Delicate Arch Climbed? Part II

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Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Original Post - May 10, 2006 - 02:26pm PT
Ok folks,
continue the dialogue.

Was the climb an exultation of our rebelious spirit or an act of shameless self-promotion?
Mick K

climber
Northern Sierra
May 10, 2006 - 02:29pm PT
Shameless act of self promotion. Maybe Mr. Potter's wife, with her 1 week of law school (see, letter to Alpinist), got confused between legal and illegal.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 10, 2006 - 03:08pm PT
For sh|ts and giggles, here's a link to the Prime Post on this subject:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=189992&f=0&b=0

Please try to make all new responses right here in this new thread.



As for my opnion on the act, I doubt it was an FA. I don't know the details of how the folks involved got the story out (maybe they sent the vid to Patigucchi without thinking it'd be released it to the press), but I don't think promoting the climb furthers our sport.

However, it sure gives us Tacos something to chew on while we wait for the season to get into full swing! Pass me that beer, this ain't close to being over. And while I didn't know him, I can't help but ask: What would Walt say?

[Edit: after reading the SLC Trib article detailing how long Dean scopped the route, looks more likely it was an FA...]
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
May 10, 2006 - 03:11pm PT
Some Dude -

Yup, someone speed climbed the icon of Utah over the weekend and spent some time standing on top...there's 16 x 9 HD video of the whole thing, and it's going to raise a shitstorm of controversy.

Dean Potter -

"This was one of the most beautiful climbs I've ever done," Potter said. "For me, it was just an overwhelming experience, as if the formation was vibrating with energy."

"I am very conscientious about following nature's rules. I respected the arch to the fullest......"What has our world come to if we cannot join nature by climbing one of nature's most beautiful features?"


My take --

Whenever we pursue intimiate, transendental experiences in nature it's important, NO CRITICAL! that it be videotaped in high-definition format for IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE!

I think a lot of climbers probably see a cognative dissonance between his actions and his words.


Editorial in Salt Lake Tribune

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3802787
vegastradguy

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV
May 10, 2006 - 03:28pm PT
That he climbed it doesnt really bother me, but the way he did it really does-- and for more than just the reason that he's pissed off the NPS and caused waves there that will likely impact climbing at some point.

I'm also concerned because other land management agencies are going to see this and its just one of those things that shapes their perceptions of climbers, whether we like it or not.

Foremost on my mind is Red Rock, which is currently having its Wilderness Management plan drafted and scoping meetings in the coming weeks. Now, I doubt this will have a direct effect, but how are the BLM officials going to see the climbers who come to these meetings after hearing about Potter's stunt in Utah? It may well affect credibility and may have some impact on the plan that is being drafted.

If he wanted to climb it that bad, he should have just climbed it--- just like the rest of us would have. Calling the media was just grandstanding, and I have to say that I'm a little more than disappointed in Dean.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
May 10, 2006 - 03:35pm PT
Survey says:..... "not illegal"

details: http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3804296
piquaclimber

Trad climber
Durango
May 10, 2006 - 03:38pm PT
I am surprised that there is any support for Dean in this endeavor.

Dingus, I am most surprised by your stance. Part of me still hopes you're trolling.

Personally, I couldn't care less what Dean or anyone does until they threaten access for the rest of us. Dean has managed to draw bad publicity to the Arches climbing community twice in a month. What's to discuss? It was an ego driven move that could hurt all of us. What a dick.

Brad
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2006 - 03:44pm PT
"Vibrating with energy"?

Sounds like he might be looking to expand alternate endorsement possibilities.
paulj

climber
utah
May 10, 2006 - 03:51pm PT
Sorry, Russ, it was illegal. Only with the most painful parsing of words could one construe the policy as leaving Delicate Arch open to climbing.

On a personal note, I do regret my flaming of Potter in yesterday's thread. The following represents a more considered approach and has been submitted to the Salt Lake Tribune as an Op-Ed piece; I have no idea if they'll publish it.

An Op-Ed Piece for the SLT

Paul M. Jakus


A couple of years back the Outdoor Retail Show threatened to leave Utah due to the state’s perceived lack of support for the non-motorized recreation community. The retailers argued the state gave too much “weight” to motorized recreation community in public lands management, an argument partially rooted in the belief that the motorized folks flouted regulations designed to limit user conflicts and damage to public lands.


Now we have Dean Potter, a non-motorized user of public lands, who decided to climb Delicate Arch in clear violation of the climbing regulations of Arches National Park. Yes, one of their own decided to violate the rules.


Or, should I say, “one of our own”, for I am a climber of more than thirty years, and I am outraged by the indefensible actions of Mr. Potter.


Potter’s statement that climbing Delicate Arch was not illegal is self-serving and disingenuous at best, and an outright lie at worst. Every climber understands that access to climbing resources on public land is governed by a climbing management plan. Prior to his climb the Arches National Park website specifically stated that all named arches on 7.5 minute USGS maps were off-limits to climbing. In fact, all the climbing management plans in areas with such features have a similar statement. How stupid does Mr. Potter think the Park Service is? How stupid does he think other climbers and the public are? Pretty stupid, I guess.


Mr. Potter’s actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for our sport’s history. I remember the days when the number of climbers and the damage we caused was small. But the rapid growth of our community over the past three or four decades meant that we could no longer ignore the damage we caused ourselves and others. In the 1970’s climbers engaged in self-regulation as we moved from exclusive use of rock-scarring pitons to so-called “clean-climbing” techniques. With the advent of climbing management plans in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, climbers banded together in regional and national organizations to negotiate with land managers about access issues. Such plans always designate the formations on which climbing is prohibited. Over the past two decades we climbers have become acutely aware that the actions of one person could affect access for the community as a whole.


But along with the growth our sport came the opportunity to move up the social ladder from “dirtbag climber” to “professional climber”. Mr. Potter is a professional climber paid in cash and kind by numerous outdoor equipment companies to have his exploits and photographs—sponsor’s logo prominently displayed—published in outdoor magazines. Indeed, the announcement of Mr. Potter’s ascent of Delicate Arch came from his sponsor, Patagonia. To maintain sponsorship, a professional climber must stay in the public eye, something for which Mr. Potter is apparently richly gifted.



About a month ago Mr. Potter’s “slackline” stunt on The Three Gossips (similar to a tight-rope walk between rock spires) caught the eye of climbers and the National Park Service. Less than a week later, all slacklining in Arches was banned. And now Mr. Potter has climbed Delicate Arch, apparently hoping to profit from an action that puts climbing access to Arches at risk to all climbers. Let’s face it: the easiest management policy is an absolute ban on all climbing. Such a policy would be so simple that even Dean Potter could understand it, yet would punish the rest of us.


All of which brings us back to the Outdoor Retail Show. The companies that participate in this trade show must band together on behalf of all climbers and condemn the actions of Mr. Potter and the complicity of Patagonia. His actions are clearly motivated by sponsorship, and his sponsors should show respect for other climbers by immediately terminating their relationship with Potter. Only if we, as a community of climbers and equipment manufacturers, assure land managers that we can engage in self-regulation and self-censure will these same managers allow us access for enjoyment by all.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
May 10, 2006 - 03:58pm PT
Loop hole = not illegal = can't be reamered

Arches acting Chief Ranger Karen McKinlay-Jones believes Potter's actions on Sunday violated the intent of park regulations but said the park's solicitor advised that Potter cannot be prosecuted because the regulation "was not worded well."

Intent is all fine and good, but clear words are what put guys in the cuffs.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 10, 2006 - 04:03pm PT
Here's the wording of the climbing restrictions before they enhanced them after Potter's ascent:

"Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps; on Balanced Rock year-round; on Bubo from January 1st to June 30th; on Industrial Disease on the Devil Dog Spire from January 1st to June 30th."

Now:

"Effective May 9, 2006, under the authority of Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1), all rock climbing or similar activities on any arch or natural bridge named on the United States Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographical maps covering Arches National Park are prohibited."
jsavage

climber
Bishop, CA
May 10, 2006 - 04:10pm PT
"Mr. Potter’s actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for our sport’s history."

from the op-ed by paul

seems to me he gave homage to our history. (Though I wish it weren't on film and I wish it was done on the sly.)

Again, this is climbing. What do you call beating on El Cap with a hammer?

Jim
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
May 10, 2006 - 04:18pm PT
....Lawyers.....

Can someone please explain how the original regulation is somehow more vague than the new rewritten version? They both seem pretty damn clear to me!
paulj

climber
utah
May 10, 2006 - 04:18pm PT
Russ, if we all start looking for loopholes there won't be any loopholes left. CMPs will be very simple: no climbing allowed.

Can't you see it coming to this? Check out the slacklining regulation...any room for doubt here?

"In addition, 'slacklining' in Arches National Park is prohibited. Slacklining is defined as walking on a rope or other line that is anchored between rock formations, trees, or any other natural features. Height of the rope above the ground is immaterial."


Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 10, 2006 - 04:21pm PT
Outdoor retailer show out of Utah? Yahoo!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Same place as you, man...... (WB)
May 10, 2006 - 04:22pm PT
Paul.. it is coming to "this" regardless. Find a loophole and have some fun.

"We the people...."
lost

climber
truckee
May 10, 2006 - 04:25pm PT
Sounds like the park has taken all the regulatory action it is going to by rewording their regs. So I think crying over the access thing is just about over.
George Bell

Trad climber
Colorado
May 10, 2006 - 04:36pm PT
Dean's defense is almost down to the level of:
"It depends on what your definition of "is" is." -WJC

My guess, based on the NPS action (or lack of), was that Dean Potter did actually ask a ranger if rock climbing on arches was illegal. When the ranger replied "Yes!" Dean asked, "You mean, using ropes and pitons and all that stuff?" After the ranger said "Yes", voila! Dean now has a free pass to free solo up arches and that poor ranger is under the gun, and this is the reason they posted a "changed" regulation which is nearly identical to the old one.

Just a guess, though ...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2006 - 04:44pm PT
"I did not have climbing relations with that rock."
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
May 10, 2006 - 04:58pm PT
Ron-- =D hahaha
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