don’t ride because it doesn’t go anywhere and is behind the old factory where people dump washing machines, leave burnt out cars and is covered in dog turds. That is the equivalent of UK dry tooling venues. Believe me, I’ve been to many of them and they aren’t places you want to be after dark when the denizens emerge. Hardly AoONB.Posted 4 years ago
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