Joshua Tree Ethics

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RtM

climber
DHS
May 15, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
not to get off-topic, but has anyone done much hiking around Utah? Apparently, welling out steps is an acceptable practice amongst hikers there, because I come across them frequently. Guess they figure if the natives did it...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 15, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
RtM, as you no doubt know, most hikers aren't carrying children and baskets
of corn. Besides, it was their land. :-)
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
May 15, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Let me be VERY CLEAR about this:

I am NOT responsible for these acts! Nor is Grahm Doe! He and I both climbed in that area some time ago, but all of the recent development there has been at the hands of others. I've been speaking with Robert, Kevin Daniels, Tom Murphy and others about this behind the scenes and am trying to find out for sure who is to blame for this.

My last visit to the area was a few years ago when Robert wanted to shoot some photos on Survivor. I remember there maybe being a piece of fixed rope there then and I've been racking my brain to try and remember if the drilled steps were there then or not. I can't say for certain as I did not go up into the Chasm proper on that trip. Prior to that day, it had been years since I was out there.

To think that someone would think this was acceptable behavior is mind boggling to me. Yes, it is a long walk, but to me that long walk always added to the overall experience of climbing on Queen Mountain and other remote JT areas. I would never contemplate backcountry camping and fire pits, and the rest of this. Further, it is very easy for climbers good enough to climb the routes there to access all areas of the Chasm. There is absolutely ZERO problem accessing the routes. It makes no sense at all why a fixed rope or drilled steps could be rationalized as necessary. As climbers, we are tasked with being stewards of the areas we visit. These actions do not reflect very well on our stewardship. I can only take solace in the fact that these are the actions of one or two people and not the community as a whole.

I have only climbed a few of the routes in the Chasm, and on those routes there were no manufactured holds. I can only imagine that what Bernadette saw must have been on the more recent additions. The rock on that wall is very dark, so I imagine any manufacturing of the rock would stand out in sharp contrast color-wise. I also remember that wall being pretty featured in its natural state.

I have my suspicions as to who may be involved, as does Robert above, but those are based on similar enhancements at other areas by that person. I asked him point blank about this and he vehemently denied his involvement. I also asked his partner about it and he too denied being involved or any knowledge of his partner doing any of it. Short of an admission of guilt or definite proof, I'm not sure what can be done about this. What I do hope is that this will create a very public notice that this type of behavior is NOT ACCEPTABLE EVER, and that anyone contemplating something similar will refrain.

 Louie Anderson
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
May 15, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Too funny Locker. Ran into Tom Murphy a few days ago at a slide show in Costa Mesa and we were talking about this. I don't come to the Taco much these days, but did this morning and saw this thread. When I saw where the assumptions were leading I wanted to remove the target from my back on this.

Robert suspects Gary Henning, as did I, along with others (Blame Canada post above). He says he didn't do it so I'm not sure where to go from here.

It saddens me greatly to know that this happened.
RtM

climber
DHS
May 15, 2012 - 01:31pm PT
I'm not ripping on natives Reilly. I have climbed out of cliff dwellings on authentic Moki steps, and it was a moving experience. The modern ones though, I find to be mildly disgusting
RtM

climber
DHS
May 15, 2012 - 01:39pm PT
Thanks for your insight Louie! I have seen enough episodes of Forensic Files to know that strong circumstancial evidence can still lead to incorrect conclusions.

The circumstancial here is damning tho

I mean, drilled steps leading directly to the guys routes in several other areas?
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
May 15, 2012 - 01:40pm PT
I agree completely Robert.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 15, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
It might be pointed out that perps often, if not usually, vigorously assert their innocence.
It is part of their mindset concerning right and wrong, responsibility, and
good old-fashioned denial.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 15, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
OMG, a ban on drilled steps?
(that was sarcasm)

Reading Bernadette's post made me sick to my stomach. The selfish acts of the guilty party are in no way imputed to 99.9% of the climbers who frequent JT. This is real and permanent damage, not some intellectual debate about some chipped hold 80 feet off the ground. This behavior screams enforcement of the existing climbing rules, i.e. a ban on access to the Park fr the guilty party.

This vandalism essentially wiped out the work of dozens of volunteers who helped at the Intersection Rock replanting, it is a slap in the face to those volunteers.

I would be more than willing to help clean up that mess, is the crowbar still there?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
May 15, 2012 - 02:15pm PT
Sickening beyond belief. Whoever did this isn't a climber, they are a piece of sh#t deserving no sympathy.

But has anyone noticed the Park Service's reaction? Is anyone paying attention?

There have been so many comments on this site about the NPS, about knee-jerk reactions, all the flaming about "the man" over the years. And yet what I am seeing is a calm, totally legitimate reaction to an absolute outrage.

I'm impressed.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 15, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
A local climber has already been out, dismantled fire pits, took out trash, and moved stones back to natural places that had been moved to accomodate convience. Filling in the chiseled steps would be the next thing for someone to do;......I believe these photos were taken awhile ago;......some restoration has taken place since these pics...
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 15, 2012 - 03:20pm PT
how would the innocent react to an accusation?

more emphatically?
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
May 15, 2012 - 03:39pm PT
Not saying the guy is lying, but I'm not sure I'd be in a big fat hurry to take the word of anyone who would do that kind of damage in a backcountry area and leave all climbers left holding the bag. You could certainly see, with the natives sharpening their arrows, that they would have some SERIOUS motivation to deny ever having been in the area, regardless of the truth. My experience has been that when it gets this serious, flat out denial (as with presidents, presidential candidates, etc.) is the first course of defense.
Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
May 15, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
A local climber has already been out, dismantled fire pits, took out trash, and moved stones back to natural places that had been moved to accomodate convience. Filling in the chiseled steps would be the next thing for someone to do;......I believe these photos were taken awhile ago;......some restoration has taken place since these pics...

Thanks, Todd.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 15, 2012 - 11:24pm PT
This is so f'ing sad. So many people have spent so much time and energy to minimize the impact of climbing at JT. Hope that rules the day and not the acts of a few ignorant boneheads.

We spent many years exploring Queen Mountain and hoping to leave it almost as pristine as we found it. There is magic up there.

Todd,

Many thanks to everyone everyone making it better. I will be there in a few weeks and do what I can as well.
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
May 15, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
So what is being said, by the FA crew of all those routes, is "we didn't do it, and we don't know who did it". You have got to be f*#king kidding me. That is one steaming pile of bullshit right there, and you guys are either some of the largest f*#k heads on Earth, or are protecting some of the largest f*#k heads on Earth. I'm just not buying it. Your past is nipping at your heels and your pathetic legacy has really been cast in stone, or chipped in stone so to speak.

Khanom is onto something with his post,
( http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1772094&msg=1826240#msg1826240 )
but.... too F'n bad. Sometimes the questionable innocents need to find the guilty, or suffer their fate. Who did this???

I hope the PS actually does something, anything really, to make it perfectly clear that this sh#t is not how it is done, not condoned, and its practitioners will be held accountable. I'm all for chopping every bolt out there and declaring the area a dead zone.
LongAgo

Trad climber
May 16, 2012 - 12:31am PT
To: Bernadette Regan, JT Climbing Ranger

I suggest you contact Rangers at Pinnacles National Monument as you are facing a replay of what occurred there in the 80s chipped holds, chopped vegetation and random paths to access rocks, bolting frenzy via top rope techniques, with power drills sometimes used, and disregard of a raptor program attempting to reintroduce condors to the Park. The entire history, response of the climbing community and Park Service is instructive.

Long and short: alarmed climbers under threat of total climbing bans across large areas at the Monument organized into the Friends of Pinnacles and agreed to ground up climbing only for FAs, no chipping, no new access trails, no power drills, seasonal closings of selected cliffs during raptor nesting and dissemination of all the agreements through the FOP website and PS websites. Park Service also enlisted FOP in development of new but limited cliff access trails. PS also was wise enough to recognize and honor climbing as a significant and accomplished use at Pinnacles in displays and brochures, including large history posters at the new west side visitor center. Sometime, a win win is possible with adroit mix of regulation and cooperation.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
JMC

climber
the swamp
May 16, 2012 - 09:26am PT
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=856159&tn=0

Deny deny deny.
pud

climber
Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
May 16, 2012 - 09:43am PT
Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that it took an outside party (Ranger) to bring this serious problem to the forefront of this community?

It sound like we know who did most of it. I certainly won't be roping up with these fools. The only thing that can be done at this point, besides the clean up (thanks for the update Todd) is to shine a spotlight on the perps and keep it there until they leave this sport.

Even if that takes a while.
socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
May 16, 2012 - 10:18am PT
I and others have already stated who we think is responsible. I guess a repetition is in order for those who would try to lay this on me:

I have never spent the night on Queen Mountain, nor did I make a fire or anything of the sort up there. To the best of my knowledge, neither did Grahm Doe.

My single route at the Chasm does not have any manufactured holds on it, nor do any of Grahm's routes.

I did not chip access steps into any rock there (or elsewhere), nor did I leave a fixed line. Neither did Grahm.

Both of us have been gone from that crag (and Joshua Tree at large)for many years. The more recent route additions at the Chasm came at the hands of Gary Henning and others.

I am beyond upset that someone has done these things there, and also that some would blame me for this. I did not do any of it. I've got calls into Gary and his partner, with no return calls yet. I did speak to him about this a few weeks ago though, when he denied it all. I'll stay on it...

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