Private, sensitive and closed crags

GuidelinesBack to contents

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 officially 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 not to 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 wish 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 inevitably 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 thumbBack to contents

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 responsibility then this might be preferable.

Technical measuresBack to contents

Tagging a cragBack to contents

We find that the climbing community respects documented crag closures. You can tag a crag as:

  • Designated
  • Allowed
  • Private
  • Tolerated
  • Illegal
  • Closed
  • Paid

Locking a cragBack to contents

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.

Information restrictionsBack to contents

Generally we don't like to remove information, so we have developed capability to restrict the display of information for sensitive crags. The following information can have display restrictions:

  • Location display
  • Approach description
  • Photos display
  • Stream updates
  • Stream ticks
  • PDF downloads

Restrictions are based on the user and can be set to:

  • Unrestricted
  • Logged in user
  • User has at least 500 Karma
  • User is editor
  • User is co-ordinator
  • User is admin
  • Fully restricted

These restictions are set at an area basis and propagate to descendant areas. Note that the main site admins must set these restrictions so you will have to send a support email if you want to request specific restrictions.

Removing descriptionsBack to contents

As well as making access descriptions clear, adjusting or removing other descriptions may be appropriate. We would prefer not to remove descriptions. Mostly it is the 'Approach' descriptions which is sensitive therefore we have the capability to explicitly restrict the Approach description based on the user (see Information Restrictions section).

Removing toposBack to contents

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 locationsBack to contents

There is currently a technical restriction which means we cannot remove locations. Instead the location display can be restricted (see Information Restrictions section).

Renaming areasBack to contents

Instead of renaming a cliff 'cliff name - CLOSED', add the tag 'closed' to the access field. This will not only display closed in the name, but add warning in multiple places, including the map.

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

Deleting areasBack to contents

There is almost no good reason to delete a crag. Technically 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 duplicate then it should be merged.

Hiding from feedsBack to contents

We can set the crags streams to hide updates and ticks. For example there is no need to see crag updates or ticks in a closed crag. Seeing any sort of updates to a closed crag can inflame politically sensitive crags.

Disable PDF downloadsBack to contents

We have the capability for setting PDF download restrictions for an area. For example you will not be able to download a PDF for a closed crag.

Hidden cragsBack to contents

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.

How to make changesBack to contents

If you are an editor you can make some changes yourself, for example update descriptions or tag a crag as closed. If you would like to make these changes and are not an editor then please send us an email requesting permissions and including the reason.

Climbers may disagree on how a crag should be documented. In which case we look for an accepted authority. For example:

  • The owner or owner's representative of a crag on private land.
  • The government authority for public land.
  • The accepted local advocacy group.

If you would like to request information restrictions then you will have to send us a support email.

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