The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has put a moratorium on new route development in Ten Sleep Canyon while land managers come up with a plan for how climbers should establish climbs. This comes a few weeks after climbers removed routes on July 1 and 2 because they didn’t agree with how they were manufactured.
This decision to stop route development came after a July 20 meeting hosted by The Bighorn Climbers’ Coalition (BCC). The group then shared a July 11 letter written by the USFS on social media that reads, “As of July 19, 2019, the USDA Forest Service will be enforcing regulations that prohibit constructing new climbing routes or trails on the Bighorn National Forest, including Ten Sleep Canyon.
“If an individual or group is manufacturing or creating new routes with any type of permanent hardware or apparatus to include bolts, glue, manufactured hand holds; or modifying routes through chipping or hammering new or existing holds, they will be subject to criminal fines, to include money for restitution to the impacted area.”
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UPDATE: July 19, 2019: As a result of the mass manufacturing debacle in Ten Sleep and the increase in impacts there, the US Forest Service will be enforcing regulations that prohibit both the manufacturing and bolting of new climbing routes in Ten Sleep Canyon. (Bolting Ban) If any individual or group is manufacturing or creating new routes with any permanent hardware including bolts, glue, manufactured hand holds; or is modifying routes through chipping or drilling new or existing holds, they will be subject to criminal fines, to include money for restitution to the impacted area. The @bighornclimbers (BCC) has stated that they, the USFS, and the climbing community are moving forward with a plan to implement a "Dolomite Development Guideline" to which route developers must adhere to once the Climbing Management Plan is in place… The USFS has stated that the moratorium “WILL BE LIFTED upon the completion of the management plan.” #StopChippingTenSleep #TenSleep #TenSleepCanyon #TenSleepClimbing
In a piece by Andrew Bisharat on Evening Sends called ‘The Case For Ten Sleep,’ he said, “I’ve been utterly mystified as to why some climbers are cheering for this result. Our ability to self-police/self-regulate our own community has been historically one of our greatest strengths, a lynchpin that has secured tenuous access to so many cliffs around the country.”
He went on to say, “The fact is, the government was more pissed about the route removal and padlocking than they were about the original chipped holds. In my opinion, climbers need to agree that removing routes is almost never a good solution. (This is the position of the Access Fund as well). If we can’t agree as climbers that having more climbs is better than having fewer climbs, then I’m not sure what we can agree on.”
The USFS and BCC will be working to develop a Climbing Management Plan and guidelines for future route development in Ten Sleep. The BCC said on social media, “The USFS has stated that the moratorium will be lifted upon the implementation of these guidelines.”