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Climbing anchors in Buckskin Gulch

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott Patterson, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Went to Buckskin Gulch over the weekend. I noticed that someone is putting up routes and climbing anchors in there. I counted six anchors, but there might be more.

    Thoughts?

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  2. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Of note, I do climb and do use climbing anchors, but am just wondering about opinions people have on doing it in Buckskin Gulch. I don't know if I'd be too thrilled to see a bunch of trad and sport lines to start popping up in the slots. To me, the slots themselves are the routes.
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  3. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    I seriously doubt that Vermilion Cliffs National Monument would be happy with this, considering it is a wilderness area, and considering the restrictions they already have in place to protect the area. Bolts have been accepted in wilderness areas for the purposes of canyoneering... though of course not placed by power tools... but new sport climbing routes would definitely cause a fuss. If you haven't already notified them I strongly encourage you to do so. In this specific case I find this extremely rude of someone to do, knowing that people travel from all over the world to see beautiful Buckskin Gulch, not junk left over from someone's climbing project. There are a lot of places to climb that don't involve degrading someone else's experience.
  4. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Bolts have been accepted in wilderness for climbing, too.

    Last thing I'd do is contact the land manager.

    Those don't look like sport climbing routes. And, without seeing a power drill, I'd have to assume they were hand placed.

    Scott, you might toss a query in on some of the FB pages for climbing, or, mountain project. If those anchors were well camo'd, you wouldn't even see them. To me, that's more the issue than if they are there or not.
    ratagonia and hank moon like this.
  5. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    They are trad routes.

    Upper Buckskin, above the slot canyon trailhead is actually a popular limestone climbing area. This is probably just spillover from there. Probably better to do the climbing in that area outside the slot.
  6. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    Unobtrusive bolt stations for trad climbing shouldn't be an issue with the wilderness area, just as canyoneering anchors are not. Obviously sport climbs are an entirely different story. Whether or not it's kept "secret" I'm sure if it becomes a problem the land managers will do something about it... obviously they aren't *that* unobtrusive since you found them and I'm assuming you weren't specifically looking, and Vermilion Cliffs already has a fair number of restrictions in place. I'm sure their focus is on the visitor experience for the general populace and not climbers.
  7. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    It seems more than just a few climbing bolts though. Buckskin is a narrow slot canyon. There isn't that much standing room for belaying. There are going to be dozens of hikers/tourist passing.

    I guess I feel the same way about the now banned Corona Arch swing and rappelling Calf Creek Falls.
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    How do you feel about this, Scott. You do not actually state your opinion here.

    Buckskin does not see a lot of traffic. It is purposefully a low-traffic area.

    I notice that the climbers did not leave webbing on the anchors, to keep them less conspicuous. Future climbers may not.

    Some Wilderness areas allow hand-drilled bolts, some do not. Bolt by themselves are not considered a non-Wilderness intrusion.

    WHERE are these? How far in?

    Tom
  9. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Personally, I don't think it is appropriate even though I like rock climbing. I'd say the same thing about climbing in the Zion Narrows.

    Compared to what? I would estimate that there were 80-100 people in there last Saturday, though I didn't count them. The only narrows hikes I can think of that are more popular are the Zion Narrows and Antelope Canyon. I would guess that Buckskin is at least as popular as Little Wildhorse.

    Maybe 2-3 miles in? They aren't together, but scattered along maybe a mile of canyon.
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Curious...you don't think the fixed anchors are appropriate or climbing, or both? Why?

    If I was hiking Buckskin and came upon a small group of climbers trad climbing, I'd probably have a pleasant chat with them but not tell them that they shouldn't be there or that their activity wasn't appropriate.

    Folks have climbed in and near to the Zion Narrows. Pretty sure there's no regulations prohibiting such. Most of us avoid it so we're not in a million home videos...

    Hell, at least there's not a via ferrata...(ha ha...Oak Creek...) with cut steps and drilled and glued in ladder rungs.

    Are people going in and back out Buckskin? Does one need a permit for that? I'm guessing yes for even a day hike?
  11. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Both, but I'm more interested in other's opinions. As you know I do climbing too (including sport routes in more recent times) and I use plenty of fixed anchors.

    In the Buckskin, I'm not really strongly against it, just moderately to slightly against it, if that makes sense. The original post is framed in the form of a question.

    As to why, it comes down to "hogging" a special feature (and in this case a confined space). I'd say the same thing about a large group of canyoneers rapping off Calf Creek Falls or swinging off Corona Arch.

    OK, but what if it were several groups, rather than just one? What if the slot of Buckskin Gulch became a popular climbing destination, like the upper end above the trailhead?

    I guess I can see that eventually happening. In the summer, it would probably be the most pleasant place to climb in the entire region. It's nice and cool in there and always shaded. Right now it seems off the radar as far as climbing goes.

    Like the Zion Narrows, only overnight stays are limited as to numbers. Day hikers just fill out a permit at the trailhead and numbers aren't limited. Most people now days just day hike in from the top (usually Wire Pass) and return the same way. You have to have an advanced permit for overnight trips.

    Since it is flash flood season, I was surprised how many people were there. It was quite crowded, at least for the first few miles. I'm not complaining that it was crowded (after all I was part of the crowd), only saying that I was surprised by how many people were in there. The place is really on the map.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    "Like the Zion Narrows, only overnight stays are limited as to numbers."

    Incorrect.

    Hiking the Narrows from the top requires a permit, with a quota that is often met. This is in addition to the permit required for an overnight stay.

    Me too, I thought Buckskin required a permit w/ tight quota even for day hiking. Guess not.

    You seem to be playing the NIMBY card. "only people I like should be able to recreate here".

    Tom
  13. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    I think I get it. Ruins your "viewshed" and degrades your visitor experience which is somewhat based on the assumption of some solitude (and like minded folk) I'm guessing.

    Same as when I hike into a climbing route and there's a very large and loud group of scouts.

    Funny...we've really modified our activity based on the crowds lately. I've never seen the local canyons so jammed with people. So, we pick spots that are less popular because we know to. And, we see the familiar faces doing the same thing.

    Donut Falls in BCC on a sunny Saturday? Yikes.

    "Marquee" hikes are popular and crowded for a reason. They're hugely promoted. Especially on both social media and travel websites. Just look at the googles reviews for Buckskin. It gets 4.7 stars! Ha ha.

    I'll admit when I travel to places I haven't been...I seek the same info as everyone else. What are the "not to be missed" venues? But, I don't have the expectation of being alone either. So, we go offseason, off weather, off prime time. Sometimes lucky. Sometimes we wait in line.

    Fun times...
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  14. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    Is Buckskin ever really more than one pitch tall? My recollection is that most of it is under 200 feet in height. Always good to minimize/camouflage bolts, but I don't see why climbing isn't just as reasonable an activity as hiking in Buckskin Gulch. Truthfully, I bet most who pass through don't notice those bolts. They're doing well to spot the petroglyphs up there.
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