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May 28, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
Was anyone at the lake this weekend? I was out Saturday. I expected the usual Holiday weekend clusterf**k. So I opted for Jungle Gym. It's off the beaten path, it's fun, easy, and tops out on the doorway which is always a spectacle for gathering drunkards and hikers wandering around the paths. I was also with a beginner and wanted to make sure we had some fun and they could get a good first trad follow experience.

We saw rescue crews on our hike in. So as we roped up on the first pitch under the trees hearing a chopper come in didn't surprise me. But as we we're clearing the trees on the second pitch and could see the chopper now just making multiple passes buzzing cliffs close enough to see pink little faces pressed against glass I could see it wasn't a rescue chopper at all.

We were losing complete communication for minutes at a time. I have a total beginner following me. As we gain exposure they are learning they might be a little anxious about heights, and for up to a minute and a half at a time, I can do nothing to talk to them, calm them down, keep them at ease, give beta, etc. I can't yell rock if something falls. Nothing. We just sit there with all sound drown completely out by some jerk taking pleasure rides in an unmarked chopper buzzing the cliffs. Was anyone out climbing Sat. or this weekend to experience this? Is this something we should expect this summer? If so, is it time to start writing some letters immediately before this kills someone? If I was with my regular partner it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much because we know each other so well, but even still, it presents an unsafe environment for climbers, and it really takes away from the experience. It kills the serene nature of the park for all of us. I don't remember running into this before. I'm hoping it was just some Memorial Day weekend thing, and the rest of the summer will be chopper free except when completely necessary. Does anyone have any insight?
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
May 28, 2014
hi
Was it yellow? That sight seeing heli had been going into the park for the last couple of summers. Thinking it is a wi dells operation. jon jugenheimer
From Madison
Joined Apr 24, 2006
1,229 points
May 28, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
jon jugenheimer wrote:
Was it yellow? That sight seeing heli had been going into the park for the last couple of summers. Thinking it is a wi dells operation.


Brand new sparkly white except the tail ruder numbers making it legal to fly. Once I got high enough I could see it packed full of tourists with their faces just smashed to the glass peering out over the cliffs ruining the nature experience for anyone who as out there to actual enjoy NATURE. I get it. MDW weekend, not exactly the usual serene experience we usually get, but come on. I'm just hoping it's not some new thing. If it is, I give it a month before it kills someone. I actually felt unsafe at times because of it. Communication with our partners is way too important to have some guy pleasure cruising 5o yards from the bluffs.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Administrator
May 28, 2014
This problem haunted my dreams for 6 years after f...
There was a black one out on Sunday as well. I guess it's one of the hazards of climbing at the most popular park in Wisconsin. I wouldn't mind going up in one for the views someday... Chris treggE
From Madison, WI
Joined May 25, 2007
9,080 points
Administrator
May 28, 2014
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
If you document for me when this happens, and how long you are incommunicado, I'll pursue it. Doug Hemken
Joined Oct 1, 2004
5,192 points
May 29, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
If you document for me when this happens, and how long you are incommunicado, I'll pursue it.</quote

Good to know. What could come of pursuing it?
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
May 29, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
Chris treggE wrote:
There was a black one out on Sunday as well. I guess it's one of the hazards of climbing at the most popular park in Wisconsin. I wouldn't mind going up in one for the views someday...


First I've encountered it.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
May 29, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
dells.com/listing/helicopter-t... Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Administrator
May 29, 2014
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
I mean if enough people will tell me about specific incidences (time, place, duration, description of the helicopter), I will raise the issue with the DNR. Doug Hemken
Joined Oct 1, 2004
5,192 points
May 29, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
Doug Hemken wrote:
I mean if enough people will tell me about specific incidences (time, place, duration, description of the helicopter), I will raise the issue with the DNR.


Saturday May 24th approximately 3:45 pm. Flying by the bluffs at regular intervals for minutes at a time until approximately 6 pm. White helicopter. Only markings were the standard tail FAA markings, I missed what they were though. Came within 2-300 yards of the bluffs at times, would hover at times, stayed low enough over the lake that sound would echo off the bluffs making it nearly deafening if you were on route.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Jun 8, 2014
Ice at SR
Hey, The Baraboo airport offer helicopter rides over DL and has been for doing it for years. Not a big deal.... SUPPORT AVIATION!

Go for a ride yourselves sometime soon ASAP!
Juggler
Joined Sep 20, 2009
991 points
Jun 9, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
Juggler wrote:
Hey, The Baraboo airport offer helicopter rides over DL and has been for doing it for years. Not a big deal.... SUPPORT AVIATION! Go for a ride yourselves sometime soon ASAP!


Oh I'm sure it's an amazing way to see the area. I'm just not a fan of the rides buzzing close enough to echo off the cliff walls so bad that climbers completely lose the ability to communicate for minutes at a time. It's not safe, and it really bothered me. I guess having a beginner who was getting nervous made the scenario worse, but I think even if I was with my regular partner where we are completely dialed I would have been anxious and annoyed. Fly over the lake, fine, but maybe keep a bit more altitude so you're not echoing at deafening levels off of the cliff walls.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Administrator
Jun 9, 2014
A Very Not Snowy Christmas...
Isn't there a min fly altitude? Morgan Patterson
Joined Oct 13, 2009
8,417 points
Jun 9, 2014
Ice at SR
·Over other than congested areas.
An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In
that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or
structure.
(d) ·Helicopters. ·Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph
(b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the
surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes
specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.
·Helicopter operations may be conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft.
The reason? The helicopter's unique operating characteristics, the most important of which is its
ability to execute pinpoint emergency landings during power failure. Further, the helicopter's
increased use by law enforcement and emergency medical service agencies requires added
flexibility in the application of many FAA provisions.

I am a pilot....
Juggler
Joined Sep 20, 2009
991 points
Jun 9, 2014
I was in the park that weekend and it did seem a lot more annoying and frequent than previous years. I guess I never considered DLSP a wilderness experience and figured it was par for the course. In the past it was boy scout groups and idiot hikers that kept me off the CCC. Just another reason to go exploring! Rich T
Joined Sep 20, 2003
82 points
Jun 9, 2014
underground
Just to help out. Yes helicopters can go lower but, helicopters can't get with in 300 ft of people (Part 135),etc... If it bothers you , you can always get the tail number look it up online(faa.gov) and call the company operating them. If the company doesn't respond well, then you can call the local Flight Service District Office and report them. Being a pilot I love things that fly but not when I'm climbing with them only 100ft above me. GL Rik Rik Anderson
From C/S, Colorado/Talkeetna, Alask
Joined Jan 31, 2006
203 points
Jun 9, 2014
Thats Me
While that does sound annoying, you should have a plan for communicating with your partner non verbally. What if it gets windy? clay meier
Joined Dec 24, 2008
359 points
Jun 9, 2014
Ice at SR
clay meier wrote:
While that does sound annoying, you should have a plan for communicating with your partner non verbally. What if it gets windy?



DITTO...
Juggler
Joined Sep 20, 2009
991 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2014
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
The pilot of the white helicopter is a bit more annoying than what I'm used to around here. Some of the hikers have noticed as well. I like the suggestion of contacting him directly ... didn't get a tail number when he buzzed near us a week ago. Doug Hemken
Joined Oct 1, 2004
5,192 points
Jun 12, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
Doug Hemken wrote:
The pilot of the white helicopter is a bit more annoying that what I'm used to around here. Some of the hikers have noticed as well. I like the suggestion of contacting him directly ... didn't get a tail number when he buzzed near us a week ago.


Yup, that one. If he's out there this weekend I'll definitely make not of the tail signs, take pictures and file complaints. It's excessive and uncalled for. Gain some elevation. Stop ruining the park for everyone else. He's buzzing way too close. It' completely uncalled for.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Jun 12, 2014
Goofin on the Frogs Head Arch before I rap off.
clay meier wrote:
While that does sound annoying, you should have a plan for communicating with your partner non verbally. What if it gets windy?



Kind of a big difference IMO.

And it would take hurricane force winds to to disrupt communication where we are 30 feet from each other and still can't hear each other. I don't climb in those conditions, as much as I love to climb.

Like I mentioned in the thread. I had a beginner in tow. I was staying close by so I could offer beta, keep them comfortable, etc. We can see the whites of each other's eye's and still can't talk for minutes at a time, over and over again as he makes non stop passes. Completely ruined her entire experience. That pilot was an asshole. If he gains even 80 feet of elevation he's up over the bluffs, not echoing off the bluffs deafening every climber in the lake, and he's still giving his clients the same exact experience.
Boots Ylectric
From Roselle IL
Joined Apr 11, 2012
155 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2014
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
We still need to keep track of when and where this has been a problem. Doug Hemken
Joined Oct 1, 2004
5,192 points
Jun 12, 2014
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008
Juggler wrote:
·Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. (d) ·Helicopters. ·Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator. ·Helicopter operations may be conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft. The reason? The helicopter's unique operating characteristics, the most important of which is its ability to execute pinpoint emergency landings during power failure. Further, the helicopter's increased use by law enforcement and emergency medical service agencies requires added flexibility in the application of many FAA provisions. I am a pilot....


Arguably, being closer than 500 feet to a sketched out lead climber who is 10 feet above her last piece of pro and cannot communicate with her belayer because of the noise is not "without hazard to persons...on the surface."

It might be worth a friendly letter, maybe signed by several members of our local climber's coalition, to the operators of the helicopter company asking them to refrain from getting so close to climbers and explaining the "hazard." I'm sure they would like to comply with the law, and if they understand that they may be in violation when they get too close to climbers, will change their behavior.
Dylan B.
Joined Mar 31, 2006
406 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2014
Technosurfing, Rumney. Photo by Seth Hamel.
Doug Hemken wrote:
I mean if enough people will tell me about specific incidences (time, place, duration, description of the helicopter), I will raise the issue with the DNR.


Doug, are you the DNR-whisperer? If so, could you tell them to open New Sandstone?
Jay Knower
From Campton, NH
Joined Jul 1, 2001
6,046 points
Administrator
Jun 12, 2014
On Everleigh Club Crack.  Photo by Burt Lindquist.
I'm working on it. We've gotten to the Regional level, and I'm hopeful. Doug Hemken
Joined Oct 1, 2004
5,192 points
Jun 12, 2014
Coffee outside of JTNP
My thought is that we, as a climbing community, ought to maybe sit this one out. Getting in bed with the DNR to "manage the aesthetic impact" of a user-group might not want to be something that we want to condone. Climbers have a significant aesthetic impact on the park (chalk, noise, erosion, neon lycra, webbing across the trails, etc.) and it seems to me that arguing from those terms puts us in a difficult position if the DNR were to ever confront the community about those issues.

AKA "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."

The safety argument, at least the climber-specific safety argument, also paints us into a corner. While the safety concern is to some degree valid; couching the argument in these terms essentially admits that climbing cannot be done safely in the legal presence of a helicopter. Again I am not sure this a great (or true for that matter) position for the climbing community to put itself in.

Just my two-cents.
James M Schroeder
From Sauk County, WI
Joined May 7, 2002
2,301 points


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