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Stashing Pads (Read 8790 times)

monkey boy

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Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 06:54:04 am
As bouldering is getting ever more popular, people are trying ever higher problems and potentially more people are out there climbing alone I was wondering what others thoughts were on stashing pads.

Do you stash pads? Have you used stashed pads? Is this an acceptable practise? And if so what rules should be followed to reduce the impact upon the environment?

I have used stashed pads in the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, South Africa and America. I often climb alone and so find the practise of stashing pads very useful as it reduces the chances of injury, which in turn allows me to try harder as I feel more comfortable and confident with my landing. It also means that you arenít exhausted when arriving at a project after carrying 4/5 pads, or doing 3 trips to the car.

I personally think it is important to make sure the pads are completely out of sight, have as little impact upon the surrounding environment as possible and once climbs are completed that the pads are removed from the crag so they are not left to rot.

I am interested to hear peopleís thoughts on this matter but also want to warn those who do stash pads to mark them in some way as I recently discovered that two reasonable condition Moon Saturnís of mine and a ladder had been stolen. I acknowledge that I had actually left the pads there a little too long but knowing I would return at the next opportunity I deemed this acceptable, perhaps it wasnít. I also accepted that the equipment could get stolen but in reality didnít think it would actually happen. I am not posting this in hope that I get them back but more to raise awareness and find out what people think.

GazM

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#1 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 08:32:07 am
Although ive never stashed pads I wouldn't rule it out. For me it would totally depend on the location, the likelihood of others finding them  and how soon i knew id be back to use them. To a non-climber it just looks like fly-tipping so I can understand why things might disappear. Some idiots leave tents and all sorts of rubbish behind after camping so this might not look that different to some.

If I was confident that no-one was likely to find them (which is hard to know as there are a surprising number of people roaming the remote parts of the hills: farmers, keepers, stalkers, foresters, countryside rangers etc, not to mention the public) and it was only a few days 'til i knew id be back it's probably Ok. But if you don't know when you'll be back it seems pretty cheeky to me.

However, one thing i suspect most people wouldn't consider is the exact location that they're stashed at the boulders. Are they blocking the entrance to an animal's den (up where i boulder in the highlands you'd expect fox, pine marten and even wildcat to use small spaces in/under boulders) or a place where deer or sheep shelter in crap weather?

andy popp

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#2 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 08:47:37 am
However, one thing i suspect most people wouldn't consider is the exact location that they're stashed at the boulders. Are they blocking the entrance to an animal's den (up where i boulder in the highlands you'd expect fox, pine marten and even wildcat to use small spaces in/under boulders) or a place where deer or sheep shelter in crap weather?

I know that one of the objections to stashing in Alpine regions in the US, such as RMNP, is that they can be chewed up and ingested by animals with ill effects. Presumably that's marmots and the like but it doesn't seem inconceivable that pads could get nibbled on by rodents etc. in the UK. The other reason its objected to in RMNP is that it really pisses the park authorities off. I would imagine many national park authorities in the UK would similarly simply view it as littering.

T_B

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#3 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 09:21:58 am
I'm not really in favour of it. I don't see how 'marking them in some way' is going to make sense to the landowner/fell runner/walker. They'll just see it as littering. I think climbers are a bit narrow minded when it comes to other users - I've heard of folk stashing pads at Howshaw yet loads of folk walk/run around there. So expect to get them removed. Same goes with literally anywhere in the Lakes.

As for Badger Cove (which is where I heard on the grapevine you had yours nicked from), there was already an incident of pads getting removed from there. When I was going a fair bit I took a short rope and lowered my (4) pads in from above. I don't consider a 15 minute walk across flat fields as much of a big deal, but then my legs are bigger than yours ;)

teestub

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#4 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 10:23:34 am
Not in favour, for the reasons already noted above. No other users of climbing areas (walkers, runners, bird watchers, doggers, etc.) get to leave anything behind and not have it called littering or fly tipping. I donít see why boulderers should be held to any other standard out of personal convenience.

With the increase in popularity, especially of highballing this seems like a great time to take a firm stance against pad stashing. David, you seemed to have been able to wrangle a team together for Harter to take a few pads for those highballs, definitely somewhere you wouldnít want to climb on your own with one pad!

Doylo

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#5 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 10:38:13 am
People will just nick them in this country.

Danny

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#6 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 11:32:46 am
Depends on where you are. I can imagine most of the objections raised already are valid for 90% of UK venues. Fair Head is one place where I think it's perfectly fine. It's only boulderers and the occasional wayward fisherman who ever stray onto the talus slope below the crag. The landings can be absolutely horrific 20 pad jobs. It's good to have a community stash at hand to utilise.

monkey boy

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#7 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 11:54:07 am
Thanks for your opinions guys. This hasn't been discussed before, at least not to my knowledge, so I thought it could be useful.

In terms of managing to get a group of people together Tim it's only easy when people are keen to go to the same venue and at a time when everyone can go, we actually planned that day at Harter a month in advance, so apparently it's not that easy, especially if you all work different hours.

Having said that I totally agree with all the points above and maybe it is just laziness.

Fairhead seems like a place where stashing pads is accepted and having been there I think the landings do require a lot of pads. I know others who have been who were saved by the fact there were pads stashed there.

BrutusTheBear

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#8 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 03:49:19 pm
So a friend (really not me) has stashed pads by his project for well over a year..  They are in a cave/fissure under a roof, in a place that only boulderers would visit.  Only visible when you are within a metre or so of them.  They wonít rot as itís perma dry under there.  They wonít get nicked because there is very little crime in the shire.  I know other climbers have utilised them for another nearby project (possibly you Monkey Boy with a visiting Yank?).  However, something hungry has definitely had a nibble...
I have considered stashing pads for a coastal venue near me with very difficult access so that I can go solo without needing to organise a crew to have a safe session and spend longer projecting things.  No one is ever gonna find them there.  However, itíll be a hassle to get them back out again.  I wonder whether folk getting lazy and leaving pads for too long at relatively well frequented venues invites the temptation to pinch?
Not so sure this is a binary question, lots of factors to consider but flat out saying no to the practice when there are possibly exceptions isnít fair. Considerations/justifications would include... Am I being a lazy git?(eg. Tom Newberry ferried loadsa pads into and out of Spekeís (Hartland Quay) when he did The End is Nigh).  Are they going to get discovered/nicked?  Are they going to get eaten?  Is it really necessary for this venue?  Whatís a reasonable length of time to leave them for? Will it piss someone off if they are discovered?
Seems that Fairhead ticks all the boxes but my friendís stash fails on getting eaten and being there for too long, perhaps these are correlated.



Sasquatch

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#9 Re: Stashing Pads
May 21, 2018, 11:18:15 pm
I think it's very much a local decision.  We have a couple of places up here where we are standardly stashing pads now.  However, there are other places where that is not ok.  For us, what started it was a road closure resulting in an additional 4mile hike in. In conjunction with the talus nature of the area, we all started stashing and just carrying a day pack in.

We are super careful to keep them clean, dry, and completely hidden.  So far no issues. 

SA Chris

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#10 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 10:40:16 am
I had one stashed in what I thought was a permadry, animal free location on the coast near me. However i didn't factor in the swell from the Beast from the East, so it has now been claimed by the sea, and has formed part of the marine waste, which I feel really bad about, so wont be repeating without attaching it to a sling or something.

Bradders

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#11 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 11:06:36 am
I'm not really in favour of it. I don't see how 'marking them in some way' is going to make sense to the landowner/fell runner/walker.

I think he meant more along the lines of writing your name or something on them so that, in the event they are stolen by another boulderer, they are more easily identifiable.

Personally I think there's room for some very limited circumstances where it's acceptable but it absolutely should not be the norm. I certainly wouldn't be in favour of leaving pads for anything longer than a night or perhaps two.

Usually if I know I'm going to be trying something hard one day I'll be resting the day before so dropping a pad off could easily make sense.

However, I've only ever done it twice, at a crag with a lengthy-ish walk in up a steep hill, and in a spot where only boulderers would ever go, and I regret doing it looking back. In both instances I ended up going to and doing the problems with friends anyway, so we had plenty of pads, and it was therefore completely unnecessary (not to mention they were chewed by rodents the second time).

So a friend (really not me) has stashed pads by his project for well over a year..  They are in a cave/fissure under a roof, in a place that only boulderers would visit.  Only visible when you are within a metre or so of them.  They won’t rot as it’s perma dry under there.

That, for me, is way too long even in those circumstances. I mean, if your project is taking you that long you should probably leave it and go train/climb other things anyway!

I really sympathise with you David as it's clearly upsetting to have someone steal your property. That said, two Saturns and a ladder is > £600 worth of equipment and I wonder whether it's really worth the risk, especially when you consider that you've essentially left it completely unattended and unsecured. Would you leave a £600 bike in the same way for instance? Or anything else of value? I doubt it. I don't mean to try and make you feel any worse than you might already feel, it's just that I think it's sometimes too easily forgotten that these are really quite expensive pieces of equipment which many people seem to just throw around.

Hindsight can be a terrible thing anyway. As has been mentioned there may well be localised areas where it makes total sense and won't cause any problems, provided you're prepared to take that risk.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:11:56 am by Bradders »

SA Chris

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#12 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 11:53:35 am
Reminds me about the John Sherman article "Boulevard of the Behemoths" about hunting carpets at the bouldering spots of the US. Anyone read it?

Johnny Brown

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#13 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 12:20:50 pm
I'm not 100% against stashed pads in all circumstances but I'd say leaving your stuff out is generally bad form. If you're going to do it I'd say it should be for a good reason - you're currently working something and it's remote enough to prevent two trips carrying. Pads should be invisible to the casual passer by and should be there for as little as possible time - I'd say weeks not months.

The danger (as I've witnessed at Squamish) is that folk tend to leave their older pads, for obvious reasons, these then deteriorate and soon aren't worth taking home. If you don't you're no better than someone flytipping a mattress imo.

Although badger is on access land DWT are anti-access and anti-climbing. They control much of the quality limestone in the peak and effects on one site affect attitudes at the rest. They insisted bolts were removed from the cave just down the valley a couple of years back. (Bolting on a SSSI requires consent from Natural England. Most of the natural peak sport crags are on SSSIs).

Quote
Would you leave a £600 bike in the same way for instance?

Depends, did I get it free from my sponsor?

Will Hunt

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#14 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 12:35:06 pm
When I was trying that wall up at Earl Seat (still not been done, by the way...) I contemplated stashing some pads. It's something like an hour's walk in, maybe a little more. You're either on a steep path or walking through knee high heather as there is no path that takes you directly to the crag. I once had to carry 4 pads all strapped together plus a rucksack with kit on my front - that was very hard work indeed.

You would never think that anybody but a climber would visit Earl Seat, but people do. Walkers go there. There's a geocache there. Gamekeepers get everywhere. It's not just climbers who love remote spots. Somebody would have come across those pads, even buried in a crack. There's also loads of mustelids up there and they get a hard enough time from the gamekeepers as it is without having to worry about ingesting some pad foam.

I can understand the temptation with somewhere like Fairhead where a huge number are required and getting them there is difficult.

36chambers

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#15 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 12:48:31 pm
When I was trying that wall up at Earl Seat (still not been done, by the way...) I contemplated stashing some pads. It's something like an hour's walk in, maybe a little more. You're either on a steep path or walking through knee high heather as there is no path that takes you directly to the crag. I once had to carry 4 pads all strapped together plus a rucksack with kit on my front - that was very hard work indeed.

You might have had a better chance of doing it if you didn't have to cart around so many pads every time you went up.

I was very grateful when someone showed me a good place to stash my pads overnight at Flock Hill, life leg saver.


Slightly off topic. But how do people feel about other people using your stashed pads if they come across them? I'm thinking specifically for the problem they are under/near to, rather than for the entire day.

Will Hunt

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#16 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 01:00:44 pm
When I was trying that wall up at Earl Seat (still not been done, by the way...) I contemplated stashing some pads. It's something like an hour's walk in, maybe a little more. You're either on a steep path or walking through knee high heather as there is no path that takes you directly to the crag. I once had to carry 4 pads all strapped together plus a rucksack with kit on my front - that was very hard work indeed.

You might have had a better chance of doing it if you didn't have to cart around so many pads every time you went up.

I was very grateful when someone showed me a good place to stash my pads overnight at Flock Hill, life leg saver.


Slightly off topic. But how do people feel about other people using your stashed pads if they come across them? I'm thinking specifically for the problem they are under/near to, rather than for the entire day.

Stashing pads doesn't help toughen your skin.

What's the walk in to Flock Hill like? Simon's Seat equivalent? If you were going to Barden Fell two days on the trot would you actually stash pads? You belong in the climbing wall, ND  :lol:

Johnny Brown

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#17 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 01:04:18 pm
Quote
But how do people feel about other people using your stashed pads if they come across them?

I'd say if you don't want them to be used don't leave them. Assuming there is unlikely to be unlimited storage space, any stashed should be considered available to all.

Bonjoy

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#18 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 01:07:03 pm
I stashed a pad at Howshaw some years ago when trying Panopticon and Broke Beak Mountain. For context the crag is a 40min uphill approach and both probs required two pads and a considerable number or return visits for me. Iíve not felt the need to stash pads anywhere before or since. Iím not sure Iíd go as far as saying I regret it but I do feel uneasy about having left stuff at the crag.
Something to bear in mind is that if you stash a pad very carefully out of sight but then others use it (if they find your hiding place, or if you tell them about it), thereís a good chance they may not hide it as carefully as you did. This was the case with my pad at Howshaw.
Another lad also stashed an inflatable pad at Howshaw more recently, which was found by runners who then posted stuff on the internet wondering what and whoís it was. The tone of their posts was curiosity but it could easily have been annoyance/outrage.
Iíve come across pad stashes at various crags in the past few years and it seems the practice is getting more common. In most cases Iíd say these stashes have been at the unjustifiable end of the spectrum, for instance under Careless Torque. A couple of times Iíve seen rodent damage on these.

teestub

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#19 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 01:33:34 pm

The danger (as I've witnessed at Squamish) is that folk tend to leave their older pads, for obvious reasons, these then deteriorate and soon aren't worth taking home. If you don't you're no better than someone flytipping a mattress imo.

The Squampton pad stash situation seemed to be pretty well managed last summer, there were a lot in Gibb's cave but they were all labelled up, and locals said that knackered ones get cleaned up. I know there were quite a few stashes elsewhere in the forest, but the feeling I got was that the climbing community took responsibility for these too. I think the situation is different in places like that, where climbing is well accepted and is the major use of the area. The forest below the chief is satisfying litter free considering the amount of traffic it gets.

36chambers

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#20 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 02:29:31 pm
When I was trying that wall up at Earl Seat (still not been done, by the way...) I contemplated stashing some pads. It's something like an hour's walk in, maybe a little more. You're either on a steep path or walking through knee high heather as there is no path that takes you directly to the crag. I once had to carry 4 pads all strapped together plus a rucksack with kit on my front - that was very hard work indeed.

You might have had a better chance of doing it if you didn't have to cart around so many pads every time you went up.

I was very grateful when someone showed me a good place to stash my pads overnight at Flock Hill, life leg saver.


Slightly off topic. But how do people feel about other people using your stashed pads if they come across them? I'm thinking specifically for the problem they are under/near to, rather than for the entire day.

Stashing pads doesn't help toughen your skin.

What's the walk in to Flock Hill like? Simon's Seat equivalent? If you were going to Barden Fell two days on the trot would you actually stash pads? You belong in the climbing wall, ND  :lol:

On paper not to dissimilar, but walking to Flock Hill in the summer heat was significantly harder than any trip I've done to Simon Seat.

I wouldn't stash pads up on the fell, but I wasn't the one struggling with pads trying to bag a FA...

36chambers

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#21 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 02:31:49 pm

The danger (as I've witnessed at Squamish) is that folk tend to leave their older pads, for obvious reasons, these then deteriorate and soon aren't worth taking home. If you don't you're no better than someone flytipping a mattress imo.

The Squampton pad stash situation seemed to be pretty well managed last summer, there were a lot in Gibb's cave but they were all labelled up, and locals said that knackered ones get cleaned up. I know there were quite a few stashes elsewhere in the forest, but the feeling I got was that the climbing community took responsibility for these too. I think the situation is different in places like that, where climbing is well accepted and is the major use of the area. The forest below the chief is satisfying litter free considering the amount of traffic it gets.

For a visiting climbing, the pads under Gibb's cave were a god send.

webbo

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#22 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 02:36:44 pm
I remember finding a gym mat stashed at Queens in Northumberland. I was quite impressed that someone had got it up there.

Bradders

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#23 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 03:11:27 pm
for instance under Careless Torque.

The issue is there's a line and I think it's sometimes difficult to know where to draw it; unlike in that example which is just plain laziness! That leads me to the conclusion that it's not a practice which should be encouraged, and it should be saved for those few exceptional areas where it can be managed within the local community. Then if you want to climb something where multiple pads are required either sack up and haul them in yourself or beg/bribe your mates to come with you; you'll probably have more fun/a better story to tell afterwards as well.

Will Hunt

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#24 Re: Stashing Pads
May 22, 2018, 03:40:15 pm
under Careless Torque

That's so far over the line, wherever you might reasonably choose to draw it, that you'd have been well within your rights to remove those pads and drop them at the Works for later collection by a hopefully chastened idiot.