Overused Vantage Toilet Needs Our Help

Four years ago our Northwest climbing community funded a toilet in Vantage. Today, if you’re lucky enough to make it into the toilet, you'll quickly see that it has fallen victim to its own success. Help us build a second toilet!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 20, 2017

Four years ago, the Northwest climbing community funded a vault toilet at the Frenchman Coulee climbing area (better known as Vantage) in Central Washington. This toilet has helped to alleviate human waste issues and was widely heralded as a huge success. Some would argue, it's  too successful.

As the area continues to grow in popularity, a second toilet is needed. At the Access Fund, American Alpine Club, The Mountaineers, and Washington Climbers Coalition (WCC), we're calling on our members, supporters, and partners to raise $20,000 towards a second toilet and human waste management at Vantage.

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Most climbers elect to use the single trailhead toilet, rather than taking care of business along the trail or out at the crag. Lines for the single toilet stretch across the parking lot on busy weekend days, and some climbers - frustrated by the long lines - are forgoing the toilet. If you’re lucky enough to make it into the toilet, you quickly see that it has fallen victim to its own success. Climber Katy Pfannenstein explains it more vividly, “The problem is there’s now a huge turd tower that is about to poke above the toilet seat. And the smell is so bad in there – it’s like huffing from a bottle of ammonia in high school chemistry class.”

A second toilet is needed to alleviate these issues. “We want people to use a toilet,” says Dave Haavik, WCC President. “Once out at the crag, not all climbers bring a wag bag to pack it out or follow proper disposal methods.”

WCC, Access Fund, and The Mountaineers have been working closely with our partners at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to address the spike in use. Following outreach and 123 letters of support, we are excited to announce that WDFW approved installation of a second toilet!

Now, we need your help to fund this second toilet. Together, we ask the climbing community to raise $20,000: the additional funds necessary to cover the higher costs of installing the vault in subsurface basalt, the toilet’s construction and transportation costs, final planning documentation, and additional human waste management strategies such as wag bag dispensers. Please donate today.

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Remember, it's up to all of us to steward Vantage. Land management agencies need our help as they continue to face budget cuts and balance multiple recreation and conservation needs.

Tell your legislators why it's critical to fund and support our public lands and remind other climbers and visitors at popular sites like Vantage to treat the facilities with respect, pack out our waste, and have a plan for when nature calls. Learn more basics of disposal methods here.


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Anita Elder
Anita Elder says:
Thu, Apr 20, 2017 10:24 PM

That photo cracks me up!