BACC Collaboration with the World Climb Project

In early October, the Bay Area Climbers Coalition collaborated with the World Climb Project (@theworldclimb), an international research effort studying the impacts of climbing on cliff vegetation. Felipe Morales (@morarmi.felipe), a researcher with the World Climb Project visited California to sample popular climbing areas around the Bay Area. The project focuses on rock climbing areas in Mediterranean ecosystems around the world, surveying plants, lichens, and mosses on climbing faces. BACC community ambassador Charles Futoran connected with Felipe to act as local guide and rope gun.

Remillard Park rock featuring Felipe Morales is clipped into rock via his harness about three fourths of the way up one of the routes. Between Felipe and the rock is a horizontal PVC pipe connected to an anchor. The survey plot is made up of thin loosely netted rope hanging from the pipes that start above Felipe's head and continue about a foot below him.

Together they visited crags in the East Bay, North Bay, and even made a trip out to Auburn Quarry to conduct vegetation surveys. Many of the climbs at these locations were void of plants but hosted healthy lichen and moss populations. Despite the lack of plants on or adjacent to the surveyed climbs, 12 species of plants were documented, with many more lichens and mosses recorded.

Felipe Morales and Charles Futoran smile for the photo on Mt. Tam. Felipe is waving one hand. Mountain ranges can be seen in the background.

Overall the survey was considered a great success! Survey data will be processed as an ongoing effort to study the impacts of climbing. This was the first World Climb Project survey conducted in California. BACC supported the effort by providing ropes and ascending equipment.