Interesting picture over at the RV Project which seems to show damage to one of the more photogenic boulders at Tennessee’s Little Rock City due to the possible use of a blowtorch. As is pointed out in their post, we climbers do a lot of things that don’t exactly follow the Leave No Trace ethic, but using a blowtorch is something I can’t ever think of a good reason for doing. Sure, it may help you in the short term, but anyone who tells you they know the long term impact of using one is either lying to you, lying to themselves or both.
The use of a blowtorch seems to be driven by the same selfish pursuit that drives people to climb where they’re not supposed to, park where they’re not supposed to, shit where they’re not supposed to and so on. Given how difficult it has been to police those other behaviors I’m not terribly optimistic when it comes to our ability to curtail the use of blowtorches, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.