Tooled at Castle Rock

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bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 4, 2011 - 05:48pm PT
healyje, we all know that. It's just moving forth that is in question. What to do?

When facts fail, what do you do?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 4, 2011 - 05:52pm PT
Learn the people and politics - it clearly has nothing to do with Peregrines. Sounds more like a convenient excuse for controlling drunks and partiers to me.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 4, 2011 - 06:02pm PT
You are probably correct, helayje.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jul 4, 2011 - 08:34pm PT
But as I pointed out at the meeting last Thursday, it's the climbers who actually chased the drunks and bottle breakers out of Summit. No one wants to be climbing and have a bottle dropped on their head. Since the closure, there's more broken glass on the ledges and more graffiti on the top of the rock. No one watches that place after hours. It's still a party hang. The Rangers all conceded this point.

I think the political angle comes from the splinter group of the local Audubon Society that has got three seats on the Commission. Also, the Rangers contacted some environmental zealots in State Fish and Wildlife who recommended a year-round closure. Now, County Parks may have found people who would endorse the recommendations they already wanted to implement (i.e. a year-round closure). Dunno. I also noticed that the Chair of Parks and Recreation endorsed bolt-chopping and that the lady Ph.D. regarded climbers as an outlaw, defiant, law-breaker group you can't really trust. Sounds to me like the closure was a product of a multitude of reasons emanating from a number of different groups involved in the issue.

They just didn't believe that climbers were organized enough to fight back and make counter-proposals. They thought they would walk right over us and we would obey like good little boys and girls. When we made legitimate, reasonable proposals of our own (i.e. a seasonal closure and sat-only climbing to give the birds a chance to react), they treated us with condescension if not outright contempt. How dare you contradict your betters! That lady merely said, "I have a Ph.D. in ecology" as if her merit badge settled the point then and there.

The Access Fund thought dealing with the Rangers and the Commissioners was no longer productive. I'm as interested as anyone else as to what the national Access Fund is going to recommend next. All I know is that I want to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for going to that Peregrine working group RSVP meeting the week after oral surgery and a wisdom tooth extraction. Who knows? Maybe being punchy helped?
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Jul 4, 2011 - 08:56pm PT
Cheers to you, Bruce, for doing all that!

If you think Ph.D.s and so on are useful to have at meetings, post up before the meetings. There are plenty of degreed climbers. Seems like this is a squeaky-wheel game.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jul 5, 2011 - 01:55am PT
Just Googled her & discovered that Ann Waltonsmith, a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission & one of our most determined adversaries, is also a current or former mayor of the city of Saratoga, which sits at the bottom of US 9 downhill from Summit Rock. It may be that Saratoga doesn't like the party-ers who congregate at Summit Rock. Rich folks in Saratoga who don't like riff-raff passing back and forth through their town?

Hard to say, but some of the members of the Park and Recreation Commission are appointed by the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. Seems like County Parks is being pressured by a number of self-interest groups in the area to keep Summit closed. I know that Ann Waltonsmith's political program as mayor was keeping big city problems out of Saratoga by resisting attempts by the city of San Jose to bite off and assimilate into San Jose bits of Saratoga. She also worked to keep lot sizes large in Saratoga to retain the "character" of the city. Sounds like her program is basically, "Let's all work together to keep Saratoga filthy rich". To my tin ears, Ann certainly seemed to have mastered that obnoxious preppy richer-than-thou talk-down-to-you tone I've always found to be the mark of a true hypocrite.

Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jul 5, 2011 - 06:09pm PT
And by the way, this is the text of the letter the Access Fund placed on the record at the last meeting of the Santa Clara County Park and Recreation Commission. As you can see, Prof. Glen Stewart emphasized the fact that a year-round (as opposed to a seasonal) closure was exceptional and did not conform to standard practice at any other climbing area:

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ

BERKELEY
DAVIS
IRVINE
LOS ANGELS
MERCED
RIVERSIDE
SAN DIEGO
SAN FRANCISCO
SANTA CRUZ, CA 95064

PREDATORY BIRD RESEARCH GROUP (SCPBRG)

LONG MARINE LAB
PH. (831) 459-2466 FAX. (831) 459-3115

14 March 29,2011

Metka Valh, Commissioner

Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation Department

298 Garden Hill Drive

Los Gatos, CA 95032

Dear Commissioner Valh,

I write to comment on the management and protection of peregrine falcons at Summit Rock Park.

The UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group was founded 36 years ago to help address the population recovery goals identified in the Pacific States Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan. We managed nests in the wild, hatched thin-shelled eggs at our facility, produced young in our breeding aviaries, fostered young into nests, and staffed release sites in California, Nevada, and Oregon. The population was reduced to two known pairs in California by 1970 and has recovered to an estimated 250 pairs today. The species has been removed from state and federal lists of endangered species.

The peregrine falcon remains fully protected in California, a distinction conferred upon thirteen avian species by the legislature, and is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We continue to study the
Bay Area peregrine falcon population by documenting occupancy and productivity at selected nests and by banding a sample of nestlings-something I hope to do at Summit Rock this year.

The peregrine falcon is the most widely distributed bird on the planet occurring as a nesting species on every continent and most major land masses except Antarctica. It is highly migratory over much of its
range, however in much of California they are resident in the vicinity of their nesting territory year around.

Over the years, we have consulted with a number of agencies wishing to protect peregrine falcons in areas where other recreational occur, particularly climbing. Our consistent advice has been that climbing
during the non-nesting season, August Ist through December 31st is not a threat to the nesting birds. We are currently in touch with Jeff Cordes, wildlife biologist for the Hume Lake district of Sequoia National
Forest where peregrine falcons nest at popular climbing sites: Chimney Rock and The Monk. Mr. Cordes has had success closing the area to climbing during the nesting season or until it is confirmed that nesting
is not occurring.

In my experience, the climbing community has been a good partner in the protection of peregrine falcons and very respectful toward peregrine falcon nest sites by avoiding them during the nesting season.

Peregrines respond to the changing photo-period after winter Solstice and initiate courtship and breeding activities. When the young disperse in mid to late July territorial defensiveness completely disappears so that human intrusion into the nesting area is tolerated.

Santa Clara County Parks biologist, Don Rocha, was kind enough to guide me to the Summit Rock site because of my research interest in banding nestlings. He explained the problem with inappropriate behavior in the park and at the site of the peregrine falcon nest. Broken glass was evidence of the activity. I appreciate the enforcement
problem that the presence of the peregrine falcons creates in an area frequented by "partiers" and appreciate the efforts of Parks and Recreation to protect the peregrines. The trail from the parking lot creates a significant problem by leading park visitors directly to the place where they will cause the greatest disturbance in spring-the top of the nest cliff.

Thank you for your work to protect peregrine falcons. Please let me know if I may assist.

Glen Stewart
Director"


bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2011 - 12:38pm PT
Hey Bruce, what's the history of The Motherlode? FA party? What are the ratings? I know Chewy's Lookout is 5.10B, and it's a 'real' .10b! I got worked on it yesterday. My guidebook fell apart and I haven't replaced it yet.

Pearls Before Swine is in good shape too. Those last moves are rough.

Actually ran into 2 other parties out there, which is unusual. A 3rd party of hikers was looking for the 'waterfalls'. It's not running that much right now.

Nice area.

Also watched a dude take a nice whip on a cam out at Waterfall Wall (CRSP) on Saturday. Had a huge rapberry rash from the subsequent slide. He was pretty pumped after his piece held, haha!!! I think he was on Charlie's Solo (Anybody seen Charlie lately??). We suggested he get back on the horse and lead Degeneration, which he did, and was rightfully stoked!!!

Nice guys.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Jul 11, 2011 - 02:53pm PT
The late Bill Waggs did the FA of "Chewy's Lookout" (5.10b) maybe 10 or 12 years ago, naming it after his dog "Chewy". An ex-Marine, Bill worked and worked as a contractor around here to amass a retirement nest egg. When he got the loot, he moved to Arizona and promptly came down with cancer that took him rather quickly. Nice guy. Tragic ending at about 50 y.o.

Bill's friend Eddie Tharp did the FA of "Mother Lode" (5.11b) about the same time that Bill did "Chewy's Lookout" and used to lead it all the time before he moved up to the Gold Country about 10 years ago where he's still putting up routes near Consumes. After Bill passed, Eddie inherited Bill's dog Chewy.

There's also a 5.10d TR to the left of "Mother Lode" that anchors off that big tree on top. Nice at the bottom, sort of dirty finish.

So that's about all I know, Blue. I know that Eddie and those guys hand-drilled all the bolts there without using a Bosch or a Hilti.

Charlie Milligan is still around the Bay working as a tree surgeon. He and his wife have acquired some property up in back of Mariposa with some bouldering rocks scattered around his backyard. I think Josh Fengel works with him sometimes. I see Charlie out at the new Diamond Heights TR area between the Hostess and Last Temptation Cliff.

So there! I wrote you a book on the subject!

PS- I did "Pearls Before Swine" independent of the Mother Lode Gang. Sort of like a Valley face climb with mantles down low.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 11, 2011 - 03:07pm PT
Cool, thanks Bruce.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2011 - 12:57am PT
CRSP update;

Waterfall Wall was over-run by math nerds, and Kev was one of 'em!!!!

Some dude hiking took a skull-shot. A bleeder. He's gonna make it. I had a beer with him in the lot and he was clotting nicely. At the event we made sure he was coherent and talking. No concussion. No drama.

Good day climbing though!

Oh yeah, and one of my partners did some solo-laps next to a guided group at Goat. Haha!!! the comments were typical....
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Sep 7, 2011 - 01:26pm PT
Here's a copy of an email I received on September 6th from Paul Minault of the Access Fund that details the current state of the Summit Rock controversy. As you can read, there is going to be a petition circulated in the local climbing gyms:

All,

This will update you on efforts to open Summit Rock during the non-nesting season.

Bruce Morris and I attended two meetings with officials of Santa Clara County, first with the Recreation Commission and the second with the staff of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Without going into details, it became obvious that there was a strong bias on the part of staff and commission members to maintain the year-round closure despite our presentation of information showing that seasonal closures were the standard nationwide. It also appeared that the other obstacles to a seasonal closure were the support of the year-round closure by the raptor expert of the California Dept. of Fish and Game, and Fish and Game's recommendation that re-opening Summit with a seasonal closure would require further environmental studies.

Re-opening Summit will require bringing science to the decision-making process and bringing political pressure on county officials. As to science, I propose to bring Prof. Clayton White of Brigham Young Univ., a nationally-renowned peregrine expert, to see the site and discuss his observations and conclusions with county staff and commissioners. Planet Granite has tentatively offered to fund Prof. White's travel expenses (he has offered to work for free) and is seeking grass-roots climber support for this effort. I had hoped to bring Prof. White out this month, but PG's funding efforts will take longer than this to complete.

As to politics, the AF is circulating a petition to open Summit Rock and posting an action alert on its website asking climbers to write county officials to re-open Summit. To date, the local climbing community has been silent in response to the closure, which I believe has emboldened local officials to conclude they face no political consequences or exposure from maintaining the closure indefinitely.

Two other efforts may be needed to reopen Summit. The first is to secure Summit from continued partying and trashing by youths, and the AF grants program, as well as local climber stewardship efforts, may be able to assist in this effort. The second is to refute the need for further environmental studies with a legal analysis of the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. (In response to a letter from the County Counsel, I have already written county officials explaining that there are no legal barriers in federal, state or local law to opening Summit on a seasonal basis.) A further supporting effort is to demonstrate that climbing is a historic use of Summit Rock and that Summit played an important role in the early development of climbing in California, and that this historic use has to be considered in any management program for Summit.

In sum, I expect that it will take a concerted effort, and some time, to open Summit Rock, and that it will not happen without a vocal and persistent political effort by local peninsula climbers.

Please let me know if there are additional climbers who should be added to the list above.

Thanks, Paul

    
Paul Minault
Access Fund Regional Coordinator
for Northern California

Law Offices of Paul Minault
Land Use and Environmental Law
100 Montgomery Street, Suite 2290
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 397-6152
(415) 788-5768 (fax)
pminault@earthlink.net

As you can read, Paul notes that the local climbing community has remain silent on the subject of the Summit Rock blanket closure. Therefore, it would be a good idea to go to the Access Fund site and write to local officials asking that Summit be re-opened to climbing on a seasonal basis to allow for raptor nesting. Also, contact Paul about having your name added to the list of local climbers on the Summit Rock Access Fund Committee. Silence, in this case, is definitely not golden. See Access Fund web site:

http://status.accessfund.org/?q=Summit+Rock
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Sep 7, 2011 - 02:36pm PT
I think we're screwed until those birds catch the f-ing plague and go die.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Sep 7, 2011 - 03:23pm PT
One of the big problems is that local climbers have not inundated County Parks, SC Recreation and Parks Commission, and the SC County Board of Supervisors with letters demanding that Summit Rock and environs be re-opened to climbing. Until this year, everyone has been laying down and taking the shaft without one word of complaint. Prof. White is of course a strong ace to play. And a petition drive is about to start sending the politicos the message that voters don't like what's going on. Democracy does take time and patience and is not the easiest way of doing things. Now if I was the great dictator, Summit would be open in a minute. But then again!?
noal elkins

climber
Sep 7, 2011 - 04:03pm PT
A petition is a great idea especially if it can be circulated at Bay Area gyms. Castle Rock and Summit Rock seem to attract many beginner climbers from the gyms who are transitioning to the outdoors. I would venture to say that most of these folks do not follow this forum, have heard of the Access Fund, or have any idea of the closure. If there is a way I can volunteer or help out getting signatures at the gym I would be more than willing to offer my time.
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Sep 7, 2011 - 04:06pm PT
Or encourage some of the hunters to , well, um,....

murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Sep 7, 2011 - 04:20pm PT
How about a simple name and email address for us to write to?

Thanks for all your efforts!
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Sep 8, 2011 - 02:15am PT
Think relevant email addresses should be posted on the Access Fund site in the near future. The Re-open Summit Rock petition should be available in the lobbies of Planet Granite Belmont, Sunnyvale and San Francisco soon too.

It's also a good idea to keep in mind that the Audubon Society reads the stuff published on this forum. Talking about shooting birds is not a good way to win over their hearts and minds. Too many climbers, it seems to me, engage in anarchistic-libertarian rants and anti-authoritarian posturing without sitting down and writing a letter to the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors complaining about the Summit Rock closure. Come on gang! Sit down and write a letter of complaint to your elected representatives. They are acutely aware of the ire of potential voters. But if they don't know you're irritated by the actions of SC County Parks, they'll just assume things are hunky-dory up at Summit Rock.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2011 - 07:18pm PT
Im climbing tomorrow or Monday or both! Who's in???

Cal Ridge and Mt Doom will be warm all day.

Fred, Cait, Fatty, Susan (is excused)....I'm heading up with Mishka, let's do it!

Or course, newcomers to the pack are welcome.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 31, 2011 - 08:47pm PT
But can you raise a glass or bottle? If so, you're in good shape for tonight.
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