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Potter Climbs Delicate Arch

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I'm not condoning the publicity stunt, but I dislike the idea of trying to get a guy "sacked" over this (or in trouble w/ his employer).

 

Normally I would agree with you, Mike. But in this case, Potter's job is "climbing ambassador" and he made the climb as part of his job. (Note the initial Patagonia press release.) I don't see anything wrong with arguing that an ambassador who has screwed up this badly should be sacked.

 

If a park ranger punched out a visiting Mexican climber to make a statement about illegal immigration, I also wouldn't have any problem calling for him to be fired.

 

Come on Lowell, the park ranger comparison is a bit absurb. As stated, Dean's stunt was poorly planned, but do we need to ruin his life and financial situation over this? I just can not get behind that sort of vindictive spirit. I believe that firing Dean will not lead to any sustainable solution or understanding of the real issue, which should be protecting our natural landscapes for generations to come. All I'm hearing about are newly revised regulations and some negative spray about someone we have in the past celebrated.

 

The climbing community and the NPS might make some headway in better understanding each other here. The dialogue on this board is healthy, and it's good for our community and in the long term, the NPS too. It certinaly seems that we've all learned a great deal about protecting natural resources and access.

 

I also believe that before you go complaining about someone behind their back, they at least deserve to hear it direclty from you.

 

As for the immediate clarification on the closure (which I agree with), I can't help but wonder what the negative fallout of that will be? Might any iconoclast climber now aim for... Humm... lets see, an illegal ascent of the Arch?

 

I didn't read Patagonia's press release, but if they did indeed flaunt the breaking of regulations, the fastest way to make your point is to shop ELSEWHERE. In America, your best vote is your dollar.

 

A number of valid points have been made (and some not so valid points I might add.) What about writing Dean Potter directly to tell him what you think?

 

The offense was public and has caused public damage. The only way to repair the damage is either a public apology or a public censure.

 

Which supports my point. Until someone that Dean trusts and respects tells him honestly what they think, and how this stunt went terribly, this isn't going to help him, us, or the NPS.

 

When he realizes that this wasn't such a good idea, DESPITE HIS BEST INTENTIONS, it will be easier to extract that acknowledgement/apology. Which would be best thing to happen!

 

And if Dean were really savvy about this, he could possibly be the worlds best advocate for protecting natural arches and making sure that you're aware of access regs when climbing (no matter where you climb).

 

And "There is no such thing as bad publicity".

 

Yup! But the caveat is that you need to spell my name correctly.

 

Now I need to get back to the national security issues of Canada ... grin.gif

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It would appear that Arches National Park is adopting a new approach of "look, but don't touch" when managing visitors into the park. God forbid somebody may actually move around and through the environment in sight of others.

 

Arches is the most anal of parks that I have visited. It is not unlike a museum. Look but do not touch really seems to be their motto there. It is certainly not as laid back at ONP or Mt Rainier. Look how quick management overreacted and put out another CFR. And by the way, how can a new CFR be enacted so quickly with out legislative action? I am heading to Moab tomorrow to go mtn biking. I' ll stop by Arches and clear up the matter for you all. wave.gif

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I just got back from my climb of the Delicate Arch. Here's a shot of me on the summit:

 

9309Delicate_Arch.jpg

 

Werner Herzog was kind enough to shoot the whole thing on IMAX, as you can see. Me and my Crew pretty much filled the Porta Potty after the barbecue. Werner got plowed and we kicked it over onto the door after he passed out inside of it, then we lit it on fire with the H3 flamethrower. He's probably still there. You should have felt the ENERGY!!

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I just got back from my climb of the Delicate Arch. Here's a shot of me on the summit:

 

9309Delicate_Arch.jpg

 

Werner Herzog was kind enough to shoot the whole thing on IMAX, as you can see. Me and my Crew pretty much filled the Porta Potty after the barbecue. Werner got plowed and we kicked it over onto the door after he passed out inside of it, then we lit it on fire with the H3 flamethrower. He's probably still there. You should have felt the ENERGY!!

 

yelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gifyelrotflmao.gif

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As stated, Dean's stunt was poorly planned, but do we need to ruin his life and financial situation over this? I just can not get behind that sort of vindictive spirit.

 

Thanks for your perspective, Mike. It does feel strange to be taking the hard line in a discussion with somebody whose avatar is Darth Vader! wink.gif

 

I don't think of my position as vindictive, but I can see how you might see it that way. For me, the issue is accountability. As shown by the Salt Lake Trib editorial and Access Fund statement posted earlier in this thread, the issue has gone beyond the realm of climbers and the NPS. The mainstream press, the general public, and even the politicians have gotten wind of it. That world wants to see accountability.

 

The best solution, as you said, would be for Dean Potter to apologize. I don't know how to contact him, and I'm sure he wouldn't know me from Adam, but I hope his sponsor is giving him that advice. If he won't apologize, then I think it would be appropriate to terminate his "ambassador" job. (We know that the Park Service can't touch him, due to the poorly worded regs in place at the time of his climb.)

 

He's a public figure representing a major outdoor company, and by extension, the outdoor community. If there is no accountability from him, then we shouldn't be surprised to see the press, the public, and the politicians support tighter and more arbitrary restrictions on all climbers.

 

The relationship between the NPS and climbers is really not the issue here, in my view. The thing has blown up beyond that. It's into the mainstream now, and if Dean Potter takes seriously his role as an ambassador, he needs to keep it from affecting the entire climbing community by taking responsibility himself, one way or another.

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Letter to the editor in the SL Trib:

 

thumbs_up.gif

___________________________________

Ruins it for everybody

 

So Dean Potter feels that Delicate Arch, or any object worth climbing in a national park, should be fair game to be bagged and sees nothing wrong with joining nature by "climbing one of nature's most beautiful features."

 

Perhaps Mr. Potter did no damage, but what is the cumulative effect of hundreds of climbers? Or would Mr. Potter limit the enjoyment of nature solely to himself? I would like to enjoy the Mona Lisa by tracing the gentle curves with my finger, feeling each individual brush stroke. I would be very careful and only blow a little dust away. Surely there would be no harm in my doing that?

 

Delicate Arch belongs to all of us. When I visit, I don't want the vista spoiled by a bunch of free climbers scampering over it like ants on a dropped ice cream cone, nor do I want to look at it behind a 12-foot-high fence erected to keep the Dean Potters of the world off.

 

Responsible climbers should roundly castigate Mr. Potter's irresponsible actions. His attitude is one of entitlement: The arch is there, I'm entitled. I submit that he obsessed over climbing it for four years precisely because he knew it was wrong. Finally, like a 5-year-old gazing at the cookie jar, his egotistical desire for self-gratification won out. Congratulations, Mr. Potter, your childish actions have taken one more tiny bit of freedom from the rest of us.

 

Steve Chambers

Cottonwood Heights

________________________________

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It's only a matter of time before the same argument "I don't want to see free climbers scampering all over it" is used to keep climbers off, say, Half Dome... thumbs_down.gif

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Ruins it for everybody

 

Ya you couldnt climb it before and you still cant...

 

I wonder if this is another climber writing to te press complaining about the bad publicity..

 

confused.gif

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Ya you couldnt climb it before and you still cant...

 

 

Well ... apparently you can climb it if you're in touch with vibrating energy and want to touch nature, and of course if its a set-up digi cam shoot for your sponsors. Then, ya know, rules don't apply to you like they do to everyone else.

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Hey if you can find a loop hole..otherwise join the herds..After all these years he's the only one to find out its not illegal to climb it ropeless..haha

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Hey if you can find a loop hole..otherwise join the herds..After all these years he's the only one to find out its not illegal to climb it ropeless..haha
No... but apparently he's the only one to set up multiple cameras, film the endeavor and then send out a press release.

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It's only a matter of time before the same argument "I don't want to see free climbers scampering all over it" is used to keep climbers off, say, Half Dome... thumbs_down.gif

 

Already being used in the city of rocks on thee best climbing area there! hellno3d.gifhellno3d.gifhellno3d.gif

 

They call it "visual impact" thumbs_down.gifthe_finger.gifthe_finger.gifthe_finger.gif

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Post by Malcolm Daly on mountainproject.com:

 

"...After I heard this many people asked me to chime in with my opinion. I had nothing but heresay and innuendo to go by so I got in touch with Dean and Steph to hear their story before I spewed.

 

Here's the deal: Dean asked a park ranger if it was okay to climb Delicate Arch and was given the go-ahead. So let's back off and cool down a bit. What Dean did was legal, authorized and pre-aproved by the NPS. You may or may not agree with his decision to publicize the climb but that's Dean's deal, not yours. How many of you have seeked approval for climbing on a new cliff before climbing it?

 

I stand in awe of what he did. Bravo Dean.

 

I also support the NPS' closure of the Arch to climbing. No doubt some idiot would bolt it (legal or not) and lots of traffic would ruin it"

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George Bell made a good post over on mountainproject.com:

 

Here is how I'd guess it went:

 

DP: "Is it OK to climb Delicate Arch?"

 

Ranger: "No way! Rock climbing is not allowed on Delicate Arch!"

 

DP: "But you mean rock climbing with ropes and pitons and all that stuff?"

 

Ranger: "Yes, of course."

 

Voila, Potter has his loophole! Free soloing is not "rock climbing". It did seem that he used a rope to get down, but I guess that is "rock descending" not "rock climbing". My guess is that this weekend all rangers are taking a special course on how to talk to climbers.

 

If Dean Potter can prove he was given permission to climb the arch, great. I'll be glad to hear it. The Park Service will have the reddest faces of all.

 

But I'm really skeptical that he had the sort of go-ahead that Malcolm Daly's post implies. If he did, why didn't he tell that to the press at the start?

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But I'm really skeptical that he had the sort of go-ahead that Malcolm Daly's post implies. If he did, why didn't he tell that to the press at the start?

 

Why? There's no precedent for announcing your permit or respect-for-authority permission when climbing anything else, is there?

 

And I think too many people here on this site are giving Patagonia way too much responsiblity for Potter's actions and PR. Patagonia (to my knowledge) does not pay in advance, or hire before hand, photographers or cameramen to document climbs. Instead, independent phtographers and camaeramen, who have developed working relationships with climbers, take the photos and film and earn their income by selling the publication rights to magazines and gear companies. So Patagonia most likely had no foreknowledge of this event. This also explains their press release - why would they fact check the legality of a climb of one of their ambassadors.

 

If you're prepared to drop Patagonia because they provide sponsorship for Potter, than you better do the same for the hardware, rope company, and shoe company that are sponsoring him as well.

 

I can easily believe that Dean asked for clarification of the rules and received verbal permission, only to find out later that the ranger was wrong. In 2003 I was told I didn't need a backcountry overnight permit if I was planning on climbing a peak in one day, only to be stopped on the approach, and made to wait while a "provisional permit" was filed for me over the radio. I had called the ranger station in advance to clarify that permit process, and afterwards a second ranger clearly stated that I shouldn't have needed a permit too. So either two rangers were wrong in giving me the go-ahead, or three rangers were wrong to hold me up for 45 minutes to get me a permit that I may or may not have needed. While my personal experience didn't occur in Arches NP, it does serve as an example that the mistake may not have been entirely Potter's.

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this has been one of the more interesting threads we've had on the board in a while. Thanks AlpineDave! wave.gif

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From pradagonia:

Many individuals have asked us where we, as a company, stand on Dean's recent climb.

Since last week, Patagonia has received hundreds of emails on the issue, many asking for a public stance.

 

First of foremost, we support Dean as our Ambassador.

He's part of our family and will continue to be.

 

For those who are curious to see Patagonia's "official stance" on the subject, read on:

 

Patagonia ambassador Dean Potter’s May 7 free solo of Delicate Arch has generated significant controversy about the legality and appropriateness of the climb of what has been described as a national icon. We’ll be interested to follow the controversy and to listen to views of those on both sides.

 

A few facts are in order. First, no crime has been committed. The National Park Service has conceded that its regulations were ambiguous and that they will not cite Dean for the ascent. They have said they will seek to clarify their regulations to prevent a second try. The Park and a number of opinion leaders have argued that Delicate Arch is an icon that should not be climbed.

 

It is important to note that Dean did no harm to the route or to the rock. He free-soloed the arch, placing no anchors and creating no impact beyond blowing dust off the holds. As he says, “No one reveres rocks more than me. I consider all rocks sacred, as do most climbers.”

 

Dean, like all Patagonia ambassadors, undertakes his own climbs on his own terms. He told us about the climb afterward.

 

We have taken positions in the past on a number of issues of climbing ethics, including bolting. We take no position on this one. As Casey Sheahan, our CEO, notes, “From the early days in the Tetons to the rebelliousness of Yosemite’s Camp 4, every generation of climbers has had its run-ins with government regulations that attempt to restrict climber’s freedom of expression. At Patagonia we don’t control the ways our sponsored athletes conduct themselves except to encourage respect for the environment and uncommon approaches to every challenge. Dean is at the pinnacle of free solo climbing, makes decisions for himself, and has our complete support.”

 

Let the granstanding, soliloquizing, handwringing, and blowharding comme.... err. continue blush.gif

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Dean is not a stupid man, he knew what he was doing. Cause.

 

Everything else is effect. thumbs_down.gif

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But, also a reply from BD:

Dave,

 

No need to apologize. Your comments were right on the money and really needed to be said. I doubt you'd find anyone here that would have disagreed with them. Thanks again for taking the time.

 

 

I have mixed feelings considering I spent my "crucial" years in the SW and how now it is seeing such use/abuse in the name of "progress". Dare I compare the flagrant actions of another desert activist who seems to be getting accolades these days, R O deliberately violated the local ethics and still seems to be a "hero" WTF? The downward spiral continues.

the_finger.gifyellowsleep.gifrolleyes.gifcry.gif

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