Leave No Trace Climbing

Minimize Rock Climbing Impacts

The purpose of conservation: The greatest good to the greatest number of people for the longest time.
      Gifford Pinchot, first Director of the U.S. Forest Service
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climbing leave no trace There are around 1,000,000 rock climbers in America, which is a small population but a huge increase in the last couple decades. What used to be a very small niche sport is now quite popular and growing. As these people continue to search out new challenging cliffs and peaks to climb, there impact on the environment becomes worse.

Easily accessed cliffs quickly become noisy gathering places with overflowing parking lots, braided trails, trash, and trampled ground. More remote or more challenging rock gets impacted as well. Permanent equipment, chalk marks, and destroyed fragile vegetation can all result from climbing. Practicing Leave No Trace can help eleviate many of the problems common to climbing.

Besides the general Leave No Trace guidelines to use while visiting rock climbing areas, these special tips just for climbing can help minimize the impact you make. Since many popular climbs are in the arid Southwest, use the Desert Leave No Trace page for more information.

Next: Leave No Trace in Winter


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