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magazine articles = climber surge (?)
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By BackCountry
From West Point, UT
Jan 4, 2013
Whaaaat?
After recently seeing the Joe's Valley article in Climbing Magazine and hearing there'll be a City of Rocks article in R&I, I began to wonder if these magazine articles (or new guide books (Maple Canyon 2012 comes to mind)] cause a surge of climbers at those places.

Anyone ever noticed this happen at their local crag?

FLAG
By K Weber
Jan 4, 2013
Yes, magazines and guidebooks have a HUGE impact on visitation.

You can find many posts and arguments against "advertising" climbing areas.


Keep secret places secret, like the Peaks in Flagstaff.

FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 4, 2013
El Chorro
I can't say for sure what kind of effect the mags have on areas, but I know that the Carolina Climbers Coalition wrote letters to the mags for years, asking them not to publish info about NC climbing. They must have had a reason.

FLAG
By M Sprague
Administrator
From New England
Jan 4, 2013
Lichen head. Me, with my usual weatherbeaten, lich...
That is a tough quandary. They definitely have an impact. I have experienced an area I helped develop and really love get completely over run and turn into a zoo. However, a good guidebook can also introduce an area to people and therefore spread people out. I have climbed in NH for decades, but looking at Handren's new guidebook for the North Conway area has gotten me psyched to try other areas that I have not visited yet.

For developers, I know how an influx of climbers can make further developing a crag much harder, with working around other people while cleaning and trundling, worrying about stashing or temporary fixed ropes, but once that is settled, if there is no sensitive access issue, I think attitudes of folks like the CCC are BS (especially for an area with such a vast amount of rock). I think it is better to work on educating people and a culture of not trashing an area. Spread 'em out. At least here on the east coast, routes need people climbing them or they get over gown in no time.

FLAG
By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Jan 4, 2013
Sure, thanks to some sweet articles in Alpinist and R&I along with the RRR and the Handren Guide, Red Rocks visitation is WAY up the last three years. This year saw another jump- especially in boulderers (thanks to Tom's gorgeous and ridiculously comprehensive new guide)- now crags that used to be quiet on weekdays are busy, remote crags are packed on the weekends, etc, etc. Last weekend saw well over 100 boulderers just in Kraft along with everyone else!

FLAG
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 4, 2013
At the BRC
I think Safe Harbor in PA got closed because of increased visitation after an R&I guide was published. Took Eric Horst what, 15 years to get it re-opened?

FLAG
By Brian Hudson
From Lenoir, NC
Jan 4, 2013
Valor Over Discretion (5.8), RRG
Mark E Dixon wrote:
I think Safe Harbor in PA got closed because of increased visitation after an R&I guide was published. Took Eric Horst what, 15 years to get it re-opened?

Yellow Bluff in AL was the same way. The land owners were cool with sparse visitors, but once it was overrun with travelers due to a mag spread, they shut it down.

FLAG
By Jason Lantz
Jan 5, 2013
many people climb... a small percent are climbers...

FLAG
 
By Jon Griffin
From Boulder, Co
Jan 5, 2013
Me
Jason Lantz wrote:
many people climb... a small percent are climbers...

+1

FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 5, 2013
El Chorro
M Sprague wrote:
That is a tough quandary. They definitely have an impact. I have experienced an area I helped develop and really love get completely over run and turn into a zoo. However, a good guidebook can also introduce an area to people and therefore spread people out. I have climbed in NH for decades, but looking at Handren's new guidebook for the North Conway area has gotten me psyched to try other areas that I have not visited yet. For developers, I know how an influx of climbers can make further developing a crag much harder, with working around other people while cleaning and trundling, worrying about stashing or temporary fixed ropes, but once that is settled, if there is no sensitive access issue, I think attitudes of folks like the CCC are BS (especially for an area with such a vast amount of rock). I think it is better to work on educating people and a culture of not trashing an area. Spread 'em out. At least here on the east coast, routes need people climbing them or they get over gown in no time.


Oppinions and actions will always differ from region to region but calling any if them BS without knowing the history behind them is lame. Back in the day, there wasn't really a "vast amount of rock" in NC. Laurel Knob was off limits, the 221 stuff was off limits and the parkway had not yet been built, meaning that there wan't a road to take you to ship. Rumbling Bald bouldering areas were not open, the main cliff area was touch and go and the Asheboro boulders and Dixon Boulders were also closed. Can't say for sure but there were probably other areas with the same issues.

So keeping the few areas that were open to themselves made sense. And since people from other parts of the country were not aware of some of the access issues, the locals were afraid that if outsiders came 'round, they may make things worse. You could make the case that if the CCC had not kept things quiet, we may not have all of these new areas opening up. They are all open only until they get over crowded and trashed (ie Roadside Crag at the Red) and then they'll be closed again.

All that aside, I've been to Rumney on a Saturday. What's the name of that cave up top with all the 13's? It was a nightmare.

We have a place like that at Moore's. If it ever comes remotely close to as crowded as the one at Rumney... Oh wait, it won't. Ever.

FLAG
By JMo
From Tucson, AZ
Jan 5, 2013
vertebrae roof
Magazine articles don't cause people to overrun the globe. Never-ending, increasing numbers of people cause this. Applies to climbing too. Later on, this will be a golden age. Enjoy it.

FLAG
By jon vandub
From westminster,co
Jan 5, 2013
this must be the reason for no new needles guide....

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By Kevinmurray
Jan 5, 2013
Fifty classic climbs= fifty crowded climbs

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 5, 2013
El Chorro
Last two comments say it all.

Needles was empty when I was there - the weather was perfect and we spent a whole week there w/ just a few other parties. How that place could EVER be empty is beyond me.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 6, 2013
There is a new Needles guide in the works. I expect the traffic will pick up some but then gradually taper off. Despite the outrageous quality of the climbing, the area requires some effort to get to as well as a good competency in multipitch trad. Just look at Arch Rock and the Cookie in the Valley. They get their fair share of traffic but have not and will not likely not ever be overrun the way a sport crag will. The level of climbing just demands more than some are willing to give freely.

BTW, I find it rather humorous when someone like the poster a few hits up observe that Red Rocks has gotten crowded over the past three years. It's been crowded for the past 20 years or so. It just gets a little worse every year, like every other place.

FLAG
By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 7, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
New Needles Guide out soon....

This is a old topic...


I think what make a place over crowded is its proximity to pavement and the lenght of the hike and if its up-hill or not.

A long uphill hike = zero crowds.

FLAG
 
By Buff Johnson
Jan 7, 2013
smiley face
Guy Keesee wrote:
New Needles Guide out soon.... This is a old topic... I think what make a place over crowded is its proximity to pavement and the lenght of the hike and if its up-hill or not. A long uphill hike = zero crowds.


Totally.

New S. Platte Guide and access to the Spires improves -- result .... nothing but crickets for the hikeable classics. Maybe Staunton may see some activity when it opens, but it will still be a 2-4 miler to get to the climbing.

Mt Evans ... possibly w/ Tans, but because the fee situation has resolved and the climbing is more sunny and moderately graded on those formations. Maybe not that the Evans area was described in a climbing article. And, the bouldering was word of mouth/online forum; the magazines have only followed suit here, not really proactively setting the stage.


Unlike ice climbing in Colorado where a 6 mile hike is still every man for himself and even considering mediocre conditions at best, sometimes.

FLAG
By Br'er Rabbit
From The Briar Patch
Jan 8, 2013
'Bred en bawn in a brier-patch, Brer Fox--bred en ...
Brian Hudson wrote:
Yellow Bluff in AL was the same way. The land owners were cool with sparse visitors, but once it was overrun with travelers due to a mag spread, they shut it down.


Magazine articles are responsible for the outright shutting down of three of the four main 'destination' crags in Alabama during the 80s and 90s. Two of these have now had access restored after years of hard work by the SCC and local climbers....Steele and Yellow Bluff. The third will likely never regain open access status....closed down because of a R&I article of the early 90s. A fourth locale which has always been open but with limited available route information has seen a marked increase in both traffic and climber scrutiny (by state park rangers) with a recent guidebook update. I, for one, am very much opposed to distant, ill-informed magazine article authors talking up anything close to home with touchy access. Guidebooks....I don't know. I think it is very crag-specific as to whether or not published information best serves the resource, locals, even visitors to many of these places. To Ryan's point above, I think this has alot to do with the North Carolinian perspective. Keep it quiet/undocumented/word-of-mouth, keep it preserved/unharmed/untrampled. This can, of course, come across as selfish to some degree. For places like Indian Creek, the Tennessee Wall, the Gunks, etc., things should obviously be considered in a much different light.

FLAG
By kovarpa
Jan 8, 2013
absolutely. Just look at the increase in traffic on Incredible Hulk (Sierra) in the last few years. It is the magazine articles, movies (ReelRock) and Supertopo and web trip report postings. Now you have to go when the weather is iffy. I wish we were able to find some balance because yes, it is nice to have some additional beta (I don't live on the East side so word of mouth info is harder for me to get) but no, dealing with crowds and some not-so-considerate campers (trash, noise) is a huge drawback.

FLAG
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 8, 2013
El Chorro
I remember coming home from Thailand after nearly a year there and picking up a R&I and seeing a photo essay by some American guy. Nearly every photo was of a hot blond girl in a bikini or the author himself, all bronzed and oiled up, hanging off of some deep water solo climb.

The tone of the article was that if you want to go hang out in paradise, drink beer, watch chicks in bikinis and basically just do whatever you want without consequence, then you should go to Thailand. What the article didn't mention is that the destination in question is facing massive waste removal problems along with water quality problems, trail erosion, garbage on the beach, garbage in the jungle, etc. Not to mention the never ending fight to replace aging hardware. They could have made the choice to highlight the problems and help visitors start thinking about how to become part of the solution, but it would have taken up too much space, not leaving enough for the bikinis. The blurb they DID print about re-bolting was completely inaccurate. They gave credit for the work and the money to the wrong people. I know because I re-bolted the lines that were mentioned.

Climbing mags can and do publish a lot of articles and information that can be very good for climbing areas and access issues. Unfortunately they are pretty desperate to sell magazines, so they often opt for the sexy material instead. They are, after all, trying to run a business.

I don't think that the accurate and well thought out articles will cause problems for climbing locales. There are many authors out there who understand access and the need for some forethought when writing about climbing areas. But the poorly researched pieces - written by some visitor who knows nothing about the area - those DO cause harm and there is nothing wrong with complaining about them, or better yet, trying to stop them from happening in the first place.

FLAG
By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Jan 9, 2013
Me and Spearhead
JMo wrote:
Magazine articles don't cause people to overrun the globe. Never-ending, increasing numbers of people cause this. Applies to climbing too. Later on, this will be a golden age. Enjoy it.


+1

While an article about a new area may cause some novel interest for awhile, ultimately it comes down to the fact that there are simply more and more people climbing.
Convenient, Moderate and Fun climbing areas will continue to get more crowded regardless of published material.

FLAG
By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Jan 11, 2013
Guy Keesee wrote:
A long uphill hike = zero crowds.


disagree:

crowders north carolina has a grueling hike up, including an uneven 333 stair climb at the end, followed by a descent/scramble to get to the climbing, and it's still nicknamed "crowdeders".

FLAG
By Steve86
Jan 11, 2013
Rob Davis wrote:
disagree: crowders north carolina has a grueling hike up, including an uneven 333 stair climb at the end, followed by a descent/scramble to get to the climbing, and it's still nicknamed "crowdeders".


I wouldn't call it grueling by any measure. It's definitely annoying though. Crowders is also the closest crag to a few million folks.

FLAG
By Rob D.
From Brooklyn, NY
Jan 11, 2013
Steve86 wrote:
I wouldn't call it grueling by any measure. It's definitely annoying though. Crowders is also the closest crag to a few million folks.


you're right not grueling, but it's ugly, it's on loose gravel, it has virtually no switch backs, and it seems to be perpetually crowded.

and ugh, hiking 666 stairs every time you wanna climb....

FLAG
 
By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jan 11, 2013
El Chorro
Rob Davis wrote:
you're right not grueling, but it's ugly, it's on loose gravel, it has virtually no switch backs, and it seems to be perpetually crowded. and ugh, hiking 666 stairs every time you wanna climb....


It's also mainly a road, that a two wheel Tacoma could get up in an ice storm.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jan 11, 2013
Tahquitz has a somewhat stiff approach as well, but that does little to limit its popularity. There's a parking lot at it's base and it's the prime summer crag for several metropolitan areas. The absence of a guidebook would definitely limit the crowds as most folks there these days seem to be pretty detailed topos to get very far.

The magazine surge is just an unfortunate by product of how popular our sport has become and (going to blame some gym people here, so if you're all inclined to get butt hurt start clenching now) lots of climbers were not taught nor value a leave no trace ethic. Magazine articles are just a symptom, not the entire cause.

I remember a R & I article from about 20 yrs. back when Mike Tupper provided a guide for many of the (then) new routes he put up at Red Rocks--all the routes at the Gallery, etc. Of course we grabbed that and headed right on out there. We get to the Gallery and see Mike himself who came over, said 'hi' and commented on how nice it was to see other folks at the crags. Except for REALLY obscure areas, I don't think I'll ever get that reaction again. It's a pity really.

FLAG


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