Leave No Trace

Rock climbing is getting more popular.  Apparently, so is being a douche.  The San Luis Obispo County wrote a pretty good article about how the ecological impact of rock climbing is increasing as more and more people are finding the sport and going outside with little or no training in our much-beloved “Leave No Trace” paradigm.

In fact, the mentality of the people going out there seems to be semi-retarded.  Here’s a quote from one such noober (one Ha Pham, aged 23) who thought it’d be a great idea to open her mouth:

“They should have signs and stuff and trash cans outside,” said Pham,
who climbs regularly in the safety of a San Francisco gym. “I don’t
think they even clean your rocks off for you out there.”

Seriously woman.  Clean your rocks off for you out there?  Let’s call the Rock Cleaning Service to go out there and shampoo the slopers so they’re extra sticky for you.  The outdoors isn’t about convenience, it’s not about “oh look, there’s a conveniently located trash can in the middle of the fucking forest.  Going outside is about getting away from civilization and enjoying nature as it is without human intervention.  And the gym rats are slowly turning it into Disney World (or they want to, anyway.)

In a way, it’s our own fault.  The article is right – we don’t educate people enough on Leave No Trace, we don’t take these noobs under our wing and show them the ropes.  But that’s because there’s no respect.  No respect for the environment, and no respect for other climbers.  There’s no shortage of theft, vandalism, littering, the whole nine.  It’s frustrating, because that’s the mentality that these gyms are fostering – “climb inside, and for a short temporary thrill go out to the outdoors.”  The gyms are the temporary places – they’ll come and go.  Real climbers – the ones that will stick with the sport longer than a few months – know that the gym is where you go when you can’t get outside.  When it’s too cold, or too far, or simply not in the cards.  Then you go the gym to train.  But going outside… that’s The Real Deal, and it should be respected.

I’m ranting and I have a headache from reading such a singularly stupid comment.