What should be the best practices for climbing in the Cirque of the Unclimbables and other climbing locations in the park? (Phase 3)

A Code of Ethics for the Cirque of Unclimbables (http://home.comcast.net/~gibell/cirque/codeofethics.html) was developed and posted by volunteers with the Cirque 2000 project, an initiative of the climbing community to protect and conserve mountain environments. What do you think of the Code of Ethics?  Do you have suggestions for strengthening the Code of Ethics? What ideas to you have to encourage all climbers to respect the Code of Ethics?

gavinrscott Comment 1

3:56pm, 22 December 2009

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I do not climb but have passed this on to those who have climbed in the past…

admin Comment 1.1

8:08pm, 4 February 2010

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Removed by moderator – the user requested it be removed

Nahanni Comment 2

1:14pm, 30 December 2009

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What is the Cirque of the Unclimbables really like?

I have been fortunate to have explored the Cirque of the Unclimbables (as a canoe/hiker) a number of times over the past 20years. In asking people to comment on how the Cirque might fit into the new NNP-R Management Plan I think it would be helpful to provide a brief outline of the areas geography.

For starters pictures of the Cirque area and its Fairy Meadows can readily be found on the net. George Bell maintains an informative site.

The Cirque stands approximately 2500′ above Glacier Lake with a south facing aspect. Access will be an issue in the new NNP-R. Early day climbers pioneered hiking trail up a steep rock fall from a trail that starts at the primative climbers camp at the north end of Glacier Lake. In the last 10 years a trail to the east has been worn with some impact through a forested area

on the east side of the creek flowing from the meadow. TBC

Nahanni Comment 3

2:30pm, 30 December 2009

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What is the Cirque of the Unclimbables really like? Cont.

the entrance to the Cirque is a narrow gate close the east flank of Mount Harrison-Smith. From here the area opens up into the grassy Fairy Meadows with numerous large rocks scattered throughout.

The most obvious flat ground for camping is straight ahead. Climbers over the years have sought refuge from poor weather by camping under a few large leaning rocks. There are a number of narrow foot paths which lead from the meadow to the camps and hiking/climbing destinations. It is a fragile place for plant and wildlife alike. Access has been from the Nahanni River via a rough trail to Glacier Lake 10k, paddling an assortment of lake stationed canoes to the climber’s camp 4k and then another 4k around Britnell Creek to a 2200′ scramble/hike on the rocks or hike through the trees to Fairy Meadows.

The lake is accessible with float planes. Access to the meadow by helicopter has increased over the past 10 years.

Jay Frederic Comment 3.1

7:22am, 29 January 2010

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Wolfgang Weber, a photographing freelance member of our small German book publishing and film producing group, has twice been to Glacier Lake and Fairy Meadows – one time hiking up (and down) from (back to) South Nahanni via Glacier Lake and continueing on by, as you said, scrambling through rocks to FM, the true and unforgettable merit of which was to experience both the difficult hike and scramble to reach FM and to set up tent there, being rewarded by an almost undescribable paradise, quiet and awesome – the other time flying into FM by helicopter, which, as he said, was quite disappointing because the heavenly quietness of FM and the hoped for calmness of his soul were dramatically disrupted by the ugly and enormous noise of the copter. We as book publishers used his stunning photos of FM and the Cirque (and of the entire South Nahanni, including scenes from First Canyon caves and those of Nahanni- and Ram Plateaus) in our 1992 book “Canada North of Sixty.”

This as well as reports from fellow countrymen who paddled and hiked in NNPR leads me to question the value of helicopter access and to point to the damage to FM’s and the Cirque’s wildlife.

Instead, the management planning team should seriously consider banning helicopter access to this area at all, although float planes’ access to Glacier Lake could in my opinion be allowed.

Those who are seriously interested in the paradise of FM, and even more so people who want to climb the Cirque, would most probably see no problem in hiking from GL the mentioned 4k and scrambling the 2200′ on the rocks or hike through the trees to FM.

And those who cannot afford a float plane to GL, should easily become convinced to add the 10k from South Nahanni to GL.

As Wolfgang Weber and others have clearly stated, the two-day hike (and the wonderful paddling on GL) from South Nahanni to FM is a most rewarding experience in itself, as rough as it probably is. After all, people travelling to Nahanni are well aware of hardships and possible hazards, and the instruction manuals in preparation should emphasis this clearly enough.

Perhaps, if the NNPR-team could be convinced to ban helicopter travel to FM and within the Cirque, it should instead consider building a kind of less streneous 2200′ trail (e.g. a wooden walkway on top of the rocks, or something more primitive) from GL to FM.

Jay Frederic Comment 3.2

7:22am, 29 January 2010

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Removed by moderator – this was a duplicate comment

JenMorin Comment 4

9:29pm, 21 February 2010

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It would be great to see best practices implemented. I’m sure there must be good information from other parks (provincial, territorial and national) in Canada and the State. While the code of ethics is a good start, I think it can be enhanced. Go for it!

Nick P Comment 5

12:44pm, 5 March 2010

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All guidelines of leave no trace should be strictly followed. Simply put all users need to work to make sure that this area, remains pristine.