The long-awaited Director’s order 41, with its outline of bolting policies for parks, including major areas like Yosemite and Joshua Tree, has been lauded by some as an unmitigated victory for climbers access.While some aspects of the order certainly are positive (anchors are accepted as compatible with wilderness, no interim bolt ban is required and individual parks can make policies that do not require approval of every anchor), some, including the American Alpine Club, have found certain aspects of the order confusing. The AAC has made a statement calling the “‘Sport Climbing’ Language Unhelpful and Ambiguous.” Stating that “the draft language is ill-served by the inclusion of the debatable and subjective term “sport climbing.” Most people can agree on and identify bolt-intensive climbs that cause a “concentration of human activity.” However, “sport climbing” is defined in many different ways by different people. The final policy should provide some allowance for “traditional” face climbs (such as are found at Joshua Tree) that rely predominantly on fixed anchors for protection but where those fixed anchors are rare, limited in number and do not lead to high concentrations of human activity or otherwise degrade Wilderness value.”


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