pigsteak wrote:naw, eric, you are spot on....pies n pints is excellent pizza
First off, I'd appreciate if everyone stops mentioning other climbing areas, I like the NRG and the Obed just the way they are.
A lot has been said about the reasons for crowds at the Red, and they're all true: cheap camping, rising popularity of climbing gyms, great guidebook, proximity to tons of population centers, publicity by both climbing media and even the rrgcc in order to get funds; they're all attracting the masses.
Above all, it's the nature of the rock. Technique for climbing the Red's pockets translates incredibly easily from a gym background, perhaps more easily than any other climbing area in the nation. Also unlike a lot of other climbing areas, the fact that so many climbs here are endurance-oriented, and lack single hard moves, really make it easy for "project climbers" to get on routes over their heads, bolt-to-bolt, and convince themselves that they can send. This is not a bad thing by itself; it's the key to improvement, but when combined with the above non-climbing factors, it creates a shitshow.
Finally, we have the ways that developers and users approach the rock: safe bolting, some grade featherbagging that caters to scorecard wankers, and perma/long term project draws all make it easier for people to get on climbs. Regardless of whether you agree or not, all of these contribute to rising crowds here.
The solution is going to be tough, and deserves serious discussion. We have to find something between the extremes of a complete free-for-all, and a complete draconian shut-down. But, all of these actions deserve consideration from us, the community, and public and private land managers:
-raise the prices at Miguel's
-start sandbagging route grades more
-charge for parking
-actively acquire and develop more crags (crowds are more concentrated at crags this fall with the closing of Roadside, obviously)
-start cutting down on the culture of accepting perma-draws, whether by land managers' policy, or just a general shift in the mass consensus
-increase education efforts to show visitors what is and is not accepted here
-enact more bureaucratic hurdles (what if everyone had to go through some sort of Hueco-style training/education seminar in order to climb at PMRP?)
None of these actions would work by themselves. I'm sure that, say, this weekend, when word gets out that there are no permadraws at the Undertow Wall, numbers at the Motherlode would probably be down 30% or so. But most people who would opt to not go there would simply go to another crag at the Red; they would not stay home. Similarly, I guarantee that if Ray were to, say, downgrade Snooker to 12c/d, numbers of climbers on it would significantly go down, but those climbers would just go clog up Spank, or the Force.
What I'm saying is that we all here needs to rethink prevailing ethics, both from a bottom-up community perspective, and a top-down managerial perspective.