Thursday 7 August 2008

Near Miss

Claire swings away from the slabs to begin ascending the ropes to film Echo Wall. Would you like to find out someone had removed your belay at this moment? Read on…

After I did the first ascent of Echo Wall last week I abseiled back down to the base as it got dark to get Claire off the slabs and the hill safely. I left the 100 metre static rope in place to return and retrieve some other gear etc.

Just as well I ended up going back up Tower Ridge to the top of the route rather than going to the base and jugging up!!!!! It was only a whim to decide to solo an easy route to get to the top rather than jug the line.

Someone obviously climbing tower ridge had dismantled my belay (Camalot 4, Camalot 5, BD microstopper 5, slings etc), stolen the kit and left the rope wrapped around a small rock on the ground that might have held long enough for one of us to swing out into space above the slabs and then have a fatal drop.

It was totally obvious the rope was left deliberately for ongoing climbing activity rather than an escape abseil – a 100 m white static 10.5mm with a rope protector at the crag lip. I was pretty dumfounded that someone thought it was OK to leave such an obvious situation for a fatal accident. Why not just steal the rope too or at least throw it off or pull it up?

I hope whoever it was will at least do the decent thing and post the equipment back to me. My address is here. If you hear your mate tell you he found some big cams on Tower Ridge please shame them with the story above and encourage them to return the kit.


  1. Shameful behaviour, and just plain stupid to boot. Even the most simpleminded, bearded mountain bumbler would realise that to leave the rope in place after removing the anchor could lead to a death.

  2. what a depressing story, it is sat that there are people like that out on the mountain! They don't deserve to be IMHO. It is obvious that you don't touch anything setup for use (esp. with a rope attached to it of all things). Glad to hear no one was hurt at least.

  3. Something similar happened to me in the Burren last weekend, though not with the same possible consequences of your own misfortune! My ab rope got stuck after bailing off a sea cliff, so we tied it off to go back and get it later. Next morning....gone! Feckin scallies.....
    Thankfully you're both Ok!

  4. downright terrifying. glad you're both OK.

  5. Unbelievable. Thieving gear is bad enough, but that's nigh on attempted murder.

  6. I wonder if they even bothered to check if anyone was actually at the bottom of the route before dismantling the stance? By checking I don't mean just having a quick look and shouting. I mean how could they know that someone had not actually injured themselves and were lying at the bottom of the face, unconcious and perhaps hidden from view from the top?

    At the very least they could have called in to emergency services and checked whether any climbers where missing + given a grid reference.

    .. it's what I'd do.

  7. It's now a few months on and I was wondering if you ever discovered the perpetrator?

  8. No, we've not heard anything.

  9. this is truly a disgrace... I've never even heard of such a thing happening among climbers before.