Ruth Lake Stewardship Day – the chain gang

Ruth Lake Stewardship Day – the chain gangAugust 30th, 2014

This past Thursday, Blake Summers, the American Alpine Club Utah Section Chair, Nathan Smith, and Julia Geisler, Executive Director of the SLCA, took advantage of the dry weather and went up to Ruth Lake in the Uintas to do some fixed anchor work. The majority of the anchors at the Ruth Lake walls are single bolt Metolious rap anchors. Because of the popularity of the 53 routes at Ruth Lake as a sport climbing destination, these anchors were starting to see some wear. When these kind of anchor bolts start to wear down from ropes, they become sharp and can cut a rope. The entire anchor bolt then needs to be replaced. The SLCA preempted this scenario by installing about 50 lbs of chain on the anchors of the entire Good Medicine Wall and the Last Stand Wall. Please help to maintain this chain by not top roping directly through the chain and consider rappelling instead of being lowered.

Thanks to Liberty Mountain and Cypher for donating quick links and to the Uinta Rock guidebook authors, Nathan Smith and Paul Tusting, for donating the chain.

Perhaps even more exciting than the installation of the chain is what we saw on the approach to the crag. Forest Service Recreation Staff were working on the climber access trail to Ruth Lake building a stone staircase up part of an eroded hillside. This work was to be part of the Ruth Lake Adopt a Crag that was cancelled last Saturday due to snow. After the 2012 Ruth Lake Adopt a Crag, the Forest Service Recreation Ranger put the Ruth Lake climber access trail on the Forest Service System Trail inventory because of the high use that this climbing area receives. This means that Forest Service resources can be allocated to working on this climbing access trail. This is one of the few times outside of Adopt a Crags that we have seen this happen in the Wasatch and is a giant step towards climbing sites being maintained by the Forest Service, hence preserving access and helping climbers lesson our impact on the land. Thanks to the Forest Service and to all you volunteers who show up to work at Adopt a Crags.

A note on Adopt a Crags. The SLCA knows that there are many many climber access trails and belay areas in need of stewardship work in the Wasatch. While we would love to do Adopt a Crags at all of them immediately, please bear in mind that we are working with government agencies and private land owners to do this work. The Ruth Lake Adopt a Crag alone required numerous office meetings and site visits in order to plan this work to get done. Anytime the shovel is put to the ground on public land, approval of the project and environmental assessments need to be conducted. High use areas are the priority for the Forest Service as they try to serve the greater public. If you have recommendations for climbing sites in the Wasatch that are in need of Adopt a Crags, please let the SLCA know. Photos and good descriptions of the work needed help us to plan future projects. In the meantime, please come out to the Adopt a Crags and learn how to do technical rock work. The more skilled volunteers we can show the Forest Service that we have, the more work they will approve the SLCA to do to maintain our climbing access.

In order for the SLCA to continue to advocate for Adopt a Crags in the Wasatch, we need you to JOIN and RE-NEW your memberships today. Thank you for your support.

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