End the Climbing "Festivals"


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Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 28, 2014 - 01:49pm PT
I believe we have reached a point where the 847,639 annual climbing festivals need to end.

For a group of people who constantly claim they love adventure, solitude, wilderness, and dislike crowds...what gives? Why the endless, growing "festivals" that overload the resource, causing extensive damage to the natural environment, and ruin the recreation experience for non-participants?

The Red Rock Goatrope Clusterf*#k is a prime example. We have a "festival", the baby of a commercial enterprise - Mtn Gear, that has grown so large that it completely takes over every moderate crag in the place, sending groups of a dozen to indivdual crags for "clinics".

Here's a list of where the Goatrope Clusterf*#kers will be at Red Rock during the "rendezvous":

March 29 March 30, 2014

Calico Basin/Red Springs

1) Moderate Mecca
2) Kraft Boulders
3) Cannibal Crag
4) Jabba the Hut
5) Riding Hood Wall
6) Dickies Cliff
7) Gnat Man Wall
8) 3rd class above Moderate Mecca
9) Cowlick Crag
10) Cut Your Teeth Crag
11) The Fox
12) Hide and Seek Crag
13) Third Class below Reptile Rock

First Pullout

1) Civilization Crags
2) The Hamlet
3) Iron Man Wall
4) The Fixx Cliff
5) The Oasis
6) Tuna and Chips Wall
7) Newcastle Crag
8) UItraman Wall
9) Aquifer
10) Viagra Tower
11) Scramblers Wall

Second Pullout

1) The Magic Bus
2) Black Corridor
3) Hunter S. Thompson Dome
4) Meet-Up Wall
5) USS Crag

Sandstone Quarry

1) Front Slab/Fender Bender
2) Wake Up Wall
3) Chrysler Crack

Willow Springs

1) Outhouse Wall
2) Black track Area
3) Ragged Edges Area
4) Tonto Area
5) Case Face

Are you kidding me?

Yes, I can (and will) be somewhere other than RR. I avoid these clusterfux like the plague, and even if I didn't I'm not hanging around the moderate crags anyway. But I remember when I was climbing those routes at those crags, and I know plenty of people who want to be climbing on those crags, who have that week off, and can't risk being c*#k blocked by these solitude loving commerical adventurers traveling in groups of 12, dominating entire crags.

And while sure, they are once a year at an area, the size and number of them continue to grow, making scheduling increasingly problematic. Crags are seasonal, one week could be a quarter or more of the prime sending weather for an area for the entire year. Time to end these ridiculous things once and for all.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Mar 28, 2014 - 01:59pm PT
Maybe some folks like the sense of community these gatherings provide. For some people, climbing is more than just rock & routes.

FWIW- I have discovered that I have much more in common with climbers from the other side of the globe than I do with my neighbors or co-workers and these gatherings do provide a good way to meet up with like minded folks.

I too prefer the quiet solitude of remote, seldom visited places as opposed to the gym like atmosphere of the crowded crags you find at so many destinations but it is pretty easy to find solitude if you're willing to hike more than 30 minutes from the road.
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Mar 28, 2014 - 01:59pm PT
In the time it took you to write out that whole rant you could have loaded your truck and driven to Keyhole for a couple of days away from the madness.

The Granite State.
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:01pm PT
Nobody types that slowly.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:07pm PT
Sigh. You should see what one group does out here for its climbing courses. It isn't one weekend but several in the spring and in the fall. They arrive at the crack-o-dawn and move out to the crags before 8:00 AM. Then they coordinate rotating their groups through various areas so that no one from the general public has a prayer of getting on a route for the enitre weekend. Even though they aren't regulated as a commercial group, the climbers are paying for their classes and the club is exempted from all the commerical restrictions on group size, etc If it walks like a duck, it is a duck. I hate to see limits on climbers, but once money is involved, selfishness rules. I began climbing in crowded New England, but those folks know how to share. The team I speak of knows how to monopolize.

Social climber
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:09pm PT
Credit: poached from the web

Big Wall climber
San Diego
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:11pm PT
I never understood why any climber would want to go to one these things.

I hear that. Although in their defense, those areas are already total goatroped charlie foxtrots every weekend anyway...

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:38pm PT
I sympathize, El Cap. The only "festival," if it is that, that I like to attend is Facelift, because it accomplishes a great deal of good, and generates even more good will. Plus, I get to see a lot of friends I otherwise wouldn't see. But I never do any climbing then, so maybe it's not a festival to begin with.

Otherwise, if I hear there's a "festival" or equivalent going on, I go elsewhere.


Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:49pm PT
Any commercial event on federal land is illegal unless they've gotten a use permit for it, done NEPA compliance, and so on. The EA needs to address issues of loss or limitations on recreational use by the non-paying public, among other things. If you want to improve the situation, take it to the BLM or whoever is in charge of Red Rock and insist they do their job. It's an increasing problem in many places where campgrounds and the recreational sites (in this case, crags) are a very limited resource during the prime season, which is exactly when these companies want to cash in on the public land. It's BS and the land managers should stamp it out.

Mountain climber
Tustin, CA
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:53pm PT
I prefer no crowds - actually I avoid crowds and go so far as to try and avoid anyone but...when I was visiting my dad in NH a couple months ago the MWVCF was a great option for me to get away and climb some ice even though I knew zero climbers on the East Coast.

Sure...pretty much all the attendees were somewhat noobish (not all but most) and it was irritating but I did have fun; climbed, met a couple of cool youngsters and met some other vintage gear collectors which eagerly sold me some stuf...oh and I learned a few things too.

Easy solution is to go somewhere away from the festivals for what - 2 days? You'll find solitude from at least the noobs because they'll be 'goat roping' together.


lost, far away from Poland
Mar 28, 2014 - 02:53pm PT
I would go to every one of them if I could.

But I like crowds. I climb in a gym too.



Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2014 - 03:03pm PT

I understand why you disagree. You're protecting your profession. After all, you literally train clownshows for a living. And these things put Ringling Bros to shame.

scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
Mar 28, 2014 - 03:06pm PT
Well, the Woodson Shindigs were fun, but i guess not a lot like what you describe.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 28, 2014 - 03:42pm PT
Good! but a lot of commercial uses aren't. It would appear that either the general climbing public didn't make themselves heard about access, or that the BLM ignored them. Regardless, at least there was the proper process, whether one likes the outcome or not.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Mar 28, 2014 - 03:51pm PT
Just make sure you leave BALCH FEST 2013 out of this mkay?
Credit: micronut
John Butler

Social climber
SLC, Utah
Mar 28, 2014 - 03:55pm PT
Well... looks like Panty Wall may still be available



Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2014 - 03:58pm PT
Not impressed, Weston. They'll leave more trash than they pick up and beat down more desert with their crag gangbangs with a dozen milling about the base of routes, than they will prevent putting up a sign.

If they had a service project shooting burros from helos, it would be infinitely more useful.

Meanwhile, BLM has the shittiest campground in existence serving the area, with inadequate capacity. But hey, we got a multi million dollar visitors center for Johnny Flathat to sit in and sip his coffee. Because of course the visitors need a modern architectural wonder to experience nature...rather than getting outside and actually going out to experience that nature.

Balch Fest is poison oak fueled anarachy. Not a "festival" in anything other than name. Fully exempt. Carry on with your Balch-self

Trad climber
Mohave County Arizona
Mar 28, 2014 - 04:41pm PT

Reminds me of this time I blundered into the aftermath of a "rainbow family" gathering.

Mar 28, 2014 - 04:46pm PT
Johnny flathat...ha! Like all good trolls it is based in truth

Social climber
Mar 28, 2014 - 04:49pm PT
I never understood why any climber would want to go to one these things.

I guess people really love top roping.
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