All climbers should follow “Leave No Trace” principles, plus any rules specific to an area. In addition, climbers should consider the following climbing ethics before tackling a sheer face for rock climbing or heading out for some serious mountaineering:
— Learn the location of the access point and a designated trail to the climbing area. Find out if the climbing site is on public or private land and where you can park a car. Get information from guidebooks, online sources, local climbing shops or other climbers.
— Find out the color of the rock. The rock color will influence the color chalk used during the climb. Unsightly chalk marks detract from the visual experience of the next user. Rock color will also influence the hue of clothes a climber wears and even ropes.
— Research whether site-specific guidelines exists for climbing free, using removable protection or leaving marks on rocks.
— Check for seasonal wildlife closures before departing for a site. Some climbing areas close periodically to protect nesting birds or other local wildlife.
— Minimize the impact on vegetation at all times. Climbing can affect plants and soils at the bottom and top of a climb, and cliff-dwelling plants. Some areas possess sensitive vegetation, while others pose fewer concerns.