10 ways to Leave No Trace when climbing

Scouts always leave a place better than they found it.

Whenever departing a campground, park or hiking trail, Scouts try to erase any trace they were there.

This is friendly, courteous and kind to others. And it maintains Scouting’s century-old reputation as responsible users of public lands.

But what about when climbing outdoors? How do you Leave No Trace doing this popular activity with your Scout troop or Venturing crew?

The answer will help Boy Scouts meet requirement 2 of the Climbing merit badge. It comes from our friends at the Jeep brand and the Access Fund.

A big hand for climbers

As the Jeep brand’s conservation partner, the Access Fund is committed to protecting and supporting America’s outdoor climbing areas. The Access Fund says one in five climbing areas in the U.S. is threatened, which is bad news for any Scout or Venturer who loves to spend time outside.

The Access Fund is doing more than talking. They’re hitting the road in a fleet of Jeep Cherokees, traveling the country from climbing area to climbing area to preserve and protect what’s there.

They call it the Access Fund-Jeep Conservation Team. The group has visited 32 states so far, working with volunteers and paid crews at each stop.

Speaking of, you’re invited to volunteer at an Access Fund event. It’s a fun, meaningful way to record service hours. Just check this calendar to find out when the Conservation Team will be near you.

Future generations of climbers will thank you.

10 ways to Leave No Trace when climbing

You can have an immediate impact on the climbing community by following this advice from the Access Fund.

1. Learn the local climbing culture.

No two climbing cultures are exactly alike. Before you head out on a climbing trip, contact a local climbing organization or visit a local climbing gym or gear shop. They can tell you about any special considerations newbies might not know.

2. Keep a low profile when climbing as a group.

Climbing with fellow Scouts or Venturers is fun, but large groups can create a larger impact on a site. Break into smaller groups of no more than six or eight people. Keep gear confined to the smallest possible area.

3. Place your gear in the right place.

Your gear, including backpacks, water bottles and more, should be placed close to the cliff — not at the edge of the staging area. Avoid placing gear on vegetation; instead stow it on durable surfaces like rocks or hard-packed dirt.

4. Leave your music in the car.

While it may not leave a permanent physical impact, playing music while climbing (or hiking, for that matter) diminishes the experience for other climbers. Instead, tune in to Mother Nature’s natural sounds.

5. Do not touch or climb on pictograms or petroglyphs.

Take only pictures. Leave only footprints. Don’t mess up any culturally significant artifacts you come across. This means never touching or climbing on pictograms or petroglyphs.

6. Clean up and brush off chalk.

Climbers use chalk to improve their grip on the rock. When doing so, it’s important to clean up any chalk spills and brush away any tick marks with a soft toothbrush. This keeps the rock looking nice for future climbers — or for anyone who happens to walk by and give the crag a glance.

7. Pack out trash.

No trash can at your climbing spot? That just means it’s the right kind of remote. Pack out everything, including fruit peels and food waste.

8. Know where (and how) to go No. 2.

Use toilets when you can — even if that means hiking a little farther. In remote and heavily forested areas, a cathole is a great option. But once you’re out in the desert, where the soils lack the microorganisms to break down human waste, get yourself used to using a waste disposal bag and carrying your waste out.

9. Be considerate of other climbers.

When climbing, you represent two tight-knit communities: Scouts and climbers. That’s a big responsibility. Respecting others means sharing the space and being friendly.

10. Camp in an established campsite.

Done climbing for the day? Look for sites that have already been established. Creating a new campsite widens your impact on the land.

Visit Jeep and the Access Fund at the 2017 Jamboree

If you’ll be at the 2017 National Jamboree this month, don’t miss the interactive Jeep trailer and new Jeep vehicles in the Boulder Cove area.

Climb in the vehicles and take a photo to share your Jamboree experience with friends.

Reps from Jeep brand and the Access Fund will talk about their climbing access and trail work.

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