Crowds Damaging Red Rock, Climbing Group Warns

A rock climbing advocacy group named Red Rock Canyon outside Las Vegas one of the most threatened climbing areas in the country.

The Access Fund put Red Rock Canyon National Conservation ARea in its list of “10 Climbing Areas in Crisis,” saying climbers sometimes flatten fragile desert plants and leave waste behind.

Ty Tyler, stewardship director for the Access Fund, told State of Nevada that Red Rock Canyon has fallen victim to its own popularity.

Red Rock is “one of the most iconic and popular destinations,” Tyler said, and it suffers from a “loving (it) to death” problem.

Among the responses being discussed are better educating climbers on ways to reduce their impact and improving access and signage to climbing routes. The Southern Nevada Climbers Coalition already stresses responsible climbing to its members.

The Bureau of Land Management, which manages Red Rock Canyon, says the area attracts about 3 million visitors a year, tripling in the last decade. An estimated 10 percent of those visitors participate in some sort of rock climbing, according to Steve Leslie of the BLM.

Support comes from

Topping the Access Fund’s list of at-risk rock climbing areas is the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. Overuse has “killed the majority of vegetation at the base of the cliffs,” the group says.


Ty Tyler,  the Access Fund; Steve Leslie, BLM's Red Rock field office; Leici Hendrix, Southern Nevada Climbing Council

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