If you were ever a Girl Scout or Boy Scout as a kid, you learned about leave no trace at a very young age. You may have also learned about it if your family were avid campers.
There are seven keys to leaving no trace so that the natural outdoors remains natural. Most rock climbers are very avid about preserving the purity of outdoors and their climbing grounds.
The first key is to plan ahead and be prepared.
Know what the regulations are in the area you will be climbing. Prepare for any emergencies, changes in climate and other hazards. Schedule your climb during times that there will not be a large group of people. This will make your climbing experience better anyhow. Repackage food to minimize waste and take your trash home with you.
The second key is to travel and camp on durable surfaces.
Only drive and park on trails with rock, gravel, or dry grass. Show consideration for other climbers, walkers or the landowner. In popular camping areas try to concentrate activity on trails, campsites and where vegetation is absent.
In pristine areas, try to disperse the creation of campsites and trails. You should also avoid places where wear from campers is beginning to take place. There can be some exceptions to this principle of leave no trace, especially if there are only designated places to camp.
The third key is to dispose of your waste properly.
Whatever you pack in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite for trash and food. Pack out all of your trash, leftover food and litter – in fact, pack out any other litter that is there whether it is yours or not.
For the toilet issue, you can always “go before you go,” but if you are camping overnight in an area with no “port-a-potties,” then you can dig six to seven inch holes for depositing waste in. Cover the hole when finished. Pack out all toilet paper and hygiene products that are used.
To wash dishes and shower, do so at least 200 feet away from water sources and use biodegradable soap.
The fourth key is to preserve and leave behind what you find.
Look but don’t touch cultural or historical artifacts. Do not climb historical or cultural structures. Leave rocks and plants how you found them. Avoid introducing anything that is non-native to the area.
The fifth key is to minimize campfire impacts.
If you are spending the night at a climbing site, try to use only established fire rings and only use wood from the ground. Do not build fire rings if there are not any already, use a small stove and lantern for cooking and light.
Keep fires small, you do not need to build large fires for one or two people or for cooking. Burn your fires completely out and scatter cooled ashes.
The sixth key is to respect the wildlife in the area.
Observe them from a distance and do not threaten them in anyway. Never feed animals as human food is not healthy for the animals and it changes their natural feeding behaviors. They may learn that campsites are a good place to get food and they may become exposed to other dangers.
If you bring your pets, ensure that they are under control at all times. It is also best to allow them to sleep with you in your tent.
The seventh key is to be considerate to other visitors in the area. Be courteous and friendly to people on the trail and at climbing sites. Avoid talking loud and swearing in front of other climbers, especially children.
So there you have it the 7 principles of leave no trace for more information check out these leave no trace books.
Please practice these principles so that we can all enjoy the beauty of what nature offers us.
Rock Climbing For Life
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