Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Too much nature

On average the conditions in Rifle Mountain Park have been excellent.  This morning at 7:41 AM it’s a chilling 36 degrees after warming up a bit.  Brrr.  With the anticipated clear sunny skies the high temps will approach the high 70’s.  Campers will experience a 40+ degree or better temperature swing.  On average it will look like the perfect day.   We also had two hail storms and a whole weekend of rain where only the caves were dry.

With the furnace blasting to insulate me from the cold, I have this proposal for Rifle Mountain Park:

DOME IT!

And I don’t mean some DIA tent looking structure.  Let’s go for:
  • Retractable roof systems that will all us to experience only the perfect days and shield out the hot and cold extremes.  This is sport climbing right? 
  • Crag specific humidity, temperature and breeze controls.  The hard-core sender on Stock Boy’s Revenge will want super cool temps to make the holds feel as positive as possible.  The recreational climbers require warming climes while redpointing simpler routes at the Funny Face and Bubble Bee walls.  The Project Wall with its moderate .11s on one end and difficult .13s on the other requires multiple HVAC zones to properly accommodate the diverse groups.  Individual route controls are likely cost prohibitive, but should be considered for especially hard routes where the magazine factor is high.
  • High rise parking lot with modified chair transportation system to a) relief parking stress on the park and b) eliminate the arduous hikes—no one is impressed by being able to walk a mile, but park illegally and send 5.14 with an audience…priceless.
  • Granite clad bathrooms with one of those dudes that stand there to hand you a towel; he’ll need to be salary because climbers are on a budget...a tip free zone.
  • Stadium seating at crags for bouncing betties/barts to swoon over bare bulging biceps.
  • Camping improvements—out.  Paris Hilton will design luxury accommodations suitable for the sensitive sport climbers’ needs.
  • Street food vendors peddling sending food like peeled grapes for the weight conscience climber and recovery drinks. 
  • And finally pipe the creek, carpet the park and evict Mother Nature.
These significant improvements will not only benefit the climbing, recreation and picnicking users, but will also increase revenue to the City of Rifle.  The Park’s revenue stream is currently extremely seasonal with the Summer being peak time and Winter with drastically shrunken user days from cold seeking ice climbers and snowmobilers.  The RMP Dome will attract year around users to the park like the Super Dome attracts Super Bowl fans.  Rifle will reap the significant long-term economic benefits of these improvements from their use fees at $5/day/car.  What a deal!

Seriously though.

The summer busy season for sport climbing is upon us.  RMP has limited resources to accommodate all the people (climbers, fishers, campers, picnickers, etc.) that want to benefit from these resources.  It takes effort on the part of likely the largest user group, climbers, to mitigate their impacts on the park.  There are many actions all can take to reduce their footprint on the park.  Below I have listed a few suggestions many are specific to RMP but some are simply parts of being a good citizen.
  • Car pool – not only from home to the crag, but also from your campsite to the crag.
  • Follow all posted rules as well as established social norms for the area.
  • If a parking area is full, move on.  Don’t attempt to park alongside the road, double park, or create an extra space.  Take the time to walk while taking in the setting with friends.
  • Promptly pay any required fees upon arrival.
  • Keep dogs on leash.
  • Leave no trace.
  • Extinguish any remnants of last night’s fire.
  • Enjoy!
 I am not aware of any current discussion to limit climbing access in RMP.  Although, I have been told that closing the park has been discussed. 

The future of climbing at RMP is in the hands and actions of the current climbing generation.  They can choose to 1) enjoy the ride to RMP’s ultimate demise or 2) be good stewards of the resource.  The choices you make and pressure your compatriots to make determine the future.

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