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Outdoor ethics are a set of self-imposed guidelines and practices that help everyone have a more enjoyable outdoor experience. They vary from location to location, from situation to situation, and from person to person.
When you are canyoneering, please be aware of the following issues:
- Vandalism - Do not scratch, paint, write, or draw on trees, canyon walls, or other natural surfaces, especially rock art panels and other culturally significant locations.
- Litter - Pack it out. Litter includes trash like water bottles and beer cans as well as food remains, fire ashes, gear, human waste, shotgun shells, etc.
- Bolts - Some canyoneers are extremely against adding bolts to any canyoneering route. In many areas, like Zion National Park, adding new bolts is illegal. Most canyoneers prefer to see as few bolts in a canyon as possible.
- Tresspassing - Tresspassing is frowned upon because it makes it harder for the rest of the canyoneering community to gain access to canyons.
- Poaching - Poaching is doing a canyon that is off limits. Don't do it.
- Social Trails - Social trails are undesirable and unplanned trails. They lead to erosion and loss of vegitation. You can help avoid making social trails by planning your route ahead, staying on designated trails, walking on durable surfaces like rocks, and staying in the river course whenever possible (even if it is more convenient to walk on the bank).
- Be Unobtrusive - A lot of people visit the outdoors to get away from people. When you're camping, try to be unobtrusive. Make your tent blend in. Don't have a campfire where it can be seen for miles. In canyons, slow groups should let fast groups pass them.
- Fixed Ropes - Fixed ropes (ropes that are tied to an anchor and left there) can be hazardous because they invite inexperienced people into situations where they could hurt themselves. They are also dangerous because if you remove them, someone who was depending on that rope may end up in a sticky situation. Ropes deteriorate quickly when left exposed to the elements, so fixed ropes may break the next time someone tries to use them.
- Rope Grooves - When setting anchors and when pulling your rope, please be conscientious of rope grooves. Place your anchor in a location where you're not creating rope grooves.
- Search and Rescue - Don't do anything stupid that will require you to call Search and Rescue. Obviously accidents can still happen to the most prepared groups, but please be safe out there. Do your homework, have a contingency plan, make smart choices.