COLORADO SPRINGS — A new measure starts this week to better protect the iconic Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. “Really it’s an effort to help preserve our environment,” said Garden of the Gods, Park Manager John Stark. Technical climbers are no longer allowed to use any type of chalk or chalk substitute while scaling the red rock formations.
"90% of climbers climb with a chalk bag or some sort of chalk," said Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance, Founding Member, Brian Shelton. The Climbers Alliance collaborated with Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation. Chalk is used at many other climbing locations with no issues. It is marring the red rocks at Garden of the Gods. "You can see it from a long way away."
“Over the past ten years or so we’ve had chalk cleaning days out here,” said Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance, Founding Member, Stewart Green. The group of seasoned climbers recognized the chalk issue from their work to preserve the privilege of climbing at the busy park. "The rock gets caked with chalk,” said Green, “Sandstone has a lot of pores in it and it absorbs the chalk into the rock, so it's just about impossible to clean off." Climber experience and observation grew into a collaboration with Colorado Springs Parks Managers. "Really this is an effort of us all coming together to help educate why this is an important issue,” said Stark"
The change adds artificial chalk to the rules. Traditional chalk was previously prohibited. "Let's just leave the chalk bags at home,” said Shelton, “Use a little bit of dirt off the ground and that's how we do it at the Garden of the Gods now."