Indian Creek. Zion. Joshua Tree. Red Rocks. The desert environment is home to iconic climbing destinations. Characterized by little precipitation and sparse populations, the barren, stark landscape of the desert is uniquely fragile and full of life. As you are planning your next desert adventure to climb splitter cracks and towers or wrestle beautifully shaped and colored boulders, learn about how to take care of this environment and minimize your impact.
The desert environment demands some very specific minimum impact behaviors due to its unique and fragile terrain. Take care when traveling to and from the cliffs and boulders not to trample fragile cryptobiotic soil, which is a living crust that plays an important ecological role in many desert environments. You should also always pack out human waste, since desert soil lacks the necessary microorganisms to biodegrade it.
Popular climbing areas of the desert environment:
Indian Creek, Zion, Joshua Tree, Red Rocks
Learn how to park like a champ to preserve climbing access.
Learn best practice tips for putting The Pact into practice each time you go climbing.
Use tick marks sparingly and remember to brush them off before you leave. Too many ticks can cause confusion on a route, botch on-sight attempts, and ruin the self-discovery and problem-solving aspect of climbing.
Learn tips and tricks to manage chalk use and minimize tick marks.
Human waste disposal is a significant issue in all types of climbing terrain. Check out the Poop: Waste Disposal Strategies for Climbers infographic to learn more about responsible human waste disposal.
Ever wonder how long it take for a banana peel or aluminum can to biodegrade? Check out this infographic to learn more.
Planning on rolling to the crag or boulders with your crew? Take a look at these 5 tips for climbing in larger groups to reduce you impact.
When transitioning from climbing indoors to outdoors, be prepared to venture outside by gaining awareness and skills to minimize your impact.
Anatomy of a Responsible Climbing Infographic
Loud music and excessive noise may cause social impacts and ruin other climbers experience. Keep a low profile.
Stay on established trails whenever possible and avoid trail cutting and social trails.
Dave Wetmore shows how not to take a crap outdoors. Poop responsibly, people.
Pack up all of your trash each time you go climbing and bring a trash bag along to pick up trash left by others.
Clean up exess chalk and tick marks after each session to prevent visual impacts.
Stashing pads is often illegal and raises the alarm for land managers. Take the time and effort to pack out your pads after each session.
Learning how to evaluate bolts instead of blindly trusting them is a critical skill for any climber, and it could save your life. This content includes: the state of bolts in America, how to determine if you can trust a bolt, and identifying bad hangers.