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Potter Climbs Delicate Arch

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I believe it was (closed permanently). With the language posted on the Arches NPS website (assuming that it wasn't updated post-this incident), it is clearly against da Toolz Rulz.

 

"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."

 

Sounds like she is just saying that if the language above is not clear enough (seems to be to me), then they will probably update it...undoubtedly with consequences listed if you break da Toolz Rulz.

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Maybe. Though on the frontpage of Arches website it does say, "as of May 9, 2006, climbing is prohibited on ..."

 

If it was already closed, I'm sure Arches would have had the authority to enforce the rules and level penalties.

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Well we all know that it is the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law, that applies in court.

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Maybe. Though on the frontpage of Arches website it does say, "as of May 9, 2006, climbing is prohibited on ..."

 

If it was already closed, I'm sure Arches would have had the authority to enforce the rules and level penalties.

 

right, then perhaps the language on the website is brand new, post-The Dean Potter Incident ....they should call them the Dean Potter Rules in his honor. There goes my plan for slacking in the Arches this fall!! cry.giftongue.gif

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To attone, the climbing community should make Dean complete the five most lengthy bushwacks in the Cascades (Dome, Bear, Mox, etc.)in the rain without climbing anything.

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What about using a giant rubber band tied to the legs of Delicate Arch to shoot yourself through it like a slingshot?

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"Why would anyone want to climb an arch? Well, clearly arches have a lot of power and therefore it must be good to walk across them. It must be something about overcoming all that air. Volcanoes have a lot of power too, but arches are more easily done in shorts and tennis shoes and obviously that is a plus. Anyone who prefers wool pants and stiff boots should toss this book and head for Mt. St. Helens."

 

– Gerry Roach - from Arch Bagger

 

It's not like there was a guidebook too climbing the arches or anything

 

Arch_Bagger_Cover.jpg

 

Gerry self-published Arch Bagger, his first book, in 1982. The 5.5 x 8.25 inch, soft-cover, 70-page guide describes scrambling routes to the top of 39 named arches plus the standard route to the top of Elephant Butte, the highest point in Arches National Park. The book has 21 black-and-white photographs and 18 illustrations. The guide describes how to get on top of the arches, but not how to find them. Gerry wrote Arch Bagger in a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek style to make the book more about being free and exploring than about particular deeds.

 

After Gerry produced Arch Bagger, the National Park Service defined new rules for climbing in Arches National Park. Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps but, with a few exceptions, is permitted elsewhere. This rule affects 16 of the 39 arches described in Arch Bagger. Presumably, it is legal to visit the tops of the other 23 arches described in Arch Bagger. Gerry doesn’t know how the park defines “climbing.” In his world, hiking is movement with a difficulty of Class 1 or Class 2, scrambling is movement with a difficulty of Class 3 and climbing is movement with a difficulty of Class 4 or Class 5. Using this definition, 4 of the 16 arches described in Arch Bagger on which climbing is prohibited are still accessible. Gerry has not pursued the matter with the park service, and it is best to err on the side of caution in this environmentally sensitive area.

 

Gerry printed a mere 300 copies of Arch Bagger, the tiny tome is long out of print, and it is very scarce.

 

wonder if the visitor center has any in stock?

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He should have covered the thing in white gas and lit it on fire from the summit. That would have looked COOL on Imax Dolby THX HDV. I can't wait to read the three page pullout in the next Patagucci catalog so I can find out how truly pure the experience was for him, and how it helped him to see BEYOND...

...and all without a helmet!

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It would seem that this is a classic case of someone repeatedly pissing off the land manager which results in changes in law that further restrict all of us. I don't know that there were not others that helped encourage the land manager to update the rules, but the provisions by which the law is enforced allow the land manager (in this case, Joss?) to update/set the rules.

 

Here is Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1, Section 1.5(a)(1) that is referred to.

 

 

§ 1.5 Closures and public use limits.

 

(a) Consistent with applicable legislation and Federal administrative policies, and based upon a determination that such action is necessary for the maintenance of public health and safety, protection of environmental or scenic values, protection of natural or cultural resources, aid to scientific research, implementation of management responsibilities, equitable allocation and use of facilities, or the avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities, the superintendent may:

 

(1) Establish, for all or a portion of a park area, a reasonable schedule of visiting hours, impose public use limits, or close all or a portion of a park area to all public use or to a specific use or activity.

 

 

 

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"Conscientious about Nature's rules...Respected the Arch to the fullest..." Right.

 

Once upon a time, mountaineers probably had a great reverence for the natural features of this world, maybe even more so than non-climbing tourists. That time is long gone. That was then, this is now. Now is when all natural features have become subservient to the professional climber's ego.

 

You want to show respect for the Arch? Then leave it alone so it will last a little longer. Or, if in your mind you are respecting it by climbing it, then climb it-- in secret, unrecorded, and don't tell anybody what you did. Just don't climb it with multiple cameras recording the event, then spout to the media how much you respect Nature.

 

If Patagonia does not immediately condemn this action and sack Potter, there should be no doubt what the company stands for. Not unspoiled nature, but scorched earth consumerism: the belief that nothing in this world is sacred except 1)personal glory and 2)money.

 

Mr. Chouinard, we're waiting.

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Lowell apparently you missed the part where Patagonia called the newspapers to report their ambassador's rad new send. They'd be hypocrites to suddenly drop him and pretend they didn't know what was going on. They are probably the ones that asked him to do it in the first place.

 

Good point.

 

I noticed the bit about the press release, but sort of forgot about it in my previous posts. It sounds like somebody in the Patagonia PR department needs to be sacked too. As Norman_Clyde wrote, this reflects on Yvon Chouinard's company, right to the top. I'd be very curious to hear what he thinks of this.

 

BTW, I sent an e-mail to Patagonia through their website expressing my thoughts, FWIW.

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He can play semantics with the regs all he wants. He knew it was wrong but thinks he's above that. Communing w/ nature and whatnot. I call bullshit. One asshole can fuck things up for the everyone. He needs a hot beef injection.

 

 

 

thumbs_down.gif

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BTW, I sent an e-mail to Patagonia through their website expressing my thoughts, FWIW.

 

Did the same, I think there will be a bigger voice of disapproval than Patagonia realizes.

Perhaps such a stunt would have been better played out on the not so pristine faces at Mt. Rushmore.

Either way a faux pas and a blow to the credibility of our sport and another "chalk one up" for land managers everywhere. thumbs_down.gifthumbs_down.gif

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At least he did it in the morning when the lighting was COOL!! That will look AWESOME on HDDVD. You'll be able to feel the POWER of the arch.

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BTW, I sent an e-mail to Patagonia through their website expressing my thoughts, FWIW.

Did the same, I think there will be a bigger voice of disapproval than Patagonia realizes.

Perhaps such a stunt would have been better played out on the not so pristine faces at Mt. Rushmore.

Either way a faux pas and a blow to the credibility of our sport and another "chalk one up" for land managers everywhere. thumbs_down.gifthumbs_down.gif

I did the same, hopefully we will see some kind of response from Patagonia in the next couple days?

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BTW, I sent an e-mail to Patagonia through their website expressing my thoughts, FWIW.

 

Did the same, I think there will be a bigger voice of disapproval than Patagonia realizes.

Perhaps such a stunt would have been better played out on the not so pristine faces at Mt. Rushmore.

Either way a faux pas and a blow to the credibility of our sport and another "chalk one up" for land managers everywhere. thumbs_down.gifthumbs_down.gif

 

Can you post the email address....

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You bet F.T.Y.

 

and while I am here:

And what if Yvon says "Let my people climb... desert arches" tongue.gif

 

And G-Spotter, dude... I am getting sick of your poor quality Hello Kitty .gif, here is the original, please us it as the blue outlined one is rather poor style even for you.

kitty.gif

 

-Chirp

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OK, I may get flamed for this.

 

Why are the arches closed to climbing?

1) Fear of falling over. What do you think the odds are of an umpteen-ton arch standing so precariously that a 200-lb climber can tip it over?

2) Fear of damage. Concern that bolts, gear placements, fixed anchors, and multiple rappels will damage an arch. This concern is valid. But the NPS doesn't say why climbing is banned on USGS named arches, just that it is banned. I think Mr. Potter addressed these concerns admirably by climbing solo and then rappelling without fixed anchors. I was imagining a counter-balanced rappel utilizing someone on the ground connected to the opposite strand of the rope.

3) Climbing on named features is bad, becuase it takes away from others enjoyment of natural views and scenery. Well thank god this policy isn't in effect in North Cascades National Park, Rainier National Park, Yosemite National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Grand Teton National Park, or Devil's Tower National Monument.

 

Now, despite saying all this, I think that what Dean did was illegal. The regs, however poorly written, were pretty clear prior to his ascent. He should just bite the bullet and take whatever penalty there is.

 

Everything else about this thread - threatening climbing in the park, or Potter's employment with Patagonia - is simply hype and spray by us, a group of people who need to spend more time climbing and less time reading about those climbing more than we are. Me included.

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OK, I may get flamed for this.

 

Why are the arches closed to climbing? ....

 

No, I won't flame you for this. Your points are good ones.

 

In the world of politics, there is a term called "optics." It refers to how an action appears to the casual observer, never mind the underlying principles. The optics of Dean Potter's climb are terrible for climbers.

 

Maybe the arch won't fall over. But it's called "Delicate Arch," for crying out loud! That's how the public thinks of it.

 

Maybe it won't be damaged much. But the relationship the public has had with this feature for years and years is "look but don't touch." Potter flouted that.

 

Your last point is the most compelling. But Delicate Arch is different from features in other parks and monuments because 1) it is small and intimate, and 2) there is no history of its use as a climbing crag. Those factors make a big difference in how the public responds to the idea of somebody climbing on it.

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