Paint Free Santee: Feb 10th

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Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 24, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Copied and pasted from my public Facebook invitation with 85 signups as of 2/9/13:

The Santee boulders have been covered in spray paint since I started bouldering there in 1999. The climbing community has decided that it's time to change that, and needs your help. A collaboration between a group of climbers will be heading out there Feb 10th to rid the boulders of all spray paint in one mega effort. The cleanup is being organized by a collaboration of local climbers, including the USD Climbing Team, and is sponsored by the Allied Climbers of San Diego and Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center.

We did a trial run a month ago, and made a successful dent, completely ridding the Donkey boulder of all paint for the first time in well over a decade. What we learned was that we need two things in large quantity: water and people willing to scrub. Removing the paint is not easy, and requires heavy scrubbing with steel brushes, pressure washers, a lot of "Taginator", and hundreds of gallons of water.

This is where you come in. In order for this event to be successful, simply put, we need YOUR help. Bring your shoes, chalk, and crash pads, and hopefully we can get enough people out there that we have some scrubbing and others climbing, and we can cycle through. I have organized a very successful similar event up at Woodson, and it was a really good time. Sign up, spread the word (and this invite) with enthusiasm, and if you have a large jugs of water that hold 3-7 gallons, please bring it full so we can drive it up the hill to feed the pressure washers. Bring sun and skin protection and wear long sleeve clothes that can get dirty. Gloves will prevent blisters, and I'm sure we could use more steel brushes if you've got them

There will be a BBQ at lunch, so food will be provided. That means we can focus on climbing, cleaning, and having a great time. I hope to see you at the rocks!

Thank you very much,

Josh Higgins

Come join the fun!
Come join the fun!
Credit: Josh Higgins
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
Jan 24, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
Good on ya.

Effective removal takes a bunch of elbow grease and persistence, but it makes a HUGE difference. Thanks for what you are doing.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2013 - 07:13pm PT
Bumpity bump bump!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 4, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
This is worthy Josh. I'm on the way injured list but I may show up to take pics and provide comic relief!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Feb 4, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
Damn. It's too bad San Diego is a thousand miles away, or I'd be there. Seriously, if you want dedicated scrubbers, climbers from the PNW and Squamish are your ideal candidates.

Best wishes for a worthy event.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
BVB, come have some fun! I'm hoping it's a productive and social event.

Last minute, if you're not doing anything else, bumpity bump bumptasticness!

Josh
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Feb 9, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
Thx for the good work y'all.

I want to get on some Santee goodness this year, if possible, and I'm sure your efforts are going to make a difference! So thank you much!
T H

Boulder climber
bouldering
Feb 9, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Blatant enhancement.
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Feb 9, 2013 - 11:51pm PT
Nice! We need this at Summit Rock, a damn shame what has become of that once gorgeous crag.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2013 - 11:59pm PT
Karo,

Then make it happen! If everyone says that something needs to happen, and the does nothing about it, that's sad. Start promoting and organizing months out, and it isn't too bad at all!

Josh
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Roughly 80 people, hundreds of man-hours of scrubbing and spraying, 550 gallons of water, and tons of fun later Santee is in MUCH MUCH BETTER CONDITION! I'd say we wiped out over 80% of all spray paint up there, if not more. If your area needs the help, start organizing and make it happen! Or join your local climbing related non-profit. Ours is the Allied Climbers of San Diego: www.alliedclimbers.org

Josh
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Feb 10, 2013 - 06:26pm PT
its illegal to go there, but when it opens, i'm on it.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Feb 10, 2013 - 06:44pm PT
Way to go, Josh and crew! It's been pretty vandalized since at least '75 (when I first started frequenting the place), but has gotten progressively worse through the years. Really wish I could've joined you, but missed it by a week.

Great work, and thank you!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2013 - 08:34pm PT
You're welcome. Head out there and check out the improvement. Far from perfect, but much better!

Closure is definitely a good reason to not clean it up...

Josh
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Feb 10, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Will do!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 11, 2013 - 12:55am PT
Please tell me you let this work of art stay in place! It's a classic!



Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Feb 11, 2013 - 05:36am PT
Great work and thanks to all who helped! I haven't been there since 1980 but I hope to toughen up my tips and make it out there sometime.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 11, 2013 - 05:52am PT
Would love to see pics from the event. This was a very worthwhile cause and event. Nice work!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 11, 2013 - 06:18am PT
This is awesome.

Pics! Pics!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Feb 11, 2013 - 08:07am PT
Noble!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2013 - 08:14pm PT
The movie from the cleanup, for the few of you that are interested:
https://vimeo.com/60501713

Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Feb 26, 2013 - 05:40am PT
Nice work ya'll did, I hadn't realized the place had gotten so bad.
Roots

Mountain climber
SoCal
Feb 26, 2013 - 08:23am PT
Great job eveyone...that place needed some love! I only heard about it after the fact, wish I could have helped.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 26, 2013 - 09:06am PT
Isn't this just new blank canvas?

What will discourage taggers?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Feb 26, 2013 - 10:30am PT
What will discourage taggers?

True, some graffiti will come back, but a little graffiti encourages more graffiti. If it is kept clean it is less likely to get copycat taggers.

Great job guys
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 26, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Isn't this just new blank canvas?

What will discourage taggers?

God this website is full of negative wankers...
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Feb 26, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Big props for the cleanup.
That's hard work for a great cause.
Keep up the good fight.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Feb 26, 2013 - 10:06pm PT
Super proud of you guys for doing this. Like OffWhite, I had no idea how bad the paint had gotten, and it makes my heart feel good to see all of you out there working hard, working positively, and showing a different way. The thought that someone may come along and tag it all over again really is beside the point. As a former local, THANK YOU!
Truthdweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Feb 27, 2013 - 11:19am PT
Praise God for you're coordinated efforts Josh, and all those who have participated in prior paint removal and clean up events over the last 32 years, since I first visited Santee boulders in 1981. Like already stated, graffiti seem to be a part of Santee Boulders, for it came and went, yet kept to a minimum due largely in part because of efforts like yours, but by the looks of this, this is the worst it has ever been.

I frequented Santee last from 2007 to 2011, almost 3 times per week for those 4 years, and I can't help but wonder if my regular presence deterred the taggers...*sigh*
Again, thank God for your and all the other's efforts out there!

But wait, the "James" boulder has been wiped clean?! The historical landmark will surely be missed...




hossjulia

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Feb 27, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
I can't believe how bad it got in the past few years it seems. What a shame. Good job on the cleanup, I grew up on those boulders.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2013 - 05:50pm PT
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'll post up here again if we need a Paint Free Santee part II. It had definitely gotten worse than I'd ever seen it before, and so it was really special to see the climbing community turn-out in such a major way. I hope to meet some of you if we ever do it again.

Josh
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Feb 27, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone involved.
Hadn't realized it had gotten so bad.
Started bouldering there on a regular basis since 71'
Wish I was closer to have been able to lend a hand,
Again thanks for everyone's hard work, a great place to take care of and enjoy.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Feb 27, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
God this website is full of negative wankers...

Josh, sometimes Ron adds a negative spin to things but I wouldn't call him a wanker. It's a legitimate topic to bring up. May even give you and others pause to consider ways to negate future vandalism after the great efforts you've expended.

At any rate fantastic job you've undertaken. Thanks,

Arne
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 27, 2013 - 08:38pm PT
Anybody else remember when some local toads poured motor oil all over the Ampihtheater? That was a real class act.
hossjulia

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Feb 28, 2013 - 07:31am PT
I DO remember that, and might even know who did it! Some local motor head jocks who thought climbing around on those rocks was gay, I heard them talking about it in HS.
That brutal East Co sun baked it off.

One memory of the boulders not related to climbing.....
Used to drive out there and party. One night we decided to hot box my car. 4 of us smoking joints with the windows rolled up. I got so high, and it was so smokey, I thought the Sheriff's helicopter had us in it's spot light and we were busted. It was the full moon coming up. Got a great belly laugh, rolling out of the car with the smoke belly laugh, out of that one.
Beatrix Kiddo

Mountain climber
ColoRADo
Feb 28, 2013 - 07:44am PT
Way to go Josh and crew. Last time I was there 2 years ago, I got a good burn on the boulders but was totally turned off by the trash and "art". I guess that is to be expected so close to the road...
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
Josh, sometimes Ron adds a negative spin to things but I wouldn't call him a wanker. It's a legitimate topic to bring up.

I agree, his 2nd line is a legitimate topic to bring up. The hardest part about removing the paint is when the city of Santee paints over it. I've contacted them, and asked them to let me know if there is new paint so that hopefully we can get it off before they pull out the paint rollers again. As far as prevention, there's not much we can do. My friends and I have called the police while people were actively dumping trash, painting the rocks, and shooting guns out there, and they've never responded to intercede even once, even while we watch it happen. So.... does that mean we should give up? I don't think so and neither does the amazing San Diego climbing community.

To say that all we did was create another blank canvas is definitely lame. It was an great day that built community, many climbs were restored, I've got people across the country asking how to remove paint from their local crags, and I guarantee that many people will enjoy the area more now that we had the cleanup and removed trash and paint. The benefits from the event are huge. I stand by my previous statement.

Josh
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Feb 28, 2013 - 05:46pm PT
^^^ Yep!
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Feb 28, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Just watched the video.
Nice work.
Thanks to all for being awesome ambassadors for the climbing community.
I think you made an impact, not just in your area but for us all.

Thanks

Plaid
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Feb 28, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Truthdweller

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Feb 28, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
That brutal East Co sun baked it off.

Actually no, steam power washers were rented and it was taken care of by clean up crews.


And as far as not getting a response by the authorities, you first have to know which "authorities" to contact. Santee Boulders is considered "open space" and is in San Diego Police jurisdiction, not San Diego County Sheriff, as one would first assume. I've been on my cell phone out at the boulders a number of times in a 3 way conversation with both San Diego police and San Diego County Sheriff dispatch while they argued over who's jurisdiction it was. After a phone call I've watched SDPD send out 4 wheel drive Broncos, both during daylight and at night, including 1 of there helicopters to help round up off roaders who parked there lifted four wheel drive on top of the Aid Seam/Synchronicity Boulder, then took off on their motorcycles up into the hills. It was quite a sight to watch the Bronco escorting the 2 motorcycles back to their truck with the helicopter hovering above. A couple of fathers brought their sons out to the boulders to practice their paintball strategies 1 day. After politely explaining the history of the area to the father's, and that the moving objects on the rocks were actually PEOPLE, they moved the team further away to another hill. All in all I've had a pretty good success rate in having the authorities respond out there, and when having discussions with those that need to be educated. My observation though, over the years as an older adult, has been that most climbers do not take a proactive approach and just watch the activities take place, and then murmur about it as they continue to boulder, just as I did when I was younger.

The canyon to the east of the boulders is marked by a sign out at the road, prohibiting off road activity due to a very real danger of unexploded ordnance (UXO), from when the area was used as military training ground back in the 40's and 50's as part of Camp Elliott.

An interesting read on future plans for the areas:
http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/eastelliott/
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
You validate my opinion that calling the police/sheriff is worthless. It's BOTH their jurisdiction, and instead of agreeing to help immediately, they argued over jurisdiction. In our case, they just take the call, hang up, and never even respond.

Edit: Question - Does the Sheriff NOT have jurisdiction where SDPD covers? Or do they have jurisdiction of the entire county, but don't typically patrol where SDPD does to limit overlap/inefficiency?

2nd Edit:

The department provides specialized regional services to the entire county, including the incorporated cities and the unincorporated areas of the county.

The San Diego County Charter requires the San Diego Sheriff's Department to provide San Diego County with efficient and effective police protection, and to perform all of the duties required by law.

From http://www.sdsheriff.net/

My interpretation is that is that I'm right, they both have jurisdiction...

Josh
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 28, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Anybody else remember when some local toads poured motor oil all over the Ampihtheater?


That must have been right before my first visit and first impression of the area. I wasn't impressed, and never went back.

Discovering Rainbow around the same time pretty much closed the deal.

Santee does have its appeal, and good effort on the cleanup, Josh.




Now if you could get ACSD to work on opening access to San Diego's best climbing area instead of obstructing the effort ...
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 1, 2013 - 09:05am PT
Kevin,

I'll bring it up with the board at the next meeting and see what they have to say, although for the most part I'm relatively ignorant of all the issues regarding the area. Are you still climbing out there?

Josh
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Mar 1, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Josh,

Email sent
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 1, 2013 - 11:25am PT
Great job Josh and crew. Way to get it done, thanks!
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