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General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Abseilers. What are your opinions about them? 1-Aug-2017 At 8:56:19 AM ldshield
On 28/07/2017 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 28/07/2017 ldshield wrote:
>>Disclaimer: my wife is a semi-recreational abseiler.
>Does she have any other symptoms of brain damage?
>>there is etiquette about that, but if there's wear-and-tear on a rock
>>someone else using it, that's just how life works.
>No it isn't. Abseilers can get their thing done on cliffs which are of
>no interest to climbers. If overuse by abseilers was shufflebuffing a classic
>climb, I would consider that pretty rude. (note that I've never seen evidence
>of this occuring)

I agree, but there's currently no system to identify to abseilers that line X is problematic but lines Y and Z are not climbable and they should abseil there instead of on X. They're hardly going to go out and buy a climbing guidebook, so how are they supposed to know?
>>Environmentalists probably
>>experience similar annoyance about the paths and foot pads that climbers
>>create while accessing crags in national parks.
>Which is something climbers ought to be concerned about, and we should
>all seek to minimise our impact.
>>We should also view abseiling as an opportunity to introduce rock activities
>>to more people; it's a gateway activity.
>Why? Explain why more people in climbing is better.

It's a value judgement, but activities which have more participants have a higher profile, and thus receive more assistance from government with less external regulation. The prime (but not only) example is AFL; they receive millions and millions of dollars in direct and indirect assistance from State and local government (stadium redevelopments, open space in suburban reserves, money for local footy club rooms, volunteer grants, etc). As far as I can tell they are subject to very little external regulation beyond the things like Working With Children Checks which apply to everybody. By contrast, fishing has a lower public profile and thus receives little external funding compared to AFL, but is still regulated through fishing licences.

If climbing was supported at an equivalent level to the AFL, it would probably mean something like greater local government support for local bouldering walls; fewer areas where climbing is restricted because of Parks Vic under-resourcing; and better availability/more diversity in climbing gyms. If you want climbing to remain a niche activity, that's a perfectly valid position to take. However, the community perception of climbing is that it is risky, and that makes us vulnerable to over-regulation.
>>Finally, abseiling is a relatively common outdoor activity for schools
>>and youth groups because it builds character.
>Does it though? I know the outdoor ed robots repeat this line endlessly,
>but what does it even mean? How do you measure 'character'?

You can't measure character easily, but there are numerous studies (I couldn't post links, but you can Google it) confirming that participation in outdoor ed programs improves self-esteem, life outcomes, etc.
>>Unlike, say, trail-bike riding,
>>if there's any damage to the environment, at least it's to a good cause.
>I like to rip on bogans as much as anyone, but is trailbiking really that
>bad? In most of the national parks I visit, the bush is too dense for easy
>walking, let alone riding a bike. How much damage can a trailbike do to
>the environment, if they're being ridden on bulldozed and regularly graded
>fire roads?
>Can you really sit there and say that trailbikers have more negative effect
>on parks than all the stupid climbers who don't bury their shit?

Yes, absolutely. If trailbikes were being ridden on fire roads that would be fine, but they're not. In the Little Desert NP, for example, it's common to see trailbike riders blatantly ignore 'no trailbikes' signs at track junctions and erode the fragile sandy surface, or damage walking tracks in Baw Baw NP. At Lal Lal Historic Area trailbike riders have spread phytophthera fungus throughout the park, while at Enfield State Park they've created new trails; some of these have eroded into new gullies at creek crossings. While failing to bury faecal waste is obviously unacceptable, at least the impacts are relatively localised and time-limited, rather than being spread out over ten kilometres or more.

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