We 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?'
> 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?
"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.
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 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.
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!
> 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.
> 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.....).
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?
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.
> 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...
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
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.
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.
> 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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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