Mt. Evans concerns

Posted on 13. Aug, 2012 by in News

Just a quick note, before I head out today. I just received an email from ranger Ralph Brandt, who is my contact at the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area, and is the Wilderness/Trails/Travel Manager for the Clear Creek District. Ralph contributed a wonderful essay for the guidebook about access and stewardship in the area. He had this to say:

Hi Jamie,
Thought I’d send you a quick note since you have contacts in the Lincoln Lake bouldering community and I’m hoping you can to help me out. I’m hearing pretty well founded rumors of some significant pad stashing down at Lincoln Lake, like 10-20 pads. I haven’t been able yet to get in there and check it out, but if it’s true, it really isn’t acceptable and I hope you can help me discourage it. Folks were pretty good about eliminating pad stashing over in the Chicago lakes area and Lincoln Lake is an even shorter hike in. Wilderness issues aside, the marmots really chew them up – bad for them and very bad in terms of litter, with little bits of foam blowing all over.
If the rumors are true, if you could help me spread the word that stashing pads isn’t acceptable at Lincoln Lake, or anywhere else for that matter, I’d really appreciate it.

Please, it’s important not to forget that the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area is a special place, and that we need to do what we can to be the best we can be, and to not be destructive of the resource that is there. It’s great that we have made considerable improvements at Area A but let’s work hard to see those same improvements at Lincoln Lake.

47 Responses to “Mt. Evans concerns”

  1. Praxeology

    13. Aug, 2012

    Thanks for posting this Jamie…my god…anyone who is stashing pads should be ashamed of themselves. Way to go folks, jeopardize an area because you are to lazy to carry out your pads…pathetic!

  2. Doug Lipinski

    13. Aug, 2012

    Come one people, just stop stashing pads. I thought we had this discussion, many times. If you’re bouldering outside, you have to carry your pad(s) in. There should be no room for debate about it. If you can’t deal with that, then there’s this wonderful place called the gym where you don’t have to carry a thing.

  3. Sasquatch

    13. Aug, 2012

    Pack it in, Pack it out. There is no grey area.

    I remember back when I started climbing if you left gear on a route, it was considered booty to whoever could go and get it – draws, cams, nuts, whatever. I think it’s a shame that doesn’t still apply in many places, but where I live it does and I would argue that the same goes for pads.

    If you leave it, it’s fair game for anyone who wants a new pad. Too bad I don’t live in Colorado or I’d be having me some new pads :)

  4. chuffer

    13. Aug, 2012

    Well, that e-mail was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. Notwithstanding the pad-stashing issue, I find the wilderness ranger’s leniecy thus far regarding parking on the side of a very narrow and somewhat dangerous road, well, remarkable.

    This is pretty simple people … treat this request from the Forest Service with respect if you expect our user group to be treated with respect.

  5. Wyclimber

    14. Aug, 2012

    Squatch – Love the pads as booty idea! Sounds like an instant solution to the problem of pad stashing. If I was closer to the park I’d be all over it. Free-for-all pad sale!!

  6. Dan

    14. Aug, 2012

    @ Sasquatch

    Just because someone else breaks the rules doesn’t mean it’s ok to steal their property. Stealing is stealing. That doesn’t help the situation.

  7. greasy enchiladas

    14. Aug, 2012

    Solution: send Rufus up there and you’ll have better luck locating the Swedish bikini team than finding a remaining stashed pad. We need more boulderers like the legendary Rufus.

    I rememeber finding numerous stashed pads at the Chicago Lake’s areas way back when and being told that they belonged to many of you who post frequently on here. I’m glad to see the change of attitude.

    As an elder boulderer, I have noticed the very serious nature of the posts and topics discussed here. Please remember to have fun and enjoy your time in the outdoors and the people you share it with. In the long run, those memories will far outweigh silly bickering about ratings and ethic’s. Don’t take yourselves so seriously, you’re only bouldering.

  8. Pooty Tang

    14. Aug, 2012

    And you know people are stashing pads

  9. Limit

    14. Aug, 2012

    Cleaning up litter is not stealing

  10. Dan

    14. Aug, 2012

    @ Limit

    If you make an effort to return the pad to its owner, you can call it cleaning up litter.

    If all you’re thinking is “sweet, new pad” then yes, it is stealing.

  11. Ryan Y.

    14. Aug, 2012

    If you want to help clean up Lincoln there are plenty of tires, and cones to hike out. Stash pads are a access concern and hot topic issue. The issue must be handled well within the climbing community and stealing pads is not acceptable. Rash actions, stealing pads and name calling, may polarize the community making it hard to reach a long term solution. Let this be a productive discussion.

  12. loic

    14. Aug, 2012

    when rangers find pads, they haul them out and don’t give them back. fair play for climbers to do the same.

  13. sasquatch

    14. Aug, 2012

    @Ryan – A long term solution to pad stashing? A productive discussion? Seriously? Maybe I’m just too old-school to understand, but I really can’t fathom having a discussion about this. As I said before – PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT – No grey area. This isn’t some random subjective debateable issue like grades or starting holds. This is a defined access issue related to pure and simple laziness.

    @Dan – How much effort do you make to return litter to it’s owner? That’s about how much effort I’d make to get the pad back to it’s owner as well. The “get me some new pads” comment was a bit tongue in cheek, but honestly I don’t see it as stealing. They abandoned their property and added to an access issue in a wilderness environment. As such, if it has their name, they should be ticketed by the park service, if not then impound it and sell it. If another climber packs it out, then that climber is ACTUALLY DOING THE CLIMBING COMMUNITY A FAVOR by minimizing the access issue. If someone is knowingly jeopardizing my access to an area by their actions, I’ll pack it out just like I do with leftover tape, candy wrappers, beer cans, etc. and after I pack it out, it’s my choice what I do with it.
    If it’s in a non-access sensative area, I’d leave it for a week or two to see if they were coming back, then clear it out.

  14. Dan

    14. Aug, 2012

    @ sasquatch

    What type of actions do you think will result in a more conscientious, respectful, and responsible user group? Leading by example, communicating well with peers, and making the effort to do the right thing? Or a bunch of climbers running around stealing each other’s pads?

  15. Jabroni

    14. Aug, 2012

    If you can’t send it with what you can carry, bring a rope instead? Pad stashing is the laziest most pot-smoking hippie self-centered moronic habit I can think of.

    Pad stashers are dipshidiots.

  16. slabdyno

    15. Aug, 2012

    10-20 pads! LOL! isn’t all that shit lowball?

  17. aron

    15. Aug, 2012

    @ Ryan

    Dont really know the situation in CO, but if stash pads are an acces issue, I guess taking them would be a good solution. I guess that If you knew that by leaving your pad there you would have good chances not to find it back, you would probably think about it twice…
    Is it stealing? Of course. Is it usefull? Way more than having a discussion about it…
    If it would not be an acces issue, then it’s different.

  18. Kevin

    15. Aug, 2012

    On a climbing trip in the Tetons, i noticed they have huge cages at about treeline. Specifically there cook at and leave your food and things locked up so animals could not get to them. Couldn’t the same things be used for bouldering? If the funds were there and the Rangers backed the idea. maybe there could be a cage to hold lets say four pads. That way climbers could safely pad bad landings if there was no other groups out there to throw down pads. If and only if there was a designated stash spot at these areas i could feel OK about stashing them. I know its wishful thinking but who knows it could possibly work.

  19. Ryan Y.

    15. Aug, 2012

    @loic- During the development of an area in RMNP within the last few years, climbing rangers hiked out a few pads and stored them at their office. The climbers were able to reclaim their pads a few days later. Rangers are granted a measure of authority by the National Parks and have the training and responsibility to use that authority. Climbers do not have that authority.

    My main concern, and urge for dialog, is based on how pad stashing has been handled in the past. Allow me to illustrate my point with a few true stories from the last two years. Two friends of mine were climbing at Lincoln Lake last summer. They hiked in their pads and were enjoying a day of climbing. Needing to take some rest, they left their pads under the boulder they were working, and left to hike around to scope out other problems. When they returned their pads were gone, taken by other climbers. That evening they saw a group of climbers loading their pads into a car. They confronted the climbers and were able to get the pads back.

    A few seasons ago (two, I think) Peter Beal was blogging on alpine ethics, and the tones and comments were similar. A few weeks after this started, a stash pad was slashed in Upper Chaos, cut to bits with a knife. This created a large mess that my friends and I cleaned up, although it was not our pad. While I doubt anyone encourages this kind of behavior, it does happen, and creating a divide between the sides on this issue will most likely lead to more poor behavior. Bolt wars anyone?

    Finally, is this issue really as clear-cut as the some suggest? Consider this hypothetical situation; On Saturday a friend and I hike one pad each to far Upper Chaos, a solid hour and a half hike. We climb what we can with two pads, and hike out leaving our pads there overnight. The next day we hike in another pad each, and find our stash pads have not been chewed on overnight. After a good day of climbing we hike out all four pads. Is this so wrong? To me this seems similar to setting up progressively higher and higher camps when climbing in the high mountains, or stashing supplies on El Cap. No one wants to see tons of abandoned pads littering an area, but is there no middle ground? Is this black and white?

  20. B3

    15. Aug, 2012

    A couple quick thoughts. If you don’t live in Colorado, it’s hard to understand how complicated this issue has been in the past here, and making strong definitive statements about this issue, or begin harshly critical of those who have stashed pads in the past is not helping the situation. The ranger has spoken and it’s in our best interest to remove the pads that are stashed. Name calling is not helping anything.
    If you have a pad at Lincoln, get up there and get it out. Let’s take care of this with as little bickering as possible, as it will benefit everyone in the end.

  21. JR

    15. Aug, 2012

    Well, I don’t live in Colorado, (and although I did years ago) I doubt it makes any difference to the fact that people can understand the nature of pad stashing regardless of where they live.

    Is it more “complicated” in Colorado? I doubt it. CO has more climbers compared to many other areas, but to me “complicated” sounds like “some of my friends do it and I don’t want to badmouth them.” It’s possible to disagree with people without name calling.

    Anyway, pad stashing is unacceptable in a park or wilderness area. It hurts access. Pads suck to carry in rough terrain, or for long distances, but it’s the price to pay for safety. Suck it up, and carry them out.

    It seems that a number of people think their needs are above everyone else’s, and that the rules don’t apply to them. This arrogance will only hurt the climbing community. While I lived in Colorado, I climbed with some great people, I also met some of the biggest egos and attitudes I’ve ever seen in my 17 years of climbing. Maybe this is something different about the scene in CO?

    I’m surprised the rangers are so lenient, kudos to them!

    Thanks for posting this, Jamie.

  22. MiddleGround?

    15. Aug, 2012

    While Ryan Y. ‘s hypothetical situation certainly is not the way the majority of pad stashing occurs i think it should be noted that the situation would be perfectly legal (at least in RMNP). The regulations state that gear can be stashed for<24hours.

  23. lp

    16. Aug, 2012

    We should stop giving credibility to ascents that are done with more than 3 pads. Whats the point of doing a highball with 12 pads on the ground?

  24. eric

    16. Aug, 2012

    If the rangers don’t want pads stashed, that should be the standard. There are 1000’s of problems that can be climbed with just what can be brought in for the day. I see nothing wrong with someone cleaning up “litter” by carrying out stashed pads. The rule is the rule. Quit trying to justify it because you feel entitled to climb your rocks.

  25. Peter Beal

    16. Aug, 2012

    To Ryan ,
    I don’t know if you were referring to this post ( :

    “Pad-stashing: This is a perennial hot button issue in bouldering, especially with the long approaches and altitude gains typical of alpine locations. Those huge talus caves are so convenient to store a few pads and save a lot of effort on the next visit, maybe providing the edge on the next project. If you are thinking about stashing, ask yourself if you really deserve the grade on the problem that you are trying. Stashing pads is bad for the environment, obviously shows human impact and visitation, and represents a me-first mentality foreign to the problem-solving attitude requisite for bouldering. In a nutshell it is cheating. If you find stashed pads, it is a judgment call as whether to use them. Whether to remove them is a personal choice. See litter, above. If say three people carry two pads each, that should be enough to cover most problems. Pack them in, pack them out.”

    Looking over this and the comments to the piece, I see absolutely nothing to justify the kind of insinuation you appear to be making that I am advocating for pad destruction and making the environmental situation worse. That is a completely false argument.

    At this point it should be obvious that stashing pads, especially in a visible and obvious manner, is not acceptable unless a land manager says it’s OK.

    If anyone should be advocating for pad-stashing, it should be me. At 48 and with limited time for bouldering, I would just as soon save my knees and cut down on approach times by not hauling 2-3 pads up on every excursion to Chaos. But lacking a cool posse, it’s what I do.

  26. Michael Rathke

    16. Aug, 2012

    @slabdyno “10-20 pads! LOL! isn’t all that shit lowball?”

    No, and there is very bad landings.

  27. Michael Rathke

    16. Aug, 2012

    Besides, a ton of people climb at this nice area. Thats why there is so many pads stashed.

  28. adam strong

    17. Aug, 2012

    a richer understanding, of what’s already understood

  29. Aaron S

    17. Aug, 2012

    I understand Jaime completely when he says the situation is “complicated.” It is hard to appreciate this issue without ever climbing in Lincoln Lake, Area A+ or RMNP (and is therefore hard to take into account opinions of people who have never been there).

    I spent a month this summer climbing in Area A, Lower and Upper Chaos (and 1 trip to the Hallet Boulder) and have never before put in a third the amount of effort just to get to the boulders anywhere else I have climbed. The length of the hike, elevation gain and terrain (talus fields) add to the experience, with an added variable of altitude. For someone from the midwest, just being at 10k+ feet was brutal. Hiking in pads 5 days a week was a twisted “fun.”

    I stashed pads one time in Area A overnight, for about 16 hours. Damn the hike in the next day was a breeze; and my pads were untouched by fellow climbers or animals. Regardless, I felt very guilty about it and never did it again, but having tried it out I can empathize with those who continue to do so . . .

    In the end I am against pad stashing, but I respect the issue. There is a lot more grey area when you are doing the hike over and over.

  30. Peter Beal

    17. Aug, 2012

    Aaron’s comment is a great one. For me the hike is the crux of every session and in fact I wonder what these problems would feel like at a lower altitude with no approach. The issue with stashing at places like Area A and Lower is that there is no answer to what is a reasonable policy. I would love to be able to hike in with just one pad and be able to use a couple more that were in situ. I assume everyone else that goes up there might feel the same and that’s the problem. Soon you would have a sizable number of pads lying around and they would start falling apart, getting chewed on, etc. I have said elsewhere I would be in favor of a fee-based permit system that was designed for the frequent visitor. However that’s never going to happen in a national park, especially in a wilderness area.

  31. sasquatch

    17. Aug, 2012

    @Aaron – “There is a lot more grey area when you are doing the hike over and over.” BS – There is no more grey area, you are just far more willing to break the rule because the personal impact is greater.

    As Peter indicated, this is a slippery-slope situation and if we start rationalizing why there “may” be a grey area, then there is no reason to expect a stopping point.


    Are you allowed to stash pads in Hueco?
    What would happen if you stashed pads in Yosemite? I haven’t seen anyone state a viable reason for stashing. In fact the only reason has been becuase it’s hard work to hike in. SO GET IN BETTER SHAPE FOR THE APPROACH.

    Does anyone have another good reason?

  32. aron

    17. Aug, 2012


    I tend to agree with you, I would also advocate that it’s ok to leave trash in the park since it’s such a walk back! I also think that laziness is a good excuse for a comportement that threaten the acces for other climbers. I mean, if they did’nt wanted the lazy climbers to stash pads, they would have builted a chairlift!

  33. Praxeology

    17. Aug, 2012

    Very interesting conversation…Would building a small “pad house” not unlike a dog house, with a nice enclosure to prevent potential animal destruction be a potential solution? Of course they would have to be community pads that everyone could use, but we all have pads lying around that we could add to the collection. Why not?

  34. B3

    17. Aug, 2012

    @Praxeology that is a good solution, but neither RMNP or Evans are open to the idea

  35. Praxeology

    18. Aug, 2012

    Ah…I see. Well I guess not. Good topic Jamie. I think maybe my opinion on this issue has changed slightly due to some of the posts.

  36. chuffer

    18. Aug, 2012

    There is at least one Federal case which indicates that items left behind intentionally in a designated Wilderness Area are “abandoned property.” There is no such thing a stealing abandoned property.

  37. […] would be but I’m sure there are rules)? Leave your TP because nobody’ll find it anyway? Stash a couple of pads because you’re super lazy (The rangers are wising up at Lincoln Lake an… Toss some crumbs to the cute little marmot because what’s the harm? Saw tree branches to open […]

  38. chuffer

    18. Aug, 2012

    Really like the idea Prax … but not only are they not open to the idea, there is no such thing as a “permanent installation” in a federally designated Wilderness Area and I can assure you that based on my reading of case law relating to the Wilderness Act of 1964, a pad house would most certainly be considered soooo far over the permanent installation line, it’s not even worth having the conversation.

    Since the 1970’s, sssentially all the climbing of any kind in the Mount Evans drainages has been within designated Wilderness Areas and in 2009, 95% of RMNP was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System. This includes every remote valley in RMNP.

    Here’s a link to the announcement:

  39. jimmy

    18. Aug, 2012

    So funny as this seems to come up over and over again. Climbers and boulderers will never learn their lesson. Pack it in, pack it out. Stashing pads, leaving trash, cutting branches or willows around boulders – all lame and a no no. Leaving top ropes up or tied around trees – no no. Yet, we all know this and continue to do it (or those few individuals continue to). Why are the pros or the ones in the B-town click unwilling to call out those who do? Lame. If you think hiking into Chaos or LL or Area A+ is long or hard, get in shape. I know of 4 areas in RMNP that require longer hikes (but area also untrammeled by iPod blasting boulderers) and still offer a real “wilderness” experience (unlike Chaos). This also goes for goes for dogs off leash at LL or even Eldo. I really wish this would stop, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. We continually fail to police ourselves, are unwilling to call our our friends or people we know on the issue, and often rationalize it in our own minds (ala Aaron above).

  40. climbhighco

    21. Aug, 2012

    Pack Horses.

  41. Praxeology

    21. Aug, 2012

    Or a pack Mule…they are a bit cheaper to care for.

  42. Adam M

    21. Aug, 2012

    “Yes sir Mr. Ranger. I will pack out my stuff off of your land. Thanks for letting me climb here too, it’s greatly appreciated. Have a great day!”

    There is no debate. This can’t be decided by us. Jamie put a letter up from the guy in charge. It was incredibly lenient. You just do what it says. Period.

    Am I wrong here? What’s the discussion? You guys start an argument when a cop lets you off of a speeding ticket and asks you to slow down? Just slow down is all, then you won’t get screwed.

    Kinda cool that the Ranger gave a heads up and passed this on to Jamie and gave people a chance to clean up. He could’ve done something COMPLETELY different. How did this turn into…well…this? OK, that is all.

  43. […] would be but I’m sure there are rules)? Leave your TP because nobody’ll find it anyway? Stash a couple of pads because you’re super lazy (The rangers are wising up at Lincoln Lake an… Toss some crumbs to the cute little marmot because what’s the harm? Saw tree branches to open […]

  44. Anonymous

    22. Aug, 2012

    The “cutting the branches” thing seems to be a huge problem/topic. A classic problem like Geeks of the Industry couldn’t exist without it yet it’s a largely frowned upon practice. A related problem are landings being improved when plants and shrubs are smashed under pads and treading feet. The plants eventual die leaving a nice clean flat landing and I don’t see it being any different than cutting a 1 inch branch off a tree. This is bound to happen at any popular area or particular boulder.

    Whether a tree is intentionally effected by a saw or a climber fighting through the branches to get to the top, the branches will suffer and in many cases become removed from the tree anyway.

    This is a topic I am still intrigued about. I am not sure I really know where to stand under these circumstances either. When in doubt I always want to put preservation first but it seems that these situations nature is affected to almost the same degree either way.

    Is there a better way to address the branches/shrubs topic?

  45. tits mcgee

    23. Aug, 2012

    sasquatch.. if a friend or i got a broken back while talus death bouldering ” say in super uber upper chaos ” im pretty sure that’d totally negate any Normal persons concern about weather or not a few extra foam pads spent the summer hidden under a rock in the middle of nowhere? … but yea ..lincolns pretty roadside

  46. sasquatch

    29. Aug, 2012

    If you have to leave your pads, then you have to deal with the consequences of leaving them. Whether the consequences are them being confiscated by the rangers, you being ticketed, or the community cleaning them up for you.

    The point is that there should be a hard stance on the action, and if you make the choice to break it, then there should be consequences to that action. Those consequences can be debated, but not the legitimacy of the action itself.

  47. crackson

    13. Aug, 2014

    Its been TWO YEARS since this thread started and there are still around 15 pads stashed in Wolvo as of last weekend. C’mon people please hike them out! It ruins a beautiful place and takes away from the experience that some of us work hard to keep alive.

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