Our re-bolting project at Horseshoe Quarry is up and running this week with rope access contractors likely to be on site until the end of September. The project will be removing the existing bolts on the BMC owned part of the crag and replacing them with new, high quality and long lasting stainless steel glue in’s.
A significant section of Horseshoe Quarry (but not all of it) is owned and managed on behalf of climbers by the BMC. Currently there is a wide variety of fixed equipment on the crag of mixed vintage, spacing and quality and this project aims to standardise this across the BMC owned part of the crag.
The work is being carried out by a local rope access team, all of whom are keen climbers and understand the intricacies involved with placing bolts for climbing, as well as being able to objectively assess rock quality and stability. They are a friendly bunch so feel free to say hello if you see them whilst the work is taking place.
The work will be taking place on small sections of the crag at a time which means any areas not being worked on are accessible for climbing as normal. Where work is taking place, the team will fence or tape off around the bottom of the crag to prevent any falling material or tools from injuring climbers or walkers underneath. Please don’t cross into these areas without confirming it is ok to do so with the team first.
Another thing to consider is that the resin being used to place the new bolts has a fairly long cure time, which means that the new bolts will not be safe to use immediately after being placed. As the team will only be on site during working hours and plenty of climbers use Horseshoe for evening cragging, the team will zip tie tags and padlocks to the first bolt for any route where resin has not yet set, to let climbers know not to use them.
Watch: How to use Horseshoe Quarry on BMC TV
Why is work needed at Horseshoe?
This venue is of particular importance because of its huge popularity, its accessibility and the fact that a large proportion of the routes are of an easier standard than many sport climbing venues in the Peak District. Those factors also result in it being used by many making the transition from indoor walls to climbing outside. These are the very people who are least equipped to recognise and address risks that are not obvious.
The current fixed gear in place at Horseshoe is widely variable in quality and age, is an unknown quantity and testing it is difficult. By installing new bolts, we will be confident of their quality and be able to monitor them more easily in future. It will also allow us to make climbing at Horseshoe a more pleasant experience for everyone by improving bolt spacing and in particular, (where possible due to rock quality etc) reducing the height of some of the currently very high first bolts.
Download more details (pdf) about the methodology and scope in this information from the Peak Area meeting in June.
Surely fixed equipment quality issues are the same as any other crag?
The BMC as a responsible landowner has to consider health and safety issues on its land. This is not about taming the wild but warning of, or addressing dangers which may not be apparent or anticipated. Whilst any landowner has a duty of care to take reasonable measures to protect visitors from harm, what is considered reasonable may differ between a farmer with no knowledge of climbing and a national organisation that owns land for the purpose of facilitating climbing there. The duty of care for an organisation considered to be ‘expert’ regarding fixed equipment for recreational climbing means the BMC could be held to a higher standard than the average landowner.
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