Credit Photo Courtesy of:
John Dickey


Climbing and camping go hand in hand. Many of America’s most storied climbing destinations include climber campgrounds that are inseparably tied to the climbing experience. Climber camping can range from informal areas with a few makeshift fire rings to fully developed sites with picnic tables, bathroom facilities, and a campground host. Become familiar with the camping situation in the area that you’ll be visiting and plan accordingly.

Essential Skills

  • Use toilets whenever possible. When toilets are not available, follow basic protocols for taking care of human waste.
  • When trash disposal is not available, pack everything out. Strain gray water to filter out food scraps before disposing.
  • Use tent pads to avoid impacts to vegetation. If tent pads aren't available, seek out durable surfaces or areas already impacted by past use.
  • Avoid the urge to establish new campsites. Look for sites that have already been established.
  • Don’t create new fire rings. If no fire ring exists, consider going without a fire or learn how to build a low impact pan/mound fire.
  • Buy firewood locally. Transporting firewood from other areas can transport pests that can have serious long-term impacts to the region. If you plan to burn wood collected around your campsite, make sure that local regulations permit the collection of dead and down firewood and never take down standing live trees.
  • Do not burn pallets. The nails don't burn and they leave a permanent trash pile.
  • Know before you go: Research camping opportunities and regulations before visiting a new area. Visit Mountain Project, look at the local guidebook, connect with your local climbing organization, look on the land manager's website, stop at the visitor center, and review trailhead signs.

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Resource Center

Anatomy of a Responsible Climber

Anatomy of a Responsible Climbing Infographic

Making the Transition from Gym to Crag

When transitioning from climbing indoors to outdoors, be prepared to venture outside by gaining awareness and skills to minimize your impact.