/ Pooing in the outdoors - particularly crags

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jmwbarclay - on 25 Jun 2013
Ahhh Gogarth... the open sea behind you, the soaring quartzite cliffs, peregrines calling overhead, and the - oh God no! A huge, human turd!! I can't believe I have stepped in a massive shit, halfway up the grass bay of the Upper Tier, right next to a belay stance!!

The next 10 minutes were spent swearing a lot, cleaning the offending excrement from my rock shoe with a range of mosses, water and grass.

Sadly not the first time I have seen such deposits near crags and hillsides. Though definitely the first time I have managed to step in one.

We all get "sphincter wink" from time to time - Gogarth probably induces a loss of bowel control more than many crags; it's intimidating atmosphere and serious routes will often initiate an urgent desire to open your bladder, or worse. Here are some top tips for going for a shit in the outdoors:

1. Don't. If you can get to a lavvy prior to your day's excursions this is best for all concerned.

2. If (like me) you don't feel right until you have had your "morning constitutional" and for some reason it doesn't kick in before you leave the house, consider taking some loo paper, small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Being prepared in advance means you feel more able to deal with the urge when it hits, rather than putting it off until you are desperately dropping your pants at an inopportune moment.

3. Bury it:
Step 1 - think ahead so you are not forced to drop your load at the last minute without having a chance to dig a hole. When you feel the irresistible urge, look for a spot where you can dig down.
Step 2: Find something to dig with, e.g. knife, nut key, stick / branch, sharp rock, boot or fingers as a last resort. If you are planning on wild camping as a hill walker, it is worth taking a small lightweight trowel e.g. I-Pood for this purpose.
Step 3: Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate your aim, and if possible about 15cm deep. This is not always achievable, but even if you can chop out a section of turf, scoop out as much soil as possible and get your deposit well aimed, this is better than leaving it on the surface.
Step 4: PUT THE PAPER IN TOO! The delightful sight of many a "toilet paper flower" in full bloom can put you right off your lunch.
Step 5: Scoop the earth back in, place the turf sod back on top and pat into place with your foot. A rock placed on top will help deter others from digging in the same spot, and prevents dogs hunting out and eating your poo - yes it happen and yes I have been on the receiving end of a black Labrador happily licking his lips as he bounced back to me, wagging his tail and face smeared with human shit! I didn't know that was what it was until I bent down to get a closer look as his grubby chops, only for him to pop his head up and gently head butt me in greeting - thus covering my own nose in the stuff. In the words of Morrissey: "I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was terrible..."

There are variations you might like to try, such as getting a stick to "mix it up" - blending your deposit in the hole with a scoop of soil prior to covering it up (err...put the stick in the hole too please!) which helps speed up the interaction of bacteria in the soil with your chocolate log.

As I say, not always possible to achieve this but my unfortunate incident at the start of this post was in a location where with a little effort, the offending article could certainly have been better covered and hidden.

Once well buried, the evidence is often decomposed and gone in a matter of a couple of months, so future toiletters may well use a similar location with confidence for years.

Happily, the incident did not spoil our day - we enjoyed 2 further routes after cleaning my shoe, though lots of Dettol was employed for both myself & my partner and our shoes back at home.

FYI this was about 2-3 weeks ago at the Cordon Bleau belay so you may want to tread carefully even now, and no we did not go on to climb Cordon Bleau for fear of further discoveries!

Please spread the word, & check out this link for a funny take on the whole thing.
http://semi-rad.com/2013/05/pooping-in-the-outdoors-a-flow-chart/

Happy, sanitary climbing!

Jamie

wilkie14c - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay: Burying is my prefered method too. Good and informative post, poo is always a hot* topic on UKC

*well maybe body temperature anyway
Lukem6 - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay: I feel the best tactic is as foillows

1 wake up at least 30 mins before leaving
2 Eat wheat biscuits with fruit and down a double espresso
3 wait for it...
4 Go and empty in the bathroom.
5 enjoy :)

If you dont like that then take a doggy bay a tiny shovel and some tissues.
1 Dig hole 6 inches deep.
2 poop inside - wipe yourself putting toilet roll inside doggy poop bag.
3 cover up hole.
4 enjoy
highclimber - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay: The simple act of placing a heavy stone on top is better than just leaving it for all and sundry to step in. I feel for you man. it's bad enough when it's non-human!

I've often been 'caught short' at a crag, once, coincedentally, at Gogarth but I never if-at-all-possible leave it to air!

Disgusting to say the least
krikoman - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to lm610: Really burying plastic bags?

Not very environmental friendly is it?

If you have to crap in a hole and bury it, burn the paper. In essence give you poo a Viking funeral.
johncoxmysteriously - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

This baffles me. I've been climbing and hillwalking since I was four years old and I have never, even once, needed to crap during the day (save for extended camps of more than a day, and even then I managed not to go at belays).

I am driven to the conclusion that either my constitution is exceptional or else that a significant minority of people are inconsiderate tossers.

Answers on a postcard.

jcm
Lukem6 - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to krikoman: sorry forgot to add take poopy bag with you.... but I mainly follow the first options can beat a coffee enema
In reply to krikoman:

I think the 'doggy bags' being reffered to are the biodegradable kind.
Justin T - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

> This baffles me.
> I am driven to the conclusion ... that a significant minority of people are inconsiderate tossers.

Well I'm driven to the conclusion from most of your posts that you deem anyone who doesn't share your every belief and physical attribute is an inconsiderate tosser. To answer your question not everyone has your iron and predictable constitution. Those who don't will try their hardest but occasionally circumstance such as an early start and a long walk in after post cragging beer the night before conspire to create an unavoidable situation. Generally those afflicted do the best they can. In fact I find it helps in life to remember that most people try to do the best they can most of the time.

Dave Garnett - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Justin T:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> [...]
>
> In fact I find it helps in life to remember that most people try to do the best they can most of the time.

So saying that a 'significant minority' perhaps don't is actually agreeing with you?

Maybe I'm an oddity too, but I don't think I've ever had to crap at a crag either.
jmwbarclay - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to krikoman:
Based on a my experience, burning used toilet paper is a fairly unsuccessful tactic most of the time. The delight at watching it catch initially is somewhat dampened when the flames go out once they hit the extremely non-flammable, wet shitty bit. You are usually left with the conundrum of then having to get rid of a piece of shitty paper that now has no clean edge left to pick up. I think it is a good idea in principle, but burying a modest amount of paper in the hole,which will very quickly degrade and disappear, I feel is still the preferred option.

Carry-out bags are a great idea too, and probably advisable in most of our popular "wild" campsites, particularly with the increase in things like ML courses often using the same venues repeatedly. Not something that has caught on in the British psyche yet, but normal behaviour in a number of countries among well educated backcountry users. Not sure I would want to carry it up a route on a sea cliff with me though!
Tall Clare - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

> Carry-out bags are a great idea too, and probably advisable in most of our popular "wild" campsites, particularly with the increase in things like ML courses often using the same venues repeatedly. Not something that has caught on in the British psyche yet, but normal behaviour in a number of countries among well educated backcountry users. Not sure I would want to carry it up a route on a sea cliff with me though!

Surely it's only the same as carrying out your dog's poo in a bag?

wilkie14c - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
I can only recall a handfull of times when I've been caught out over 20+ years but the proceedure is very simple and even folks who need to go more often have no excuse whatsoever. If they have the ability to get themselves to a national park to go climbing <or anywhere outdoors> they have a responsibility to toilet effectively. Leaving behind your doings to impact on others makes you as irresponsible and dog owners who leave trees and hedgerows festooned with bags of shit. We can't even blame the dogs for that. In balance though I've mixed with a lot of climbers of the years and never had issue with anyone about toileting at the crag, everyone seems to know the unwritten 'rules'. I've yet to find a belay stance with a 'present' left me, maybe when I do I'll be as outraged as the OP.
wilkie14c - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
Exactly, 100%. I think as a population we have become conditioned to an out of sight out of mind attitude to toileting, we don't have to look at ours for more than a few seconds before flushing it away, I can imagine how people feel outraged when faced with having to carry thier own faeces. The playing field has been leveled but the invention of the shewee when it comes to having a quick wee but a number 2? as an educated population it is something we are lacking with dealing with.
Irk the Purist - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

I go at the start of my day. I get out the car, poo in a bag and hang it from a tree to collect later. Only I never remember so there's little baubles of excrement decorating that tree like it's Christmas now.



ashaw - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay: was walking up to meet my group on the PYG track last thursday and someone had left a huge stinking one complete with skidded toilet paper in the middle of the path. It must have been bad because it was pouring down and was still smelling!!!! No need
Eric9Points - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:

I just carry a Tesco carrier bag in my back pocket. If I feel the urge to fill it I can just knot the top and leave it swaying in the breeze from a handy spike.

Sarah G on 25 Jun 2013
Sometimes (though rarely) I'm caught out while out with the dogs. I bury mine, or indeed the little shites do eat it....

One also swiftly learns to keep a tissue handy, or at least be able to identify suitable plant leaves as a substitute.

Sx
Owen W-G - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Sarah G:

What do folk think about the practice or crapping into the sea or into a tidal rockpool at low tide?
wilkie14c - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Owen W-G: I live in blackpool so this method makes very little difference to anything
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Rob Parsons on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

> ... oh God no! A huge, human turd!! I can't believe I have stepped in a massive shit, halfway up the grass bay of the Upper Tier, right next to a belay stance!! ...

I was once gearing up for a rock route in the Alps, when I looked down and noticed I was standing in a fresh turd left by a previous 'climber.' And this was on the stance, right at the start of the route. Delightful.

There followed several frantic minutes of me trying to clean the shite off my mountain boots, which I then had to stow in my pack for the actual climb.

If it had happened to somebody else, I *might* have been able to see the funny side ...

Al Evans on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Rob Parsons: This is I believe still the literary classic of the genre
How To Shit In The Woods
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Meyer
Rosco P Coltrane - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Eric9Points:
> (In reply to Eric the Red)
>
> I just carry a Tesco carrier bag in my back pocket. If I feel the urge to fill it I can just knot the top and leave it swaying in the breeze from a handy spike.

That's pretty disturbing. Do you then sneak it into a dogsh*t bin?

Digging a hole is the only decent option.

I once rough camped (tentless) and hiked around the Lake District for a week or so. For last 3 days I lived on hazlenuts and powedered tomato soup. Didn't need a hole...just drained away so it did.
Rigid Raider - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

I got human poo on my rope once - that was fairly disastrous.
In reply to Rigid Raider: Me too. In the TD Gap on a Cuillin Traverse. Classy.
Steve Clark - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

In my ignorant teenage years, I took my dad's camera to the Lakes to document a climb for a GCSE project. My similarly ignorant mate managed to crimp out a Mr Whippy style one directly on top of large spiky rock near the base of Scout crag.

He was so impressed that he took a photo of it.

I didn't realise that there was a load of my dad's promotional photos at the start of the film and he was less than impressed when he handed me half a dozen copies enlarged at 10x8" of the offending article.

Steve
Jim Nevill - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Steve Clark:
Oh dear!!
Many years ago I was on an easy route in the Pass, with a fine view of what I believed to be the route Ngombo. I was slightly surprised to see the second, on reaching the belay ledge, shuffle to one side, undo his harness and drop one! Then get back to climbing. The effect was heightened by my understanding that Ngombo is swaheli for, you guessed it, shit.
thin bob on 25 Jun 2013
Jackspratt - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:
Love a good adventure poo me! something so natural about it. The view the cool air whipping around your privates. BEAutiful. Shit Happens guys we're the only species that feel the need to poo in a sterile environment. a little bit of poo never hurt anyone. watch where you tread you squashed a perfectly good poo.
coinneach - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Yup!

Been there

Done that

The only saving grace was that it was my partner's rope.
PeteH - on 25 Jun 2013
Interesting... I was surprised, reading the thread, that no-one had objected to the OP's suggestion to bury the toilet paper. I've always been in the habit of packing out my used toilet paper with me, cocooned securely in unused toilet paper, and disposing of it later. Although toilet paper is apparently biodegradable I'm sure it takes a lot longer than the poo itself.

To the OP: I owe you a great debt for the link to the flow chart. As it happens, I am a bear.

Pete.
Micky J - on 25 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay: i have the perfect solution . I often shit into a jiffy bag ( usually one from sandwiches } wipe my arse with a napkin and then place it under my helmet until i return to my car . Problem solved . Also keeps the top of your head warm in winter .
Simon Caldwell - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to PeteH:
Why bother with paper at all? Moss/grass/snow will do just as well.
Mike Stretford - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to PeteH)
> Why bother with paper at all? Moss/grass/snow will do just as well.

Really? Do you get it waxed or something?
Mike Stretford - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to jmwbarclay)
>
> This baffles me. I've been climbing and hillwalking since I was four years old and I have never, even once, needed to crap during the day (save for extended camps of more than a day, and even then I managed not to go at belays).
>
> I am driven to the conclusion that either my constitution is exceptional or else that a significant minority of people are inconsiderate tossers.
>

I think most of us mere mortals have been caught out once, or twice at a push. It's not nice and it teaches most people to use some facilities before setting off on the walk in, even if it means walking into a Mcdonalds. The remaining few are fetishists.
wilkie14c - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to Papillon:

> or twice at a push.

Is that whys its called a number 2? ;-)
Carolyn - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> Surely it's only the same as carrying out your dog's poo in a bag?

Or a baby's dirty nappy. Nothing like a dog or small child to get you over any squeamishness around handling poo....
derryclimbs - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to jmwbarclay:

was recently climbing in Swanage, about to set off on a route, when from around the corner a head popped out saying "um, are you about to do that VS?" "sure are" we replied, and then got a sort of apology from the guy who explained that they had just done that route and his mate had to take a dump on the belay ledge! "don't move the rock on the left hand side" he told us.
So up we went and yes, there was a rather smelly rock covering some human faeces! That was one of the fastest lead changeovers I have ever done! As this was only a short 2 pitch route I have no idea why the guy couldn't hold on until the more readily available and greener spots at the top. Personally if it was me, and I couldn't have waited, I would have dumped on the rock and thrown it in to the briny deep!
Anyway, got to the top and met the very embarrassed fellow climber to which we said "yeah, lovely climb but what a shitty belay ledge"
True story
tlm - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to jmwbarclay) The simple act of placing a heavy stone on top is better than just leaving it for all and sundry to step in.

A great idea, until the next person goes to the same area for a poo, picks up the nearest heavy stone to drop on their poo and thus uncovers your steaming turd, maybe getting some on their hands in the process. The stone also stops the rain from washing your poo away...
humptydumpty - on 26 Jun 2013
In reply to Papillon:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
> [...]
>
> I think most of us mere mortals have been caught out once, or twice at a push. It's not nice...

??? seems quite similar to me, but with better ventilation. Definitely preferable to some shit-ridden, piss-drenched public (or pub) toilets I've seen.
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