What to do, what to do...the hordes have descended.....


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Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - May 5, 2019 - 10:49am PT
on my favorite climbing areas...Indian Creek and the Black Canyon. Just back from the BC and, although it is early season, there were more climbers than I have ever seen before. The campground (only 13 sites) was filled up by Thursday well before the weekend crowds arrived.
The previous Monday I counted 52 cars in tbe Supercrack parking lot in IC. With the internet, areas with superb climbing are no longer under the radar.
You canít roll back the clock, climbers are going to have to learn how to work together to create the best experience for themselves and other climbers.
Whatís the current situation in your fav area?
ron gomez

Trad climber
May 5, 2019 - 11:01am PT
And I remember when Joshua Tree was lonely...always got a choice of sites in Hidden Valley, the thought of a line for climbing was unimaginable. Yosemite was like that too. Climbing got too popular, was better when only us geeks climbed.

away from the ground
May 5, 2019 - 11:05am PT
Jim, youíve been talking about the black canyon and encouraging people to go there for years on this forum. Well, there you go.
While I think itís great to encourage people to get out, a good strategy Iíve found is to keep the noise down until the area is played out for yourself. Youíve put up all the best lines and done the best of them multiple times and are ready to move on.
Years ago I quit giving beta to people about areas I still go to. I learned my lesson the hard way. The retro bolters, Facebookers, and neophyte narcissists ruined a few areas for me, and so I donít talk climbing anymore unless itís with a select few partners.
You want to get away from the crowds, then get away from the crowds. Itís still pretty easy to do, especially for a guy with your talent and motivation.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 5, 2019 - 11:22am PT
"Whatís the current situation in your fav area?"

Fooked. I've been lamenting the same thing, lately. Used to be, when an area got 'discovered', the retort was 'well, just gotta find another place to go'. These days, it feels like we've run out of new, amazing places.

My strategy has been to basically give up on places like JT...the hordes can have it...and go mid-week to anything else that's popular.

It's really, really disheartening. 'Climbers getting along'...like that will ever happen. If there's one thing that's become clearer about climber culture these days (hell, American culture), it's that there is an ever-increasing sense of entitlement to do whatever the hell they want to do, and f*#k anyone who asks anything otherwise.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2019 - 11:27am PT
I know how to and I do get away from the crowds. Yes, iím part of the problem for posting about good climbing areas. I donít have big issues with areas becoming crowded because I am fully aware that climbing has exploded in popularity and, as with any activity, people seek out the best.
Given the number of climbers we just need to learn to work together to maximize everyones experience...here are some ideas....
*Donít hog routes that others want to climb.
*If you canít control your dog, donít bring him to the crag.
*Yes, cig butts and bits of tape are trash.
*Park your car to maximize room for others.
*Others camping near you may be getting up early, keep the noise down after 10:00 pm.
*Those that want to lead a climb take preference over top roping.
*Allow faster parties to climb thru you and do it with a smile.
*When climbing on public lands obey the regulations.
*Be friendly to the other climbers you meet, it may pay dividends.


Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 5, 2019 - 11:30am PT
Great set of guidelines, donini. I'm not holding my breath.

Trad climber
May 5, 2019 - 11:32am PT
Well some dude wrote a guidebook to my favorite bouldering area and itís not the same anymore. Itís getting crowded now. Thanks dude.


Edit: Let me express that my concern is the environmental impact it is having.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 5, 2019 - 11:34am PT
Didnít see a soul on this rig last summer and the weather was perfect...

Dunno, maybe it was the tough approach?
okay, whatever

May 5, 2019 - 11:38am PT
I only did one route in the Black Canyon, back in the late 1970's... the Russian Arete... 5.9 or thereabouts... not a grim testpiece. It WAS a bit crumbly and runout, at least in places, but the atmosphere in the canyon compensated for those drawbacks, at least for me. It doesn't surprise me at all that the Black Canyon is a bit crowded these days, like most other climbing venues. It's a spectacular canyon, without question.

from out where the anecdotes roam
May 5, 2019 - 12:02pm PT
the end of the petroleum era combined with global warming will fix the problem, there's no doubt.
in the meantime, as capitalists, we see those hordes as a market opportunity and make bank

A long way from where I started
May 5, 2019 - 12:06pm PT
Whatís the current situation in your fav area?

Well, sometimes there might be another party, but mostly it's just you and your partner...


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
May 5, 2019 - 12:33pm PT
Even in Idaho, City of Rocks & Elephant's Perch get crowded in season.

Happily, the rest of this misbegotten backwater is not worth visiting.

These crags are 2 miles from the end of a decent, but obscure road. I discovered them a couple years back, after I had passed the age of wanting bold technical first ascents & new routes. After posting about them on an Idaho peakbagger forum, a fellow who lives about 40 miles away told me he'd done new routes there & I should keep my big-mouth shut about them.


May 5, 2019 - 12:34pm PT
Agreed. Partisanly self interested climbers are going to need to work together in order to create the best experience for everyone, just like in every other political endeavor. Honestly thinking and believing that is a good place to start.

Or just ban people. Sport climbers maybe? Millennials? Shout them down? Reject the legitimacy of the values they hold if those values are different than ours?

Itís up to us how we do this thing - I donít think thereís any ďhave toĒ about it. How broadly or narrowly we define our partisan interests is up to us. Useful though prolly to honestly observe abut ourselves what we actually do do, and how narrowly or broadly we actually do define ďourĒ interests.

Monterey, Ca
May 5, 2019 - 12:40pm PT
Machete Ridge is never crowded... for now.

Mountain climber
May 5, 2019 - 12:45pm PT
Whatís the current situation in your fav area?
Tuolomne? Hopeless. Eastern Sierra? Getting bad. Icefields Parkway? Same, but slower.

However, if you hike a little ways off the beaten path, it's still pretty quiet in all of those places. Some people thrive on crowds, but if you don't, it only takes a moderate effort to avoid them.
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
May 5, 2019 - 12:50pm PT
One other rule should donít be climb in big groups.
Iím tired of seeing large groups with one leader choking cragging routes for hours at a time.

Also donít spray on the internet about how awesome a place is.

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
May 5, 2019 - 12:58pm PT
I remember looking for a climbing partner at the Uberfall in the Gunks all morning on bluebird Saturday, circa 1980. You could still drink from the Uberfall spring with the communal tin cup.

What to do? Smile and be nice OR find those obscure corners of the popular areas that only longtime locals know about and keep their mouths shut about.

Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
May 5, 2019 - 01:00pm PT
I don't mean this in a denigrating way, but many of you seem hopelessly optimistic about how today's (and future) climbing generations are going to respect and demonstrate those kinds of (laudable) guidelines.

There was a time when the smaller community could have an impact on negative behaviors (or maybe I'm just being nostalgically revisionist in my thinking), but today's 'community' is SO FRICKIN' HUGE and self-oriented that I see virtually zero hope for self-management. We are waaaay past that point, methinks.

Trad climber
May 5, 2019 - 01:20pm PT
I remember when being at the Gunks in July or August and it was in the 90's, you'd have the place to yourself ('cept for the chiggers). Won't see those days again. You learn to adapt. Running into old friends lessens the impact of the maddening hordes.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
May 5, 2019 - 01:45pm PT
Jim's guidelines should be a given amongst all in the climbing community. Perhaps the problem is a bit more extensive. It should be a given in the outdoor community. People are in the outdoors now, but not really "outdoor" people. We can teach by example. When someone drops a cig on the ground we can, and this is the key, nicely point it out to them. Same with the rest of the guidelines.

If you have time and love to wander there are new places out there just waiting. I know some but I'm not telling. :)))
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