Devils Tower Voluntary June Closure: What are your thoughts?

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luquitos

Trad climber
santa cruz, ca
Topic Author's Original Post - May 12, 2017 - 08:13am PT
Devils Tower in June22 years after the voluntary June closure startedWhat do people think now?

You might ask yourself… that old issue? Haven’t we hashed and re-hashed this topic to death in previous threads. Does this issue even matter anymore?

The answer is… YES – the issue is still as relevant and current as it was 22 years ago. Yes, it has been talked about on the forums. I started this thread because there is a lot of inaccurate information out there and the issue still needs to be talked about because the numbers of climbers in June HAVE been increasing throughout the years. The bottom line is if climbers continue to be unable to self-regulate, the Climbing Management Plan (CMP) requires the National Park Service (NPS) to consider more restrictive mitigations.

Here are some of the FACTS:

22 years ago Devils Tower National Monument finalized a climbing management plan (CMP) that hinged around a voluntary climbing closure in June. This voluntary closure was a compromise that was reached by a work group that included American Indian and climbing community representatives. The NPS is required by the climbing management plan to monitor the number of climbers in June, and address any proportional increase in June climbing by taking steps to keep June climbing numbers low. The first and simplest step is through outreach and education, thus this message and conversation.
Climber’s compliance with the June closure ensures that climbers continue to enjoy a largely self-regulatory climbing environment at the Tower. If June climbing numbers continue to increase, proportionally, the National Park Service is required to consider more restrictive mitigations if necessary. Per the CMP, the definition of success with the voluntary June closure is:


SUCCESSFUL
• A FULLY successful voluntary closure is that no climbers choose to climb in June.
• Any year in which the number of June climbers decreases compared to the previous year is considered successful (proportionally).

UNSUCCESSFUL
• Any year in which there is no change or an increase in June climbers is considered unsuccessful.

In short, the National Park Service and Devils Tower needs your help to keep things in balance. It is the climbing community’s responsibility to uphold their end of the agreement embodied in the CMP. You can help do this by talking to your friends about the issue, writing your thoughts, comments, and questions here on this forum, and most importantly not climbing in June and not encouraging others to climb in June.
I am happy to answer any questions that you have about the reasons for the voluntary closure, and I encourage open discussion on the issue. You can also visit the NPS website for more information:

https://www.nps.gov/deto/planyourvisit/climbing.htm#CP_JUMP_5320589

Lucas Barth
Devils Tower Climbing Ranger
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
May 12, 2017 - 08:18am PT
"What do voluntary mean?"

-Darren Hambrick
luquitos

Trad climber
santa cruz, ca
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2017 - 08:20am PT
Voluntary means that you make a conscious decision not to climb in June.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 12, 2017 - 08:22am PT
'Voluntary' is not in the Millennials' vocabulary or, to be fair, most other Americans'.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
May 12, 2017 - 09:00am PT
If the ultimate goal is no climbing in June why not just make it mandatory instead of voluntary and save all the trouble of outreach and education? Is it because a mandatory closure would likely result in first amendment (establishment clause) litigation?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 12, 2017 - 09:02am PT
It is a voluntary closure because of constitutional issues, separation of church and state. A forced closure would put the NPS in the postition of promoting a religion.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
May 12, 2017 - 09:16am PT
An escalating series of actions seen in order

1. Online shaming of June climbers
2. Parking lot shaming
3. Obscenities yelled at base of climbs
4. Vehicles vandalized
5. BB guns at base of climbs
6. Pile their gear up and sh#t on it
7. Years of lies in print and online

Joking of course.
clockclimb

Trad climber
Orem, Utah
May 12, 2017 - 09:30am PT
Why not a closure for everyone not just climbers? The trail around the tower is very high, very close to where Native Americans make their prayer offerings. The roar of Harleys in an out of the park is even worse.

The Park service has singled out climbers because they are a relatively small group to force a token closure on. Close it for all non-natives or no one.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 12, 2017 - 09:34am PT
^^^^ HEAR, HEAR!

Harleys should be banned from all parks, but we digress.
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
May 12, 2017 - 10:01am PT
Yes, the voluntary closure only affects one user group and that is climbers. All other user groups are unaffected. It doesn't seem fair to close the monument to just one user group regardless of which group that is. All user groups should be affected. Why not just close the monument to everyone but Native Americans who are practising their religion there?
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
May 12, 2017 - 01:44pm PT
What are the ranked most common motivations of those who still climb there in June? Rank them by percent:
- Don't care at all about respecting the restriction.
- Didn't know about it and can't easily change plans.
- Knew about it but this was the only time they could travel there.

luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 12, 2017 - 02:10pm PT
The closure is voluntary because the climbing community (in 1994) insisted that it could self regulate and that it would prefer this option over a mandatory closure. By climbing community, I mean those that were a part of the making of the Climbing Management Plan, which were local climbers, local climbing organizations, and the Access Fund.

The closure was implemented not on religious grounds, but to respect the tower as a cultural resource important to native american people.

Climbing is perceived by some American Indians as in direct conflict with the Tower as a sacred site. One of the key elements of the Climbing Management Plan is balancing the validity of perspectives and uses by native americans and climbers. The voluntary closure includes all Monument visitors above the Tower loop trail, not just rock climbers.

There are many visitors that enjoy recreating above the tower loop trail (scrambling in the boulders etc..)These visitors are also affected by the June closure.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 12, 2017 - 02:12pm PT
Exactly what Clock said. Close it to everyone then. Because I believe the average climber has a whole hell of lot more respect for the tower than the flock loads of gawking tourists running around, shouting there way around the tower.

Close it to all but the native members, whoever that may be, but why single out climbing activities?

Arne

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 12, 2017 - 02:15pm PT
There is no climbing closure
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 12, 2017 - 02:38pm PT
Climb somewhere else in June!
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
May 12, 2017 - 02:47pm PT
What's the premise for the closure?

If it were nesting Peregrines, I would think that it would be mandatory.

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2017 - 02:54pm PT
The tower is a holy place to me. we brought an offering and climbed in june. the guides were all working. the tour busses were doing their thing. The tourists were doing their thing. F you and the horse you rode in on if you want the tower Only closed to climbers.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 12, 2017 - 04:47pm PT
I lived an hour away for over twenty years and I think it worked fine even though I did not and still don't think climbers should be singled out. Climber numbers have been historically low for most or all of those 22 years in what may be the best month to climb there. Not too hot spring rainyness let's up a little and the days are long. I only climbed there a handful of times in June over the years usually only when climbers from out of town were around. The black hills has a phenomenal amount of rock and there are other things to do but we should not have to

It is a slippery slope if and could becoming to a crag near you if this is set as manfitiry closure.Also it is true that people of all sorts have climbed in June. This includes guides, rangers, clients, people. It is d great place.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 12, 2017 - 04:59pm PT
It still astonishes me how some in the climbing community can be so tone deaf.

It DOESN'T just affect climbers.

Climbers ASKED for this.
I'm grateful that the NPS and Indian Nations allowed this to happen, and kept their side of the bargain over the decades.

Thanks for the reminder. If my brothers and sisters of the Climbing community are insistent on violating this, I fully favor banning climbing there 100% of the time. If the children can't play nice, go to another playground.
Bob Harrington

climber
Bishop, California
May 12, 2017 - 05:20pm PT
Luquitos, since success is defined in terms of change in numbers of June climbers from one year to the next, I'm curious what those numbers are. What are the trends in the number of people climbing in June, and how does June compare to other months?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 12, 2017 - 05:46pm PT
Much smaller numbers than may and July.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 12, 2017 - 05:50pm PT
Ken it is voluntary. Should crags all over this country be closed to respect a certain culture. I bet every crag in this country was sacred to someone in the past why would this only happen in WY?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 12, 2017 - 06:39pm PT
Ken, you would support a 100% ban?? Devil's Tower is one of America's premier climbing destinations. Your proposal is a bit reckless.
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 12, 2017 - 06:55pm PT
There is very little, if any, evidence that Devils Tower was ever a religious pilgrimage site. A vast majority of tribes that historically used the area attach no significant meaning to the feature, other than as landmark.

The June voluntary closure is classic squeaky wheel politics. An extremely small, yet very vocal, group of Native Americans and the “white guilt”-types have made this policy. Singling out a single user group of the monument is simply a minimalist approach to placating the most vocal.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 12, 2017 - 09:27pm PT
Climb there a lot do you, Ken?
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
May 12, 2017 - 09:58pm PT
Keep in mind that the other top example is Cave Rock, closed 100% of the time, due to "cultural resources"

Some other closures
Hueco Tanks
Twin Sisters near City of Rocks, some of Massacre Rocks
Castle Rocks was opened.

Of course, various others on sovereign reservations such as Navaho

It is odd if guides can successfully ignore the voluntary ban. You'd think there would be more conflict or protest.

WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 12, 2017 - 10:11pm PT
You'd think there would be more conflict or protest.

Every NA I've talked to at the tower want's to know:
1) How'd you get up there?
2) How do you get down?
3) Is it scary?
4) What's up there?

Sample size, probably 50. Mostly Lakota and Crow.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
May 12, 2017 - 10:28pm PT
if you're Native American, and you climb the tower in June, do they still count you as a climber?
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
but to scared to climb them anymore
May 12, 2017 - 10:38pm PT
Ken, if you are against people climbing think about the flip side. I support the NPS but have had my home and property seized by the Feds. We fought in court for 20 years. Just two weeks ago they demolished my childhood home.

It is funny I'm on a board that created this GSMNP and this organization have fought for the preservation of it for since the get go. I hate that I now can't visit my old home without just crying.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 13, 2017 - 04:58am PT
Guides were the reason it's voluntary. They took the government to court. Also guides are not as surprising as rangers.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2017 - 12:39pm PT
Brandon asked: "What is the premise for the closure?"

The voluntary closure exists because some Native American groups perceive climbing on the tower as a direct conflict with its status as a sacred site. Many people ask why are climbers the only ones that are singled out. That is the reason. The average visitor that is walking the tower trail is not seen as being in conflict with the value of the Tower as a sacred site. The closure is a compromise that balances the validity of both the views of climbers and Native Americans.

I like the way that Nolan Huther, on the same thread I started on mountainproject put it:

"It is because rather than creating a law which people are forced to abide, it instead asks climbers to take into consideration the perspective of other people- it forces climbers to choose whether or not to respect the culture of the Native Americans. It hopes to build a relationship of understanding and acceptance."
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2017 - 12:48pm PT
Here are a few graphs to show how the numbers of climbers in June have been increasing. The NPS keeps track of this through the mandatory registration cards.

Credit: luquitos

The graph above shows the number of June climbers as a percentage of annual climbers. 1995 was the first year the Climbing Management Plan and the voluntary closure was enacted. If one climber climbs 30 days in a month they count as 30, not 1.

Credit: luquitos

Total number of tower climbers
Total number of tower climbers
Credit: luquitos

The total number of climbers at the tower has been staying roughly between 4000-6000 with a slight decrease since the early 90's.

For comparison, outside of June, guided climbers make up about 20% of ...
For comparison, outside of June, guided climbers make up about 20% of climbers. There was not accurate data on guided climbers before 2001. The data in 2014 for guided climbers is missing.
Credit: luquitos


luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2017 - 01:09pm PT
WyoRockMan says:

"There is very little, if any, evidence that Devils Tower was ever a religious pilgrimage site. A vast majority of tribes that historically used the area attach no significant meaning to the feature, other than as landmark."

In response, through the Climbing Management Plan, the NPS is protecting cultural resources, not closing Devils Tower for religious purposes.

Weather or not Devils Tower was historically a religious pilgrimage site it is considered sacred by more than one tribe and ceremonies take place at the tower throughout the year, weather you see them or not. Native Americans are very private about their ceremonies and they are usually not visible to the general public.
Caveman

climber
Cumberland Plateau
May 13, 2017 - 03:09pm PT
From what I understand the native people believe the tower was formed by a bear. This is not true. Devils Tower is a remnant of Yygdrasil. As an arborist I believe it must be climbed.
If you touch it in a friendly manner you will understand that it wants to be climbed.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
May 14, 2017 - 04:06am PT
There is no question that Devils tower is a special place for climbers.

However, given the importance of respecting Native American wishes, it seems reasonable to honor the June closure.

We have mandatory perigrine falcon closures at many areas for Petes sake.

ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 14, 2017 - 04:25am PT
I'm grateful that the NPS and Indian Nations allowed this to happen, and kept their side of the bargain over the decades.

This is so laughable coming from Ken M. His lack of knowledge and bigoted nature towards Native Americans is well known. Ken, you told us all last week you didn't recognize American Indian tribes as sovereign nations, even though many of them legally are and have been, not for decades but going on nearly two centuries.

And what bargain do ye speak of? Tell us. Do you even know anything of Devil's Tower?

Arne
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 14, 2017 - 04:43am PT
Yeah gotta roll eyes at the scource ( Ken M) but agree with the statement.
June is generally the best month at the tower. Before the ban that's when I climbed it the most. But I've never broken the ban since It's been in place.

But the Voluntary nature is key. It's done out of respect and not because it's a rule.

Contrarywise you have to respect the climbers for whom it means so much, as well as the native amticain coalition. Some, have no choice, and Jeff me is their window.
Respect
Live and let live.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 14, 2017 - 05:07am PT
We hear this again: Why doesn't the voluntary closure work?

Bottom line: Andy Petefish commercial guide took the original ruling of the NPS to federal court circa 1996? in Casper, WY. Judge Dowes ruled that the tower can never be closed to climbing due to religious reasons -- see ruling Badoni vs Higginson

complete text:

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/308/473/case.html

a version from sacredland.org

https://www.sacredland.org/PDFs/Badoni_v._Higginson.pdf

We had to drag their NPS asses to court before they would consider the meaning of the ruling Badoni v Higginson.

The voluntary closure does work. I decide what I want to do & when. I do not have to obey the lip service the NPS pays to 7 Indian Tribes that cannot agree on anything. The Park Service created in house the idea of a climbing closure back in 1992 as something to do for the Native Americans. It was not any form of a mandate from any of the Indian Tribes associated with Devils Tower historically or through their living representatives. It is another Park Service mess create by then Supt. Deb Ligget who could not comprehend the meaning of the 1st Amendment -- Devils Tower is not an Indian Reservation.

Seven Indian tribes that cannot agree on anything -- Danny Rosen and I guided about seven Indians from Minnesota up the Tower during the closure. These boys and girls could care less what the Sioux Indians think of climbing in June as they are still bitter enemies.

Climbing the Tower in June is no violation of the law. Nor does it constitute disrespect for Indians. It is just disrespect for a slight of hand ruling the Park Service has made.

The Tower cannot and will not be closed to climbing for any form of non compliance to the NPS voluntary ruling per Judge Dowes ruling based on Badoni v Higginson. So choose your climbing date as you please -- there will be no backlash. Again this is Federal Property open to the public. It is not an Indian Reservation.

The government is known for many bookkeeping tricks. If the NPS wants to see more compliance for the closure then move the closure from June to the period December 15 to Jan 15 of the next year.







WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 14, 2017 - 06:43am PT
The Lakota have been displaced from their claims for longer than they had occupied the area to begin with.

I'm sure they also gave consideration to the Cheyenne after they beat them down and took their land. Introducing the Lakota to the horse in 1730 will go down in Cheyenne history as a "bad move". The Cheyenne occupied the land after war with the Kiowa prior to that.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 14, 2017 - 07:15am PT
Dingus hit the nail on the head with as much clarity as anything he has said on here. I keep thinking of how all of North America was Native American lands so maybe, following the logic by some on this thread, all climbing areas should be closed in June. Why stop at climbing. How about no agriculture, no sports, no tourism, no anything on any land that was once Native American land just for one month though.
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 14, 2017 - 07:52am PT
In response, through the Climbing Management Plan, the NPS is protecting cultural resources, not closing Devils Tower for religious purposes.

Weather or not Devils Tower was historically a religious pilgrimage site it is considered sacred by more than one tribe and ceremonies take place at the tower throughout the year, weather you see them or not.

If the park service was concerned with the respecting sacred places according to the wishes of those who consider them sacred, the voluntary closure would be applicable to the whole monument. Not just the climbing. Seems to be a fine line the NPS is walking in terms of where the demarcation between cultural resources, religion and sacred collide.

According to the report "Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming"[1], there were historically 23 tribes that could have passed through or used the area around Devils Tower. Of those, 6 had specific recent (1800’s) ties to the Tower. Only one has current ceremonies there in June.

The Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crow, and Kiowa had creation stories (bears, kids, fantasy), but no specific documented modern usage.

The Shoshone, “this place is a major center of power and climbing on it is not only sacrilegious, but also dangerous to those who do not "respect" it. They felt that to protect climbers from any adverse effects. Climbing should be prohibited.” Stands at odds with many petroglyphs on large features which would require climbing to reach. But ok.

The Lakota, mentioned climbing as detrimental, but it was a second order issue. The chief complaint was not being able to shut down the road and keeping monument visitors away. Anything less than a return to sovereign land is a failure from the Lakota point of view. (A bit beyond the scope of this closure and discussion, since there is no realistic way to turn back the totality of Lakota real-estate claims.)

Native Americans are very private about their ceremonies and they are usually not visible to the general public.

Generalize much?

[1] http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/govdocs_nr/4/
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
May 14, 2017 - 08:00am PT
A HUGE giant sombrero is called for.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 14, 2017 - 09:03am PT
Ken it is voluntary. Should crags all over this country be closed to respect a certain culture. I bet every crag in this country was sacred to someone in the past why would this only happen in WY?


May 12, 2017 - 06:39pm PT
Ken, you would support a 100% ban?? Devil's Tower is one of America's premier climbing destinations. Your proposal is a bit reckless.

A lot of people seem to have a reading comprehension. They confuse the word "voluntary" with the word "optional".

It is not optional. It represents the same thing that is involved when I sell you something, and you go to get your wallet, and I never see you again:
INTEGRITY.

Or you volunteer to help at a hospital, then don't show up.

It is a demonstration of honesty, of where you stand with your word.

You don't show up for your volunteer assignment, you won't be given the opportunity again. There is a consequence.

In this situation, there was a problem, a conflict. A solution was negotiated in good faith, based upon the word of climbers. Now, apparently, climbers want to argue that the word of their community is worth nothing, and they'll do what they like.

Ok, but not without consequences.

They tried it the easy way, now some in the community want to try it the hard way. They delight in the concept of the gov't having to spend scarce resources on their misbehavior. They don't care if other's climbing is impacted by their refusal to go by the community's agreement. They got theirs, F*#K YOU.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 14, 2017 - 09:07am PT
Climb there a lot do you, Ken?

Jaybro, the original question asked for input. If that's your attitude, stop posting opinions on anything outside of Wyo.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 14, 2017 - 09:17am PT
Ken, if you are against people climbing think about the flip side.

I am not against people climbing. I am for it. The pathway to that, is to keep their word in a multicultural pact. If they are not willing to do that, I'm ok with a ban.

But I think it would be a terrible shame for that to be required, and a real failure of the climbing community.

I think we want to be respected and trusted. That is a currency that is easily lost, and difficult to regain.

I'm grateful that the NPS and Indian Nations allowed this to happen, and kept their side of the bargain over the decades.

This is so laughable coming from Ken M. His lack of knowledge and bigoted nature towards Native Americans is well known. Ken, you told us all last week you didn't recognize American Indian tribes as sovereign nations, even though many of them legally are and have been, not for decades but going on nearly two centuries.

And what bargain do ye speak of? Tell us. Do you even know anything of Devil's Tower?

Arne

Arne, I don't know what bigoted smack you're smoking, but your unwillingness to discuss the issue, instead of just personally attacking me, says about all anyone needs to know about your concepts of ethics.
My recent invitation to join American University of Sovereign Nations as a Professor should probably indicate that my *questions* about the relationship of Indian Tribes in relationship to the US, generates interest, not hostility, among tribal members.

What bargain? Are you not reading the post that started this thread?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 14, 2017 - 10:12am PT
I support it. The entire Black Hills was stolen from the Lakota. The Supreme Court said so, and awarded them a big chunk of change. They refused payment. They want the land back.

We must be aware of the needs and opinions of those who got screwed over and over.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 14, 2017 - 02:53pm PT
Ken. there is a very good chance that where ever you live used to be owned by first nation peoples. since you are such a good person I think you should give your house and land back to them...
gunsmoke

Mountain climber
Clackamas, Oregon
May 14, 2017 - 07:55pm PT
Part of what makes the June closure painful is that it's by far the best month to climb the Tower for those whose lives revolve around the American school calendar (i.e., you have kids). By July it's cookin' hot, and the classic routes are on the south side in full sun. How did June get chosen as the sacred month?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 14, 2017 - 08:11pm PT
Just another way for the whites to sh#t on the indians, but find a way to justify it:


As Trump’s interior secretary enters the fight over Utah’s Bears Ears, natives feel unheard

The fate of the national monument has pitted Native Americans from across three states, who want to preserve artifacts and sacred lands, against white residents and cleaved a rural Utah community. Although Ryan Zinke said he tried to hear all sides, conservationists wonder whether the administration has already betrayed its intent.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 14, 2017 - 08:16pm PT
Ken, when you're in a hole, first step is to stop digging, bro.

Which you might do, when you are wrong.

The AGREEMENT was voluntary. The action agreed to in the agreement, was to not climb.

Climbers stated, voluntarily, that "I will not climb in the month of June"

It is only your word, your honesty, your integrity, which enforces what you have said you would do as a community. You INSISTED that you could self-regulate, "after all, aren't we all adults?"

We'll see.

Ken. there is a very good chance that where ever you live used to be owned by first nation peoples. since you are such a good person I think you should give your house and land back to them...

I'm happy to talk about Los Angeles. But the fact that you want to talk about that, and not about DT, makes me think that you've already conceded to my argument, and want to move on.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
May 14, 2017 - 11:20pm PT
Seems fitting
http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1806256/The-Devils-Tower-Climbing-History

For most, the school year ends in May or early June, making for a large crop of ' climbers looking to climb.
and a lot of Guides & services capitalize on the crop. The tower is a draw due to all the obvious reasons.

Back in the day, heading to the Tower ( & West in general) in June , was a regular climbing pilgrimage, Southern climbers also took part looking for cool Mnt states.
We would all meet up at That Plug of rock in the prairie, and make loose plans to go on to the
V Voo, Fremont canyon or ? . , . . . The Newst must hit climbing area.as well as sometimes the closer by venues like The Rushmore area & South Dakota Needles, before heading to Colorado ,Utah , The Winds /Jackson Hole or ) California, to Climb, yes also went and danced to a certain Band, it was, for those five years or so, a Religious Experience. With regular full moon celabration

Watching storms roll in as dusk fell - and then catching the amazing light show as lightening
Flashed draping the Tower in spooky pinks and purple hues, was one of those Religious events that have stayed with me making the Tower Sacred To Me.
I collected small pebbles ( every where I climbed) at the Tower these had a perfectly flat side, 'star rocks' things that may have been soft from burning through the atmosphere as they struck the sides around the Tower.

The place is magic.

EDIT :
I was greatly received by the likes of Paul Mehue, and Dingus McGee !
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 15, 2017 - 02:23am PT
Climb there a lot do you, Ken?

Jaybro, the original question asked for input. If that's your attitude, stop posting opinions on anything outside of Wyo.

I'll take that as a "no".
Rant on in ignorance
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 15, 2017 - 03:11am PT
Ken. I dont really give a hoot about LA. fact is where ever you try to live in north america you are liveing on land that wass stolen from somebody. Since you are such a do gooder you should give YOUR home back to whome ever the land it sits on was stolen from or STFU... Meanwhile i will continue to treat the tower as a holy place and try to climb it once every 20 years or so to honor that.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 15, 2017 - 04:07am PT
Ken M,

The AGREEMENT was voluntary. The action agreed to in the agreement, was to not climb.

Climbers stated, voluntarily, that "I will not climb in the month of June"

From what you have said it seems you do not know much of what went on at DETO during that part of the management plan and you are flatly wrong on how the word voluntary came about. We climbers never stated such an utterance.

There was never an agreement [like you suggest] reached with climbers and the Park administration. The admin had a list of several climbing management alternatives and said they were going with the voluntary closure, but that anyone could climb. Then they prohibited guided climbing in June and that is where Andy Petefish comes into play. I pointed out to him the case of Badoni and he then rounded up a high profile case law attorney pro bono.

Of the 804 unanimous letters against closing the tower in June to climbing[ from climbers?] during the comment period mine was number one. My letter stated that by law from the case of Badoni v. Higginson it would be illegal to close the tower to climbing for religious reasons. They tried to tell the climbing group this ruling did not apply to National Monuments and they used many other scapegoat tactics.

Up until I pointed this case law out to the Park Service we climbers had no known bargaining power against the Park Service. So to speak this case law paved our street to go where we wanted. After I firmly pointed this out to them and so did Lawyer Charley Anderson the park service dropped their one plan of a mandatory closure and inserted the word voluntary to one of their alternatives.

Petefish's attorney & case also challenged in a 2nd case circa 1999 the use of the word "voluntary". Judge Dowes ruled that the Park Service could call their closure whatever they wanted but they could not ever close climbing on the Tower for religious reasons. Petefish did win the right to guide in June.

see:

https://www.justice.gov/osg/brief/bear-lodge-v-babbitt-opposition

There was never any consensus among climbers for the closure as you suggest and do take note that a string of 804 letters were unanimously against the closure before any support of such a closure was penned to DETO as comment during the comment period.



Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 15, 2017 - 05:35am PT
ekat,

Thanks,

one wonders, are those that forget history condemned to repeat it?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 15, 2017 - 05:45am PT
Thanks for your work on that issue Dingus, without the effort to stop the NPS Trumped up religious closures would be as common as bird closures (which I support)
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
May 15, 2017 - 06:06am PT
Climbers stated, voluntarily, that "I will not climb in the month of June"

I'm a climber. I don't remember saying that, or appointing anyone to speak on my behalf.

Only made one trip to the tower to climb, and it wasn't in June. Very awesome, but we did wind up sliding off an icy I-25 and rolling the car on the way back to Ft. Collins. So maybe the offended spirits got their revenge.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 15, 2017 - 07:30am PT
I'm thinking of Lucy, of "Peanuts", volunteering to hold the football.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 15, 2017 - 07:33am PT
LittleZ,

So you are advocating, that if you are not from an area, a visitor, you are under no obligation to respect the hard-won agreements that locals might have worked out, to prevent more onerous restrictions? After all, it doesn't affect YOU, it only affects those who are local, when things go wrong?
10b4me

Mountain climber
Retired
May 15, 2017 - 07:43am PT
It's one month, people.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
May 15, 2017 - 11:32am PT
Hi Ken,

personally, I'd respect the June ban. Have no problem with it. I'm not advocating anything.

It's just that your language makes me wince.
Late Starter

Social climber
South Dakota
May 15, 2017 - 12:58pm PT
Please send me your favorite local crag (i.e. Yosemite, etc..)

I'm preparing a standard form letter to send to all tribes that me be interested in setting aside a month to ban climbing for rituals, ceremonies etc..(Very similar to Devils Tower)

I'd like to get local legislators on board with the possibility of favorable media coverage, etc..

I'm quite certain the local reservations/tribes that have valued these areas, would be in favor of such a recommendation. They probably didn't realize that a possible climbing ban existed!!

Please send me your lists and I'll get these standardized letters to forward along.

Lets make it happen!!!
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
May 15, 2017 - 01:11pm PT
It's one month, people.

It's one month if you're local. It's the whole year if that month (which is a prime month even for locals) happens to be when you have your road trip because it's the best weather month to plan a road trip.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2017 - 01:24pm PT
Little Z quoted:
Climbers stated, voluntarily, that "I will not climb in the month of June"

I'm a climber. I don't remember saying that, or appointing anyone to speak on my behalf.

Only made one trip to the tower to climb, and it wasn't in June. Very awesome, but we did wind up sliding off an icy I-25 and rolling the car on the way back to Ft. Collins. So maybe the offended spirits got their revenge.

Obviously every climber didn't say they would choose not climb in the month of June or we wouldn't be having this discussion. However, during the Climbing Management plan process, there was a working group that consisted of the Access Fund and a local climbing organization, Native American representatives, and the NPS that made suggestions for the plan. There was also a public comment period in which many climbers expressed their opinions.

The Access Fund, a group I would think most climbers can get behind, fully supports the Climbing Management plan and voluntary June closure at Devils Tower.

luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2017 - 01:29pm PT
Part of what makes the June closure painful is that it's by far the best month to climb the Tower for those whose lives revolve around the American school calendar (i.e., you have kids). By July it's cookin' hot, and the classic routes are on the south side in full sun. How did June get chosen as the sacred month?

June was chosen because it is a culturally significant month for the Native American tribes that the tower is sacred to. Many ceremonies take place in June culminating with the summer solstice. The Native American cultural and spiritual world revolves around the lunar calendar, not the Roman calendar or American school calendar. Promoting cross cultural understanding and awareness is a major tenent of the voluntary June closure and Climbing Management Plan.

blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 15, 2017 - 01:46pm PT
The Native American cultural and spiritual world revolves around the lunar calendar, not the Roman calendar or American school calendar.

We learn all sorts of things on these threads--
I thought June was the Roman calendar, guess I was mistaken.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
May 15, 2017 - 01:53pm PT
I'll be hitting it, first time ever, in August, I hope it won't be too crowded then.

Interesting discussion.

But I am curious though if any NA groups have brought forth any actual evidence or good argument - either regarding Devils Tower or Cave Rock - in support of their claim that climbers climbing on said sacred rock actually vitiate it . "Show me the evidence."

"From what I understand the native people believe the tower was formed by a bear. This is not true. Devils Tower is a remnant of Yygdrasil. As an arborist I believe it must be climbed. If you touch it in a friendly manner you will understand that it wants to be climbed."

lol
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
May 15, 2017 - 02:02pm PT
June is the Roman calendar. I think his point was, regardless of what we call it, the solstice is probably what the focus is on.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2017 - 02:09pm PT
We learn all sorts of things on these threads--
I thought June was the Roman calendar, guess I was mistaken.

The closure happens in June because our modern world follows the Roman calendar. It would be difficult to manage a closure that follows a lunar calendar or ceremonies that may take place at different times each year.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 15, 2017 - 02:15pm PT
It's been my experience that climbers should be proactive in building good relationships with the land managers of the public lands where climbing exists.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 15, 2017 - 02:28pm PT
The closure happens in June because our modern world follows the Roman calendar. It would be difficult to manage a closure that follows a lunar calendar or ceremonies that may take place at different times each year.

It's difficult to tell people the date or dates when something will happen, so you just "round off" to the nearest month?

Let's make this concrete: what date or dates will there be ceremonies this year?
Do you know?
Can you find out?
Will there by any that are not in June?
What's the earliest date in June that the ceremonies happen?
What percentage of days in June are there ceremonies?
What times of day are the ceremonies typically at? How long do they typically last?
Where, specifically, do they occur?
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 15, 2017 - 02:49pm PT
If you let the indians "abuse" you the next privileged group will be the Baptists. Sunrise services at Mt. Soledad in San Diego is a good example. Can you see Muslims getting away with this?

http://www.skepticfiles.org/moretext/easter7.htm

Last February, in the midst of this legal battle, Dr. Irons visited the local parks department to see if the Mount Soledad Memorial
Association had acquired a permit to use the park this Easter. To his
surprise, he discovered that no permit had been requested, and,
indeed, such a permit had not been issued to the Memorial Association
to conduct their Christian worship services for years. It was simply
assumed by the city that the park would be reserved for these
services. Seizing a rare opportunity, Dr. Irons immediately made
application for use of the park on Easter morning. In the
"organization" blank of the application, Dr. Irons listed the Atheist
Coalition, despite the fact that he considers himself a practicing
Christian. Several weeks later, the Atheist Coalition membership
voted nearly unanimously to support Dr. Irons' Easter morning event.
This support was offered even though many members of the Coalition had
already made plans to attend a national atheists convention in the
Midwest on that weekend.

Under the guidance of Dr. Irons and activist Craig Kelso, the theme
for the Easter morning event became "The Park Belongs to Everyone". A
program of speakers was assembled from San Diego's diverse religious
and non-religious minority groups. The message went out that this
secular celebration was to welcome all citizens, without
concern for convictions or beliefs. This open invitation did not
appeal to the local media, which chose instead to cast this gathering
as a battle between atheists and Christians. The local newspapers
contained frequent stories and editorials on the usurpation of this
sacred ground by the childish and mean spirited atheists. The San
Diego Memorial Association refused to join in the celebration, opting
to reserve the park for Memorial Day, instead. One San Diego City
Councilman, who also happens to be a Baptist preacher, reserved the
park for the hour preceding the Atheist Coalition Easter
event, but front page headlines soon thereafter declared that God
himself had told this distinguished gentleman to withdraw his
reservation.

Many people climbed Mount Soledad on the morning of April 7th. With
sleep still in their eyes from the reinstantiation of daylight savings
time, people were forced by limited parking space to climb to the top
of the hill on foot. Arriving in darkness, members of the "The Park
Belongs to Everyone" committee quitely set up for their event while
television cameras captured the wild circus of street preachers and
angry Christian banner wavers which pranced about the cross. As the
sun crept above the mountains, the celebration of freedom and
diversity began.

Dr. Irons and Craig Kelso welcomed the crowd, which numbered between
200 and 300. The sound of their voices over the P.A. system was heard
by the demonstrators at the nearby cross, and a parade of banner
toting crusaders marched towards the podium. The motley crew of
anti-separationists included several bible thumpers shouting
hallelujahs, a mock Jesus bearing a large wooden cross and receiving
flogging by a woman wearing bunny-rabbit make-up, and a collection of
young muscular men wearing clothing reminiscent of inner city street
gangs, chanting "It's the blood that sets me free".

The disruption was significant, but the separationists went on. Scott
Nailor, speaking on behalf of the Atheist Coalition, shouted out his
piece, ignoring the drone of the protesters behind him. Television
cameras ignored his words and focused instead on any interaction that
showed promise of escalating into violence. Brave freethinkers and
other separationists stepped forward to quietly interpose their bodies
between the protesters and the speakers. Then, as if out of nowhere,
several uniformed officers of the San Diego Police Department appeared
and calmly enforced the park permit granted to Dr. Irons. The
Christian protesters were directed to keep their distance, and their
shouts and chants slowly died down to an occasional heckling.

JoAnne Harrison, speaking for the local wiccans, related the pagan
history of Easter. She was followed by the Reverend Tom Owen-Towle of
the First Unitarian Universalist Church. A musical interlude was then
provided by Vincent Clarke, an amiable elderly trombonist who had
played in years past for the Christian services held on Mount Soledad.
On this occasion, Mr. Clarke entertained the crowd with a selection of
secular show tunes.
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
May 15, 2017 - 05:25pm PT
June was chosen because it is a culturally significant month for the Native American tribes that the tower is sacred to. Many ceremonies take place in June culminating with the summer solstice.

That's a helpful explanation.

Seems like May 22 to June 21 (or maybe May 23 to June 22) would make more sense as it would, for native Americans, more closely align with their cultural experiences while better explaining their culture to the outside world. Also, it would have a side benefit of better alignment with the American calendar. As it is, "the month of June" sounds arbitrary, even capricious, even though it isn't.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 15, 2017 - 07:58pm PT
Luquitos,

Thank you for starting this thread. Before, I was always determined to honor the June voluntary closure. I have been advocating for Native American rights my entire life whenever I have the opportunity to do so. Those who know me understand the passion I have for spreading accurate history as to what really happened here to the plains Indians, especially during the 1800's and on into today.

After learning more about this closure however, I am planning my Devil's Tower trip this year in the month of June. It will be nice to spend time in the Black Hills during the month of the sun dance.

Again, thank you for exposing me to individuals who appear to understand the history of this closure far better than you have demonstrated and to those who have put the closure into a different perspective, one that makes a lot more sense than the one that was dished out to me by the NPS.

Arne
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 16, 2017 - 06:17am PT
Here is another interesting disclosure that happened at the start of the Climbing Management Group. The team was to consist of 2 climbing group's representatives and 2 Native Americans and others that I have forgotten. The Park Service got two Native Americans form the seven associated tribes that claim past interest in the Tower.

While at the first Management Plan Meeting the two Native American Representatives said they had no problem with climbers on the Tower during their Spiritual Quest which took place in a zoned off [to visitors and hikers] region of the NW corner of the Tower. The NPS then ask one of the members to step down and they would seek another Native American with an opposing view. They got a high profile "rabble rouser" Native American from Oklahoma to come since he would have an opposing view.

The Oklahoma native [not of the seven associated tribes] got the Pine Ridge Sioux woman to change her view and so there were now 2 Native Americans against climbing on the Tower. The NPS had created the deck they wanted -- opposing views. I grew up 40 miles from where the woman lived and did get a chance to talk with her as I felt having grown up with families she knew like the Short Bulls, Truebloods and Braves she might be willing to talk to me. She was a little shy but at best seemed luke warm to the new idea she was to go with that of closing the tower to climbing. The pace of communicating with her was slow like most tribal peoples but the pace of the Oklahoma Native was rapid as he had an agenda.

Climber Carl Coy was the Access Fund Representative and he became a turncoat against climbing interests. Bob Archbolt was the other representative from the Black Hills Climbing Coalition. He had little interest in such sittings and negotiations and maybe little skill in keeping his sights on target. With agents like these two representing our interests Charley Anderson, Paul Duval, Hollis Marriott and I became the vocal public at large against the climbing plan.

We immediately set out writing a cogent and concise flyer letter with very the aim to get action -- namely climbers sending letters to DETO protesting the plan. We were highly successful -- 800 letters in 2 months. After achieving this success I gained a hot line to the Access Fund. They could "never achieve such a response from the Public" how did we do it? We will pay your receipt proof expenses but to save face we cannot hold your point of view was the gist.

We all agreed to the plan as the meaning of the word voluntary is to be construed as a choice of no consequences. Latter agents of Park Service would threaten us as they were not seeing climbing numbers in June vanish. Judge Dowes's ruling that the Tower would never be closed to climbing for religious reasons made the meaning of the word voluntary to be construed as a choice of no consequences.

From Donini:

It's been my experience that climbers should be proactive in building good relationships with the land managers of the public lands where climbing exists.

I ask of this: Who has the last say in land management?

To make sense of his casual statement think of it this way: The agency of land management having the final say in land management in regard to climbing is the courts. Work with them if you have to. The NPS was told early on about Badoni v Higginson but they ignored us. There is no mention of Badoni v. Higginson in the Climbing Management Plan.

Remember this: The agencies of land management can do whatever they want until taken to court. Court action is likely proof whether they comply with the law as land managers sometimes have no intention of working with you -- behind that smiling face they carry their agenda.




Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 16, 2017 - 09:11am PT
Thank you for starting this thread. Before, I was always determined to honor the June voluntary closure. I have been advocating for Native American rights my entire life whenever I have the opportunity to do so. Those who know me understand the passion I have for spreading accurate history as to what really happened here to the plains Indians, especially during the 1800's and on into today.

After learning more about this closure however, I am planning my Devil's Tower trip this year in the month of June. It will be nice to spend time in the Black Hills during the month of the sun dance.


Sounds exactly like the climbers who profess to love the environment, then when confronted with a closure to protect a species, suggest that killing off that species would be the best option. Nice respect for the Native Americans.
Late Starter

Social climber
South Dakota
May 16, 2017 - 09:23am PT
Oh all Hail BearBreeder...

Please send me your favorite local crag with any cultural significance.

I'll have my standardized letter ready to go. Bet you a silver nickel it won't take much to get the ball rolling.

Appreciate your backing as a fellow climber.

Maybe there's other websites you should be frequenting??

blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 16, 2017 - 10:01am PT
Bearbreeder--

You're doing an excellent job of impersonating a PC Whyte guy who supports the "voluntary closures" (which, as far as I can tell, are a product of PC Whyte guy culture and have very little to do with anything relating to Indians).

Keep it up and I'll be inclined to give you an honorary Whyte guy pass card--seems to be what you're looking for.
Late Starter

Social climber
South Dakota
May 16, 2017 - 10:27am PT
YES^^

Thank you Dingus for providing factual and relevant information. The details involved in the original agreement are helpful and would be lost to history without your information.

The rest of this thread is deteriorating to sub-Mountain Project standards.
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
May 16, 2017 - 10:29am PT
so we should grid-bolt DeTo?
MSmith

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
May 16, 2017 - 10:34am PT
Hmm. Dang that Dingus. I can't nay-say his points. Well, he's a privileged white trash Trump dude, for sure. I'll call him out for what he is. Yes! That's a good approach!
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 16, 2017 - 10:44am PT
Is it funny to anyone else that we are arguing about a 'voluntary' closure?

Some volunteer some don't. Do we yell at those and condemn those who don't volunteer for say, Yosemite Facelift or a trail maintenance day at your local crag?

I believe there is a threat (implicit of explicit) to close Devils Tower to climbing for more than June (perhaps all year, perhaps just in months having good weather) if the "voluntary closure" doesn't cause the number of June climbers to trend to zero.

Lucas--is my belief correct?

Also Lucas, you didn't answer any of the follow-up questions I asked in response to one of your previous posts, copied below.

Lucas:
The closure happens in June because our modern world follows the Roman calendar. It would be difficult to manage a closure that follows a lunar calendar or ceremonies that may take place at different times each year
.

Blah:
It's difficult to tell people the date or dates when something will happen, so you just "round off" to the nearest month?

Let's make this concrete: what date or dates will there be ceremonies this year?
Do you know?
Can you find out?
Will there be any that are not in June?
What's the earliest date in June that the ceremonies happen?
What percentage of days in June are there ceremonies?
What times of day are the ceremonies typically at? How long do they typically last?
Where, specifically, do they occur?

The point of my questions is this:
I don't agree with the closure in principle but I am willing to consider not climbing at DT at any reasonably specific times and places when there are Indian ceremonies.
Are you willing to tell me what those times and places are?
Do you know?
Can you find out?
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 16, 2017 - 11:17am PT
are there any native americans who can explain the cultural significance and the closure

No. It was/is a solution in search of a non-existent problem.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 16, 2017 - 11:38am PT
Ken,
You simply do not have a leg to stand on.

Ken M. wrote:

the indians were at war with the United States. In any other war in history, they'd have simply been eradicated.

No they weren't. There never was any "Indian Wars". Only propaganda and a plan from the highest office in Washington to exterminate the Indian. The Indians ran from place to place, in desperation for survival, shepherding all their elderly, women and children, infants, their housing, tools, food and horses, everything they had against the military of U.S. dressed for war, who had no such baggage to worry about except saving their sorry asses.

The indians have the burden of assimilation into America, same as the polish, the Italians, the Mexican-Americans, and the rest. There comes a point where that needs to be the priority, not living in the past.

Oh, you mean eradication. Completely wipe out any remaining cultural identity they have left. You simply echo a long line of like minded oppressors before you.

I don't doubt that the American Indian got a raw deal. Nor do I doubt that they are starting on a starting line far back of the pack, and that is unfair.

Yes, like receiving shipments of blankets intentionally infected with small pox, orders from the Whitehouse to exterminate the bison, delivery of rotten meat and on and on and on.

However, when they choose to identify as a separate nation, as they often do, then I think of them like Canada or Mexico.

This one pretty much says all you need to identify yourself.

And now Ken M. you want to join in a discussion to impart your wisdom and compassion in order to lecture those against the voluntary closure at D.T. a place you have never even visited, let alone climbed. Go Ken!
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 16, 2017 - 12:01pm PT
so basically the NPS, Access Fund, local climbing organizations and those "damn injuns" all came together in a vast conspiracy to deny whyte privilege climbers from climbing during a SINGLE MONTH of the year 2 decades ago ...

No, BB. Just the NPS.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2017 - 12:14pm PT
It's difficult to tell people the date or dates when something will happen, so you just "round off" to the nearest month?

Let's make this concrete: what date or dates will there be ceremonies this year?
Do you know?
Can you find out?
Will there be any that are not in June?
What's the earliest date in June that the ceremonies happen?
What percentage of days in June are there ceremonies?
What times of day are the ceremonies typically at? How long do they typically last?
Where, specifically, do they occur?

To answer your questions: No I can not tell you this information. The Native Americans who have ceremonies at the tower are not required to inform the NPS of the ceremonies and they do NOT want this information shared. This is why the closure is one specific month out of the year.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2017 - 12:17pm PT
I have been a climbing ranger at Devils Tower for 2 summers. I don't have the personal knowledge that Dingus McGee has of the proceedings leading up to the creation of the climbing management plan and voluntary closure.

Personally, I have experienced some resentment from Native Americans towards climbing on the tower. I have also heard that some Native Americans do not have a problem with climbing on the tower.

The cross cultural education that is encouraged through a voluntary closure does not just extend to the climbing community, but the Native American community as well. The NPS plans to work with Native American youth this summer to engage them about climbing.


luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2017 - 12:18pm PT
The climbing management plan is not a document set in stone. It requires updates yearly and can be re-written. The entire plan can be read here: https://www.nps.gov/deto/planyourvisit/upload/1995-DETO-CMP.pdf




From the climbing management plan:

"It is within the existing authority of the monument Superintendent to close areas to certain activities to protect natural and cultural resources."

"The NPS maintains that future management actions could take place including a mandatory closure. The mandatory closure language is present to show that we are seriously committed to protecting a cultural resource and to acknowledge American Indian concerns. The NPS has the authority to implement a mandatory June closure, but hopes this will not be necessary."
Late Starter

Social climber
South Dakota
May 16, 2017 - 12:24pm PT
I'd wager a strong bet that Yosemite holds more cultural significance to certain Native American tribes....Where's their month? How about June in Yosemite? I propose a voluntary no climbing month? Which local tribal leaders can we notify? I'm sure there's at least one outspoken eternally oppressed white-blamer to notify/get on board. Where's the outrage now?

Ohhh, you don't climb at Devils Tower, you just want to call all White folks culturally oppressive.

How about we keep segregating people by groups(Asian, Black, White, Native), that way we can always fight?

All this BS race blaming is only getting worse.....
Late Starter

Social climber
South Dakota
May 16, 2017 - 12:45pm PT
I know your type...

The troll keeps feeding and feeding and feeding...

Post that selfie pic up...you know the one you got pissed about so you quit giving "valuable" advice on MP. Deactivated your account, right?

You didn't look to oppressed in that pic..HAHAHA

I'm sure I can find that pic somewhere....

BTW, it's white not whyte. I don't get it.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 16, 2017 - 12:52pm PT
It's difficult to tell people the date or dates when something will happen, so you just "round off" to the nearest month?

Let's make this concrete: what date or dates will there be ceremonies this year?
Do you know?
Can you find out?
Will there be any that are not in June?
What's the earliest date in June that the ceremonies happen?
What percentage of days in June are there ceremonies?
What times of day are the ceremonies typically at? How long do they typically last?
Where, specifically, do they occur?

To answer your questions: No I can not tell you this information. The Native Americans who have ceremonies at the tower are not required to inform the NPS of the ceremonies and they do NOT want this information shared. This is why the closure is one specific month out of the year.

Lucas, I suppose I should thank you for trying to answer my questions, but your answer is so evasive and non-responsive that I don't have any confidence that you're making much of an effort to answer questions (as you said you would in your first post) rather than just pushing your agenda.
It's fine if you want to just push an agenda, but then you should drop the "I'll answer your questions" shtick.

I still have no idea of how many days in June (or other months) there are Indian ceremonies, on what days in June (or other months) they typically occur (or are they randomly spread throughout June and/or other months?), where and at what time they take place, and how long they last.

I now understand you do not want to answer questions relating to specific ceremonies that may occur this year on the grounds that "they do NOT want this information shared." I'll note that it's not clear whether you any anyone else at NPS knows when the ceremonies will occur--I infer from your answer that neither you or anyone else at NPS knows that information, but please let me know if I'm mistaken. I am also curious how you know they don't want the information shared. Did they tell you that? Did someone at NPS tell you that? Something else? Are you sure that "they" all think alike?

Is it fair to say that you (or the NPS) serve as the spokesperson for some of the Indians with regards to the ceremonies? If so, which Indians do you speak for? Certain tribes?

In any event, can you try to answer the questions I asked generally, even if you can't or won't list specific information relating to upcoming ceremonies?

If not, is it because you don't know the answers, or because you don't want to answer for some other reason (presumably to keep this all a secret, at the Indians' request)?

Let me again make this clear: I am willing to not climb for certain days when there are Indian ceremonies. I'm much less willing not to climb for an arbitrary number of days (during peak climbing season) when, I believe, there are no Indian ceremonies occurring on the vast majority of those days.

If any of my beliefs are incorrect, I would like to be corrected, but your answer that is to the effect of "the Indians don't want you know this information" seems more consistent with the hypotheses that the entire "voluntary closure" is predicated on very dubious grounds.
Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 16, 2017 - 12:56pm PT
This got dumb...

F*#k it...I hope they close it down. What's next on the list.

BTW, climbing ranger, dumb to resort to internet polling/opinions to form any basis that's meaningful. Nice sh#t-storm you're stirring up.

BB. I'm German-American, sorry that the geographical location whereupon I was birthed didn't include darker skin via evolution. You win.



WBraun

climber
May 16, 2017 - 12:58pm PT
LOL .....
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 16, 2017 - 01:31pm PT
I'm bummed that I missed out on seeing BareBreeder's selfie.

It seems to me, from reading the climbing Ranger's posts, that "voluntary" is a word of art. That is to say that if, over time, climbers don't co-operate with this voluntary closure the threat of a mandatory closure looms ahead.

My impression is that the NPS thinks in terms of missions. Missions, of course, are driven by a cause. This begs the question, does this sort of cross cultural co-education - with access to public lands hanging in the balance - have merit. DM's well written posts are working to change my thinking on this issue.

FWIW I've made the trip to climb at The Tower from CA about a half dozen times. It was Mike Caldwell, Tommy's old man, who introduced me to the place in about 1988. Since then about every three or four years. Stayed at Frank's a couple times, camped by the river other times. One of my fondest memories is the time Larry and I got high and went prairie dog watching. I almost gave myself a hernia laughing...
Studly

Trad climber
WA
May 16, 2017 - 04:27pm PT
I love lesbians, and voluntarily as well.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 17, 2017 - 04:54am PT
from luquitos,

from the Devils Tower Climbing Management Plan [CMP]

"It is within the existing authority of the monument Superintendent to close areas to certain activities to protect natural and cultural resources."

"The NPS maintains that future management actions could take place including a mandatory closure. The mandatory closure language is present to show that we are seriously committed to protecting a cultural resource and to acknowledge American Indian concerns. The NPS has the authority to implement a mandatory June closure, but hopes this will not be necessary."

What this statements from the CMP fails to note is that Supt Deb Ligget tried to use the cultural argument in the Petefish case. Judge Dowes said this case is not a cultural issue but it is a religious dispute. He told Deb Ligget to drop the subject of cultural issues.

The NPS land surrounding Devils Tower was/is for any measure devoid of any cultural artifacts. There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower.

Edit: {Except the Stake Ladder is considered cultural as point out to me by WyoRockMan.}

The document luquitos cited is outdated and/or intentionally failed to make reference to the court case as it makes no reference to some very strict rulings the Federal Judiciary Court of Dowes imposed on Climbing/Reulations at Devils Tower. In other words the argument of cultural resource destruction has little meaning for Native Americans spiritual practices being bothered by climbers on the Tower as the court insists these are religious issues and not cultural issues.

In early court cases of religious practice interferences the courts have ruled that background effects cannot be construed as a prevention of a person to practice his religion. For example a church on a noisy street cannot close the public street on Sunday because the traffic noises interfere with the quietness they need for their religious practices.

Based on these interpretations the Native Americans or Park Service have no legal grounds to claim that climbers on the sides of Devils Tower are preventing Native Americans from practicing their religion. In other words they have to tolerate far visual infringements and noises like a jet airliner flying over head as they do not prevent them from practising their religion.

Supt Deb Ligget was also unsuccessful in initiating an argument that the Tower was the [their] very monument the Native Americans needed for their religious practices and it had to be free of any other people's presence.

For more judiciary thinking on allowable infringements to one's religious practices see Badoni v. Higginson and some other cases have good discussions on this matter.

It looks like when you practise your religion you cannot have it such that when you look out a window there can be no one in the view. But you do have the freedom to build your church without windows.




Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 17, 2017 - 06:14am PT
Thank-You. ^^^
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 17, 2017 - 06:22am PT
Bump to put on the top of the page.

Thank you Dingus.


from luquitos,

from the Devils Tower Climbing Management Plan [CMP]

"It is within the existing authority of the monument Superintendent to close areas to certain activities to protect natural and cultural resources."

"The NPS maintains that future management actions could take place including a mandatory closure. The mandatory closure language is present to show that we are seriously committed to protecting a cultural resource and to acknowledge American Indian concerns. The NPS has the authority to implement a mandatory June closure, but hopes this will not be necessary."

What this statements from the CMP fails to note is that Supt Deb Ligget tried to use the cultural argument in the Petefish case. Judge Dowes said this case is not a cultural issue but it is a religious dispute. He told Deb Ligget to drop the subject of cultural issues.

The NPS land surrounding Devils Tower was/is for any measure devoid of any cultural artifacts. There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower.

The document luquitos cited is outdated and/or intentionally failed to make reference to the court case as it makes no reference to some very strict rulings the Federal Judiciary Court of Dowes imposed on Climbing/Reulations at Devils Tower. In other words the argument of cultural resource destruction has little meaning for Native Americans spiritual practices being bothered by climbers on the Tower as the court insists these are religious issues and not cultural issues.

In early court cases of religious practice interferences the courts have ruled that background effects cannot be construed as a prevention of a person to practice his religion. For example a church on a noisy street cannot close the public street on Sunday because the traffic noises interfere with the quietness they need for their religious practices.

Based on these interpretations the Native Americans or Park Service have no legal grounds to claim that climbers on the sides of Devils Tower are preventing Native Americans from practicing their religion. In other words they have to tolerate far visual infringements and noises like a jet airliner flying over head as they do not prevent them from practising their religion.

Supt Deb Ligget was also unsuccessful in initiating an argument that the Tower was the [their] very monument the Native Americans needed for their religious practices and it had to be free of any other people's presence.

For more judiciary thinking on allowable infringements to one's religious practices see Badoni v. Higginson and some other cases have good discussions on this matter.

It looks like when you practise your religion you cannot have it such that when you look out a window there can be no one in the view. But you do have the freedom to build your church without windows.


I do take minor exception to the phrase of "There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower."

The Rogers and Ripley stake ladder qualifies, by statute, as a cultural artifact.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 17, 2017 - 08:03am PT
Thanks Wyo rock Man,

Yes, I would have been more accurate and to the point to say, "No Native
American Artifacts on the sides of.."
Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 17, 2017 - 09:56am PT
A non-American complaining about the US and Trump, who has no issues climbing on "the Chief" in Squamish, BC(I'm guessing at these assumptions of you).

I could lay out the irony if I wished to devote more time to you.

I don't like you, and your rhetoric is boring/not useful.
Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 17, 2017 - 10:16am PT
Don't be lazy and internet crusade.

Make the phone calls yourself. Supertopo's represents a pretty narrow cross-section of people. If you wanted the opinions you could find them.

Try the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...make it fun and randomly call some folks. Post up your findings to enlighten me.

Seems as if this thread is dying, as it should.

Folks such as Dingus Mcgee are the only ones bringing in anything relevant.
Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 17, 2017 - 10:42am PT
Great argument, you win. I side "Whyth" you.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 17, 2017 - 10:53am PT
. . .

Seems as if this thread is dying, as it should.

Folks such as Dingus Mcgee are the only ones bringing in anything relevant.

I believe Lucas has brought some relevant things to this thread and I would like to see him respond to my posts. (Perhaps no one else cares--who knows, but I don't know that you need more than 2 people on a thread who are getting something out of it for it to be useful.)

I would be even more interested to get Lucas's take on Dingus' / WyoRockMan's most recent posts.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 17, 2017 - 10:54am PT
It would not be fair to say that I or the NPS serve as a spokesperson for Native Americans. When I said that Native Americans do not wish this information to be shared I was speaking based on the ethnographic study by Hanson and Chirinos, and information in the climbing management plan, as well as information passed on to me by other NPS employees that have had consultation with the tribes that hold the tower sacred. The NPS has and does consult with the tribes on these issues, though I have not personally been a part of that process. I am not saying that Native Americans all feel the same about this issue or that they all think alike. I would guess that the opinions would be as diverse among the Native American community as they are in the climbing community.

From the:
Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

"One of the major issues emerging from this project was that of a cultural paradox. That is, the National Park Service, in order to protect and manage personal ritual areas, needs data on the location of these sites. The Native Americans interviewed realized this, but also pointed out that, in many cases these locations are by religious custom not supposed to be revealed, and that Indian people would be acting in a culturally inappropriate manner by doing so. Thus, to provide needed data to the NPS to protect their religious interests they risk behaving counter to their religion"

"Devils Tower, which includes all areas between the Tower and the Tower trail, is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a traditional cultural property. Tradition in this context refers to 'those beliefs, customs, and practices of a living community of people that have been passed down through the generations, usually orally or through practice.' The word culture in the National Register program is understood to mean "the traditions, beliefs, practices, lifeways, arts, crafts, and social institutions of any community, be it an Indian tribe, a local ethnic group, or the people of the nation as a whole." (Parker and King 1990)."

"A traditional cultural property is generally defined as one that is eligible for listing on the National Register because of its association with cultural practices or beliefs of a living community that (a) are rooted in that community's history and (b) are important in maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community (Parker and King 1990). "

The NPS treats all lands that are eligible to be listed as if they actually are.

As far as Dingus' claim that

The NPS land surrounding Devils Tower was/is for any measure devoid of any cultural artifacts. There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower.

This is completely false. There are many documented artifacts and sites on the shoulders of the tower and near the tower within the monument. These are not advertised to the general public for the same reasons described above, and many of these sites were discovered after the climbing management plan was enacted.

I will again try to answer Blahblah's questions directly. I assure you I am not trying to be evasive or non-responsive. Let me again say though that the June closure is not tied to the visible presence of ceremonies. It is based off the cultural value of the tower as a sacred site to many tribes.

1) I don't know what dates there will be ceremonies this year.

2) It might be possible for me to find out the dates. Some require special use permits that the park issues, some do not. Again, this is not public information.

3) I don't know the earliest date in June that ceremonies take place, nor do I know the percentage of days in June that they take place, ceremonies can take place at all times of day, including night time, (not trying to be vague, just the truth). I don't know how long they usually last. Ceremonies take place at different locations around the tower. There are ceremonies that take place in other months of the year.

Is it hard to believe that Native Americans do not want this information shared? It seems pretty reasonable to me.

More evidence documented in the climbing management plan about the tower as a sacred site.

"Some American Indians perceive climbing on the tower and the proliferation of bolts, pitons, slings, and other climbing equipment on the tower as a desecration to their sacred site. It appears to many
American Indians that climbers do not respect their culture by the very act of climbing on the tower. Climbing during traditional ceremonies and prayer times is a sensitive issue as well. Elders have commented that the spirits do not inhabit the area anymore because of all the visitors and use of the tower, thus it is not a good place to worship as before."

"The Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota Nations held a meeting in June, 1993 and developed the Summit V Resolution No. 93-11. The purpose of the document was to 'support and demand tribal participation in the protection and decision making of sacred sites.'" From that document it states that Devils tower is a sacred site among others in the state and in South Dakota, and "Devils Tower has been subjected to similar damage from an onslaught of rock climbers...these sites and many others are vital to the continuation of our traditional beliefs and values... and it is our legacy to protect these sites for the future generations, so they too, may be able to enjoy these holy places for prayer and revitalization of Mother Earth."

Regardless of weather a mandatory ban would hold up in court, the NPS is still asking you to choose to not climb during June out of respect for the sacredness of Devils Tower to many tribes, which has been documented. If you choose to climb for whatever reason, that is your choice to make. The purpose of this thread was to open up discussion on it and thus increase awareness, not to pass judgement on those that climb in June. I value the comments by everyone here and it has been informative on all sides. Thank you.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
May 17, 2017 - 11:14am PT
Lucas,
While I don't necessarily agree with the various points you make, I do appreciate your thoughts and thank you for responding.

I now understand that the "voluntary" closure is not related to climbers disrupting Indian ceremonies, but rather is based on the fact that climbing DT conceptually bothers (some) Indians in general. (I may presume that these same Indians are conceptually bothered by climbers climbing elsewhere--what are the chances that there are Indian spirits who don't like climbing at DT but are OK with climbing everywhere else?)

I still fail to understand how the June closure is a reasonable compromise to anything--if the Indians are conceptually bothered by climbers, that doesn't seem to be really mitigated by not climbing in June. But maybe we've taken these points as far as we can take them and simply disagree.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 17, 2017 - 12:29pm PT
The NPS land surrounding Devils Tower was/is for any measure devoid of any cultural artifacts. There are zero cultural artifacts on the sides or top of Devils Tower.

I gained this information in a talk with Dr Frisen once Head of UW Archaeology and also at one time State Archeologist.

Note luquitos states:

This is completely false. There are many documented artifacts and sites on the shoulders of the tower and near the tower within the monument. These are not advertised to the general public for the same reasons described above, and many of these sites were discovered .



after the climbing management plan was enacted
and this time is after DR. Frisen retired.

And we fail to hear from luquitos what many means?
Hard Rock

Trad climber
Montana
May 17, 2017 - 01:17pm PT
The quality of the government for bans (and climbing plans) is bad. We are 3 years into a bolting ban at Mill Creek in Montana. The first year was a "cooling off" period with non climbers who were never up at our climbing area (similar to Devils Tower?) and it was a lie. Also I was told to my face that if we didn't obey the voluntary ban they would make it required. The last letter from the FS to the coalition said we should police the whole climbing community.

Rest assured I am qualified to make the above statement.

luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 17, 2017 - 06:39pm PT
Dingus,

The Archeology Laboratory of the University of South Dakota conducted an intensive survey of Devils Tower National Monument from July to September 1997 and July to August 1998.

The purpose of The Archeological 1997-1998 Survey and National Register Evaluation of Devils Tower National Monument, Crook County, Wyoming (Univ. of SD Archeol. Lab. 1998) was to locate and interpret all historic and prehistoric sites in the monument and evaluate their significance within the guidelines of the National Register of Historic Places. Of the 25 sites found eligible for the national register, 8 are historic: homestead, administrative district, Tower ladder, entrance station, entrance road, cabin/motel site, historic road, and graffiti. Of these, the administrative district, the entrance station, and the entrance road have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Seventeen earlier sites were found eligible: Devils Tower, a cave, two prehistoric rock paintings, and 13 lithic scatter sites. Among the 17 sites were artifacts dating from the Late Paleoindian period to the Late Prehistoric. Indications of heavy occupation were found for the Late Plains Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods.

All of this information can be found in the Devils Tower National Monument: Final General Management Plan, Environmental Impact Statement, which is available to read online here:
[url="http://https://www.nps.gov/deto/learn/management/upload/General-Management-Plan-2.pdf"]http://https://www.nps.gov/deto/learn/management/upload/General-Management-Plan-2.pdf[/url]
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 17, 2017 - 06:44pm PT
Rest assured I am qualified to make the above statement.

Yeah, but I don't know if your statement really belongs on this thread, one that is actually going somewhere and long overdue. Digressing right now doesn't really help.

But let me digress, aren't you the one that set about with the barrage of overbolted routes and leading hordes of newbies up the trail to "your" new crag in such a short period of time? Of course you were going to draw the attention of incensed bird watchers who tried to shut you down.

Arne
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
May 17, 2017 - 07:17pm PT
I have found cultural artifacts on top of the tower. I have up to this point never revealed this to anyone other than Mike Cronin who I was climbing with that day.

It was a cool spring day one of those early spring days where you were quite certain you were one on the first people to walk in the rareified air of the tower summit that calendar year. We had topped out and were enjoying the view in the cool summit breeze while making light conversation. I remember it like it was yesterday. We then started down toward the summit raps when I look down and I see the artifacts.....







I could not believe it but there it was. A bright shiny broken Elvis watch and a cigar box sized duct taped package that turned out to be two Tom Robbins novels.

Ludicris, as someone who spent almost all of his life in South Dakota i know your study is bogus cause everybody knows guys from USD can't climb.
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 18, 2017 - 05:57am PT
luquitos,

Thanks for the update on cultural artifacts in and around DETO.

Again, the Dowes court that set the framework of this settlement argument has said this is a religious dispute and not the NPS's CMP case of cultural infringement. All the cultural artifacts mean nothing for this case. For the purpose of religious practices on Federal property other than Indian Reservations all parties have equal access and they are subject to noises and visual impacts of other parties doing whatever practices on this property.

Without a doubt climbers have been singled out on the issue of infringement because they were the lowest hanging fruit. de facto: The Park Service decides to have a climbing Management Plan and not a Tourist Management Plan. But, so be it. The type of action like climbers on the side of Tower by all court cases of infringement of religious practices have sighted with sustaining the distant action.

Supt Deb Liggett tried to advance the argument that Devils Tower was the Native Americans Temple but the Dowes Court did not buy this argument as having in any power in the decision of the case. Dr. Frisen assured me there were no such artifacts on the NPS Devils Tower Grounds to construe that Devils Tower was such a temple if you will.

Within Federal Public Lands we are all bound to the makings of the US Constitution and it's case law. Why do the seemingly uniformed Devils Tower NPS agents try to make us climbers do? [Volunteering is ok] something other than what the law permits them to do. We do not see this kind of pseudo regulatory action happening at Rainbow Bridge National Monument where the case of Badoni v. Higginson arose. I use the adjective pseudo here to mean threats of closure that have no grounds.









The number of climbers since 1994 has risen dramatically. How about normalizing your data for this effect?
c wilmot

climber
May 18, 2017 - 06:03am PT
I find the European mentality of needing artifacts in order to confer cultural/spiritual importance to a certain place odd.
Perhaps the natives had a different mindset?

Would you leave trash at a place of spiritual importance to you?

Interesting debate going on
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 18, 2017 - 06:10am PT
c wilmont,

I find the European mentality of needing artifacts in order to confer cultural/spiritual importance to a certain place odd.
Perhaps the natives had a different mindset?

Would you leave trash at a place of spiritual importance to you?

Interesting debate going on

This country is not a country of Europe. The jump to Plymouth Rock had its reasons.

The Native Americans using Devils Tower Lands for a Spiritual Gathering have left many items we white boy climbers consider trash.

to wit: one car engine, car batteries, beer cans, eating utensils, clothing, electronic devices, mattresses, blankets, food, dead animals and other garbage that the maintenance division of DETO cleaned up. Is the Spiritual Practice at DETO a car cleaning ritual?

But having grown up very close to Pine Ridge, South Dakota this dumping action of Native Americans comes as no surprise.

And there you have it: Trash is the evidence of a temple.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
May 18, 2017 - 09:26am PT
I gotta say that pipelines are no big deal. There are zillions of them criss crossing the country. Rarely is there a problem, and those are almost always from old lines. Modern pipelines are very good.

It isn't much worse than putting in a road. A right of way will lay across the landscape, kept clear of trees.

They monitor those lines closely. They have pilots fly low and slow over their length every day on the big ones. Also, no way would a leak damage the Ogallala Aquifer. If, somehow, a spill made it that deep, any contamination would be small and local.

You have to clean up spills. You have to dig up all of the contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil. Pricey. So they regularly pig those lines to make sure that they are in good shape.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 18, 2017 - 09:52am PT
Yeah, the biggest spill of the Prudhoe Bay line was a couple hundred gallons caused by a drunk with a rifle? Pretty hard to shoot up a buried pipeline. But we digress.
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
May 18, 2017 - 11:43am PT
Since you digressed, let's summarize those comments on pipelines:
Petroleum is cleaner than a vacuum.
Pipelines are cleaner than distilled water.
No leaks have ever been an issue.
Crude oil is healthy and tasty.
All pipeline operators follow the best safety procedures all the time.
All workers in the fossil fuel industry are very concerned about the environment.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 18, 2017 - 12:12pm PT
This year

2017[edit]
On January 7, a Colonial Pipeline stubline leaked gasoline into Shoal Creek, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.[602]
On January 14, the Ozark Pipeline, an Enbridge, now Marathon, division, spilled about 18,900 gallons of light oil, at the Lawrence Pump Station, near Halltown, Missouri.[603]
On January 16, a gas pipeline exploded and burned, near Spearman, Texas. There were no injuries.[604]
On January 25, the Magellan pipeline leaked 138,600 gallons (3,300 barrels) of diesel fuel onto private agricultural land in Worth County, Iowa, near Hanlontown.[605]
On January 30, a Texas Department of Transportation crew dug into the 30 inch Seaway Pipeline, near Blue Ridge, Texas, spraying crude oil across road. About 210,000 gallons of crude were spilled. There were no injuries.[606][607]
On January 31, a DCP pipeline exploded under a runway, at Panola County Airport-Sharpe Field in Texas. There were no injuries, but the airport will shut that runway down for an extended amount of time.[608]
On February 10, a Phillips 66 natural gas liquids pipeline (TENDS pipeline Sorrento system)[609] near the Williams-Discovery natural gas plant on US Route 90 near Paradis, Louisiana exploded while being cleaned, killing one worker, and sending another worker to a burn unit. Traffic on US 90 and La 631 was shut down and residents in the area evacuated.[610][611]
On February 15, a 36-inch Kinder Morgan gas pipeline exploded and burned in Refugio County, Texas. There were no injuries.[612]
On February 27, a crude oil pipeline ruptured in Falls City, Texas. spilling about 42,630 gallons of crude oil. The cause was from internal corrosion.[613]
On March 29, a natural-gas leak of a high-pressure pipeline, in Providence, Rhode Island, owned by Spectra Energy, released about 19 million cubic feet of natural gas, or enough natural gas to heat and keep the lights on for 190,000 homes for a single day. Approximately two gallons of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were also released, in the form of contaminated natural gas condensate.[614]
On April 4, a pump on the Dakota Access Pipeline spilled about 84 gallons of oil, at a pump station in Tulra, South Dakota. The leak was not noticed until May 9.[615]
On April 21, a Plains All American Pipeline, experienced a crude oil release on the Buffalo Pipeline, near Loyal, Oklahoma. About 19,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled.[616]
On April 22, a 1,050-gallon oil pipeline spill near Bismarck, North Dakota polluted a tributary of the Little Missouri River, but was prevented from flowing into the larger waterway.[617]
On May 8, a Wood River Pipelines (part of Koch Industries) line broke in Warrensburg, Illinois, spill 250 gallons of crude oil.[618]
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
May 18, 2017 - 01:08pm PT
Uh oh, there goes the thread

bearbreeder succeeds
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
May 18, 2017 - 01:34pm PT
a little more on pipelines.
All new modern pipelines become old leaky pipelines.

"A ruptured pipeline in California that leaked over 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara coast last month [May 2015] was badly corroded to a fraction of its original thickness, according to federal regulators. The preliminary findings were released Wednesday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The agency reportedly said that investigators found that nearly half of the 10.6-mile pipeline’s metal wall at the break site had corroded, bringing its thickness to about one-sixteenth of an inch. The report stated that the damaged section was close to the site of three repairs made to the pipeline after corrosion was found by an inspection in 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The report also stated that government inspectors "noted general external corrosion of the pipe body during field examination of the failed pipe segment.” Investigators believe that "this thinning of the pipe wall is greater than the 45 percent metal loss which was indicated" in recent inspections by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, which operates the pipeline.

The findings reportedly indicate that over 80 percent of the metal pipe wall had worn away because of corrosion, Richard Kuprewicz, president of Accufacts Inc, which probes pipeline incidents, reportedly said.

“There is pipe that can survive 80% wall loss. When you’re over 80% there isn’t room for error at that level,” Kuprewicz said

http://www.ibtimes.com/santa-barbara-oil-spill-ruptured-pipeline-was-badly-corroded-break-site-fisherman-1951753?utm_source=internal&utm_campaign=incontent&utm_medium=related2
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
May 18, 2017 - 02:44pm PT
And there you have it: Trash is the evidence of a temple.

Collections of refuse constitute the bulk of evidence of prehistoric use, although archeologists call them "lithic scatter sites".

The tower does present a nice place to knap.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 18, 2017 - 02:50pm PT
Actually, the two biggest incidents with the Trans-Alaska Pipeline involved
alcohol so why aren't you snowflakes trying to ban alcohol?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 18, 2017 - 03:26pm PT
In a feeble attempt at staying on topic, I present you the view from Frank's porch...

Devil's Tower from Frank's front porch
Devil's Tower from Frank's front porch
Credit: Ksolem
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
May 18, 2017 - 03:52pm PT
Are you trying to say that oil pipeline leaks are generally caused by alcohol or snowfall in Alaska? I'm sorry, but sometimes clownfish logic is beyond me.
CudChewingMF

Sport climber
Laramie, WY
May 18, 2017 - 07:24pm PT
Wasn't Frank an alcohol swilling conservative that desecrated the place with his mere presence?? Circa 80's Lycra does not look good on a geriatric losing muscle tone!! Fortunately, that did not obscure the view seen in your beautiful photo!! LOL

A friendly bow to Colonel Sanders.........
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 19, 2017 - 05:51am PT
Climbing ban upheld at Devils Tower

BITD some of our reliable news sources would completely misstate a court outcome:

see: http://www.hcn.org/issues/129/4123

But from another author writing on the outcome of the Petefish Court case

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp2/2/1448/2486784/

The NPS represents that it will not enforce the voluntary closure, but will instead rely on climbers' self-regulation and a new "cross-cultural educational program" "to motivate climbers and other park visitors to comply." Id. at 22.

In the final court case of Petefish teamed with Bear Lodge Multiple Use they lost all of the points of their case. In particular and I will say again that the court ruled the Park Service CMP not unconstitutional and they could use the wording Voluntary Closure

see these links for a couple slightly different reports on the outcome:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-10th-circuit/1211632.html

https://www.justice.gov/osg/brief/bear-lodge-v-babbitt-opposition

The Park Service at DETO can promulgate any line of words threatening closure they want with [false] words through the media much like any other agencies of our government has been known to do. But they have told the court [see above] that they will not enforce the voluntary close. I ask if you have a voluntary closure and start preventing June climbing what does it mean to say you have a voluntary closure?

The DETO Park Service can choose various means to educate climbers of the closure. Remember how some states ruled that women seeking abortions would have to watch a movie about pro life? Well, as a climber you do not have to watch any movies or listen to anyone on the topic of the closure prior to beginning your climb. I have my forms of respect for people and to uphold the form of action the NPS seeks of me runs counter to violating the US Court rulings on religious practice infringement. To do the counter action that the NPS requests does not meet my criteria of disrespect respect for Native Americans.

It would seem possible that during the month of June Devils Tower NPS could hire paid protesters ...folks a carrying signs and saying hurray for our side... to protest climbers on the Tower. How Fitting? A sign could read:

Get off the Fuxking Tower you assaholas, No respect for Injuns.

Bearbreeder you could make such a protester and a very good one. Come on out to Devils Tower, WY this June. Your relentless, mindless, repetitive chatter is what a sign carrying protester needs. Even though you would not be climbing I suggest wearing a helmet and face shield to protect your head lights. This is Wyoming. You could bring a sheep with you, but no bad mouthing Trump, okay?
Dingus McGee

Social climber
Where Safety trumps Leaving No Trace
May 19, 2017 - 08:24am PT
bearbreeder,

go back to the Res if you don't want to follow the rules/laws that apply to all of us everywhere except when on an Indian Reservations and you have that minority status of Indian Reservation access. Our denial of what the NPS would like us to do is well within the bounds of the US Constitution.

You have no standing on this matter. I shed no tears for you. And sorry, I have no ears for your lame rantings. Have a Good Day my dear fella.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 19, 2017 - 08:33am PT
^^^^ read and heed Dingus BareBreeder, freedom is a two way street.
HJ

climber
Bozeman, Montana
May 19, 2017 - 10:15am PT
I have climbed regularly at DT since around 1980. I am not exactly on the right. Before the hullabaloo of the court cases I never saw any sign of native use, and I never saw any litter of any sort. Afterwords I saw a lot of stuff that most would classify as garbage, as well as what most would probably identify as prayer bundles. The items I've seen that I would classify as garbage include, but are not limited to: a plastic bag full of cigarette butts hanging from a tree branch, numerous plastic bags with and empty beer cans and areas with tarps and liquor containers strewn around; All inside the loop trail. I won't bore you with any interpretations, just saying that the observations of Dingus match what I have seen and experienced.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 19, 2017 - 10:33am PT
Barebreeder, you are looking really silly, I am embarrassed for you.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2017 - 09:07am PT
The NPS does have a plan that manages the impacts of general visitors at Devils Tower. [url="http://https://www.nps.gov/deto/learn/management/upload/General-Management-Plan-2.pdf"]


Climbers have unique and specific impacts on the lands we use, thus the need for climbing management plans.

I'm not sure what you mean by "normalizing" the data due to the number of climbers rising dramatically since 1994.

I don't doubt number of climbers in the world have risen in number since 1994.

However, that is not reflected by climbers who visit Devils Tower. The number of climbers visiting the tower has actually dropped since 1994. The highest climber use at the tower occurred between 1991-1994 with over 5,000 "climber days" each of those years. From 1995 - 2016 the number of climber days has fluctuated between roughly 3,500 - 4,500.

A mandatory ban on climbing in June is only one option out of a broad spectrum, and it is one the NPS hopes they won't have to consider.

From the CMP - "If the NPS determines that voluntary June closure and the educational programs have not been successful, it will consider several actions, including, but not limited to:

(a) revise the climbing management plan;  (b) reconvene a climbing management plan work group;  (c) institute additional measures to further encourage compliance;  (d) change the duration and nature of the voluntary closure;  (e) convert the June closure to mandatory;  (f) write a new definition of success for the voluntary closure."

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 20, 2017 - 09:20am PT
A mandatory ban on climbing in June is only one option out of a broad spectrum,

WTF???? that is not an option, did you understand the legal analysis that Dingus laid out in quite clearly? The NPS has already admitted that they want to limit traffic to accommodate a religious ceremony. However the courts have said that such limitations are unconstitutional. Much like Trump's Muslim ban, their true intent is known, and that bell can not be unrung.

NPS is already getting away with intimidation, ratcheting that up is likely to get them smacked down by the courts.

My church is good long trad leads. I do not expect special treatment.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 20, 2017 - 09:44am PT
did you understand the legal analysis that Dingus laid out in quite clearly?

Dingus is a lawyer? Really?
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2017 - 10:57am PT
A mandatory ban on climbing in June is only one option out of a broad spectrum,

WTF???? that is not an option, did you understand the legal analysis that Dingus laid out in quite clearly? The NPS has already admitted that they want to limit traffic to accommodate a religious ceremony. However the courts have said that such limitations are unconstitutional. Much like Trump's Muslim ban, their true intent is known, and that bell can not be unrung.

NPS is already getting away with intimidation, ratcheting that up is likely to get them smacked down by the courts.

My church is good long trad leads. I do not expect special treatment.

A mandatory ban is an option. It is very likely it would go to court again, but it is still an option the NPS has to consider.

It is not the NPS' intent to intimidate, and I apologize if you feel so. I am only encouraging conversation on the topic.
Late Starter

Social climber
NA
May 20, 2017 - 03:34pm PT
^^^ I don't believe you. My guess is you have a side, and an agenda as well.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
May 22, 2017 - 07:54pm PT
Eric, here's a song for you on a holiday long weekend:

[Click to View YouTube Video]
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 5, 2017 - 09:35am PT
http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/climbers-ignore-native-americans-request-devils-tower
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Jul 5, 2017 - 11:26am PT
More to the point, perhaps the "climbing community" is becoming less able to self-regulate. Well, if we can't self-regulate we can be regulated by others:

Reid said tribal representatives felt a mandatory closure did not reflect the spirit of intent.

“June was the selected month,” said Reid. “And they wanted people to want to abstain from climbing out of respect for the sacred site status, and the cultural significance of the tower to 25-plus tribes in the intermountain area.”

And Reid said the climbers wanted the opportunity to show that their community could self-regulate. So, a voluntary closure made sense and it was put into the final draft of the climbing management plan.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 5, 2017 - 08:59pm PT
Terrible article, how could they "gloss over" (completely ignore) court rulings that stopped a climbing ban from taking effect.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 5, 2017 - 09:19pm PT
Someone needs to go back to journalism school.

"“I cannot help but reflect on my time on the reservation, and I’ve had plenty of times on Rosebud and Pine Ridge, a lot of people there are as alcoholic as I am,” Sanders said.

Actually, studies show Native Americans abstain from alcohol use more than the general public."

What does the writer's non-sequitur about abstention have to do with propensity to alcoholism or number of alkis? You could make a plausible argument that more people abstain in the native populatin precisely because they have a higher genetic propensity toward alcoholism and can't do the moderation thing.

The percent of people abstaining has nothing to do with "a lot of people there" being alcoholics as Frank states. If general pop has 30% abstainers, 50% moderates, 20% alkis, and natives 40% abstainers, 20% mods, 40% alkis, you get my drift. I can forgive a green writer, but their editor should be ridiculed for allowing this bull puckey pass their desk.

That would be you.

The author quoted the climber, and was nice enough to actually include what he said. Now I know that the Trump media feels that any fake statements are just as valid as any true, but most journalists will note falsities when they are stated. Frank made a statement that plays into the stereotype of the "drunk indian"...HE MADE THE ASSERTION. The journalist was simply correcting the record---do you advocate that they make a false statement? The article was not about alcohol consumption, and was not mentioned until FRANK brought it up, to his shame.

What was his point? That because they are a bunch of drunks, they should be ignored....again?
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 5, 2017 - 09:23pm PT
It seems that the lesson here, is that whatever climbers say or agree to do, is simply a convenience of the time, and not to be trusted in the future.

What a shame.
Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Jul 5, 2017 - 09:47pm PT
[Click to View Linked Image]

1,225 to 373 is pretty damn good, for a voluntary program.

The Indians need to count their goddamn blessings. Their glass is way more than half-full.

Late Starter

Social climber
NA
Jul 6, 2017 - 05:27am PT
Some of these comments are so dense it drives me crazy.

Thank goodness the Access Fund supports this....they must have realized they don't have enough membership in the Wyoming area that cares.

Would the Access Fund still support a "voluntary" ban in Yosemite?

I'm sure we can find an activist or two in one of the local tribes over there on the western side of the country. Let's spread the word, that way all of the "couch" activists on the other side of the country can debate the "voluntary" closure of there culturally significant areas.

BTW...May has become my month of choice for ritual climbing on the tower. I'd like to propose a closure for all tourists and natives. My religion and practices will be defined and named at a later date (when I've had more coffee).

Ohhh, and thank goodness we've asphalted around the tower, kind of adds to the ambiance for such a culturally significant area. That way I can park my Hyundai right close, AND have a nice asphalt trail. If your going to close it...CLOSE IT TO EVERYONE.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jul 6, 2017 - 04:48pm PT
Ken,

Go ahead and quote us what you are claiming is a "falsity" without putting words in someone's mouth or ascribing motive that you can't possibly know. Let's see the quote of what Frank actually said, not your imagined motive, that you claim was false.

I won't hold my breath waiting, because there was no "falsity" stated. There was, however, a non sequitur about abstention by the journalist.

I *DID* quote the offending passage, which is a not-so-cleverly-disguised dig against first-nation people. You seem to have a problem with reading comprehension? Is that because you do this while drunk?


Frank makes this nonsensical sideways diversion into HIS alcoholism, then uses that to make a somewhat mystifying diversion into commenting upon the alcoholism of native Americans.

REally offensive.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 6, 2017 - 07:12pm PT
I've only seen that the tower is culturally significant but not one person has said what this significance is? What is it?

It is not, the climbing became an issue when an activist stirred the pot. If the Indians were making money off the tower their would be no issue at all.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 7, 2017 - 09:29am PT
I come from Oklahoma, where there are more native Americans than any other state.

That is strange, because almost every remote Alaskan village is over 90% native. I know what it is like to be one of the only white people in town.

We've screwed over the plains tribes for so long. Even today there is little opportunity on the reservation.

One of my best friends is half Otoe and half Pawnee. When we were growing up, we all wanted some Indian blood in us, because it was cool. There wasn't much racism where I grew up. Anyway, he is an attorney who handles a lot of Indian issues. He told me that they prefer the word Indian to Native American. They are natives, though. They were here first.

He is way into it. He's been to 3 sundances and has the scars on his chest to prove it. He has been wanting me to do one for ages. A couple will admit white people. I once saw him with a whole filing box full of peyote buttons. He drove down and made a run, distributing it among various tribes as he drove from state to state. All legal. He even has a church card if some cop hassles him.

Go read, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee."

Then consider the following: The Supreme Court decided that the Black Hills still belonged to the Lakota. They weren't offered the land back. They were offered a settlement check, which I believe has still not been cashed. They want the land back, with its Gold Mines and towns. Hell. It is their land.

I think the closure of Devil's Tower should be mandatory, not Voluntary. People will just ignore the voluntary part.

With respect to the plains tribes, I say let them have what they want. Not climbing at a stupid rock for a month is a small enough gesture for what happened to them.

Another good book is, "Custer Died For Your Sins."

Read those two, then read "Black Elk Speaks." That is the best religious work that I've ever read, and I've read most of them.

It is a small gesture. Only the guides will suffer, and they should just go to on a vacation every June, and become advocates for the Plains Tribes.
gunsmoke

Mountain climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Jul 7, 2017 - 01:04pm PT
Not climbing at a stupid rock for a month is a small enough gesture for what happened to them.

BASE104, some things I've learned from the nearly 200 posts to this thread:

The voluntary closure was made by the park service in violation of its own rules that prohibited one group from controlling access for another group. (Note that they amended their policy after the fact to create a necessary loophole, even though the principle behind the original rule would still seem to be in place.)

There is significant case law that suggests that while a voluntary closure is legal, a mandated closure is not legal. However, this can't be tested in the courts until a mandated closure is enacted. Hence, it will take enough climbers failing to observe the closure to bring the matter to the courts (via a mandate) to determine if a true closure is legally sustainable. (Maybe you have a moral duty to climb the Tower in June so that the matter can be judicated!)

There is a complete absence of Native American artifacts on the Tower. Therefore, there is reason to feel that the request for a closure is, in whole or in part, arbitrary and reflecting the desire of what is quite possibly a minority subset of local natives. This concern is augmented by the fact that the original set of natives who were selected to give input did not desire a closure, at which point the park service shopped around (or so it seems) to find natives (not all of whom were local) to speak in favor of a closure.

The voluntary closure of climbing ON the Tower has no effect on the busloads and carloads of tourists who are in constant circulation AROUND the Tower and who often make approaches to the Tower. Speaking for myself, the failure to close the Tower trail for the month of June indicates that a deep regard for Native populations who desire undisturbed access to the Tower is not what's happening here.

Back to the comment "Not climbing at a stupid rock for a month is a small enough gesture for what happened to them." The concept expressed has some resonance for sure. It would have more resonance if the closure was a real one that included trails, which in my opinion do far more to pierce the peacefulness and beauty of the site. But feelings aside, closing the centerpiece of a national monument for religious reasons is as much of a legal question as it is a social question. Ultimately, it's a request for a monument to drop its monument status (with its attending policies and procedures) for one month each year.
D-Storm

climber
Carbondale, CO
Jul 7, 2017 - 01:32pm PT
This might answer some questions about the tower's cultural significance:
http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web17c/wfeature-in-the-bears-lodge-tcl-alpinist-57
gunsmoke

Mountain climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Jul 7, 2017 - 02:21pm PT
“The tourists snapping photos and the climbers scaling the walls are all part of a long history that has drained the power out of the Tower,” Milo [Yellow Hair] said.

"We don't want people climbing here at all," [Looking Horse] says.

So there you have it. If the Alpinist reflects the true voice of local Native Americans, there should be NO climbing of Bear Lodge (AKA Devils Tower). That it’s allowed 11 of 12 months is a compromise heavily in favor “of the American climbing community … largely … white, relatively well-off, and male.”

I found this of interest from the Alpinist article:
“The plan also created mandatory closures to preserve raptor habitat, and a voluntary climbing closure during the month of June to promote respect between climbers, Indigenous groups, and the park service.” (Emphasis supplied.)

May I speculate that the act of climbing on the rock isn’t, for the majority of natives, the “problem.” Rather, this closure is a tangible stamp of “We exist, we matter.” Unfortunately, climbers are the easiest vehicle by which to make the statement. The park service isn’t going to accept a ban on car and foot travel (which the article points out is an understandably huge problem for some natives), since that would drastically plunge tourism and take away revenue and park service jobs. Guides have a financial stake, and they indeed approached the courts and had their ban thrown out. Climbers, however, have no advocate sufficient to protect their interests.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 7, 2017 - 06:42pm PT
Rather, this closure is a tangible stamp of “We exist, we matter.”

So true, and this is seen in many aspects of reservation law and politics. I experienced this first hand in a child custody dispute in a tribal court. An ugly side of indian law.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 7, 2017 - 09:31pm PT
Indians and their peaks is a touchy subject. They rolled big rocks down the gully two friends of mine were using to climb out of Canon de Chelly after doing Spider Rock. They take that place seriously.

For some reason, they loved BASE jumpers, and treated us very well. We hired a guide every day, because no white person can go in there without a guide. It wasn't much split 4 ways, and damn worth it, because it is better than any site around Moab.

They don't like climbers on the Navajo res, but they like BASE jumpers. Go figure. I have a great story about that that I may tell later.

There are forbidden peaks around the world. At least one that I know of in Nepal. Their Gods live in these places. Climbing them is like pissing on them and calling it rain.

I don't care what the legal status is, but if the ELDERS want it unclimbed for a month, I would defer to them out of simple kindness. It isn't like there isn't another rock in Wyoming.

The biggest theft was the Black Hills, though, as I said above.

I'm with the natives. Give them their dignity, even if it seems small and incoherent to our white ears.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 7, 2017 - 10:27pm PT
Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming

NAGPRA Consultation and the National Park Service

"The dilema for the National Park Service is how to best resolve the resulting conflicts betwen climbers who view DevilsTower as a public resource that they can use as they see fit, and the American Indians who view Devils Tower as a sacred site and place of religious power and spirituality."
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Jul 8, 2017 - 08:13am PT
The term "ban" should not be used if it is voluntary.

It would be better to refer to this as an agreement. This is something the climbing community agreed to.

Now, of course, the "climbing community" is not of one mind on this subject. However it would be useful to keep in mind that we will generally be judged as one.

It really doesn't seem like too much to ask. It seems like observing the June closure is just a respectful thing to do. It would be great if we could self-regulate and not always need a government "mandate" or "law", to force us to behave in a civilized manner.

That is one thing I've always liked about the "climbing community" our ability set and enforce our own limits without the help of authoritarian intervention. The whole significance of this June closure, to me, is that it is voluntary. It is not forced or mandated by the government or any other authority - we made a voluntary agreement.

Think of it in terms freedom. Better to live up to a voluntary agreement, than to be forced, mandated, ordered, or legislated into respectful behavior.

Let's show them that climbers are perfectly capable of self regulating and that we do not need controls imposed on us from outside our own community.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 9, 2017 - 12:18pm PT
Hi Folks,

Now that June 2017 has passed I wanted to give an update about the June closure statistics. This year there were 297 climbers in June compared to 373 last year. This is about a 21% reduction in climbers from last June. It remains to be seen how the rest of the year goes to determine the number of climbers in June as a percent of annual, but I'm guessing that number will also be lower.
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
Jul 9, 2017 - 04:07pm PT
Lucas,
What was the breakdown of guided vs. recreational?

Jason
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 10, 2017 - 06:57am PT
I've volunteered so far....


Frank bought the pine ridge clinic a kidney machine by climbing in June. Now that's respect!
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 16, 2017 - 10:19am PT
Lucas,
What was the breakdown of guided vs. recreational?

Jason

Guided percentage this year in June was about 30 percent, compared to about 40% from last year.

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jul 26, 2017 - 06:23pm PT
So funny read an article by a boulder climber whole heartedly supporting not climbing. I can see the headline now pretentious boulder climbers offer cerimonial sacrificial lamb of a climbing area in another state. Meanwhile in boulder canyon dozens of bolts are poured into previously established trad routes. Guidebook says it is bad but goes on to say classic sport route bring 14 draws for the 50 ft 3 pitch route.
steve s

Trad climber
eldo
Jul 26, 2017 - 08:16pm PT
Pretty funny Mike M . You forgot to add trustfunders to the pretentious Boulder climber part. Not only are they adding bolts to established trad routes in Boulder canyon, they are also adding bolts to adequately bolted sport routes too. Cheers.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 26, 2017 - 10:07pm PT
Ahhh...Boulder Bashing, the quintissential ST sport. Sure, it's whitebread and expensive but for a town that provides job opportunities, climbing access and partner availability, nowhere else comes close.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jul 26, 2017 - 10:39pm PT
I don't think it was a Boulder bash, seemed like a dig at bolters who happen to live there, and are "sacrificing" by not going to a place they do not go to. Boulder is a great climbing town
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Jul 27, 2017 - 09:40am PT
Pretty funny Mike M . You forgot to add trustfunders to the pretentious Boulder climber part. Not only are they adding bolts to established trad routes in Boulder canyon, they are also adding bolts to adequately bolted sport routes too. Cheers

Hee haw!!! Boulder Trustfunders--that's some cutting edge humor!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jul 27, 2017 - 03:08pm PT
Hey I live in boulder and like the place a lot, but find myself missing the Black Hills more and more. What you miss in salary may be close to made up for in relatively cheap housing. Also rock climbing access is as good or better for cragging routes, mountainbiking is way better, ice climbing isn't any worse, its just that the skiing sucks and it is a whole two hours to big mountains and walls. Hmmmmm
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jul 27, 2017 - 03:16pm PT
If they added bolts like that at the tower I would get that climbers are bad stewards of it. there are some bolted routes but few and far between with some major runouts usually. I have spent over 20 years working in social services, mental health, and higher education in the Black Hills with the major minority being native americans. I have friends who are native, I have worked on very tough issues in the homes of natives, and I have spent my professional life working on behalf of undrprivledged groups. But if you disagree with someone on this one issue you are a bigot. To those that support this so vigorously I would say what have you done to help, befriend, or in any way improve the life of native americans? Oh yeah besides being OK with giving a sacrificial lamb climbing area closure to pc in another state.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jul 27, 2017 - 03:21pm PT
BTW I support the Voluntary Closure and want to keep it just as it is. So should the Access Fund and other climbers. A lot of climbers fought hard to get it to what it is and I think it is short sighted to throw it under the but. As cultural significance will make it to a crag near you soon and then it will be your climbing area.

If you want to make a difference volunteer, give money, go work in Pine Ridge.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - May 26, 2018 - 11:38am PT
It's almost that time of year again...So just stirring up the old pot. I'm no longer a climbing ranger at Devils Tower, but personally speaking I would choose to observe the voluntary June closure. I just encourage anyone thinking of visiting during that time to read up and inform yourself on the issue before deciding. And check out some of the other amazing climbing that the black hills has to offer in June. Custer and Rushmore Needles are amazing, as is Spearfish Canyon.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 26, 2018 - 12:19pm PT
only way it actually makes any sense at all is to close the park to all non Souix for the month of june. singleing out climbers is not the answer. climbers probably hold the place in greater reverence than the rest of the tourists...
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
May 26, 2018 - 12:51pm PT
Climbers were not singled out, there is no climbing closure.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
May 26, 2018 - 03:49pm PT
I was recently involved in a teacher's strike. Nobody asked me. There was no vote. Nevertheless, in the media, and by politicians (who make the laws) we are generally judged as one.
And, so it goes with the climbing community. We do not vote or become members of some organization when we decide to climb. Nevertheless, we will be judged as one by the rest of the world.
All I'm saying is that self-regulation is preferable over forced regulation.
Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
May 26, 2018 - 06:28pm PT
" Thanks for the reminder. If my brothers and sisters of the Climbing community are insistent on violating this, I fully favor banning climbing there 100% of the time. If the children can't play nice, go to another playground."

If you close it to climbers then close it to all visitors. Including the "natives."

We are all equal. Including the ones for whom it is "holy".
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 28, 2018 - 05:22am PT
Credit: Jaybro
Credit: Jaybro
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
May 28, 2018 - 06:45am PT
I'm with Dave and Jaybro. Just because I don't burn sage and chant doesn't mean I don't hold places sacred.

BAd
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 28, 2018 - 07:49am PT
First world problem....spend the month in the Needles. Really, life will go on.
ECF

Big Wall climber
Ridgway CO
May 28, 2018 - 09:44am PT
Bottom line, it’s about respect.

Either you have it or you don’t.

Don Paul

Social climber
Denver CO
May 28, 2018 - 12:45pm PT
The one time I went there to climb the Matador it was closed because of falcon nesting so we had to climb some ordinary 5.8 on the backside. I just googled this and read that the good routes are normally closed from March to July, so it seems like they would probably be closed anyway.
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 28, 2018 - 04:53pm PT
There are many many ways you can help the Lakota....they need doctors, dentists, teachers, nurses, money, housing, counselors, ...all sorts of drug/alcohol rehab, suicide/rape prevention, ....volunteer to help on the rez, have fundraisers and send $......get a job out there and get busy..climbers can step it up!
More than a wimpy ineffective little known voluntary climbing closure....
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 28, 2018 - 06:08pm PT
I have not climbed there in June ( the best month) since the closure began, but I don’t presume to judge those that, for various reasons, do. Frank’s part of project 365 funded a kidney machine and signifcant $$ for the junior college on the Pine Ridge Rez, partly by climbing there in June.
luquitos

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 7, 2018 - 11:18pm PT
https://www.terraincognitamedia.com/features/why-you-did-write-about-the-closure2017

An interesting article about the voluntary closure by one of the most informed people on the issue.
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