How to Plan a Safe Adopt a Crag During COVID-19

Categories: LCO 101

With many climbing gyms still closed due to COVID-19, and medical professionals generally in support of people getting outdoors, climbing areas are seeing heavy use and heavy impacts—and many are in dire need of stewardship. But the good news is that climbers across the country are amped to put the time in—we just need to make sure we’re creating a safe environment for our volunteers and communities.

With some careful planning, the Access Fund–Jeep Conservation Teams and several LCOs have been safely hosting Adopt a Crag events by following these guidelines.

  • Require preregistration to regulate numbers, communicate critical messages, and prescreen volunteers.
  • Conduct a health screen of all volunteers ahead of time with a simple questionnaire. Do not allow participation if anyone has any symptoms, is spending time with anyone with symptoms, or is not feeling well.
  • Keep total group size to 10 or fewer to allow for easier social distancing, communication, and safety.
  • Volunteers must bring their own safety equipment, including: gloves, eye protection, face coverings, and disinfecting hand wipes. Face coverings must be worn any time 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained between other people.
  • Set up projects to promote social distancing. Activities like trash cleanups, tread work, and installing small drainage structures provide good opportunities to distance. Technical rock work can be accomplished, but require participants to wear face coverings any time they are within 6 feet of any other person.
  • Place signs at work sites requesting visitors keep a safe distance from volunteers to add an additional layer of safety.
  • Limit tool sharing as much as possible. If tools must be shared, disinfect handles after each use.
  • Forgo the normal social aspects of our Adopt a Crag days at this time. That means no communal food, beverages, raffles, congregating, etc. Ask volunteers to bring their own snacks and beverages to limit shared touch points.

For now, let's stay conservative and keep our community and climbing areas safe and healthy. They need our stewardship and volunteerism, but for now we should be thinking safe and small.