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Exit Strategies for Yosemite Big Walls
Yosemite Wilderness Use Nights:
•1975: ~ 219,000 use nights
•2005 ~ 85,000 (approx)
•2009: ~144,000 (11% increase from 200...
Yosemite National Park: Climbing
Management
All of Yosemite Big Walls became Designated
Wilderness after CA Wilderness Ac...
Yosemite National Park: Climbing
Management
Other Issues:
Yosemite Big Wall Brown Bag Tossing
The accepted practice was to relieve
oneself in a brown paper bag, then
toss it off t...
The “Classic” Tube
•Starting in the ‘80s climbers
started using PVC pipe and
webbing to make these
improvised poop transpo...
Different pipe bombs appearances, from a
bomb awareness report issued by the US
Department of State.
Pipe bomb or poop tub...
The systems.
The prepackaged human
waste disposal kits make
life easy.
All kinds of improvised containers
and on the marke...
More pack-it-out ideas.
The economical method.
The “perfect” poo stance.
The Nose of El Capitan
•Arguably The World’s greatest
rock climb. The first route up the
great face of El Cap.
•First Clim...
The Nose and Camp 6
Camp 6
Camp 6: The World’s Greatest Bivy?
Back-up pack-out
method….Climbing
Rangers.
Gotta love job security!
Yosemite Climbing Rangers
have attempted to clean
Camp 6 and other parts of the
Nose in 2006, 2007, and
2009.
August 30-...
Liquid
and
solid
poo
bom
b!!2007 Nose Wipe
*Video*
Half Dome: A Whole Other Beast
2010-11 Environmental Assessment of
Cables Route. Day use permits required at
least tempora...
RNWF of Half Dome in a Day No Wagbag/Restop!!
•Half Dome in a day
with Wagbag?
•Accidents happen,
but why not clean up
after yourself?
•Fatigue, not caring
anymore, exp...
Final issues: waste removal conundrums.
• Could we institute a Whitney or Denali style system for Yosemite Big Walls?
• Co...
Conclusions.
•The self policing system is mostly successful, based on how many shit bags we pick up
from the base of climb...
Jesse McGahey - Yosemite Big Walls
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Jesse McGahey - Yosemite Big Walls

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Jesse McGahey - Yosemite Big Walls
Exit Strategies Conference 2010
Sustainable Summits Initiative

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Jesse McGahey - Yosemite Big Walls

  1. 1. Exit Strategies for Yosemite Big Walls
  2. 2. Yosemite Wilderness Use Nights: •1975: ~ 219,000 use nights •2005 ~ 85,000 (approx) •2009: ~144,000 (11% increase from 2008) •2010: On track for another (10% increase) Wilderness Climbing Use Nights? •No scientific data—interested? •El Capitan: ~2000 use nights •All other walls: ~1000
  3. 3. Yosemite National Park: Climbing Management All of Yosemite Big Walls became Designated Wilderness after CA Wilderness Act of 1984. Yosemite Climbing Management started in the late ‘80s under the Wilderness Branch of Protection Division . The goal was simple: reduce resource impacts from climbing. Human waste on big walls is, unfortunately, an impact hard to ignore. When climbing a Yosemite Big Wall was still relatively rare, human waste on the wall (or more frequently thrown off the wall) was not a huge problem.
  4. 4. Yosemite National Park: Climbing Management Other Issues:
  5. 5. Yosemite Big Wall Brown Bag Tossing The accepted practice was to relieve oneself in a brown paper bag, then toss it off the wall. After they finished their climb (or bailed) responsible climbers would return to the base and pick up crap- bags, and other garbage. Problems?
  6. 6. The “Classic” Tube •Starting in the ‘80s climbers started using PVC pipe and webbing to make these improvised poop transport devices (IPTDs). •Crucial NOTE!! These should not be confused with improvised explosive devices (IED)s. •Happened in the 90s after Oklahoma City bombing.
  7. 7. Different pipe bombs appearances, from a bomb awareness report issued by the US Department of State. Pipe bomb or poop tube? Suspicious PVC piping. Found at El Capitan picnic area in the late nineties.
  8. 8. The systems. The prepackaged human waste disposal kits make life easy. All kinds of improvised containers and on the market varieties.
  9. 9. More pack-it-out ideas. The economical method.
  10. 10. The “perfect” poo stance.
  11. 11. The Nose of El Capitan •Arguably The World’s greatest rock climb. The first route up the great face of El Cap. •First Climbed in 1958 by Warren Harding et al. over 47 days using siege tactics. •What did they do with their solid waste? •Looked good in 1961 when this photo was taken. Photo by Glen Denny
  12. 12. The Nose and Camp 6 Camp 6
  13. 13. Camp 6: The World’s Greatest Bivy?
  14. 14. Back-up pack-out method….Climbing Rangers. Gotta love job security!
  15. 15. Yosemite Climbing Rangers have attempted to clean Camp 6 and other parts of the Nose in 2006, 2007, and 2009. August 30-September 1st 2010 we will do a combined YOSAR technical rope rescue training and Camp 6 and Camp 5 clean up. Hoping to use all human power (no mules or helicopters) to carry equipment and pack out waste.
  16. 16. Liquid and solid poo bom b!!2007 Nose Wipe *Video*
  17. 17. Half Dome: A Whole Other Beast 2010-11 Environmental Assessment of Cables Route. Day use permits required at least temporarily. Loads of poo and toilet paper. Another composter, pack it out?
  18. 18. RNWF of Half Dome in a Day No Wagbag/Restop!!
  19. 19. •Half Dome in a day with Wagbag? •Accidents happen, but why not clean up after yourself? •Fatigue, not caring anymore, expect Climbing Rangers to clean it up? Spring Wagbag!
  20. 20. Final issues: waste removal conundrums. • Could we institute a Whitney or Denali style system for Yosemite Big Walls? • Cost Benefit? Numbers of climbers vs. Whitney hikers. • YNP policy solid waste removal does not remove human waste, maybe that can change. • Officially, climbers are told to put all human waste packed off walls in pit toilets… but only paper and poo. • If we hand out Wagbag/Restop/Biffy Bag etc…where can climbers put them? • Environmentally OK in dumpsters (heading to landfills), but against park policy. • Why noncompliance? Cultural divide? European, Asian, South American, climbers sometimes do not have the same LNT norms that we do. This is excusable, we just need to be more proactive. N. American climbers…hmmm…morally derelict. • Desperate Climbs call for desperate measures.
  21. 21. Conclusions. •The self policing system is mostly successful, based on how many shit bags we pick up from the base of climbs and see on walls our rough estimate is 3% noncompliance. •This is still about 100 individual shit bags or wall smears/year=room for improvement. •Limited facilities means we will continue to rely on Education, Education, Education Partnerships, Volunteers, and lastly (and least) enforcement.

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