Understanding and implementing ways to minimise any potential environmental and cultural impact from bouldering is the best way to ensure that it remains a thriving sport for many years to come.
Depending on the rock type and angle, chalk can be highly visible, which can be cause for concern to land managers and Traditional Owners.
On different rock types and over the years, it can also have subtle physical effects. Sandstone and limestone will absorb chalk over time and gradually become smoother and blemished.
Overhanging routes and boulder problems that are sheltered from the elements allow for chalk to build up if we do not clean as we go.
Consider taking a more mindful approach to chalk and limiting use as much as possible.
Be aware of the terrain - are you using chalk in an area that will receive rain?
Bring a brush - climbing stores usually stock the correct type for the right rock. Soft boar hair brushes are great for sandstone, whereas wire brushes are damaging.
It is best to avoid creating tick marks or patting the rock with chalk. Encourage a clean approach to brush tick marks off regularly. For many climbers these marks can also be a spoiler or even bad beta for their onsight attempt.
The less evidence that we leave of our presence in the outdoors, the more likely it is the next person will enjoy the same area.
Crash pads (and good spotting) help protect us from injury, but they can also cause damage to the ground from dragging and repeated impact.
Unless on rock, landing zones at the foot of high traffic boulders are always subject to erosion. It's best to lift rather than drag pads over soft ground to minimise this. Also be mindful of how eroded an area may have become (eg. tree roots exposed) and limit repeated impact on soft ground.
Respect closures of boulder problems / areas where rehabilitation is required.
Stashed boulder pads can be perceived as litter by the general public and land managers.
Please take care not to trample vegetation with boulder pads.
We recommend always making sure your rock shoes are clean before launching up a problem. Climbing with dirty shoes won't work well, and it can scuff and polish the rock, making it more difficult for others.
Likewise, we recommend not chalking up footholds which can cause the rock to become more polished over time.
Preserving Cultural Heritage
Having a general understanding and appreciation for First Nations cultural heritage is a great way to help mitigate some of the potential impact of climbing and bouldering in Australia. Please take the time to read our full Cultural Heritage section.
When we climb we are visitors on Country - and this comes with a responsibility to leave it as we found it.
There are many forms of cultural heritage - scar trees, middens, surface scatters (to name a few), but perhaps one of the most sensitive to risk from climbers is rock art.
Art work exists throughout Victoria; The Grampians/Gariwerd is home to over 80% of these sites and they must be protected above all else. Only climb in areas that have been approved for access by Parks Victoria.
Bouldering in Groups
We all love bouldering in a crew - the support and encouragement of working a problem with mates is one of the best parts of our sport.
Please keep in mind that the parks are for everyone. Be mindful of noise and how our presence can impact other visitors' experience.
Other tips for climbing in a group:
Carpool whenever possible.
Try to spread out your group so you're not crowding a single area.
Be respectful and courteous to other park users.
Keep your gear organized and don't spread it out over the crag.
Keep access tracks clear.
Protect fragile plant life and bushes from being trampled.
Remember to pack out all of your's and other's litter before leaving. Double check for micro litter.