Should a bridge be built to access the Isolated Buttress? We attempt to summarise the wide-range of views for and against a bridge before it’s discussed at the Sandstone Open Meeting on 8 October.
Why do we need a bridge?
In 2015, the boulder used to jump and cross the gap to the Isolated Buttress (IB) became loose and local climbers were concerned it could easily fail in use. It was a serious hidden danger, especially if the boulder fell with someone on it, so BMC volunteers decided to remove the boulder immediately – a decision that the BMC supports.
The IB is no longer as easily accessible as a result, and new ways to access the pinnacle have developed – some of which are not recommended. These include:
Solo a route to gain access to the top.
Climb across with a belay from the ‘mainland’ (long swinging fall potential).
Extend a top rope across the IB from an anchor on the mainland side with a very long piece of rope to allow belayed access, as described in the video below.
Fix an extra rope from the mainland to bolts on the IB to be used as a handrail or to clip into – not recommended by the BMC due to the potential for overloading the bolts and system failure.
WATCH: Southern Sandstone: how to access pinnacles on BMC TV
What can be done to improve access?
The only practical solution is to install a bridge or to leave the situation as it is – climbers can assess and accept the risks, or choose to climb elsewhere on the crag. Many views for and against building a bridge have been discussed, and the BMC wishes to support the decision of the majority of climbers that actively use Harrison’s Rocks.
Discussions will take place at the Sandstone Open Meeting on 8 October and will help to inform any decisions made by the Harrisons Rocks Management Group (HRMG) and Land Management Group (which has oversight of the HRMG and all other crags owned by the BMC).
A summary of major points – both for and against – has been assembled into a report, which is downloadable here. Anyone wishing to attend the Sandstone Open Meeting should read this report before attending, so as to be fully informed of the situation.
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