How To Keep Climbing A Sustainable Activity
It’s always really important when taking part in any activity, that we do so in an environmentally friendly way in order to sustain the area and cause as little to no damage as possible. Therefore, we have compiled 6 ways that you can enjoy your climbing in a sustainable and responsible way.
- Car Share – You can reduce your footprint even before you get to the crag by car sharing with your climbing buddies. This will help solve the problem of over-crowding in the car parks, as well as doing your bit to reduce Carbon Emissions. Once you're leaving the carpark on foot, stick to the footpaths that are already there and don't be a litter bug!
- Leave the area exactly as you found it - Probably the most obvious, but don’t leave any rubbish behind; don’t remove mosses or natural vegetation from cracks, avoid damaging the Rock itself by causing too much erosion, don’t over-use your chalk - It’s all pretty self-explanatory and obvious, just keep everything tidy and respect the area you are climbing.
- Leave the route as you found it - In many areas messing with the route with the use of fixed equipment is restricted, so it’s important to check with local councils/managers before placing in any bolts. Try to use removable protection and definitely don’t force a new route.
- Be mindful of what Rock Type you are climbing on – Only use the routes that are already established and lessen the chance of erosion by not deliberately chipping away at the Rock. If you're climbing on softer stone, such as Limestone then ensure you are not over-using the route and think carefully about what you will clean the rocks with - a softer brush rather than a wire brush would be ideal.
- Ensure that all of your kit is in top condition - Kit in bad condition is more likely to make you work harder and cause you to make mistakes in your climbing route and technique, causing damage. This can easily be reduced by using kit that is in proper working order. Also ensure you have all the correct kit for the route you are climbing - don't go wrapping your rope around a tree as this is incredibly unsafe and causes damage to the bark. (Sounds ridiculous to some of you but it has been known to happen!)
- Respect everything around you – Be aware of others climbing around you and try to keep the noise levels down. If you can, climbing at more ‘off-peak’ times in the day will also reduce crowding at certain routes. It’s also really important to respect the fact that what you are climbing on is someone else’s home, so don’t disturb nesting birds, don’t touch the young as they’re unlikely to be fed afterwards by the parents and don’t move the nest if it’s in your way on a ledge – find an alternative route and make others aware that the route is currently ‘in-use’.
This Statement was taken from the European Outdoor Conservation Association Website – “In most countries, birds are protected by law. In the UK for example, all birds, their eggs and nests are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), and certain rare and endangered species such as the peregrine falcon are further protected by increased penalties. It is a climber's responsibility not to disturb crag-nesting birds. In some countries, crags carry ‘Bird Restrictions’ in the spring (typically from 1st March to 30 June). Climbers should make efforts to find out if there are any birds nesting on the crag they intend to visit and whether there are any restrictions on the right to climb on those crags. Usually restricted crags will be signed but this is not always the case. In some countries, websites list the latest restrictions.”
The BMC recently published a ‘National Crag Code’which has some great tips to encourage the sustainable use of Crags in England and Wales, which you can check out here.
Here in the UK we have some amazing places to satisfy our climbing cravings, from Portland in Dorset all the way up to Glen Coe and Island of Skye and plenty in between, so it’s really important that we do the best we can in order to keep them going!