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Five Low Impact Climbing Tips for World Environment Day

Climbers take over base of Mount Nemo in Ontario

While climbers spend most of their time outdoors in forests and high on walls, their actions are rarely environmentally friendly.

We add bolts to often fragile cliff ecology, we clear plants and shrubs from the base of the wall, we scrub ancient lichen from the stone and we force animals to displace whenever we’re around.

Most climbers understand the significance of plant and animal preservation and related issues and therefore try to have low impact in climbing areas.

Many wildlife agencies have put forth certain restrictions on climbers, such as seasonal closures of climbing areas.

Here are five tips on how to have as little impact as possible when visiting a climbing area.


If rock climbers have been allotted a specific area for parking their vehicles, they should respect the rules and keep their vehicle traffic off the sensitive areas.


Always follow established trails, as these are established for keeping the impact in these areas to the minimum.

Signed trails in Skaha

Leave No Trace

Always follow the “Leave No Trace” principle. You should be acquainted with these principles, whenever you are practicing rock climbing outdoors.

For instance-pack all the trash and leave the area like you found it before.

New Routes

Establishing new routes and cleaning the area is good. However, avoid “aggressive” cleaning like creating holds, removing large obstructions in landing areas and chipping or removing any living vegetation from the climb or its base.


Respect all ‘stay out’ areas- If a certain area has been closed for some reason, entering it stealthily only poses more grave threat.

If climbers sneak in and break rules, they are not making any attempts to help the cause.

Closed climbing for peregrine falcons

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