Leave No Trace
Sandstone climbing and the desert environment in general is fragile. Here are some guidelines for climbing on sandstone:
- When hiking, stay on approach trails and off the crunchy, black cryptobiotic soil. If there is no clear approach trail, stay in the bottom of river drainages when possible.
- Keep your rack from scraping against the rock.
- While rappelling or belaying, prevent your ropes from carving grooves in the rock. Rappel slings wear out quickly in this environment; be prepared to replace them with rock-colored webbing.
- Pitons destroy sandstone. Most popular aid climbs are done clean.
- Use clean gear whenever possible (except cam hooks which damage the rock) - check to see if your intended route has been climbed clean.-
- Avoid hauling if possible. Some of the popular routes are getting scarred with white streaks where haul bags have scraped off the brown surface coloring of the sandstone. - Free climb as much as possible. Every time gear is weighted it erodes the sandstone a little more. It seems negligible now, but over decades, weighting gear as little as possible will extend the life of Zion's routes.