The Hulk: requests from Hoover Wilderness


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Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 18, 2009 - 12:27pm PT
Hey Supertopians,

Jeff Weise, the Hoover Wilderness Manager for Toiyabe National Forest, recently requested assistance from the Yosemite Climbing Rangers (myself and a couple other lucky blokes) with managing climbing related "issues" at the Incredible Hulk.

I've been working with him on a long term plan that will help climbers minimize their impacts in Little Slide Canyon, and leave that incredible gorge feeling like a voyage to a foreign--pristine mountain range.

I first heard from Jeff and Hoover, after one of their Rangers went up there for a patrol and was shocked to find a virtual locker room of cached equipment near the base of the Mountain. They also reported that many climbers weren't taking the time to get their free wilderness permit before their trip. There was a laundry list of other complaints including; use of power drills, non-permitted guiding, fires in a this no-fire zone, and inadequate food storage.

Throughout our discussion I have assured the NFS folks that 99% of climbers really want to do the right thing, be Leave No Trace, and even help volunteer if they have the time and opportunity to do so. It's all about communication, and outreach. I feel like we're doing a pretty good job of bridging the gap here in Yosemite and I want that relationship to be consistent throughout the Sierra Wilderness Ecosystem.

That's why I was so psyched to get involved at the Hulk.

After the NFS request, last week a couple of my guys, Eric "Grasshopper" Bissell, and J. Max Talsky, went up to the Hulk on a two day patrol to see what we could do to help the situation, and get some feedback from climbers directly from Hulk Base camp.

My good friend Jake Whittaker (and Hulk aficionado), and the NFS folks had given us some beta on leftover cached items, garbage, a fixed/stuck rope, abandoned bear canister, and a couple other things.
(I'll have Eric upload some of his photos to complete the TR)

I put the word out at Climber Coffee in Tuolumne and told a few other Hulk frequentsters that we would be heading up there, and if anyone wanted to help out please head on up. Apparently the message was heard. A friend and local East-sider (initials TH) beat us to the work. The story I heard was he went up with his girlfriend climbed Positive Vibes, proposed to her on top, and before they left they had cleaned most of the nasty stuff (bear canister with rotting cat food inside, for example), and removed the fixed line. Thanks so much guys!

We still packed out a cached back pack, left there for a year or so, and returned it to the owner. No citation, no hassle, just a silent request to help us keep the Hulk and the Sierra Wilderness clean and gear closet free. I'm sure he'll be helping us out in the future :)

Finally we (Eric and I) earned the glory of a trip up Positive Vibes. We happened to choose one of those notoriously, horrendously, windy days. We thought about bailing onto Sunspot Dihedral to be sheltered from the winds, but foolishly chose the exposure of Positive. Wrapped in multiple layers, fighting the constant 30-40 mph gusts, and shivering at every belay we managed to carry on and send, concentrating on the amazing climbing it almost resembled that feeling called fun.

I'll be continuing this conversation throughout the summer/fall and hope to hear from all of you who care about this awesome place. We'll be potentially doing a couple volunteer trail days to eliminate some of the extra social trails, an even put place a strategic additional log bridge to help reduce the impact of the Robinson Creek crossing. So if you have ideas, issues, concerns, let me know.

Get out, and enjoy the Sierras!

Jesse McGahey
Yosemite Climbing Ranger

adam d

Aug 18, 2009 - 01:00pm PT
Thanks for your work out there. I've only been to the Hulk once but it's a special place to be sure. C'mon & light = no crap to leave behind anyway! LNT = good style.

Aaron Johnson

Bear Valley, CA
Aug 18, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
A little TLC and education at the Hulk is great! How about a wilderness permit kiosk at Twin Lakes (e.g. - in the overnight backcountry parking lot at Annett's Mono Village)?

Trad climber
Aug 18, 2009 - 01:24pm PT
Sounds like we need a few more rangers like Jesse, and a few less like the Ranger I saw slinking around the base of El Cap who refused to acknowledge us when we walked by him and said Hi. He just scowled at us. Tall dark haired dude, very rude. What was his problem I'd like to know.
Sorry Jesse about the Hulk problems and let us all know what we can do to solve any problems. It is this type of dialogue that find solutions and solves problems instead of creating them.
Dingus Milktoast

Aug 18, 2009 - 01:24pm PT
I think a portion of the proceeds for any guidebook to the high Sierra should include some % of profits to mitigate the inevitable damage the guide book will bring.

It would also be cool to see the folks who most directly profit from a guide book to be out there doing some of the volunteer work?

Perhaps this is already being done?! If so, COOL. If not, why not???


Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 18, 2009 - 01:47pm PT

The extra attention, articles, and guidebooks have indeed brought more climbers to places like the Hulk (not to mention the Cathedral Range/Tuolumne). I do think that Chris Mac et al, and Croft have worked at including a minimize your climbing impacts message, as well as mentioning the local wilderness regs.

I personally like your idea of a portion of profits going to protecting the area of a particular guide. Even a token percentage would send a message to the climbing community to be aware and responsible of their impacts.

I forgot to mention that Little Slide Canyon has an overnight trailhead Wilderness Permit quota of 8. This doesn't mean that only 8 people can be there overnight at any given time. Rather that every day only 8 more people can arrive. I feel like keeping the numbers down actually gives climbers a better experience up there. I mean who likes crowds.

I also wanted to reiterate that the entire Sawtooth Range of Hoover Wilderness is a no fire zone. Even if you see a fire-ring please don't use it. There are few trees up there and all of the dead/down wood needs to be left to help regenerate the scarce soils of the canyon.

Thanks for reading,


Trad climber
Wall Climber Wannabe
Aug 18, 2009 - 01:59pm PT
Going up to the Hulk both July and August I saw some nice changes. I second the idea of a self serve permit station at Twin Lakes. This would allow climbers to arrive at a variety of times instead of having to plan around the hours of the Bridgeport ranger station.

It would also be great to be able to get a permit by phone or by internet. This would allow permits to be acquired quicker than the current mail in option.

Someone cleaned up all of tat from the anchors on the Venturi Effect and replaced them with fixed biners. THANKS!

One of the optional rap/belay stations on VE is currently missing a 3/8" (I think) nut. If someone can bring one up it would be great and the hanger and washer are tied to the other hanger.

There is a bunch of tat on the rap station on top of the Power Ranger start. It would be great if this could be replaced with a couple rap rings or biners to minimize visual impact.

Both PV and RD seemed pretty free of trash thought the amount of fixed slings/cord at the belays varied.

During my 5 or so days up there this year I saw 4 ascents of PV, 7 ascents of RD, 1 of Sunspot and 1 of Tradewinds. Lots of traffic!

My two cents,

tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Aug 18, 2009 - 02:27pm PT
Why is there cat food in a bear can?

Aug 18, 2009 - 03:01pm PT
A "one-year" gear cache sucks! To second Dingus' point (not saying the he will agree with me on this one), I suggest that gear caches like that should be immediately sold, no returns, and the funds donated to SAR and/or other environmental clean up efforts. And go ahead and cite the culprits Jesse. Don't let 'em off just cause they're "bros" or something. People gotta learn a lesson.

I'm far from a fan of authoritarian systems and I know there are real problems with overly-restricted, heavy-handed permit systems, but, feck, some some people should not be allowed in the backcountry. Climber trash is no different, and no better, than the waves of detritus left by insensitive and uneducated masses that one finds at urban crags. Think of all the crap on Watkins awhile back. If you can't clean up your shite, stay at home, certainly stay out of the backcountry.


Boulder climber
Bishop, CA
Aug 18, 2009 - 03:11pm PT
"Why is there cat food in a bear can?"

Ummm. I think I know...

Social climber
san joser
Aug 18, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
Great job Jesse and others to foster a dialogue with land managers outside the NP. Positive outcomes for access and positive outcomes for the environment. Next time I see you in the Valley Jesse I'll have to buy you a b..., I mean soda!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 18, 2009 - 03:28pm PT
Nice work Jesse. Great example of how good behavior can be encouraged with education and action. Jesse for Superintendent!

Great idea DMT - that is what i am trying to with my ebay auction for climbing non-profits

Last year we (me and supertopo community) raised 10K plus. Not sure how much will be raised this year with the down economy. But we'll try.

Trad climber
primordial soup
Aug 18, 2009 - 05:44pm PT
(front page)

I would agree that a self service kiosk for permits would be better, not sure how that works with limits though...

As far as fires in areas where they are not allowed-
what is the fine for something like that?
perhaps it should be higher?
(and there ought to be super clear signage at whatever trail-heads access such areas too)

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 18, 2009 - 06:11pm PT
Thanks for all of the feedback guys,

Although the self service permit would be far quicker and more convenient at Twin Lakes closer to the trail head there are a few problems with the idea.

-One of the main reasons for wilderness permits is to limit concentrated use to different areas. The quota for Little SLide Canyon is 8 people per day. So when you go to the Ranger Stations to get a permit there is an actively updated record of how many people have entered each trail head. There are usually times of the year when quotas are lifted, mostly because it is off season and rare that the quota would be filled any way. At these times it is a self registration process as most wilderness units don't have the funding to keep personnel on at all times.

-Another reason for wilderness permits is to have a human contact with rangers for education and information purposes.

-Finally there are dozens of trailheads in Hoover Wilderness alone, the NFS would have to provide kiosks at all of these trailheads to be fair. I can assure you that 1000s of backpackers have wanted to be able to have a hassle free trip to
the backcountry and not have to wait in lines, make reservations, or stop at all for their free wilderness permits in Yosemite. One price we pay for so many people wanting access to our precious protected areas.

Matt in Yosemite it would be up to a $350 fine for a fire outside of designated areas. Constructing a fire-ring would also be a violation and potentially another fine.

Brian, if someone left a cache or knowingly littered/abandoned property without doing anything about it for this long in Yosemite I would cite them with a violation notice (ticket). I agree that this is going across the line of reasonableness. At least have one of your buddies go up there and help you out if you can't make it. Hoover Wilderness is not my turf, I am not allowed to cite people there.



Aug 18, 2009 - 09:33pm PT
Sorry for jumping on you regarding this issue, Jesse. The story just sort of touched an environmental nerve. My real beef is with climbers in general.

We all say "no regulations, climbers can police themselves! Keep the tool/man/park service/government out of our business!"

However, the same folks who say this pretty much resolutely FAIL to help "police" other climbers.

We need to call out other people who toss their shite instead of packing it up El Cap, who leave rotting gear caches, who destroy vegetation for convenience sake, etc. No one want to do this because no one wants to seem like the one uptight person. Junior high kicks in and we all want to be 'cool.'

But we can't have it both ways. Either we start calling each other on this stuff, as uncomfortable as it is, or we deal with the consequences of climbing restrictions, permits, quotas, enforcement, etc.

Again, not a specific comment about this incident. Just a general comment about climbers who want to have it both ways (again, clearly not Jesse, who works for the NPS and, I presume, takes our responsibility toward the environment seriously).

If we really want freedom, its price is responsibility.

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 18, 2009 - 09:46pm PT
i added links to all the Hulk Pages on this site

Red Dihedral

Positive Vibrations

Sun Spot Dihedral

Aug 18, 2009 - 10:05pm PT
Many many props to Jesse.

To pick up on some of Brian's good points, climbers form a much more diverse crowd than we ever have before. The problem of making sure people from all the backgrounds get to see the larger picture is the first step.

Proactively involving people while they are still at their sources and before they come out seems necessary.

Going to be a big job.

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 19, 2009 - 12:36am PT
Right on Brian, Jstan, C-mac,

I get pretty fired up about the "cool" climber blinders as well. I do think overall we are a pretty thoughtful bunch. The Facelift exemplifies this as well as our deep connection with our community that crosses borders and cultures.

One of my goals has always been to encourage the young climbers and "cool" climbers that style, ethics, and cleanliness is part of the coolness of any ascent.

I also want people to change their behavior to minimize their footprint not because they'll get busted or cited...but because they believe its the right and dignified way to go. Respecting these incredible places and all of the creatures in them (including ourselves) every step of the way regardless of how bad-ss the climbing is, is really what its all about. Of course we all know that hundreds of other climbers have passed over El Cap, Half Dome, The Hulk etc...but imagine having to seek out, really look hard to find the human signs.

Well I'm off to bed, I'm going for a mid-day (wait till the shade) jaunt up the old East Face of Washington Column tomorrow to send off Grasshopper. I know 99 degrees is not ideal Astroman temps, but Eric has to go back to school and is psyched beyond his own imagination do do that route.

g' night,

Trad climber
Sunny Aiea,Hi
Aug 19, 2009 - 12:58am PT
Original post said 99 percent of the climbers want to do the right thing. I agree and I know where we can find those 1%ers. They are riding those Harley Davidsons up and down 395! So let's stop this problem and you Eastsiders need to pull these guys over and demand they clean up their act.

Always happy to be part of the solution.


Aug 19, 2009 - 02:08am PT
What Brian said.

Gear caches are weak, and signs of self-oriented climbers.

Thank you to Jesse for being patient and productive in your efforts- you are a prime example of a land manager who really gives a feck.

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Aug 19, 2009 - 02:27am PT
I have only general comments, as I have never been to the Hulk.

In general permit hassles are a fairly big deal. The first time I went to Emigrant Wilderness (several years back) it was necessary to get to the forest service office during business hours for a permit that could easily have been self service (i.e. off season, no quotas in effect, etc). It cost me half a day's work to take off early enough to get the permit. The following two times I drove in late after work and skipped the permit since I figured out that the ticket would cost less than the missed work. Similarly Whitney (albeit quota'ed) cost me a full extra day's work versus a permit by mail, or off hours pickup.

Worst off most ranger stations are not open weekends when the tourons would most benefit from someone to talk sense into them.

Just my $0.02...

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2009 - 04:13am PT

Thanks a lot for bringing up this issue. Little Slide canyon is a very pristine place and I hope it stays that way for a long time. I also find the current permit system very problematic. It's not so easy to go there just for a weekend and also have a backcountry permit without very advanced planning. I have a feeling the 8 person quota doesn't make a lot of sense, considering that over half of all climbers who go there don't get a permit at all when there. I've seen way more than 8 people hike up there one Friday night. Some changes need to be made. Perhaps self-registration though the internet or phone could be made possible? That way it would still be possible to keep track of the number of permits.

Delhi Dog

Trad climber
Good Question...
Aug 19, 2009 - 10:40am PT
My 2 cents...
Jesse you and your brothers that take the time to open dialogue, stay positive, act on your conscience, etc are the kind of folks that do make the difference-keep it up.

Little Slide is a special place, but then the whole Sierra is-no?
I've never had a problem with the permits to get in there, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved somehow.

Thanks to those that put in these selfless acts.
Seems like bringing out any trash we can is a fairly easy thing we can all do, no matter where we happen to stumble upon it.
...and cmac- kudos to you too.
Big Piton

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2009 - 11:01am PT
I am not use to this "NEW" way of climbing. When rangers are climbers and climbers trash the area that they climb in. WTF!

I enjoyed it when the rangers were scared of climbers and didn't have a clue of what was going on. The climbers policed them self’s. If you trashed an area, then we as climbers took care of it, if you know what I mean ;> . This was done without the WWW and crying boards. ( Sorry supertaco ).

I know I haven't made my solution public. But, here it is in all its harshness. Just close the area for five years. But, this is from a person who thinks the whole Sierra Nevada Range should be closed for 10 years. I know, what about the impact on business, personal adventures and the all mighty right of the citizens of this great country to venture forth and explore. Well to bad for you. JUST CLOSE IT!

Because I will sneak in under the cover of dark and climb, without a trace.

scuffy b

Sinatra to Singapore
Aug 19, 2009 - 11:20am PT
Moof, permits for the Emigrant Wilderness can be arranged over
the phone.
They can only be arranged one day in advance this way.
I've never had any problem.
They are willing to leave your permit in their mailbox, so you
can pick it up on your way to the trailhead while they are
I've picked up permits from four different ranger stations in
the Stanislaus NF after hours.

Aug 19, 2009 - 12:18pm PT
We hear often from those who are willing to change the rock so that they might do what they wish with public property, that the complainers "should just go to areas that are more difficult to reach."

Well by stashing gear you use strategems to make it easier for you to do what you will farther afield and when you get there you continue to do what you will.

It is no great extension for you to ask that there be roads built with valet and food service provided you while you develop the wilderness

for your personal purposes.

Wilderness others have protected and to which you hold no special title.

Under these conditions stashed gear should be considered


And not a further thought given.

Big Wall climber
Aug 19, 2009 - 12:51pm PT
Lets try to keep this positive! The Hulk is still pristine! Only a couple people have left gear piled in plain sight!(for 3+ years actually) Most of the times I've climbed there my partner and I have been the only people I saw! Climbers cleaned up the small amount of trash and gear before the Forest Service had to do it or cite people!

Jesse's starting the communication and motivation early in the Hulk's popularity so that the area stays wild and awesome and there aren't ever any problems.

This isn't about "gear caches being weak"(its totally legal to hike your heavy stuff up the day before and save your back...and "finding" it is no different than stealing a backpackers camp while they're bagging a peak) and we don't need to "close it for five years." We just need to keep our camps and the gear we leave at the base minimal, clean, and neat...and make it disappear when we leave.

ONE goal can eliminate ALL impacts and issues. We should try to climb the Hulk without anyone knowing we did it. Of course we're likely to see other climbers and hikers, and meet some great people, but this one goal can ensure that we all "Leave No Trace" and preserve the wilderness experience.


Aug 19, 2009 - 01:00pm PT
JakeW, there is a big difference between leaving your camp to climb for the day and leaving a bunch of sh*t up there for months or a year, because you are too fecking lazy to hike it in yourself. Gear caches like that are weak, and are a symptom of self-oriented thinking that is all-too prevalent in climbers these days. (See the 'Bouldering Pad Ethics' thread.)

"A temporary problem that will definately rectify itself as new route potential becomes limited..."

Umm, no. No offense, but that is a very naieve view of how this situation will manage itself.

Big Wall climber
Aug 19, 2009 - 01:28pm PT
Apogee, I think that if you find a pile of gear while going about your business, and then see it again and again for months or years, you should carry it out and attempt to return it to the owner and educate them about how their actions affected your experience and impacted the if marmots tore it to pieces. This is what I witnessed at the Hulk and what ultimately happened.

However, if you're poking around and find someone's discreet cache that might just be left for the day while they do a route or take a rest day and swim in the lake, and STEAL it because you're to lazy to contribute to the production of your own resources, and because you like to elevate yourself to a higher ethical plain...THAT is a selfish action.

If you actually know anything about the caches at the Hulk, you'll know that the folks who left them are far from lazy, and are responsible for equipping, cleaning, and telling you about all the routes up there...and I'm obviously not talking about myself. I also think they've thought more about what they did and no longer leave anything up there.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Aug 19, 2009 - 01:31pm PT
Thanks to all for this thread. It showcases the best of climbing. I do, however, have one quibble, and it's with Big Piton's modest proposal. There are already too many whose idea of wilderness is "close it to everyone but me."

I think jstan's implicit ethic is much closer to the ideal -- when you use a public resource, don't alter it outside of publicly-accepted limits (If I'm misstating this, John, please correct me.) We don't use pitons where clean climbing is possible because that unnecessarily alters the rock. We don't place bolts on rappel or with power tools in Pinnacles, but do on the lead and by hand, because that comports with the historical and accepted practice in the area.

Similarly, in Little Slide Canyon, we should not be caching gear, burning fires, or machine-drilling bolts (frankly, I'm not even sure about hand-drilling. I still remember how I felt about the FA of the original route on the Hulk. The rappels were from bolt stations because the first ascensionists did not want to leave more expensive pitons. I and several others would gladly have contributed to reimburse for non-bolt anchors. Now, almost 40 years later, I think differently because I would find pitons and slings more intrusive than bombproof bolts and chains, but that's another story).

Thanks, Jesse, for the diplomatic, yet forceful and effective way you've dealt with this issue.


Aug 19, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
"I think that if you find a pile of gear while going about your business, and then see it again and again for months or years, you should carry it out and attempt to return it to the owner and educate them about how their actions affected your experience and impacted the area..."

Then you just might be a better man than I am, JakeW, because I would be just as inclined to hike the stuff out and sell it on CraigsList or somethin'. If they are simply inexperienced and ignorant about responsible land use, then they are sure to remember the loss and not do it again. If they are experienced and chose to leave their sh*t out there anyway, then any kind of compassionate education effort would be lost on them.

"However, if you're poking around and find someone's discreet cache that might just be left for the day while they do a route or take a rest day and swim in the lake, and STEAL it because you're to lazy to contribute to the production of your own resources, and because you like to elevate yourself to a higher ethical plain...THAT is a selfish action."

That's not what I said. Go back and re-read my post- there is a big difference b/w leaving your gear for the day while you climb or swim and leaving your sh*t out there for months at a time.

As much as I respect the patience and educational efforts that people like Jesse are demonstrating in dealing with this kind of abuse, I am just not capable of the same benevolence any longer, I guess. After decades of travelling and climbing in the mountains, and watching countless abuses such as this that the user rationalizes in one way or the other, I just don't have the patience for it any longer. Land managers do the best they can to educate and mitigate the impacts, but are completely overwhelmed, and the abuse continues, and the resource degrades. Think of my actions (and those of many who feel very similarly) as a public service.

Aug 19, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
Thank you JE. You are very good with words.

I'll modify my found gear post a little.

If there is no one around and the pack stuck under a rock has no dated NPS or FS permit attached to is found.

Now I would never trust gear whose provenance I do not know so I would pack it out and turn it in, unopened, to the rangers telling them where I found it.

Now one of the earlier posts suggests tents and other camping gear is being left for a base camp. A common approach used here, if no one is around, is to drop the tent, leave it in place, and report it to the rangers.

We all appreciate what Jesse is bringing to the table. Reminds me a lot of Thom Scheuer who looked over the Gunks for thirty years. (Hopefully he makes it to Park Supervisor long before that.)

But there are other functions that need to be served if we all are to benefit.

Natural processes find an equilibrium point only when there are restoring forces. That is why we have to pay for the things we buy. That is why "making your house work for you" has been such an unmitigated disaster.

When people are deciding to leave their unpermitted climbing gear out in the open they have to view its disappearance as a real possibility.

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Aug 19, 2009 - 03:27pm PT
I have gone out there without a permit, but solely because of logistics. If you drive after work to get out there for an early morning start up Little Slide, the ranger station is closed. Unless you want to wait until they open, drive up and force yourself to have a short day on the Hulk you really have no option. In El Dorado National Forest they let you fill out a permit and put the carbon copy in a box, without actually going into the ranger station. This would make it perfect for those long drive/early start trips.

About the stashed gear, come on, we all know better. Man up and carry your rack in or go climb one of the thousands of drive up crags in the state.

Big Wall climber
Aug 20, 2009 - 12:27am PT
Well...the FS rangers saw the stuff at the Hulk multiple times but did not carry it out. They took a few of the most expensive pieces of gear and hoped to lure the offenders in for citations. Instead, those folks went and carried out the rest of their stuff. What remained was one pack and some garbage and the owner of the pack has been busy with other stuff and felt bad that it was still up there and Jesse et al had to carry it out (He said he had no excuse and apologized...although I personally think having a kid is a damn good excuse.)

I feel like Jesse's approach of going up and dealing with the problem: carrying out abandoned and unused gear and trash in the wilderness, and returning it to the owners and communicating wilderness ethics to them, if possible, is a much nicer and more proactive approach than stealing someone's stuff or just trying to bust them.

I personally try not to affect people's lives negatively by leaving my gear and trash laying around, by taking and keeping theirs, by getting them busted, or by calling them weak.(When I think of the primary offender in this particular issue being called weak it actually really cracks me up...that's positive I guess!)

Have fun out there! Maybe someday we can all be as passionate about the entire planet as we get about the places that haven't been completely trashed yet. Everywhere used to be wilderness, and your house is a giant cache!

Aug 20, 2009 - 12:41am PT
JakeW, you are rationalizing. Leaving a bunch of sh*t in the backcountry, even if it is a bunch of spiffy, shiny gear that you really, really like is lame. Even if it is a bunch of equipment for FA's, it's lame.

Once upon a time, it used to be commonplace for climbers to siege any mountain they climbed, then leave all of the fixed ropes and pitons behind, not to mention their trash, too. Progressively, the high-aspiring ethics of climbers have tried to rise above this practice, and 'fast and light' alpine ascents (w/o fixed ropes and gear) are now considered the highest standard.

Once upon a time, climbers used to pound pitons into the rock, scarring it forever. Again, the higher-aspiring ethics of climbing sought a better way to climb without leaving impacts on the rock. And climbing was better for it.

Get the picture? Leaving a bunch of sh*t in the backcountry is lame, self-oriented, and is a step backwards for the higher standards that climbers strive for. We consider ourselves to be different as a wilderness user group- we need to walk that talk.

Aug 20, 2009 - 12:58am PT
Once you stop focusing on words it seems pretty clear we all are in agreement. Unpermitted stuff should not be left laying around in wilderness.

So then, do we huk it all out to the ranger station? The garbage goes into the ranger's trash bin?

The other stuff gets plopped onto the ranger's desk?

I'm good with that.

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Aug 22, 2009 - 01:20am PT
Hey Jesse,

Thanks for all you're doing up there. Great work.

Could you be sure to post when those volunteer days are? I'd love to come help out. What could be better than volunteering to keep the Sierras the amazing place that they are?



Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Aug 22, 2009 - 01:52am PT
I used to spend a lot of time in far off places and never bothered with any kind of permits because it seemed imposing rules in the wilderness was ludicrous. But that didn't mean we didn't have our own rules, and answering to ourselves was much more stringent business than answering to a government employee, which I just couldn't bring myself to do in the backcountry.

But - the idea that people leave stuff behind, and leave ANY trash or fixed lines and so forth in the backcountry, is unforgivable. It's an eco-crime. And when I was climbing all the time, I didn't have enough money to be leaving my rack behind. Who are these people?

I can appreciate the need for rules these days, especially limiting fires, less so limiting people. Given the fiscal crisis of California it amazes me that the gov. is not trying to shake people down for fees or writing tickets left and right.

But man, leaving trash and gear behind (other than stashing stuff for immediate use) is pathetic. It's hard to accept climbers ever do this - till you climb the Nose.

I hope the Hulk doesn't end up like the ass end of Camp 6.


Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
Aug 22, 2009 - 03:56pm PT
Jesse, C-Mac and all you other bros,
Thanks for being such dignified diplomats for the climbing community. Better gear, better topos and more well defined trails mean more climbers who may not be in tune with the local/leave no trace ethic. Education and communication are imperative, and yous guys should be proud of the good work your doing. So for all you dirtballs out there who think the very slight regulation going on in the Sierra is bad and "harshin' your mellow", think about arriving at the hulk bivy like I did a month or two ago and finding trash, tat, and turds all over the place. It can totally ruin the sublimity of such a beautiful place as the hulk. Thanks everyone, and when you see that piece of trash, pay it forward and pick it up for the next person.
happy and safe climbing!

Trad climber
San Leandro, Ca
Aug 22, 2009 - 07:44pm PT
In some areas that have a really super topo, climbers tend to bunch up a lot, consequently making a tempting target of opportunity for the authorities. As a group, nowadays climbers are a cross section of society exhibiting a wide range of behavior. Some heavily used areas will inevitably become fouled... I applaud the efforts of those who bat clean-up.
As for permits...that system doesn't work well for blue collar weekend warriors who just want to send something before dragging their tired arse back to the jobsite on Monday EARLY...
I've always been at odds with any authority that tells me where I can and can't be at any given time. There is a lot of grey area when it comes to that sort of thing, like what is camping? What is overnight travel? Are we really talking about a CURFEW, a la martial law? Why can't I sleep in my car in a legal parking spot? Why is it illegal to sleep outside in the great city of Santa Cruz?
By the way, isn't Yosemite a people's park?


Mountain climber
Aug 19, 2010 - 02:35pm PT
bump for a good thread

Trad climber
Ford Pickup Truck, North America
Aug 19, 2010 - 02:47pm PT
nice job Jesse and everyone else involved. It is good to bring light to all of this. i've never been up there, but i think with some added awareness that mess can be cleaned up. Glad the NFS got Yosemite involved. Despite my problems with the valley, the climbing rangers do good work, and the climbing policies are very reasonable. When i finally get out there, i'll be sure to leave some extra room in my pack to carry stuff out.

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Aug 19, 2010 - 03:03pm PT
Thanks to Jesse et al.

(Wow, 44 posts and no one has blamed gym climbers yet. That may be a record).
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2010 - 03:14pm PT
Thanks Jesse.

Crimpie, I blame Gym climbers and their CATS!!!111666

(but food? what am I missing)?

San Mateo, CA
Aug 19, 2010 - 03:50pm PT
Once again, King of the East Side The Chief gives his $.02 cents about how he doesn't care about anyone but him (i.e. east side locals).

Jesse sounds like a good guy, so I hope he can take one message to his superiors, bosses, the USFS, whoever... modernize.

You say a lot of people don't bother with self serve permits? When I climbed Matterhorn a little while back we stopped by the office in Bridgeport to get our permit. They were out the forms. Well that was a nice waste of our precious morning time.

The internet exists, as do printers. Let us get our permits online, and end this "bullshet" as Chief says of making us jump through hoops to go outside.

Also, I personally do not believe in these limits, and quotas. Yosemite is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the country, and it receives MILLIONS of people per year. So why limit trailhead entries to 8!! people a day in some of these other spots. It's not the government's job to determine what crowded is...if places like the hulk really do end up with big crowds, than climbers and wilderness users should be able to make the decision for themselves that they don't like it, and go elsewhere.

Saying that you don't want to limit the amount of people back there to 8, just the number of people that enter per day to 8, is doublespeak. It should be obvious that many users will want to enter on Friday, so it is obvious what the policy does.

So far the only big complaint or "issue" I really hear about from climbers is litter. This is an individual crime/offense, something that no permit system will magically stop. They don't close down city blocks because people litter in an alleyway that resides in it, why is this different.

A lot of climbers talk a big talk on this board when it comes to politics, yet when it comes to this permit crap, they seem to be a-ok with....
Credit: SeanH

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2010 - 04:26pm PT
Cheers to Jesse.
Thank goodness for people with calmness and a proactive spirit.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Aug 19, 2010 - 04:34pm PT
Interesting contrast to see the two different approaches to dealing with the problem at the Hulk and in reality any and all impacted areas in the Sierras.

Jesse the Ranger and our buddy the Chief. Both are concerned about the problem, they just have different ways of describing and dealing with it.

Get ready in the future for your daily quota memorandums on climbing in the Valley and Meadows.

Hey, maybe even a moratorium on guidebooks?

If Bogey were alive and into climbing and it was 50 years ago: "Permits, we don't need no stinking permits."

Alas, times have changed.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 19, 2010 - 05:46pm PT
Humphry Bogart was in Treasure of the Sierra Madre? huh?

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Aug 19, 2010 - 08:15pm PT
from the troller of sierra madre:

"All right," Curtin shouted back. "If you are the police, where are your badges? Let's see them."

"Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching' tu madre! Come out from that sh#t-hole of yours. I have to speak to you."
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Aug 19, 2010 - 08:17pm PT
tony can you please explain the cat food?

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jun 28, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
Bump for hulk season and taking care of the Hoover Wilderness!


Social climber
Jun 28, 2012 - 09:48pm PT
I trained really hard to do Red Dihedral in good style, C2C. I wouldn't have minded bivying near the route, I just hate heavy packs. I am training hard again to do P.V., C2C, with a partner who is also working his ass off. Next season we will work our asses off AGAIN to do another route in the mountains, and someday I hope to train so hard and become so fit that I can also climb Airstream or Venturi or another hard line.

I would like to see climbers collectively hold a higher standard to style in sensitive areas. I could have probably hung my way up positive vibes last season, or fixed some lines or worked sections over some months. Probably this season I could pull a few 11+ pitches off with work, if I hung on them and rapped in and ticked the right holds and had my gear beta perfect. I know my partner could knock off at least the majority of a 5.12 route there in a year, he is incredibly fit (not to mention young) and motivated. But those things make more sense in Idyllwild, or better yet Owens. There are hundreds of weekend warriors like me that want to go up and enjoy these beautiful places. If you have to thrash the place to make your ascent a possiblity, IT ISN'T AN ASCENT. You didn't climb sh#t. Not there.

Don't work a route above your limit so you can brag on line that you totally sent Red Dihedral, bro. Climb in a style that allows you to not leave an impact aside from chalk and these cliffs will be what they should be, pristine and adventurous.

I appreciate all the work the locals do up there and I feel like a piece of sh#t for not making an effort to join the cleanup, because as much as I think I am not making an impact on some scale I am... we all are. Lets make it less K?
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Jun 28, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
Good job on RD. the clean up was in 2009.

Did you guys see any cats up there?
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 28, 2012 - 10:06pm PT
Are there human waste and water quality issues up there?
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