October 27, 2017

To say that rock climbing has become more popular would be a massive understatement. Climbing gyms continue to pop up across the country, and it seems every year, crossfit gyms are being replaced by climbing walls. Despite the understandable groaning of veteran climbers bummed out at the prospect of spending another weekend in the Valley waiting to lead a route, this is a good thing. With climbing coming to the Olympics in 2020, this growth is likely only to continue.

However, it is also imperative that this new influx of outdoor climbers learn the ethics of the outdoors in order to preserve access to the wild spaces we climb in. It’s easy to assume all litterers are careless jerks, but the truth is in most cases, the problem is less often caused by a disregard for nature or and more often a lack of knowledge.



A few weeks ago, we teamed up with the Idyllwild Forest Service for a small crag clean-up in Black Mountain, California. The area is by no means covered in trash, but it’s also not currently supported by a climber’s organization like many other crags in the area. That, in addition with its convenient location central to most major cities in Southern California, makes Black Mountain a common first place new boulderers venture outdoors to in the area.

This recent surge in people getting outside to climb is also coming at a time when politically, public lands are coming under threat. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs and the politics of the situation, the truth that many people so often forget is that our public lands in America are a privilege and gift to us from our predecessors. While the specific rules can vary from crag to crag and very easily get confusing, especially if you’re visiting from far away, following Leave No Trace’s 7 principles will almost always cover all your bases.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

For more information on Leave No Trace, please visit their website at https://lnt.org/.