Should Arches National Park Institute New Climbing Rules?


Outdoor enthusiasts have one week left to weigh in on new climbing rules proposed by Arches National Park.

Arches established its current climbing policy in 2006, in the wake of Dean Potter's controversial ascent of Delicate Arch. While many Utahns were outraged by what they saw as the desecration of a state symbol, park managers were unable to prosecute Potter because a rule prohibiting climbing on named arches was too vaguely worded. The National Park Service responded by closing the loophole and further banning climbers from installing new fixed anchors or using white chalk.

In a newsletter, the NPS laid out four possible future strategies for managing climbers' impact: while all would maintain the ban on climbing named arches, the options differ in just about every other way. The strictest, dubbed the Regulatory alternative, would institute a permit system for climbers; the Minimum Requirements alternative would remove most restrictions on bolting, chalk use, and commercial guiding.

The NPS will be accepting public input on the proposed alternatives through March 13th. Comments may be submitted through their website.

Adam Roy

Photo credit: Owl Rock, one of Arches' most popular climbing routes–Adam Roy