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By NickMartel
From Tucson, Arizona
Jan 11, 2012
Here in the desert orange peels do not bio-degrade like they would in wetter climates, instead they dry up and harden and then just sit there for a LONG TIME (I believe like up to decades!). Please pack out your orange peels like you would any other trash. Yesterday at Jailhouse Rock I had to pick up and pack out the peels of probably 10 oranges that people had left behind in the canyon.

Thanks,
Nick

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Jan 11, 2012
old 1/4" bolt.
Nick...Thanks for the post. We have the same problem on the Mishe Mokwa Trail to Echo Cliffs. Hikers and climbers seem to feel that just tossing the orange peels is an appropriate behavior...which it's NOT. Pack it in, Pack it out.

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By RyanJohnson
From Tucson, Arizona
Jan 11, 2012
NickMartel wrote:
Here in the desert orange peels do not bio-degrade like they would in wetter climates, instead they dry up and harden and then just sit there for a LONG TIME (I believe like up to decades!). Please pack out your orange peels like you would any other trash. Yesterday at Jailhouse Rock I had to pick up and pack out the peels of probably 10 oranges that people had left behind in the canyon. Thanks, Nick


Orange peels will breakdown, even in the desert, within a year. They breakdown faster out in nature than they do in a landfill due to the light, water, and bacteria that landfills generally lack.

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By Pat Mac
From Tempe
Jan 11, 2012
Jacks Canyon. Board.
Ryan is right.

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By Tim McCabe
Jan 11, 2012
TP will break down as well but do you really want to sit looking at while belaying.

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 11, 2012
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
I'd rather see colorful and scented orange peels than poopy paper anywhere. I'm OK for biodegradable plant material. Nutrients to a starved desert soil.

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Jan 11, 2012
old 1/4" bolt.
What a pointless argument, regarding how long either takes to biodegrade!! Why do we have to see either???? Climbers should be responsible and demonstrate stewardship over the crag and the surrounding environment.

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By adam brink
From Boulder, CO
Jan 11, 2012
Arlo in all his magnificence.
What happened to the leave no trace ethic amongst climbers? Its pretty simple, if you brought it in then you should bring it out. I don't care if it biodegrades, its not natural to the environment.

On top of all that, how lazy is someone that can't carry out their own trash?

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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Jan 11, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)
Good point Nick. Regardless of time from peel to dirt, there's no good reason to not pack it out. We see the orange peels quite a bit down here in the Stronghold as well; along with the banana peels, pistachio shells, apple cores, gum, etc - you name it.. then it just goes downhill from there when you visit the campsites.

If you encounter the littering, tactful education works to some extent but then you [greatly] risk coming off as some self-righteous zealot. It's an unfortunate situation but one that comes along with "multi-use" and "public". Usually it's best to do what you did and just spend the few minutes to clean the mess and collect some karma point along the way.

Thanks for the thoughts.

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By slim
Administrator
Jan 11, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
adam brink wrote:
What happened to the leave no trace ethic amongst climbers? Its pretty simple, if you brought it in then you should bring it out. I don't care if it biodegrades, its not natural to the environment. On top of all that, how lazy is someone that can't carry out their own trash?


amen.

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By JJNS
Jan 11, 2012
I got into an argument once with this guy at delicate arch. He had finished his apple and was about to throw it down into the bowl beneath the arch when I told him not to. He didn't like being told what to do and argued that they had just come from Capital Reef NP where there is an apple orchard and apples on the ground everywhere. He ended up not throwing it and his buddy carried it out for him.

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Jan 12, 2012
Toofast
Nick,

Thanks for picking up the orange peels and bringing this up to our attention. :)

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By J mac
Jan 12, 2012
Zermatt
Same goes for banana peels!

I have gotten in many arguments with friends who litter with fruit peels/cores. It's not hard to pack it in and pack it out, yes the shit paper too!

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jan 12, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
JasonJNSmith wrote:
I got into an argument once with this guy at delicate arch. He had finished his apple and was about to throw it down into the bowl beneath the arch when I told him not to. He didn't like being told what to do and argued that they had just come from Capital Reef NP where there is an apple orchard and apples on the ground everywhere. He ended up not throwing it and his buddy carried it out for him.


Holy shit, people are stupid. His logic was really that there are orchards in CR? (facepalm)

My own ethics have always been, carry out all waste, organic and otherwise, if in a desert or alpine environment. I'll sometimes throw cores and peels down the hillside and into the brush if in the temperate East.

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By Eric Sophiea
Mar 31, 2013
Licking the cat with googly-eyes.
RyanJ and Pat Mac- We're talking specifically about orange peels in the arid Tucson area. Can you give a reference to your source (site a peer reviewed journal) for how you know that "they will break down within a year," please?

Though I can't find any reviewed sources either way, I can say that there are dried oranges (not just the peel) under my dead orange tree and the tree has been dead for three years. They just look like dark orange hard balls. I'm in Tucson, but my yard is relatively moist because of irrigation. In this anecdote, it seems that they last at least a few years.

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By Alex McIntyre
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 1, 2013
In the traverse section, double rainbow in the bac...
Eric Sophiea wrote:
RyanJ and Pat Mac- We're talking specifically about orange peels in the arid Tucson area. Can you give a reference to your source (site a peer reviewed journal) for how you know that "they will break down within a year," please? Though I can't find any reviewed sources either way, I can say that there are dried oranges (not just the peel) under my dead orange tree and the tree has been dead for three years. They just look like dark orange hard balls. I'm in Tucson, but my yard is relatively moist because of irrigation. In this anecdote, it seems that they last at least a few years.

"I know it isn't the same thing, but it ABSOLUTELY MUST be representative! My anecdotal evidence of a different thing sure killed those guys LOL!"

Can you at least think a little tiny bit before you post? And perhaps not bring back threads that have been dead for more than a year?

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Apr 1, 2013
camhead wrote:
My own ethics have always been, carry out all waste, organic and otherwise, if in a desert or alpine environment. I'll sometimes throw cores and peels down the hillside and into the brush if in the temperate East.


Yes, agreed. The wetter the climate, the faster the decomposition, and the more likely I am to toss an apple core.

Another factor not yet mentioned is the level of human (climber, hiker, etc) traffic in an area. I will throw an apple core while hiking in a remote area, but would not do the same at the base of a popular crag. My general reasoning is that if someone else is likely to encounter my trash before it decomposes, I will pack it out.

A final consideration, specific to orange peels, is the acidity. I have heard (totally unconfirmed third-hand information) that in certain desert and/or alpine environments, the breakdown of the orange peel introduces a level of acidity to the soil that is foreign to that environment, and screws up the soil for the growing of the native plants. Has anyone else heard anything about this?

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By J Q
Apr 1, 2013
Me again!
Eric Sophiea wrote:
RyanJ and Pat Mac- We're talking specifically about orange peels in the arid Tucson area. Can you give a reference to your source (site a peer reviewed journal) for how you know that "they will break down within a year," please? Though I can't find any reviewed sources either way, I can say that there are dried oranges (not just the peel) under my dead orange tree and the tree has been dead for three years. They just look like dark orange hard balls. I'm in Tucson, but my yard is relatively moist because of irrigation. In this anecdote, it seems that they last at least a few years.



Of much larger concern is you and your irrigation of a yard in Tucson. We are desperately running out of water in the SW and you have a moist yard growing orange trees? Add to that: not only are you irrigating a yard in Tuscon, but you are wasting the fruit produced as well? And you really think a peel on the ground is a cause for concern? Talk about some misplaced energy. Way to bring up a dead thread you clueless ninny.

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By Avi Katz
Apr 1, 2013
you know what takes really really really long to degrade?

YOUR DAMN TAPE!

Is anyone else tired of seeing tape all over crags?

Come on people..

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Apr 1, 2013
Day Lily.
Regardless of what's left behind if it won't be eaten (by you or other beings)or dissolve within a few days then pack it out. Its some peoples lack of awareness that screws up some accesses and makes it hard for people to announce/share that a new crag, etc has been found/developed.

Be a ninja, leave no trace whatsoever. Humans overall/collective gluttony has done enough hasn't it?

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Apr 1, 2013
El Chorro
Who gives a fuck how long it takes for them to break down? DON'T LEAVE YOUR SHIT IN THE DESERT!

If something doesn't/can't grow there, I don't leave it. Oranges, bananas, apples, etc.

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 1, 2013
tanuki
Leave no trace? Seriously? We are climbers. We leave traces all over the place. Bolts, chalk, aggressive cleaning, trundling, "gardening" out cracks, trails, destroyed vegetation at the base of climbs, massive carbon footprints from driving and flying to destination crags, all of these things leave a trace.

Organic matter is a gray area for me. Sometimes i pack it out, sometimes I toss it. Although I am all for minimizing our impact on wild places, I just cannot get that worked up over an orange peel. YMMV.

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By ClimbPHX.com
From Mesa AZ
Apr 2, 2013
Final Pitch on Birdland - 5.7 Red Rocks
Whether biodegradable or not, we as climbers should not be adding our waste to
the environments with which we climb.
We scoff at Leave No Trace and that's sad. We should be seeking to MINIMIZE
our impact - although its impossible to mask our presence, we should
be sensitive to what we leave behind.
Orange Peels take about 6 months to decompose and Bananas about 3 months - but
it only takes about 30 seconds to put it in your pack... Pretty straightforward

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Apr 2, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
I can't believe people are debating picking up fucking orange peels. It's not 5 pounds of vomit and dogshit. It's orange peels.

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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 3, 2013
Toofast
ClimbPHX.com wrote:
it only takes about 30 seconds to put it in your pack... Pretty straightforward


... and that's the answer. well said.

let's move on.

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