It’s Summertime, the season where most climbers get out of the gym and go into the wild to climb outdoors. Protecting the outdoors is something that, as climbers, is in our own interest, so whether you climb for sport or just for the sheer fun of it, here are four easy ways you can do your part to be an environmentally-friendly climber.
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead is the key to reducing your impact on the environment. If you're traveling by car, think about what kind of vehicle you’re using and whether it would be more environmentally-friendly to ride your bike instead.
Sometimes with all our gear, driving to the crag is our only option. Consider carpooling with your friends so that fewer cars are needed. If you have time before the trip, look into public transportation options in that area - and make sure everyone in your climbing crew knows about them!
Another great thing about planning ahead is that it helps us to reduce waste. On longer trips, you might need to bring packed lunches and snacks or buy supplies along the way (don’t forget to bring along your own reusable bags!). However, it's always better if you prepare your own meals using reusable containers instead of buying convenience food along the way.
This kind of grab-and-go food is often made using aluminum cans and plastic bottles which don't break down as easily once they reach landfills. As a result, they'll stay in our Earth's ecosystem forever, unless someone takes responsibility for cleaning them up!
2. Do your research
Whether you're new to climbing or a seasoned pro, doing your research is key. If your intention is to be more eco-friendly, it's important to understand the local environment and what kind of impact you might have during your visit.
Research the environmental protection regulations and guidelines in the area where you’re planning to climb. Are there any environmental organizations? Local laws or initiatives? There might even be legislation that’s being put forward by government officials which could affect your ability (or inability) to climb as an environmentally-friendly climber?
Respect the wishes and policies of the local area, even if they mean that your climbing access is restricted or you have to jump through some extra hoops.
3. Leave no trace
When you first heard the phrase ’Leave no trace’, it might have sounded like a silly thing to say or a way for the hippie types to justify their camping habits, but it’s actually pretty simple. What it really means is that you shouldn't leave any of your waste, kit or anything else on your next visit. Ideally, it should look like you were never there in the first place.
You should pack out all of your trash (even if it's just an empty water bottle), dispose of food scraps properly, and don't leave any toilet paper behind! By showing respect to the environment and not contributing excess waste to our climbing areas, we’re keeping our planet clean and healthy for generations to come!
4. Get involved in conservation efforts
There are many ways you can help the environment, one of which is by getting involved in conservation efforts. You can join an organization that has a vested interest in protecting the environment, or work with them to carry out projects that preserve land and water resources.
Do your research before joining any organization. Look for one with a strong mission statement and clear goals for how it plans on achieving its vision of an environmentally-friendly future. Also consider whether or not the group is designed for climbers or other outdoor enthusiasts, since you might want to do your bit regardless of whether you prefer an indoor gym or a crag.
Once you have chosen an appropriate organization, look into how they use their funding. Are they spending all the funds on new equipment? Do they allow volunteers time off work so they can help implement their conservation plan? Can you still climb while being active within this group? All things that you’re going to want to consider before committing.
We hope that we’ve helped you think about ways to keep your passion for rock climbing while taking care of nature. Once you start putting these small changes into action, you’ll be able to find plenty of other ways to help the environment in our everyday lives.
Don’t forget - you don’t have to do this alone! You can always get friends involved, or even join a club or organization that shares your values and interests. Try doing research online, go on hikes with like-minded people, or join volunteer clean-up efforts near you! Even small efforts can help the environment in big ways—plus, they’re great opportunities to meet others who share your concerns and passions. It’s a win-win all around!