Indian Creek camping restrictions


Original Post
Ben Bauer · · Sunnyvale, California · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

My friends and I were approached at our site in super bowl during the week of thanksgiving by two BLM rangers who informed us that we were breaking the rules by having more than two vehicles per site (despite the fact that our site was large enough to accommodate about 15 cars). We were informed that this rule would be enforced somehow, although it seems as if the rangers were bluffing (they never bothered us again).

Anyone else have a similar experience/have any thoughts on the matter? If this rule was enforced, I know that it would definitely change the dynamics of the BLM sites and impact in a negative manner the undeveloped areas in the creek. It is virtually impossible to fit more than 3 climber's shit in a normal vehicle for a creek trip. Help us out, Access Fund!

Wally · · Denver · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 0

Agreed, two vehicle limit per site does not seem very reasonable.

Bryan Gilmore · · New England · Joined Nov 2005 · Points: 1,200
bphelps15 wrote:It is virtually impossible to fit more than 3 climber's shit in a normal vehicle for a creek trip.
This is laughable.
Ben Bauer · · Sunnyvale, California · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Hi Bryan, why do you think it is laughable? That statement was based purely on firsthand experience. My friend had two people riding with him in his outback and his car was packed to the gills!

Joe Cappiello · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 0

I figured things like this would start happening once the updated campgrounds were open for business. I can definitely understand your frustration, my GF and I struggled to fit two peoples' gear and food in one car for our last week in the Creek!

At least they didn't press the issue and return to write tickets. My last interaction with the BLM rangers in the Creek was pleasant, but the ticket books will open if they think climbers are ignoring the new rules.

Peter Howes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 80

Hmmmmm, I'll say this...

Personally I occupied a campsite from October 3rd-November 24th. For the duration of my stay I invited pretty much everyone I met to come stay at my superbowl site, in return we all split the cost. This afforded us all the opportunity to shit in the shitters. Very nice, and undoubtedly way better for the local ecology than shitting anywhere we pleased.

Unfortunately the impact of so many people (at one point 13 vehicles!), was very clear. I must admit over my time there we "impacted" the site significantly more than a two car limit would have. I witnessed (in my site, and several others) cars being parked, for lack of a better place, directly adjacent to (or on top of) BLM "revegetation sites". Really a bummer.

The day before Thanksgiving I met the same two BLM officers. Very nice gentlemen. Very polite, but very clear and threatening in our interaction. For fear of a hefty ticket my camp decided the smartest place for our group to celebrate Creeksgiving would be way up Beef Basin, past the Cotton Woods. Thats exactly what we did, and we all pooped everywhere in random cat-holes, and probably killed a some crypto.

My campsites mates and I discussed the problem at length:

1. Shitting everywhere in the desert is awful for the desert ecology, impact, and moral. Therefore the paid for campsite are paramount.
2. Two cars per site is pretty ridiculous and clearly the BLM doesn't understand the limitations/challenges of coming to the creek in one car. During our interaction with the BLM officers they were incredibly confused as to why we didn't carpool!
3.Too many cars (13 cars in one site!) actually destroys the site and environment. If we all did this, the Superbowl and Creekpasture would become even more windblown and fragile. Therefore the BLM is correct and fair in enforcing a maximum number of cars (even though two is definitely absurd!)

4. Finally, I must say this... Spending an entire fall season in the creek was one of the best experiences of my life. It was also one of the saddest and most shocking experiences. Climbers (myself 120% included) are almost solely responsible for destroying and environment that we theoretically care so much about. The creek is getting fucked hard. We are still shitting everywhere, we are still destroying the natural history/ecology, we are still climbing on wet sandstone (WTF PEOPLE, JUST BECAUSE IT WASNT RAINING IN DENVER LAST NIGHT DOESNT MEAN YOU CAN CLIMB!)

Therefore, I think there should be a two car limit. If the BLM chooses to improve/expand the campsites, right on. If they dont do this, then the only real option is to make dispersed camping illegal. Nobody would like that. But its not about you, asshole, its about preserving the resource!

VIVA LA COMMUNE! SUPERBOWL SITE #17 FOREVER!!!!

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

peter-- you care enough to tell others how to behave at the creek, but not enough to have those rules apply to your 2 month stay there...???

KevinCO · · Loveland, CO · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 60

Wag bags and for a large group, portable toilet.

Peter Howes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 80
mpech wrote:peter-- you care enough to tell others how to behave at the creek, but not enough to have those rules apply to your 2 month stay there...???
Yeah, I don't want to tell people what to do. I have no right to do so, and certainly no authority. (Though I do think I can critisize people for climbing on wet sandstone)

This is just what I learned from my experience. The campsites seems like the best way to minimize impact, however they aren't really affordable for dirtbag climbers with a two car limit. Dispersed camping impact would be greatly reduced is people brought wag-bags, groovers, or some sort of portable shit device with them. But portable toilets are hard to come by, and the truth is that most people visiting the creek probably wouldn't bother. Unfortunately.

Not telling anybody what to do (other than bastards ripping off wet flakes). Its a tough situation. Just offering up my experience as an abuser of the land myself.
JFF · · Durango, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

Such a bummer to have people checking up on campsites now. I honestly do not think there was any problem before. I have spent years in the creek for months at a time and never anything that bad go on. People did a good job of respecting the desert except for those fuckers who still climb on wet rock, just like you said. It is sad that now it is more desirable to camp in some of the more remote campsites which definitely involves shitting in a hole more often. I would think the BLM makes enough money off all the oil and gas royalties they have flowing their way to pump a few shitters out once a week. And if not, I would gladly throw some money towards it to keep rangers out of the picture.

Andrew Gram · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 3,580

If you are shitting in random catholes anywhere near Indian Creek, you really need to rethink what you are doing. I wish climbers would treat their environment the way river runners do - the popular campsites in the Grand Canyon see 10+ people every single day of the year, and they are totally pristine.

1. Get a cleanable reusable portable toilet. An eco safe groover in a 20mm rocket box isn't super cheap, but it lasts forever(mine has been used an average of 30+ days for the last 12 years), is easy to clean in any rv dump, is deluxe to use compared to squatting over a hole, and will hold 50+ dumps before it needs to be cleaned out.

If you are cheap, go to an army surplus store and buy a 20mm rocket box that still has a good seal. Rig a seat and a lid with rv dump cleanout fittings. If you are anywhere that has a scat machine(semi common around river runne areas) you can dump the contents there without the rv dump fittings.

Wag bags also work, but they suck to use by comparison and they create an awful lot of garbage.

2. Use a firepan, and pack out your ashes. Nice ones for river runners have grills for cooking and legs to keep the fire elevated off the ground - less impact on soil and plants, and when it is cold putting your feet under the firepan is awesome. If you are cheap, a metal oil change drip pan works ok. I pack out ashes and other garbage in another 20mm rocket box - if the seals are good they do a great job of containing smells and garbage juice.

3. Use a ground tarp to catch food crumbs and other microtrash. Food crumbs in camp attract ants, mice, hornets/wasps, and other nuisances. A cheap tarp works ok, a mesh river runner style tarp keeps the trash but lets sand filter out. Pack out the crumbs that accumulate on the tarp.

I do all of these things when I camp in the desert, and it is so automatic for me at this point that it is no trouble at all, and I leave campsites cleaner than I find them. River runners were forced to do all of these things by having all of our playgrounds become permit controlled. If you don't want places like Indian Creek to become day use only or subject to permit systems, you should really consider proactively taking measures like this now.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Peter Howes wrote:Just offering up my experience as an abuser of the land myself.
So why did you choose to be that abusive?
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
bphelps15 wrote:Hi Bryan, why do you think it is laughable? That statement was based purely on firsthand experience. My friend had two people riding with him in his outback and his car was packed to the gills!
You guys are bringing way too much shit with you.
Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Peter Howes wrote:But portable toilets are hard to come by,...
You're joking, right?

https://www.rei.com/c/camp-toilets?r=c&ir=category%3Acamp-toilets&page=1

https://www.google.com/search?q=portable+toilet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#newwindow=1&tbm=shop&q=portable+camping+toilet
Peter Howes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 80
Marc801 wrote: You're joking, right? rei.com/c/camp-toilets?r=c&;ir=category%3Acamp-toilets&page=1 google.com/search?q=portabl…;ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#newwindow=1&tbm=shop&q=portable+camping+toilet
The last time you went to the creek did you bring a groover?

I have brought a home depot bucket with me, I did fill said bucket with pounds of poop. Its not fun, and more difficult to dispose of than most people realize. But for an extended trip totally necessary. However, I have never seen anyone else down there with a portable toilet. And if youre coming for the weekend, and camping in the bridger jacks cause your too cheap to pay for the shitter then I doubt you'll be bringing a groover.

Also I live in a van. Im not gonna pay REI 79.95$ so that I can haul around a massive plastic throne.

My point is that with the huge number of visitors to the creek it is unrealistic to assume that all dispersed campers are bringing groovers with them. The beef basin pit toilet has had a 40ft line every weekend from sunrise-noon. We've got a lot of poop down there.
Peter Howes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 80
Marc801 wrote: So why did you choose to be that abusive?
Im not sure I could have been less abusive? I think staying in the campsite and paying 5$ a day is the most effective way to minimize impact/deal with your poop.
txclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 10

As someone who has climbed at the Creek for nearly two decades and as a tax payer in San Juan county, some of the above comments are particularly offensive and I take them a bit more personally than others may. So I'll open myself up to whatever may come and go ahead an put this out there:

If you're a kid, barely out of his teens, and you're crapping all over the place and crushing crypto, don't be surprised if some pissed off old man appears to teach you some lessons you've missed out on along the way, perhaps not so gently.

If you've rolled up into town in an all wheel drive Subaru or a sweet 4Runner with a mountain of climbing gear, a $200 puffy, and a stupid $40 trucker hat, and you somehow can't justify $5/night for somewhere to sleep, you're not only disrespectful, but have priority problems as well. Gone are the days of free camping at the Creek. Get over it.

If you don't understand the concept of sacrifice zones in wild spaces (i.e. designated camping areas) in order to preserve the greater area for low impact enjoyment, then you are also a moron. Yes, many cars/campers/etc. at Super Bowl, Bridger Jacks, and the rest will wreck those areas. However, those areas are already wrecked. When your crew spreads to the other areas because you don't want to follow the rules, you've become the problem many of us are working hard to prevent. Cat holes have NEVER been accepted in the desert. Buy a freakin' wag bag! Keep skirting the rules and the rules will get worse and the enforcement will become inevitable.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,045

i'm glad a couple folks have brought up climbing on wet rock out there. the night of november 21st (i think it was the 21st, or around then) it rained balls out for a long ass time. the next morning, we were driving out and i was completely depressed by the enormous amount of people climbing at supercrack, battle, scarface, cat wall. you could see water running down the wall. the ground was mud. the supercrack parking lot was a lake. the supercrack parking lot was completely packed.

completely fucking lame. i actually talked to a few people about it, and their response was "i didn't come out here to not climb". "its not wet in the cracks".

i climbed a few days later and the cracks i did were sandy as shit. don't tell me that "it isn't wet inside the crack". lame. i was really surprised nobody brought it up on MP or anything afterwards. i guess people are just getting used to other people acting like a-holes.

Peter Howes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 80

Hey man, nobody has got more respect for that crazy SciFi soil then myself!

What I meant was, everytime someone uses one of those dispersed campsites up beef basin road that site becomes more of a sacrificed space. Which is a shame. Our decision to leave our site was not because we had too many people and we wanted to preserve the superbowl campground. We left because to dudes armed to the teeth told us to get the fuck out, or we'd see a fat ticket, which I couldnt afford.

Also, Literally came to the creek with 8 wagbags (not cheap) and used them or gave them to away other idiots who couldn't keep it in their pants at the cliff. I pooped one time this fall, not in a BLM toilet. And to be totally honest I didnt shit in a cat hole, I did the much preferred road smear.

I worked a season on a desert restoration conservation crew. The impactful decisions that I make come from a place of respect and knowledge (thought probably not enough knowledge).

I appreciate your opinion txclimber, and I can only imagine how infurating it must be to watch your local climbing area be destroyed by kids with trucker hats, 4Runners, and sick puffys.

But just so we are clear, I won my 250$ puffy in a raffle, where all the proceeds went to the building of access trails on Lumpy.

Petsfed · · Laramie, WY · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 925
bphelps15 wrote:Hi Bryan, why do you think it is laughable? That statement was based purely on firsthand experience. My friend had two people riding with him in his outback and his car was packed to the gills!
My buddy and I lived pretty high on the hog out of a Kia Rio, so maybe bring less shit next time?

And that's two tents, two stoves, full cooler, 3 ropes, a creek-worthy rack, etc. etc. If y'all aren't afraid of sharing tents and you resupply in Monticello on rests days, an outback becomes pretty cush. Honestly, the only limiting factor is water and (again) that's just a question of resupply strategy.
txclimber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 10
slim wrote:i'm glad a couple folks have brought up climbing on wet rock out there. the night of november 21st (i think it was the 21st, or around then) it rained balls out for a long ass time. the next morning, we were driving out and i was completely depressed by the enormous amount of people climbing at supercrack, battle, scarface, cat wall. you could see water running down the wall. the ground was mud. the supercrack parking lot was a lake. the supercrack parking lot was completely packed. completely fucking lame. i actually talked to a few people about it, and their response was "i didn't come out here to not climb". "its not wet in the cracks". i climbed a few days later and the cracks i did were sandy as shit. don't tell me that "it isn't wet inside the crack". lame. i was really surprised nobody brought it up on MP or anything afterwards. i guess people are just getting used to other people acting like a-holes.
Yes, it was the 21st and it was a shame. Over an inch of rain that night. Some friends actually placed a rope with a sign asking folks to refrain from climbing across the approach trail. Assholes stepped right over it and didn't even slow down. I drove down 211 all the way to the NP and saw folks hanging on classic lines on every buttress. Again, if we don't police ourselves someone else will, and none of us want that.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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