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Splitter Camps - Plug!
Submitted By: John McNamee on Jan 17, 2007

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Here's a plug for Splitter Camps ... which are held at Indian Creek each year. If you are wanting to up your crack climbing technique quickly I fully recommend Splitter Camps. I did one a couple of years ago and had a great time. The combination of climbing, incredible food and single-malt whiskey is hard to beat...

There are a great opportunity to learn to crack climb in the world's most famous crack climbing area, Indian Creek. 3 days of crack climbing instruction with some of the best crack climbers as your guides. Climb until you can climb no more, then back to camp for gourmet food. Come and join us for 3 days of climbing in the desert, good food and stories around the camp fire. Event dates are April 28th, 29th, 30th, May 5th, 6th, 7th, September 29th, 30th, October 1st and October 6th, 6th, 8th. Sponsored by Trango, Montrail and Mountain Hardwear. Hosted by Moab Desert Adventures. Go to MoabDesertAdventures for more information or call 435 260 24204.

Comments on Splitter Camps - Plug! Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 14, 2007
By Dave Meyers
From: Golden, CO
Jan 17, 2007
Good, now I know the dates not to go to the Creek. Gee, I wonder why this area's access is threatened? If you want to learn how to crack climb, take the money you would have given to these companies and give it to the Access Gund, so that you'll have a place to learn how to crack climb the old fashioned way.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Jan 17, 2007
I am a hypocrite. I despise when people are elitist about their crags, but I find myself getting upset whenever Indian Creek is marketed... Oh well.
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Jan 18, 2007
I had the opposite experience with Splitter Camps. I found them to be very much concerned about the environment and especially IC. We had guide to client ratios of less than 1:4 and they made a point to avoid other climbers and were very sensitive not to impact other climbers on the day in their route selection.
By david goldstein
Jan 18, 2007
A pedantic/semantic comment about an issue that is a pet peeve of mine. Dave Holliday referred to the fixed gear found at the end of virtually every Indian Creek pitch as "lowering anchors". Having climbed well over 100 IC routes and even put up a few, I can say with complete assurance that I have never seen a single "lowering anchor" there. What I have seen are rappel anchors - fixed hardware designed for parties to rap from, NOT LOWER DIRECTLY THROUGH. In a high abrasion environment like IC (sand in rope etc.) anchors wear out quickly and BECOME UNSAFE if people lower and/or (even worse) toprope through them. (Note: if toproping from such anchors, clip reversed quickdraws to the fixed hardware and run the rope through your own draws.) (Note 2: lowering anchors do exist and consist of "drop in" hardware such as Mussey hooks attached to bolts in an easy to replace fashion; as implied above, I have never seen such a configuration at IC.) (Note 3: When toproping from drop in anchors, one should still attach quickdraws to the anchors, putting the wear on one's own gear, rather than that of the community.)
I would guess and hope guess that Splitter does not teach its students that it is OK to toprope or lower directly from the non-drop in anchors typically found at IC; if they do, they deserve to be piled on.
By Bill Ballace
From: Pullman,WA
Jan 18, 2007
Look at what you've started Dave Meyers.....

Now people are telling the world to not install rap anchors at the Creek which is laughable.

Personally I think that the splitter camps are unnecessary. Learning to crack climb at the Creek is not that hard that it requires instructional camps. Most people at the Creek are more than willing to give pointers. It seems like nothing more than an excuse for guides to create some buzz and make some money.
By Rob Dillon
Jan 18, 2007
Don't forget: tape is aid, and it's destroying the rocks.
By adam brink
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 18, 2007
If tape is aid, are shoes aid? Do you go shoeless at The Creek?
By david goldstein
Jan 18, 2007
Toproping is the #1 culprit in crack destruction.
By scotty mann
From: Grand Junction
Jan 19, 2007
Everyone needs to stop talking so much BS and start climbing as hard as they complain.
By mike1
Jan 19, 2007
Splitter camps will ruin Indian Creek! Here's how. The type of person ( Lets call them Gumby ) who is afraid to try crack climbing on their own 'cause it might be scary and their might be some real adventure involved and prefers to have someone else cook and clean up for them is also the type of person who spends a lot of time telling others how "intense" their adventure was. Next thing you know gumby's friends go to splitter camp so they too are "Aggro". Pretty soon their are not enough spots in the splitter camps so someone else starts a camp cause they can make a buck. The owners of the ranch who control access to many of the crags notice that they too can make a buck so they start charging for access. The federal government notices that they can make a buck so they install camp sites and start charging for nightly access ( Please see history of city of rocks). The place becomes accessible and comfortable for Gumbys who drive big motorhomes with generators. There are now three very different types of gumby's with three very different expectations so they do not get along well so the government decides to limit access which is sold to the highest bidder (see history of rafting the grand canyon).Not sure how the government muscles out the ranch owners (You decide!) The montrail splitter camps wins bid cause they made the most money and now the only way to climb at I.C. is through them. There is no leading allowed cause montrail does want to get sued and lose all their money. They decide the best business model is to charge per climb as some climbs are more fun/famous than other. Their marketing executive does a focus group and determines that one lap on super crack should be $10.00 during the high season with "discounts" other times of the year.
Splitter Camps give me Gas !
By slim
Jan 19, 2007
my experience with the splitter camps have been pretty similar to Jason Haas's. The ironic thing about them is that people who have been pretty outspoken in the past about the desert not being an appropriate place for a circus are pretty heavily involved. anything for a buck though, eh?
By Dan Rodriguez
Jan 19, 2007
As a past client of the Splitter Camps, I'm really disappointed to see the reaction of some of the people here on Mountain Project. I participated in the two camps this past year for several reasons: 1) I do not have ten red cams, 2) I cannot climb splitter cracks instinctively, and 3) it was great deal for the money. Where else would I get to spend three days with Jim Donini (climbing legend), Brittaney Griffith, Micah Dash, Topher Donahue, Vera Schulte-Pelkum, Kitty Calhoun, Jay Smith, and Malcom Daly. I could go on and on about the awesome guides at the camp. We learned from the best. From my experience, ethics were number one on the agenda. Pack in, pack out. Use draws on topropes, etc.

Emma and Dave Madera, outfitters for the Splitter Camp, also founded Friends of Indian Creek to ensure/promote responsible behavior at the Creek. They've installed kiosks to distribute Wag bags to reduce human waste problems and to keep camping at the primitive level.

However, I have seen that the camp can take over a crag due to its numbers. So, I apologize for that. As was suggested you may want to go elsewhere if the Splitter Camp is on your preferred crag.

To answer the critics,I see very few bucks made off the camps directly. No climbers live at Indian Creek so we are all visitors. From my experience (splitter crack climbing is hard!), I expect that only 25% or less of Splitter Camp clients will ever come back to the Creek. But I am one of them! See you next May!! Oh wait, that is to warm for you purists!

I forgot to mention the great pro deals you get from Trango and Montrail, at least 50% off all gear!
By Rob Dillon
Jan 20, 2007
Some observations:

Things ain't what they used to be. This is the way of the world.

Similar complaints could likely have been heard from John Muir when Raffi Bedayn et al first showed up and started wrecking the place. Noplace good stays deserted forever.

If you had a chance to get paid to hang ropes on moderate cracks all day in the desert, would you consider it? I bet you'd at least give it some thought.

Dan, a lot of really good climbers hang out at Indian Creek, and many are nice people who might show you a thing or two if you asked nicely and didn't expect all-day attention. It wouldn't be like the camp, but it might not cost you more than a couple beers or even a sincere 'thanks!' either.

There are hundreds of miles of Wingate for those who love to have their own private Idyll-ho, as there's a lot to be said for living the dream of the eternal Eden of endless splitters and no one but you and your friends to climb them. True, most aren't really as good, but perhaps you've always wanted to check out Day Canyon or the Swell or someplace? Now's your chance.

Nonetheless, it would be a considerate PR move for the corporate despoilers/former livers of said dream/next week's dream-livers, ie the Montrail folks, to post a schedule of which crags they plan to take over in groups of 4 or more and stick to it. Eliminates some spontaneity perhaps, but it might gain them some goodwill.

Alternatively, they could just stay at SC/BOB, and who'd even know they were there? A bunch of gumbies toproping, with a few hotshots showing off? How would anyone tell the difference?

Making a mess is inexcusable, whomever you are. The desert is fragile. It's dismaying to hear Jason's comments in this regard, and I sure hope they do better.

It's not 1985 any more. Where the hell were you?
By Bryan Trammell
Jan 20, 2007
Firsthand personal experience, 3 of the first timers at a 2005 Splitter Camp went back on their own in 2006, in a cheap car, and camped out sans generator in tents. I know for a fact Jim Donnini and Jay Smith set some new routes the year they were there in 2005. There is still new stuff to he had it seems. I think that counts as giving back a little, not all taking. I can attest to all of us at that session being beckoned to the camp fire and given the speech that I-Creek was special, don't screw it up, or it wont be here for you to come back to. Malcolm, Dave, Emma, Jim D, others said that straight faced and I believed they meant it. I was standing next to Brittany G when a climber walked up and wanted a route we were on and this person said we were in their way; she apologized and offered them the route. Anyway, that is some of the stuff I saw.
By kirra
Jan 22, 2007
Wow - there many concerns, experiences and valid points here.

Bryan - I was also there at Splitter Camp #1 - for a few reasons Dan R mentioned. Don't need this event anymore (and seems the $$$ increased) - my intentions were honorable and the efforts of the people involved at that time were also (montrail). The director at the BLM as well as Jason from AF were there asking our input and discussing with us future issues now facing IC because yeah -- it is no longer the 70's or 1985 *sigh* ~

Dave's comments 1-4 ~ditto/agree~. Speak out if someone is being disrespectful of IC. It's up to us to preserve what remains and to shoot all gumbies on site that deface the petroglyphs.
By Steve Powell
Jan 23, 2007
my .02. I live in California. I have always wanted to try climbing in IC, but none of my partners are up to the drive or the climbing.
I am signing up for one of the camps, and have no regrets.
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Jan 24, 2007
You'll have a great time. I had a blast the time I went.
By mike1
Jan 25, 2007
Bryan Trammell wrote:
Firsthand personal experience, 3 of the first timers at a 2005 Splitter Camp went back on their own in 2006, in a cheap car, and camped out sans generator in tents.

Hey Bryan,
there are no places to park your RV! So would expect tents until the whole place is paved.
"the past is prologue"
By John McNamee
From: Littleton, CO
Jan 26, 2007
Dave S Said: "John's plug for the Splitter Camps under the "News" headlines on the home page is a weak advertisement. These events are already being promoted in the climbing rags and in association with some of the other media such as the movie "Parallelojams."

I say the commercial exploitation of an already threatened area is unnecessary and tactless. Unfortunately there is now a huge market for these money makers. Maybe the responsible introduction of gumby climbers to the desert is worth it, where the camps will set ethics with the clients that promote not trashing the place and proper etiquette. I doubt it though, I think they just promote laziness, undercut the adventure aspect of the sport, and place value on who you have climbed with (bragging rights)."

You have to be joking right...

I have had no involvement with Splitter Camps other than attending one of the first and having a blast! Maybe you should attend one of these camps and see for yourself that they are not full of "Gumby Climbers."

Finding "news" for this site is one of the most time consuming tasks I do. I have to find it since people don't send me news and hence I have to spend a lot of time looking for what I think is newsworthy things relevant to the site and try to keep things turning over.
Regardless whether you think it is newsworthy or not at least it generated some traffic.
By Jim O'Brien
From: Branford, CT
Jan 27, 2007
I love these NIMBY threads. Although I cringe when I see the crag filled with instruction groups, there is an advantage of them being guided. One would hope the guides / hosts would introduce and infuse the experience with leave no trace principles. There is no getting away from the crowds, period. As a responsible climber and an outdoors person, do your best to be a steward of the land and teach the newbies how to conduct themselves, don't throw rocks, threaten the leader and other BS I read about on the site. At one point, we were all newbies, even us crusty old ones reminiscing about the '70s; the sport / lifestyle did not become popular by chance, it is collectively our fault. Now is the time to be proactive in protecting our open spaces through education, not intimidation-
Climb on!
PS, going to a splitter camp would be a dream for me, there are little true splitters (as demonstrated at IC) here in the North East.
By mike1
Jan 30, 2007
I spent the last three day at I.C. Meet many good people and shared my ropes as well as shared others ropes. Why would you pay when everyone is willing help a fellow gumby, grom out? Don't let yourself be stepped on by the man! I guarantee you can get free climbing advise and belays if you show respect for the community that has evolved down their. It is a unique place that dictates camaraderie after your first pitch due to the demanding nature of the climbing. It is humbling and comical to discuss how often the sandstone wins and we lose!

FYI- Their is an old trashed tent someone left out by Brider Jack under the guise of helping a brother out. Never seen that before. I was going remove it but thought I might leave it for a while as a monument to the "changes" down their. Maybe there will be some more junk I can remove when I go back in a few weeks?

Ok, Im done.
By puppy
Feb 14, 2007
Lest ye all forget, there is an inverse relationship between population and freedom, the more peeps, the less fun. In addition, I can only imagine how many of you who regularly contribute to these threads have called yourselves "dirtbags". I bet you real d-bags don't own nifty laptops. They climb. This here computer was taken from a dead climbing magazine contributer. Go to Pakistan if you don't wanna see a yuppie.

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