Coronavirus and the KMC

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    Hi everyone in the KMC

    We have got to the time of the year when we would normally be starting our weekly Tuesday climbing meets. Sadly, Coronavirus means we can’t meet up as we normally would.

    Government advice is to exercise near your home, and only with members of your household. We have been asked not to meet up with others outside our immediate household, which clearly rules out club meets. In theory, climbing with a household member at a crag near your home would be allowed. Unfortunately, mountain rescue, backed by a group of 35 leading national outdoor activity, tourism, nature, health and rescue organisations, have requested us all to avoid all climbing and mountaineering, partly due to the risk that we might have an accident. Whilst we could have an accident walking down our street; an accident at a remote high mountain crag would place much greater pressure on rescue services and the NHS, who are obviously preoccupied with other issues.

    You might well think that you could meet with one person to climb locally, at a location where there is almost no chance of coming in contact with others, and taking care to keep distance with your belayer (e.g. by sticking to single pitch routes or routes with large belay ledges). You could stick to routes that are several grades below your limit (hence making the risk of accident as low is for someone out for a walk on the lower fells). However, if you read online comments in Social media sites you will see strong opinions being expressed, with non-climbers showing anger at the way climbers are acting irresponsibly by continuing to get out climbing. Whilst much of this anger is probably misplaced, some of us probably worry about the negative impact our actions could have on the public perception of climbers and climbing.

    Here is the latest advice from the BMC…
    https://www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-and-hill-walking-its-time-to-put-it-on-hold
    https://www.thebmc.co.uk/should-i-go-for-a-walk-during-lockdown
    https://www.thebmc.co.uk/can-i-drive-to-go-walking-or-climbing

    As a result of these pressures, I think the vast majority of us have been suppressing the urge to get out climbing, and will probably have to do so for some time. The recent run of fantastic weather will be causing us all to dream of climbing warm dry rock – let’s hope that it won’t be too long before we are able to get out on the crags again.

    In the mean time, let’s all try and keep in touch via the club Facebook site. Post those pics of you climbing new routes in your garden/kitchen/etc., or just show us what you have been doing instead of climbing (knitting that new climbing outfit, etc.). Maybe you could post a historical pic of you on a famous climbing route and ask members to guess the route? Post a climbing or mountaineering quiz. Be inventive – but let’s try and keep in touch while we’re not able to meet at the crag.

    We will of course email you if we are able to restart climbing meets and we will keep the KMC website updated with the latest advice about going climbing from sources such as the BMC.

    Keep safe, stay well, enjoy the fells and crags responsibly, and keep in touch with other club members.

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