In a world where climate change is a real threat us climbers have to do our part to keep the environment we inhabit, and let’s be honest, take advantage of for our own pleasure, safe.
Sometimes it is easy to forget to do certain things to maintain a fun but environmentally responsible balance but it’s actually pretty simple!
Climbers use the outdoors for pleasure and although it is clear from our experience that it seems most of the community respects the outdoors we are responsible for common environmental impacts we may not consider such as soil erosion, breaking rock features, path damage, abandoned bolts, little, chalk accumulation and even human waste deposits (yuk!).
So here are a few ways in which you can minimise the environmentally impact of this amazing pastime.
Keeping to the path to the crag is a sure way to respect the wildlife of the area and also held avoid erosion. You may notice a “desire path” which would knock a couple of minutes off your approach but stop and think about the point of the footpath you are on. It’s not only unsightly to have the local flora downtrodden but it also destroys habitats.
“Leave nothing but footprints, Take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time”
Be sure to talk a flannel/towel or bouldering brush with you to the crag. Leaving unsightly chalk is actually akin to an act of graffiti. Try to minimise the visual impact of your climbing and perhaps even that of others. Extra brownie points for that.
It shouldn’t have to be said to pick up your own litter. This is obvious. Maybe take a bag with you and pick up any litter you see. Be sure though it is safe and probably avoid touching that used tissue under the bush. Crag clean ups are a great way to get the climbing community together and do something beneficial for all.
Using the loo
Ok gals, this one is a biggie. For years, I convinced myself it was OK to leave small amount of toilet paper under a rock or hidden in a bush. However, I realised as time went on I was kidding myself and did a little research, finding out it takes about 2-5 months for it to decompose. Not only does it remain on the ground for a significant period of time but it is unsightly and an infection risk for all others that use the area. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting. It’s easy to wipe and put the paper in a bag (dog poo/biodegradable) and dispose of when you are home. You can also use a “pee rag” which you can make at home using micro-fibre or cotton cloth and hang it on the outside of your bag to dry. I have read the ultra violet rays from the sun are a natural disinfectant! And no one will know……
It may be more tricky if you are on your period but I would wholly recommend using a menstrual cup anyway as this cuts out the faff of having to change tampons or pads and is in itself far more environmentally friendly
Your first question should always be….. do I need it? If you do try to source what you are looking for second hand or from a friend. Maybe you need it for one trip, can you borrow it? if you need to buy it try sourcing from a local company from sustainable and organic materials. Then love it forever.
There are plenty of companies now seeing the value in stocking organic and sustainable products. You can buy a range of vegan friendly climbing shoes from Evolv, Mad Rock, Sportiva, Five ten, and Tenaya. Organic bouldering pads are now available as well. We do not advise you buy any second hand safety equipment such as ropes, harnesses and quick-draws. Ensure you know the history of these items and when you do buy them new the better you look after them, the longer they will last.
Do you have any environmentally friendly tips you would like to share? Please post in the comments below!