Keeping walls as clean as Grand Canyon

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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 20, 2007 - 08:07am PT
just got back from 18 day grand canyon climbing/rafting trip. amazing. will post trip report soon.

one thing that we all noticed: 22000-30000 people raft down the river and camp on the beaches and there is almost no visible impact. we compared that to the few hundred people that climb The Nose every year and what that looks like: trash, crap, and even a few high profile climbers still tossing sh#t bags that pile up at the base. we thought, "wouldn't it be great if The Nose ledges were as clean as these Grand Canyon camp sites"

any ideas out there what we could do to get there?
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
Lanham MD
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:13am PT
Close all the gyms?
jk Lambone, if you read this :D

I honestly don't know. I pick up bottles and trash every time I go climbing at the local crags out here in Maryland and West Virginia, too. Some people simply have no common sense. Urban environments tend to produce that, I've noticed. With the traffic that the valley sees and the amount of people coming to climb from the cities, you are bound to have more idiots have their first "great outdoors" experience; in NH, where I learned to climb, it was noticably cleaner everywhere. Also more of a small town environment.

So...get rid of all the cities??
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:31am PT
What you just did is a great start, Chris. Simply to notice, then post it up, say it out loud.

This forum helps a lot to get the word out, to get it heard. It gave great press to the huge scrubbing of Yosemite this fall, and then when a wire story showed up later that leaned unfairly on climber impact, this is where it got debated and this community came up with the effective places to apply pressure and then honed the message.

Ron Kauk gave me a new organic cotton t-shirt that quotes him on the back: "The simplest act of environmental consciousness is RESPECT" I wore it on a hike/run in the redwoods yesterday and everyone I passed got the message.

Every time I go to Manure Pile Buttress I befriend a nOOb or two, do a descreet Safety Monitor sweep, tell a story about how that particular rock really does have slippery patches besides the obvious wear-spots that are some of the scariest in the Valley and recently sent me for a 30-footer out of the blue off a mere 5.8 move, and let them see me scoop up a few random pieces of tat.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:33am PT
River runners are more heavily concentrated over a strip-like territory along riparian areas, and their presence makes for downstream septic considerations that affect far larger populations. As such they have compelled governing bodies (mostly rangers) to enact regulations that carry the force of law, and are easier to enforce thanks to the linear concentration.

Give it a little time.
Climbers are headed in the same direction. That said, I think the comment about gym climbers, though painting with a broad brush here, are uncomfortably close to the truth.


So Chris, how do you like the walls below Toroweap?
I'm not the only climber who's checked them out. Kurt Diemberger has been there several times.


In addition I should add that the management of the canyon could be more enlightened. Remember when they tried to "simulate" floods with the dam so as to help restore the beaches by stirring up sediment?
Pretty freaking stupid. All those well paid hydrologists, and apparently none of them pointed out that while we keep running water through the canyon, settling out the sediment beforehand in Glen Canyon means there is little to none to be redistributed downstream.
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:34am PT
I'd say posts like this help a bit, the facelift helps, etc.

Part of the deal with the Grand is that most of the people down there are on guided trips, and most of the guides love the place. A regular montra was "Take only pictures, leave only foot prints" when I guided. Believe me all guides do their share of picking up trash left by other groups, but it is also easy to do as you have a boat to carry it in. Further at the beginning of a private trips the Darkservice (Sorry Jesse) does an orientation with the entire group and discussed waste etc. Then on top of all of that they do down river inspections in which violators are fined. I for one would not like to see this type of permit system/ regulation happen to Yos Walls, but maybe that is what it takes???

Prod.
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:36am PT
maybe there should be a ST award for the person who does the most walls and fills up the haul bag with trash..
maybe Hans and Hubers could do a trash ascent of the nose next time instead of speed...
honestly- there is no answer, it starts with each person opening up their eyes to the mess and having a moral thought to make a change...
maybe we treat the haul bag as a trash can instead of beer bucket!
we used to walk the base after each wall and p/u trash... i'm sure some still do...
when i climb in europe it amazes me how much trash and poo is at their crags..
where i live in WV- the old way for locals was to go to the top of the cliff and dump.. many a crag have been cleaned up, but those layers go deep- years of abuse..
but you start somewhere and teach others...
ks
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
Lanham MD
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:38am PT
I just reread my post, i didn't mean to slag on cities per say. I live in one, haha. But I don't think the same level of awareness is there, which contributes to conditions sometimes being as they are.
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
Lanham MD
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:41am PT
DR, funny you should mention that. During one of my first years trad climbing @ cathedral, my partner and I got to talking with few more experienced guys in the parking lot, during which one of them picked up some random wrappers, etc. It got me thinking; I've never littered, but I never really picked up random trash either. Nowadays I pick up whatever I see.

So, it works!
Pennsylenvy

Gym climber
Fannie's Crack
Nov 20, 2007 - 08:58am PT
Grand Canyon outfitters are bullwhipped into a clean it up or lose our privelages $$$$$$$$$mentality. Seriously, money is a factor here. Guides have come under much fire by private boaters (and vice versa) to keep this place clean. That being said, the river outfitters bullwhip clients and private boaters associations to keep it clean.

I really enjoyed facelift. I've never been in an organized trash pickup. It was fun, and just the action of picking up trash makes one think. One key concept used in the Grand CAnyon is MICROTRASH.
I see lots of tape and microtrash at climbing sites. I also think by making people focus on microtrash larger forms of trash become more of a no brainer.




That being said I'm putting on the Grand Canyon for 25 days Thurday........Holy $#!T Yippeeeeeeee!
Greg Barnes

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 09:00am PT
Yep, lead by example. Make sure to pick up even the smallest "micro-trash" like bits of colored tape. When people see trash on the ground, adding another piece is no big deal. When the base of the crag is spotless, dropping any trash is just out of place.

Multi-day walls are a bit tougher - anyone can drop a wrapper or can lid no matter how hard you try not to litter.
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Nov 20, 2007 - 09:05am PT
Penneslyenvy,

Bullwhipped? Potentially the owners of the companies are threatened by the park service, but the guides, for the most part, take great pride in keeping the place clean. Sure I've bullwhipped a few littering clients but that is just my personality.

You are going to have a great time on the Grand. Remember what I said about Crystal?

Prod.
paganmonkeyboy

climber
mars...it's near nevada...
Nov 20, 2007 - 09:11am PT
PE said it - Rangers tell people putting in at the Gates of Lodore all about the microtrash, and the macro is a natural after that.
(Have fun, be safe bro)

So did DR -
Education and Respect will go a long way on this one, imho.
jstan

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 09:13am PT
In general it is very difficult to speak to people about these matters. You all have found the same thing I found. One can only set examples. I did do one thing that I thought added quite a bit and was fun into the bargain. When people walked up and asked for a bag so they could help, we would go climbing together after we had finished cleaning the area. Those same people showed up for trail building and on their own began setting examples. The same thing happens whether you are working along Route 299 or in El Cap Meadow.

Makes your day like nothing else.
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Nov 20, 2007 - 09:33am PT
I did a 15 day - from Lee's Ferry to South Cove - in April and was stoked that the place was so clean. I had researched the trip extensively before going so I knew how the Park Service WANTED it done, but it was amazing to see that the rules were actually followed. It wasn't like it was just our guides doing all the work, either, all of us chipped in and did it right.

Pretty cool!

eKat
Mike.

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 10:41am PT
Love the sentiment here.


I'm always amazed how spotless Tahquitz/Suicide area remains. Same with the entire San Jacinto and San Gorgonio ranges. Not sure why it's that way, but I suspect there is somewhat a collective consciousness at work and also what Greg suggests: "When people see trash on the ground, adding another piece is no big deal."

El Cap and other cliffs' bases are not in horrid shape; there are always a few wankers who blow it. The trailheads (EC in particular) really look like sh#t, though. And the vast majority of that trash isn't caused by climbers IMO.

Thanks to the very many climbers who pick up more than they leave.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 20, 2007 - 12:03pm PT
You can moan all you want about Park Service this and Park Service that, but consider what the inner Grand Canyon and the river would be like without them. I wasn't all that happy when they began charging for backcountry use permits in GC, so I can imagine how river runners and outfits have felt as regulations tighten, but the bottom line is that, with a bit more advance planning than in the old days, I can still easily (and legally) get a hiking permit that puts me on a pristine beach at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where I'll see no one save the ocassional boating party that slips past. Would it still be that way without regulation? In the remote, harder to get to areas, sure. But elsewhere? Not a chance.

My take was always that the harder you work to get there, the more respect you have for a place. True to a point, but it doesn't explain commercial raft trip customers who essentially get there by floating in on their wallets. Obviously, respect and care for the place is an individual thing, but the river guides do an amazing job with their clients, in my experience. As much as I hate (and would gladly ban) the biga$$ motorized rafts, I've met plenty of people down there on those trips who instantly smash my pre-conceived notion that they somehow didn't appreciate the place as much as I did because I worked harder to get there.

Uh, what the hell was my point?... Oh, yeah!

Regulation. Sorry, but my guess is that's the biggest difference between what you see in GC and what you see on (and beneath) El Cap. I'm just a backpacker who has climbed damn little (and never led anything), but climbing permits and oversight--at the very least for trade routes in the most popular climbing areas--seems inevitable...and the only real solution. It's just a matter of working out the compromise most equitable to all users.

These halfass point-and-shoot shots were taken last month, about three miles upriver from Tanner Rapids. Can any trout fisherman explain how on earth we got skunked here for the first time in my life (in GC), short of when the river is running chocolate shake brown?


bler

Boulder climber
Alamo, CA
Nov 20, 2007 - 12:16pm PT
chris:

Unfortunatley, its not just the clibmers. Last weekend while searching the boulderfields, I found countless bags of garbage that had no relation to any climbing area of any sort. I even found a 12 pack of empty budweisers with pull tops shoved under a boulder, at least 20+ years old..

I guess people just don't care or understand the impact they have on their enviroment, espically when they don't live in the areas they trash and only visit it occationally to abuse it.

The Valley has easier access (paved trails everywhere) by more people in a smaller area that it is difficult to deal with these effects. I personally think they have done a pretty good job at keeping the valley clean considering it is one of the top two national parks in the country.
Tahoe climber

Trad climber
a dark-green forester out west
Nov 20, 2007 - 01:07pm PT
Climbing permits and oversight is the worst idea that I've ever heard. There are so many negative results that would come from that approach.

To answer your question, Chris, I'd say that your post is a great way to work on getting there.
Awareness and education is the best way to accomplish our goals in this issue. And picking up the micro-trash is a great way of making the point. As always, when the climbers we respect are seen making the extra effort to pick up trash, we're likely to follow along. It's good to set an example - I was picking up trash out on the East Side last week, and several climbers in the area that I didn't know pitched in and picked up trash as well. Nothing was said about it - just a look and a nod and an unspoken respect. And the trash disappeared.

-Aaron
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 20, 2007 - 01:19pm PT
Aaron, I have no doubt that you're right, and in ways that will never occur to me, an admitted outsider who will probably never climb on El Capitan...

But with more and more climbers wanting to do El Cap's most famous/accessible routes won't a point come when the demand far outstrips the supply? Maybe I'm way off base here, but if not what's the answer?

--Steve

(I'm kind of straying from the trash issue, but not entirely)
bler

Boulder climber
Alamo, CA
Nov 20, 2007 - 04:36pm PT
someone else here I work with also pointed out;

less people visit the bottom of the G.C. because you need to hike down.

my friend is compiling a report and found out that the majority of Yosemite visitors only visit the park for 4 hours!

yes, there may be less garbage and impact in the Grand Canyon, but you also need to figure out WHY; is it easy access, logistics, location to major cities, attractions, publicity, etc.

it may be, but isn't always the fact that people leave trash and have impact, sometimes it is because of accessibility or the fact that they are TRYING to get people to visit the park(s) and attracting all the wrong people.

I would speculate there are just as many people who come to CLIMB the nose as there are people that go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

I am not denying that there is a huge issue regarding garbage, hell I even cleanup on a regular basis when walking around, but there are other things to consider when trying to find a solution.
jstan

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 04:42pm PT
If the climate were normal i would hypothesize that the trash gets swept out periodically by flooding.

In any event, we really need only be thankful for our being re-energized by the sight of a clean place. So much so we all go out and make more places clean.

As to capacity to accommodate the nmber of climbers it really comes down to a choice WE have to make. Should we adapt what we do so that all who wish to participate may, or do we put a lottery in place?

Population control via lottery? Now isn't that a revolutionary concept?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 20, 2007 - 04:57pm PT
Community self-policing will be part of any solution. Perhaps we can start by cleaning up SuperTopo.

Ok, that was a bit smart assed. We did do a good job of getting people out for the FaceLift, and other events that are occasionally advertised.

I concur with both jstan and DR - we have to lead by example. And as climbers, we're all leaders - in all ways.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 20, 2007 - 05:17pm PT
Bler, far more people hike (or ride a mule) to the bottom of Grand Canyon than climb The Nose, but if you compare the numbers on a single, less-used rim to river route with those on The Nose, then you've got a pretty fair comparison--in terms of numbers anyway.

But let's go back to the original question here: Why can't The Nose ledges be as clean as much more frequently used Grand Canyon campsites? Anyone?

edit: Jstan, Grand Canyon won't flood again until Glen Canyon Dam collapses.
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
Arid-zona
Nov 20, 2007 - 06:01pm PT
Maybe if there was some easier way to haul the stuff up. Some sort of pulley-and-ratchet system that climbers could utilize. Oh wai....
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Nov 20, 2007 - 06:46pm PT
It comes back to the phrase, " More access means more a$$holes.".

Sure when you make everyone get a permit and go on guided trips and the guide can be held accountable, there will be less trash, cause that's actually a controlled access deal. And there are consequences for screwing up.

The thing that has ruined several places in the south is building a road that lets just about anyone get close to the rock. Not only do more people come, and many are people who don't climb but just want the view off the top, or to party, or to see how far they can throw a beer bottle off the top, But they bring more crap with them.

The places that see few people usually have very little trash.

SO, if you limit access by any way you choose, permits, difficult hike in, or whatever, that will help.

Otherwise, you have to set an example, talk to people, and pick up a LOT of trash. Establishing an ethic takes a LONG time, and in areas where the current ethic is to trash the place, it will take even longer.

Consequences for trashing the place also help some.

I think that placing a few heads on pikes with a sign that says, "Leave trash, lose your head", in the climbing area you want to improve would help.

When you relocate those Koreans to Jtree, to handle the dog problem, you could get some head hunters from New Guinea as well, maybe, as long as they understand that open season is only on litterbugs.
Mike.

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 06:52pm PT
Who are the "high-profile" climbers hucking sh#t bags?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2007 - 09:27am PT
no big insights from me but i do think it helps to keep this on peoples minds so that we can move toward a new standard of clean ledges on el cap.

how do peoples perceptions of what is acceptable or not shift? until the grand canyon trip, i felt like the nose having some trash was acceptable. sure, over the 10 years ive been climbing it every once in while it would get out of hand. at that point, an alarm would go off in the climbing community and someone would do a big clean up... and then the trash would build again...

that seems to be the steady state of the route that myself and others find acceptable. i now don't think it is acceptable because it really is nice to be in a place like El Cap Tower or the Grand Canyon and not see crap. and it really isnt THAT hard to clean up after yourself.

maybe the grand canyon is not the best comparison to The Nose, but i do think The Nose route could become clean and stay that way. hopefully by the end of 2008 there will be a new higher standard of cleanliness on Yosemite ledges.
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Nov 21, 2007 - 09:35am PT
Festus . . . that's not true. . . our guides told us that there are planned floods periodically, to create sandy beaches. . . everytime we passed an "artificial flood created beach" it was pointed out to us.

I guess it's something that was done after an association of River Guides got together with the Feds requesting better beaches for camping.

I don't have all the particulars - but maybe some of our resident guides can fill in the blanks.

I was moved by how our guides said they worked so closely, and well, with the Feds. Just goes to show that IT CAN WORK!

It's TOTALLY bitchen down there. . . although I was one of 20,000+ people who paddle that thing each year, I felt special and LUCKY to have such a clean, mellow place to experience "RiverTime."

ox

eKat
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Nov 21, 2007 - 09:59am PT
We took off a private trip in June of this year. It was my 2nd time down on a private and 4th overall. Our shuttle driver was someone who had run the Green and Colorado since the mid 50s. His comment was that the beaches and corridor are much cleaner now than back then (and this even when there were only a handful of people in the canyon).

Others have explained most of why the canyon is so clean (outfitters and private boaters are both very aware of the value of the resource, etc) but something else to consider is that the rafting trip is relatively luxurious compared to the average big wall ascent. Not to let folks on the Big STone off the hook but there it is necessary to carry everything UP rather than just load it on the boat and float to the takeout.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:09am PT
You're right, eKat, but those aren't real floods, in the pre-dam sense, though they have clearly not been the complete failures that Piton Ron expressed. In their aftermath you could see that beaches had gotten bigger...but nowhere near what many of them were like when I first started hiking down there in the early 80s. My guess would be that you'd have to have a much, much bigger dam release to scour the near shoreline of the vegetation (tammies, etc.) and create the huge, if shifting, beaches of old--not that that is necessarily the goal. But, I couldn't agree more about the tremendous job the guides and outfitters do in conjunction with the park service. Certainly the dollars at stake made regulations easier to enforce, but the concern/care of plenty of guides and river runners also had a lot to do with it...not to mention the lasting influence of Martin Litton, Dave Brower and friends.

I, too, would love to hear from someone who knows the details, science, and overall effectiveness of the artificial flooding, future plans for it, etc.

edit: Bobinc, it's true that floating trips have a far, far easier means of removing garbage, etc., but there are more than a few beaches in GC used almost exclusively by backpackers. I can't speak to the most used 'cuz I've never been there (Phantom Ranch area) but the rest of them--which probably see similar numbers to a popular El Cap route--remain pristine. In fairness, you are encouraged to pee in the wet sand near the waterline, and bury your feces far from the river in non-sand earth (you only have to pack out the TP) which would be prodigious feats from Heart Ledge, but...
Mike.

climber
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:22am PT
Again: Who are the "high-profile" climbers hucking sh#t bags?

They need to be held to a higher standard.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:33am PT
Artificial flooding in GC:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/science/2004-11-28-grand-canyon_x.htm
Blinny

Trad climber
NWMontana
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:37am PT
Hey. . . thanks for dredging (pun intended, I guess) that up!

GOOD ARTICLE!

ox

eKat
TradIsGood

Half fast climber
the Gunks end of the country
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:40am PT
Send that much water off the top of El Cap and it will be way cleaner even than Grand Canyon in no time!

Except maybe in the winter.


:-)
BadInfluence

Mountain climber
Dak side
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:44am PT
Did you test the water?
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Nov 21, 2007 - 10:58am PT
That's a good point, Festus (about backpackers). I'm unsure of the numbers but there are certainly 000s of folks who make it to the river and stay overnight. In looking around some of those campsites, they seem very clean. I'm unsure what the NPS does as far as backpacker ed goes (and can't recall what we were told in '85, last time I hiked overnight vs boated the GC). My guess is some of the cleanup occurs via boaters; in fact, the newest brochure given to private boaters encourages asking backpackers if they have any trash that could be taken out on a raft.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 21, 2007 - 11:46am PT
I can't speak for the more crowded areas (Hermit, Kaibab and Bright Angel trails--which "house" the overwhelming majority of GC backpackers) because I avoid 'em, and I can only speak for myself and those I've hiked with and run into down there, but I've never encountered a beach or campsite littered by backpackers. Now whether or not every one of those people follows each and every rule spelled out in detail on your hiking permit, I can't know for sure, but I suspect they do, for the same reasons we do. To haul forty or fifty pounds all the way down there (and back), only to arrive at a trashed beach would be beyond depressing. We've got the same vested interest that river guides have--we want to keep coming back...to a place that's worth coming back to.


Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2007 - 04:56pm PT
i'm not going to pass on names of "the high profile climbers" because i got the info second hand. but I was told (by some folks who spend a lot of time around el cap) that a team or two were going back to the old bag toss and clean it up later routine... bags were piling up at the base of the wall and, even worse, some bags were not making it to the base.
E.L. "One"

Big Wall climber
Lancaster, California
Nov 21, 2007 - 04:58pm PT
What brother Festus said !!! But Jaysus Festus work on the tan !!


Cracko
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 21, 2007 - 05:11pm PT
Hey, dammit, that isn't me in that photo, it's DiBernardo! I'm even whiter!! (As seen below, while testing to see if the AAC's new rescue service could be accessed using your torso as a signal mirror)


The user formerly known as stzzo

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you.
Nov 21, 2007 - 05:35pm PT
Sniper rifle? How about with rubber bullets?

Load up a sh#t bomb in a catapult and send 'em back some of their own?

RE sh#t bombs: Even during the facelift, Jesse said there were people tossing them.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Nov 21, 2007 - 05:49pm PT
Maybe what the climbing community needs is their own Jose Canseco to write a self-serving book that at least serves to out the sh#tbaggers, etc. Then you could have name climbers appear before congress saying they weren't there to talk about the past, suddenly forget how to speak English, shake a resolute finger in the camera and state they have never, ever, sh#tbagged, etc. Mitchell is about done with his baseball investigation, maybe he'll tackle El Cap ledges next.

I've been up a few classic (historically speaking) if easy routes, like East Face of Whitney, Mt. Sill (okay, via the descent route) and the Durrance on Symmetry Spire (and, yeah, that's pretty much my complete resume). Since I strictly followed on each of them and have never been inspired to lead anything, I'm not really a climber, but it was absolutely awe inspiring to ascend those routes--a powerful combination of the scenery and the knowledge of (and appreciation for) those who pioneered the ways up 'em. So for me, and for the reasons just stated, El Cap Tree would be the climb of a lifetime. To sit up there actually on El Cap, as embarrassingly corny as that reads, would bring a summit euphoria I could (and would) tap forever, fused for me with my childhood memories of being in the valley and actually hearing Harding's hammer on the first ascent. I could follow to El Cap Tree (if I can talk my brother into leading it) though anything beyond that is simply never going to happen. But if I'm ever fortunate enough to get there, only to find trash, sh#t or urine, well, f#ck 'em, I consider myself ten times the climber of some prick who can free 5.12 but thinks hurling his shitbags is okay.
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Nov 21, 2007 - 05:56pm PT
Forget about what high profile climbers are tossing poop bags...Which high profile climbers are providing examples of "Keeping Clean?"

I know that many top climbers really do care, and many of them make the same efforts as everyone else, in picking up litter on approaches and such. But it gets little to no publicity.

Perhaps the magazine editors might consider adding the aspect of keeping clean in their editorials and interviews.

Perhaps gear manufacturers could find a way to highlight the aspect in their photo shoots.

Perhaps the Access Fund could host an annual award to some climber or group who goes above and beyond the call, and use that to promote the issue.

Perhaps photogs and videographers can do segments on keeping clean, and add them to their galleries, as a form of public service.



tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
Nov 21, 2007 - 07:13pm PT
" Penneslyenvy,

Bullwhipped? Potentially the owners of the companies are threatened by the park service, but the guides, for the most part, take great pride in keeping the place clean. Sure I've bullwhipped a few littering clients but that is just my personality."

I've done that a few times. And my pockets constantly had trash of just about every kind in them...

"You are going to have a great time on the Grand. Remember what I said about Crystal?

Prod."

You told 'em to go LEFT didn't right? Gotta go left if you want to really say you ran Crystal. Its a crazy place to be.

A good friend of mine was a river ranger after he was a boatman and he really got off on tagging private AND commercial boaters for stealing rocks or leaving trash on a beach. Hell HE was the guy who told me to throw the leftover spaghetti into the "Back Cooler". You know, the one way back behind the boats. Not too funny when a guy catches a trout with an engorged, noodle filled stomach.

So, the only way climbing could clean up as well as the grand would be to have a ranger hovering and no one wants that. But I give my all for cleaning up.
Scrunch

Trad climber
Provo, Ut
Nov 23, 2007 - 02:42pm PT
It seems that the problem isn't generally the lifestyle user... the type of people who identify themselves as "climbers" because they care about their crags. I've noticed the trend of "weekend warriors" who practice a number of different sports when their jobs and families allow who cause a number of different problems, from litter to top-roping through the chains.
There are, of course, exceptions. However, I'd be interested to know if ledges that required a high standard of free or aid climbing (5.12 or A3, for example) had the same trash problems.
The perfect counterpoint to my argument is Pipe Dream Cave in Maple Canyon, which an a cesspool, and most of the climbs there are hard.
Despite this, I believe the way to adjust these problems is to simple let people know how you feel about it. I might be a jerk, but if someone litters in front me, I explain that I don't appreciate their actions. I also mention the possible ramifications of their conduct, and suggest they have more respect for a high use area. Sometimes I follow them back to the parking lot and let the air out of their tires. (just kidding)
jstan

climber
Nov 23, 2007 - 03:13pm PT
Happie:
I know it is counterintuitive but it seemed to me it is more important that "low profile" climbers are visibly working to protect our resources. In the 70's when we walked down the carriage road every few hundred feet you would see climbers of all sorts policing the carriage road. The impact was remarkable. People of all persuasions were out in front leading us.

It may be a symptom of the times but we all seem to look to high level leaders to make things happen. Unfortunately high level or "High profile" leaders sometimes are looking primarily for the things that will raise their profile. Not always, but sometimes. Being seen grunging around in a ditch does not necessarily elevate a person. It feels very good though being in a ditch just because one is unwilling to put up with this any longer. I find that a very good feeling.

Cheers,

John
happiegrrrl

Trad climber
New York, NY
Nov 23, 2007 - 03:27pm PT
John - I think something must have changed then.... The last 3 years I've been helping at the Gunks and though almost every single person who walks by as we do the work says "thanks" or offers an embarrassed apology/excuse for not having helped, they don't tend to show up at a later point to lend a hand.....

I have actually gotten some back-handed compliments by people, for my help. As if I'm trying to kiss someone's ass or get some perk or something. And people have said "Well, she lives in New Paltz(I don't) and that's why she can give up the Sunday climbing."

Some people seem to have the idea, at least at the Gunks, that because they pay a fee for the access, that money is, or should be, going to pay for the trail maintenance.
jstan

climber
Nov 23, 2007 - 03:42pm PT
Very sorry to hear that. The process of building support can depend upon something as simple as giving the passersby a five second explanation of why you are there. I know when we went through the needle's eye in the 70's we were hugely energized by a climbers's meeting held by the Preserve. It provided the momentum that Ken and Facelift is presently creating in Yosemite.

If I make it to the Gunks next fall I know I will be bringing plastic bags. It is the most important thing any of us can do.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you.
Nov 23, 2007 - 05:05pm PT
Being seen grunging around in a ditch does not necessarily elevate a person.

I'm not sure about that - I think that in general people have much more respect for someone who's willing to get their hands dirty and help society / the world than for people who aren't.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 23, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
Change to our culture and behaviour has to start somewhere.
10b4me

climber
1/2way between Yos and Moab
Nov 23, 2007 - 10:09pm PT
not to sound biased, but the foreign climbers need to be educated about the environment also.
jstan

climber
Nov 24, 2007 - 04:19pm PT
When I think about how it might be if I went to some other country to climb I can easily see how I would not be tuned in at all to the local atmosphere. That was what made it so special during Facelift when I was picking up trash in C4. A young lady from Japan offered me a couple pieces of fruit as a way of expressing appreciation. The guys were over at a table doing what guys do. Even so I have a suspicion they will become aware of what people are trying to do in Yosemite. I believe there is no better way to do it.

Without a doubt there are climbers from every place who are so intent on doing some particular thing they short change things that are important. They come here and do it. We go there and do it. The only response needed is for all of us to persevere. What needs to happen - shall happen.
Wes Allen

Boulder climber
KY
Dec 2, 2007 - 09:36am PT
Saw Tommy and Beth's slide show on the trip Friday night, and WOW! Some amazing looking climbing there for sure, and climbing 13's on limestone with trad gear sounds crazy. Though the bouldering is what looks really cool to me. Too bad it is so $$$$ to take a raft trip like that.
dipper

climber
Dec 2, 2007 - 11:46pm PT
bump
tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
Dec 6, 2007 - 11:56am PT
So Wes - were they in GC? I'd love to see that show. There are 500 miles of limestone to be climbed if you can take the choss. You gotta figure its basically the same layers all around Mesquite and St George... ok, so 1000 miles of limestone.
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Dec 6, 2007 - 03:01pm PT
About those plastic bags, zip lock freezer bags one gallon size are great. they are a little thicker and glas and other sharp things don't poke though so bad.

Don't leave home without a few.

About those rivers, if there were a lot of trash and it floods, then you'll see bits of plastic bags and such up in the trees and bushes at the flood line, after the water comes back down.

If you don't see this at the canyon, then flooding is not what's keeping the beach clean.
Festus

Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Dec 7, 2007 - 09:03am PT
Dirt,

You don't see that. You also don't see the kind of flooding that would cause that (see the "artificial flood" article link I stuck in this thread earlier).
Wes Allen

Boulder climber
KY
Dec 8, 2007 - 03:33pm PT
Yep, in the canyon. And they did mention "scary" and "loose" more the a couple times. There are several kinds of rock the were climbing on. From what they said, there would be a article (Men's journal?) and maybe TV, or something like that. Basically, they said the big wall potential was so-so, but there were miles and miles of cragging and bouldering. Some crazy big caves, like 100 ft of roof bouldering into 100+ foot 5.13 pitches.
jewedlaw

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Dec 8, 2007 - 04:02pm PT
Haven't read all the responses so I don't know if this has been touched upon, but what about requiring permits for climbing in the valley? Or at least for big wall trips?

So you pay $20 for a lifetime permit, but if you're caught poopin' off the wall or what not, you get it revoked with some penalty maybe, but in any case, have to pay $20 again (or $40 the next time and so on). Enforcing such a permit would have it's own trouble, but it's a thought.
Brian

climber
Cali
Dec 8, 2007 - 05:06pm PT
I'm glad Chris posted this, as the issue is one that really needs to be addressed. Alas, I've come to the conclusion that climbers will not, perhaps cannot, police themselves. Thus, while I continue to support access, I do so with an eye to impact. At a certain point the environmentalist in me wins out over the climber in me.

As to the high profile climbers hucking sh!t bags. A good friend of mine has the dubious distinction of being shat on by arguable the highest profile climber out there. The culprit took a 'space-st!t', just let it all hang out there. Like Chris, I won't name names because I was not in the party victimized. Perhaps the victim will post on this thread, as I know he lurks here occasionally.

As to holding rockstars to a higher standard... I'm in favor of it as long as we hold ourselves to the same higher standard. There is no reason that the Nose can't be as clean as the Grand Canyon other than (1) selfishness and (2) laziness.

Brian
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