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Potter Climbs Delicate Arch

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Seems like it should be an april fools joke, but there it is in the paper.

 

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3800468#

 

570933-ut_delicateplug_0509_a11.jpg

 

MOAB - For almost 12 years, Dean Potter studied the tiny cracks and crevices in Delicate Arch, searching out potential fingerholds and footholds that could aid his ascent of Utah's most famous icon.

On Sunday morning, Potter, a professional climber known for his speed and agility, put that research to the test, successfully scaling the 45-foot monument "free solo" - without the aid of ropes and other climbing gear. But the 34-year-old part-time Moab resident's achievement doesn't sit well with National Park Service officials and some fellow climbing enthusiasts.

"I'm very sorry to see someone do this to Utah's most visible icon," said the park's superintendent, Laura Joss. "I would just ask if they think it's a good idea to encourage this."

Potter believed that as long as he used no fixed anchors and did not damage the rock, he was free to climb Delicate Arch.

Not so, says Joss.

It was an idea that Potter, a climbing ambassador for outdoor-gear company Patagonia, could not get out of his head.

"For the past four years or so, I've been going up there kind of obsessively and looking at it in every possible light," Potter said Tuesday. "When I realized I was going to try this, I started going out to it more and more frequently."

Feeling his way along the rock face early Sunday morning, Potter inched his way to the top of Delicate Arch, stood on the flat, wide shelf and looked out over the Moab Valley.

"This was one of the most beautiful climbs I've ever done," Potter said. "For me, it was just an overwhelming experience, as if the formation was vibrating with energy."

Once atop the arch, Potter lowered a string to retrieve a climbing rope to make his descent. He says he climbed Delicate Arch "several times in a two-hour period." Even one time is too many, Joss said.

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

Arches allows climbing

 

in some areas, and Joss said that in the past climbers have respected the rules, which include prohibitions on climbing the park's most famous rock formations.

Matt Moore, owner of Desert Highlights, a climbing outfitter in Moab, said he has always understood that park regulations prohibit climbing on Delicate Arch.

"Probably every climber looks at it and thinks it would be great to climb Delicate Arch," Moore said. "On the one hand, it was probably a great ascent for Dean, but at the same time, I can't condone it because it is against park regulations."

Patagonia's publicity department initially alerted the media to Potter's ascent, but indicated it may back off on further promotions after learning that Potter may have broken park service regulations.

His Delicate Arch ascent marks the second time in as many years that Potter has come to the attention of Arches officials. The park recently changed its regulations to prohibit "slacklining" - a sport in which flexible nylon rope is stretched between two points, often over a steep fissure, and walked like a tightrope - after Potter slacklined the Three Gossips, another well-known rock formation in the park, Joss said.

Potter said he took great care to leave Delicate Arch undisturbed, and he is unapologetic about undertaking the challenge.

"I am very conscientious about following nature's rules. I respected the arch to the fullest. I did no more than blow a little dust off a few handholds," Potter said. "What has our world come to if we cannot join nature by climbing one of nature's most beautiful features?"

570933-ut_delicateplug_0509_a11.jpg.7dac825002627b4f3da213525aafc07f.jpg

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I don't think it is an issue anymore...they are shutting down climbing to all named arches immediately:

 

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

 

I seem to recall reading about a climb or two on some much lesser known, but named arches put up by some pretty well known climbers.

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I agree Arches has some sweet lines. They have a real no-nonsense climbing plan and have been very open to climbers when I have visited. Some of the rangers have even been good about pointing some good new places out.

 

Their regs have for years said plainly "no climbing the named features" I would admit to looking at the same arch and drooling myself. But, restraint so far has been tempered by a good relationship with Larry.

 

Even so, I envy you Dean. Great line.

 

cool.gifbigdrink.gif

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How does climbing an arch like that do damage if you climbed without chalk?

 

I don't see Indian paintings on that thing.

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I think the biggest concern is having the arches fall down. The stone is not the most solid stuff around and other arches there (such as the great arch) are expected to break and fall down. The idea is to minimize the impact so others can see them in the future.

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It would suck if you were climbing it and it decided to fall over on you wink.gif You would forever be known as the person who destroyed the Delicate Arch! yellaf.gif My guess is that the concern is that it would get a huge amount of traffic (it is a very popular place/icon), and there would be some polished routes (more likely the rock would crumble away than become polished, actually), and the next thing you know bolts (or someone falling off and dying) blah blah blah...anyway that red rock isn't the most stable stuff. you could probably climb that thing directly with icetools. (I am not recommending this!)

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Potter said he took great care to leave Delicate Arch undisturbed, and he is unapologetic about undertaking the challenge.

 

"I am very conscientious about following nature's rules. I respected the arch to the fullest. I did no more than blow a little dust off a few handholds," Potter said. "What has our world come to if we cannot join nature by climbing one of nature's most beautiful features?"

 

Dean Potter apparently thinks the world revolves around himself. Patagonia should sack him.

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It definitely would seem that his actions here don't fit well with Patagucci's "lighten the tread of the human ecological footprint" given the soft nature of that rock and the popularity/icon status of delicate arch. Like it was put there just for him to climb, and that his climbing it and publicizing the climb wouldn't result in a hoard wanting to do the same thing.

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Do you think Alain Robert's illegal climbing of buildings, and multiple arrests, is going to make it harder for the rest of us to go buildering?

 

Do you think Chongo's arrest in Yosemite makes it harder for other climbers to guerilla camp in Yos for months at a time?

 

It seems like when you go through the old AAJs there are a lot more parks open to climbing now that there were in the 70s and that it was sometimes very public acts of illegal climbing as a protest that got the regs changed.

 

thumbs_up.gif Dean.

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publicizing the climb wouldn't result in a hoard wanting to do the same thing.

 

How many horde members can free solo 5.10 chalkless and rap off without bolted anchors?

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I read on tetongravity.com that he was filmed by "multiple HDV cameras". You know, to capture images of his spiritual communion with nature.

 

Jackass.

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I don't think it is an issue anymore...they are shutting down climbing to all named arches immediately:

 

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

 

This is confusing. Park regulations, apparently, already prohibit climbing on named Arches. So what would the point be in "working with [their] solicitor" to close the Arches permanently? What the fuck could a lawyer do about it anyway?

 

On one hand I understand Dean and his hippy ideals of wanting to climb on nature and shit. Its very idealistic and pretty. But unfortunately in the real world, the reason they have those rules is the same reason we keep ORV's off trails in National Parks.

 

Its that same arrogant attitude that I see from the full-time Yos climbers. They think they're above the rules and that they're actions don't have any impact on the environment. Like Steph Davis's recent article in Alpinist complaining because they kicked Chongo out of the valley - for living there full time for like ten fucking years! He uses the septic system there, drinks water, breathes air, consumes resources in the Valley like anyone else. Why should the rules not apply to him. Like Lowell said, they think the world revolves around them. Fucking grow up.

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I don't think it is an issue anymore...they are shutting down climbing to all named arches immediately:

 

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

 

This is confusing. Park regulations, apparently, already prohibit climbing on named Arches. So what would the point be in "working with [their] solicitor" to close the Arches permanently? What the fuck could a lawyer do about it anyway?

 

 

A lawyer can help them change the language to make it clear that climbing is not allowed and punishable by fines/jail time.

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I read on tetongravity.com that he was filmed by "multiple HDV cameras". You know, to capture images of his spiritual communion with nature.

 

Jackass.

 

A tempest in a teapot - but a wonderful chance for people to pompously proclaim their superiority.

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A tempest in a teapot - but a wonderful chance for people to pompously proclaim their superiority.

 

You're one to talk. rolleyes.gif

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I think the biggest concern is having the arches fall down. The stone is not the most solid stuff around and other arches there (such as the great arch) are expected to break and fall down. The idea is to minimize the impact so others can see them in the future.

 

So in that same argument how about the NPS minimize the amount of development to these national treasures. I can't think of one park or scenic area managed by the NPS that doesn't have a mega monster visitor center pedaling trinkets and a double wide asphalt hiking trails that runs a 1/4 mile from the Walmart sized parking lot to the attraction so every overweight mouth breathing red blooded 'merican can waddle up and gape at some national treasure that they are ignorantly killing with their CO2 emissions from their 40' RV w/ matching trailer that is back in the parking lot idling so the AC can run.

 

Did Dean damage the Arch climbing it? No.

 

Will the arch become damaged if others repeat the feat? Over time yes.

 

But who's to say the NPS will stop at banning climbing on named structures? They have long banned climbing on some of the best features at City of Rocks because it is "visual impact".

 

Fuck that the_finger.gif

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I don't think it is an issue anymore...they are shutting down climbing to all named arches immediately:

 

"The intent of our [regulations] is that all named arches are closed to climbing," Joss said. "If the compendium is found not to be sufficient, we will work with our solicitor posthaste to put a closure on Delicate Arch immediately."

 

This is confusing. Park regulations, apparently, already prohibit climbing on named Arches. So what would the point be in "working with [their] solicitor" to close the Arches permanently? What the fuck could a lawyer do about it anyway?

 

On one hand I understand Dean and his hippy ideals of wanting to climb on nature and shit. Its very idealistic and pretty. But unfortunately in the real world, the reason they have those rules is the same reason we keep ORV's off trails in National Parks.

 

Its that same arrogant attitude that I see from the full-time Yos climbers. They think they're above the rules and that they're actions don't have any impact on the environment. Like Steph Davis's recent article in Alpinist complaining because they kicked Chongo out of the valley - for living there full time for like ten fucking years! He uses the septic system there, drinks water, breathes air, consumes resources in the Valley like anyone else. Why should the rules not apply to him. Like Lowell said, they think the world revolves around them. Fucking grow up.

 

thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

Thanks also for furthuring the image that rock-climbers don't care about regulations, as represented by our "best". mad.gif

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he did use chalk look at his hands. it appears he used the arch as an anchor so there are prolly grooves now in the sandstone.

 

i wonder if you jump thru the arch, do you end up in another dimension?

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