Further Beyond the Crag!

If there is a particular moral cause that all of us at theDIHEDRAL embrace it’s trying to help heighten sensitivities regarding the protection and rehabilitation of the outdoors. But a small group of writers switching from plastic toothbrushes to bamboo toothbrushes isn’t really going to make the type of impact that we actually need.

Among other things, true impact comes from BIG IDEAS, LEARNING, and COMMUNITY buy in.  These things can be difficult to implement, but at the same time difficulty should not impede behavior.

I want to share a couple BIG IDEAS within the climbing community that are gaining momentum.  The hope is that these ideas may trigger more ideas, which in turn can affect our behavior in realistic and sustainable ways.

BIG IDEA #1: Gym sustainability and accountability…as brought to you by The Castle Climbing Centre.  This gym takes the matter of ethical consumerism seriously, taking great strides to meet realistic self-imposed objectives by 2030. Those objectives are as follows:

  • Minimize our carbon emissions from all sources and generate as much of our own energy as is reasonably practical;
  • Put in place systems to water the garden without using mains water and minimize our use of mains water throughout the rest of the center;
  • Regulate the environment within the building (temperature, ventilation and lighting) with the least amount of energy;
  • Increase community engagement and health and well-being in the permaculture-based garden with volunteer and traineeship schemes, community events and produce supplied to the Vegetarian Café and Shop;
  • Increase community engagement and access to climbing for all through programs such as Inclusive Climbingand events.
  • Reduce the environmental impact of transport associated with the business;
  • Actively encourage our customers and staff to reduce their own environmental impacts through awareness campaigns;
  • Source all of our supplies from companies with high environmental standards;
  • Send zero waste to landfill; and
  • Eliminate the use of toxic substances in our cleaning and maintenance processes.

Climbing gyms are an enormous part of the climbing community at large, and it doesn’t make much sense to keep the ideals of outdoor eco-morality limited to the outdoors. The Castle Climbing Centre1 has set high standards for what indoor eco-morality can look like, now it’s up to us to infect others with the contagion of their BIG IDEA.

BIG IDEA #2: The textile industry is one of the largest sources of pollution on the planet.  In fact it’s the second largest source of pollution right after the oil industry. While there is a goal to move away from our dependence on oil, the demand for textiles is only growing. Enter BLUESIGN and The Blue Way.

“The Blue Way by BLUESIGN represents the vision and mindset of responsible and sustainable manufacturing of textile consumer products. BLUESIGN is a system that provides safer and more sustainable environments for people to work in and everyone to live in. Powered by a holistic approach, BLUESIGN traces each textile’s path along the manufacturing process, making improvements at every stage from factory floor to finished product. BLUESIGN changes the environmental impact of textiles for good. As a solution provider and knowledge broker, BLUESIGN acts as an independent verifier to secure trust and transparency. Corresponding to this approach, BLUESIGN encourages the industry to increase their efforts in sustainable processes step by step.”  -BLUESIGN2

Essentially, companies that make the BLUESIGN pledge agree to have their entire supply process evaluated from seed to sale.  This includes the amount of water, and pesticides used in growing plants like cotton, all the way to the type of packaging used in delivery, and every step along the way.  BLUESIGN currently works with 570 companies, and if a textile is designated as a BLUESIGN product, you can rest assured that product is among the most eco-friendly textiles currently on the market.

Avoiding the purchase of new textiles is a great step in the right direction, but when avoidance is not an option, keep an eye out for a BLUESIGN label.

Luckily for us, there are a several companies and products out there that make embracing this BIG IDEA very easy.  Chief among them is EDELRID.  With the first ever BLUESIGN approved harness under its belt EDELRID is making progressive strides toward producing the greenest (BLUEST?) rack a climber can have.

In an effort to inform the COMMUNITY about some BIG IDEA options, I put together a few pieces of gear to help you paint your rack a little greener.  So, whether you’re just starting to build your first rack, or you are in need of a few replacement parts here are some options that are worth looking into.

AND…for those who prefer to leave the ropes at home and boulder…look no further than KUSH CLIMBING for all your eco-friendly bouldering needs.  From chalk brushes to crash pads, I’m not sure you can find a more eco-conscious bouldering company in the biz.

It’s fantastic to learn about ideas like the two highlighted here, but if we don’t embrace progressive ideas like this, if we don’t operate in accordance with BIG IDEAS then what good are they?

Carrot (Co-writer)

Any other BIG IDEAS or pieces of gear that we need to know about, please share in the comments below!

  1. For more on what The Castle Climbing Centre is up to take a look here.
  2. For more on what is happening with Bluesign take a look here.


3 Replies to “Further Beyond the Crag!”

  1. I liked reading about Castle Climbing gym. I think these types of practices are going to be the norm in the future, and companies that don’t have sustainability focused practices will be looked at like dinosaurs.


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