Joshua Tree Ethics


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Social climber
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:54pm PT

"10,000 atta boyz can be erased by one awwwshit!"...

So TRUE!!!...



Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Mar 15, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
Bernadette is living proof that the latest generation can and does care about our natural resources.
When we degrade younger generation(s), we only serve to degrade our ability to teach.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 15, 2012 - 02:19pm PT
JL, I understand what you're saying, but I'd say that there are people who don't equate "ecologically conscious" with "responsible" -- people who think the land is to do with what they please, and that doing so is not irresponsible.

I actually think that this kind of logic only exists on paper and academia, and is not something that is practiced in the real world. For instance, I think we can all agree that leaving something as we found it is "ecologically conscious," insofar as that term denotes attempts at preserving the as-is status of our limited resources. Now if some trashes said resources, and calls it "responsible," or does not consider it irresponsible, we simple move to his very house, or car, or computer, and burn it to the ground and say, "Hey, that';s not irresponsible." Of course we cannot do that because, as mentioned, in the real world we have a common-usage understanding of things that is derived on how we live our actual lives, and no sane person lives as though all of his stuff needs not be preserved whatsoever, and that to burn it all to ashes is not "irresponsible."

In the case of the outdoors, many people simply believe that because no one "owns" the place, they can trash it at will. These are the disenfranchised who do not understand that the very stuff they thrash is no different than their own home, since both belong to them.


Mar 15, 2012 - 03:39pm PT
Do you people climb at the same Joshua Tree that I do?

Every day out this year I've climbed new routes (new for me at least).
Every day out this year I've had a crag to myself.
Every day out this year I've climbed a route put up in the last decade (some the same week) that was very worthy .
Every day out this year I saw new(ish) climbers who were competent.

On no day out this year did I share a crag with someone I didn't want to.
On no day out this year did I see a chipped hold.
On no day out this year did I take a dump on Headstone.

I was only runout when I had decided to be challenged in that way, and that rarely. My point being that there are tons of well protected routes at all grades.

Granted that was only about 10 days total all on weekends, but still...
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:00pm PT
While I'd rather this thread fade into the sunset, there is so much misinformation being posted, that I feel compelled to address some of it.

First, the commentary by people who don't even climb at Josh, nor have any idea what is going on, is so far off the mark that it would laughable if this were a laughing matter. [E.g., you don't see me opining about Woodfords Canyon.]

Second, the impacts that precipitated this thread by Bernadette were not perpetrated by newly minted sport climbers. These people have been around for decades.

Third, there is tons of potential for both new cracks and face climbs in the Park. The idea that a new crack route is less impactive than a new face climb is utter non-sense and not only unsupported by any actual data, but contrary to the one study actually conducted.

As an environmental matter, there are four potential areas of impact caused by climbers climbing a particular route:

1. Impacts resulting from the travel to the crag (informal vs. formal trails, and trail braiding). These impact plants and animals in a variety of ways.

2. Impacts at the base of the climb/crag. Depending on: (a) The type of surface along the base (rocks/boulders) or sensitive soils and plant communities, and (b) the amount of traffic: Impacts may be anything from non-existent to significant.

3. Impacts on the route.

A. On a crack, there may be plants and/or animals living in the crack (or there may be neither). Plants are most affected and the impact to animals is variable.

B. On a face, there may be small spiders, lichen and other such life behind flakes and on the face proper. At Josh, in most cases, the face is largely barren of in-situ life. Impacts tend to be minor or non-existent. To the extent that bolts are used as fixed protection, there is a very minor physical impact (which could be largely remediated if desired), and a visual impact (which can be largely remediated through use of painted and/or naturally colored hangers).

C. Chalk use. Chalk is a visible impact on both cracks and face climbs, but is as a general rule much more noticeable on face climbs. In most cases, chalk washes off non-overhanging routes.

4. Impacts on Descents.

A. Downclimbs. Sometimes a descent involves down-climbing rock and has little additional impacts. Many times there is some additional impacts resulting from a downclimb (even if limited to only the base area).

B. Rappels. Rappels down the route tend to have little impact on plant and animal communities at Josh (unless rappeling off trees or bushes). But, they then usually require some manner of fixed anchor which does result in an additional impact related to the fixed anchor.

It is my opinion, but one based upon facts -- rather than on a personal preference for either cracks or face climbing (I like both) -- that crack climbing has far greater potential for impacting plant and animal communities than face climbing.

Edited to ADD:

Factors Leading to Route Visitation. (1)It seems that distance from the road is the single most important factor in determining a route's popularity. (2) The second is the technical grade (moderate routes attract the overwhelming majority of aspirants). (3) The perceived quality of a route is a far, far, far distant third.

The fact remains that in Joshua Tree Wilderness, 90% of all climbers climb the same 5% of the routes (actually less than 5%).

The long and short of this is that climbers (and people) who profess to be anti-bolt in the name of impact control, may find that their arguments have little real world support. But, like anything, it depends.

Just like politics and religion, "beliefs" are often more powerful than fact. With climber impacts and resource protection, beliefs [EDITED TO ADD: or "personal preferences"] should have little place in the discussion.

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:06pm PT
Randy, what about:
 Human waste.
 Impacts on wildlife simply from humans being in an area, e.g. spooking mountain sheep?

Also, the symbolism involved in bolts, and some other activities of climbers, essentially suggesting that (from an outsider's perspective) we're prepared to do anything to get up a climb. Plus the increased route density = increased human density which indiscriminate bolting can lead to?

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:06pm PT
Don't forget the impact on the planet of driving there.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:11pm PT

Yes, human waste, garbage and just being in the proximity of some animals can cause impacts. Though these types of impacts are implicit in what I said, perhaps I should have mentioned them specifically.

Still, whether I sh!t or P on the way, at the base, or on top, of a face or crack route is the same impact. Same with trash and disturbing wildlife.

Most significantly, these types of impacts are the same whether I'm hiking, bird watching, or engaging in some other use of the outdoors. As such, it is misleading to emphasize those issues when specifically discussing "climbing impacts."

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
Lots of us know Khnom, Coz, you need to get out more.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:22pm PT
Khanom, Yes, bolts can cause a visual (and physical) impact. But, a properly camouflaged bolt and hanger is essentially invisible to any observer (sometimes to climbers). Chalk is far more visibly intrusive, even if often seasonal.

Bolts often are more of an existential problem than a real resource impact problem per se.
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:23pm PT

The reason some of us are talking about bolting and chipping is because the OP specifically emphasized these things the introductory statement:

The chipping, bolting, aggressive cleaning tactics, and vegetation damage in Joshua Tree's wilderness has not gone unnoticed by the park service.

People don't usually chip and bolt crack climbs, so many of were led to believe this specific message applied to face/sport climbs and/or bouldering.

The problem with this thread is not the opinions or knowledge of the posters. I believe everyone who has posted here has deep concern about impact in the park (even if they've never even been there.)

The problem is the cryptic nature of the OP and the lack of any actionable information.

Even so, I suppose it did do some good as it served as a reminder to keep doing what most of us already do. And I've learned a few things as well.

But I still have no idea whether or not the specific problem is being addressed, or if I can do anything about it next time I'm in JTree.


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
Am I the only one that finds it a tad disrespectful to start a thread as a government rep, throw out some veiled threats in that thread, and then refuse to engage in the conversation you started?

Or am I just missing the further contributions from Bernadette?

Social climber
So Cal
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:32pm PT
The OP wasn't about a random new bolted line. It was about steps hammered into 5.6 terrain to access the "real" climbing, rock furniture, fire rings and what in all probability was an "improved" long term campsite deep in the wilderness.

It has sparked a good discussion on overall impact though.

In the 40+ years I've been climbing there, the most obvious impacts are the now numerous approach trails and microtrash.

It seems like the biggest impact is from just getting to the crags.

Social climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:35pm PT

Or am I just missing the further contributions from Bernadette?

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:42pm PT
perhaps part of the josh dilemma lies between the ears of male climbers.

a famous female climber once remarked, to the effect, that guys tromping every last bit of stony countryside to "put up" routes was the equivalent of marking territory, "like dogs peeing".

get yerself a good hypnotist. teach yourself to think like god. meister eckhardt: "to god, all things are new". that way you can walk up to a rock, and it'll actually be the first time it was ever climbed, thanks to your self-hypnosis. you won't be fitting yourself into the subjugation you imagine towards the FA demigod and everyone else who has climbed the sucker since.

when i started guiding at josh last year, the report was that there were 4,000 climbs. by the end of the year, the report had gone up to 8,000. if you go by the reports on this thread, it's gone from 8,000 to 10,000 since the thread was first posted. a crisis indeed!

try this one for size. hike into the heart of the wonderland of rocks. or hike into a side canyon of the sierra nevada. climb something, if you have basic trad skills. don't name it. don't tell anyone else about it. don't even go back to it, 'cause probably no one else ever will.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
maybe respected...

Then again, maybe not.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev.
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:27pm PT
sketchy,,,somehow i feel part of your last post was directed at me.. Well perhaps you have a point, im not a developer of JT and have only been a visitor. BUT this thread like so many others has farther reaching capabilities than just the problem(s) at hand. BUT for every action some well known climber does,, COUNTLESS will use that as precendence when arguing one way or the other. Ive seen that first hand. And those countless are usually the less expirienced newer generation, which is whay i was speaking to ...If that clears anyhting up or not..?

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:44pm PT
she came back to explain why she couldn't say more. Coupla pages back

Gotcha, I missed it.

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
Let's see what's on go the fridge, get yourself a beer or 6, sit down, turn on the tube, and let's give it a rest here;....I believe it's time to move on......(Good post, Murf)........go fix a sandwich too.....and move along;....have you seen the Why Are Republicans Always Wrong Thread lately?'s really cool....
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev.
Mar 15, 2012 - 06:58pm PT
cant get my spell checker to work....sorry lol!
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