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Bouldering in Sardinia: how to preserve nature & rock.

Picture this: no fancy gyms with colorful holds, just rock, blue sky, and the great outdoors. Climbers were like modern-day explorers, seeking for new paths up inviolated cliffs, without any help of indoor training. This is the origin and the core of climbing. Back then, nature was the ultimate boss, and climbers had to show total respect for it. “Leave-no-trace” wasn’t just a saying – it was a way of life. Climbers were all about preserving the wild beauty of the mountains, not littering or trashing the spots they “conquered”. It was a chill vibe, with folks knowing that nature was their playground and protecting it was key. And then, what happened?

climbing gym

Climbing Boom Nowadays

Now, fast forward to today’s climbing scene. We’ve got these amazing indoor gyms where climbers practice their moves and come to just do fitness on artificial walls. It’s like a whole different world! The users of today might crush it indoors, but the real challenge is taking those skills and bringing them outdoors. Numbers have grown so much in the last years, and who started climbing in these last 10 years truly experienced this Climbing Boom.

In recent times, climbing has become more popular than ever before. I saw literally this transformation over the past years of collaborations with different climbing gyms around Europe. As a routesetter, it’s just so different: the high catching holds, the needs of the public and the owners that changed dramatically, both in terms of infrastracture and services.

How this Boom impacts Nature

With climbing gyms popping up in every corner and outdoor enthusiasts occupying crags during the weekend, it’s clear that this discipline has captured the hearts of many. While the psyche of climbing is undeniable, it’s crucial to pause and reflect on the impact this surge in popularity may have on our environment and ecosystems.

bouldering in sardinia

Some say the connection with nature has shifted. In the ’80s, climbers were part of the mountains, feeling every breeze and conquering real rock faces. Now, with the indoor crew stepping into the outdoor game, there’s a learning curve. It’s not just about sending routes; it’s about understanding the environment, the weather, and the impact we have on these natural spots.

The growth of climbing, especially outdoor climbing, brings both excitement and responsibility. As more people start this adventurous activity, we must be mindful of the potential harm it can inflict on nature. Below, we will specifically address the situation in Sardinia, which is relatively new to this boom of outdoor bouldering. It is crucial to be aware in this area, ensuring that we do not cross the line and are prepared in advance to avoid damaging a spectacular and unique ecosystem. Is important to avoid what happened in iconic European areas like Ticino and Albarracin.

Considering the recent changes and approaches in bouldering, including how people are adapting to rules and engaging in the activity, I’ve put down a short list to highlight what we need to pay attention to in order to minimize the impact of climbing on our environment.

However, the list could be much longer.

Outdoor Bouldering in Sardinia

Since two years we are living in Sardinia, where we opened our guesthouse and hosted numerous climbers from all over Europe. It has been delightful to share boulder sessions on unique formations with enthusiasts and witness people coming to appreciate the rough granite and challenging boulders the island offers. Bouldering in Sardinia has experienced a significant surge in popularity, especially in the last years.

bouldering in sardinia

We were sincerely surprised to experience a considerable crowd on New Year’s Eve, with many vans and, unfortunately, a substantial amount of litter left behind after the climbing sessions. Sardinia, like other bouldering areas, has its own delicate ecosystem, and it is crucial to preserve it. Before leaving the area, it is absolutely essential to leave no traces – neither on the boulders, the ground, nor in the surrounding environment.

We all know that it is incorrect and immoral to leave litter in outdoor spaces. For those who may not be aware, here’s a list of essential tips for climbers transitioning from indoor to outdoor pursuits while maintaining a mindful approach towards Mother Nature.

6 Essential tips for climbing outdoors

1. Know Before You Go

Before you go climbing outdoors, it’s important to know the rules for the area. Some places might close during certain times to protect animals and plants. Also, some areas are on private land, so it’s crucial to follow the instructions in the guidebook. If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Being informed will help you make smart choices about where and when to climb while respecting nature.

2. Stick to Designated Climbing Routes

Unlike indoor gyms, outdoor climbing areas often have established routes to minimize environmental impact. Stay on these designated paths to avoid disturbing fragile vegetation, soil erosion, and the disruption of wildlife habitats. Following the established routes ensures a harmonious coexistence with nature.

3. Clean holds after use

When you’re out bouldering in nature, chalk is like your secret weapon for getting a good grip. But here’s the deal – we’ve got to be cool about it. After you’ve sent or before moving to your next boulder, take a minute to clean up and brush holds. Grab a brush and wipe away any chalk marks. It’s like giving the rocks a little high-five and saying, “I was here, but I’m not leaving a mess.”

See, leaving no trace is the name of the game. Too much chalk not only messes with the look of the rocks but can mess up the whole vibe of the outdoors. Brushing off those holds keeps things looking good for the next climber and shows some love and respect to Mother Nature.

So, next time you’re crushing it on the rocks, just remember – a quick brush-off is your way of keeping things awesome for everyone.

4. Respect Local Flora and Fauna

The transition from indoor climbing walls to outdoor crags requires a shift in mindset. Be conscious of your surroundings, and avoid disturbing local flora and fauna. This includes refraining from trampling on delicate plants, disturbing nesting birds, and respecting the natural balance of the ecosystem.

5. Pack It In, Pack It Out

Unlike the controlled environment of a gym where waste is easily managed, outdoor climbing areas may lack proper disposal facilities. Make it a habit to carry out everything you bring in, including chalk, tape, and any other waste. Leave no trace of your presence to preserve the pristine beauty of the outdoor environment.

6. Educate Yourself and Others

Take the time to educate yourself and fellow climbers about the unique challenges and responsibilities of outdoor climbing. Share information about local environmental concerns, and encourage a collective commitment to preserving the natural beauty of climbing spots.

As you embrace the outdoor climbing community, actively contribute to fostering a culture of environmental stewardship. Lead by example, share responsible practices, and encourage your peers to adopt habits that prioritize the longevity of outdoor climbing areas.

In summary, the transition from indoor climbing to outdoor adventures is an exciting evolution in a climber’s journey. By embracing responsible habits and cultivating an awareness of the impact on the environment, climbers can ensure that the thrill of scaling heights is coupled with a commitment to preserving the natural wonders that make outdoor climbing possible.

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