Bouldering Access Problems

by Mick Ryan Eagle Tor Climbing´s popularity has caused many access problems at bouldering areas around the world. With new areas discovered and rediscovered and climbers visiting these well publicised areas en masse(publicised by the internet, bouldering DVD´s, guidebooks, climbing magazines and word of mouth) it is almost inevitable that there will be problems. Two days ago we received word from James Pearson about access problems in Switzerland at Sonlerto and Brione. In the UK there are problems. One of the most recent is at Eagle Tor – a quality bouldering venue in a woodland setting across from Cratcliffe in the Peak. The BMC (link to Eagle Tor at advises climbers to avoid Eagle Tor at present. Why? Read below. The landowners of this excellent Peak bouldering crag have unfortunately stated to the BMC they are currently not willing to allow access, and intend to install fencing around the rocks. The owners are decent people with a young family and appreciate the quality of the crag. However, the bottom line is large numbers of visitors, damaged fencing, defecation near the house, toilet paper and noise have eroded their patience. The boulders are located on private land (effectively their back garden) and the owners are within their rights to eject you. Simon Jacques, BMC Peak Bouldering Access Rep wrote recently at… Not that I´m not as guilty as the next man – but fk me the state of some of our bouldering areas look bloody awfull – had a trip out to the Secret Garden the other day and the place looks an eyesore – chalk splats everywhere – no attempt to clean it off it seems and its ground into the rock…that and shit loads of litter everywhere (not blaming boulderers as such) but there was a fair bit of finger tape & fag ends all over the place too… Not being sanctamonious – but take a brush & give the rock a tickle now and again between attemps & clean up a bit where you can peeps please!! We have already had the Eagle Tor fiasco – lets not spoil anywhere else!! Lots of good work has been achieved and is on going at several bouldering areas in the UK, often guided by the BMC, but is seems that more needs to be done to educate some climbers. There is Simon Panton´s Bouldering Ten Commandments (link) but perhaps it is up to us all to pick up any litter we see, clean off chalk and have a quiet word with anyone we see treating bouldering areas with disrespect.