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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Topic Date User
Impacts-sport vs trad 6-May-2005 At 4:24:18 PM littlejames
Every style of climbing has an impact on the crag environment in one way or another.

In general, I would say that sport is probably the most destructive. Yes, having loweroffs does reduce erosion at the top of the cliff - but it generally comes with a much heavier traffic at the bottom of the cliff due to the nature of sport climbing. Bouldering is also very destructive - the damage that crash mats do to vegetation is severe and noticeable at popular bouldering spots. There's other things to consider as well - ever seen the amount of toilet paper off to the left of Wave Wall at Centennial Glen in the Blue Mountains?

One-off adventure trad routes are generally non-destructive erosion-wise, but as you've said, there is often an element of vertical gardening. And a crag with a trad ethic isn't necessarily protected from massive erosion and traffic at the base of the cliff - witness Summer Day Valley in the Grampians.

My personal feeling is that, like almost anything else humans do in the wilderness, climbing does have an impact. It's up to each and all of us to minimise the impact, but claiming that we don't change the environment is lying.

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