Signature Reduction

 

Connecticut climbing is currently at capacity.

Like all outdoor recreation activities, climbing and bouldering has the potential to cause ecological degradation, such as vegetation loss, soil erosion, and resource modification; social impacts, such as user conflicts, crowding, and increased anthropogenic noise; and aesthetic impacts associated with residual climbing chalk on stone.

I recently got involved in some FacePlant banter about climbing clubs, groups, and guides/climbing schools. My point is that we really need to try hard to put our own personal wants and wishes aside when deciding where we are going to go climbing, when we consider WHO is coming with us. If we decide to bring 18 of our closest friends, we might choose certain venues over others. The profile from parking alone is a huge factor, especially when we park on the street. We know the neighbors don’t want us there, and based on some conversations I’ve had with a specific neighbor recently, I’d suggest we, as a user group, consider the crags as less of an entitlement, and then think about our impact on others (neighbors, hikers, recreational users, other climbers). There is way more to responsible behavior than simply picking up micro trash, carpooling and saying we “tried” to mitigate our groups size of 30. We need to stop treating our crags like we treat the rock gym.

Just to put it into perspective, the National Outdoor Leadership School recommends a maximum group size of 12. Outward Bound recommends 10. Acadia National Park demands that all groups be 12 or less. LNT.org makes no recommendation but suggests that 8 might be about right based on impacts to the ground we walk on.

How can we reduce our impact?

  • have a plan and hold yourselves to it
  • carpool in full car loads-don’t park on others property, and don’t clog the road
  • climb in small simple cohorts. Like a crew of 2 or 3. The larger your group is, the more impact you have, and the more you affect others outside of your group.
  • if your social club outing is large, spread out to two or three different crags
  • acknowledge that your large group isn’t helping to maintain access
  • own that you are part of the larger problem and that you need to come up with a solution
  • travel and climb in groups of 12 or less. This is a strong recommendation form me. NOLS also recommends this as a maximum group size.
  • reduce your sound profile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve head someone’s F Bombs from the dam on my walk up to Ragged. These crags are sounding boards.
  • own that we are our own solution. If we don’t solve this for ourselves, someone else may do it for us, and we could very well loose access.
  • join RMF and Access Fund. Chip in a few bucks to buy a cliff. It’s hard to shut it down when you own it.
  • provide leadership to others who aren’t in the know or don’t understand

Group Take over at Green Wall

I wrote the following for the Ragged Mountain Foundation in 2016. It seems like ages ago, but it’s still totally relevant.

By Matt Shove, RMF Board Member

Our local climbing is awesome and everyone wants to go climbing on beautiful days. However, parking at all of our crags can be limited.

The RMF believes we can reduce congestion in the neighborhoods if more climbers begin carpooling. We hope that folks can leave a few minutes earlier, meet in a parking lot, and ride together to the crag. We know that it’s not always possible, and someone in the party might have to leave before everyone else.

Believe it or not, more No Parking signs are going up and the neighbors do actually notice you. All we ask is that you do the best you can to help limit our profile in the neighborhood parking areas. There is room for about 7 cars at Pinnacle Rock and about 10 at Ragged.

Please take as few vehicles as possible to the residential parking areas do your best to maintain a low profile. These small considerations go a long way in helping us maintain good relationships with the neighbors which in turn helps us keep our crags open.

BEST PRACTICES FOR RESPONSIBLE CLIMBERS

  • Don’t block regular traffic on the roadway
  • Don’t park within 25ft of a mailbox, driveway or intersection
  • Pack and rack up before you arrive at the cliff. Please don’t rack up in the road or step foot on the neighbors lawn.
  • Leave your hammocks and stereos/speakers at home. The crags can be a sounding board.
  • Please don’t change your clothing in the road. There are women and children watching.
  • Please don’t drink celebratory beers by your cars.
  • Say hello and wave to our neighbors – be friendly and respectful if confronted.
  • Pick up some trash while you’re there and throw it away at home.

Below are some convenient places to meet you partners and arrange carpools to the crag.

RAGGED MOUNTAIN CARPOOLING:

These areas work well for Ragged, Cathole and the neighboring areas.

  • Timberlin Park
    330 Southington Rd, Berlin, CT 06037
    Please park in the main lot near the golf course
  • Big Y/Starbucks/Parma Pizza
    275 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062
    Also near Pinnacle Rock
  • Ferndale Plaza, Roger’s IGA Grocery
    45 Chamberlain Highway, Kensington, Connecticut 06037
  • Corbin’s Corner Shopping Plaza
    1445 New Britain Avenue West Hartford, CT 06110

PINNACLE ROCK RIDGE & RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN CARPOOLING

  • Big Y/Starbucks/Parma Pizza
    275 New Britain Ave, Plainville, CT 06062

If you have questions or more parking and carpool recommendation, please reach out to info@raggedmtn.org.

Thank you for being a responsible climber and helping reduce congestion in the residential parking areas at our crags.

Prepared by Matt Shove
Ragged Mountain Guides
matt@raggedmountainguides.com

Resources:

Access Fund Climbing Management Planning https://www.accessfund.org/uploads/ClimbingManagementGuide_AccessFund.pdf

Ragged Mountain Foundation http://www.raggedmtn.org/

Leave No Trace https://lnt.org/

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One Response to Signature Reduction

  1. Lydia says:

    Wow! This was an awesome read and I couldn’t agree more with everything stated here. I am all for climbing without leaving a trace and following your tips will help me succeed in that!

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