Open letter and apology to Clint Cummins


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 20 of total 28 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Jim Hornibrook

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 6, 2017 - 09:49am PT
Hey, Clint.
I want to take this moment to apologize for using the phrase WMP in describing your motives for adding a bolt to Maxineís Wall. When I first used the phrase, I had no idea who had placed the bolt, merely that one had been added to an existing route where I had never seen an anchor before in the past 37 years since I first climbed it. When I posted on Supertopo my frustration that this bolt had been added, you politely explained that you were responsible and then took the time to explain to me (and the Supertopo crew) your rationale for added the anchor.
I confess feeling badly about the disparaging remark once I could put a name (a well-respected and loved name) to the deed. Yesterday, when I posted my Seussian trip report I still used the phrase as it described my initial visceral reaction to seeing the bolt. I used the phrase, not because of who you are, but in spite of who you are. I can easily see how the phrase being used this second time could (and did) offend many folk who have a deep respect for you and your work in the valley. I promise you (and all else) that I didnít mean it as a personal slight against you. I should at least have made a note at the end of the poem noting who you were and that I had misunderstood the reasoning behind the anchor addition.

Once again, I apologize for using a disparaging term in reference to you. Like most on Supertopo, Iíve been enjoying your trip reports for years. While Iíve descended the beautiful chasm between Higher and Middle Cathedral Rock many times, I confess it was awfully nice to use the rap stations you painstakingly installed a few years back.

We can (and do) disagree about whether the additional bolt was merited. But this disagreement should never be uncivil. My second usage of WMP did nothing to promote a healthy discussion of bolting ethics. And thatís actually what I want.

When it comes to bolting, I feel less is more. If we are going to add a bolt to an existing route it had better be for a good reason. Placing a bolt as a replacement for a fixed pin thatís been gone for nearly 40 years is a poor reason to drill another hole in the rock in my and otherís opinion. John Tuttle has given another possible reason to add the bolt. He maintains that the route ďhas gotten more polishedĒ and ďthe start has changed dramatically since we first climbed it.Ē

I disagree. The day before yesterday I did five laps up to the original first bolt. I realized that John could be right about the route becoming more slick and difficult over the years. Maybe itís more like 10c or 10d now. But no, after doing many laps, I still rate it 10a. Of course one personís 10a is anotherís 5.9 or 10b, but it certainly hasnít become noticeably more difficult.

If someone else goes up there and does more laps and disagrees, cool letís talk about it. But my repeated experience on the route shows the difficulty to be the same as years ago (easier because of sticky rubber I might argue), and since there hasnít been protection there since the Carter administration, a bolt should not have been added.

I am a firm believer that words without action are meaningless. While in the 38 years Iíve been climbing, Iíve never pulled a bolt, it wasnít an ethical dilemma for me. I took the matter very seriously, seeking the advice of many experienced climbers, but I knew my decision was sound. I was, however, very concerned about the possibility of my damaging the rock when I removed the bolt. Iím happy to report there was no additional damage.

All of this being said, I once again apologize for casting a disparaging term in your direction. Youíve worked too hard and have dedicated too much energy and love into the valley we all share and adore and want to protect to be disrespected by the use of the term.

I hope you can accept my apology, and I hope we can discuss the ďstewardshipĒ you and John and others are performing around the valley. I believe we live fairly near each other. If you and/or John would like to get together, get a beer and discuss climbing and our shared experiences in Yosemite, I would enjoy that. If you donít drink, perhaps we could meet at PGSV some weekend and crush some plastic together.

Take care.

Jim Hornibrook

Hobart, Australia
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:05am PT
Awesome to see the civil discourse! Well done Clint and Jim!

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:09am PT
Nicely stated and appropriate. Thank you.


The Good Places
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:10am PT
will somebody please just go mash a bashie in the hole? seems like a good middle ground to me. ;-)

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:22am PT
So go back and put that bolt back in, return it as close to possible to original condition you vandal!
Then we can forget about this historic if somewhat limited climb...
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:30am PT
Check, & good on Ya, but, I still think it was driven by a need to be famous on Insta-schmuck/faceplant.
So it was an errant ego thing meant to generate traffic to your page(s) at the expense of Clint's hard work.
If you really Cared you would De-Woot the Nanook's handy work!
I hope that the dangerous state you left is corrected.
maybe you should offer to help restore the fixed pro?

San Jose, CA
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:48am PT
So go back and put that bolt back in,

It is not easy anymore, he need now rope gun, if decided to put bolt back. probably Clint will volunteer to lead it again.
It would be really hilarious end
Mark Force

Trad climber
Ashland, Oregon
Dec 6, 2017 - 11:55am PT
Ah, civility.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Dec 6, 2017 - 12:08pm PT
Civility, a cousin to Prudence and Patience.

All of whom are from a different family than Calamity and Pandora.

Well done, Hornibrook.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Dec 6, 2017 - 12:24pm PT
Nice Jim. At times I am also a firm believer, but not always.

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Dec 6, 2017 - 12:29pm PT
I will add that it is great to see such civility and understanding on an internet forum. Thanks to Jim and Clint!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Dec 6, 2017 - 01:01pm PT
Very nice post, thank you for proving it is ok to disagree in a civil manner, even on the internet! :)
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Dec 6, 2017 - 01:47pm PT
That was a class act Jim,
good man!

Big Wall climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 01:59pm PT
What a proud way to own your actions!

Making a public apology is never an easy thing to do. For example, look how long it took for the Wings Of Steel vigilantes to step forward and make an apology.

Clint gets lots of respect because he stands for what he believes in and his walk matches his talk. Plus, he's a really nice person as well. By taking this step, your deeds will also be viewed favorably.


Trad climber
Upland, CA
Dec 6, 2017 - 02:07pm PT
Thank you for doing this, Jim. It was the right thing to do.
Also, as others have noted, it's unusual and brave of you to post under a real name.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Dec 6, 2017 - 02:11pm PT
Deep down I was hoping for a fistfight at the base of the route at high noon on Sunday. But a civil internet disagreement turned into apology and honorable discourse that ends well is just fine also I suppose. Well done on all parties Involved.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 02:16pm PT
About as exciting as Nascar without a wreck :) Good to see everyone take the highroad back out of this mini bolt war.

Trad climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 03:38pm PT
Awesome Jim! It was painful to watch someone who I consider a friend, and a stand up guy, being slandered on the Internet forum. I couldn't even defend you because I did think you made a bad mistake with your "trip report" as you called it.

I still do not agree with the process you followed leading to the bolt chopping, and I will make sure to give you an earful next time I see you. I don't place anyone on a pedestal. Nobody is perfect and nobody's actions are 100% right. Not even Clint. As I told you (Jim) earlier, I feel ambivalent about this bolt.

If you and Clint do arrange to meet, and welcome an audience (for example, me), I'd love to join you. If to bolt or not to bolt is a black and white issue, I hold a very strong opinion in the gray area. Plus, you guys may just need a 3rd person to keep score, and write trip report, in case a fist fight breaks out. I also have some questions about some other missing bolts (e.g. a pitch that had 6 bolts per Reid's guidebook now has 3) and want to hear where you two stand and whether there could be a common ground.

Dec 6, 2017 - 06:50pm PT

Clint is da MAN! May he live forever. ..and I've never even met him. I can say that if we had @ 5,000 more Clints, the world would be in much better hands.

That's all I have. Sorry if it disappointed anyone.

ron gomez

Trad climber
Dec 6, 2017 - 06:58pm PT
So Jim, did you pull the bolt? Just trying to get a hold on this.
Messages 1 - 20 of total 28 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta