Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Not to Leave Your Mark in Chaos Canyon

Obviously RMNP is not the pristine bouldering area it might once have been but it is clear from a number of things I have seen and heard recently that boulderers are not doing what they could to help keep it as natural as possible. Above is someone's contribution to the problem. This information was added to the overhang just left of the Automator, a pretty ordinary piece of rock at best. Nobody really needs to know (and probably nobody cares) about the grade of this problem but in any case, nobody needs to write it on the boulder itself. I am assuming this has been erased by now. I didn't have a brush when I took the photo. Obviously it's not as bad as the photo below. This was some graffiti recently added to Flagstaff Mountain and a great argument for outlawing spray paint. Thanks to Andy Mann for the photos.
 But the impulse to mark the rock is essentially the same and it should be stopped. No excuses, no rationales, no nothing. Leave the rock the way you found it.

I am also seeing and hearing indications that pad-stashing is creeping back into style. I am thinking Upper Chaos especially but I have heard of climbers leaving gear elsewhere as well. I have seen a few groups of "hikers" who were obviously boulderers (sorry, the big shoulders and Organic packs don't fit the typical hiker profile) cruising on up the trail, free of pesky burdens like crashpads. I guess they were going to "freebase" Eternia or some similar objective. I cannot emphasize enough A. how weak it is to stash gear and B. how easily Chaos could be closed because of poor climber behavior while RMNP comes up with a more restrictive management plan. Needless to say I feel a bit foolish carrying two and a half pads plus gear when I see others carrying nothing but a light daypack but I know it's the right thing to do. I am planning on a survey hike very soon to see what's up at Upper Chaos. I am not looking forward to the results.


Peter J said...

Bummer about Flag... but its at least is comprehensible. As for the Park, there are no excuses like you said. However, I don't see it changing any time soon - with the new guide coming out and population growth in the sport it will just get worse. I wish I could believe that we have the ability to manage ourselves and our sport, but I have never seen it happen. I know where some stashed pads and stashed ropes are right now. I also know where some former stashed pads are that are now shredded, in marmot holes, and in a general state of decomp. We are a sad, lazy lot... but at least I know where a V5 with an R rating is! ;)

Peter Beal said...

Re: stashed decomposing pads. Please take photos and post on your blog or send them to me. Padstashing is bull****.

Adayak said...

You could always play a cruel joke on a padstasher ... if you come across one, just move it to a new spot - maybe they'll come back and think someone stole it.

Chris said...

I'm not exactly sure what the policy is in RMNP, but I know that "
Property left unattended in Yosemite for longer than 24 hours is considered abandoned and may be impounded." (taken from the NPS website) Perhaps there's a simple solution to our pad stashing problem. If you see a pad thats obviously been there for a while, take it. Sell it for cheap on Mountain Project so that the owner can get it back if they really want it. Once people realize that stashing a pad could be taken (can hardly call it stealing if its technically abandoned) or eaten by marmots, they'll likely stop stashing pads.

On a similar note, I recently found a stashed rope inside a dry bag under the diamond. Both were chewed well beyond usable condition. Maybe those pesky marmots are our allies in this fight.

Anonymous said...

I will hike out stashed pads and leave them for rangers

N-d said...

hey man, good points, definitely things worth discussing, but a few things seem a little off about your post.

I was the one who ended up brushing off the v5 L and R, and after seeing this post, I thought it was a little odd that you would take the time to take the photo, post it, and then complain about the whole thing on your blog, but you wouldn't walk back to your stuff and grab a brush or ask someone if you could use one real quick and take care of it yourself.

also, if you're so against pad stashing, then why was it that you had no problem using three stashed pads in upper a few days ago?

Not trying to be rude, but it's pretty hard to read this stuff and then see your actions, and not think that you're just all talk

Peter Beal said...

Hi N-d, whoever you are. As I mentioned, I forgot to go back for the brush and sorry about that. While the marks were an eyesore, they weren't anymore pressing than any of the other multiple random bits of climber trash that I have hauled out over the summer. Thanks for taking them off.

Re: the stashed pads in Upper. Since I was by myself and the pads were there (two of them) I decided to go ahead and use them. I can live with myself on this point if I am already carrying two pads up there to begin with. If it makes me a hypocrite, then so be it. Maybe you could argue that using all the terraced landings up there is being a hypocrite too. There is such a thing as common sense. BTW speaking of all talk, How many are you carrying up there these days?

You can certainly describe me however you like, especially from behind a pseudonym. I will continue to do as I see fit.

I still believe that pad stashing is not the right thing to do and if you would like, I can start carrying out the ones in Upper. However I am under the impression that they are the property of a number of people I know or know of and they would be very upset with me for doing this. Let me know what you think is the right thing to do here.

Anonymous said...

Hike them out.