"I've only lived in the New River Gorge area since 2015. Still, it's certainly been long enough for me to see how much our presence in these beloved outdoor spaces has impacted some of my favorite climbing areas.
I'll never forget when I sent "Bimbo Shrine" at Kaymoor. I recall using this right-hand side-pull slot hold that a friend had pointed out for the sequence to work and for me to snag the send...
At the time, the hold had no chalk and was incredibly hard to see. However, whenever I return, I find that same hold plastered with chalk, feeling worse every time I grab it.
I share this not to complain that no one is brushing the holds. Instead, I share this to highlight how different an experience it is now to enjoy the same route, landscape, or climbing area.
It is different because the impact has accumulated. As a result, my experience in this space and those who come after me will likely always be different.
They won't have the joy of finding that secret hold for themselves (or with help from a friend!).
That said, 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲:
-I choose to avoid climbing in highly populated areas on the weekends or during peak times.
-I try to brush all the holds on the boulder or routes I climb on.
-I volunteer my time to organizations such as NRAC for trail improvement projects.
I hope my actions inspire the actions of others so that we all can have an enjoyable outdoor experience for years to come."
-Kristi, Outreach Committee Chair
Photo by Lukas Jaekel