Joshua Tree Ethics

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Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev.
Mar 14, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
True enough Jstan,,theres winds a blowin and i bet we all know the possiblities of its destination.




Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 14, 2012 - 11:29pm PT
I'd say that, more importantly, it comes down to personal opinions on what "responsible" and "critical resource" mean.

These are dependent on belief systems and values, which vary from person to person.


This is largely so IMO but I reject the proto-post modern idea that all such things are merely social constructions that can be interpreted many ways, each equally true.

Case in point, "responsible" or at any rate, "ecologically conscious," simply means that seek to limit your impact to a place to a bare minimum. There isn't a great deal of wiggle room here for "interpretations." You either basically leave the place like you round it, or you don't.

I climbed over a hundred FAs at Josh and hardly ever had to use bolts. But at that time we could do ten FAs in a day if we wanted to do and not leave Hidden Valley.

JL
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 12:00am PT
Like Largo I started climbing in JT in 1970. I have seen the evolution. I have climbed many FA's and can count the amount of bolts I personally have drilled on my fingers and toes. Some by hand and some by power. I don't do as many FA's as a lot of my friends.

I have climbed other people's routes with bolts and loved them. They were placed on a natural line in harmony with the rock, and with what it allowed. There is something really special about climbing a route and leaving minimal trace (other than maybe some chalk).

When nuts became available, we gave up pins. When cams were invented, nuts were relegated to a different place on the rack, but still there.

Bolts were reserved for places where there were no other options. For stances (real or hooked), or anchors on a blank face or summit.

Minimal impact should be the ethic to preserve the beauty of rocks and surrounding environment.

I know this is subjective, but I have to keep putting it out there.





The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Mar 15, 2012 - 11:00am PT
This is largely so IMO but I reject the proto-post modern idea that all such things are merely social constructions that can be interpreted many ways, each equally true.

Case in point, "responsible" or at any rate, "ecologically conscious," simply means that seek to limit your impact to a place to a bare minimum. There isn't a great deal of wiggle room here for "interpretations." You either basically leave the place like you round it, or you don't.

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've been around people who really don't give a damn what impact they leave on the land, the animals, etc. I interpreted their attitudes to mean that they don't value the conservation / preservation of nature.

It follows for me that if a resource isn't valued by a person, then it's not irresponsible in their eyes to destroy it.
Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 15, 2012 - 11:18am PT
TY:
Safety lies between one's ears.
Boy, am I in trouble.

Brokedownclimber:
Point taken. The last time I climbed Stichter Quits, it was still Black Tide. However recent posts over on Mountain Project are claiming it's a 5.8+, PG 13 these days, and our own Dee ee suggested a 5.9 rating. There is a possible nasty ankle and leg breaking fall before reaching the first bolt.

I did see a girl from New York sprain her ankle there. Still, there's no way that it's 5.9. I could never lead 5.9 at Josh.

Sorry to go off on a tangent, this is a very interesting thread. I'll try to make the climber's coffee Saturday.

edit: stzzo makes a very good point, which lies at the heart of the matter.

locker

Social climber
CO
Mar 15, 2012 - 11:23am PT



Is it OK to be discussing this online now???...



Just checking...


Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2012 - 11:29am PT
Of course one of the resources that has been "depleted" is unclimbed cracks that can be protected cleanly.

So today there is a much higher ratio of FAs on face and slab vs. crack climbs. And the use of bolts increases...

This is not a judgement of right/wrong, just an observed reality about this point in history. If you wanna do a FA in JTree (or many other places), the possibilities are much more limited than they were 30 years ago.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 12:02pm PT
stzzo, you're leading us into a gray area which has become a favorite peeve of mine.

personally, i pick up others' trash--occasionally--if there isn't too much of it. when an area gets really bad, i think it's time to organize a cleanup.

but i also step back another step and look at the culture and what the culture is doing. dennis banks, the great american indian movement activist, used to complain that his home reservation in south dakota was practically covered with pampers. mothers would throw them out--just as they may have done with waste back in teepee days--and the wind would blow them everywhere. old tribal life involved moving from a site when it got too worn. then the area would recover naturally. such behavior is part of culture and it's hard to change.

so let's look at what white man culture does. what's worse--pampers--mostly tree fiber--and babysh#t, or a nuke spill into the pacific ocean such as we were treated to by the japanese a year ago, and which might easily happen here at san onofre?

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.

watch that movie, who killed the electric car.

and check my post at the end of this thread, which compares the big hoopla over a little frog habitat with what really happens when big money is part of the equation.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1459010&tn=80

so, yea. keep joshua tree clean. but there are much bigger battles out there. please don't forget them, or think that you are doing enough by being a neat park visitor.

------------------------------


sorry for a long post, but this thread is worth three good threads and a million "somebody kicked my dog" trolls. if you're bored by tony bird, just go down to where locker reminds you about what yer gonna do.

i went over to the echo area with a couple friends from the pit last year. they were young people, had been climbing a bit--clark jacobs took them under his wing for a week, so you can bet they were well-primed. but, come to find out, neither had done a lead climb yet. so she undertook stichter. she took quite awhile, but managed to clip that first bolt. then she took a fall on it. that's enough for now.

then her boyfriend stepped up and sent the whole thing smoothly like he'd been climbing for 150 years. it was his first real lead on real rock. beautiful.

prior to that, i led stick to what. i had climbed it, maybe even led it, couldn't remember, more than 20 years ago and wanted to revisit an old friend. wow--what a bracing old friend. what i noticed is that, once you figure out that first, bolt-protected move, each subsequent move over the 20-30 feet to the next bolt is just slightly easier. that makes it a real classic. if i had fallen in that territory, it would have been nice to have had a belayer practiced in running off to shorten the catch to prevent it from being a grounder. a dangerous climb. the NPS interpretive sign at the echo parking lot calls it a 5.9; it used to be considered a 5.9 slab classic. miramontes puts it at 10aR. gaines doesn't even include it in best climbs--perhaps it has broken a lot of bones over the years.

gaines does include stichter quits and nearby double dip, which he rates 5.6PG. i've never climbed double dip, but i can only imagine noob sport climbers here from europe or rockreation confronted with what they hope might be a "sport" wall with these bracing routes on it. and the rumors i hear about gordon's climbs is that--hehehe--mighty sporty, my friends, mighty sporty.

----------------


anyway, one last bit here, turning over the stage to willis keys, son of the late and noteworthy bill keys, and art kidwell in growing up at the desert queen ranch, available at the NPS visitors center:

historic precedent
historic precedent
Credit: Tony Bird
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2012 - 12:27pm PT
You're right, many climbers may never get a chance at an FA...... tough luck, it's no excuse to chip a route.

Whoa!...Just to be clear: I was providing an explanation for the increase in bolting...not providing a justification for chipping.

I've never done either.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Mar 15, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
Walk softly and carry a big stick clipper.
WBraun

climber
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
But all those stonemaster guys did all the first ascents.

There's none left!!!!

I must chip new route.

Whaaaaa, I hate those stonemasters ......
Dave Kos

Trad climber
Temecula
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
Chippers are lame.

But let's not forget the first generation of climbers did more damage to the rock with pitons than even the worst chippers will do in the next few centuries.

Damage is damage - the rock knows nothing of "ethics."

Everybody is guilty to some degree, no matter how high our horse.

Still waiting for fattrad's list of FAs.

pud

climber
Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:28pm PT
Ironically, I think desert racers can teach desert climbers a thing or two about envornmental awareness.

There is no ambiguity in the meaning of "responsible" behavior in the desert racing community.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev.
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
there are new frontiers by the dozens...Just a bit farther from the beaten path ..Ive managed to climb areas the weve had pretty much ALL to ourselves. And it wasnt hard to do. All it takes is open eyes and at least one active brain cell.

Its been a long time since i was at Jtree for the very reasons i describe above. Its been "zoo-ish" for a while. For some reason,, having to yell at some wad to NOT STEP on my rope as he passed just blew the whole atmosphere. I remember Dano loosing "shelly" down there- probably carted off by a b-cat or lion. Theres a TON of routes already there -perhaps more than the eco-system can sustain giving the volume of traffic. Deserts are slow recoverys but then again its just desert right? Wrong! Its a somewhat fragile system of life- salamanders under the bark of the joshua trees, blue-belly lizards, bobcats and jack rabbits.. And of course, the rock formations particular to that area. I know i NEVER thought that climbing would be in "style" to so many BITD, nor did i forsee the trend of bolting and the gym-based styles of newer climbers. History of areas and ethics USED to be a strong consideration and most all climbers became informed through research and camp fires. Todays generation seems to have lost that whole historical background. Theft of anchors, retrobolting routes as they please, bolting routes where-ever they please- all in the name of the new mantra "safety and enjoyment". And in each situation, what is created is MORE USE by MORE people. In essence, we feed the problem...Writing a guide- SURELY feeds the problem of enviromental impact. Im guilty of that and have seen the results first hand. Yet, if a guide ISNT written, the areas continue to be debveloped in a foggy trend of "what-ever".. Modern guides should make a very deep effort to include historical info on any given area including ethics and long accepted "standards"- and many fall very flat there.

Hopefully, JTree can survive this all!

locker

Social climber
CO
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:45pm PT

Simple equation = as the population grows, so does everything else, good and bad...

More people = more SH!T in this case...

But also more people that CARE...

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev.
Mar 15, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
true that Locker,,,BUT remember the ol saying,,, 10,000 atta boyz can be erased by one awwwshit!
locker

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


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

So TRUE!!!...

...

pud

climber
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.
Largo

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.

JL
Murf

climber
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...
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