Mt Watkins: a question of ethics


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Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Aug 8, 2006 - 12:15am PT
It's my understanding the our hero is in Europe, and his friends will be cleaning up the mess next week. Wish I had friends like that. Will post here if I hear anything. There are others here with more of an inside track if they feel like speaking up. I have some free time in a couple weeks if nothing has happened by then.

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Aug 8, 2006 - 01:59am PT
no way?!

this intertardweb thing really works?!

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Aug 9, 2006 - 02:57am PT
In Climbing mag, March '05, there's a story about Dean Potter sending a valley boulder crack. " of last great problems... no, not the South face of Mount Watkins- he's trying to keep that ascent a secret...."

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Aug 9, 2006 - 04:05am PT
Jerry-- Should you end up heading up and want some help, send me an email. If I'm not at work, I'll help you out.


Mountain climber
Lake Forest, CA
Aug 9, 2006 - 04:33am PT
So, who are the culprits?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 10, 2006 - 08:01am PT
Daily bump to keep this on the front page, to promote accountability and cleanup.

Big Wall climber
hiding in plain sight
Aug 10, 2006 - 08:24am PT
So you are around.
I am troubled that you haven't weighed in on the apology thread.

I am incredulous that you are at a loss for words.

"I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart."

Social climber
Aug 14, 2006 - 02:11pm PT
I just got back from a little jaunt to the East Coast. This morning I found out from a reliable source that the ropes are gone from Mt. Watkins. Tomorrow I'll be hiking up to the base to make sure the associated trash/crap is gone as well.

It seems that Supertopo forum has served us perty darn good this time. These ropes have been at Watkins supposedly for a couple years or more, and in less than three weeks after the initial post they have disappeared. Hot Dawg! Hopefully the labor was carried out by the original party leaving the gear...thatís a boat load to carry out...!

Is it possible that we can look forward to fall season without dangling ropes on some of favorite walls?

Last week our Nose Clean up went pretty well. We filled up a whole haul bag full of garbage (50 extra lbs), 90% of it coming from our beloved Camp 6. Unfortunately we just took off the first couple of layers. Maybe we can get another team to take care of the rest during the annual YCA Yosemite Facelift from Sept. 27th-October 1st. Hopefully many of you will be coming out for the event. Checkout the website at or call Chicken Skinner aka Ken Yager at He is the man with the plan.

If anyone knows of any other gross violations of our wilderness rights post it here or contact me. Also let Ken know of any trashed areas of the park that need special attention for the Facelift.


Jesse McGahey
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 14, 2006 - 06:52pm PT
Great news. Do you think this forum had anything to do with it, and if so why?

Christian, I liked your apology to Mark and Richard very much. I didn't say anything because so far as I am aware, I don't owe them any apology, nor anyone else. However if I *do* owe someone an apology - like you [and I would love to bury the hatchet once and for all if any issues remain unresolved] - then please contact me via email, and we will try to work it out, eh? Best in person in Yosemite in September if you're around.

I believe in [url=""]forgiveness and reconciliation.[/url]

In Him,

Social climber
Aug 14, 2006 - 07:36pm PT

I do think this Forum had a lot to do with the "relatively" fast removal of these ropes. Enough people read and participate on these Supertopo threads that the word gets out fast when something is up. Its as close to up to date news as we can get.

In this case climbers on the forum were very ticked off about the ethics ignored and the general disregard for wilderness. The pressure was on for anyone involved with leaving the ropes and other crap on the route to act fast, or potentially suffer further damages to their reputation and Karma.

I think its ironic that after Chouinard, Pratt, and Harding did the FA, Royal Robbins claimed that the impressive climb marked the end of siege climbing because of the ground up style they climbed it in. (Roper-Camp 4) Of course that wasn't totally true, but, Harding, at least had made a huge leap forward. This reaction shows that (Yosemite) climbers still don't really approve of long term seige tactics for climbing routes...regardless of how bad-asss of a free climber you think you are.


'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 14, 2006 - 10:12pm PT
That is precisely how Dihedral Wall was free climbed - with fixed ropes all the way to the ground.

Which brings us to the next question, and possibly deserving of its own thread, along with photos:

The once-proud Dihedral Wall has been turned into a bolt-protected clip-up, with numerous free climbing protection bolts placed only about fourteen inches from legit A3 placements, the bolts being spaced less than six feet apart.

How do we get the wanker who placed those to remove them?

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Aug 14, 2006 - 11:46pm PT
proof that a whole lot of ranting does something? Myself included of course. But glad to hear it!

Aug 15, 2006 - 12:21am PT

Re: DW Tell me it ain't true.
Jerry Dodrill

Bodega, CA
Aug 15, 2006 - 12:33am PT
Ironic indeed. Thanks for the update Jesse. Glad to hear its done. It's sad that for some of the elite the Valley is now just a climbing gym. I offer no thanks to the culprits, but to any others who hauled it all out, I raise my glass in appreciation.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 15, 2006 - 01:02am PT
Glad to hear that the route was cleaned up by the people who were working the project.

I don't have any problem with the "elite" rigging to work problems in the Valley, it's an important way of making progress. The Valley is used by all of us with no preference or prejudice.

It is great that once the "issue" became public that the correct response, to clean it up, was the one that happened. Props to all on this, I don't see how it could have happened in a better way.

We should give the benefit of doubt to the project team that they were acting in good faith, just taking much more time then they had originally intended. Once that was apparent, they cleared the route for others to enjoy.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Aug 15, 2006 - 01:06pm PT
Ed, are you joking? If a 'project' that amounts to one of the classic moderate walls of the Valley takes 3 summers, perhaps even the elitist of elite elite who gets paid to climb full time and who is capable of rehanging the ropes over the course of a day should clear their snacks and gear off the rock when they plan to be away for extended periods, like, let's say, winter or trips abroad. It seems like a no-brainer to me, and shouldn't require an internet forum to help the owner of the gear see the problem with the arrangement.

How elite is elite enough for fixing a wall for a season or three?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 15, 2006 - 01:16pm PT
Ed writes,

"Glad to hear that the route was cleaned up by the people who were working the project."

Is this true? Nowhere above does it say who cleaned everything up. Does anybody know if it was indeed the people who left it there, or did someone else remove the stuff?

Jesse, you said you were hiking back up. How does it look now?

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Aug 15, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
my $.02- if there is going to be any general acceptance of "fixing" a project (and i thnk that itself is up for debate), that project needs to be basically the sole significant climbing activity of whomever has left their gear in everyone else's way.

i was up at phobos/deimos the other day, and their is a minitraxion set up on goldfinger, one line w/ directionals and another for rapping. i've heard that has become common (wasn't new dimensions fixed this past winter?).

now i had no plans to get on it, but still, i think that sucks- i'd say it's not at all cool of *any* local to make a local's workout circut convenient at the possible expense of any out of town (or other local?) user(s) that might arrive to find fixed lines draped across the line they've been planning to climb. i say if you want the convenience of climbing w/out humping gear or waiting for your partner to get off work, you either boulder or solo, just like the rest of us, and if you want to self belay, pull your ropes at the end of your session. what's your opinion?
Dingus Milktoast

Aug 15, 2006 - 01:28pm PT
"what's your opinion?"


Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 15, 2006 - 03:36pm PT
Melissa, et al.
the fact that the climb was fixed for three years seems excessive, but we didn't really get a report that this was inhibiting others' use of the route until this year...

...and it was cleaned up. How often does S.Face of Mt Watkins get done? Seems that the fixed lines did not even deter the party that complained.

So what's the issue if someone wants to work a route for a very long time that rarely gets done as long as the stuff gets cleared.

Just trying to be positive. I'd hate to impose strict time limits on projects.... what about all those bolts around Tilted Mitten area with red slings tied to them? how long should that be allowed to happen.

Also, should all the mini-traxion ropes get pulled down?

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