Reserving Zion Walls

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Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 24, 2007 - 08:14pm PT
In early Feb., several climbers posted thoughts about the Zion reservation system for "popular WALL routes". One posting caught my eye, it mocked a team planning 5-days on Desert Shield. There was a pretty funny serious of exchanges. But anyway,Ok, that's me, and some old cronies planning to Epic on the shield in mid March. Here's the way we see it: last year same time, mid March, no one was on the Shield all week. March weather can be fun down there, so while we pushed on other routes, the skies were sketchy, and dudes were bailing off stuff right and left. So no freaking itineraries were being followed...meanwhile, no one was on the Shield. So this year we figure we'll do the Shield...but then Boom, the Reservation System. How could they do that? Like, how could anyone know how the weather is going to be on March 15th? or the 16th? Peton Ron, do you know? Who knows how many days it will take to find a good window to push. So faced with this moronic system imposed on a chaotic world, we felt compelled to "reserve" a band of days together where hopefully we get a window of time to get up the thing. And maybe we'll party on top for ahwile before we decide to rap the route. Come down when Bammy get wierd. We're funny that way, especially in the spring. Either way, we're a friendly bunch of old dudes and welcome company as long as you don't drop stuff on us too much, unless it's drinkable. OK, yeah, we're slow. Same slow dudes on Tis-sa-ack in, like '96. Same slow bunch on the Trip in '05. We are getting faster. And you know what, there's only about 3 trillion other desert cracks on the Colorado Plateau to play on while you wait for us...so it's not like we're keeping anyone from anything. Is it?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 24, 2007 - 08:17pm PT
Yeah, I think I'll reserve Prodigal for 3 weeks in May.



Who is pEton Ron?
Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2007 - 08:18pm PT
Whoa. That was fast.

Exactly.
Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2007 - 08:21pm PT
So 12 people can reserve the routes per night in Zion.
Does that mean 12 per night every night?
Seems like we should start some reserving?
Like, if "folks" don't show up...well it could be nice and quiet in the canyon for a change. Sorry for the spelling. It's genetic.
Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2007 - 08:36pm PT
Ron, seriouly just this once, What do you suggest?
What if my homies bail and I plan to solo? How many nights reservation is acceptable on a "trade route"? Luckiy, we're nice and don't form bottlenecks, but what should be our rule of thumb with this reservation system?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 24, 2007 - 09:03pm PT
I think that what I've seen of the system is absurd.

Considering what I've seen of the NPS this is not surprising.




I don't care that much anymore as I am quite disenchanted with climbers in general. They make noises about being concerned about impact, but are unwilling to sacrifice their personal ambitions when push comes to shove.
DS isn't one of my routes so I care even less. If you don't want to practise on something shorter go ahead and monopolize it. On your head be it. If you piss off others just bear in mind you'll be rapping past them...


There WILL come a time when the cumulative effect of climbers will compromise the freedoms of subsequent generations.
E.L. "One"

Big Wall climber
Lancaster, California
Feb 24, 2007 - 11:19pm PT
Ron,

"There WILL come a time when the cumulative effect of climbers will compromise the freedoms of subsequent generations."

While I don't always rush to agree with you, I think you are right on the money here, and I do worry about this cumulative effect on the future of climbing. This is one "oldster" who will
attempt to retain some sense my impact as I pursue my "gumby" goals during my Golden Years!


Cheers


Cracko
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 25, 2007 - 11:53am PT
Thanks Cracko.
I don't always enjoy being right. This is an example.

We would probably be better off if more peer pressure was brought to bear on the worst offenders, but part of the problem is the contradictory nature of our traditional use.

Traditions are NOT always a good thing.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Jarhead City, CA
Feb 25, 2007 - 11:57am PT
Is there really a "reservation system"?

Gotta be the dumbest thing I've heard of this week.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:29pm PT
Regarding the reservaton system. Yes, it is true for the some of the more popular routes. Here is the link:

https://zionpermits.nps.gov/backcountry.cfm?TripTypeID=4
Euroford

Trad climber
chicago
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:32pm PT
christ on a raft... reserving routes?

i tell you what, i'm perfectly happy to hump my gear back to the boonies. obviously places like zion are so popular for a reason, but really. f*#k that!

John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:39pm PT
Other than a few folks I really don't think people use the system. It is entirely voluntary.

I used it last year as I thought it was for the backcountry bivy permit and would save me time in the monring but I was wrong and they had no record of my "reservation" and regardless you still need to get the bivy permit from HQ. So in the end my reservation was just donation to NPS.

In my limited experience in Zion to date, I've found that as long as I visit during the off peak times and climb during the week, it has been pretty quiet.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 25, 2007 - 12:51pm PT
I've never experienced a traffic jam on a new route, and Zion has tons of virgin rock.

The problem only seems to occur on a few trade routes.
It would appear to me that even this could be largely mitigated if we began to regard these routes as showpieces where those that have already paid their dues can engage in more of a display of elegance and control.

While I know how that sounds to the less experienced there ARE pathways that they can employ to acquire the requisite abilities. Perhaps a little less hubris on the part of impatient weekend warriors could benefit those future generations.
But like I said it will require a paradigm change.
Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 12:57pm PT
Ron, what sorts of impact are you chewing on?
I think climbers are not a unique impact group.
I've been involved in raptor research in the canyonlands and attribute more impacts to Canyoneers than climbers. Many raptors are most active IN the canyon bottoms, especially near springs and riparian veg, not on the walls.

But maybe you're more concerned about physical destruction to the rock resource?

On the other issue, reservation system, I wonder if enough bitch will the NPS get rid of it? It really was not needed - we policed ourselves and 12 people were never on that wall at one time. A polite strong continuous protest, especially, via email to the superintendant, might turn their heads?

I thought we were sorting out position on the walls without the NPS butting in? For years I've communicated with the climbers arond the base areas. Also, when passed by speed parties, we've enjoyed the changeovers and conversations as teams past - and facilitated each other. I think we can take care of it without the NPS micromanagement. The physical environment makes the call, not at management system.


Does anyone have a recent topo for Days of No Future in Zion. I'd be willing to trade. Bet it's close to clean now?





Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 25, 2007 - 01:24pm PT
Impacts;

1) approach trails
This can be largely mitigated.

2)ankle biting
The inefficient use of our resources heavily impacting the first pitch while leaving upper pitches pristine is akin to loading up your plate at a buffet, nibbling a bit and then throwing the bulk away.
This is insidious as our tradition of seeking challenge is contrary to the very restraint needed to mitigate the problem.

3)placement wear
Probably THE most serious problem. The cumulative effects of anchor placement and perhaps more importantly removal will doom the viability of our most popular climbs.
Even if people employ more efficient technique, for example spacing out placements by top stepping, it merely delays the inevitable.
Whats more, although they opened up vast stretches of rock, cams have proved to cause more flaring than using nuts, re-enforcing the need to continue using them, a viscious cycle.

4) hold wear
Again, a cumulative problem as things are unlikely to improve.
I predict that as this problem worsens the potential to retain route viability using manufactured holds in places where they are less likely to become footworn will become more palatable to the climbing community.

5)drag trails
This problem can and absolutely SHOULD be addressed by the climbing community BEFORE the park service seizes upon it as a justification to ban climbing.
Just look at the wear on Touchstone, Moonlight, and Prodigal from hauling.





Strange that you should mention Days Of No Future. When I got on Deuce's case for using aid techniques that simply could not be employed on a long term basis without major resource degradation and asked him what would become of such routes his response was, "Who gives a phuque?"

Must be where the route name came from....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 25, 2007 - 01:28pm PT
"viscious"??? oops!
ralph_teh_klimber

climber
ralph town
Feb 25, 2007 - 01:54pm PT
Doesnt take much more then a day to climb the shield....did it when the world ended, with some fresh snow to ring in the new millinieum.
Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 01:56pm PT
Right on, man.

Your outline of impacts is to the point. I have seen these things happening across the Plateau country. It's like a no brainer that has to bite us on the ass before we'll see it in focus. Your list shows the evolution of impacts.

I'm gonna bail on you to ski some hidden powder,
up on the Boulder.

Your news about Daze of no future is bad.
Sounds like the routes getting ugly. It was such a sweet looking line to me...with great potential for free moves and clean aid.

I went to Arches last year and saw that the park had no bivying alowed within .5 miles of the highway. Which mean't no overnighters on any of the Courthouse wash features. It's alot of ground, really. It was a cool place to quietly bivi once....

Owlman

Big Wall climber
Torrey, Utah
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 25, 2007 - 01:59pm PT
A day on the Shield sounds fast, but obviously doable.
I'll bet it could go in a few hours by the specialist.

I'd like to bivi somewhere on that wall.
I can do it in a low impact fashion, which I prefer.

I like the bivies. That's a fantastic route from which to view the canyon. I would not mind you passing my scene. I'd help you.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 25, 2007 - 02:03pm PT
Would you want to bivy if you had to carry your gear instead of dragging it up the rock?



edit;
BTW which owl did you study? They seem to do OK despite humans. Very perceptive, skilled, adaptable, and wide ranging.
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