Rock climbers who use and care about the Moab area are outraged that someone bolted new routes across a panel of petroglyphs at an area known as the Sunshine Wall, located north of Arches National Park on land overseen by the Bureau Land Management. A climber who noticed the bolts earlier this week promptly removed them and contacted the BLM.
News of the routes hit social media in early April after a user posted photos of the bolts installed just inches from petroglyphs on the Moab Rock Climbers Facebook group, prompting over 70 comments condemning the action.
Climbing media outlets have picked up the story. In an April 13 story on Climbing.com, the website for Climbing Magazine, author Owen Clarke spoke with Darrin Reay, who discovered, reported and removed the bolts. Reay told Climbing he was initially excited to try the new routes when he saw the fresh bolts.
“I get halfway up, and all the sudden there’s a petroglyph four inches from a bolt,” said Reay. “I look up, and there’s a whole panel, and the route goes right through the middle of it.”
Users of the popular rock climbing information site mountainproject.com have blasted the “first ascensionist” who installed the bolts. The Colorado Springs man claims he did not realize the petroglyphs were legitimate, mistaking them for recent graffiti when he put the routes up in late March. He apologized in online comments for the damage.
The Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office did not respond to requests for comment in time for print.