Joshua Tree Ethics


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"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 15, 2012 - 08:46pm PT
Second, the impacts that precipitated this thread by Bernadette were not perpetrated by newly minted sport climbers. These people have been around for decades.

That's very disturbing. I considered Joshua Tree a special place even before I started climbing. It's a wonderful experience to climb a formation there, and then drink in the view from the top.

Purposely defiling it is criminal in many ways.

Social climber
The Past
Mar 16, 2012 - 02:08am PT
One of the reasons for less well protected bolt routes (in addition to where the stances were) was the desire to minimize how many bolts were placed. One used to pay the dues, earn the experience and confidence, then try to push it as far as possible before drilling. And then try to do even better next time. Less was desirable because it was purer and had less impact. It was/is more than ego.

Ironic, run it and people call you whacko, selfish, a resource abuser (exclusionary). Protect that route well so that the nominal climber at the route grade can be completely safe and people call you a "sport" climber, one dimensional, a resource abuser (overuse). Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Banning all bolts for face climbing would completely eliminate an entire dimension of climbing, one that has a long and rich history. A bad thing for those many people who do enjoy or prefer face climbing. But lest this comment be misinterpreted, out of control bolting is also a bad thing. There is a middle ground, bolting can be done responsibly.

I, like some others, wouldn't mind this thread fading away. Not because the issues shouldn't be discussed - chipping, chopping steps, destroying vegetation needs to be called out - but rather because some of the comments are not correct, nor are they constructive.

Bringing tangent extremes to this thread, when it may be (ok, is) watched, may not be the best idea. Leave the bias and predjudice behind as much as possible if something needs to be said.

We all disapprove of the environmental damage called out in the OP. We don't all agree about bolts being good/bad or where they cross the line from one side to the other. Throwing each other under the bus because of those disagreements may be a bad thing, as we'll all end up getting run over.

Mar 16, 2012 - 11:18am PT
Quite simply, we lose it when we invest emotion in a discussion. It ceases to be a discussion.

For my own part had I encountered bolted climbing first I would have just walked on by. Of no interest at all. So purely artificial.
James Wilcox

Boulder climber
The Coast
Mar 16, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
I was just waitin' for someone to ba called a slut. Then I would have
known we had hit rock bottom :)
FWIW-I thought Khanom expressed his views nicely. And held it together
when attacked. Kudos.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Mar 16, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
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.

Well, yeah. And I claim that this lack of understanding is a large contributor to personal devaluation of the stuff they're thrashing.

They don't understand that it's no different than their own home, so they don't value it's preservation.

They don't value it's preservation, so they don't consider it irresponsible to thrash it.

It's not valuable to them (in their conscious decision making, that is), and they either don't understand or don't care that it is valuable to others.

@Tony Bird:
the environmental movement has turned to gazing at its own navel, concentrating on the pretty little places and letting the rest of the world go to heck. that's because it's up against political forces which fail to respond so that a policy of integrity can be worked out. i'm talking about industry and effluent and air pollution, the latter which could have been gotten under control years ago if someone hadn't killed the electric car.

Which environmental movement? The environmental movement that I'm aware of does not ignore the bigger picture of industry and pollution.

Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network... Hayduke seems to be alive and well.

Social climber
The Past
Mar 16, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
There have been some articulate posts on both sides. There have also been others not so much so. People are certainly entitled to their views, and there may be some validity to those views that merits consideration. The question seems more where, when, and how the views are presented.

I may have unfairly seized on what I consider an extreme solution. It makes me uncomfortable when only one side is taken into account. It's not about the messenger(s) per se.

Since I'm contributing to drift, and engaging to an extent in what I'd like to see not happen in this thread, I'll leave it at that.
The user formerly known as stzzo

Sneaking up behind you
Mar 16, 2012 - 04:27pm PT
Coz, I know Khanom almost like a brother.

He isn't jealous of your climbing ability, you're misinterpreting the posts...

No, I won't give his name because I respect his right to make that decision. His name has been posted many times on, so it's not as though there's a veil of secrecy or hiding behind an avatar.


Kent Richards

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 16, 2012 - 04:41pm PT
stzzzzo, at the risk of serious thread drift I would like to point you towards
the rancorous schism that troubled the Sierra Club when it pointedly refused
to address the issue of population growth.

Mar 16, 2012 - 06:03pm PT
Personally, im apaulled at several areas climbers have created. The Owens gorge being one of them

Whats wrong with the gorge, its great! It wasn't created by climbers, it was carved by the Owens River, climbers just climbed there.

I saw a picture of a 'chipper' climbing in one of those new Josh guide books,
it made me nervous, he learned from one of those other 'chippers', he loves to 'chip' at his home area, and I think his instructor had something to do with 'refiners fire'. PHUK both of those guys!!


Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Mar 16, 2012 - 06:25pm PT
I'm with Dave on this.

We should let "The Black Hand" take care of these perps.

It so simple to understand. Rats who chip holds are just punk thieves.
They steal from all of us.

We need the Local NPS to do it's job. Cite and prosecute them, so we have a trial, then WE know who it is and we (climbers) will do the rest.....


Trad climber
Joshua tree ca
Mar 16, 2012 - 09:14pm PT
Today I climbed at Patagonia Pile. At the base was a mixture of broken Newcastle and Heineken bottles.......We cleaned them up best we could.......

Rule #1 Dont sh#t on top of any formation
Rule #2 Pack out your TP
Rule #3 Pros drink canned beer and pack them out! Broken bottles are f*#king lame!

I am a inbred JT local. If I see you break any of the above rules EXPECT TO BE CONFRONTED, WRAPPED IN TP, SHAT UPON, AND BOTTLES BROKEN OVER YOUR HEAD!

Joshua Tree is a gem, educate others, protect it!!!!!!!!!!!

Bernadette is a mega blessing as a liaison between us and the park service.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Mar 16, 2012 - 09:31pm PT
At the base was a mixture of broken Newcastle and Heineken bottles..

Seth, I think it is worth pointing out that it is highly unlikely that the broken bottles you found out behind HVCC were left by climbers.

Thanks for cleaning up someone's mess.


Trad climber
Josh, CA
Mar 16, 2012 - 10:01pm PT
"At the base was a mixture of broken Newcastle and Heineken bottles.."

It definitely was not real climbers. Real climbers can't afford to drink that good shit!

Thanks for cleaning it up!!!

I have to admit, I just don't get the mentality of people who think that chipping, "gluey", trashing etc are acceptable practices.
ME Climb

Behind the Orange Curtain
Mar 16, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
@rlf- you sure have no problems drinking my Newcastle!

Seriously though if there is enough to prosecute these people maybe we should hear about it so we can take any other appropriate actions


Trad climber
Josh, CA
Mar 16, 2012 - 10:23pm PT
Never going to happen. This is something that needs to be settled "in house".

We all make our mistakes in life. The general idea is that when we do something that is completely unacceptable, we learn from that mistake, or at least make a feeble attempt.

This clearly isn't the case here.

Prosecuting won't solve anything.
ME Climb

Behind the Orange Curtain
Mar 16, 2012 - 10:26pm PT
Then let's take what ever other steps need to be taken!

dont make me come over there
Mar 17, 2012 - 07:40pm PT
Make a sport climbing area at JT to coddle gym trained climbers who are terrified of a "trad rack"?

What is this sport coming to? Nobody should have anything done for them, if you cant find what you like here, then go someplace else. The only thing that im concerned about regarding the gym/sport crowd is that so many have no idea how to act around cliffs and other climbers, and that ignorance puts them, others and the environment at risk.

As for the quality of their experience, they can create their own experience like everybody else. Maybe we should put in one of those MacDonalds play areas for them too.

If you need your hand held you are in the wrong sport.

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Mar 17, 2012 - 07:43pm PT
pukie brown and heniousiken,

real climbers would have busted up some pliney bottles

or maybe a lagunitas ipa, with the sweet hops,

would anybody care for a hot buttery meatloaf or some crab cakes?

what kind of dressing?

mashed pototoes or baked potptoe?

who here can puke up a corn beef cabbage sandwich in front of an irish priest?


Mountain climber
Sammamish, WA
Mar 21, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Dudes and Dudette's,

I learned to trad climb in JT over a period of 10 days. Came down from Anchorage the day after Christmas 1999, camped in the park and got spanked on any number of 'easy' bolted routes but fell in love with the place. I endeavored to perservere, bought some trad gear at the local climbing shop and gave it a go. Consequently I have a very limited amount of patience for whiny sport route gym rats crying for more bolted climbs in JT. Just back away from the bolt gun and embrace your inner trad child. Seriously. Learn something new you can take to the Sierras, Cascades, Tetons and Alaska Range like I have since my early trad days in JT. Do the words, "nut up" have any significance for you?

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Bernadette = JT's greatest climbing resource.

Let's not over-bolt her.
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