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Potter Climbs Delicate Arch

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Let's put it this way Lowell, Dean's ascent was not a first ascent.

Was Delicate in the Arches scrambling guide?

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Let's put it this way Lowell, Dean's ascent was not a first ascent.

 

I don't see how that matters. A few bandito climbs that nobody in the general public ever heard of won't shield Potter, Patagonia, and climbers in general from criticism in this case.

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So you said it was bad in part because there was no history of previous ascents, but even with a history of ascents it's still just as bad? confused.gif

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I don't see how that matters. A few bandito climbs that nobody in the general public ever heard of won't shield Potter, Patagonia, and climbers in general from criticism in this case.

So we're sacrificing Potter on the altar of public stupidity to shield ourselves from future recriminations even though he did nothing unique (arch has been climbed, HD vid climbs are not new, comercial climbs are not new). Hey, that's realpolitik and the way the world works. Lets not put to fine an ethical gloss on it though.

 

Perhaps it's the internet lynch mob that disgusts me most - the people who lust to "yank his sponsorship" and who do little positive for the climbing community to support access. Hell if they'd bother to send emails we'd be better off.

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One climber is not going to make the arch fall, but a hundred climbers every weekend will make it fall a lot sooner than it otherwise would. It's going to fall sooner or later, everyone knows that. Helping it to stand as long as possible, by not climbing it, shows greater respect for the landscape. Dean's climb of the arch says to the NPS and the public at large, "Sure I know it will fall a little sooner as a result of my actions, but my desire to climb the arch now is more important than someone else's desire to see this arch in the future." This much would be true even if he had climbed it in secret.

 

Potter knows he's putting a big bullseye on the arch by publicizing the climb. He's setting the stage for a public rush on the feature by the wannabe population, who climbs what other people tell them to and buys the gear that the ads tell them to.

 

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me one of the best parts of mountaineering is the escape it offers me from the excesses of American culture. It's a vast refuge from the sick world. If you're not out to prove anything to anybody, you can scramble up all kinds of alpine slopes with very little material investment, and gain the kind of personal satisfaction you can't get elsewhere. I hate to see the various aspects of outdoor adventure become so fully a possession of the corporate machine. The big retailers, and the magazines that sell ad space to them, are dependent on continuing to generate anxiety and feelings of inadequacy in their consumer base. Patagonia just might have decided that they want to mine the Delicate Arch for money, much the same way that Weyerhauser mines old growth timber or factory trawlers mine the sea, and that is a shame.

 

Maybe Potter just wanted to climb the arch because of the guy he is. Maybe Patagonia did not encourage him in any way. However, the presence of the cameras suggests otherwise.

 

If there is enough of a general outcry from climbers, not just nonclimber tourists, about Potter's climb of the arch, this will be a good thing. Such an outcry will assert to the public that some climbers, at least, respect nature enough to display a little self-governance: to defer certain gratifications, perhaps indefinitely, in order to preserve something beautiful for everyone.

 

It's not hard to guess how the Delicate Arch will eventually fall. The narrowest spot (where Potter is in the posted photo) will erode to the point where it no longer fully supports the arch's weight, putting the upper half of the opposite side of the arch under tension. The brittle sandstone will crack catastrophically. Standing atop the arch will not speed this process much at all. Even minimal erosion of the pedestal, below the narrow point, will speed it up a lot.

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If someone breaks the rules so blatantly and publicly, and gets away with no punishment, it's a clear sign that what he did is really OK and that the rules are not to be respected. Just like one redneck carving "I luv Misty 4eva" in an arch won't cause it to fall down, one skinny self-promotional climber won't either.

 

It's the principle of the thing. You have to continue to defend the principle, even if it's been sullied before. Otherwise, there's no point.

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The arch probably wasn't damaged the other day. The reputation of climbers was.

 

Dean Potter, like it or not, represents all climbers in the eyes of the public.

 

To call this climb an act of communing with nature is ludicrous given the presence of multiple cameras, the timing to coincide with optimal film lighting, the repeats to make sure the cameras got it all recorded, and the press release. It was clearly intended to be a very public performance.

 

This clear public rejection of land management policies and accepted practices sends a clear message to the public: climbers refuse to play by the rules.

 

This attitude may undermine access efforts of many climbers around the world. Why should land managers work climbing into their approved activities if climbers just ignore the resulting regulations anyway?

 

What's next? Pouring gasoline down a rock face and setting it on fire? Remember that? It was certainly a more egregious crime, but Climbing magazine responded immediately and correctly. What will Patagonia do?

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

 

From the Salt Lake Tribune today

 

...News of Potter's ascent also caused headaches for outdoor-clothing and gear manufacturer Patagonia, where Potter serves as a "climbing ambassador."

A member of Patagonia's marketing staff had alerted the news media about the successful climb Monday. When the story appeared Tuesday, customers contacted the company to complain about Patagonia's perceived role.

Spokeswoman Jen Rapp said via e-mail Tuesday that the company "was unaware of the legality issues surrounding the climb" when the media contacts were made.

"As a policy, Patagonia neither endorses nor condemns our [ambassadors'] individual activities. We trust that our athletes are the best judge of their own actions, and rely on them to act with care for themselves and the natural environment," she said, emphasizing that "Patagonia had no prior knowledge of Dean's intent or plans to climb Delicate Arch.

"We are currently looking into the situation and working with Dean to make sure we come to a reasonable resolution."

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Perhaps it's the internet lynch mob that disgusts me most - the people who lust to "yank his sponsorship" and who do little positive for the climbing community to support access.

 

Among other things, internet forums like this foster discussion of the issues of the day. A modern day community center, public park, street, or sidewalk for fostering a marketplace of ideas. Condemning such discussion that relates to these important issues as an "internet lynch mob" seems to be to be the equivalent of touting censorship of expression.

 

Would you prefer the alternative, Mr. CJ001f, that people not express their opinions and thoughts because of fear of being labeled too reactionary?

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Among other things, internet forums like this foster discussion of the issues of the day. A modern day community center, public park, street, or sidewalk for fostering a marketplace of ideas. Condemning such discussion that relates to these important issues as an "internet lynch mob" seems to be to be the equivalent of touting censorship of expression.

 

Would you prefer the alternative, Mr. CJ001f, that people not express their opinions and thoughts because of fear of being labeled too reactionary?

 

Well, when people can't be bothered to comment on access plans, show up to planning meetings, or generally involve themselves in access issues, as has been pointed out previously (and I've found true), but can be bothered to write pablum to patagonia protesting potter, I think it's fair to describe it as a lynch mob. Write a positive letter or send some $ to the access fund at the same time; those will do more good and involve us in the mainstream.

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Perhaps it's the internet lynch mob that disgusts me most - the people who lust to "yank his sponsorship" and who do little positive for the climbing community to support access.

 

Among other things, internet forums like this foster discussion of the issues of the day. A modern day community center, public park, street, or sidewalk for fostering a marketplace of ideas. Condemning such discussion that relates to these important issues as an "internet lynch mob" seems to be to be the equivalent of touting censorship of expression.

 

Would you prefer the alternative, Mr. CJ001f, that people not express their opinions and thoughts because of fear of being labeled too reactionary?

 

And it's so much easier than writing a "Smith and Cosgrove blow dead goats" letter to the editor of Climbing Mag. yellaf.gif

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Perhaps it's the internet lynch mob that disgusts me most - the people who lust to "yank his sponsorship" and who do little positive for the climbing community to support access.

 

Well said, so I just dropped an email to Access Fund requesting that they state their opinion regarding climbers breaking regs on public lands.

 

Oh yeah, I threw "Yank his sponsorship!" grenades at Patagucci and FiveTen, too. I'm not that enlightened.

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Among other things, internet forums like this foster discussion of the issues of the day. A modern day community center, public park, street, or sidewalk for fostering a marketplace of ideas. Condemning such discussion that relates to these important issues as an "internet lynch mob" seems to be to be the equivalent of touting censorship of expression.

 

Would you prefer the alternative, Mr. CJ001f, that people not express their opinions and thoughts because of fear of being labeled too reactionary?

 

Well, when people can't be bothered to comment on access plans, show up to planning meetings, or generally involve themselves in access issues, as has been pointed out previously (and I've found true), but can be bothered to write pablum to patagonia protesting potter, I think it's fair to describe it as a lynch mob. Write a positive letter or send some $ to the access fund at the same time; those will do more good and involve us in the mainstream.

I don't think a person need attend meetings in order to earn the right to send a letter of protest to an organization. If that is your method of participation, so be it. If your method of communicating is via the internet forum, more power to you. Imposing limits and requirements on others' right to voice their opinion is a slippery slope.

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Imposing limits and requirements on others' right to voice their opinion is a slippery slope.

 

They say that there are plenty of other slippery slopes in Arches.

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It is pretty close to Slickrock State Park.

 

I dunno this thread looks more like the view from Deadhorse Point

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I'm not sure that is what CJF was implying, Archie. It certainly wasn't what I tried to say three pages earler. You are right: some people like to go to meetings, some like to work on trails or whatever, and others like to spray on the Internet and send e-mails. However, different means of participation are going to generate different results, and if we are truly worried about access and the good name of climbers, we should probably get more directly involved than simply sending angry e-mails once in a while or roasting somebody on the Internet.

 

I am not saying anybody involved in this conversation has not contributed something legitimate and I have no idea to what extent most of us have actually gotten more directly involved in past issues. Still, the point is valid.

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So you said it was bad in part because there was no history of previous ascents, but even with a history of ascents it's still just as bad? confused.gif

 

So, the fact that you "heard" it was climbed before consitutes a "history" of previous ascents?

 

"Celebrities" should be held to a high standard because of their visibility. Potter apparently wants the benefits that come with being a sponsored climber, but chooses to disdain the responsibility that this position carries with it.

 

Skoog's point about "optics" is the key one in this case, to me, regardless of who might have heard what about previous ascents....

 

Goatboy says thumbs_down.gif to this selfish stunt and it's impact...

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"Celebrities" should be held to a high standard because of their visibility. Potter apparently wants the benefits that come with being a sponsored climber, but chooses to disdain the responsibility that this position carries with it.

 

Skoog's point about "optics" is the key one in this case, to me, regardless of who might have heard what about previous ascents....

 

 

Regarding public perception and impact- email from a friend this AM on the topic - not public land, but a similar potential result.

 

Seriously, it's not overblown at all. There was a

gorgeous road bicycle race through abandoned mining

towns in east-central Arizona that had a national

reputation. One of the professional riders stopped for

a nature break in town in front of someone's lawn, and

the town hasn't issued a permit for the event since.

 

And there wasn't even the illusion of accomplishing

something in the sport...it's just the myopic

mentality that comes with that level of dedication;

the big picture gets lost.

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Elevated ego: Climber who scaled Delicate Arch deserves stiff penalty

 

Tribune Editorial

Salt Lake Tribune

 

 

Dean Potter and a few irresponsible all-terrain vehicle riders have two traits in common: They are stubbornly determined to go where no humans have gone before, and they believe that rules meant to protect the landscape don't apply to them.

Potter is the professional climber who scaled Utah's most prominent icon, Delicate Arch, Sunday, despite Arches National Park rules against climbing all its named arches. Making the ascent had become an obsession, he said. We see it more as an ego trip and a chance to advance his climbing career.

That Patagonia, whose outdoor gear Potter promotes, had plans to use the climb in its advertising seems the most probable motive for the stunt.

Potter obviously did not consider the potential harm he could cause by disregarding park regulations. Or he simply put his own personal gratification - or was it a need for attention? - ahead of any concern for the unique rock formation he claims was "vibrating with energy" as he stood on its top. If the huge old arch could vibrate, indignation or outrage would be a more likely cause.

His rationalization that he did not harm the 45-foot natural sculpture - "I respected the arch to the fullest. I did no more than blow a little dust off a few handholds" - does nothing to excuse his behavior. It's the same reasoning that takes ATV riders off established trails and into untrammeled territory. How much damage can just one vehicle do?

That argument has a hollow ring. Once an ATV has shoved its way through formerly pristine forest or desert, its track becomes a trail and others will soon follow. That may also be a consequence of Potter's climb, and Park Service prohibitions will only make it more of a challenge to those who, like Potter, care little about the reasons behind the rules. His legacy may well be a damaged and violated Delicate Arch, not a notable sports achievement.

Whatever penalty the Park Service exacts, we hope it includes a lifelong ban of Potter from Arches National Park.

Potter wonders "What has our world come to" if climbers are prevented from scaling "one of nature's most beautiful features"? Despite what he seems to believe, the world is not Potter's personal playground and it will be better off if no other climbers follow his hedonistic example.

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"As a policy, Patagonia neither endorses nor condemns our [ambassadors'] individual activities. We trust that our athletes are the best judge of their own actions, and rely on them to act with care for themselves and the natural environment," she said, emphasizing that "Patagonia had no prior knowledge of Dean's intent or plans to climb Delicate Arch.

 

How many of you wrote letters to Patagonia after House and Twight abandoned all their gear at the top of Czech Direct? Since Dean didn't leave any trace of his ascent you all must have been appalled at House and Twight's actions... rolleyes.gifrolleyes.gif

 

Patagonia is not at fault here.

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However, different means of participation are going to generate different results, and if we are truly worried about access and the good name of climbers, we should probably get more directly involved than simply sending angry e-mails once in a while or roasting somebody on the Internet.

 

I am not saying anybody involved in this conversation has not contributed something legitimate and I have no idea to what extent most of us have actually gotten more directly involved in past issues. Still, the point is valid.

Somehow I doubt Lowell's email was just an angry rant. Personally, I think working toward making an impact with a financial blow (i.e. Potter being dismissed from his position with the company--assuming that he receives compensation for this) is very affective--possibly more so than attending the town meeting.

 

Also, I have no interest or intent to invalidate the viewpoint I commented on: only adding my own opinion for consideration.

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