In what looks like a dramatic statement against winter routes being climbed 'out of condition', the People's Climbing Front of the English Lake District have claimed responsibility for recent bolt chopping at The Works, a popular dry-tooling venue in the Lake District.
The Works is a disused quarry in the Lake District that has recently been developed as a dry-tooling venue. Over the weekend, reports appeared online of chopped bolts and stolen quickdraws.
Arriving at work on Monday, BMC Access Officer Rob Dyer discovered that he'd been sent an anonymous email from someone claiming to have carried out the chopping.
The email states that:
The People’s Climbing Front of the Lake District
Does not approve of encouraging the destruction of traditional rock routes in the Lake District and questions the decision to fund the Works dry-tooling venue.
The new winter guide suggests dry-tooling will keep people off out of condition crags. There’s a small flaw with this theory, it’s been shown to be absolutely b******s.
The Lake District People’s Climbing Front suggests the bolts may be returned when protagonists can pass the simple test shown below:
It then displays graphics of a black square and a white square, inviting the reader to choose which one is in condition.
The email also refers to the location of the stolen gear, which will be passed on to the local activists.
The Works was first developed in the autumn of 2012 by a team of local climbers with the idea of providing a venue in the Lakes to train for winter climbing in the off season and when the mountain crags weren’t in condition. Since then the number of routes in the quarry has slowly increased and the venue has gathered quite a following of climbers both local and from further away, wanting to train for winter climbing.
The BMC hasn’t been directly involved with developing the venue or providing fixed equipment. The Works has been developed by a keen group of individuals who have been helped out by several equipment manufacturers with gear donations. The project could not be supported by the BMC ‘Better Bolts’ campaign as this is specifically aimed at replacing old/suspect bolts on existing routes rather than developing new ones.
Rob Dyer, BMC Access & Conservation Officer (England) commented, "The BMC is not opposed to developing dry tooling in appropriate areas where it won’t affect established rock climbs and on rock that doesn’t lend itself to rock climbing. Whilst dry tooling is an evocative topic amongst many climbers, with strong views for and against, it seems The Works was as good a venue as any for the activity, with little appetite from rock climbers to develop the quarry.
Whilst the BMC doesn't currently have an official policy on dry tooling, taking a pragmatic approach, it would seem better to designate areas such as The Works or White Goods (which hold little appeal to rock climbers) as dry tooling areas. This would give DT activists a place to legitimately train and climb, and help prevent any re-occurance of dry tooling on low level trad venues, as happened at Millstone in 2010."
The subject of winter ethics is no stranger to contoversy as demonstated in these clips from the BMC Lakes Winter Ethics debate back in 2011.
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