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Beacon Rock Notice


JosephH

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I have entered the relm of not being immune to poision oak anymore. I got it on my arms a couple of weeks ago. First time for everything.

 

Well that sucks! Worst place is getting it on your dick. Thats my #2 most common place after my arms confused.gif

 

Legs rarely see it, and I wear shorts a lot: pretty strange.

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Has anybody climbed Genesis, Jims route on the west face near the parking lot, its got a couple of bolts (optional)? Half way up it you can skirt right (up a different line) up a bolted line that goes all the way up to the next rap station. Does anybody know anything about this route? What it goes at?

Edited by kevbone
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Kevin, are we talking about the two routes up the slab in the middle of the NW face? The one on the left by Jim and the one on the right by Gordon? both are actually pretty reasonably put in with Gordon's taking like one or two pieces of pro in addition to the bolts. I thought they ran in the 5.7 range with a few short sections of 5.8 or 5.9. Much better than I thought they would be on first looking up at them, but also not worth all the hassle that ensued from the way they were put up. Also, Gordon went back at some point and extended his with a second pitch up to a higher existing descent rap station and I haven't been on that pitch but I suspect it is a bit better than the first.

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Yes, those are the routes in question. Thanks for the beta.

What do you mean by "the way they were put up" To my knowledge they were put up just like any other climb. Cleaned it, top roped, it drilled, lead it. Its the ranger that had a problem. Any there problem was a lame one at that.

Edited by kevbone
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Kevin,

 

I want to be really clear about this incident as it was a fairly pivotal one relative to a lot of bad blood and misunderstanding. These routes were put up without notifying the park with the assumptions the NW face had been "turned over to climbers for climbing" and that that meant any bolting and cleaning they (Jim, Larry, and Gordon) wanted to do was ok. That assumption was completely wrong. The 1996 agreement had stated they had six months to do unconstrained development on the NW face before the climbing management plan kicked in. Waiting until 2003 didn't really qualify as falling in that six month window. And even under that plan the NW face was never not considered habitat that needed to be tread across lightly - using rakes and snow shovels to strip a very wide swath of the face was never going to be alright with Lisa Lantz and the other Parks biologists. Gordon in particular was warned four separate times - one where they sat down with him at the office with the climbing management plan - and he still persisted. Hell, even Jim tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn't and only then on the fifth time did John feel compelled to cite Gordon for both violating the CMP and for Habitat destruction. He didn't confiscate his gear, they dropped the CMP violation, talked with him some more, and in general bent over backwards to try to work with him. They felt Jim and Larry were very cooperative by comparison.

 

The BRSP staff wants this faced developed but given the accessibility and visibility to non-climbers safety concerns on several levels are unavoidable. By "several levels" I mean safety relative to protection, to rock fall, and for habitat. We are working on getting route development protocols overhauled, will be trying to conduct a rockfall survey of the top 1/3rd of the face, and get Lisa's crew down for a comprehensive look at the issue again. Also, there has been more rockfall in the vicinity of Jim and Gordon's routes to the tune of some refrigerator size rocks in the past few days; this and the other recent large rockfall nearby just underscores the need to proceed with a bit of caution in general. My primary concern on the NW face is again the possibility of establishing a bunch of shorter climbs that cause there to be significant traffic at the base of the face while someone is above on a loose route attempting to top out. It isn't a pretty scenario.

 

With regard to the West face. It is part of the Peregrine closure and will re-open when the South face does. But the first three columns/routes around the corner from Jensen's Ridge are engulfed in Poison Oak. The BRSP has no problem with us cleaning it out and reclaiming those routes - they just want us to write up a small plan statement laying out what and where and we'll be doing that over the next few days. That will get the ball rolling, but I'm not prepared to go up and do battle with those vines while they've got their foliage. My idea would be to wait until next winter when they drop the leaves, then go up and cut the vines, and mount a removal effort when Beacon opens the following summer and the vines have died. If anyone has a better idea or wants to mount a frontal assault on them this summer please let me know. Once they're cleaned off we can see if they get any traffic and if they do we can take the next step of cleaning the lefthand half and trying to get the face out from under the closure.

 

We also spoke about re-establishing the several old stolen pins and routes that led up through the mossy ramps to restore more reasonable access to the the South face main column routes. That plan will also be written up and submitted, but John didn't think there would be any problems with that work on first hearing about it. And last, John wanted me to convey yet again that if anyone has any questions or complaints they should definitely feel free to just come in and talk with him and I'd really second that folks should take him up on that invitation.

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Like I said "To my knowledge they were put up just like any other climb. Cleaned it, top roped, drilled it, lead it"

I appreciate the importance of following the rules, but come on! Letting 2 guys clean some moss, so maybe 10 other people might climb there over the next 20 years is not much to ask, considering how much of Beacon Rock they destroyed putting the trail in, so 600,000 people a year can walk to the top. Or how many trees they cut down in the forrest to build the road you and I drive on to get to Beacon.

Having to ask big brother if its ok to play on our big toy is lame. Where does it end? Soon we will have to sign in to climb there.

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Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. If you go look at what got stripped clean it was like a 40 foot wide stretch going up a pitch. I personally never would have supported such wholesale cleaning regardless much less for those two routes. As for "put up on a top rope" - I'll have to check with Jim. But don't confuse your personal sport approach to putting up routes with "how" routes are put up, as that is only "how" some routes get put up - others are still put up ground up, on lead regardless of the condition of the route; particularly multi-pitch trad.

 

And your comment / "big brother" attitude - I'm sorry but I think it is flat out old, tired, and unproductive. The reality is we are the smallest and least visible user community at Beacon. Look at the initial Washington State law sometime that mandated climbing management plans at all State Parks - when implemented it also closed the possibility of climbing in 58 Parks, 6 that had prior climbimg to some degree or another. The Forest Service, Gorge Commission, Heritage Managers, and Tribes all weighed in looking for full environmental, endangered species, heritage, and tribal inventories before any area was allowed to remain open for climbing. The Washington State Parks rebuffed those efforts, but make no mistake - the day climbing is perceived to be more trouble than it's worth out at Beacon we will have an expensive fight on our hands as there is still no shortage of regulatory managers with long memories out there.

 

Mandatory climbing management plans are a matter of state law and we have an opportunity to help shape a rewrite of ours out at Beacon more to our liking, but not by being clueless or simply copping a glib attitude that is never going to fly out there. It might make you feel good, but the last ten years of bad boy / bandito posing hasn't resulted in any positive change out there at all - zip, nada, none. The plan is getting re-done with or without our input and cooperation. Clandestine action might feel good and may be possible for a limited time in some until recently obscure spot, but not for long, and not at all out Beacon - particularly on the NW face as has already been amply demonstrated.

 

If someone gets the urge for some power cleaning out at Beacon I'd suggest volunteering to adopt one of the neglected South face columns when it re-opens this year. Plenty of sterling routes up there in need of some time and muscle. Ditto on the oak around the corner on the West face...

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Jim cleaned the crap out of it before he led it. I was there and helped clean it and belayed him on the first accent. The style is, what it is. Ground up FA are bold and have a style all on there own, but does not always make a safe and great route. Have you ever been to Jtree, that is a good example of ground up. However bold and glorious, most of those bolted climbs are poorly protected and people get hurt.

As far as Genesis goes, he rapped in and put a TR on it, and cleaned it top down.

 

Lets not forget. Most of the climbs on the south face, that we all enjoy, looked like a forest at one time, and Jim and company power cleaned it so you and I can enjoy it. And they did not have to check with big brother to do it.

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Again, I didn't lobby for nor particularly care for the Washington state law that mandated climbing management plans be in place and enforced at all state parks - but that is the reality we're stuck with and have been for a decade. If I thought for a minute there was a possibility of repealing that law I would support such an effort. But in general, Parks / Resource management is a much more sophisticated and professional affair in the NW than it was even a decade ago and you can check with the AF, but that is a clock that just isn't going to be turned back and that's the reality we have to either deal with or bitch about - having seen nothing positive come from a decade of bitching, I'm choosing a different path.

 

As for Jim's and Gordon's climb "cleaned the crap out of it" is a gross understatement, the entire face in that area was completely swept clean. As for the style, and we can certainly debate this as well, short bolted sport routes might well be best put up as you suggest, but that has little to do with whether ground up routes (sport or trad) are bold or "safe" or not - that is entirely a matter of the competence of the FA party and what their intent was. We can also debate what "safe" means, but I suggest you get on SuperTopo and complain about how JTree routes are poorly protected, they just had their first big reunion down there so I'm sure everyone from BVB to Largo will be happy to debate the point with you. To be honest, these sorts of discussions clearly separate old and new school relative to what climbing is about and that again goes to the essence of what some of us are trying to preserve out at Beacon. I have no interest at all, in any respect, in making Beacon a less bold place to climb, or on making the routes "safe" beyond the issue of minimizing the prospect of rockfall on people below. I and Jim at least will resist any effort to "sport" Beacon out as Jim has all along.

 

So we each all have a choice, work with the cards that have been dealt and move on or try to keep trying live in a past that doesn't exist any more. Having seen the results of a decade of the latter my choice is clear...

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there are no birds this year - accordign to jim they've all been abducted by the CIA and fitted w/ special cameras and transcievers up their wazzos, then shipped to the pakistan/afghan border to search for The Big Guy - and if those greenpeace folks have shit to say about it it's just more evidence of How They Hate US For Our Freedom

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Climbers tried an owl decoy already and the only person it scared one night was the guy that put it up there.

 

As for how they're doing. They seem to me to either be on track for normal or a bit late. They should be settling into a ledge somewhere by now and I'll be going out tomorrow to do some monitoring and will report back. They're out there though...

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  • 2 weeks later...

any word on where the birds are nesting?

 

it sure would be nice to take an early season lap up the big monolith of the columbia river gorge.

 

any chance we'll be allowed to climb before july 15, when it's too hot to climb there anyway?

 

thanks again to all the bird watchers!

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any chance we'll be allowed to climb before july 15, when it's too hot to climb there anyway?

 

yeah, if nothing else can we start force-feeding the chicks growth hormones so they'll be all fledged n' flying by the end of school!?!

 

maybe if we can get some progress on the north side of things we'll at least be able to seek shade during the mid-day before climbing on the whitehot rock of evening

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No word so far, I'll be getting out again in the next couple of days to monitor. Not sure how much earlier it will be - hopefully a bit as Karsten and also my old partner will be in town at the end of next month and I'd love a go at the place myself. The chicks can fledge remarkably fast from the day of hatching - like 30 (to 58) days. That simply boggles my mind to be honest. That means 30 days they can be are basically out training to hunt with mom and dad. Last year I saw the fledge doing a tandem dive with mom where she took a robin from right off the deck above the water from way up high. She and the fledge took it back up and mom proceeded to play "catch" with the fledge by dropping it for the fledge practice with. Pretty amazing all in all. Will keep you posted...

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