´Sculpting´ in Staffordshire

No unfortunately this is not about a new art workshop, but what most climbers would call desecration of the environment we love and in particular our climbing raw material, rock. Those of you who have recently spent a pleasant evening at Ramshaw or Newstones may have noticed the suspicious bright orange patches which mark holds, grooves and ledges that weren?t there last time you visited. Holds you could previously only get a finger on are now jugs, unprotected routes suddenly have gear placements ? what is going on? The orange patches are scars where the surface of the grit has been removed by harsh wire brushing, to the extent that holds have been sculpted in the rock leaving the current surface so fragile that grit comes off in your hand. As Dave Bishop (Staff?s area access rep) writes in ?Visionaries or vandals??: ?there are ?climbers? out there who are members of the Wire-brush and Chisel Branch of the Outdoor Climbing Wall Constructors Guild?. Unfortunately it would appear that Dave?s words are true. Dave will open the debate fully in Summit 25 where his article ?Visionaries or vandals?? will feature. If you see someone with a wire brush near your favorite problem, it may be time to remind them of some of the ethics behind our sport…