Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flagstaff Bouldering and OSMP

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.


Doug Lipinski said...


I think this is a great idea and I'm always a little disappointed to see how little it seems that people (climbers) respect this area. I once picked up several pounds of broken class around the base of Cloudshadow. Let me know if I can help.


sock hands said...

i hardly believe that the climbers smashed the bottles. flagstaff is a favorite sunset and after dark joint to get baked, drunkkord, etc. and, what's more fun to a buzzing fool than hucking the bottle and hearing that oh so satisfying smash and jangle of glass shards?

in any event, i applaud your effort, peter. the trash bash only goes so far and constant stewardship is essential.

Peter Beal said...

Granted that climbers are not a major trash-creating group. The chalk and social trail situation is getting to be a problem however.

The OSMP ranger told me that they have had late night patrols on weekends since the beginning of the semester and have been writing plenty of tickets for glass. In one incident an illegal fire was called in and the culprits ran away leaving it unattended! Scary stuff, not to mention the risks of navigating the road while intoxicated.

wyclimber said...

I have a friend who started packing an old windex squirt bottle filled with water to squirt over bearing dogs at the boulders. Though this is great fun and a good humane way to train a dog to leave you the hell alone, the bottle eventually got turned on the boulders. Now he squirts the holds as we leave each boulder. Not quite the solution for the chalk bag spill on the ground, but it has defintely cleaned up the signs of heavy summer use. A squirt bottle and a trash bag don't take up much room in a boulderers pack and goes a long way toward stewardship.

chuffer said...

working on getting back there ASAP ... and would love to be a part of what you've got going on with OSMP in regards to Flagstaff Mtn

Peter said...

Way to go Peter. We always bring a little bag and try and pick up what we can... but there is always more. The obscure areas seem to be really prone to tossed glass... Keep us informed of what we can do.

chuffer said...

any new developments on this?

Peter Beal said...

Waiting for the weather to improve. Thinking about March.