Brace yourself. We’re totally going there. That’s right, today we’re tackling what to do when you’re out at the crag, miles from the nearest toilet, and just can’t hold it any longer. Though it might be easiest to dig hole, pop a squat, and cover the remains with some leaves, the waste you leave behind can have some nasty effects on local drinking water, wildlife, and your fellow climber’s approach shoes. For the official word on waste management we turned to the Access Fund’s article Poop: Waste Disposal Strategies for Climbers. They explain that the best game plan for keeping the local ecosystem happy is to always BAG IT. You heard me, put it in a bag and carry it out. At our local crag in Rumney, NH the Rumney Climbers Association used grant funds from the American Alpine Club to install several stations containing Go Anywhere Toilet Kits, aka “Wag Bags”, for climbers to go in and carry out. I’ll admit it, when I first saw them I giggled and thought to myself, “What am I a dog in a dog park?”, but upon further thought and actually trying out the kit, I’ve become a full-fledged bagger.
The kit comes with 4 items: 1. Waste bag containing “Poo Powder” gelling and deodorizing agent, 2. Individual toilet paper, 3. Hand wipe, 4. Secure puncture-resistant zip-close disposal bag. Now let’s move on to how to use said contents. First, find a nice quiet place away from the trail and fellow climbers. Grab that waste bag, open it up, and do your business. Thankfully the bag is quite large so there’s no fear of making a mess, and it contains that lovely Poo Powder to help solidify waste (sorry, but that’s what it does!) and minimize odor. Use the luxurious toilet paper and hand wipe, and then package it all up in the zip-close disposal bag. Store the bag in your pack and dispose of it in the nearest trash receptacle.
I’m not gonna lie, bagging it felt a little weird at first, but the weirdness is definitely outweighed by the knowledge that you’re doing what’s right for your crag and environment. The TP and hand wipe are also a total upgrade from those leaves you’ve been using. So you’re probably wondering, “How can I get my hands on these kits?” Well, fine ladies and gents, you can purchase them directly from various outdoor retailers (support Crux Crush by clicking through to them on our sidebar) or from Cleanwaste.com. Cleanwaste is even offering a free trial kit and all you have to pay is $3 for shipping. You can also encourage your local climbers association to provide Wag Bags at your crag.
Climb on and poo responsibly!