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MarmotMountain

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  1. Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs On Wednesday January 11th at 7pm Marmot Mountain Works will be hosting a book signing and slideshow with Fred Beckey at the Bellevue store location to celebrate the long-awaited release of his new book Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs. [img:center]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7033/6596626981_c17017c593.jpg[/img] Fred will show an array of images from his lifetime of countless climbing trips, and be available to sign copies of his new book in person. An icon in the international climbing world, the Northwest’s own Fred Beckey is credited with more first ascents than quite possibly any other person in history! DUE TO LIMITED SEATING, RSVP IS REQUIRED IN ADVANCE IN ORDER TO ATTEND. This will be a Free event! We expect the seats to fill up quickly, so don’t wait until the last minute. Please call Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue at 425-453-1515 now to RSVP and reserve yourself a seat! We hope to see you all there! - David May Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 425-453-1515
  2. Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs

    Thanks to everyone that turned out on Wednesday night. Fred did a great job with the show, and we really appreciate the positive feedback and comments that we have been receiving this week! Great photos accompanied by lots of stories and jokes along the way. Thanks Fred! Stay tuned for more potential events down the road... - David
  3. Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs

    Just a reminder that the Fred Beckey event at Marmot Mountain Works is tomorrow night at 7pm, and there are a few spots left! Please give the store a call @ 425-453-1515 to sign up if you would still like to sign up at the last minute.
  4. Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue presents The Annual Alpine Touring/Randonnee and Telemark Ski Gear Demo Night to be held on Tuesday January 3rd 2012 at The Summit at Snoqualmie. The demo will be held at the Alpental ski area from 4pm until 9pm (Subject to snow conditions). This will most likely be the only event of this kind in our region this winter. Many of the equipment manufacturers’ representatives will be in attendance with their fleets of demo gear for you to try out. Marmot Mountain Works will also make available the majority of their store's demo gear. A broad assortment of equipment will be available including gear from Dynafit, K2, Black Diamond, Scarpa, Lasportiva, Rossignol, and Garmont. This demo will include both skis and boots to try. Please bring your own alpine touring/randonnee boots, telemark boots, and/or alpine downhill ski boots/poles and your own skis if you have them in order to maximize your options and enjoyment. The use of the demo gear will be free of charge, but you will need to purchase your own lift ticket and you will need to bring a driver’s license and a credit card to sign up for the demo. This demo is open to adult skiers; no kid's size equipment will be available. Please also be aware that if you have a very small or a very big boot size (i.e Mondo size 22 or 32), then there may not be any skis available with bindings that will fit your boots…sorry. Advance sign-up is required again this year for the ski demo due to increasing interest and attendance at recent events combined with the fixed number of demo skis available. Please indicate if you will be trying A.T. or Telemark equipment when you sign up. We plan on having over 100 pairs of skis available for attendees to try, but all skis will be on a first come / first served basis since this is a free demo. We ask that you please limit your testing to 2 runs per pair of skis in order to allow everyone to have the opportunity to try as many different skis as possible! In an effort to accommodate more people than in previous years, the demo sign-ups will be split into 2 different session times: 4pm to 6:30pm, or 6pm to 9pm You will be required to sign up for one session OR the other. People signing up for the 6pm-9pm session may be able to try skis before 6pm if they arrive earlier as long as there are still skis available to try, but do not count on it. People signing up for the 4pm-6:30pm session will need to have all equipment back to the demo area no later than 6:30pm, no exceptions. This demo is intended for retail customers only. Please, no retail store employees or industry professionals. Sign-ups may be limited, so don’t wait until the last minute. Sign up now! For more information and to R.S.V.P., please call Marmot Mountain Works @ 425-453-1515. - We hope to see everyone on the slopes! – David May Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004
  5. ALP. TOURING/RANDONNEE & TELEMARK SKI DEMO 1/3/12

    Just a reminder that the demo is tomorrow night at Alpental. There are still some spots left, so give us a call if you want to join in at the last minute! - David
  6. Marmot Mountain Works is hosting An Evening with Fred Beckey next Tuesday, May 17th at 7:00 p.m. at their store location in Bellevue. Fred will share stories and classic climbing images of his own choosing as he narrates a number of his many countless mountain adventures. Come kick off your spring/summer climbing season and get a little inspiration for your next outing from this prolific Northwest local mountain man...even in his 80s, Fred always seems to be planning and looking forward to his next trip! Folks will start showing up around 6pm, and the show will begin at 7pm. DUE TO LIMITED SEATING, RSVP IS REQUIRED IN ADVANCE IN ORDER TO ATTEND THIS EVENT. We expect the seats to fill up fast, so don’t wait until the last minute. Please call Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue at 425-453-1515 now to RSVP and reserve yourself a seat! We hope to see you all there! - David May Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 425-453-1515
  7. Fred Beckey @ Marmot Mountain Works: Tues 5/17/11

    The show is now full! If you are signed up and are not able to make it, then please give us a call to cancel so that we can sign up someone else that wants to come and is able to attend. Thanks to everyone that called in to RSVP...see you tomorrow night! - David May Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 425-153-1515
  8. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    Please join us at Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue on Wednesday, March 30th at 7:00PM for a slideshow presentation by Alex Krawarik, co-author of Washington Ice: A Climbing Guide, and Washington first ascensionists Wayne Wallace, Ade Miller, David Whitelaw, and Jeff Street to celebrate NW ice climbing and the 2011 season. Alex will present a photo tour of Strobach Mountain and the last decade of first ascents there. Strobach Mountain is one of the least known and visited, and best ice climbing area's in Washington State. Wayne will present his experiences in Cody WY. Ade Miller will present Cascade winter alpine climbing adventures including his first winter ascent of Backbone Ridge on Dragontail Peak. Marmot Mountain Works' climbing equipment buyer David Whitelaw will share ice adventures from his Alaska days, and Marmot employee and mountaineering instructor/guide Jeff Street will share ice climbing explorations of Lillooet, Hyalite Canyon, and various Washington locales. In addition, we will be offering 15% off the regular price of all ice tools, crampons, ice screws, and climbing helmets purchased during the show! We would like to turn this show into an annual event! Please get in touch with us if you would like to participate and share some of your pictures and adventures with everyone on the big screen at future gatherings. Come see some great NW ice climbing, network with the your fellow NW ice climbers, and get some great deals on ice gear. We'll see you there! Please RSVP to MARMOT MOUNTAIN WORKS @ 425-453-1515 Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 (425) 453-1515
  9. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    Thanks again to everyone that turned out for the show! It was an awesome night and we received some great positive feedback on the event. There was a lot of enthusiasm for us to continue to turn this into an annual event. The consensus seems to be to aim for a November date in the future to get everyone psyched up at the beginning of the winter season. All of the presenters did an amazing job showing some spectacular images. Thanks to Alex, Wayne, Ade, Jeff, and David for the time and effort that they all contributed to make this a successful evening. Here are a couple of highlights from the show for everyone that missed it: Ade Miller on Abiel Peak, North Face Alex Krawarik leading "Ice Dreams" WI-4. Strobach Mountain, WA. Photo by Jeff Street Wayne Wallace leading pitch #5 of "Broken Hearts". Cody, WY. Photo by Tom Sjolseth Jeff Street leading "Tower of Power" WI-5. Strobach Mountain, WA. Jeff Street on the first known ascent of "Exit Wound" WI-4. Moutaineers Creek, WA. "Cleopatras Needle" WI-5 2p. Hyalite Canyon, MT. Pitch #2 of "Cleopatras Needle". Hyalite Canyon, MT. "The Emerald" WI-5. Banks Lake, WA. "The Emerald" WI-5. Banks Lake, WA. "Champagne" WI-4/5. Banks Lake, WA. Leading "Champagne" WI-4/5. Banks Lake, WA. 1st pitch of "Death Picnic" WI-5. Mt Baker, WA. 2nd pitch of "Death Picnic". Mt Baker, WA. We let Jeff throw in a couple more of his own shots here since he was the main organizer and coordinator of the evening. Please continue to get in touch with Jeff if you are interested in contributing or participating next time! There were also some actual real old school "slides" shown by David Whitelaw. Yes, this was an actual "slideshow". Sorry that we do not have any of these to share in digital format here. He started off his portion with some great photos of climbing Bridal Veil Falls by Lake Serene at the base of Mt Index with old school gear back in 1978...were those wooden ice axes? Thanks again to all of the sponsors that contributed gear to the raffle at the show: Deuter Backpacks, Tendon Ropes, Metolius, Black Diamond Equipment, and Squire Creek Design. It was a jam-packed night, and a great tour of northwest ice climbing. The show was supposed to end with Alex sharing some shots of new unclimbed route potential, but we ran out of time due to the extended passionate inspiration shared by all of the presenters. Guess we will have to save that for next time….
  10. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    Just a reminder that the show is tomorrow night!
  11. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    Things are starting to shape up nicely for the upcoming ice climbing show next week. We would like to thank these sponsors of the event that have now come on board to contribute gear for the raffle that we have added to the night!: Deuter Backpacks, Tendon Ropes, Metolius, Black Diamond Equipment, and Squire Creek Design Thanks everyone! - David May
  12. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: MT RAINIER CLIMBING FEE INCREASE THIS IS YOUR FINAL CHANCE TO BE HEARD AND GIVE INPUT TO MOUNTAIN RAINIER NATIONAL PARK ABOUT CLIMBING FEE INCREASES! The Park has already held 3 similar public meetings, but only ½ dozen or so people attended each of these meetings! The public comment period was to officially end on 1/31/11, but park officials have graciously agreed to allow one last meeting with the hope that more people will attend and provide input before any decisions about climbing fee increases are made. There is concern that many of you have not even heard about this proposal to increase climbing fees, and many members of the climbing community over the past few months have expressed very passionate views regarding these fees and services. The attendance at these 3 previous public meetings does not seem to reflect the real public interest that exists. Marmot Mountain Works will be hosting this final public meeting regarding the proposed Mount Rainier Climbing Permit Fee Increases next week at their store in Bellevue on Wednesday February 2nd 2011 at 6:30pm. Park officials, including Park Superintendent David Uberuaga, will be in attendance to answer your questions and to take public comments. Please call Marmot Mountain Works @ 425-453-1515 to RSVP and to reserve your spot at the public meeting. Mount Rainier National Park is proposing to increase the cost of a climbing pass from $30 to an amount between $43 and $58. They are also proposing to institute potential annual incremental increases tied to the rate of inflation or some other methodology that tracks actual climbing program costs. Park officials will do a brief presentation outlining current associated climbing program costs as well as describe proposals for the future that involve additional potential increases. Public comments and questions will then be taken following this presentation. More detailed information regarding the current and future proposed program specifics and costs can be found by going to Mount Rainier’s web site www.nps.gov/mora/parkmgmt/climbingfee.htm. WHETHER YOU ARE FOR OR AGAINST THESE FEE INCREASES, PLEASE COME AND ATTEND THIS MEETING AND PROVIDE SOME CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENTS AND INPUT FOR THE OFFICIALS AT MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK IN CHARGE OF MAKING THESE DECISIONS AND SHOW THE PARK THAT WE ALL DO INDEED CARE ABOUT THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES! MARMOT MOUNTAIN WORKS 827 BELLEVUE WAY NE BELLEVUE, WA 98004 425-453-1515
  13. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    If you have photos that you would like to contribute to this or to future similar events, then please e-mail Marmot Mountain Works employee Jeff Street, Jeffstrt@frontier.com. Jeff is helping to coordinate this show. We are not sure how much time we will need to cover all of the material from the presenters already lined up for the night. Even if we are not able to fit them in this time, we would like to encourage anyone interested in contributing to this event in the future to please contact Jeff expressing your interest. Jeff has graciously agreed to be the contact person for those that would like to get involved in what we hope to make an annual event of some sort. If folks help to make this a successful show, then it would be great to be able to continue building on this more and more every year! - David
  14. FREE NW ICE CLIMBING SLIDESHOW! 3/30/11

    We are asking folks to please RSVP if they plan on attending. If we get enough RSVP interest, we will might try to expand the events of the night...possibly talk the owner of Marmot Mountain Works into considering some refreshments, and try to persuade some of the gear manufacturers to donate items for a potential raffle or something like that. - Cheers, David May
  15. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Here is a copy of a letter that I just received regarding the decision to raise the climbing fees for Mt Rainier. More information to follow when I have time. - David May: March 14, 2011 Dear Friends of Mount Rainier: Thank you for participating in the recent public involvement process regarding a proposed increase in Mount Rainier National Park’s climbing cost recovery fee. Your input, ideas and recommendations have greatly informed a carefully considered decision and will influence the direction of the park’s climbing program over the next several years. The climbing fee is the primary fund source for the public use management, climber services and environmental protection programs that sustain a world class climbing experience on Mount Rainier. My decision is to implement a $13 increase in the cost of an annual climbing pass to $43, effective March 15, 2011. This is the minimum increase required to sustain core management programs and services. A new, annual Youth Climbing Pass, for climbers 24-years of age and younger, will be established at the current rate of $30. Moreover, we will seek to restrain future cost increases by incorporating recommendations and ideas provided by the public during the comment period. Background Mount Rainier National Park has one of the most prominent and active mountaineering programs in the country. In 2010, 10,633 climbers attempted to summit the 14,411 foot peak. The Mountaineering Cost Recovery Fee was instituted in 1995 and approved by Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks, George Frampton, Jr., as meeting all criteria for a special park use fee due to the specialized nature of the services provided to less than 1% of the park’s visitors. The 1995 climbing fees were established at $15 for a single trip or an annual climbing pass at $25. These fees supported – and still support - the safety, education, resource protection and human waste management services provided to the climbing public. Other park fund sources also support the park’s climbing program and services, notably annual base funds provided to the park by Congress, and guide concessioner franchise fees. In 2002, the park proposed raising the climbing cost recovery fee to $30 for a single climb and $60 for an annual climbing permit to more fully cover the actual costs of program services. Following an extensive public engagement process and the analysis of comments, the park modified its proposal and instituted a “flat fee” of $30 for an annual (calendar year) pass. The $30 fee went into effect on May 1, 2003. In October 2010, the park proposed an increase in the cost of an annual climbing pass from $30 to an amount ranging from $43 to $58. The fee increase is intended to offset the impacts of 8 years of unfunded cost increases and fund the essential services and programs that directly benefit climbers and the upper mountain. Services and programs include: • Management of climbing activities to provide a world-class experience • Registration of about 11,000 climbers each year, issuing and accounting for climbing passes • Providing up-to-date climbing route and safety information • Keeping weather, climbing, route, and climbing related information updated on a web blog • Staffing two ranger stations (Paradise and White River) providing climber information, orientations and passes • Staffing two high camps (Camp Muir and Camp Schurman) and briefing hundreds of climbers each evening during peak season • Responding to dozens of climbing-related searches and rescues; providing emergency medical services • Maintaining toilets at the high camps and hauling several thousands of pounds of human waste off the upper mountain to processing facilities • Educating climbers about Leave No Trace practices and managing a “blue bag” program to keep human wastes off the climbing routes • Monitoring the alpine wilderness areas for impacts related to visitor use and climate change • Maintaining and operating high camp facilities and communication systems • Providing climbing rangers with competencies in core skill areas, including mountaineering, search and rescue, emergency medical services, incident management, and aviation • Operating a fee collection and point of sale system (credit card machines/iron rangers) In 2009, the National Park Service (NPS) conducted an in-depth safety and operational review of the park’s climbing program following a serious accident involving a climbing ranger. The review analyzed risk factors and identified multiple findings linking program funding and employee safety. The conclusion: Inadequate program funding jeopardizes the safety of the climbing rangers and volunteers living and operating in a high-risk environment, and it impedes their ability to serve and protect the public and park resources. The approved fee increase will, in part, address these needs, and ensure essential services are available to the climbing public. Public Involvement Process The public comment period on the proposed fee increase opened on November 1, 2010 and closed on January 31, 2011. A planning process format was utilized to share information, engage the public and solicit comments. Staff produced an Executive Summary, a 10-page Frequently Asked Questions document and a 12-page Climbing Program Cost Analysis which were posted on park websites and widely distributed. The announcement of the climbing fee increase proposal, comment period, public meeting schedule, and publications were widely disseminated to local congressional offices, newspapers, climber blogs, advocacy organizations, and other media and individuals. A comment form was set up on the park’s website and an email address created for comments. Three public meetings were initially scheduled and held: • November 30: Tacoma Mountaineers, Tacoma, WA • December 7: Seattle Mountaineers, Seattle, WA • December 8: Mount Rainier National Park, Ashford, WA In response to an individual request, a fourth meeting was held on February 2 at the Marmot Mountain Store in Bellevue. An average of 10 people attended the first three meetings, with 22 people at the last public meeting in Bellevue. A broad demographic was usually represented at each meeting. Mountaineering groups, professional guides, rangers, independent climbers from broad income backgrounds, non-climbing public and mountain rescue groups all participated. The Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Planning and Compliance Specialist, and Climbing Program Manager participated in each public meeting. The format of the meetings included an introduction, followed by an informational PowerPoint presentation, and concluded with an open Q&A session. Comments and suggestions were captured on flip charts. Analysis of Public Comments In addition to comments recorded during the public meetings, 141 comments were received by email. Five letters were received, including one letter with the joint comments of the Access Fund, American Mountain Guides Association and American Alpine Club. The analysis identified issues, concerns, recommendations and ideas. In general, for those commenters who favored a fee increase, support ranged from conditional support and reluctant acceptance, to clear support of fees increasing from the current rate of $30 for an annual pass to a range of $40 to $100, with most accepting the $43 proposal. Of those commenters who did not favor a fee increase, some were adamantly opposed and tended to be opposed to fees in general. A few were opposed to the NPS providing any services on the mountain, preferring a more “wilderness” experience. However, most who were opposed to an increase accepted the need for a climbing program and offered potential solutions to increase program efficiencies. Issues and Concerns A few issues were seen consistently in written responses and echoed at public meetings. Day Use A perception exists that heavy summer day use by hikers to Camp Muir significantly impacts the climbing program and the cost of managing toilets and human waste at the high camp. Some suggested establishing a day use fee for people hiking to Camp Muir. Franchise Fees Many participants advocated increased use of franchise fees as a way of keeping the cost of the climbing pass from rising. The park nets approximately $350,000 in annual franchise fees from the three guide concessioners. NPS policy dictates that most of this funding be used to improve visitor facilities, and not for operations. Generally Disagreed with Fees on Public Lands Most commenters said they could afford the range of fees proposed, but some were opposed to any fees to access or use public lands. Low Income Several of those who commented expressed concern about the potential to affect climbers who were less affluent, or to discourage families from climbing Mount Rainier. Unfair Concern about the apparent unfairness of a climbing fee - many of those opposed to the fee increase and some conditionally supportive felt that the fee unfairly targeted climbers, and that other uses should be charged a fee, or that all fees should be eliminated. Ideas and Suggestions In general, most applauded the professionalism and quality of Mount Rainier’s climbing program, services and Rangers - even those opposed to a fee increase. Several people provided feedback and suggestions to improve program efficiency and cost effectiveness. Long-term Sustainability/ Consumer Price Index: Most people understood increasing costs and supported a measure to keep pace with inflation, but an “automatic” increase tied to CPI or other metric was not completely embraced by the climbing organizations and some individuals. Enhanced Services: Many of the Enhanced Services explained in the proposal were popular, but there was a mixed opinion if these services should cost more money. Internet service and automated systems were generally supported, and some thought it should bring efficiency rather than cost more. Increase the use of volunteers. Reduce the number and cost of paid staff. Create efficiencies through Internet services, online registration, information blogs, etc. Utilize the concessioner guides for some services performed by Rangers. Add more base operations funding to the program. Increase or implement new fees for other park users - entrance, backcountry and day use fees. Provide a reduced pass fee for lower income, younger or college aged climbers. Decision In response to public comments, concerns and suggestions, the following modifications to Mount Rainier’s Climbing Cost Recovery fee program will also be implemented: • Add a new “youth” climbing pass for visitors 24-years old and younger. The annual youth climbing pass fee would remain at $30. This demographic is estimated at 5-10% of the total climber volume. This recommendation supports NPS and Department of the Interior youth initiatives, and responds to public concerns about the potential impact of fee increases on young and less affluent climbers, students, and families. • Adjust the fee periodically based on actual costs, not to exceed cumulative consumer price index for the time period between fee increases. Cost efficiencies will be employed to minimize fee increases, and fees will not be automatically adjusted each year. Any proposed increase in climber fees that exceeds cumulative CPI would require a new fee proposal and public engagement process. • Increase the franchise fee allocation to the climbing program from $19,000 to $71,000. This program change is being implemented this year, and addresses a recurrent theme brought up by climbers: increase franchise fee contributions to the climbing program. Additionally, up to $1M in franchise fees may be needed over a 3 – 5 year period to improve climber facilities at Camp Muir following completion of a Development Concept Plan. • Increase the use of volunteers, local mountaineering search and rescue organizations, and guides in the climbing program as appropriate. Conclusion My staff and I appreciated the input and active participation of Mount Rainier National Park visitors, climbers, guide services, rescue and climber advocacy organizations throughout this process. Your enthusiastic participation indicates the level of interest and commitment you have to the park and the resource. We have learned much, and continue to look forward to working with the public to implement the program changes. It is my goal to ensure that Mount Rainier National Park continues to provide a world-class climbing experience that is managed at an appropriate level consistent with the purpose of the park, which is to: “…conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations” (NPS Organic Act, 1916, 16 USC 1). If you have questions or want to continue to know about the program, please call Stefan Lofgren, Climbing Program Manager at 360-569-2211 ext. 6010. You may also contact the Superintendent’s Office at 360-569-2211 ext. 2301. Again, thank you for your interest in Mount Rainier National Park’s Climbing Program. Sincerely, David V. Uberuaga Superintendent
  16. Please join us at Marmot Mountain Works in Bellevue on Wednesday, March 30th at 7:00PM for a slideshow presentation by Alex Krawarik, co-author of Washington Ice: A Climbing Guide, and Washington first ascensionists Wayne Wallace, Ade Miller, David Whitelaw, and Jeff Street to celebrate NW ice climbing and the 2011 season. Alex will present a photo tour of Strobach Mountain and the last decade of first ascents there. Strobach Mountain is one of the least known and visited, and best ice climbing area's in Washington State. Wayne will present his experiences in Cody WY. Ade Miller will present Cascade winter alpine climbing adventures including his first winter ascent of Backbone Ridge on Dragontail Peak. Marmot Mountain Works' climbing equipment buyer David Whitelaw will share ice adventures from his Alaska days, and Marmot employee and mountaineering instructor/guide Jeff Street will share ice climbing explorations of Lillooet, Hyalite Canyon, and various Washington locales. In addition, we will be offering 15% off the regular price of all ice tools, crampons, ice screws, and climbing helmets purchased during the show! We would like to turn this show into an annual event! Please get in touch with us if you would like to participate and share some of your pictures and adventures with everyone on the big screen at future gatherings. Come see some great NW ice climbing, network with the your fellow NW ice climbers, and get some great deals on ice gear. We'll see you there! Please RSVP to MARMOT MOUNTAIN WORKS @ 425-453-1515 Marmot Mountain Works 827 Bellevue Way NE Bellevue, WA 98004 (425) 453-1515
  17. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Thanks to everyone that turned out for this meeting! We had a great group of folks sharing lots of useful comments and input for Mt Rainier National Park. I am not going to post an intricate and detailed account of all of the topics from the meeting right now, but I can certainly provide more details and answer questions about what was covered more specifically at the meeting if anyone is interested. Everyone seemed to agree that there is already plenty of money being generated from climbers in Mt Rainer National Park to provide for the needs of the climbers. Here are 2 of the main topics that seemed to come up over and over again: A) The officials at Mt Rainier National Park want more money in order to hire more climbing rangers. Without more rangers, they can not provide for the safety of their own employees while traveling on the upper mountain. For their own safety, Park Climbing Rangers need to operate in teams of 2 at a bare minimum. 3 or 4 would be better in terms of safety. These types of park staff members cost a significant amount of money. The park says that Congress does not currently provide them the funds for these sorts of staff. There appear to be two main ways for the park to raise the funding for these climbing rangers that they feel that they need: 1) Currently, Congress allows the park to establish and raise fees on climbers. This is what the park is proposing to do right now. 2) Congress would either need to provide more funding for Mt Rainier National Park and/or change the rules that the park is required to operate under so that all of the money that is already being paid to the park by the public through individual climber fees and commercial guide service fees can be used directly for the park's climbing program. Members of the public would need to call and write their congressional representatives as well as the offices of their local senators to ask them to make these changes. B) The park says that they need more rangers to patrol and enforce the rules regarding sanitation and control of human waste on the upper mountain. Otherwise, park officials say that human waste and blue bags will start appearing scattered all over the mountain. The new climbing rangers that they would like to hire might also be able to accomplish some of this. Their other option would be to cut the climbing ranger staff, and reduce ranger patrols on the mountain. Many people at the public meeting seemed to feel that all of these climbing program costs should be paid for out of the park's base funding, and not by raising the fees on individual climbers. I am going to try to get the names and contact information to post here of our various elected officials that are involved with Congress and the committees that make these decisions and rules for our National Parks so that interested people can call and/or write to them about these funding and fee issues. Check back here later for more info about this. Maybe someone can try to organize a coordinated effort here? The Park also said that even though the official public comment period for this proposed fee increase has ended, you can still go to their website and send in more comments and input. Here again is the link to this section of the park's web site: www.nps.gov/mora/parkmgmt/climbingfee.htm.
  18. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    I just realized that today is Groundhog Day...so I hope that all of you Marmots decide to come out of your hole, come to this meeting on Mt Rainier, and get the facts so you can provide some great comments and input to the park. The meeting is tonight! - David
  19. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    This meeting is tomorrow night! Mt Rainier National Park Superintendent David Uberuaga will also now be joined by the Park Climbing Manager Stefan Lofgren and Park Environmental Protection Specialist Karen Thompson. Please come out and join us for this important meeting. Even if you can not make it by 6:30pm, please show up whenever you can to listen to and/or give comments and input to the park during the public comment portion of the night. -David May
  20. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Just a reminder that tomorrow 1/31/11 is the last day to send in public comments to Denali National Park regarding their proposed fee increase to $500 per climber. Here is their e-mail address: DENA_mountainfeecomments@nps.gov You can check out the joint letter from the American Alpine Club, Access Fund, and American Mountain Guides Association to Denali National Park here: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/pt/denaliandrainierclimbercommentsneeded Tomorrow is also the last official day to send in comments to Mt Rainier National Park...but still please come to the public meeting in person on Weds since the park officials have told us that they will still record public comments at this meeting. Below is their website info: http://www.nps.gov/mora/parkmgmt/climbingfee.htm There is a link there to e-mail them. Here is a similar letter from those 3 organizations to Mt Rainier National Park: http://www.accessfund.org/atf/cf/%7B1F5726D5-6646-4050-AA6E-C275DF6CA8E3%7D/WA--MOUNT%20RAINIER%20FEE%20INCREASE_1.26.2011.pdf
  21. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    I decided to call the local offices of our congressional representatives as well as our senator's offices to see if they were aware of any of these issues. It seemed like they were not. I was surprised how easy if was to get it touch with their staffers that apparently focus on these sorts of issues. I mentioned that I was surprised how easy it was to be able to speak with someone about this. I was told that not many people actually call their local elected official's offices to express their views about things that they would like to see congress and so forth do differently. So, when you do call them you are likely to be listened to and possibly make a difference. One of the impressions that I have from doing a little research surrounding this upcoming meeting is that it is likely to be these high-ranking public officials and high-ranking NPS officials that can really make a difference in terms of both how the National Parks are funded as well as how these funds are allowed to be spent and managed by the actual individual parks. Although, the individual parks do seem to have a lot of say and control over how these funds are allocated and spent once they receive them. I have invited these local public official's offices to have someone from each of their respective offices attend the public meeting this coming Wednesday, but I am not sure if they will be there or not. If they do decide to come, this could be a great opportunity to provide some direct input to them regarding how the public would like to see our money being allocated to and spent within our national parks. - David
  22. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Several folks have commented to me that we should consider having a way to submit anonymous questions to the representatives from Mt Rainier at the meeting. So, I am definitely considering doing this. Maybe we can have a box that people can drop an anonymous question in, and then we can try to present these during the question and answer portion of the meeting? I understand that asking questions and making comments in a public forum can be very intimidating for a lot of people. Particularly if the park representatives are dressed in their official-looking park service uniforms. At the recent public meeting for the proposed increase in climbing fees for Denali, the park officials dressed in their street clothes. I particularly liked this approach....seemed a lot less intimidating. We would really like to have folks turn out for this meeting. We are asking for RSVPs so that we can give the superintendent of Mt Rainier a head count of how many people we expect to have show up at that the meeting. If you are coming, which I hope you are, then please call us and let us know. If you are not comfortable giving your name, then we would still like you to call us so that we know how many people might attend...making up a name is fine with me. For whatever it's worth, the park officials that I have spoken with in the past have all seemed like incredibly nice people as well appear very open to hearing what folks have to say about these issues related to Mt Rainier National Park.
  23. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    And David, I've given the park my name, address, and phone number each time I've attempted to climb since 1995; at least 100 times. The most certainly have contact info for the affected parties in this situation. I'll be at the meeting on Wednesday. Thanks to the Marmot folks for posting this. Sorry, I hope that I did not give the wrong impression here with my comments about getting on a park e-mail list. I should have elaborated more on this. My intention was to try and encourage folks to ask Mt Rainier National Park to establish and maintain an e-mail list of folks that want to be notified about these types of issues at Mt Rainier. People like yourself that have been on the mountain a lot over the years are probably some of the best ones to provide constructive input to the park officials. I believe that it was in 2003 that I spoke with officials at Mt Rainier about doing a better job in getting the word out to the public about various issues that they were working on. At that time, they seemed to feel that it would be a big expense that they did not have the people for and the funds to manage. While they may have names and addresses for climber's that have registered and purchased permits over the years, I can see how it could be a major expense to send out letters to everyone whenever some important issue that requires a decision and public comment came up. I suggested that they at least start an e-mail list since this seems like it would be a lot less expensive and easier to compile, manage, and use than an actual mailing list. Maybe some tech savvy person could even volunteer to help them set up an e-mail list like this that could be joined via the web site for Mt Rainier National Park. My guess is that this would be fairly easy to do and would save them the time and labor of answering phones and entering e-mail addresses in by hand.
  24. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Good idea! It sounds like The Park is working on an e-mail list to be able to notify people that are interested in issues and decisions like this. They started compiling an e-mail list at the recent public meetings. I encouraged them to do this many years ago, so I am glad to see that they are trying to make more of an effort to keep the public informed. You should call them and see if you can get on this e-mail list. - David May
  25. PUBLIC MEETING WEDS 2/2/11: RAINIER CLIMBING FEES

    Actually, The Park claims that public comment at prior meetings did have an impact on the decisions that they made a number of years ago regarding how these climbing fees would be handled. So, please come to the meeting and tell them what you think if you can make it. Expressing your views in person can often have a bigger impact than sending in an e-mail. If you absolutely can not make it to the meeting, then please go to the Park's web site and send them a letter or at least an e-mail with your comments. You might wait a little bit for more folks to post other thoughts, opinions, and information here that could shed some new light on things that you were not aware of. Also, at the recent public meeting for Denali National Park climbing fees, the Park officials told us that only about 50 or 60 comments had been received so far. The public comment period ends on 1/31/11, so more people should send in their input if they want to be heard! If enough folks write in, then the public has a chance of having an impact. You have nothing to lose by trying...right? The Park is looking for specific ideas and thoughts regarding what the public would like to see them do or not do regarding the climbing program and related climbing services...not just a mere "yes" or "no" vote for or against climbing fees. - David May
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