Tremadog Rockfall: Big changes

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 14/06/2019
There it goes....! Photo credit Ray Wood
View 1 of 2

The classic VS climbs, Shadrach and the Brothers at Craig Bwlch y Moch are sadly no more. As previously reported, some very loose dangerous blocks were identified on these routes. After a thorough inspection, the BMC had no option but to commission a professional rock-engineering company to remove the blocks. Further works remain to be done and the area remains unstable - keep clear until the works are completed!

As previously reported, climbers had reported to the BMC that there were some significant unstable blocks on the classic VS graded routes, Shadrach and the Brothers, at the BMC owned crag of Craig Bwlch y Moch at Tremadog.

In the the original article the BMC describes the danger posed by these blocks. 

First climbed in 1951 by Tony Moulam, Geoff Piggot and D Thomas, Shadrach was one of the earlier routes to be climbed here and its classic thrutchy and awkward chimney on the first pitch and the tricky step off the huge pinnacle on the second pitch will be known by many. 

The huge pinnacle, estimated to be about 30 tons in weight was resting on a highly unstable block, itself weighing about 3 tons. On inspection this “smaller” block, surrounded by similar sized blocks, which turned out to be equally unstable, could be made to move by hand pressure only and there was a very real danger that climbers could place gear behind it or even inadvertently belay on it. If weighted by a fall or even an outward pull, it would undoubtedly fall, potentially taking the huge block with it, which would be catastrophic for any climbers in the vicinity and potentially landing on users of highway beneath. 

On Friday June 14th after careful consideration and a professional inspection and survey, the BMC tasked Colin Jones Rock Engineers to remove the block in a controlled and safe manner.  The crag was cordoned off and the highway was closed to traffic. A number of local BMC Cymru/Wales volunteers also assisted with the traffic management and safety cover.

Rock-engineers abseiled down the cliff and using only crow bars and a small car jack removed the blocks with what turned out to be a scarily small amount of force. As was expected from the survey, the impact of a 30 ton block falling over 30 metres on to the huge 100 ton pinnacle that formed the first pitches (the chimney starts) of Shadrach and the Brothers, also removed that 100 ton block in one swift moment of flying rock and a huge cloud of dust.  That huge lower block was in fact resting on a sloping ledge, with less than one square metre of contact area!

A blank wall now remains on the head-wall and a wide groove where the chimney start used to be!

However – Warning

Some substantial loose rock, debris and even unstable trees remain here. A further days’ work has been commissioned to complete the works and climbers are advised not to climb or explore in this area until after those works have been done.  It is hoped that this work will be completed in the next few days. 

In the meantime, do not  attempt to climb the routes Grim Wall, Meshach, the remains of Shadrach and The Brothers or any other routes in this immediate area. The parking area beneath the crag has been cordoned off until the works are completed.

The BMC want to thank climbers for being very understanding during this time and state that the decision to remove the blocks and effectively destroy two classic routes was not taken lightly.  The only reason that we carried out this work was that while the blocks appeared, to all intents to be stable but were in fact very dangerously unstable and it's almost certain that if weighted by climbers in a specifc direction or even subject to the force of a minor fall on to climbing gear placed in the blocks, would have caused a major rockfall with inevitable fatalities to anyone in the vicinity, especially those belaying beneath or waiting to climbing these routes or the neighbouring classic Grim Wall or Meshach routes. 

A further more in-depth article, explaining the BMC's reasoning and process for doing this work, will be produced, along with videos and timed photographs of the work in progress in the next few days. 



« Back

Post a comment Print this article

This article has been read 16727 times

TAGS

Click on the tags to explore more

RELATED ARTICLES

Tremadog warning: Updated
0
Tremadog warning: Updated

BMC has been warned of a very large unstable and dangerous block on the route Shadrach at Craig Bwlch y Moch, Tremadog. It is strongly advised that the routes Shadrach and Brothers are not climbed. This is an update following inspections - do not climb these routes!
Read more »

Celebrate Tremfest 2018: the climbing, gardening festival
0
Celebrate Tremfest 2018: the climbing, gardening festival

It's back! Yes, once again it's time for the jamboree that is TremFest 2018. This festival is your chance to give something back to the crags you derive so much enjoyment from, when work and play combine to celebrate all that is good about Tremadog – 21-22 April, put it in your diary!
Read more »

Tremadog Renaissance 2018
0
Tremadog Renaissance 2018

It’s all happening at Tremadog this year, Tremfest is back and the really big news is that after nearly 40 years of serving teas and chip butties to climbers at his Bwlch y Moch café, well known Welsh mountaineer Eric Jones has finally decided to take a well-earned retirement. But fear not, as the new owners Gareth Streatfield and his partner Jo, have exciting plans to continue to welcome climbers to Tremadog.
Read more »

Post a Comment

Posting as Anonymous Community Standards
3000 characters remaining
Submit
Your comment has been posted below, click here to view it
Comments are currently on | Turn off comments
7
Anonymous User
15/06/2019
Seems ages since a rockfall caused the demolition of two cottages...probably is
Anonymous User
15/06/2019
No reasoning can justify altering these classic routes. If it's too dangerous for you don't climb it. Danger and risk is an inherent part of the sport and everyone has to decide for themselves where their limits and commitment level lie, it's one of the main components/appeals of the activity. I find these kind of risk reduction activities are patronising and preachy here you've decided what's a socially acceptable amount of risk is when climbing and have permanently altered the route to fit in with your beliefs, forcing everyone to comply. Where's this gentrification of North Wales climbs going to end?
Anonymous User
17/06/2019
Where's the video? Show us the video!
18/06/2019
I disagree with the comment from 15/06/2019 saying, "No reasoning can justify altering these classic routes". It sounds like these blocks were going to come down anyway in the very near future with or without help from climbers. The removal just ensured that nobody died or was injured in the process. It seems very sensible to me!
18/06/2019
I have to say that the 2nd Anonymous comment regarding the assisted rockfall is typical of those who have no understanding of the potential risks from unstable rocks. There are some people who would justify any risk in order to maintain the 'nanny state' belief. It would be very different if when climbing the rockfall had landed on their friends, then they would no doubt be the first to complain that no one had taken any action. Yes climbing is inherently dangerous and yes you climb at your own risk but it's sensible and appropriate of the BMC to accept liability for this unnecessary risk to climbers and walkers.
12/07/2019
What is the latest regarding the loose stuff that may/may not left? In reply to anonymous of the 15/6. I would expect if you were climbing it and the whole lot fell and squashed you and your partner and any others waiting to climb it, i'm sure there would be wives and partners screaming merry hell at the BMC. The bit about gentrification of North Wales is not applicable because the BMC doesn't own it. Think about Cheddar the local council has banned climbing on certain bits because debris could land on innocent bystanders below. the other thing i could say if you don't like it climb someplace else.
Anonymous User
16/07/2019
The report above dated 14/06/19 promised an in-depth article and video "in the next few days".
I'm sure the article would be interesting but I definitely want to see the video....
By the way well done to the BMC for taking this difficult decision, the lost of some climbs is sad but nothing compared to the potential loss of life.
They have every reason to justify this decision.

RELATED ARTICLES

Tremadog warning: Updated
0

BMC has been warned of a very large unstable and dangerous block on the route Shadrach at Craig Bwlch y Moch, Tremadog. It is strongly advised that the routes Shadrach and Brothers are not climbed. This is an update following inspections - do not climb these routes!
Read more »

Celebrate Tremfest 2018: the climbing, gardening festival
0

It's back! Yes, once again it's time for the jamboree that is TremFest 2018. This festival is your chance to give something back to the crags you derive so much enjoyment from, when work and play combine to celebrate all that is good about Tremadog – 21-22 April, put it in your diary!
Read more »

Tremadog Renaissance 2018
0

It’s all happening at Tremadog this year, Tremfest is back and the really big news is that after nearly 40 years of serving teas and chip butties to climbers at his Bwlch y Moch café, well known Welsh mountaineer Eric Jones has finally decided to take a well-earned retirement. But fear not, as the new owners Gareth Streatfield and his partner Jo, have exciting plans to continue to welcome climbers to Tremadog.
Read more »

BMC MEMBERSHIP
Join 82,000 BMC members and support British climbing, walking and mountaineering. Membership only £16.97.
Read more »
BMC SHOP
Great range of guidebooks, DVDs, books, calendars and maps.
All with discounts for members.
Read more »
TRAVEL INSURANCE
Get covered with BMC Insurance. Our five policies take you from the beach to Everest.
Read more »