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Lucky Larry

Argument in favor of permanet trail/climb markers

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Some reasons in favor of markers: lower environmental impact by limiting areas of travel, eg SEWS multiple trails going all over the place to end up at base of the same climb. May decrease poop/bags scattered everywhere eg if something is in your face more likely to do something about it like telling people to get with it or actually, gawd forbid, carry someone else's shit/trash out yourself. Decrease rescues which endanger the rescued and rescuers lives, and saves money.

Just look at Europe for a clue; they have been use to the idea for a long time because there are so many people that dig getting outdoors.

Edited by oldlarry

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J-Tree has trail markers installed initially to cut down on the number of trails that damaged vegetation. Seems like a good idea to me.

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just a wtf. I'm pissed at all the damage from too many pointless trails going all over the place. people argue that markers are unsightly and destroy the pristine views, that they detract from the beauty of nature, that they destroy the sense of adventure and ? hee haw! now i know why people are pissed at the FS. I have heard first hand stories of forest workers who have been told to look the other way by superiors while the trees are being stolen. ja, just pony up boys and pay your dues because this country is for me and you? BS hee haw

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One more step in the dumbing down of the Climber !

 

if you cant follow a trail, how do you people stay on route when on a climb ?

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if you cant follow a trail, how do you people stay on route when on a climb ?

 

I don't think the issue is climbers following a trail, it is climbers/hikers making and following multiple trails which damages the environment particularly in fragile ecosystems like the alpine, artic, and some desert zones.

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if you cant follow a trail, how do you people stay on route when on a climb ?

 

I don't think the issue is climbers following a trail, it is climbers/hikers making and following multiple trails which damages the environment particularly in fragile ecosystems like the alpine, artic, and some desert zones.

 

Exactly.

 

Pick 1 trail to a crag and preserve other areas by marking the designated route. Climbers should be good at off trail navigating, but areas with high use need some management.

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Just look at Europe for a clue; they have been use to the idea for a long time because there are so many people that dig getting outdoors.

 

Yep, look at Europe. Route names painted on the cliffs, cement cairns and red numbered paint marks to get you to the hut or on the trail. Yea, look to Europe for climbers that have no clue in a wilderness setting or how to follow a trail.

 

How about we clean up our own shit and pick up after others no so inclined and actually stay on the trails that are there and don't cut the switch backs on the way down.

 

Sure areas need management. Look at Vantage. A few friends and I climbed there for years....with little impact. Then a little word of mouth at a WSU Alpine Club slide show and shortly there after all the asses showed up.

 

It was a beautiful desert environment, now it is a trash heap. Ya, we do need managment but how about we start with something simple like the issues @ Vantage.

 

 

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Utilizing trails or trail markers to minimize impact is always a wise choice it seems to me. Yosemite is an example of a area where they do not mark climbers trails well and it has had a detrimental effect in many areas.

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Populations are only going to increase. The crowd-to-surface-area in European mountains reached critical mass some time ago. We are catching up now and need to educate the masses who are/will head into the mountains. Marked trails, wilderness ethic propaganda, whatever. Don't like the braided-trail-to-a-destination effect? The status quo won't work in perpetuity.

 

(Good thread topic, BTW.)

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thanks, this is just what I wanted to happen, the critical mass thing is right on the mark, imo. newbs, noobies, wantabees, whatever name you want to give 'them people' theys already coming en mass. if the tude is let'em learn by getting lost, well just look at what we have sown and what we get to reap. if everyone is always right then what is going to be left. I don't have much time left on this ball of dust--why give a shit, right. Just keep attacking other people that don't agree with you doesn't solve nothin. marked trails solves/creates it's own set of problems. what's the lesser of two evils--Sophie's choice.

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People get psyched to climb without having a previous outdoor background. That wasn't usually true of climbers 30 years ago but that was then and this is now.

 

Placing a sign directing folks is pretty cheap and low impact. I like seeing signs on trails indicating vegetation restoration areas and blocking unnecessary side trails.

 

Signs to crags do not equal spray painting rock.

 

I could probably drive all over the state without road signs or arrows pointing the way, but the same isn't true of someone new to the region.

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I am all for pointing out climbing trails with signs, however, I think there is another issue at play.

In many areas that regularly get large amounts of snow and climbing traffic like many of the alpine climbs in higher country, the snow melting out can result a maze of different trails.

 

Look at Mount Rainier for example, in many of the low meadows out of Paradise, when there is plenty of snow, people establish trails wherever the they want to go. Well as the snow melts out and reveals more and more bare patches, people end up crossing through said patches because they dont know where the actual trail is.

And when the snow first melts, those meadows are particularly fragile and easily give way to new trails. This after a few seasons results in a maze of trails, which seems pretty regular to me on popular climbs.

 

Dont get me wrong, I'd love to see it change, but I just have a feeling that it might be less than "people just dont give a shit", and more unintentional. In fact ive never come across someone that has intentionally avoided a trail on a long approach slog.

 

So maybe that just means we need to come up with creative ideas of marking trails that is subtle, but will keep you in line when snow patches cover much of the actual trail. Maybe pinning something to certain trees in the way blazes used to be used.

I'd love to hear interesting ways of creating a solution, and its something I wouldn't mind implementing either. Putting a little time into fixing up the places around here is the least we could all do considering all the fun times to be had.

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In Canada they use small orange reflective squares mounted high off the ground on large trees. In the dark they reflect your headlamp. It's kept me on trail (in deep snow or not) many times. I've often wondered why we don't use these also. Leavenworth is a great example of a place that has trails cris-crossing in all directions to get to the same destination.

 

I'll also throw in my 2 cents on huts. I used to be adamantly against them, thinking that they brought the wilderness experience down to a lower level. But after seeing and using many mountain huts in Canada, they really seem to keep the impact concentrated in a small area that's literally made for human impact. Not to mention they are just plain cool, especially in winter. I've seen very little negative impact from these establishments.

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I agree with huts. I think huts in popular areas would do a lot towards mitigating damage. Boston Basin, Colchuck Lake, North side of Mt Baker all have multiple rock tent rings and you can turn over virtually any rock and find feces and toilet paper underneath.

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i agree with you, danielpatricksmith, huts in some of the high use areas would be a really good idea. i understand dane's sentiment, but that is no longer the world in which we are living. i especially like the idea of a hut at colchuck!

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This begs the question regarding who would fund the building and maintenance of these structures. Canada et al do so with higher taxation rates as far as I know. Americans don't want to have to pay for anything with taxes, yet expect everything.

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How about using money from those trail passes we all have to buy to build the huts and maintain the huts? There is that little piece of legislation called the Wilderness Act that prohibits huts in many areas though.

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In an area that receives high use I'd agree it's better to select a site in the area then install a hut and some kind of waist management. Possibly via hauling out, or maybe some kind of simple on site mitigation. It would control human impact and avoid huge camping zones.

 

Funding is obviously a toughy. Taxing everyone equally will never fly, at least these days.

 

Paying for a pass, and or donating time for trail maintenance and other restoration projects to get a pass might work.

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I see only one end result from this conversation...extremely limited human access and a bigger fee management system.

 

I don't think RNP does a very good job. More fees but not so sure of what services I get for those fees and sure don't like the paper work you have to go through to enjoy the park.

 

My point on Vantage is it is over run by people. The resulting human waste and environmental impact has been to date, uncontroled and devastating.

 

The Enchantments are a good example of how limited access has "saved" that area. As DPSmith points out "saved" is an interesting term at Colchuck. Not that I personally like the permit system because I don't like asking permission to go to the mtns. But I aint the King and I'm not thrilled about that either.

 

I think the point is missed. Europe has no wilderness left. We do. I don't think the Euro model is a good one to copy. I would rather have limited access than destroy what little wild resources we do have. Adding huts and marked trails can be good things for people but more than likely it is just a way to direct traffic to one area and trash it, to save some place else already long over used and abused. Anyone ever thought of just not trashing the place first time around......and cleaning up what has been done while we are there?

 

The Alberta hut is a fairly common destination now. I suspect the traffic is more than 5 fold into Alberta and the "hole" of N. Twin and Columbia. But the hike was a lot more serious and there was less travel back there when getting over Wooley Shoulder was a full day's walk on your own in and out.

 

Back to Vantage? We can't seem to solve a small problem like that...in an incredibly fragile eco system. Why not? If you saw Vantage through my eyes and the past 30 years you would be truely shocked and worse, saddened to see what we as climbers (and only climbers) have done there.

 

Take an even smaller example. Dishman in Spokane. Once a beatiful little piece of rock and scenery in the middle of town. Then it got popular with the ever growing herd of ecologically uncaring climbers and literally became a outdoor rock gym, with bolt on holds and all.

 

I don't think the issue is, "lower environmental impact by limiting areas of travel". I think the real issue is the need to lessen the human traffic. And more importantly get those that do use the environment as our play ground, to take care of it better.

 

We are simply "loving it to death".

 

And once trashed..rehab is generally the last thing done if it is ever done.. From what I have seen generally it is....left at status quo.....and you (the organizations involved) move on.

 

 

For my own pleasure I'd like to see a couple of huts in the Enchantments and bolted rap lines on DT. But I don't think either would be a sound choice for future generations to enjoy the Enchantments as we have. There in lies the rub. Should we make that choice for them or lower the impact so they get a chance to have a similar experience to ours 50 or 100 years from now?

 

I've climbed in Europe. Going back for a couple of months this winter again. Nothing like Chamonix in the world and I love it for what it is. But if you asked me to choose Chamonix or the Enchantments as our legacy I'd want it to be the Enchantments.

 

We can still make that choice. It was lost long ago in Europe.

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I think Dane's point is valid, the only way to lessen environmental damage is to lessen human traffic. There are already limits for overnight visitors to a number of popular places (Colchuck Lake, Enchantments, Boston Basin). What if huts were erected with provisions for proper waste management in these popular areas that could acommodate the number of permited visitors? Old campsites and social trails could be rehabilitated.

 

As far as Vantage, don't you have to buy some type of permit to park there? Where is that money going? Shouldn't it be spent on some toilets and trash cans? Seems like a pretty simple solution to the human waste and garbage issue.

Edited by danielpatricksmith

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This begs the question regarding who would fund the building and maintenance of these structures. Canada et al do so with higher taxation rates as far as I know. Americans don't want to have to pay for anything with taxes, yet expect everything.

 

Built and paid for by mountain clubs.

 

Haberl%20Hut.JPG

 

112327981_4edc00b536.jpg

 

4174939096_4c2ab5b339_z.jpg

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