Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
LeavenworthMA

Welcome Leavenworth Climbing Rangers

Recommended Posts

No... I'd like to see Congress and the USFS spend the $$ to install and maintain the infrastructure needed (i.e. good trails and toilets) instead of running around and charging user fees (which do mainly pay for more traditional Bago type sites) or writing citations.

 

 

I agree here. I guess I don't understand why the USFS claims it has to close 75% of its roads--including many popular trailhead access avenues--and yet can still find money for two new positions. You're absolutely right, Coldfinger, I suspect that fees are coming soon--to pay for enforcement of said fees. A self-serving bureaucracy.

Wilderness = Management. Our escape becomes more and more an extension of our prison with each passing year.

 

I guess I'll wonder out loud here and propose that we can interpret USFS motives right now by looking at the educational and experiential backgrounds of these two new rangers. Do they come from the biosciences? Quotas, permits, fees, and dogmatism coming soon. From law enforcement? Angst and fines headed your way. From the humanities, social sciences? This might be better news as it would indicate an attempt to find an informed balance between nature and human needs in our local mountains is underway. Unfortunately, I suspect it's choice #1.

 

Sol?

 

 

Edited by Fairweather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Sol for providing more info on the rangers. The info posted on this site and their Facebook page was pretty minimal and ambiguous at best.

 

You make good points about posters here lambasting what can turn out to be a fruitful and productive project. However, I can relate to the frustration climbers experience when FS agents take affirmative actions to destroy access trails while the FS isn't going to build new trails or roads and won't maintain many existing ones.

 

That said, I think organizations like the LMA and the AAC are doing an excellent job of promoting our interests, like better access, with land management agencies. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"We have a significant number of people circumventing the lottery by doing long days"

 

I'm not a face booker, was that quote pulled from their FB page? If so, that's pretty disturbing. Due to the permit system, going c-to-c is the only option for most of the climbs I want to do in ALW via Leavenworth access. It suggests the FS wants to limit access for those not planning to bivy, which would really suck.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

apparently one's interactions, observation, and research about the FS leading to a negative outlook isn't exactly valid to share unless you've detailed how you've maintained X miles of trail and helped removed tat and replaced anchors. got it.

 

I do not mean to directly bash "Adam", I am sure these two are good guys. But you can talk till you are blue in the face to to the lower level FS personnel. No matter how much I tell the district ranger or front desk person at the Detroit Ranger station for Willamette that I shouldn't have to pay $6 in addition to having a NWFP in order to climb Mt. Jeff's west rib by Pamelia lake, or North or Middle Sister by way of the Obsidian TH, that isn't going away.

 

Some may see this as pure conflation of separate issues but I give that as an example of new restrictions on access as of 2013 in my own backyard. I can't help but see this climbing rangers program as getting their foot in the door on the way to more restriction and fees.

 

 

There is a great GAO report on FS trails/bc maintenance from this summer. http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/655555.pdf

"The Forest Service estimated the value of its trail maintenance backlog to be $314 million in fiscal year 2012, with an additional $210 million for annual maintenance, capital improvement, and operations."

 

I just saw a figure separately the US Gov pays ~$500+ billion a year to private contractors. ~1/500th of that would take care of the FS's backlog 3 times over.

 

Maybe I'm just sticking my head in the sand not wanting to face reality that there are a lot of people using an outdoor resource and that if nothing is done it will be broken beyond repair (plants or animals will go extinct, meadows and trees will never grow back, every square inch will be polluted with feces). But count me as a skeptic.

 

 

And instead of just bashing here are some suggestions I personally stand by/do, obviously not a panacea to all the ills of the FS but doing what I see to help [i was never one for student government, I don't have the capacity to sit in lots of meetings and discussions, motions and bylaws, etc, but I'll add my two cents through comment periods]:

-quit blowing money on shitters, picnic benches, and to-be-vandalized signs at THs in the middle of the woods

-maybe scale back the ornate ranger offices (here in Oregon at least we got a bunch of gems.)

-do trail maintenance when and where you can on your own, (clipping brush, moving logs, clearing waterbars), and/or volunteer with formal organizations to do more in-depth work

-dig some pit toilets in some of the highest use areas, boom you've solved one of the biggest issues with increased numbers of people

-introduce people to the outdoors and educate how not to leave a trace, be courteous of other users, use good judgment, etc.

-don't go to popular areas/climbs on busy weekends if you like solitude, onus is on you to go when things aren't busy

-donate to climbing and/or trails groups

-be involved in climbing and/or trails groups

-write to your congresscritters

 

Good2go: No, that was made up by me and should have been clearer. It was just a theory, see above.

Edited by Water

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A point that is VERY interesting to me is that these two USFS rangers were active in removing all sorts of tat from rap and belay anchors--think it was 14 lbs. from one peak alone.

 

Interesting to see the pile of brightly colored slings they harvested so prominently displayed of the aforementioned Facebook page.

 

Also interesting to see these climbing rangers will be involved in some way in cataloging fixed anchors and replacing unsafe ones, according to Sol. I might be a bit behind the times but that does seem to be a BIG change!

 

Think this is quite informative, but does anybody know if there is a Climbing Management Plan in place that these two are implementing/enforcing OR has there been any kind of formal notice rule making going on?

 

Kinda seems like some pretty sweeping changes and new policies and I don't live in Leavenworth so I wouldn't necessarily know about the immediate past. Would like to hear more here from those that do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also interesting to see these climbing rangers will be involved in some way in cataloging fixed anchors and replacing unsafe ones, according to Sol. I might be a bit behind the times but that does seem to be a BIG change!

 

Clearly you misread my post in which I stated: The LMA had a number of concerns including but not limited to:. This idea came completely from the LMA. There is TONS of out of date, dangerous hardware in Ltown, complete crags are unsafe for climbing. Kurt Hicks recent rebolting efforts inspired us to at least start to think about cataloging what needs replacement (we haven't). Honestly, the FS was not that interested (they've got plenty on their plate, not their job).

 

Overall your guy's tones seem pretty doomsday apocalyptic climbing ranger. I just got back home from the Icicle and I can assure you it is as beautiful and free as ever. There were no discussions of increasing permits use or costs at our meeting, there was absolutely nothing that came up that presented any threat to climbing access as it currently stands in Leavenworth. It was simply a group of motivated and concerned individuals looking to figure out how to minimize impact to this great resource and preserve it for future generations to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the posts, but it wasn't clear from the bulleted list of concerns what the USFS' position on fixed anchor cataloging and replacement was or what USFS positions were vis a vis what was discussed.

 

Clearly, the fellows have been removing quite a few fixed rap and belay slings, but whether this is a reflection of a safety concern OR a new interpretation of the Wilderness Act is not at all clear. Given the emphasis on removal of so called illegal cairns and climber trails while on these patrols, it would seem resource concerns were at the very least a SIGNIFICANT factor in the Rangers' hands-on management of climbing anchors.

 

As it is a significant development it has the potential, as precedent, to affect many other USFS Wilderness climbing areas, like those close to my home. Hence my interest.

 

There are those of us who love liking and friending on Facebook and leave it at that (hurray win-win!), and then there are those of us who have been climbing a long time and active in organizations like the AAC or who are professionals who want to know the actual details, which were few to start and thankfully coming out.

 

Kinda think discussions like this are positive, very positive, even if the tone can be somewhat negative.

 

Believe me, I am 100% sure the Rangers themselves are used to this kind of thing--it comes with the territory!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"TONS" of dangerous hardware ? really tons ? come on.

 

Kurt's efforts are welcomed, that's for sure.

 

I think sitting around a talking about bad anchors or hardware does no good. Asking someone to fix it like the USFS or LMA is a waste. If Your running across so much of it when you out there carry some gear and just fix it. Is that to much to ask ? Before the time comes you have to seek permission from the powers that be to do so.

 

And yes I have done more then my share of anchor replacements, fixing bad bolts trail maintenance cleaned rap tat picking up bloody tape and garbage etc in the Icicle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

Overall your guy's tones seem pretty doomsday apocalyptic climbing ranger. I just got back home from the Icicle and I can assure you it is as beautiful and free as ever. There were no discussions of increasing permits use or costs at our meeting, there was absolutely nothing that came up that presented any threat to climbing access as it currently stands in Leavenworth. It was simply a group of motivated and concerned individuals looking to figure out how to minimize impact to this great resource and preserve it for future generations to come.

 

I think history is on the side of the cynics here when it comes to the USFS and its penchant for new rule-making. If the Icicle is, as you say, "as beautiful and free as ever," then why is there a need for two new rangers? And, as Coldfinger and Water suggest, the annual $150-200k in professional-level salary and benefits in question here could probably be better spent on a few pit toilets placed strategically throughout the area. Hell, it could even be spent repairing a road, or two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do they come from the biosciences? Quotas, permits, fees, and dogmatism coming soon. From law enforcement? Angst and fines headed your way. From the humanities, social sciences? This might be better news

 

OMG.

 

Obviously, they should be economists. Preferably Austrian school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the annual $150-200k in professional-level salary and benefits in question here

 

I have no idea what grade and term (seasonal/permanent, etc) the two new rangers are, but if they are the ones out in the field, it's more likely about $14-17 an hour, and if seasonal, no benefits.

 

150-200K is more than what an NPS park superintendent makes.

 

Not to say I wouldn't also like to see more USFS funds directed at improvements and upkeep for roads, trails, and toilets.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was talking about both rangers combined, and it was just a guess that I used for illustration. Not sure if these guys are seasonal, but I guess that would make more sense in a place like Leavenworth. My bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do they come from the biosciences? Quotas, permits, fees, and dogmatism coming soon. From law enforcement? Angst and fines headed your way. From the humanities, social sciences? This might be better news

 

OMG.

 

Obviously, they should be economists. Preferably Austrian school.

 

Given the USFS's love of quotas, permits, manufactured scarcity and an otherwise commodified vision of wilderness for profit (in the form of jobs), I'd say they already have this one covered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whenever I climb in the Icicle, I always think to myself "If I was only being managed by a ranger, things would be so much better."

 

If the Icicle is as beautiful and free as ever, why do we need these two make-work positions again? Pardon me if the smoke alarm up my ass is going off, but 'replace bad anchors'? What WILL these rangers be doing?

 

Pretty much what rangers do now in the Enchantments, if not this year, then the next.

 

Rangers are cops. Particularly rangers out of the Leavenworth office. To expect some magical cultural Summer of 68 to ostensibly fill a need that, in my observation, simply doesn't exist is a leap.

 

 

No thanks. We don't need climbers in the Icicle to be 'managed' by the FS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was kinda hoping maybe they could set up a "self service" kiosk where I can scan my climbing gym membership card--to ensure I have taken the requisite Health, Safety & Environmental training modules given the sectors visited and activities selected (and if not purchase those materials and/or training at REI and/or the gym)--and then use my Visa for the entrance fee.

 

But seriously folks, I say we see what happens.

 

And it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get the USFS and NPS to look at putting toilets IN some wilderness areas, after all a well built trail is very much a structure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No thanks. We don't need climbers in the Icicle to be 'managed' by the FS.

 

Well ... Have you been to any of the popular bouldering areas in the Icicle recently? Lots of fire pits, improvised camping spots, vegetation destruction, pooping, and general meadow stomping going on.

 

The climbing community hasn't self regulated these impacts so maybe this would be a good project for the climbing rangers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pete, you know I'm not hip enough for the bouldering areas. I didn't even realize these tatty twiggies even ate.

 

I haven't seen any fire pits outside the popular road camping sites. Beautiful and free, mostly. If that's a problem a couple of CCers, and I'll volunteer right now, could have them gone in a morning. It's most likely about 3 fire pits total anyway.

 

If poo is a problem in some spots (it isn't in most), it seems like a privvy and some awareness might serve better than a butt cop, which seems to me to be an expensive and ineffective antidote.

 

 

 

"Pinch it! Police!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whatever happened to Larry the Tool? Illegal bouldering poo spots sounds right up his alley.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Pete has hit the nail on the head as far as to where significant NEW impacts are occuring, further aggrevated by the popularity and lack of dispersion of bouldering. Trad climbers poop too it's just scattered all over the hillside and the access trails are possibly more established.

 

Certainly the rangers could make a positive impact on the area if they organized or invested their energy in coming up with solutions for waste disposal or formalizing trail networks. Which would require acknowledgement that climbing in all it's forms and locations is an acceptable use of national forest land.

 

Knocking over cairns on a (relatively) lightly used access route to a remote backcountry wall then spraying about it on facebook does absolutely nothing to protect the resource or improve the relationship between climbers and the forest service.

 

I also find their mission statement on the facebook to be essentially anti-climbing. It certainly makes no effort to acknowledge climbing as an acceptable recreational use of national forest. Furthermore photos on their facebook page imply an inordinate concern over erosion at what they term the base/staging areas of popular climbs such as Outer Space. Would be curious to know what their intentions are other than monitoring.

 

Ultimately based on their behavior so far as expressed through their social media I think everyone here has very good cause to be wary of their intentions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a big fan of the bouldering scene, but it makes sense that this may be where new sanitation problems are arising. Again, it seems that placing a few privies and hiring two seasonal janitors would be a more appropriate solution to what may or may not be a legitimate problem.

 

I've tried to do a little research on LMA, but they don't really have a well-grounded site other than a blog post. I don't doubt that their intentions are good, but if they have attended USFS planning sessions as representatives of the climbing community, then maybe they should do some polling of a broader section before they petition for new enforcement rangers. This thread is evidence. Not to pick on Sol, but when I hear the word "resource" used to describe wilderness/recreation in just about every other sentence, I start thinking that maybe the org's goals lie less with an inclusive approach to nature, and more with one that is doctrinaire. There's nothing wrong with this, I just think the accurate representation of one's motives is important--particularly in the public sphere.

 

Also, the original post names the WCC as a participant in this planning, but I don't recall MattP posting anything here. I haven't checked their site lately, so maybe I missed it.

Edited by Fairweather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Trad climbers poop too it's just scattered all over the hillside and the access trails are possibly more established.

 

Yeah, but it doesn't stink, so as not to be offensive...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've tried to do a little research on LMA, but they don't really have a well-grounded site other than a blog post. I don't doubt that their intentions are good, but if they have attended USFS planning sessions as representatives of the climbing community, then maybe they should do some polling of a broader section before they petition for new enforcement rangers.

 

 

 

The LMA WEBSITE includes a list of past events, links to an Icicle Canyon cleanup, and shows the group's official mission statement on the top-right. I have been serving on the BOD helping with computer stuff and event organizing. We have been posting our events (social and community service) to this board, among others, for the past year.

 

Fairweather, you state that the LMA "Petition[ed] for new enforcement rangers" (when meeting with the local USFS, WCC, etc) which is not only incorrect, it isn't even suggested or implied anywhere. Ever. You state this as a fact, and then attack the group with an argument based on your non-sensical and invented accusation. Seeing that in writing is pretty good reason to disregard what you are writing based on a demonstrated bias at odds with reality and/or simple illiteracy on your part.

 

 

 

The LMA, per the group's publicly-posted mission statement, wants to: "foster safe, healthy, and environmentally conscious mountain recreation" - when the USFS announced that it had hired a couple rangers focused on local climbing and backcountry use, you can be sure it was an issue that mattered to the group, which is why Sol and others went to bat for the concerns of climbers, while recognized the incontrovertible reality that these new rangers would be in the area for at least the next 2 years.

 

Thanks for the input Mark, Pete, Sol, Darin, Rad (basically anyone using their actual name) - if I skip over the various anonymous rantings, this discussion is interesting and informative! Maybe some good will come of it! And although the Forestlands bouldering area (for one example) sees more climbers on a May weekend than CBR gets in a year, it isn't within the wilderness area, so enforcement and jurisdictions are different. Both areas show visible user impacts and offer great climbing, but don't compare the management of these two zones just apples-to-apples.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I don't understand why the USFS claims it has to close 75% of its roads--including many popular trailhead access avenues--and yet can still find money for two new positions.

 

 

Good Question FW. I don't mean to sound cynical but it is all about the money - follow the money and you will have your answer. Federal agents, when deployed right, can be effective revenue generators for the government. Maintaining roads, on the other hand, will not generate revenue. I moved to Socal from the PNW a couple of years ago and I have seen the future. Agents everywhere collecting money in any way possible. It is difficult to hike or even drive without being accosted by an armed agent. My wife was recently issued a citation for "stand up paddling without a permit".

Edited by waterboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just wondering, and it hasn't come up, so I'll ask it again:

 

What if anything do the two areas have for Climbing Management Plans?

 

What exactly are they doing with fixed anchors? Cleaning all the tat and old fixed gear or just the junk? Their Facebook page states "Removed 22 lbs of old slings, webbing, and gear from Ingalls Peak" and if its just the junk, can't see how that's a bad thing.

 

It's just that in 99% of cases, until the present it has been up to climbers to install and maintain anchors (removing tat), so this is a new thing.

 

And what series exactly are our two new friends? They sure don't look like LE types, who must by their job descriptions carry a sidearm and LE gear, but it seems they can write citations.

 

Seems like there is a fair amount of confusion, glad those involved directly are posting to clear things up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×