It is apparently Great Outdoors Month. The Department of the Interior proclaimed June as such back in 2004, during the George W. Bush administration. (Here at AJ, every month is Great Outdoors Month, of course.) This year, as part of GOM festivities, the BLM has released a series of online interactive maps that highlight climbing areas on BLM-managed lands. Mountain Project and the Access Fund are part of the map initiative.
Each geographic zone features important details about the climbing conditions with coordinates, directions, and photos. For example, here’s the entry on Trout Creek, Oregon:
Climbing grades range from 5.7-5.12. The area is subject to a seasonal wildlife closure from January 15th to August 31st due to nesting eagles. Trout Creek is Oregon’s premier destination for pure crack climbs. The climbing is physical, the rock is rough and the approach is too. The bulk of the climbing is vertical cracks in corners and stem-boxes on enormous basalt columns coming in at the 5.10-5.12 range. There are a handful of lower angle crack climbs on the north side of the crag that come in at 5.7-5.10. The main wall faces west and this fact dictates when it is best to climb there. It is possible to climb at Trout Creek year round if you climb in the sun/shade accordingly.
Following that info, campsite details and beta about local recreation opportunities besides climbing are included. For traveling climbers, it could be a seriously valuable resource.
This initiative is being touted by Interior as a way to get more people out and recreating on BLM lands. “We have some of the best rock climbing sites in the world, and I hope that this new map can help to further highlight these locations and encourage more outdoor enthusiasts to explore our great outdoors,” said David Bernhardt, Interior secretary.
“The BLM really wanted a one-stop shop where you can visit, look at the map, see what climbing areas are available, as well as all the other considerations that you need to know about when you go climbing on BLM land,” Erik Murdock, the policy director for the Access Fund said.
While it seems that coordinates and photos may increase crowding, Murdock pointed out that the group only supplied information about well-known and visited climbing spots.
“We only highlighted climbing areas that are well-known and well-traveled, just to share more information and combat crowding and the impacts that are associated with large amounts of climbers visiting sites,” Murdock said.
The maps are available here.