Outdoors at UVA activities during Coronavirus

Greetings Earthlings!

I address you from the confines of the unusually quiet Shred Shack, fortress of quarantine. Over the past week I have mulled carefully over if and how club activities might continue during this crisis. At first, I thought that social distancing and online education offered the perfect opportunity for us to double down on our outdoor adventuring, but over the past week our collective agreement to isolate ourselves for the common good has become more robust, and its mandate clearer. Given the circumstances, here is our outlook on the next six months:

Club Adventures: It does not seem likely that we’ll be able to resume facilitating club trips before the end of the semester.

Gear: For the time being, we aren’t checking out gear or accepting gear returns. It may be possible to reopen the gear room before the end of the semester – we’ll let you know. If you currently have gear checked out, please email Gearmaster Anna Cuddeback to confirm what gear items you have, and if you expect you’d be able to return it next semester, or need to make another arrangement.

Outstanding reimbursementsIf you still have reimbursable expenses from before spring break, please email them – with all forms as usually required – to Treasurer Charlie Haywood promptly. If you hoped to be reimbursed for anything with a trip-leadership requirement, email the officers with the details and we’ll make a deal.

Personal Adventures: Like me, many of you are probably realizing just how frequently our everyday activities cause us to be physically proximal to others, and although outdoor activities can be an exception, we must practice them mindfully and adjust accordingly. You are encouraged to continue getting outside during this time, but you will likely need to take additional precautions in order to prevent transmission of coronavirus. Please consider the following recommendations:

  • In general:
  • Maintain a minimum of 6ft distance from other people, wash your hands frequently, avoid or sanitize any shared surfaces, don’t cough or sneeze around others, etc.
  • Act as though you are positive for the virus – at some point, you probably will be.


  • In adventuring:
  • We are accustomed to sharing water, snacks, first aid supplies, etc. with our adventure buddies, but this must now be avoided. Consider this when packing.
  • Don’t carpool with anyone you don’t already live with. Also, driving will eventually require getting gas, which is a transmission risk.
  • Many of the small towns that adjoin our favorite playgrounds have limited medical resources, and you put their residents at risk by visiting them in any capacity.
  • For similar reasons, don’t travel long distances to play outside. Now is a great time to explore the natural spaces within running or biking distance of your home – there are more than you probably realize!
  • Rocks (especially climbing routes) and trees along the trail can carry coronavirus for up to three days, like any other hard surface.
  • Medical facilities will be under immense strain, and risky activities like climbing and mountain biking could result in you occupying a hospital bed needed for a coronavirus patient. Personal risk is a personal decision, but take this added consequence into careful consideration.
  • Many popular trails and areas are being overwhelmed by visitors, and several areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains have been shut down. Use your adventuring experience and resources like HikingUpward to find less popular options, and be prepared to find somewhere else to play if there seem to be too many visitors already.

This crisis has upended our entire lives, and will continue to do so in ways that surprise and confound us. In a time when all must sacrifice personal comfort for the protection of others, please be sure to take care of yourself as well, and get outside however you can as long as it remains prudent to do so. Please tag us on Instagram @uvaoutdoors, and post your responsible, socially distanced adventures in the club facebook group so we can see what you’re up to! Lastly, if you are an enthusiastic tripleader and want to help the club emerge from this crisis radder than ever, please apply to be an officer – we need your help now more than ever! We’ll be in touch about possible summer plans and a hopeful return to our usual wild and crazy action in the fall.


Much stoke and even more love,

Bill & the Officers