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Capitol Reef Pilot Climbing and Canyoneering Permit

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Capitol Reef National Park · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 1

Date: December 16, 2019
Contact: Joshua Olson, 435-425-4132
Capitol Reef National Park will begin a pilot mandatory Canyoneering Permit System starting January 1, 2020. Permits will be free of charge and require self-registration located at the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center or online on the park website. These permits will be required for all canyoneering and climbing activities within the park.

Capitol Reef National Park staff have observed a substantial increase in canyoneering and rock climbing activities in the park in the past 10 years. The pilot permit system will allow managers to track use and determine levels and locations of activity. Regulations are listed on the permit and on the park website. No personal information is required and there is no limit to the number of permits given.

Capitol Reef manages backcountry camping with a similar permit system. Permits are free of charge and while there are limits to the number of people in a group, there are no limits to the number of permits given at this time. Backcountry permits are still issued at the visitor center, not online.

These efforts help park managers understand visitor use and recreation and the impacts to park resources, which provides valuable information when making management decisions to preserve and protect Capitol Reef. Canyoneering and rock climbing are inherently dangerous recreational activities and visitors should exercise caution and prepare accordingly. The park does not provide assistance or information regarding canyoneering or climbing routes, or preparation, so please plan ahead.

To acquire a permit, visitors can either fill one out in person at the Visitor Center or do so online at the park website nps.gov/care/planyourvisit.  To learn more about Capitol Reef National Park visitnps.gov/care or contact the park at 435-425-3791.
 

Rob WardenSpaceLizard · · las Vegans, the cosmic void · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 130

Very smart and well done

Full support

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

One wonders how “rock climbing” is defined.  Could anyone point me to a good definition of such, in the legal framework being erected here?  

Similarly, high intensity hiking with canyoneering style aspects (but not inside of a slot canyon with a published canyoneering difficulty scale rating) or low class five moves seem a but fuzzy.  I appreciate the NPS’ dual mission aims but would like a bit more clarification as to how my scrambling and ropeless peakbagging in the park fits into the permit system

baffledsloth · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 5

Awesome, seems like a good system. Nice work.

Capitol Reef National Park · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 1
Max Supertramp wrote: One wonders how “rock climbing” is defined.  Could anyone point me to a good definition of such, in the legal framework being erected here?  

Similarly, high intensity hiking with canyoneering style aspects (but not inside of a slot canyon with a published canyoneering difficulty scale rating) or low class five moves seem a but fuzzy.  
I appreciate the NPS’ dual mission aims but would like a bit more clarification as to how my scrambling and ropeless peakbagging in the park fits into the permit system

Definitions are available in the Superintendent's Compendium at nps.gov/care/learn/manageme…;


Technical Rock Climbing and Canyoneering:

 Definitions:

a) Technical Rock Climbing is defined as ascending or descending a rock formation utilizing rock climbing equipment.

b) Canyoneering is defined as cross-country travel involving occasional ascending or descending of a rock formation utilizing rock climbing equipment.

c) Free Climbing and Clean Aid Climbing are minimum impact approaches that employ stoppers, nuts and camming devices, rather than fixed pitons or bolts, for protection or direct support. These are climbing aids, which are removable and minimally damage the rock.

d) Bouldering is defined as a form of climbing performed on rock formations known as boulders, without the use of ropes or harnesses, utilizing soft bouldering pads to mitigate injury from falls.

Day-Use Permits are required for technical canyoneering, rock climbing, and bouldering routes.

Free Day-Use permits are available outside the Capitol Reef visitor center, or online atnps.gov/care/planyourvisit/. If climbing or canyoneering includes an overnight stay, a backcountry use permit is also required. Canyoneers and climbers must use minimum impact camping and climbing practices which are listed on the permit.  
Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

Thanks for sharing the definitions!  l did not know that the CARE compendium was open to the public.  Most helpful.   

lucander · · Stone Ridge, NY · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 258

Thanks NPS, appreciate your outreach.  There’s a lot of problems, but the Parks are still one of our country’s best ideas and this remains one of the best run agencies within the executive branch. Respect the flat hat!

Ron O · · middle of nowhere, southern… · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

They banned climbing in the Reef for years under the rationale that it would cause traffic accidents until Armondo Menocal and I went to meet the new Superintendent in October,1986.

I had a friend in Hanksville that knew that he rode a BMW motorcycle, so I wore a BMW T-shirt to the meet.
I asked him "if a pretty girl walked down a street and somebody drove into a truck because he was watching her would you ban pretty girls? Don't people have to be responsible drivers?"

Thats all it took. With the wave of his hand it was now legal to climb there. It sort of bothered me that rules could so capriciously made, but at least we could climb and they hadn't got around to banning bolts so I got to put up some routes AND rap anchors.

abandon moderation · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 54
Ron O wrote: They banned climbing in the Reef for years under the rationale that it would cause traffic accidents until Armondo Menocal and I went to meet the new Superintendent in October,1986.

I had a friend in Hanksville that knew that he rode a BMW motorcycle, so I wore a BMW T-shirt to the meet.
I asked him "if a pretty girl walked down a street and somebody drove into a truck because he was watching her would you ban pretty girls? Don't people have to be responsible drivers?"

Thats all it took. With the wave of his hand it was now legal to climb there. It sort of bothered me that rules could so capriciously made, but at least we could climb and they hadn't got around to banning bolts so I got to put up some routes AND rap anchors.

Ha, funny story. It's too bad they've banned fixed anchors these days; wandering around there's lots of stuff that looks like awesome climbing, but no real way to know if there's going to be anchors up there or not and it's not clear if the top out is possible. There is a small guidebook and a handful of known/established climbs, but nothing close to the potential the area has.

Regardless, the permit system doesn't seem too intrusive.
Ron O · · middle of nowhere, southern… · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

I do believe that there is an exception to the fixed anchor ban for the purpose of self rescue.

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

Agree, Ron.  I also believe that exceptions may - maybe - exist for the wanton, uninformed, and many other flavors of scoff-law types.  

I'd argue that this permit system does constitute something of an obstacle to access and use in that it constrains activities of that ilk to pre-planned, non-spontaneous outings, requires access to an open VC or to digital connectivity.  Sure, I see why park administration, resource folks and LE/SAR might be against continued free-for-all type access and use, but I am kinda chapped that this type of regulation is only going to grow with a burgeoning and increasingly, let's say, brash user base of such a finite and incredibly wondrous and fragile set of resources.  The more things change...

Gold Plated Rocket Pony · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 96

Funny, we took a family trip to Capitol Reef this fall and snuck in a few pitches while we were there. Over the 4 days we were there we saw 0 other climbers and with the bolting ban and limited number of routes with anchors I really couldn't imagine the park gets many climbers per year. We assumed the climbs we did probably get done a handful of times each year max and they were all within 75 yards of the road. Part of the Forward from the guide book:

If you are looking for the convenience of Potash Road, the concentration of Indian Creek, or a climbing scene, you will be disappointed.......there is often no approach trail, a lot of loose, soft rock, and old, manky anchors. You may be lucky to see another soul, much less a climber....
Perhaps other parts of the park are more popular? Otherwise I have no clue why you'd need a permitting system besides being interested in the stats.
Capitol Reef National Park · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 1
Max Supertramp wrote: 
"I'd argue that this permit system does constitute something of an obstacle to access and use in that it constrains activities of that ilk to pre-planned, non-spontaneous outings, requires access to an open VC or to digital connectivity. "...

Permits are available 24/7 at a self serve kiosk outside the Capitol Reef Visitor Center, as well as available atnps.gov/care/planyourvisit

Max Supertramp · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 65

Given the immensity of the place and the various road access points, spur of the moment missions/non-VC type visits are kinda hampered here.  Still, y’all have a complex set of missions and we all have a duty to help you to protect our shared resources.  Thanks to the Cap Reef folks that spend their time for not enough pay to protect a priceless set of resources.  Paid in sunsets, y’all are.  But at least they’re great sunsets.  :-)

I really appreciate your outreach and willingness to engage in open discourse with this particular community here, CARE folks.  Cheers!

Cole Pazar · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 418

Lets bolt anchors there anyway

EJN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 238
Cole Pazar wrote: Lets bolt anchors there anyway

You're really gonna put that up on a thread started by NPS outreach?

Cole Pazar · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 418
EJN wrote:

You're really gonna put that up on a thread started by NPS outreach?

you clearly didn't get my joke! haha

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern Utah Deserts
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