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ARTICLE: Does a Climber S**t in the Woods?

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 UKC Articles 08 Mar 2016
My favourite mountain toilet, 2 kbWe all know the answer to that. Yes. As do hikers, picnickers, cyclists, trail runners...

The remote and wild nature of many climbing sites usually means that there are no toilets. Nature calls, shit happens... Crappy puns aside (ahem) I suppose the real question is, 'does a climber shit responsibly in the woods?'

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 Babika 08 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hmmm. Interesting subject for an article!

I think we just need to drum into everyone "take the paper away". Roll it up in clean paper and pop it in a sac. Preferably your own sac - and in a plastic bag as well if you're super squeamish.

Yosemite seems to have got this message across to its millions of visitors so its not impossible...
 WaterMonkey 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Babika:
Just out of interest what, in your opinion, is wrong with digging a hole and burying the poo and paper, rather than taking the paper away?
Post edited at 12:56
 leon 1 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E: Why not just burn the paper ?

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 humptydumpty 08 Mar 2016
In reply to leon 1:

Says in the article:

> Burning is not recommended [4].
>
> [4] LNT, 2016. Priniple 3: Dispose of Waste Properly. Leave No Trace. Available online: https://lnt.org/learn/principle-3 [accessed 04/02/2016]
 WaterMonkey 08 Mar 2016
In reply to leon 1:

I think burying is far easier, less smelly and much quicker. Toilet paper will biodegrade nicely underground and covered in sh*t I should imagine!
 Pids 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E:

> I think burying is far easier, less smelly and much quicker. Toilet paper will biodegrade nicely underground and covered in sh*t I should imagine!

hard to dig a suitable hole in the winter when the ground is frozen, and in honeypot areas a lot of this could contaminate the pristine water supply
 WaterMonkey 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Pids:

It's not hard to dig a hole with a small collapsible spade and obviously you don't do it near water supplies. Works fine for me!
 leon 1 08 Mar 2016
In reply to humptydumpty:
Yes but why ? surely better to burn the paper and leave nothing than leave the paper to decompose and possibly get dug up by animals and get blown about ?
Post edited at 14:11
In reply to Babika:

> I think we just need to drum into everyone "take the paper away". Roll it up in clean paper and pop it in a sac. Preferably your own sac - and in a plastic bag as well if you're super squeamish.

Just don't use paper. Vegetation, snow, stones, sticks are all fine. Or just go without wiping your arse - should be fine for a day or two; other wild animals don't bother. I never carry bog paper.
7
 leon 1 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran: or use your water bottle like a loti as most of Asia does

 humptydumpty 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Or just go without wiping your arse - should be fine for a day or two; other wild animals don't bother.

Not tried this (recently); does it smear much? (Other?) wild animals don't tend to wear supertight Rab MeCo thermals.

 Babika 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Yep - I think this is best (works for me as well) but not everyone can handle it. Us women are a bit sensitive about poking vegetation and sticks in our fannies.

In reply to humptydumpty:

> Not tried this (recently); does it smear much?

Depends on diet and on squatting position and technique.
In reply to Babika:

> Yep - I think this is best (works for me as well) but not everyone can handle it. Us women are a bit sensitive about poking vegetation and sticks in our fannies.

Fanny? Bumhole shurely....... or am I missing something?
1
 Coel Hellier 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Fanny?

American meaning of "fanny" as oppose to the UK one!
 Babika 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E:

> Just out of interest what, in your opinion, is wrong with digging a hole and burying the poo and paper, rather than taking the paper away?

a) People rarely dig it deep enough so it is exposed quickly - its often a case of "I can't see it under that smattering of earth so its gone" (not saying this for you, mind)
b) frozen ground tricky
c) lots of folk (probably not you) seem to use monumental amounts of paper so encouraging them to bury rather than pack out just leaves another environmental problem as volume won't decay very quickly
d) we don't bury our banana skins, orange peel, paper bags or anything else as it would be thought un-environmental. I guess I just think loo paper is in the same/worst category

Why leave something unnatural in a wilderness area when you can easily pack it out?
 pebbles 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

oh please. not very hygenic is it? and rather smelly. animals lick their bums clean, but I'm not going that far. resealable placcy bag for me.
In reply to pebbles:

> Oh please. not very hygenic is it?

Not wiping your arse means your hands never need go near your arse. Seems like good hygiene to me.

> Resealable placcy bag for me.

Far more likely to get poo on your hands.......
 Adrien 08 Mar 2016
"On two separate occasions I have topped out a climb to find an actual faeces coiled on top of a boulder": WOW! One more reason to systematically check the topout (as if processionary caterpillars weren't enough).

I'm still unsure why one should not burn the paper, all it says in the link given in the article is that it can cause wildfires, but surely if you're cautious enough and do that in a cathole there's very little risk? It's not like it burns that well either.
 pebbles 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

but not to mince words...a certainity of poo round your bum. theres a reason we use bog roll. dig hole, crap in hole, bury, pop paper in bag. can always apply same method as with walking a dog - one hand in a bag while you do it!
In reply to pebbles:

> but not to mince words...a certainity of poo round your bum.

I eat with my hands, not my bum.
I'd rather poo without wiping then eat my lunch than wipe and eat.
2
 pebbles 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

hmm...I'd probably rather not sit next to you in the pub afterwards though! just sayin....
1
 Dell 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Just don't use paper. Vegetation, snow, stones, sticks are all fine. Or just go without wiping your arse - should be fine for a day or two; other wild animals don't bother. I never carry bog paper.

All your poos must be one-wipers then. I use almost half a roll!
2
 bigbobbyking 08 Mar 2016
In reply to leon 1:

> Why not just burn the paper ?

This is my usual technique. Why the dislike? Seems to work pretty well. You'd have to be careful if you were in a forest fire zone.
1
jasonpather 08 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

If you are in a safe area to burn it surely it causes similar (or less environmental damage) than the cost of the plastic wrapped toilet paper in landfill.

Assuming a dog poos once a day that is 365 plastic wrapped faeces a year. 9 million dogs in the country. Huge issue?

The number of people doing this to their own TP might be much smaller i suppose.

Would people use one plastic bag for all TP or one per use (if on a longish trip).

I don't know if anyone else has this but when i climb my poo is a bit softer than normal. Might be that unsettled feeling in my stomach i sometimes get when pushing myself.
 rgold 08 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

In some remote US locales like Lonesome Lake in the Wind River range, water supplies have been contaminated, at least partially because no one really knows what paths groundwater will take. In other places, digging a cathole often ends up unearthing previously-dug catholes.

More and more National Parks in the US are encouraging the use of special poop bags that the climber/hiker packs out. Mt. Whitney now requires their use, and it seems inevitable that other parks and preserves will eventually follow suit. The American Alpine Club sells one of the two US models (Restop 2) from its on-line store (http://shop.americanalpineclub.org/products/restop-bag-5-pack ). This model has an outer mylar bag that is reportedly better at containing odors...

The bags contain chemicals that break down the contents and make the whole package suitable for landfill disposal, or so the manufacturers claim.


 pebbles 08 Mar 2016
In reply to jasonpather:

#tooMuchInformation
3
 Amber Thornton 08 Mar 2016
In reply to leon 1:

Fire! Obviously not always a problem in the UK...
 Brass Nipples 08 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

If on a climb I find pointing my bum at a suitable crack and firing auto buries it into rock. Sorted...

 WaterMonkey 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not wiping is disgusting and def not an option.
This site ( http://hikethru.com/hiking-information/backyard-science/toilet-paper-decomposition ) did an experiment and it seems toilet paper decomposes quickest when buried 6" under soil. Burning I guess would be the next best option but not sure how well soiled paper would burn.
Incidentally those who bag it and take it with you, what do you then do with it? Throw it away in the bag? Now that would take a long time to decompose!
2
 leon 1 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E:
Maybe hang the bags to decorate trees and bushes like dog owners do ?
Post edited at 20:50
 rgold 08 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E:

> Incidentally those who bag it and take it with you, what do you then do with it? Throw it away in the bag? Now that would take a long time to decompose!

The chemicals in the bag turn the contents into something classified as "treated waste." As such, it can be discarded as normal garbage and is "safe" for inclusion in landfills. The fact that the bag might slow decomposition in a landfill isn't much of a concern.

1
In reply to pebbles:
> hmm...I'd probably rather not sit next to you in the pub afterwards though! just sayin....

I can barely rememember the last time I went to a pub............. though I do remember feeling a bit self conscious having a coffee in Mambo's in Aviemore before driving home after shitting myself while belaying on Belhaven (slow climbing partner.....).
Post edited at 22:18
1
In reply to Dell:

> All your poos must be one-wipers then. I use almost half a roll!

Not at all. Multi stone poos. Collected carefully in advance with a variety of angles between faces to clean different depths of the arse crack.
 Brass Nipples 08 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

I reckon Robert climbs at NY 830 809

 SGD 09 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

This subject has come up a few times on here.

I recommend one of these (or a similar product) as others have already mentioned.

http://www.needlesports.com/advancedsearch.aspx?Term=wag%20bag

I literally always have one with me.

We came across these in Yosemite a few years back and now carry them whenever we are out - including trips abroad.

No brainier really as you don't have to dig a hole or do anything special with the paper just wrap it up, seal it and dump it in a bin. You can even re-use them (so I'm told) if you really need to.

 pebbles 09 Mar 2016
In reply to Orgsm:

I reckon robert struggles for lifts to the crag...or at least FROM it
1
 Jamie B 09 Mar 2016
In reply to SGD:

That or a poo-tube is undoubtedly the Gold Standard. Most of the camping trowels that I've seen make little impression on stringy, vegetated turf and the average hurried shitter will not dig deep enough. A good trenching-tool or bothy spade does the job better but who carries one?
In reply to pebbles:

> I reckon robert struggles for lifts to the crag...or at least FROM it

Waterproof trousers over everything else on the way home stops seats getting soiled.
 petellis 09 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Can't see the problem with burning the paper in the UK - there isn't much risk of wildfires most of the year and even if there is its not hard to put a bit of your water on it.

If its warm and heavily vegetated I wouldn't bury - one particularly memorable dump I took in wales had been completely removed by beetles 30 min after I laid it. However if its likely to get trodden in then its far better to bury.
1
 Dell 09 Mar 2016
In reply to Orgsm:

> If on a climb I find pointing my bum at a suitable crack and firing auto buries it into rock. Sorted...

Nothing worse than climbing on shitty pro.

 pebbles 09 Mar 2016
In reply to petellis:

now intrigued...do you normally go back and inspect progress?
 petellis 09 Mar 2016
In reply to pebbles:

> now intrigued...do you normally go back and inspect progress?

I left the offending item under the start of a route. This was very bad of me but I was very hungover at the time and due to the esoteric nature of the crag I didn't realise it was a route. 30 min later we went back over there to look for other routes and struggled to find the remains of the thing we wanted to avoid stepping in. An hour later and another team turned up and chucked their ropes down in the same spot but by that time there really was noting left!

The whole thing was quite regrettable with the benefit of hindsight. However to answer your original question... I am the sort of person that would monitor the progress of nature doing its job...
 jcw 09 Mar 2016
In reply to Steve-J-E:
Or as the poet has it: ( as my scatalogical boyhood remembers it)
In days of old when knights were bold and lavatories weren't invented
They dug a hole and did a roll and went away contented
Post edited at 23:23
 RichardMc 10 Mar 2016
In reply to leon 1:

Yeah using water and left hand does the best job. When I was trekking in Nepal used to then wash my hands using some antiseptic gel. but sure the crap is properly covered up. stir it into the dirt with a bit of stick it will degrade faster. There is an excellent wee book called "How To Shit in woods" by Kathleen Meyer published by TEN SPEED PRESS well worth reading.
 faffergotgunz 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:
Tell it 2 da Rabbits UKC!

Da amount ov rabbit shit around my crag wayz. Dem feckers ave no mannerz blud. U cant put ure climbin shoes on wivout sittin in it.
 fids 10 Mar 2016
In reply to Babika:

NB to readers, a fanny in America is not the same as a f*nny in the UK.
In reply to RichardMc:
> Yeah using water and left hand does the best job.

Obviously far less hygienic than using vegetation, stones etc or just not wiping at all.
A shitty bum isn't a health hazard. Shitty hands are.
Post edited at 09:39
1
 leon 1 10 Mar 2016
In reply to fids: > NB to readers, a fanny in America is not the same as a f*nny in the UK.

However a Trump in America is the same as in the UK.- Hot gaseous air and nauseous to those around it.

In reply to Robert Durran:

I believe this debate was settled many years ago by Rabelais in "Gargantua and Pantagruel" where he considers many possible bottom wiping options and concludes the optimal method is that of Master John of Scotland: catching a goose and wiping your bum with its neck.

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/r/rabelais/francois/r11g/book1.13.html
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I believe this debate was settled many years ago by Rabelais in "Gargantua and Pantagruel" where he considers many possible bottom wiping options and concludes the optimal method is that of Master John of Scotland: catching a goose and wiping your bum with its neck.

Nonsense. Moss with morning dew on it is the height of luxury.

 andybenham 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

In order of preference:

1. Moss
2. a clump of grass
3. Dock leaves
4. Other large leaves like sycamore
5. stones (ouch)

Squatting to poo leaves less mess than sitting on a toilet, this combined with the physical activity and sheer desperation that normally leads up to such an event meaning everything shoots out in a rush !

I'm sorry, I've said too much
 Andy Moles 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

As a wilderpoo enthusiast, I applaud the existence of this article. Too much minging bad practice goes on.

However given the article is likely to be referred back to in future, found in Google searches etc, I think it would be worth editing the part about not burning the paper, to include the reasoning that this is only a consideration in preventing wildfires. Clearly that is not always going to be a concern, especially in the UK.
 Rigid Raider 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

On hygiene, it's simple enough to adopt the Muslim habit of using the left hand for dirty jobs and the right for clean.

However when we skied the Haute Route it was impossible to wash hands at all due to hut owners' stinginess with water (admittedly most of it was frozen at that time) so you have to eat your stale breakfast bread with hands that have been in the disgusting toilets, so as the trip progressed I suffered from progressively worse diarrhoea, culminating in the final day when things became so bad I had to knock on the kitchen door and almost demand to be allowed to wash my hands with soap and water. I will carry antiseptic hand wipes if I ever do that tour again.
In reply to UKC Articles:

In hot dry climates, I believe it is good practice to smear it on a rock so that it quickly dessicates and blows away. I find this is particularly satisfying at popular bouldering venues.
 Hat Dude 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

All you need is a bus ticket (sfw video)

youtube.com/watch?v=DMVv8WmIOqU&
Andrew Kin 10 Mar 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

We have this coming up soon. I will be taking my 8yr old daughter to Font and we will need to deal with toilet habits in some form.

My intention is

1) For her we will just bag it. How big a poo can a little girl do? Toilet paper and poo can be flushed when we get back.
2) For me i intend to do the armed forces technique. Smear vasaline around the ring. Take a dump into prepreapred hole. One piece of paper needed to clean ring of vaseline. Burn paper in hole and cover up.

Only thing is i may have to dig quite a hole!!!!
 Sharp 15 Mar 2016
In reply to Adrien:

> I'm still unsure why one should not burn the paper, all it says in the link given in the article is that it can cause wildfires, but surely if you're cautious enough and do that in a cathole there's very little risk? It's not like it burns that well either.

My thoughts exactly. There's something quite ceremonious about throwing a match in the pit and watching the flames flicker down as you sing a final lament.
 Sharp 15 Mar 2016
In reply to Thelittlesthobo:

Hate to break it to you but:

1) you might be surprised and 2) that's not what the vaseline is for

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