Montaña Limpia, Latin America

Acceso PanAm aims to ensure that all appropriate climbing areas are open, free from unreasonable restrictions and maintained as high quality climbing environments for current and future climbers

Since 2013, Acceso PanAm has engaged climbers, hikers and local communities to give back to the mountains via an annual mountain clean-up event. Poorly planned visits and tourism in mountainous areas is leading to increased amounts of discarded litter, despoiling the environment, threatening wildlife and polluting habitats and water sources with everything from picnic waste, to camping and technical equipment in mountain environments.  The Montaña Limpia (Clean Mountains) campaign runs simultaneously across a number of countries in Latin America and has been gaining in momentum and popularity.  In 2019 the aim is to have 30 events happening across 6 countries with over 600 volunteers cleaning over 300km of trail, from tropical areas to mountains over 6000m altitude. Funding will help take the communication and education to the next level by developing an app to engage younger people who are increasingly disconnected to the mountains, as well as helping record data on the types of trash found, the impacts on habitats and wildlife and offering educational and waste collection resources to help events.

The Update

The interim report let us know that the app development is proceeding well and is available on iOS and google play. 35 clean up events have been carried out across 8 countries (29 using the newly developed app), involving 256 volunteers, and 36 organisations, including: mountain clubs, national and state parks, government agencies, guiding companies, and climbing schools. During these actions, 124km of habitat were cleared, less than anticipated, but more rubbish was collected than expected, with over 350kg cleared up. Data has been collated on the type of rubbish found and this includes: cigarette butts, packaging, plastics (bottles, bags, bottle caps), glass, tin, Styrofoam, and metal.

The COVID-19 pandemic has, understandably, had implications for the implementation of this project. We wish the project, and all involved, the very best during this current situation, and next stages of the project’s development.

Watch this short video from one of the mountain clean-up events, or find out more about the project and its achievements in this video.

The final report for this project was received in early 2022. Understandably the covid pandemic impacted on this project, however Accesso PanAm were able to adapt and continue with the work. The app was refined to fix some technical issues, and they supported and promoted individuals to clean up when they were out and about in nature. The app was updated in 2020 to allow individuals to register their events and record what waste they collected when on outings. It was available in Portuguese and Spanish, and downloaded 393 times.

Simultaneous clean up events were held in 6 countries on 12/13 December 2020, making the total 9 countries during the project.   During the year, 25 organisations were involved and 34 events were logged. A total of 146km were cleared and 306kg of waste collected.  The organisation did more work to raise awareness of the issue during 2020 including constructing and placing signs where rock climbing is practiced, and creating videos.


Image: Cochamo. Image credit: Gerard Hudephol