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improving access - cool/not cool?

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Postby ksolem » Mon May 17, 2010 6:34 pm

The answer depends very much on the area where this is being done. Here in California we have the Owens River Gorge, a large well developed sport climbing area where climbers, other users like fishermen, and the managers have a good relationship. Climbers have built some crude bridges and ramparts to facilitate getting around, and toilets were put in through a joint effort. So far the ORG is a success story.

The kind of freelance trail work you show in your picture would be quite frowned upon in Joshua Tree, Yopemite, or many non National Park wilderness areas.

Given the current climate between climbers and land managers (deteriorating) I would be proactive and get the ok before proceeding. For example New Jack City, a local sport crag, has been developed for climbing including trails and other access features with the blessings of the local BLM because Jack Marshal took an interest in the place and worked with the BLM as climbing grew there.
Last edited by ksolem on Mon May 17, 2010 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: improving access - cool/not cool?

Postby Clark_Griswold » Mon May 17, 2010 6:36 pm

MikeTX wrote:so, are trail projects cool or not cool in the minds of climbers?

Image

that sucker wuz heavy...and i am quite sore.

Trail building ( and maintenance) are always cool. If nothing else, they take an area people are already going in to and concentrate the traffic in one area. That way, impacts such as erosion and vegetation trampling can be minimized. Plus,, they can make passage easier for people when engineering projects such as your picture are installed.

As a hiker scrambler, I like trail projects. Trails wouldn't affect rock walls or faces, so I would think climbers would like them, too.
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Postby ksolem » Mon May 17, 2010 6:42 pm

I agree that trails can be very nice. I'm just saying that there are places where one should not show up and start a trail building project without approval.

Also, creating a light use trail simply by going someplace repeatedly, then maybe stabilizing a spot or two to prevent erosion is one thing. Building a stone stairway as shown is quite another.

I think climbing is usually best served by taking a minimal approach to things and staying under the radar.

If you have a heavily used area with inadequate trails (like my New Jack City example above,) work with the managers to get things done.
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Postby ksolem » Mon May 17, 2010 7:07 pm

Don't drop one of those stone tiers on your foot in those light shoes... :shock:
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Postby CClaude » Mon May 17, 2010 9:33 pm

ksolem wrote:I agree that trails can be very nice. I'm just saying that there are places where one should not show up and start a trail building project without approval.

Also, creating a light use trail simply by going someplace repeatedly, then maybe stabilizing a spot or two to prevent erosion is one thing. Building a stone stairway as shown is quite another.

I think climbing is usually best served by taking a minimal approach to things and staying under the radar.

If you have a heavily used area with inadequate trails (like my New Jack City example above,) work with the managers to get things done.


I agree with KSolem. If its through official channels, then its always way cool. If its ad hoc then its illegal and puts all of us under the microscope.
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Re: improving access - cool/not cool?

Postby mrchad9 » Mon May 17, 2010 11:18 pm

studmuffin451 wrote:Trail building ( and maintenance) are always cool.

+1

Kudos MikeTX for spending the time and effort to do such activities... Many people can benefit from your actions.
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Postby Chewy » Sat May 22, 2010 5:21 pm

Trail construction has been my occupation since the early eighties, so I think it is very cool.

These days most of our projects consist of rerouting existing trails out of meadows and other sensitive areas, and reducing erosion problems.


I should add that one should never take on themselves to build a trail without the landowners permission. This goes for private and public lands.
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Postby MoapaPk » Sat May 22, 2010 5:43 pm

There are exceptions to every rule.

There used to be no trail to the top of Black Mountain, near Henderson; the area is BLM land. The rare peak-bagger would simply wander up the mountain at random points, snuffing out the sparse plants.

Then a private citizen (who shall remain anonymous) took a shovel and rake, and after work, gradually built a 2-mile, well-designed, switch-backed trail.

BLM has since taken over management of the trail, and even arranged for trailhead parking. The mountain had become become popular, and the trail funnels people along a very well-defined corridor.

I would say that if the building had been up to the BLM... it would not have happened (unless it cost a million and could be contracted out to a construction company).
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