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Give a Damn...These Guys Did

 Give a Damn...These Guys Did

by Sean Hudson

December 29, 2001

On October 24 about 60+ climbers gathered on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, Colorado and cleaned up about 1000 pounds of broken glass and garbage around many of the popular bouldering areas. Originally Willie Mein, the event creator, just wanted to get a few friends together and do some trash pickup. However, it wasn't long before the word spread and the event took off. Within three or four days of the idea's inception, Boulder Mountain Parks donated bags, gloves, tools and food, a local brewing company donated a keg of beer, and companies like La Sportiva, Trango, The Access Fund, Kelty, Clif Bar, Climbing Magazine, Neptune Mountaineering, American Apline Club, Mountain Sports and Crater Holds donated their time and gear that was given away to volunteers.

Around 4:00pm about 60 local climbers and the Boulder Mountain Parks met at the top of Flagstaff Mountain. Gloves and tools were handed out to eager volunteers after they signed a release form and put their name 'in the hat' for the prize drawings that followed the cleanup. Then people broke into groups and headed off to the major "trashed" areas. There were people using vacuums (powered by small generators) to clean off the tops and cracks of the rock while others were raking and shoveling around the bases and trails.

Vacuuming glass at the Flagstaff Trash Bash

About two hours later there was about 1000 pounds of glass and debris that had been cleaned up. After the cleanup, Willie Mein addressed the volunteers saying, "The other day, after pulling down on one of the finest bouldering traverses in Colorado, my peace of mind was rudely interrupted by the painful zinging sensation that a burning cigarette butt causes when landing on your bare skin.

After venting at the unsuspecting butt-flicker enjoying the views on the rock above me, it occurred to me that I could bitch about the trash on Flagstaff forever, or I could make a real difference by taking an hour to clean it up. The conditions around the backside of the Monkey Traverse, and all around Cloudshadow were the worst ever. I knew we could get a lot done, but this is amazing!"

It's Not All Hard Work! Then the fun began. The volunteers washed down the food (provided by Boulder Mountain Parks) with generous helpings of soda and beer (donated by a local brewing company). Afterwards, there was a drawing where just about everyone present went home with a prize (or two). In all it was a huge success. (Word has it that this will become an annual event. The exact date for next year's Trash Bash is yet to be determined and the location will likely be somewhere in the Boulder area.)

We at Camp4, challenge you to do something similar in your community. We are sure that somewhere near you is a crag in desperate need of a clean-up.

Tools Needed: this list will get you started in the right direction.

  • gloves
  • trash bags
  • leaf/yard/hand rakes
  • shovels
  • a wet/dry shop vac
  • electric generator
  • wheelbarrows

Volunteering Is Fun! Spread The Word: you would be suprised how many people would like to be involved at cleanup events so be sure to tell the following...

  • local newspapers
  • local climbing clubs
  • local nature/hiking clubs
  • climbing web sites (such as Camp4)
  • climbing gyms
  • local coffee shops
  • outdoor stores
  • local park/forestry service
  • equipment manufacturers

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