Climbing Business Journal reports from a recent meeting of “an informal group of leaders in the climbing industry” where issues like routesetter safety and poor behavior at outdoor crags were discussed. This part in particular caught my eye:
Travis Herbert, Education Director from The Access Fund suggested that industry groups “need to make it cool to be stewards” of the outdoors. He also suggested that the social norms need to change so that it “doesn’t count” if you sent a v15 but trashed the crag in the process.
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The climbing media, particularly groups that put out popular climbing videos, and the elite athletes that are featured in them, can play an important role in making ethical outdoor behavior fun, approachable and normal.
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I think this idea that what is portrayed in climbing media/videos can really have an impact on access issues is an important point, one that is driven home by the Access Fund’s “Commit to the Pact” video which was just recently launched.
The video features a long list of well-known climbers encouraging us all to commit to being responsible in the outdoors which is something I 100% agree with.
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What I also think is equally as important is that these same climbers demonstrate through their actions, whether those actions are filmed for a climbing video, posted on Instagram or done the old-fashioned way with no electronic record of any kind, that these values are important to them in practice as well. Like it or not, when regular climbers see high profile professional climbers engaging in poor behavior like climbing on private property, making too much noise, hiking off established trails or using and not cleaning off excessive tick marks just to name a few, this creates an implicit reaction in many of us that this behavior is ok for us to do as well.
As far as it pertains to this site, I have always tried to my best to avoid promoting bad behavior, but I’m sure I have not been perfect on this by any stretch. If you see something posted on this site that you feel violates the spirit of the Access Fund’s pact do let me know and I will be happy to take a look.