Climbers risk their lives on chalk cliffs

Posted: August 14, 2013 by kirisyko in Climbing, Free Climbing, Rock Climbing
Tags: , , , , , , ,
English: View of Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs, K...

English: View of Kingsgate Bay, Broadstairs, Kent, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People climbing on Thanet’s unstable chalk cliffs are dicing with death according to coastguards.

Serious warnings have been made after a climber was stuck at Broadstairs.

Coastguard Pete Overton is urging visitors to the coast to be careful on, above or below the miles of cliffs around the area.

His caution has been echoed by Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Two fire appliances went to the rescue of a local man in his 20s.

He had been showing off his climbing “skills” to his girlfriend when he became stuck in a small cave halfway up the cliff face at Lanthorne Road.

Firefighters carried a seven metre ladder across the beach to help the man down.

Margate watch manager Paul Ward said: “It appears the gentleman was showing everyone how good at climbing he was by climbing into a chalk cave, around 35ft up the cliff face.

“To his shame and horror he was too nervous to climb down.

“People don’t realise how dangerous these areas can be.”

The coastguard was also alerted to the incident last Tuesday just before 5pm.

Mr Overton said: “Some of the cliffs around here are very dangerous. The chalk can become friable, which means loose and crumbly. Some of the cliffs are undercut near the edge at the top and from time to time chalk breaks away in big chunks.

“It is not safe to go close to the edge, particularly where the cliff is unfenced.

“The sea also undercuts and erodes cliffs at the bottom.

“The archway at Kingsgate will become a stack soon.”

Another issue near cliffs was lack of local knowledge. Mr Overton said there was a safe way out of the back of the Broadstairs cave.

It was possible to walk through the cave, over a hump and down a gentle slope to get out.

  1. Forrest says:

    A lot of people climb cliffs that end in water for the softer landing the water will provide … but northern oceans are cold, you’d die of hypothermia after several minutes!

    But this is probably a broader thing: I’ve read other accident reports where people have been injured or barely escaped serious injury climbing or descending a route that’s much harder and more dangerous than another nearby route. Lack of local knowledge, indeed! Locals who love the outdoors know their area well, and the best tool any climber has is the one inside their head.

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