ROCK CLIMBING ETHICS AND STANDARDS IN ARMENIA
Armenia is a country with huge potential for rock climbing, and the rock climbing culture is currently undergoing a period of development. In recent years, more and more climbers from abroad have started visiting Armenia to climb, and the local youth has also started discovering rock climbing, which is very promising. Yet not every individual has an adequate understanding of climbing in Armenia; a respectful attitude towards local specifics such as to have a minimal impact on unique rock formations, as well as the development of the climbing culture and mentality in Armenia in alignment with accepted and ethically correct international standards need to be adopted.
Therefore, the club Up The Rocks finds it very urgent to set up Armenian ethics and standards at this point.
The majority of these norms are adopted from basic international experience, with a history that goes back more than a century. Some norms in the document are based on the local specifics and on our own experience. The adoption of refined international norms is crucial for Armenia in order to attain a high level of excellence in the performance of the sport. One main aspect is to respect and conserve our nature, always aiming for a minimum impact.
When we started working on this document, Philippe Descamps (the general secretary of Petzl Foundation), referred us to the UIAA documents “UIAA Policy on Preservation of Natural Rock for Adventure Climbing” and “To Bolt or Not to Be”.
During recent years, after watching so many films of famous rock climbers starring on bolted climbs, it was surprising for us to find out that UIAA, with the support of BMC, AAC, NZAC and others, are concerned about environmental problems and degradation of adventurous aspect of rock climbing, particularly trad climbing culture, caused by the tendency of bolting more and more crags during recent two past decades.
The regulation of this problem will allow Armenia and other countries where climbing is growing, to become more proactive in terms of preserving the rocks in natural state of these instead of chopped bolts and holes on the rocks. Along with this, local youth will be motivated to learn how to protect themselves during climbing with their own gear, and to climb the line through trad (adventure) means. This etiquette will help them experience the complete spirit of climbing, which includes taking responsibility and accountability for their own and their partner’s safety, properly caring for the rocks they climb and find the ways to pass through uncertainty, fear and despair.
Taking into account the pros and cons of sport climbing (climbing on bolted routes), we also share the view of co-existence of trad and sport climbing, but advocate for sport routes with fixed equipment (bolts) only in environmentally less sensitive areas and only when certain rock faces do not provide a sufficient crack system for climbing in a traditional style.
Although there is a conservative strictness in these norms, nowhere in the world is it perceived as something interfering with the continuous development of rock climbing; it still stimulates climbers to constantly strive to improve their technique, strength, strategy and equipment. Thanks to this, the climbers surprise every day with new achievements, climbing rock and alpine faces which just yesterday seemed impossible, in a lighter and faster style.
P.S. The following content is not a description of the climbing history or styles, but only a brief classification of the styles, norms and ethics!
1. DESCRIPTION OF CLIMBING DISCIPLINES
*Climbing (=lead climbing) – traditional and sport climbs are where a climber Leads –the rope comes from below and the climber clips it into the intermediate protection gear as he moves up the route.
When the rope is set up from the top anchor and comes to the climber from the top then it’s called Top Roping, which is considered only as training. The climber can't say that he has climbed the route, even if he has done it 100 times top roping; he is supposed to lead it with no falls and can’t rest hanging on the rope/gear. Top roping is used, either for beginners when they are not experienced enough to Lead, or sometimes by skilled climbers when they are working on lines much harder than their level to link all the moves in preparation to Lead it (so-called red point).
On a multipitch climb, the second climber uses the rope from above, but it’s rather specified as Seconding.
Top roping is not considered as a proper climbing discipline!
Traditional (Trad, Adventure) Climbing is a discipline where the climbers use their own protection on the rock, such as cams, stoppers, hexes, slings over the rocks, pitons etc. Before 1960, the climbers used to use pitons. Then passive and active cams were found, which are more environmental friendly and easy to put and take out of the cracks.
Nowadays, the pitons are still used on the alpine rock faces, but more and more rarely. The innovation of traditional passive and active equipment (cams, stoppers, hexes, ball nuts etc.) makes the protecting easier; they don’t damage rocks and make you happy to climb without a bunch of heavy pitons and hammer. We can distinguish some styles in trad climbing:
· Free climbing is the style where the climber only uses the rock surface as hand and foot holds for climbing. If even once during the climb the climber pulls on the protection gear it is considered aid climbing. Then, in order for the ascent to be considered good, (or a certain pitch in a multipitch route) he should descend to the ground or anchor below, cleaning all the protection gear from the route and do it again, and again till he climbs the line (red pointing) without taking a fall or hanging on the rope, or grabbing a protection gear. Most of the trad climbs now are being climbed free (First Free Ascent), even on the lines which were considered to be Aid routes before.
· AID climbing is a way of climbing where the climber, besides grabbing the rock, also pulls or rests on the gear, making it possible then to climb even very smooth faces with little formations/cracks. When you pull on protection gear (cams, stoppers etc) the climb is graded as A0 (“A” grades are put next after the route difficulty grades). When special Aid climbing equipment is used (hooks, aiders, cooper heads etc.), then it may vary between the grades A1 and A4/5. If only a few moves are climbed aided, the climb (or a particular pitch) is still called Aid climbing. The style of Aid climbing was more common till the late 60’s. Then the free climbing style became more popular, and since then climbers are ambitiously trying to “free” previous aid routes. However there are still many aid routes now, both old and new ones; those are basically Big Wall and Alpine lines, many of which might be too hard to be climbed free.
· Clean climbing is a style of trad climbing when there is no use of any protection gear requiring a hammer use like pitons, bolts, cooper heads etc. not to damage the rock.
· Leave no trace style is trad climbing ascent after which no bolt, piton or any kind of other gear is left on the wall. The climbers leave the rocks almost in the state that they found it apart from a few chalk marks.
Trad climbing lines can be found on any rock formation in Armenia where the rock is compact and solid enough. This discipline with Leave no Trace style is highly welcomed, as it is the way of climbing with minimal impact on the rock formations.
Sometimes trad lines in environmentally less sensitive areas may be mixed, ie protected with a bolt(s) on large blank section, were there is no possibility to use trad protection, but this must be accepted rather as an exception than a rule.
On the basalt columns (natural monuments) of Armenia rock climbing is banned since 05.05.2013, even with the Clean Climbing style. See chapter 5, page 7
Sport climbing means to climb the equipped routes with the permanent fixed protection gear (bolts with hangers or mono piece of protection glued into a drilled hole). Sport climbing was developed later, after trad climbing. The reason for this was to make it possible to climb the blank lines on the rocks where there were not enough cracks to protect with traditional gear. Permanently fixed gear is safer and don’t blow out when the climbers take falls on those, while traditional gear sometimes do.
Sport climbing is completely Free Climbing discipline, so hanging or grabbing from the rope or gear equals to a fall and requires being red pointed.
Sport climbing is also available in indoor or outdoor facilities like artificial walls. World and continental championships are being organized by IFSC, were they compete in criterion – lead and speed.
There are several rock formations in Armenia developed for sport climbing where you can also find traditional routes. It’s not allowed to put bolts on trad routes (retro-bolting) or on unclimbed part of the rocks where there are cracks good enough for traditional protection gear!
Bouldering is the climbing on boulders, usually up to 4-5meters high, without a rope or protection gear. When the climbers fall, they jump on to crash pads. Somebody is supposed to spot the climber - watch carefully after the climber, keeping their hands up and ready to take climber’s shoulders or back in case he falls. Some climbs may be higher than 4-5 meters and are called High Balls.
As sport climbing, bouldering is also available in indoor or outdoor facilities like artificial walls. World and continental championships are being organized by IFSC.
Bouldering as a type of climbing with minimal impact on the rocks is welcomed on any boulder in Armenia that the climber finds good enough to climb.
Deep Water Soloing is a climbing on the cliffs over the seas, lakes etc. where there is water below deep enough so that climber won’t hit the bottom after jumping into the water when they fall or reach the top of the route. Sometimes they climb up to the top of the cliff where an exit is possible and then make their way to the road. Deep-water solo routes are not equipped by any protection gear and the climber uses only chalk and climbing shoes.
At the moment in Armenia there is no cliff found suitable for Deep Water Soloing. But if you find one, go for it, as this discipline is environmentally friendly and there are no reasons to keep you back.
Solo and Free Solo climbing is climbing without a climbing partner. A solo climber can secure himself by using protection gear and rope. If the climber uses no protection equipment, only climbing shoes and chalk, then it’s called Free Solo.
There were some easy lines like 5.7(5a) done without equipment in Armenia, but they can actually not be called Free Solos because they are so easy that are sometimes called, “hiking”, by climbers. As an environmentally super friendly way of climbing, Free Solos are not restricted in Armenia. Don’t use a piton or bolt on the existing route, when you are soloing.
2. ONSIGHT, RED POINT, FLASH, PINK POINT AND ''PROJECTS''
Onsight is when the climber does not check the route and holds prior to climbing, or see how other climbers have climbed it. From the first attempt, the climber links all the moves and makes it to the top anchor without falling or hanging on the rope or on protection equipment. The same is in the case of bouldering, with the first unfamiliar attempt to the problem (the difficulty grade or route specifics may be known). The term is applicable in free climbing, however, in aid climbing it loses its sense.
Red Point is when the climber has reached the top anchor successfully, however not on the first try. It doesn't matter if the climber makes the route on his second or one hundredth attempt, the climb is called red point. However the term Second Try – climbing the route on second try - is also used by some climbers who consider it is pretty close to onsight climbing.
Flash is when the climber has not tried the route or the moves before, but has seen someone climb the route and on his first attempt he manages to climb the route without falling or hanging on the rope or on protection equipment.
Pink point is a term used in trad climbing, when the protection gear (even if it’s one piece only) is put on the route preliminarily and the climber uses it (them) only to clip the rope in.
If the First Ascent of the route is done the Pink Point style then the one who repeats it pink pointing can say that he sent the route. If the route was climbed the regular trad style then the climber should put protection during climbing to be considered the route was climbed.
Projects are lines that the climbers are keeping an eye to make the First Ascent. A project could also be a climbed route but a personal project for someone who is working on sending it. The term Project is applicable in all the disciplines of rock climbing.
When the Project is about an unclimbed line, then the climber(s) who first found it has the privilege to climb it first and he may block the line as a Project by hanging ropes from both side of it or marking some tapes or strings on the beginning of the line or on the first bolt (if it’s a bolted line).
If the project is about a bolted line that has never been climbed before, then the one who has set up the route has the privilege to climb it first.
3. FIRST ASCENTS, FIRST FREE ASCENTS, NAMING AND GRADING THE ROUTES
First Ascent (FA) is the climb of a line, which has never been climbed before. This term is applicable in any discipline of rock climbing and any style of climbing (free climbing, aid climbing, onsighting, red pointing etc.). After the ascent the climber(s) name the route, and decide the grade of difficulty. Often they make a topo of the route as well.
First Free Ascent as a term is applicable only in trad climbing, as in the other disciplines Ascent is supposed to be free, while when its trad climbing the First Ascent might be done Aid Climbing style as well. If the line is a Free Climbing Route, i.e. if there are cracks for good trad protection gear all the way up, without REPETITIVE large *runouts, then the one who makes the First Free Ascent can rename the route or respect the option of the climber who made the FA.
Naming and Grading the Route is done after the First Ascent by the climber(s) who did it. They are free to name it whatever comes to their mind as long as there are no obscene words. The grades supposed by FA makers might be corrected by the climbers who do the route later.
*Runout is a term used in trad and sport climbing. It’s about the section of a route where the protection gear is far apart from each other (more than 5 meters) and the potential fall of the climber may cause serious injuries.
Pitch (rope) is the part of the route from the ground (or the anchor) to the next anchor. The Pitches can be from 10/15m up to 60m sometimes 70m long. At single pitch sport climbing crags there is a tendency to make the pitches up to 30m long so the climbers can do it with 60m single ropes, but this is only a tendency and it doesn’t prevent anybody from making the pitches longer than 30m. Besides 70m marked single ropes, 80m rope models have recently been produced for up to 40m long pitches. Pitches longer than 40m you can easily handle with double or twin ropes.
You will meet long pitches everywhere - on single pitch, multipitch, big wall and alpine routes.
Once the route or the part of it has been climbed as a long pitch, then it’s a long pitch route! Nobody else has the right to put an intermediate anchor. In case someone finds it crucial, then he should first get the approval of the FA maker.
Single Pitches are the routes, which start at the ground and end at the anchor, in between which there are no intermediary anchors, i.e. the belayer does not have to climb part of the route in order for the leader to finish the route. There are countries, where they put “fake anchors” in the middle of some long and hard sport singlepitche routes. These are in case if the first half of the routes is easy to climb compared with second half. This way they make it possible for not much strong climbers to climb the first part of the route. But this manner does not make the singlepitche into a multipitche route.
Multipitches are the routes split into two or more parts, with belay/abseil anchors at the end of each pitch. In the description of the routes, or on topos, the pitches are usually mentioned with the symbol R (rope) or P (pitch). There are some multipitches up to 800m long, yet they are not specified as Big Wall lines as the classic way of making it is supposed to be a single day fast ascent.
Big Walls and Alpine Big Walls are the walls over around 500 meters where the classic style of the climb takes more than one day. Alpine Big Walls are specified to be the mountain rock faces to the summit, not only big rock formations. Alpine Big Wall climbing is also considered to be Mountaineering.
In Armenia there are no cliffs big enough to be considered Big Walls. On the Southern tectonic mountains of Armenia there are huge cliffs up to 400m high, but they require one day ascents, not grade V or VI (YDS).
Bouldering problems are the climbing lines on boulders, replacing the word ''route''.
Dry-tooling discipline, which had born from Ice & mixt climbing, gets more and more popular. Dry tooling routes are basically set up on artificial climbing walls, and sometimes on crags. When on the crags, then they choose some bad quality and eroded rock formations for this purpose. The reason is that ice tools and crampons scratch and break the rocks, and also often artificial holes are made on the rock surface for the beaks of ice tools. So this attitude supposes that the scratches and ruined parts of the rocks should be cleaned by the time through natural erosion. Do not perform dry-tooling on rock climbing routes!
5. ROCK FORMATIONS OF ARMENIA AND THE STYLES OF THE
CLIMBING ON THEM
Basalt Hexagonal Columns, located basically in Arpa and Garni gorges, are the miraculous part of Armenian nature. The status of Natural Monuments is given to those rock formations by the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA.
There is no any legal permit to climb on them (except for “Arev” Armenian Rock Climbing Festivals on 2009 and 2011). And as bolted belay/rappel anchor systems were a problem, climbing on the columns had been the topic of discussion among eco activists a long time, and required to find a solution in order to leave minimal impact on the rock formations such as to introduce an official permit for climbing on them.
Right from the beginning Clean Climbing on basalt columns had been developed by Up The Rocks club with a motto:
Never ever even think about bolting a sport route on basalt columns, even on the sections where there are no cracks at all! The monsters of the next generations will come and climb these rocks using super small wires, or the trad equipment in the future will be developed to the level where it will be possible to protect safely in the super narrow cracks.
And even if the section is un-climbable by traditional protection gear, the rocks shouldn’t be damaged by drills and metal stuff, but must be preserved the way they have been for thousands of years and should remain for our future generations in their natural state!
Since 2009 we have developed Clean Climbing on basalt columns with an exception: rappel anchors were bolted for the safe descent reasons which were a matter of serious concern.
*Till 2011 there were totally 24 routes on the columns; with fixed rappel anchors – 19 (with 38 bolts), and 5 routes with combined anchors or slings over the rocks.
Since 2012 bolted rappel anchor method was not applicable any more, cams and chocks were used to set up rappel anchors. The parties who would repeat those routes should examine the gear and runners at the anchors. They should remove and leave their own ones, if they find the gear rusty or destroyed. This was a temporary solution for sure, and we kept on working on it to find the best acceptable solution for everybody with minimum impact on basalt columns!
On April 2013 we started to test V-thread and I-thread anchor systems on basalt columns. The successful test results gave us a sufficient optimism that this anchor method will be acceptable by both eco-activists and the environmental experts.
V-thread and I-thread anchors had significant privileges compared with bolted anchor systems.
· This rappel anchor systems are eternal, with only single impact on the rocks. The climbers only had to learn the anchor sling changing technique and do it 1-2 times in a season. The bolted anchors, instead, require to be renewed every other 20-25 year, leaving the rotten metal in the rocks and making more and more holes around for the new bolts.
· Being challenging and not as much safe as bolted anchors are, it should make climbing on basalt columns non popular, allowing only very limited amount of skilled and experienced climbers dare to climb on them. Limiting this way the amount of climbers should also mean less impact on the sensitive rock formations and surrounding areas.
Unfortunately, along with the excitement of a new success we had another frustrating experience. As far as in Armenia there is no that climbing community yet, who would care about the local climbing ethics and rules (as they do in many other countries) even the world class athletes tend to skip the rules when they are facing the situation “to do or not to do” their coolest videos and pictures for sponsors and magazines.
Our club, with several eco civil movements had to stay against rock climbing on the basalt column rock formations of Armenia and to remove all the existing rappel anchors away.
The complete statement is introduced below.
Rock climbing on Basalt Columns of Armenia is banned
Considering the fact that rock climbing on the Basalt Columns of Armenia causes a negative impact on their natural state, the birdlife on them and as well on the surrounding areas generally, few environmental-civil movements with the local climbing club are firmly against rock climbing on these rock formations anywhere in Armenia.
The current decision is based on the experience of the club “Up The Rocks”, which had been putting its efforts to develop a conservative style of climbing on the columns since 2009. Since the beginning the climbing was developed by “Clean Climbing” manners, only accepting bolts at the rappel anchors. Later, since 2012, after some environmental discussions, the conclusion was made that the bolts, even only on rappel anchors, are harming enough. To escape using bolts on rappel anchors when putting new routes, pro-gear was used as a temporary solution. On 2013, V-thread and I-thread anchors where successfully tested as a possible solution which could be later approved by environmental experts.
The idea of new anchor systems had two privileges:
1. These are eternal rappel anchors with single impact on the rocks, unlike the bolted anchors that require to be re-bolted every other 20-30 year.
2. Being challenging and not as much safe as bolted anchors are, it should make climbing on basalt columns non popular, allowing only very limited amount of skilled and experienced climbers dare to climb on them. Limiting this way the amount of climbers should also mean less impact on the sensitive rock formations and surrounding areas.
However, the experience showed that even world class climbers tend to skip the rules and use bolts, and it is actually impossible to keep under control. Along with this statement, club “Up The Rocks” takes responsibility for cleaning all the rappel anchors were put so far.
By this statement we want to inform all the climbers around the world that climbing on any Basalt Columns of Armenia is banned, so they won’t make expenses and travel a long way in vain. We apply to climbing magazines/websites not to publish photos and articles of climbing on Basalt Columns of Armenia. We also claim to climbing gear producers not to sponsor climbers for coming Armenia and climbing on Basalt Columns.
Pan-Armenian Environmental Front (PAEF)
“Save Teghut” civil movement
“Trchkan” civil movement
“Jermuk Development Center” NGO
“Up The Rocks” club
Armenian Alpine Club SNGO
Casual Basalt Formations are common in Armenia. There are some that are quite solid with good cracks for traditional protection gear.
Limestone Formations are probably the most common in the south of Armenia. The quality is the same as casual basalt formations; some faces are solid and in some places it’s choss. Very often you can find good quality cracks for trad climbing.
Other undiscovered formations like granite, marble, sandstone, etc., are found indifferent parts of Armenia. They are not explored for climbing up to now. Anyone is welcomed to explore and put up new routes there.
On the crags which are not located in environmentally sensitive areas you can put bolted sport routes on the sections where the rock is solid enough. For trad routes in same areas you can put bolted belay/abseil anchors, but NEVER bolt a sport route on a line where there are good quality cracks for trad climbing!
Never add bolts or pitons on existing routes (retro-bolting), whether it’s trad or sport routes, without the permission of the FA maker!
6. BELAY/ABSEIL ANCHORS
The belay/abseil anchor systems on sport climbs goes without saying. For traditional climbs, people who make FA can set it up only in environmentally less sensitive areas, either to climb Leave no Trace style, which is encouraged. Logically in environmentally sensitive areas you should make only leave no trace style climbs.
Do not put bolted belay/abseil anchors on existing routes, if the people who made FA haven't done it!
The anchor systems are extremely important components of the climbing routes. Anchors set up the wrong way might be fatal for climbing parties. So don't do that work if you do not have the correct knowledge and skill to set up safe permanent anchors.
7. BOLTING SPORT CLIMBING ROUTES, REBOLTING, RETRO-BOLTING
Bolting Sport climbing Routes - Co-existence of sport and traditional climbing is acceptable for us as far as we recognize that sport climbing is the key for developing technique, endurance and strength, providing a possibility to make safe and hard efforts when climbing the route. However a drill and bolts for this purpose can be used only in Environmentally Less Sensitive Areas!
For instance, Noravanq Canyon where along with traditional climbing we develop sport climbing, tends to get a status of Protected Area, so then it’s supposed to regulate the further development of sport routes with the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA.
Armenia is a country with potential to have thousands of sport climbing routes, yet at this moment the amount does not exceed few decades. It will require much time and very hard work until the proper crags are developed. The Armenian climbing community appreciates everyone who had, and will give their time and recourses to accomplish this! Ground up style sport route bolting is also respected and appreciated in Armenia as long as climbers will do their best to find perfect solutions on the blank sections of the rock.
Remember when you take the drill in your hands for bolting a route or anchor:
1. Never put a sport line on any rock formation if there are good quality cracks for possible traditional climbing. The lines on the rocks with good cracks are not supposed to be sport climbing routes. These are the reasons why not to do that:
· It will be an unnecessary impact on the natural state of rock formation
· It is against the ethics of Rock Climbing!
· It will destroy the line where others could enjoy climbing it by traditional means
· Developing the crags that way removes the incentive for beginners to learn traditional climbing. That threatens to slow down or degrade the traditional climbing culture, either way we can say the spirit of climbing, in the country
· If you or the others can't or don't want to trad climb, go and bolt, or climb other rocks where it’s applicable for sport climbing, but don't spoil the rocks ruining the experience for people to have an adventure on these lines with less impact!
2. Never put a sport line on an existing traditional route. The reasons are the same as mentioned above, plus a rude attitude to the climbers who made the traditional First Ascents of the lines!
3. Never chop holds on blank sections of the line when bolting. To avoid that situation, check the line accurately when rappelling before you start drilling!
4. Clean the line carefully of loose rocks!
5. Don't be tempted to take the drill and make holes here and there if you aren't competent enough to put a safe and appropriate sport-climbing route with nice sequences of climbing moves. Remember that climbers attempting sport routes, without knowing who has put the route, always trust to rout setters’ competence and conscientiousness.
6. The holes for the bolts should be drilled 20mm deeper the bolt lenght, to make it easy hide the bolt in the rock ant cover by glue when rebolting.
7. Bolts put unnecessarily on the wrong place will be chopped and the responsible will be held publicly accountable!
8. Don’t put plates (or any paint notes) to mark the name and info of the route, it’s the same spoiling of the rocks and nature.
Rebolting is called the replacing old rotten bolts, which might be a cause of serious injuries or even death, with new ones. It’s supposed to take the rotten ones out if possible and use the same hole matching it with a new bolt. When it’s not possible to remove the old bolt entirely, it may be chopped and plastered so to make the hole invisible, and the new bolt goes into a new hole close to the old one.
Retro-Bolting is called when the one adds a bolt on existing route, which is quite unmoral act unless it has done with the permission of people who made the FA of the route. Very often the bolts put this way are chopped away by the climbers later.
Rock climbing is an adventurous sport and the style of the First Ascent climb and the risk the people took making it should be respected. The climb shouldn’t be brought down to one’s level by adding a bolt(s). The spirit of routes’ original state should be preserved so the others who are skillful enough could also experience the adventure aspect of the climb done by pioneers.
As always, like the climbing ethics dictate, it means that a climber should attempt to complete the climb in the same style as the FA maker, or better!
8. ARTIFICIAL CLIMBING WALLS
For climbing on artificial climbing walls, both indoor and outdoor, the rules are the same as in sport and boulder climbing. Besides all the other benefits, this type of climbing provides the possibility for climbers to regulate and maintain the conditions and the holds, that's why competitions are supposed to be held on artificial climbing walls.
9. BIRDS AND WILDLIFE
Environmentally Sensitive Areas include the factor of birds and wildlife as well, so that should be considered and respected by the climbers. If there is any expert review which states that during some period of the year, climbing on the certain rock formation will disturb nesting birds or other animals, then climbing must be restricted during that period, or even at all, if the area is sensitive year round! A project is underway to research the situation for wildlife relevant to the popular Armenian climbing areas.
Very important thing is not to leave any kind of trash after trip. Remember that it takes extremely long time for trash to be absorbed completely in the nature: cigarette end 10-12 years, juice or milk paper can 5 years, plastic/polyethylene bags 200-1000 years etc.
It’s also wrong to bury or burn the garbage, cause a lot of heavy metals are released after burning which don’t dissolve in the environment ever. When seeing garbage containers near restaurants, hotels etc, remember that in the regions of Armenia they usually empty the garbage containers into rivers or wild nature. That’s why we still prefer to take our trash back with us to Yerevan, to minimize the impact on the wild environment, and encourage you to do act same way.
In case if you have questions regarding to any topic of this document, need for guidelines/lessons
Created by Up The Rocks club
Confirmed and adopted by Armenian Alpine Club
Last edited on 25.10.2015