As Global pandemic rips through society like an Australian bush-fire, it leaves a wake of unimaginable deaths, leaving the idea of climbing rocks a socially-irresponsible futile distraction. Whilst we in 'the west' are nearing the peak, undoubtedly superior devastation awaits the less economically developed world. So where does that leave climbing?
Obviously going climbing right now is off the cards. The risk of Spreading the virus as you socialise, change areas, touch walls is distinct. The added burden, to health care, that a climbing accident could cause is unjustifiable. Nethertheless this too shall pass. At some point governments will lift lock-downs. Infection rates will drop. Life will slowly return to normal. It’s inevitable for most countries the virus will linger on post-lock-down for some time, and social distancing measures will be routine. It will be hard to condone climbing-related-risks until the state of the health service is almost back to normal.
So I wonder how mitigation measures might look in the climbing world?
It seems unlikely that busy indoor climbing walls will be a sensible bet for a good while. All those shared holds and small spaces. I’d imagine when they do finally open, it will be at a lower capacity with strict hand washing measures.
Thankfully keeping an unsociable distance will be easy at outdoor crags. Pre-route hand sanitiser will be prudent. Post pitch hand sanitiser also. The risk envelope will really need to be kept in-check. Surely face masks for climbing partners that don't live together will be advisable. It would be awhile before we can thoughtlessly share our jelly babies, or enjoy a post climb beer in the local welsh pub. Perhaps a post climb cup of tea, sat by the Lake? Will governing bodies, like the British Mountaineering Council, step in with guidelines for climbing in a post-lockdown world?
Certainly for now we are having to delay and reschedule climbing courses. When we eventually do start up again, thoughtful measures will have to be carefully applied. Keeping ratio's tiny, maybe aiming for 1:1, and spacing out our courses with days in-between with be wise ways to ease back into this post-corona world. What do you think will be the sensible way forward?