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Discussion of Granite Mtn Closure - 2006
Submitted By: Anonymous Climber on Feb 2, 2006

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The entire cliff face of Granite Mountain, Arizona, is off limits for climbing as of Wednesday, February 1st, 2006. Back in service on or around July 15th, 2006, at which time it will be too hot to climb there anyway.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 26, 2006
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Feb 6, 2006
Greg, is there any way we can petition to have the cliff open since the peregrines are no longer endangered?
By Chirp
Feb 11, 2006
Manuel, didn't you read guideline #1 regarding posting?. It's not about endangered species, but about respect for a creatures nesting periods. Perpetuating this kind of attitude would definitely have a negative impact on our use of such resources. Go back to your gym if your so hard up to climb.
By ClimbPHX.com
From: Mesa AZ
Feb 13, 2006
Peregrine Falcons are extremely affected by exposure to human contact and will actually abandon/kick their babies if disturbed. Breeding peregrine falcons are most likely to be disturbed by activities taking place above their nest (eyrie) (Herbert and Herbert 1969, Ellis 1982). Ellis (1982) recommended buffer zones of "no human activity" around peregrine falcon breeding sites in Arizona that ranged from 0.8 km to 4.8 km (0.5-3.0 mi), with wider buffer zones recommended for activities above the breeding cliff. These buffer distances were based on incidental observations of peregrine responses to various disturbances
Climbing creates crowds of people in areas that are usually undisturbed and can push away normal species that the falcons dine on. The Forestry conservation is right in closing the area and, if you have the time, you should visit to see this spectacular species since we almost lost them for a time due to DTT poisoning...
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Feb 13, 2006
I see peregrines at other areas I climb in. I had one on a dead tree next to me when I topped out on a route. I asked a partner that was a falconer as well. He described the noise they make when you come close to their nest. I never heard it. He also told me of the myth that they eat their young when disturbed and was unable to relate any event ever occurring that he knew of. Go bleed on someone else. Since you don't know me, I understand the comment about the gym and it's implication. I still think protecting peregrines is important. If you haven't climbed at Granite Mtn, you can't speak to the facts.
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Feb 14, 2006
Thanks Greg, maybe we could present research showing they would not be harmed by close proximity to humans as observed all over the country.
By lou
Feb 14, 2006
Greg....Peregrines are raising young on Camelback Mt. for the last 4 years or so....usually 2 a year....right over the Echo trail...have actually hit some hikers in the head (defensive behavior of all falcons)....the Game and Fish would know of any updates...as far as I know (thru Game and Fish conversations) the Camelback nest is the first in the valley......... lou
By Chirp
Feb 14, 2006
Sorry for the jump on this, but Mannys post was the first thing I saw and obviously reading what he said could be taken the wrong way (..as I took it.). I am just a bit hyper sensetive about access and when a climber gives sass about a potential access threatening issues, I take note.
I climbed at Granite Mtn and T-butte and the Dells in the early 80's and was totally stoked on the area and miss the beauty of central AZ :(

Obviously assessing where the raptors are nesting and how limiting some access could be a good thing while allowing for climbing on other parts. This board has promise as a very nice communication tool.
Thanks for discussing this and I'm glad my comment opened up some dialog. Good luck!

BTW I dont feel the need to apologize, but I must say that Lou...you are a dork. :)
By ClimbPHX.com
From: Mesa AZ
Feb 17, 2006
Careless methods of interaction by humuns can result in injury or death of adults and young, or abandonment of eggs (no known case of abandoning young)(Hickey 1942, 1969; Bond 1946), but such impacts not known to have measurable effect on long-term population stability. Inspection of nest site just before or during laying has caused some falcons to abandon that site and renest elsewhere on same cliff or in same territory. Sudden appearance of human, or human technology, near nest can frighten sitting bird to leave so quickly that eggs or recently hatched young may be kicked out of the nest (Cade 1960). Prolonged investigations that keep parents off eggs or downy young for varying periods, depending on climate and age of young, can cause overchilling or overheating and death.

Sorry just agreeing with the fact that we all have a responsibility to protect what we have left...You guys are aggressive....
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 17, 2006
Peregrine falcons are successfully nesting on buildings and bridges in Seattle: frg.org/frg.

Eldorado Canyon State Park in Colorado only closes a limited portion of one cliff (Redgarden Wall) for raptor nesting; the remaining parts of the cliff (and the rest of the canyon) are open to climbing.

Seems as if closing the entire cliff at Granite Mountain is a bit much...
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Feb 17, 2006
Thanks Shiloh, where is the evidence of them eating their young? If you feel that climbers are prone to being careless, you are probably right that we shouldn't be allowed near a cliff. If that is the case in your climbing experience, find new partners. So far, compliance with no climbing at Granite Mtn is pretty good as far as I can tell from speaking to my partners. Working together to allow access to portions of GM not inhabited by a nesting pair would be a wonderful thing. Jumping on me for wanting to obtain access does seem counter-productive. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your support Ron, hopefully we can get our land managers to see the facts.
By ClimbPHX.com
From: Mesa AZ
Feb 23, 2006
Thanks for your feedback..I have a personal interest that far exceeds that of most climbers just based on my back ground....The comment about the mammary gland was slightly offensive and definitely shows a lack of class and reflects poorly on this site and the people in it. For a new person to see a reaction that includes actions of that nature makes one wonder...especially in view of the fact that this was my first post...LOL But I agree with all of you for the most part, except for the mammary joke...Mom's been passed away for a while...
By btraxler
From: Prescott, AZ
Mar 27, 2006
The Raptor nesting at Granite Mountain has been a hot issue for a long time. I am a local climber who has been active in Prescott for 6 years now, working on monitoring the Peregrines to determine their nest sites, number of young, and general habits along the cliffs of granite mountain. This place is truly magical and it is refreshing that the climbing here feels so pure, untouched by others, no crowds. The unique feeling you get climbing here has been preserved by the climbing community and the forest service for many years. This place is purely traditional (with the exception of a few fixed belays/rappels and manky buttonheads on runouts) and is why this place remains unique and uncrowded. I feel that opening this place all year not only would contribute to the further impact on the land in this area (we have been seeing a ton of trail braiding lately/garbage etc.) and the disruption of our Peregrine friends, but bring a large surge of climbers that might change the feel of our sacred climbing area. I climb in certain places because of the type of experiences I have, if I want a social scene I will go to Jacks or Queen creek, if i want adventure and the feeling of Wildness I will go to places like Granite mountain. SO, be careful what you wish for because there is plenty of other climbing to be done elsewhere when Granite is closed. ---In regards to some of your information --- Study does show that Peregrines have been effected by the presence of climbers. Influencing many of their nesting patterns as well as their hunting grounds. The birds nesting at Granite Mountain have had success breeding and their use of Granite Mountain is much different than what Mr. Opland and others expect as described above. They have been known to nest under the GReat Roof, but in most years have been observed nesting high on the exit cracks to the route Kingpin, left of the Great roof. They have also been observed roosting as far right as the exit to Slammerjam and the Coatumundi/Candyland variation. This means that the majority of popular routes extending from the middle section all the way to the flying buttress would be closed even if we used a seasonal/conditional closure model. In addition the Peregrines in this area have been seen hunting all around the face of Granite Mountain, again showing evidence that they use this wilderness as a hunting grounds. Some have also been spotted around Thumb Butte (another climbing area Closed due to nesting) and it is thought that the falcons go out that way from G.M. to hunt as well. There is a wealth of info/monitoring that has been happening in the area, especially around Thumb Butte (where some retired folks do it) and less around Granite Mountain but we have been working on it. Prescott College, The Prescott Climbers Coalition, and other individuals have been working hard to establish positive connections with the Prescott Forest Service. In particular with Noel Fletcher the wildlife biologist here. Please do not disturb the work we have done here by trying to stir up the pot on this issue. The closure has been in effect because there has been no supporting evidence that a seasonal/conditional model closure would work to support our Peregrines. The birds use that whole area in other words. In regards to Peregrines in cities---most animals can be habituated to human presence, but that does not necessarily benefit the animals. Please contact me if you want to work on this issue with us, or the P.C climbers coalition, or Prescott College, we welcome your support. We would like to climb there as much as anyone else and might possibly be able to with some more work monitoring the falcons. A close friend of mine started a peregrine monitoring system up for the Granite birds. Noel Fletcher has forms you can pick up, go monitor and document the birds with, climb a route on Lizard Head if you want (opposite of G.M.) and bring her the data back. I'll take you out even if you contact me. Thanks! --Ben Traxler
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Dec 26, 2006
I wonder what Darwin would have to say on the subject!