Private, closed and sensitive crags

Guidelines

Often there are crags which are on private land, or where only historically was access allowed, or for other reasons access is allowed but on a limited basis. Another situation is when a crag has semi-open access, but there is an agreement with a local bolting fund or group that the only guide available is the official published one which funnels revenue to the land owner, and so accordingly they are against online guides or topos.

We are often asked to remove routes or crags, but there are some strong reasons to not do this. In particular people may have climbed there back when access was open, if we delete the routes then we remove the entries in their logbooks. Other resources such as photos and discussions can be attached to routes and areas which we do not with to delete. Access may be ok to a limited group, so we should not stop those individuals from ticking routes using theCrag. Also we find that if content is actually removed, then inevitable someone later thinks it is simply missing and re-adds it, often without any consideration of sensitivities of that crag.

The underlying philosophy is for theCrag to model reality.

Rules of thumb

Every situation is different, and our response needs to be flexible according to the crags needs. We have found a couple rules of thumb which are generally helpful in these situations:

  • If a crag is closed or has access issues, then please ensure this information is prominent and accurate in the access field of the crag. It is generally much more productive to let climbers know that a crag is explicitly closed, rather than not provide anything in which case climbers tend to go exploring. We have found that the climbing community honors closure notices.

  • If a crag is on private land then this should be stated. If the owner has expressed a wish for the use of that land then this should be stated as well. If the owners of the land have not expressed any opinion then something like "this is private property and the owners have not given permission to climb here" should be written in the access field.

  • We avoid removing routes or crags completely. If absolutely needed we will remove the descriptions of the routes and the details in the access field for the crag, but we leave the general structure of the crag in place so we don't lose important historical context, and don't adversely affect climbers logbooks retrospectively.

  • If mere location is sensitive then retain the location but enlarge it so it is still generally useful from an index point of view but not specific enough to get curious climbers to the cliff. This can be difficult if the crag has lots of sub-cliffs which each may have their own location.

  • Whatever the decision around what content remains visible online, we clearly state this in the crag access / description fields so that later editors know what information is deemed appropriate to be added or not added.

  • If a crag is being abused we have the ability to lock down the editing and restrict it to a small number of approved editors. Please contact us immediately if you find any abuse or think this is appropriate for any sensitive crag.

There are other features and idea's we are thinking about to help with these situations, such as the ability to keep a crag hidden except for explicitly allowed people, or semi visible with only sensitive access information hidden. If you have ideas for how we can better manage these situations we'd love to hear from you.

Generally we would like to work with people as close to the source as possible. In otherwords, the landowners, responsible government departments. Where the climbing community has organised an accepted line of responsibilty then this might be preferable.

Technical measures

Locking a crag

In extreme situations we can lock a crag to limited editors. We have done this, but it is rare. On the whole the progressive permissions that climbers get when their Karma increases means that the editors are reasonably considerate.

Removing descriptions

As well as making access descriptions clear, adjusting or removing other descriptions may be appropriate.

Removing topos

We prefer not to remove route topos because the access may change some time in which case the topos will become useful. Even if a crag is permanently closed it would seem a shame to loose the history of the crag development.

Area topos may be removed as they tend to be there to help climbers find the climbing areas.

Removing locations

Our preference is not to remove locations but rather expand them to a broader area. There is also a technical hitch which means removing a location can only be done by backend updates of the database which means the work has to be scheduled and could take time. This will be fixed sometime.

Renaming areas

It is possible to rename an area to something like 'Cliff name - CLOSED'. It makes it way obvious that it is closed, but in the long term we would like to create a tag for this.

Hiding an area by creating an obscure name is counter productive accept for cases where a crag is being developed. After we have hidden crags this will no longer be needed.

Deleting areas

There is almost no good reason to delete a crag. Tecnically there is no delete function for a crag. The best we could do is move it to a purgatory area.

Note that if a crag is a dup then it should be merged.

Hiding from feeds

This feature is currently not available but planed for particularily sensitive situations. It will only work for crags not sub areas in a crag.

Hidden crags

Feature to be developed. Once a crag goes public we are not going to hide it. We are not going to stop public documentation of a crag because a hidden crag already exists.

The policy for hidden crags will be developed after the feature is released.