Instead of going to the Horsetooth Hang this fall, I was on the phone with Rick Hatfield from Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks talking about ways in which the agency and climbers can come together to improve the situation at Flagstaff Mountain. As they say, charity begins at home.
As any regular visitor knows, there are always issues with erosion, litter (including climber trash), grafitti, and sadly chalk. Flagstaff has long been the poor relation for Colorado bouldering despite the fact that it offers the most extensive and accessible bouldering area in the state. In this case familiarity may be leading to contempt. For example, I am dismayed by the amounts of chalk on many problems, including footholds (!) and even worse, just dumped on the ground. Tick marks are clearly not being brushed off. A new trend is unhelpful large Xs to show what someone thinks is a loose hold on problems that have been that way for 25 years. For a vivid illustration of all this in action, visit Beer Barrel Rock which is literally bathed in chalk right now. Clearly there are many parts of Flagstaff that need trail maintenance as well.
I will be working with OSMP to develop educational bouldering tours focusing on spreading the word both about the many lesser-known problems across the grades in the park and also on building a consensus towards a Leave No Trace ethic in bouldering there and elsewhere.