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Arches NP - Anchor Replacement and Restrictions

Submitted By: Sam Lightner, Jr. on Jan 28, 2007


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A stunt took place in the spring of 2006 involving Delicate Arch in Arches National Park . The officials who manage the Park were inundated with letters from tourists, and local citizens as well as Utah Senator Orrin Hatch very publicly stated their anger. Climber access was on the chopping block, but through discussions between the Access Fund and the Park Service, cooler heads prevailed.

In the process of trying to show the better side of climbers, a group of locals proposed that there be a large scale anchor cleanup in the Park. With support from the Access Fund and the ASCA, a group of local climbers offered to replace many of the webbing-anchors with smaller, painted chain. Larger bolts would be used so that there need be less material linking them. Fortunately for us, the Park managers recognized that this would not only make for safer climbing anchors, but would also make for less visually obtrusive anchors.

We made a list of the most heavily trafficked climbs and the most easily seen by the average park patron. We will be working over the next few months to get those anchors changed over to painted chain, but we will need your help in the future. The larger goal is to give climbers a better image in the Park. Part of this effort will be seen in the reduction of the amount of nylon on the towers, or to completely eliminate it where possible, but there are other rules climbers need to adhere to as well. Its important that we not use chalk in the Park, follow Park trails where we can, and follow washes and slickrock when we leave those trails. Park only where parking is permitted, and generally try and be low impact when in the Park. We are also asking that all climbers try and use brown colored webbing when linking two anchors together. Please don't just add to the wad of webbing at the anchor, but instead carry enough webbing or cord the replace the entire anchor (you will also need a small knife).

In some cases this is going to slightly alter the climbing experience for future users. One of the chief complaints about climbers is rope groves, so on some towers we are placing the anchor just below the edge from the top (on the more vertical side rather than the top). This means you might have to mantel onto the summit with the anchor just below you to actually top out. That's just how it has to be as the days of running 20 feet of tat down from the summit are over.

Its important that climbers understand that the moratorium on new anchors was not lifted. Replacement of current anchors is acceptable, but no new anchors have been agreed upon. We are hoping that with good behavior, the Park managers will see that there no longer needs to be a moratorium on anchors.

We will update MountainProject for the various climbs as we change out the anchors. Please help us by not leaving more webbing and rope on the summits when they have chain anchors.

Thanks,
Sam Lightner, Jr
Arches Task Force Coordinator
ASCA Eastern Utah Coordinator


Comments on Arches NP - Anchor Replacement and Restrictions Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 28, 2007
By Chad Kline
Jan 29, 2007

Thanks Sam, for your work with the AF and the NPS. I'm glad to hear that cooler heads prevailed.

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 29, 2007

Cooler heads did not prevail if there is still a moratorium on new anchors in the park.

...furthermore, screw the concept of being "on best behavior." It is my National Park, they are taking away my use of it. I shouldn't have to kiss their ass to get my use back. If they want to banish Potter from the park, fine. But to penalize the rest of us, with the excuse of his action, and then want us to kiss their ass is just too much. I would rather go incognito and drill new anchors. If they are going to ban me, then let it be for my own actions.

granted, my head still hasn't cooled, and no, I don't plan on actually going in and installing new anchors incognito...

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Jan 29, 2007

John, I hear your screams... generally, when dealing with the federal government, I see it the same way you do. However, in this case, I see it with a bit more empathy for the land managers.

When we had our initial meeting with them about this, we asked "what were your feelings about climbers prior to the event in spring of 2006". They said, in a nutshell, "we really didn't care... our biggest concern was for your safety."

However, with the Delicate Arch incident came hundreds (we saw stacks ) of letters to the Park managers demanding climbing be stopped in the Park (and in all Parks). There were a few letters that said the individual who climbed Delicate Arch did not represent all climbers, but most letters just said "Stop climbing". On top of that, they had to deal with the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee angry that anyone had touched his favorite part of Utah. It was a political storm for them, and as you can imagine, not much was said on our behalf. The Access Fund jumped in immediatly, and I think the American Alpine Club said something, but thats two Non-profits that were pro-climbing against a much larger number of environmental groups that yelled to end all climbing. The Access Fund saved the day, but the short of it is large numbers of letters from climbers all over the country stating they did not like the climb of Delicate Arch and loved being able to do their thing in Arches National Park did not materialize.
So what were the Park administrators supposed to do?

We are fortunate that right now we actually have people who are sympathetic to climbers in the Park Service. I agree, that there should be no ban on climbing. It is our land and we are not doing some major damage to ecosystems, etc, and we stay way when there are raptors, so we should be allowed to climb how we always have. However, I'm just one voice... you are two... how many have chimed in and said "let my people climb".? I dont think many, and it is costing us.

Does anyone remember the BLM (?) asking for comments on the future of Indian Creek and how it should be used... it was last year? I think they recieved over 600 letters from 4-wheelers wanting the region open to jeeping, but just 30 from climbers. Thats one of our most popular climbing areas. Thirty.

It is our land, as citizens of the USA, and the rules that govern it are supposed to represent us. However, if we as a user group don't tell them how we want it governed, they will only hear others. In this case, the Park Managers heard a lot of voices screaming to get rid of climbing. We should ask, all of us,for the moratorium on anchors lifted. But if we don't ask for anything, we sure can't be upset when we get nothing.

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 29, 2007

Ah ha! It is Orin "I am an old POS" Hatch's fault! I should've known.

Thanks for sharing that information Sam. It is good to hear how they are thinking, etc. You bring up some excellent points.

Considering that the Park Service is overseen by persons who can claim the Grand Canyon was created during the great flood... we, as climbers, are pretty much screwed.

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 29, 2007

That is a pretty unfair statement John. I've always been treated fairly by rangers in Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, etc. I've been downright spoiled by the rangers in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison - one of my more enjoyable nights at a crag was camping out listening to one of them(Brent I think?) telling stories about rescues he had been on in the canyon. That man is a treasure for the climbing community.

There certainly are asshats in the park service, but most of the people i know who work in the parks are really good folks. Defeatist negative attitudes are a good way to make folks like that bitter.

Thanks so much Sam. I'm the admin for the Moab area on this site, so let me know anytime you want to update anything and i'll help you do it. I really appreciate the work you do for those of us who love the desert.

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 29, 2007

Sorry for the misunderstanding Andrew. I don't mean rangers... one of my more memorable nights was spent drinking beer with one of the canyonland rangers who used to be a music critic in L.A. and whom used to hang out with all of the great classic rock n rollers before he decided to give up that life and came to Moab. Do you guys know who I am talking about? I forgot his name.

My point is that the people in Washington have the real power, and if they have the power to put people in charge to say and defend that the Grand Canyon was created during the great flood, then they can be sure to influence what happens in Arches, especially with Hatch as our senator. We can't influence that except by changing the powers that be through elections. The people that I know whom work/worked for the park service aren't exactly happy with Washington either. And if it is true what Sam is saying, then it sounds like the rangers and employees at Arches are being pressured by their bosses.

By tenesmus
Jan 29, 2007

First of all, Thanks a fucking lot dean potter.

Second of all, The park service doesn't condone the "grand canyon made by the flood" thingy. I'm acquainted with the son of the manager of the bookstore at the South Rim. That guy is a godless heretic who stocks the books that sell the most. The book promoting the asinine flood theory sits right next to the other religious books in the religious section. You know, the ones that tell of the Navajo and Hopi versions of the way the canyon formed. Its just another version of that story - no matter now kooky it sounds.

Third of all, Thanks Sam for going to the table for the rest of us.

oh and Fourth of all, which routes have you climbed in Arches, John?

By Nick Storm
From: Lander, WY
Jan 30, 2007

Thanks Sam, the work you and others have done helps keep desert climbers happy! I appreciate the effort!

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 30, 2007

Okay. Tell me. Has my pessimism overstepped the reality of who has the power in the Park Service? If it has, I apologize.

T, if it is 5.9 or under I have probably climbed it, ha,ha. So that means about 6-10 routes?

By Paul Jakus
Jan 30, 2007

Sam,

Thanks for your help on this. The agreement is far from perfect with respect to access, but its a start toward repairing the serious PR damage of 2006. After the managers have some positive interactions with climbers, then perhaps we can address some of the shortcomings of the current policy.

Paul

By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 30, 2007

Didn't Sam say that the rangers do have a good relationship with climbers? I thought the point he made was that the pile of letters and political pressure are causing these actions in Arches. Their previous concern was for our safety, so they like us. It is evidently the crapstorm that has forced their hand.

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Jan 30, 2007

Prior to '06, they had roughly as many "why do you let them climb" complaints as they had "wow, that climbing-thing looks pretty cool" endorsements. The odd climber was using chalk or on a tower that was closed due to raptors, but then the odd tourist let his dog out onto the crypto, too. The biggest concern they had was how a rescue would be handled (they had no rescue team, so they would have to rely on Grand County)
After the Delicate Arch event, they were buried under "why do you let them climb" letters, as were the head honchos in Washington...

If you want to send a "pro climbing" letter, I believe this is the correct address:
Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532-0907

If you want to send an anti climbing letter, go to another site

By Brad Brandewie
Jan 30, 2007

Obviously the new restrictions suck but it could have been A LOT worse for climbers. We SHOULD all be on our best behavior. I agree that it feels unfair to get punished for the actions of a small group of people but that's the way it is. We have to compromise. The bottom line is that the NPS is the only game in town for access. We can't stop the wind by pissing into it.

If one were to go down there now and start adding anchors without permission then they would be no better than Dean Potter in terms of climber NPS relations.

EDIT
HARSH RANT about Dean Potter removed


trying to look forward but still somewhat angry,
Brad


By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

"local citizens as well as Utah Senator Orrin Hatch very publicly stated their anger."

With all due respect, what's your point? Here is a little light on where Mr. Hatch stands on environmental issues:

www.ontheissues.org/Domestic/Orrin_Hatch_Environment.htm

As for the angry tourists, maybe they should take a few moments to view their effects on that landscape (indiscriminate trampling of vegetation, piles of dog shit, tossing food wrappers out of vehicle windows, etc., etc.). Lets not forget Orrin's buddy's 2002 attempt to sprout drilling rigs within eyeshot of our pristine little arch.

And here we go again with the Dean bashing. Dean climbs the arch, not illegally, mind you, announces it "like every one of you who has your name attached to a first ascent on a tower", and you call foul on him because some park officials, who act as though this was a personal affront to them, decide to punish the entire climbing community by invoking an unfair moratorium on bolting.

Here is some enlightenment for you. Dean's "not illegal" ascent essentially left no physical impact on DA. Can the first ascentionists of numerous bolted desert routes, on iconic towers, say the same thing? Have they ever stopped to consider how their glistening bolts and tattered slings look to tourists who travel thousands of miles to view those towers? Were those climbers any less self-promoting by advertising their FAs in the multitudes of guidebooks, which grace the shelves of every rock shop in America? Try to demonstrate at least a modicum of honesty in answering those questions.

I know. I'm a trouble maker, and I don't care about climbers. I must be Dean's secret lover, Blah, Blah, Blah. Sorry; I prefer Redheads. The bottom line is that those of you who are bashing Dean only care about your own selfish interests, anyway. Every single one of you would shoe up for DA if it were open, and not one of you would give a second of thought to the tourists who travel there to admire its pristine beauty. You know it, and I know it, so why don't you stop blaming this on Dean. It makes those of you who are doing it sound like a bunch of spoiled brats.

Sam, I applaud your efforts to preserve climber's access, and I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate it. I do. My issue is with the indiscriminate lambasting of a climber for doing no more than we all do on a regular basis. So what if Dean's ascent was high profile. Just about everything he does is high profile, because his feats are that much more extraordinary than most.

If the park service had an issue with Dean's ascent, changing the rules to make climbing DA illegal would have been an appropriate and sufficient action. Invoking a moratorium on all future bolting was excessive, and it sent a clear message from the park service about its attitude toward climbers. It was a power play. John Glime was right on the mark.

For the purpose of clarity, please be aware that the above comments are meant for the forum. They are not directed at Sam.

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Jan 31, 2007

Perhaps if I left out the paragraph that starts this and just said "we are trying to put a good foot forward", I wouldn't ruffle any feathers. I put that there becasue its simply a fact; our troubles in Arches started in May of 06. I also wanted to make it clear that climbers NOT speaking up for their rights, while others are trying to take them away, is a big problem.

The announcement was supposed to give some background info and tell everyone what we were up to. Each of us can hold whatever feelings we have about the govt. approach to climbing, about Dean, about fixed anchors. I dont believe I did any "indiscriminate lambasting of a climber", but instead pointed out the facts. This is when our problem started. I understand t why the local officials responded as they did. We are trying to get them to understand that we are not all trying to give them a black eye.

For what its worth, I agree with most of what is said above. ONe does not cancel the other. Again, the Park Sevice is wrong to have a moratorium on new fixed anchors. However, climbers could do a better job of presenting themselves than we have in the past, be that placing ugly anchors, using chalk, or climbing Delicate Arch in front of tourists.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

Sam,

I should have been more specific when I said "It makes THOSE OF YOU who are doing it sound like a bunch of spoiled brats." You were not included in that statement. I was referring to the Dean bashers. They are doing nothing to help this situation.

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Jan 31, 2007

Sam, a big thanks for your efforts.

1. For helping mend relations between climbers and Arches rangers after Dean Potter's ascent of Standing Rock.
2. For starting a program of upgrading anchors in an area that has many climbers, and very fragile rock.

I'd like to help with your anchor replacement effort. Please email me if you want any help.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

"Ken,

Thanks for trying to enlighten us."


You're welcome.


"1. You implied that what Dean did was no different than any of the first ascentionists that have placed anchors on a tower route in Arches and that they promoted themselves in the same fashion as Dean.

Wrong.

If that were true then the following would have happened after all of those other climbs.

a. they would have been the direct catalyst for climbing closures in the park

b. they would have drawn federal scrutiny from Washington

c. they would have been the subject of many, vehemently written, anit-climber slanted articles from the Salt Lake Tribune to the New York Times.

d. we would have seen videos of all/some/even one of those previous FAs

e. a new organization would have been created to help mitigate the damage done to the relations with the NPS by those climbs

etc..."


Dean's ascent was different in that it caused those things, stated above, to occur. What you failed to address is that none of those events constitutes what Potter did as having been wrong. What Dean did was to piss off people who could do something about it - Orrin Hatch et al. When people like Orrin Hatch start walking the walk, then I'll pay attention to what they have to say about environmentalism. Moreover, what about all of the tourists who hate being confronted by tattered slings, bolts, and various other visible signs of climber encroachment when they come to view the desert landscape? They don't get to flex their political muscles like Mr. Hatch. They have to suck it up and endure those visual eyesores. I would even go as far as to say that any concern being expressed by Mr Hatch is motivated solely for the purpose of furthering his political standing.


"2. Dean's climb was not illegal.


Apparently you may be technically correct on this point, but you breeze over the big picture like it's not there."



That Dean's ascent was not illegal is PRECISELY the big picture. Dean is a climber whose career is based on pushing the standards. Soloing this arch was for him an exercise in extending those boundaries. There was no law stating that he couldn't, so he did. BTW, I really have to contest the presumption that he breached his responsibilities as an ambassador of our sport. Unless I am mistaken, Dean has never been known for any far-reaching environmental activism. I was under the impression that he became an ambassador primarily because he is such a badass climber. Correct me if I'm wrong.


The big picture was that climbers stayed off of DA and the NPS let us regulate ourselves. Dean showed the NPS that we may, in fact, need to be regulated. Go back and read Jimmy Dunn's comments on this. He summed it up perfectly.

I see. So what you're saying is that it was okay with the park service that climbers littered the rest of the desert landscape with their fixed gear as long as they stayed off of DA? I agree that climbers need more regulation, or at least some education about how their actions affect others, although that has little to do with Dean.


"I'm not sure where to start with this one but since I am probably the most vocal critic of Dean I will offer my personal involvement as a rebuttal.

a.) I am on the Arches Task Force and have offered my input and my time to help with the re-placement of anchors.

b.)I have been in touch with Greg Barnes at the American Safe Climbing Association since this happened and offered to put together a slide show to help raise money for the hardware that will be needed to replace anchors in Arches.

c.) I have spoken personally with Laura Joss multiple times in an effort to let her and her staff know that most climbers are not supportive of what Dean did.

d.) I have written the Arches NPS to express the sentiments of point c.

e.) I've gotten other people (some on this group) to write letters to the Arches NPS expressing the sentiments of point c.

f.) I have personally removed tat from a dozen anchors in the park, including one of three ropes that were left fixed to the summits of the Three Gossips after the slacklining incident."



Except for ( c ), I commend you on your efforts.


"What have you done?"

Brad Brandewie


A better question would be: What haven't you done?

What I haven't done is to place unsightly bolts on desert towers, nor have I left wads of ugly slings hanging in plain view of visitors to the park. And finally, what I haven't done is to bash one of my fellow climbers for the purpose of trying to suck up to park service officials who abuse their authority. I can sleep well knowing those things.

Cheers,

Ken

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 31, 2007

What Potter did may not be technically illegal, but any kind of a circus media day stunt in a very high profile area with tenuous access is very poor judgement. Would I love to climb Delicate Arch? Definitely - and any other arch in the park as well. I'd also like to climb balanced rock, the main part of mt rushmore, devils towers in june, paragon prow at the creek, the totem pole, spider rock, shiprock, everything at hueco whenever i want, nelson rocks, skytop, popocateptl, cave rock, etc. I don't though, or if I do it anyway I don't have the hubris to make a video of it and have a publicist make sure everyone knows about it.

Ken, I don't think too many folks are worked up about Potter climbing Delicate Arch - i'm certainly not. If he had done it on the down low and word trickled out to the climbing community, people would be impressed, want to buy him a beer, and this would become part of climbing folklore. The issue is just that he had the astoundingly poor judgement to publicize this thing in such a high profile fashion. What possible good could/did that do? This sort of media exposure celebrates commercialism, ego, and sensationalism in climbing, and does nothing to promote the sport in a positive light. I'll take a low profile desert rat with a hammer and a drill to a sponsored climber with a camera crew and a press release any day of the week.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

No offense, Andrew, but I think you missed my point.

By Brad Brandewie
Jan 31, 2007

I had removed the post quoted above and amended the one farther up the thread just before Ken's last response to me but I don't want to seem like I am hiding from it. For the record, Dean's decisions in Arches were monumentally stupid and I will not totally forgive him unless he tries sincerely to make amends. Also, I believe that the NPS reaction went too far.

That being said, I am starting to see that my anger is hurting me more than it is serving any purpose. For a while it was motivating me to do things to try to help the situation with the NPS but I suppose my love of climbing in Arches will be fuel enough for that. I'm trying to move on now and to only focus on what's possible in the future.

I apologize if I have offended anyone along these threads and Ken, I would like to someday discuss it over a beer after a climb if we ever meet.

Peace,
Brad

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

No hard feelings, Brad. I would be glad to have a beer with you anytime. I think sharing our love of climbing would make for much better conversation this beating this dead horse any more.

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 31, 2007

No offense Ken, but I think you are sidestepping my point. I do see your point, and I want to agree with you. In almost any case but this I would. It is just those cameras he insisted on having film the climb. I think I already said that I wouldn't have had a problem with Potter climbing Delicate Arch if he hadn't blown it up to the media. I would have bought him a beer if he had kept it low profile and found out by word of mouth and not through anchor restrictions at one of my favorite climbing areas(believe it or not - i love choss).

Can you think of any good that Potter did by publicizing this ascent? The harm he did is well documented, though I am certain it wasn't his intention and in a fair world the consequences wouldn't have happened. Unfortunately, this is not a fair world, and we need to be mindful of our actions - particularly if you have a camera crew. The minute you bring a camera crew, you lose any right to shirk your responsibility to be an ambassador of the climbing community. If you have a camera crew in a national park, you are 100% negligent when something bad happens if you film something for public consumption without getting permission from the park service. What do you think the park service would have said if Potter had asked permission? Do you think that isn't relevant? Can you point at anything good that came out of Potter's actions?

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

"No offense Ken, but I think you are sidestepping my point. I do see your point, and I want to agree with you. In almost any case but this I would. It is just those cameras he insisted on having film the climb. I think I already said that I wouldn't have had a problem with Potter climbing Delicate Arch if he hadn't blown it up to the media. I would have bought him a beer if he had kept it low profile and found out by word of mouth and not through anchor restrictions at one of my favorite climbing areas(believe it or not - i love choss)."

I really am not sidestepping your point. I simply don't agree with you. If he went on the premise that climbing the arch was not illegal, then why wouldn't he advertise his ascent? He is a professional climber, afterall. You are blaming Potter because the state and the park service didn't do its job in the first place.

I have a question for you. Who the hell does the park service think it is to make nebulous rules and then to enforce those rules only when it suits them? Like I said earlier, the correct action would have been for the state to make it illegal to climb towers, arches, etc. specifically designated as landmarks, before this happened. Do you actually believe that Dean would have gone about this in the manner in which he did if he had had any idea of the impending fallout that would ensue? Also, unless I am mistaken, Potter's sponsor was all for the media coverage until the shit hit the fan, and then they turned their backs on him. If this were such an egregious lapse of judgment on his part, then why didn't his sponsor make him aware of it as soon as they saw the footage? That single action by Patagonia spoke volumes about their committment to climbers - exploit them to enhance your image and market share, then kick them to the curb at the first sign of rain. I don't know about Dean, but I would have dropped all of their clothing off at the nearest Salvation Army, and then I would have told them to go suck pond water.

"Can you point at anything good that came out of Potter's actions?"

As a matter of fact, I can. Potter's ascent brought to light the fact that the park service needs to get its act together. It also exposed the fact that the park service is in serious need of more oversight. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, although community activism, especially by climbers, could help to be about such a change.

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 31, 2007

Hi Ken,

You bring up a good point about the sponsor turning his back on him. Anyone at Patagonia and his camera crew are deserving of at least as much backlash as Potter is for sure, and they haven't caught a lot of heat. Must be lonely for Potter stewing in the fire. As badly as Potter may have been treated by Patagonia though, I don't think it excuses his error in judgment.

The last thing in the world I want is for the park service to have more oversight and publicity when it comes to climbing regulations - I like informal rules that don't specifically forbid actions(grey areas are nice as long as we aren't childish and don't exploit them). I don't know of any way that the Arches park rules could have been solidified without limiting climbing more than it already was - I can't imagine that they would ever open up the arches to climbing since they had already attempted to tighten up on it years ago, and so few people climb on that soft rock outside of Owl Rock and Dark Angel that wear is a minor argument in my opinion. I just fail to see why codifying a penalty for something that you could have gotten away with on the down low is a good thing. After talking to rangers in Arches over the years, climbing there many times over the last 10 years, and reading the park brochure - I don't really understand how you could possibly think it was possible to shoot a video of climbing something like Delicate Arch without causing a shitstorm.

I think of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison as the model for which all parks should aspire - climbers maintain a low profile and do their climbing with no publicity or media spotlight. Obviously Arches is a bit different because of the accessible nature and higher visitation numbers, but we and especially Potter could learn from those lessons.

Sounds like we'll have to agree to disagree. My opinion is very much colored by wanting to do more nailing routes in Arches, and by being bitter over the existing Canyonlands hammer ban. Your opinion is obviously colored by a friendship with Potter, and an empathy with folks who make their living at climbing(probably a vested interest since you make some of your living photographing and filming athletes).

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Jan 31, 2007

"I like informal rules that don't specifically forbid actions(grey areas are nice as long as we aren't childish and don't exploit them."

Most of us prefer informal rules. Unfortunately they don't work on such a large scale.


"I think of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison as the model for which all parks should aspire - climbers maintain a low profile and do their climbing with no publicity or media spotlight. Obviously Arches is a bit different because of the accessible nature and higher visitation numbers, but we and especially Potter could learn from those lessons."

That model doesn't work for me, because the two areas are entirely different with respect to visitor access and visual impact. For one, The Black is a 3000' deep hole in the ground, peppered with multiple shades of pegmatite on an otherwise black surface. It would be hard enough to spot a climber on those walls, let alone a bolt or sling. Secondly, most tourists aren't likely to 3rd class a steep, poison ivy-infested gully in order to view the canyon walls, when they could more easily be viewed from the rim. Consequently, tourists wouldn't have visual access to gear and miscellaneous apparatus being stored at the base of the walls.


"My opinion is very much colored by wanting to do more nailing routes in Arches, and by being bitter over the existing Canyonlands hammer ban. Your opinion is obviously colored by a friendship with Potter, and an empathy with folks who make their living at climbing(probably a vested interest since you make some of your living photographing and filming athletes)."

I have only met Dean one time, and I doubt that he would remember me if he bumped into me on the street. As for my financial connection to climbing, common sense should tell you that my going against the mainstream on this issue is probably doing nothing to endear me to many of you. If I released a great climbing film next month, would you come to see it, knowing what my stance is on this issue? If the answer is no, then I rest my case. I would love to do a film on the life and climbs of people like Jimmy Dunn, although I would imagine that he is less than ecstatic about my position on this issue. The bottom line for me is that, in spite of any fallout that my position has or will have caused me, I still feel compelled to stand up for a fellow climber when I believe that he is being treated unfairly by his peers.

I do understand why some of you are upset with Dean, although I feel that your anger is being misdirected. All that I am asking you to do is to look at it from another angle. You don't want rules because they might limit your access, but not having clear regulations creates judgment traps into which otherwise decent people can fall prey. It could be you next time.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 1, 2007

Ken wrote:
"Every single one of you would shoe up for DA if it were open, and not one of you would give a second of thought to the tourists who travel there to admire its pristine beauty. You know it, and I know it, so why don't you stop blaming this on Dean. It makes those of you who are doing it sound like a bunch of spoiled brats."

This is imperically incorrect. There are two possibilities then-

1) That is was closed, so none of us did.
2) That it was open and none of us did.

Regardless, consider your point refuted. Either the arch was closed and Dean climbed a closed arch, or...
It was open and none of us climbed it.

So maybe you are just a little full of it here.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 1, 2007

"This is imperically incorrect. There are two possibilities then-

1) That is was closed, so none of us did.
2) That it was open and none of us did.

Regardless, consider your point refuted. Either the arch was closed and Dean climbed a closed arch, or...
It was open and none of us climbed it.

So maybe you are just a little full of it here."


Nice try, Tony, but resorting to false dilemma is a bit condescending. How bout another more obvious possibility like: Most people just assumed that climbing the arch was illegal, so they didn't bother to research it further. Frankly, your use of deceptive argument tactics tells me that maybe you are the one who is a little full of it.

Your argument smells like you probably scrolled through my posts looking for something to attack, because you couldn't bring yourself to look at this from outside of your box.

This issue is tired. If using Dean as a whipping boy to assuage your frustration at no longer having the opportunity to litter the desert with a few hundred more bolts works for you, then, by all means, have at it. Potter, along with many in the climbing community, has moved onto bigger and better things. You might consider doing the same. Try using all of that personal angst to get super strong, and then you could just free solo everything.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 1, 2007

No Ken,
It's one thing to argue with me, but to make presumptions about my personal motivations is insulting and arrogant.

And that is why I took exception to your post. You do not know more about me or anyone else than we do ourselves. Perhaps that is the one thing I know about you that you don't seem to.

You are absolutely full of it. I did not climb it or any of the other arches for several reasons. The most important that it was clear to me that it was frowned upon. What's more, I avoid climbing around heavily touristed areas most of the time even when it is allowed.

I think the lowest form of argument might just be the "No, that is not why you did." argument. Unless it is the "I climb harder than you, so I must be right" argument.

Your original statement is an absolute paradox. Either the arch was closed or it wasn't and if it wasn't then we would have all climbed it (or tried) but we didn't. And yes I had considered trying to climb an arch but though better of not doing so. That was in 1990 I asked at the HQ and the rangers told me it was requested that climbers not climb near crowds or on named formations in view of the road. I respected that.

You are correct that I climbed up one arch once, unroped. It was Double-O arch. I have a photo of that stupid stunt. It was 1987 and I was 15 and it was poor judgement and that is my excuse. I didn't know at the time that it was not allowed and there was only me and a buddy there.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 1, 2007

Tony,

Are you looking for a merit badge for not climbing DA? Otherwise, what is your point? I have very clearly described my stance on this issue, and I have stood by it throughout all of the backlash from people like you. Why don't you explain exactly why I am full of it, and what I am full of.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 1, 2007

My point is that you are incorrect. People CHOOSE of their own free will and educated opinion not to climb arches. You stated that we ALL would and that is wrong.

And what do you mean by saying 'people like me'?
I didn't hassle you over your opinion. I told you that your rationalization and generalization about why some people do not climb some things is patently incorrect.

Even throwing me into the 'people like me' bucket stinks. Seems you are putting not only words in my mouth, but more thoughts in my head. Really, that's more or less sociopathic.

Ken: "Your argument smells like you probably scrolled through my posts looking for something to attack, because you couldn't bring yourself to look at this from outside of your box."

That is just silly.
I read your arguments and thought they were interesting up to a point and never commented. I didn't comment on the 80 tons of arguments you made last time around. I didn't argue your philosophy, theories or attitude. I said you can't tell me or others how we are or are not motivated in this case. The fact that you continue to argue about MY thoughts here amazes me.

Ken: "Potter, along with many in the climbing community, has moved onto bigger and better things. You might consider doing the same."

I don't remember talking about Dean and the arch at all. I recall telling you that the reasons why I chose not to climb on arches was other than what you insisted about me and everyone else. No less, I'll take your advice and move on. Nobody likes talking with a bully anyway.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 1, 2007

"I don't remember talking about Dean and the arch at all. I recall telling you that the reasons why I chose not to climb on arches was other than what you insisted about me and everyone else. No less, I'll take your advice and move on. Nobody likes talking with a bully anyway."

Correction. You presented a this-or-that scenario as your argument for why my comment could not be correct. Then you told me that I was full of it. I took that to mean that you felt that I was being disingenuous, or that I was trying to fabricate something. That is why I asked you to explain that comment. You still haven't done that.

Maybe you misunderstood my initial comment, so I'll ask you this: Would you not climb the arch if tomorrow the park service opened it? If the answer is yes, then my point will have been made in that you would have little concern for the tourists who might not want to see the signs of your impact. I suggest you go back and read that comment a little more carefully.

Where you get bully from this exchange is a mystery to me, Tony. Please excuse my attitude, but I don't appreciate being called full of shit for voicing my opinion. Maybe you should check your own BS before taking aim at me.

By richard magill
Feb 1, 2007

Why I never climbed Delicate Arch:

There were no bolts on it and I didn't want to get killed trying to solo it.

Potter is a fantastic climber.

99.9999% of the people bitching about this couldn't repeat his feat if they wanted to. The chalk is probably gone by now so get over it.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 1, 2007

"Every single one of you would shoe up for DA if it were open, and not one of you would give a second of thought to the tourists who travel there to admire its pristine beauty."

I made the assumption that I was one of every single one. The fact that I am a person and that I would not do it and in fact did not even try because it was discouraged for those reasons is proof enough.

I feel strongly than my motivations are other than those you ascribe to me. It is a fact that my own conclusions regarding my own motivations and feelings are different than your opinion about my feelings and motivations. Is that what is bugging you? Why do you have to tell me why I would or wouldn't do something? I pointed out that that was a silly thing to say. It qualifies as full of it.

Ken, if everyone out there with shoes would do it if it was allowed, then why didn't I try? Until such time as I have told you, you didn't know.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 1, 2007

Tony,

From past forums, it's pretty clear to me that you are a bright guy, so I have to wonder why you are trying to hang this discussion up on a point that I have now explained several times.

Lets try this on for size. You keep suggesting that my comment was directed at you (Tony Bubb), among others, when, if you were to read back to the point at which you actually entered the forum, you would realize that you came into the forum long after I made that comment, which was meant for the people in the room up to that point. I hope that clears up any misunderstanding for you. Now, knowing that, if you continue to hang me up on this point, I will feel comfortable in assuming that your intentions are not meant to be constructive.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 2, 2007

Here is the situation in a nutshell. I am not going to sugarcoat it, because doing so will serve no one.

Dean's ascent was not illegal at the time in which he did it. You are mad at him, not because he broke any law, but because he inadvertently exposed a system that didn't work and that, if corrected, would create more restrictions on climbing in The Canyonlands, which is exactly what happened.

Andrew even went as far as to say that he would have bought Dean a beer if he had been more sneaky about his ascent. I am paraphrasing, Andrew, but that is essentially what you said. That statement sums up the issue with which I have a fundamental problem: You are mad at Dean because he chose not to be sneaky about something that wasn't illegal in the first place. He is not the one at fault here. The park service, the State of Utah, and those of you who want to keep the rules grey are the ones who caused this dilemma.

I tried to make that point when I said that informal rules don't work on such a large scale. State and Federally governed lands are utilized by millions of visitors, from all over the world, so rules have to be clearly defined. Those rules are not meant to prevent you from having your fun. They are there to prevent controversies and loopholes like the ones that occurred here, as well as to prevent unnecessary liability. Clearly defined laws also help us to make better informed choices about activities that could potentially cause us trouble.

I keep a quote on my desk that says: "If you don't want something badly enough to lose it, you don't want it badly enough."

If you guys really want to create an environment wherein you can legally pursue your climbing activities in places like this without worrying about the possibility that your actions might cause more regulations, then you need to come at it from a position of transparency. That means that climber negotiations with the park service have to be clearly defined.

How is it Dean's fault that nailing and drilling have been banned? What in the world does that have to do with climbing Delicate Arch? Nothing! The park service obviously had it in mind to countermand the status quo. Otherwise, closing access to DA and its brethren would have been enough. If climbers want to be taken seriously by those organizations, then we need to approach this from a position of wanting to do what is fair for everyone involved (local residents, tourists, climbers, park officials, etc.). We need to approach this from a position of transparency. Trying to fly under the wire just makes us look sneaky and self-serving.

Cheers,

Ken Cangi

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 2, 2007

Interesting thoughts and certainly philisophically fair, however...

Does that mean that everyone who smokes pot and thinks it should be legal to do so should go do it on the police station's front steps? If EVERYONE did, it would probably work. But if just a few did, they'd end up with fines and court costs- and possibly jail. And the cops would probably tighten enforecment.

I'm not saying I have answers to things, I'm just saying its hard to be philosophically 'pure.'

BTW- I don't like the stuff. Makes me even more paranoid.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 2, 2007

"Interesting thoughts and certainly philisophically fair, however...

Does that mean that everyone who smokes pot and thinks it should be legal to do so should go do it on the police station's front steps? If EVERYONE did, it would probably work. But if just a few did, they'd end up with fines and court costs- and possibly jail. And the cops would probably tighten enforecment.

I'm not saying I have answers to things, I'm just saying its hard to be philosophically 'pure.'"


Not philosophically fair - just fair. It's also the intelligent thing to do. Having clear parameters is how society prevents issues like this from happening. That desert belongs to every person who uses it, not just climbers. We need to realize that or we are going to eventually lose all of our privileges.

As for the pot analogy, it's apples and oranges, although I think you already know that. It would, however, be interesting to know the number for the percentage of U.S. citizens who smoke weed.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 2, 2007

Ken Cangi wrote:
Dean's ascent was not illegal at the time in which he did it. You are mad at him, not because he broke any law, but because he inadvertently exposed a system that didn't work and that, if corrected, would create more restrictions on climbing in The Canyonlands, which is exactly what happened.

Ken,

Telling other people what motivates them is not a good strategy for making points in debates. How do you know why other people think and feel the way they do?

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 2, 2007

"How do you know why other people think and feel the way they do?"

Hmmm. Because they have posted it numerous times. For a minute there, I thought it was a trick question.

"Telling other people what motivates them is not a good strategy for making points in debates."

You mean like assuming that I am motivated by winning debate points?

All sarcasm aside, Ron, I am not here to win debate points. My intention has been to express an alternate viewpoint and then to leave it up to the other members of this forum to do whatever they want with the information.

Off topic, I'm still chuckling at Tony's earlier comment about my 80 tons of posts from the last Potter forum. A libertarian with a sharp tongue. He might actually be fun to hang out with.

By Brad Brandewie
Feb 2, 2007

This thread feels like a reflection of our society.

The entire debate hinges on one issue.

Side A believes that...
What he did was stupid and that as a professional he should have known better and been able to foresee the potential consequences. Thus he should have decided not to go ahead with it.

Side B believes that...
What he did was merely a choice. It was not illegal and he should not bear blame for doing what he thought was the right thing to do at the time. Whether or not he foresaw the potential consequences is irrelevant because what he did was not wrong.

Sound familiar?

Cheers,
Brad

PS. This doesn’t mean I think anyone here is a Republican or Democrat; only that this parallel occurred to me and I found it ironic.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 3, 2007

No problem, Brad. If things are sounding a little black and white so far, I'll add some color for you.

Here is a May 18, 2006 official statement from patagonia:

"Thursday, May 18, 2006
Patagonia's Stance on Dean Potter

Patagonia it seems is standing by Dean Potter for climbing Delicate Arch.Many individuals have asked us where we, as a company, stand on Dean's recent climb. Since last week, Patagonia has received hundreds of emails on the issue, many asking for a public stance. First of foremost, we support Dean as our Ambassador. He's part of our family and will continue to be. For those who are curious to see Patagonia's "official stance" on the subject, read on:

Patagonia ambassador Dean Potter’s May 7 free solo of Delicate Arch has generated significant controversy about the legality and appropriateness of the climb of what has been described as a national icon. We’ll be interested to follow the controversy and to listen to views of those on both sides.A few facts are in order. First, no crime has been committed. The National Park Service has conceded that its regulations were ambiguous and that they will not cite Dean for the ascent. They have said they will seek to clarify their regulations to prevent a second try. The Park and a number of opinion leaders have argued that Delicate Arch is an icon that should not be climbed.It is important to note that Dean did no harm to the route or to the rock. He free-soloed the arch, placing no anchors and creating no impact beyond blowing dust off the holds. As he says, “No one reveres rocks more than me. I consider all rocks sacred, as do most climbers.”Dean, like all Patagonia ambassadors, undertakes his own climbs on his own terms. He told us about the climb afterward.

We have taken positions in the past on a number of issues of climbing ethics, including bolting. We take no position on this one. As Casey Sheahan, our CEO, notes, “From the early days in the Tetons to the rebelliousness of Yosemite’s Camp 4, every generation of climbers has had its run-ins with government regulations that attempt to restrict climber’s freedom of expression. At Patagonia we don’t control the ways our sponsored athletes conduct themselves except to encourage respect for the environment and uncommon approaches to every challenge. Dean is at the pinnacle of free solo climbing, makes decisions for himself, and has our complete support.

Bentgear.com"



Here is a subsequent official comment from Patagonia, along with a statement from Dean:


"Outside Online

Official Statement from Patagonia and Dean Potter on the Delicate Arch Climb

Since May 7th, we at Patagonia have had much discussion and debate about where the company stands on Dean's controversial climb. Historically, we have always stood by our Ambassadors and their actions. Our Ambassadors are a part of Patagonia's close-knit family, and we trust them to act in ways that they deem responsible. However, over the past few weeks, our internal conversations have enlightened us to the reality of this unfortunate situation. We strongly believe that Dean's actions warrant a public apology.

Here at Patagonia, we also want to extend an apology to you. We apologize for not responding more quickly and decisively. We make no excuses, but in explanation—Patagonia is always extremely hesitant to publicly denounce a long-standing friend and Ambassador. Before we responded to our customers and the media, we needed to hear his side of the story. We needed details. We needed to speak at length with Dean, in person.

At the end of the day, we do feel Dean's climb of Delicate Arch was inappropriate. Patagonia had no prior knowledge of his climb, nor did we "sponsor" his activities. Sadly, his actions compromised access to wild places and generated an inordinate amount of negativity in the climbing community and beyond. We asked Dean to write a letter about his solo and the ensuing maelstrom. His sentiments below best describe where he has landed on the issue. It's his, and our, final word.

From Dean Potter:

When I climbed Delicate Arch I certainly didn't foresee the controversy that has ensued. I didn't think the climb would do anything but inspire people to get out of their cars and experience the wild with all of their senses. I was wrong. I am sincerely unhappy about climbers' loss of freedom caused by my ascent. More, I am deeply hurt over the split this has put in our climbing community. I want to explain my actions, bring the facts to light, and hope that all of us can come to see the good in one another.

First, I admit it…I am a climber. I feel compelled to climb most everything I see, and that included Delicate Arch. To me, all rocks are sacred. When I climbed to the top of the Delicate Arch it was my highest priority to do no harm to the rock or its surroundings. I climbed the Arch in the highest and purest way I could, and I left it the same way I found it.

But I failed to foresee how Delicate Arch, for so many, is also an untouchable symbol of our delicate relationship to nature. It is also a symbol for me, but where I saw it as a chance to commune with the arch through expressing my own art of climbing, others saw it as a violation of what they also feel is sacred. Again, I had no intention of doing something that would invoke such feelings, and for those who do feel that way, I apologize because that certainly was not my intention.

Others have accused me of climbing the arch as a publicity stunt. As a professional athlete, recognition of what I do is part of the job.

Most disturbing of all are those accusing me of responsibility for the rope scars that have been documented conclusively on the top of the arch. I can certainly understand why someone would conclude they were caused by my ascent, but I believe the true answer lies in the details of my ascent, and the possibility that there were other ascents previous to mine. I have recently seen the close-up photos of the grooves at the top of the Arch and can state with certainty that my actions did not cause them. But I was very careful to place my rope in a natural groove in the rock. Since my climb I have learned from first-hand witnesses that in the past at least two other parties have lobbed ropes over the Arch and jumared up. Perhaps those parties left the grooves. I know that I didn't.

None of my sponsors, including Patagonia, has ever influenced me to climb anything. Again, I am sorry that the climb has negatively affected so many people in our community of climbers, and I certainly am not ignoring the views expressed in the Internet chat rooms and in the press. Peoples' opinions are important to me and I value others' views, and I have been troubled at the negativity this has stirred up. I saw the climb as communing with nature, somehow, others have seen it as exploiting nature. The National Park Service has strengthened rules about climbing in Arches National Park, and people have blamed me for the loss of access. I sincerely regret any loss of access…anywhere, anytime. Let me add that I strongly advise anyone thinking of climbing the Delicate Arch not to try. First, the climb is now unambiguously illegal. Second, the climbing community and the Park Service should be friends and work together to protect the environment and climbing access. Third, the Delicate Arch really is fragile and repeated climbing would inevitably cause damage.

Finally, I apologize to Patagonia for the injury this has caused the company and the brand. Patagonia is sincerely and deeply committed to their mission of using business to provide solutions to the environmental crisis, and regretfully, in the view of many of their customers, this has been compromised by my ascent."


Patagonia's flip-flop shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. That is big business doing what it does, but for those of you who didn't read these when these first came out, maybe they will shed some light on Dean's feelings about his ascent. For those of you who have already read Dean's statement and still think that he is a selfish, thoughtless asshole, I guess he just didn't sound sincere enough to you.

By slim
Administrator
Feb 3, 2007

actually, i don't find his letter even remotely sincere ken. it sounds (and smells) like a letter written out of coercion. if he felt 'so sorry' about it, why did it take so long for him to write it (ie, patagucci cracked down on him and told him to apologize because they were getting so much flack about it). his initial responses for the 2 weeks after the ass-ent were basically of the 'go f yourself' variety.

for dean to say that he didn't think it would cause a problem is either:

a) complete BS (ie lying)
b) or, he is a complete retard

there really is no other choice (although tony might try to persuade otherwise).

the sad (ie pathetic) aspect of this is how dean tries to pawn this all off on his hippy-living in the moment-sacred rock bull-sh!t. what a load of crap. it was just another act of self-promotion.

it's really nice of you to stick up for your buddy, but what he did has created a lot of headaches for a lot of people.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 3, 2007

By your position, Slim, all I can say is: Don't ever make an error in social judgment or we'll be gunning for you. You'd better stay on your game.

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 3, 2007

There is a difference between an error in social judgement, and an obvious professional judgement error that results in restrictions for a large number of people. If I were to make a professional judgement error in my work that had serious consequences for others in my profession, even if it was not technically illegal, I would at best be fired and at worst sued. Professionals can and should be held to a higher standard of judgement and conduct than others.

In my opinion, this just wasn't a gray area. No one but the most oblivious, simple minded, or self absorbed person would not have been able to figure out that there would be fallout. No one but the most oblivious, simple minded, or self absorbed person would have thought it would be ok to film an ascent on the single most visible formation in a national park in an area that has access problems in nearby national parks without running the idea by the park service.

I'm actually surprised he hasn't been cited by the park service for not having a film permit in the first place. Its clearly against the park service rules to do any filming for commercial purposes without a permit: home.nps.gov/applications/digest/permits.cfm?urlarea=permits One trip to the permit desk and this never would have happened.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 3, 2007

"There is a difference between an error in social judgement, and an obvious professional judgement error that results in restrictions for a large number of people. If I were to make a professional judgement error in my work that had serious consequences for others in my profession, even if it was not technically illegal, I would at best be fired and at worst sued. Professionals can and should be held to a higher standard of judgement and conduct than others."

So exactly what are you suggesting? Do you feel that he should have his professional climbing license revoked. You know - not be allowed to possess ropes, shoes, and equipment. Better yet, maybe he should be banned from touching rock anywhere on the planet. But wait, Andrew. Wasn't Patagonia his employer at the time? If so, then firing him would have been hypocritical, considering that they, at least, initially supported his action. Wouldn't you agree? So please describe to me what the consequences of not living up to these higher standards should be.


"In my opinion, this just wasn't a gray area. No one but the most oblivious, simple minded, or self absorbed person would not have been able to figure out that there would be fallout. No one but the most oblivious, simple minded, or self absorbed person would have thought it would be ok to film an ascent on the single most visible formation in a national park in an area that has access problems in nearby national parks without running the idea by the park service."

If this is true, then you are saying that everyone involved with the production was simple-minded? Interesting. Here is the definition of simple-minded:

- simple-minded - lacking mental capacity and devoid of subtlety. dim-witted, half-witted, simple, retarded - relatively slow in mental or emotional or physical development.

Do you actually believe that Dean and the film crew, not to mention decision makers at Patagonia, if one doubts their claim to having no prior knowledge of his ascent, are basically retarded? Go french free Half Dome or El Cap, free solo a few exposed 5.13 cracks, or even DA, for that matter, and then come back and tell me how you think a simple-minded person would fare in those situations.


"I'm actually surprised he hasn't been cited by the park service for not having a film permit in the first place."

How do you know that he hasn't?

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 4, 2007

I said simple minded, self absorbed, or oblivious. I think Dean is probably in the self absorbed category - as are many people who do an activity at an extremely high level.

I don't think Dean shouldn't be banned from climbing any more than I should be banned form touching a computer if I made a serious judgement error with far reaching consequences in my work. I do think that he got off very lightly since every sponsorship he has wasn't withdrawn. That would be a similar penalty to what folks in other professions would face if they made such a serious judgement error. I think Patagonia handled everything fairly poorly and should have fired him right away, but they were blindsided by the DA stunt. Very possibly if he had run the idea by Patagonia first, they would have also suggested he not do it. However, Patagonia's reaction has nothing to do with what Dean did in the first place - they were just reacting to a situation that was entirely Dean's creation.

I don't know for sure that he wasn't cited, but I imagine we would have all heard about it if he had been. If he was cited, then he was clearly in the wrong and no justifications for his actions are possible.

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 4, 2007

"This thread feels like a reflection of our society.
The entire debate hinges on one issue."

This may be best explained by something said once by Steven Reiss, the Dept head of the school of Psychology at OSU. To Paraphrase:
'When two sides argue and argue it is rarely the facts of the matter that are being debated, but the weight or validity of the fundamental values and motivations behind each point.'

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 4, 2007

""This thread feels like a reflection of our society.
The entire debate hinges on one issue."

This may be best explained by something said once by Steven Reiss, the Dept head of teh school of Psychology at OSU. To Paraphrase:
'When two sides argue and argue it is rarely the facts of the matter that are being debated, but the weight or validity of the fundimental values and motivations behind each point.'"


Mr. Reiss was a bright guy for saying it, and you, Tony, are equally bright for recognizing its application to this discussion. Unfortunately, it tells me that I have been unsuccessful at making what I had hoped would have been recognized as a tacit point about the bigger picture. For those of you who don't know me, I am generally a bit of a smartass when I am trying to bring equipoise to a situation or issue of this type. It usually works in person, although I can't seem to make it work in these Internet forums. My attempts come off making me seem like an insensitive asshole, so I have been trying to curb the habit online.

The reality is that I don't actually pine away my days thinking about Potter's debacle. I really couldn't care less about it or its indirect consequences. In fact, I am glad that the park service was forced into making its rules more clear for everyone concerned. That decision hasn't altered my passion for climbing in the slightest. I laugh when some of you refer to Potter as my buddy, because we are complete strangers. I have no personal connection to Dean other than that we both love to climb.

What actually eggs me on in this discussion has little to do with Dean Potter and much more to do with trying to get the irate among you to lighten up and see this for what it is - no big fetchin deal. This is about climbing, for Pete's sake. We aren't discussing a pandemic plague that is about to wipe out mankind. The rocks are still there, climbers still climb, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, Starbucks is still there to kickstart your mornings, and my taxes are still due four times a year. The only thing that has changed is that the park service finally implemented some rules that they had obviously planned on long before this incident ever occurred.

I know that it's a hard pill to swallow but the world really doesn't revolve around climbers. Most people neither understand nor give a damn about our esoteric little pastime. This is proven to me every time someone finds out that I am a climber and says something like: No kidding? You're one of those crazy guys who rappels off of sheer walls? It makes me smile every time by reminding me that I haven't completely joined the ranks of Joe Average Public.

I have spent the better part of three decades climbing and in the company of climbers. If you were to ask me what I am in life, I would say that I am a climber. As a climber by lifestyle, and someone who makes his living in the adventure-sports industry, I feel qualified to say that Dean's adventure, or misadventure, depending on how you see it, was but a mere blip on the screen of things that concern society as a whole. I live and climb in Utah, and I never hear a word about this incident until I log into one of these chatrooms.

Relax, my friends. Don't worry. Be happy. Enjoy what you can, and don't sweat the small stuff.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 5, 2007

Ken Cangi wrote:
Relax, my friends. Don't worry. Be happy. Enjoy what you can, and don't sweat the small stuff.

Great advice, Ken.

And remember: it's all small stuff.

By kirra
Feb 5, 2007

After reading this forum -- yes, ALL of it ~ i'm throwing in my .03

thanks everyone ('specially Ken & Sam) for time spent here expanding the details involved in this. Up till now, I've had no comments/opinion/thoughts etc. as I was not aware of much outside of bashing & name calling on other sites.

This is helpful for me to be fully educated in all details and dynamics involving people & govt. agencies with respects to climbing as I am involved in other misc. access isues.

Special kudos imo - to Tony & Ken for spicing it up for me with vocabulary lessons & for reminding me how ~cool~ it is that guys will bash each other to bits and then shake hands later. I wish some fem-fatales could learn this trick..~(:

a remaining question & useless comment: Q. I would like to know if there was in fact a filming permit issued...?

Comment: Too bad Potter crew didn't speak to the same ranger Tony did (~heh-heh) -- Tony, "...in 1990 I asked at the HQ and the rangers told me it was requested that climbers not climb near crowds or on named formations in view of the road. I respected that"...

glad things have calmed down at Arches & hope things remain that way - cheers-let's go climb..!

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 6, 2007

You know, I can't say how things go in arches these days. However, on one stop in 1995, while passing through, I was at HQ with John Cioci and the rangers there even took time to photo-copy some topos for me from the hand-drawn climbing register/book at HQ so I could take them with me. At that time they maintained a climber's resorce desk of sorts (Do they still?) and I recall that "don't climb the arches" being somewhat clear. I might have misrecalled here, but at that time I think I was told that it actually was prohibited, though that obviously would have been mis-information. Does anyone else recall something similar to this.

By Brian in SLC
Feb 6, 2007

"...but at that time I think I was told that it actually was prohibited, though that obviously would have been mis-information. Does anyone else recall something similar to this."

I think I first climbed in Arches in 1986 or so, and clearly recall there was a rule about "no climbing named arches" in the park. I think there used to be a climbing brochure the park handed out with info on it, as well as this "no named arches" rule.

Not sure what legal loophole DP dove through, but, was pretty common knowledge for folks that climbed in the Moab area that named arches in Arches NP were off limits for climbing.

Even Gerry Roach's old Arch Bagger's Guide (which may have caused some of the "no named arches" regulations) said to not push it by climbing Delicate Arch.

Good on you guys for doing the anchor replacement. Much thanks!

By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 6, 2007

Brian: "Not sure what legal loophole DP dove through, but, was pretty common knowledge for folks that climbed in the Moab area that named arches in Arches NP were off limits for climbing."

I think it was that loophole that, to over-simplify goes something like this- 'A cop telling you not to do something doesn't make it illegal. You have to have a law to back it up.'
Printing it in the brochures didn't make it illegal or prohibited.

But that is not to say anything different than what I did already- it was clearly frowned upon at all times known to me, not on my first visit to Arches was in 1985, but certainly from the first time I bothered checking on the idea in 1990.

By Brian in SLC
Feb 6, 2007

Also thought it was in the management plan for Arches too.

I thought the loophole might have been that "soloing" wasn't the same as "climbing". Or some such. Seems like when they upgraded the lingo, the added "or any similar activities" or the like.

Anyhoo, I'd never talked with anyone who climbed at Arches that didn't understand that Delicate Arch was off limits to climbers. And, you'd think someone who lived in Moab, as a climber, would have known better.

"Arch Bagger - A Scramblers Guide to Arches National Park":

"Delicate Arch has enough power that it is sufficient to simply view. Don't get greedy." Gerry Roach from his 1982 guidebook.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 6, 2007

You guys are priceless.

Click here for directions to Climber's World:
i9.photobucket.com/albums/a69/kencangi/ClimbersWorld.jpg

By Brad Brandewie
Feb 6, 2007

Ken,

I think your most telling statement thus far has been

"I really couldn't care less about it or its indirect consequences."


That explains a lot.

Brad

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 6, 2007

Brad,

Selective hearing seems to be a recurring theme in this whine fest. You should take a clue from Kirra, who had no problem recognizing how thoroughly I elaborated on my position. If you haven't gotten it by know, I am sorry to say that you just aren't that bright. Or maybe you do get it, but feel compelled to spend twenty more pages crying about it because you enjoy our company so much. Do you bitch about the guy who cut you off in traffic, nine months later? Are you still whining about the neighborhood bully who broke your favorite toy when you were a kid? You sound like kids who had the nipple pulled away too soon. It's almost entertaining.

There. Now you have a reason to get your panties in a wad. You guys can go off on a twenty page rant about what a poo poo head Ken is for picking on you. At least we all might get some laughs out of that topic.

Tootles,

KC

By Peter Stefani
Feb 7, 2007

Pretty lame Ken after your "relax friends, be happy" drivel. Since you say you really don't care, move on, and fight the urge to get in the last word.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 7, 2007

The point wasn't drivel, Pete, even if it was lost on you. Wow! I feel like a paper cut in a room full of alcohol swabs. Do some of you even know how to laugh at yourselves?

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Feb 7, 2007

The most telling statement from Ken Cangi has actually been:

Dean's ascent was not illegal at the time in which he did it.

Ken is right; but this was only ever a small part of the issue. This ascent was unethical. Like every other desert climber I know, it was my understanding that Delicate Arch was off limits, and has been for many years. This was understood and respected by the entire climbing community. The legal loophole Potter found is just that, a legal loophole.

Yeah, the criticism is hard on Potter, who broke no law, did no (or virtually no) physical damage, left no anchor behind, and was convinced of the rightness of what he was doing to the extent that he even persuaded his sponsors that what he had done was some kind of Big Deal. But that is how it goes. In time there will be some rehabilitation and forgetting. It's not the end of the world.

There are sports that offer clear-cut written direction on every possible issue that can come up. Climbing is not such a sport.

You made a couple good points Ken. Thanks for that. You made me think things through a little differently. But, since this thread was directly about this issue, and because you wrote a third of the 61 posts on this thread, it does not reflect well on you to now try to shift direction and make out that the argument was trivial all along and that everyone else is too uptight.

By KCP
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Feb 7, 2007

Thanks for the post, Steve. You are a reasonable guy, and I always appreciate your input.

My attempt at spreading a little lightheartedness among the crowd was not meant to dismiss the issue of what Dean did. Dean's exploit is already indelibly etched in the minds of most climbers. The media and these forums have helped to insure that.

It's not that the topic of access, as it relates to causing problems for fellow climbers, is trivial to me. My problem is that the general tone of consistent Dean bashing makes us look trite. The excessive amount of character assassination really serves no purpose. I am confident that Dean, regardless of whether or not he still feels warranted in his actions, will think more than twice about climbing another protected rock without first getting official permission to do so. Consequently, pulverizing him in these forums only serves to assuage the unbridled anger of those expressing it. The animosity is duly noted. I get it. A more tolerant and balanced discussion would be a refreshing change.

As for my seemingly inordinate amount of posts on this topic, that might be because I am like one against the machine. There is less of a need for most of you to respond as you are in agreement with one another. I, on the other hand, am answering to a much larger number of opponents.

By Brad Brandewie
Feb 7, 2007

Ken,

I agree with everything you said in your last post. As one of those who has bashed Dean's choices, I admit that my anger was fueling some of my posts. You're correct in that it will serve no purpose to continue.

I also agree with your stance that the NPS reaction went too far and that we should be upset about that. Believe me I am. My issue was that you seemed to me to be saying that we should forget about the acts that caused these access problems and focus only on the NPS reaction.

I don't think we should ever forget what actions and reactions caused this situation. We can forget about the whos but not the whats and whys. I wouldn't want someone in the future to read this thread and come to the conclusion that if an act isn't illegal then it's ok to proceed. We as climbers need to remain savvy in our understanding of what factors are at play when our land managers make access decisions. We don't want a repeat at any other climbing areas.

Cheers,
Brad

By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Mar 21, 2007

I received this from the Arches rangers.
Pretty self-explanatory I think. Please respond, pass this on to other climbers, and PLEASE, if you respond, be polite, respectful and constructive.

Thanks
Steve Bartlett

March 9, 2007
For Immediate Release
Laura Joss (435) 719-2201


Arches National Park Seeking Input for Climbing Management Plan


Arches National Park is soliciting public comments regarding the development of a Climbing Management Plan. In 2006, unusual climbing activities raised public interest and concern about issues associated with technical rock climbing.

"We've decided to take a new look at our climbing policies, "commented Laura Joss, superintendent of the park. “We’re asking for suggestions from the public about options regarding climbing activities in the park, as well as issues to be addressed.”

Issues identified to date include effects on natural and cultural resources, use of fixed hardware, designating climbing routes, development of approach trails, rock alteration, vegetation alteration, visual impacts and the effects of climbing on visitor safety and experiences.

A climbing management planning effort will consider a full range of alternatives to protect resources, visitors and visitor experience. This plan will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and will seek to involve as many individuals as possible who have an interest in or concerns about climbing activities at Arches.

The scoping phase of the process will continue until May 4, 2007. After that an environmental assessment will be developed, which will be available for public review and comment.

Scoping comments may be submitted over the internet at parkplanning.nps.gov or by mail to Superintendent, Arches National Park, PO Box 907, Moab, UT 84532.

By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Mar 28, 2007

OK Gang, Please Read this:

As we all know, a much-publicized climb in the spring of 2006 raised public interest and concern about rock climbing in Arches National Park. Prior to this event, Arches managers had limited contact with climbers and felt no real need for official policies. However, an overwhelming number of letters calling for an outright ban on climbing forced the Park to impose serious restrictions on our sport. Since then, a group of local climbers and the Access Fund have been working with the Park to rehabilitate a good relationship between us.

The Park Service has decided it is time to make an official Climbing Management Plan. This plan could be great for us, or it could be our demise: the key is how we help them make the plan. They are currently seeking input into how the plan should be. If the events of Spring, 2006 were any indicator, an enormous number of letters from environmental groups and anti-climbers will be sent to the Park Service calling for a ban or some draconian restrictions. However, The Park managers will be willing to look at all sides. As a matter of fact, they have shown local climbers that they are willing to work with climbers provided they see a positive result.

That said, it is up to us to send positive letters about the sport. If you have ever climbed in Arches, you should tell them so and tell them you enjoyed it. If you ever want to climb on the unique towers in Arches, you should tell them so. We need to show them that we really do care about the policies and that we want to be able to climb in Arches. We also need to point out that the outright ban on fixed anchors prevents the ascent of the majority of spires and towers (no pitons = no aid). I think most of us would admit we don’t feel a need to climb up on the actual arches, so we should state that. Above all, we need to write positive letters endorsing climbing as a legitimate form of recreation in Arches National Park.

Its easy to write them a short note. If you want to do it online, go to this website: parkplanning.nps.gov
At the bottom of the page, pull down the menu and go to “Arches NP”, then click “Plans/Documents open for comment”. The top one is about climbing management. Click
“Comment on Document” and write your small letter. That’s it.
If you want to write out a paper letter, you can send it here:
Superintendent
Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The BLM asked for this same sort of input a couple years ago in reference to Indian Creek. They truly wanted to know who the users were, but in the initial round of discussions comments they only received around 30 letters from climbers… they got over 600 from 4wheelers. That’s pathetic… lets not let it happen here. (FYI-climbers got on it in the second round and we were factored in, showing that your opinions can make a difference).

2. Arches National Park is grouped with 3 other Parks in its administration. Many of the rules that govern one Park eventually fall into the rule book for the one next door. In this case, Canyonlands, an area containing more Windgate and Cutler towers than the rest of the world combined, is next door. A draconian rule in Arches could eventually lead to one in Canyonlands. If that’s the case, it would look like a precedent for other Parks in the country to follow. The trickle-down effect could be seen with the BLM and Forest Service. In other words, we could lose a lot more climbing resources than the 76,000 acre’s and 100’s of towers that is Arches.

3. Writing a letter to the Park will take less time than we spend blurbing in online forums.

4. They really do want to hear from us. I know this for a fact, and I know they will listen to positive words we have to say.

5. If we don’t ask for permission, we can’t get mad when we don’t get it.


For additional information contact jason@accessfund.org.


Thanks,
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Arches Task Force Coordinator
Access Fund Board Member
ASCA Eastern Utah Coordinator