Ohio Climbers

Ohio Climbers Association


Ohio Climbers


The Ohio Climbers Association was established in 1990 as an outgrowth of the Clifton Gorge Climbers’ Association. The CGCA was formed in 1978 in response to the threatened closure of the Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve to climbers. As membership in the CGCA grew and began spreading statewide, the OCA was formed.


Since it’s inception, the organization has championed increased access to Ohio climbing areas, safe and responsible climbing, environmentally sound climbing practices and the sponsorship of climbing events, competitions and presentations.


Goals of the OCA

  • Maintaining access to climbing sites.
  • Identifying and opening access to new sites.
  • Promoting safe and environmentally sound climbing practices.
  • Representing the interests of the Ohio rock climbing community to the general public and to public agencies.
  • Informing the Ohio climbing community.

Minimum Impact Climbing Practices

In order to continue good relations with local land owners and managers and to assure future resources, OCA offers the following suggestions for environmentally sound climbing practices.

At the Top


  • Minimize the number of trips to the top.
  • Minimize the number of people when setting up a climb.
  • Do not top-out. Lower-off instead.
  • Pad the trees (especially where a tree is subjected to regular use; used carpet sections make great padding).
  • Select the largest trees possible (a practice beneficial for both the tree and yourself!)
  • Equalize the load on smaller trees.
  • Place slings to tighten under increased loads (avoid sling-slipping).
  • Resist the temptation of tossing loose rocks off the top, even if you think the base is clear of people.

At the Base

  • Don’t tramp about at the base of a climb, destroying vegetation. Limit your observation, lunch and lounging stances to a select few. If you are allergic to poison ivy, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Wandering from trails at the base kills vegetation and causes erosion. This was one of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ biggest complaints concerning conditions at Clifton Gorge.
  • Trees used for anchors should be padded.
  • For belaying, select trees near the base, or better, belay off your harness.
  • Keep groups small. Limit the number of observers.
  • Don’t litter. Leave the area cleaner than you found it. Stuff a plastic garbage bag in with your climbing gear and fill it with litter you find on-site. Pack it out.
  • If public toilets are available, use them.

On the Cliff

  • Avoid destruction of vegetation. On cliff-faces in Ontario, researchers have found trees with lifespans of hundreds of years. Also avoid harming moss and lichen.
  • Minimize the use of chalk, or try a chalk replacement.
  • Obviously, no chipping or vandalizing the rock. And no bolting unless you have the permission of the land owner or manager and the consensus of the local climbing community.

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