Suspension Bridge Buttress summer restrictions

Posted by Rob Dyer on 11/05/2021
Suspension Bridge Buttress. Credit: Colin Knowles

The iconic Suspension Bridge Buttress in the Avon Gorge will be closed from 8am-6pm during the week from 17th May-6th August 2021 whilst engineering works take place to stabilise the face and prevent future rockfall. Colin Knowles, one of the BMC's Bristol based Access Reps tells us more...

The West Face of Suspension Bridge Buttress is an iconic destination for climbers across the country. The superb steep pocketed limestone features nationally important climbs such as ‘The Earl of Perth’ and ‘Hell Gates’, as well as the super-popular ‘Suspension Bridge Arete’ and ‘Suspense’.

Take a close look at the picture and you can see the West Face consists of several sub-vertical planes overlapping from right to left. Rain and vegetation roots penetrate into the joints between these planes.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust have been working with Geo-technical consultants Geo-Design and engineering consultants COWI to monitor and maintain the condition of the cliff face. They have commissioned this summer’s works as part of an on-going maintenance programme for the slope. The Trust has commissioned rope access specialists iBEX Technical Access Ltd to undertake some preventative work that will secure the cliff well into the future – which is great news for climbers!

iBEX will be on site for 12 weeks from 17th May to 6th August. They will be inserting stainless steel bolts about 5m long, and as thick as your wrist, into the top edges of the planes to ‘nail’ them to the cliff. They will then be grouting joints in the upper portion of the slope (away from climbing routes) with a rapid-setting cement repair compound to prevent future water ingress (which also reduces seepage lower down – more good news for climbers!) and vegetation growth.

During those 12 weeks on site climbing will not be permissible between 0800 and 1800, Monday-Friday. Outside those times climbing can continue as normal. Don’t be put off by the strange apparatus looming near the top of the cliff – this will be iBEX’s ‘nail gun’. It and any associated cables should be regarded as strictly ‘Off Limits’.

You can catch up with updates on this work, and other news about Avon, on our Facebook Page https:// www.facebook.com/Climbbristol. Recent posts include:- info on the massive rock fall near ‘Yellow Edge’; and the introduction of a combination lock on the gate at the base of the Amphitheatre (yes, you guessed it, the combination code is on the BMC RAD!).

 


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RAD is community led and your comments help keep it up to date so don’t be afraid to add any relevant information after a crag visit which might be useful for other visitors – anything from conditions on the crag, favourite routes or reports of rockfall/other recent changes to the crag are all useful for other climbers visiting.


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