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comment on recent Grand Wall boulders incidents

The Squamish Access Society would like to call attention to two incidents of unfortunate and destructive activity which have recently occured in the Grandwall Boulders. Specifically climbers have been manufacturing holds, and using a blowtorch on the rock. While climbing is a sport in which we are all free to make our own rules, there is consensus in the community that activities which damage and deface the rock are forbidden. It is also important to note that the Grand Wall Boulders are in a provincial park, and we must all do our best to minimize our impact.

While there are example of historic hold manufacturing in the boulders (ie the Cacodemon Boulder), the modern consensus is that this is not an acceptable practice. There is some grey area when cleaning loose rock during a first ascent, but carving holds in solid granite in order to reduce the difficulty of a climb is clearly outside of that grey area. Additionally it worth mentioning that the Squamish Access Society has written a best practices guide for developers which can be found here. Section 4 has guidelines for boulders.

Applying a blowtorch to the rock not only dafaces it with black marks but can cause permanent damage. The extreme heat can cause cracking, exfoliation and even result in holds breaking. Getting a climb in on a wet day is never reason enough to risk destroying a climb.

If anyone sees either of these activities occuring, please speak up. As the sport of climbing grows, not all new climbers will be aware of the harm caused by these practices. It is important that we continue a tradition of more experienced climbers educating less experienced climbers.

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