In 2009 my husband and I did our first trip to Indian Creek and the Moab area. Moab was supposed to be one stop among many, but we wanted to never leave. We instantly fell in love with the remoteness, the climbing and the quiet. Far from any crowds, we climbed everything from splitter cracks at “the Creek” to stunning desert towers around Moab. We were like kids in a candy shop climbing everything in sight, and our rest days were spent exploring the world class mountain biking. It was our own slice of paradise.
Our experience wasn’t unusual. Many members of the Planet Granite community are also drawn to the beauty of these splitter cracks, and since that trip I’ve bonded with many members and staff about the uniqueness of this area. It is also a destination “crag”, with visitors from all over the US and the world. There are few who can call this their “local” crag, so the rock environment in Moab needs stewardship from both near and far. Thus, we at PG quickly realized that this delicate desert landscape could benefit from funds from our $1/member/month program, so I went in search of some of the folks who’ve taken on the responsibility of the stewardship of this area: Friends of Indian Creek (FOIC).
The timing was impeccable and the universe seemed to align itself. Together with the FOIC, The Access Fund, and Utah Open Lands, we raised enough funds to install a primitive toilet at the Castleton Tower campsite. This iconic tower sees about 15-35 campers each weekend, according to FOIC, and there was no solution to address the growing human waste problem. In the words of Sam LIghtner, the FOIC president, it was noted last spring that “there was no stone that had not already been turned, and nasty stuff was piling up behind all of the trees.”
We are happy to bring you the news that less than one year from our donation the toilet is installed and working.
It is rare to see a project like this come to life in such a short amount of time. One would imagine this to be a daunting task, given the inevitable bureaucratic red tape involved. But to the credit of the FOIC, and the tenacity and resourcefulness of Sam Lightner in particular, all the parties involved were able to rally around the common goal and complete it in less than one year. It’s a great example of our community at large coming together to ensure that not only access to great climbing will be preserved, but the places we love to visit will thrive as well.
A posse of Planet Granite staff is headed out there in early April to enjoy the spring climbing. They’ve promised to be the first PG’ers to uh-um ‘coronate’ the toilet and better yet, enjoy a scenic and aromatic day of climbing. So, PG’ers, get out there and climb! Enjoy what we have and remember that there are a lot of us out there. Learn to tread lightly so that we can keep these climbing areas accessible and pristine.
When not working at Planet Granite, Renee and her husband can be found chasing splitter and not so splitter cracks all over western states.