To the SCC Climbing Community,
The health and well-being of our members, volunteers, staff, and board are our top concern. SCC board & staff are working remotely and monitoring the situation regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Our management plan is continually developing according to the evolving situation. We are working closely with land managers throughout the region to maintain up to date information. We encourage all climbers to follow local and state orders for shelter-in-place or safer-at-home.
All events and gatherings are postponed for a month based on current CDC guidelines and recommendations as well as local and state ordinances for shelter-in-place or safer-at-home. See below for more information about Trail Days and Events. We will notify you when we reschedule these events as we look forward to maintaining our commitment to take care of the places we love. We appreciate your support as we make this tough call.
Current CDC guidelines urge us to continue to stop the spread. At the current time, we strongly encourage climbers to utilize the highest level of care when choosing their outdoor adventures – sometimes that means staying home to avoid crowded areas. We understand that the stress of our current situation can be overwhelming. We encourage you to look out for your fellow climbers and community for support through these tough times. And remember – our individuals decisions impact our community health.
For current information on climbing area closures, visit our closures page.
*Update: Tuesday, March 24*
SCC continues to keep a pulse on trends surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in our region. At this time, SCC properties remain closed and we will announce reopening procedures by May 1st. While we recognize that some parks remain open to climbing, we consistently urge our community to maintain good judgement when deciding how to conduct their outdoor activities. As shelter-in-place orders begin to relax in our states, we are called to practice the highest level of care in order to prevent spreading the virus to vulnerable persons. We know this virus is still out there and can be transferred by individuals with no symptoms – this is a fact of life we will all endure for an unknown amount of time. With that in mind, we have curated some information to help us make good choices when it comes to climbing. Ultimately, you have the final say in your actions, but our collective actions have a profound impact on maintaining access to our climbing areas and keeping our community healthy and safe.
More info on this closure here.
*Update: Tuesday, March 24*
Access Fund COVID-19 Resources for Climbers includes a list of all current closures and current recommendations for climbers.
From the Access Fund page:
We strongly encourage all climbers to help flatten the curve and err on the side of caution. Here’s how you can help:
- DO NOT travel to climb.
- Strictly comply with all shelter-in-place and similar orders.
- Strictly comply with all closures and restrictions, and follow federal, state, county and city guidelines on social distancing.
- DO NOT take unnecessary risks. Don’t be the person that creates more stress and burden for our medical and SAR professionals. “
*Update: Monday, March 23*
We’ve heard several reports of crowded crags over the weekend and raised concerns about hospital capacity and limited resources. Please closely consider the CDC regulations discussed below to avoid discretionary travel and social gatherings as well as practice good hygiene to avoid spreading the virus. Basically…please try to stay home for the next couple of weeks and limit outdoor adventures to neighborhood walks or local hikes, bike rides or trail runs where you can adequately keep distance and avoid frequently touched surfaces. The rocks will welcome you when you get back.
*Update: Friday, March 20th*
CDC released the report “15 Days to Slow the Spread” that outlines some key guidelines to reduce potential exposure for at-risk individuals. Our mission is to preserve access to climbing, and as such we want to encourage folks to consider the cumulative impact of climbing trips in the near future – and hopefully make some adjustments to slow down, social distance, and flatten the curve.
Locally, we’ve seen our gyms and businesses closing their doors. We also see a national trend of increased visitation to popular climbing areas. We are hearing reports from decreasing capacity at hospitals in Atlanta and limited supplies at hospitals in Chattanooga. We know that getting outside can boost our mental, emotional and physical health, and right now we need a lot of that. Below are some of the current CDC regs and how they relate to climbing outside in the near future.
First, and most importantly, this report calls out “avoid discretionary travel”, which would include trips for recreation. In our region, think about the stops you might take along the way to your destination, such as gas stations or convenience stores in rural towns. While these communities benefit from tourism dollars, they are vulnerable to any strain on their limited health care services. Additional pressure from increased virus spread to regular visits – a common simple injury while climbing could require use of medical facilities and PPE (such as masks and gloves), placing undue pressure on limited capacities. Please stay close to home to avoid putting pressure on these small towns limited resources.
Next, CDC encourages people to “avoid social gatherings” in groups of more than 10 people. Many of our climbing areas are becoming over-crowded and visiting these spots reduces our ability to “flatten the curve”. Climbers should consider their own group size and ability to maintain adequate social distance from other climbers at the crag or boulderfield. But also – consider how crowded the crag might be when you get there. If you look around you and see there are more than ten people and you’re unable to stay the recommended 6 feet apart, it’s probably time to leave, and then consider this next point….
Finally, the CDC continues to encourage all people to “practice good hygiene”. This includes washing hands before and after touching any frequently used item or surface and that surfaces should be disinfected regularly. In climbing, this includes the rock, ropes, crash pads, quick draws, or other climbing gear that we pass around to each other. Washing and disinfecting between use is really difficult to do when you’re out at a crag and is much easier done in your home than at a public area. If you’re training at home, make sure you’re staying clean! Keep in mind that your “coworkers” (real or not) will notice any chalk marks left on your forehead, cheeks, nose or lips…so be sure to avoid touching your face and use a hanky to cover those coughs or sneezes during your home hang board sessions.
When you go out for your solo adventures, be sure to check any additional and current regulations or guidelines for the place you visit. You can find information regarding accessing your State Parks here:
(Good news: they’re still open! Go play! Wash your hands!)
We will postpone upcoming Trail Days for the next 30 days. While our Trail Days typically consist of small to medium sized groups of people, due to the nature of our current projects, we feel this is an appropriate decision to minimize potential spread of the virus at the present time. We will make a call on April 1st for rescheduling volunteer events.
Trail Days that will be postponed:
Currahee Trail Day
Moss Rock Trail Day
Sand Rock Trail Days (including Trail Daze of Summer on April 4th & 11th)
Our staff will continue to work on the Sand Rock Stewardship Initiative for the time being – so if you see them out there, feel free to give them an “air high five” while they continue the stabilization project at the Boy Scout Wall.
Fortunately, we’ve made it through our big events for the season with two successful climbing comps (and had a great time doing it!). However, all of our upcoming Pint Nights and community events have been postponed until further notice.
Events that will be postponed:
Critters and Climbing Pint Night
If you have any questions regarding postponed trail days or events, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any other questions or thoughts, feel free to reach out to our Executive Director, email@example.com.
In case you were wondering….Andrea already works from home, as the SCC office occupies one room in her Chattanooga rental house, so she has continued to do so while taking all meetings over the phone. Our volunteer Board of Directors will continue to communicate remotely.