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.
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.