Tread Lightly to Protect Climbing Access

12:00 p.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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This thread is for comments on the article "Tread Lightly to Protect Climbing Access"

Slip into stealth mode and follow these easy guidelines to help protect climbing access every time you’re at the crag.

Full article at

1:05 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The problem at the Frenchman Coulee, where I like to go, is that its free camping so people going to Gorge Amphitheatre concerts camp there and trash it.  Usually its broken glass and trash.  I heard a couple of guys as I climbed talking about gathering enough sagebrush to keep their fire going all night.  So all the vegetation is probably gone now.  Yes, we all don't like the same music either so blasting Fish, Dave Matthews, Usher or whomever is playing at the Gorge that weekend is annoying too.  Once the porta-pooper was tossed off a cliff by concert-weekend campers.  Climbers, ever inventive, got it back up the 100+ foot cliff.  The Fish and Game dept. must be really frustrated at how their land is treated. 

7:20 p.m. on August 15, 2011 (EDT)
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The illustration accompanying this article subtly pointed out some other issues that often go unacknowledged:

  • Stay off archeological and Paleolithic sites!  There are plenty of crags out there, no reason to accelerate the aging of ancient historical sites of interest.
  • Seek permission from whomever is the custodial caretaker of the land you intend to climb, before you set out.  All land is under some form of supervision; much of it requires explicit consent to engage in activities such as hiking, camping, and climbing.  Coping an uncooperative attitude about this will only work against the outdoor community in the longer run.
  • Use pitons only under exceptional circumstances.  I haven’t used a piton on any published route in the last 25 years.  I have used them with great reservation on routes that will rarely ever see traffic (e.g. Washburn route up Mt St. Elias).  It’s nice to feel like you are the first, even when you’re not.  I still carry pegs, but intend to use them only when a rescue would be safeguarded by such application.
  • Leave the bolts at home!  There are enough top rope and sports routes already;  If you can’t climb it, leave it for Spiderman who surely will come along some day and show you up by doing it lag-free.
  • Clean the route.  Carry a soft bristle brush to clear chalk off the route.  Remove hardware and slings left by prior groups.
  • Learn to set and extract pro so you don’t leave it behind yourself.  A fair amount of hardware is lost because of incorrect placement, and/or lack of extraction techniques.  I’d love to use the stuff I recover, but since I don’t know it’s history, I end up tossing into the scrap heap.  A lesson or guide can show you tricks on this craft that you may never learn otherwise.  The cost of a set of cams lost over the duration of a few season will more than offset the cost of such instruction.
  • Lastly, use a poop tube!  Nothing worse than bombed out base sites, or crapped up crags.


12:57 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Ed, thanks for raising these important points about climbing and Leave No Trace.

In addition to the general LNT principles, LNT publishes Skills & Ethics Booklets for specific activities (ex. climbing , sea kayaking, mountain biking) and areas (deserts and canyons, Sierra Nevada).

1:15 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Boils down to simple respect, if you have it or are you and ass ??

To Sagey Snow Man, I wish more camp sites were free but then who pays directly and indirectly for the restoration and clean up ??

April 26, 2018
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