As outdoor enthusiasts, we often give consideration to the impact we have on our environment. With the climbing season upon us, now is a great time to talk about what we can do to ensure that we are taking care of our crags and minimising the impact we have on our surroundings.
#1 The Bend and Snap (aka Leave No Trace)
For those who have fabulous taste in old Rom-Coms, that reference was for you. For those of you who have no idea, shame.
Lets be honest, we’ve all heard it before, leave no trace, pack out what you pack in. Although it is the most well known rule, it is also the most easily forgotten. You feel the hunger pains, you grab your snack bar and chow down to get energised for your next big challenge, your climbing partner gets all needy for a belay so you tuck your wrapper under a convenient rock telling yourself you will collected it at the end of the climb. As soon as that wrapper looses your focus, it is forgotten.
Since we are all going to be picking up our trash, I say we do it in the most sexy way possible. Lets see that bend and snap!
#2 Leave the Meandering to the Rivers
Stick to the trails, stop the trail braiding, and avoid stomping all over the growing vegetation. Nuff said.
#3 It’s Not Your Garden
Local crags usually undergo some vegetation clearing when they are first established and maybe some minor maintenance throughout the years. This is commonly an organised activity, approved by the land owners, which is done to allow for climbs to be accessed with a bit more ease. However, if you encounter an area where you are not satisfied with the pruning, do not take this as your calling to get the snips out. There are very few reasons why vegetation needs to be cut back at a crag and your delicate skin is not one of them. If you are in a prickly situation, try using some string/rope to gently pull back the veg while you are crushing that route. If things are looking especially lush, get in touch with your local climbing club and let them know.
#4 Nature’s Calling
We are all human. We will all need to go to the toilet at some point during the day. If holding it is not an option and you can’t make it to the nearest facility, remember to find a spot a nice distance away from the climbing area. Better yet, go for a little nature walk and remember to dig a hole before you drop the kids off.
#5 Get Involved
It takes a lot of hard work to establish a climbing crag. Time and energy gets poured into building relationships with land owners. Money and even more time gets spent setting routes and ensuring that there is safe and easy access for us to have some epic climbs. Most of these things are done by volunteer climbers that are passionate about getting involved and giving back to the community. If you have ever been curious about how new areas are developed or how climbing routes are set, give your local climbing club or Alpine Club section a shout. I bet they would love an extra pair of callused hands!
Have anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment below sharing the ways in which you take care of your crags.