Offensive graffiti scrawled around the X-rock climbing area north of Durango – The Durango Herald


Climbers and La Plata County government plan removal this month

Graffiti with racist, vulgar and anti-Semitic images appeared on rocks and other areas around the popular X-rock climbing area north of Durango in late May or early June. (Courtesy of Ryan Willard)

A popular climbing area called X-rock just north of Durango’s city limits has been hit with graffiti expressing racist, vulgar and anti-Semitic messages and images.

X-rock, on the west side of US Highway 550, is one of the area’s most heavily used cliffs, drawing people in for bouldering, cracks, and sport climbing. The graffiti extends from the parking lot and rock-walled trail around the X-rock formation, said Durango climber Ryan Willard, who came across the graffiti last week.

“I didn’t go looking. I am sure there is more to be found than what I have seen. I was pretty disgusted, ”said Willard.

Willard said he saw a “massive amount” of graffiti. It was spray painted on rocks near the lower parking lot, along the trail to X-rock, and on the climbing area under the X-rock formation.

It was also on anchors at the top of the famous Golden Wall route and at the base of the route, called the Golden Face. The wall is accessible by hiking and climbing. Willard said the graffiti was not there when he climbed the area in late May.

“This one touches me quite close to home because I have a lot of Jewish family,” Willard said. “There was some pretty nasty anti-Semitic, racist stuff and some pretty nasty vulgar stuff. “

Willard posted photos of the graffiti on Facebook with a call to action to the Durango climbing community to help clean up the area. The graffiti included swastikas, depictions of male anatomy, and a racial insult.

The post drew more than 100 comments from people outraged by the incident and volunteer resources to help resolve it.

“I have been contacted by so many people… who have volunteered their services,” said Willard. “I was really amazed at the energy and motivation that the local community, even outside of the climbing community, put into this. “

The X-rock zone spans La Plata County, Durango City, and Bureau of Land Management lands. Escalation groups have contacted local governments to manage the cleanup.

“Our environmental engineer is coordinating with the Durango Climbers Coalition, which has asked if they can help remove the graffiti,” said Chuck Stevens, county manager. “I think we’re trying to schedule it for this week. “

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office had not responded to any calls related to graffiti around X-rock on Tuesday, spokesman Chris Burke said.

The city of Durango recently cleaned up the graffiti on another popular climbing site, Sailing Hawks in Dalla Mountain Park, this year, Willard said.

In Vallecito, residents cleaned up images trampled in the snow-capped ice of the Vallecito reservoir during the winter. The image included a racial epithet and a depiction of male anatomy.

“For me, it’s obviously quite upsetting to see this in our community,” said Willard. “I have no idea who did it – it could be someone from out of town. I really do not know. I was really blown away by the support from the city in general in trying to deal with the situation. “

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