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Tips for protecting the desert when hiking or rock climbing

Climb-On Maps cares about the environment, including cultural relics, and, in our experience, so do other climbers! Here is how our maps, and your actions when using our maps, can help care for our crags.

Caring for our crags does two important things:

  1. It helps take care of a limited resource. The earth is abused enough. Every step we do or don’t take makes a difference – literally and figuratively! The flowers, plants, and animals deserve a home, just like we do.

  2. It keeps our crags open and available to us. If we trash or abuse our crags, they could be closed to us permanently. If you love climbing and want to keep doing it in these awesome places, then please, help take care of it!

Climb-On Maps Show…

1. Trails that dead end & trails to avoid

2. Braided trails (areas where there are numerous trails criss-crossing)

3. Terrain features including areas of rock/slab or vegetation.

4. Where applicable, like Red Rocks, maps show locations of Wag Bag dispensaries.

5. Locations of cultural relics.

6. When bushwacking (i.e. going off-trail) is required.

What You Can Do…

1. Do not go on these trails. Look on the map for a nearby alternative.

2. Go on the widest, most used path. The maps shows you if a given trail or trails will take you to the crag. Do not cut up onto the hillside or across terrain thinking you have missed or will miss the crag. This just adds to the problem. The map will show you where to go!

3. When there is an option, walk on rock or slab rather than in vegetated areas. When walking in vegetated areas, walk in a single file, do not wander off to the side of the main trail.

4. Wag Bags are for pooping in. Go in the bag, not in the desert (it does not biodegrade – yuck!).

5. Admire with your eyes, be in awe of what came before us. Please do not climb on or near these areas.

6. Some walls/crags are climbed infrequently and require bushwhacking to get to (if there are cairns, follow those). In some circumstances, the National Park Service recommends spreading out to minimize environmental impacts. However, in most climbing approach or walk-off situations it may be best to remain single file. Here is why:

  • In thick vegetation, you may need to move dead vegetation or create a clearing. To minimize this impact (and reduce your work) go single file.

  • Many desert soils have really neat cryptobiotic crusts, which prevent soil from blowing away, absorb water, and provide nutrients to other living things. It can take up to 7 years to replace a stepped on crust! Stay single file.

  • Since this is a climbing area, you likely will not be the last person to visit. So if you create a single trail to get to a crag, then others can follow.

How else does Climb-On Maps Care for the Environment?

  • We donate to organizations that make a difference in the areas where we map.

  • We print our maps here in the U.S. It costs more, but reduces carbon emissions from shipping.

  • We print on waterproof/tear-proof paper – your map will last and can be used for years to come!

  • If you will no longer use the maps, recycle them! They are 100% recyclable as category 2 HDPE.

  • The “paper” does not use trees to manufacture.

  • The “paper” manufacturing process does not use ozone depleting materials like CFCs

  • The “paper” does not contain phthalates, chlorine, or other halogens.

  • We use two different companies for the “paper” and both use low waste stream, certified environmentally sustainable manufacturing processes.

This content has been provided and sponsored by Climb-On Maps

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