Local Ethics

(aka, How to Not Piss Off The Locals)

Every climbing area in America is connected to a place, a local community, and a history. The norms, ethics, and issues of climbing are shaped at the local level, and no two climbing cultures are exactly alike. That is part of the adventure of visiting new areas—just don’t go blindly without learning the local ethics and issues.

Local climbing cultures are shaped by many factors, including: land manager relations, environmental issues, access issues, and bolting norms, among others.

Where to Learn Local Ethics

  • You can learn a lot by visiting area pages on mountainproject.com and reading through the overview and user comments.
  • Pick up a copy of the local guidebook.
  • Get in touch with the local climbing organization who represents the area's climbers.
  • Drop by the local gear shop and ask questions.
  • Check out our Climb Like a Local series for the inside scoop on popular destination climbing areas.
  • Get in touch with the land manager for the area you're visiting.

Be an Upstander, Not a Bystander

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Explore Local Ethics

Get your fill of local flavor by exploring climbing areas on Mountain Project. Find a climbing area, read the area page, and explore the forums to learn what the locals value.


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10 of the Gnarliest Local Ethic Debates on Mountain Project

Let’s dive into that big messy pot of opinions (many of which are conflicting) of local climbers who are invested in the culture, history, and issues facing their climbing areas. Yup, we’re talking about local ethics.

Fall Climbing Destinations (And How to Not Piss Off the Locals)

We're psyched for sending temperatures this fall. Here are the top 3 tips the locals want you know when visiting these amazing fall climbing destinations.

Climb Like a Local: Wild Iris

Wild Iris is Wild West climbing at its best. This premier sport climbing mecca has tons of quality limestone routes, set against the stunning backdrop of the Wind River Range. The tiny cowboy town of Lander, WY will keep you entertained when your skin needs a rest day.

Climb Like a Local: Ten Sleep

With a perfect combination of sun and shade, Ten Sleep is ideal for mid-summer crushing. If you love super technical, vertical limestone climbing, then this sleepy little Wyoming town is going to be your dream come true.

Climb Like a Local: Smith Rock

Get ready to finesse the best vertical crimping of your life. This Oregon climbing area in one of the most gorgeous and idyllic settings you can imagine—complete with otters splashing in the river below and bald eagles soaring above you.

Climb Like a Local: Leavenworth

The faux Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA, sees a seasonal flock of boulderers descend every spring. And with good reason. When the snow melts, cool, sunny conditions mean tacky granite boulders for all.

Climb Like a Local: Foster Falls

You haven’t truly experienced Southeast sandstone until you’ve climbed at the beloved Foster Falls outside Chattanooga. Get psyched for bolt clipping on thuggy tiered roofs, technical faces, and fun slabs.

Climb Like a Local: Indian Creek

Indian Creek is a single pitch trad climbing hotspot surrounded by towering cliffs of Wingate sandstone. Get ready for tons of incredible splitter cracks in some of Utah’s most iconic—and rugged—terrain.