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Itai Axelrad


If you can ignore the hoards of tourists, Rocky Mountain National Park is a lovely place. I did not think so at first but it has grown on me in the past few weeks. Good times in the alpine with a fine crew of people will do that!

Striking a pose

While there were plenty of wobblers to be had, the trips were an overall success. Kayla took down the wonderful Windy in a Basket in a few goes, Isaac and I put Blood Money to rest, and I even managed a quick send of the life-lister Top Notch (video link).

Kayla crimping her way through Windy in a Basket (V7)
Isaac climbing the thuggy roof of Blood Money (V12)
Myself, on the classic Top Notch (V13)

And now, here’s a rant about the disappearance of the “leave no trace” ethics.

First, if you want to tick your climbs that’s fine, just brush your ticks off when you’re done. Second, please stop stashing pads in a fragile alpine environment. Not only is it kinda lazy, but it also illegal and jeopardizes our privileged access to these climbing areas, especially considering climbers have been warned about this in the past. In case you had doubt, here is an excerpt from an Access Fund article published in 2012 titled The Big W:

“In 2007 during a patrol, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers found 25 stashed bouldering pads in Chaos Canyon. The following summer, rangers found nine in one day. Most recently, pad stashing at Mt. Evans, another Colorado bouldering mecca, has become an issue. Stashing pads—though, admittedly convenient in a place like Rocky Mountain or Evans with their long approaches—is illegal in a Wilderness area.”

This was an issue a dozen years ago, and the sport has experienced exponential growth recently with more to come when it hits the Olympics. In a more recent 2018 Access Fund article titled 5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU CLIMB IN THE ALPINE the first ‘thing’ reads:

“Stashing pads and gear is illegal in most places and hurts wildlife. We get it. Those alpine boulder approaches can be arduous. If you’re projecting, hauling all that gear is a drag. But stashing gear is not worth the price we’ll all pay for access if a land manager finds it (and trust us, they are looking). It’s also not worth the hit to your wallet or the health of wildlife if hungry marmots eat it. Mountain goats, marmots, and other wild critters crave salt, and they will munch on your sweaty pad, giving them an unhealthy mix of synthetic fibers and human salt.”

There are many more articles and forums out there addressing this issue. Feel free to inform yourself and please be respectful!

The beautiful alpine wilderness of Chaos Canyon

Till next time,

- Itai