Climbers Placed Bolts in Ancient Petroglyphs Near Moab

It goes without saying, or should, anyway, that placing bolts next to petroglyphs is illegal. Rock art that is hundreds, and in some cases more than a thousand year old can be found in many places the Southwest. Some of the art is next to popular roads, some is hidden deep in remote canyons, still waiting to be discovered.

All of it is precious. And legally protected.

Recently, climber Darrin Reay was in the Moab area, climbing the Sunshine Slabs north of Arches. He encountered bolts placed right next to a beautiful panel of rock art, possibly from the Fremont Culture, which could make the art 2,000 years old.

That is very much not cool.

A Facebook user named Stewart Green is friends with Darrin Reay, and posted an accounting of Reay’s frustrating discovery. We’d embed it here, but Facebook doesn’t allow that anymore.

From the post:

“My friend Darrin Reay, a climbing guide and Naked and Afraid star, called me this afternoon while he was driving back to Grand Junction after a weekend in the Moab area.

Darrin had some alarming news. While exploring and climbing around the Sunshine Slabs just north of Arches National Park, he found 3 new bolted routes on a low-angle, 70-foot-high slab above the camping area that climbed directly into a fabulous panel of Fremont-style petroglyphs. Bolts were placed beside and near petroglyphs, which is, of course, illegal.
Darrin looked up the Sunshine Slabs on Mountain Project and found that the routes were bolted by climbers from Colorado Springs in late March. The worst offender, a route called “Peaches,” weighs in at a hefty 5.3. Jeez, kind of pathetic to illegally bolt a 5.3 route!
Darrin, part Native American, told me that he “pulled all 3 of them down. I thought about leaving them up for the sake of reporting them. But I just couldn’t leave them up, religious reasons. It was my duty.” He later said, “I still have the photos of the first time I went out there 14 years ago of that panel. Never would have noticed it if you hadn’t told me to look for it.”
He is going to call the BLM Moab office tomorrow morning to make a formal complaint and provide the BLM with photos of the damage caused by the bolts.”
If you encounter something like this in that area and wish to alert public lands staff, you can do so via the BLM Utah crime Tip-Line at 775-857-3511, or email to [email protected]
You can see the whole post, here.


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